Home » Technical Blog
Category Archives: Technical Blog
A 4-year-old boy shocked a medical student with a science lesson in the middle of a grocery store.
Parnia Salehi, 24, ran into the young boy and his father while shopping at a Trader Joe’s in Atlanta Tuesday and they started talking about her school, Morehouse Medical School.
But, she wasn’t expecting little Anson Wong to jump right into the conversation with his own wealth of medical knowledge.
“Anson was sitting in the cart and asked, ‘oh, what kind of doctor do you want to be?’” the medical school student told WSB-TV. “So obviously my first reaction was, ‘oh, this little kid knows the different types of doctors.'”
What she didn’t know was that he knew a lot more than that.
When she told him she was studying the brain, he responded, “Oh, so you like the nervous system. I like the immune system,” Salehi told the station that he said.
Salehi was shocked when Anson started explaining the nervous system in detail and she quickly took out her camera.
In the video, the young boy talks all about organ function, antibodies, and bacteria, among other things.
“What’s the function of the lungs?” Salehi asks in the video.
“The function of the lungs is to help take in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. That’s what humans do every day,” Anson responds.
Later on in the video, Salehi asks Anson if the immune system is still his favorite.
“Yes,” Anson responds, “Always, forever.”
Salehi was clearly surprised by the whole interaction.
“It was at least graduate level physiology,” Salehi said. “Such a random thing for a little kid to be passionate about! The immune system.”
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will spend ₹1,184 crore ($173 million) to build the fastest supercomputer in the world. The computer will be able to make 130 quadrillion calculations per second or ‘petaflops’. China’s Sunway TaihuLight, which is capable of 93 petaflops, is considered to be the world’s fastest supercomputer currently.
Now you don’t have to worry about your curious attitude as a recent study has found that curious people have creative mind. A research from Oregon State University suggested that people, who have strong curiosity traits, perform better on creative tasks and those with a strong diversive curiosity trait were more likely to come up with creative solutions to a problem.
The findings contribute to a growing body of evidence suggesting that testing for curiosity traits may be useful for employers, especially those seeking to fill complex jobs, said Jay Hardy, an assistant professor in OSU’s College of Business and lead author of the study.
As workplaces evolve and jobs become increasingly dynamic and complex, having employees who can adapt to changing environments and learn new skills is becoming more and more valuable to organizations’ success, he said.
“But if you look at job descriptions today, employers often say they are looking for curious and creative employees, but they are not selecting candidates based on those traits,” said Hardy, whose research focuses on employee training and development.
“This research suggests it may be useful for employers to measure curiosity, and, in particular, diversive curiosity, when hiring new employees,” he added.
The findings were published recently in the journal Personality and Individual Differences co-authored by Alisha Ness of University of Oklahoma and Jensen Mecca of Shaker Consulting Group.
Past research has shown that curiosity is a strong predictor of a person’s ability to creatively solve problems in the workplace. But the questions remain about how, why and when curiosity affects the creative process, Hardy said.
The latest research helps to pinpoint the type of curiosity that best aids creative problem-solving.
Diversive curiosity is a trait well-suited to early stage problem-solving because it leads to gathering a large amount of information relevant to the problem. That information can be used to generate and evaluate new ideas in later stages of creative problem-solving. Diversive curiosity tends to be a more positive force.
On the other hand, the people with strong specific curiosity traits or the curiosity that reduces anxiety and fills gaps in understanding tend to be more problem-focused. Specific curiosity tends to be a negative force.
For the study, researchers asked 122 undergraduate college students to take personality tests that measured their diversive and specific curiosity traits.
They then asked the students to complete an experimental task involving the development of a marketing plan for a retailer. Researchers evaluated the students’ early-stage and late-stage creative problem-solving processes including the number of ideas generated. The students’ ideas were also evaluated based on their quality and originality.
The findings indicated that the participants’ diversive curiosity scores related strongly to their performance scores. Those with stronger diversive curiosity traits spent more time and developed more ideas in the early stages of the task. Stronger specific curiosity traits did not significantly relate to the participants’ idea generation and did not affect their creative performance.
“Because it has a distinct effect, diversive curiosity can add something extra in a prospective employee,” Hardy said. “Specific curiosity does matter, but the diversive piece is useful in more abstract ways.”
