David Kirkpatrick

February 2, 2010

Protecting knowledge

Filed under: et.al., Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:20 pm

Via KurzweilAI.net — It’s not nearly as easy as it might seem at first blush. Do you still have any of those floppy discs a little over five inches and were actually “floppy” laying around? Do have a working drive that can read them handy? If the answers are, “yes I have a few of those discs, and no, I don’t have a drive handy,” then the knowledge on those discs is currently lost to you.

Think about how much human knowledge is stored on various media or on computer servers and how utterly inaccessible that knowledge becomes if technology is pushed back to a point all those devices become inoperable. Anyone else interested in retaining physical books?

Digital doomsday: the end of knowledge

New Scientist Tech, Feb. 2, 2010

Even as we are acquiring ever more extraordinaryknowledge, we are storing it in ever more fragile and ephemeral forms. If our civilization runs into trouble, like all others before it, how much would survive?

Post-catastrophe, the lack of resources — of people, expertise, equipment — might be a far bigger obstacle than the physical loss of data. And resources are likely to be scarce. Restarting an industrial civilization might be a lot harder the second time around, because we have used up most of the easily available resources, from oil to high-grade ores.
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November 4, 2009

Improving Captchas

Via KurzweilAI.net — And really anything — anything — that improved Captchas would be very welcome.

Animated ink-blot images keep unwanted bots at bay
New Scientst Tech, Nov 3, 2009

Captchas, the scrambled images used to separate humans from software bots online, could become harder for bots to solve and easier for humans to handle by animating them, says computer scientist Niloy Mitra at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, who along with colleagues has devised a system that should separate the bots from the humans.


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July 7, 2009

Invisibility cloak plus

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:10 pm

Via KurzweilAI.net — I’ve done plenty of blogging on invisibility cloaking technology, and here’s the lastest. I think this tech is very cool and I hate to throw any cold water on the latest news, but I’d be more impressed with seeing an actual effective working model of a simple cloaking device before getting to wild with advanced varients like those described below.

Modified invisibility cloak could make the ultimate illusion
New Scientist Tech, July 7, 2009

An illusion device using metamaterials that makes one object look like another could one day be used to camouflage military planes or create “holes” in solid walls.

To make a cup look like a spoon, for example, light first strikes the cup and is distorted. It then passes through a complementary metamaterial which cancels out the distortions to make the cup seem invisible. The light then moves into a region of the metamaterial that creates a distortion as if a spoon were present. The result is that an observer looking at the cup through the metamaterial would see a spoon.

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