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Tiny Brains Launching on December 3rd for PS4

Hi! It's Simon from Spearhead Games, here again to talk about our upcoming PS4 co-op puzzler Tiny Brains. We finished our very last updates earlier this week, and we're finally done -- it feels so weird to write that after Tiny Brains consumed my entire life for more than a year, but it's true. The whole team is incredibly proud to be bringing Tiny Brains to PS4 on December 3rd. Thanks to PlayStation's support of indies, we were given the option to be featured on PlayStation Plus for the launch -- it was an opportunity we couldn't pass up!
Latest Technology

Solve for X: Help us work towards a radically better future

If we’re going to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, we need more people and teams to take on "moonshots"—audacious projects that create 10x improvement, not 10 percent. Part of that involves encouraging and celebrating the audacity of the attempt. So last week we partnered with Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer to run a special session of Solve for X on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to discuss and debate audacious science and technology moonshots that could transform the world.

Neil Gershenfeld holding up a "Pop FabLab" with Nadya Peek as an example of how 21st century manufacturing won’t just happen in large factories, but out of portable briefcases like this one.

Solve for X is a community of individuals and organizations that work together to accelerate progress on moonshots—and what better group of people to work with than those already thinking about our country’s future? As Susan Molinari, our VP of public policy and government affairs, said at the event: "Policymakers are trying to solve big, intractable problems—and so are engineers. Engineers are tackling challenges that have no answers to date, and so are our policymakers.”

The D.C. event brought together a group of exceptional technologists, entrepreneurs, polymaths-at-large, AAAS fellows, Members of Congress and their staff. Pioneers in their respective fields proposed moonshots in manufacturing, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, and access to natural resources:

  • Neil Gershenfeld and Nadya Peek from the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms proposed setting up FabLabs to bring manufacturing back to America—and in a way appropriate to the 21st century
  • Theresa Condor from NanoSatisfi proposed an inexpensive way to give all students direct access to personal satellites to conduct their own science experiments and to transform adoption of STEM
  • Chris Lewicki from Planetary Resources proposed mining asteroids for natural resources

Majority Leader Eric Cantor (above) said in his opening remarks: “We work in a world of problems, that frankly, any given day somebody could tell you we’ve got a solution for—it’s just about summoning the will to try and actually accomplish it.”

Following the moonshot proposals, we broke into small groups to brainstorm resources, technology and people that could help make the ideas better and happen faster. At Solve for X, brainstorming means two-thirds "yes and"—creating stepping stones to build on an idea—and one-third "yes but—providing critical feedback on blind spots or suggesting alternate implementations.

Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer told us: “You have a psychology of creation. A psychology of ‘what can we imagine?’ And then make it be reality. And that of course is the kind of thinking we need.”

Solve for X co-creators Astro Teller and Megan Smith closed out the event reminding us that moonshots can come from anywhere—people of all ages and places, companies, academia, government, inspired experts, enthusiastic newcomers, even accidental discoveries. So join our 160 moonshot pioneers by submitting your own moonshot video, and contribute to our conversations on Google+ and Twitter—we'd love to hear from you.

Posted by Puneet Ahira, Moonshot Evangelist and Project Lead, Solve for X

Latest Technology

Office 365 news round-up

It's been said that progress involves "looking forward intelligently, looking within critically, and moving on incessantly." And with Office 365, the march of progress continues.

We recently introduced Office 365 in four additional languages and 17 new markets. That means that Office 365 is now available in 40 languages and 141 markets worldwide. We also announced a preview version of Office Remote, which turns your Windows Phone 8 into a smart remote, allowing you to interact with Microsoft Office 2013 or Office 365 documents from across the room. And we enhanced the mobile experience for SharePoint Online with a new touch design for SkyDrive Pro and Sites.

These are just a few of the enhancements we've made to Office 365, as we look forward intelligently, look within critically, and keep the progress moving ahead. Below is a round-up of these and other news items from the last couple weeks. Enjoy!

