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Submission + - Computer Spots Fakers Better Than People Do

Rambo Tribble writes: Using sophisticated pattern matching software, researchers have had substantially better success with a computer, than was obtained with human subjects, in spotting faked facial expressions of pain. [Original, paywalled article in Current Biology] From the Reuters piece: '... human subjects did no better than chance — about 50 percent ...', 'The computer was right 85 percent of the time.'

Submission + - Earth Barely Dodged Solar Blast in 2012

Rambo Tribble writes: Coronal mass ejections, with severity comparable to the 1859 Carrington event, missed Earth by only 9 days, in 2012, according to researchers. The Carrington event caused widespread damage to the telegraph system in the U. S., and a similar occurrence would be devastating to modern electronics, it is thought. NASA's STEREO A spacecraft is responsible for detecting the event. From the Reuters article, 'Had it hit Earth, it probably would have been like the big one in 1859, but the effect today, with our modern technologies, would have been tremendous.' The potential global cost for such damage is pegged at $2.6 trillion.

Comment Precedents (Score 1) 409

Few today remember the actions of Apple in the period just before the introduction of the IBM PC until the unveiling of the Macintosh. As the '70s drew to a close, Apple was being outclassed by the performance of microcomputers based on Z-80 and Intel 8085 chips The aging Mostek 6502 couldn't keep up and the Apple II's architecture was unable to support the I/O demands that were developing. Faced with languishing inventories of Apple IIs, Apple Computer, Inc. began selling the systems to schools at prices that were widely believed to be below cost, or "dumping".

Of course, dumping is an illegal activity, but Apple was never called on the carpet for it. It is likely that this maneuver saved the company, all the while indoctrinating a generation of nascent computer users in the "Apple way". You might wish to note, at the time Microsoft provided the BASIC interpreter for the Apple II.

So anyway, this line of attack is not new.

Submission + - Cosmic Expansion Marker Find Hailed 1

Rambo Tribble writes: Evidence for the Big Bang has received a remarkable boost from the apparent finding of the B-mode polarisation of the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation. This event traces the origins of the universe's expansion back to "... first trillionth, of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second," of its existence. From the BBC article: "'Detecting this signal is one of the most important goals in cosmology today. A lot of work by a lot of people has led up to this point,' said Prof John Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and a leader of the BICEP2 collaboration."

Already there is talk of a Nobel for this research.

Comment A thought occurs ... (Score 2, Insightful) 183

... people are not entirely visually oblivious to the UV spectrum; most popular laundry detergents include UV reflection enhancers that make the clothes treated with them look brighter. Hunters often employ special detergents to avoid this and its affect on game. This leads me to wonder if those who claim to have adverse reactions, such as headaches, when in proximity to power lines might not, in fact, simply be more sensitive to UV spectra, and hence, these corona events.

Submission + - Power Cables' UV Flashes Apparently Frighten Animals

Rambo Tribble writes: Ultraviolet light flashes, or "corona", may be scaring animals and altering behavior. An international scientific team, first studying behavioral anomalies in reindeer near power lines, have found that sporadic flashes of UV from the lines are probably responsible. As most mammals can see into the UV spectrum, this has broad implications for the disruption of animal behavior. From the BBC article: "Since, as the researchers added, coronas 'happen on all power lines everywhere', the avoidance of the flashes could be having a global impact on wildlife."

Submission + - Google to replace GTK+ with its own Aura in Chrome (muktware.com) 1

sfcrazy writes: Google‘s Chromium team is working on an alternative of Gtk+ for the browser called Aura. Elliot Glaysher, a Google developer explains, “We aim to launch the Aura graphics stack on Linux in M35. Aura is a cross-platform graphics system, and the Aura frontend will replace the current GTK+ frontend.” Free Software community is debating is Google trying to do Canonical? Couldn't Google just switch to Qt which is becoming an industry standard?

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