18 Nov

Videos and photos taken by smartphones have proliferated recently, documenting everything from questionable traffic stops to more serious crimes such as assault.

While those images have often proved useful in prompting authorities to act, smartphone cameras aren't always welcome in every, say, locker rooms, where people invariably pull out their phones even in the presence of signs forbidding the practice in the interest of protecting privacy.

Producers of live theater performances aren't thrilled by smartphone use inside theaters, either; after all, why fork over major bucks for a ticket if you have access to someone else's clandestine recording of it?

Now, researchers at the University of California, San Diego have come up with a method for complicating smartphone camera use.

16 Nov

It all seems easy enough: A customer asks a voice-operable device a question and the automated assistant provides information.

But there's more going on than providing users with easy answers to their sometimes difficult questions. The technology is changing the entire landscape of how people shape, search, and interact with businesses.

Scott Galloway, clinical professor of marketing at the New York University Stern School of Business and founder of research firm L2, recently told Analog Folk, "Voice-based ordering eliminates the need for packaging, design and end-caps, all the things that brands have poured billions into and have spent decades perfecting."

Which means that brands will be required to entirely reshape their messages to consumers who shop and purchase in a whole new world.

14 Nov

Depression has always been considered an emotional issue, taking a toll on a person’s mental well-being. However, in recent years, medical professionals have begun to recognize its physiological effects on sufferers, as well.

A new Canadian study furthers this thinking, connecting depression to an overall shortened lifespan. After reviewing information on 3,410 adults dating back to 1952, the researchers found a link between depression and an increased risk of early death.

The team noticed that the risk for premature death was greatest in the years immediately following a depressive episode, which they felt demonstrated how treatment could possibly play an important life-saving role.

12 Nov

For centuries, historians have studied the Nazca Lines, trying to determine their origins. Some researchers believe the Nazca people may have created the lines using the archaic tools and equipment they had at the time, a theory that is supported by wooden stakes that have been found at the end of some of the lines.

However, a new theory brings a paranormal explanation to the history of the lines. Conspiracy theorists have speculated that the lines may have been drawn in order to guide alien visitors who spied them from space.

Like crop circles, Nazca Lines are only visible from above, but once viewed, the designs are clearly too elaborate to be accidental. These lines are in the shape of monkeys, fish, and humanoids, interspersed with straight lines.

10 Nov

Americans love eating pork, but the fat content can make it a no-no for health-conscious dieters. Chinese scientists may soon have a solution for that. Using genetic engineering, Chinese scientists have created pigs that have 24 percent less body fat that real pigs.

The pigs were given a gene that better burns body fat to help regulate their body temperature. Not only could this produce leaner meat, it also would allow farmers to save on heating and cooling costs.

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