Tag Archives: IBM

10 things you need to know today: May 1, 2013

U.S. military guards move a detainee inside Guantanamo in 2010.

Busy day for me today.  This will be my only post until later this evening…

The Week

Obama recommits to closing Gitmo, investigators find ricin on suspect’s trash, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion

1. OBAMA RENEWS PUSH TO CLOSE GUANTANAMO
President Obama said Tuesday that he was renewing his push to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, a goal he abandoned in the face of congressional opposition during his first term. Obama said the controversial facility is too expensive, and hurts America’s international reputation and counterterrorism efforts. The remarks came after the U.S. sent dozens of Navy nurses and medics to help deal with a hunger strike that has spread to 100 of the 166 inmates. [New York Times]
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2. RICIN FOUND ON SUSPECT’S DUST MASK
Investigators found ricin on a dust mask allegedly thrown into the garbage by a Mississippi man suspected of sending letters laced with the poison to President Obama and other officials, according to an FBI affidavit released Tuesday. A surveillance team reportedly watched suspect J. Everett Dutschke, who was arrested Saturday, leave a tae kwon do studio he once ran and discard the dust mask, latex gloves, and a coffee grinder — which can be used to extract ricin from castor beans. [Washington Post]
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3. FDA APPROVES MORNING-AFTER PILL SALES TO 15-YEAR-OLDS
Federal regulators are making it easier for women to get the morning-after pill Plan B One-Step. The emergency contraceptive is currently sold at pharmacies, and is only available without a prescription to those over age 17. The Food and Drug Administration, under court order to lift the age restriction, decided Tuesday to allow stores to sell the product to anyone 15 or older, and to stock it on drugstore shelves next to women’s health products and condoms. [Washington Times]
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4. BANGLADESH BUILDING COLLAPSE DEATH TOLL PASSES 400
The death toll from the collapse of a factory complex in Bangladesh has risen above 400, and it could climb further. So far, 399 bodies have been pulled from the rubble. Another three people have died in hospitals. A senior army official said relatives had reported 149 people still missing. Thousands of people participating in May Day parades on Wednesday demanded the death penalty for the owner of the eight-story building, which housed several garment factories. [BBC News]
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5. OBAMA CONSIDERS ARMING SYRIAN REBELS
President Obama is preparing to send weapons to Syrian rebels, according to The Washington Post. A final decision on the move, which would mark a major policy shift, could come within weeks. The Obama administration has been ramping up non-lethal aid, including medicine, to the Syrian opposition, but the president has come under pressure to supply arms following reports that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have used chemical weapons. [Washington Post]
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6. GREEKS PROTEST AUSTERITY WITH STRIKE
Greek unions held a general strike to protest government austerity measures on Wednesday to mark May Day, the international Labor Day holiday. Thousands of people stayed home from work, shutting schools and tax offices and disrupting public transportation. It was the second mass strike this year to call for an end to the deep spending cuts and tax hikes imposed under the terms of a European bailout designed to save the debt-burdened nation from financial collapse. [New York Times]
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7. BRAWL ERUPTS IN VENEZUELAN PARLIAMENT
A fight broke out in Venezuela’s parliament on Tuesday over the country’s recent disputed presidential election. Opposition lawmakers say supporters of President Nicolas Maduro ambushed and pummeled them. Maduro, the handpicked successor of late President Hugo Chavez, won a narrow victory, but supporters of opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski have called the results illegitimate. State TV cameras pointed to the ceiling during the scuffle. [CNN]
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8. EUROPE’S UNEMPLOYMENT CONTINUES TO RISE
Unemployment hit another in a string of record highs in March, reaching 12.1 percent in the euro zone, according to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office. The figures reflected a host of problems, including Spain’s seventh straight quarter of contraction. Economists said the bad news suggested that the European Central Bank might be overly optimistic in predicting that the region will begin to recover this year. [Guardian]
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9. SCIENTISTS CREATE WORLD’S TINIEST MOVIE
IBM researchers have created the world’s smallest movie by manipulating a few dozen carbon atoms on a copper surface into a stop-motion animation clip. The Guinness Book of World Records has certified the feat, which was accomplished by moving around the individual atoms with the tiny tip of a scanning tunneling microscope. A thousand frames of what you see in the clip, “A Boy and His Atom,” would fit on the span of a single human hair. [BBC News]
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10. TEEN MOM STAR MAKES MILLION-DOLLAR PORN DEAL
Perhaps reports of the death of the celebrity sex tape were premature. Teen Mom reality TV star Farrah Abraham has reached a deal to sell the rights to a XXX tape she made with porn star James Deen to adult-industry powerhouse Vivid Entertainment for $1.5 million, according toRadar Online. Abraham, 21, reportedly made the professionally shot tape — which Vivid is callingFarrah Superstar: Backdoor Teen Mom — after attempts to sell another video, made with an ex-boyfriend, failed. [Radar Online]

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For 200 Jeopardy Points: Who Is Watson, aka DeepQA?

Ok, my geek side loves this stuff and I wanted to share. 

In my opinion, Mario Piperni’s site has some of the greatest graphics and some of the best articles on the internet.

Mario Piperni

The machines are coming.  Beware or rejoice.

Former Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter lost by $1000 to IBM’s Watson DeepQA-based supercomputer during a three-category Jeopardy practice round Thursday night. The trio will officially square off for a $1 million grand prize during two Jeopardy matches that will air February 14-16.

Watson is IBM’s latest supercomputer based on the company’s DeepQA software, which combines natural language processing, machine learning and information retrieval. The device is packing 15 terabytes RAM, about 2,880 processor cores that can perform 80 trillion operations a second, and is the size of 10 refrigerators according to Wired. Watson will have to rely on its self-contained databases for answers, and won’t be hooked up to the Internet during the Jeopardy challenge.

Watson has now won 65% of its matches against Jeopardy grand champions.  Here’s what Thursday’s match looked like.

Good stuff.  One could imagine the many applications that a smart natural language processing machine of this order could be used for.  Financing, marketing and medical diagnostic analysis are some.  For the latter, imagine a doctor inputting a patient’s symptoms and having a computer giving her a diagnosis based on the zillion medical texts scanned into its database.  It would be like having a second opinion from Dr. House, minus the attitude.

Here’s a link to more info on the inner workings of Watson, it’s algorithms and the future it holds for all of us.

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