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President Bush delivers 2006 State of the Union Address


Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 30-10-2019

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

United States President George W. Bush delivered his annual State of the Union Address on Tuesday.

Canada’s Scarborough East (Ward 44) city council candidates speak


Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 30-10-2019

This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Scarborough East (Ward 44). One candidates responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include Donald Blair, Diana Hall, Mohammed Mirza, Ron Moeser, Kevin Richardson, Richard Rieger, Richard Ross, and Kevin Wellington.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

British computer scientist’s new “nullity” idea provokes reaction from mathematicians


Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 25-10-2019

Monday, December 11, 2006

On December 7, BBC News reported a story about Dr James Anderson, a teacher in the Computer Science department at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom. In the report it was stated that Anderson had “solved a very important problem” that was 1200 years old, the problem of division by zero. According to the BBC, Anderson had created a new number, that he had named “nullity”, that lay outside of the real number line. Anderson terms this number a “transreal number”, and denotes it with the Greek letter ? {\displaystyle \Phi } . He had taught this number to pupils at Highdown School, in Emmer Green, Reading.

The BBC report provoked many reactions from mathematicians and others.

In reaction to the story, Mark C. Chu-Carroll, a computer scientist and researcher, posted a web log entry describing Anderson as an “idiot math teacher”, and describing the BBC’s story as “absolutely infuriating” and a story that “does an excellent job of demonstrating what total innumerate idiots reporters are”. Chu-Carroll stated that there was, in fact, no actual problem to be solved in the first place. “There is no number that meaningfully expresses the concept of what it means to divide by zero.”, he wrote, stating that all that Anderson had done was “assign a name to the concept of ‘not a number'”, something which was “not new” in that the IEEE floating-point standard, which describes how computers represent floating-point numbers, had included a concept of “not a number”, termed “NaN“, since 1985. Chu-Carroll further continued:

“Basically, he’s defined a non-solution to a non-problem. And by teaching it to his students, he’s doing them a great disservice. They’re going to leave his class believing that he’s a great genius who’s solved a supposed fundamental problem of math, and believing in this silly nullity thing as a valid mathematical concept.
“It’s not like there isn’t already enough stuff in basic math for kids to learn; there’s no excuse for taking advantage of a passive audience to shove this nonsense down their throats as an exercise in self-aggrandizement.
“To make matters worse, this idiot is a computer science professor! No one who’s studied CS should be able to get away with believing that re-inventing the concept of NaN is something noteworthy or profound; and no one who’s studied CS should think that defining meaningless values can somehow magically make invalid computations produce meaningful results. I’m ashamed for my field.”

There have been a wide range of other reactions from other people to the BBC news story. Comments range from the humorous and the ironic, such as the B1FF-style observation that “DIVIDION[sic] BY ZERO IS IMPOSSIBLE BECAUSE MY CALCULATOR SAYS SO AND IT IS THE TRUTH” and the Chuck Norris Fact that “Only Chuck Norris can divide by zero.” (to which another reader replied “Chuck Norris just looks at zero, and it divides itself.”); through vigourous defences of Dr Anderson, with several people quoting the lyrics to Ira Gershwin‘s song “They All Laughed (At Christopher Columbus)”; to detailed mathematical discussions of Anderson’s proposed axioms of transfinite numbers.

Several readers have commented that they consider this to have damaged the reputation of the Computer Science department, and even the reputation of the University of Reading as a whole. “By publishing his childish nonsense the BBC actively harms the reputation of Reading University.” wrote one reader. “Looking forward to seeing Reading University maths application plummit.” wrote another. “Ignore all research papers from the University of Reading.” wrote a third. “I’m not sure why you refer to Reading as a ‘university’. This is a place the BBC reports as closing down its physics department because it’s too hard. Lecturers at Reading should stick to folk dancing and knitting, leaving academic subjects to grown ups.” wrote a fourth. Steve Kramarsky lamented that Dr Anderson is not from the “University of ‘Rithmetic“.

Several readers criticised the journalists at the BBC who ran the story for not apparently contacting any mathematicians about Dr Anderson’s idea. “Journalists are meant to check facts, not just accept whatever they are told by a self-interested third party and publish it without question.” wrote one reader on the BBC’s web site. However, on Slashdot another reader countered “The report is from Berkshire local news. Berkshire! Do you really expect a local news team to have a maths specialist? Finding a newsworthy story in Berkshire probably isn’t that easy, so local journalists have to cover any piece of fluff that comes up. Your attitude to the journalist should be sympathy, not scorn.”

Ben Goldacre, author of the Bad Science column in The Guardian, wrote on his web log that “what is odd is a reporter, editor, producer, newsroom, team, cameraman, soundman, TV channel, web editor, web copy writer, and so on, all thinking it’s a good idea to cover a brilliant new scientific breakthrough whilst clearly knowing nothing about the context. Maths isn’t that hard, you could even make a call to a mathematician about it.”, continuing that “it’s all very well for the BBC to think they’re being balanced and clever getting Dr Anderson back in to answer queries about his theory on Tuesday, but that rather skips the issue, and shines the spotlight quite unfairly on him (he looks like a very alright bloke to me).”.

