Search Box

Monday, August 31, 2015

Can the Results of Research Be Reproduced?

The Results of the Reproducibility Project Are In. They’re Not Good

Tom Bartlett | August 28, 2015

A decade ago, John P.A. Ioannidis published a provocative and much-discussed paper arguing that most published research findings are false. It’s starting to look like he was right.
The results of the Reproducibility Project are in, and the news is not good. The goal of the project was to attempt to replicate findings in 100 studies from three leading psychology journals published in the year 2008. The very ambitious endeavor, led by Brian Nosek, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and executive director of the Center for Open Science, brought together more than 270 researchers who tried to follow the same methods as the original researchers — in essence, double-checking their work by painstakingly re-creating it.

<more at; related links: (An Open, Large-Scale, Collaborative Effort to Estimate the Reproducibility of Psychological Science. Open Science Collaboration. [Abstract: Reproducibility is a defining feature of science.  However, because of strong incentives for innovation and weak incentives for confirmation,direct replication is rarely practiced or published.  The Reproducibility Project is an open,large-scale, collaborative effort to systematically examine the rate and predictors of reproducibility in psychological science. So far, 72volunteer researchers from 41 institutions have organized to openly and transparently replicate studies published in three prominent psychological journals from 2008. Multiple methods will be used to evaluate the findings, calculate an empirical rate of replication, and investigate factors that predict reproducibility. Whatever the result, a better understanding of reproducibilitywill ultimately improve confidence in scientific methodology and findings.]) and (Why Most Published Research Findings Are False. John P.A. Ioannidis. Published: August 30, 2005DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124. [Abstract: There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false. The probability that a research claim is true may depend on study power and bias, the number of other studies on the same question, and, importantly, the ratio of true to no relationships among the relationships probed in each scientific field. In this framework, a research finding is less likely to be true when the studies conducted in a field are smaller; when effect sizes are smaller; when there is a greater number and lesser preselection of tested relationships; where there is greater flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and analytical modes; when there is greater financial and other interest and prejudice; and when more teams are involved in a scientific field in chase of statistical significance. Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias. In this essay, I discuss the implications of these problems for the conduct and interpretation of research.]); further: (Massive International Project Raises Questions about the Validity of Psychology Research; When 100 past studies were replicated, only 39 percent yielded the same results. August 27, 2015)>


Cuba: We Never Left

Esther Allen (NYR Daily) | August 14, 2015

The hoisting of the Star-Spangled Banner in Havana on Friday, for the first time in more than half a century, has been met with perplexing and contradictory reactions in the United States. Some commentators are joyfully predicting that the re-inauguration of the US embassy will unleash an invasion of tourists and business dollars, bringing badly needed capitalism to a place they view as backward and isolated. Others fear that this same invasion will push the island’s anachronistic charms out of existence. “Don’t miss your chance to experience Cuba before it changes,” urged an advertisement from Road Scholar this spring.

US Eases Travel Restrictions to Cuba. Source:

<more at; related links: (A Visit to Cuba’s Libraries. May 2, 2013) and (A Library In Cuba: What Is It?. June 28, 2003)>

New York Public Library Map Digitization

How the New York Public Library Digitizes Its Vast Map Collection

The library system received a $380,000 grant from the Knight Foundation to help with the extensive project.

Aaron Elstein | August 26, 2015

While much of the city's mapping community is focused on creating something new, a great deal of energy also goes into recovering maps that are quite old.
The New York Public Library, the spiritual heart of the city's mapmaking community, is gradually putting online its vast collection of 435,000 maps. Using a software program called "Building Inspector," more than 1,000 users are manually inputting information or checking contained on old maps that computers can't easily handle, such as street addresses. It's arduous work—only 33,000 of the library's maps have been digitized—but so far the volunteer army has completed 1.2 million tasks and helps the library to bring old maps online much faster than it could otherwise.


<more at; related links: (Digitized Maps from the Collection) and (From Paper Maps to the Web: A DIY Digital Maps Primer. January 5, 2015)>

Discovery VR

Discovery Unveils Virtual Reality Videos on New Network Devoted to Immersive Format

Associate Press/Fox Business | August 27, 2015

Discovery is unleashing the first videos for its virtual reality network, Discovery VR, a fledgling service that is testing the limits and capabilities of the immersive format.
The videos debuting Thursday on, YouTube and on Android and iPhone apps, reveal some of the promise of the medium, which covers every angle you could possibly look and is navigable by moving a smartphone around you or even clicking and dragging the viewing angle around with a mouse.

