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Horizon highlights – Tough questions for Obama, tough gadgets for soldiers, and tough love for Chrome

By / September 5, 2008



Our regular roundup of sci-tech stories from across the Web includes: Where does Obama stand on science issues? How sturdy are Panasonic Toughbooks? And how good is Google's new web browser? Let’s kick it off:

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PoliticsObama answers your science questions
"Though unable to convince Obama and John McCain to engage in a full-blown science debate, ScienceDebate2008 winnowed 3,400 member-submitted questions down to 14 key challenges facing candidates and the country. Some, such as clean energy and stem cell research, are familiar from past elections. Others, such as water security and the systematic politicization of science, are new." [via Wired]

The WebTraffic growth isn't using up the Internet
"Yes, cable systems are congested, but the logjam is being alleviated by upgrades in technology." [via BusinessWeek]
From the Monitor's archive: Is it time to scrap the Internet and start over? "The Internet is perfectly tuned for e-mail, says Roberts. But 40 years ago, he and the many others who helped nurture today's commercial Web never imagined, nor planned for, streaming high-definition television shows to travel through the wires. But that's where online usage has headed."

GadgetsThe limits of endurance
"First thing in the morning, I pulled a Motorola cellphone from the freezer where it had spent the night. I threw it on the floor a few times – my idea of a warm-up – then punched the on switch and placed a call. It worked fine. So did a different Motorola phone that I ran over with my car, and a Panasonic laptop that I dropped repeatedly and doused with water.... They're ruggedized devices, built to cope with an unusual degree of physical abuse. Ruggedized equipment is measured against the standards of the US military, which has drawn up tough 'milspec' standards for devices that can resist extremes of heat, cold, dust, moisture, and violent shocks." [via Boston Globe]

Profile –  iRobot co-founder Helen Greiner talks robots
"Greiner ... understands the emotional power of robots. She first fell in love with them when she was 11 and saw Star Wars. 'I was enthralled with R2-D2 because he had an agenda and a personality.' (Her older brother broke the news to her that there was a man inside.)" [via Reader's Digest]
From the Monitor's archivePittsburgh is robot country: "The combination of Carnegie Mellon University’s pioneering robotics program and leftovers from the city’s industrial past have created something of a perfect storm that is fostering the development of the next generation of robotics."

Photo storyWorld's tallest tower grows up a little more
"The Burj Dubai tower, rising in the booming Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai, is now 2,257 feet – 160 stories – and growing, the developer says. The final height remains a secret." [via USA Today]

Review roundup – Looking at Google's new web broswer: Chrome
CNET: Video review
Information Week: Google chrome mostly glitters
AP: Google Chrome lacks polish under the hood
MSNBC: Chrome vs. IE 8: A side-by-side comparison

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