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Science

Submission + - Vegetative state man "talks" by brain scan (bbc.co.uk)

c0lo writes: Severely brain-injured Scott Routley hasn’t spoken in 12 years. None of his physical assessments since then have shown any sign of awareness, or ability to communicate, thus being diagnosed as vegetative (vegetative patients emerge from a coma into a condition where they have periods awake, with their eyes open, but have no perception of themselves or the outside world).

Scott Routley was asked questions while having his brain activity scanned in an fMRI machine. British neuroscientist Prof Adrian Owen said Mr Routley was clearly not vegetative.
"Scott has been able to show he has a conscious, thinking mind. We have scanned him several times and his pattern of brain activity shows he is clearly choosing to answer our questions. We believe he knows who and where he is."

As a consequence, medical textbooks would need to be updated to include Prof Owen's techniques, because only observational assessments (as opposed to using mind-readers) of Mr Routley have continued to suggest he is vegetative.

The professor in an earlier interview functional MRI machines are expensive (up to $2 million), but it’s quite possible that a portable high-end EEG machine, costing about $75,000, can be used at a patient’s bedside.

Phillip K Dick's world is one step closer.

Social Networks

Submission + - How Real Are Internet Relationships? (lockergnome.com)

VoyagerRadio writes: "I have a more heightened awareness of a deliberate maintenance of relationships when I am online, and I often wonder how these "Internet relationships" are differentiated from face-to-face relationships. Certainly there are differences between the two, but are they significant enough differences to determine one of these two types of relationships as superior to the other? As for pre-existing, “in person” relationships: Does the quality of an engagement between people improve once certain aspects of communication are facilitated by the Internet? Or does the relationship degrade once it is online? Does it essentially remain the same?"

Submission + - When You Share Your World, the World Shares You (lockergnome.com)

VoyagerRadio writes: "Christopher Hills is a young man living with a physical disability that makes it impossible for him to walk, to use his hands, or to speak in a manner that is comprehensible to most. Fortunately, the use of assistive software and hardware has until now enabled Hills to use his Macintosh. (See video.) Unfortunately, the software he's been using is a Rosetta application developed by a company that will no longer be upgrading their Mac software. What software or hardware solutions exist for recent Apple products that Mr. Hills can use to continue communicating with the rest of the world through his computer?"
Linux

Submission + - Why Linux Can't "Sell" on the Desktop (lockergnome.com) 1

VoyagerRadio writes: "Recently I found myself struggling with a question I should easily have been able to answer: Why would anyone want to use Linux as their everyday desktop (or laptop) operating system? It’s a fair question, and asked often of Linux, but I'm finding it to be a question I can no longer answer with the conviction necessary to “sell” the platform. In fact, I kind of feel like a car salesman who realizes he no longer believes in the product he’s been pitching. It's not that I don't find Linux worthy; I simply don't understand how it's every going to succeed on the desktop with voluntary marketing efforts. What do Linux users need to do to replicate the marketing efforts of Apple and Microsoft and other corporate operating system vendors? To me, it seems you don’t sell Linux at all because there isn’t supposed to be one dominant distribution that stands out from the rest. Without a specific product to put on the shelf to sell, what in the world do you focus your efforts on selling? An idea?"

Comment Re:I had this class... (Score 1) 1021

I'm with you on these. Fahrenheit 451 was a remarkably compelling read for me as a kid. Real page-burner -- uh, turner. What caught my eye about your post, however, is Ursula K. Le Guin. Though I'm only recently familiar with LeGuin's work, and haven't yet read the Earthsea books, I'd definitely recommend the works I've read, Left Hand of Darkness or the short story I read last week, The Matter of Seggri. Both are gender and genre-bending stories that are both representative of traditional sci-fi and yet defy convention. As an alternative, LeGuin's essays on the topic of sci-fi -- since she challenged the existing notions about the genre -- would be excellent additions to the curriculum.

Comment The Music of Chance by Paul Auster (Score 1) 1021

Paul Auster's The Music of Chance immediately springs to mind. You really should consider books that aren't full of the usual genre material -- not only to provide a wider survey of these genre but also to help youth in understanding that science fiction/fantasy isn't all Battlestar Galactica and Lord of the Rings. The Music of Chance is that Twilight Zone-ish strange tale that is at once terrifying and impossible. It's an easy, relatively short read (perfect for high schoolers). Great introduction to "the strange tale" for those who might be turned off by all the space aliens and/or orcs and elves. Anyone up for a game of cards?

Comment Re:Is this an ad? (Score 1) 135

I guess I jumped all over that one, but I'm not totally opposed to contests. (Unfortunately, most contests are simply dressed-up advertisements for the service/website, and hardly dressed-up at that.) Scavenger hunts can be fun, but it sure wastes our time when there's no actual possibility of reaching the goal. Perhaps in this case there is; I would hope Wired wouldn't resort to phony ad/spam scams, but -- except the Wired editors themselves -- who knows?
Operating Systems

Submission + - Nokia leaks phone with full GNU/Linux distribution 2

An anonymous reader writes: It is now clear why Nokia has been so slow with S60 updates: the upcoming N900 just left everything else in the dust. Unlike Google's Linux platform, Nokia is not intentionally breaking compatibility with real distros, choosing instead to bring you the unmatchable power of GNU/Linux on your phone. This is the most awesome device I have ever seen.

OMAP3 CPU/GPU, 3,5" 800x480 touchscreen, keyboard, wifi, hspa, gps
5 MP camera, CZ lens, 32GB storage, SD slot
X11 window server, VT100 terminal emulator, APT package manager
Price without credit: est. 550e/$780 (N.5800: 280e/$390, iPhone 3GS: 530e/$750)

Developers should note that even though the current desktop is still GTK+, Qt will be standard across all Nokia platforms in the near future (less powerful phones will use Qt on the Symbian kernel). Users can download flashing software from Nokia, and patches can be submitted at the Maemo site.

Comment Re:I don't know, but... (Score 2, Interesting) 494

Yes, that's pretty much how it's worked out for me, too. I even have difficulty signing my name sometimes, but that's mostly because cursive is my most unpracticed form. (I really admire some of the cursive scripts some folks are able to produce. My parents have wonderful cursive handwriting, so it boggles my mind that mine is so illegible!) One reasons I've maintained proper punctuation (and grammar and capitalization) -- or attempted to, anyway -- is because I fancy myself a writer, even if the vast majority of my writing is actually done through forum posts. Someday I'll get it together and write a novel, and when that day comes I want to be well-practice in my typing skills (so as not to detract from the narrative). I don't want to get into the habit of "sloppy" writing.

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