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  (High Tech Developments)

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Current Topic: High Tech Developments

Creating a New Picture of War, Pixel by Pixel
Topic: High Tech Developments 9:04 pm EDT, May 18, 2004

Robert Wright, author of Nonzero, writes in the LA Times.

The revolution of grass-roots digital empowerment will change the nature of war and the place of war in American foreign policy.

Some people who see the Abu Ghraib scandal as technologically driven are suggesting technological reforms. At one level, Rumsfeld grasps the power of digital technology. It was because our troops were digitally empowered that we needed so few of them.

But this cuts both ways. Once you figure technology into both sides of the ledger, war looks different.

Note to Public: Although Rumsfudd^h^h^held has not issued you a trusty repeating rifle, let there be no mistake: you have been drafted.

Organized by Orkut, trained by TiVo, and equipped by Ericsson, we are all superempowered now.


Creating a New Picture of War, Pixel by Pixel

Pizza Party - Command Line Pizza ordering program
Topic: High Tech Developments 8:59 pm EDT, May  8, 2004

This is a command line UNIX utility that orders pizza.

Pizza Party - Command Line Pizza ordering program

Computers that create patents
Topic: High Tech Developments 12:10 am EST, Jan 30, 2004

] Technically, Stephen Thaler has written more music than
] any composer in the world. He also invented the Oral-B
] CrossAction toothbrush and devices that search the
] Internet for messages from terrorists. He has discovered
] substances harder than diamonds, coined 1.5 million new
] English words, and trained robotic cockroaches.
] Technically.
] Thaler, the president and chief executive of Imagination
] Engines Inc. in Maryland Heights, gets credit for all
] those things, but he's really just "the man behind the
] curtain," he says. The real inventor is a computer
] program called a Creativity Machine.

Computers that create patents

A technical discussion of Creativity Machines
Topic: High Tech Developments 12:10 am EST, Jan 30, 2004

] When the internal architecture of a trained
] artificial neural network is gradually relaxed or
] destroyed, that network tends to spontaneously
] produce a succession of "impressions" from it's
] learned knowledge domain. I refer to this state
] as "dreaming." A dreaming net's output stream
] often holds a mixture of both straightforward and
] hybridized exemplars from its training set. If we
] allow a second neural network to watch for any
] useful concepts that emerge from the first, we
] form a so-called "Creativity Machine." Creativity
] machines may perform remarkable feats of
] invention and discovery, ranging from the composition of
] music to the prediction of totally new ultrahard
] materials.

Hardcore irony.. I made my previous post when I was trying to read this and was unable to concentrate.

A technical discussion of Creativity Machines

Book-Binding Technique Could Revive Rare Texts
Topic: High Tech Developments 3:59 am EST, Jan 13, 2004

A California inventor has developed a book-binding machine that makes it cheap and easy to print professional-quality books within minutes. Industry analysts say the device could make it possible for consumers to purchase previously hard-to-find texts at most bookstores.

Brewster Kahle likes it.

In a few years, the term "bookstore" may refer to one of those little kiosks in the mall, where today they sell incense, neckties, cheap jewelry, and what-not. It will consist of a keyboard, a plasma display, and a small box resembling an inkjet printer.

One could envision using this flexible technology to sell 'scalable' books. If the 1,181 page version of "The Codebreakers" is too much detail for you, perhaps you'd prefer the 500 page version, or the 250 page version with a focus on pre-20th century technology.

Interested in the latest Harry Potter book? Choose anywhere from 100 to 1,000 pages in length, depending on how much time you have to spend. Buying it for the kids, and want to delete the dark parts of the story? Easy.

How about a version of the LOTR trilogy without all of the poetry and the songs? Done. Care to drop the pages-long descriptions of minutia unrelated to the plot, too? Done. Illustrated, or text only?

Music retail outlets could do this today with audio CDs; it's not clear why they don't. There is simply no good reason why you should ever walk out of Tower Records empty handed because the clerk said, "we don't have that in stock, but we could order it for you and have it here in seven to ten business days."

A good-sized Tower Records has on the order of $1 million in inventory on hand. For a million dollars, the store could buy more than a petabyte of online disk storage, on which they could store more than two million different full length albums in CD quality (not MPEG encoded), along with high quality cover art and liner notes. By comparison, online music services like iTunes and Rhapsody offer only 30,000 to 40,000 different CDs.

Book-Binding Technique Could Revive Rare Texts

'Get me rewrite!' Now computers can play along | CNET
Topic: High Tech Developments 3:00 pm EST, Dec 30, 2003

] In the famous sketch from the TV show "Monty Python's
] Flying Circus," the actor John Cleese had many ways of
] saying a parrot was dead, among them, "This parrot is no
] more," "He's expired and gone to meet his maker," and
] "His metabolic processes are now history."

] Now, using several methods, including statistical
] techniques borrowed from gene analysis, two researchers
] have created a program that can automatically generate
] paraphrases of English sentences.

This article focuses on applying this technology to news stories, but the product of the research could be applied to many language related tasks.

'Get me rewrite!' Now computers can play along | CNET

The West Australian
Topic: High Tech Developments 2:02 pm EST, Feb 18, 2003

] PERTH is one of two spots in the world being considered
] for development of a space elevator, a new concept in
] space travel which it is claimed would make possible
] tourism on the Moon.
] A space elevator - an alternative to rockets and shuttles
] - would consist of a 100,000km ribbon of super-strong
] carbon-based material.

The West Australian

Ananova - Japanese scientist invents 'invisibility cloak'
Topic: High Tech Developments 7:11 pm EST, Feb  6, 2003

] A Japanese scientist has developed a coat which appears
] to make the wearer invisible.

How many books can you name that featured an invisibility cloak?

Ananova - Japanese scientist invents 'invisibility cloak'

Say Goodbye to Plastic
Topic: High Tech Developments 2:34 pm EDT, Jun 25, 2002

It could be the biggest thing since sliced bread was wrapped in cellophane: biodegradable food packaging that's cheap enough to compete with conventional plastic. Once used, it can be thrown onto the compost heap or even eaten. This year, startup Plantic Technologies will roll out a cornstarch-based bioplastic that can be molded into everything from Twinkie wrappers to cracker trays.

Say Goodbye to Plastic

2 Tinkerers Say They've Found a Cheap Way to Broadband
Topic: High Tech Developments 8:24 pm EDT, Jun 10, 2002

Anyone looking for the next big thing in Silicon Valley should stop here at Layne Holt's garage.

Mr. Holt and his business partner, John Furrier, both software engineers, have started a company with a shoestring budget and an ambitious target: the cable and phone companies that currently hold a near-monopoly on high-speed access for the "last mile" between the Internet and the home.

... Although he has partially broken with the Wi-Fi standard, he argues he is doing just what the unlicensed radio spectrum was originally set aside to encourage.

John Markoff reports on new developments in the emerging business for large-scale WiFi-based Internet access. The developers have paired 802.11b with a software-defined radio, which Markoff (perhaps mistakenly) refers to as a "software-designed radio".

2 Tinkerers Say They've Found a Cheap Way to Broadband

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