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#1
Retired Tech

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A 67-year-old man who says he doesn't even like watching movies has been sued by the film industry for copyright infringement after a grandson of his downloaded four movies on their home computer.

The Motion Picture Association of America filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Fred Lawrence of Racine, seeking as much as $600,000 in damages for downloading four movies over the Internet file-sharing service iMesh.


Hollywood has unveiled a powerful new technology which it hopes will help kill the pirating of movies. The system relies on sound – not vision

All HD-DVD players will have a sensor that looks for inaudible watermarks in the soundtrack of movies. The watermarks will be included in the soundtracks of all major movies released to cinemas.

If a DVD player detects the telltale code, the disc must be an illegal copy made by copying a film print to video, or pointing a camcorder and microphone at a cinema screen. So the player refuses to play the disc.


Drawings sketched on the screen of a Tablet PC can be animated in seconds thanks to new software - all it takes is the flourish of a stylus
DRAWINGS sketched on the screen of a Tablet PC can be animated in seconds thanks to new software. All it takes is the flourish of a stylus.

The software, called K-Sketch, allows a relatively unskilled user to sketch out a scene on the PC's screen, select the parts they want to animate, and then simply drag these objects over the display to make them sweep, loop or spin in whatever way they want. The computer records these movements so that it can play them back as an animation.



When it comes to money, it turns out we're no more rational than our primate cousins. But knowing this could pay dividends, as New Scientist discovers
THE capuchin monkeys working with economist Keith Chen and psychologist Laurie Santos know a good bargain when they see one. They use metal chips as money, buying bits of apple or cucumber from humans, and they seem to know what they're doing. When the researchers make apple cheaper than cucumber - offering more food for the same number of chips - the capuchins opt for the better-value food, as any savvy shopper would. Yet it is not the monkeys' good economic sense that Chen and Santos find most interesting. Rather, it is their tendency, on occasion, to make an irrational deal - and to do so in a distinctively human way.

Over the past three decades, economists have come to accept that people aren't the purely "rational" and "selfish" individuals that classical theorists once imagined. Numerous experiments have shown that we often let apparently irrelevant factors influence our economic decisions
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#2
dsenette

dsenette

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wow....the monkey thing is great.....if we can teach them to play the stock market....that would be great...."when chiquita hits 75 SELL SELL SELL"
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#3
Retired Tech

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4-11-2005

Video flasher

Shooting video in low light normally means using a floodlight, but this quickly gobbles up batteries in small devices.

Now Philips Lab in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, has a new idea – a white-light LED that rapidly switches on and off, working only in the spilt seconds when its light is really needed.

The camera uses a sensor that collects light at about 30 frames per second. The timing circuit also sends control pulses to the white LED, so that it provides light just when the sensor needs it, and does not waste power while the sensor is sending its signal to memory.

This, Philips reckons, will let low cost camcorders and even camera phones handle video in dimly lit rooms without flattening batteries before the home movie, or conference call, is finished.


Sandwich lens

Philips recently developed an electric lens that changes focus as a current alters the surface-tension curves of two different liquids. But it only works for very small diameters. Now the University of Central Florida in Orlando is claiming a way to make electric lenses of any size – and cheaply too.

First, the curved surface of a fixed-focus lens is coated with transparent indium-tin-oxide to make a concave or convex electrode. The flat surface of a plain, transparent plate is similarly coated. The space between the two plates is then filled with nematic liquid crystal material.

When a voltage is applied across the sandwich, the curved shape of the lens electrode creates an electric field that varies in strength from centre to edge. This creates a matching gradient of refractive index in the liquid crystal. Changing the voltage changes the gradient, and thus the focal length of the sandwich lens.

The basic design can be scaled to any size, says the patent. The cost could be further reduced by making both electrodes flat plates and putting ridges on one to make it a Fresnel lens. Finally, If one electrode is reflective, it makes an electrically focused mirror.


Backlit prints

Imagine wallpaper that switches on to brighten the room, or floor tiles that glow underfoot, or even a photo album with pictures that glow on demand.

Kodak researchers in Rochester, New York, US, have been doing a lot more than imagining. Recently filed patents reveal how photographic prints, or inkjet printing paper, can be made to self-illuminate.

Kodak's new paper has a backing sheet made from a three-layer sandwich. A thin metallic sheet is coated with a smooth layer of white-light phosphor, similar to that used in a black and white TV tube, and the phosphor layer is topped with a transparent metal film.

The backing sandwich is then either coated with the silver halide chemicals used to make conventional photo prints, or the dye absorbing layers used for inkjet printing paper. Polymer glues hold the layers together, add strength and seal against atmospheric damp.

When electrical current flows from one metal layer, through the phosphor powder, to the other metal layer, a glow is produced. This provides a uniform backlighting for the images printed over the top.

The effect requires about 100 volts at several hundred hertz but very low current – similar to a pocket LCD screen. A transparent polymer coating acts as an insulator to protect against any tingle if touched.

Kodak has made the backlit paper thin enough to pass through a conventional printer and flexible enough to fit in a photo album.



FORT WORTH, Texas -- A woman is facing criminal charges after being arrested for not stopping at toll booths more than 2,900 times, police said.

Authorities said Evangelina Sanchez Gonzalez, 41, may be the most notorious toll-booth runner in North Texas, amassing fines of more than $76,000.
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