Chalk one up for the chatterboxes. In a study spanning 18 years and more than 350,000 test subjects, researchers in Denmark have found no connection between cellphone usage and brain cancer. The landmark project, carried out by Denmark’s Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, was published online last week in the British Medical Journal, and is just the latest in a series of similarly optimistic studies. Of the 358,403 cellphone owners examined, only 356 were found to have a brain tumor, while 856 were diagnosed with cancer of the central nervous system — percentages that are comparable to those seen among non-mobile users. Even among long-term cellphone owners (13 years or more), incidence rates were not significantly higher than those observed among the general population. Hazel Nunn, head of evidence and health information at Cancer Research UK, described the study as “the strongest evidence yet that using a mobile phone does not seem to increase the risk of cancers of the brain or central nervous system in adults.” The study’s authors, however, acknowledge some shortcomings in their work, including the exclusion of “corporate subscriptions” — people who use their mobile devices for work, and who probably use them more heavily than the average consumer. They also recognized the need for longer-term research and for more child-specific studies. You can check out the article in full, at the coverage link below.
Cellphones are dangerous / not dangerous: Danish study tilts toward the latter originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 25 Oct 2011 06:20:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, cellphones dangerous
Akamai’s annual State of the Internet report is loaded with all sorts of interesting, if not terribly surprising, tidbits about both broad and narrowband connections around the globe. The big news? The world-wide average connection speed has jumped 23-percent from last year, to 2.1Mbps. Speeds in the good ol’ US-of-A were up 15-percent for an average of 5.3Mbps, though we still languish in 14th place on the list of fastest countries. As expected, Asia continues to dominate the speed race, with 61 cities in Japan alone making the top 100 list. If you want the fastest connections the States have to offer you’ll have to head for San Jose or Riverside in CA or the home of the Wu (that’s Staten Island for those of you not in the know), which all tied with an average 7.8Mbps connection. Check out the PR after the break and click the more coverage link to download some charts.
Continue reading Akamai sees internet speeds climb, Asia still dominates broadband arms race
Akamai sees internet speeds climb, Asia still dominates broadband arms race originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 26 Jul 2011 21:22:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, broadband access
Judging by the headlines today, Samsung’s 3D R&D department made a huge mistake, just check them out: “Who Could Have Guessed: 3D Hurts Your Eyes”, “Samsung-funded study finds 3D video causes extra eye strain, fatigue”, “Samsung study finds that 3D video causes eye strain, fatigue”. It seems obvious that Samsung’s research grant financing a UC Berkeley study published in the Journal of Vision was wasted, except for one minor issue — all of those headlines are wrong. “The zone of comfort: Predicting visual discomfort with stereo displays” is actually trying to find out why 3D-related eyestrain happens. That it can and does happen with poorly formatted video, whether 2D, 3D or otherwise, is already known.
Scrolling down beyond the abstract reveals the prof’s data actually indicated a wider comfort zone than 3D video producers commonly assumed with their percentage rule of thumb. It’s a Friday night and you don’t have to pick thumbing through dry descriptions of experiments over whatever your plans are, but that’s why you have us. Shockingly, companies desperately hawking 3D tech are busy making it better instead of undermining their own products, but you’d have to actually read the study to find out for sure.
Samsung studies 3D viewing discomfort, finds out bloggers don’t read originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 22 Jul 2011 21:03:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, uc berkeley
O Canada — your wacky scientists are at it again. And this time, the bright minds over at the University of Western Ontario have their third eye set on a certain precognitive prize. Avoiding the messier open-skull, electrode-imbedding alternative, researchers at the Centre for Brain and Mind employed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to successfully predict the action of participants’ hands before they’d moved a muscle. After a year of brain-scanning trials, scientists learned to accurately foretell which signals were linked to one of three set actions: grabbing the top of an object, its bottom, or simply reaching out to touch it. Like our clairvoyant cousin’s previous beverage-predicting breakthrough, the spoils of this study go to prosthetic limb motion control and the paralyzed who’ll use it. We know what you’re thinking, but we’re not going to make the obvious Thing joke here. Instead, we have to wonder — What Would Ms. Cleo Do? Full release after the break, but you already knew that.
Continue reading Canadian scientists scan your brain, know how you want to hold your hand
Canadian scientists scan your brain, know how you want to hold your hand originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 05 Jul 2011 07:48:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, read minds
Isn’t it curious how you always crack open a beer before settling in for some GTA? Or how you tend to put an anxious hand over your wallet when logging onto PSN? No soldier, it is not curious. Not at all. But this is: Researchers at North Carolina State University claim they’ve found a way to predict your in-game behavior with “up to 80 percent accuracy.” After analyzing the decision-making of 14,000 World of Warcraft players, they noticed that different players prefer different types of achievements. These preferred achievements clump together into statistically significant groups, known as “cliques”, even if they have nothing obvious in common. So a WoW player who likes to improve their unarmed combat skills also, for some psychological reason, tends to want points for world travel. What’s more, the researchers believe that clique-spotting can be exploited outside the rather specific world of WoW, in which case their method could prove lucrative to game designers, online retailers and pretty much anyone with an interest in predicting your next move. Want to know more? Then we predict you’ll click the PR after the break.
