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Updated: 26 min 32 sec ago

Avatars make the Internet sign to deaf people

August 29, 2014 - 6:10am
It is challenging for deaf people to learn a sound-based language, since they are physically not able to hear those sounds. Hence, most of them struggle with written language as well as with text reading and comprehension. Therefore, most website content remains inaccessible for them. Computer scientists from Saarbrücken, Germany, want to change the situation by means of a method they developed: animated online characters display content in sign language. In the long term, deaf people would be able to use the technique to communicate on online platforms via sign language. To realize the technique, users would only need readily available devices.

Pump Up the Bass—and Maybe Your Confidence

August 28, 2014 - 10:00am
Study volunteers who had listened to bass-heavy music were more likely to act dominant or aggressive in games and debates. Erika Beras reports

-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Avatars make the Internet sign to deaf people

August 28, 2014 - 7:12am
It is challenging for deaf people to learn a sound-based language, since they are physically not able to hear those sounds. Hence, most of them struggle with written language as well as with text reading and comprehension. Therefore, most website content remains inaccessible for them. Computer scientists want to change the situation by means of a method they developed: animated online characters display content in sign language. In the long term, deaf people would be able to use the technique to communicate on online platforms via sign language.

Singapore's GIC buys into Taiwan music streaming firm

August 27, 2014 - 11:01pm
Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC has invested $104 million in KKBOX, a popular Taiwan-based music streaming provider aiming to expand across Asia, the two sides said Thursday.

Stop and listen: Study shows how movement affects hearing

August 27, 2014 - 12:17pm
When we want to listen carefully to someone, the first thing we do is stop talking. The second thing we do is stop moving altogether. The interplay between movement and hearing has a counterpart deep in the brain. A new study used optogenetics to reveal exactly how the motor cortex, which controls movement, can tweak the volume control in the auditory cortex, which interprets sound.

Parents, listen next time your baby babbles

August 27, 2014 - 10:26am
Parents who try to understand their baby's babbling let their infants know they can communicate, which leads to children forming complex sounds and using language more quickly. The study's results showed infants whose mothers attended more closely to their babbling vocalized more complex sounds and develop language skills sooner.

New cancer-hunting 'nano-robots' to seek and destroy tumours

August 27, 2014 - 5:50am
It sounds like a scene from a science fiction novel – an army of tiny weaponised robots travelling around a human body, hunting down malignant tumours and destroying them from within.

Stop and listen: Study shows how movement affects hearing

August 26, 2014 - 10:00pm
(Duke University) When we want to listen carefully to someone, the first thing we do is stop talking. The second thing we do is stop moving altogether. The interplay between movement and hearing has a counterpart deep in the brain. A new Duke study, published in Nature, used optogenetics to reveal exactly how the motor cortex, which controls movement, can tweak the volume control in the auditory cortex, which interprets sound.

US Military Blows Up Hypersonic Weapon After Failed Test Launch

August 26, 2014 - 8:07pm
The U.S. Army launched a prototype hypersonic weapon test from Alaska on Monday (Aug. 25), only to destroy the superfast vehicle seconds later when something went wrong.

Disability, deafness often go hand-in-hand

August 26, 2014 - 8:07am
At least forty per cent of UK people with learning disabilities are suffering from hearing loss, but new research shows they are unlikely to be diagnosed. To research hearing loss in people with learning disabilities, one expert focuses on the current issues people with learning disabilities (PWLD) are facing and why they are left undiagnosed in the long-term.

Bombarded by explosive waves of information, scientists review new ways to process and analyze Big Data

August 26, 2014 - 7:22am
Big Data presents scientists with unfolding opportunities, including, for instance, the possibility of discovering heterogeneous characteristics in the population leading to the development of personalized treatments and highly individualized services. But ever-expanding data sets introduce new challenges in terms of statistical analysis, bias sampling, computational costs, noise accumulation, spurious correlations, and measurement errors.

