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Friday, January 30, 2015

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

ScienceDaily: Top Technology News

Building trustworthy big data algorithms

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 02:04 PM PST

Much of our reams of data sit in large databases of unstructured text. Finding insights among emails, text documents, and websites is extremely difficult unless we can search, characterize, and classify their text data in a meaningful way. A new algorithm shows better accuracy and reproducibility than the leading algorithm for mining unstructured text.

Complex environments push 'brain' evolution

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 01:08 PM PST

Little animations trying to master a computer game are teaching neuroscience researchers how the brain evolves when faced with difficult tasks. Neuroscientists have programmed animated critters that they call 'animats.' The critters have a rudimentary neural system made of eight nodes: two sensors, two motors, and four internal computers that coordinate sensation, movement and memory.

Privacy challenges: Just four vague pieces of info can identify you, and your credit card

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 01:08 PM PST

Just four fairly vague pieces of information -- the dates and locations of four purchases -- are enough to identify 90 percent of the people in a data set recording three months of credit-card transactions by 1.1 million users. If someone had copies of just three of your recent receipts -- or one receipt, one Instagram photo of you having coffee with friends, and one tweet about the phone you just bought -- would have a 94 percent chance of extracting your credit card records from those of a million other people. This is true, the researchers say, even in cases where no one in the data set is identified by name, address, credit card number, or anything else that we typically think of as personal information.

Generating Mobius strips of light

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 12:16 PM PST

Physicists have experimentally produced Möbius strips from the polarization of light, confirming a theoretical prediction that it is possible for light's electromagnetic field to assume this peculiar shape.

New technique for growing high-efficiency perovskite solar cells

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 12:16 PM PST

Researchers have revealed a new solution-based hot-casting technique that allows growth of highly efficient and reproducible solar cells from large-area perovskite crystals. The researchers fabricated planar solar cells from pervoskite materials with large crystalline grains that had efficiencies approaching 18%.

Powerful tool promises to change the way scientists view proteins

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 12:16 PM PST

Life scientists now have access to a publicly available web resource that streamlines and simplifies the process of gleaning insight from 3-D protein structures. Aquaria, as it's known, is fast, easy-to-use and contains twice as many models as all other similar resources combined.

Where did the missing oil go? New study says some is sitting on the Gulf floor

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 12:15 PM PST

Some 6 million to 10 million gallons of oil from the BP oil spill are buried in the sediment on the Gulf floor, about 62 miles southeast of the Mississippi Delta, researchers have discovered.

CAT scan of nearby supernova remnant reveals frothy interior

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 11:30 AM PST

Cassiopeia A, or Cas A for short, is one of the most well studied supernova remnants in our galaxy. But it still holds major surprises. Astronomers have now generated a new 3-D map of its interior using the astronomical equivalent of a CAT scan. They found that the Cas A supernova remnant is composed of a collection of about a half dozen massive cavities -- or 'bubbles.'

Individuals may fail to navigate complex tradeoffs in privacy decision-making

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 11:30 AM PST

Researchers have detailed the privacy hurdles people face while navigating in the information age, and what should be done about privacy at a policy level, in a new review.

Public and scientists express strikingly different views about science-related issues

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 11:30 AM PST

Despite similar views about the overall place of science in America, the general public and scientists often see science-related issues through a different lens, according to a new pair of surveys.

Texting may be more suitable than apps in treatment of mental illness

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 11:11 AM PST

Texting may be a more suitable treatment aid for those with mental illness than mobile applications.This is the key finding of a new study led by researchers from Clemson University in collaboration with researchers from Indiana University and the Centerstone Research Institute. The study was published in the journal Personal and Ubiquitous Computing.

Understanding portable biodetection technology for identifying suspcious substances

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 08:35 AM PST

The number of portable biodetectors has grown exponentially in the last decade. During this time, first responders could try different devices, but they didn't have independent, standardized comparisons to determine which devices better met their needs. Now they do.

Satellites can improve regional air quality forecasting

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 07:43 AM PST

Researchers found that data gathered from geo-stationary satellites -- satellites orbiting Earth at about 22,000 miles above the equator and commonly used for telecommunications and weather imaging -- can greatly improve air-quality forecasting.

