Brain has a ‘search mode’ to find lost objects

Brain has a 'search mode' to find lost objects

22 APRIL 13 by PHILIPPA WARR

Shutterstock
When we’re scouting round for Important Objects Which We Know Are Around Here Somewhere (if only we could just remember where) the brain activates specific regions to help with the search.
As a result, regions of the brain usually employed in other tasks — recognition of unrelated objects or processing abstract thought — are hijacked for the search mission.
“Our results show that our brains are much more dynamic than previously thought, rapidly reallocating resources based on behavioural demands, and optimising our performance by increasing the precision with which we can perform relevant tasks,” said Tolga Cukur, a neuroscientist at UC Berkeley and lead author of the study published in Nature Neuroscience.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) the researchers recorded brain activity as participants looked for people or cars in movie clips. The team then compared how much of the cortex was devoted to detecting humans or cars depending on which of the two was the search target.
The results showed that when humans were the target, more of the cortex was allocated to “humans” and when the target was vehicles the cortex prioritised “vehicles”.
“These changes occur across many brain regions, not only those devoted to vision,” said Cukur. “In fact, the largest changes are seen in the prefrontal cortex, which is usually thought to be involved in abstract thought, long-term planning and other complex mental tasks.”
The brain’s flexibility isn’t just a matter of helping you find your car keys or small child faster, though. It means that when you focus on any specific task there is a natural tendency to redistribute neural resources, diverting them from other tasks.
This would help explain why multitasking can sometimes prove so difficult as well as possibly offering future insight into attention-related issues such as ADHD.
Edited by IAN STEADMAN
http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-04/22/brain-search-system

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The gaming headset that (literally) shocks your brain into attention

The gaming headset that (literally) shocks your brain into attention

20 MAY 13 by MEGAN GEUSS
On 13 May, Ars Technica showed up at a demo day for the painful-to-read HAXLR8R (pronounced hack-celerator). It’s a startup accelerator program that takes ten teams of entrepreneurs, gives them $25,000 (£16,500), and flies them between San Francisco and Shenzhen to work on a hardware-based product of their design.
Most of the products were still in progress so many teams spent demo day courting VC funders or imploring the crowd to visit their Kickstarter campaign. But Foc.us, a company founded by mechanical engineers Michael Oxley and Martin Skinner, actually had its product launch that day. Their Foc.us headset is a device that’s meant to shock your brain with electricity — and make you a better gamer because of it.

The headset is a red or black band that goes around the back of your head with four disks that are placed on your forehead, just above your eyebrows. The disks contain electrodes beneath small circular sponges soaked in saline solution. When the headset turns on (via a physical button in the back or a companion iOS app), you get a shock to the prefrontal cortex that can rage from 0.8 to 2.0 mA. For context, a hearing aid usually runs on about 0.7 mA — but you’re not directing that electricity into your head.
The technique, which Oxley and Skinner say they read about in articles the year before, is called transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS). As the science blog The Last Word on Nothing wrote in early 2012, “US military researchers have had great success using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) — in which they hook you up to what’s essentially a 9-volt battery and let the current flow through your brain. After a few years of lab testing, they’ve found that they can more than double the rate at which people learn a wide range of tasks such as object recognition, maths skills, and marksmanship.”
Obviously, you could use the Foc.us headset for anything, but Oxley and Skinner said they’re keeping their marketing focus narrow to stay within various regulations for the time being.
You can start and stop Foc.us manually with a button at the rear of the headset, and it will run for 10 minutes before it automatically shuts off. Using the app (which is only for iOS right now, but the creators say they’re working on an Android version) you can set intervals between five and 40 minutes without touching the hardware. In an email, Oxley wrote that Foc.us, “actually had a lot of feedback from non-Apple owners and so [we] are looking at adding extra configurability to the touch sensor behaviour.”
While Oxley and Skinner said they wear their headsets all the time and haven’t noticed any issues with decreased sensitivity to the voltage, Foc.us is only meant to stimulate working memory. Only short periods of use are encouraged. In an email to Ars, Oxley told us that the tDCS modes on Foc.us include settings like “constant current, wave (current rises and falls), pulse (like wave but different shape), noise (random jumps in current) and sham — where current starts but then stops whilst device appears to remain active — to test for placebo effect.”
I tried the headset on at the huge space that HAXLR8R rented out in downtown San Francisco. It fit comfortably and the headset has a crescendo start, so it wasn’t jolting (pun intended) when the headset turned on. Unfortunately, Foc.us didn’t have a gaming rig set up at demo day, so I can’t tell you whether it actually improves performance. I can say that I started feeling a very noticeable, but somewhat pleasant shock in the rear left of my brain in addition to a light buzzy feeling all over my head. I also started seeing white spots in my peripheral vision, especially in my upper right view. If you are epileptic, do not use this headset. (On the website, Foc.us also says people younger than 18 years old should not use the headset. Sorry to all minors who are also Ars readers.)
I guess I felt more focused, but without a game controller or a sniper rifle in my hand it’s hard to say. Your experience may vary depending on your tolerance for weird brain feelings. Wired.com writer Alexandra Chang attended the demo day as well and the white spots bugged her a lot more than they did me.
In my experience, the initial resistance to the idea of purposely sending electricity through my brain was hard to get over. I actually kind of dreaded it. I told myself on the commute to San Francisco that if there’s a power surge and I go blind, at least I’ll be going blind for journalism. Ultimately though, it wasn’t scary or painful, and the research seems sound — Oxley sent me three articles on tDCS from three separate scientific journals and said his team worked with a neuroscientist friend to perfect the design.
Foc.us is on sale now at the company’s website for $250 plus $10 in shipping (£179 in the UK), and the company is planning to ship in July of this year. (The company’s site also has a lot of images of a model wearing the headset and posing in improbably beautiful locations with a game controller, if you need more of a visual). The battery is non-removable, but you can charge it with a micro-USB cable. It comes with eight reusable sponges, a saline bottle, a soft protective carry-case, and an instruction booklet.
It’s hard to recommend a gadget that I wore for a couple minutes and didn’t actually get to test. But it is a unique concept at an accessible price for hard-core enthusiasts, a bit of science fiction turned science fact.
This story originally appeared on ars technica. Click through for more images of the Foc.us headset
Edited by KADHIM SHUBBER
http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-05/20/gaming-headset-focus

