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Submission + - Non-invasive spinal cord stimulation gets paralyzed legs moving again (gizmag.com)

schwit1 writes: Five men with complete motor paralysis have regained the ability to move their legs voluntarily and produce step-like movements after being treated with a non-invasive form of spinal cord stimulation. The new treatment builds on prior work to generate voluntary movements in paralyzed people through electrical stimulation â" in particular, two studies (one completed in 2011, the other in 2014) that involved surgically implanting an electrode array on the spinal cord. This time, however, the researchers found success without performing any invasive surgery.

The new treatment uses a technique called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, which involves strategically placing electrodes on the skin of the lower back. While receiving stimulation, the men's legs were supported by braces that hung from the ceiling. At first their legs only moved involuntarily, if at all. But they soon found they could voluntarily extend the distance their legs moved during stimulation. They doubled their range of voluntary motion after four treatment sessions.

Submission + - Calling All Data Do-Gooders

theodp writes: We're entering a new era of data-for-good, writes SAS CEO Jim Goodnight, who explains how SAS and the International Organization for Migration are using analytics and data for disaster relief efforts, but issues a broader call-to-action: "These projects just scratch the surface of what’s possible when new data, and those that know how to use it, are applied to humanitarian needs. Organizations such as DataKind and INFORMS, through its new Pro Bono Analytics program, are rallying data scientists to lend their time and expertise to helping people around the world. And there are many more data sets out there that could help with relief and other humanitarian efforts. It’s an exciting time to be in the world of big data and analytics. We’re just beginning to understand how technology can tackle society’s 'grand challenges." Please share your ideas on what unlikely data sources might help with disaster relief. And, how can we bring the world’s analytics talent to bear on these challenges?" So, who's ready to be the next John Snow?

Submission + - Technology and the End of Lying

HughPickens.com writes: The Washington Post reports that lying may soon become a lost art as our digital, data-hoarding culture means that more and more evidence is piling up to undermine our lies. "The research shows the way lies are really uncovered is by comparing what someone is saying to the evidence," says Tim Levine,"and with all these news analytics that can be done, it's going to enable lie detection in a way that was previously impossible." For example in Pennsylvania, police are prosecuting a woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted earlier this year after data from her Fitbit didn't match up with her story, Just like you can Google a fact to end an argument, instant messaging programs that archive digital conversations make it easy to look back and see exactly who said what — and if it matches up with what a person is saying now. "Lying online can be very dangerous," says Jeff Hancock. "Not only are you leaving a record for yourself on your machine, but you're leaving a record on the person that you were lying to."

Even more alarming for liars is the incorporation of lie detector technology into the facial recognition technology. Researchers claim video-analysis software can analyze eye movement successfully to identify whether or not a subject is fibbing 82.5 percent of the time. The new technology heightens surveillance capabilities—from monitoring actions to assessing emotions—in ways that make an individual ever more vulnerable to government authorities, marketers, employers, and to any and every person with whom we interact. "We must understand that—at the individual level and with regard to interpersonal relations—too much truth and transparency can be harmful," says Norberto Andrade. "The permanent confrontation with a verifiable truth will turn us into overly cautious, calculating, and suspicious people."

Submission + - Greek vacation becomes a nightmare - Appeal denied facing upto 20 yr in jail (helpivanmartin.org)

jerryhopper writes: "Since September 9, two Czech gamedevelopers visited Greece on vacation. During that vacation they were arrested and charged with espionage. After being imprisoned for 70 days in inhumane conditions, their appeal was denied. Although the appeal denial was made at 25 October — the news reached the parents of the detainees only yesterday (16 nov). Due to Greek strikes in the judicial system, there isnt much progress in the case. Although the two detainees try to keep sane and survive with dignity, sleeping in a drafty cell with 25 inmates is' nt a easy task. They now no longer tell us that it’s alright, that they are holding it together. After this judicial decision we have heard from Martin and Ivan something
that no parent wants to hear. During the phone call they basically told us one thing: “Mom, dad, please save us.”"