<more at; related links: (Every week is Shark Week: Discovery launches network for virtual reality video; Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, and soon Oculus will get some non-game viewing. August 27, 2015) and,2817,2490295,00.asp (Discovery VR Dumps You Into (Virtual) Shark-Infested Waters. August 28, 2015)>

Helping the Paralyzed to 'Speak'

New Device Hay Help Paralysed People 'Speak' by Transforming Breath into Words

A prototype device which transforms breath into words could help give voice to victims of paralysis in what is thought to be a world first.

BT (British Telecommunications) | August 28, 2015

A prototype device which transforms breath into words could help give voice to victims of paralysis in what is thought to be a world first.
Experts at Loughborough University are developing speech analysis software which can be programmed to interpret a person's pattern of breathing, turning it into speech.

An early version of the new device, which currently consists of a breathing mask and analogue-to digital computer analyser, gives new hope to those suffering from severe speech loss, according to its developers.

<more at; related links: (People could use breath to ‘speak’. August 30, 2015) and (New device may help paralysed people 'speak' by transforming breath into words. August 31, 2015)>

New on YouTube

YouTube As You Know It Is About to Change Dramatically 

Would you pay to avoid ads on YouTube?

Micah Singleton | August 28, 2015

The way you experience YouTube may be dramatically different before the end of the year. According to multiple sources, the world’s largest video-sharing site is preparing to launch its two separate subscription services before the end of 2015 — Music Key, which has been in beta since last November, and another unnamed service targeting YouTube’s premium content creators, which will come with a paywall. Taken together, YouTube will be a mix of free, ad-supported content and premium videos that sit behind a paywall.


<more at; related links: (YouTube's paid subscription offering takes shape — and it's almost here; Ad-free videos with offline viewing coming for around $10 a month. April 8, 2015) and (YouTube is the No. 1 Music Streaming Platform -- and Getting Bigger. July 6, 2015)>

Raspberry Pi in Education

The Raspberry Pi Is Succeeding in Ways Its Makers Almost Imagined

Kids don't want to code. They want to solve problems us oldies can't perceive

Mark Pesce | August 27, 2015

“Grandpa is getting pretty old. Out there all alone on that farm, he has no one to look in on him, just to see if he’s ok. He’ll use the landline, but he’s beyond of the range of mobile, and he’s never been really great with computers. No Skype or emails. Grandpa does have internet. So I built this for him.”
The girl points down to a small box with a few wires coming out.
“I can bring up a web browser, and take photos inside grandpa’s house. Has he moved his coffee cup today? Is the telly on? At least then we’ll know he’s okay. And I can even type messages” - she changes focus to a textbox inside a web form - “that show up on top. We used ImageMagick for that, you can see it in our code.”

Fingers fly across the keyboard, and now I’m reading the source code for an index.php page, another marriage of convenience between HTML and PHP. How’d this girl - all of eleven years old - learn to do this?

<more at; related links: (About Next Top Makers. [About: The City of New York is committed to supporting entrepreneurs who choose to base and grow their businesses right here. New York's Next Top Makers, brought to you by NYCEDC, is helping to position New York City not only as an entrepreneur-friendly city, but a leader in the new production economy, stimulating the growth of an ecosystem of Makers, designers, creators and manufacturers that is dynamic, sustainable and provides opportunities to all New Yorkers. In its third year, Next Top Makers is expanding opportunities for others to engage in the space by introducing a five part series of community workshops geared at aspiring product entrepreneurs. We are also popping up at our own and other relevant events such as MakerFaire, Northside Festival, and local meetups to get the word out about the program and manufacturing here in New York. Read more about last year's Five Borough Pop Up Tour on the blog.]) and (Sign up to the Raspberry Pi Foundation Education email newsletter for updates on future Picademy dates, new resources, and competition announcements)>

Friday, August 28, 2015

Website Preservation

The Internet Is Failing The Website Preservation Test

Ron Miller | August 27, 2015

The other day I was writing an article and I wanted to link to a piece I wrote when I was at CITEworld in 2013 — just two years ago. I went searching for it, but soon discovered that IDG, the publication’s owners had taken the site down — and all of its content with it. While this was one small example, it illustrates the issues we have around content preservation on the internet.

