MrSeb writes "A group of American researchers from MIT, Indiana University, and Tufts University, led by Erin Treacy Solovey, have developed Brainput — a system that can detect when your brain is trying to multitask, and offload some of that workload to a computer. Using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), which is basically a portable, poor man's version of fMRI, Brainput measures the activity of your brain. This data is analyzed, and if Brainput detects that you're multitasking, the software kicks in and helps you out. In the case of the Brainput research paper (PDF), Solovey and her team set up a maze with two remotely controlled robots. The operator, equipped with fNIRS headgear, has to navigate both robots through the maze simultaneously, constantly switching back and forth between them. When Brainput detects that the driver is multitasking, it tells the robots to use their own sensors to help with navigation. Overall, with Brainput turned on, operator performance improved — and yet they didn't generally notice that the robots were partially autonomous. Moving forward, Solovey wants to investigate other cognitive states that can be reliably detected using fNIRS. Imagine a computer that increases the size of buttons and text when you're tired, or a video game that slows down when you're stressed. Your Xbox might detect that you're in the mood for fighting games, and change its splash screen accordingly. Eventually, computer interfaces might completely remold themselves to your mental state."
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Diggester writes "The satellite, known as Elektro-L No.1, took an image from its stationary point over 35,000 kilometers above the Indian Ocean. This is the most detailed image of the Earth yet available, capturing the Earth in a single shot with 121-megapixels. NASA satellites use a collection of pictures from multiple flybys stitched together. The detail in the pic is just amazing."
aesoteric writes "Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has voiced a renewed desire to see the company open its architecture to the masses, allowing savvy users to expand and add to their products at will. However, Wozniak qualified his desire for a more open Apple by arguing that openness should not impinge on the quality of the products themselves. He also sees any change of heart on openness as a challenge when Apple continues to rake in huge cash with its current model."
Okian Warrior writes "Tattoo artist Jersey from Dynasty Tattoo (in New Jersey) implanted sub-dermal magnets in his arm to wear his iPod touch like a watch. From the article: '“Those magnets are actually called micro-dermal anchors, and in body piercing they are very common. The tops are actually just 5 millimetre magnetic tops,” he said. “I took the ends of magnets and actually adhered them to the back of the iPod, and that’s how they click into my skin.” He added: “I can go for a run and it won’t come off. I’ve already taken it to the gym and jogged with it on.”'"
wasimkadak writes in with an interview with Anonymous member "Commander X" in which he talks about how the hacktivists are the most powerful group on the planet. "Christopher Doyon, a.k.a. Commander X, sits atop a hillside in an undisclosed location in Canada, watching a reporter and photographer make their way along a narrow path to join him, away from the prying eyes of law enforcement. It's been a few weeks of encrypted emails back and forth, working out the security protocol to follow for interviewing Doyon, one of the brains behind Anonymous, now a fugitive from the FBI. Doyon, who readily admits taking part in some of the highest-profile hacktivist attacks on websites last year — from Tunisia to Orlando, Sony to PayPal — was arrested in September for a comparatively minor assault on the county website of Santa Cruz, Calif., where he was living, in retaliation for the town forcibly removing a homeless encampment on the courthouse steps. The 'virtual sit-in' lasted half an hour. For that, Doyon is facing 15 years in jail."
An anonymous reader writes "Apple may soon begin production of a full-blown HDTV, dubbed iTV by Apple watchers, according to the Terry Gou, CEO of Apple's main hardware supplier Foxconn, in a brief interview with the newspaper China Daily. The newspaper reports that the device will feature 'aluminum construction, Siri, and FaceTime video calling' and will be manufactured by a 50-50 joint venture between Foxconn and the Japanese manufacturer Sharp; other details, including the schedule, were notably absent. Apple's spokesperson has declined comment. So it's not clear how solid this 'scoop' is."
First time accepted submitter toomuchtogrok writes "Imagine charging your phone as you walk, thanks to a paper-thin generator embedded in the sole of your shoe. This futuristic scenario is now a little closer to reality. Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a way to generate power using harmless viruses that convert mechanical energy into electricity. The scientists tested their approach by creating a generator that produces enough current to operate a small liquid-crystal display. It works by tapping a finger on a postage stamp-sized electrode coated with specially engineered viruses. The viruses convert the force of the tap into an electric charge."
