Computers that work like the brain?

The BBC reports that IBM and five US universities will receive a grant from DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. IBM will join five US universities in an ambitious effort to integrate what is known from real biological systems with the results of supercomputer simulations of neurons. The team will then aim to produce for the first time an electronic system that behaves as the simulations do. The longer-term goal is to create a system with the level of complexity of a cat’s brain. Prof Modha says that the time is right for such a cross-disciplinary project because three

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US gangs and the threat from Mexico

I’ve written on five previous occasions about the threat from Mexican crime and social instability, and how it’s crossing the border to endanger us in the US. Now, from Stratfor, comes an excellent article analyzing a trial in progress in Texas at this time. It looks at the relationship between the Barrio Aztecas, a US Hispanic prison gang, and the Juarez drug cartel in Mexico. Friends, I had contact with some members of the Barrio Aztecas while serving as a prison chaplain. They’re not nice people. In fact, they’re bloody dangerous! There are many more gangs like them (some mentioned

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1,000 posts!

Another pleasant blogging milestone to report. This is my 1,000th post since starting this blog on January 1st this year. I hope you’ve enjoyed them (well, some of them, anyway!). At the time of writing, there have been 239,952 total visits to this blog, and it’s averaging a little over 1,000 visitors each day. Thanks to everyone who’s commented (constructively and politely) on my posts. To the spammers who’ve tried to use comments as advertisements, and the few who’ve been rude – thanks for nothing! I’ll try to keep on improving this blog, and making it more fun for all

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A human slinky

This is amazing! It’s a video clip of a half-time display at a basketball match held at Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska. I’ve never seen anything like it! Congratulations to the performance artist. It’s good to see something really original for a change. Peter

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A buzzing barbeque?

A couple of months ago, I wrote about a master of bee destruction. Yesterday, an e-mail from Bob H. contained this story and series of photographs. He tells me he didn’t originate it, but simply forwarded it after receiving it from a friend. It’s apparently doing the rounds on the Internet. Click the pictures for a larger view. The story goes: So I was going to use my B-B-Q this weekend and I thought that I’d clean it up. I had known there were bees coming from under the cover, so I thought I’d kill them. So here’s the B-B-Q

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Art, and paying for it

A report in the Daily Mail has got me thinking about something that’s been a nagging irritation to me for some years. The campaign to save a Titian masterpiece was given a £10million boost today. The National Heritage Memorial Fund, set up as Britain’s fund of last resort for saving treasures at risk, made the award to help stop the potential loss of the painting of Diana And Actaeon overseas. In an indication of the importance of the work, the sum amounts to the fund’s entire annual government grant. The 7th Duke of Sutherland owns the 16th century painting which

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Now this is creepy!

How on earth did this get in there? Doctors in Arizona thought a Phoenix-area woman had a possible brain tumor, but it turned out there was something else penetrating her brain – a worm. Rosemary Alvarez started experiencing numbness in her arm and blurred vision. She went to the emergency room twice and had a cat scan, but everything came up clear, MyFOXPhoenix.com reported. It wasn’t until doctors took a closer look at an MRI that they discovered something very disturbing. “Once we saw the MRI we realized this is something not good,” neurosurgeon, Dr. Peter Nakaji told the news

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Doofus Of The Day #107

I thought I’d heard of just about every ridiculous, far-out church, sect and cult on the planet: but I was wrong. Today’s doofus, self-appointed ‘Cardinal’ Carlos Bebeacua, has come up with something so daft I’d never have believed it possible! The Madonna of Orgasm Church (Orgasmens Madonnas kyrka) took an important step toward official recognition in Sweden last week when a court ruled it had the right to be registered as a faith community. Originally, the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency (Kammarkollegiet) had refused the church’s registration application on the grounds that its name may offend Christians. But the

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A narrow escape

I received the pictures below from a friend in law enforcement, who’s given me permission to put them on this blog. The story is that a deputy was traveling at 90 mph, responding to an urgent call at 4.30 a.m. He hit a bump in the road and lost control of his vehicle. The car went sideways, hitting the curb, then a water main. This launched it spinning into the air, and it landed on its roof. Citizens in the area pulled the officer from his vehicle, and he was flown to hospital. He apparently has two fractured vertebrae, several

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The Shallowest Generation?

James Quinn has produced one of the finest analyses of the roots of our financial problems that I’ve ever read. Here are a few extracts to whet your appetite. The Baby Boom Generation will never be mistaken for the Greatest Generation that survived the Great Depression and defeated evil in a World War that killed 72 million people. I hate to tell you Boomers, but putting a yellow ribbon on the back of your $50,000 SUV is not sacrifice. Our claim to fame is living way beyond our means for the last three decades, to the point where we have

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