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djeps sends in this excerpt from the Physics arXiv Blog:
"Japanese scientists have built a cellular automaton from individual molecules that carries out huge numbers of calculations in parallel. ... At the heart of their experiment is a ring-like molecule called 2,3-dichloro-5,6-dicyano-p-benzoquinone, or DDQ. This has an unusual property: it can exist in four different conducting states, depending on the location of trapped electrons around the ring. What's more, it's possible to switch the molecule from one to state to another by zapping it with voltages of various different strengths using the tip of a scanning tunnelling microscope. It's even possible to bias the possible states that can form by placing the molecule in an electric field. Place two DDQ molecules next to each other and it's possible to make them connect. ... When one molecule changes its state, the change in configuration ripples from one molecule to the next, forming and reforming circuits as it travels."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Several Web sites have written about the Flickr page of a Canadian haunted house. We couldn't help but wonder what it was that scared all of the visitors documented in the viral pictures.

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There is now an entire blog dedicated to looking at what is written on the blackboard in the background of naughty schoolgirl porn films, and evaluating it for accuracy and grade level of information. God, I love the Internet.

Here's what Blackboards in Porn had to say about the photo above.


- math

1 + 1 = 2


Mathematics - university/nursery school level.

This is clearly an extremely advanced level mathematical course, focusing on the Peano axioms for the natural numbers which formalised mathematics in the late 19th century. This course would culminate with Gödel's second incompleteness theorem which shows that the consitency of the Peano axioms cannot be formalised within Peano arithmetic itself.

Alternatively, it could be that the pupil, even at her advanced age, hasn't grasped that 1 + 1 = 2, and that all the after school one-to-one lessons in the world aren't going to work. Indeed, she probably won't even understand what 'one-to-one' means.

8/10 - loses two marks for 'math'.

Disclaimer: The blog is safe for work, in so much as there is no nudity. However, it is somewhat astounding how easy it is to look at a photo of a room full of fully clothed people and know, immediately, that said photo is a still from a porn. Make of that what you will.

Via Wired. Thanks to Joel!

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Set the image quality per ImageCache preset!

Through ImageAPI, you can set the quality of images ImageCache produces. But since ImageAPI allows you to set only one global value, any image produced by ImageCache ends up in the same quality. If you want to have the highest-quality images in a photo gallery while having lower-quality images elsewhere, you are stuck.

This module allows you to override ImageAPI's quality setting and set image quality per ImageCache preset. Unfortunately, since ImageAPI does not let other modules hook into / alter the process, you need to apply the supplied (unobtrusive) patches to the following modules for this module to work:

  • imageapi.module
  • imageapi_gd.module
  • imageapi_imagemagick.module
  • imagecache.module

The patches basically only add optional arguments to existing functions so the modules would function as normal (as far as I am aware).
The patches, as well as an instruction on how to apply them / which version of ImageAPI / ImageCache to use, are found in README.txt.

Please remember to always flush the ImageCache cache every time you change the setting, if you want to see the effect immediately.

Development of this module was sponsored by Comic Relief UK

DISCLAIMER: As always, use it at your own risk. If you encounter any issue, please report through the issue queue. The developer or the sponsor cannot be held accountable for any of the damages which the module / patch may cause.

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"Our ability to generate information now far exceeds our capacity to understand it. Finding patterns and making meaningful connections inside complex data networks has emerged as one of the biggest challenges of the twenty-first century. In recent years, designers, researchers, and scientists have begun employing an innovative mix of colors, symbols, graphics, algorithms, and interactivity to clarify, and often beautify, the clutter." And look! Even Jeremy Deller's been invited to the party continue

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AGI 2011 - Probabilistic Programs: A New Language for AI

The Fourth Conference on Artificial General Intelligence Mountain View, California, USA August 3-6, 2011 Probabilistic Programs: A New Language for AI Presented by Noah Goodman, Stanford University ABSTRACT How can logical and probabilistic approaches to understanding intelligence be reconciled? I will argue that probabilistic programming is the best way to merge logic and probability, providing a new set of tools for thinking about representation and inference in systems with human-like intelligence. I will illustrate these ideas by introducing the probabilistic programming language Church (a stochastic LISP), describing two universal inference algorithms (ie algorithms that can perform probabilistic inference for any Church program), and giving a series of examples. These examples, drawn from cognitive science and AI, will include multi-agent reasoning and concept learning. About Noah Goodman:

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Science & Technology

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Stories have been around as long as we have, helping us understand our world and ourselves. We learn and retain information best through stories, because they turn information into more than the sum of its parts. But what makes a story a story, and what does it mean for the digital world we’ve built? Elizabeth McGuane and Randall Snare weave an enchanting tale of attention, comprehension, inference, coherence, and shopping.

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We start the semester with a quick historical overview of the field and move on to multiagents models. We use the word model in its scientific sense to mean a mathematical abstraction that captures some aspects of real-world phenomena. You should read the first chapter (Models) of the textbook.

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