From reading comments on his own web log as well as elsewhere, Goldacre concluded that he thought that “a lot of people might feel it’s reporter Ben Moore, and the rest of his doubtless extensive team, the people who drove the story, who we’d want to see answering the questions from the mathematicians.”.

Andrej Bauer, a professional mathematician from Slovenia writing on the Bad Science web log, stated that “whoever reported on this failed to call a university professor to check whether it was really new. Any university professor would have told this reporter that there are many ways of dealing with division by zero, and that Mr. Anderson’s was just one of known ones.”

Ollie Williams, one of the BBC Radio Berkshire reporters who wrote the BBC story, initially stated that “It seems odd to me that his theory would get as far as television if it’s so easily blown out of the water by visitors to our site, so there must be something more to it.” and directly responded to criticisms of BBC journalism on several points on his web log.

He pointed out that people should remember that his target audience was local people in Berkshire with no mathematical knowledge, and that he was “not writing for a global audience of mathematicians”. “Some people have had a go at Dr Anderson for using simplified terminology too,” he continued, “but he knows we’re playing to a mainstream audience, and at the time we filmed him, he was showing his theory to a class of schoolchildren. Those circumstances were never going to breed an in-depth half-hour scientific discussion, and none of our regular readers would want that.”.

On the matter of fact checking, he replied that “if you only want us to report scientific news once it’s appeared, peer-reviewed, in a recognised journal, it’s going to be very dry, and it probably won’t be news.”, adding that “It’s not for the BBC to become a journal of mathematics — that’s the job of journals of mathematics. It’s for the BBC to provide lively science reporting that engages and involves people. And if you look at the original page, you’ll find a list as long as your arm of engaged and involved people.”.

Williams pointed out that “We did not present Dr Anderson’s theory as gospel, although with hindsight it could have been made clearer that this is very much a theory and by no means universally accepted. But we certainly weren’t shouting a mathematical revolution from the rooftops. Dr Anderson has, in one or two places, been chastised for coming to the media with his theory instead of his peers — a sure sign of a quack, boffin and/or crank according to one blogger. Actually, one of our reporters happened to meet him during a demonstration against the closure of the university’s physics department a couple of weeks ago, got chatting, and discovered Dr Anderson reckoned he was onto something. He certainly didn’t break the door down looking for media coverage.”.

Some commentators, at the BBC web page and at Slashdot, have attempted serious mathematical descriptions of what Anderson has done, and subjected it to analysis. One description was that Anderson has taken the field of real numbers and given it complete closure so that all six of the common arithmetic operators were surjective functions, resulting in “an object which is barely a commutative ring (with operators with tons of funky corner cases)” and no actual gain “in terms of new theorems or strong relation statements from the extra axioms he has to tack on”.

Jamie Sawyer, a mathematics undergraduate at the University of Warwick writing in the Warwick Maths Society discussion forum, describes what Anderson has done as deciding that R ? { ? ? , + ? } {\displaystyle \mathbb {R} \cup \lbrace -\infty ,+\infty \rbrace } , the so-called extended real number line, is “not good enough […] because of the wonderful issue of what 0 0 {\displaystyle {\frac {0}{0}}} is equal to” and therefore creating a number system R ? { ? ? , ? , + ? } {\displaystyle \mathbb {R} \cup \lbrace -\infty ,\Phi ,+\infty \rbrace } .

Andrej Bauer stated that Anderson’s axioms of transreal arithmetic “are far from being original. First, you can adjoin + ? {\displaystyle +\infty } and ? ? {\displaystyle -\infty } to obtain something called the extended real line. Then you can adjoin a bottom element to represent an undefined value. This is all standard and quite old. In fact, it is well known in domain theory, which deals with how to represent things we compute with, that adjoining just bottom to the reals is not a good idea. It is better to adjoin many so-called partial elements, which denote approximations to reals. Bottom is then just the trivial approximation which means something like ‘any real’ or ‘undefined real’.”