Why Office 365 Is a Better Office. The flexible approach to Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, and Office means each business can get the right mix of cloud and local for its needs

Microsoft's Office 365 Adds Four New Languages and 17 new Markets, Bringing Total to 40 and 141 Respectively. Microsoft adds four new languages to Office 365 and brings the suites to 17 new markets. added four new languages (Indonesian, Kazakh, Hindi, and Hebrew) to Office 365 and brought the suite to 17 new markets.added four new languages (Indonesian, Kazakh, Hindi, and Hebrew) to Office 365 and brought the suite to 17 new markets.

Office Remote Preview. Microsoft ships a preview version of Office Remote that lets users turn their Windows Phone 8 into a smart remote, allowing them to interact with Microsoft Office 2013 or Office 365 documents in new ways.

Yammer Enterprise in Office 365 Enterprise, First Take: Deeper integration. Microsoft continues to make progress on its plans to converge the Yammer enterprise social tools with SharePoint.

3 Cool Things about SharePoint in Office 365 Enterprise Editions. Three improvements you'll see when implementing SharePoint in your new Office 365 environment.

Poundland Implements Office 365 Across its Stores. Discount retailer Poundland rolls out Office 365 to improve collaboration and communication among staff.

Gmail is Boiling the Frog - and We Are the Frog. Users of Gmail "have sold our souls for free email."

You've Been Googled: Google to Expose Your Face in Online Ads. Google's Shared Endorsements may be tying your photo and quotes to online ads without your knowledge.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service — if this is your content and you're reading it on someone else's site, please read the FAQ at

Latest Technology

Nokia Lumia 1020′s latest ad is hilarious

Nokia France has released a pretty funny video commercial about the Lumia 1020 monstrous cameraphone in France. The new ad focuses on the huge 41MP sensor and its capabilities to capture even the tiniest detail and the farthest of objects. Enjoy! N...
Latest Technology

Apple outs unlocked iPhone 5s in the US, starting at $649

After seeing international availability in select markets over the past several weeks, an unlocked variant of the iPhone 5s has made its way to the US Apple online store. You can now get the iPhone 5s in either gray, gold, or silver in either 16GB, 32...
Latest Technology, NVIDIA

Powerful tool for genetic engineering

Nov. 22, 2013 — Viruses cannot only cause illnesses in humans, they also infect bacteria. Those protect themselves with a kind of 'immune system' which -- simply put -- consists of specific sequences in the genetic material of the bacteria and a suitable enzyme. It detects foreign DNA, which may originate from a virus, cuts it up and thus makes the invaders harmless.

Scientists from the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig have now shown that the dual-RNA guided enzyme Cas9, which is involved in the process, has developed independently in various strains of bacteria. This enhances the potential of exploiting the bacterial immune system for genome engineering.

Even though it has only been discovered in recent years the immune system with the cryptic name 'CRISPR-Cas' has been attracting attention of geneticists and biotechnologists as it is a promising tool for genetic engineering. CRISPR is short for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Palindromic Repeats, whereas Cas simply stands for the CRISPR-associated protein. Throughout evolution, this molecule has developed independently in numerous strains of bacteria. This is now shown by Prof Emmanuelle Charpentier and her colleagues at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) who published their finding in the international open access journal Nucleic Acids Research.

The CRISPR-Cas-system is not only valuable for bacteria but also for working in the laboratory. It detects a specific sequence of letters in the genetic code and cuts the DNA at this point. Thus, scientists can either remove or add genes at the interface. By this, for instance, plants can be cultivated which are resistant against vermins or fungi. Existing technologies doing the same thing are often expensive, time consuming or less accurate. In contrast to them the new method is faster, more precise and cheaper, as fewer components are needed and it can target longer gene sequences.

Additionally, this makes the system more flexible, as small changes allow the technology to adapt to different applications. "The CRISPR-Cas-system is a very powerful tool for genetic engineering," says Emmanuelle Charpentier, who came to the HZI from Umeå and was awarded with the Humboldt Professorship in 2013. "We have analyzed and compared the enzyme Cas9 and the dual-tracrRNAs-crRNAs that guide this enzyme site-specifically to the DNA in various strains of bacteria." Their findings allow them to classify the Cas9 proteins originating from different bacteria into groups. Within those the CRISPR-Cas systems are exchangeable which is not possible between different groups.

