Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Meet Magneto Boy, the kid who attracts metal with his body

New York Post - Every superhero has an origin story, but one Russian boy’s unbelievable tale isn’t from a comic book — it’s very much real-life.

Twelve-year-old Nikolai Kryaglyachenko was walking home from school one day when he stopped to lean against a lamppost.

Unfortunately for Nikolai, the lamppost had a faulty wire and the schoolboy was blasted across the street by a jolt of electricity.

“When I came round, I felt groggy, but managed to get home and told my mum what had happened. When I woke up the next day and got out of bed, I found some coins that had been lying on the mattress had stuck to my body. Then when I was having breakfast and dropped my spoon, it stuck to my chest,” Nikolai revealed.

Being a comic book fan, Nikolai immediately set about testing his new power, which is eerily similar to the power wielded by Marvel character Magneto.   Read More

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

4K TVs: 9 Reasons You Should Buy One -- And 9 More Why You Shouldn't

Forbes - Like it or not, 4K (AKA UHD) TVs are coming. In fact, they’re already here. Recent sales data from Europe, for instance, shows that 17 per cent of all TVs sold in the UK in September carried the necessary 3840×2160 resolution, with this percentage rising to 40 per cent in the 50-59-inch category, and 57 per cent in the above 60-inch category.

The question is, should you care? Does 4K genuinely enhance your TV viewing experience? Or is it just another marketing tool designed to make you upgrade your TV again sooner than you wanted to?

Here I take a look at the many pros and cons of the current 4K/UHD TV world to help you decide if 4K is for you.

4K Pros

1. 4K pictures have more detail

The most obvious benefit of TVs with native 4K resolutions is that their pictures have more detail and sharpness. After all, their 3840×2160 pixel counts equate to four times the resolution of the full HD pictures most of us are used to. Every hair on people’s heads, every leaf on every tree, every blade of grass on a football pitch, every star in the sky… every everything, in fact, snaps into focus on a good 4K TV in a way you just can’t get with an HD set. So long, at any rate, as you’re feeding your 4K TV a good-quality native 4K source – more on this in the Cons section.   Read More

Saturday, November 15, 2014

iOS 8 vs. Android Lollipop: Same features, yet more distinct than ever

Mashable - In the mobile war between Android and iOS, something interesting has happened over the last six months.

In the past, the two operating systems were largely distinguished by features and polish. Android traditionally had more features and customization than iOS, but iOS retained a higher level of finish.

That all changed with iOS 8 and Android 5.0 "Lollipop." With these releases, iOS 8 now has almost as many features as Android. Just as notable, Lollipop's new Material Design ethos has an almost iOS-level of fit polish and finish.

It would be easy to extrapolate that iOS and Android are now more alike than ever before — and on the surface, this is true. But in practice, what is most interesting about the current state of the two operating systems is how different the overall experience has become.    Read More

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New Materials from MIT Could Lead to Furniture that Builds Itself

(All Photos Self Assembly Lab, MIT)

h/t - @Instapundit

Popular Mechanics - In Skylar Tibbit's world, clothes adapt automatically to the world around them. Furniture assembles itself. So do water systems, robots, interactive retail spaces, and space infrastructure. When you’re the director of MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab, just about anything can adapt on its own.

"We think the applications are currently limitless," he says.

Tibbits, leads an MIT team of designers, scientists, architects, and engineers who are exploring what they call 4D printing, which takes 3D materials and adds another dimension by having them adjust to their changing environments. While this type of work has happened at the nanoscale in chemistry, Tibbits says, it’s about to scale up.

By taking well-known materials, anything from wood to carbon fiber, and adding in other materials that respond actively to energy, the pieces can form specific geometries designed by the engineers. For example, the lab has designed wood pieces that fold into small toys—elephants, in this case—when water hits the wood, because the wood moves in a particular way in response to moisture. A future application could involve weaving fabric that responds to heat into a garment.

"We try to design specific geometries that can respond to energy sources," Tibbits says. "When you mix geometry and material properties they can respond and change their state."     Read More

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NASA Military Helicopter Crash Tests Improve Survivability and Durability

h/t - @osamaelmageid

industry tap - One of the most spectacular, harrowing and deadly human events is the crash of a helicopter. One moment, it’s flying smoothly through the air and the next pirouetting toward the ground, sometimes sailing back and forth out of control, its pilot struggling to right it, until it hits a power line or the ground. As a helicopter crashes, its rotors continue spinning until they are ripped apart at impact, flying off in all directions.

NASA Helicopter Crash Tests Save Lives & Property


Once the crash has occurred, the next big event is usually an explosion of onboard fuel that occurs just after impact. If occupants have not been injured or killed in the crash, their lives are now threatened by a large tank of extremely flammable fuel, usually located just under the cockpit.
While any loss of life is tragic and to be avoided, the loss of highly trained military personnel can be extremely damaging to a military unit.      Read More

Monday, November 10, 2014

Google Genomics Can Store Your Entire Genome Online


What Is Google Genomics?

Google Genomics provides an API to store, process, explore, and share DNA sequence reads, reference-based alignments, and variant calls, using Google's cloud infrastructure.

  • Store alignments and variant calls for one genome or a million.
  • Process genomic data in batch by running principal component analysis or Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, in minutes or hours, by using parallel computing frameworks like MapReduce.
  • Explore data by slicing alignments and variants by genomic range across one or multiple samples -- for your own algorithms or for visualization; or interactively process entire cohorts to find transition/transversion ratios, allelic frequency, genome-wide association and more using BigQuery.
  • Share genomic data with your research group, collaborators, the broader community, or the public. You decide.
Google Genomics is implementing the API defined by the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health for visualization, analysis and more. Compliant software can access Google Genomics, local servers, or any other implementation.