Microsoft researchers use social media to teach Skype how to translate languages in real-time

August 26, 2014 - 7:20am
(Phys.org) —A few months ago, Microsoft made headlines by announcing at Code Conference that Skype would soon be able to translate language between speakers in real time—that product, which Microsoft calls simply Skype Translator, if successful will be the first real time language translator—a primitive version of the Universal Translator of Star Trek fame. The demo showed two people talking in real time using Skype—one in English, the other German. The words by the speakers were displayed as translated text on each other's screen and were also played aloud by a voice generator that allowed the listener, to listen in their own language. Now new details of how Microsoft has achieved this feat are coming out, and some of them are a little surprising.

US Military Blows Up Hypersonic Weapon After Failed Test Launch

August 26, 2014 - 7:13am
The U.S. Army launched a prototype hypersonic weapon test from Alaska on Monday (Aug. 25), only to destroy the superfast vehicle seconds later when something went wrong.

New tool to probe cancer's molecular make-up

August 26, 2014 - 6:58am
Scientists have shown how to better identify and measure vital molecules that control cell behavior – paving the way for improved tools for diagnosis, prediction and monitoring of cancer. The study's leader said: “Protein kinases regulate how cells communicate. When these molecules are deregulated it corresponds to cells “hearing voices” with a resulting change in their behavior. Doctors need a way to spot changes in kinase levels in individual tumors so they can see how they respond to treatments and match patients to the treatment that works best for them.” 

Hearings planned after call for nuke plant closure

August 25, 2014 - 6:02pm
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A U.S. Senate committee is planning hearings on earthquake risks at California's last operating nuclear power plant....

Hypersonic weapon detonated after lift-off: US military

August 25, 2014 - 9:14am
The US military had to detonate a hypersonic weapon seconds after lift-off Monday due to a technical problem, cutting short a flight test for the experimental project, officials said.

Quantum meets classical: Qubit fabricated with integrated micromagnet increases speed of quantum manipulation in silicon

August 25, 2014 - 7:30am
(Phys.org) —The ubiquitous classical digital computer encodes data in bits (a portmanteau of binary and digits) in either a 0 or 1 state. On the other hand, while a quantum computer also uses 0/1 data representation, these qubits (from quantum and bits), qubit states 0 and 1 can be simultaneously in what is known as a superposition – and a quantum computer can also make use of entanglement. For these reasons, quantum computers can potentially solve problems whose complexity is too resource-intensive for classical computation. That being said, quantum computers are very difficult to construct. Recently, however, scientists at University of Wisconsin, Madison have fabricated a qubit in a silicon double-quantum dot in which the qubit basis states are the singlet state and the spin-zero triplet state of two electrons. (A double quantum dot links two quantum dots – semiconductor nanostructures that confine the motion of conduction band electrons, valence band holes, or excitons in all three spatial directions.) Moreover, the researchers have for the first time integrated a proximal micromagnet, allowing them to create a large local magnetic field difference between the two sides of the quantum dot - thereby greatly increasing their ability to manipulate the qubit without injecting noise that would induce superposition decoherence.

Finally, an Algorithm to Sort Your Beatles Albums

August 22, 2014 - 8:00am
By analyzing the evolving structure of the Beatles’ music, the computer program was able to correctly place the Fab Four’s albums in chronological order. Karen Hopkin reports

-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Space Plane Tech Could Power Hypersonic Aircraft for US Military

August 21, 2014 - 6:19pm
The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory is studying hypersonic vehicles that would use the Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE), which is intended to power the Skylon space plane, AFRL officials said.

When it comes to how pizza looks, cheese matters

August 21, 2014 - 4:34pm
Most consumers have an idea what they want their pizza slice to look like. Golden cheese with that dark toasted-cheese color scattered in distinct blistery patches across the surface with a bit of oil glistening in the valleys. A new study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), evaluated the pizza baking performance of different cheeses (mozzarella, cheddar, colby, Edam, Emmental, Gruyere, and provolone) in conjunction with a new quantifiable evaluation technique to see how their composition and functional differences affected browning and blistering.