In fact, on a personal level much of my writing from this entire century is simply gone. I could have preserved each article I’ve written, of course, if I could keep up and remember to do it. Evernote or similar service provides a way for me to capture web pages — but the archiving onus shouldn’t be on individuals like me.

<more at; related links: [Blogger's note: shows the total number of websites on the Internet with an up-to-the moment count. Includes annual statistics and other facts.] and ('Link rot’ is degrading legal research and case cites. December 1, 2013)>

Computer Diagnosis of Schizophrenia

Computers Can Predict Schizophrenia Based on How a Person Talks

A new study finds an algorithmic word analysis is flawless at determining whether a person will have a psychotic episode.

Adrienne LaFrance | August 26, 2015

...But in psychiatry, much attention is paid to such intricacies of thinking. For instance, disorganized thought, evidenced by disjointed patterns in speech, is considered a hallmark characteristic of schizophrenia. Several studies of at-risk youths have found that doctors are able to guess with impressive accuracy—the best predictive models hover around 79 percent—whether a person will develop psychosis based on tracking that person’s speech patterns in interviews.
A computer, it seems, can do better.

Could brain scans help predict schizophrenia? Source:

<more at; related links: (Could brain scans help predict schizophrenia? May 11, 2015) and (This Computer Can Detect Schizophrenia by Listening to You Talk; A way to predict psychosis in at-risk young people. August 26, 2015); further: (Automated analysis of free speech predicts psychosis onset in high-risk youths. Gillinder Bedi, Facundo Carrillo, Guillermo A Cecchi, Diego Fernández Slezak, Mariano Sigman, Natália B. Mota, Sidarta Ribeiro, Daniel C. Javitt, Mauro Copelli and Cheryl M. Corcoran. doi:10.1038/npjschz.2015.30. [Abstract: Background/Objectives: Psychiatry lacks the objective clinical tests routinely used in other specializations. Novel computerized methods to characterize complex behaviors such as speech could be used to identify and predict psychiatric illness in individuals. AIMS: In this proof-of-principle study, our aim was to test automated speech analyses combined with Machine Learning to predict later psychosis onset in youths at clinical high-risk (CHR) for psychosis. Methods: Thirty-four CHR youths (11 females) had baseline interviews and were assessed quarterly for up to 2.5 years; five transitioned to psychosis. Using automated analysis, transcripts of interviews were evaluated for semantic and syntactic features predicting later psychosis onset. Speech features were fed into a convex hull classification algorithm with leave-one-subject-out cross-validation to assess their predictive value for psychosis outcome. The canonical correlation between the speech features and prodromal symptom ratings was computed. Results: Derived speech features included a Latent Semantic Analysis measure of semantic coherence and two syntactic markers of speech complexity: maximum phrase length and use of determiners (e.g., which). These speech features predicted later psychosis development with 100% accuracy, outperforming classification from clinical interviews. Speech features were significantly correlated with prodromal symptoms. Conclusions: Findings support the utility of automated speech analysis to measure subtle, clinically relevant mental state changes in emergent psychosis. Recent developments in computer science, including natural language processing, could provide the foundation for future development of objective clinical tests for psychiatry.]>

Secret Histories: Conveyor Belt between U.S.Capitol Building and Library of Congress

There's a Hidden Conveyor Belt Under the Capitol That Was Just for Moving Books

Elliot Carter | August 26, 2015

Most people who work in the U.S. Capitol don’t know about the 100-year-old book conveyor tunnel underneath them that used to connect the building to the Library of Congress. It’s long since abandoned, but it’s still down there.

There's a Hidden Conveyor Belt Under the Capitol That Was Just for Moving Books
Before the separate library was finished in 1897, books had been kept in the Capitol itself, and members of Congress were accustomed to the convenience of having reference materials right at their fingertips. As the 1901 book 30 Years in Washington (text here) explains, “when Congress is in session, members are constantly drawing books for immediate use in debate and in committee work.”

