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Believing You Are Very Good Or Evil Boosts Your Physical Capabilities Screenshot-sm 192

Research by Kurt Gray, a doctoral student in psychology at Harvard, shows that a person's capacity for willpower and physical endurance increases if they perceive themselves as good or evil. "Evil" acts in particular give a person a large boost in physical strength. From the article: “'People perceive those who do good and evil to have more efficacy, more willpower, and less sensitivity to discomfort,' Gray said. 'By perceiving themselves as good or evil, people embody these perceptions, actually becoming more capable of physical endurance.' Gray’s findings run counter to the notion that only those blessed with heightened willpower or self-control are capable of heroism, suggesting instead that simply attempting heroic deeds can confer personal power."
Image

Verizon Charged Marine's Widow an Early Termination Fee Screenshot-sm 489

In a decision that was reversed as soon as someone with half a brain in their PR department learned about it, Verizon charged a widow a $350 early termination fee. After the death of her marine husband, Michaela Brummund decided to move back to her home town to be with her family. Verizon doesn't offer any coverage in the small town so Michaela tried to cancel her contract, only to be hit with an early termination fee. From the article: "'I called them to cancel. I told them the situation with my husband. I even said I would provide a death certificate,' Michaela said."
Math

Ranking Soccer Players By Following the Bouncing Ball 142

sciencehabit excerpts from an interesting report on statistics for soccer, in the stats-obsessed world of sports: "Only a handful of soccer ranking systems exist, most of which rely on limited information: the number of goals scored in a match, the number of goals assisted, and some indices of a match's difficulty and importance. ... So researchers turned to an unlikely source: social networks. Applying the kinds of mathematical techniques used to map Facebook friends and other networks, the team created software that can trace the ball's flow from player to player. As the program follows the ball, it assigns points for precise passing and for passes that ultimately lead to a shot at the goal. Whether the shot succeeds doesn't matter. Only the ball's flow toward the goal and each player's role in getting it there factors into the program's point system, which then calculates a skill index for each team and player."
Software

WordPress 3.0 Released 79

An anonymous reader writes "WordPress 3.0, the thirteenth major release of WordPress and the culmination of half a year of work by 218 contributors, is now available for download and comes with 1,217 bug fixes and feature enhancements. Major new features in this release include a new default theme called Twenty Ten. Theme developers have new APIs that allow them easily to implement custom backgrounds, headers, shortlinks, menus (no more file editing), post types, and taxonomies."
Math

First Self-Replicating Creature Spawned In Conway's Game of Life 241

Calopteryx writes "New Scientist has a story on a self-replicating entity which inhabits the mathematical universe known as the Game of Life. 'Dubbed Gemini, [Andrew Wade's] creature is made of two sets of identical structures, which sit at either end of the instruction tape. Each is a fraction of the size of the tape's length but, made up of two constructor arms and one "destructor," play a key role. Gemini's initial state contains three of these structures, plus a fourth that is incomplete. As the simulation progresses the incomplete structure begins to grow, while the structure at the start of the tape is demolished. The original Gemini continues to disassemble as the new one emerges, until after nearly 34 million generations, new life is born.'"
Space

Giant Planet Nine Times the Mass of Jupiter Found 73

cremeglace writes "In the late 1990s, astronomers noticed a distinct warp in the disk of dust and gas orbiting a young star some 60 light-years from Earth. Now, using new analytical tools, researchers have discovered a giant planet lurking within the dusty haze. About nine times as massive as Jupiter and composed mainly of gas, the planet is only a few million years old, proving that such enormous planetary bodies can form rapidly." What's amazing about this is that the images taken of the star clearly show the planet first on one side of the star, and then the other, several years later.
Power