Commentators have pointed out that in the field of mathematical analysis, 0 0 {\displaystyle {\frac {0}{0}}} (which Anderson has defined axiomatically to be ? {\displaystyle \Phi } ) is the limit of several functions, each of which tends to a different value at its limit:

  • lim x ? 0 x 0 {\displaystyle \lim _{x\to 0}{\frac {x}{0}}} has two different limits, depending from whether x {\displaystyle x} approaches zero from a positive or from a negative direction.
  • lim x ? 0 0 x {\displaystyle \lim _{x\to 0}{\frac {0}{x}}} also has two different limits. (This is the argument that commentators gave. In fact, 0 x {\displaystyle {\frac {0}{x}}} has the value 0 {\displaystyle 0} for all x ? 0 {\displaystyle x\neq 0} , and thus only one limit. It is simply discontinuous for x = 0 {\displaystyle x=0} . However, that limit is different to the two limits for lim x ? 0 x 0 {\displaystyle \lim _{x\to 0}{\frac {x}{0}}} , supporting the commentators’ main point that the values of the various limits are all different.)
  • Whilst sin ? 0 = 0 {\displaystyle \sin 0=0} , the limit lim x ? 0 sin ? x x {\displaystyle \lim _{x\to 0}{\frac {\sin x}{x}}} can be shown to be 1, by expanding the sine function as an infinite Taylor series, dividing the series by x {\displaystyle x} , and then taking the limit of the result, which is 1.
  • Whilst 1 ? cos ? 0 = 0 {\displaystyle 1-\cos 0=0} , the limit lim x ? 0 1 ? cos ? x x {\displaystyle \lim _{x\to 0}{\frac {1-\cos x}{x}}} can be shown to be 0, by expanding the cosine function as an infinite Taylor series, dividing the series subtracted from 1 by x {\displaystyle x} , and then taking the limit of the result, which is 0.

Commentators have also noted l’Hôpital’s rule.

It has been pointed out that Anderson’s set of transreal numbers is not, unlike the set of real numbers, a mathematical field. Simon Tatham, author of PuTTY, stated that Anderson’s system “doesn’t even think about the field axioms: addition is no longer invertible, multiplication isn’t invertible on nullity or infinity (or zero, but that’s expected!). So if you’re working in the transreals or transrationals, you can’t do simple algebraic transformations such as cancelling x {\displaystyle x} and ? x {\displaystyle -x} when both occur in the same expression, because that transformation becomes invalid if x {\displaystyle x} is nullity or infinity. So even the simplest exercises of ordinary algebra spew off a constant stream of ‘unless x is nullity’ special cases which you have to deal with separately — in much the same way that the occasional division spews off an ‘unless x is zero’ special case, only much more often.”

Tatham stated that “It’s telling that this monstrosity has been dreamed up by a computer scientist: persistent error indicators and universal absorbing states can often be good computer science, but he’s stepped way outside his field of competence if he thinks that that also makes them good maths.”, continuing that Anderson has “also totally missed the point when he tries to compute things like 0 0 {\displaystyle 0^{0}} using his arithmetic. The reason why things like that are generally considered to be ill-defined is not because of a lack of facile ‘proofs’ showing them to have one value or another; it’s because of a surfeit of such ‘proofs’ all of which disagree! Adding another one does not (as he appears to believe) solve any problem at all.” (In other words: 0 0 {\displaystyle 0^{0}} is what is known in mathematical analysis as an indeterminate form.)

To many observers, it appears that Anderson has done nothing more than re-invent the idea of “NaN“, a special value that computers have been using in floating-point calculations to represent undefined results for over two decades. In the various international standards for computing, including the IEEE floating-point standard and IBM’s standard for decimal arithmetic, a division of any non-zero number by zero results in one of two special infinity values, “+Inf” or “-Inf”, the sign of the infinity determined by the signs of the two operands (Negative zero exists in floating-point representations.); and a division of zero by zero results in NaN.

Anderson himself denies that he has re-invented NaN, and in fact claims that there are problems with NaN that are not shared by nullity. According to Anderson, “mathematical arithmetic is sociologically invalid” and IEEE floating-point arithmetic, with NaN, is also faulty. In one of his papers on a “perspex machine” dealing with “The Axioms of Transreal Arithmetic” (Jamie Sawyer writes that he has “worries about something which appears to be named after a plastic” — “Perspex” being a trade name for polymethyl methacrylate in the U.K..) Anderson writes:

We cannot accept an arithmetic in which a number is not equal to itself (NaN != NaN), or in which there are three kinds of numbers: plain numbers, silent numbers, and signalling numbers; because, on writing such a number down, in daily discourse, we can not always distinguish which kind of number it is and, even if we adopt some notational convention to make the distinction clear, we cannot know how the signalling numbers are to be used in the absence of having the whole program and computer that computed them available. So whilst IEEE floating-point arithmetic is an improvement on real arithmetic, in so far as it is total, not partial, both arithmetics are invalid models of arithmetic.

In fact, the standard convention for distinguishing the two types of NaNs when writing them down can be seen in ISO/IEC 10967, another international standard for how computers deal with numbers, which uses “qNaN” for non-signalling (“quiet”) NaNs and “sNaN” for signalling NaNs. Anderson continues:

[NaN’s] semantics are not defined, except by a long list of special cases in the IEEE standard.

“In other words,” writes Scott Lamb, a BSc. in Computer Science from the University of Idaho, “they are defined, but he doesn’t like the definition.”.

