Thursday, July 22, 2010

Brain Scans May Help Guide Career Choice

ScienceDaily (July 21, 2010) — General aptitude tests and specific mental ability tests are important tools for vocational guidance. Researchers are now asking whether performance on such tests is based on differences in brain structure, and if so, can brain scans be helpful in choosing a career? In a first step, researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Research Notes have investigated how well eight tests used in vocational guidance correlate to gray matter in areas throughout the brain.

Google's Free Satnav Outperforms TomTom

Posted by CmdrTaco on Thursday July 22, @09:25AM
from the sounds-pretty-badbad dept.
Barence writes"A real-world road test of several different satnav systems has found that the free Google Maps Navigation outperformed TomTom's premium GPS unit. PC Pro put the satnavs through four different real-world tests, covering country roads, inner-city traffic and motorway driving. The Google satnav finished the four tests more than half an hour ahead of the top of the range TomTom Go 950 Live. "For those in rural areas or people who spend hours in their car every day, we believe the investment in a dedicated satnav device or software will still pay off," PC Pro concludes. "But for the recreational user, it's amazing what you can get for free.""

World of Warcraft Can Boost Your Career

Posted by samzenpus on Thursday July 22, @01:31AM
from the tanking-the-boss dept.
Hugh Pickens writes"Forbes reports that although videogames have long been thought of as distractions to work and education rather than aids, there is a growing school of thought that says game-playing in moderation, and in your free time, can make you more successful in your career. 'We're finding that the younger people coming into the teams who have had experience playing online games are the highest-level performers because they are constantly motivated to seek out the next challenge and grab on to performance metrics,' says John Hagel III, co-chairman of a tech-oriented strategy center for Deloitte. Elliot Noss, chief executive of domain name provider Tucows, spends six to seven hours a week playing online games and believes World of Warcraft trains him to become a better leader."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Now You See It, Now You Don't: An Infrared Invisibility Cloak Made of Glass

ScienceDaily (July 22, 2010) — From Tolkien's ring of power in The Lord of the Rings to Star Trek's Romulans, who could make their warships disappear from view, from Harry Potter's magical cloak to the garment that makes players vanish in the video game classic "Dungeons and Dragons", the power to turn someone or something invisible fascinates humankind. But who ever thought that a scientist at Michigan Technological University would be serious about building a working invisibility cloak?

Unexplained Late-Life Weight Loss May Be Early Predictor Of Alzheimer's Disease

ScienceDaily (June 11, 2007) — New findings show unexplained weight loss that precedes dementia by more than 10 years is associated with the severity of Alzheimer changes in the brain.

Magnesium Supplement Helps Boost Brainpower

ScienceDaily (Feb. 2, 2010) — New research finds that an increase in brain magnesium improves learning and memory in young and old rats. The study, published in the January 28th issue of the journal Neuron, suggests that increasing magnesium intake may be a valid strategy to enhance cognitive abilities and supports speculation that inadequate levels of magnesium impair cognitive function, leading to faster deterioration of memory in aging humans.

Getting Angry Can Help Negotiations in Some Cultures, Hurt It in Others

ScienceDaily (July 20, 2010) — Getting angry might help you get your way if you're negotiating with European Americans, but watch out – in negotiations with East Asians, getting angry may actually hurt your cause. That's the conclusion of a new study on how people from different cultures react to anger in negotiations.

Researcher will enable hackers to take over millions of home routers

By Sean Hollister posted Jul 21st 2010 6:33AM

Cisco and company, you've got approximately seven days, before a security researcher rains down exploits on your web-based home router parade. Seismic's Craig Heffner claims he's got a tool that can hack "millions" of gateways using a new spin on the age-old DNS rebinding vulnerability, and plans to release it into the wild at the Black Hat 2010 conference next week. He's already tested his hack on thirty different models, of which more than half were vulnerable, including two versions of the ubiquitous Linksys WRT54G (pictured above) and devices running certain DD-WRT and OpenWRTLinux-based firmware. To combat the hack, the usual precautions apply -- for the love of Mitnick, change your default password! -- but Heffner believes the only real fix will come by prodding manufacturers into action. See a list of easily compromised routers at the more coverage link.