<more at; related links: (The Underground City Beneath the U.S Capitol and Library of Congress. July 25, 2014) and (Thirty Years in Washington)>

Library App for Digital Comics

Stilted gaits and mindless shambling did nothing to stop demand for Image Comics' "The Walking Dead" series, with the 100th issue of Robert Kirkman's acclaimed series garnering the top spot as 2012's top-selling comic book. Source:

Library App Lets You Check Out 'The Walking Dead' and Other Digital Comics

Roberto Baldwin | August 26, 2015

Before it was a TV show and video game, The Walking Dead was a comic book from publisher Image Comics. It's a great series and if you're interested in catching up on the source material for the TV show, you might be in luck. The public library app, Hoopla announced today that it was partnering with Image Comics to bring The Walking Dead, Spawn and Saga to its service. Hoopla partners with local libraries to give library card holders the ability to check out digital copies of books, music, videos, audiobooks and comics. 

<more at; related links: (hoopla digital Adds New Titles from Image Comics. August 26, 2015) and (Library app lets you check out ‘The Walking Dead’ and other digital comic. August 26, 2015)>

OverDrive's PDF Conversion

Getting the PDF to ePub Conversion Right: OverDrive’s New Goal for the Cell Phone Era

David Rothman | August 19, 2015

Hate e-books? If you’re an academic, it’s easy to back up your biases. You just inflict PDF on subjects in P vs. E experiments. PDF  generally offers less control than ePub over such trivial details as font size, at least if you want lines to break in the right places. I hate PDF for, say, recreational reading on mobile devices. PDF can be scary enough for academic reading on desktops.

But PDF to ePub conversions is tricky. How to get all the details right, especially for phones and small-screened tablets?

<more at; related links: (OverDrive Working on PDF Conversion, Faster Cloud-based Platform. August 17, 2015)> and (What are the differences between eBook formats?)>

Adding Virtual Reality to Reality

When Virtual Reality Collides with Reality, It’s Surreal

A Portland startup called Wild is combining virtual reality with elements of the physical world.

Rachel Metz | August 26, 2015

In 1962, cinematographer Morton Heilig patented his Sensorama Stimulator—a bulky virtual-reality machine that showed 3-D films on a personal display while pumping in smells, sounds, and the sensation of wind.
Heilig was never able to popularize the sensory-immersive Sensorama; it remains a curious footnote in the history of virtual reality. But a small startup based in a Portland, Oregon, garage could have better luck.


Since March, Wild has been building an experience that combines virtual reality with elements of real life. Visitors wear a virtual-reality headset and headphones, so they’re surrounded by 3-D virtual images and accompanying sound effects and music. 

<more at; related links: (The sights and scents of the Sensorama Simulator. February 16, 2014) and (Theory and Research in HCI: Morton Heilig, Pioneer in Virtual Reality Research. September 19, 2008)>

Oxford Dictionaries: The Dictionary of Modern Language

Oxford Dictionaries Adds ‘Fat-Shame,’ ‘Butthurt’ and ‘Redditor’

Katy Steinmetz | August 26, 2015

Oxford Dictionaries announced its latest additions on Wednesday, highlighting the things we were talking about in the summer of ’15—like angry Internet commenters, gender identity and what a sweet time of day “beer o’clock” is.

Oxford Dictionaries is the branch of the Oxford family that focuses on modern language—words that people are using now and how they’re using them—which makes their barriers to entry different than the venerable, historical Oxford English Dictionary. Their new words often arise from fresh technology and pop culture and might include Internet slang (like new entry pwnage) that would get laughed out of the OED’s admittance office.

<more at; related links: (From ‘beer o’clock’ to Brexit: Oxford online dictionary gets hot & ‘hangry’ update. August 28, 2015) and (February 27, 2014)>

Thursday, August 27, 2015

16th Century "e-Reader"

This is What a 16th Century e-Reader Looked Like

Wiebe de Jager | August 3, 2015

It’s easy to take thousands of books on holiday with you these days thanks to the e-reader, a device that can store enough books to keep you reading for months. E-readers are especially great for people who like to read lots of books at once as they automatically remember where you left off last time.