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[ BRCK ] The backup generator for the internet

[ BRCK ] The backup generator for the internet

13 MAY 13 by IAN STEADMAN

BRCK in actionUshahidi

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-05/13/brck

Sometimes, when you need access to the web the most is when it’s most likely to be hard to find. It could even be a matter of life or death. So having a backup connection that you can carry in your pocket, that will work from Windhoek to Williamsburg, sounds like a good idea. That’s the concept behind Ushahidi’s BRCK.
Ushahidi is a powerful platform for crowdsourcing data in less than ideal conditions, be they because of a natural disaster or simply because of a lack of infrastructure. It’s been used effectively, for example, in the aftermath of the disputed 2007 Kenyan elections, the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, generating maps for the emergency services and documenting eyewitness testimonies.
The kind of rugged environments that Ushahidi was created for are also the kinds of places where web access can be decidedly unreliable at best. That’s why Ushahidi has developed BRCK — a wireless, battery-powered modem that aims to help users connect to the web no matter where they are in the world.
Described as “the backup generator for the internet”, BRCK can support up to 20 devices connected at once, has a tough exterior shell and an eight hour battery life so it can sit out any blackouts. Like a smartphone, it can connect to the web via ethernet, Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G, shifting between them dependent on service.
Each BRCK is connected to the BRCK Cloud, which lets users check on their BRCK from anywhere in the world even if they’re not directly connected to it and, if needed, set up alerts and applications. More importantly, the cloud contains information about the mobile phone networks in each country, so BRCKs can be configured to the latest settings as and when needed. The package is designed so that, even without electricity, you’ve got the best chance possible of connecting to the web.
Right now BRCK is a prototype, but Ushahidi is raising funds on Kickstarter to put BRCK into production, with more than $80,000 (£52,000) of the $125,000 (£81,000) goal raised so far.
The Ushahidi team write: “Our software has been used for blizzards in Washington DC, hurricanes in the US, earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, and election monitoring around the world. BRCK is our answer to a fundamental problem that arises during these situations and during the daily life of much of the world: the need for reliable connections in unpredictable environments.”
“Our motto has always been ‘if it works in Africa, it will work anywhere’.”

Edited by OLIVIA SOLON

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فيديو- هل الانترنت عامل سلبي على طريقة تفكيرنا وتعلمنا

بالعمل المستمر على الانترنت يومياً تبدأ الشكوك تساور البعض حول كيفية تاثيره على طُرق تفكيرهم ومعالجتم للمعلومات وما إذا كان تاثيره على عقولنا سلبياً ويبدو ان هذا أمر قد يكون صحيحاً في النهايه.

من قرأ كتاب The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains للكاتب Nicholas Carr سيؤكدون هذا الامر حتماً. بالرغم من ان الانترنت يُعد اداه رائعه لإتمام العمل والتواصل مع الاصدقاء والزملاء واكتساب المعارف والخبرات المختلفه من حول العالم إلا انه قد يُعد عاملاً مؤثراً على طريقه التفكير والتعلُم.

قام فريق الرسوم المتحركه في Epipheo Studios بعمل مقابله مع صاحب الكتاب السابق وعمل فيديو لعرض تلك العوامل التي نشرها في كتابه ويظن الكاتب ان أخذ وقت خاص تفصل فيه نفسك عن عالم الانترنت قد يؤدي الى نتائج مذهله في حياتك.

