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Indeed the stars in the sky and their constellations no longer shine

A New Arms Race to Build the World's Mightiest Computer - New York Times
Topic: Computers 7:58 pm EDT, Aug 19, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 18 - A global race is under way to reach the next milestone in supercomputer performance, many times the speed of today's most powerful machines. And beyond the customary rivalry in the field between the United States and Japan, there is a new entrant - China - eager to showcase its arrival as an economic powerhouse.

It's interesting that China has entered this arena.

A New Arms Race to Build the World's Mightiest Computer - New York Times

ICE - In Case of Emergency
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:57 pm EDT, Aug  9, 2005

There is no simpler way of letting the emergency services know who to contact should you be involved in an accident than by using ICE.

That's a really good idea.

ICE - In Case of Emergency

IRA Says It Will Abandon Violence
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:35 am EDT, Jul 29, 2005

LONDON, July 28 -- The Irish Republican Army formally declared an end Thursday to its three-decade-long armed struggle against British rule in Northern Ireland and pledged to pursue its aims of a united Ireland through "exclusively peaceful means."

The recent London bombings have removed the cachet from being a European terrorist. When European and American Islamic leaders are issuing fatwah's stating that blowing up innocent civilians is un-Islamic, what is the IRA going to do?

IRA Says It Will Abandon Violence

London Bombing Attacks: Definitive Sources
Topic: Current Events 7:06 pm EDT, Jul  7, 2005


Flickr pool

Wikipedia can be very good at current events.

London Bombing Attacks: Definitive Sources

Gnod - The global network of dreams
Topic: Technology 9:02 pm EDT, Jul  5, 2005

Gnod is my experiment in the field of artificial intelligence. It's a self-adapting system, living on this server and 'talking' to everyone who comes along. Gnod's intention is to learn about the outer world and to learn 'understanding' its visitors. This enables gnod to share all its wisdom with you in an intuitive and efficient way. You might call it a search-engine to find things you don't know about.

Gnod Music: Discover new bands and artists. Let gnod find out what music you like and what you don't like.

Gnod Books: Get to know new authors and find out what other people like you like to read.

Gnod Movies: Discover new movies, travel the world of film and discuss it all in the forums.

The music map is cool, but it works best in Internet Explorer.

It works OK in FireFox

Gnod - The global network of dreams

Blue Gene, Linux top supercomputing list | CNET
Topic: Computers 8:58 pm EDT, Jun 23, 2005

Supercomputers are cool.

After two and a half years at the top of a list of the world's fastest supercomputers, NEC's Earth Simulator has finally been dethroned: IBM's Blue Gene/L officially is the new king of the hill.

The Blue Gene/L succession, while expected, reflects IBM's sustained push in recent years to expand its expertise from business computers into high-performance technical computing. On the newest incarnation of the Top500 list, updated twice a year, IBM has 216 systems, which account for 49.4 percent of list members' collective performance.

The ascendance also highlights the rise of Linux, the open-source operating system that Blue Gene/L runs and that IBM helped to champion. The new No. 2 system, Silicon Graphics' Columbia, also uses Linux.

Blue Gene/L performed 70.7 trillion calculations per second, or teraflops, nearly twice the 35.9 teraflops of Earth Simulator. And as expected, Columbia was clocked at 51.9 teraflops. IBM's new MareNostrum, at 20.5 teraflops, arrived in fourth place.

Blue Gene, Linux top supercomputing list | CNET

New Scientist Breaking News - Mission to build a simulated brain begins
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 3:41 pm EDT, Jun 19, 2005

A related article asserted that "this is not an AI project." This sounds suspiciously close to many of the arguments that AI enthusiasts have propounded to assert that AI is at least possible. In the worst case, the agurment goes, one could simply simulate a human brain to provide a platform for AI.

An effort to create the first computer simulation of the entire human brain, right down to the molecular level, was launched on Monday.

The "Blue Brain" project, a collaboration between IBM and a Swiss university team, will involve building a custom-made supercomputer based on IBM's Blue Gene design.

The hope is that the virtual brain will help shed light on some aspects of human cognition, such as perception, memory and perhaps even consciousness.

It will be the first time humans will be able to observe the electrical code our brains use to represent the world, and to do so in real time, says Henry Markram, director of Brain and Mind Institute at the Ecole Polytecnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland.

New Scientist Breaking News - Mission to build a simulated brain begins

InformationWeek : The Future Of Software : AI's Next Brain Wave : April 25, 2005
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 3:17 pm EDT, Jun 19, 2005

Information Week provides four examples of the use of AI techniquest to moderate human-computer interaction.

Now a new generation of researchers hopes to rekindle interest in AI. Faster and cheaper computer processing power, memory, and storage, and the rise of statistical techniques for analyzing speech, handwriting, and the structure of written texts, are helping spur new developments, as is the willingness of today's practitioners to trade perfection for practical solutions to everyday problems. Researchers are building AI-inspired user interfaces, systems that can perform calculations or suggest passages of text in anticipation of what users will need, and software that tries to mirror people's memories to help them find information amid digital clutter. Much of the research employs Bayesian statistics, a branch of mathematics that tries to factor in common beliefs and discount surprising results in the face of contrary historical knowledge. Some of the new AI research also falls into an emerging niche of computer science: the intersection of artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction.

InformationWeek : The Future Of Software : AI's Next Brain Wave : April 25, 2005 - Sony researchers create 'curious' Aibos
Topic: Human Computer Interaction 3:02 pm EDT, Jun 19, 2005

Sony Corp. has succeeded in giving selected Aibo pet robots curiosity, researchers at Sony Computer Science Laboratory (SCSL) in Paris said last week. Their research won't lead to conscious robots soon, if ever, but it could help other fields such as child developmental psychology, they said during an open day in Tokyo.

...what if a robot could be made inherently "curious?" And what if its curiosity was backed by awareness of the value of its learning?

...To achieve this, the researchers equipped the Aibos with what they call an adaptive curiosity system or a "metabrain," an algorithm that is able to assess the robots' more conventional learning algorithms, they said.

In the experiments, the metabrain algorithm continually forced the learning algorithm to look for new and more challenging tasks and to give up on tasks that didn't seem to lead anywhere. The metabrains, in effect, gave the Aibos a sense of boredom as well as curiosity, helping them make choices to keep on learning, they said.

One probably doesn't want to develop software agents that give up performing tasks that are boring and insufficiently challenging. - Sony researchers create 'curious' Aibos - Health - Phoenix Reclaims Title As Sweatiest City
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:50 pm EDT, Jun 17, 2005

This is very odd.

The rankings are based on the average U.S. male/female height/weight and the average high temperature for 2004 in each of the cities during June, July and August. The sweat level was analyzed based on the assumption that an individual was walking for one hour. - Health - Phoenix Reclaims Title As Sweatiest City

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