BP Caught Photoshopping Disaster Response Photos

Posted by kdawson on Wednesday July 21, @05:14AM
from the at-least-hire-a-decent-graphics-jockey dept.
An anonymous reader tipped a post up on Americablog revealing that BP Photoshopped a fake photo of their crisis command center and posted it on their main site. The blogger commented, "I guess if you're doing fake crisis response, you might as well fake a photo of the crisis response center." While this story was just being picked up by the Washington Post, an Americablog reader spotted another doctored BP photo on their website, this time of a "top kill" working group. How many others?

Spore-Inspired Action RPG Darkspore Announced

Posted by Soulskill on Wednesday July 21, @03:23AM
from the say-what-now dept.
Today Electronic Arts announced Darkspore, an action RPG in development from Maxis that is inspired by Spore's creature creator technology. The game is due to launch in February 2011, and a teaser is available on the official website. A more descriptive video is available from EA's live demo (start at 8:25). Quoting Joystiq:"...Darkspore will let up to three players traverse 'several' planets cooperatively, and while there will be PvP in the finished product, Maxis isn't providing details just yet. The basics will be the same whether going in solo or as a team: You'll be able to choose from a number (again, no specifics yet) of pre-created melee, ranged and support creatures that can have their stats and abilities augmented by equipment. ... When choosing to beam down from your starship to a planet, you will see a lineup of enemy types that you'll encounter. This gives you and your friends enough information to decide which three characters from your collection you'll want to deploy. The trio can then be switched between on the fly, albeit with a brief cool-down period afterward. The idea is to use the characters' various abilities strategically against what the Left 4 Dead-inspired 'AI director' decides to toss your way."

Driverless Cars Begin 8,000-Mile Trek

Posted by kdawson on Wednesday July 21, @02:05AM
from the if-you-see-marco-wave dept.
apoc.famine writes"Driverless technology from the University of Parma's VisLab was deployed in a real-world test on Tuesday. Two driverless chase vehicles will attempt to follow two lead vehicles across multiple continents, from Italy to China, over the course of three months. The journey will cover over 8,000 miles, (~13,000 km) as the chase vehicles use lasers and cameras to navigate hazards along the way. The team expects to collect about 100 TB of data, which requires a hefty electronics and battery load — the scale is such that the cars can only run for about three hours before needing 8 hours to recharge the batteries. This journey is being billed as just a test, and far from a real-world application. The vehicles don't go more than about 35mph, and need a person behind the wheel to take over at a moment's notice. 'What we are trying to do is stress our systems and see if they can work in a real environment, with real weather, real traffic, and crazy people who cross the road in front of you and a vehicle that cuts you off,' said project leader Alberto Broggi. The goal is not to produce just road vehicles, but to improve the technology so it can be used in military and agricultural roles as well. The team hopes to have helped mature the technology within the next 10-20 years to the point that it can be used on the road."

Video Game Legends To Be Inducted Into Hall of Fame

Posted by Soulskill on Wednesday July 21, @01:12AM
from the fierce-competition-between-tetrominoes dept.
killdashnine writes"Last year we discussed the creation of the International Video Game Hall of Fame and Museum in Ottumwa, Iowa, and a first event in 2009 which brought 3,500 people to witness it. Since then, there's been much progress toward creation of the museum, including the upcoming 'Big Bang 2010' exhibition. Their first event kicks off with formal induction ceremonies, tournaments, record-setting attempts, and an array of concerts from 8-bit music to modern rock. This serves as the first official fundraiser for this new non-profit. Iowa is positioning itself as the Video Game Capital of the World. While some sneer and scoff at this, pointing to LA or Seattle as gaming giants and rightful heirs to the title, the real goal is not to glorify software developers but rather to memorialize the 'heroes of video games,' from the iconic Pac Man to pioneers such as Ralph Baer."Here's a list of this year's inductees. Who gets your vote for next year?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Foreign Accents Make Speakers Seem Less Truthful to Listeners, Study Finds

ScienceDaily (July 19, 2010) — A foreign accent undermines a person's credibility in ways that the speaker and the listener don't consciously realize, new research at the University of Chicago shows.

Brain Training Reverses Age-Related Cognitive Decline

ScienceDaily (July 19, 2010) — Specialized brain training targeted at the regions of a rat's brain that process sound reversed many aspects of normal, age-related cognitive decline and improved the health of the brain cells, according to a new study from researchers at University of California, San Francisco.

