June 22, 2010
Sentiment analysis of blog posts and tweets can be used to predict stock market behavior and voting intentions by capturing the “national mood,” according to researchers at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and others.
Video blogs, a.k.a. vlogs — blogs that primarily feature video shorts instead of text — have boomed this year.
Clint Sharp, a vlogger who publishes a weekly tech show, said “the potential for everyone to self-publish has the ability to revolutionize the world” by sharing video across cultures and countries. It will also help those interested in exploring niche subjects ignored by traditional media.
Web logs, or “blogs,” are proliferating across the Internet, providing individuals a soapbox on which to sound off on topics ranging from politics to pet care. Experts say these online diaries are having a growing impact in politics especially.
Researchers have discovered a molecule that accumulates with age and inhibits the formation of new neurons. The finding might help scientists design therapies to prevent age-related cognitive decline.
The investigators identified the molecule, called Dickkopf-1 or Dkk1, in the brains of aged mice. By blocking production of Dkk1, “we released a brake on neuronal birth, thereby resetting performance in spatial memory tasks back to levels observed in… read more
As the planet warms and the world continues to emit greenhouse gases at a searing pace, some argue that geoengineering ideas are rapidly becoming attractive, if not downright necessary, IEEE Spectrum reports.
In other words, hack the planet.
One of the two main categories of geoengineering is solar radiation management, or SRM. (The other is the direct removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.)… read more
Yale University researchers have found that transgenic mice predisposed to develop brain plaques, and with a gene that also blocks TGF-beta, performed better on various mazes than mice with brain plaques alone, and had up to 90 per cent fewer plaques in their brains.
Blocking TGF-beta apparently allowed macrophages (immune cells that digest unwanted materials) to get across the blood-brain barrier into the brain. A TGF-beta blocker could have… read more
Our brains can rewire themselves in just seconds to compensate for a break in incoming data, suggesting they are even more flexible than previously thought, MIT scientists have found.
Blindness causes structural changes in the brain, indicating that the brain may reorganize itself functionally in order to adapt to a loss in sensory input, say UCLA Department of Neurology scientists.
For long-term blind subjects, they found significant enlargement in areas of the brain not responsible for vision, such as working memory and improved ability to feel subtle changes in temperature and distinguish between the auditory echoes caused by… read more
Stem cells have restored sight to 82 people with eyes blinded by chemical or heat burns, restoring vision to a level up to 0.9 on a visual acuity scale (1 represents perfect vision), reports Graziella Pellegrini at the University of Modena in Italy.
“Science fact is rapidly outstripping science fiction,” said Neil Gershenfeld, head of the new Center for Bits and Atoms at M.I.T.’s Media Laboratory.Examples include:
* A radio-signal message “teleported” in a laser beam
* Genetically altered goats whose milk contains a gene from the golden-orb weaving spider
* “Tooth phone”
* Using principles of insect locomotion and the suction qualities of geckos’ toes to develop lifelike… read more
An international team of brain researchers have reported experiments with a patient with destroyed visual lobes who shows “blindsight” — unconscious perception of obstacles.
The results of change blindness studies and other experiments strongly suggest that the visual system can focus on only one or very few objects at a time (maybe 30 or 40 objects per second), and that anything lying outside a given moment’s cone of interest gets short shrift.
This is because the brain has evolved mechanisms for combating data overload, allowing large rivers of data to pass along optical… read more
Virginia Tech engineers have developed the first vehicle that can be independently operated by a blind driver.
Using data from a laser scan of obstacles, a computer voice signals the driver through headphones how to steer to avoid a collision — one click to the left, for example; three clicks to the right — and the vehicle’s computer communicates speed with vibrations fed through a vest worn by the… read more
Researchers have projected braille patterns directly into a blind patient’s retina, allowing him to read four-letter words accurately and quickly with an ocular neuroprosthetic device.
The device, Second Sight‘s Argus II, has been implanted in over 50 patients, many of who can now see color, movement and objects.
It uses a small camera mounted on a pair of glasses, a portable processor to… read more