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31Jul/110

Iceland’s crowdsourced constitution submitted for approval, Nyan Cat takes flight over Reykjavik

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Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/31/icelands-crowdsourced-constitution-submitted-for-approval-nyan/

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31Jul/110

Il lancio di iPhone 5 confortato dall’abnorme liquidità di Apple


Il lancio di iPhone 5 sembra ormai confermato a Settembre e Apple potrà godere di un supporto mica male come la più alta liquidità mai registrata dall’azienda di Cupertino. Steve Jobs può infatti contare su 75.876 miliardi di dollari pronti all’uso, che permettono ad Apple di porsi addirittura a un livello maggiore del “forziere” del Governo americano che si “ferma” a 73.768 miliardi di dollari cash. Insomma, Steve Jobs può gestire un tesoretto maggiore della propria nazione, boccheggiante e in crisi.

L’ultimo trimestre commerciale è stato davvero da record per Apple che ha capitalizzato un valore totale di 400 miliardi di dollari con un utile netto di 10 miliardi grazie alle performance straordinarie di iPhone e di iPad. Il melafonino è lo smartphone più venduto al mondo.
 
Da solo ha venduto più di intere società come Samsung e Nokia che occupano rispettivamente il terzo e il secondo posto della classifica. Nokia rimane ancora in vetta alla classifica allargata dei cellulari, ma Apple è ormai risalita al quarto posto.
 
Per questo, c’è chi pensa che Apple possa sfruttare questo denaro cash per ingenti investimenti non solo nella guerra dei brevetti, ma anche in quella prettamente mobile dei dispositivi, e ritorna in auge l’ipotesi di un modello più economico di iPhone da affiancare a iPhone 5 (ecco tutte le info).

Article source: http://www.tecnocino.it/articolo/il-lancio-di-iphone-5-confortato-dall-abnorme-liquidita-di-apple/31463/

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31Jul/110

Qriocity video streaming coming to Xperia packing pocket near you

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Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/29/qriocity-video-streaming-coming-to-xperia-packing-pocket-near-yo/

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31Jul/110

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet gets an August 23rd release



Lenovo had a bit of an issue saving the date for its summer tablet launch, but no longer. Confirmed via a product page on the company's site, its Honeycomb-flavored ThinkPad Tablet will finally hit retailers' shelves on August 23rd. If you're not into waiting that long, you can always snag the IdeaPad K1 -- we hear Lisa Stansfield recommends it.

[Thanks, Jeff]

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/29/lenovo-thinkpad-tablet-gets-an-august-23rd-release/

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31Jul/110

CNC machine carves dot drawing portraits for your living room walls

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Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/30/cnc-mod-carves-dot-drawing-portraits-for-your-living-room-walls/

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31Jul/110

RZA unveils branded headphone line, hopes you don’t leave Shaolin without them

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Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/30/rza-unveils-branded-headphone-line-hopes-you-dont-leave-shaoli/

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31Jul/110

Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 Retail Mode app makes its debut on a Galaxy Tab 10.1 (video)

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Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/30/samsung-galaxy-tab-8-9-retail-mode-app-makes-its-debut-on-a-gala/

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31Jul/110

Insert Coin: YouTurn accelerometer-based turn signal system for cyclists

In Insert Coin, we look at an exciting new tech project that requires funding before it can hit production. If you'd like to pitch a project, please send us a tip with "Insert Coin" as the subject line.


Many of us who bike in the city ride in constant fear of being tapped by a taxi cab, or crushed by a bus. There's no way to completely eradicate the risk of being run over by a much larger motorized vehicle, but making yourself easily visible -- both at night and during the day -- can certainly make a difference. Smart cyclists use hand signals long before they need to make a turn, but the YouTurn signal system aims to make those indicators difficult for drivers to miss, with an accelerometer-based gadget that illuminates an arrow in the direction of your turn. If you want to turn left, for example, simply point your hand to the left, and the device will flash a giant yellow chevron. The prototype you'll see in the video below is integrated with a glove, though the final version will simply attach to the back of your hand, and can be stored in a bag when you're not on your bike. There's no mention of durability or waterproofing, though since the inventor's objective is to enhance safety, we imagine he'll be taking precautions to avoid electrocution in the rain.

YouTurn inventory Jack O'Neal launched a Kickstarter page to help fund his project, and is accepting preorders at $50 a pop. There's no final pricing listed at this point, but at 50 bucks for a first-run YouTurn, we were happy to make the pledge. We hope to see O'Neal meet his funding goal and send these to production, but until then, we'll keep looking both ways and hoping for the best.

Previous project update: The Prosthetic eye digital camera, our last Insert Coin project, has exceed its funding goal of $15,000. Kickstarter backers can join Tanya for a celebration in New York city on Sunday, or Tuesday in San Francisco.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/30/insert-coin-youturn-accelerometer-based-turn-signal-system-for/

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31Jul/110

BMW unveils new i3 and revamped i8 concepts, we await our automotive future (video)

BMW Group presents mobility of the future +++ World premiere of the BMW i3 Concept and BMW i8 Concept +++ Reithofer: A milestone in the history of the company +++ Sustainability across the entire value added chain

Frankfurt a.M. / Munich. The BMW Group showcases its visions of future mobility in the shape of the BMW i3 Concept and BMW i8 Concept studies. Unveiled for the first time, these concept vehicles provide a glimpse of the first electrically powered production cars from the new BMW i sub-brand, due to be launched as the BMW i3 in 2013 and the BMW i8 in 2014.

