Sep 23, 2014

Blood test provides first objective diagnosis of depression in adults

posted by Larra Morris

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Diagnosing depression can be a difficult task, currently relying on patients reporting symptoms – something those suffering depression don't always do – and doctors correctly interpreting them – which isn't easy as the symptoms are non-specific. Now researchers have developed a blood test to diagnose depression in adults, providing the first objective, scientific diagnosis for the condition.

Earlier this year, a team from the University of Vienna revealed that measuring the levels of serotonin in the blood showed promise for potentially diagnosing depression through a blood test. And in 2012, Eva Redei, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine developed a blood test to diagnose depression in adolescents that involved looking at 26 genetic blood markers.
via Gizmag

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Sep 23, 2014

Science says you can smell a person’s political views

posted by Larra Morris

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According to a study published this month in the American Journal of Political Science, research has shown that people tend to wind up with mates who share their political beliefs, but they’ve been unable to figure out how. Strangely, it doesn’t appear as though it’s caused by deliberately seeking out like-minded individuals, but it may have to do with an unconscious reaction to how they smell.

The study had participants identify their political beliefs and then wear gauze taped under their armpits for 24 hours. Then, 125 other lucky participants were asked to smell the pit-gauze and guess the political ideology of the wearer. In terms of deliberately identifying political affiliations based on scent, people weren’t very good at it...

But what they found was that people were great at picking up on the political alignment of scents without actually knowing it. When asked to rank how pleasing the odors were—truly a great undertaking when sticking your nose in someone’s sweat-soaked pit lint—test subjects mostly ranked the smell of those with similar political beliefs as preferable to that of people on the opposite side of the spectrum.
via The Mary Sue

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Image:  Edward Simpson

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Sep 22, 2014

Artist recreates famous photographs with John Malkovich

posted by Laura Domela

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Dorothea Lange - Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California (1936)

The photographer Sandro Miller contacted the famous actor John Malkovich to pitch his novel premise for a project: Miller would duplicate iconic photographic portraits using Malkovich as the subject. Malkovich would have to dress up a bit, wear makeup, or even be naked. He would become Andy Warhol, Albert Einstein, John Lennon, and other people captured for posterity by the world's greatest photographers.
via Neatorama and Blame it on the Voices

See more from the series here

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Diane Arbus - Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey (1967)

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Sep 22, 2014

50 years of Moog, the analog synth that still beats 1s and 0s

posted by Laura Domela

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This time last year, I walked into a Toronto store called Moog Audio and walked out with a Teenage Engineering OP-1—a curious little portable digital synthesizer that looks, at first glance, like a child’s toy. It has a row of just four candy-colored knobs as primary input controls, and there are only enough keys for an octave-and-a-half's worth of range. But damn does it ever sound cool. Its tiny OLED screen uses all sorts of clever visual conceits to convey otherwise complex audio transformations. Colors and animations explain the differences between synthesizer engines, changes to modulation and frequency, and attack and decay. And it's done in a way that’s easy for anyone with little synthesizer knowledge to understand while still being powerful in more experienced hands. This is a synthesizer, drum machine, and four-track recorder all-in-one—all in a device that fits inside a purse or messenger bag with ease.

It wasn’t always like this. In fact, it was 50 years ago this year that, in 1964, a man by the name of Bob Moog unveiled a synthesizer of a very different sort. Called the Moog Modular, it is regarded as one of the first. Though Moog wouldn’t officially advertise his creation as a synthesizer until 1966, that’s precisely what it was—an array of electronic modules that Moog designed, often controlled via keyboard, and connected to one another with a bird's nest of cables that, somehow, produced weird musical sounds unlike anything anyone had heard before.
via ars technica

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Sep 22, 2014

DARPA working on portable and ruggedized artificial "biospleen" to fight sepsis

posted by Larra Morris

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Today, when we think of the dangers of the battlefield, we think of wounds caused by bullets, bombs, and other weapons. But as late as the Spanish American war of 1898, the number of soldiers who died from infectious diseases as opposed to directly from combat injuries was seven to one. Thanks to the discovery of penicillin and other antibiotics, that ratio has swung dramatically the other way, but it’s still a major problem, not only for military personnel, but civilians too. DARPA is developing an artificial spleen, or "biospleen," as a way to help fight deadly infections without antibiotics.
via Gizmag

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Image: DARPA

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Sep 22, 2014

The design of spoons and knives can change the way we taste food

posted by Larra Morris

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Chances are, you've spent more time thinking about the specs on your smartphone than about the gadgets that you use to put food in your mouth. But the shape and material properties of forks, spoons, and knives turn out to matter—a lot. Changes in the design of cutlery have not only affected how and what we eat, but also what our food tastes like. There's even evidence that the adoption of the table knife transformed the shape of European faces.
via Gizmodo

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Sep 22, 2014

Interactive sculpture dispenses paint according to the mood of local social media

posted by Larra Morris

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Be careful what you tweet, because your feelings could be immortalized in a piece of public art. At least that’s what happened in Oslo when Syver Lauritzsen and Eirik Haugen Murvold publicly displayed a sculpture called MONOLITT.

MONOLITT is an interactive installation that quite literally paints the mood of the city, using social media feeds as an input. The installation takes electronic signals and lets them manifest themselves in the physical world. Using sentiment analytics, the installation links tweets to corresponding colored paints in realtime, feeding them out through the top of the sculpture, letting them flow into a procedurally generated three-dimensional painting.
via Make

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