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Same votes, different voting districts would alter election results in NC: Math study bolsters call for non-partisan redistricting reform

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 00:43
Researchers have developed a mathematical model that shows how changes in congressional voting districts affect election outcomes. Focusing on the last election, they show the outcome of the 2012 US House of Representatives elections in North Carolina would have been very different had the state's congressional districts been drawn with only the legal requirements of redistricting in mind. The researchers hope the study will bolster calls for redistricting reform in 2016.

Projecting a robot's intentions: New spin on virtual reality helps engineers read robots' minds

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 16:45
In a darkened, hangar-like space inside MIT's Building 41, a small, Roomba-like robot is trying to make up its mind. Standing in its path is an obstacle — a human pedestrian who’s pacing back and forth. To get to the other side of the room, the robot has to first determine where the pedestrian is, then choose the optimal route to avoid a close encounter. As the robot considers its options, its “thoughts” are projected on the ground: A large pink dot appears to follow the pedestrian — a symbol of the robot’s perception of the pedestrian’s position in space.

Can social media help stop the spread of HIV?

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 16:45
In addition to providing other potential benefits to public health, all of those tweets and Facebook posts could help curb the spread of HIV. Although public health researchers have focused early applications of social media on reliably monitoring the spread of diseases such as the flu, a new article tells of a future in which social media might predict and even change biomedical outcomes.

Saving lots of computing capacity with a new algorithm

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 12:40
The control of modern infrastructure such as intelligent power grids needs lots of computing capacity. Scientists have developed an algorithm that might revolutionize these processes. With their new software researchers are able to forego the use of considerable amounts of computing capacity, enabling what they call micro mining.

5g networks: Futuristic communications for today's users

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 12:36
Devices that learn from our habits and help us to “think better”, connect us to a friend just by thinking about them, or ensure continuing medical monitoring, will be a reality in 2020, thanks to the 5G technology.

Identifying 'stance taking' cues to enable sophisticated voice recognition

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 18:54
In the future, computers may be capable of talking to us during meetings just like a remote teleconference participant. But to help move this science-fiction-sounding goal a step closer to reality, it’s first necessary to teach computers to recognize not only the words we use but also the myriad meanings, subtleties and attitudes they can convey.

Do financial experts make better investments?

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 15:48
Financial experts do not make higher returns on their own investments than untrained investors, according to new research. The first-of-its-kind study analyzed the private portfolios of mutual fund managers and found the managers were surprisingly unsuccessful at outperforming nonprofessional investors.

Physicists' simple solution for quantum technology challenge

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 14:48
A solution to one of the key challenges in the development of quantum technologies has been proposed by physicists. Scientists show how to make a new type of flexibly-designed microscopic trap for atoms.

Through the Google Glass

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 14:47
Instruction librarians are incorporating Google Glass into class as a catalyst to research, discuss and explore information-related themes, such as privacy and social responsibility.

Robotically assisted bypass surgery reduces complications after surgery, cuts recovery

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 12:26
Robotically assisted coronary artery bypass grafting surgery is a rapidly evolving technology that shortens hospital stays and reduces the need for blood products, while decreasing recovery times, making the procedure safer and less risky, experts say.

Lack of A level maths leading to fewer female economists in England

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 12:25
A study has found there are far fewer women studying economics than men, with women accounting for just 27 per cent of economics students, despite them making up 57 per cent of the undergraduate population in UK universities. The findings suggest less than half as many girls (1.2 per cent) as boys (3..8 percent) apply to study economics at university, while only 10 per cent of females enroll at university with an A level in maths, compared to 19 per cent of males.

Accuracy of mobile phone population mapping demonstrated

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 12:24
Population maps based on anonymous mobile phone call record data can be as accurate as those based on censuses, an international team of researcher has demonstrated. Their findings show maps made using mobile records are detailed, reliable and flexible enough to help inform infrastructure and emergency planners; particularly in low income countries, where recent population density information is often scarce.

Citizen science network produces accurate maps of atmospheric dust

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 16:03
Measurements by thousands of citizen scientists in the Netherlands using their smartphones and the iSPEX add-on are delivering accurate data on dust particles in the atmosphere that add valuable information to professional measurements. The research team analyzed all measurements from three days in 2013 and combined them into unique maps of dust particles above the Netherlands. The results match and sometimes even exceed those of ground-based measurement networks and satellite instruments.

Insightful mathematics for an optimal run

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 14:04
Sure, we can become better runners by hydrating well, eating right, cross training, and practice. But getting to an optimal running strategy with equations? That's exactly what a pair of mathematicians propose in a new paper.

Organizational needs often forgotten in developing countries’ IT education

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 12:53
A shortage of skilled IT service management professionals constitutes an obstacle for the efficient use of information and communication technology, and is a particular challenge for the least developed countries, such as Tanzania. Tanzanian universities offer a high level of education in, for example, computer science and software design, but not in information technology.

Record data transmission over a specially fabricated fiber demonstrated

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 12:52
Researchers report the successful transmission of a record high 255 Terabits/s over a new type of fibre allowing 21 times more bandwidth than currently available in communication networks. This new type of fiber could be an answer to mitigating the impending optical transmission capacity crunch caused by the increasing bandwidth demand.

Breakthrough in molecular electronics paves way for new generation of DNA-based computer circuits

Sun, 10/26/2014 - 23:52
Scientists have announced a significant breakthrough toward developing DNA-based electrical circuits. Molecular electronics, which uses molecules as building blocks for the fabrication of electronic components, has been seen as the ultimate solution to the miniaturization challenge. However, to date, no one has actually been able to make complex electrical circuits using molecules. Now scientists report reproducible and quantitative measurements of electricity flow through long molecules made of four DNA strands, signaling a significant breakthrough towards the development of DNA-based electrical circuits.

The right to privacy in a big data world: When properly understood, privacy rules essential, experts say

Sat, 10/25/2014 - 19:25
In the digital age in which we live, monitoring, security breaches and hacks of sensitive data are all too common. It has been argued that privacy has no place in this big data environment and anything we put online can, and probably will, be seen by prying eyes. In a new article privacy law expert makes the case that when properly understood, privacy rules will be an essential and valuable part of our digital future.

Relationships benefit when parents, adult children use multiple communication channels

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 18:20
Adult children's relationship satisfaction with their parents is modestly influenced by the number of communication tools, such as cell phones, email, social networking sites, they use to communicate, research has found.

Jetpacks and flamethrowers: Team infuses science into 'Minecraft' modification

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 16:07
The 3-D world of the popular “Minecraft” video game just became more entertaining, perilous and educational, thanks to a comprehensive code modification kit, “Polycraft World.”