Friday, September 24, 2010

Vitamin C Rapidly Improves Emotional State of Acutely Hospitalized Patients, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily (Sep. 23, 2010) — Treatment with vitamin C rapidly improves the emotional state of acutely hospitalized patients, according to a study carried out by researchers at Montreal's Jewish General Hospital (JGH) and the affiliated Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research (LDI).

Netflix, NBC Universal content deal brings Battlestar Galactica, SNL and more to Watch Instantly

By Richard Lawler posted Sep 24th 2010 6:16AM

Just in case a throwaway mention of a streaming-only subscription for US customers wasn't enough, an agreement adding plenty of recognizable content from NBC to its Watch Instantly service might helpNetflix distract from a recent string of PR gaffes. Starting next week, cable shows from the media giant's stable like Psych, Battlestar Galactica and others, episodes from the most recent seasons of NBC shows including The Office and 30 Rock will be available. Not good enough? Why not throw in every single season of Friday Night Lights and Saturday Night Live, with new eps of SNL added the day after they air for the next three years. Seems like a win/win to us, with many hours of new content for Netflix while NBC cashes a fat check for old seasons of Monk and Law & Order:SVU -- as much as we love Tony Shalhoub as a neurotic private investigator, those DVD boxed sets just weren't moving like they used to. The only question left is whether HD streaming for any of these is on deck, until we hear back just check out the full press release after the break.

Researcher Builds Machines That Daydream

Posted by timothy on Friday September 24, @02:31AM
from the free-thinkers-are-the-best-kind dept.
schliz writes"Murdoch University professor Graham Mann is developing algorithms to simulate 'free thinking' and emotion. He refutes the emotionless reason portrayed by Mr Spock, arguing that 'an intelligent system must have emotions built into it before it can function.' The algorithm can translate the 'feel' of Aesop's Fables based on Plutchick's Wheel of Emotions. In tests, it freely associated three stories: The Thirsty Pigeon; The Cat and the Cock; and The Wolf and the Crane, and when queried on the association, the machine responded: 'I felt sad for the bird.'"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Man Prevented From Finding Chipped Pet Under Data Protection Act

Posted by samzenpus on Thursday September 23, @09:50AM
from the clause-22 dept.
Dave Moorhouse was elated when he was informed that a microchip provider had information on the whereabouts of his stolen dog. This joy soon faded when the company informed him that it could not divulge the Jack Russell terrier's location because it would breach the Data Protection Act. Last week a court agreed with the chip company and refused Mr Moorhouse's request for a court order compelling them to reveal the name and address of the new owners. Steven Wildridge, managing director of the chip company said: “This is not a choice, it’s an obligation under the Data Protection Act. If the individuals involved do not want us to pass on their details to the original owner then we cannot do so unless compelled to following a criminal or civil proceeding."

Putting on the Pounds After Weight Loss? Hit the Gym to Maintain Health Gains

ScienceDaily (Sep. 22, 2010) — Although obesity is a major risk factor for disease, much of the threat may be associated with the metabolic (or cardiometabolic) syndrome, a cluster of risk factors related to diabetes and heart disease. Losing weight can improve health and reduce many of these risk factors. However, many people struggle to keep the weight off long-term. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that people who perform resistance training while regaining weight can help maintain strides in reducing their risks for chronic disease.

New Target for Alzheimer's Disease Identified

ScienceDaily (Sep. 21, 2010) — Neurological researchers at Rush University Medical Center have found a new therapeutic target that can potentially lead to a new way to prevent the progression of Alzheimer's disease. The target called neutral sphingomyelinase (N-SMase) is a protein that when activated, can cause a chain of reactions in the cell leading to neuronal death and memory loss.

Less Pain for Learning Gain: Research Offers a Strategy to Increase Learning With Less Effort

ScienceDaily (Sep. 22, 2010) — Scientists long have recognized that many perceptual skills important for language comprehension and reading can be enhanced through practice. Now research from Northwestern University suggests a new way of training that could reduce by at least half the effort previously thought necessary to make learning gains.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Microwave Map of Entire Moon Revealed

Posted by samzenpus on Wednesday September 22, @03:31PM
from the quickest-route-mode dept.
Zothecula writes"The first complete microwave image of the Moon taken by Chinese lunar satellite Chang'E-1 has been revealed. Chang'E-1 is China's first scientific mission to explore planetary bodies beyond Earth and the on-board Lunar Microwave Radiometer has made it possible for the first time to globally map the Moon in microwave frequencies. Radar observations of the Moon are unable to provide thermal information, and microwave observations taken from Earth cannot reach the far side of the moon. So Chang'E-1's (CE-1) orbit was conducted at an altitude of 200km (124 miles) and allowed it to observe every location of the moon with a nadir view and at high spatial resolution."

