Computer beats humans at crosswords – News in English – Computer beats humans at crosswords
Computers won a points victory over human crossword puzzle enthusiasts at a contest organised during the European Conference on Artificial Intelligence here .

Webcrow, the first Italian software able to tackle a crossword, uses the Internet as a gigantic library. The man-versus-machine contest echoed events held in the 1980s where computers played chess against masters . Continue reading “Computer beats humans at crosswords”

Google :Download the classics

Official Google Blog: Download the classics
Starting today, you can go to Google Book Search and download full copies of out-of-copyright books to read at your own pace. You’re free to choose from a diverse collection of public domain titles — from well-known classics to obscure gems.

Before the rise of the public library -– a story chronicled in this 1897 edition of The Free Library – access to large collections of books was the privilege of a wealthy minority. Now, with the help of our wonderful library partners, we’re able to offer you the ability to download and read PDF versions of out-of-copyright books from some of the world’s greatest collections.

Starbucks Pulls Free Coffee Promotion

Starbucks Pulls Free Coffee Promotion –
There’s no such thing as a free iced coffee at Starbucks – at least not anymore.

The world’s largest specialty coffee chain has pulled the plug on what was supposed to be a nearly five-week promotion after an e-mail coupon spread farther and wider than the company anticipated. Continue reading “Starbucks Pulls Free Coffee Promotion”

Islamic “Pleasure Marriages”

MEMRI: Latest News

It seems reasonable to assume that much of the adolescent rage of the Arab Street was sexual frustration. So this debate about the legitimacy of this Islamic form of dating and polygamy is important. After all, why wait for the 72 virgins, when you can have it all now?
For over a decade, the phenomenon of marriage without commitment, called misyar marriage, has been spreading throughout the Sunni Muslim world, particularly in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf countries.(1) In such marriages, the woman relinquishes some of the rights that Islam grants her, such as the right to a home and to financial support from her husband, and, if he has other wives, the right to an equal part of his time and attention. In most cases, these marriages are secret, without the knowledge of the man’s other wives – even though a marriage contract is drawn up in the presence of witnesses, and although consent is commonly obtained from the woman’s guardian, and the marriage is registered and documented at the courthouse. Demand is high for misyar marriages on online matchmaking sites, as well as through services using text messages and email.(2) Continue reading “Islamic “Pleasure Marriages””

What Next?

What Next?
Perhaps the most tragic example of the problems created by large refugee flows occurred in the wake of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. After the Hutu-led genocide resulted in the death of 800,000 to 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus, the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front “invaded” the country from neighboring Uganda. The RPF was drawn from the 500,000 or so Tutsis who had already fled Rwanda from past pogroms. As the RPF swept through Rwanda, almost 1 million Hutus fled to neighboring Congo, fearing that the evil they did unto others would be done unto them.

For two years after 1994, Hutu bands continued to conduct raids in Rwanda and began to work with Congolese dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. The new RPF government of Rwanda responded by attacking not only the Hutu militia camps, but also its much larger neighbor, bolstering a formerly obscure Congolese opposition leader named Laurent Kabila and installing him in power in Kinshasa. A civil war in Congo ensued, killing perhaps 4 million people.

Afghanistan: 21 mil population, civil war 1989-2001, 76k dead and 6 mil displaced.
Bosnia: 4.4 mil pop, 1991-95, 250k dead and 2.3 mil displaced.
Congo: 60 mil popl, 1991-2006, 4.3 mil dead and 2.7 mil displaced.

Croatia: 4.5 mil popl, 1991-1995, 17k dead, 1 mil displaced.

Kosovo: 1.8 mil pop, 1998-99, 12k dead, 1.3 mil displaced.

Lebannon: 2.7 mil pop, 1975-90, 150k dead and 800k displaced.

Rwanda: 7.7 mil pop, 1994-95, 950k dead and 2 mil displaced.

Somalia: 8.9 mil pop, 1990-2006, 550k dead and 400k displaced.

Fed Chief Gives Seminar on History of Globalization

Fed Chief Gives Seminar on History of Globalization – New York Times

Mr. Bernanke said.

“The emergence of China, India and the former Communist-bloc countries implies that the greater part of the earth’s population is now engaged, at least potentially, in the global economy,” “There are no historical antecedents for this development.”

Those expansions shared many common themes with trends of today, he said, including the role of new technologies in opening up trade opportunities as well as similar social and political backlashes from groups whose lives were disrupted by new competition. (Think of the Islamic return-to-roots backlash to Globalization). Continue reading “Fed Chief Gives Seminar on History of Globalization”

Echo Boomers

From Thomas Barnett’s seminal book “Blueprint For Action”

As 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft put it in his profile of the cohort, “Echo boomers are the most watched-over generation in history. Most have never ridden a bike without a helmet, ridden in a car without a seat belt, or eaten in a cafeteria that serves peanut butter.” As a result, they are naturally team-oriented overachievers who, unlike previous recent generations, trust the government, hold traditional values, and emulate their parents instinctively.

The Echo Boomers, or the huge 80-million-plus generation of Americans born between 1980 and 1995 (the largest generation this country has ever known), … come the year 2025, they’ll be the cohort (age thirty to forty-five) that’s doing the most moving and shaking in our economy and political scene. Continue reading “Echo Boomers”

Acronym and abbreviation dictionary

Acronym and abbreviation dictionary: Find out what over 3,008,000 abbreviations, acronyms, and initialisms stand for
With more than 500,000 human-edited entries, Acronym Finder is the world’s largest and most comprehensive dictionary of acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms. Combined with the Acronym Attic, Acronym Finder contains more than 3 million acronyms and abbreviations. (Thanks to Natalia for this link).

‘God spot’ researchers see the light in MRI study

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | ‘God spot’ researchers see the light in MRI study
Brain scans of nuns have revealed intricate neural circuits that flicker into life when they feel the presence of God.

The images suggest that feelings of profound joy and union with a higher being that accompany religious experiences are the culmination of ramped-up electrical activity in parts of the brain. Continue reading “‘God spot’ researchers see the light in MRI study”

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