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Scientists working on device to keep you from getting bored at your job

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Dull jobs really do numb the mind

The device is not the internet.

Boring jobs turn our mind to autopilot, say scientists - and it means we can seriously mess up some simple tasks.

Monotonous duties switch our brain to "rest mode", whether we like it or not, the researchers report in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences.

They found mistakes can be predicted up to 30 seconds before we make them, by patterns in our brain activity.

The team hopes to design an early-warning brain monitor for pilots and others in "critical situations".

The scientists say the device would be particularly suitable for monotonous jobs where focus is hard to maintain - such as passport and immigration control.

*Thanks, Riley!*

Two patients receive bionic eyes

Charlie's Diary: A 21st century headline

Two blind patients underwent the procedure, which surgeons say 'is straight out of science fiction', at Moorfields Eye Hospital in central London last week and are said to be "doing well". Surgeons implanted an electronic device into the back of the eye to allow the patients to distinguish objects as pictures made up of spots of light. The device works with a tiny camera mounted in a pair of glasses which transmits a wireless signal via a small processor on a belt into a receiver and a panel of electrodes placed in the back of the eye. Three more patients will have the four-hour operation as part of an international trial before the technique is evaluated and extended. At first patients who are completely blind due to an inherited condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa are being treated but eventually it could be offered to thousands of patients as the devices are perfected.

April 21, 2008

AT&T Claims Internet to Reach Capacity in 2010

The nerds in the comment section vehemently call bullshit. /....

How to: Run Second Life on a mobile phone

Second Life Running on A Phone | Game | Life from Wired.com

Years from now, when historians try to determine what caused the dramatic drop in productivity that ultimately led to the downfall of civilization, they perhaps will point to the moment Vollee got Second Life to run on a cell phone.

Newsweek has video of the virtual running surprisingly smoothly on a phone, though there seems to be a fair amount of loading involved. You can apparently find your friends, chat, and transport yourself wherever you would like within Second Life. It's not clear from the video whether you'll be able to do anything other than just pop in for a quick hello, though.

The Vollee client makes it possible for phones to handle games that would normally be too graphics- or CPU-intensive. It also remaps the controls and optimizes the game to fit on a phone's smaller screen.

If Vollee can cram Second Life -- admittedly, a dumbed down version -- into a cell phone, perhaps phone versions of other virtual worlds will be soon to follow. Having access to World of Warcraft in your pocket at all times? That really would be the end of productivity.

April 20, 2008

Why Must Robots Be So Creepy and Scream All the Time?

YouTube - Boston Dynamics BigDog Robot - the Army mule...

April 17, 2008

Our Minds, Ourselves (We Hope)

Coming of Age on Antidepressants - Mental Health - SSRIs...

April 07, 2008

OK GO explains net neutrality to Congress

Beware the New New Thing - New York Times

Most people assume that the Internet is a democratic free-for-all by nature — that it could be no other way. But the openness of the Internet as we know it is a byproduct of the fact that the network was started on phone lines. The phone system is subject to “common carriage” laws, which require phone companies to treat all calls and customers equally. They can’t offer tiered service in which higher-paying customers get their calls through faster or clearer, or calls originating on a competitor’s network are blocked or slowed.

These laws have been on the books for about as long as telephones have been ringing, and were meant to keep Bell from using its elephantine market share to squash everyone else. And because of common carriage, digital data running over the phone lines has essentially been off limits to the people who laid the lines. But in the last decade, the network providers have argued that since the Internet is no longer primarily run on phone lines, the laws of data equality no longer apply. They reason that they own the fiber optic and coaxial lines, so they should be able to do whatever they want with the information crossing them.

Under current law, they’re right. They can block certain files or Web sites for their subscribers, or slow or obstruct certain applications. And they do, albeit pretty rarely. Network providers have censored anti-Bush comments from an online Pearl Jam concert, refused to allow a text-messaging program from the pro-choice group Naral (saying it was “unsavory”), blocked access to the Internet phone service (and direct competitor) Vonage and selectively throttled online traffic that was using the BitTorrent protocol.