The Surprising Statistics Behind Flash and Apple

Posted by CmdrTaco on Tuesday September 21, @06:51PM
from the math-is-hard dept.
Barence writes"PC Pro's Tom Arah has dug up some statistics that cast severe doubt over Steve Jobs' assertion that Flash is the technology of the past, and Apple's iOS is the platform of the future. He quibbles with Net Applications' assertion that iOS growth is 'massive,' considering that mobile accounts for only 2.6% of web views, and the iOS share stands at only 1.1%. By comparison, Silverlight penetration now stands at 51% while 97% of web surfers have Flash installed, according to Stat Owl. 'At least when Bill Gates held the web to ransom he had the decency to first establish a dominant position,' Arah claims. 'In Steve Jobs' case, with only 1.1% market share, the would-be emperor isn't even wearing any clothes.'"

Australian Schools Go iPad-Crazy Posted by timothy on Wednesday September 22, @06:23AM from the all-nu-perfect-forever dept. australia education hand

Posted by timothy on Wednesday September 22, @06:23AM
from the all-nu-perfect-forever dept.
An anonymous reader writes"Looks like it's not just Apple fanboys that are going wild for the iPad: in Australia, virtually every state education department is trialling the tablet in schools — and some schools are even trialling it without the official support of their department. One university in Adelaide has even abolished textbooks for first year science students and is allocating free iPads to first year students instead. It will be interesting to see what happens when the inevitable wave of Android tablets hits over the next six months."

Paper-Thin Batteries Provide Bendable Power Posted by CmdrTaco on Wednesday September 22, @09:38AM from the battery-paper-airplanes-please dept. powe

Posted by CmdrTaco on Wednesday September 22, @09:38AM
from the battery-paper-airplanes-please dept.
SkinnyGuy writes"New carbon nanotube-based technology could literally allow companies to paint layers of electricity-holding lithium-ion on standard pieces of paper. The possibilities are endless."You can also read the actual paper.

Microsoft Says IE9 Beta Demand Overwhelming

Posted by CmdrTaco on Wednesday September 22, @10:17AM
from the boardwalk-and-park-place dept.
cgriffin21 writes"Microsoft expected Internet Explorer 9 to be popular, but after more than two million people downloaded the IE9 beta in the first two days after its release, the software giant is having a hard time choosing which eye-popping statistics to cite. Microsoft says its "Beauty of the Web" site, which illustrates the aesthetic advantages of IE9's support for HTML5 and hardware acceleration, has had more the 9 million visits and 26 million page views since the IE9 beta launch on Sept. 15. Microsoft's developer-oriented IE Test Drive Site has had 4 million page views during the same period."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Terry Pratchett's Self-Made Meteorite Sword

Posted by samzenpus on Tuesday September 21, @10:15AM
from the x4-crit-modifier dept.
jamie writes"Fantasy author Sir Terry Pratchett says he was so excited after being knighted by the Queen that he decided to make his own sword to equip himself for his new status... the author dug up 81kg of ore and smelted it in the grounds of his house, using a makeshift kiln built from clay and hay and fueled with damp sheep manure."

Hard-Wired for Chocolate and Hybrid Cars? How Genetics Affect Consumer Choice

ScienceDaily (Sep. 20, 2010) — Clues to consumer behavior may be lurking our genes, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Pollution Takes Its Toll on the Heart

ScienceDaily (Sep. 20, 2010) — The fine particles of pollution that hang in the air can increase the risk for sudden cardiac arrest, according to a new study conducted by a team from Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Medical Center and The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.

Vigilant Camera Eye: System Analyzes Data in Real Time, Flags Unusual Scenes

ScienceDaily (Sep. 20, 2010) — An innovative camera system could in future enhance security in public areas and buildings. Smart Eyes works just like the human eye. The system analyzes the recorded data in real time and then immediately flags up salient features and unusual scenes.

