Monday, February 22, 2010
Brought to you by: eLearning Learning"
Thursday, February 11, 2010
In 2004, the Hubble Space Telescope captured 10,000 galaxies in an image that’s now called the Ultra Deep Field. It’s our deepest look into the universe. The video above animates the Deep Field image and puts it into 3D. No need to read more. Just watch.
Monday, February 8, 2010
If our attempts at getting such simple information as bus schedules or account balances from automated voice recognition systems are any indication, then we imagine Google has a lot of work to do in its latest endeavor - real-time, spoken-language translation.
According to the Times UK, Google is working on developing software for a mobile phone that would translate what you were saying into the language of the speaker on the other end of the line and vice versa.
As you may have noticed, Google already has a hand in the translation business, with its web page translation service. Google Translate currently translates between 52 languages, which includes a number of languages with completely different alphabets.
The Times UK spoke with Franz Och, head of Google's translation services, who said that this new service should be up and running and 'work reasonably well in a few years' time.'
'Everyone has a different voice, accent and pitch,' said Och. 'But recognition should be effective with mobile phones because by nature they are personal to you.'
Och is referring to the fact that the software would have the opportunity to learn your accent, dialect and general manner of speaking over time, becoming more accurate. But we can only imagine the difficulty of the task ahead, especially with languages such as Mandarin or Cantonese, which are tonally based. In Mandarin, for example, the word 'ma' can have four different meanings according to the tone used. If the speaker uses the first tone, a constant high pitch, then the word means 'mother'. If they use the third tone, a dropping then rising pitch, however, the meaning changes to 'horse'.
The fun doesn't stop there, the Times UK article points out, as handling the vast number of accents and dialects is also an immense task. Much like the web-based translation that Google does, though, the system would become more accurate over time, essentially learning from its experience.
We hope that one of the first things it learns is not to call our new Chinese friend's mother a horse.
Metric Map: Which Countries Don’t Belong With The Others?: "
Map : author
The U.S. is one of only three nations in the world (the other two being Liberia and Burma) which clings to its outmoded system of measurement, failing to get on board with the rest of the world and use the metric system.
We don’t even use the British Imperial system (that the British don’t even use anymore) – we use some bastard child of the Imperial system called “the United States customary system.” Ask any American how many ounces are in a gallon or feet are in a mile and you’re almost sure not to get a correct answer.
What does this mean for you as an American? It means that when you travel you look like an idiot. When someone asks you for directions, you are suddenly at a loss, unable to estimate distance in kilometers. If one of your South American friends asks you how cold it is, you have no idea what to say. Is 30 degrees hot? Is it cold?
There are more communist countries than there are countries not using the metric system. Everyone else has come to the conclusion that it just makes for sense to use the system everyone else in the world is using in which all units are divisible by ten.
Just try to pass the right wrench to someone and you’ll see how stupid this system is. “I need the five sixteenths hex wrench. No! I said the five sixteenths!” Of course you did.
OK. Maybe it wouldn’t be cost effective to tear down all those mile markers, but just imagine the jobs it would create to start adding kilometer markers to every highway in the U.S. of A.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
WSJ: Playfish creating social game based on 'well-known EA brand': "
The Wall Street Journal today examines 'Why Playfish Sold Itself to EA.' Um, wouldn't you sell yourself for $300 million? While such an investigation might seem trivial, the WSJ calls in Playfish president and GM Kristian Segerstrale, who reveals that several hundred million is merely chump change. Playfish certainly considered a road to riches paved in the arduous process of going public as an independent company, but 'as we advanced our conversations with EA, what became clear was that this would be genuine opportunity to accelerate our pace of growth and build a billion-dollar business faster,' Segerstrale explains.
To realize this dream -- to get rich really quick -- Playfish clearly saw it would take more than its prowess as a stand-out developer in the burgeoning social games arena. It would take brand power. According to the WSJ, as suggested by Segerstrale, 'there will be a social game based on a well-known EA brand this year.' Hardly a revelation, to be sure, but it's at least confirmation of a killer strategy. Take an established IP -- likely EA's The Sims -- and adapt it for a network of social gaming experiences that spans persistent platforms like Facebook and the iPhone. Oh, so that's why Playfish sold itself to EA.
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