Privacy

Submission + - Understanding Users' Private Data Without Violating Privacy 1

An anonymous reader writes: Today, the need for doing statistical analysis of user behavior drives many companies to gather lots of private user data and then analyze that data, often without the users’ awareness. Recently, the researchers from Max Planck Institute for Software Systems (MPI-SWS) and Cornell University proposed a practical approach for doing privacy-preserving statistical analysis without gathering user data. This approach can be naturally applied in a large range of application domains such as web analytics, smart metering, public health research, and smart city.
Math

Submission + - The Maths-formula that lead to the financial crash (bbc.co.uk) 1

jools33 writes: "This is a fascinating story from the bbc of how a mathematical formula revolutionised the world of finance — which ultimately could have been responsible for its downfall. The Black-Scholes mathematical model, introduced in the 70s, opened up the world of options / futures / derivatives trading in a way that nothing before or since has accomplished, its phenominal success and widespread adoption lead to the discoverer winning a nobel prize in economics and yet it could ultimately have been responsible for the financial crisis of the past few years. Its interesting to ponder how algorithms and formulas that we work on today could fundamentally influence humanity's future."
Android

Submission + - Amazon's Kindle Fire has 54% of Android tablet market. Samsung 15%. (neowin.net) 1

N!NJA writes: While Apple continues to overwhelmingly dominate the tablet space with its one-size-fits-all iPad (albeit with both a new and ‘old', cheaper version concurrently on sale), the multiplicity of Android tablets on the market from numerous manufacturers hasn't yet helped Google to capture a significant chunk of market share.

In an interesting twist, though, it's emerged that Google's Android market share isn't entirely its own, as figures from market analysts comScore (via PR Newswire) reveal that, as of February 2012, Amazon's Kindle Fire had grabbed an impressive 54.4% of Android tablet market share. Why is this significant? Well, the Kindle Fire doesn't use Android in the strictest sense. At its heart, the OS is based on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but Amazon ripped out just about everything that it could.

Submission + - Libel Laws silencing Employee Free Speech (jimpinto.com)

An anonymous reader writes: For years journalist Jim Pinto ran a popular anonymous bulletin board allowing employees of Westinghouse Rail (now Invensys) to vent their frustrations of a company in decline faced with declining market share and a falling share price. The board was popular even with management, but a defamation threat from a lone manager shut it down.

Will silencing employees hurt the company? Are defamation laws too harsh? It's no longer possible to say anything bad about anyone, even if it is true, because of the time and expense in fighting off a defamation law suit. Are Libel laws the enemy of free speech?

Medicine

Submission + - What one drug company is doing to increase health care costs (patexia.com)

ericjones12398 writes: "International pharmaceutical giant Novartis is suing the United Kingdom's national health system (NHS) for using a cheaper, unlicensed drug instead of Novartis' licensed drug for treating age-related blindness. Even if Novartis wins the legal battle in the UK, and forces the NHS to use the $1,000 drug, it will (and already has) generated numerous counts of negative publicity for the company. During a time when health care costs are soaring, a low-cost alternative medication will always be favored by the public and physicians, no matter what health care regulations apply."

Submission + - DNS provision pulled from SOPA (cnet.com)

crvtec writes: From CNET — "Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), one of the biggest backers of the Stop Online Piracy Act, today said he plans to remove the Domain Name System (DNS) blocking provision.

"After consultation with industry groups across the country," Smith said in a statement released by his office. "I feel we should remove (DNS) blocking from the Stop Online Piracy Act so that the [U.S. House Judiciary] Committee can further examine the issues surrounding this provision. "

Science

Submission + - Scientists Create World's Tiniest Ear (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: If you've ever wondered what a virus sounds like, or what noise a bacterium makes when it moves between hosts, you may soon get your chance to find out. Scientists have created the world's tiniest ear. The "nano-ear," a microscopic particle of gold trapped by a laser beam, can detect sound a million times fainter than the threshold for human hearing. Researchers suggest the work could open up a whole new field of "acoustic microscopy," in which organisms are studied using the sound they emit.
Security

Submission + - Smashing the Linux Heap (threatpost.com)

Gunkerty Jeb writes: There has been a lot of discussion and research in the last decade on exploiting heap overflows in various platforms, especially Windows. But one researcher has found that there is a heap allocator in the Linux kernel that is, as he describes it, "beautifully exploitable." Meet SLOB.

Dan Rosenberg, a security consultant at Virtual Security Research, does a lot of work on Linux kernel research and decided to take a hard look at the heap allocators in the operating system's kernel. There are three main allocators: SLUB, SLAB and SLOB. But it was the last one that Rosenberg focused on, mainly because there hasn't been as much research done on it. What he found was not pretty.

In a talk at the Infiltrate conference in Miami, Rosenberg said that he'd found virtually nothing in the way of methods to mitigate exploit attempts on SLOB

Censorship

Submission + - India To Prosecute Facebook, Google, Microsoft

An anonymous reader writes: The Indian government has given the green light for the prosecution of "21 social networking sites." The list features 10 foreign-based companies, which affects the websites Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and YouTube. The recent development is part of an ongoing argument between the companies and India over whether content should be regulated (read: censored) in the country. The approval was actually made on December 23, 2011, but was only revealed today.

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