Thursday, February 27, 2014

Are the robots about to rise? Google's new director of engineering thinks so… - It's hard to know where to start with Ray Kurzweil. With the fact that he takes 150 pills a day and is intravenously injected on a weekly basis with a dizzying list of vitamins, dietary supplements, and substances that sound about as scientifically effective as face cream: coenzyme Q10, phosphatidycholine, glutathione? With the fact that he believes that he has a good chance of living for ever? He just has to stay alive "long enough" to be around for when the great life-extending technologies kick in (he's 66 and he believes that "some of the baby-boomers will make it through").

Saturday, February 22, 2014

What Would Be a Radically Different Vision of School? - Big Ideas There’s no shortage of different opinions about how the education system should adapt to a shifting world and a future with unknown demands, but for the most part, only two dominant narratives of education reform have emerged. “The predominant narrative is that schools are broken,” said veteran educator and author Will Richardson recently at a gathering of teachers at Educon . “Our test scores aren’t great and kids aren’t learning what they need to be successful.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

AAFP: Telemedicine can help with increased demand for docs - (HealthDay)—Telemedicine offers a potential solution to the increased demand for physician-patient interaction, according to a report from a recent forum. The forum was hosted by the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care, and the results of the discussion were published by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Noting that implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is leading to increased demand for physician-patient interaction, forum panelists highlighted the potential of telemedicine as a solution.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Fitbit Wristband Users Complain of Rashes - Fitbit, a maker of wristbands that track physical fitness, says it is "helping people lead healthier, more active lives." But complaints continue to mount from users who say Fitbit's newest product, the Force band, is causing blisters, rashes and itchy dry patches on their wrists. User forums on, the website of the San Francisco company that also makes other wearable devices, include hundreds of comments about skin problems from wearers of the $129 Force.

Meet The All-Star Team Of Medical Experts, Scientists, And Designers Apple Hired To Build The iWatch - It's been four long years since Apple released the original iPad. Investors, and consumers, are getting restless. They want a new category-defining product from the company that reinvented the MP3 player with the iPod, the mobile phone with the iPhone, and the personal computer with the iPad. So, what's it going to be? All signs point to Apple tackling the watch for its next major piece of brand new hardware.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Nanomotors controlled within living cells - Imagine if it were possible to send tiny machines into living cells, where they could deliver medication, perform ultra-micro surgery, or even destroy the cell if needed. Well, we've recently come a little closer to being able to do so. Scientists at Pennsylvania State University have successfully inserted "nanomotors" into human cells, then remotely controlled those motors within the cells. The nanomotors are described as "rocket-shaped metal particles," and they're propelled by externally-delivered ultrasonic waves.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

StrokeApp aims to deliver context-dependent patient information - A new patient-facing educational app for stroke patients is due to start proof-of-concept testing in hospitals next month. Hermosa Beach, California-based personalRN is developing StrokeApp, a context-dependent app that will anticipate the particular questions stroke patients have based on their demographics, the kind of stroke they’re suffering from, and whether they’re receiving care in the emergency room, the intensive care unit, or inpatient rehab.

Start to finish: Long road comes to end for car making in Victoria -  It could be dark times ahead for thousands of workers and for Victoria, a state built on manufacturing. "Workers are very upset and clearly disturbed about what is going to be a very difficult time for them in the future," Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) official Steve Dargavel said outside carmaker Toyota following its decision to close in 2017. "People will be very uncertain and concerned for their futures as manufacturing dries up in Victoria.

Monday, February 10, 2014

WA Water Department has no veto over fracking - Updated February 08, 2014 01:19:34 Western Australia's Department of Water has told a state parliamentary inquiry it has no veto over fracking for natural gas below proclaimed groundwater areas such as rivers. But it says it would advise authorities against the approval of shale gas fracking underneath a major water source. The Water Department made the admission on the first day of the inquiry in the implications of hydraulic fracking, the fracturing of hard rock to release natural gas.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Nutritional supplement improves cognitive performance in older adults, study finds - Declines in the underlying brain skills needed to think, remember and learn are normal in aging. In fact, this cognitive decline is a fact of life for most older Americans. Therapies to improve the cognitive health of older adults are critically important for lessening declines in mental performance as people age. While physical activity and cognitive training are among the efforts aimed at preventing or delaying cognitive decline, dietary modifications and supplements have recently generated considerable interest.

Curious Homework: An Inquiry Project for Students and Parents - International educator Scot Hoffman is a big believer in the power of curiosity to drive learning. After nearly two decades of teaching around the globe, he also realizes that school isn't always so hospitable to inquiring minds. (As Einstein said, "It's a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.") That's why Hoffman has developed The Curiosity Project, a self-directed learning experience that engages students, parents, and teachers as collaborators in inquiry.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Postdoc diaries: where are all the entry-level academic jobs? - Dean D'Souza, PhD in cognitive neuroscience

Securing employment is becoming increasingly difficult. But there are at least two routes to a postdoctoral research career. The first is to develop a research proposal and then seek funding for it. The advantage of this option is that you can seek answers to questions that you thought about during your PhD training but never had the time to pursue. The second route is to apply for an advertised job and work on someone else's project. The advantage of this is that you will learn different perspectives, methodologies and techniques. So I find myself at a junction, with an important choice to make. Do I take the blue pill and extend my research? Or do I take the red pill and find out how deep the rabbit hole goes?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Does This Posture-Sensing Device Really Keep You Sitting Up Straight? - As standing desk enthusiasts will constantly remind you, sitting down in front of a screen all day is terrible for your body. It's difficult to not hunch over just a little bit, adding all sorts of strain to your back. Wearable health tech company Lumo calls the cluster of symptoms related to interacting with technology all day--eye strain, back pain, neck pain, headaches-- Silicon Valley Syndrome .

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Academic ideals are being crushed to suit private-sector style management - 'British higher education sector is in crisis mode and those chosen to oversee this crisis are recruited from the private sector.' Photograph: Alice Bell As an early-career lecturer in a post-1992 university, I often feel like a rare bird in an ornate cage struggling to maintain its dignity in a discount superstore filled with pets. This bird knows it could have been a proud representative of a noble lineage and chirrups dolefully as it ruffles its plumes, but the song is drowned out by the bustling sale of cheap, plastic imitation bird-objects around it.