The main difference between nullity and NaN, according to both Anderson and commentators, is that nullity compares equal to nullity, whereas NaN does not compare equal to NaN. Commentators have pointed out that in very short order this difference leads to contradictory results. They stated that it requires only a few lines of proof, for example, to demonstrate that in Anderson’s system of “transreal arithmetic” both 1 = 2 {\displaystyle 1=2} and 1 ? 2 {\displaystyle 1\neq 2} , after which, in one commentator’s words, one can “prove anything that you like”. In aiming to provide a complete system of arithmetic, by adding extra axioms defining the results of the division of zero by zero and of the consequent operations on that result, half as many again as the number of axioms of real-number arithmetic, Anderson has produced a self-contradictory system of arithmetic, in accordance with Gödel’s incompleteness theorems.

One reader-submitted comment appended to the BBC news article read “Step 1. Create solution 2. Create problem 3. PROFIT!”, an allusion to the business plan employed by the underpants gnomes of the comedy television series South Park. In fact, Anderson does plan to profit from nullity, having registered on the 27th of July, 2006 a private limited company named Transreal Computing Ltd, whose mission statement is “to develop hardware and software to bring you fast and safe computation that does not fail on division by zero” and to “promote education and training in transreal computing”. The company is currently “in the research and development phase prior to trading in hardware and software”.

In a presentation given to potential investors in his company at the ANGLE plc showcase on the 28th of November, 2006, held at the University of Reading, Anderson stated his aims for the company as being:

To investors, Anderson makes the following promises:

  • “I will help you develop a curriculum for transreal arithmetic if you want me to.”
  • “I will help you unify QED and gravitation if you want me to.”
  • “I will build a transreal supercomputer.”

He asks potential investors:

  • “How much would you pay to know that the engine in your ship, car, aeroplane, or heart pacemaker won’t just stop dead?”
  • “How much would you pay to know that your Government’s computer controlled military hardware won’t just stop or misfire?”

The current models of computer arithmetic are, in fact, already designed to allow programmers to write programs that will continue in the event of a division by zero. The IEEE’s Frequently Asked Questions document for the floating-point standard gives this reply to the question “Why doesn’t division by zero (or overflow, or underflow) stop the program or trigger an error?”:

“The [IEEE] 754 model encourages robust programs. It is intended not only for numerical analysts but also for spreadsheet users, database systems, or even coffee pots. The propagation rules for NaNs and infinities allow inconsequential exceptions to vanish. Similarly, gradual underflow maintains error properties over a precision’s range.
“When exceptional situations need attention, they can be examined immediately via traps or at a convenient time via status flags. Traps can be used to stop a program, but unrecoverable situations are extremely rare. Simply stopping a program is not an option for embedded systems or network agents. More often, traps log diagnostic information or substitute valid results.”

Simon Tatham stated that there is a basic problem with Anderson’s ideas, and thus with the idea of building a transreal supercomputer: “It’s a category error. The Anderson transrationals and transreals are theoretical algebraic structures, capable of representing arbitrarily big and arbitrarily precise numbers. So the question of their error-propagation semantics is totally meaningless: you don’t use them for down-and-dirty error-prone real computation, you use them for proving theorems. If you want to use this sort of thing in a computer, you have to think up some concrete representation of Anderson transfoos in bits and bytes, which will (if only by the limits of available memory) be unable to encompass the entire range of the structure. And the point at which you make this transition from theoretical abstract algebra to concrete bits and bytes is precisely where you should also be putting in error handling, because it’s where errors start to become possible. We define our theoretical algebraic structures to obey lots of axioms (like the field axioms, and total ordering) which make it possible to reason about them efficiently in the proving of theorems. We define our practical number representations in a computer to make it easy to detect errors. The Anderson transfoos are a consequence of fundamentally confusing the one with the other, and that by itself ought to be sufficient reason to hurl them aside with great force.”

Geomerics, a start-up company specializing in simulation software for physics and lighting and funded by ANGLE plc, had been asked to look into Anderson’s work by an unnamed client. Rich Wareham, a Senior Research and Development Engineer at Geomerics and a MEng. from the University of Cambridge, stated that Anderson’s system “might be a more interesting set of axioms for dealing with arithmetic exceptions but it isn’t the first attempt at just defining away the problem. Indeed it doesn’t fundamentally change anything. The reason computer programs crash when they divide by zero is not that the hardware can produce no result, merely that the programmer has not dealt with NaNs as they propagate through. Not dealing with nullities will similarly lead to program crashes.”

“Do the Anderson transrational semantics give any advantage over the IEEE ones?”, Wareham asked, answering “Well one assumes they have been thought out to be useful in themselves rather than to just propagate errors but I’m not sure that seeing a nullity pop out of your code would lead you to do anything other than what would happen if a NaN or Inf popped out, namely signal an error.”.