So...if you would like to store your genome on Google's cloud infrastructure or just want more info, click here.

Also, check out this article from Gizmodo >>>  Why I'd Let Google Put My Genome in the Cloud

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Blizzard's 'Overwatch' Is A Remnant Of 'Project Titan' - Blizzard stuns video game world by debuting their first new IP in 17 years

Forbes - Yesterday, Blizzard stunned the video game world by debuting their first new IP in 17 years. The game is Overwatch, a multiplayer shooter than blends elements of different genres and games, and perhaps is most similar to Team TISI +0.52% Fortress 2 from what we’ve seen so far.

But past the existence of the IP and game itself, the most curious part of Overwatch is the timetable. At its BlizzCon reveal, Blizzard was able to show not just a cinematic trailer, but a gameplay video as well. Even past that, the game is actually playable at BlizzCon and will have a beta sometime in 2015. For Blizzard, known for preposterously long release tables, this is moving at lightning speed. 

So how is this possible?

There’s a pretty simple explanation. Overwatch has been Frankensteined to life from the corpse of Project Titan.

Blizzard recently cancelled the would-be MMO, causing many to applaud them for axing a game they deemed to be going nowhere even after sinking tons of time and money into its development. But they weren’t going to let all that hard work go to waste, and it seems to be the case that Overwatch has been spun out of Titan, perhaps even once existing as the game’s PvP mode.   Read More

Friday, November 7, 2014

WiFi Signals As Art? Look How One Guy Is Making The Invisible Visible!

h/t - @osamaelmageid

industry tap - Luis Hernan studied WiFi signals and how they are transmitted through the air while completing his PhD at Newcastle University.

Eventually, his fascination with WiFi signals turned into creating artwork by utilizing long-exposure photography, showing off the beauty and strength of wireless technology signals.

Hernan’s project is called Digital Ethereal and the results are as mesmerizing as they are unique…

Red = Strongest Signals
Blue = Weakest Signals

View The Rest!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Facebook censorship has increased 19% in the past 6 months

According to Mashable:

Global surveillance requests for Facebook user data in the first half of 2014 increased 24% from the second half of 2013, according to the social network's transparency report revealed on Tuesday. A total of 34,946 requests were made between January and June, including messages, IP addresses and account information. Censorship also increased worldwide; compared to the June through December 2013, the amount of content censored on Facebook increased by 19%, according to the report.

Facebook is not the only service that has seen such a sharp increase in surveillance requests and censorship. In September, Google revealed that requests for user data had increased 15% compared to the previous six months, meaning a 150% increase over five years. 

In a blog post accompanying the company's third such report,
Facebook said that it doesn't accept every single request for user data or request to restrict content.
Facebook said that it doesn't accept every single request for user data or request to restrict content.   Read More

Monday, November 3, 2014

Formaldehyde and Chicken Eggs: What’s Inside a Flu Shot

Wired - 

Flu virus

All flu vaccines start with flu viruses: genetic material packaged in an envelope of proteins and fats, studded with yet more proteins—antigens—that push the body’s immune system into action. With thousands of possible flu variants out there, the World Health Organization looks at info from 141 labs around the world to determine which variants are most likely to circulate each year. Since it can take more than six months to manufacture the shot, the WHO picks four strains about nine months before flu season: two A viruses (which can infect humans and animals, like swine flu) and two B viruses (which primarily affect humans).

Egg Protein

Manufacturers grow the flu viruses in fertilized chicken eggs—hundreds
of millions every year. Scientists inject the viruses into the allantoic fluid between the embryo and the shell, where the viruses replicate. Then the fluid goes for a spin in a centrifuge, along with layers of sucrose solutions of different concentrations to separate the denser virus from the rest of the egg proteins. Trace amounts of egg can remain in the final shot.   Read More

Saturday, November 1, 2014

3D-Printed ‘Touchable Memories’ Help The Blind Re-Experience Memories

h/t - @osamaelmageid

industry tap - Singapore-based company Pirate3D has developed an experiment called “Touchable Memories” in an effort to help the blind re-experience memories through 3D-printing.

Similar to the way braille works with words, 3D-printers are able to make old pictures come to life in 3D form so that the blind can physically feel their memories again.  

 View the photos

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Scientists Call Foul On Brain Games Pseudo-Science

Forbes - Wanting to be smarter is kind of a no-brainer, as is wanting to slow or stop cognitive decline with age. The thorny issue is how to do it. The $1.3 billion a year Americans spend on “brain training” games suggests lots of people are turning to screens to buy a jolt of what they hope is scientifically-verified cognitive juice. Unfortunately for those paying to play, and for those collecting the fees, these games are not scientifically verified methods for cognitive enhancement. And what makes this truly unfortunate is not the wasted money. Rather, it is the lost time and effort that could have been directed to what cognitive science has shown can actually enhance cognitive performance.

For a voluminous, complex research literature like brains and games it pays to pay attention to the experts. On October 20th a large group of leading cognitive and brain scientists released a statement provocatively titled “A Consensus on the Brain Training Industry from the Scientific Community.” It concluded in part:

“The strong consensus of this group is that the scientific literature does not support claims that the use of software-based “brain games” alters neural functioning in ways that improve general cognitive performance in everyday life, or prevent cognitive slowing and brain disease.”    Read More