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Submission + - Are Wall Street Traders' Brains to Blame for the Financial Collapse? (

Daniel_Stuckey writes: At the California Institute of Technology, student volunteer behaviors were studied as they traded in a fantasy style market. Participant brains were mapped using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), which scans blood flow in the brain as an indication of activity.

By watching traders form bubbles in a make-believe market, a strong correlation was found between separate areas of the brain responsible for a) processing value judgments, and b) predicting the behavior of others by inferring their intentions. Financial 'bubble' formation, when trading and asset prices rush beyond the asset's intrinsic value, was connected to increased activity in the area that performs value judgments. Traders more likely to lose their money to a bubble exhibited a spike of activity in that area of the brain.

Submission + - Brutal take-down of coverage of vaccination risk (

Lasrick writes: I'm beginning to appreciate the Columbia Journalism Review more and more. This is a post on a Las Vegas TV station's coverage of vaccinations, in which "reams" of science were ignored in a call for a "debate" about the safety of vaccinations.

Submission + - Google Starts Upgrading Its SSL Certificates To 2048-bit Keys

An anonymous reader writes: Google today announced it has already started upgrading all of its SSL certificates to 2048-bit keys. The goal is to beef up the encryption on the connections made to its services. Google says the upgrade, which includes the root certificate that the company uses to sign all of its SSL certificates, will be completed "in the next few months." Previously, however, Google was more specific and said it was aiming to finish the process by the end of 2013.

Submission + - Americans Think Courts Failing to Limit Government Surveillance (

Nerval's Lobster writes: More than half of Americans believe that the federal courts have failed to limit the U.S. government’s collection of personal information via phone records and the Internet, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. But that’s nothing compared to the 70 percent who believe that the government “uses this data for purposes other than investigating terrorism,” according to the organization’s summary of its survey. Another 63 percent of respondents indicated they thought the government is collecting information about the content of their communications. The Pew Research Center surveyed 1,480 adults over the course of five days in July. “The public’s views of the government’s anti-terrorism efforts are complex, and many who believe the reach of the government’s data collection program is expansive still approve of the effort overall,” the organization’s summary added. “In every case, however, those who view the government’s data collection as far-reaching are less likely to approve of the program than those who do not.” Some 47 percent of those surveyed approved of the government’s collection of phone and Internet data, while 50 percent disapproved. Among those who thought the government is reading their personal email or listening to their phone calls, some 40 percent approved of the data collection, even as 58 percent disapproved. There’s much more, including how opinions of government surveillance break across political party lines on the Pew Research Center’s Website.

Submission + - Saying Privacy Is 'Off the Table,' NYC Police Commissioner Demands More Surveill (

An anonymous reader writes: New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly thinks that now is a great time to install even more surveillance cameras hither and yon around the Big Apple. After the Boston Marathon bombing, the Tsarnaev brothers were famously captured on security camera footage and thereby identified. That just may soften up Americans to the idea of the all-seeing glass eye. "I think the privacy issue has really been taken off the table," Kelly gloats.

Submission + - Is that a phablet in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me? (

zacharye writes: As supersized smartphones from Samsung continue to get more and more unwieldy, it’s not just rival handset makers that are being forced to rework their offerings in response. A recent report draws attention to an interesting phenomenon brought on by the phablet craze currently sweeping the world: Smartphones have become so massive that clothing companies actually have to reengineer their pants in order to accommodate these huge new handsets...

Submission + - University of Saskatchewan biochemistry professor ready to start a study (

Droog57 writes: The first time I read this I was sure that it was a joke, but no. Federal Funds will be granted for the study. Ahh, the wonderful world of higher education.
"Despite everything you may have heard from your mom, picking your nose and eating what you find may have some health benefits, according to a biochemistry professor at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon."
Read on for more, and prepare to laugh out loud.
Happy Friday.


Submission + - A Computer Inside a Cell (

sciencehabit writes: For the first time, synthetic biologists have created a genetic device that mimics one of the widgets on which all of modern electronics is based, the three-terminal transistor. Like standard electronic transistors, the new biological transistor is expected to work in many different biological circuit designs. Together with other advances in crafting genetic circuitry, that should make it easier for scientists to program cells to do everything from monitor pollutants and the progression of disease to turning on the output of medicines and biofuels.

Submission + - New study shows organic food the healthier choice (

metrix007 writes: A study done in the wake of the controversial Stanford study on Organic food which showed that there was no advantage, has been performed on fruit flies which have long been used to model effects on humans. The studies show that in almost every category, organic food has a clear advantage. Better fertility, less chance of disease, longer lives etc. I've been pretty skeptical of the entire organic food debacle thinking it easy to dismiss, but this evidence is convincing. The actual study is here.

Submission + - New Brain Implant Transmits Wirelessly to Computer (

kkleiner writes: "Scientists at Brown University have made a brain implant that can record and transmit brain signals to a computer wirelessly. Free from onerous connections and wires, the technology could foster the development of a new generation of more flexible robotics to help amputees, spinal cord injury victims, or people with crippling neurological disorders. Referred to the researchers affectionately as the “can,” the titanium-enclosed device measures 2.2 inches (56 mm) long, 1.65 inches (42 mm) wide, and 0.35 inches (9 mm) thick. That’s pretty small considering it contains an array of 100 electrodes, a lithium ion battery, and custom-designed ultralow-power integrated circuits, radio and infrared wireless transmitters, and a copper coil for recharging."

Submission + - Anyone know of a open source geiger counter project good to 200 feet underwater? ( 2

BikiniAtomicWrecks writes: "I'm currently running a project on Kickstarter to document the atomic shipwrecks at Bikini Atoll. As part of the work I want to carry a compact geiger counter good for measuring gamma and beta particles. It needs to be small enough to carry with my dive gear and capable of recording particle measurements for up to three hours. And yes, I know about the shielding effects of water. I'm looking for a solid state counter that I can clip to my gear and leave running for extended periods underwater while diving, even if it only records background levels.

Any ideas? Thanks!"


Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Are We in a Tech Bubble? (

Nerval's Lobster writes: "When a major IT company pays a reported $30 million—roughly 90 percent of it in cash—for an iOS app with no monetization strategy and a million downloads since launch, is that a sign that the tech industry as a whole is riding a massive, overinflated bubble? That’s the amount of filthy lucre that Yahoo paid for 17-year-old Nick D’Aloisio’s Summly app, according to AllThingsD. The app offers “algorithmically generated summaries” (in its Website’s words) from hundreds of news sources across the Web, presented in an easy-to-read format; users can cherry-pick their topics and news sources of choice, save summaries for offline viewing, and share content with others. Yahoo isn't alone, by a long shot: over the past couple years, a few apps have been snatched up for enormous sums—think Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of Instagram in 2012, or Google buying Sparrow for a reported $25 million. Nor has the money train stopped there: in a pattern that recalls the late-90s market frothiness for anyone over the age of 28, a handful of tech companies have either launched much-hyped IPOs or witnessed their share price skyrocket into the stratosphere. But does all this IPO activity and app-acquiring actually mean "bubble"?"

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Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. -- Bertrand Russell