HonorPoncaCityDotCom writes "The gift for spatial reasoning — the kind that may inspire an imaginative child to dismantle a clock or the family refrigerator — is sometimes referred to as the 'orphan ability' for its tendency to go undetected. Now Douglas Quenqua reports that according to a study published in the journal Psychological Science, spatial ability may be a greater predictor of future creativity or innovation than math or verbal skills, particularly in math, science and related fields. 'Evidence has been mounting over several decades that spatial ability gives us something that we don't capture with traditional measures (PDF) used in educational selection,' says David Lubinski, the lead author of the study and a psychologist at Vanderbilt. 'We could be losing some modern-day Edisons and Fords.' Spatial ability can be best defined as the ability to 'generate, retain, retrieve, and transform well-structured visual images.' Some examples of great inventors who have used their high levels of spatial ability to innovate include James Watt, who is known for improving the steam engine, and James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA. Nikola Tesla, who provided the basis for alternating current (AC) power systems, is said (or fabled) to have been able to visualize an entire working engine in his mind and be able to test each part over time to see what would break first. Testing spatial aptitude is not particularly difficult but is simply not part of standardized testing because it is considered a cognitive function — the realm of I.Q. and intelligence tests — and is not typically a skill taught in school. 'It's not like math or English, it's not part of an academic curriculum,' says Dr. David Geary. 'It's more of a basic competence. For that reason it just wasn't on people's minds when developing these tests.'"
An anonymous reader sends word of a new technology from Disney called AIREAL, featured at this year's SIGGRAPH 2013 conference in Anaheim, CA. It's designed to give tactile sensations to people who are using motion control devices. The device can track a target, like a user's hand, and send a compressed ring of air quickly through the intervening space to provide haptic feedback. They say the device is both inexpensive and scalable. Several of its parts are easily 3-D printed.
An anonymous reader writes "With Firefox OS version 1.0 out the door, Mozilla has decided that it's time to unveil its strategy for new versions. The company is planning to make feature releases available to partners every quarter and push out security updates for the previous two feature releases every six weeks. 'As far as I know, that's the most aggressive mobile OS release strategy out there,' Alex Keybl, Mozilla's Manager of Release Management, said in a statement. 'This sort of alignment across multiple browser products, and now an OS, is unprecedented at the pace we're moving.'"
An anonymous reader writes "A new study by researchers in the Built Environment Research Group at the Illinois Institute of Technology shows that commercially available desktop 3D printers can have substantial emissions of potentially harmful nanosized particles in indoor air. Many desktop 3D printers rely on a process where a thermoplastic feedstock is heated, extruded through a small nozzle, and deposited onto a surface to build 3D objects. Similar processes have been shown to have significant aerosol emissions in other studies using a range of plastic feedstocks, but mostly in industrial environments. In this study, researchers measured ultrafine particle concentrations resulting from a popular commercially available desktop 3D printer using two different plastic feedstocks inside an office. Ultrafine particles (or UFPs) are small, nanosized particles less than 100 nanometers in diameter. Inhalation of UFPs may be important from a health perspective because they deposit efficiently in the lung and can even translocate to the brain. Estimates of emission rates of total UFPs in this study were high, ranging from about 20 billion particles per minute for a 3D printer utilizing a lower temperature polylactic acid (PLA) feedstock to about 200 billion particles per minute for the same type of 3D printer utilizing a higher temperature acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) feedstock. The emission rates were similar to those measured in previous studies of several other devices and indoor activities, including cooking on a gas or electric stove, burning scented candles, operating laser printers, or even burning a cigarette."
Taco Cowboy writes with news that Microsoft's stock price dropped over 11 percent yesterday. The selloff was the biggest since 2009, and during the day the price was down more than 12 percent at one point, making it the biggest single day drop since April, 2000. Analysts believe the drop was due primarily to the company missing its quarterly earnings projections in addition to taking a massive, $900 million write-down on unsold Surface RT tablets. "Microsoft’s decline is both a consequence of the changing dynamics of the tech world and the incredible surge in its stock price this year. Shares in the maker of Windows had rallied nearly 30% this year, leaving both the broader stock market and the technology sector in the dust. It was, it seemed, Steve Ballmer’s year. Until Friday. The sell off was sparked by fears over the declines of the PC market. Gartner data show PC shipments fell for the fifth consecutive quarter in Q2, this time tanking 10.9% to 76 million units. Being the world’s largest software company, 'over 80% of its revenue and nearly all of its profits continue to be derived by its ubiquitous Windows OS, its server business (Windows Server), and the business division (Office),' according to UBS. And indeed that decline in the PC industry is hurting the company’s bottom line."
Lasrick writes "Kennette Benedict writes in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists about the existential threat of climate change, and how the scientists who study and write about it are similar to the early atomic scientists who created, and then worried about, the threat that nuclear weapons posed to humanity: 'Just as the Manhattan Project participants could foresee the coming arms race, climate scientists today understand the consequences of deploying the technologies that defined the industrial age. They also know that action now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will mitigate the worst consequences of climate change, just as the Manhattan Project scientists knew that early action to forestall a deadly arms race could prevent nuclear catastrophe.'"
