Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #143
December 31st, 2006

Wordie Lets Logophiles Indulge in, Well, Words

Wordie lets you make lists of words — practical lists, words you love, words you hate, whatever. See who else has listed the same words, add citations and comments, and discuss.
[Note: Wordie’s motto is “Like Flickr, but without the photos.”]
Source: Aaron Rutkoff, The Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2006 (Free access)

Seeking start-ups for Boeing’s border patrol

Boeing won a huge victory in September when the Department of Homeland Security picked it over four competing bidders for its much-anticipated Secure Border Initiative contract. But if Boeing is to succeed in delivering what government officials desire, the aviation giant will need a lot of help from outsiders.
The SBINet contract, which could be worth up to $2.5 billion over its lifetime, calls for Boeing to install a network of nearly 2,000 towers along the northern and southern borders of the U.S. in coming years. The towers will employ cameras, sensors and other instruments in a networked grid to detect and track people coming across the border.
Source: Lou Whiteman, The Deal.com, via CNET News.com, December 26, 2006

Social networking comes to health care

At DailyStrength.org, patients and caregivers dealing with hundreds of issues, including asthma, celiac disease and depression, can join a support community, start a wellness journal, share advice and recommend doctors, link to news stories and Web sites with disease information, and even send other members a virtual hug.
The social-networking revolution is coming to health care, at the same time that new Internet technologies and software programs are making it easier than ever for consumers to find timely, personalized health information online.
Source: Laura Landro, The Wall Street Journal, via The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, December 29, 2006

Forensics reaches into the future

We began researching this piece long before the recent murders in Suffolk. That horror has served to remind us that forensic technologies are now often the first thought in any criminal investigation. The shiny power of DNA technology is in no doubt, but are we in danger of being dazzled by it?
The National DNA Database (NDNAD) was set up in 1995 by the then Conservative government. Eleven years on it is the largest repository of human genetic information on the planet.
Source: Chris Williams, The Register, December 27, 2006

Justice Dept. Database Stirs Privacy Fears

The Justice Department is building a massive database that allows state and local police officers around the country to search millions of case files from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal law enforcement agencies, according to Justice officials.
The system, known as “OneDOJ,” already holds approximately 1 million case records and is projected to triple in size over the next three years, Justice officials said. The files include investigative reports, criminal-history information, details of offenses, and the names, addresses and other information of criminal suspects or targets, officials said.
Source: Dan Eggen, The Washington Post, December 26, 2006 (Free registration)

Virtual reality to get its own network?

A nonprofit group says it plans to build a network called Neuronet purely to support virtual-reality game and business applications.
Neuronet, which is planned to be separate from the Internet, “will evolve into the world’s first public network capable of meeting the data transmission requirements of emerging cinematic and immersive virtual-reality technologies,” according to a Thursday announcement from the Vancouver-based International Association of Virtual Reality Technologies.
[Note: But is Neuronet real? We might discover it in 2007.]
Source: Stephen Shankland, CNET News.com, December 29, 2006


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