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Submission + - Can Electric Current Make People Better at Math? (wsj.com)

cold fjord writes: The Wall Street Journal reports, "In a lab in Oxford University's experimental psychology department, researcher Roi Cohen Kadosh is testing an intriguing treatment: He is sending low-dose electric current through the brains of adults and children as young as 8 to make them better at math. A relatively new brain-stimulation technique called transcranial electrical stimulation may help people learn and improve their understanding of math concepts. The electrodes are placed in a tightly fitted cap and worn around the head. The device, run off a 9-volt battery ... induces only a gentle current ... Up to 6% of the population is estimated to have a math-learning disability called developmental dyscalculia, similar to dyslexia but with numerals instead of letters. Many more people say they find math difficult. ... Whether transcranial electrical stimulation proves to be a useful cognitive enhancer remains to be seen. ... Dr. Cohen Kadosh first thought about the possibility as a university student ... he conducted an experiment using transcranial magnetic stimulation ... He found that he could temporarily turn off regions of the brain known to be important for cognitive skills. When the parietal lobe of the brain was stimulated ... the basic arithmetic skills of doctoral students ... were reduced to a level similar to those with developmental dyscalculia.

Submission + - Fibre Channel will come with 32-Gigabit, 128-Gigabit speeds in 2016 (networkworld.com)

alphadogg writes: Storage teams will be able to double the performance of their Fibre Channel infrastructure starting in 2016, while the real speed demons among them will have a chance to multiply it by eight times. "Gen 6" Fibre Channel switches and adapters that can deliver 128Gbps should hit the market in 2016, the Fibre Channel Industry Association said this week. Faster storage area networks will help enterprises keep up with growing performance pressure from servers and storage arrays.

Submission + - Congress Investigating $500 Billion Conspiracy Creating Unauthorized Entitlement (forbes.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Forbes reports, "The PPACA authorizes the IRS to issue health-insurance tax credits only to taxpayers who purchase coverage “through an Exchange established by the State under section 1311 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” The tax-credit eligibility rules repeat this restriction, without deviation, nine times. The undisputed plain meaning of these rules is that when states decline to establish an Exchange and thereby opt for a federal Exchange — as 34 states accounting for two-thirds of the U.S. population have done — the IRS cannot issue tax credits in those states. Treasury, IRS, and HHS officials simply decided that Congress was wrong, and conspired to disregard the clear restrictions Congress placed on this new entitlement program. In effect, they created a new entitlement program that no Congress ever authorized. The IRS is dispensing those unauthorized subsidies today, which means that two-thirds of the tax credits the IRS is issuing are illegal." This is especially troubling in light of the President's actions in modifying implementation.

Submission + - Intelligence Squared U.S. Debate On February 12: Snowden Was Justified? (intelligencesquaredus.org)

An anonymous reader writes: The Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US) debate on February 12th, 5:45 PM CST — "Snowden Was Justified," should be of considerable interest to the Slashdot community. Podcasts and streaming video will be available, and it will be carried on many NPR stations. From the site: "Has Edward Snowden done the U.S. a great service? There is no doubt that his release of highly classified stolen documents has sparked an important public debate, even forcing what could be a major presidential overhaul of the NSA’s surveillance programs. But have his actions—which include the downloading of an estimated 1.7 million files—tipped off our enemies and endangered national security? Is Snowden a whistleblower, or is he a criminal?"

Arguing For:
Daniel Ellsberg — Fmr. U.S. Military Analyst & Pentagon Papers Whistleblower
Ben Wizner — Legal Adviser to Edward Snowden & Attorney, ACLU

Arguing Against
Andrew C. McCarthy — Fmr. Federal Prosecutor & Contributing Editor, National Review
Ambassador R. James Woolsey — Fmr. Director, CIA & Chairman, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Submission + - FCC said to be considering monitoring radio and TV news content (wsj.com) 4

sixoh1 writes: According to an op-ed in today's WSJ (tiered subscription model) by Ajit Pai (current FCC commissioner, nominated by Obama):

Last May the FCC proposed an initiative to thrust the federal government into newsrooms across the country. With its "Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs," or CIN, the agency plans to send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run. A field test in Columbia, S.C., is scheduled to begin this spring.

Don't rush to the tin-foil hats, but at the same time we're seeing a fight over Net-Neutrality, do we want to see a precedent set that allows the FCC to select favored content?

Comment Re:Open Source? (Score 1) 71

Yes, but I've had more than one person who was "in the know" about specific classified things tell me that Tom Clancy had an uncanny ability to somehow come up with fiction that matched reality too close and too often to be just a coincidence. I think he did a lot of careful research but he was also given information about some things he shouldn't have known as well.

A few facts, some intelligent guesses, and extrapolation from that can sometimes take you a long way.

Inside the Making of 'Dr. Strangelove' @2

Submission + - China And Taiwan Hold First Direct Talks Since 1949 Civil War Split (washingtonpost.com)

cold fjord writes: The Washington Post reports, "China and Taiwan agreed to establish a formal government-level dialogue for the first time in 65 years, official media reported, after an historic meeting in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing. Representatives from both sides smiled and shook hands warmly before ... the first formal talks since the country split in two in 1949, after a civil war. Beijing refuses to formally acknowledge the government in Taiwan, which it considers a breakaway province, and previous negotiations on cross-strait relations have been conducted by quasi-official representatives rather than government officials. Taiwan’s minister of mainland affairs, Wang Yu-chi, called the meeting a “new chapter” in relations between the two sides, and "truly a day for the record books," ... China’s representative, Zhang Zhijun, said the two negotiators could “definitely become good friends,” but would need to show imagination to achieve breakthroughs in the future ... The Chinese government keeps around 1,200 missiles pointed at Taiwan ... and Beijing has threatened to attack if the island ever declares formal independence or delays unification indefinitely. With the U.S. government formally committed to defend Taiwan in case of an attack, the issue remains a potential flashpoint."" The Telegraph adds, "The setting for the talks was also symbolic: a hotel in the Chinese city of Nanjing, which was twice the capital of Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist government before it fled to Taiwan after defeat at the hands of the Communist party. "

Submission + - Tiny Motors Controlled Inside Human Cell (bbc.co.uk)

cold fjord writes: BBC reports, "For the first time, scientists have placed tiny motors inside living human cells and steered them magnetically. The advance represents another step towards molecular machines that can be used, for example, to release drugs into specific locations within the body. There is interest in the approach because it could enhance the benefits of drugs while minimising side effects. The rocket-shaped metal particles were propelled using ultrasound pulses. Materials scientist Prof Tom Mallouk, from Penn State University, and colleagues have published their research in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition. "As these nanomotors move around and bump into structures inside the cells, the live cells show internal mechanical responses that no one has seen before," said Prof Mallouk. "This research is a vivid demonstration that it may be possible to use synthetic nanomotors to study cell biology in new ways.""

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