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July 2007 Archives

The U.S. military's laser-light show

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

Two projects receiving funding in the United States are literally turning lasers and lights into weapons.

On Monday the Boeing Company announced it has been awarded a U.S. Army contract to begin developing the initial phase for "a truck-mounted laser weapon system that destroys rockets, artillery shells and mortar rounds."

The objective of the program, says Boeing, is "to demonstrate that a mobile, solid-state laser weapon system can effectively counter rocket, artillery and mortar projectiles."

Meanwhile, the Wired blog Threat Level reported Thursday that the Department of Homeland Security is funding the powerful LED flashlight that uses bursts of light "to temporarily blind, disorient and incapacitate people."

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Mars rovers get their due

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

While those plucky Mars rovers continue to brave a dust storm on the Red Planet, Space.com has unveiled a top 10 list of their greatest moments.

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Poker program winning at Hold 'em

by Paul Jay, CBCNEWs.ca

Having solved checkers, University of Alberta computer programmers led by Jonathan Schaeffer are now taking top professional poker players Phil "The Unabomber" Laak and Ali Eslami at the First Man-Machine Poker Championship in Vancouver this week.

And so far the poker-playing computer program Polaris is winning.

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Video game sales jump in Canada

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

Nintendo consoles continue to lead the pack as video game sales in Canada grew by 61 per cent from last year, according to results posted this week.

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Random number generation...no dice required

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

Computer generated random numbers - or at least the ones created by commercially available PCs - have generally fallen short of 'true randomness,' since in order to create them the computer has to start with something, and that something is usually some form of complicated mathematical algorithm. For most people, this kind of "pseudo randomness" is probably enough for their needs, but for security encryption and scientific experiments, true randomness is ideal.

Now a new service available online for free has come up with a way to generate these numbers: by tying the number generation to the inherently random processes at the heart of quantum physics.

Click on the link below to read more.

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Your View: The business of robotics

The robotics field in Canada is expanding, but is still growing slowly when compared to Japan and the United States.

What can Canada do to help a robotics industry develop in this country?

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Your View: Robots and health care

There is some evidence that using robotics to relieve health care professionals of some their burden can improve the quality of health care. How would you feel about having a robot take care of mom?

Click on the link below and let us know.

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Safeguarding koalas from STD

by Dan Westell, CBCNews.ca

Koalas are a contender for the cutest animal in the world. The small, iconic Australian mammal (average under 10 kilograms) lives on eucalyptus leaves and looks like an ewok, the furry heroes of the Star Wars episode Return of the Jedi.

But, sadly, they are prone to chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease, and it appears to be spreading.

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Your View: How would you define a robot?

The word robot made its debut in 1921, in the play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) by Karel Capek. It comes from the word "robota", a Czech term for forced labour. But definitions vary widely when it comes to ideas of what a robot actually is.

Click the link below and tell us your definition of a robot.

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E3: Rock Band attracts hordes of groupies

by Erin Bell, special to CBCNews.ca

One nice thing about the new scaled down E3 is not having to fight the huge crowds to get hands-on time with games - although Rock Band is proving to be an exception to the rule with journalists swarming it like locusts on corn.

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E3: BioWare shows off its new sci-fi role-playing game

by Erin Bell, special to CBCNews.ca

BioWare, the Edmonton studio responsible for creating the Star Wars-based role-playing game Knights of the Old Republic, as well as the fantasy-themed Jade Empire for the original Xbox console, were on hand at E3 to demonstrate their latest project, Mass Effect.

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Games for Windows: The PC asserts itself at E3

by Erin Bell, special to CBCNews.ca

Whenever I found myself about to refer to Microsoft's E3 press event as the "Xbox conference," (as many people still do), I had to check my words. The truth is that Microsoft's PC gaming initiative, which the company has branded Games for Windows, earned just as much time in the spotlight.

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E3: Hands on with Assassin's Creed

by Erin Bell, special to CBCNews.ca

As Altair the assassin climbs a ladder to reach the rooftop of a building, his feet step solidly onto each rung, one after the other, until he reaches the top. Climbing ladders is a simple concept, witnessed in countless video games, but the carelessness with which many characters are animated while doing so has always irked me: When people climb ladders in real life, their feet touch the rungs – they don't step through the rungs, or levitate above the rungs, or do a kind of running-man dance step in the air while being pulled up the ladder by an invisible string.