Figure CLXXXVIII in Le diverse et artificiose machine del Capitano Agostino Ramelli, an illustration of a bookwheel. Public Domain marked. Source: Wikimedia Commons
But they’re nothing new. As early as 1588, the Italian military engineer Agostino Ramelli invented a device that allowed people to read multiple books at the same time, without having to worry about remembering page numbers. The so-called bookwheel (or reading wheel) could hold many (heavy) books, so it was possible to change books with minimal effort. The device provided a comfortable reading chair and through a sophisticated mechanism – similar to that of a ferris wheel – the books would remain facing upwards while the wheel turned.

<more at; related links: (GROLLIER DE SERVIERE, Nicolas. Description: French inventor and ornamental turner who became well known for creating a series of fantastic machines.) and (Behold, the Kindle of the 16th Century. February 27, 2013)>

Time Capsule from 1800s Opened

Time Capsule from 1800s Discovered - Containing a Newspaper and 120-Year-Old Bottle of Whisky

Michael Segalov | August 26, 2015

Construction workers in the Scottish Highlands have found what appears to be a time capsule that was buried in the 1800s.
The metal tin similar in size to a shoe box was found by workers from construction company Morgan Sindall as they worked on Ruthven road bridge, near Kingussie in the Cairngorms.
Inside was a bottle of liquid, currently believed to be whisky, which appeared to have remained intact.
River Tromie past the Ruthven bridge
A time capsule, which dates back to about 121 years ago, was found by a crew of construction workers repairing a bridge. The time capsule contained an old newspaper, paper scroll and bottle of whiskey. Source:

<more at; related links: (Time Capsule, Once Sealed by Paul Revere, Opened. January 7, 2015) and (Time Capsule From The Late 1800s Unearthed By Construction Crew. August 27, 2015)>

Turn Your Phone into a 3D Scanner

This Microsoft Tech Turns Any Phone Camera into a 3D Scanner

Farrha Khan | August 24, 2015

While Microsoft has been busy launching Windows 10, its research team has found a way to turn your phone's main camera into a 3D scanner.
Called MobileFusion, Microsoft says it can use a smartphone's rear camera - specifically, the RGB capabilities of the camera - to capture an object multiple times and from different angles, then build a 3D model automatically.

Experts are of the opinion that scans from MobileFusion are of high enough quality to be used not just for 3D printing, but for use in augmented reality  Source:

<more at; related links: (MobileFusion: Research project turns regular mobile phone into 3D scanner. August 24, 2015) and (+Video) (Microsoft’s MobileFusion App Can Turn Your iPhone Into A 3D Scanner. August 26, 2015)>

Food and Copyright

A Chicken Sandwich Cannot Be Copyrighted, Court Rules

Man who put chicken inside a bun sought $10 million for theft of creative work.

Jon Brodkin | August 25, 2015

There are many things you can copyright, but a chicken sandwich is not one of them, a US appeals court panel ruled Friday.
Because of the ruling, a former employee of a fried chicken franchise is not entitled to a percentage of the profits from a sandwich he "authored," wrote Chief Judge Jeffrey Howard in the decision of the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The plaintiff, Norberto Colón Lorenzana, had filed a complaint seeking "All the earnings produced by his creation"—an amount not less than $10 million.

<more at; related links: (No. 14-1698
Defendant-Appellee, AFC ENTERPRISES INC.; CAJUN OPERATING COMPANY; CAJUN FUNDING CORP.; COMPANY A OF UNKNOWN; JOHN DOE, Defendants.) and (Man tries to copyright a chicken sandwich, learns that that’s completely ridiculous. August 26, 2015); furhter: (Copyright for Educators & Librarians)>

Government Request That You Help Find Education Technology Tools That Work

The Government Wants You to Help Find Education Technology Tools That Actually Work

Tony Wan | August 24, 2015

Can you prove that education technology tools actually work? And do so without spending years upon years and hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars?
If so, the US Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology has issued a 36-page Request for Proposal (RFP) “to find support services to evaluate educational software applications purchased with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) program funds.” The mission, should you choose to accept it: create a set of tools to conduct “rapid-cycle technology evaluations,” which include creating guidelines, assessment methods, protocols for setting up the experiments and documenting results. This RFP will close on September 3 at 11am ET.

