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By Admin (from 07/09/2011 @ 18:53:03, in en - Video Alert, read 2748 times)

George Carlin May 12 1937 - June 22 2008
Thank you George Carlin, your insight was of huge importance for the human race, you will be greatly missed by many.
You are forever in our thoughts.



The brain-computer interface (BCI) technology could one day be used to help people who are unable to talk or have other physical disabilities due to brain injury. The technology could one day be used to read a person’s mind.

Published April 7 in the Journal of Neuroengineering, the study was carried out by scientists at the Center for Innovation in Neurosciences and Technology at Washington University in St. Louis. The team was led by Dr. Eric Leuthardt, a pioneer in the field who previously developed a BCI that enabled people to play video games with their thoughts. In the current study a net of ECoG (electrocorticographic) electrodes was temporarily placed beneath the dura, a layer of connective tissue surrounding the brain. Rather than performing a craniotomy and placing electrodes on the brain for an experiment–might be hard to get approval for that–the original purpose of the electrodes was to map activity in patients with intractable epilepsy so that those areas could be surgically removed. As human brain studies are often brought about, Dr. Leuthardt combined his clinical aims with experimental. The ECoG electrodes detect the activity of underlying neurons and transmit the signals to a computer that then uses the signals to perform a task. In the current study the patients’ brain activity was used to control a cursor on a computer screen. Remarkably, the patients were able to accurately control the cursor in as little as 4 minutes. The slowest of them took 15 minutes. The ease with which the patents were able to perform the task is an encouraging sign that the technology could be applied to prosthetics control.

Other researchers have successfully used a BCI to interact with a computer. What’s novel about Leuthardt’s study was the region of the brain they recorded from. Building off work in monkeys where a mathematical relationship was found between the activity of motor cortex neurons and movements produced, early work in neural interfaces for prosthetic control logically focused efforts of how to use the motor cortex as the brain activity source. Leuthardt’s group, however, took a different approach. They hypothesized that, instead of imagining an arm movement–from right to left, for example–the patient could control the cursor with sounds either spoken aloud or imagined.

Instead of recording from the motor cortex, the researchers needed to record from the speech centers of the brain: Wernicke’s area in the temporal lobe and Broca’s area in the frontal lobe. The patients were asked to say or think of four sounds: oo, ah, ee, and eh. The computer then associated the patterns of brain activity that represented each of the sounds and tied specific cursor movements to the sounds. When the patient said or thought “ah” for example, the cursor would move left.

Using the brain’s speech centers instead of the motor area was a major achievement. Human speech has been studied extensively with brain imaging techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET) or functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Data from these experiments have revealed a great deal about how different parts of the speech network work together to produce and understand language. But prior to Leuthardt’s demonstration it was not known if speech network activity could be used in BCI control.

Will the computer understand us if we simply talk to it? This is important for neuroprosthetic devices of the future as it expands the repertoire of brain function that clinicians can potentially use to control a robotic limb.

Another way to phrase the above question: can the computer read our minds? Amazingly, the answer seems to be yes. But simple oos and ahs are one thing, articulated thoughts are quite another. When we talk–either to each other or internally to ourselves–our thoughts aren’t limited to the words we’re using. Our brain relates to the words in intuitive ways, as in all of the imagery and associations that pop up in our heads when we hear a simple word like “ninja.” BCIs are a long way off from extracting the tremendously more complex idea of ninja our brain conjures up, but understanding overt statements from the brain is a step in that direction. It’s fun to think that this technology might be used someday to record our thoughts in the same way tape recorders are used. Brain implants could enable us to “jot down” lecture notes in our thoughts and retrieve them from the computer later. You’ll definitely want to keep those notes heavily guarded, lest someone hacks in and realizes that your mind kept wandering to the cute girl in the row next to you.

Computers are already being used to read our minds–and companies are cashing in on the data. Neuromarketing is a field born when a neuroscientist performed the Pepsi Challenge while scanning people’s brain activity with fMRI. The study showed that a part of the brain called the medial prefrontal cortex lights up when people really like a product. As before, Pepsi beat Coke and when they drank Pepsi the MPC lit up. But then why, if more people prefer Pepsi, does Coke dominate the market? The answer came when researchers uncovered the labels. Now that the people knew what they were drinking, the MPC lit up with Coke, not Pepsi. The conclusion was that Coke’s advertising was much more effective than Pepsi’s: even though people preferred Pepsi, they thought they preferred Coke. Lighting up the MPC meant a refreshed and satisfied Coke drinker. Thus, a cottage industry was born. Companies began putting people in MRI machines and testing their slogans and ad campaigns, and watching to see if the MPC lit up. If it did, it meant the consumer was thinking, “I need that pair of shoes.”