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As Tech Giants Scramble For Talent, It’s Buy Or Die

As Tech Giants Scramble For Talent, It’s Buy Or Die

http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/09/because-the-best-never-apply/

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A few questions for the Muslim brothers in Tahrir Square on 29 July I wrote this poem in response to the demonstration in Egypt’s capital after prayers last Friday

A few questions for the Muslim brothers in Tahrir Square on 29 July I wrote this poem in response to the demonstration in Egypt's capital after prayers last Friday

Patience exhausted
You emerged from the shadows
To tell us what was forbidden and why.
You spoke loudly and clearly,
Each chant a whiplash:
God is Great!
The laws of God transcend democracy!
Liberals and secularists are the scum of the earth!
Copts too!
And uncovered women!
And leftists, trapped on the wrong side of history,
Their rage impotent, their numbers miniscule!
We Brothers represent the will of God!
Who told you?
Why did you believe him?
Was it the will of God that your leaders collaborate with Mubarak?
What of your rivals at home who claim the same?
And your noisy neighbours, each with their preachers in tow?
The Sultans in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh?
The Ayatollahs in Qom and Karbala?
The godly warlords in the White House?
The Pope in the Vatican?
The Rabbis in the Jerusalem Synagogue?
Their God is great too, is he not?
The Book teaches us there is only one God,
Omnipotent, indivisible, all-seeing.
Why does He speak in so many different tongues and voices?
Is He trying to please all at the same time?
Both Israel and Palestine?
Both oppressor and oppressed?

Leave Him alone for the moment,
Tell us what else you believe in?
How will you deal with our exploiters
starting with those inside your ranks?
Does the sun belong to you alone?
Is your God a neoliberal?
Must the poor live off charity for ever?
Why are our people despairing?
How long will you chain their freedoms?
Whose side are you really on?

Tariq Ali
31 July 2011
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 31 July 2011 17.35 BST
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/31/muslim-brothers-tahrir-square-poem?INTCMP=SRCH

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Job Vacancy – IT Coordinator

Job Vacancy – IT Coordinator

Contact : gulfjobs2030@gmail.com

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Microsoft warns users of new Trojan on FaceBook 13/05/2012

Microsoft warns users of new Trojan on FaceBook 13/05/2012

حذرت مايكروسوفت من حصان طرواده او برنامج خبيث يتنكر في هيئة برنامج سليم ليصيب جهازك بعد ذلك ويجعله ينفذ اوامر خاصه به) جديد يتنكر في شكل اضافه لمتصفح كروم وفايرفوكس ويقوم بسرقة حسابات الفيسبوك والذي تم إكتشافه لأول مره في البرازيل ويطلق عليه JS/Febipos ويقوم بتحديث نفسه تماماً مثل اي إضافه شرعيه في المتصفح. بمجرد تحميله يقوم البرنامج بمراقبة الجهاز المصاب لمعرفة ما اذا كان موصول بحساب فيسبوك ليقوم بتحميل ملف اعدادات به بعض الأوامر ليتم تنفيذها عبر الاضافه المتنكره في المتصفح ليصبح بعد ذلك له كل الصلاحيه على حسابك وله حرية الانضمام لمجموعات او الاعجاب بمواضيع وصفحات او تحديث حالتك او حتى محادثة اصدقائك. ومن اهم ما يميزه انه يرسل رسائل بالبرتغاليه تحتوي على روابط لصفحات أخرى، في حين لم تصرح مايكروسوفت بطريقة تثبيت البرنامج لنفسه او كيفية الاصابه به ونصحت بتحديث برنامج الفيروسات الخاص بك أكدت الفيسبوك ان البرنامج يستهدف البرازيل بما ان لغته هي البرتغاليه ولكن الامر لن يحتاج جهداً كبيراً لجعله يستهدف لغات أخرى لذلك يجب الحذر.

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فودافون بريطانيا تحذر من تحديث آيفون اس 4 الى تى او اس 6.1

فودافون بريطانيا تحذر من تحديث  آيفون  اس 4 الى تى او اس 6.1

فودافون بريطانيا تحذر من تحديث آيفون اس 4 الى تى او اس 6.1

بعض المستخدمين الذين قاموا بالتحديث اشتكوا من نفاذ بطارية الجهاز بشكل سريع بالإضافة إلى ارتفاع درجة حرارته

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جوجل تطلق صورًا تفاعلية تظهر تغير سطح الأرض على مدى 28 سنة

جوجل تطلق صورًا تفاعلية تظهر تغير سطح الأرض على مدى 28 سنة

كشفت شركة “جوجل” الأمريكية اليوم النقاب عن مشروع جديد يتيح للجميع الإطلاع على مدى التغير الذي طرأ على أجزاء محددة من سطح الكرة الأرضية منذ عام 1984 حتى العام 2012 ،أي على مدى 28 سنة.
http://www.aitnews.com/latest_it_news/internet_news/106069.html

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