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     Volume 4 Issue 35 | February 25, 2005 |

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Cyber Detective links up Crimes
Many more crimes might be solved if detectives were able to compare the records for cases with all the files on past crimes. Now an artificial intelligence system has been designed to do precisely that. Working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it could look for telltale similarities in crime records and alert detectives when it finds them. Developed by computer scientists Tom Muscarello and Kamal Dahbur at DePaul University in Chicago, the system uses pattern-recognition software to link related crimes that may have taken place in widely separated areas whose police forces may rarely be in close contact. Called the Classification System for Serial Criminal Patterns (CSSCP), the system sifts through all the case records available to it, assigning numerical values to different aspects of each crime, such as the kind of offence, the perpetrator's sex, height and age, and the type of weapon or getaway vehicle used. From these figures it builds a crime description profile. If it finds a possible link between two crimes, CSSCP compares when and where they took place to find out whether the same criminals would have had enough time to travel from one crime scene to the other.

Marrying Likesomes makes for Happy Marriages
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Iowa suggests that people tend to marry those who are similar in attitudes, religion and values. However, it is similarity in personality that appears to be more important in having a happy marriage. The researchers led by psychologist Eva C. Klohnen looked at assortative mating issues (mating based on similar or opposite characteristics) among 291 newlyweds. The newlyweds had been married less than a year at the time the study began and had dated each other for an average of three and a half years. "People may be attracted to those who have similar attitudes, values, and beliefs and even marry them - at least in part - on the basis of this similarity because attitudes are highly visible and salient characteristics and they are fundamental to the way people lead their lives," the authors said. "However, once people are in a committed relationship, it is primarily personality similarity that influences marital happiness because being in a committed relationship entails regular interaction and requires extensive co-ordination in dealing with tasks, issues and problems of daily living. Whereas personality similarity is likely to facilitate this process, personality differences may result in more friction and conflict in daily life," they added.

Ring Tones mean Big Bucks
Juhi Bawa dialled four digits on her flashy mobile phone and whispered her name into it. Within seconds a computer application converted her voice into a peppy ring tone. The service christened "Tooki Ringtones" was one of the latest innovations offered at Mobile Expo 2005, India's first exhibition on the cellular industry. With mobile users beginning to look beyond voice connectivity and willing to pay for more content, cellular solutions providers are constantly coming up with technological innovations to meet customer demands. The Tooki ring tone service is one such innovation that allows users to create their own ring tones instead of downloading pre-recorded melodies often culled from Bollywood or western films.

Women take more to Internet
Women have overtaken men in surfing the Internet in the European Union (EU). The 55-plus age group, both among men and women, are also increasingly gaining computer skills. This trend is set to continue, says a report by the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU. However, the poorly educated and paid are not catching up as quickly and this is denying them new opportunities. "Education, age and income remain the most important areas in the digital divide," says the report. The prohibitive cost of personal computers is one of the obstacles to reducing the digital divide. This is particularly acute among the new EU member states. The original EU 15 members had an average of 43.5 percent of its population using the Internet - this fell to 41.4 percent when the EU enlarged to 25.

Magnetic Fields May Warp Planetary Nebulae
At the end of their lives, stars like our sun eject expanding gas shells known as planetary nebulae. Despite being spewed out by spherical stars, some 80 percent of these impressive displays are not spherical themselves, instead exhibiting complex morphologies. Astronomers have now, for the first time, detected magnetic fields in the central stars of four planetary nebulae, suggesting a cause of the irregular structures.

Stefan Jordan of the Astronomisches Rechen-Institut in Heidelberg, Germany, and his colleagues used a tool from the Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Atacama, Chile, to measure the polarisation of light emitted by stars at the centre of planetary nebulae. Because atoms change their energy in response to a magnetic field in a predictable way--a process known as the Zeeman effect--it is possible to calculate the strength of a magnetic field from such polarisation measurements. The team analysed magnetic field data for all four stars at the centre of the nonspherical nebulae they studied, and found that the fields reach approximately 1,000 times the strength of the sun's magnetic field. The team next hopes to search spherical planetary nebulae for any signs of magnetic fields, to test their theory that these forces are responsible for intricately shaped nebulae.



Source: Webindia123.com / NewScientist.com / Scientific America.com

Compiled by: Imran H. Khan

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