Alex Torex Blog

SciTech oriented blog

‘Parallel universes DO exist': Multiple versions of us are living in alternate worlds that interact with each other, theory claims

  • The parallel worlds constantly influence one another, researchers claim
  • This is because, instead of a collapse in which quantum particles ‘choose’ to occupy one state or another, they in fact occupy both, simultaneously 
  • The theory could resolve some of the irregularities in quantum mechanics
  • It states some worlds are almost identical to ours, but most are different
  • Theory may even create possibility of one day testing for these worlds

‘Parallel universes DO exist': Multiple versions of us are living in alternate worlds that interact with each other, theory claims | Daily Mail Online

October 31, 2014 Posted by | Physics | Leave a comment

Arachnophobia chopped out of a man’s brain

Scared of the dark? Terrified of heights? Spiders make you scream? For the first time, a person’s lifelong phobia has been completely abolished overnight. Unfortunately, it required removing a tiny bit of the man’s brain, so for now, most people will have to find another way to dispel their fears.

The phobia was abolished by accident. A 44-year-old business man started having seizures out of the blue. Brain scans showed he had an abnormality in his left amygdala – an area in the temporal lobe involved in emotional reactions, among other things. Further tests showed the cause was sarcoidosis, a rare condition that causes damage to the lungs, skin and, occasionally, the brain.

Doctors decided it was necessary to remove the man’s damaged left amygdala. The surgery went well, but soon after the man noticed a strange turn of events. Not only did he have a peculiar “stomach-lurching” aversion to music – which was particularly noticeable when he heard the song accompanying a certain TV advert – but he also discovered he was no longer afraid of spiders.

While his aversion to music waned over time, his arachnophobia never returned. Before the surgery he would throw tennis balls at spiders, or use hairspray to immobilise them before vacuuming them up. Now he is able to touch and observe the little critters at close distance and says he actually finds them fascinating. He hasn’t noticed any changes to other kinds of fears or anxieties. For example, he is equally as anxious about public speaking now as he was prior to surgery.

Phobia or fear?

The man was observed by Nick Medford at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, UK, who says it is difficult to know just how a single phobic response has been picked off in this man. Broadly speaking, he says, it might have something to do with the fact that we appear to have two different types of fear response.

“It’s like when you see a snake and you jump back in alarm, but when you look back you realise it’s just a stick,” he says. “That’s your quick-and-dirty panic response: it isn’t very accurate but it’s necessary for basic survival. And then there’s the more nuanced fear-appraisal which takes longer to process but is more accurate.”

Medford suggests that in the man’s case, perhaps some of the neural pathways related to the panic-type fear response were eliminated with the removal of the left amygdala, while the parts of the amygdala responsible for generalised fear remained intact. Alas, it is not possible to assess other aspects of the man’s panic response to see if they had also diminished, as he had no other phobias and did not want to undergo further testing.

However, Medford reckons it would be possible to test the theory in others. “It’s not uncommon for people to have temporal lobe surgery for severe epilepsy. And arachnophobia is supposed to be reasonably common. So we might be able to test people for that phobia, or any other kind, before and after surgery.”

The amygdala is too deep in the brain to attempt to disrupt it using non-invasive techniques to cure other people of their phobias, says Medford. But there are several other fear-dampening techniques being trialled, including weakening phobias using a blood pressure pill and stimulating certain brain areas in a bid to erase fearful memories.

Arachnophobia chopped out of a man’s brain – life – 31 October 2014 – New Scientist

October 31, 2014 Posted by | Neuroscience | Leave a comment

Magic mushrooms create a ‘hyperconnected brain': Scans reveal how chemical triggers a spiritual experience by rearranging the mind

Magic mushrooms create a ‘hyperconnected brain': Scans reveal how chemical triggers a spiritual experience by rearranging the mind | Daily Mail Online

  • Active chemical, psilocybin, causes dramatic increase in brain activity
  • It links up regions of the brain that don’t normally talk to each other
  • This may be responsible for synaesthesia, the phenomenon whereby different senses are mixed up with others, according to UK scientists
  • Study could uncover usefulness of psilocybin in treating depression
  • It may also address issues such as where consciousness comes from

October 31, 2014 Posted by | Neuroscience | Leave a comment

Jamie T – Zombie

▶ Jamie T – Zombie – YouTube

October 31, 2014 Posted by | Music | Leave a comment

The mindreading machine that can listen to the ‘voices in your head’