Israel Journal: Is Yossi Vardi a good father to his entrepreneurial children?


Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 25-10-2019

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wikinews reporter David Shankbone is currently, courtesy of the Israeli government and friends, visiting Israel. This is a first-hand account of his experiences and may — as a result — not fully comply with Wikinews’ neutrality policy. Please note this is a journalism experiment for Wikinews and put constructive criticism on the collaboration page.

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Dr. Yossi Vardi is known as Israel’s ‘Father of the Entrepreneur’, and he has many children in the form of technology companies he has helped to incubate in Tel Aviv‘s booming Internet sector. At the offices of Superna, one such company, he introduced a whirlwind of presentations from his baby incubators to a group of journalists. What stuck most in my head was when Vardi said, “What is important is not the technology, but the talent.” Perhaps because he repeated this after each young Internet entrepreneur showed us his or her latest creation under Vardi’s tutelage. I had a sense of déjà vu from this mantra. A casual reader of the newspapers during the Dot.com boom will remember a glut of stories that could be called “The Rise of the Failure”; people whose technology companies had collapsed were suddenly hot commodities to start up new companies. This seemingly paradoxical thinking was talked about as new back then; but even Thomas Edison—the Father of Invention—is oft-quoted for saying, “I have not failed. I have just found ten thousand ways that won’t work.”

Vardi’s focus on encouraging his brood of talent regardless of the practicalities stuck out to me because of a recent pair of “dueling studies” The New York Times has printed. These are the sort of studies that confuse parents on how to raise their kids. The first, by Carol Dweck at Stanford University, came to the conclusion that children who are not praised for their efforts, regardless of the outcome’s success, rarely attempt more challenging and complex pursuits. According to Dweck’s study, when a child knows that they will receive praise for being right instead of for tackling difficult problems, even if they fail, they will simply elect to take on easy tasks in which they are assured of finding the solution.

Only one month earlier the Times produced another story for parents to agonize over, this time based on a study from the Brookings Institution, entitled “Are Kids Getting Too Much Praise?” Unlike Dweck’s clinical study, Brookings drew conclusions from statistical data that could be influenced by a variety of factors (since there was no clinical control). The study found American kids are far more confident that they have done well than their Korean counterparts, even when the inverse is true. The Times adds in the words of a Harvard faculty psychologist who intoned, “Self-esteem is based on real accomplishments. It’s all about letting kids shine in a realistic way.” But this is not the first time the self-esteem generation’s proponents have been criticized.

Vardi clearly would find himself encouraged by Dweck’s study, though, based upon how often he seemed to ask us to keep our eyes on the people more than the products. That’s not to say he has not found his latest ICQ, though only time—and consumers—will tell.

For a Web 2.User like myself, I was most fascinated by Fixya, a site that, like Wikipedia, exists on the free work of people with knowledge. Fixya is a tech support site where people who are having problems with equipment ask a question and it is answered by registered “experts.” These experts are the equivalent of Wikipedia’s editors: they are self-ordained purveyors of solutions. But instead of solving a mystery of knowledge a reader has in their head, these experts solve a problem related to something you have bought and do not understand. From baby cribs to cellular phones, over 500,000 products are “supported” on Fixya’s website. The Fixya business model relies upon the good will of its experts to want to help other people through the ever-expanding world of consumer appliances. But it is different from Wikipedia in two important ways. First, Fixya is for-profit. The altruistic exchange of information is somewhat dampened by the knowledge that somebody, somewhere, is profiting from whatever you give. Second, with Wikipedia it is very easy for a person to type in a few sentences about a subject on an article about the Toshiba Satellite laptop, but to answer technical problems a person is experiencing seems like a different realm. But is it? “It’s a beautiful thing. People really want to help other people,” said the presenter, who marveled at the community that has already developed on Fixya. “Another difference from Wikipedia is that we have a premium content version of the site.” Their premium site is where they envision making their money. Customers with a problem will assign a dollar amount based upon how badly they need an answer to a question, and the expert-editors of Fixya will share in the payment for the resolved issue. Like Wikipedia, reputation is paramount to Fixya’s experts. Whereas Wikipedia editors are judged by how they are perceived in the Wiki community, the amount of barnstars they receive and by the value of their contributions, Fixya’s customers rate its experts based upon the usefulness of their advice. The site is currently working on offering extended warranties with some manufacturers, although it was not clear how that would work on a site that functioned on the work of any expert.

Another collaborative effort product presented to us was YouFig, which is software designed to allow a group of people to collaborate on work product. This is not a new idea, although may web-based products have generally fallen flat. The idea is that people who are working on a multi-media project can combine efforts to create a final product. They envision their initial market to be academia, but one could see the product stretching to fields such as law, where large litigation projects with high-level of collaboration on both document creation and media presentation; in business, where software aimed at product development has generally not lived up to its promises; and in the science and engineering fields, where multi-media collaboration is quickly becoming not only the norm, but a necessity.

