Living In The Internet’s Glass House

Five British volunteers have decided to give their lives to the Internet for fifteen days, and allow Internet users to make important decisions in their lives for them. The five are taking part in a Big Brother-style web experiment, and are completely at your mercy. Time to get nasty.

Every day for fifteen days the contestants must come up with an important decision that needs to be made in their lives, and Internet voters have to vote on which way they think each person should swing, so to speak.

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Bizarre Patent Of The Week

Initiation Apparatus

Inventor John Milton Seibert
Patent No 819,814
Filed 24 July 1905
Awarded 8 May 1906

This invention relates to that type of theatrical appliances known as ‘initiating apparatus’ designed for use in lodges and secret societies for initiating a candidate into the secrets and forms of the order. To this end the invention contemplates a simple and practical form of apparatus entirely harmless in its action and results, while at the same time producing an amusing and entertaining effect.

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World’s Fastest Wearable Computer

Charmed Technology, founded by MIT Media Lab graduates, announced what it claims is the world’s fastest wearable computer — 800Mhz Crusoe TM5800 processor. The CharmedIT comes standard with a 266 Mhz Pentium MMX for about $2k. The Crusoe upgrade costs another $500. The OS is extra ($250 for RedHat or Debian), as is the display, input device, carrying case, battery, charger, usable application … if that isn’t enough options, you can also get a DIY kit.
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Space Junk Monitoring May Cease

NASA’s 2003 budget does not include funding for its Orbital Debris Program Office, which monitors space junk that could damage or destroy satellites and other spacecraft. If funding is not restored by the end of September, the program will cease operations Oct. 1.

The program
, begun in 1979, has helped reveal the existence of more than 100,000 bits of small, mostly human-made space debris that are not tracked by any other agency. The junk has the potential to damage space shuttles, the international space station and other spacecraft.
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Brain: The Science Behind Decision Making

Using a revolutionary method of imaging the brain, researchers from the Open University and the London Business School say they have identified the brain region that becomes active as the shopper reaches to the supermarket shelf to make their final choice.

The scientists used a technique known as magnetic encephalography (MEG) — the fastest of all scanner methods — to measure the minute magnetic fields around the brain and identify regions that are active during the second or so it takes for a person to make their shopping choice.
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Tiny Tube Allows Heart Surgery Without Stitches

A tiny tube that connects fragile arteries without the need for a needle and thread could revolutionise Britain’s most common heart operation.

The Y-shaped connector, inspired by the nuisance of inverted shirt sleeves and trouser legs, could be used in life-saving coronary by-pass operations within a few years. Using the plastic device, a graft artery can be connected in about 90 seconds, far quicker than in conventional surgery.

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History of the Future on Display

The first computer game, Steve Russell’s “Space War,” is now 40 years old. These and other futuristic relics are about to go on display at a London gallery, billed as the largest collection of videogame memorabilia ever assembled.

The show is every player’s dream. View more than 250 separate exhibits, including hard-to-find vintage titles. In a wonderful coup, organizers nabbed one of only 10 or so known working DEC PDP-1 minicomputers, which runs Steve Russell’s legendary Space War!
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Smart Cameras To Predict Crimes

The Independent News is reporting that scientists at Kingston University in London have developed video processing software that is able to predict behavior patterns of the people on-screen. They say it will be used to alleviate congestion in the London Underground or alert police to potential muggings.

I wonder how long it will be before this is combined with face-recognition technology? It’s spooky. I can’t wait. We searched you because the computer told us to. Trust the Computer.
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World’s First College Degree in Gambling Offered

The Philippines could soon be the first country to offer a college degree, Bachelor of Science in Gaming Management if plans for a gambling academy are approved.

Pending approval from the authorities, the academy will offer courses in gaming skills for table supervisors in popular games such as blackjack, poker and roulette, they said.

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High School Tests High-tech Weapon Scanner

Officials at Skyline High School in Longmont, Colo., are about to employ a new tool in their effort to keep their students safe: a sophisticated weapon-scanning technology originally developed for military use.

The high-tech security system, initially designed to track enemy submarines, will be installed at each of the school’s entrances to scan for weapons as students enter the building. The system’s creators say it is superior to the metal detectors used in most schools and airports today because it eliminates the “false positives” these traditional systems often generate.

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Japan Builds World’s Fastest Computer

The New York Times reports that Japan has built the world’s most powerful supercomputer from “640 specialized nodes that are in turn composed of 5,104” NEC processors. The machine boasts the computing power equivalent to the 20 fastest American supercomputers combined, and with a top speed of 35.6 teraflops, outpaces the next fastest machine, the ASCI White Pacific, by more than factor of five. Applications include climate modeling, global warming prediction, and other non-weapons research.
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Spintronics: Nano Electronics

Researchers eager to use individual molecules as the components of ultra-small electronic circuits and computers have put a new spin on their ambitious goal.

They take advantage of a hitherto unexploited property of electric currents, called spin, to make molecular devices that operate under new rules. This fledgling form of electronics, called spintronics, could lead to computers that don’t forget anything when their power is turned off, and perhaps even to that ultra-powerful device, the quantum computer.
More here.

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