This allows for new ways of using the technology in the laboratory: The enzymes can be combined and thereby a variety of changes in the target-DNA can be made at once. Thus, a new therapy for genetic disorders caused by different mutations in the DNA of the patient could be on the horizon. Furthermore, the method could be used to fight the AIDS virus HIV which uses a receptor of the human immune cells to infect them. Using CRISPR-Cas, the gene for the receptor could be removed and the patients could become immune to the virus. However, it is still a long way until this aim will be reached.

Still those examples show the huge potential of the CRISPR-Cas technology. "Some of my colleagues already compare it to the PCR," says Charpentier. This method, developed in the 1980s, allows scientists to 'copy' nucleic acids and therefore to manifold small amounts of DNA to such an extent that they can be analyzed biochemically. Without this ground-breaking technology a lot of experiments we consider to be routine would have never been possible.

Charpentier was not looking for new molecular methods in the first place. "Originally, we were looking for new targets for antibiotics. But we found something completely different," says Charpentier. This is not rare in science. In fact some of the most significant scientific discoveries have been made incidentally or accidentally.


Pre-industrial rise in greenhouse gases had natural and anthropogenic causes

Nov. 22, 2013 — For years scientists have intensely argued over whether increases of potent methane gas concentrations in the atmosphere - from about 5,000 years ago to the start of the industrial revolution - were triggered by natural causes or human activities.

A new study, which will be published Friday in the journal Science, suggests the increase in methane likely was caused by both.

Lead author Logan Mitchell, who coordinated the research as a doctoral student at Oregon State University, said the "early anthropogenic hypothesis," which spawned hundreds of scientific papers as well as books, cannot fully explain on its own the rising levels of atmospheric methane during the past 5,000 years, a time period known as the mid- to late-Holocene. That theory suggests that human activities such as rice agriculture were responsible for the increasing methane concentrations.

Opponents of that theory argue that human activities during that time did not produce significant amounts of methane and thus natural emissions were the dominant cause for the rise in atmospheric CH4.

"We think that both played a role," said Mitchell, who is now a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Utah. "The increase in methane emissions during the late Holocene came primarily from the tropics, with some contribution from the extratropical Northern Hemisphere.

"Neither modeled natural emissions alone, nor hypothesized anthropogenic emissions alone, are able to account for the full increase in methane concentrations," Mitchell added. "Combined, however, they could account for the full increase."

Scientists determine methane levels by examining ice cores from polar regions. Gas bubbles containing ancient air trapped within the ice can be analyzed and correlated with chronological data to determine methane levels on a multidecadal scale. Mitchell and his colleagues examined ice cores from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide and the Greenland Ice Sheet Project and found differences between the two.

Ice cores from Greenland had higher methane levels than those from Antarctica because there are greater methane emissions in the Northern Hemisphere. The difference in methane levels between the hemispheres, called the Inter-Polar Difference, did not change appreciably over time.

"If the methane increase was solely natural or solely anthropogenic, it likely would have tilted the Inter-Polar Difference out of its pattern of relative stability over time," Mitchell said.

Since coming out of the ice age some 10,000 years ago summer solar insolation in the Northern Hemisphere has been decreasing as a result of the Earth's changing orbit, according to Edward Brook, a paleoclimatologist in Oregon State's College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences and Mitchell's major professor. This decrease affects the strength of Asian summer monsoons, which produce vast wetlands and emit methane into the atmosphere.

Yet some 5,000 years ago, atmospheric methane began rising and had increased about 17 percent by the time the industrial revolution began around 1750.

"Theoretically, methane levels should have decreased with the loss of solar insolation in the Northern Hemisphere, or at least remained stable instead of increasing," said Brook, a co-author on the Science article. "They had been roughly on a parallel track for some 800,000 years."

Mitchell used previous models that hypothesized reasons for the methane increase - both natural and anthropogenic - and compared them to the newly garnered ice core data. None of them alone proved sufficient for explaining the greenhouse gas increase. When he developed his own model combining characteristics of both the natural and anthropogenic hypotheses, it agreed closely with the ice core data.

