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hoh, baby. asus is about to shake up the ebook world with the release of a cheap reader.

at around £100 i'd buy it right away. it's larger than the ones out now, but it harkens back to one of the prototype models i was eyeing years ago, which never made it to market. i don't mind that it's larger; though it depends a bit on how heavy it will be as well.

here's an older image of the concept model, from CeBIT of march this year:

times online announcement

engadget's look at the concept model
piranha: red origami crane (orizuru)
or maybe of kinko's, costco's, and 7-11's.

espresso book machine launches in london; the machine prints and binds books on demand in five minutes, while customers wait.
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researchers use brain interface to post to twitter.

A University of Wisconsin-Madison biomedical engineering doctoral student, Wilson is among a growing group of researchers worldwide who aim to perfect a communication system for users whose bodies do not work, but whose brains function normally.

awesome-cakes. i mean, it's clunkville right now, but yay!

via [livejournal.com profile] juliansinger (so how does this last bit come over in the crossposter?)
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i am getting really close to buying an e-book reader now. no, not amazon's newest toy (i don't want my reading tied to amazon).

the bookeen cybook gen3 is the latest shiny thing i am liking.

even if their website works like crap (the links across the top all error out; one has to go to the site map to access those pages, *sigh*). even if there is too much use of the davinci code in their promo shots. :)

about as high and wide as a MMPB, much thinner, and only half as heavy, 6" tall screen, 600x800 resolution (166 lpi), it uses e-ink (which means the battery lasts a very long time), it can display 4 levels of greyscale, landscape mode, it doesn't do its own proprietary crap (it can read text, html, pdf, palmdoc, gif, jpg, png, and mobipocket, as well as play mp3), it has a dictionary lookup function (your own downloadable dictionaries), it can change font family and size (your own downloadable fonts), zoom for images, it can bookmark, it can use intra-document hyperlinks, how much content it can hold is only limited by the size of the SD memory card you plug into it, USB slave connection.

that's not perfect (i have quite some list for my perfect e-book reader), but we're finally talking.


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sparked by discussion in [livejournal.com profile] wcg's journal:

"My forecast is that around 2050, the state of Massachusetts will be the first jurisdiction to legalize marriages with robots," artificial intelligence researcher David Levy at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands told LiveScience.

(i wrote all of the following before actually reading the article.)

side note: he said that about MA being the first while in the netherlands, which beat MA by several years regarding gay marriage. :) a bit US-centric, mr levy? the presence of MIT is gonna move society? *heh*.

i think that timeline is unlikely, because we don't have any AI yet that's even remotely close, 40+ years isn't much time when it comes to changing strong social mores, and this would be a huge change -- acknowledging another life form as equal to humans. gays _are_ humans and STILL can't marry in almost all of the US. and we can't touch polyamorous marriage between humans at all at this point; it is actively illegal, and is used as the bogeyman by anti-gay-marriage agitators. anyway, AI as a field is lagging notoriously behind its predictions.

somebody asked this interesting question [edited]: while it could be possible to program it to specifically like the characteristics of its partner, could it be said that the A.I is then freely giving its consent?

i wonder a lot about free will in general, and at this point think we don't have any such thing, not in the absolute sense the term implies. we are programmed to a great degree by our DNA and our early environmental exposure. now, our DNA is complex enough, and environmental influences are plentiful, so what comes out looks amazingly complicated and able to enact "free will". and yet it has sometimes preferences that i think no sane person would actually choose if they were completely free to choose (pedophilia comes to mind, and some of the really odd paraphilias). really, would you have chosen to be gay 50 years ago? some people fight these orientations / preferences, and fight them with all they have, and yet can't conquer them. i've tried to be "bi" and "not transsexual" much of my life, and it's just not happening.

that's why i think we only have free will within certain parameters that are "programmed" into us. and a robot similarly programmed could still have the ability to give consent, just as we do. just like some women have a preference for "bad boys" that washes away all reason, some robots could have a preferences for other "unpleasant personalities". the only difference would be that for the robots the programming would be guided by humans instead of nature.

but i don't actually think we'll see that, not in the next 50 years. what we'll see instead is robots programmed with "compulsions" rather than anything approaching free will -- and while that will make people with "unpleasant personalities" happy, it won't lead to freely consenting and marriage-capable robots; it'll lead primarily to well-adapted sex toys. and hey, that's fine by me. if pedophiles can have their own little lolita-bots, hopefully they'll leave real children alone.

instead of amazingly capable robots i am wondering about virtual presence -- how long will it be before we can have virtual experiences that are indistinguishable from real ones? i suspect that the first actual AI might come from that direction. and then it won't have a body. :) will we be able to marry virtual people? would we want to, in real life (as opposed to in the virtual world)? why? will virtual worlds and real world become in some way integrated (can money made in one transfer to the other, for example)? how many of us would basically spend all our time in virtual space?

i am suddenly getting the urge to {re-}read a lot of SF robot stories.
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the paramour found this (since zie reads slashdot while i am too out of it to do that these days); i'm just flogging it:

steve fossett (who is famous in aviator circles for holding a number of records, including flying a plane around the world without refueling) went missing in a single-engine plane in the nevada desert. digitalglobe (who supplies much satellite imagery for google earth) went and got high resolution images of the area. amazon is making those available for people to look at through its mechanical turk. now anyone who cares from anywhere in the world can try and find a missing airplane in nevada.

i think that rocks. and i'm hoping it'll turn out better than a similar search for computer scientist jim gray who got lost at sea earlier this year (he was never found AFAIK). fossett has been missing for 6 days, but he's known to be a survivalist, so all isn't lost yet.

p.s.: dear fellow aviators: file a fucking flight plan and stick to it.
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i can't seem to comment on the blog entry itself right now (errors out), so i'm leaving this here to remind myself to try again later.

re: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/08/viastone_biodeg.php#perma which links to several companies that create papers from minerals and a binder, who all tout themselves as environmentally friendly: viastone, xterrance, and terraskin.  the papers are all 100% tree-free, and are made from mineral powders with a non-toxic resin binder.

the viastone link in the treehugger entry doesn't work; it should be http://www.viastone.net instead.  also, the link to xterrane doesn't actually link to the company's website; that should be http://xterrane.en.ecplaza.net/

i don't know how i feel about this rock paper (beyond wanting to take scissors to it right away :). tried to find out more about its manufacture, but all the named websites are fairly worthless on that account. googling didn't get me much further, but i came across another company, Taiwan LM Technology Co. making such a paper, who actually list their european patent number, which allowed me to look up their patent

limestone isn't exactly a renewable resource.  tree farms aren't great, but limestone quarries are worse.  the process, however, might well be more environmentally friendly than what paper-and-pulp factories do these days.  gotta read the patent to find out; they're claiming some nice stuff.  i also wonder about the archival qualities of such papers; we've learned a lot about cellulose over the years, but we know nothing much about this.  but i'll definitely gonna get me some to try them out.
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green wifi -- committed to providing solar powered access to global information and educational resources for developing nation K-12 school children.  also handy for rural areas, like where we'll live.  depending on where we'll settle for the part of the year during which we'll have to work, this type of setup might end up providing our internet access.
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fascinating, thoughtprovoking article by howard rheingold in wired (from 1999, but i didn't see it before) about the amish and their selective use of technology -- "does it bring us together, or draw us apart".

via [livejournal.com profile] wordweaverlynn.


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renaissance poisson

July 2015

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