Wednesday, December 15, 2010

IRS employee uses Outlook rules to intercept boss's e-mails, convicted of wiretapping

By Tim Stevens  posted Dec 15th 2010 12:52PM

IRS employee uses Outlook rules to intercept boss's e-mails, convicted of wiretapping
Here's an interesting question for you: if you set up a rule in Microsoft Outlook to forward messages from one account to another, and you do it without the knowledge of the owner of the account you're forwarding from, are you intercepting or merely copying mail? It may seem like a moot point, but for David Szymuszkiewicz, a former IRS worker, it's an important distinction. David was afraid of being fired after his license was suspended for drunk driving (he needed to drive to the homes of delinquent taxpayers), so he secretly set up this rule on his boss's machine to see what the world was saying about him. The rule was discovered and, wouldn't you know it, he was in trouble. The only question now: whether to charge him under the Wiretap Act for intercepting messages or the Stored Communications Act for merely copying of them.

Atomic Weight Not So Constant

Posted by kdawson on Wednesday December 15, @05:22AM
from the thulium-and-thalium dept.
DangerousBeauty writes"Yahoo has a Canadian Press story up about new changes to the periodic table of elementsconcerning the weights of specific elements — it seems that the weights fluctuate based on where they are found in nature. Quoting: '"People are probably comfortable with having a single value for the atomic weight, but that is not the reality for our natural world," says University of Calgary associate professor Michael Wieser.' He is is secretary of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry's Commission on Isotopic Abundances and Weights."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

'Jeopardy!' To Pit Humans Against IBM Machine

Posted by CmdrTaco on Tuesday December 14, @09:38AM
from the there-can-be-only-one dept.
digitaldc writes"The game show Jeopardy! will pit man versus machine this winter in a competition that will show how successful scientists are in creating a computer that can mimic human intelligence. Two of the venerable game show's most successful champions — Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter — will play two games against 'Watson,' a computer program developed by IBM's artificial intelligence team. The matches will be spread over three days that will air Feb. 14-16, the game show said on Tuesday. The competition is reminiscent of when IBM developed a chess-playing computer to compete against chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997."

Nook Color getting Android 2.2 and Market in January, current hacks could make it blow up

By Tim Stevens  posted Dec 14th 2010 10:20AM

Nook Color getting Android 2.2 in January, current FroYo and Market hacks could make it blow up
You had to know the hacking community was going to have a field day with the Nook Color -- a $249 Android Tablet hiding behind with a thin e-reader coating. Indeed it didn't take long to get rooted nor for Android 2.2 to get installed on there, but that particular hack comes with an interesting potential side-effect: small-scale thermonuclear explosions. Enabling FroYo requires disabling the device's battery monitoring process, the very one that would be responsible for shutting down the device before the cells start overheating and, ultimately, going critical. Yeah it's unlikely, but it could happen. Meanwhile, another hack has enabled the Android Market, but those instructions begin with a very daunting warning: "Very smart people have failed at this. If the following instructions confuse you, you might want to wait until an easier method has been developed."

And, thankfully, there is a much easier way coming, with Barnes & Noble confirming that Android 2.2 will be officially coming to the Nook Color in January. Yes, Android 2.3 is what's happening, but this is still an exciting upgrade as it will finally also allow access to a traditional Android home screen and even enable the Android Market. In other words, it should work just like an Android tablet, Kindle app and all.

Too Funny not to share the Dept of Navy STD vid from the 70's

All I can say is WOW!

Over Long Haul, Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness

ScienceDaily (Dec. 13, 2010) — A new collaborative paper by economist Richard Easterlin -- namesake of the "Easterlin Paradox" and founder of the field of happiness studies -- offers the broadest range of evidence to date demonstrating that a higher rate of economic growth does not result in a greater increase of happiness.

New Evidence That Magnetism Is Driving Force Behind Superconductivity

ScienceDaily (Dec. 13, 2010) — European and U.S. physicists this week are offering up the strongest evidence yet that magnetism is the driving force behind unconventional superconductivity. The findings by researchers from Rice University, the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids (MPI-CPfS) in Dresden, Germany, and other institutions were published online December 13 inNature Physics.

Protein Restores Learning, Memory in Alzheimer's Mouse Model

ScienceDaily (Dec. 13, 2010) — Scientists at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio restored learning and memory in an Alzheimer's disease mouse model by increasing a protein called CBP. Salvatore Oddo, Ph.D., of the university's Department of Physiology and Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, said this is the first proof that boosting CBP, which triggers the production of other proteins essential to creating memories, can reverse Alzheimer's effects.

