An anonymous reader writes: Former Google executive Stafford Masie believes that traditional search is dying because users are choosing to query their friends and followers on services like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Here's the quote from the video: 'The pie of search query volumes in the world – that business is shrinking. Why? Because people are going and doing search queries – search query volumes are moving towards social containers. They’re moving away from static pages being searched and they’re moving more towards dynamic real-time stream content. Like Twitter. Like Tumblr. Like Facebook. Those things have a better result because the penetration, the personalization associated with it, and the constant freshness of the content. So I believe that Google’s search volume – the business Google is in on the search side – that business is shrinking. And they’ve got to do something about it.'
Zothecula writes: As is so often the case these days for those searching for a better way to stick stuff together, researchers from the Zoological Institute at the University of Kiel in Germany have turned to the biology of gravity-defying ceiling walkers, such as geckos and insects. These creatures served as inspiration for a new dry adhesive tape that not only boasts impressive bonding strength, but can also be attached and detached thousands of times without losing its adhesive properties.
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "There has been much speculation regarding the cause of the recent worldwide economic recession, but we all know the truth. It was 'Angry Birds' and its effect on the productivity of the global work force. The 50 million individuals who have downloaded 'Angry Birds' play roughly 200 million minutes of the game a day, which translates into 1.2 billion hours a year, more than ten times the 100 million hours spent creating and updating Wikipedia over the entire life span of the online encyclopedia. Why is this seemly simple game so massively compelling? Charles L. Mauro performs a cognitive teardown of the user experience of Angry Birds by reverse engineering the game to determine what interaction attributes the successful interface embodies that result in a psychologically engaging user experience. To summarize Mauro's detailed analysis, success is bound up in slowing down that which could be fast, erasing that which is easily renewable, and making visual that which is mysterious and memorable. "Over the past 10 years, our firm has conducted user engagement studies on hundreds of user interfaces. The vast number did not get one principle right, much less six," writes Mauro. "You go Birds! Your success certainly makes others Angry and envious.""
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Christopher Drew writes that President Obama and industry groups have called on colleges to graduate 10,000 more engineers a year and 100,000 new teachers with majors in science, technology, engineering and math but studies find that roughly 40 percent of students planning engineering and science majors end up switching to other subjects or failing to get any degree — 60 percent when pre-medical students are included. Middle and high school students are having most of the fun, building their erector sets and dropping eggs into water to test the first law of motion but the excitement quickly fades as students brush up against the reality of what David E. Goldberg calls “the math-science death march" as freshmen in college wade through a blizzard of calculus, physics and chemistry in lecture halls with hundreds of other students where many wash out. “Treating the freshman year as a ‘sink or swim’ experience and accepting attrition as inevitable,” says a report by the National Academy of Engineering, “is both unfair to students and wasteful of resources and faculty time.” But help is on the way. In September, the Association of American Universities announced a five-year initiative to encourage faculty members in the STEM fields to use more interactive teaching techniques (PDF). “There is a long way to go,” says Hunter R. Rawlings, the association’s president, “and there is an urgent need to accelerate the process of reform.”"
chrb writes: New Scientist has an article about the Evolution Machine — a device which can accelerate directed artificial evolution to discover desirable DNA changes in days rather than years. One of the aims of these researchers is to create an organism (and ultimately humans) that is genetically immune to all viruses.
sciencehabit writes: In their relentless invasion of Australia, poisonous cane toads often hop along roads, where their flattened, desiccated husks are a familiar sight during the long dry season. Nobody gave much thought to the fate of the little mummies' toxic compounds—months baking in the sun should render them harmless, researchers assumed. Not so, according to a new study, which shows that, like murderous ghouls, road kill cane toads can haunt the wilderness long after death.
sciencehabit writes: City dwellers worldwide enjoy several advantages over their rural compatriots, including, on average, better job prospects and better access to food and health care (not to mention nightlife). At the same time, city living can be stressful, and studies have found that mental health problems, such as schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety disorders, are more common in urbanites. Now, researchers have taken a crack at understanding this connection by looking for differences in how the brains of people from urban and rural environments react to certain kinds of stress. The team found that the bigger the city someone currently lives in, the more amygdala activity he or she exhibits during social stress, which could predispose to schizophrenia, depression, and other disorders.
angry tapir writes: "Researchers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Australia have taken a step toward developing self-powered portable electronics by enabling piezoelectric thin films to turn mechanical pressure into electricity. The research combines piezoelectrics, which are materials capable of converting pressure into electrical energy, and microchip manufacturing or thin film technology."
MarkWhittington writes: "As the end of the space shuttle era draws nigh, an evaluation of what benefit it brought to the United States is in order. What if the space shuttle had never flown? What if it had been canceled in the early 1970s?A plan to build a large space station along with the shuttle was still born in the early 1970s and not revived until President Reagan proposed it in 1984. In the political climate of the 1970s, the space shuttle could well have been still born as well."