Kilrah_il writes: A recent New England Journal of Medicine editorial talks about the mini-mental state examination — a standardized screening test for cognitive impairment. After years of being widely used, the original authors claim to own copyright on the test and "a licensed version of the MMSE can now be purchased [...] for $1.23 per test. The MMSE form is gradually disappearing from textbooks, Web sites, and clinical tool kits." The article goes on to describe the working of copyright law and various alternative licenses, including GNU Free Documentation License and ends with the following suggestion: "We suggest that authors of widely used clinical tools provide explicit permissive licensing, ideally with a form of copyleft. Any new tool developed with public funds should be required to use a copyleft or similar license to guarantee the freedom to distribute and improve it, similar to the requirement for open-access publication of research funded by the National Institutes of Health."
Kilrah_il writes: I just bought a new computer and I have a small dilemma: Do I install Windows or Linux? On the one hand, I have all my programs for Winows so I already know them and can set up my computer just the way I like it pretty quickly. On the other hand, Linux, and especially Ubuntu, are getting better in terms of usability and it could be nice to check it out. I don't want to dual boot since I want in the end to have a computer that has all I need on 1 OS. Are there any strong arguments in favor of one OS over the other? Keep in mind that a) I have licenses for all my applications so the cost is not an issue (for now), and b) I prefer practical reasons. "OSS is good and MS is bad" is not a factor for me. Thanks!
Kilrah_il writes: While it has long been known that girls reach sexual maturity at a progressively earlier age, drawing the same conclusion regarding boys has been hard due to the lack of a clear-cut way to evaluate puberty. Now, researcher have used a known secondary marker of puberty, the accident hump, to study boys' maturity. "The accident hump, which also exists among male apes, occurs because young men participate in particularly risky behaviour when the release of the hormone testosterone reaches its maximum. Dangerous and reckless shows of strength, negligence, and a high propensity to violence lead to an increased number of fatal accidents. The probability remains low, but the rate jumps up considerably."
Kilrah_il writes: In the wake of the terrorist attack in Norway, a heated debate was raised about the use of the term "terrorist" and how it was changed by some media sources once the attacker was found to be not-Muslim. Radio Freethinker has an interesting four part series (parts 2, 3 and 4) examining the meaning of the term "terrorist" and how it has changed in the last decade. "Thanks to (or in spite of) our Norwegian terrorist, we have had the opportunity to investigate what Terrorism has come to mean in our society. Through the trauma of fear and pain we have allowed our culture to transform a word to describe an act of violence into a dehumanizing term of racism. The extreme right has latched on to the ‘struggle of civilization’has concocted this ‘epic’ struggle in a (sadly successful) attempt to distract us from the true ills in our society. They have created the ‘OTHER’ that we must all sacrifice everything to defeat."
Kilrah_il writes: What do you get when you combine a robotic arm, Kinect and a lightsaber (sorta)? The JediBot. Designed by Stanford University students as part of an experimental robotics course, the robot can execute one of pre-defined attack moves or block any attack aimed at it. "To attack, JediBot performs a random attack move, and if it meets resistance — another lightsaber, a skull, some ribs — it recoils and performs another, seemingly random, attack... To defend, the JediBot uses the Kinect sensor to pick the green lightsaber out of the background... and performs depth analysis to work out where it is in comparison to the robot’s lightsaber."
Kilrah_il writes: Next August, an art event called the Great Exhibition 2012 is planned to take place. Now, the organizers of the Olympic games are pursuing legal action against the organizers of the exhibition in order to force them to stop using the number '2012'. Julie Benson, the organizer of the event says: "It's preposterous — they are threatening to take me to court if I don't drop 2012 from my application for the trademark." After they pass this hurdle, I wonder what the Mayans will say...
Kilrah_il writes: Not Exactly Rocker Science has an interesting piece about Erez Lieberman Aiden, a scientist that is frequently hopping from one field to another, including "molecular biology, linguistics, physics, engineering and mathematics." This is in contrast to the prevailing trend of specializing in a specific field. "... I think a huge amount of invention is recognising that A and B go together really well, putting them together and getting something better. The limiting step is knowing that A and B exist. And that’s the big disadvantage that one has as a specialist – you gradually lose sight of the things that are around. I feel I just get to see more." Read on to see how failure to map antibodies led to an important discovery of the 3D folding of DNA and how the study of irregular verbs created a new scientific field.
