Archive for November, 2012


Rigid Fearfulness Linked To Autism Severity

Most people learn when to be afraid and when things are not as bad as they might have once seemed but some new research on autism shows that children with the diagnosis don’t easily let go of old, outdated fears and that this rigid fearfulness is linked to the severity of classic symptoms of autism, such as repeated movements and resistance to change.

The new research highlights the need to help children make emotional transitions – particularly when dealing with their fears.

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In wrestling, we were always taught to watch the opponent’s hips – because their head and their eyes were going to try and fake you out but hips don’t lie.

Likewise, if you think that you can use facial expressions to determine if someone has just won the lottery or lost everything in the stock market, researchers say it just doesn’t work that way.  Rather, they found that body language provides a better cue in trying to judge whether an observed subject has undergone strong positive or negative experiences. 

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11 articles in the December issue of Neurosurgical Focus are dedicated to concussions in sports, focusing on methods of diagnosing concussion and evaluating its consequences, structural and functional changes that can occur in the brain following concussion, and changing attitudes and legislation concerning sports that traditionally carry risks of brain injury.

Concussion, also called mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) by virtually no one outside concussion article writing, has been hyped into a “silent epidemic” in 2012 because the event and its consequences, such as cognitive and behavioral changes, may be subtle and are not always recognized, which means they can be correlated to almost anything.

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Can advertising make kids fat? 

Childhood obesity rates have tripled in the past 30 years and food marketing has been implicated as one factor contributing to this trend.  A week after the Hostess company, makers of Twinkies, went bankrupt, a member of Congress tried to raise unemployment even more and kill the entire industry by proposing elimination of marketing as a legitimate expense.

Every year, companies spend more than $10 billion in the US marketing their food and beverages to children and 98% of the food products advertised to children on television are high in fat, sugar, or sodium. In a new study, researchers used neuroimaging to look at the effects of food logos on obese and healthy weight children.

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This is the second part of an ongoing guide to building a home Web server. In part one, we stood up a Linux server or virtual machine and installed Nginx, the powerful event-driven open source Web server behind some of the biggest sites on the Internet today (not to mention Ars Technica!). In this section, we’ll continue configuring the server by adding SSL/TLS encryption, enabling it to serve pages via HTTPS.

If you’ve followed the steps we laid out in our initial feature, you’ve got a safe Nginx server all set up and working. It’s serving your static pages without any issue. We don’t yet have a database, PHP, or anything running on it, but we are ready to take the next step: equipping your Web server with SSL/TLS so that you have the option of serving files via HTTPS.

Using HTTPS doesn’t just mean that your traffic is encrypted—encryption is only half of the story and it’s useless without authentication. What good is it to encrypt something between two parties if you can’t be sure of the identity of the person to whom you’re talking? Consequently, being able to serve HTTPS traffic means you must posses a cryptographic certificate attesting to your identity. Acquiring such a certificate requires you prove your identity to one of many Certificate Authorities, or CAs.

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Paternal recognition, being able to identify males from your father’s line, is one way that mammals avoid inbreeding – some can do this is through recognizing the calls of paternal kin. This was thought to occur only in large-brained animals having complex social groups, but a new study shows it can happen in a tiny, solitary primate.

The study finds that the grey mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus) – a small-brained, solitary foraging mammal endemic to Madagascar – is able to recognize paternal relatives via vocalizations, thus providing evidence that this is not dependent upon having a large brain and a high social complexity, as previously suggested.

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At the Excellence in Paediatrics Conference, Madrid, academics from the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene (IFH),  a not‐for profit, non‐governmental organization which works to develop and promote home hygiene practice based on sound scientific principles, call for a radical change in how we think about cleanliness and hygiene in the home. 

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The Grand Canyon is spectacular to look at but figuring out how old it is can be frustrating. A new paper says that conventional models and estimates of the last 150 years are way off – it is far older than the 5 to 6 million years old commonly thought.

“Rather than being formed within the last few million years, our measurements suggest that a deep canyon existed more than 70 million years ago,”  says Kenneth A. Farley, Keck Foundation Professor of Geochemistry at Caltech and coauthor of the study.

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Astronomers find planets in strange places and wonder if they might support life. One such place would be in orbit around a white or brown dwarf. While neither is a star like the sun, both glow and so could be orbited by planets with the right ingredients for life.

No terrestrial, or Earth-like planets have yet been confirmed orbiting white or brown dwarfs, but there is no reason to assume they don’t exist. However, new research by Rory Barnes of the University of Washington and René Heller of Germany’s Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam hints that planets orbiting white or brown dwarfs will prove poor candidates for life.

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H.264 Big Buck Bunny in Firefox on Android 4.2.1.

The Firefox browser is now shipping with support for HTML5 videos compressed with the H.264 codec to users of Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and Samsung phones with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

This is the first time the open source browser has supported the widely used video codec. Firefox’s developer, Mozilla, was reluctant to support H.264 because the open standard was not available on a royalty free basis; implementers of decoders have to pay for a license to use the various patents that cover H.264. Instead, the group hoped the Google-owned VP8 codec would suffice; a hope buoyed by Google’s announcement that Chrome would drop its support for H.264 and concentrate on VP8.

Google never did remove H.264 from Chrome—the browser supports it to this day—and a substantial fraction, possibly 80 percent or more, of HTML5 video on the Web uses the H.264 codec. The growth of mobile platforms made the demand for H.264 support even more acute: hardware acceleration of H.264 decompression is all but universal on mobile devices and taking advantage of this hardware support is essential for providing acceptable battery life.

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