Silicon carbide sensors developed for transmitting inside volcanos

By Joseph L. Flatley posted Sep 21st 2010 5:58AM

There's one serious obstacle to volcano research: volcanos, like, shoot lava. Sure, you could aim athermal camera at one from a safe distance, but where's the fun in that? On the other hand, researchers at Newcastle University are developing silicon carbide-based components for a device that they say will be able to withstand 900° Celsius temperatures -- just the thing to sense what's going on inside a volcano and transmit the info in real-time. Not only will this allow researchers to better understand conditions leading up to an eruption, it might also someday signal an eruption before it occurs. "At the moment we have no way of accurately monitoring the situation inside a volcano," says NU's Dr. Alton Horsfall. "With an estimated 500 million people living in the shadow of a volcano this is clearly not ideal." Since silicon carbide is more resistant to radiation than plain ol' silicon, the tech can also be used inside nuclear power plants or even as radiation sniffers in places that might face a terror attack.

Hunters Shot Down Google Fiber

Posted by Soulskill on Tuesday September 21, @05:12AM
from the 30gpbs-point-buck dept.
aesoteric writes"Google has revealed that aerial fiber links to its data center in Oregon were 'regularly' shot down by hunters, forcing the company to put its cables underground. Hunters were reportedly trying to hit insulators on electricity distribution poles, which also hosted aerially-deployed fiber connected to Google's $600 million data center in The Dalles. 'I have yet to see them actually hit the insulator, but they regularly shoot down the fibre,' Google's network engineering manager Vijay Gill told a conference in Australia. 'Every November when hunting season starts invariably we know that the fiber will be shot down, so much so that we are now building an underground path [for it].'"

Mega Man Designer Explains Japan's Waning Video Game Influence

Posted by Soulskill on Monday September 20, @10:04PM
from the too-much-effort-spent-on-fembots dept.
eldavojohn writes"As one of the creators of Mega Man, Keiji Inafune remembers the days when Japan redefined video games. He believes those days are long gone as he reveals much in his criticisms of Japan's ailing game economy. Inafune says Japan is five years behind — still making games for older consoles with 'no diversity, no originality.' When asked why, he responds, 'A lot of designers, if they find a genre that works for them, they stick with it. A lot of designers just stick to a set formula. That doesn't work any more. You can't just tweak the graphics, work just on image quality. You can't compete on that. The business side is not keeping up with investment. You need to be prepared to invest 4 billion yen or more on a game, and then spend 2 billion yen more to promote it. But Japanese companies can't do that. So we're losing out to the West in terms of investment in games. It's a vicious cycle, a deflationary spiral. Because you don't invest, you can't sell games, and because you don't sell games, you can't invest.' He compares making games for Japan and the US to Sushi and basketball — two popular things but each done in distinctly different ways by the two nations."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Self-Assembling Photovoltaic Cells

Posted by timothy on Sunday September 19, @08:14PM
from the some-assembly-automatic dept.
dhj writes"MIT scientists have developed a self-assembling photovoltaic cell in a petri dish. Phospholipids (think cell membranes) form disks which act as the structural support for light responsive molecules. Carbon nanotubes help to align the disks and conduct electricity generated by the system with 40% efficiency. The assembly process is reversible using surfactants to break up the phospholipids. When filters are used to remove the surfactants the system reassembles with no loss of efficiency even over multiple assembly/disassembly cycles. The results were published September 5th in Nature Chemistry."

Opossums Overrun Brooklyn, Fail To Eliminate Rats

Posted by samzenpus on Monday September 20, @02:23PM
from the urban-opossum-blight dept.
__roo writes"In a bizarre case of life imitates the Simpsons, New York City officials introduced a population of opossums into Brooklyn parks and under the boardwalk at Coney Island, apparently convinced that the opossums would eat all of the rats in the borough and then conveniently die of starvation. Several years later, the opossums have not only failed to eliminate the rat epidemic from New York City, but they have thrived, turning into a sharp-toothed, foul-odored epidemic of their own."

Data Clippers to Set Sail to Enhance Future Planetary Missions

ScienceDaily (Sep. 17, 2010) — A new golden age of sailing may be about to begin -- in space. Future missions to explore the outer planets could employ fleets of 'data-clippers' -- manoeuvrable spacecraft equipped with solar sails, to ship vast quantities of scientific data to back Earth.