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Here’s how to best secure your data now that the NSA can crack almost any encryption

October 27, 2013


The latest Snowden-supplied bombshell shook the technology world to its core on Thursday: The NSA can crack many of the encryption technologies in place today, PC World reports — a day after Pew reported that 90 percent of Internet users have taken steps to avoid surveillance in some way.

PC World recommends several open-source encryption tools, such as… read more

Network theory suggests consciousness is global in the brain

March 16, 2015

The black dots correspond to the 264 areas of the cerebral cortex that the researchers probed, and the lines correspond to the increased strength of the functional connections between each of these brain areas when subjects consciously perceive the target. The "hotter" colors are associated with stronger connections. This figure illustrates that awareness of the target corresponds to widespread increase in the strength of functional connections. (credit: Marois/Godwin).

Vanderbilt University researchers have found evidence that awareness or consciousness results from widespread communication across sensory and association areas of the cortex — challenging previous hypotheses that changes in restricted areas of the brain were responsible for producing awareness.

“Identifying the fingerprints of consciousness in humans would be a significant advancement for basic and medical research, let alone its philosophical implications on the underpinnings of the human… read more

Just add water: a portable hydrogen fuel cell

January 25, 2013

A close-up of spherical silicon nanoparticles about 10 nanometers in diameter. In Nano Letters, UB scientists report that these particles could form the basis of new technologies that generate hydrogen for portable power applications. (Credit: Swihart Research Group/University at Buffalo)

Battery dead in the middle of a phone call and you left your charger home, or worse, you’re on a camping trip. Sound familiar?

No prob, just grab some nanosilicon powder, mix with water, and zap: instant hydrogen fuel to generate recharge current — thanks to University at Buffalo researchers, who have discovered that super-small particles of silicon react with water to produce hydrogenread more

Scanadu Scout ‘Tricorder’ launches on indiegogo

May 23, 2013

Scanadu Scout (credit: Scanadu)

Scanadu has announced updates to its Scanadu Scout, the “first medical Tricorder,” a prototype device designed to measure vital signs; and the launch of an indiegogo campaign.

A first-edition Scout can be reserved on indiegogo and will be available in March 2014.

The Scout is sold as an exploratory tool. “By helping us collect data, we can file our application to the FDA for market… read more

Lifespan-extending drug given late in life reverses age-related heart disease in mice

June 12, 2013


Elderly mice suffering from age-related heart disease saw a significant improvement in cardiac function after being treated with the FDA-approved drug rapamycin for just three months.

The research, led by a team of scientists at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, shows how rapamycin impacts mammalian tissues, providing functional insights and possible benefits for a drug that has been shown to extend the lifespan… read more

Watson beats humans on ‘Jeopardy!’ with a total prize of $1 million

February 15, 2011


The Watson IBM supercomputer finished the third round of the TV show “Jeopardy!” on Wednesday night as winner, with a cumulative total of $77,147, compared with $24,000 for Ken Jennings and $21,600 for Brad Rutter. Watson won a total prize of $1 million; Jennings and Rutter got $300,000 and $200,000 respectively.

News reports

An easy, low-cost way to get into 3D printing

January 7, 2014

MakerBot Mini

If you’ve been thinking about getting into 3D printing, the compact MakerBot Replicator Mini 3D printer, just introduced at CES, could make it easy and affordable at $1,375 (available spring 2014).

It’s limited to printing objects around 4 x 4 x 4 inches, but the company claims it’s easy to use, with no 3D skills needed. You can download models from the free MakerBot Printshop and Thingverse,… read more

Crowdsourcing expertise

August 16, 2012

Can a crowd be an expert? Two UVM scientists think the answer is yes. (photo: James Cridland)

Crowdsourcing — posing a question or asking for help from a large group of people — has allowed many problems to be solved, like scan for new galaxies and climate modeling, that would be impossible for experts alone..

But what if the crowd was asked to decide what questions to ask in the first place?

University of Vermont researchers Josh Bongard and Paul Hines decided to explore  that question… read more

Obama or Romney? Face-reading software monitors viewers’ responses to debate

November 5, 2012


New Scientist asked readers to take part in an online project designed to give a more fine-grained view of the public’s reactions to politics.

About 80 readers watched clips from the third and final presidential debate while face-reading software recorded subtle emotional cues via webcams. Developed by Affectiva of Waltham, Massachusetts, the software tracked six categories of expression: smiles, surprise,… read more

Cheap, easy technique to snip DNA could revolutionize gene therapy

January 8, 2013

The bacterial enzyme Cas9 is the engine of RNA-programmed genome engineering in human cells (credit: Jennifer Doudna/UC Berkeley)

A simple, precise, and inexpensive method for cutting DNA to insert genes into human cells could transform genetic medicine, making routine what now are expensive, complicated and rare procedures for replacing defective genes to fix genetic disease or even cure AIDS.

Discovered last year, two new papers published last week in the journal Science Express demonstrate that the technique also works in human cells.

“The ability… read more

A personalized robot companion

August 20, 2013


A consortium of European researchers has developed a customizable robot companion for people with memory or mobility problems.

The robot, a mobile wheeled semi-humanoid figure equipped with cameras, sensors, audio and a touch screen interface, can remind users to take their medicine, suggest they have their favorite drink or prompt them to go for a walk or visit friends if they haven’t been out for a while,… read more

Simulated attack on the US power grid planned for Wednesday — Thursday

November 12, 2013


The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is quietly planning to launch a simulated attack on the U.S. power grid on Wednesday and Thursday (Nov. 13–14) called GridEx II, according to an unpublished document obtained by KurzweilAI from NERC.

The updated objectives for GridEx II are:

• Exercise the current readiness of the electricity industry to respond to a security incident, incorporating… read more

Human brains share a consistent genetic blueprint and possess enormous biochemical complexity

First extensive analysis of Allen Human Brain Atlas has implications for basic understanding of the human brain and for medicine
September 20, 2012

3D rendering from the Allen Human Brain Atlas

The same basic functional elements are used throughout the cortex and understanding how one area works in detail will uncover fundamentals that apply to the other areas as well, scientists at the Allen Institute for Brain Science reported in the latest issue of the journal Nature.

Human brains share a consistent genetic blueprint, and possess enormous biochemical complexity, they said, based on the first deep and large-scale… read more

Visual computing still decades from computational apex

March 9, 2012


With 120 million monochrome and 5 million color receptors, the eye and brain are able to do what even our most advanced cameras are unable to, according to computer graphics pioneer Tim Sweeney of Epic Games.

With a resolution of about 30 megapixels, the human eye is able to gather information at about 72 frames per second, which explains why many gamers debate the need for frame rates higher than… read more

Mystery deepens: Mike Treder has crossed over into Canada

March 22, 2012

Michael Treder, the transhumanist leader and IEET fellow who disappeared during a visit to Detroit, has crossed the border into Canada and hasn’t been seen since, according to Detroit police spokeswoman Sgt. Eren Stephens, the Detroit Free Press reported today (March 22).

Treder, 58, from Brooklyn, N.Y., was last heard from March 14, according to his family, who said he left all of his possessions in his room at… read more

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