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Current Topic: Technology

Epson-News Release
Topic: Technology 8:59 am EST, Nov 20, 2003

] Seiko Epson Corporation ("Epson") has developed the uFR
] ("Micro Flying Robot"), the world's smallest flying
] prototype microrobot.

neat... robots kick ass.

Epson-News Release

RE: Social discrimination by iTunes playlist | Wired News
Topic: Technology 8:47 am EST, Nov 20, 2003

flynn23 wrote:
] Which brings me to an ultimate conclusion: what if you really
] can have anything you want, anytime, anywhere? What if you
] really could have every song, movie, book, performance -
] instantly at your fingertips, all the time? Would that be
] better or worse than not having that capability? For my entire
] life, I have wished for this ability, but when I really think
] about it - sometimes it was the lack of exposure; the lack of
] acessability - that made something truly valuable. Sometimes
] it was having to imagine(!) what something would've
] sounded/looked/felt like that helped me to create things for
] myself. Maybe that's better?

inignoct wrote:
] ... we are heading for a world in which the base of common
] knowledge will be far, far greater than ever before, because
] it's so easy to see and hear new things...
] ... sitting down with my ipod
] and a glass of scotch and just listening to a record would
] seem like a waste of time to many, but to me, the focus is
] part of the experience. [emphasis added]

The base of common knowledge will be enormous, but it will be "common" only in the sense that it is accessible by all. A person's individual experiences could become ideosyncratic and shared more closely with a self-selected group of friends than with some vase undifferentiated mass. A work or experience would be valuable to an individual not because it is scarce or expensive, but because one has invested personal effort in finding and appreciating it.

The result could just as easily be the balkanization of mass culture rather than the homogenization and trivilization of culture. That would be a more intersting world than one where everyone had the same shared experiences.

RE: Social discrimination by iTunes playlist | Wired News

Monkeys Control Robotic Arm With Brain Implants (
Topic: Technology 9:09 am EDT, Oct 13, 2003

] Scientists in North Carolina have built a brain implant
] that lets monkeys control a robotic arm with their
] thoughts, marking the first time that mental intentions
] have been harnessed to move a mechanical object.

Obvious applications to cyborgs and cyberspace.

Monkeys Control Robotic Arm With Brain Implants (

RE: Cyborg enhancements soon...
Topic: Technology 8:57 am EDT, Oct 13, 2003

Decius wrote:
] ] Washington - Dr Miguel Nicolelis knew he had nailed it
] ] when the monkey stopped using her arm to play the
] ] computer game.
] ]
] ] "Her arm muscles went completely quiet, she kept the arm
] ] at her side and she controlled the robot arm using only
] ] her brain and visual feedback."
] Would you have your real arm removed if in its place you could
] get one that can lift a ton?

Don't have to -- the monkey's arm is still fully functional.

Would you plug in directly to the computer if you could enter your text in from your mind istead of typing?

RE: Cyborg enhancements soon...

Wired News: The Octopus as Eyewitness
Topic: Technology 6:35 am EDT, Oct  1, 2003

] Albert Titus, an assistant professor of electrical
] engineering at the University at Buffalo, New York, has
] created a silicon chip that mimics the structure and
] functionality of an octopus retina.
] His "o-retina" chip can process images just like an
] octopus eye does. The chip could give sight to rescue or
] research robots, allowing them to see more clearly than
] human eyes can in dark or murky conditions.

Titus notes, "the retina is an extension of the brain, so where does the distinction between seeing and perceiving begin and end?"

Wired News: The Octopus as Eyewitness The Grand Challenges for computer science
Topic: Technology 7:14 am EDT, Sep 29, 2003

] The UK Computing Research Committee (UKCRC), a joint
] expert panel of the Institute of Electrical Engineers and
] the British Computer Society is working with the Council
] of Professors and Heads of Computing to start seven new
] projects.

1. IVIS: In Vivo <-> In Silico: simulate what happens in real life and reproduce it in silicon.
2. Science for Global Ubiquitous Computing
3. Memories for Life: establish ways in which personal data can be securely stored and searched.
4. Scalable Ubiquitous Computing Systems: establish design principles
5. Architecture of Brain and Mind: find out how the human brain works.
6. Dependable Systems Evolution: establish a scientific foundation to build systems whose dependability can be justified.
7. Journeys in Non-Classical Computing: drawing on nature for inspiration and building complex computer systems.

UKCRC Home Page: The Grand Challenges for computer science

Paper on Google's filesystem
Topic: Technology 6:30 am EDT, Sep 29, 2003

An interesting discussion of how Google manages it's server farm...

Paper on Google's filesystem

Cyrillic Projector Code - Cracked!
Topic: Technology 11:24 am EDT, Sep 24, 2003

I was reading my weblogs earlier today, and noticed this webpage linking to my Projector webpage. It claimed to have the solution technique for Sanborn's decade-old Cyrillic Projector, though it didn't have any English plaintext or any kind of contact information.

I've seen anonymous "solutions" before with no basis in reality, so treated it with skepticism at first, but, several hours and a flurry of IMs, emails, and Excel spreadsheets later, I can confirm -- somebody's cracked it! More details will be coming soon, as I try to find out *who* did it so that they can be congratulated properly, and post the full English plaintext. In the meantime, anyone who wants to see the Russian plaintext, email or IM me privately and I'll show you what I've verified so far. I need help translating!

Elonka :)

Cyrillic Projector Code - Cracked!
Topic: Technology 9:00 am EDT, Sep 22, 2003

] Plans to build the "world's biggest spiking neural
] network" to mimic the brain were announced by Mountain
] View, Calif.-based Artificial Development at the
] Accelerating Change Conference on Sunday.
] The CCortex system will be a "massive spiking neuron
] network emulation and will mimic the human cortex, with
] 20 billion layered neurons and 2 trillion 8-bit
] connections," according to AD's President and CEO Marcos
] Guillen, listed in the Guardian's "The Young Rich" for
] his former position as Director of Red Internauta of
] Spain, valued at 29.6 million pounds.
] The network will run on a 1000-processor supercomputer
] cluster operating at 4.8 teraflops, with 1.5 terabytes of
] RAM and 80 terabytes of storage, he said.

This is about 3 orders of magnitude short of the computational power required to simulate a human brain. By Hans Moravec's estimate, this is about as much power as it would take to simulate a rat's brain -- if one had a good model of how a rat's brain worked. Still, a lot of cognitive science has been done with rats, and if these folks are serious, it could be a step forward.

In the article, critics of this approach say that the 10^15 ops/sec estimated requirement is low by 7 orders of magnitude. - Digital Edge - ASIMO
Topic: Technology 6:45 am EDT, Sep 11, 2003

] ASIMO stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility. It
] is 4 feet high and it can move a lot like we do, with 26
] degrees of freedom. That means being able to move
] different "joints" in different directions. It also means
] forward and backward maintaining balance at all times,
] and turning without the standard pivoting of early
] robots.

This was the 8th stop on the ASIMO North American Educational Tour. The next stop is Philadelphis, Sep 20-21, 2003. There is additional info at the Asimo web site: - Digital Edge - ASIMO

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