The breadth and depth of educational materials and information available on the Internet can break boundaries, making any subject accessible anywhere, and providing students with access to experts from across town or across the globe. New technologies also give teachers tools and flexibility to engage students, personalize the learning experience, and share resources or best practices with colleagues. Source:

<more at; related links: (Rapid-Cycle Tech Evaluations (RCTE). Solicitation Number: ED-OOS-15-R-0039
Agency: Department of Education. Office: Contracts & Acquisitions Management
Location: Contracts (All ED Components) Updated Autust 5, 2015)>

Internet Censorship in Russia

Internet Censorship in Russia

Wikipedia | August 24, 2015 [last modified]

Internet censorship in the Russian Federation is enforced based on Russian Internet Restriction Bill, federal law "On Protecting Children from Information Harmful to Their Health and Development" and other laws. The law took effect on 1 November 2012 and instituted a Federal blacklist maintained by the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media for the censorship of individual URLs, domain names, and IP addresses.

Internet censorship and surveillance by country

<more at; related links: (Internet censorship and surveillance by country) and (This is how Russian Internet censorship works. A journey into the belly of the beast that is the Kremlin’s media watchdog. August 13, 2015); further: (Russian Wikipedia Editors Weighing Options After Site Is Blacklisted In Russia. August 24, 2015)>

Turn Your iPhone into Wireless Thumb Drive

Portal Lets You Use Your iPhone As A Wireless Thumbdrive

Sarah Perez | August 26, 2015

Portal, a recently launched Android app that lets you move large files between your computer and your smartphone via your Wi-Fi connection, has today made its way to iOS. The new version offers a better alternative to something like Apple’s AirDrop, for example, as it lets you transfer as many files as you’d like, with no file size limits, while also not counting against your data plan due to its use of Wi-Fi to make the file transfer.


<more at; related links: (Pushbullet connects your devices, making them feel like one.) and (Portal - WiFi file transfers)>

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Brain Boost

An Everyday Activity That Boosts Brain Size And Flexible Thinking 

PsyBlog | August 25, 2015

Adults who are more physically active have greater mental flexibility, new research reports.
On top of this, those who do more exercise have larger brain volumes and more intact white matter.
The new research found that moderate or vigorous physical activity was linked to more variable brain activity in older adults.

<more at; related links: (Physical Activity Is Linked to Greater Moment-To-Moment Variability in Spontaneous Brain Activity in Older Adults. Agnieszka Z. Burzynska , Chelsea N. Wong, Michelle W. Voss, Gillian E. Cooke, Neha P. Gothe, Jason Fanning, Edward McAuley, and Arthur F. Kramer. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134819 [Abstract: Higher cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and physical activity (PA) in old age are associated with greater brain structural and functional integrity, and higher cognitive functioning. However, it is not known how different aspects of lifestyle such as sedentariness, light PA (LI-PA), or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MV-PA) relate to neural activity in aging. In addition, it is not known whether the effects of PA on brain function differ or overlap with those of CRF. Here, we objectively measured CRF as oxygen consumption during a maximal exercise test and measured PA with an accelerometer worn for 7 days in 100 healthy but low active older adults (aged 60–80 years). We modeled the relationships between CRF, PA, and brain functional integrity using multivariate partial least squares analysis. As an index of functional brain integrity we used spontaneous moment-to-moment variability in the blood oxygenation level-dependent signal (SDBOLD), known to be associated with better cognitive functioning in aging. We found that older adults who engaged more in LI-PA and MV-PA had greater SDBOLD in brain regions that play a role in integrating segregated functional domains in the brain and benefit from greater CRF or PA, such as precuneus, hippocampus, medial and lateral prefrontal, and temporal cortices. Our results suggest that engaging in higher intensity PA may have protective effects on neural processing in aging. Finally, we demonstrated that older adults with greater overall WM microstructure were those showing more LI-PA and MV-PA and greater SDBOLD. We conclude that SDBOLD is a promising correlate of functional brain health in aging. Future analyses will evaluate whether SDBOLD is modifiable with interventions aimed to increase PA and CRF in older adults.] and (Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills. April 9, 2014)>

Humans Have Difficulty Walking in a Straight Line

We Cannot Walk in Straight Lines- Virtual Reality Takes Advantage!

Joshua | August 25, 2015

This might sound a bit surprising but we humans are unable to walk in straight lines. A blindfolded man will walk around in circles. However, virtual reality is taking advantage of this inability. Subtle visual cues will trick us in thinking that we have travelled a huge area when actually we have not even left the room. This process is called redirected walking.

