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Bulls, Bears and Bots

We round up this week’s most intriguing items from around the Web.

Bulls, Bears and Bots
If your financial advisor has a pulse, that may not be an advantage, reports BBC News. In an IBM-sponsored test of commodity traders, robotic trading agents, aka bots, made seven percent more cash than their human counterparts. New movie idea: AI eats Wall Street.

Kick a Guy When He’s Down

Salon details the fate of Triana, a satellite dreamed up by Al Gore and mothballed by NASA. In 1998, Gore suggested putting a satellite in an orbit matched to the earth’s rotation, forever photographing our sunny-side-up. Despite objections from the Republican congress, the $120 million satellite was completed this year. But budget cuts left no money to launch it, so Triana heads instead to a less sunny destination: teaching journalism at Columbia er storage in a Maryland warehouse.

More News from Above
Even if Triana was launched, would we know where it went? Maybe not, a researcher tells New Scientist. Apparently the Pentagon routinely misreports the orbits of its spy satellites to the United Nations, despite the fact that amateur astronomers post their real trajectories on the Web. The news gives new ammo to opponents of missile defense, who argue that the government will be just as unreliable when it comes to the real numbers and locations of space-based weapons.

Dissed Robes
A group of federal judges disabled monitoring software on their computers, defying administrators who installed the software to deter the downloading of music, videos and pornography to government-owned machines, reports the New York Times. The judges claim the software violates their privacy. IT administrators say disabling it creates a security risk. Court watchers point out that the judges will soon decide the same issues for the rest of the country.

“Hey! Hey! Hey!”
For aspiring doctors Dolittle, Bow-lingual is the latest killer app. MSNBC describes how a microphone in your dog’s collar transmits its utterances to the handheld device, which displays text translations. Arf! Arf! may become “This is exciting,” and grrrrrrrr,“I think I would like to bite you.” Now if only they made them for teenagers

Last week: Fight Fire with Pampers

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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