"We are marking another milestone in the history of the BMW Group. As Chairman of the Board and an engineer myself, I am very proud of this project," declared Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, at Friday's premiere of the two vehicles in Frankfurt. "As the world's leading premium car manufacturer, our aim is to offer customers purpose-built electric-drive cars as well," he added.

With its zero-emission electric drive and a range of approximately 150 kilometres, the BMW i3 Concept has been specifically developed for use in an urban environment, its dynamic 125 kW electric motor and rear-wheel drive ensuring BMW-style dynamic handling. Thanks to its innovative LifeDrive architecture featuring a carbon passenger cell, the BMW i3 Concept combines an extremely low weight of 1,250 kilograms with optimal interior space and the highest crash safety levels. With four seats and a 200-litre luggage compartment, this vehicle is fully suited for everyday use.

Draeger: a revolution in car design

"This vehicle will mark the launch of the first volume-produced car featuring bodywork largely made of carbon. It's a revolution in automotive design," stressed Klaus Draeger, Member of the Board responsible for Development. The application of this new CFRP technology allows a weight reduction, compared to a conventional electric car, of between 250 and 350 kilos, and that means more dynamic handling coupled with a greater range. The BMW i3 does the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in less than eight seconds, while a high-speed charger achieves an 80% battery charge in just an hour.

Thanks to the emission-free drivetrain and a value added chain designed to be sustainable all along the line, life cycle emission figures for the BMW i3 are at least a third lower than for a highly efficient combustion-engine car. If the BMW i3 is run on electricity from renewable sources, the figures improve by well over 50%.

BMW i8 Concept: new-generation sports car

The BMW i8 Concept goes from 0 to 100 km/h in less than five seconds and boasts fuel consumption of under three litres per 100 km. Its plug-in hybrid drive with a system output of 260 kW allows a range of up to 35 kilometres in electric mode – sufficient for most everyday journeys. For more dynamic driving or out-of-town routes, a high-performance three-cylinder petrol engine also comes into play. The sports car has an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h and space for up to four occupants. "The BMW i8 Concept is the sports car for a new generation – pure, emotional and sustainable," Draeger underlined.

With BMW i, the BMW Group is corroborating its position as the most innovative and sustainable auto manufacturer in the world, as reflected in the fact that it has been the supersector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes for the sixth year running. With BMW i, the BMW Group is providing answers to the mobility challenges of the future while pursuing a holistic approach. In addition to purpose-built premium vehicles with electric drive, the company is also offering intelligent mobility services.

The focus here is on solutions for improved use of parking space, intelligent navigation systems with location-based information, intermodal route planning and car-sharing schemes such as DriveNow. Following MyCityWay, ParkatmyHouse marks the second investment by the recently launched venture capital company BMW i Ventures in a company providing internet-based mobility services. Parkatmyhouse allows private individuals to use the internet or
smartphone app to rent out their private parking spaces on a short- or long-term basis.

Both the BMW i3 and the BMW i8 will be built at BMW's Leipzig plant in Germany. Some 400 million euros are earmarked for investment in new buildings and facilities by 2013, while 800 new jobs are to be created. Vehicle production will be CO2 neutral and will draw on renewable resources. The company is currently investigating the possibility of erecting its own wind turbines on the plant site.

The BMW Group
The BMW Group is one of the most successful manufacturers of automobiles and motorcycles in the world with its BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brands. As a global company, the BMW Group operates 25 production and assembly facilities in 14 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.

During the financial year 2010, the BMW Group sold 1.46 million cars and more than 110,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax for 2010 was euro 4.8 billion on revenues amounting to euro 60.5 billion. At 31 December 2010, the BMW Group had a workforce of approximately 95,500 employees.

The success of the BMW Group has always been built on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy. As a result of its efforts, the BMW Group has been ranked industry leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes for the last six years.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/30/bmw-unveils-new-i3-and-revamped-i8-concepts-we-await-our-automo/

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31Jul/110

DNA-based artificial neural network is a primitive brain in a test tube (video)

Caltech Researchers Create the First Artificial Neural Network Out of DNA

PASADENA, Calif.-Artificial intelligence has been the inspiration for countless books and movies, as well as the aspiration of countless scientists and engineers. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have now taken a major step toward creating artificial intelligence-not in a robot or a silicon chip, but in a test tube. The researchers are the first to have made an artificial neural network out of DNA, creating a circuit of interacting molecules that can recall memories based on incomplete patterns, just as a brain can.

"The brain is incredible," says Lulu Qian, a Caltech senior postdoctoral scholar in bioengineering and lead author on the paper describing this work, published in the July 21 issue of the journal Nature. "It allows us to recognize patterns of events, form memories, make decisions, and take actions. So we asked, instead of having a physically connected network of neural cells, can a soup of interacting molecules exhibit brainlike behavior?"