Mind-boggling! Science creates computer that can decode your thoughts and put them into words Technology could offer lifeline for stroke victims and people hit by degenerative diseases In the study, a computer analyzed brain activity and reproduced words that people were hearing

The mindreading machine that can listen to the ‘voices in your head’ | Daily Mail Online

October 31, 2014 Posted by | Neuroscience | Leave a comment

The Solid State Drive Optimization Guide Rev. 2.1

In this guide, we will show you how to maintain the performance and longevity of your solid surface drive. You will note that in most cases, they both go hand-in-hand – maximizing your SSD’s performance often results in longer lifespan of the flash memory cells, and vice versa. Let’s get right down to it.

Tech ARP – The Solid State Drive Optimization Guide Rev. 2.1

October 31, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Nvidia GTX 970 Coil Whine Issue Raises Customer Concerns

The GTX 970 is perhaps one of the more successful cards in Nvidia’s history. Hitting all three crucial metrics by which GPUs are judged. Performance, price and power efficiency. However it seems that even a card like the GTX 970 is not without its Flaws. PCPer.com has just recently drawn attention to an issue that many GTX 970 users have been reporting.  The issue is excessive coil whine, a loud buzzing noise which emanates from the graphics card.

According to PCPer.com several users directly contacted them asking for help reaching out to Nvidia and the AIBs. There are several forum posts with users complaining about this issue popping up all over the web. As well as a very large number of youtube videos. The number of videos is worrying because the card has been in the market for less than two months. Perhaps the issue is exacerbated even further by the popularity of the GTX 970. EVGA, Gigabyte and MSI all have users who have been affected by this issue.

Nvidia GTX 970 Coil Whine Issue Raises Customer Concerns

October 31, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Everspin deal with Global Foundries may push MRAM chips to production faster

Everspin has signed up chip maker Global Foundries as a manufacturing partner for its next-generation MRAM (Magnetoresistive RAM) memory chips, in a development that should help the promising technology move toward mass production.

MRAM is an emerging memory technology that offers the speed of fast memory technologies like SRAM and can hold its contents for long periods like flash memory. This best-of-both-worlds ability has some in the memory chip industry excited about future use of the technology, but mass production is only just beginning.

“New memory technology has the problem of getting entry into the market and getting credibility,” said Phill LoPresti, president and CEO of Everspin. “With our research and development, we’re getting access to finer [production technology] and that will help us accelerate deployment [of MRAM].”

Under the deal, the value of which was not announced, Global Foundries will invest in production technology to initially make ST-MRAM (Spin-Torque-MRAM) chips on 300-millimeter wafers on a 40-nanometer production line.

The nanometer measurement refers to the smallest feature that can be produced by the equipment and is an indication of the sophistication of the manufacturing line. While starting at 40 nm, the MRAM manufacturing deal already has a plan to switch to a 28-nm line, which will result in smaller and more power-efficient chips.

The chip maker has also taken a financial stake in Everspin.

Everspin chips can already be found inside several commercial products including battery backup devices, that require fast memory that can hold data in the event of a power failure, and as cache memory inside storage devices. The company says it has shipped over 40 million chips to date.

Everspin was created in 2008 when it was spun out of Freescale, and Global Foundries was born a year later when AMD divested its manufacturing arm. Global Foundries acquired Chartered Semiconductor later the same year and last week announced plans to buy IBM’s semiconductor business.

Everspin is not the only company pursuing MRAM development.

Earlier this month, TDK showed off some of its first work in MRAM development. It has been working on MRAM for several years, but has yet to begin commercial production. The prototypes shown in Tokyo were 8-megabit chips, and were demonstrated reading and writing data at about seven times faster than flash memory.

Everspin deal with Global Foundries may push MRAM chips to production faster | Computerworld

October 31, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Guzzling milk might boost your risk of breaking bones

If the results are backed up, Michaëlsson says the most likely explanation is damaging inflammation caused by galactose, a breakdown product of lactose, the main sugar in milk. In a separate group of people, the team found that the more milk that people drink, the more inflammatory molecules were present in their urine.

What’s more, women who reported eating a lot of cheese and yogurt had a lower chance of fracturing a bone or dying during the study than women who ate low amounts of the dairy products. This supports Michaëlsson’s inflammation hypothesis because yogurt and cheese contain much less lactose and galactose than milk.