Why Video Game Movie Adaptations Need New Respect

Posted by Soulskill on Tuesday December 14, @03:25AM
from the no-more-fighting-game-movies-please dept.
An anonymous reader writes"Hollywood has yet to find any video game property it is willing to treat with the same respect as J.R.R. Tolkien or J.K.Rowling, arguably still following the principles that led to the appalling Super Mario Bros. movie in 1992: 'A game lacks the complexity that a movie requires.' Yet a modern gaming masterpiece such as Mass Effect has the depth and breadth to deserve better treatment in the proposed trilogy. Is Hollywood again going to disrespect fans who, in this case, have as much right to see a good plot respected as the readers of Lord Of The Rings? This article discusses why and how Hollywood should grow up regarding these adaptations."

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Bionic Leg That Rewires Stroke Victims' Brains

Posted by Soulskill on Monday December 13, @02:42PM
from the skynet's-trojan-horse dept.
waderoush writes"A startup called Tibion in Sunnyvale, CA, has begun selling battery-powered robotic exoskeletons that help stroke victims with one-sided weakness relearn how to stand, sit, walk, and negotiate stairs. The leg isn't a permanent attachment; the company says patients who use the device for 45 minutes a week for four weeks experience significant gains in walking speed that persist and even improve months after the treatment. They believe that the $40,000 device — which includes sensors that respond to subtle signs of user intentions, such a shift in weight — provides feedback that triggers neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to rewire itself to repair damage."

Contorting Batteries: Charging Makes Nano-Sized Electrodes Swell, Elongate and Spiral

ScienceDaily (Dec. 9, 2010) — New high resolution images of electrode wires made from materials used in rechargeable lithium ion batteries shows them contorting as they become charged with electricity. The thin, nano-sized wires writhe and fatten as lithium ions flow in during charging, according to a paper in this week's issue of the journal Science. The work suggests how rechargeable batteries eventually give out and might offer insights for building better batteries.

Physicists Make Atoms and Dark Matter Add Up

ScienceDaily (Nov. 24, 2010) — UBC and TRIUMF physicists have proposed a unified explanation for dark matter and the so-called baryon asymmetry--the apparent imbalance of matter with positive baryon charge and antimatter with negative baryon charge in the Universe.

Scientists Create Programmable Bacteria

Posted by samzenpus on Monday December 13, @04:54AM
from the anti-coding-soap dept.
wilmavanwyk writes"In research that further bridges the biological and digital world, scientists at the University of California, San Francisco have created bacteria that can be programmed like a computer. Researchers built 'logic gates' – the building blocks of a circuit – out of genes and put them into E. coli bacteria strains. The logic gates mimic digital processing and form the basis of computational communication between cells, according to synthetic biologist Christopher A. Voigt."

Next Generation of Algorithms Inspired by Ants

Posted by samzenpus on Sunday December 12, @01:49PM
from the bugs-for-bugs dept.
letsurock writes"Ants' capability to find the shortest route through a maze in an hour, and to find the second shortest route when the first path was obstructed, has inspired researchers creating algorithms for the future. From the article: 'Finding the most efficient path through a busy network is a common challenge faced by delivery drivers, telephone routers and engineers. To solve these optimization problems using software, computer scientists have often sought inspiration from ant colonies in nature — creating algorithms that simulate the behavior of ants who find the most efficient routes from their nests to food sources by following each other's volatile pheromone trails. The most widely used of these ant-inspired algorithms is known as Ant Colony Optimization (ACO).'"

High-Tech War Games Help Save Lives

Posted by samzenpus on Sunday December 12, @09:34PM
from the more-real-than-real dept.
An anonymous reader writes"CNN is reporting on the new training mannequins being used by The United States military. Advances in technology have allowed the training dummies to become ultra-realistic. From the article: 'New battery-operated, remote-controlled mannequins can simulate bleeding and breathing, and they have blinking eyes that dilate. Medics can test their skills on these life-like mannequins. The new units, which are packed with technology, are used at 23 US Army Medical Simulation Training Centers as part of a program to teach lifesaving techniques to medics and nonmedical personnel. A Pentagon study says the training program has saved 1,000 soldiers' lives in combat, said Lt. Col. Wilson Ariza, manager of the US Army Medical Simulation Project. '"