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Feb 26, 2007 at 12:00
There are all sorts of reports about the psychological effects of video gaming on children and young adults -- and some not so young. Most of them point out the antisocial behavior that is developed, the creation of unhealthy children because of the sedentary time in front of a screen, and so on. But now a study project reported in the February issue of Archives of Surgery develops a new line of thinking.
Drs Rosser, Lynch, Cudding, Gentile, Klonsky and Merrell from prestigious medical institutions like Beth Israel, NY University Medical School, Montefiore Medical Center, Brookdale University Hospital, Iowa State University and the Virginia Commonwealth University spent three months in 2002 studying various surgeons (33 residents and attending physicians) in their performance in laparoscopic surgery -- that's where tools are inserted through tubes, and the like, and the surgeon uses a video monitor as his/her guide to what is happening at the business end of the apparatus.
Rather than being a plain time-and...
Feb 26, 2007 at 12:00
How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress. -Niels Bohr
After a day of sticking my head inside VLSI chips and Internet protocols, I try to clear it out with something less technical, often in the form of a novel. But thanks to an unexpected holiday gift, I've had the pleasure of spending the last week's worth of stolen late night hours with Suspended in Language, the illustrated biography of Dr. Niels Bohr's life and discoveries. Remember Niels Bohr? If the name only conjures up fuzzy recollections involving something to do with Einstein and Quantum mechanics, you're not alone. Although he was a minor celebrity in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, few people today (including myself) outside the physics community really grasp the central role he played in shaping our current understanding of the universe. So it's been a treat for both the intellect and the soul to finally get acquainted with this gentle genius, and the ideas he unleashed.
%IMG_left_full_105%It may take ...
Feb 19, 2007 at 12:00
A court in Belgium has decided this week that Google is breaking that country's copyright laws by posting headlines and the first paragraph of items in newspapers published in Belgium.
The case was started by an umbrella copyright protection company, Copiepresse, whose tasks include protecting the country's French and Dutch language newspapers content. The court has decided that the extracts -- which a lot of us look at every day from one country or another -- is not fair use of copyright material and has set a fine of €25,000 (about USD32,500) per day for every day that the materials remain posted on Google's Belgian site.
It is highly unlikely that very many other countries would interpret their own copyright laws in the same way, but there is a general story here about the law and the Internet that needs to be explored. If Google continued to source French language Belgian newspapers and posted them only on Google France, that would not breach this court's decision. Similarly, if Google sourced Dut...
Feb 12, 2007 at 12:00
Whenever someone says something is foolproof, totally secure, impregnable, etc, most engineers would just smile politely and move on to something real. So it is with Chip and PIN, a technology that is now virtually universal in Europe.
The process is supposed to take all the anxiety out of credit or debit card transactions in public places. The consumer's card is fitted with an RFID chip; when the time comes to pay the bill, the card can be inserted into a reader and the purchase is confirmed by the entry of the ubiquitous four-digit PIN. The double ID ensures that the card is real and that the user is real. In places like restaurants your card doesn't leave your hands: a portable, wireless reader can be taken directly to your table. All credit/debit cards issued in the last couple of years in Europe are chip-equipped. There has been some confusion with retail establishments occasionally refusing cards not so equipped, although on my last trip to Europe I had no problem with my North American cards.
Feb 5, 2007 at 12:00
So, this week, Microsoft's Vista operating system has become publicly available in your local computer store, although businesses and professional groups have had it available for a while, both in Beta and the final versions.
Five years in the making, deadline after deadline missed -- sounds like a software project we are involved with at the moment -- and, finally, yet another holiday season missed by Microsoft. The launch has been very soft for one of their products despite the predictions that there will be over 100 million users within twelve months. Certainly, there have been no lines outside stores of people waiting to hand over money.
All the reviews and comments I have read so far describe the new OS as being a close replica of Apple's OS X, but Bill Gates described it in London to the BBC: "The wow starts here." That's where Mr Gates flew to following his dash to leave the studio set of The Daily Show after being interviewed by Jon Stewart the afternoon before…
What we know so far...