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HUMAN BRAIN HAS ITS OWN FORM OF 'BAT SIGHT'

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Posted by abeodbart May 31, 2011 at 10:04 am

The part of the brain used by people who can “see like a bat” has been identified by researchers in Canada. Some blind people have learned to echolocate by making clicking noises and listening to the returning echoes.

A study of two such people, published in PLoS ONE, showed a part of the brain usually associated with sight was activated when listening to echoes.

Action for Blind People said further research could improve the way the technique is taught. Bats and dolphins bounce sound waves off their surroundings and by listening to the echoes can “see” the world around them.

Some blind humans have also trained themselves to do this, allowing them to explore cities, cycle and play sports.
The study looked at only two people so cannot say for certain what happens in the brains of all people who learn the technique, but the study concludes: “EB and LB use echolocation in a way that seems uncannily similar to vision.”
Full article at BBC
CHINA CREATES AN "ONLINE ARMY"

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Posted by abeodbart May 31, 2011 at 7:41 am

The Chinese government confirms it has established an online warfare team to beef up the defense capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), according to various reports Friday.

Geng Yansheng, spokesperson for China’s Defense Ministry, was quoted to say that the PLA set up the cyberwar unit, or “cyber blue team”, to support its military training and upgrade the army’s Internet security defense.

A report from China’s state-owned Xinhua News Agency noted that Geng’s comments came after the PLA Daily on May 17 revealed the existence of a cyber warfare unit. The media outlet, which covers news on the army, added that the blue team operates under the Guangzhou Military Region–one of seven across China–and had conducted a synchronized Internet exercise with different military units in late-April.

The Guangzhou cyberwar network reportedly employs over 30 Internet specialists.

Geng rebuffed suggestions that the cyber warfare unit was set up to be a “hacker” squad launching online attacks against other countries’ systems.

“Cyberattacks have become an international problem affecting both civilian and military areas,” he said in a report from Global Times. “China is relatively weak in cybersecurity and has often been targeted. This temporary program is aimed at improving our defenses against such attacks.”

Full article at ZDNet Asia

 

FIRST QUANTUM COMPUTER JUST SOLD TO LOCKHEED MARTIN BUT BINARY COMPUTERS FIGHT BACK

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Posted by abeodbart May 28, 2011 at 9:17 am

On Wednesday, D-Wave Systems made history by announcing the sale of the world’s first commercial quantum computer. The buyer was Lockheed Martin Corporation, who will use the machine to help solve some of their “most challenging computation problems.” Lockheed purchased the system, known as D-Wave One, as well as maintenance and associated professional services. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

D-Wave One uses a superconducting 128-qubit (quantum bit) chip, called Rainier, representing the first commercial implementation of a quantum processor.  Built around a superconducting processor, the entire system’s footprint is approximately 100 square feet. The total wall-plug power consumed by a D-Wave One system is 15 kilowatts (a standard laptop uses about 60 watts). Unfortunately the actual speed of the computer is secret, but this is because speed isn’t actually the point of a quantum computer.

A normal computer operates on the basis of units known as bits. Each bit in a normal computer can only be one of 0 or 1 and nothing else. No matter how many bits you have, each computer at a single point in time can only occupy one combination of these bits in order for the programming to actually work.

A quantum computer is different from this because of a principle in quantum mechanics known as superposition. The sort of problem that a conventional computer is very slow at which a quantum computer would be very good at are the ones where you are trying to find one out of billions of billions of billions of combinations which produces an answer. A conventional computer has to go through all the possibilities one by one, the quantum computer can in some sense try them all out at once and can therefore do the calculation in far fewer steps. They are however extremely expensive, the DWave has been rumoured to cost a cool $10-Million.

Despite the fact traditional binary machines have started to reach their limits, new emerging concepts are showing incredible promise. Marc McAndrew is one individual who has invented a machine known as The Charity Engine. The surprising thing is it’s more of a concept than an actual computer. McAndrew has realised that the wasted processing power of machines can be collectively harnessed to make the worlds most powerful supercomputer – for nothing.

By simply running his software on your PC (when it’s idle), you’ll be part of the world’s fastest computer, helping research cures for cancer or new technologies. And the best part of this is that the money the network generates from this research goes to charity. It’s infinitely more environmentally friendly and is so revolutionary that the likes of Amnesty International, Water Aid, Oxfam and ActionAid have all created donation programs to plug in to it – they also monitor the research that takes place to make sure it’s all completely 100% ethical from head to toe. McAndrew (an already successful business owner) has also signed up to a The Giving Pledge that guarantees if he ever makes any real money from the business most of his share will go to charity too. Could you ask for more?

You can sign up to the facebook page here, find out when the Engine will be launching and do your bit for charity too. To encourage you, everyone who signs up is automatically entered in to a completely free lottery draw of $1Million.

PRIEST SEX-ABUSE CASE HITS CHURCH OF POPE'S ADVISER

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Posted by abeodbart May 27, 2011 at 10:00 am


Time Magazine: The latest sex-abuse case to rock the Catholic Church is unfolding in the archdiocese of an influential Italian Cardinal who has been working with Pope Benedict XVI on reforms to respond to prior scandals of pedophile priests.

Father Riccardo Seppia, a 51-year-old parish priest in the village of Sastri Ponente, near Genoa, was arrested last Friday, May 13, on pedophilia and drug charges. Investigators say that in tapped mobile-phone conversations, Seppia asked a Moroccan drug dealer to arrange sexual encounters with young and vulnerable boys. “I do not want 16-year-old boys but younger. Fourteen-year-olds are O.K. Look for needy boys who have family issues,” he allegedly said.

According to investigators, Seppia told a friend — a former seminarian and barman who is currently under investigation — that the town’s malls were the best places to entice minors.

The evidence amounts to at least 50 messages and phone calls. In the tapped phone conversations, the drug dealer contacted the boys and gave their phone numbers to the priest, who paid them with cocaine or 50 euros each time for sexual intercourse.

“[The investigators] made us listen to that man saying terrifying things about our children. Things so terrible that I cannot repeat them,” a father of one of the boys said.

Seppia’s defense lawyers are expected to argue that those conversations — monitored since Oct. 20, 2010 — were just words, sex games that were played by adults. It was just a game even when he claimed to have “kissed on the mouth” a 15-year-old altar boy, according to the defense.

Full Article at Time Magazine via La Stampa

LOOM – INCREDIBLE MASTERPIECE OF 3D

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Posted by abeodbart May 27, 2011 at 8:00 am

Loom is the work of specialist animators Polynoid. It took an entire year to construct this truly jaw dropping 5 1/2 minutes of excellence. If you’re a little squeamish and don’t like spiders, this one might give you nightmares.

Polynoid TV

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