Another important finding of the research, Hardy noted, is that participants’ behavior in the information-seeking stage of the task was key to explaining differences in creative outcome. For people who are not creative naturally, a lack of natural diversive curiosity may be overcome, in part, by simply spending more time asking questions and reviewing materials at the early stages of a task, he said.
“Creativity to a degree is a trainable skill,” he said. “It is a skill that is developed and can be improved. The more of it you do, the better you will get at it.”
You’ve got a spare hour before a big exam. How should you spend it? It seems napping is just as effective as revising, and could even have a longer-lasting impact. Repeatedly revising information to learn it makes sense. “Any kind of reactivation of a memory trace will lead to it being strengthened and reconsolidated,” says James Cousins at the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore. “With any memory, the more you recall it, the stronger the memory trace.” However, sleep is also thought to be vital for memory. A good night’s sleep seems to help our brains consolidate what we’ve learned in the day, and learning anything when you’re not well rested is tricky. Many people swear by a quick afternoon kip.
So if you’ve got an hour free, is it better to nap or revise? Cousins, along with Michael Chee and their colleagues, also at Duke-NUS Medical School, set out to compare the two options. The team mocked-up a real student experience, and had 72 volunteers sit through presentations of about 12 different species of ants and crabs. The participants were asked to learn all about these animals, including their diets and habitats, for example. After 80 minutes of this, the students were given an hour to either watch a film, have a nap, or revise what they had just learned. After this hour, they had another 80 minutes of learning. Then they had to sit an exam in which they were asked 360 questions about the ants and the crabs.
The napping group got the best scores,” says Cousins, whose work was presented at the Society for Neuroscienceannual meeting in San Diego, California.
Cousins and his colleagues called the volunteers back for another test a week later. The nappers scored the highest in this test, too. And while the crammers significantly outperformed the movie-viewers on the first test, they lost their edge in the second test — there was no significant difference in the two groups’ scores a week later. “It could indicate that cramming information might be good in the short term, but in the long run, the benefits might not be that great,” says Cousins.
However, Cousins is holding back on drawing definitive conclusions from his work — while the nappers were significantly better than film watchers, and crammers and film-watchers were statistically as bad as each other, the difference between the nappers and crammers did not come out as statistically significant. So until the team has conducted bigger studies, the evidence suggests napping is at least as effective as cramming, and might be better.
Napping in the lab
Cousins’ team isn’t sure why napping might be so beneficial. It’s possible that some memories are laid down in the brain during a short sleep, or more likely, a refreshing rest can leave you better able to learn. “It could be that what the nap is doing is making them more alert,” says Gareth Gaskell at the University of York in the UK. “It’s an interesting question, but we need more research,” he says. Either way, the team are embracing afternoon napping. “There’s a natural dip in alertness at around 3 pm,” says Cousins. “I would say take a nap then. We do it in our lab.” Some members have futons in their offices, he says, while others nod off at their desks. “Napping is encouraged.” And Cousins has some advice for students: “Don’t stress yourself out just cramming some information into your head,” he says. “Taking a nap is just as good.”
Researchers in the Netherlands have successfully tested a brain implant that allows a patient with late-stage Lou Gehrig’s disease to spell messages at the rate of two letters per minute.
The new system was tested on Hanneke De Bruijne, a 58-year-old woman in the late stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Unable to move any part of her body aside from her eyes, De Bruijne used the wireless computer-brain interface to identify letters by imagining that she was using her right hand. She can now use the system at home to communicate with family and caregivers.
Prior to the brain implant, De Bruijne used an eye-tracking system to communicate, but it had to be recalibrated every time light levels in her surroundings changed. The new system is far more reliable and autonomous, and it can be used at home without any extra help. At a rate of two letters per minute, typing is still excruciatingly slow. But it’s an important proof-of-concept showing that patients can use the system on their own and without much technical support. In future, the system could be adapted to stroke patients or quadriplegics.
“This is a major breakthrough in achieving autonomous communication among severely paralyzed patients whose paralysis is caused by either ALS, a cerebral hemorrhage or trauma,” noted Professor Nick Ramsey, professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University Medical Center (UMC) Utrecht, in a statement. “In effect, this patient has had a kind of remote control placed in her head, which enables her to operate a speech computer without the use of her muscles.”
