Horizon highlights – T'was the week before Christmas edition

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Our regular roundup of sci-tech stories from across the Web includes: Estonians can vote on their phones. Math answers a Beatles mystery. And young inventors turn trash into technology. Let’s kick it off:

New dimension: 3D desktop revealed in Apple patent filing
"Are you ready for a 3D desktop? Apple is working on such a project, according to patent filings unearthed by MacRumors this week. The 'multidimensional desktop' applications suggest that Apple wants to take familiar parts of the Mac OS X desktop--such as the dock--and add depth, allowing you to stack documents or folders behind application icons on the 'floor' of your desktop." [via Crave]

Milestone:  Estonia to vote by mobile phone in 2011
"Parliament has approved a law making Estonia the first country to allow voting by mobile phone. Lawmakers approved a measure Thursday allowing citizens to vote by mobile phone in the next parliamentary elections in 2011." [via AP]

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Junior inventors: From trash to a treasure trove
"Kids dig through their trash and recycling bins to find materials for creating inventions." [via CSM's Home Forum]

Democrats' new weapon: The Obama campaign helped make the DNC's voter database 10 times larger
"One side effect of Barack Obama's Webcentric presidential campaign is that it helped turn the Democratic National Committee's voter database – information on the political leanings and interests of millions of US citizens – into a far more potent political weapon. In the final two months before Election Day, 223 million new pieces of data on voters accrued to the database, and the DNC now holds 10 times as much data on US voters as at the end of the 2004 campaign...." [via Technology Review]

Music mystery: How math unraveled the 'Hard Day's Night' mystery
"It took Dalhousie University professor Jason Brown six months and some advanced mathematical analytical techniques to crack the code behind one of the most mysterious sounds in music: the 'prraaaaaangg' sound at the beginning of the Beatles' 'Hard Day's Night.' " [via Wired]

Video: Robo-pets, a test-drive
"Can a furry bundle of wires, circuit boards, and animatronics provide the same joy as a real pet? Toy makers want you to think so. Slate's Daniel Engber tries out some of this year's top models." [via SlateV]

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