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Should Abdulmutallab be Tried in a Civilian Court?

There's a growing debate over whether Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian accused of trying to destroy Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day, should be tried in civilian court, or treated as a military prisoner. The Washington Post's Karen DeYoung reports:

President Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser on Sunday defended the administration's decision to try in federal court the man charged with attempting to bomb an airliner on Christmas Day and indicated that he would be offered a plea agreement to persuade him to reveal what he knows about al-Qaeda operations in Yemen.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian charged with the failed attempt on the Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight, was initially "talking to people who detained him" but now has a public defender and "doesn't have to," John O. Brennan said on "Fox News Sunday."

"We have different ways of obtaining information from individuals" in the criminal-justice process, Brennan said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "A lot of people . . . understand what they're facing, and their lawyers recognize that there is advantage to talking to us in terms of plea agreements, [and] we're going to pursue that." Brennan told CNN's "State of the Union" that other terrorism suspects have "given us very valuable information as they've gone through the plea-agreement process."

Brennan's tour of the talk shows -- he also appeared on ABC's "This Week" -- came as the administration tried to counter, and move out in front of, widespread criticism of intelligence systems that did not identify Abdulmutallab as an al-Qaeda operative or detect the explosive he was allegedly carrying before he boarded Northwest Airlines Flight 253.

Much of the criticism Sunday, however, centered on the decision to try him in civilian court rather than hold him as a military prisoner. "If we had treated this Christmas Day bomber as a terrorist, he would have immediately been interrogated military-style, rather than given the rights of an American and lawyers," Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said on CNN. "We probably lost valuable information."

Abdulmutallab is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Detroit on Fri. Jan. 8.

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 Arduboy Business Card Plays Tetris, Might Be for Sale - TIME
TIME Gadgets

Business Card Plays Tetris, Might Be for Sale Soon

TAKE MY MONEY!

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The above video showcases a credit card-sized whatsit with a built-in screen, control pad and two buttons. It plays Tetris! If you’re not convinced by now that we’re either at or very near the pinnacle of human ingenuity, I’m not sure I’d ever be able to convince you otherwise and I’m not sure it’s worth your time to keep reading this. We should amicably go our separate ways.

For the rest of you, this project is called Arduboy. It’s about a millimeter and a half thick and apparently packs north of nine hours of battery life. Its creator, Kevin Bates, created the proof-of-concept you see in the above video and has plans to roll out a Kickstarter campaign to sell these things, complete with a website where people can share other types of software and games they create for Arduboy.

Bates writes on his site that he wants to use Kickstarter to raise $820 to cover licensing costs. I write here that he’ll probably be able to raise that amount faster than he can clear the first level of Tetris. He’ll also probably have to sell the cards without a game loaded onto them to avoid legal issues, though.

No word on how much a final version would cost, but you can visit Bates’ website to read more about how the project came together, complete with photos of the Qdoba and REI gift cards he used to test some of the early builds.

My business card plays Tetris [YouTube via The Next Web]

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 MIT Student Creates Connect Four Playing Robot for Course Final - TIME
TIME technology

This Robot Would Very Much Like to Play a Game of Connect Four With You

Game on

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When the singularity finally hits and artificial intelligence takes over everything, at least we know some of the robots will know how to have a good time — like this Connect Four-playing bot, programmed by MIT student Patrick McCabe.

Users can choose between four levels of difficulty and can even ask for a hint if needed. Head over to McCabe’s website for a detailed breakdown of how the machine works. In the meantime, watch here as the bot beats McCabe in the first round — and even taunts him a little bit before clinching the game.

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