Continue reading Shocker! Gamer behavior is actually quite predictable
Shocker! Gamer behavior is actually quite predictable originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 14 Jun 2011 16:47:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
We’ve all no doubt mocked an in-flight call to shut off all portable electronic devices at some point — heck, we’ve all probably had a saucy flight attendant who’s done the mocking for us. After all, the idea that our plane might plummet 30,000 feet because we’re fiddling with our iPhone seems a bit silly, given all we know about portable electronics. A newly discovered study conducted by the International Air Transport Association, however, calls into question the flippant nature with which most of us dismiss those warnings. Between 2003 and 2009, the study found 75 incidents in which electronic interference may have affected flight controls, navigation systems, or set off engine indications. It’s far from definitive proof — it’s more along the lines of anecdotal evidence from crew members, but hey, anything we can do help our plane keep flying is probably a good thing, right?
Portable electronic devices may / may not make your plane fall out of the sky originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 11 Jun 2011 11:03:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, air travel
No one said bathing the great United States in LTE would be easy, but the hits just keep on coming for Falcone and co. Following up on reports and concerns about LightSquared’s possible interference, a government study has found that the outfit’s proposed broadband network does indeed impede GPS signals. According to the National PNT Engineering Forum, the federal advisory group that conducted the study, LiqhtSquared’s network disrupted GPS signals for all of the devices tested in the area. The report lists OnStar, Garmin, John Deere, emergency services, the FAA, and NASA among those affected by interference. Both LightSquared and the GPS industry are scheduled to present their own tests for the FCC’s consideration next week. The news isn’t exactly shocking, but it certainly doesn’t bode well for the ambitious LTE network.
Government report finds LightSquared’s LTE interferes with GPS — color us surprised originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 10 Jun 2011 19:31:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, emergency services
, global positioning
, gps interference
, john deere
, lte network
Poor arachnophobes — it’s bad enough that 3D movies can make it look like swarms of eight-legged freaks are pouring out of the screen, now Disney wants you to feel the creepy crawlies, too. In a presumed effort to one-up those “4D” chairs used at Shrek’s castle down in Orlando, the company has been working on what it calls Tactile Brush — a chair with an array of 12 vibrating coils that are able to simulate anything from the sensation of speeding around a race track to the delicate drip of rain on your back. Two techniques are used: apparent motion, which triggers two motors in quick succession to create the illusion of something moving over your skin, and phantom sensation, in which two stationary vibrations are felt as a single tingle between the two points. Disney researchers demoed Tactile Brush at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Vancouver using a racing game, but hope to bring it to amusement park rides and movie theaters — which, in the right hands, should lead to more screaming and at least a few pairs of wet pants.
Tactile Brush uses sensory illusions to let you feel games, movies originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 28 May 2011 13:01:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, apparent motion
Piling on cores is one way to boost performance, but it’s not necessarily the most efficient way — researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a new prefetching technique for processors that could boost performance by up to 40-percent. As you may know, any data not stored in a CPU’s cache must be pulled from RAM, but as more cores are added they can create a bottleneck by competing for memory access. To counter this designers use prefetching to predict what information will be needed and grab it ahead of time, but guessing wrong can hurt performance. Researchers tackled this problem from two fronts: first, by creating a better algorithm for divvying up bandwidth, and second, by selectively turning off prefetching when it might slow the CPU. Full PR and an abstract of the study being published June 9th are after the break.
Continue reading Researchers boost multi-core CPU performance with better prefetching
Researchers boost multi-core CPU performance with better prefetching originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 26 May 2011 18:12:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
We knew that well-trained bees were capable of sniffing out dynamite and other explosives, but researchers at MIT have now come up with a slightly less militant way to use our winged friends as bomb detectors. A team of chemical engineers at the school recently developed a new, ultra-sensitive sensor that’s sharp enough to detect even one molecule of TNT. Their special ingredient? Bee venom. Turns out, a bee’s poison contains protein fragments called bombolitins, that react to explosive compounds. To create the detector, researchers applied these bombolitins to naturally fluorescent carbon nanotubes. Whenever an explosive molecule binds with the protein fragments, the interaction will alter the wavelength of the carbon cylinder’s fluorescent light. The shift is too small for the naked eye to pick up on, but can be detected using specially designed microscopes. If it’s ever developed for commercial use, the sensor could provide a more acute alternative to the spectrometry-based detectors used at most airport security checkpoints. At the moment, however, the technology isn’t quite ready to be deployed on a widespread basis, so feel free to keep on living in fear. Full PR after the break.
Continue reading Bee venom used to create ultra-sensitive explosives sensor
Bee venom used to create ultra-sensitive explosives sensor originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 10 May 2011 07:27:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.