News, Technology

Don’t write Blackberry off yet: CEO says they’ll be making money from phones again

The blackberry passport

It’s striking how a company like Research in Motion (RIM) went under the radar so fast, considering it used to completely dominate the smartphone market only a couple of years ago. Heck, Blackberry used to be synonymous with a smartphone, granted there was little competition back then. Then the iPhone came out in 2007. Spoosh! In just one year, the

Mind & Brain, News

Researchers home in on speech center in the brain

brain and speech center

Researchers have long theorized that the superior temporal sulcus (STS) is involved in processing speech rhythms, but it’s only recently that this has been confirmed by a team at Duke University. Their findings show that the STS is sensitive to the timing of speech, a crucial element of spoken language. This could help further our understanding of how some speech-impairing conditions arise in the brain, or aid tutors design next-generation, computer assisted foreign language courses.

Health & Medicine, News

Autism symptoms dramatically improved after treatment with Vitamin D

vitamin-d-deficiency-fb

There’s a growing body of evidence suggesting Vitamin D plays an important role in regulating serotonin. This means it could cause (deficiency) or treat Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) symptoms (supplement). For instance, one study prescribed Vitamin D3 to autistic children in an open trial and had a 80% success rate – that is, the children became less hyperactive, irritable, and engaged far less in stereotypical behavior. The children were also more responsive and compliant to their families.

Climate, News

Scientists measure internal waves under the ocean from ‘cradle to grave'; largest tops 500 meters

inner waves

MIT researchers deployed intricate contraptions, including cables that run to the sea floor and an autonomous submarine, to measure internal weaves around the South China Sea. The researchers followed and measured these waves from their origin, until they dissipated, and in doing so have recorded the “largest waves documented in the global oceans.”

Technology, World Problems

The NSA is gathering so much data, it’s become swamped and ironically ineffective at preventing terrorism

NSA spying

One of the most famous NSA whistleblowers (or the ‘original NSA whistleblower’),  William Binney, said the agency is collecting stupendous amounts of data – so much that it’s actually hampering intelligence operations.

News, Science

Oldest stone tools found in Africa: these were likely used by pre-Homo ancestors

Typical oldowan stone tool. Image: Wikimedia Commons

While searching for the remains of an ancient human ancestor, archaeologists came across a lot more than their bargained for: the oldest stone tools ever found so far. The archaic stones they found were clearly deliberately manipulated by hominid hands, and not the result of some natural formation. According to paleomagnetic dating techniques, the artifacts are about 3.3 million years old, or 700,000 years older than previous artifacts.

Environment

Brinicles under Antarctica: the underwater icicles with a touch that spells death

vn2R1e

This incredible time-lapse footage was captured by a daring oceanographer for the BBC a while ago, showing for the very first time how a brinicle forms. It’s essentially a salt water icicle that gets bigger and bigger as it hits the sea floor, and when it does its icy touch puts life to a halt instantly, like the poor sea urchins and starfish.

Biology, News

Brontosaurus is back! New research puts the genus back into the spotlight

brontosaurus

Just like Pluto, the iconic dinosaur genus was demoted decades ago and classified under another sauropod genus. But a more sophisticated taxonomy recently published by researchers in the UK and Portugal warrants a revisit of the shelved, but never forgotten Brontosaurus.

Biology, News, Space

Ants surprisingly agile even in microgravity, ISS experiment shows

ant colony

Eight colonies of common ants were shipped to the International Space Station last December to study how microgravity might affect the creatures. So, how did the ants fare? Well, surprisingly good actually. The dexterous ants clung to the surface of the station and migrated freely (under supervision of course) despite weightlessness. Of course, their movements weren’t as coordinated as on Earth and since they rely on a sort of hive mind to coordinate the colony, researchers believe studying their mishaps in microgravity might aid in building better robots.

Environment, News, Pollution

How glowing tampons help detect sewer leaks in your freshwater drain

glow in the dark tampon

Ironically enough, one male researcher from England used tampons to detect grey water contamination, or laundry system run off, that might be present in waterways. The tampons absorbed key signature chemicals that glow in the dark, making them easy to use and cheap. Moreover, it’s more reliable than consecrated and expensive methods.