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New Demo Talent in Mass.


by Craig Reynolds

Here comes the Googlemobile! There has been recent press attention on, the for-profit charity funded by 1% of Google's stock and profits. Apparently one of the projects they are looking at is a 100-mpg E85-powered hybrid automobile. Katie Hafner in NYT: Philanthropy Google’s Way: Not the Usual and Lincoln Caplan in Slate: Premium Blend: Is the future of philanthropy?

Eco tech: plentiful, safe and commonly used, a new source of hydrogen power: Iowa company turns to ammonia for fuel. Also: GM bacteria churn out 'microdiesel' fuel and Biofuels: Green energy or grim reaper? Again it happens: EU chases GMO-tainted rice strain in four countries. The Independent claims: Bush 'prepares emissions U-turn', or was it just this lame-o policy: Bush Administration Announces Half-Baked Climate Change Plan. From Time: Mercury Rising: "The toxic metal isn't just in seafood. It's showing up everywhere--and it's more dangerous than you think."

Photonic forbearer: in a big step toward silicon photonic computers by researchers at Intel and UC Santa Barbara built hybrid devices with Indium Phosphide laser bonded to silicon based chips which provided the waveguide "wire" to carry the laser light. See: A Chip That Can Transfer Data Using Laser Light, Intel Builds New Laser Based Processor and the Intel Press Release.

e-lections woes: Princeton Prof. Edward Felten finds E-Voting Machine an Easy Hack (see this video demonstration). RFK Jr. asks Will The Next Election Be Hacked? USA today warns Election glitches 'could get ugly'. Maryland Governor Wants To Scrap E-Voting Machines; Go All Paper For The Election (see also If Paper Ballots Restore Trust In Elections, Let's Switch). Avi Rubin, a Maryland elections judge and professor, cites security woes: Q&A: Go back to paper ballots, says e-voting expert.

Pedia v. pedia: first there was Wikipedia, then there was Scholarpedia (intended to establish clear authorship of academic articles) and now Citizendium to be edited by "experts." See Wikipedia Founder plans Competing Project (via Co-Founder Forks Wikipedia), Wikipedia vs. Citizendium: How Do You Define an Expert? and Guerrilla Wikipedians rate rival's chances. A critique of the basic assumptions: Techies hot on concept of 'wisdom of crowds,' but it has some pitfalls.

Wii v. PS3: Nintendo could beat Sony in console race, experts say. Sony reduced the price it will charge in Japan for the low end (20GB) PS3 when it goes on sale November 11. The new price roughly corresponds to the price of an Xbox 360 plus the planned external HD-DVD drive (PS3 will include an internal Blue-Ray drive): Sony cuts PS3 Japan price by 20 pct to spur growth and Sony cuts price of PlayStation 3. They also announced that the 20GB model will have support for modern digital TVs: Sony's 20GB PS3 to feature HDMI port. Reports from the Tokyo Game Show: First Impressions of Sony's PlayStation 3 and Hands on with the PlayStation 3.

Movie, music downloads: Some follow-up to the Apple news from last week: Analysis: Can Apple's iTV dominate the living room? and iTV: What you need to know. A contrarian view of movie downloads: Apple, Amazon online movie distribution service not ready for prime time. There was similar nay-saying when Apple began selling music online, but that business has done pretty well. While not disputing that, a recent study show that many iPod owners do not buy their music from the iTunes Store: Online music business model questioned. Basically this says that the iPod is more popular than the iTunes Store. There are many non-Apple sources of music, only one of which is piracy.  About 10% of the music in my iTunes library was bought through Apple's online store, the other 90% is from CDs I bought before it existed.

Music recommenders: one hope for online music is that, beyond corporate advertising, new decentralized online methods will be used to find new under appreciated music. This topic was touched on here back in February. Now Matthew Shaer writes in Slate on "the attempt to build a music recommender that doesn't suck": Actually, I Hate That Song which features interesting new work by Sun's Paul Lamere on SITM ("Search Inside the Music").

Technobits: Triple-standard DVD and Inventors try single disc for both new DVD formats --- AI prize award for British firm --- Girl gamers want respect in virtual man's world --- more pigments on parade: Ancient Greeks invented 'quantum dot' dye  --- OSDL Patent Project Under Attack --- bluegills against terrorism: When a fish becomes a canary, Fish enlisted in US terror fight --- "Walking" Sharks Among 50 New Species Found in Indonesia Reefs --- very cool mashup of super high speed video with a moving point of view: Concave Surround Optics for Rapid Multiview Imaging (see video 34MB, DivX in AVI).