Other researchers have outlined some of the processes that may have contributed to changes in methane emissions. More than 90 percent of the population lived in the Northern Hemisphere, especially in the lower latitudes, and the development of rice agriculture and cattle domestication likely had an influence on methane emissions. On the natural side, changes in the Earth's orbit could have been responsible for increasing methane emissions from tropical wetlands.

"All of these things likely have played a role," Mitchell said, "but none was sufficient to do it alone."

The study was supported by the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs, with additional support from the Oregon National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Grant Consortium.


Expert assessment: Sea-level rise could exceed one meter in this century

Nov. 22, 2013 — Sea-level rise in this century is likely to be 70-120 centimeters by 2100 if greenhouse-gas emissions are not mitigated, a broad assessment of the most active scientific publishers on that topic has revealed. The 90 experts participating in the survey anticipate a median sea-level rise of 200-300 centimeters by the year 2300 for a scenario with unmitigated emissions.

In contrast, for a scenario with strong emissions reductions, experts expect a sea-level rise of 40-60 centimeters by 2100 and 60-100 centimeters by 2300. The survey was conducted by a team of scientists from the USA and Germany.

"While the results for the scenario with climate mitigation suggest a good chance of limiting future sea-level rise to one meter, the high emissions scenario would threaten the survival of some coastal cities and low-lying islands," says Stefan Rahmstorf from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. "From a risk management perspective, projections of future sea-level rise are of major importance for coastal planning, and for weighing options of different levels of ambition in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions."

Projecting sea-level rise, however, comes with large uncertainties, since the physical processes causing the rise are complex. They include the expansion of ocean water as it warms, the melting of mountain glaciers and ice caps and of the two large ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, and the pumping of ground water for irrigation purposes. Different modeling approaches yield widely differing answers. The recently published IPCC report had to revise its projections upwards by about 60 percent compared to the previous report published in 2007, and other assessments of sea-level rise compiled by groups of scientists resulted in even higher projections. The observed sea-level rise as measured by satellites over the past two decades has exceeded earlier expectations.

Largest elicitation on sea-level rise ever: 90 key experts from 18 countries

"It this therefore useful to know what the larger community of sea-level experts thinks, and we make this transparent to the public," says lead author Benjamin Horton from the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University in New Jersey. "We report the largest elicitation on future sea-level rise conducted from ninety objectively selected experts from 18 countries." The experts were identified from peer-reviewed literature published since 2007 using the publication database 'Web of Science' of Thomson Reuters, an online scientific indexing service, to make sure they are all active researchers in this area. 90 international experts, all of whom published at least six peer-reviewed papers on the topic of sea-level during the past 5 years, provided their probabilistic assessment.

The survey finds most experts expecting a higher rise than the latest IPCC projections of 28-98 centimeters by the year 2100. Two thirds (65%) of the respondents gave a higher value than the IPCC for the upper end of this range, confirming that IPCC reports tend to be conservative in their assessment.

The experts were also asked for a "high-end" estimate below which they expect sea-level to stay with 95 percent certainty until the year 2100. This high-end value is relevant for coastal planning. For unmitigated emissions, half of the experts (51%) gave 1.5 meters or more and a quarter (27%) 2 meters or more. The high-end value in the year 2300 was given as 4.0 meters or higher by the majority of experts (58%).

While we tend to look at projections with a focus on the relatively short period until 2100, sea-level rise will obviously not stop at that date. "Overall, the results for 2300 by the expert survey as well as the IPCC illustrate the risk that temperature increases from unmitigated emissions could commit coastal populations to a long-term, multi-meter sea-level rise," says Rahmstorf. "They do, however, illustrate also the potential for escaping such large sea-level rise through substantial reductions of emissions."


College students more likely to be lawbreakers if spanked as children

Nov. 22, 2013 — No matter where they live in the world, university students who were spanked as children are more likely to engage in criminal behavior, according to new research by Murray Straus, co-director of University of New Hampshire Family Research Lab. Even young adults whose parents were generally loving and helpful as they were growing up showed higher rates of criminal behavior.

Straus will present the research results, "Crime by University Students in 15 Nations: Links to Spanking and Positive Parenting at Age 10 by Father, Mother, And Both Parents," today at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology in Atlanta.

