Already Afraid to Open Your Web Browser? Meet the "Evercookie"

As security guru Bruce Schneier writes, "the arms race continues." I do wonder if, when, or how there will be a computer users' revolt against tracking tools like this one.

The Computer as Oracle

When given strong data to work with, computers can do a good job of beating humans in predicting what the masses will embrace. BusinessWeek has an interesting recap of successful machine-made future-gazing.

Should the Digital Divide Be Closed?

Computer access and test scores.

Computers Help Children Learn Computer Skills, But What Else?

There's a new working paper (summary here; PDF here) from Ofer Malamud and Cristian Pop-Eleches called "Home Computer Use and the Development of Human Capital."

Man vs. Machine on Jeopardy

IBM researchers are hard at work creating a computer that will match wits against humans on the television show Jeopardy. Compared to checkers, chess, or backgammon, playing Jeopardy would seem to be a hard task for a computer because language is such a fundamental part of answering the questions correctly.

Precision Hacking

Take a look at the final vote tally in Time magazine's online poll of the most influential people.

It doesn't take long to come to the conclusion that things didn't turn out quite as one would expect; I'd never even heard of a handful of the folks who ended up near the top of the list, including the winner, Moot, who both has way more votes than anyone else and a much higher average rating.

Fun With WolframAlpha

The jury's still out on whether will turn into a tool that is useful to solve real world computational problems, but it certainly is fun to play with.

The Games We Teach Computers to Play

Computers are sophisticated enough to play a flawless game of checkers. They can beat the world's greatest chess masters. But humans still put them to shame on the Go board.


Since last Wednesday, the torrent of junk e-mail coursing through the internet has been slowed dramatically, with 40 percent or more of it cut off at the source. The source of all that spam? San Jose, California. That’s where a group of servers responsible for much of the world’s spam had been operating until they […]