Hugh Pickens writes "Katherine Ellison reports in the Atlantic that a group of high school students is suing the federal government in U.S. District Court claiming the risks of climate change — dangerous storms, heat waves, rising sea levels, and food-supply disruptions — will threaten their generation absent a major turnabout in global energy policy. 'I think a lot of young people realize that this is an urgent time, and that we're not going to solve this problem just by riding our bikes more,' says 18-year-old Alec Loorz, one of the plaintiffs represented, pro bono, by the Burlingame, California, law firm of former U.S. Republican congressman Paul 'Pete' McCloskey. While skeptics may view the case as little more than a publicity stunt, its implications have been serious enough to attract the time and resources of major industry leaders." (Read more, below.)
New submitter Drishmung writes "Retired Judge Paul Michel, who served on the Federal Circuit 1988-2010 — the court that opened the floodgates for software patents with a series of permissive decisions during the 1990s — thinks software patents are good. Yes, the patent system is flawed, but that means it should be fixed. Ars Technica have a thoughtful interview with him. Ars' take: 'If you care most about promoting innovation, offering carve-outs from the patent system to certain industries and technologies looks like a pragmatic solution to a serious problem. If you're emotionally invested in the success of patent law as such, then allowing certain industries to opt out looks like an admission of failure and a horrible hack.'"
Sasayaki writes "Hugh Howey's Wool, the self-published sci-fi story that's made him the best selling Indie sci-fi author of 2012 and currently the best selling sci-fi author on Amazon.com, has found its way into the hands of Ridley Scott (director of Alien, Prometheus and others)... who loved it. Rumor is the Hollywood movie will be coming to cinemas in 2013 or 2014. With Fifty Shades of Grey and now Wool getting the attention of Hollywood, it's clear the self-publishing revolution is here to stay."
CNET reports that Facebook has experimented lately with a small group of users by offering people the chance to promote their own account status messages the old-fashioned way: by paying for them. The author of the linked article asks whether it's inevitable that "Facebook will have to start dinging users in earnest," post-IPO. Facebook still says "It's free and always will be," but that doesn't rule out paying for additional features — that's certainly a model that many game makers had adopted.
Barence writes "PC Pro has picked out its 30 best features of Windows 8. Its countdown includes features such as the revamped Task Manager, the option to run ISOs and VHDs natively, and Windows To Go, which allows you to take a portable installation of Windows 8 with you." They've also listed ten features they'd like to see added to Windows 8, "including the return of the Start button on the desktop, virtual desktops and one-click sharing of optical drives."
mikejuk writes "The Goldbach conjecture is not the sort of thing that relates to practical applications, but they used to say the same thing about electricity. The Goldbach conjecture is reasonably well known: every integer can be expressed as the sum of two primes. Very easy to state, but it seems very difficult to prove. Terence Tao, a Fields medalist, has published a paper that proves that every odd number greater than 1 is the sum of at most five primes. This may not sound like much of an advance, but notice that there is no stipulation for the integer to be greater than some bound. This is a complete proof of a slightly lesser conjecture, and might point the way to getting the number of primes needed down from at most five to at most 2. Notice that no computers were involved in the proof — this is classical mathematical proof involving logical deductions rather than exhaustive search."
theodp writes "His old day job at Gawker entailed calling BS on tech's high-and-mighty, but Ryan Tate still found things to like about Silicon Valley. In The 20% Doctrine, Tate explores how tinkering, goofing off, and breaking the rules at work can drive success in business. If you're lucky, your boss may someday find Tate's book in his or her conference schwag bag and be inspired enough by the tales of skunkworks projects at both tech (Google, Flickr, pre-Scott Thompson Yahoo) and non-tech (Bronx Academy of Letters, Huffington Post, Thomas Keller Restaurant Group) organizations to officially condone some form of 20% time at your place of work. In the meantime, how do you manage to find time to goof off to get ahead?"
Google85 writes with this news from All Things D: "Yahoo's embattled CEO Scott Thompson is set to step down from his job at the Silicon Valley Internet giant, in what will be a dramatic end to a controversy over a fake computer science degree that he had on his bio, according to multiple sources close to the situation. The company will apparently say he is leaving for 'personal reasons.' Thompson's likely replacement on an interim basis will be Yahoo's global media head, Ross Levinsohn, who most recently also ran its Americas unit, including its advertising sales."