Kilrah_il writes: With a million deaths attributed to it annually, Malaria is still a major health problem in some parts of the world, especially sub-Saharan Africa. Recently, HP and the non-profit organization Ping (Positive Innovation for the Next Generation) have teamed to help the people of Botswana to fight Malaria with Smartphones. "The program works by equipping healthcare workers in different regions with smartphones (Palm Pre 2) and access to the cloud. As they encounter cases of malaria, they can access a database on the cloud and send details about the outbreak, including pictures, notes, and map coordinates." With the program proving successful, the plan is now to spread its use to other diseases and countries.
Kilrah_il writes: In 2008 Google found correlation between seasonal flu activity and certain search term, a finding that allowed it to track flu activity better and more rapidly than previous methods. Now, Google is offering a new tool, Google Correlate, that allows researched to do the same for other trends. "Using Correlate, you can upload your own data series and see a list of search terms whose popularity best corresponds with that real world trend." Of course, Google reminds us that correlation does not imply causation.
Kilrah_il writes: The National Endowment for the Arts recently published their criteria for next year's Arts in Media grants. One of the key changes is the inclusion of video games as works of art. "Projects may include high profile multi-part or single television and radio programs (documentaries and dramatic narratives); media created for theatrical release; performance programs; artistic segments for use within an existing series; multi-part webisodes; installations; and interactive games. Short films, five minutes and under, will be considered in packages of three or more." For those who worry that game companies will try to get a grant for a commercial game, notice that the grant is only for non-profit organizations.
Kilrah_il writes: "A man with conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point." With this statement Chris Mooney opens an exciting piece on why it's so hard to change people's mind, even if all the facts and science are on your side. Relevent to everything from climate change-denialists to the anti-vax movement; a must read for every Slashdot commentor.
Kilrah_il writes: X-ray backscatter devices have caused un uproar over 2 issues: Privacy and radiation risk. A recent Archives of Internal Medicine article researched the radiation risk. The results: A single scan is equal to 3-9 minutes of natural background radiation exposure and would raise the amount of radiation a person is exposed to on a 6-hour intercontinental flight by about 1%. As for cancer risk, 1 million people flying 10 times a week will have 4 additional cases of cancer (using current models of radiation-cancer association). This is compared to the 600 cases of cancer they will get from the flight itself and to the 400,00 cases these people will have over their lifetime. However, the article notes: " In medicine, we try to balance risks and benefits of everything we do, and thus while the risks are indeed exceedingly small, the scanners should not be deployed unless they provide benefit—improved national security and safety—and consideration of these issues is outside the scope of our expertise." The article also chastises TSA for not allowing independent assessment of the machines' safe operation.
Kilrah_il writes: Light pollution is a big problem this days, affecting not only astronomers and wild life, but also everyone else because of wasted energy. GLOBE at Night aims to raise awareness by urging people to go outside and find out how much light pollution there is in their area. "The campaign is easy and fun to do. First, you match the appearance of the constellation Orion in the first campaign (and Leo or Crux in the second campaign) with simple star maps of progressively fainter stars found. Then you submit your measurements, including the date, time, and location of your comparison. After all the campaign’s observations are submitted, the project’s organizers release a map of light-pollution levels worldwide."
Kilrah_il writes: Whether you think it is useful or useless, you can't ignored the sheer cool geekiness of a game played entirely in the URL bar. "... this self-described "ridiculous" project was developed over the course of one evening."
Kilrah_il writes: WebOS Internals Group is the central repository for all the homebrewing done on the WebOS platform, including apps, patches and kernels. Recently it became clear that server infrastructure would fall behind future progress in the WebOS world. "So they asked HP's Phil McKinney, who has arranged to donate an HP Proliant DL385 2u server with 32 gigs of RAM and 8 terabytes of disk space... Notably, this is a straight-up donation, no strings attached — so WebOS Internals will remain how they always have: completely independent from the company whose OS they hack on."