For the popular consumer market, Superna, whose offices hosted our meeting, demonstrated their cost-saving vision for the Smart Home (SH). Current SH systems require a large, expensive server in order to coordinate all the electronic appliances in today’s air-conditioned, lit and entertainment-saturated house. Such coordinating servers can cost upwards of US$5,000, whereas Superna’s software can turn a US$1,000 hand-held tablet PC into household remote control.

There were a few start-ups where Vardi’s fatherly mentoring seemed more at play than long-term practical business modeling. In the hot market of WiFi products, WeFi is software that will allow groups of users, such as friends, share knowledge about the location of free Internet WiFi access, and also provide codes and keys for certain hot spots, with access provided only to the trusted users within a group. The mock-up that was shown to us had a Google Maps-esque city block that had green points to the known hot spots that are available either for free (such as those owned by good Samaritans who do not secure their WiFi access) or for pay, with access information provided for that location. I saw two long-term problems: first, WiMAX, which is able to provide Internet access to people for miles within its range. There is already discussion all over the Internet as to whether this technology will eventually make WiFi obsolete, negating the need to find “hot spots” for a group of friends. Taiwan is already testing an island-wide WiMAX project. The second problem is if good Samaritans are more easily located, instead of just happened-upon, how many will keep their WiFi access free? It has already become more difficult to find people willing to contribute to free Internet. Even in Tel Aviv, and elsewhere, I have come across several secure wireless users who named their network “Fuck Off” in an in-your-face message to freeloaders.

Another child of Vardi’s that the Brookings Institution might say was over-praised for self-esteem but lacking real accomplishment is AtlasCT, although reportedly Nokia offered to pay US$8.1 million for the software, which they turned down. It is again a map-based software that allows user-generated photographs to be uploaded to personalized street maps that they can share with friends, students, colleagues or whomever else wants to view a person’s slideshow from their vacation to Paris (“Dude, go to the icon over Boulevard Montmartre and you’ll see this girl I thought was hot outside the Hard Rock Cafe!”) Aside from the idea that many people probably have little interest in looking at the photo journey of someone they know (“You can see how I traced the steps of Jesus in the Galilee“), it is also easy to imagine Google coming out with its own freeware that would instantly trump this program. Although one can see an e-classroom in architecture employing such software to allow students to take a walking tour through Rome, its desirability may be limited.

Whether Vardi is a smart parent for his encouragement, or in fact propping up laggards, is something only time will tell him as he attempts to bring these products of his children to market. The look of awe that came across each company’s representative whenever he entered the room provided the answer to the question of Who’s your daddy?

Category:Science and technology


Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 25-10-2019

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Digital security researchers publicly reveal vulnerability in WPA2 WiFi protocol


Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 25-10-2019

Thursday, October 19, 2017

On Monday, digital security researchers Mathy Vanhoef and Frank Piessens of Belgium’s KU Leuven university publicly disclosed a security vulnerability in the WPA2 Wi-Fi (wireless local-area networking) protocol, which they called KRACK (for Key Reinstallation Attack). Their study claimed KRACK affects every modern device using Wi-Fi; it can be fixed by a software update, researchers said.

Vanhoef wrote, “Attackers can use this novel attack technique to read information that was previously assumed to be safely encrypted. This can be abused to steal sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords, chat messages, emails, photos and so on.” Vanhoef notified vendors about the flaw in July, including UNIX-like operating system OpenBSD. “If your device supports Wi-Fi, it is most likely affected. […] In general, any data or information that the victim transmits can be decrypted”, he wrote.

The study papers, which were submitted for review on May 19, were kept in confidence allowing companies to fix the security flaw. The United States-based Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) informed vendors on August 28. The Wi-Fi Alliance said it “could be resolved through a straightforward software update.” OpenBSD released their software patch on August 30.

Exploring the flaw which affected every device the researchers had tested, National Cyber Security Centre of the UK said “the attacker would have to be physically close to the target”. But due to this flaw, an attacker can send malware or ransomware on the websites, Vanhoef claimed.

Linux-based operating systems including Android v6.0 and higher are especially affected by this flaw, while Windows and iOS are not as vulnerable as Android by this flaw as they do not fully implement WPA2.

Microsoft reportedly has released security patches for Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10. Google said Android operating systems would receive the updates in the software update scheduled to be made available on November 6. Apple has implemented the patch in the beta versions of their operating system iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS, however it is yet to roll out patches for stable operating systems.

WPA2 protocol has been used for more than a decade, and has been compulsory for Wi-Fi since 2006. KRACK would also affect various home appliances which can be controlled over Wi-Fi, within the so-called “Internet of things”. Andrew Martin from Oxford University said, “We can be sure a lot of these devices won’t be patched[…] Whether that matters for this attack or only for some future attack is yet to be seen.”