The tell-tale signs of a galactic merger

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 07:43 AM PST

Astronomers have captured a striking view of spiral galaxy NGC 7714. This galaxy has drifted too close to another nearby galaxy and the dramatic interaction has twisted its spiral arms out of shape, dragged streams of material out into space, and triggered bright bursts of star formation.

Rapid test kit detects dengue antibodies from saliva

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 07:42 AM PST

Finding out whether you have been infected with dengue may soon be as easy as spitting into a rapid test kit. Researchers have developed a paper-based disposable device that will allow dengue-specific antibodies to be detected easily from saliva within 20 minutes. This device is currently undergoing further development for commercialization.

Forecasting the flu better

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 07:40 AM PST

Researchers say they can predict the spread of flu a week into the future with as much accuracy as Google Flu Trends can display levels of infection right now. The study uses social network analysis and combines the power of Google Flu Trends' "big data" with traditional flu monitoring data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Novel eye-tracking technology detects concussions, head injury severity

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 07:40 AM PST

New research could move the medical community one step closer toward effectively detecting concussion and quantifying its severity. Neuroscientists and concussion experts present a unique, simple and objective diagnostic tool for concussion that can be utilized in the emergency room or, one day, on the sidelines at sporting events. The study utilized a novel eye-tracking device to effectively measure the severity of concussion or brain injury in patients presenting to emergency departments following head trauma.

Vehicle body made from cotton, hemp, and wood

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 06:42 AM PST

Carbon and glass fibers reinforce synthetics so that they can be used for vehicle body construction. But in this regard, there is an abundance of potential found in natural fibers -- obtained from hemp, cotton, or wood. If you combined bio-based textile and carbon fibers, you can obtain extremely light yet very sturdy components.

Ultrasound technology made to measure

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 06:42 AM PST

The range of uses for ultrasound is gigantic; the applied technologies are just as diverse. Researchers are now covering a wide range of applications with a new modular system: From sonar systems to medical ultrasound technologies and all the way to the high frequency range – such as for materials testing.

Solar chip monitors windows

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 06:42 AM PST

A new kind of radio chip is intended to warn when windows are left open. This way, you can avoid having the heat go out the window on cold days. The sensor also detects break-in attempts early on. The key: This maintenance-free chip powers up with energy supplied by solar power.

School failure linked to higher use of computers at home, Spanish study shows

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 06:42 AM PST

Researchers have analyzed the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) by secondary school students, by using a sample of 5,538 students. The study, based on surveys taken in the 2010/2011 academic year, finds links between school failure and an elevated use of computers at home.

Nanomedicines of the future will build on quantum chemistry

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 06:41 AM PST

Quantum chemical calculations have been used to solve big mysteries in space. Soon the same calculations may be used to produce tomorrow's cancer drugs, experts say.

Could a new proposed particle help to detect Dark Matter?

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 06:41 AM PST

Researchers have proposed a new fundamental particle which could explain why no one has managed to detect 'Dark Matter', the elusive missing 85 per cent of the Universe's mass. Dark Matter is thought to exist because of its gravitational effects on stars and galaxies, gravitational lensing (the bending of light rays) around these, and through its imprint on the Cosmic Microwave Background (the afterglow of the Big Bang). Despite compelling indirect evidence and considerable experimental effort, no one has managed to detect Dark Matter directly.

Astronomers gain a new view of galaxy M 82

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 06:41 AM PST

Astronomers have used the giant radio telescope Lofar to create the sharpest astronomical image ever taken at very long radio wavelengths. A new image shows the glowing center of the galaxy Messier 82 -- and many bright remnants of supernova explosions. A supernova remnant is a shining shell of shock waves from an exploded star, ploughing into its surroundings.

3D printing makes heart surgery safer for children

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 06:39 AM PST

A cardiac surgeon in the United States recently used a 3D printed heart as a model to plan a life-saving procedure for his young patient. The 3D printed heart was used as a model to plan a life-saving procedure for the patient who was born with a rare, life-threatening cardiac defect.

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