Guzzling milk might boost your risk of breaking bones – health – 28 October 2014 – New Scientist

October 29, 2014 Posted by | Health - Nutrition | Leave a comment

Tannus create the PUNCTURE-PROOF bike tyre

  • London-based company Tannus has made solid tyres for bikes
  • The company claims the tyres never get a puncture
  • They are made from a polymer called nanofoam – also found in trainers
  • There is no air in the tyres so they do not need to be pumped up 
  • Weight and size are both nearly identical to a regular bike tyre
  • They have a range of 6,000 miles (9,650km) and cost from £89 per pair 

Tannus create the PUNCTURE-PROOF bike tyre | Daily Mail Online

October 27, 2014 Posted by | Bikes | Leave a comment

zero-project: The little demon’s lullaby (HD 1080)

▶ zero-project: The little demon’s lullaby (HD 1080) – YouTube

October 26, 2014 Posted by | Music - Easy Listening | Leave a comment

CPU startup claims to achieve 3x IPC gains with VISC architecture

CPU startup claims to achieve 3x IPC gains with VISC architecture – The Tech Report

A Silicon Valley startup known as Soft Machines has just exited its “stealth” phase and is presenting at the Linley Microprocessor Conference today. The firm is introducing a new CPU architecture that it calls VISC.

In its press release, Soft Machines claims that the “VISC architecture achieves 3-4 times more instructions per cycle (IPC), resulting in 2-4 times higher performance per watt on single- and multi-threaded applications” than today’s CISC- and RISC-inspired CPU designs. Those claims are attention-grabbing, since Intel’s high-end CPUs have been limited to per-clock performance gains on the order of 5-15% for a number of generations.

The press release doesn’t go into any great detail about how VISC works, but it does offer some sense of what’s involved:

The VISC architecture is based on the concept of “virtual cores” and “virtual hardware threads.” This new approach enables dynamic allocation and sharing of resources across cores. Microprocessors based on CISC and RISC architectures make use of “physical cores” and “software threads,” an approach that has been technologically and economically hamstrung by transistor utilization, frequency and power-scaling limitations.

October 24, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Man Implants NFC Chip Into His Hand

Man Implants NFC Chip Into His Hand | Ubergizmo

Robert Nelson has essentially taken an NFC chip and implanted it within his hand. Apparently such kits are readily available online, although for safety reasons we won’t link to them lest you end up hurting yourself if not properly applied.

October 23, 2014 Posted by | Gadgets | Leave a comment

Interstellar’s black hole special effects may result in important scientific discovery

Interstellar’s black hole special effects may result in important scientific discovery | Daily Mail Online

  • A CGI model of a black hole for the upcoming movie Interstellar has revealed they have warped halos of light and matter around them
  • The model is thought to be the most accurate depiction of a black hole ever
  • It was created using calculations by astrophysicist Dr Kip Thorne from the California Institute of technology
  • Previously black holes were thought to have a flat disk – like Saturn
  • Two scientific papers are being written based on the discovery
  • Interstellar hits cinemas worldwide on 7 November
  • In the film Matthew McConaughey plays Cooper, who leaves a dying Earth to go on a journey across the cosmos in a bid to save humanity

October 23, 2014 Posted by | Astronomy | Leave a comment

Google teams up with Oxford academics to bring human-like robots closer to reality

Google teams up with Oxford academics to bring human-like robots closer to reality | Daily Mail Online

Google has further demonstrated just how serious it is about making computers think like humans.

The California tech giant has teamed up with two of Oxford University’s artificial intelligence (AI) teams to help machines better understand users, and improve visual recognition systems using deep learning.

This partnership follows reports Google is also developing superfast ‘quantum’ chips modelled on the human brain, to make searches and software more intuitive.

October 23, 2014 Posted by | AI | Leave a comment

This is what brain cell conversations look like

This is what brain cell conversations look like – health – 23 October 2014 – New Scientist

Call them the neuron whisperers. Researchers are eavesdropping on conversations going on between brain cells in a dish.

Rather than hearing the chatter, they watch neurons that have been genetically modified so that the electrical impulses moving along their branched tendrils cause sparkles of red light (see video). Filming these cells at up to 100,000 frames a second is allowing researchers to analyse their firing in unprecedented detail.