The potential of combining mind and machine is limitless. The two are being brought ever closer as developments in BCI technology proceed in parallel with our increasing understanding of the how the brain works. The future of BCIs will take us in even more exciting and unpredictable directions. Whether it improves the lives of disabled people, enhances our use of information, makes video games more fun, or makes companies money only time will tell. Eventually, I have no doubt, it will be all of the above and more.

Source: Singularity Hub


Libyan rebels enter Tripoli

Gaddafi forces offer little resistance as rebels moved from the western outskirts into the capital.

Source: Al Jazeera English: Live Stream


Former child-star Corey Feldman is making some shocking claims in a new interview with ABC's Nightline.

The 40-year-old actor, who starred in hit films in the 1980s like "The Goonies" and "Stand By Me," told Nightline that the biggest threat to children in show business is something that just isn't talked about -- pedophilia.

"I can tell you that the number one problem in Hollywood was, and is, and always will be pedophilia. That's the biggest problem for children in this industry... it's all done under the radar. It's the big secret," he said.

Feldman said he was surrounded by pedophiles when he was 14-years-old and didn't realize until he was older just what these "vultures" were and what they wanted. Feldman says it was these people who abused both him and close friend and troubled teen actor Corey Haim, who died last year at the age of 38.

"There is one person to blame in the death of Corey Haim, and that person happens to be a Hollywood mogul -- and that person needs to be exposed but unfortunately I can't be the one to do it," he said.

Both Feldman and Haim have talked about their abuse before, even confronting one another about it on their 2008 reality series "Two Coreys," revealing that they were both being molested by different people at the same time.

Feldman told Nightline, "There are so many people in this industry who have gotten away with it for so long that they feel they're above the law. And that's got to change, that's got to stop."

There still seems to be a rift between Feldman and Haim's family. When Haim died in 2010, Feldman was not invited to the funeral and when Nightline reached out to Haim's mother for comment, she told them she wasn't going to respond to anything Feldman had to say, and wishes he would only talk about himself.


By Admin (from 12/08/2011 @ 11:00:27, in en - Video Alert, read 2788 times)

Masdar City trackless Personal Transportation System

Nothing says 'the future' quite like auto-pods, except maybe flying cars, but those aren't here yet. What are here are Masdar City's rapid transit auto-pods. Claimed to be the world's first trackless Personal Transportation System (PRT), the four-seat pods will theoretically be able to take you wherever you want to go in the city, sans driver. We say theoretically because Masdar City isn't really a city just yet (more like a collection of a few buildings, with mostly researchers and students living there), and therefore the pods only go on one route with a stop at each end (about 1600 meters round-trip).

Another big change in the works is the PRT system will no longer be underground. Due to the global financial crisis, Masdar's audacious (and expensive) plans to make itself a floating city 25 feet (7.5 meters) above the ground got scrapped, forcing the pods above ground.

Source: Autoblog Green


The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is the Department of Energy's green tech incubation lab, so perhaps it's no surprise that the research agency is attempting to lead America to greener pastures by example. The NREL just put the finishing touches on its new Research Support Facility (RSF) in Golden, Colo., -- the largest zero-energy office building in the nation -- hoping other developers will follow its lead.

The 220,000 square-foot facility will be home to more than 800 employees when it opens its doors in August, and is expected to achieve platinum LEED certification, the highest distinction a building can get from the U.S. Green Building Council. To create a structure that consumes no more energy than it produces in a year, the engineers behind the office complex took into account both the technologies of the future and the building practices of the past.

For instance, before electric lighting and climate control became ubiquitous architects situated and designed buildings to take advantage of natural light, with lots of windows that also provided ventilation. A slender 60-foot width and an east-west orientation allow lots of natural daylight to illuminate interior spaces of the RSF. That centuries-old building practice is coupled with smart technology that constantly compares interior and exterior temperatures, and even sends messages to occupants' computer screens when its time to open or close the windows for optimum natural climate control.

The building is also built largely of recycled or reclaimed materials, and the exterior is designed to absorb heat from the sun that can then either contain the heat during the day during warmer months or release it into the building during cooler months. The interior climate is further controlled using an radiant system that uses water pipes embedded in the floor to circulate either hot or cold water.

Of course, the NREL's new green building pales in comparison to China's ambitious 800,000 square-foot "Sun Dial" office building or the scope of projects like Masdar City outside Abu Dhabi. But it's a good -- and good looking -- first step toward better building practices. To make sure the drive for net-zero architecture doesn't stall in Golden, the NREL will be offering its design for the building to developers for free starting this fall.

