Technology

Can emotional states be measured quantitatively?

A team of researchers at KAIST in Daejeon, South Korea has developed a flexible, wearable 20mm x 20mm polymer sensor that can directly measure the degree and occurrence of  piloerection
- commonly known as goose bumps, which is caused by sudden changes in body temperature or emotional states. 

Interesting science and technology, but also a dream for politicians and advertisers. Imagine a world in which real-time physical and emotional response helped to determine the experience of political campaigns, online ads or the temperature in the room. 


It was once the case that computer security for users was a non-issue. Most break-ins of networks involved someone local, not a brute force password discovery. Now, remote hackers in China are constantly hammering US sites using automated tools.

Password security involves a trade-off; complex is good but too complex and people will write it down, which is bad. A new alternative called  'Facelock' is based on the psychology of face recognition.


You probably knew this but a new report in
Mayo Clinic Proceedings confirms that facial hair, sparks and home oxygen therapy can be dangerous.

Researchers reviewed home oxygen therapy-related burn cases and experimented with a mustachioed mannequin, a facial hair-free mannequin, nasal oxygen tubes and sparks. They found that facial hair raises the risk of home oxygen therapy-related burns, and encourage health care providers to counsel patients about the risk.  


Lung cancer causes more deaths in the U.S. than the next three most common cancers - colon, breast, and pancreatic - combined, for a simple reason: poor detection.

You can be living your life with no symptoms while it is metastasizing uncontrollably and it reaches the point of no return. 


News delivery and consumption has rapidly changed in the digital era.  Sites like Science 2.0 were once dismissed by corporate-controlled media, but now the BBC, The New Yorker and Forbes use blog format online news delivery.

But they do things a little differently. In a rush to push out news ahead of their competitors, they will throw up a story and then edit it on the fly. Sometimes it isn't even a human, a computer could be writing the story within minutes of it happening.

Is it too easy to conceal mistakes, misrepresentation and bias? Are news outlets producing content at the expense of hard fact, proper investigation, credibility and truth?

Did you know that when you drink water, you are not really being vegetarian?

I didn't either. It turns out that when you drink water, it could have microbes and other small stuff - well, I knew that part. What I did not know is that viruses and bacteria and such were considered animals to vegetarians. So even if you purify water by boiling it and killing the germs, you are still drinking dead animals.

What to do for truly ethical water drinkers? Now you have the solution, the Prestige Lifestraw.

In the past years, invisibility cloaks using metamaterials have developed for various senses. At certain wavelengths, objects can be hidden from light, for example, and even heat or sound.

But touch? That defies our The Invisible Man science-fiction sensibilities.

Yet Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)
scientists have done just that - they created a volume in which an object can be hidden from touching, they report in Nature Communications.  


Einstein's theory of relativity conceptualizes time as we would a spatial dimension, like height, width, and depth. But unlike dimensions, time seems to permit motion in only one direction: forward. 

This directional asymmetry — the "arrow of time" — is something of a head fake in theoretical physics. It's not a dimension if it's based on three dimensions and it isn't a dimension if it only goes one way. Like an ant walking around a wire in string theory, it makes for fine popular storytelling, but is it science? 


It's puzzling how some people can look at a baby and say 'she looks like her dad' - computers have historically been even more limited. While a four-year-old can look at a cartoon of a chicken and say "That's a chicken", that sort of problem stumps computers.

But next week at the IEEE Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference in Columbus, a University of Central Florida research team is going to show a facial recognition tool that is not only capable of matching pictures of parents and their children but can create accurate photos of missing children who will have aged.


Researchers have created a noninvasive way to detect heart-transplant rejection weeks or months earlier than previously possible. The test relies on the detection of increasing amounts of the donor's DNA in the blood of the recipient and does not require the removal of any heart tissue.

The test, called a cell-free DNA test, is different from another blood test, AlloMap, used to detect rejection. The commercially available AlloMap uses a blood sample to analyze the expression of immune-system genes involved in rejection. The researchers found that the cell-free DNA test outperformed AlloMap by a substantial margin.