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Crowdsourcing the phase problem

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 15:22
Compared with humans, computers have the capacity to solve problems at much greater speed. There are many problems, however, where computational speed alone is insufficient to find a correct or optimal solution.

Surfing the Web in class? Bad idea

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 15:22
Even the smartest college students suffer academically when they use the Internet in class for non-academic purposes, finds new research. All students, regardless of intellectual ability, had lower exam scores the more they used the Internet for non-academic purposes such as reading the news, sending emails and posting Facebook updates, researcher report.

Ultra-thin wires for quantum computing

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 15:18
Take a fine strand of silica fiber, attach it at each end to a slow-turning motor, torture it over a flame until it nearly reaches its melting point and then pull it apart. The middle will thin out like taffy until it is less than half a micron across, and that, according to researchers, is how you fabricate ultrahigh transmission optical nanofibers, a potential component for future quantum information devices.

Strange physics turns off laser

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 14:29
Inspired by anomalies that arise in certain mathematical equations, researchers have demonstrated a laser system that paradoxically turns off when more power is added rather than becoming continuously brighter. The findings could lead to new ways to manipulate the interaction of electronics and light, an important tool in modern communications networks and high-speed information processing.

References resources find their place among open access and Google, study finds

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 13:38
How do open access sources, tightened budgets, and competition from popular technologies affect how librarians perceive and employ reference resources? How do librarians expect to utilize reference in the future? A new article finds that though the definition of reference is changing, this is in part because reference resources now look and feel like other information sources and because other information resources perform the traditional purpose of reference -- answering research questions.

With light echoes, the invisible becomes visible

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 13:32
Scientists have developed a novel camera system which can see around the corner without using a mirror. Using diffusely reflected light, it reconstructs the shape of objects outside of the field of view. A laser shines on the wall; a camera watches the scene. Nothing more than white ingrain wallpaper with a bright spot of light can be seen through the lens. A computer records these initially unremarkable images and as the data is processed further, little by little, the outlines of an object appear on a screen.

Even more hooked on social media: Norwegians intend to continue relationship with Facebook, other media

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 13:29
Although Norwegians are not very satisfied with the services, more and more will continue to use Facebook and other social media. A new study analyzes the country's relationship with Facebook, Twitter and other outlets.

E-cigs heavily marketed on Twitter, study finds

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 13:20
One third of commercial tweets offer coupons or discounts to purchase electronic-cigarette (e-cigs) products, a study has found. While advertising for conventional cigarettes has long been prohibited, e-cigarettes are advertised routinely in traditional media (print, television and radio) and social media. The researchers collected tweets and metadata related to e-cigarettes during a two month period in 2012. Using novel statistical methodology and carefully chosen keywords, they captured more than 70,000 tweets related to e-cigs.

Marriage legalization could lead to dissolution of same-sex relationships, new study shows

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 13:17
A new study by economists shows that relationship hazard rates – the threat of dissolution – among same-sex daters and cohabiters will likely increase with the probability of legalization. The model generated surprising predictions regarding why and how marriage would improve household economics. The researchers found that for some same-sex couples, marriage would not improve the economics of their households, and in some cases it would worsen them.

Commuting times stay constant even as distances change

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 00:42
How much commuting can you tolerate? A new study shows that across countries, people assess their commutes by the time it takes them to complete the trip, generally independent of the distance they have to travel -- as long as they have a variety of commuting options to chose from.

The games genes play: Algorithm helps explain sex in evolution

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 19:15
Computer theorists have identified an algorithm to describe the strategy used by genes during sexual recombination. In doing so, they address the dueling evolutionary forces of survival of the fittest and of diversity. "The key to this work is the making of a connection between three theoretical fields: algorithms, game theory and evolutionary theory," said one researcher. "This new bridge is an uncommon advance that opens up possibilities for cross-fertilization between the fields in the future."

Hunt for extraterrestrial life gets massive methane boost

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 19:15
A powerful new model to detect life on planets outside of our solar system more accurately than ever before has been developed by researchers. The new model focuses on methane, the simplest organic molecule, widely acknowledged to be a sign of potential life. The new model has been tested and verified by successfully reproducing in detail the way in which the methane in failed stars, called brown dwarfs, absorbs light.

Computation leads to better understanding of influenza virus replication

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 19:13
Computer simulations that reveal a key mechanism in the replication process of influenza A may help defend against future deadly pandemics. Treating influenza relies on drugs that are becoming less and less effective due to viral evolution. But scientists have published computational results that may give drug designers the insight they need to develop the next generation of effective influenza treatment.

Quantum theory reveals puzzling pattern in how people respond to some surveys

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 19:13
Researchers used quantum theory -- usually invoked to describe the actions of subatomic particles -- to identify an unexpected and strange pattern in how people respond to survey questions.

In managing boundaries between work, home, technology can be both 'friend' and 'foe'

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 18:15
When it comes to managing boundaries between work and home life, technology is neither all good nor all bad, according to ongoing research. Technology, specifically mobile technology, can be alternately used to maintain, erase or manage home and work boundaries along a spectrum, researchers report.

Early detection of extreme financial events: Market crashes are anomalous features in financial data fractal landscape

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 17:07
Due to their previously discovered fractal nature, financial data patterns are self-similar when scaling up. New research shows that the most extreme events in financial data dynamics-reflected in very large price moves-are incompatible with multi-fractal scaling. Understanding the multi-fractal structure of financially sound markets could, ultimately, help in identifying structural signs of impending extreme events.

Seeking reality in the future of aeronautical simulation

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 14:16
NASA aeronautical innovators are helping to design future airliners that will cut fuel consumption, reduce polluting emissions and fly more quietly. Yet in computational fluid dynamics, or CFD, the design tools that helped give us the modern airliners flying today are not expected to be up to the challenge in the future without some serious upgrades.

What's the role robotics could play in future food production?

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 12:21
A team of computer scientists is co-organizing an international workshop on recent advances in agricultural robotics. Recent information confirms that robots, machines and systems are rapidly achieving intelligence and autonomy, mastering more and more capabilities such as mobility and manipulation, sensing and perception, reasoning and decision making.

Text messages helpful in controlling diabetes

Sat, 06/14/2014 - 02:51
A text message-based self-management intervention improves glycemic control in high risk Latinos with type 2 diabetes, a study shows. The messages in the study focused on healthy nutrition tips, the benefits of physical activity and medication adherence, and requests to check blood sugar and send back results. Two to three messages were sent each day at the beginning of study enrollment, and the frequency tapered off over a six-month period.

Emotional contagion sweeps Facebook, finds new study

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 18:25
When it hasn't been your day – your week, your month, or even your year – it might be time to turn to Facebook friends for a little positive reinforcement. Emotions can spread contagiously among users of online social networks, both positive and negative, researchers report. The experiment is the first to suggest that emotions expressed via online social networks influence the moods of others, they say.