Source: PopSci


Nearly five months after the earthquake and tsunami - Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant is still spewing radiation.

Yesterday (August 2nd 2011 TA note) - Tokyo Electric Power Company said it detected the highest radiation levels to date at the crippled nuclear facility - recording ten thousand milliSieverts an hour - the maximum level the devices can even measure.

The measures were taken just outside ventilation stacks in reactors one and two - reactors we saw explode in the weeks after the quake and tsunami.

In the photo, a real Chernobyl "victim".

So what's going on here? Could the nuclear crisis in Japan ACTUALLY be worsening after 5 months? Here to shed some light on this issue is Kevin Kamps - Nuclear Waste Watchdog at Beyond Nuclear.


However, researchers at Michigan State University have built a prototype gasoline engine that requires no transmission, crankshaft, pistons, valves, fuel compression, cooling systems or fluids. Their so-called Wave Disk Generator could greatly improve the efficiency of gas-electric hybrid automobiles and potentially decrease auto emissions up to 90 percent when compared with conventional combustion engines.


The engine has a rotor that's equipped with wave-like channels that trap and mix oxygen and fuel as the rotor spins. These central inlets are blocked off, building pressure within the chamber, causing a shock wave that ignites the compressed air and fuel to transmit energy.

The Wave Disk Generator uses 60 percent of its fuel for propulsion; standard car engines use just 15 percent. As a result, the generator is 3.5 times more fuel efficient than typical combustion engines.

Researchers estimate the new model could shave almost 1,000 pounds off a car's weight currently taken up by conventional engine systems.

Michigan State University associate professor of mechanical engineering Norbert Mueller describes his Wave Disk Generator, for which he has received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to build a prototype new engine and generator technology that can dramatically improve efficiencies and reduce costs of electric hybrid vehicles.

Last week, the prototype was presented to the energy division of the Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is backing the Michigan State University Engine Research Laboratory with $2.5 million in funding.

Michigan State's team of engineers hope to have a car-sized 25-kilowatt version of the prototype ready by the end of the year

Source: DiscoveryNews


Become a member and join us as we initiate a movement for real change.

"The Plan" 1 year. 3 phases. A world of change.
Share this message with everyone you can.

PHASE 1: Better yourself. Spread the message. Be the message.

*Educate yourself on the depths of the system, the functions put it place to inhibit true freedom as well as the mechanisms within the system that motivate the masses to subconsciously accept giving up those freedoms. The structures within the system that promote division within the people of the countries of this world and the injustices that are placed upon the people.

*Spread the message. Share this video and the website with everyone you can. Make your own videos, songs, art, graffiti etc... spreading the word that we are here, the movement is taking hold. Expect us.

*Learn ways that will allow you to break free from the system. Start small and implement them in your daily lives. This will be implemented as a focus of Phase 2 as well, escalating what you have learned.

*ANON hackers - begin supporting the movement. This is a calling to all of you for the aid of this movement. Low-priority targets are your engagement. Assist with the movement and spread the message of "The Plan".

The resistance is here.
Expect us.


Researchers at Miami University have created an augmented reality app that makes all those books easier to organize. ShelvAR instantly analyzes an entire shelf, spots any misplaced books, and shows librarians the quickest way to put the books back in order.

ShelvAR consists of an Android app and a set of coded tags, representing call numbers, that are placed on books' spines. When a librarian holds a smartphone or tablet camera up to a shelf, the app reads all the tags at once, thanks to a new algorithm that can decipher multiple patterns even though they're small when viewed at a distance. Then the app uses a simple sorting method—at least for computers, which aren't fazed by complex letter-digit combos like Q164 .G72 2009--to figure out the correct order and the shortest number of moves needed to achieve it. The phone's screen displays red X's over any misfiled books, along with arrows that show where they really belong.

The prototype app, built by computer science professor Bo Brinkman and research assistant Matt Hodges, has successfully analyzed a dozen books with half-inch tags. The team is now working on scaling up to 75 to 150 quarter-inch-thin books, so that they can scan a full shelf in one shot, and in December, they'll test the app in part of the university library. Adding ShelvAR tags could save libraries time and money in the long run, since workers now do frequent shelf checks by hand.

If all goes well, a beta version of ShelvAR will be released next spring. Librarians are already envisioning other uses for the technology, Brinkmann tells us, such as displaying a star rating over recommended books or helping lost students find the book they're looking for.

Source: PopSci

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By Napasechnik
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