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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Testosterone Prevents Mental Deterioration

Scientists at UCSF have concluded in a recent study that the male hormone testosterone prevents the decline of mental capacity among older men and may even keep early Alzheimer’s disease symptoms at bay.

The research examined only at natural testosterone levels so the benefits of over-the-counter supplements remain dubious. Yaffe warned against taking additional testosterone because it may have unintended side effects.

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Customer Abuse Quotient

Some industries are notorius for treating their customers like dirt. The Customer Abuse Quotient, which was developed by the DaVinci Institute, is inversely proportional to a customer loyalty index.

Industries with a high Customer Abuse Quotient create a great opportunity for some new upstart to come in and totally revamp the industry. “These are opportunities ripe for the picking,” says Thomas Frey, Executive Director of the DaVinci Institute.
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New Insect Order Found

The first new order of insects to be discovered in more than 80 years has emerged from the mountains of Namibia. The order’s first official members are two creatures about 2 cm long that look a bit like a cross between a cricket and a stick insect.

The group, called Mantophasmatodea, joins the other 30 or so insect orders such as beetles, flies and termites. “If it was in mammals it’d be like discovering bats,” says Dick Vane-Wright, head of entomology at London’s Natural History Museum.

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Finding the Mummy Motherload

Archaeologists have unearthed a mass burial site containing thousands of Inca mummies, in a shanty town near to the Peruvian capital, Lima. So far they have discovered 2200 mummies, from all different walks of life, and they say the figure could well reach ten thousand by the time excavations are complete.

The mummies are believed to have been buried between 1480 and 1535 when the Inca still ruled South America, before the Spanish Conquistadors came along and buggered everything up by declaring the process of mummification a pagan ritual.

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Couples Wanting Baby Boy Should Not Smoke

Couples wanting to conceive a boy should not smoke, scientists say. New research reported by Japanese and Danish scientists in The Lancet medical journal on Friday showed that couples who smoked around the time their child was conceived were less likely to have a son.

“If the father smokes more than 20 cigarettes a day and the mother does not smoke the sex ratio is significantly decreased with fewer boys than girls,” Professor Anne Grete Byskov, of University Hospital of Copenhagen, said in an interview.

If both parents smoke the chances of producing a male child are even lower.

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Hole-In-The-Wall Computer Experiment

An experiment in minimally directed self-learning has been going fairly well. To test his ideas, Sugata Mitra launched something 13 months ago he calls “the hole in the wall experiment.” He took a PC connected to a high-speed data connection and imbedded it in a concrete wall next to NIIT’s headquarters in the south end of New Delhi. The wall separates the company’s grounds from a garbage-strewn empty lot used by the poor as a public bathroom. Mitra simply left the computer on, connected to the Internet, and allowed any passerby to play with it.

He discovered was that the most avid users of the machine were ghetto kids aged 6 to 12, most of whom have only the most rudimentary education and little knowledge of English. Yet within days, the kids had taught themselves to draw on the computer and to browse the Net. More here.
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