I Scream, You Scream…

The Wacky World of Japanese Ice Cream: “Having succeeded globally with cars, electronics and even fashion, it was only natural the Japanese turned their hand to trying to surpass the West with one of its favorite culinary delights – ice cream.” Mainichi Daily News [via Red Rock Eaters]

Has to be mostly for export, as Westerners who have lived there assure me ice cream is not big in Japan, possibly because of the high prevalence of lactose-intolerance among the Japanese people. Several people independently have described to me their addiction to the exquisite shaved ice concoctions the Japanese appear to prefer.

Anemone of the Smart People

“In their explorations of artificial life, … Media Lab researchers have created what they call ‘Public Anemone,’ a sea creature that responds to stimuli like touch, motion and light. Near the tentacle creature are clumps of fiber optic wires that pull in if you touch them, just like an ordinary sea anemone.

Is this good artificial intelligence or good programming? ‘Is there a difference?’ responds Scott Senften, chair of Siggraph’s Emerging Technologies Exhibition.

This year’s exhibition was a meditation on human-machine interaction, as researchers from around the world demonstrated three kinds of projects: robots, machines that enhanced one or more of the five senses, and explorations of virtual reality.” Wired

Toying With Musical Instruments

“If traditional concert performances leave you sighing for more, you can look forward to an opera where musicians squeeze squishy embroidered balls, play soundless violins and bang on glowing bugs with antennae.

These hyper-instruments were developed by Tod Machover of MIT’s Media Lab in an attempt to break free of conventional musical instrument design. Building on technologies developed for Machover’s groundbreaking Brain Opera, these music toys enable children to engage in sophisticated listening, performing and composing activities normally accessible only after years of study.” Wired

If you use Outlook for email and have installed the security patch, you’ll discover that all of a sudden you are unable to receive any executable files as email attachments. Yes, I know they can propagate malicious code, but there are still reasons you might want to receive an executable from a trusted source. I discovered this in attempting to send code from one of my email accounts to another. The security update also blocks me from receiving .url files linking to webpages. Here’s a discussion of possible remedies, which range from simply changing the extension of the attachment before sending it; compressing your attachment into a zip file; using any of several downloadable utilities to restore control over which types of files you are willing to receive; to a registry edit that disables the “level 1” security fix on a per-filetype basis. Opening Attachments Blocked by the Microsoft Outlook E-mail Security Update:

‘The Outlook E-Mail Security Update (included in Office 2000 Service Pack 2) and Outlook 2002 block access to .exe, .com and other “dangerous” files. See Attachment Security for a list of the affected file types. You cannot open these files from Outlook, nor can you use Outlook to save them to your system. If you try to forward a message containing an .exe file, Outlook does not include the attachment in the forwarded message.

So what do you do when you receive an .exe file and must find a way to open it? There are several methods, depending on your version of Outlook.’