The fact that Altair actually climbs ladders properly is a trifle, but it's indicative of the overall level of meticulousness that seems to have gone into Ubisoft Montreal's development of Assassin's Creed.

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E3: Wii peripherals, hands-on

by Erin Bell, special to CBCNews.ca

Capcom's first-person shooter Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles and Nintendo's Wii Fit offered the first opportunities to demo Nintendo's new Wii Zapper and Wii mat peripherals for the Wii console.

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He May shock you

by Steve Morales, CBCNews.ca

One of Brian May's best-known cultural contributions might be a song called Fat-Bottomed Girls, but he's still quite a distinguished chap. Just look at all his acronyms: Brian May, CBE, B.Sc. And now he may have a PhD on the way as well.

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E3: Konami announces Silent Hill 5

by Erin Bell, special to CBCNews.ca

Konami's big announcement of E3 (not counting the Metal Gear Solid 4 trailer that was shown for the second time since the Sony event earlier in the day), was that Silent Hill 5 is currently in development for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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E3: Sony puts focus on software

by Erin Bell, special to CBCNews.ca

Sony's approach to its E3 press conference was the most straightforward of the "Big 3" console makers. It emphasized the software line-ups of its four active development platforms: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Network.

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Nintendo courts gamers of all kinds at E3

by Erin Bell, special to CBCNews.ca

"My name is Reggie, and I am happy." With those words, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime kicked of the company's E3 press conference – one that emphasized Nintendo's strategy of blurring the line between casual and hardcore gaming.

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Microsoft at E3: Halo 3, Rock Band, a new controller for Xbox 360

by Erin Bell, special to CBCNews.ca

Although rumours of an Xbox 360 price-drop announcement proved to be unfounded, Microsoft still had plenty of interesting announcements to make at its E3 press conference, held Tuesday night in a surprisingly chilly open-air amphitheatre in Santa Monica, Calif.

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Introducing the new E3

by Erin Bell, special to CBCNews.ca

The Electronic Entertainment Expo is dead. Long live the E3 Media and Business Summit.

When the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced last year that it was cancelling E3 – at least in its present form – many people weren't sad to see it go. The annual video game industry trade show, where companies made major announcements and outlined strategies for the rest of the year, and which attracted thousands of attendees from around the world, had grown too big for its own good.

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Powering up the Pentagon

by Jennifer Wilson, CBCNews.ca

The U.S. Department of Defense wants you . . . to invent a wearable power source for soldiers that can last for four days.

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ISS crew will skip to $19M loo

Think earth-bound plumbing is expensive? NASA has agreed to pay an astronomical $19 million US for a Russian-built toilet system for the International Space Station.

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Train-ing creativity

by Dan Westell, CBCNews.ca

Via Rail is trying to engage young people with an online promotion that lets them play ad agency.

The rail company has launched a website where 18-to-35 year olds can manipulate a Via print ad from its Beat the Car campaign, or create their own, using a photo and caption.

Click here to read more of this post.

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Nintendo DS camera announced in Japan

by Jennifer Wilson, CBCNews.ca

Nintendo's handheld gaming system can respond to noise and touch, so why not movement? Online sources are reporting that the DS will be getting a camera to accompany Face Training.

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Second Life business sues for copyright infringement

by Jennifer Wilson, CBCNews.ca

Online sources are reporting that Second Life entrepreneur Kevin Alderman, who runs the adult-content company Eros LLC, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit Tuesday against Second Life resident Volkov Catteneo. The case has already sparked debate on high-profile blogs about the potential legal fallout for the virtual world.

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Topping the orbital charts

by Steve Morales, CBCNews.ca

In an attempt to ratchet up the level of fun in orbit, the European Space Agency (ESA) asked young Europeans to come up with a cheerful and inspiring music playlist for astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS).

Click the link below to see the winning list.

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Nintendo's Wii scores big sales

by Steve Morales, CBCNews.ca

Nintendo's Wii video game console outsold Sony's PlayStation 3 six to one in June in Japan, Japanese publishing company Enterbrain, Inc. said Monday.

Click below to read more of this post.

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