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Localizing Language In the Brain 79

RogerRoast writes "A new study by MIT scientists pinpoints areas of the brain used exclusively for language (PDF), providing a partial answer to a longstanding debate in cognitive science. According to the study, there are parts of our brain dedicated to language and only language. After having their subjects perform the initial language task, which they call a 'functional localizer,' they had each one do a subset of seven other experiments: one on exact arithmetic, two on working memory, three on cognitive control, and one on music; since these are the functions 'most commonly argued to share neural machinery with language.' The authors say the results don't imply that every cognitive function has its own dedicated piece of cortex; after all, we're able to learn new skills, so there must be some parts of the brain that are both high-level and functionally flexible."

Children's Watch Allows Parents To Track Their Kid 607

pickens writes "The Telegraph reports that a new wristwatch called num8 has a GPS tracking device and satellite positioning system concealed inside so parents can locate the wearer to within 10 feet with Google maps. The watch sends an alert if it is forcibly removed. The makers of the watch claim it gives peace of mind to parents and makes children more independent. 'Losing your child, if only for a brief moment, leads to a state of panic and makes parents feel powerless. The overriding aim of num8 is to give children their freedom and parents peace of mind,' says a company spokesman. Critics of the watch say tagging children is a step too far in paranoia about child safety. 'Is the world really that unsafe that parents need to track their children electronically? I don't think so,' says Dr Michele Elliott, director of children's charity Kidscape."
The Almighty Buck

Up To 90 Percent of US Money Has Traces of Cocaine 441

mmmscience writes "Scientists have found that up to 90% of US paper money has some cocaine contamination, up from the 67% mark measured two years ago. Looking at bills from 17 cities, it's no surprise that the city with the highest level was Washington DC, where up to 95% of bills gathered there tested positive. From a global standpoint, both Canada and Brazil tested rather high (85% and 80%, respectively), but China and Japan were well behind the curve at 20% and 12%. The researchers hope that studies such as these will be of help to law enforcement agencies that are attempting to understand the growth and flow of drug use in communities."

In Europe, Auto Spam Translation Kicks In 102

An anonymous reader writes "While spam levels globally remain at a two-year high of approximately 90 percent, some European countries are seeing levels of over 95%. According to a new MessageLabs report (PDF here), countries such as Germany, France and the Netherlands are being heavily targeted by spammers with automated spam translation techniques. The use of automated translation services enables multiple-language spam runs and is responsible for a 13% increase in spam levels in these countries since May."

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