Links for 22nd October 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Algae and Light Help Injured Mice Walk Again

    "Treating Parkinson’s and other brain diseases could be just the beginning. Optogenetics has amazing potential, not just for sending information into the brain but also for extracting it. And it turns out that Tsien’s Nobel-winning work — the research he took up when he abandoned the hunt for channelrhodopsin — is the key to doing this. By injecting mice neurons with yet another gene, one that makes cells glow green when they fire, researchers are monitoring neural activity through the same fiber-optic cable that delivers the light. The cable becomes a lens. It makes it possible to “write” to an area of the brain and “read” from it at the same time: two-way traffic."

    Tagged with: prostheticsoptogeneticbiologyscienceneurosciencetechnologycommunicationbrain-machineinterface

  2. To protect your privacy, hand over your data

    "If people gain control of their own personal data mines, rather than allowing them to be built and held by corporations, they could use them not only to prove who they are but also to inform smart recommendation systems, Pentland says.

    He recognises that allowing even limited access to detailed logs of your actions may seem scary. But he argues it is safer than relying on key-like codes and numbers, which are vulnerable to theft or forgery.

    "It is not feasible for a single organisation to own all this rich identity information," Pentland says. What he envisages instead is the creation of a central body, supported by a combination of cellphone networks, banks and government bodies.

    That bank could provide "slices" of data to third parties that want to check a person's identity. That information could be much like that required to verify high-level security clearance in government, says Pentland."

    Tagged with: privacysurveillancereality-miningidentitydatamanagementsecurityverificationreputation

  3. Free vs. Paid: The Wrong Debate

    "There are only three business models: I pay, you pay or someone else pays. That’s it. I pay means that I (the publisher of the content) am willing to fund the creation, production and distribution of the content for my own purposes. You pay means that you are willing to pay me for my content. Someone else pays means that a third party is willing to pay me so that you can consume my content. Some of my KPMG friends have pointed out that, from the content producer/publisher’s point of view, there are really only two models: I pay or I get paid. I like to include the idea of third-party involvement, because it is so common to the media business.

    In practice, we see three adaptations of the three models: Ad supported (broadcast), Subscription/Pay Per View (premium content) and the dual revenue combination of ad support and subscription (cable/print, etc.)"

    Tagged with: businessmodelsjournalismpublishingfreeconomicsfreemiumwebnew-media

  4. A Few Good Kids?

    "Yet NCLB is just the tip of the data iceberg. In 2005, privacy advocates discovered that the Pentagon had spent the past two years quietly amassing records from Selective Service, state DMVs, and data brokers to create a database of tens of millions of young adults and teens, some as young as 15. The massive data-mining project is overseen by the Joint Advertising Market Research & Studies program, whose website has described the database, which now holds 34 million names, as "arguably the largest repository of 16-25-year-old youth data in the country." The JAMRS database is in turn run by Equifax, the credit reporting giant." Desperate times, and all that.

    Tagged with: marketingmilitaryrecruitmentsurveillanceprivacyUSeducation

  5. Testosterone tumbled in McCain’s male voters

    "Female study participants showed no significant change in their testosterone levels before and after the returns came in.

    The men who participated in the study would normally show a slight night-time drop in testosterone levels anyway. But on this night, they showed a dramatic divergence: The Obama voters’ levels didn’t fall as they should, and the McCain and Barr voters lost more than would have been expected.

    “This is a pretty powerful result,” says Duke neuroscientist Kevin LaBar. “Voters are physiologically affected by having their candidate win or lose an election.”" Well, d'uh. Interesting to have evidence for it, though.

    Tagged with: politicshormonesmaletestosteroneleadershippsychologyphysiology

  6. Font Squirrel

    "Handpicked free fonts for graphic designers with commercial-use licenses." Sweeeeet.

    Tagged with: designtypographyfreewarefreefontscommercialwebdev

  7. True Type Fonts – @font-face

    A trick to pick up for the future; the sooner we leave the dead browsers behind, the better.

    Tagged with: @font-facewebdesignwebdevfontstypographyttf

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