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Science

How the City Hurts Your Brain 439

Posted by kdawson
from the but-not-paris dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The city has always been an engine of intellectual life and the 'concentration of social interactions' is largely responsible for urban creativity and innovation. But now scientists are finding that being in an urban environment impairs our basic mental processes. After spending a few minutes on a crowded city street, the brain is less able to hold things in memory and suffers from reduced self-control. 'The mind is a limited machine,' says psychologist Marc Berman. 'And we're beginning to understand the different ways that a city can exceed those limitations.' Consider everything your brain has to keep track of as you walk down a busy city street. A city is so overstuffed with stimuli that we need to redirect our attention constantly so that we aren't distracted by irrelevant things. This sort of controlled perception — we are telling the mind what to pay attention to — takes energy and effort. Natural settings don't require the same amount of cognitive effort. A study at the University of Michigan found memory performance and attention spans improved by 20 percent after people spent an hour interacting with nature. 'It's not an accident that Central Park is in the middle of Manhattan,' says Berman. 'They needed to put a park there.'"
United States

Nobel Prize Winning Physicist As Energy Secretary 498

Posted by samzenpus
from the the-man-for-the-job dept.
bledri writes "Officials close to the Obama transition team say that Physics Nobel Laureate Steven Chu is the likely candidate for Energy Secretary. Some are worried that Chu is not politically savvy enough, but I'm hopeful that a scientist will base policy on evidence. Discuss among yourselves."

Comment: Re:Copyright or Tech? (Score 0) 249

by antarctican (#22515896) Attached to: BBC iPlayer Bandwidth Explosion Bodes Ill For ISPs
Could we do a better job if we could cache intelligently and do p2p

That would help, but ultimately the question that's being asked is, "who will pay for this bandwidth?"

The answer of course is the ISP users are already paying for it. The ISPs just don't have the bandwidth they've claimed to have sold their clients. And I would call this bordering on fraud.

Say an ISP has 1,000 clients, and sells them all 1.5Mbps DSL connections. But if 500 people go and try to stream video at the same time, and the infrastructure can't handle it, the ISP has sold you a product it actually didn't have. If a store tried to oversell the latest Harry Potter book, and asked customers to "share" the books because they didn't actually have enough to go around, there'd be lawsuits flying.

Now I know in reality having 1,000 x 1.5Mbps infrastructure probably would never happen, and there would be some bandwidth sharing, that's the point of packet switched networks. But scaling up to meet the needs of customers for what the ISP claimed the customer was buy, is ultimately the ISPs responsibility. Net neutrality should not be used as an excuse to not provide the minimum infrastructure needed for the service ISPs are collecting money for.
Networking

Australian Researcher Boosts ADSL Speeds 114

Posted by Zonk
from the pouring-go-faster-juice-down-the-tubes dept.
sea_stuart writes "Like your ADSL connection to go 100 times faster? Despite the grim state of Australian mathematics and science, there is still exciting original work being done Down Under. John Papandriopoulos, a Research Fellow with the ARC Special Research Centre for Ultra-Broadband Information Networks (CUBIN) has developed a method to reduce crosstalk interference in ADSL technologies to bring speeds up the theoretical maxima possible. With an Australian Federal election due in a few weeks, and both parties promising improved broadband speeds and access, this is a welcome development, hopefully enabling higher speeds without huge expenses."
Graphics

+ - Bioinformatics with NVIDIA 8800GTX and PS3->

Submitted by
rbrinkman
rbrinkman writes "It seems you can put that 8800GTX for good use while waiting for Duke Nukem Forever to be released. Researchers have shown that game hardware such as GPUs and PS3s are a cost-effective platform for some computationally demanding bioinformatics problems including those involving clustering and Monte Carlo permutation procedures. No word on the PhysX though."
Link to Original Source
The Internet

Bulletproof Tool For Golden Age Browsing? 366

Posted by kdawson
from the just-the-web-ma'am dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I work in a retirement/assisted living home. Many of the residents had never used the Internet but really find it fascinating once they are given a little training. However, I've stopped introducing it to them because of the drain it puts on me. There are a million and one things that a computer novice can screw up, and I don't have time to solve all of them. These folks don't need any sophistication. and they need only the most basic options. Adjustable text size would be nice, but otherwise — no email, no word processing or editing, no printing — just Internet browsing. This may not seem like a big market, but it's getting bigger every day! Is there an absolutely fool-proof device that can provide this without requiring virus scanners and constant attention?"
Media

Three MythTV Linux Distros Compared 176

Posted by Zonk
from the penguins-put-on-a-show dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Linux.com has a comparison article up looking at three MythTV-focused Linux distributions. The piece looks at Mythdora, Mythbuntu, and KnoppMyth, with an eye towards ease of installation and the actual utility of the install. From the article: 'For regular system maintenance, KnoppMyth simply isn't in the same ballpark as MythBuntu and MythDora. The live CD heritage of Knoppix means you cannot update individual packages, which is fine if you like that, but for an always-on system like a MythTV back end, I'd prefer flexibility and configurability of a mainline distro. When all is said and done, if I were building my TiVo replacement today, I would do it with MythDora. MythBuntu shows a lot of promise, and I will give the final 7.10 release another look (in part because I run Ubuntu on my desktop machines), but it isn't ready yet.'" Linux.com and Slashdot are both owned by SourceForge.
Linux Business

+ - Novell owns Unix/Unixware copyrights->

Submitted by karmester
karmester (746208) writes "From Groklaw: http://www.groklaw.net/ Friday, August 10 2007 @ 04:52 PM EDT Hot off the presses: Judge Dale Kimball has issued a 102-page ruling [PDF] on the numerous summary judgment motions in SCO v. Novell. Here is what matters most: [T]he court concludes that Novell is the owner of the UNIX and UnixWare Copyrights. That's Aaaaall, Folks! If anyone can please put this into text for us, that'd be simply great. I hear there is a filing in IBM also, and we'll get it for your soon. Here's the docket entry: 08/10/2007 1077 — NOTICE OF DECISION AND REQUEST FOR STATUS UPDATE. Signed by Judge Dale A. Kimball on 8-10-07. (sih) (Entered: 08/10/2007)"
Link to Original Source

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