Aug 21, 2014

Monkey’s selfie cannot be copyrighted, US regulators say

posted by Laura Domela

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United States copyright regulators are agreeing with Wikipedia's conclusion that a monkey's selfie cannot be copyrighted by a nature photographer whose camera was swiped by the ape in the jungle. The animal's selfie went viral.

The US Copyright Office, in a 1,222-page report discussing federal copyright law, said that a "photograph taken by a monkey" is unprotected intellectual property.

"The Office will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants. Likewise, the Office cannot register a work purportedly created by divine or supernatural beings, although the Office may register a work where the application or the deposit copy state that the work was inspired by a divine spirit," said the draft report, "Compendium of US Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition."
via ars technica

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Aug 21, 2014

Uh-oh: solar energy plant setting birds on fire in midair

posted by Laura Domela

A BrightSource solar energy farm in the Mojave Desert of California is under fire *pats myself on the back* after it's been discovered that thousands of birds have been set aflame from the farm's 300,000 focused mirrors. Wow, I feel like that's poor planning. Or, sadly and much more likely, not-giving-a-shit planning.

More than 300,000 mirrors, each the size of a garage door, reflect solar rays onto three boiler towers each looming up to 40 stories high. The water inside is heated to produce steam, which turns turbines that generate enough electricity for 140,000 homes.

via Geekosystem

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Aug 21, 2014

Scientists developing remote-control cyborg moths

posted by Larra Morris

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Led by Dr. Alper Bozkurt, the NCSU team has been working with moths suspended in a rig that holds them in place while they fly, but still allows them to turn to either side. As the moths make those turns, implanted electrodes monitor the electrical signals sent by their brains to their flight muscles – those electrodes are first implanted when the moth is in its pupal stage, so they've grown right into its body by the time it emerges from the cocoon as an adult.

Using this setup, the researchers have been able to determine which signals are responsible for which flight maneuvers. They're now working on a way of transmitting those signals to the moths as they're in flight, so that they could be "steered" by a remotely-located human operator.
via Gizmag

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Aug 21, 2014

Alzheimer's patients will be injected with the blood of young people

posted by Larra Morris

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It's not often that science confirms ideas straight out of vampire lore, but here you have one: aspate of studies in mice have found that infusions of young blood seem to reverse aging. So now we're moving to the next logical step: giving the blood of young humans to Alzheimer's patients.

The first very human trials testing the effect of young blood will start in October at the Stanford School of Medicine. Patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's will receive blood plasma donated by volunteers 30 or younger. Despite vampiric-sounding premise, approval for human trials were quite easy to get, the study's head Tony Wyss-Coray tells New Scientist. After all, we've been giving blood transfusions for long time—just without studying all the health effects.
via Gizmodo

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Aug 21, 2014

Brazilian architect Guto Requena 3D-prints unique shapes based on participants' emotions

posted by Larra Morris

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Brazilian architect Guto Requena launched a project that is very close to his heart at Design Weekend São Paulo. Through a special software developed by D3 Studio, personal emotions are captured to define new shapes for everyday objects. "The Love Project is a study in design, science and technology that captures the emotions people feel in relating personal love stories and transforms them into useful objects. The project suggests a future in which unique products will bear personal histories in ways that encourage long life-cycles, thus inherently combining deeply meaningful works with sustainable design," Requena writes on his website.

The design process is peculiar and involves three stages. First, three sensors are applied to the users in order to read their sudden reactions while they tell a love story that defined their lives. "Participants are isolated during this process so that they can more intimately expose their feelings and that data can be more accurately captured," Requena further explains. As users speak, data drawn from their changing emotion is captured by a software specially created for this. This data turns into a special design, that is then printed using a 3D printer.
via Cool Hunting

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Images: Studio Guto Requena

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Aug 21, 2014

First US patient receives cluster headache-stopping facial implant

posted by Larra Morris

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While they may not be quite as well-known as migraines, cluster headaches are even more painful, and can occur several times a day. There's presently no cure, although a new "neurostimulator" is claimed to help control them. A US clinical trial of the device has just begun, with a test subject recently having had one implanted beneath his cheekbone.

Developed by San Francisco-based Autonomic Technologies Inc (ATI), the "almond-sized" device was inserted through a 2-cm (0.8-in) incision in the recipient's gum, at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
via Gizmag

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Image: The Ohio State University

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Aug 21, 2014

Octopus-like camouflage can hide you in plain sight

posted by Larra Morris

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Octopuses and other cephalopods are masters of disguise -- their prey often doesn't realize the danger until it's too late. It only makes sense to model active camouflage after that behavior, then, and a team at the University of Illinois has managed just that. Their octopus-like material uses layers of photosensors, actuators and temperature-sensitive pigment to detect ambient light and change colors in response. Individual points on the unversity's test skin can turn from black to transparent within a second or two, letting it quickly blend into its surroundings -- or purposefully stand out, as you see above. The technology will ideally allow for many colors in the future, although that's not an immediate priority.
via Engadget

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Aug 20, 2014

Cities are making spiders grow bigger and multiply faster

posted by Laura Domela

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Something about city life appears to be causing spiders to grow larger than their rural counterparts. And if that’s not enough to give you nightmares, these bigger urban spiders are also multiplying faster.

A new study published today in PLOS One shows that golden orb weaver spidersliving near heavily urbanized areas in Sydney, Australia tend to be bigger, better fed, and have more babies than those living in places less touched by human hands.
via Wired

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Aug 20, 2014

'Video-less' 3D games developed for blind players

posted by Larra Morris

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Creating a video game bereft of any actual video might seem like an unusual idea.

But the concept is being adopted by a growing number of games designers, to help make the industry more accessible to blind and visually impaired people.

"Video-less" games use a production technique known as binaural recording, to construct an immersive, audio-only world.

The technique involves fitting a dummy with tiny condenser microphones that mimic the way our ears naturally hear sound. Each scene in the game is recorded using this method and the result is a more realistic, three-dimensional experience.
via BBC News

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Aug 20, 2014

3D-printed house concept offers blueprint for living on Mars

posted by Larra Morris

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If humans successfully colonize Mars in the future, what kind of homes will they inhabit? NASA and MakerBot recently hosted a competition which tasked people with making a 3D-printed model home suitable for the Red Planet. Noah Hornberger won with his Queen B (Bioshielding) concept home, which offers food-for-thought concerning the future of interplanetary architecture.
via Gizmag

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Image: Noah Hornberger

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