The answer, as the researchers show, is yes.

Consisting of four artificial neurons made from 112 distinct DNA strands, the researchers' neural network plays a mind-reading game in which it tries to identify a mystery scientist. The researchers "trained" the neural network to "know" four scientists, whose identities are each represented by a specific, unique set of answers to four yes-or-no questions, such as whether the scientist was British.

After thinking of a scientist, a human player provides an incomplete subset of answers that partially identifies the scientist. The player then conveys those clues to the network by dropping DNA strands that correspond to those answers into the test tube. Communicating via fluorescent signals, the network then identifies which scientist the player has in mind. Or, the network can "say" that it has insufficient information to pick just one of the scientists in its memory or that the clues contradict what it has remembered. The researchers played this game with the network using 27 different ways of answering the questions (out of 81 total combinations), and it responded correctly each time.

This DNA-based neural network demonstrates the ability to take an incomplete pattern and figure out what it might represent-one of the brain's unique features. "What we are good at is recognizing things," says coauthor Jehoshua "Shuki" Bruck, the Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Computation and Neural Systems and Electrical Engineering. "We can recognize things based on looking only at a subset of features." The DNA neural network does just that, albeit in a rudimentary way.

Biochemical systems with artificial intelligence-or at least some basic, decision-making capabilities-could have powerful applications in medicine, chemistry, and biological research, the researchers say. In the future, such systems could operate within cells, helping to answer fundamental biological questions or diagnose a disease. Biochemical processes that can intelligently respond to the presence of other molecules could allow engineers to produce increasingly complex chemicals or build new kinds of structures, molecule by molecule.

"Although brainlike behaviors within artificial biochemical systems have been hypothesized for decades," Qian says, "they appeared to be very difficult to realize."

The researchers based their biochemical neural network on a simple model of a neuron, called a linear threshold function. The model neuron receives input signals, multiplies each by a positive or negative weight, and only if the weighted sum of inputs surpass a certain threshold does the neuron fire, producing an output. This model is an oversimplification of real neurons, says paper coauthor Erik Winfree, professor of computer science, computation and neural systems, and bioengineering. Nevertheless, it's a good one. "It has been an extremely productive model for exploring how the collective behavior of many simple computational elements can lead to brainlike behaviors, such as associative recall and pattern completion."

To build the DNA neural network, the researchers used a process called a strand-displacement cascade. Previously, the team developed this technique to create the largest and most complex DNA circuit yet, one that computes square roots.

This method uses single and partially double-stranded DNA molecules. The latter are double helices, one strand of which sticks out like a tail. While floating around in a water solution, a single strand can run into a partially double-stranded one, and if their bases (the letters in the DNA sequence) are complementary, the single strand will grab the double strand's tail and bind, kicking off the other strand of the double helix. The single strand thus acts as an input while the displaced strand acts as an output, which can then interact with other molecules.

Because they can synthesize DNA strands with whatever base sequences they want, the researchers can program these interactions to behave like a network of model neurons. By tuning the concentrations of every DNA strand in the network, the researchers can teach it to remember the unique patterns of yes-or-no answers that belong to each of the four scientists. Unlike with some artificial neural networks that can directly learn from examples, the researchers used computer simulations to determine the molecular concentration levels needed to implant memories into the DNA neural network.

While this proof-of-principle experiment shows the promise of creating DNA-based networks that can-in essence-think, this neural network is limited, the researchers say. The human brain consists of 100 billion neurons, but creating a network with just 40 of these DNA-based neurons-ten times larger than the demonstrated network-would be a challenge, according to the researchers. Furthermore, the system is slow; the test-tube network took eight hours to identify each mystery scientist. The molecules are also used up-unable to detach and pair up with a different strand of DNA-after completing their task, so the game can only be played once. Perhaps in the future, a biochemical neural network could learn to improve its performance after many repeated games, or learn new memories from encountering new situations. Creating biochemical neural networks that operate inside the body-or even just inside a cell on a Petri dish-is also a long way away, since making this technology work in vivo poses an entirely different set of challenges.

Beyond technological challenges, engineering these systems could also provide indirect insight into the evolution of intelligence. "Before the brain evolved, single-celled organisms were also capable of processing information, making decisions, and acting in response to their environment," Qian explains. The source of such complex behaviors must have been a network of molecules floating around in the cell. "Perhaps the highly evolved brain and the limited form of intelligence seen in single cells share a similar computational model that's just programmed in different substrates."

"Our paper can be interpreted as a simple demonstration of neural-computing principles at the molecular and intracellular levels," Bruck adds. "One possible interpretation is that perhaps these principles are universal in biological information processing.

"The research described in the Nature paper, "Neural network computation with DNA strand displacement cascades," is supported by a National Science Foundation grant to the Molecular Programming Project and by the Human Frontiers Science Program.

View the researchers' videos (part 1, part 2) that explain their work.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/30/dna-based-artificial-neural-network-is-a-primitive-brain-in-a-te/

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