Making friends with Big Brother?: on the mixed promises of ambient intelligence, or ubiquitous computing, research. The technology will require sensors essentially everywhere so that systems will know where (and who) people are in order to provide the services they require. The downside is of course the continual tracking that implies.
There is no doubt recent advances in information and communication technologies have had a major impact on the way we live, work and interact with each other. Yet if computer technology of the present has raised some concern over privacy, that of the future should lead us to near panic. Research into "ambient intelligence", a network of hidden intelligent interfaces that recognise our presence and mould our environment to our immediate needs, could bring about an even more radical change.
Nationwide identity systems have been proposed as a solution for problems from counterterrorism to fraud detection to enabling electoral reforms. In the wake of September 11, 2001, and renewed interest in the topic, the Committee on Authentication Technologies and Their Privacy Implications of the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board developed this short report as part of its ongoing study process, in order to raise questions and catalyze a broader debate about such systems. The committee believes that serious and sustained analysis and discussion of the complex constellation of issues presented by nationwide identity systems are needed. Understanding the goals of such a system is a primary consideration. Indeed, before any decisions can be made about whether to attempt some kind of nationwide identity system, the question of what is being discussed (and why) must be answered.
[via Divinest Sense]
Multiple Big Bangs: NPR covers Paul Steinhardt's and Neil Turok's new model of the universe: endless (though extremely long) cycles of expansion, contraction, and big bangs. See their sites for papers and lecture notes with more details.
The Big Bang theory, based on speculations dating back to 1922 and confirmed by astronomers in the 1960s, posited that the universe began as a minuscule fireball of extreme density and temperature and that it has been expanding and cooling ever since. But the theory said nothing about what came before or even during the split second when everything went bang. In December 1979 Guth, then 32 and an obscure physicist at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, emerged as the first scientist to offer a plausible description of the universe when it was less than one-hundredth of a second old. During an unimaginably explosive period between 10-37 second and 10-34 second after its birth, Guth said, the universe expanded at a rate that kept doubling before beginning to settle down to the more sedate expansion originally described by the Big Bang theory.
According to former Philippine Senate Minority Leader Nene Pimentel, the Abu Sayyaf are remnants of about 800 Filipino Muslim Moujahideens who, together with thousands of other Muslim jihad warriors from several countries, were recruited, trained and financed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to fight the CIA-sponsored proxy war in Afghanistan against the Russians in 1980.
This article doesn't look like it will get archived, but here are some similar ones:[via Ethel The Blog]