A VR study at the Institute for Creative Technologies at USC. The antennas have LEDs for tracking. Source:

<more at; related links: (You Can't Walk in a Straight Line -- and That's Great for VR. August 21, 2015) and (Redirected Walking. Sharif Razzaque , Zachariah Kohn , Mary C. Whitton. [Abstract: Redirected Walking, a new interactive locomotion technique for virtual environments (VEs), captures the benefits of real walking while extending the possible size of the VE. Real walking, although natural and producing a high subjective sense of presence, limits virtual environments to the size of the tracked space. Redirected Walking addresses this limitation by interactively and imperceptibly rotating the virtual scene about the user. The rotation causes the user to walk continually toward the furthest wall of the lab without noticing the rotation. We implemented the technique using stereo graphics and 3D spatialized audio. Observations during a pilot study suggest that the technique works: Redirected Walking causes people to change their real walking direction without noticing it, allows for larger VEs, and does not induce appreciable simulator sickness.]>

Autism and Creativity

United Nations Autism Awareness Stamps. Head of the UNPA Graphic Design Unit, Ms. Rorie Katz decided to feature artwork of people with autism to educate others of their passion, talents and creativity. Source:

People with Autism and Learning Disabilities Excel in Creative Rhinking, Study Shows

Research confirms that seeing the world in ‘a different way’ sparks unique ideas

Tracy McVeigh | August 22, 2015

A new study showing that people with autism display higher levels of creativity has been welcomed by campaigners, who say it helps debunk a myth about people with learning disabilities.
Scientists found that people with the developmental condition were far more likely to come up with unique answers to creative problems despite having traits that can be socially crippling and make it difficult to find jobs. The co-author of the study, Dr Catherine Best from the University of Stirling, said that while the results, from a study of 312 people, were a measure of just one aspect of the creative process, it revealed a link between autistic traits and unusual and original ideas.

<more at; related links: (The Misfit Analysis) and (The Relationship Between Subthreshold Autistic Traits, Ambiguous Figure Perception and Divergent Thinking. Catherine Best, Shruti Arora, Fiona Porter, Martin Doherty. August 14, 2015. [Abstract: This research investigates the paradox of creativity in autism. That is, whether people with subclinical autistic traits have cognitive styles conducive to creativity or whether they are disadvantaged by the implied cognitive and behavioural rigidity of the autism phenotype. The relationship between divergent thinking (a cognitive component of creativity), perception of ambiguous figures, and self-reported autistic traits was evaluated in 312 individuals in a non-clinical sample. High levels of autistic traits were significantly associated with lower fluency scores on the divergent thinking tasks. However autistic traits were associated with high numbers of unusual responses on the divergent thinking tasks. Generation of novel ideas is a prerequisite for creative problem solving and may be an adaptive advantage associated with autistic traits.]>

Interactive Screens at Libraries

Interactive Screens Bring Library Holdings to Life

An interactive video wall proved the solution to an Ohio library’s problem when it wanted to make its extensive digital holdings viewable in its bricks-and-mortar premises, not just online.

Barnaby Page | August 21, 2015

A series of 55-inch Christie LCD flat panels and the Christie Interactivity Kit were used to build the wall at Cleveland Public Library, where digital library strategist Chatham Ewing explained that “a video wall in itself is not unique, but the additional facet of multitouch capability through the Interactivity Kit allows visitors to manipulate our collections in a new way, to play with them, to encounter the materials using a different set of senses beyond the visual.

News_Rolling video wall rolls into University of Nebraska Omaha library

<more at; related links: (U Nebraska Omaha Library Installs Digital Display Wall. July 29, 2015)  and (+Video) (Interactive Screens. Communication Liberation)>

50 Years Since "Hypertext" First Coined

50 Years Ago Today the Word “Hypertext” Was Introduced

Byron Reese | August 24, 2015

On August 24, 1965 Ted Nelson used the word “hypertext” (which he coined) in a paper he presented at the Association for Computing Machinery. I was able to interview him earlier this month about the event and his early thoughts on the future of computing.

It is hard to know where to start when writing an introduction for Ted Nelson because his interests and accomplishments have spanned so many areas across six decades. To get a sense of the breadth and depth of them, the best thing to do is to read over his CV on his website.

