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Text Compressor 1% Away From AI Threshold

July 10, 2007

Alexander Ratushnyak compressed the first 100,000,000 bytes of Wikipedia to a record-small 16,481,655 bytes, thereby winning the second payout of The Hutter Prize for Compression of Human Knowledge and bringing text compression within 1 percent of the threshold for artificial intelligence estimated by the founder of information theory, Claude Shannon.

Text mining: what do publishers have against this high-tech research tool?

May 25, 2012


Researchers are pushing to make tens of thousands of papers based on publicly funded research work available through open access to find links between genes and diseases — countering publishers’ default ban on text mining via computer scanning.

That would allow researchers to mine the content freely without needing to request any extra permissions.

Researchers often need access to tens of thousands of research papers at once, so they can use computers… read more

Text-to-Speech Technology Reaches an Inflection Point

September 18, 2009

People with speech-impairing conditions like A.L.S., autism, Down syndrome and strokes have started to discover that general-purpose devices, such as iPhones and netbooks equipped with downloadable text-to-speech software, can in many cases help them communicate better and more cheaply than the expensive proprietary speech devices covered by Medicare and private health insurance.

In addition, disease experts say that children with Down syndrome often prefer to have a standard computer… read more

Textbooks going digital

April 20, 2010

Five year sales

Over the next five years, digital textbook sales in the United States will surpass 18% of combined new textbook sales for the Higher Education and Career Education markets — a more than $1 billion market, according to a new study by educational software company Xplana.

The increase in e-textbook sales will be driven by a series of hardware and technology trends, including:

* Success of the iPad and… read more

Texting or some hands-free talking behind the wheel is as dangerous as being over the limit

March 15, 2013

Answering messages behind the wheel is as dangerous as being twice over the limit (credit: SINC)

Using a handsfree kit or sending text messages is the same as being above the legal alcohol limit, an experiment by Scientists from  Australian universities in collaboration with the University of Barcelona has demonstrated.

The Australian universities of Wollongong, Victoria, Swinburne of Technology, the Institute for Breathing and Sleep, and the University of Barcelona measured the reaction capacity behind the wheel of 12 healthy volunteers who participated… read more

Textured graphics can be captured in a flash

August 28, 2008

University of Manchester scientists have developed a simple technique to add depth to textured surfaces displayed as backdrops in computer games and digital dome presentations.

They found they could reconstruct the depth of a surface simply by taking two photos of it — one with a flash and one without — and processing the resulting shading patterns to capture the surface’s 3D texture.

That gut feeling may actually reflect a reliable memory

February 8, 2009

A new study from Northwestern University offers precise electrophysiological evidence that gut decisions may sometimes not be guesswork after all.

During a special recognition test, guesses turned out to be as accurate or more accurate than when study participants thought they consciously remembered.

That gut feeling: how friendly bugs protect us

May 29, 2008

Harvard Medical School researchers have found that gut bacteria release molecules that reduce inflammation and protect against colitis, suggesting that intestinal bacteria actively network with the immune system to promote health.

A common gut bacterium produces a molecule called PSA, which inhibits immune-cell production of chemicals that trigger inflammation in response to infections.

The Harvard researchers inoculated mice with PSA-producing or non-producing bacteria, then gave them another bacteria… read more

‘That gut feeling’: how stomach bacteria impact brain chemistry and behavior

May 18, 2011

Experiments with mice have determined that behavior and brain chemistry varies depending on the type of bacteria in the gut, report Stephen Collins at McMaster University and Premysl Bercik at the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute.

Working with healthy adult mice, the researchers showed that disrupting the normal bacterial content of the gut with antibiotics produced changes in behavior; the mice became… read more

That inexplicable feeling of being ‘you’

December 16, 2009

A new exhibition in London tackles the ambiguities that lie at the heart of who we are and the ways in which science continuously morphs the meaning of identity.

In one room, the diaries of Clive Wearing — a musician whose encephalitis left him unable to form memories — record the endless series of fits and starts that mark a life confined to a perpetual Now.

That’s No Phone. That’s My Tracker.

"Smartphone are robots for which we ... are merely the hands and feet."
July 15, 2012


The device in your purse or jeans that you think is a cellphone — guess again. It is a tracking device that happens to make calls. Let’s stop calling them phones. They are trackers, say Peter Maass and Megha Rajagopalan, reporters on digital privacy for ProPublica, the nonprofit investigative newsroom, in a New York Times opinion piece.

It was recently disclosed that cellphone carriers responded… read more

The (Nano) Arms Race Has Begun

July 2, 2004

India’s new President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam called today for India to develop nanotechnology — including nanobots — because it will revolutionize warfare.

He called for scientists to develop “super strong, smart and intelligent structures in the field of material science and this in turn could lead new production of nano robots with new types of explosives and sensors for air, land and space systems.”

“This is… read more

The (really scary) soldier of the future

October 21, 2005

The goal of nanobiotechnology is to completely break down the borders between living and nonliving materials. This goal has the most profound implications for every aspect of human endeavor, but in warfare the consequences of integrating our most powerful technologies are almost beyond comprehension.

The fusion of nanotechnology and biotechnology will erase any distinction between chemical, biological, and conventional weapons, altering the face of war (and life) forever.… read more

The (Shocked) Nose Knows

March 28, 2008

Northwestern University researchers have found that people can quickly learn to distinguish between almost-identical smells if choosing incorrectly nets them a nasty shock.

This in the first study that shows conditioning can hone the human nose and alter the brain.

An MRI scanned the smell centers of subjects’ brains as they distinguished between two pairs of subtly different smells, and as a slight electric shock accompanied one of… read more

The 10 Emerging Technologies of 2008

February 19, 2008

Technology Review has announced its annual list of the 10 most exciting new technologies.

Two of the technologies–cellulolytic enzymes and atomic magnetometers–are efforts by leading scientists to solve critical problems, while five–surprise modeling, connectomics, probabilistic CMOS, reality mining, and offline Web applications–represent whole new ways of looking at problems. And three–graphene transistors, nanoradio, and wireless power–are amazing feats of engineering that have created something entirely new.

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