Warships May Get Lasers For Close-In Defense

Posted by kdawson on Tuesday July 20, @02:32PM
from the hot-in-here-or-is-it-me dept.
King Louie writes"Raytheon and the US Navy have successfully tested a ship-borne laser capable of shooting down aircraft. Video at the link shows the 32-megawatt solid-state laser shooting down an unmanned aerial vehicle. The technology is apparently mature enough to be deployed as part of ships' short-range missile defenses, a role currently filled by the Basic Point Defense Missile System (based on the Sea Sparrow missile) and the Close-In Weapons System (based on a 20mm Gatling gun)."

Google signs 20-year deal to power data centers with wind energy

By Donald Melanson posted Jul 20th 2010 3:45PM

It's not the first investment Google has made in wind power, but anyone wondering about its commitment needn't look any further than the company's just-announced deal with NextEra Energy. It's agreed to buy wind power from NextEra's wind farm in Iowa for the next twenty years, which it says will provide enough power to supply "several" of its data centers. What's more, Google says that the size and length of the deal (taking 114 megawatts of energy off the market) will also lead to other indirect benefits for the wind power industry, and give NextEra the flexibility to invest in additional clean energy projects. Head on past the break for NextEra's press release on the deal.

‘The Friend of My Enemy Is My Enemy’: Virtual Universe Study Proves 80-Year-Old Theory on How Humans Interact

ScienceDaily (July 19, 2010) — A new study analysing interactions between players in a virtual universe game has for the first time provided large-scale evidence to prove an 80 year old psychological theory called Structural Balance Theory. The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that individuals tend to avoid stress-causing relationships when they develop a society, resulting in more stable social networks.

Image-Processing Algorithm Reduces CT Radiation Dose by as Much as 95 Percent

ScienceDaily (July 20, 2010) — Perfusion CT scanning, an emerging imaging technology, got a bad rap last year when a machine set to incorrect radiation levels overdosed hundreds of people in Los Angeles. In the wake of this incident, researchers at the Mayo Clinic, excited by the technology's promise for diagnosing stroke, cancer, and possibly heart disease, have developed a way to reduce the amount of radiation involved in the procedure -- which, when done properly, already involves very little risk.

Sony stereoscopic screen sharing patent puts two players on one display

By Joseph L. Flatley posted Jul 20th 2010 1:07PM

After that last bummer, where Sony applied for a patent "feature erosion" in game demos, we're glad to see the company come up with something positive for the gamers among us. Two recent patent apps, titled "Stereoscopic Screen Sharing Method and Apparatus Patent" and "3D Shutter Glasses with Mode Switching Based on Orientation to Display Device," detail the use of stereoscopic 3D technology to let two individual players see different information on the same screen (you might remember that Microsoft has also been working on something similar). Not only that, but the glasses could have earbuds -- for separate audio feeds. Of course, you'd need a 3D display for this to work, and you'd need to wear those silly glasses -- but that's a small price to pay to get rid of the ol' split screen, don't you think? [Warning: PDF source links]

Sony stereoscopic screen sharing patent puts two players on one display

By Joseph L. Flatley posted Jul 20th 2010 1:07PM

After that last bummer, where Sony applied for a patent "feature erosion" in game demos, we're glad to see the company come up with something positive for the gamers among us. Two recent patent apps, titled "Stereoscopic Screen Sharing Method and Apparatus Patent" and "3D Shutter Glasses with Mode Switching Based on Orientation to Display Device," detail the use of stereoscopic 3D technology to let two individual players see different information on the same screen (you might remember that Microsoft has also been working on something similar). Not only that, but the glasses could have earbuds -- for separate audio feeds. Of course, you'd need a 3D display for this to work, and you'd need to wear those silly glasses -- but that's a small price to pay to get rid of the ol' split screen, don't you think? [Warning: PDF source links]

Watermelon cooler push cart: perfect for those sultry North Carolina summers

By Darren Murph posted Jul 20th 2010 5:57AM

Crazily enough, the device you're staring at above -- jaw solidly on the floor, we're sure -- is real. As in, you can purchase one for you and yours. So far as we can tell, this here watermelon cart (priced at ¥19,950, or a whopping $231) serves to keep your voluptuous fruit cool when being transported from market to mouth, but everything beyond that is lost in translation. What's curious, however, is that this seems like a device created and sold exclusively in Japan. If we had to bet, though, we'd say it was originally dreamed up by a farmer in eastern North Carolina -- you know, the home of watermelon Cook-Out milkshakes, an official watermelon license plate and roads where chop-top school buses are frequently used as watermelon hauling machines.

