Google At Work On Desktop Linux

January 31, 2006

Google is preparing its own distribution of Linux for the desktop, in a possible bid to take on Microsoft in its core business – desktop software. A version of the increasingly popular Ubuntu desktop Linux distribution, based on Debian and the Gnome desktop, it is known internally as ‘Goobuntu’. Google has confirmed it is working on a desktop linux project called Goobuntu, but declined to supply further details, including what the project is for. It’s possible that it’s just one of the toys Googleplex engineers play with on Fridays, when they get time off from buffing the search engine code or filtering out entries about Tiananmen Square. It could be for wider deployments on the company’s own desktops, as an alternative to Microsoft, but still for internal use only. But it’s possible Google plans to distribute it to the general public, as a free alternative to Windows.

Site – http://www.theregister.co.uk


Move Over, Rover: Robotic Pet Can Be Best Friend

January 31, 2006

In his excellent 1968 novel ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ (the basis of the film “Bladerunner”), science fiction author Philip K. Dick writes about a world with virtually no real, living animals. Robotic animals are “kept” by their owners, and given the same feelings and affection associated with real animals:

He ascended … to the covered pasture whereon his electric sheep “grazed.” Whereon it, sophisticated piece of hardware that it was, chomped away in simulated contentment, bamboozling the other tenants of the building.

It turns out that several studies show that robotic pets really do invoke the same feelings and reactions as real pets.

Site – http://www.livescience.com


Researchers Claim 3-D Nanostructure Breakthrough

January 31, 2006

A breakthrough by an international team of scientists affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center could pave the way for the building of complex, three-dimensional nanostructures using semiconductor photolithography equipment, according to the university.

Site – http://www.eetimes.com


Think Your Friends Know You? Think Again

January 31, 2006

Researchers conclude suggestions from our closest friends about matters of taste, such as movies or restaurants, may not be as helpful as we think they are. University of Michigan and Columbia University scientists say people tend to overestimate personal information they get from close friends more than comments from acquaintances.

Site – http://www.physorg.com


The Next X Prizes: DNA, Nanotech, Automobiles, And Education

January 31, 2006

Larry Page and Craig Venter are now on the X Prize Board of Trustees, and Peter Diamandis, the man behind the $10 million space prize, said new X prizes are in the works for innovations in automobiles, education, nanotech and DNA reseach. Diamandis, from the article: “Why do we still drive cars that use an internal combustion engine and only get 30 miles per gallon? I think that we’ll see some amazing achievements in this area.”

Site – http://www.livescience.com


Why Did We Evolve Personalities?

January 28, 2006

Last Sunday, the New York Times Magazine published a fascinating story on the burgeoning field of animal-personality research. The very idea that animals would have personalities challenges our traditional concepts of psychology and the difference between man and beast, of course. But as the writer Charles Siebert argues, studying animal behavior helps us figure out what precisely a personality is, and what it isn’t. What function does a personality serve, anyway? Why do we have one?

Site – http://www.collisiondetection.net


Are Smarter People Better At Ignoring Things?

January 28, 2006

The test shows that smarter people actually remember less details. They just tend to focus on what’s essential. People frequently complain that they can’t remember things and they wish their brains had more storage capacity, like today’s ever-expanding computer hard drives and RAM. If we could just improve the sheer size of our memory, we’d be able to retain and manipulate more data, and we’d become smarter and smarter right? Not according to an intriguing new experiment by brain scientists at the University of Oregon.

Site – http://www.collisiondetection.net