GeekSpeak for 2011-09-24

Blurry, Soggy, Black Holes Now Available from E-Libraries

Horrible segways during The Week in Geek News while Miles, Lyle, Ben, and Alex get all your calls and questions answered incorrectly.

Eastern Europe Schooling US, Western Europe on Fast Broadband

“In Pando’s ranking of nations in general, South Korea not surprisingly prevails with an average download speed of 2,202KBps. But Romania “unexpectedly” came in second at 1,909KBps, followed by Bulgaria at 1,611KBps."

Reconstructing Visual Experiences from Brain Activity

Quantitative modeling of human brain activity can provide crucial insights about cortical representations and can form the basis for brain decoding devices. Recent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have modeled brain activity elicited by static visual patterns and have reconstructed these patterns from brain activity.

Science watching moveis from your brain using fMRI

Reconstructing Visual Experiences from Brain Activity Evoked by Natural … This Youtube video better demonstrates how the reconstruction is composed.

Scientists use brain imaging to reveal the movies in our mind

Imagine tapping into the mind of a coma patient, or watching one’s own dream on YouTube. With a cutting-edge blend of brain imaging and computer simulation, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, are bringing these futuristic scenarios within reach.

New Space Woe: Blurry Vision

A new study of astronauts shows that radiation and bone loss aren’t the only health risks for long-duration stays in space. About one-third of the U.S. space station crew members return with impaired vision, a condition in which at least one case was permanent.

HIV Gene Therapy Safe, Well Tolerated

A gene-based treatment for HIV was safe and well tolerated in two small clinical trials, and there are hints that the method is at least a first step toward a so-called “functional cure,” researchers said here. The method involves genetically modifying a patient’s CD4-positive T cells — the target of HIV — so that they are resistant to the virus, according to Ronald Mitsuyasu, MD, of the University of California Los Angeles, who presented one of the industry-sponsored trials.

Netflix Splits DVD And Streaming Businesses

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings just dropped a bombshell. In the wake of a rapid decline in Netflix’s stock price last week, Hastings is taking a bold step by separating the DVD and video streaming services. The DVD-by-mail service will now be called Qwikster, and the streaming service will maintain the Netflix brand. That’s right: the new business (streaming) will keep the existing name.

Amazing Timelapse Video from the Space Station

“Science educator James Drake built this amazing timelapse video from the perspective of the International Space Station as it flew over North and South America. He created this video by downloading a series of 600 photographs that were available online at the Gateway to Astronomy Photograph of Earth, and then stitching them together into a complete video. You can see more of James work at his blog: infinity imagined.”

Kindle E-Books Now Available to Borrow from 11,000 US Libraries

“Amazon has finally announced its long-anticipated Kindle lending library, allowing Kindle and Kindle app users to borrow Amazon’s e-books from thousands of libraries across the US. Users will be able to find the Kindle books on their participating public library’s website and check them out through Amazon, which will send the book directly to users’ devices over Whispersync.”

Scholar Explores Mystery of the 'Music-Evoked Frisson'

“Why are opera singers’ voices so distinctive and powerful? Why can we pick them out, without the help of amplification, against the sound of more than 100 accompanying instruments?”

Rules for 3-way Chess

Yes, there is a three-player game of chess.

Oldest, Largest Body Of Water In Existence--In Space

“Around a black hole 12 billion light years away, there’s an almost unimaginable vapor cloud of water—enough to supply an entire planet’s worth of water for every person on earth, 20,000 times over.”

Planets Viewed As If They Were at the Distance of the Moon

“This amazing video shows how the planets of the solar system would look if viewed from Earth as if they were orbiting around our planet at the distance of the Moon. Jupiter would nearly completely fill the sky.”

Happy 75th Birthday, Jim Henson!

Today is Jim Henson’s 75th birthday. And in my mind, there ought to be parades to honor this man’s legacy. Because, as a filmmaker and innovator, he did it all. Whether you’re a kid or an adult, he touched us all. So celebrations are in order.

'Subconscious mode' could boost smartphone battery life

University of Michigan researchers have proposed a new power management system for smartphones that could dramatically improve battery life. Working with doctoral student Xinyu Zhang, computer science and engineering professor Kang Shin has created a proof-of-concept system known as E-MiLi, or Energy-Minimizing Idle Listening, that addresses the energy waste that occurs when “sleeping” phones are looking for incoming messages and clear communication channels. For users on the busiest networks, it could extend battery life by up to 54 percent.

E-MiLi slows down the clock of a phone’s WiFi card by up to 1/16 its normal frequency in order to save power, but then kicks it back up to full speed when information is coming in. The phone uses the header of the incoming message to wake itself up from its “subconscious mode,” so the clock is at full speed to receive the main message.

Magnetic Fluid Pump With No Moving Parts

In a study published today in Physical Review B, researchers demonstrate for the first time an approach that allows ferrofluids to be pumped by magnetic fields alone. The invention could lead to new applications for this mysterious material.

The study was conducted by Yale electrical engineering professor Hur Koser and colleagues from the University of Georgia and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe

The rogues did a 24-hour show! By the time you read this, it might be over though. The show is going until Saturday, September 24, 7PM EST.


! Getting Ubuntu

If you’re having problems downloading and burning your own CD or DVD of Ubuntu, you can always [get a copy from Canonical|http://shop.canonical.com/product_info.php?products_id=852], the company behind Ubuntu Linux.