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Updated: 12 hours 36 min ago

Tracking flu levels with Wikipedia

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 23:16
Can monitoring Wikipedia hits show how many people have the flu? Researchers have developed a method of estimating levels of influenza-like illness in the American population by analyzing Internet traffic on specific flu-related Wikipedia articles.

Internet use may cut retirees' depression

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 16:47
Spending time online has the potential to ward off depression among retirees, particularly among those who live alone, according to research. Authors report that internet use reduced the probability of a depressed state by 33 percent among their study sample. Late-life depression affects between 5 and 10 million Americans age 50 and older. This new study shows that the Internet offers older Americans a chance to overcome the social and spatial boundaries that are believed to fuel depression.

Fear of the cuckoo mafia: In fear of retaliation, birds accept and raise brood parasites' young

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 16:45
If a restaurant owner fails to pay the 'protection money' demanded of him by the mob, he can expect his premises to be trashed. Warnings like these are seldom required, however, as fear of the consequences is enough to make restaurant owners pay up. Similarly, mafia-like behavior is observed in parasitic birds, which lay their eggs in other birds' nests. If the host birds throw the cuckoo's egg out, the brood parasites take their revenge by destroying the entire nest. Consequently, it is beneficial for hosts to be capable of learning and to cooperate. Previously seen only in field observations, scientists have now modeled this behavior mathematically to confirm it as an effective strategy.

Likely author of original Bitcoin paper? Researchers uncover linguistic evidence

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 13:05
The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students and researchers at Aston University’s Centre for Forensic Linguistics (UK). Their research also challenges the claim that Dorian S. Nakamoto is the main author of the paper, an assertion made in Newsweek last month that has been strongly denied by Mr Nakamoto.

Simplicity is key to co-operative robots

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 02:53
A way of making hundreds -- or even thousands -- of tiny robots cluster to carry out tasks without using any memory or processing power has been developed. Engineers have programmed extremely simple robots that are able to form a dense cluster without the need for complex computation, in a similar way to how a swarm of bees or a flock of birds is able to carry out tasks collectively.

Chess robots to cause Judgment Day?

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 02:53
Next time you play a computer at chess, think about the implications if you beat it. It could be a very sore loser! A new study reflects upon the growing need for autonomous technology, and suggests that humans should be very careful to prevent future systems from developing anti-social and potentially harmful behavior.

Beating the clock for ischemic stroke sufferers

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 21:20
Researchers have developed a new computer tool to ensure faster care and treatment for stroke patients. The CAD stroke technology is capable of detecting signs of stroke from computed tomography (CT) scans. A CT scan uses X-rays to take pictures of the brain in slices. When blood flow to the brain is blocked, an area of the brain turns softer or decreases in density due to insufficient blood flow, pointing to an ischemic stroke.

Information storage for the next generation of plastic computers: Efficient conversion from magnetic storage to light is key

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 20:24
Inexpensive computers, cell phones and other systems that substitute flexible plastic for silicon chips may be one step closer to reality, thanks to new research. Scientists have made a new proposal for overcoming a major obstacle to the development of such plastic devices -- the large amount of energy required to read stored information.

Quantum computing? Progress in the fight against quantum dissipation

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 17:34
Scientists have confirmed a 50-year-old, previously untested theoretical prediction in physics and improved the energy storage time of a quantum switch by several orders of magnitude. High-quality quantum switches are essential for the development of quantum computers and the quantum internet -- innovations that would offer vastly greater information processing power and speed than classical (digital) computers, as well as more secure information transmission.

Scientists capture ultrafast snapshots of light-driven superconductivity

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 17:32
A new study pins down a major factor behind the appearance of superconductivity -- the ability to conduct electricity with 100 percent efficiency -- in a promising copper-oxide material. Scientists used carefully timed pairs of laser pulses to trigger superconductivity in the material and immediately take x-ray snapshots of its atomic and electronic structure as superconductivity emerged.

Ant colonies help evacuees in disaster zones

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 14:16
An escape route mapping system based on the behavior of ant colonies could give evacuees a better chance of reaching safe harbor after a natural disaster or terrorist attack by building a map showing the shortest routes to shelters and providing regular updates of current situations such as fires, blocked roads or other damage via the smart phones of emergency workers and those caught up in the disaster.

Researchers propose network-based evaluation tool to assess relief operations feasibility

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 14:16
The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction reported that disasters have affected around 2.9 billion people worldwide from 2000-2012- killing more than a million, and damaging around 1.7 trillion US dollars in estimates. Moreover, natural disasters and their damages have been documented to occur with increasing intensity. Given the staggering numbers, effective disaster preparedness and relief response plans is compelling, especially considering the fact that natural disasters are usually unpredictable and damage cannot be avoided. Scientists have now presented a model that looks into the logistics of disaster relief using open data and tools and measures developed in the field of network science.

Augmented reality: Bringing history and the future to life

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 14:14
Have you ever wished you had a virtual time machine that could show you how your street looked last century? Or have you wanted to see how your new furniture might look, before you’ve even bought it? Thanks to new research you can now do just that.

Computer software analyzing facial expressions accurately predicts student test performance

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 14:13
Real-time engagement detection technology that processes facial expressions can perform with accuracy comparable to that of human observers, according to new research. The study used automatic expression recognition technology to analyze students' facial expressions on a frame-by-frame basis and estimate their engagement level. The study also revealed that engagement levels were a better predictor of students' post-test performance than the students' pre-test scores.

Net neutrality balancing act

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 13:05
Researchers have demonstrated that net neutrality benefits content creator and consumers without compromising provider innovation nor profits. There is a war raging online between those who wish to modulate, control and throttle the flow of information, usually the internet service providers and content creators and consumers who seek neutrality. Net neutrality is the principle on which open democracy and social benefits of the communication age can best be played out, the latter two parties argue. Governments and regulatory authorities must guarantee net neutrality in other words.

Potential use of Google Glass in surgical settings

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 13:04
A new article shows the potential applications for Google Glass in the surgical setting, particularly in relation to training. Personal portable information technology is advancing at a breathtaking speed. Google has recently introduced Glass, a device that is worn like conventional glasses, but that combines a computerized central processing unit, touchpad, display screen, high-definition camera, microphone, bone-conduction transducer, and wireless connectivity.

Earthquake simulation tops one petaflop mark

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 17:39
Computer scientists, mathematicians and geophysicists have optimized the SeisSol earthquake simulation software on the SuperMUC high performance computer to push its performance beyond the 'magical' one petaflops mark -- one quadrillion floating point operations per second.

Lens turns any smartphone into a portable microscope

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 17:38
The Micro Phone Lens can turn any smartphone or tablet computer into a hand-held microscope. The soft, pliable lens sticks to a device's camera without any adhesive or glue and makes it possible to see things magnified dozens of times on the screen.

Computerized counseling reduces HIV-1 viral load, sexual transmission risk

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 16:55
Computerized counseling is a promising intervention for increased ART adherence and safer sex, especially for individuals with problems in these areas. This is the first intervention to report improved ART adherence, viral suppression, and reduced secondary sexual transmission risk behavior.

Flaw in 'secure' cloud storage could put privacy at risk

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 16:52
Computer scientists have found a flaw in the way that secure cloud storage companies protect their customers’ data. The scientists say this weakness jeopardizes the privacy protection these digital warehouses claim to offer. Whenever customers share their confidential files with a trusted friend or colleague, the researchers say, the storage provider could exploit the security flaw to secretly view this private data.