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Blog - Is Personal Data the New Currency?

What if Facebook paid you? Several startups envision an era in which we are all the brokers, and beneficiaries, of our own personal data. If you're a Facebook user--and let's face it, you are--you might figure that the price is right. "Free" has a nice ring to it, after all. You get a digital forum in which to interact with your friends and acquaintances, to share photos and notes, to...

Early sign of Alzheimer's reversed in lab

One of the earliest known impairments caused by Alzheimer's disease -- loss of sense of smell -- can be restored by removing a plaque-forming protein in a mouse model of the disease, a new study shows. The study confirms that the protein, called amyloid beta, causes the loss.

Engineered botulism toxins could have broader role in medicine

The most poisonous substance on Earth -- already used medically in small doses to treat certain nerve disorders and facial wrinkles -- could be re-engineered for an expanded role in helping millions of people with rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, psoriasis and other diseases, scientists are...

First analysis of tumor-suppressor interactions with whole genome in normal human cells reveals key differences with cancer cells

Scientists investigating the interactions, or binding patterns, of a major tumor-suppressor protein known as p53 with the entire genome in normal human cells have turned up key differences from those observed in cancer cells. The distinct binding patterns reflect differences in the chromatin (the way DNA is packed with proteins), which may be important for understanding the function of the tumor...

Marzipan Santas, elves and stollen: Real deal or cheap fakes?

With the December holidays a peak season for indulging in marzipan, scientists are reporting development of a new test that can tell the difference between the real thing -- a pricey but luscious paste made from ground almonds and sugar -- and cheap fakes made from ground soy, peas and other...

Stinky frogs are a treasure trove of antibiotic substances

Some of the nastiest smelling creatures on Earth have skin that produces the greatest known variety of antibacterial substances that hold promise for becoming new weapons in the battle against antibiotic-resistant infections, scientists are reporting. Their research is on amphibians so smelly (like rotten fish, for instance) that scientists term them "odorous...

Some smartphone models more vulnerable to attack

Some smartphones specifically designed to support the Android mobile platform have incorporated additional features that can be used by hackers to bypass Android's security features, making them more vulnerable to attack. Android has the largest share of the smartphone market in the...

Study explores distrust of atheists by believers

Distrust is the central motivating factor behind why religious people dislike atheists, according to a new study led by psychologists. While reasons behind antagonism towards atheists have not been fully explored, the study is among the first explorations of the social psychological processes underlying anti-atheist...

Surgeons perform better with eye movement training

Surgeons can learn their skills more quickly if they are taught how to control their eye movements. Research shows that trainee surgeons learn technical surgical skills much more quickly and deal better with the stress of the operating theater if they are taught to mimic the eye movements of...

Gone with the wind – why the fast jet stream winds cannot contribute much renewable energy after all

The assumption that high jet steam wind speeds in the upper atmosphere correspond to high wind power has now been challenged by new research. Taking into account that the high wind speeds result from the near absence of friction and not from a strong power source, scientists found that the maximum extractable energy from jet streams is approximately 200 times less than reported...

New research distinguishes roles of conscious and sub-conscious awareness in information processing

What distinguishes information processing with conscious awareness from processing occurring without awareness? And, is there any role for conscious awareness in information processing, or is it just a byproduct, like the steam from the chimney of a train engine, which is significant, but has no functional role? These questions - which have long puzzled psychologists, philosophers, and...

Why evolutionarily ancient brain areas are important

Structures in the midbrain that developed early in evolution can be responsible for functions in newborns which in adults are taken over by the cerebral cortex. New evidence for this theory has been found in the visual system of monkeys. The scientists studied a reflex that stabilizes the image of a moving scene on the retina to prevent blur, the so-termed optokinetic...

External Hard Drives and Burners Getting Faster, Flatter

External hard drives and burners are hardly new to the computer market. But, thanks to USB 3.0 connections, new formats and slimline construction, they are getting faster, flatter and more reliable. Some can even double as network storage units. This is key for notebook users, who have rejoiced as their machines have gotten ever thinner and lighter. But that diet regime has meant that many...

Review: iTunes Match Wins Cloud Music War by Wisp

In recent weeks, Apple, Google and Amazon.com have each launched the missing puzzle piece in their wireless mobile music systems. Apple enabled storage and delivery of your songs over the Internet through iTunes Match. Google started selling music digitally. Amazon shipped an electronic-books device, called the Kindle Fire, that does much more than books. With those additions, each system...

Amtrak Tests E-Ticketing on Downeaster Service

Amtrak tickets are finally going digital. Mirroring an airline practice, the rail company is testing e-ticketing that allows customers to print their tickets at home or have them e-mailed to their smartphones as a PDF file. Using a mobile device, the conductor scans a bar code on the PDF file to confirm the ticket. The trial, which started this month, is limited, and available only to the...

Smartphone Apps Help De-Stress Holiday Shopping

Trying to avoid the holiday crowds or at least navigate them more easily? Here are some handy online resources and apps to make the season's shopping as painless as possible: Parking in Motion Don't expect to find a parking spot during prime shopping season until you've circled the lot for at least 20 minutes. But now you can know exactly what the parking situation is before you...