Jul 29, 2015

Scientists have discovered a new taste that could make food more delicious

posted by Laura Domela

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Taste, the sense that allows us to appreciate the beauty of good food, is something scientists understand fairly well. The sensation we feel when eating a piece of cake, chewing on a hamburger or taking the first bite of a piping hot piece of pizza is triggered when chemicals in our food interact with receptors in our mouths.

For hundreds of years, scientists have known about four basic tastes: sour, sweet, salty and bitter. More recently, a Japanese chemist discovered a fifth basic taste, umami, which is triggered by monosodium glutamate, or MSG, as it's more widely known. Umamiperhaps best described as savory, is especially prevalent in truffles, meat and anchovies.

And now, scientists believe they have found a sixth basic taste that could profoundly change the way we eat.
via Washington Post

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Jul 29, 2015

Life-changing lamp uses a glass of salt water to supply 8 hours of light

posted by Christy Wilding

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Engineer Aisa Mijena has developed an innovative lamp that could change many lives for the better. 

‘The SALt Lamp’ is an affordable light source that literally runs on one glass of water and two tablespoons of salt for as long as eight hours. 

The product can even run on ocean water. It will be an incredibly valuable item to have for households that are unable to access or afford electricity. You can even charge your smartphone with this nifty lamp—simply plug in a USB cable to the side of the lamp.

 via Design Taxi

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Jul 28, 2015

How the way you type can shatter anonymity—even on Tor

posted by Christy Wilding

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Security researchers have refined a long-theoretical profiling technique into a highly practical attack that poses a threat to Tor users and anyone else who wants to shield their identity online.

The technique collects user keystrokes as an individual enters usernames, passwords, and other data into a website. After a training session that typically takes less than 10 minutes, the website—or any other site connected to the website—can then determine with a high degree of certainty when the same individual is conducting subsequent online sessions. The profiling works by measuring the minute differences in the way each person presses keys on computer keyboards. Since the pauses between keystrokes and the precise length of time each key is pressed are unique for each person, the profiles act as a sort of digital fingerprint that can betray its owner's identity.

via Ars Technica

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Jul 28, 2015

Man born with "virtually no brain" has advanced math degree

posted by Christy Wilding

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The subject of this paper grew up with a normal cognitive and social life, and didn't discover his hydrocephalus -- which had all but obliterated his brain -- until he went to the doctor for an unrelated complaint.

via Boing Boing

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Jul 28, 2015

Firefly enzyme inspires Swiss team to create portable disease test kit

posted by Christy Wilding

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Portable test kits represent an advance in disease diagnosis, as their ready availability increases chances of earlier detection and treatment. This type of technology is constantly evolving, and sometimes inspiration can come from surprising sources. Such is the case with research carried out by a Swiss team, which has borrowed from the mechanics behind the firefly's glow to develop a sensitive molecule detector.

via Gizmag

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Jul 27, 2015

Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking among hundreds to urge ban on military robots

posted by Laura Domela

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Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, along with hundreds of artificial intelligence researchers and experts, are calling for a worldwide ban on so-called autonomous weapons, warning that they could set off a revolution in weaponry comparable to gunpowder and nuclear arms.

In a letter unveiled as researchers gathered at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires on Monday, the signatories argued that the deployment of robots capable of killing while untethered to human operators is “feasible within years, not decades.” If development is not cut off, it is only a matter of time before the weapons end up in the hands of terrorists and warlords, they said.

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Jul 25, 2015

China officially ends ban on video game consoles

posted by Christy Wilding

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China is finally scrapping its 15-year ban on video game consoles. According to a statement from the country's Ministry of Culture, companies like Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft — among others — will now be allowed to manufacture and sell video game consoles anywhere in the country. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news earlier today.

via The Verge

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