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From the latest issue:

Speaking of security

BY Ken Chiacchia - Monday April 08, 2013
Voiceprint authentication a la "Star Trek" could be poised to become reality Now, what was that password? This was the system that needed eight digits, right? Did it require symbols, or just letters and numbers?  Today's password-driven electronic security systems have a face only a system security administrator could love. Better to use some kind of biometric--something physically a part of us, marking us as ourselves. Some systems already use fingerprints.  

Screenshot: Smart cookie

BY Jason Togyer - Monday April 08, 2013
It takes a tough robot to disassemble a fragile cookie.By now, you've probably seen the video, which has been viewed more than a quarter-of-a-million times on YouTube. The makers of Oreo cookies recruited HERB, the Home Exploring Robot Butler developed at Pittsburgh's Quality of Life Technology Center, as part of a national advertising campaign called "Cookie Vs. Creme." 

Decoding a cyber-fingerprint

BY Mary Lynn Mack - Monday April 08, 2013
Your typing rhythm holds clues to your identity, and maybe even your future health The blink of an eye takes 300 to 400 milliseconds. It takes less time than that--about 90 milliseconds, on average--to press a computer key while typing. Individual keystrokes as well as the "rhythm" of typing a word, sentence or document are forming the basis of a cyber equivalent to handwriting or fingerprint analysis.  

Is the end near?

BY Meghan Holohan - Tuesday February 19, 2013
Daniel H. Wilson's Robopocalypse plots a robot uprising in the near future, but (so far) the science is still fiction 

In the Loop: John Reynolds

BY Jason Togyer - Monday February 04, 2013
John C. Reynolds has been a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University since 1986. He retired from active teaching Jan. 1. A graduate of Purdue University, Reynolds earned his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Harvard University. His main research interests have been the design and definition of programming languages and the specification of program behavior. 

Research notebook: <br>How design practices affect results

BY Jason Togyer - Thursday November 29, 2012
By Steven P. DowIn their 2001 book Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, David Bayles and Ted Orland share a story about a ceramics teacher who divided his class into two groups. He told one half they would be graded on quantity, so they should "produce as many ceramics you can in one quarter, that will be your grade," while he told the other half they would be graded based on one good ceramic.