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The robots of CES

January 18, 2012


A cycling android, a remote-controlled orb, and a robot sweeps or mops floors were among the robotic (and non-robotic remote-controlled) curiosities from last week’s CES.

The rootkit of all evil — CIQ

November 17, 2011

CIQ on a Samsung device

CarrierIQ (CIQ), hidden surveillance software, is embedded into most mobile devices, including Android, Nokia, Blackberry, and likely many more, with root access (a vendor or hacker could take over the device), xdadevelopers reports.

A developer discovered that this hidden software, normally used to provide feedback and relevant data, is given root rights over the device, which means that it can do everything it pleases, without… read more

The S&P 500 with and without Apple: Round 2

March 27, 2012


According to Dan Sanborn of Ned Davis Research, the S&P 500 index’s total earnings growth drops from 7.8% year over year with Apple to just 2.7% without.

Meanwhile Barclays Capital has produced a chart — spotlighted Sunday on Business Insider by Joe Weisenthal — showing the earnings growth of the tech sector with and without Apple. What was a gap has become a chasm.

Rather than being the… read more

The ‘satellite navigation’ in our brains

September 12, 2008

Our brains contain their own GPS-like navigation system, with in-built maps, grids and compasses, University College London neuroscientists have found in an MRI study of the hippocampus and neighboring brain areas.

The scary side of the digital future

April 28, 2001

Maybe we’ve finally created a global system based on technology that’s too complex for human beings to understand or control, says Thomas Homer-Dixon, author of The Ingenuity Gap.

Homer-Dixon describes genetic programming, in which code is set up to evolve quickly and essentially write itself. But we have to create ever more complex machines to control ever more complex systems, so when the machines get too complex, do we… read more

The sci-fi legends who shaped today’s tech

November 23, 2009

Minority Report’s gesture recognition, augmented and virtual reality, mind/machine interfaces, virtual worlds, AI, and Google Earth are among the technologies inspired by science fiction.

The science of antiaging

January 30, 2012

Science reporter Jennifer Couzin-Frankel hosted an open public Science Live chat with antiaging experts Jay Olshansky, a professor at the University of Illinois, and Aubrey de Grey, a biomedical gerontologist based in Cambridge, U.K. and chief science officer of SENS Foundation.

The objective: take an entirely new look at aging. Some interesting excerpts:

Jay Olshansky

The goal of research in this area in my view is not… read more


December 28, 2009

James Cameron has created a whole ecosystem, from semi-intelligent trees to giant land and air creatures…. [He] has taken the Gaia hypothesis, that the biosphere of the Earth is itself a kind of living entity, and sexed it up — the biosphere of Pandora is essentially a god, and it’s networked! Creatures can plug into each other via what amounts to USB hair and fiber optic roots….

The Science Of ‘Inception’

July 30, 2010

Real-life technologies can perform some of the mind-reading tricks shown in the new film Inception, in which people are able to observe and participate in someone’s dreams.

Jack Gallant, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley shows people images and movies while taking a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan of their brains. He uses brain-pattern analysis and computer algorithms to analyze the fMRI scans and build a… read more

The scientific brain

March 11, 2010

Predictable vs. Unpredictable Images

The brain’s main job, like that of a scientist, is to generate hypotheses about what is going on in the outside world, a Max Planck Institute for Brain Research study suggests.

More info: Max Planck Institute for Brain Research

The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change

December 8, 2004

There is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change, according to reports from several professional societies.

The screen-age: Our brains in our laptops

August 3, 2004

The late media theorist Marshall McLuhan would say the Internet is an extension of our central nervous systems.

This was evident in interviews with college students about their online lives in Sherry Turkle’s book “Life on the Screen.”

One of the most striking observations in Turkle’s findings was a quote from one multitasking student who preferred the online world to the face-to-face world. “Real life,” he said, “is… read more

The search engine that can predict what you want

April 22, 2011

Futureful, a Finnish startup, is building a predictive discovery iPad app that will deliver personalized information.

The company’s algorithms glean information from social feeds, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Delicious, Tumblr, and Flickr, to locate trending topics. The algorithms crunch users’ interests, behavior, and posts with those of friends and other users to suggest subjects for further exploration.

Tapping one or more of these subjects on… read more

The Search for a Clearer Voice

January 12, 2011

Google’s improved Voice Search takes speech recognition to its next level: Google’s servers will now log up to two years of your voice commands in order to more precisely parse exactly what you’re saying.

In tests on the new app, which appeared in Google’s Android Market a week before Christmas, the app originally got about three out of five searches correct. After a few days, the ratio crept up… read more

The Search for Genes Leads to Unexpected Places

April 27, 2010

Scientists have identified thousands of genes, including those in plants, that can give rise to diseases in humans when they mutate.

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