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Online schooling is exploding in US

September 6, 2012

(Credit: iStockphoto)

A small but rapidly growing number of families are turning to the Internet as an alternative to chronically under-resourced brick and mortar institutions, New Scientist reports.

Proponents say online primary and secondary education, whether full-time or as part of a “blended” program of online and face-to-face education, could usher in a new era of personalizing education that will give each child the best chance of success.… read more

How to lab-test your brain with an iPhone

February 10, 2013

iDichotic test (credit: Bergen fMRI Group)

Suggestion: for better validity, download and try the free iDichotic iOS app first before continuing to read this. I found it very interesting.  — Editor

A new study shows that an iOS (iPhone, iPad, etc.) app yields results on a dichotic listening test that are as reliable as laboratory tests.

Two years ago, psychology researcher Josef Bless was listening to music on his phone when… read more

Solve for X: celebrating moonshot thinking

February 15, 2013

solve_for_x

Last week, Google hosted its 2013 Solve for X event, where they gathered 50 experienced entrepreneurs, innovators and scientists from around the world who are taking on moonshots — proposals that address a huge problem, suggest a radical solution that could work, and use some form of breakthrough technology to make it happen, Megan Smith and Astro Teller, co-hosts/creators of… read more

We need to forget things to make space to learn new things, scientists discover

Mice study, if confirmed in people, might help forget traumatic experiences
March 21, 2016

The three routes into the hippocampus seem to be linked to different aspects of learning: forming memories (green), recalling them (yellow) and forgetting (red). (credit: John Wood)

While you’re reading this (and learning about this new study), your brain is actively trying to forget something.

We apologize, but that’s what scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the University Pablo Olavide in Sevilla, Spain, found in a new study published Friday (March 18) in an open-access paper in Nature Communications.

“This is the first time that a pathway in the brain has… read more

How to erase bad memories and enhance good ones

May 27, 2016

controlling_fear ft

Imagine if people with dementia could enhance good memories or those with post-traumatic stress disorder could wipe out bad memories. A Stony Brook University research team has now taken a step toward that goal by manipulating one of the brain’s natural mechanisms for signaling involved in emotional memory: a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.

The region of the brain most involved in emotional memory is thought to… read more

The ‘birdman’ is FAKE: Filmmaker behind wing suit flight video admits footage was a hoax and says it was ‘online storytelling’

March 22, 2012

flyinglikeabird

The Dutch “bird man” who posted a video showing a successful “test flight” of a wing suit contraption has admitted that the amazing feat was a hoax all along.

Viewers became sceptical after it emerged that no scientists actually knew “Jarno Smeets,” who claimed to have created the technology.

Now Smeets has confessed that he is actually a “filmmaker and animator” named Floris Kaayk, and… read more

Life-size, 3D hologram-like telepods may revolutionize videoconferencing

May 4, 2012

holo_video1

A Queen’s University researcher has created a Star Trek-like human-scale 3D videoconferencing pod that allows people in different locations to video conference as if they are standing in front of each other.

“Why Skype when you can talk to a life-size 3D holographic image of another person?” says professor Roel Vertegaal, director of the Human Media Lab.

The technology Dr. Vertegaal and researchers at… read more

Neuroscience: the mind reader

June 14, 2012

Adrian-Owen

Adrian Owen has found a way to use brain scans to communicate with people previously written off as unreachable in a so-called “vegetative state.” Now he’s fighting to take his methods to the clinic.

Patients in these states are usually written off as lost.

Owen took fMRI scans of a 23-year-old woman in a vegetative state while he asked her to imagine playing tennis and walking through the… read more

Your virtual avatar can impact your real-world behavior, researchers suggest

February 13, 2014

Can playing these characters affect your behavior differently? (Credit: Jim Lee and Scott Williams/DC Comics and Warner Bros. Pictures)

How you represent yourself in the virtual world of video games may affect how you behave toward others in the real world, new University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign research published in Psychological Science suggests.

“Our results indicate that just five minutes of role-play in virtual environments as either a hero or villain can easily cause people to reward or punish anonymous strangers,” says lead researcher Gunwoo Yoon.

The… read more

Crowdsourcing for robots

Humans acting like robots teach robots to act like humans
June 30, 2014

The UW’s robot builds a turtle model (credit: University of Washington)

Crowdsourcing can be a quick and effective way to teach a robot how to complete tasks, University of Washington computer scientists have shown.

Learning by imitating a human is a proven approach to teach a robot to perform tasks, but it can take a lot of time. But if the robot could learn a task’s basic steps, then ask the online community for additional input, it could collect more… read more

Is our universe a bubble in the multiverse?

July 21, 2014

Screenshot from a video of Matthew Johnson explaining the related concepts of inflation, eternal inflation, and the multiverse (see http://youtu.be/w0uyR6JPkz4).<br />
Credit: Image courtesy of Perimeter Institute

Researchers at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics are working to bring the multiverse hypothesis — we are living in one universe of many — into the realm of testable science.

Perimeter Associate Faculty member Matthew Johnson and his team are looking for clues for the existence of multiverses (a.ka. parallel universes) in the cosmic microwave background data, assumed to be left over from… read more

New metamaterial lens focuses radio waves

Device could improve satellite and molecular imaging
November 15, 2012

The orientation of 4,000 S-shaped units forms a metamaterial lens that focuses radio waves with extreme precision, and very little energy lost (credit: Dylan Erb/MIT)

MIT researchers have fabricated a three-dimensional, lightweight metamaterial lens that focuses radio waves with extreme precision.

The concave lens exhibits a property called negative refraction, bending electromagnetic waves — in this case, radio waves — in exactly the opposite sense from which a normal concave lens would work.

Concave lenses typically radiate radio waves… read more

How to build a low-cost AFM nanoscope out of LEGO + Arduino board

September 19, 2013

An  AFM made from LEGO and electronics (Credit: Alice Pyne, London Centre for Nanotechnology)

The world’s first low-cost atomic force microscope (AFM) has been developed in Beijing by a group of PhD students from University College London (UCL), Tsinghua University, and Peking University — using LEGO.

LEGO2NANO brought together students, experienced makers and scientists to take on the challenge of building a cheap and effective AFM, a device able to probe objects only a nanometer in size… read more

Combining antennas with solar panels for high efficiency, low weight and volume

December 3, 2013

antenna-solar cell

Researchers at EPFL have managed to combine telecommunication antennas and solar cells to work together with unprecedented efficiency.

Traditionally, antennas and solar cells have never worked well together, as they have to function independently of each other in order to avoid interference. This has an impact on the weight and size of satellites — the surface area has to be large enough for both antenna systems, which… read more

Virus caught in the act of infecting a cell

January 11, 2013

virus_injecting

The detailed changes in the structure of a virus as it infects an E. coli bacterium have been observed for the first time.

To infect a cell, a virus must be able to first find a suitable cell and then eject its genetic material into its host.

This robot-like process has been observed in a virus called T7 and visualized by Ianread more

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