Archive for the 'Research' Category

Life: Scientists proof Ballmer Peak – moderate intoxication helps creativity

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A group of scientists from the University of Illinois at Chicago have shown that moderate consumption of Alcohol may boost creativity. Within their study they compared the performance of sober and drunk volunteers (0.075 blood alcohol level) with tests known as remote associate tests that people often solve with a moment of insight. The results showed that the tipsy volunteers not only solved substantially more (30%) of the tests they also solved them quicker…
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Opinion: ACTA – speaking out the unspeakable

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Kader Arif, the Rapporteur for the ACTA agreement in the European Parliament has today resigned over the issues he sees with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (AKTA). To express his views and issues as a member of the European Parliament he issued the following statement on his blog (in French – English translation below) …

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Technology: The Biped Robot on a bike

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There are quite a few tasks that for humans seem to be very simple and do happen nearly automatically, but for robots and their creators these have turned out to be rather challenging. Walking, running, balancing things and of course bicycling are some of those tasks.

Now here’s a robot with two legs riding on a bicycle…

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U.S.A. – The weather and climate change in 2011

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With climate extrema continue to expose human and natural system vulnerabilities, natural disaster cost are skyrocketing and dozens of billions in damages each year become common, many are asking how this will continue.

According to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) 2011 is estimated to become the costliest year for weather-related disasters since they began tracking billion-dollar disasters in 1980. There seems to be a pattern of more extreme, more frequent and more hazardous weather disasters emerging. Based on HVRI data (in 2009 USD) 6 of the 15 costliest years of the last 50 years where during the last decade. With losses of property & crop in 2009 totaling up to USD 67.4 billion after the record losses of USD 111.6 billion in 2005 and the almost 3 times the average (USD 11.4 billion) year of 2004 with USD 30.4 billion, losses of USD 23 billion in 2008, USD 16.2 billion in 2001 and USD 11.9 billion in 2006 these 6 peak years of the last decade combined have caused damages of USD 260.5 billion. That there is a change in extreme weather phenomena happening becomes even clearer when looking at the overall damage totals from the last 50 years (USD 573.6 billion) where those 6 peak years of the last decade represent more than 45% of all losses occurred during the recorded time frame (HVRI has data published from 1960 – 2009).

The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) tracked 3 more than an USD billion disasters for 2010 and 2011 has already topped their 30 year record of 2008 (8 events) with so-far 10 (multi)-billion disasters (Hurricane Irene being the 10th) …

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Technology: BiDi Screen from MIT Media Lab

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What the MIT Media Lab describes as “Computing with a wave of the hand” makes the much hyped implementation of current multi-touch screens look like technology from another century (which it actually is).

The new system allows gestural control without the need to touch the screen’s surface of screen elements with 3D objects and hand movements in 3D space near the screen – think Minority Report on a small screen. Watch the video below to see it in action…

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Climate Change: Germanwatch presents Global Climate Risk Index 2010

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The climate and development organization Germanwatch has today published its Global Climate Risk Index 2010. The Global Climate Risk Index analyzes to what extent countries have been affected by the impacts of weather-related loss events (storms, floods, heatwaves etc.).

The Global Climate Risk Index (CRI) developed by Germanwatch analyzes the quantified impacts of extreme weather events in terms of people that have died from them, as well as economic losses that occurred. It is based on data from Munich Re´s Nat-CatSERVICE® which is one of the most reliable and complete data bases on this matter. While it does not take into account aspects such as sea-level rise or glacier melting, climate change is an increasingly important factor for the occurrence and intensity of these events. The CRI can therefore provide an indication of levels of exposure and vulnerability to extreme events which countries should see as a warning signal to prepare for more severe events in the future. The fifth edition of the CRI looks particularly at the impacts of extreme weather events from 1990 up until the most recent available data – 2008…

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