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November 15, 2009

Apple takes a long hard look at the dark side

Warren Ellis -- Apple Files Patent On Evil
Apple has filed for patent on a technology they call an "enforcement routine," that’ll display ads on pretty much any device with a screen and demand that you view them — or else you don’t get your device back: Its distinctive feature is a design that doesn’t simply invite a user to pay attention to an ad — it also compels attention. The technology can freeze the device until the user clicks a button or answers a test question to demonstrate that he or she has dutifully noticed the commercial message. Because this technology would be embedded in the innermost core of the device, the ads could appear on the screen at any time, no matter what one is doing.

November 12, 2009

Digital tattooes allow embedded computers to feed on your blood

Digital Tattoo Interface Turns Your Skin Into A Display - Digital Tattoo Interface - Gizmodo

System to automatically grade written tests fails Churchill, Hemingway, many others

Churchill's speeches fail exam - Telegraph Automated grading of written tests to judge how the author writes are bound to fail. The best writers will often confuse the computer systems which fail at detecting style, subtlety, or humor.
Churchill's speeches, Hemingway's style and Golding's prose would not have been appreciated by a new computerised marking system used to assess A level English. The system, which is a proposed way of marking exam papers online, found that Churchill's rousing call to "fight them on the beaches" was too repetitive, with the text using the word "upon" and "our" too frequently. His reference to the "might of the German army" lost him marks because the computer assumed that Churchill had intended to say "might have", instead of using "might" as a noun. Graham Herbert, deputy head of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors, said: “The computer was limited in its scope. It couldn’t cope with metaphor and didn’t understand the purpose of the speech.

November 09, 2009

Rescuers are sick of the "Yuppie 911"

Tired from a tough hike? Rescuers fear Yuppie 911 - Yahoo! News
FRESNO, Calif. – Last month two men and their teenage sons tackled one of the world's most unforgiving summertime hikes: the Grand Canyon's parched and searing Royal Arch Loop. Along with bedrolls and freeze-dried food, the inexperienced backpackers carried a personal locator beacon — just in case. In the span of three days, the group pushed the panic button three times, mobilizing helicopters for dangerous, lifesaving rescues inside the steep canyon walls. What was that emergency? The water they had found to quench their thirst "tasted salty." If they had not been toting the device that works like Onstar for hikers, "we would have never attempted this hike," one of them said after the third rescue crew forced them to board their chopper. It's a growing problem facing the men and women who risk their lives when they believe others are in danger of losing theirs.

How To: Make Russian-Style Local Globes

English Russia - DIY Local Globes Click through for directions.
In Russia and other post Soviet countries there were a real craze on independence after they finally got it with USSR collapse. Sometimes this took some weird forms like, for example, making the globes of their own country. Yes, those were just like regular globes we used to see on geography classes but instead the whole world only their own country was mapped on it. These things were officially on sale and still you can buy something like “the globe of Ukraine” in shops of Kiev. So then people went further and decided to make the globes of their local cities or even villages. With modern technologies this can be done by practically anyone just in a few minutes and then can be used to amaze the friends and relative.

Engadget: 3-D Printer

toshiba-regz-hands-000.jpgWith video!! Video: MakerBot's build-it-yourself 3D printer in action, replicator in the works
We just bumped into the MakerBot industries folks and got a quick look at the CupCake CNC rapid prototyping machine (3D printer, for us luddites). The thing extrudes Lego-type plastic into fairly detailed shapes, and MakerBot sells it as a kit for $750, or fully assembled for $2,500. What's most exciting is that the MakerBot folks are now working on a 3D scanner kit, which once combined with the CupCake CNC will make a full-on homegrown replicator.

November 06, 2009

How To: Make a palmtop flamethrower

Make: Online : Functioning X-men "Pyro" costume flamethrower appliance

November 04, 2009

How To: Open a bottle of wine with your shoe

This drunk French guy is my new hero. That is some damn nice applied physics at work.

Meta will eat itself: Autotune the News on the CBS Evening News

Singing Made Easy - CBS News Video Later in this segment we see our heroes, The Gregory Bros., at home in the studio. Squee!!
Watch CBS News Videos Online