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Technology

Submission + - The Raspberry Pi Turns One (paritynews.com)

hypnosec writes: The Raspberry Pi turned one yesterday and marking the occasion the credit card-sized computer's main distributor Farnell element14 announced the month of March as the Raspberry Pi month. The company also baked a cake on the occasion. Raspberry PI was first launched on 29 February 2012 in the UK and it was received with a huge amount of enthusiasm by students and researchers alike. The Pi has had quite an eventful year with researchers building a Raspberry Pi cluster; release of an official turbo mode patch; 512 MB RAM upgrade; launch of Pi Store; sales of over a million units; and release of Minecraft Pocket Edition.
Science

Submission + - Scientists Reveal Single Gene Is the Difference Between Humans and Apes (medicaldaily.com)

An anonymous reader writes: What makes us human? Some say that it is the development of language, though others argue that animals have language as well. Some say that it is our ability to use tools, though many animals are able to use rocks and other objects as primitive tools. Some say that it is our ability to see death coming.
Now, researchers believe that they have found the definitive difference between humans and other primates, and they think that the difference all comes down to a single gene.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland attribute the split of humanity from apes to the gene miR-941. They say that the gene played an integral role in human development and contributed to humans' ability to use tools and learn languages.

Science

Submission + - Mysterious substance found in human brain

Velcroman1 writes: "A mysterious molecule that turns people into modern-day Rip Van Winkles has been discovered in the brain, and it may be responsible for a rare disorder that has some sufferers sleeping more than 70 hours a week. The strange molecule, called a "somnogen," is believed to be at the root of the sleeping disorder, which in some cases also makes it difficult for people to wake up from their marathon sleep sessions. The somongen is made up of amino acids, just like a protein, and may keep sufferers bedridden for years, said David Rye, professor of neurology at Emory University School of Medicine and director of research for Emory Healthcare’s Sleep Center Clinic. “They feel as if they’re walking around in a fog – physically, but not mentally awake,” Rye said."
Piracy

Submission + - Microsoft accidentally gifts pirates with a free Windows 8 Pro license key (extremetech.com) 1

MrSeb writes: "In an amusing twist that undoubtedly spells the end of some hapless manager’s career, Microsoft has accidentally gifted pirates with a free, fully-functioning Windows 8 license key. As you have probably surmised, this isn’t intentional — Microsoft hasn’t suddenly decided to give pirates an early Christmas present (though the $40 upgrade deal from Windows 8 Release Preview is something of a pirate amnesty). In fact, it’s probably just a case of poor testing and a rushed release by Microsoft. The bug involves the Key Management Service, which is part of Microsoft's Volume Licensing system. Pirates have already hacked the KMS to activate Windows 8 for 180 days — but this is just a partial activation. Now it turns out that the free Media Center Pack license keys that Microsoft is giving out until January 31 2013 can be used on a KMS-activated copy of Windows 8 to turn it into a fully licensed copy of Windows 8 Pro. The massive irony, of course, is that Microsoft originally intended to strip Media Center from Windows 8 Pro — and then, in the face of consumer backlash, decided to offer it as a free upgrade until January 31 2013. Presumably, instead of taking the time to deliver the upgrade properly, Microsoft pushed it out the door as quickly as possible — and this is the result."
Technology

Submission + - What will it take for gesture-based navigation to go mainstream? (networkworld.com)

colinneagle writes: This article highlights a startup entering the gesture-based computing market with a technology that enables touch-less interaction with a television that resembles touchscreen navigation on a tablet. The idea is that internet TV will bring more apps and content to the TV screen, and a more intuitive method of navigation will be needed.

While reporting and researching the topic, the question I kept asking was what it will take to get everyday consumers to use hand gestures to control their PCs and TVs and whatever other devices they'll use. All the experts seem to agree it's inevitable, but some kind of breakthrough will need to happen to persuade people to ditch the mouse, TV remote and keyboard. Will it be quality of gesture recognition? Simplification of the product? Enhancements to user interface that accommodate gestures? Price?

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.

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