In Oregon, Wind Power Surges Disrupting Grid

Posted by timothy on Tuesday July 20, @04:47AM
from the need-more-flywheels dept.
cpm99352 writes"The Oregonian reports gusts of wind cause synchronized power surges, more than the transmission lines can handle. Windmill farms are ordered to fan their blades, despite tremendous demand for 'green' power from California."

Monday, July 19, 2010

What Protects Farm Children from Hay Fever? Protective Substance May Slumber in Cowshed Dust

ScienceDaily (July 19, 2010) — Researchers from Bochum have isolated the substance in cowshed dust that possibly protects farm children from developing allergies and allergic asthma -- namely the plant sugar molecule arabinogalactan. If high concentrations are inhaled during the first year of life, it inhibits the immune system from excessive defense reactions.

When On the Moon and Mars, Move Underground

Posted by CmdrTaco on Monday July 19, @12:30PM
from the habitat-for-humanity dept.
astroengine writes"Recent observations of the lunar and martian surface are turning up multiple discoveries of 'skylights' — collapsed roofs of hollow rilles or lava tubes. These holes into ready-made underground bunkers could provide ideal shelter for future manned bases on the two worlds. Firstly, they would provide shelter from the barrage of micrometeorites, solar x-rays and deep space cosmic rays. Secondly, they'd help protect our burgeoning colonists from the extreme swings in surface temperature (on the moon, temperatures vary by 500 degrees F, but inside these lava tubes, the environment remains at a fairly constant -35 degrees). Thirdly, the sci-fi notion of underground space cities could become a reality."

Bootleg Optimus Prime is actually the most badass Transformer ever

Bootleg Optimus Prime is actually the most badass Transformer ever

'Business as Usual' Crop Development Won't Satisfy Future Demand, Research Finds

ScienceDaily (July 19, 2010) — Although global grain production must double by 2050 to address rising population and demand, new data from the University of Illinois suggests crop yields will suffer unless new approaches to adapt crop plants to climate change are adopted. Improved agronomic traits responsible for the remarkable increases in yield accomplished during the past 50 years have reached their ceiling for some of the world's most important crops.

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo completes first flight with crew on board

By Donald Melanson posted Jul 19th 2010 5:52AM

It still has a few more key hurdles to cross, but it looks like Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo (a.k.a. theVSS Enterprise) is remaining on track for its first commercial flight sometime next year. The latest milestone is the spacecraft's first flight with a crew on board, which occurred on July 15th at Virgin Galactic's usual base of operations, the Mojave Air and Space Port. As with previous flights, however, SpaceShipTwo remained attached to the VMS Eve "mothership" for the duration of the flight, but it did stay aloft for more than six hours as the crew (including test pilots Peter Siebold, Michael Alsbury) went through a range of tests. Still no word on exactly when SpaceShipTwo will see its first solo flight but, barring any change in plans, that should be the next flight that takes place.

Transformable Wall-E gets recreated with some love, Lego and DIY skills (video)

By Vlad Savov posted Jul 19th 2010 5:03AM

Sure, you'll have seen Lego-based Wall-E imitators before, but few recreate both the cuteness and the basic functionality of the drone quite like this one here. Programmed using Lego Mindstorms, this adorable little creation can transform itself into a box (like the real Wall-E!), pick up and carry objects, look up and down, and even produce and respond to sounds. It can be controlled remotely or left to do things by itself. Follow the break to see it on video.

Vaccine Patch Removes Needle Pain

Posted by timothy on Sunday July 18, @10:36PM
from the non-death-by-a-thousand-cuts dept.
wog777 writes"Researchers led by Mark Prausnitz of Georgia Institute of Technology reported their research on microneedles in Sunday's edition of Nature Medicine. A microneedle containsneedles so small you don't even feel them. Attached to a patch like a Band-Aid, the little needles barely penetrate the skin before they dissolve and release their vaccine."

New Photos Show "Devastating" Ice Loss On Everest

Posted by timothy on Monday July 19, @01:45AM
from the heatin'-up-the-whole-outdoors dept.
Simmeh writes"The BBC reports on new photos of the Himalayas taken from exactly the same position as ones from 1929 and compares the ice coverage. The Asia Society, which did the groundwork, are quoted as saying 'If the present rate of melting continues, many of these glaciers will be severely diminished by the middle of this century.' I guess the previous claim wasn't too unrealistic."