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Why brain can switch off judgment

March 28th, 2009 No comments

“Most average people have this tendency to turn off their own capacity for making judgments when an expert comes into the picture,” says Gregory Berns, a neuroeconomist at Emory University in Atlanta.

His team ask 24 young volunteers to make a simple choice:  accept a sure payment or bet on a riskier, yet higher-paying lottery. While brain of volunteers was calculating a decision,  circuits known to calculate risk and reward was active.

“When advice is not there, when people are making these judgments on their own, you can make clear correlations with expected value in the lottery and areas associated with the dopamine system,” he says.

To see what changes if expert give advice on what to choice. Volunteers was told that Charles Noussair, an economics professor at Emory who advises the US Federal Reserve, would offer his opinion on whether they should accept the easy money or take a chance. After this new information volunteers usually took the expert’s advice blindly. Brain scans shows what the correlation between increased potential reward and brain activity disappeared.

Does this professor’s study fool you? Read full article at PLoS 1.

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Studying without staring

March 26th, 2009 No comments

Information what comes to brain is processed and remembered even if you not pay attention on it.

Contrary to common belief, attention may actually impair the ability of people to draw conclusions based on the visual images or stimuli they observe, reports Valentin Dragoi, Ph.D., the study’s senior author and an assistant professor at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

“Even when you ignore environmental stimuli, your brain may still be sensitive to their content and store information that will influence subsequent decisions,” Dragoi said. “Paradoxically, paying attention may actually reduce learning during repeated exposure to visual images.”

It has good and bad side.  We can improve learning process using this information. Or We can be brainwashed by new more sophisticated  advertisements.

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What you think about lie in a fiction

March 20th, 2009 No comments

Today I have read a post on Bruce Schneier blog. It was about TV show “24” and his crypto algorithm Blowfish. Blowfish was mentioned in most negative way even possible for crypto algorithm.

LM: Unfortunately, it’s encrypted with Blowfish 148 and no one here knows how to crack that. Therefore, we need your help, please. MO: The designer of this algorithm built a backdoor into his code. Decryption’s a piece of cake if you know the override codes. LM: Mr. O’Brian, can you tell me specifically when you’ll have the file decrypted? MO: Yes. MO: Now.

Technically authors of 24 from Fox is right. They created this situation in their imagination. Put it on video and show to a few million people. Authors can put in their show all that they want because no one use fictional show as source of knowledge, right? Answer is no. All who seen this dialog and did not have previous knowledge about Blowfish put in their memory two new words “Blowfish backdoor”. And next time then they about to make a decision to which system buy to secure personal data they recall “Blowfish backdoor”. And it cut their chances to make objective decision. Viewers do not have enough competency to block misinformation from pseudo professional shows like 24, House MD and other there producers save money on consultant. We have only one way to change it. Do not view misinformation. What if you see big dirty lie about you in popular TV show? Does fact that show is fictional enough to for you to do nothing about this fact?

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Pwn2Own 2009 begins

March 19th, 2009 No comments

Do you have believes in what there is full secure web browser. Little head prize of $5000 can make them dead in a minute.

The 3rd annual Pwn2Own contest kicked off today at CanSecWest around 3:00pm PST. For the first time, we had so many people register for the contest that we had to draw names from a hat- literally! In typical techie format, Aaron wanted to take a moment and write a quick program to randomly select order- but I stopped that nonsense, and we used a real hat.

The browser targets are IE8, Firefox, and Chrome installed on a Sony Vaio running Windows 7 as well as Safari and Firefox installed on a Macbook running Mac OS X. All browsers are fully patched and in their default configuration as of the first day of the contest.

The mobile device targets will include fully patched BlackBerry, Android, iPhone, Symbian and Windows Mobile phones in their default configurations.

Mobile device security is still intriguing and we are waiting final contest results.

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Why we blame users of unsecure systems?

March 18th, 2009 No comments

Blaming the victim is common in IT: users are to blame because they don’t patch their systems, choose lousy passwords, fall for phishing attacks, and so on. But, while users are, and will continue to be, a major source of security problems, focusing on them is an unhelpful way to think .

They must accept that security systems that require the user to do the right thing are doomed to fail. And then they must design resilient security nevertheless.

We know solution for this problem for years. But it is easy to blame some one other and continue to do nothing.

The solution is to better design ­security systems that assume uneducated users: to prevent them from changing security settings that would leave them exposed to undue risk, or – even better – to take security out of their hands entirely.

Read full article at Guardian.co.uk

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Can we use magnets like a batteries

March 15th, 2009 No comments

Not regular magnets what comes to mind if you heard this word. But nano-magnets what can be “charged” by strong EM field and later used to produce current.

