Always Stay On The Right Side Of The Mind

As computers grow in computational power, we (humans) are losing our edge in logic capabilities. As predicted, the important factors in modern human society is what make us different from machines.

In a world upended by outsourcing, deluged with data, and choked with choices, the abilities that matter most are now closer in spirit to the specialties of the right hemisphere - artistry, empathy, seeing the big picture, and pursuing the transcendent.

I expect this to grow and deeply divide population between the human-like and the machine-like people. Choose you camp :)


First tests of human-animal chimeras in China

A chimera is a mix of 2 species. In this case a living individual was not created, but only the first step of mixing human and animal genes.

He concedes that these studies would lead to some medical breakthroughs. Still, they should not be done.

Apparently religious or moral values will soon stop science...


Computers start learning alone

It finally starts to happen. Computers are learning things that were not pre-programmed. It's not 100% based on free-will. But at least the programmer is not involved. And most important :
It's a very good start, and almost mysterious in the way it works

Antioxydants to slow aging

In his latest book that I still haven't read (just started), Kurzweil talks about the importance of antioxydant in the agin process.

Apparently he's very right, because it works well on dogs too !


The GPL for biology

One of the forces of Open Source Softwares (OSS) is that sometimes (when the GPL license is used) you can't modify the code if you don't make your changes available too. Now the smae system is going to be applied to biology (and genetic) sciences.

Just like open-source software, open-source biology users own the patents to their creations, but cannot hinder others from using the original shared information to develop similar products. Any improvements of the shared methods of BIOS, the Science Commons or other open-source communities must be made public, as well as any health hazards that are discovered.


Google tells you what to write

Another weird story on Google. This time it's their AdWords service that tell customer to rewrite their site because it doesn't meet Google's requirement on grammar. Even if that's your intentions...

My hot holiday item was a pair of rather sassy women's underwear, so I was certain that the objection was to some particularly saucy ad copy. Yet I discovered that my indecency was far more shocking. I had made an error of style.

The e-mail message said my ad text "includes phrases that do not meet our grammar requirements." The offending phrase was "check em out." Google suggested replacing it with "check them out."


Mini Mac

Apple has finally unveiled its cheapest computer ever. That means a revolution for Apple that has long been targeting the yuppies. Now almost everyone can afford a Mac running OS X with the whole iLife suite for a good multimedia experience.

For 500€ this machine could very well replace my parents' computer that has less powerful hardware, is big and noisy, needs a firewall, an antivirus and an external modem to run.

I could also use one to develop with XCode (the best GUI build around gcc by far!). And that wouldn't take more space or more noise than my current 2 computers. And it would be so much faster and with a much bigger screen than my iBook 12".

So in just 2 examples it gives a good overview of how successful this little good looking machine could be. I'm not sure it will get Apple that much more PC market share, but it will help for sure. It mostly targets people with not much interrest in their PC but that want to have access to all modern technologies (they could have pu a DVD writer from the start). And only the ones with a screen, a USB keyboard and a USB mouse (hopefully Mac compatible). Otherwise the price aspect is less interresting, but not that much.

I'll probably wait until Tiger is released to buy one. That's probably in 6 months, with the future hardware upgrade/tuning (buying a 1st generation product is usually not a good idea).

Let's see if Apple is able to deliver enough machine. I think the demand will be big.


Google but free

An employee of Google has setup a proxy to the Google data. The results are the same, but don't include the lengthy description and no ads !

Brandt fully expects Google to throw legal and technical resources at him, but says he welcomes the challenge if only to clarify copyright issues. Google took people's free stuff and made a $50 billion business from it, he argues.

Very true...

When marketing fails

On the Apple switch campaign by Andrew Orlowski.

The scripts were generally excellent, but the CEO wanted something edgy, so the art director transformed ordinary people into the role of 'Twitchers'. This was guaranteed to repel customers and reinforced the impression, unfortunately confirmed by a handful of net fanatics, that to be an Apple User really means 'Loser'. Give that man an Oscar!

Happy, smiling people replaced the Twitchers within weeks, but the damage had been done

Probably more on Apple tomorrow if the low-cost Mac is announced.


Rats can recognise human languages

An interresting study on rats to recognise between Dutch and Japanese.

Rats rewarded for responding to Japanese did not respond to Dutch and rats trained to recognize Dutch did not respond the spoken Japanese.

The rats could not tell apart Japanese or Dutch played backwards.

The study shows "which abilities that humans use for language are shared with other animals, and which are uniquely human. It also suggests what sort of evolutionary precursors language might have," he added.


Gates on IP

Bill Gates is not only the richest man in this world, but also defines the strategies of Microsoft and therefore of the whole industry...

there's more that believe in intellectual property today than ever. There are fewer communists in the world today than there were.

But apparently he still lives in the previous century.


Apple finally suited...

...for its monopoly on the digital music business.

I hope Thomas Slattery gets a lot of help from everyone.

Apple gets nasty

For those Apple/Mac/iPod zealots, you might think again about your beloved company. You can often see how the angel Apple should fight the demonic Microsoft in various reports or forum posts. But Apple is no better than MS. Actually since it's doing a much smaller business, it takes less risks when doing something wrong. And that's what happens just now by suing the rumour site Think Secret (named after the Apple campaign Think Different).

The Register (Andrew Orlowski again) summarizes well the problem of this lawsuit :
It's quite another to use its corporate financial might to stop the press doing its job. Unable to find the leaker, Apple is shooting the messenger instead.

The latter represents a violation of basic journalist ethics, and if Apple's chilling effects tactic was adopted more widely a free press would no longer be possible, with users solely dependent on corporate press releases, or a corporate PR republishing service, such as Walt Mossberg. Which is exactly how Apple CEO Steve Jobs likes it.

Big head on God and evolution

This is an interresting article asking the big questions to the big heads behind the Edge site.

I tend to agree with all that is being said. It's just a pity they don't really mention what is known out of science, which could help science a lot.


The brain network

Apparently the brain is not as complex as one might think. It's just a structure, a network of cells connected to each others but in a simple manner. Studying interactions between the nodes might be as easy as studying general networks like the internet.


Is the brain good at multi-tasking ?

The brain is a multi-tasking machine. We are able to talk and move and think at the same time. But maybe we're not that good at it. And the speed of our modern technology might make it more apparent.

"I remember a visiting senior computer scientist from another country got very angry about it," says Levy. "He said programming requires focus and shouldn't be interrupted. He basically said, 'You call this the future!' "