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Submission + - 3D-printed brain tissue (

cortex writes: In the latest effort to build an artificial laboratory model of the brain, Australian researchers have developed a novel method for constructing layered biological structures that looks just like cerebral cortex tissue using a handheld 3D printer.

Submission + - Man With Less Than Half A Brain Challenges Understanding of Neural Function (

cortex writes: A 44-year-old man presented with a 2-week history of mild left leg weakness. At the age of 6 months, he had undergone a ventriculoatrial shunt, because of postnatal hydrocephalus of unknown cause. When he was 14 years old, he developed ataxia and paresis of the left leg, which resolved entirely after shunt revision. His neurological development and medical history were otherwise normal. He was a married father of two children, and worked as a civil servant. On neuropsychological testing, he proved to have an intelligence quotient (IQ) of 75: his verbal IQ was 84, and his performance IQ 70. CT and; MRI revealed massive enlargement of the lateral, third, and fourth ventricles, a very thin cortical mantle.

Submission + - The Pirate Bay Raided and Shutdown ( 1

cortex writes: If downloading movies may have been extremely difficult by Dec. 11, 2014, it may be because Swedish police have shut down the site, which uses peer-to-peer file sharing via BitTorrent protocol to host free media downloads of copyrighted material. Servers, computers and equipment were seized, making accessing the site ineffectual.

Comment Not Surprising: supported by controlled experiment (Score 4, Interesting) 87

Greenough showed the effects of enriched and deprived environments on cortical connectivity and thickness in a series of studies. This is one of his early studies:

Science. 1972 Jun 30;176(4042):1445-7. Rearing complexity affects branching of dendrites in the visual cortex of the rat. Volkmar FR, Greenough WT.

"Higher-order dendritic branching is considerably greater in Golgistained neurons from the occipital cortex of rats reared in groups in a complex environment than in similar neurons of littermates reared individually in laboratory cages have intermediate amounts of branching, while lower-order branching did not appear to be affected by any rearing environment."

Submission + - Why Not Replace SSL Certificates With PGP Keys? 9

vik writes: The whole SSL process has been infiltrated by the NSA, GCSB and other n'er-do-wells. If governments want a man-in-the-middle certificate they simply issue a secret gagging order to the CA to make them issue one. Consequently "certified" SSL certificates can no longer be trusted. Ironically self-issued certificates are more secure, but not easily verified.

However, PGP/GPG keys can be trusted and independently verified. They are as secure as we can get for now. Why not replace the broken SSL CA system with GPG/PGP encryption keys? Make the NSA-infiltrated stuff obsolete, and rely on a real-world web of trust?

Submission + - Look at What I'm Saying (

cortex writes: University of Utah bioengineers discovered our understanding of language may depend more heavily on vision than previously thought: under the right conditions, what you see can override what you hear. In an article published in PLOS One "Seeing Is Believing: Neural Representations of Visual Stimuli in Human Auditory Cortex Correlate with Illusory Auditory Perceptions" the authors showed that visual stimuli can influence neural signals in the auditory processing part of the brain and change what a person hears. In this study patients were shown videos of an auditory illusion called the McGurk Effect while electrical recordings where made from the surface of the cerebral cortex.

Comment Don't wait for Google (Score 1) 80

Lobby your local city and county officials to support the installation of fiber infrastructure. Along the Wasatch Front we have the excellent UTOPIA project, which brings fiber to the home. Local cities used bonds to support setting up the infrastructure, and home owners pay for the connection from the street to their house. The fiber infrastructure is treated like a utility and any ISP can compete for your business. I have a symmetric 100 MB connection for about about 1/3 less than Comcast was charging me for a 15 MB connection, and I get MUCH better service.

Comment Fiber as a Utility Model (Score 1) 327

Along the Wasatch Front we have the excellent UTOPIA project, which brings fiber to the home. The fiber infrastructure is treated like a utility and any ISP can compete for your business - Keeping costs down. It was a great day when I had my symmetric 100 MB connection installed and was able to say goodbye to Comcast.

Comment Effect on Promotion and Tenure (Score 3, Interesting) 146

Most researchers will think about this for about 2 seconds and then publish in the journal with the most prestige and highest impact factor that they can. Publishing in high impact journals is a major factor in promotion and tenure for professors, so until universities adapt their policies on promotion and tenure, professors will continue to published in prestigious and expensive closed access journals. When reviewing someone for promotion or tenure, high-level administrators don't have time to read all the journal articles a professor has published, so they really heavily on g-indices and/or h-indices that are based upon journal impact factor scores.

Comment No dexterity in the fingers (Score 4, Informative) 56

Pretty amazing surgery, but watching the videos shows limited restoration of function. The key is getting the transplanted/regenerating nerves to make the proper connections. The surgery is not going to re-wire the incredible number of connections made during development. Neural prostheses currently offer better dexterity and restoration of function than the nerve transplant. However, it is likely only a matter of time (maybe sever decades) before the neural re-wiring problem is solved.

Submission + - New smartphone with forked version of Android from (

cortex writes: "XDA developers is reporting on a the release of a new smart phone, which runs a forked version of Google's Android operating system.

"Dell and Baidu, the Chinese search giant with over 80% marketshare in its home-country, unveiled the Streak Pro on Tuesday (via Computerworld). The device has a 4.3 AMOLED screen with 960×540 resolution and packs a 1.5 GHz dualcore Qualcomm processor. Most notably, however, is the operating system it runs: a forked Android version dubbed Baidu Yi, which replaces Google’s services with those of Baidu."

How will this impact Google's support for Android and open source in general?"

If in any problem you find yourself doing an immense amount of work, the answer can be obtained by simple inspection.