Four sensor strips were implanted on De Bruijne’s motor cortex (the part of the brain that controls voluntary movements). Whenever she thinks about bringing her right thumb and ring finger together, the chip detects a small electrical spike. A computer receives these signals over wireless, and interprets it as a “brain click.”
To type specific letters, De Bruijne uses a tablet display that features four rows of letters. As a red cursor moves from left to right across the alphabet (plus some functions like deleting a letter or word, and selecting words based on the letters she has already spelled), she executes a brain click when the desired letter is highlighted. The process repeats until an entire word is spelled out and spoken by the computer’s speech program.
Using the system, patients like De Bruijne can express their desires or communicate problems, such as an itch, an excessive buildup of saliva, or problems with a ventilator. Looking ahead, the researchers would like to test the system on two more patients before undertaking a large-scale trial.
Scientists based at the University of South Australia are recommending you to eat more chocolate to improve your intelligence. The research was based on lifestyle information, originally collected by the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study (MSLS), which has been monitoring the health of nearly 2,000 individuals since 1976.
The team led by Dr Georgina E. Crichton analysed the results of cognitive tests taken by 968 participants in the MSLS, all aged 23-98. By comparing the scores of those who ate chocolate less than once a week and those who ate it more than once a week, they found a surprising association. According to the study, there were significant positive associations between high frequency chocolate in-take and a positive performance in cognitive tests. The psychologist who began the MSLS, doctor Merrill F. Elias, stressed that causality between chocolate and cognitive ability could not be proven with their data alone.
Yet according to the Washington Post, they’re study which shows that it was not the case that people who were already intelligent enjoyed chocolate. It was the chocolate that appeared to be bettering cognitive abilities. “Our study definitely indicates that the direction is not that cognitive ability affects chocolate consumption, but that chocolate consumption affects cognitive ability.” Cognitive skills have applications such as talking and driving at the same time, remembering a phone number, or mentally visualising a concept. While Crichton’s study did not explain why chocolate might improve these skills, previous research has suggested the cocoa flavanols that occur naturally in cocoa have a positive effect on the brain. Chocolate is already best known as an aphrodisiac, and as with tea and coffee it contains methylxanthines. These compounds have psychoactive properties and have been consumed by humans for centuries.
The hacking device uses a piece of free software and a $5 (Rs 340) Raspberry Pi Zero card-sized computer, which is attached to a USB adapter.What makes this hack a masterstroke is the fact that it does not even try to guess your password, but instead bypasses it entirely. All the hacker needs to do is attach the malicious device and wait–the device simply impersonates a new Ethernet connection.
Reportedly, even if the victim’s device is connected to a WiFi network PoisonTap is programmed to trick the computer into prioritizing its network connection to PoisonTap over the victim’s own WiFi network.
Let’s break it down: when the target PC detects the USB device, it recognizes the device as an Ethernet (LAN) connection. In doing so, the PC unknowingly sends all of is unencrypted web traffic to the Internet via the device. The device can now easily steal data like the PC’s authentication cookies, which are used to log in to private accounts.Later, it sends this personal data to a server that is controlled by the hacker.
However, Samy Kamkar states that for this hack to work, users will firstly need to have a running browser on the device. Therefore, even if the PC is locked, an open browser session would compromise its data via this device. If the browser is closed before locking the PC, this particular exploit would fail to work.
In a broader sense, a few recommendations to protect you from hacks would include clearing your browser cache regularly, running full-disk encryption applications, and being especially mindful of suspicious USB devices plugged into your computer.
Robots are joining the fight against crime by helping catch suspects in airports using cutting edge facial recognition software. Customs personnel input information about wanted criminals into the Chinese made Qihan-Sanbot, so if an offender passes through the airport they can be tracked.
The Sanbots are humanoid robots that also offer customer service, chatting to people who need help in terminals. They are equipped to translate 28 languages and answer passengers’ questions . The robot can be programmed to work in a number of fields, including retail, education, healthcare, hospitality and security.
But it comes after robotics expert Noel Sharkey warned humanoid robots will one day ‘take over the world’ and we won’t be able to spot them.
Awesome is the only word I can say it by the technology nowadays we come across,