AmiMoJo writes "A recent job posting by MI5 seeks to recruit 'Data Exploitation Specialists.' The core of the role is described as 'provid[ing] tactical solutions and operational support to business users of information exploitation systems.' In other words, industrial espionage. This open admission comes at a time when the UK and its partners are accusing China of the same thing. Pot, meet kettle?"
symbolset writes "Apparently Australians have come up with the brilliant idea: if you don't want to be eaten by a shark, it's best to not go swimming in shark-infested waters in a seal costume. 'Scientists from the University of Western Australia, with designers Shark Attack Mitigation Systems (SAMS), have unveiled two new wetsuits that they say could save lives in the water. Based on a breakthrough discovery that sharks are colour-blind, one wetsuit, labelled the "Elude," is designed to camouflage a swimmer or diver in the sea. At the other extreme, the "Diverter" sports bold white and dark-blue stripes, and is intended to mirror nature's warning signs to ward off any potential shark attack.'"
mdsolar writes "Around 2,000 people who have worked at Japan's wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant face a heightened risk of thyroid cancer, its operator said Friday. Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said 1,973 people — around 10 percent of those employed in emergency crews involved in the clean-up since the meltdowns — were believed to have been exposed to enough radiation to cause potential problems. The figure is a 10-fold increase on TEPCO's previous estimate of the number of possible thyroid cancer victims and comes after the utility was told its figures were too conservative. Each worker in this group was exposed to at least 100 millisieverts of radiation, projections show."
chicksdaddy writes "Lucre from Microsoft's newly minted bug bounty program is lining the pockets of Google researchers. Two Google employees earned the distinction of receiving some of the first (official) monetary rewards under the company's bounty program. Fermín Serna, a researcher in Google's Mountain View, California headquarters, said he received a bounty issued by Microsoft this week for information on an Internet Explorer information leak that could allow a malicious hacker to bypass Microsoft's Address Space Layout Randomization (or ASLR) technology. His bounty followed the first ever (officially) paid to a researcher by Microsoft: a bounty that went to Serna's colleague, Ivan Fratic, a Google engineer based in Zurich, Switzerland, for information about a vulnerability in Internet Explorer 11 Preview. Serna declined to discuss the details of his discovery until Microsoft had a patch ready to release. But he said that any weakness in ASLR warranted attention. 'Mainly all security mitigations in place depend on ASLR. So bringing that one down, weakens the system a lot and makes it easy the exploitation of other vulnerabilities,' he said. As for his bounty, Serna (whose resume includes work for Microsoft on the MSRC Engineering team) said it was 'way less' than the maximum $11,000 bounty for a full, working exploit that bypasses all the Windows 8 mitigations (which includes ASLR as well as the Data Execution Prevention or DEP technology). 'But still nice!'"
New submitter Chris Greenley writes "The T2K long baseline neutrino experiment in Japan has just announced conclusive evidence for electron to muon neutrino oscillation at the 7.5 sigma level. (The level needed for discovery is 5 sigma.) This experiment generates a focused beam of electron neutrinos using an accelerator in the J-PARC facility north of Tokyo which is aimed at the massive Super-Kamiokande detector 295 km (185 miles) away, near the west coast of Japan. 'This T2K observation is the first of its kind in that an explicit appearance of a unique flavor of neutrino at a detection point is unequivocally observed from a different flavor of neutrino at its production point.' This result clears the way for CP-violation neutrino studies which could show that 'regular' neutrinos act differently than their antimatter counterparts, a phenomenon that so far has only been observed in quarks. If neutrino CP-violation is found, it could explain why there is such a large predominance of matter over antimatter in the universe."
pegdhcp writes with news that the UK government has signaled its intent to support a bill that would issue a posthumous pardon to Alan Turing, who is known for his work in defeating the German Enigma code machines in World War II and widely considered the father of computer science. Turing was charged with and convicted of "gross indecency" in 1952 for being gay. He was sentenced to chemical castration, and he committed suicide two years later. "The announcement marks a change of heart by the government, which declined last year to grant pardons to the 49,000 gay men, now dead, who were convicted under the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act. They include Oscar Wilde. ... [Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon] told peers: "Alan Turing himself believed that homosexual activity would be made legal by a royal commission. In fact, appropriately, it was parliament which decriminalized the activity for which he was convicted. The government are very aware of the calls to pardon Turing, given his outstanding achievements, and have great sympathy with this objective That is why the government believe it is right that parliament should be free to respond to this bill in whatever way its conscience dictates and in whatever way it so wills."
New submitter robp writes "After a link to VLC showed up in one of HBO's DMCA takedown requests, I recalled how often I've linked to VLC in my own copy, and how often I've seen that app noted across traditional-media outlets — even though you could make the same arguments against linking to it that Judge Kaplan bought in 2000. Now, though, even the House's own IT department not only links to this CSS-circumventing app but endorses it. Question is, what led to this enlightenment?"
sciencehabit writes "The community of microbes in an animal's gut may be enough to turn the creature into a different species. Species usually split when their members become so genetically distinct — usually by living in separate environments that cause them to evolve different adaptations (think finches on different islands) — that they can no longer successfully breed with each other. Now researchers have shown that a couple groups of wasps have become new species not because their DNA has changed, but because the bacteria in their guts have changed — the first example of this type of speciation."
An anonymous reader writes "Google is building a Chrome remote desktop app, which lets you access other computers or another user access your computer over the Internet, for Android. The new addition, called Chromoting, will likely be pushed as a mobile version of the existing Chrome Remote Desktop offering. For those who don't know, the original Chrome Remote Desktop is an extension for Google's browser. It was first released as a beta in October 2011 and could be used to control another one of your own computers as well as a friend's or family member's (usually to help with IT issues)."