The device created by University of Miami Physicist Stewart E. Barnes, of the College of Arts and Sciences and his collaborators can store energy in magnets rather than through chemical reactions. Like a winding up toy car, the spin battery is “wound up” by applying a large magnetic field –no chemistry involved. The device is potentially better than anything found so far, said Barnes.
“We had anticipated the effect, but the device produced a voltage over a hundred times too big and for tens of minutes, rather than for milliseconds as we had expected,” Barnes said. “That this was counterintuitive is what lead to our theoretical understanding of what was really going on.”

Now opened big market for batteries for electric cars. As many auto concerns announced new models for 2009-2011. Electric cars and many other mobile-electric devices can take support form new big batteries.  It is a first step on this branch of magnet-battery and scientists have to done a lot of studies before I can have it in my mobile “phone”( I wonder if there will be phone then such batteries came to market?).

Although the actual device has a diameter about that of a human hair and cannot even light up an LED (light-emitting diode–a light source used as electronic component), the energy that might be stored in this way could potentially run a car for miles.

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How to think about your past properly

March 13th, 2009 No comments

When we think about our past behavior in the imperfective (e.g. what we were doing), we get better in recall it or repeat this action in future.

If you want to perform at your peak, you should carefully consider how you discuss your past actions. The way a statement is phrased (and specifically, how the verbs are used), affects our memory of an event being described and may also influence our behavior.

The authors surmise that when we think about our past behavior in the imperfective (e.g. what we were doing), we tend to imagine that behavior as ongoing (and not completed yet). This enables us to easily think about what went into that behavior and may help us improve performance on similar tasks in the future.

Interesting what if you want not to do something you can describe it in perfect form.

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High metabolism for a long life

March 12th, 2009 No comments

For those of use who introduced sport, fitness, bodybuilding into everyday life, the higher metabolism effect on a life span was always a big concern. We want to have a good functioning body but thoughts about burning our self life sparkles on backyard of our minds. These thoughts gives their little support to stress/depression. Now we can free our minds out of this.

The theory that a higher metabolism means a shorter lifespan may have reached the end of its own life, thanks to a study published in the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. The study, led by Lobke Vaanholt (University of Groningen, The Netherlands), found that mice with increased metabolism live just as long as those with slower metabolic rates.

Despite a 48 percent increase in overall daily energy expenditure and a 64 percent increase in mass-specific energy expenditure throughout adult life, mice in the cold lived just as long on average as mice in warm temperatures,” the authors write. “These results strengthen existing doubts about the rate-or-living theory.

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Aged brains can rewires itself

March 12th, 2009 No comments

Aged brains lose their ability to reorganize connections between nerve cells.  It was is a part of common knowledge for a long time. We all think what once you get old you can forget about  studying new language, new technology, new pov.You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.  But nature is a tricky thing. It always has something to surprise use.  Put some efforts to science, do some study and here it is.

Until now, it was thought that such reorganization is restricted to small numbers of connections within discrete areas of the brain. But new research published yesterday in the journal Current Biology now provides the first evidence that local modifications to small numbers of connections can induce global changes in brain connectivity.

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What is your plan to save the world?

March 11th, 2009 No comments

You probably know about The Crisis. Yes, the one what have came to take our money and our lives. If there is a problem then there is people who don’t sleep at nite to find a solution for that problem. And they have the solution. We just need to think the other way than we do it now. And if you don’t want to change your mind, your values, your goals then you are just a selfish bustard who deserve to die( or get a drug what ensure your well-being ).

Sorry for that scary passage. Sometimes I am behaving emotional then talk come to change peoples mind. I am from Russia we had bad experience with that.

I am suggest you to read a good post of Deric Bownds on this topic:

Saving the world…

A University of Vermont course in the spring of 2008 came up with a magnum opus now published in the Proceedings of the National Academy titled “Overcoming systemic roadblocks to sustainability: The evolutionary redesign of worldviews, institutions, and technologies.” I totally have a mind-numbing headache from reading this ponderous but worthwhile effort, and give you a few clips from their summary of “an integrated set of worldviews, institutions, and technologies to stimulate and seed evolutionary redesign of the current socio-ecological regime to achieve global sustainability”:

  • Redefine Well-Being Metrics.
  • Ensure the Well-Being of Populations During the Transition.
  • Reduce Complexity and Increase Resilience.
  • Expand the “Commons Sector.”
  • Remove Barriers to Improving Knowledge and Technology.

Read full post at Deric Bownds:Saving the world…

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