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Better Brain Implants With Ultrathin Carbon Fiber Electrodes

November 11th, 2012 11:01 admin View Comments

Biotech

An anonymous reader writes “New neural interface delicate enough not to damage nerve tissue, but resilient enough to last decades has been made. Made from a single carbon fiber and coated with chemicals the technology is believed to be fully resistant to proteins in the brain. From the article: ‘he new microthread electrode, designed to pick up signals from a single neuron as it fires, is only about 7 micrometers in diameter. That is the thinnest yet developed, and about 100 times as thin as the conventional metal electrodes widely used to study animal brains. “We wanted to see if we could radically change implant technology,” says Takashi Kozai, a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh and the lead author on the paper, published today in the journal Nature Materials. “We want to see an electrode that lasts 70 years.”’”

Source: Better Brain Implants With Ultrathin Carbon Fiber Electrodes

Watson Goes To Medical School

October 31st, 2012 10:20 admin View Comments

IBM

First time accepted submitter Kwyj1b0 writes “I.B.M’s Watson is headed to the Cleavland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University for training. Clinicians and students will answer and correct Watson’s questions, in an attempt to crowdsource its education. From the article: ‘“Hopefully, we can contribute to the training of this technology,” said Dr. James K. Stoller, chairman of the Education Institute at Cleveland Clinic. The goal, he added, was for Watson to become a “very smart assistant.” Part of Watson’s training will be to feed it test questions from the United States Medical Licensing Exam, which every human student must pass to become a practicing physician. The benefit for Watson should be to have a difficult but measurable set of questions on which to measure the progress of its machine-learning technology.’”

Source: Watson Goes To Medical School

Explosive Detecting Devices Face Off With Bomb Dogs

October 17th, 2012 10:00 admin View Comments

Security

First time accepted submitter titan1070 writes “French scientist Dr. Spitzer and his colleagues have been working on a device that can sense faint traces of TNT and other explosives being smuggled into airports and other transportation methods. the hope for this device is that it will surpass the best bomb finder in the business, the sniffer dog. From the article: ‘ While researchers like Dr. Spitzer are making progress — and there are some vapor detectors on the market — when it comes to sensitivity and selectivity, dogs still reign supreme. “Dogs are awesome,” said Aimee Rose, a product sales director at the sensor manufacturer Flir Systems, which markets a line of explosives detectors called Fido. “They have by far the most developed ability to detect concealed threats,” she said. But dogs get distracted, cannot work around the clock and require expensive training and handling, Dr. Rose said, so there is a need for instruments.’”

Source: Explosive Detecting Devices Face Off With Bomb Dogs

GNOME 3.6 Released

September 26th, 2012 09:05 admin View Comments

GNOME

kthreadd writes Gnome 3.6 is out. The announcement reads: ‘The GNOME Project is proud to present GNOME 3.6, the third update to the 3.x series. This latest version of GNOME 3 includes a number of new features and enhancements, as well as many bug fixes and minor improvements. Together, they represent a significant upgrade to the GNOME 3 user experience. Andreas Nilsson, President of the GNOME Foundation, said: “The GNOME Foundation is proud to present this latest GNOME release, and I would like to congratulate the GNOME community on its achievement.” He described the release as “an important milestone in our mission to bring a free and open computing environment to everyone.”’ New applications include Clocks and Boxes. Clocks is a world time clock, which allows you to keep an eye on what the local time is around the world. Boxes allows you to connect to other machines, either virtual or remote. For developers there’s the new GtkLevelBar widget in GTK+, and GtkEntry can now use Pango attributes.”

Source: GNOME 3.6 Released

eBay Bans the Sale of Spells and Magic Items

August 17th, 2012 08:57 admin View Comments

The Almighty Buck

Starting in September bidders won’t be able to snipe curses, spells, or potions on eBay anymore. The company has decided to ban the sale of magic and magic items. “EBay regularly reviews categories and updates our policies based on customer feedback,” a statement from the company read. “We are discontinuing a small number of categories within the larger metaphysical subcategory, as buyers and sellers have told us that transactions in these categories often result in issues that can be difficult to resolve.”

Source: eBay Bans the Sale of Spells and Magic Items

eBay Bans the Sale of Spells and Magic Items

August 17th, 2012 08:57 admin View Comments

The Almighty Buck

Starting in September bidders won’t be able to snipe curses, spells, or potions on eBay anymore. The company has decided to ban the sale of magic and magic items. “EBay regularly reviews categories and updates our policies based on customer feedback,” a statement from the company read. “We are discontinuing a small number of categories within the larger metaphysical subcategory, as buyers and sellers have told us that transactions in these categories often result in issues that can be difficult to resolve.”

Source: eBay Bans the Sale of Spells and Magic Items

Apple Is Giving Away Its Secrets By Litigating

August 4th, 2012 08:20 admin View Comments

Patents

An anonymous reader writes “Apple, by going to a jury trial to defend the patents of its most prized products, is allowing competitors and the public to see inside one of the most secretive companies in the world. From the article: ‘While in court on Friday, Philip W. Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president for worldwide product marketing, pulled the curtain further back when he divulged the company’s advertising budgets — often more than $100 million a year for the iPhone alone. Also at the hearing, Scott Forstall, senior vice president for iPhone software, explained that the early iPhone was called “Project Purple.” Mr. Forstall said it was built in a highly secure building on Apple’s campus. A sign on the back of the building read “Fight Club.” Behind the security cameras and locked doors, most employees on the project did not even know what they were working on.’”