The study and its findings are scheduled for presentation at the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) Computer and Communications Security conference on November 1.

2007 Twenty20 World Championship: West Indies vs Bangladesh


Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 25-10-2019

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bangladesh have beaten West Indies by six wickets in Group A of the 2007 Twenty20 World Championship at Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa.

The defeat eliminates West Indies from the tournament after their defeat to South Africa earlier in the week, while Bangladesh and South Africa will progress to the Super 8 stage.

The Bangladeshi bowlers stopped West Indies from making a big score and restricted them to only 164 runs from their 20 overs. Chris Gayle, who made a century in the match against South Africa, fell for a duck in the first over. Shakib Al Hasan took 4-34, while Syed Rasel took one wicket for just ten runs, including the valuable wicket of Chris Gayle, to restrict the West Indies. Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Devon Smith steadied the ship with a 95 run partnership. Devon Smith scored 51, while Dwayne Smith hit 29 runs off 7 balls as West Indies recovered to 164-8.

Bangladesh lost opening batsman Nazimuddin in the second over for just one run, followed by Tamim Iqbal for 10 soon afterwards. However Mohammad Ashraful and Aftab Ahmed shared a 109 run partnership as Ashraful scored the fastest half century in international Twenty20, smashing 61 runs off 27 balls. Aftab Ahmed finished on 62 not out and Bangladesh won the match with twelve balls remaining.

Toss: Bangladesh won, and chose to field first.

20px West Indies innings
Player Status Runs Balls 4s 6s Strike rate
C H Gayle c Alok Kapali b Syed Rasel 0 3 0 0 0.00
D S Smith b Abdur Razzak 51 52 6 0 98.07
S Chanderpaul c Mashrafe Mortaza b Abdur Razzak 37 31 3 2 119.35
M N Samuels c Shakib Al Hasan b Mohammad Ashraful 27 14 2 2 192.85
R R Sarwan st Mushfiqur Rahim b Shakib Al Hasan 5 7 0 0 71.42
D Ramdin c Mushfiqur Rahim b Shakib Al Hasan 2 3 0 0 66.66
D R Smith b Shakib Al Hasan 29 7 1 4 414.28
D J Bravo st Mushfiqur Rahim b Shakib Al Hasan 2 2 0 0 100.00
D B L Powell not out 1 1 0 0 100.00
Extras (lb 2; w 8) 10
Total (8 wickets; 20 overs) 164 12 8

Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Gayle, 0.3 ov), 2-95 (Chanderpaul, 13.4 ov), 3-104 (DS Smith, 15.3 ov), 4-126 (Samuels, 16.6 ov), 5-131 (Ramdin, 17.5 ov), 6-155 (Sarwan, 19.1 ov), 7-157 (Bravo, 19.3 ov), 8-164 (DR Smith, 19.6 ov)

Did not bat: R Rampaul, F H Edwards

Bangladesh bowling
Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets Econ
Syed Rasel 4 1 10 1 2.50
Abdur Razzak 4 0 25 2 6.25
Mashrafe Mortaza 2 0 16 0 8.00
Farhad Reza 2 0 22 0 11.00
Shakib Al Hasan 4 0 34 4 8.50
Mohammad Ashraful 4 0 55 1 13.75
Bangladesh innings (Target: 165 runs from 20 overs)
Player Status Runs Balls 4s 6s Strike rate
Tamim Iqbal c Chanderpaul b Rampaul 10 13 2 0 76.92
Nazimuddin c Sarwan b Rampaul 1 4 0 0 25.00
Aftab Ahmed not out 62 49 8 1 126.53
Mohammad Ashraful c Gayle b Sarwan 61 27 7 3 225.92
Shakib Al Hasan c Powell b Sarwan 13 9 1 0 144.44
Alok Kapali not out 5 7 0 0 71.42
Extras (lb 4; w 8; nb 1) 13
Total (4 wickets; 18 overs) 165 18 4

Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Nazimuddin, 1.1 ov), 2-28 (Tamim Iqbal, 3.6 ov), 3-137 (Mohammad Ashraful, 14.2 ov), 4-159 (Shakib Al Hasan, 16.2 ov)

Did not bat: Farhad Reza, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mashrafe Mortaza, Syed Rasel, Abdur Razzak

20px West Indies bowling
Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets Econ
D B L Powell 3 0 28 0 9.33
R Rampaul 4 0 35 2 8.75
C H Gayle 4 0 21 0 5.25
F H Edwards 3 0 33 0 11.00
D J Bravo 2 0 34 0 17.00
R R Sarwan 2 0 10 2 5.00

Bangladesh:Tamim Iqbal, Nazimuddin, Aftab Ahmed, Mohammad Ashraful (capt), Shakib Al Hasan, Alok Kapali, Farhad Reza, Mushfiqur Rahim (wkt), Mashrafe Mortaza, Syed Rasel, Abdur Razzak

