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thinkahol *

Citizen Scientist 2.0 - 1 views

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    What does the future of science look like?
    About a year ago, I was asked this question. My response then was: Transdisciplinary collaboration. Researchers from a variety of domains-biology, philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, economics, law-all coming together, using inputs from each specialized area to generate the best comprehensive solutions to society's more persistent problems. Indeed, it appears as if I was on the right track, as more and more academic research departments, as well as industries, are seeing the value in this type of partnership.
    Now let's take this a step further. Not only do I think we will be relying on inputs from researchers and experts from multiple domains to solve scientific problems, but I see society itself getting involved on a much more significant level as well. And I don't just mean science awareness. I'm talking about actually participating in the research itself. Essentially, I see a huge boom in the future for Citizen Science.
thinkahol *

Software tricks people into thinking it is human - tech - 06 September 2011 - New Scien... - 0 views

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    Cleverbot tricked 59 per cent of people that they were talking to another human - suggesting it has passed the Turing test
thinkahol *

Natural brain state is primed to learn - life - 19 August 2011 - New Scientist - 0 views

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    Apply the electrodes...
    Externally modulating the brain's activity can boost its performance.

    The easiest way to manipulate the brain is through transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), which involves applying electrodes directly to the head to influence neuron activity with an electric current.

    Roi Cohen Kadosh's team at the University of Oxford showed last year that targeting tDCS at the brain's right parietal lobe can boost a person's arithmetic ability - the effects were still apparent six months after the tDCS session (newscientist.com/article/dn19679).

    More recently, Richard Chi and Allan Snyder at the University of Sydney, Australia, demonstrated that tDCS can improve a person's insight. The pair applied tDCS to volunteers' anterior frontal lobes - regions known to play a role in how we perceive the world - and found the participants were three times as likely as normal to complete a problem-solving task (newscientist.com/article/dn20080).

    Brain stimulation can also boost a person's learning abilities, according to Agnes Flöel's team at the University of Münster in Germany. Twenty minutes of tDCS to a part of the brain called the left perisylvian area was enough to speed up and improve language learning in a group of 19 volunteers (Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1162/jocn.2008.20098).

    Using the same technique to stimulate the brain's motor cortex, meanwhile, can enhance a person's ability to learn a movement-based skill (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0805413106).
thinkahol *

Evolution machine: Genetic engineering on fast forward - life - 27 June 2011 - New Scie... - 0 views

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    Automated genetic tinkering is just the start - this machine could be used to rewrite the language of life and create new species of humans

thinkahol *

New Scientist TV: Hack your hand to learn the guitar - 0 views

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    Instead of practicing for hours, a device can now teach you a tune by taking control of your hand (see video above). The system, developed by the University of Tokyo and Sony Computer Science Laboratories, is appropriately named PossessedHand and electrically stimulates muscles in your arm that move your fingers. Tests have shown that the device can help you learn the correct fingering faster but many find the concept unsettling. Would you be willing to have your hand hacked to learn an instrument?
thinkahol *

Mind-reading scan identifies simple thoughts - health - 26 May 2011 - New Scientist - 0 views

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    A new new brain imaging system that can identify a subject's simple thoughts may lead to clearer diagnoses for Alzheimer's disease or schizophrenia - as well as possibly paving the way for reading people's minds.
    Michael Greicius at Stanford University in California and colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify patterns of brain activity associated with different mental states.
    He asked 14 volunteers to do one of four tasks: sing songs silently to themselves; recall the events of the day; count backwards in threes; or simply relax.
    Participants were given a 10-minute period during which they had to do this. For the rest of that time they were free to think about whatever they liked. The participants' brains were scanned for the entire 10 minutes, and the patterns of connectivity associated with each task were teased out by computer algorithms that compared scans from several volunteers doing the same task.
    This differs from previous experiments, in which the subjects were required to perform mental activities at specific times and the scans were then compared with brain activity when they were at rest. Greicius reasons his method encourages "natural" brain activity more like that which occurs in normal thought.
thinkahol *

Cheap, 'safe' drug kills most cancers - health - 17 January 2007 - New Scientist - 0 views

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    It sounds almost too good to be true: a cheap and simple drug that kills almost all cancers by switching off their "immortality". The drug, dichloroacetate (DCA), has already been used for years to treat rare metabolic disorders and so is known to be relatively safe.
thinkahol *

New Scientist TV: Amputees regain control with bionic arm wired to chest - 0 views

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    Jesse Sullivan, the man in this video, is using one of the most high-tech prosthetic arms available. But what's truly impressive about it isn't visible to the eye: instead of using a motor, he's controlling the arm with his thoughts. After an amputation, the nerves in a stump remain healthy, at least for a while, and now scientists are making use of this fact to create highly dexterous, thought-controlled prosthetics.
thinkahol *

Mind's circuit diagram to be revealed by mammoth map - life - 07 February 2011 - New Sc... - 0 views

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    Our brain is the most complex object in the known universe - so we'll need to map it in formidable detail to track down memory, thought and identity
thinkahol *

New Scientist TV: Become a virtual film-maker - 0 views

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    Motion controllers used in gaming systems like the Nintendo Wii revolutionised how video games are played. But now a similar device that's more precise - and even works when an object is in its way - will let you try something more futuristic: making movies in virtual environments. Matt Bett and his team from Abertay University in the UK developed the new motion controller that uses electromagnetic sensors to track its 3D position. The location is then mapped in real time to a virtual video camera on a screen (see video above). By moving the controller around, the camera moves around the scene like a real camera on a rig or it can be fixed to a virtual tripod.

thinkahol *

Smart contact lenses for health and head-up displays - tech - 10 January 2011 - New Sci... - 0 views

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    Lenses that monitor eye health are on the way, and in-eye 3D image displays are being developed too - welcome to the world of augmented vision
thinkahol *

Supercomputer hunts child abusers - tech - 03 December 2010 - New Scientist - 0 views

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    With the help of their 1.8 petaflop supercomputer, Jaguar, researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee are sifting through internet traffic in search of suspicions patterns that will lead police to the perpetrators of child pornography.

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