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Submission + - Pieces of Einstein's Brain Now on Display

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "For nearly half a century the pickled brain of Albert Einstein has roamed the world — in Tupperware containers, courier packages, and, most famously, car trunks but now if you've ever wondered what the brain of a genius looks like, make your way to Philadelphia's Mütter Museum and Historical Medical Library where for the first time visitors can view 45 brain slides of the brain of Albert Einstein and see one magnified under a lens. "He was a unique individual," says museum curator Anna Dhody. "and to have the organ that's most associated with intelligence of this great man is a wonderful opportunity." The brain slices have had a strange journey since Einstein's death in 1955 at age 76 from an abdominal aneurism. Pathologist Thomas Harvey completed Einstein's autopsy, then removed Einstein's brain as part of standard autopsy procedure — and failed to put it back. Harvey later said that Einstein's son had given him permission to take the scientist's brain, but the Einstein family disputed that claim. Einstein's brain will be in good company at the museum, which also boasts displays of a tumor from President Glover Cleveland and neck tissue from John Wilkes Booth."

Submission + - Bionic implants and spectrum clash (techworld.com.au)

angry tapir writes: "The battle over scarce radio spectrum that has embroiled the mobile broadband world even extends to a little-known type of wireless network that promises to reconnect the human nervous system with paralyzed limbs. At its monthly meeting next week, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission will consider whether four sets of frequencies between 413MHz and 457MHz can be used by networks of sensors implanted in patients who suffer from various forms of paralysis. One intended purpose of these MMNS (medical micropower network systems) is to transmit movement commands from a sensor on a patient's spinal cord, through a wearable MCU (master control unit), to implants that electrically stimulate nerves."

Submission + - Light barrier repels mosquitoes (forbes.com)

kodiaktau writes: Dr. Szabolcs Marka has received one of five $1M grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to continue his experiments with using light beams to create mosquito barriers. This is the second grant he has received from the foundation and proves to be a deviation from the previous and more dangerous use of lasers to control mosquitoes. A video can be seen here

Submission + - Desura now offers a linux client (desura.com)

recrudescence writes: Desura, the popular digital game distribution platform with a slight bias towards Mods and Indie games, now offers a proper linux client, and has also started featuring some open source games among its offerings (such as Neverball). While online shops offering a decent selection of linux games already exist (such as lin-app.com and penguspy.com) this is the first digital distribution 'platform' to offer a dedicated linux selection. Is it a matter of time before Steam follows with their long-rumoured linux client?

Submission + - Why So Many Crashes of Bee-Carrying Trucks?

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Interstate 15 in southern Utah has been reopened and officials say 25 million bees that closed the road have been accounted for after a flatbed truck heading for California carrying 460 beehives overturned near a construction zone. The bees were on their way to Bakersfield, California for almond pollination next spring. "The driver lost control, hit the concrete barrier and rolled over," says Corporal Todd Johnson with the Utah Highway Patrol. "Of course we then had bees everywhere." But a similar incident happened in July, when 14 million bees, as well as a river of honey, flowed out of a wrecked semi in Idaho, and 17 million bees escaped a fatal truck crash in Minnesota last year. Why so many highway accidents involving bees? The uptick results from the fact that more and more honey bee colonies are being transported around the country via highways in recent years. Local bee populations are rapidly dying off from a little-understood disease called "colony collapse disorder" (CCD). "The number of managed honey bee colonies [in the U.S.] has dropped from 5 million in the 1940s to only 2.5 million today," says the US Dept. of Agriculture. Unfortunately, some honey bee scientists suspect that the rise of migratory beekeeping may be contributing to the species' decline as transporting hives from farm to farm spreads pathogens to local bee populations."

Submission + - A Digital Direct Democracy for the Modern Age (whitehouse.gov) 1

lordofthechia writes: One month ago the White House created an online petition system by which constituents could directly voice any grievances and concerns to the US Goverment. Any petition that reaches 25,000 signatures (5,000 originally) is promised an official reply.

This weekend the first petitions will be closing and already many have far exceeded the required number of signatures. Is this the way for the voice of the electorate to gain more weight in modern politics or is it the web version of a placebo button? Will the President's office really consider the top pleas which include petitions to Legalize and Regulate Marijuana, Forgive Student Loan Debt, and Abolish the TSA?


Submission + - Guy Builds Robot that Plays Angry Birds (tekgoblin.com)

tekgoblin writes: "This guy named Jason Huggins built a robot in his home which ended up playing a game of Angry Birds. He named the robot ‘BitBeamBot‘ and built it out of wood, Lego, and servo motors. The robot uses an Arduino board and likely runs custom software that he made himself. Right now the robot has to be controlled by a person, but with some creative programming I believe it will become hands free and able to play by itself."
Open Source

Submission + - MITs MatchMaker makes programming easier (i-programmer.info)

mikejuk writes: If you have ever joined a mature object-oriented project then you will know that the time it takes to learn how it all fits together and become a productive member of the team is usually quite long. This is a worse problem when it comes to open source software which usually has almost no documentation on the assumption that the code speaks for itself — it doesn't until you know it like the back of your hand. One of the advantages claimed for open source is that you can "tweak" it by adding a few lines of code to make it do whatever you want, so this steep learning curve is an embarrassment.
MatchMaker is a new tool invented by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory which works out the connections between objects as the code runs. From this it will automatically generate the glue code needed to make the objects function. You simply ask it how to use the objects and it generates the code. In a test using Eclipse it cut development time by 50% making it possible for a beginner to change the way the program worked.


Submission + - Collider physicist jailed 2 years without trial (nature.com)

gbrumfiel writes: "Two years ago today, Adlène Hicheur, a French-Algerian physicist working at the Large Hadron Collider, was arrested on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks with al-Qaeda. He's remained in jail ever since, but Nature News reports that French authorities have yet to take the case to trial. Hicheur's family and colleagues believe he is innocent, and they claim the authorities are holding him in "provisional detention" because they lack sufficient evidence for a trial. They have formed a support group and are petitioning to have the case thrown out."

Submission + - Tour rider accused of electric bicycle 'doping' (youtube.com)

Invisible Now writes: The video report here accuses Swiss bicycle racer Fabian Cancellara of using a hidden electric motor to speed past his competition in the Giro d'Italia, I dismissed this initially when I first heard the rumors, but after seeing in the video how a powerful electric motor (perhaps 600 watts or more than 0.75 horsepower) could be ingeniously hidden completely inside the frame, I have to admit it' would be a really Slashdot way to cheat — if true. The manufacturer of a system called the "Gruber Assist" may be promoting a hoax, but the footage of Fabian whizzing past the leaders on his mean green (perhaps electric) machine is pretty fun.

Super-Earths Discovered Orbiting Nearby, Sun-Like Star 242

likuidkewl writes "Two super-earths, 5 and 7.5 times the size of our home, were found to be orbiting 61 Virginis a mere 28 light years away. 'These detections indicate that low-mass planets are quite common around nearby stars. The discovery of potentially habitable nearby worlds may be just a few years away,' said Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UCSC. Among hundreds of our nearest stellar neighbors, 61 Vir stands out as being the most nearly similar to the Sun in terms of age, mass, and other essential properties."

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.