Links for 9th July 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. The Next Hacking Frontier: Your Brain?

    "For example, the next generation of implantable devices to control prosthetic limbs will likely include wireless controls that allow physicians to remotely adjust settings on the machine. If neural engineers don’t build in security features such as encryption and access control, an attacker could hijack the device and take over the robotic limb.

    “It’s very hard to design complex systems that don’t have bugs,” Kohno said. “As these medical devices start to become more and more complicated, it gets easier and easier for people to overlook a bug that could become a very serious risk. It might border on science fiction today, but so did going to the moon 50 years ago.”" O RLY?

    Tagged with: sciencebrainneurosciencecyberpunkhackingprotheticsimplantssecurity

  2. Computer learns sign language by watching TV

    "Once the team were confident the computer could identify different signs in this way, they exposed it to around 10 hours of TV footage that was both signed and subtitled. They tasked the software with learning the signs for a mixture of 210 nouns and adjectives that appeared multiple times during the footage.

    The program did so by analysing the signs that accompanied each of those words whenever it appeared in the subtitles. Where it was not obvious which part of a signing sequence relates to the given keyword, the system compared multiple occurrences of a word to pinpoint the correct sign."

    Tagged with: AIartificial-intelligencecomputerlearningsignlanguagesoftware

  3. Why Music Moves Us

    "Music’s simultaneous activation of diverse brain circuits seems to produce some remarkable effects. Instead of facilitating a largely semantic dialogue, as language does, melody seems to mediate an emotional one. When a composer writes a lamentation or a toddler exuberantly bangs out a rhythm on a pot, that person is not only revealing his or her own emotional state but also causing listeners to share those feelings. Several pieces of research indicate that music reliably conveys the intended emotion in all people who hear it. In the late 1990s neuroscientist Isabelle Peretz and her colleagues at the University of Montreal found that Western listeners universally agree on whether a song using Western tonal elements is happy, sad, scary or peaceful."

    Tagged with: musicpsychologyneuroscienceculturebrain

  4. Key Self-Motivation Strategies for Writers

    "But what does choosing well have to do with self-motivation? There are two key things: first, it’s not that helpful to motivate ourselves toward a goal we don’t actually want to reach. While even working toward a wrong goal can be educational, the same can be said of working toward the right goal, and the right goal has the additional benefit of paying off, which is an educational experience in itself.

    Second, if we are working toward a wrong goal, sooner or later we will realize it isn’t something we really want to achieve (or we’ll achieve it, and the expected payoff will never materialize), and then we’ll be back to zero, with the sense that work gets us nowhere."

    Tagged with: writingfictioncreativitymotivationplanningchoiceartpsychologyproductivity

  5. Trent Reznor: my thoughts on what to do as a new / unknown artist

    "Establish your goals. What are you trying to do / accomplish? If you are looking for mainstream super-success (think Lady GaGa, Coldplay, U2, Justin Timberlake) – your best bet in my opinion is to look at major labels and prepare to share all revenue streams / creative control / music ownership. To reach that kind of critical mass these days your need old-school marketing muscle and that only comes from major labels. Good luck with that one."

    Tagged with: musicbusinessmarketingReznorindieartistpromotion

  6. Will the stars align for space-based solar power?

    "Most proposals for space-based solar have involved a constellation of satellites, each transferring those 17MW to a central unit for transmission back to earth. This adds to the complexity of the system and means at least one satellite has to integrate a very large amount of power. PowerSat hopes to avoid all that. The satellites will receive a pilot signal from the ground and use that to coordinate their energy-carrying return signal to the ground-based receiver. "The satellites act as a radio frequency cloud to create a phase array of phased arrays," Maness says.

    When the microwave signal hits the ground, the transmission from each satellite should be additive—all of which dramatically cuts down the weight and complexity of the hardware that has to be put into orbit."

    Tagged with: spacesolarorbitpowersatelliteenergytechnology

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