Submission + - China to Build 600 MW Wind Farm in Texas

Hugh Pickens writes: "The Wall Street Journal reports that Chinese banks will provide $1.5 billion to a consortium of Chinese and American companies to build a 600-megawatt wind farm in West Texas, using turbines made in China. “This wind farm project came about thanks to the openness of the United States for investments in the field of renewable energy,” says John S. Lin, chief operating officer of A-Power Energy Generation Systems, which is part of the consortium building the project. The wind farm will be built on 36,000 acres in West Texas, and will use 240 2.5-megawatt turbines providing enough power to meet the electrical needs of between 135,000 and 180,000 American homes. The wind farm will be the first instance of a Chinese manufacturer exporting wind turbines to the United States, says Yang Yazhou, vice mayor of the city of Shenyang, where the wind turbines will be manufactured. Cappy McGarr, managing partner of US Renewable Energy Group, a private-equity firm that is lead partner on the 600-megawatt development, says the partnership will seek tax credits and support from the federal stimulus package, which should amount to millions of dollars. McGarr says the project should create 2,800 jobs — of which 15% would be in the US and the rest in China, where Shenyang employs 800 people. The project a "win-win-win for everyone. We're two great countries and we need to work together," says McGarr. China aims to be the front runner in wind- and solar-power generation and Thomas Friedman writes that China's decision to go green "is the 21st-century equivalent of the Soviet Union's 1957 launch of Sputnik.""
Security

Submission + - SSL Still Mostly Misunderstood (darkreading.com)

An anonymous reader writes: People still don't understand SSL. This isn't much of a surprise... no one expects that grandma and grandpa know how to what SSL is and what it does. What is surprising and downright scary is that most IT professionals don't understand SSL, and many consider it to be the be-all, end-all of security in their organization. With all the tools out their to manipulate SSL connections and the browser vendors unable to settle on a single method of showing if a site is secured by SSL or not, is it any wonder that no one gets it? Security researchers Tyler Reguly, Mike Zusman, Jay Graver and Robert 'RSnake' Hansen recently discussed some of these issues at SecTOR security conference in Toronto.

Submission + - Butterfly Wings Could Lead To Better Solar Cells (gizmag.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers have developed a technique to replicate biological structures, such as butterfly wings, on a nano scale. They focused on the tiny nano-sized photonic structures that are found in the insects’ cuticle, and which give insects their iridescence — that slightly metallic sheen that also seems to shift in color depending on the viewing angle. By replicating the biotemplate of butterfly wings, the researchers hope to be able to make various optically-active structures, such as optical diffusers or coverings that maximize solar cell absorption.

Comment Re:Running out of juice (Score 1) 139

I'm wondering if this is a viable concern.

From the Kindle web site.

Battery Life: Read on a single charge for up to 4 days with wireless on. Turn wireless off and read for up to two weeks. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as shopping the Kindle Store and downloading content. In low-coverage areas or in EDGE/GPRS-only coverage, wireless usage will consume battery power more quickly

Does one need more than 4 day to 2 weeks between chargings?

Submission + - Interview with Steve Ballmer on Dutch TV (omroep.nl)

tsa writes: Yesterday there was an interesting and very funny interview with Steve Ballmer on our national TV. The audience were 600 students of our Erasmus University, who were allowed to ask questions. There is a small part that is in Dutch because Steve happened to have a Belgian teacher for a while. She tells us what kind of a kid he was when he was 8 years old. During the interview Steve gets some tough questions that he answeres like a pro. Despite the fact that they don't ask him about the chair, it's worth watching!
Science

Submission + - Startup Publishes Mathematics of Brain Circuits 2

braingal writes: The brain’s core algorithm for intelligent thought and action is closer to being cracked, thanks to a new mathematical model of cortical function. The model, developed by the Silicon Valley startup company Numenta, is described in a paper entitled “Towards a Mathematical Theory of Cortical Micro-circuits” in the October issue of PLoS Computational Biology . The model provides detailed, testable predictions about many enigmatic features of cortical circuitry. It also makes predictions about the systematic errors and illusions that living brains exhibit and has implications for understanding mental disorders. There are technological ramifications as well: an accurate model of the cortical algorithm may accelerate the creation of intelligent machines ( Singularity...here we come!!) by revealing which details of the neural circuitry are functionally relevant.
Input Devices

Submission + - Image Recognition Neural Networks (sourceforge.net)

sevarac writes: The latest release of Java Neural Network Framework Neuroph v2.3 comes with ready-to-use image recognition support. It provides GUI tool for training multi layer perceptrons for image recognition, and easy to use API to deploy these neural networks in end-user applications. This image recognition approach has been successfully used by DotA AutoScript tool, and now it is released as open source. With this Java library basic image recognition can be performed in just few lines of code. The developers have published howto article and online demo which can be used to train image recognition neural networks online.

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