Source: Apple Is Giving Away Its Secrets By Litigating

NSA Official Disputes Chief’s Claim That Agency Doesn’t Collect American Data

July 30th, 2012 07:08 admin View Comments

Privacy

NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander was playing a “word game” when he said the agency does not collect files on Americans according to William Binney, a former technical director at the NSA. Binney says the NSA does indeed collecting e-mails, Twitter writings, internet searches and other data belonging to Americans and indexing it. “Unfortunately, once the software takes in data, it will build profiles on everyone in that data,” he said. “You can simply call it up by the attributes of anyone you want and it’s in place for people to look at.”

Source: NSA Official Disputes Chief’s Claim That Agency Doesn’t Collect American Data

DirecTV Drops Viacom Channels

July 11th, 2012 07:21 admin View Comments

Media

An anonymous reader writes “DirecTV has dropped all of Viacom’s channels. This includes channels such as MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon. The drop is reported to be over a carrier fee dispute. It appears programming content can magically disappear from satellite, too, and not just from streaming services. Viacom said it was ‘because contract talks with DirecTV had “reached an impasse.” DirecTV, in turn, said in a statement that it had offered Viacom “increased fees for their networks going forward; we just can’t afford the extreme increases they are asking for.”’ I guess pirating and physical media is the only way to make sure the content we pay for doesn’t disappear.”

Source: DirecTV Drops Viacom Channels

Why an Accelerator Could Be Right for Your Startup

July 2nd, 2012 07:00 admin View Comments

Although there is some debate on whether or not startup accelerators really turn out the success stories they promise, new accelerators are popping up all over, and startup entrepreneurs are clamoring to get in to one.

So, just how hard is it to get accepted by an accelerator? Is the application process onerous? Is it even worth the effort?

To find out, I talked to a few startup entrepreneurs about their accelerator experiences.

Kyle Judah Kyle Judah and his partner Jason Woodward started their online venture, RecoVend, in August 2011 after seeing how inefficient, offline and non-collaborative the buying process was at colleges and universities. They created a streamlined platform for collaborative purchases for products and services for post-secondary schools.

As first-time entrepreneurs, the RecoVend founders knew they would need lots of mentoring to avoid the pitfalls in the early stages of a startup. “Applying to a startup accelerator helped us gain access to incredible mentors — entrepreneurs, investors, community members — who had all been there and done that before us, and helped us realize what we need to do to build and grow a successful company,” says Judah.

Straightforward Applications

Judah and Woodward applied to the Betaspring startup accelerator in Providence, Rhode Island, after meeting the accelerator’s partners while participating in a startup pitch contest held at Babson College. “The application was fairly straightforward, just a Web application where you answer some questions about the founders, the company, the idea and your progress to date,” explains Judah. “They asked us to include some short videos talking about [ourselves] and the product. Once we applied, we were asked to come to the Betaspring Experience Day event, where we got to hear talks from some incredible Betaspring mentors.”

At the event, the founders had their first interview with a Betaspring partner and discussed the changes they were making to their product. They were asked back for a second, more in-depth interview with the other partners. Then came a final round of interviews where “they spent an hour doing a really deep dive into our product, vision and progress,” recalls Judah. “We were informed of our selection for the spring class the day before Christmas – the perfect gift!”

Impressing the Judges

If you live near St. Louis, Missouri, you might take a look at Arch Grants, a startup accelerator that hopes to create a vibrant startup culture in the city, and also offers startup funding in the form of grants. Through a business plan competition, Arch Grants selects promising startups to receive $50,000. Many startup entrepreneurs are curious about what the judges at these competitions look for.

Brad Pittenger, the CEO of IT solutions provider XIOLINK, reviewed more than a dozen business plans as a recent Arch Grants judge. He says he focused his review primarily on the management team (Did the team members have experience that made them appropriate for the venture?); the concept (Does it make sense? Is it innovative?); and the presentation of ideas (Were they organized? Succinct? Did they understand the marketplace?). Of the 420 applicants from 11 different countries, 15 winners were chosen and awarded $50,000 each.

i/o Ventures, located in San Francisco, is an early stage startup program that focuses heavily on mentorship, and works closely with startup entrepreneurs from product launch to the next stage of company development. Participants get a chance to work alongside high-profile entrepreneurs and investors in Silicon Valley. i/o has two classes per year and accepts five companies per class; applications for the fall sessions can be found at ventures.io/apply.

Relocating Can Be a Requirement

Once a startup is accepted, the first step is moving the team to the Bay Area. “We require our teams to be in or near San Francisco to take full advantage of all the program has to offer,” says i/o’s Cory Mikell. After an orientation, where the startups hear a very candid look at what it’s really like to run a startup from industry veterans, “the next three months will be a whirlwind of building the product, constantly iterating and weekly office hours,” says Mikell. “Mentors work one-on-one with all of the teams throughout the program, onsite and offsite.”

Fervent Testimonials

Is it worthwhile to join an accelerator? “Hands down, Betaspring was the best thing we could have done for our company,” says RecoVend’s Judah. “We have come so far, both personally and professionally, in such a short time, and the progress we made while in the program has put RecoVend on a totally different trajectory. We’re now working with over 10 colleges, including some of the most elite in the country. We’ve met our investors, advisors and mentors all through the Betaspring network.”

Judah believes one of the greatest benefits of an accelerator program is the sense of community you gain from being around intelligent, ambitious peers who are at the same stage of their business as you are.

That’s not to say it’s easy.

“It is a full-time commitment over three months – we were probably working 80 to 100 hours a week – so if you aren’t willing to do what it takes and make the investment of time and energy, then it isn’t an experience for you,” cautions Judah. “If you can commit to it, do it! You’ll see huge returns on your investment of time and energy.”

Source: Why an Accelerator Could Be Right for Your Startup

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