<more at; related links: (HTML) and (WorldWideWeb: Proposal for a HyperText Project)>

Robots and the Future of Jobs

Who Will Own the Robots?

We’re in the midst of a jobs crisis, and rapid advances in AI and other technologies may be one culprit. How can we get better at sharing the wealth that technology creates?

MIT Technology Review | August 23, 2015

The way Hod Lipson describes his Creative Machines Lab captures his ambitions: “We are interested in robots that create and are creative.” Lipson, an engineering professor at Cornell University (this July he’s moving his lab to Columbia University), is one of the world’s leading experts on artificial intelligence and robotics. His research projects provide a peek into the intriguing possibilities of machines and automation, from robots that “evolve” to ones that assemble themselves out of basic building blocks. (His Cornell colleagues are building robots that can serve as baristas and kitchen help.) A few years ago, Lipson demonstrated an algorithm that explained experimental data by formulating new scientific laws, which were consistent with ones known to be true. He had automated scientific discovery.

While the many robots in auto factories typically perform only one function, in the new Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif., a robot might do up to four: welding, riveting, bonding and installing a component. Source:

<more at; related links: [Part 1 of a series of 3] (How Technology Is Destroying Jobs. June 12, 2013) and [Part 2 of a series of 3] (Technology and Inequality. The disparity between the rich and everyone else is larger than ever in the United States and increasing in much of Europe. Why? October 21, 2014)>

Maker Week

First Ever Maker Week Introduces New Technology at Schlow Library

Boen Wang | August 24, 2015

Science, technology and art will collide starting today in State College, as the Schlow Library kicks off its first ever Maker Week.
Featuring a series of craft workshops, camps and speaker sessions throughout the week and culminating in an open-air event at the Sidney Friedman Park on Saturday, Maker Week aims to introduce “new and traditional technologies” to the public, Schlow Library communications manager Susanna Paul said.

A micro-rover created by IST instructor Rick Winscot that will be on display this week at Schlow. Source:
Events include demonstrations of 3D printing, a coding class aimed for kids and an opportunity to scan and print one’s head. Maria Burchill, head of adult services at Schlow, said that while “there are camps that are for kids, none of the programs are exclusive. It is all ages.” Aside from the camps, all events are free.

<more at; related link: (Maker Week 2015. Schedule of Wee's Events)>

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Computer Bias

Programming and Prejudice: How to Find Bias in Machine Learning Algorithms

University of Utah | August 17, 2015

Suresh Venkatasubramanian, an associate professor in the University of Utah’s School of Computing, leads a team of researchers that has discovered a technique to determine if algorithms used for tasks, such as hiring or administering housing loans, could in fact discriminate unintentionally. The team also has discovered a way to fix such errors if they exist. Their findings were recently revealed at the 21st Association for Computing Machinery’s SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining in Sydney, Australia.

<more at; related links: (Practical advice for machine learning: bias, variance and what to do next. July 2, 2012) and (Programming and Prejudice. Utah Computer Scientists Discover How to Find Bias in Algorithms. August 14, 2015); further: (Certifying and removing disparate impact. Michael Feldman, Sorelle A. Friedler, John Moeller, Carlos Scheidegger, and Suresh Venkatasubramanian. [Abstract: What does it mean for an algorithm to be biased? In U.S. law, unintentional bias is encoded viadisparate impact, which occurs when a selection process has widely different outcomes for differentgroups, even as it appears to be neutral. This legal determination hinges on a definition of aprotected class (ethnicity, gender) and an explicit description of the process.When computers are involved, determining disparate impact (and hence bias) is harder. Itmight not be possible to disclose the process. In addition, even if the process is open, it might behard to elucidate in a legal setting how the algorithm makes its decisions. Instead of requiringaccess to the process, we propose making inferences based on the data it uses.We present four contributions. First, we link disparate impact to a measure of classificationaccuracy that while known, has received relatively little attention. Second, we propose a test fordisparate impact based on how well the protected class can be predicted from the other attributes.Third, we describe methods by which data might be made unbiased. Finally, we present empiricalevidence supporting the effectiveness of our test for disparate impact and our approach for bothmasking bias and preserving relevant information in the data. Interestingly, our approach resemblessome actual selection practices that have recently received legal scrutiny.])>