West Indies: C H Gayle, D S Smith, S Chanderpaul, M N Samuels, R R Sarwan (capt), D J Bravo, D Ramdin (wkt), D R Smith, D B L Powell, R Rampaul, F H Edwards

Man of the Match: Mohammad Ashraful (Bangladesh)

Wikipedia has more about this subject:

Umpires: M R Benson (England) and N J Llong (England)TV Umpire: D J Harper (Australia)Match Referee: B C Broad (England)Reserve Umpire: K H Hurter (South Africa)

Affordable Health Insurance In Middletown, Ct


Posted by Admin | Posted in Home Care Services | Posted on 25-10-2019

byAlma Abell

Health emergencies can be very expensive, especially if you do not have money reserved for medical needs. Health insurance can help you plan ahead for these emergencies, and you do not have to break the bank to keep yourself protected. Finding affordable health insurance in Middletown, CT used to be nearly impossible years ago, but with new plans set up for the individual patient, it can be much easier to get health insurance that caters to your needs.

The biggest source of health insurance is through one’s employer. Some companies will offer you the opportunity for health insurance after you have been with them for a set period of time or work specific hours. A large number of employers receive health insurance that enables their workers to receive the coverage.

Larger health insurance companies are typically considered open water to anyone who doesn’t have health insurance. They specialize in providing health insurance to each individual within a reasonable budget while still meeting the wants and needs of the person.

The cost of your health insurance can vary for a number of different reasons, your age being a key factor. The premiums and rates will change within your policy as you age. It will also depend upon the number of people in your family who are covered under the insurance.

It’s important to know the drawbacks of any health insurance company you are interested in. You need to know about the rates that will change, the limitations on coverage, and their policy on pre-existing conditions. Some companies will outright refuse an individual because of a pre-existing condition. If you get denied because of a pre-existing condition, there are other companies that will accept you under the condition that you pay more for their services.

Health insurance will vary from company to company, plan to plan, or policy to policy. It’s important to review everything about health insurance in Middletown, CT and the company you’re interested in before applying for the insurance.

When trying to choose a health insurance policy to go with, it’s never good to go on an impulse. It’s best to do research about each company and their history. The best place to start is directly through them; it’s best to Visit Website to find key information about what credentials they have as well as the care services they have offered.

Stolen minibus recovered 35 years after theft


Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 25-10-2019

Friday, November 6, 2009

A 1965 Volkswagen minibus that was stolen in 1974 has been recovered by customs agents in Los Angeles. The vintage minibus was in pristine condition, valued at $25,000, and was found during a routine inspection of a shipping container scheduled for departure to The Netherlands. A routine computer database search on its vehicle identification number flagged it as having been stolen from a vehicle upholstery shop in Spokane, Washington on July 12, 1974. A custom restoration business in Arizona was attempting to deliver it to overseas clients last month when authorities intercepted the vehicle.

“Pretty amazing, isn’t it?”

The theft appeared on the National Insurance Crime Bureau database, which is used by border authorities and contains all stolen vehicle records. Most police databases remove unsolved vehicle thefts after five years.

The California Highway Patrol does not suspect the restorer of wrongdoing, according to investigating officer Mike Maleta. Possession of the vehicle apparently changed several times. Police in Spokane have not yet located the rightful owner, whose identity has not been released to the press. Maleta hopes that a trail of registration documents and interviews will uncover the thief.

“[The restoration firm owner is] a victim himself. He was an innocent purchaser…”

The Allstate insurance company paid $2500 shortly after the theft occurred and wants to take possession of the vintage minibus. Allstate spokeswoman Megan Brunet expects that after the necessary paperwork is processed the firm will sell it at auction.

Second Darwin’s sandwich shop opens in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA


Posted by Admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 25-10-2019

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Darwin’s Ltd. opened a second location of their sandwich shop at 1613 Cambridge Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in late May. It is situated across from Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Previously limited to one location at 148 Mount Auburn Street, the second store seats approximately 30 people and sells sandwiches, coffee drinks, locally made pastries, as well as some produce and snack foods. The establishment also provides free wireless access through the WanderingWifi service. The shop plays music during the day; during this reporter’s visit to the shop, selections played ranged from David Bowie to The Strokes. The store is air-conditioned.

Key differences between the original store and the new one include the unification of the cafe and the sandwich line now behind one counter, handicap accessible restrooms, no beer or wine sold at location, and a lack of a loyal customer base. Although the recent months have been slow, business is expected to pick up with the return of Cambridge area students this autumn.

While the original location of Darwin’s was recently cited for lacking sneeze guards before the kitchen counter, according to the Cambridge Chronicle, the new Darwin’s has acrylic sheets along the front of their sandwich counter. The original Darwin’s has installed the sneeze guard at the kitchen counter the day following citation.

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.