Oct 21

Photographer scans subjects' brains to reveal ideal self-image

Posted by: Administrator in Science & Technology |

http://bit.ly/1rQXHJI

We all have ideas in our head of what we wish we look like, but usually no one else finds out. One photographer figured it out, using a brain-scanning headset. He took simple headshots of people, and then made dozens of altered versions of each person. He used editing software to manipulate their looks, making edits according to "scientifically established canons of beauty," or going against those. Then, he connected each subject to an EEG headset, which recorded their neuroelectric responses, while they watched a slideshow of themselves. The brain scanner tracked their immediate emotional reactions. So without even asking which photo they liked best, the computer knew.

 

Oct 21

Diamond thread could make space elevator possible

Posted by: Administrator in Science & Technology |

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/diamond-thread-could-make-space-elevator-possible-1.2803393

Ultra-strong cable revives dream of space transport without a spaceship.

Penn State University chemist John Badding and his team compressed carbon into a thread that is just three atoms wide, but has the same structure as diamond, making it ultra-strong. Penn State University chemist John Badding and his team compressed carbon into a thread that is just three atoms wide, but has the same structure as diamond, making it ultra-strong. (Enshi Xu/Vincent Crespi Lab/Penn State University)

For 100 years, futurists have dreamed about a device that could take people and goods into space without the use of expensive rockets or spaceships.

The key component of such a space elevator would be an ultra-strong, 36,000-kilometre cable. One end would be anchored to the Earth and the other attached to a counterweight in orbit.

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Oct 21

Gamers polled on Xbox can predict US election results

Posted by: Administrator in Politics |

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22429903.400-gamers-polled-on-xbox-can-predict-us-election-results.html#.VD8FgVc9WSp

WANT to find out who's hot in this year's election season? Ask gamers.

Pollsters tend to rely on phoning a list of people picked at random to ask who they are voting for. Wei Wang at Columbia University in New York City wanted to find a more efficient way.

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Oct 21

Milbank: Use of data to predict elections ignores human element

Posted by: Administrator in Politics |

http://www.columbian.com/news/2014/oct/11/use-of-data-to-predict-elections-ignores-human-ele/

In the old days, life had many hardships. Among these: The need to wait until Election Day to determine who had won. But now Big Data has saved us from this struggle. Even close races can be predicted with mathematical precision.

We know, for example, with 98 percent certainty, that Sen. Kay Hagan, an embattled Democrat, will win re-election in North Carolina next month. We are even more certain - 99 percent - that Sen. Mitch McConnell, a vulnerable Republican, will keep his seat in Kentucky. And we are darn near sure - 91 percent, to be specific - that Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., will lose. Throw all of these into our election model, add eye of newt and toe of frog, stir counterclockwise and - voila! - we can project with 84 percent confidence that Republicans will control the Senate next year.

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Oct 21

Who Will Lead the Senate? Follow the Prediction Markets

Posted by: Administrator in Politics |

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/12/business/which-way-the-senate-first-go-back-to-the-basics.html

How would commentary on the midterm election look if economists, rather than Beltway pundits, were calling the race? You would read a lot less about personalities, gaffes and gossip, and a lot more about fundamentals like the state of the economy. And you would certainly get a more sophisticated reading of polls and political prediction markets.

Let’s start with the fundamentals, which shape what is possible. Given the near certainty that control of the House of Representatives won’t change, I’ll focus on the Senate, where Republicans need to pick up six extra seats to take control.

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Oct 21

Why some teens try drugs but don’t get hooked

Posted by: Administrator in Science & Technology |

http://www.futurity.org/teens-drugs-working-memory-777602/

Working memory may explain why some young teens are able to experiment with drugs and alcohol without developing substance abuse problems later in life.

TEEN SMOKING

Most important in the picture is executive attention, a component of working memory that involves a person’s ability to focus on a task and ignore distractions while processing relevant goal-oriented information, says Atika Khurana, a professor at the University of Oregon.

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Oct 20

Predict your own personality on social media

Posted by: Administrator in Entertainment |

http://bit.ly/1t1ZXo2

People always say, "you are what you eat," but in this case, you are what you like. Sharing something on social media means sharing more than just a status update. Computer algorithms can predict different things about you depending on what you like, follow, and post. Usually, we have no way of knowing what these algorithms find out about us. But now, there are a few new online tools you can use to try some algorithms out on yourself. It predicts your openness to new ideas, how organized you are, and how outgoing you are, and also shows you where your Facebook friends fall on the spectrum.

 

Oct 20

Mental illness best detected early in schools, doctors say

Posted by: Administrator in News |

http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/TV+Shows/The+National/Health/ID/2546661495/

Schools can play an important role in reaching children and youth with mental illnesses that last into adulthood, say child psychiatrists who suggest ways to implement better access to care.  Behavioral disorders such as separation anxiety and oppositional defiant disorder are seen mainly in children aged four to 10 years, while anxiety and depression are more common in students aged 11 to 18, the researchers said. Stigma continues to be a concern, but Dr. Mina Fazel said that if there was greater understanding about mental illness and its potential causes and if treatment was more accessible, there would be less concern about labeling young people. The researchers suggest a multilayered approach that starts with universal screening for problems such as low self-esteem or bullying and moves up to targeted programs for severe problems.

 

Oct 20

When Can A Big Storm Or Drought Be Blamed On Climate Change?

Posted by: Administrator in Environment |

http://www.npr.org/2014/10/01/352762019/when-can-a-big-storm-or-drought-be-blamed-on-climate-change

Nowadays, when there's a killer heat wave or serious drought somewhere, people wonder: Is this climate change at work? It's a question scientists have struggled with for years. And now there's a new field of research that's providing some answers. It's called "attribution science" — a set of principles that allow scientists to determine when it's a change in climate that's altering weather events ... and when it isn't.

 

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Oct 20

How to predict the future with five simple rules

Posted by: Administrator in News |

http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/searle20141005

When it comes to predicting the future it seems only our failure to consistently get tomorrow right has been steadily predictable, though that may be about to change, at least a little bit.  If you don’t think our society and especially those “experts” whose job it is to help us steer us through the future aren’t doing a horrible job just think back to the fall of the Soviet Union which blindsided the American intelligence community, or 9-11, which did the same, or the financial crisis of 2008, or even much more recently the Arab Spring, the rise of ISIL, or the war in Ukraine.

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