Batmat, Bring Me the Batcane

British scientists said on Thursday they had created a cane inspired by bats to help blind and partially sighted people find their stride.

Bats maneuver easily by bouncing high-pitched sounds off nearby objects in a process called “echolocation.”

Researchers at Britain’s Leeds University used this as the model for their so-called “Batcane,” which emits sonar waves inaudible to the human ear to help users detect obstacles ahead, around, or even above them. Any nearby object triggers a vibration in one of four pads in the cane’s plastic handle. As the object gets nearer, the vibration speeds up.

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Low-Fare Carriers Taking Off

European airlines like EasyJet Airline and Ryanair are the new models of efficiency. What’s different about these low-cost carriers is that they only offer flights within Europe, but offer fares that are as much as 50 percent cheaper than traditional carriers. These upstarts have accomplished this by borrowing operating principles from Southwest Airlines, the low-fare pioneer.
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Human Cloning Given ‘Thumbs Up’ in UK

Scientists in the UK have been given the go-ahead to create human embryo clones under strictly controlled conditions.
A House of Lords select committee set up last year to examine claims that making the clones was unnecessary has decided that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) can issue research licences.

However, the debate still continues.

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Honda’s Human-like Robot – ASIMO

ASIMO is a two-legged walking technology developed by Honda represents a unique approach to the challenge of autonomous locomotion. Its a walking, 4-foot, 95-pound, humanoid robot.

Bill Gross, CEO of Idealab in Pasadena, Calif., recently announced his new brainchild, Evolution Robotics, a software operating system for robots similar to MS Windows being an operating system for computers that attract viruses.
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Investment Sites ‘Most Addictive’ On Web

The goal of most Web sites is to get visitors to stay for as long as possible. According to a new study by Internet measurement company Nielsen//NetRatings, finance and investment sites are the “stickiest” on the Web.
The study, released today, said more than 44 percent of active online users visited a finance Web site at least once in January.

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Head of Privacy Group Pleads Guilty

A co-leader of “DrinkorDie,” an international piracy ring that distributes software, games and movies over the Internet, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one count of conspiring to commit copyright infringement, U.S. officials said.

John Sankus, 28, of Philadelphia, admitted his guilt in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, as part of a plea deal with prosecutors, they said. He will be sentenced on May 17, and could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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Problem – Sperm Donor With Bad Genes

A Dutch sperm donor who fathered 18 children is suffering from a rare hereditary degenerative brain disorder, a hospital said on Wednesday.

The man, whose sperm was used between 1989 and 1995, was not definitively diagnosed with cerebellar ataxia — which causes gradual shriveling of the cerebellum — until late 1998.
The children conceived from his sperm, now aged between seven and 13, have a 50 percent chance of inheriting the disease, according to the hospital, which agonized for three years before deciding to tell the parents involved.
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Smithsonian to Enshrine Enron Ethics Manual

Enron has turned into a museum quality scandal — the Smithsonian Institution is collecting its memorabilia, including its code of ethics.

A spokeswoman for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History on Tuesday said curators have started to collect Enron memorabilia as part of an effort to record one of the nation’s biggest business scandals.

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