"The results show that spanking is associated with an increase in subsequent misbehavior, which is the opposite of what almost everyone believes. These results are consistent with a large number of high quality peer-reviewed studies," Straus said.

Straus looked at criminality trends of university students in 15 countries using nine measures of criminality. The measures are criminal beliefs, antisocial personality, father assaulted by child in previous year, mother assaulted by child in previous year, physical assault of partner in previous year, severe physical assault of partner in previous year, physically injured partner in previous year, attacked someone intending to seriously injure them, and stolen money from anyone, including family.

The 15 countries are Hong Kong, Taiwan, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Norway, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Israel, Canada, and the United States. Straus took into account the influence of such factors as parental education, misbehavior as a child, loving and positive approach to correcting misbehavior, student gender, student age, and nation. One of the most interesting findings was related to the effect of parents who took a loving and positive approach but who also spanked their children.

"So many parents and child psychologists believe that if spanking is done by loving and helpful parents, it has no harmful effect," Straus said. "This study and only one other study I know of that empirically investigated this belief found that it is not true. Spanking seems to be associated with an increased probability of subsequent child behavior problems regardless of culture and, regardless of whether it done by loving and helpful parents."

"Children need lots guidance and correction, but not by being physically attacked under the euphemism of 'spanking,' " Straus said.

Straus found that positive parenting decreased the probability of subsequent crime but mainly for nonfamily crime. And even though positive parenting was associated with less crime by students, the relation of spanking to crime remained for all nine aspects of crime.

"Most people will find these results hard to understand because parents spank to correct misbehavior and to teach the child to be law-abiding citizens," Straus said.

Straus also investigated the criminal behavior of university students who were spanked just by their fathers, just by their mothers, or by both parents. He found that university students who were spanked by both parents are associated with the greatest increase in criminality for eight of the nine criminality measures.

In most of the 15 nations, two-thirds of university students said they were hit when they were age 10, and among those who were hit, they said it typically was between once and twice a week. If university students were hit by only one parent, more often than not the mother was the parent carrying out the punishment.

Straus' findings are based on data from the International Parenting Study of 15 nations and 11,408 university students.

Widely considered the foremost researcher in his field, Straus is the co-director of the Family Research Laboratory and professor emeritus of sociology at UNH. He has studied spanking by large and representative samples of American parents since 1969. His newest book is "The Primordial Violence: Spanking Children, Psychological Development, Violence, and Crime" (Routledge, 2013). He also is the author of "Beating The Devil Out Of Them: Corporal Punishment In American Families And Its Effects On Children" (Transaction, 2006).

He has been president of three scientific societies including the National Council on Family Relations, and has been an advisor to the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Much of his research on spanking can be downloaded from

Straus's research was supported, in part, by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Latest Technology

Alleged metal frame of Samsung Galaxy S5 pictured

Add this to the list of "maybe, but maybe not" rumors about the Samsung Galaxy S5. Leaked images show a metal frame for a smartphone, allegedly the Galaxy S5.

The frame measures 143.8 x 72.3mm, compared to 136.6 x 69.8mm for the current Galaxy S4 and 151.2 x 79.2mm for the Galaxy Note 3. This, of course, leads to speculations that the Galaxy S5 will have a larger screen (any S phone so far has).

It should be noted that a metal frame does not necessarily mean metal exterior – the frame can easily be covered in plastic panels.

Also, the camera hole is in one of the corners, even though Samsung puts cameras on the center line of the back (not always though, the camera on the original Galaxy S was in the corner). Also, the 3.5mm audio jack is at the bottom, while Samsung design dictates it should be on the top.

Anyway, this could be a frame for the metal-clad Galaxy F line, which isn't official yet. Or it might really be for the Galaxy S5, which some rumors say will launch in January next year. Then again, until we see the frame with a Samsung logo stamped on it, we're not getting our hopes up.

Source (in French) | Via

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Huawei aims to ship 20 million phones in Q4

Standing tall as the sixth largest smartphone manufacturer (as per Gartner data) Huawei is now aiming to ship 20 million smartphones in Q4 this year. That's a significant boost from the 13.5 million smartphones that the Chinese company shipped in the...