Until recently, a neuron’s electrical activity could only be measured with tiny electrodes. As well as being technically difficult, such “patch clamping” only reveals the voltage at those specific points. The new approach makes the neuron’s entire surface fluoresce as the impulse passes by. “Now we see the whole thing sweep through,” says Adam Cohen of Harvard University. “We get much more information – like how fast and where does it start and what happens at a branch.”

The idea is a reverse form of optogenetics – where neurons are given a gene from bacteria that make a light-sensitive protein, so the cells fire when illuminated. The new approach uses genes that make the neurons do the opposite – glow when they fire. “It’s pretty cool,” says Dimitri Kullmann of University College London. “It’s amazing that you can dispense with electrodes.”

Brain in a dish

Cohen’s team is using the technique to compare cells from typical brains with those from people with disorders such as motor neuron disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Rather than taking a brain sample, they remove some of the person’s skin cells and grow them alongside chemicals that rewind the cells into an embryonic-like state. Another set of chemicals is used to turn these stem cells into neurons. “You can recreate something reminiscent of the person’s brain in the dish,” says Cohen.

Next, the team will turn their attention to epilepsy. The plan is to test drugs on a personalised “brain in a dish” to see which one is most likely to benefit someone.

And it’s not just neurons that researchers can get up close and personal with. Heart muscle cells also fire electrically as they contract. Cohen’s biotech venture, Q-State Biosciences, is taking advantage of this to look at how heart cells beat and gauge how different drugs affect their excitability.

In work presented at the Safety Pharmacology Society meeting in Washington DC this week, his team showed that several drugs that have been linked to heart problems change the firing of heart cells in a dish. “This may open up drug screening capabilities,” says one of Cohen’s collaborators, Ed Boyden of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who helped found optogenetics.

October 23, 2014 Posted by | Neuroscience | Leave a comment

Magic Leap raises $542m from Google and others for its ‘cinematic reality’ system

Magic Leap raises $542m from Google and others for its ‘cinematic reality’ system | Daily Mail Online

  • Google leads $542m investment in Magic Leap
  • Florida-based firm claims to have made a realistic version of virtual and augmented reality, which it calls ‘cinematic reality’
  • It’s revealed very few details about the technology, aside from saying it’s more realistic than Oculus Rift, which was brought by Facebook this year
  • Device may show wearers hi-resolution images close to their face, by projecting pictures onto the eye, but this is not certain
  • Unlike Oculus Rift, the wearable could mix virtual reality with the real world

October 22, 2014 Posted by | Gadgets | Leave a comment

Etchings on seven-faced Shigir Idol could ‘could hold a message to modern man’

Etchings on seven-faced Shigir Idol could ‘could hold a message to modern man’ | Daily Mail Online

Scientists in Germany are closer to dating an ancient wooden statue which they say contains secret encrypted codes written around 9,500 years ago – possibly the oldest on the planet.

The haunting Shigir Idol is twice as old as the Egyptian pyramids and was preserved ‘as if in a time capsule’ in a peat bog on the western fringes of Siberia.

Now Russian experts say the remarkable relic contains encoded information on the ‘creation of the world’ – a message to modern man from the Mesolithic era of the Stone Age.

October 22, 2014 Posted by | Science | Leave a comment

First HTC Nexus 9 hands-on video hits the web

First HTC Nexus 9 hands-on video hits the web | Android and Me

The Nexus 9′s retail debut is still a few weeks out, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait that long to watch the first hands-on video of Google’s latest Nexus tablet. S Channel managed to spend some quality time with the Nexus 9 and put together a three and a half minute video that shows off the tablets design and what Android 5.0 Lollipop looks like on an 8.9-inch device.

October 21, 2014 Posted by | Gadgets | Leave a comment

Paralysed fireman Darek Fidyka recovers thanks to UK research

Paralysed fireman Darek Fidyka recovers thanks to UK research  | Daily Mail Online

  • Darek Fidyka is the first person in the world to recover from chronic injuries
  • Fireman was paralysed from the waist down after severing spinal chord 
  • The Bulgarian received treatment pioneered by University College London 
  • Cells taken from his nose injected to spine and regrew to repair broken link

October 21, 2014 Posted by | Health - Regenerative Medicine | Leave a comment

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