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Hear Ye! Directional Sound Enabled by Superfast Neurons


first_img(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 How can you tell where sounds come from?  The brain is quicker than the speed of sound between your ears.There’s only about 8 inches between your ears (more, perhaps, for fatheads).  The speed of sound is finite.  The tiny time lag between the arrival at one ear compared to the other is what enables us to sense the source direction of the sound, but there’s more to it than that.  If signals did not get processed in the brain faster than the time lag, the information would not be useful.Science Daily asks, “How Do We Locate the Spatial Position of Sounds? Mechanism Responsible for Creation of Giant Synapses Discovered.”  Sure enough, there are massive hubs or neural intersections in our brains that can process information faster than the speed of sound.  Here’s the upshot (notice the astonishment):Humans and most mammals can determine the spatial origin of sounds with remarkable acuity. We use this ability all the time — crossing the street; locating an invisible ringing cell phone in a cluttered bedroom. To accomplish this small daily miracle, the brain has developed a circuit that’s rapid enough to detect the tiny lag that occurs between the moment the auditory information reaches one of our ears, and the moment it reaches the other. The mastermind of this circuit is the “Calyx of Held,” the largest known synapse in the brain. EPFL scientists have revealed the role that a certain protein plays in initiating the growth of these giant synapses.Because it resembles the calyx of a flower, anatomist H. Held described it as such in 1893.  Regarding it, Wikipedia says, “This structure is specially designed for fast, efficient transportation of information from one cell to the next.”  The part of the brain that processes auditory information has a number of these structures.According to the Science Daily article, studies at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) show the Calyx of Held to act “almost like peer-to-peer communication between neurons.”  These synapses have hundreds of inputs.  “The result is that information is processed extremely quickly, in a few fractions of a millisecond, instead of the slower pace of more than 10 milliseconds that occurs in most other neuronal circuits.”EPFL scientists identified a protein named BMP that is implicated in developing the contact points for the Calyx of Held.  “The impact of this study will go well beyond increasing our understanding of the auditory system,” the article says.  “The results suggest that the BMP protein plays an important role in developing connectivity in the brain.”Medical Xpress begins with an image of the giant synapse.“The brain has developed” this circuit.  Funny; did you ever ask your brain to do that?  There’s another example of pulling off evolutionary magic by misdirection.In his excellent book, The Wonder of Man (1999), Dr. Werner Gitt provided numerous amazing details about our senses.  The ear, “our highest precision sense organ,” is able to detect energy ratios of one million million to one, an “astonishing feat” that approaches auditory perfection.  Since each ear provides two sound paths, we actually get four inputs for localizing sound sources.  Considering the path lengths and the speed of sound, the brain must be able to process inputs arriving as close as 0.00003 seconds apart.  “In acoustic orientation terms this means that a sound source located only about 3° from the centre line of the head is recognized as being off-centre,” he said.  The slight difference in sound intensity between the two ears also gives us information on the distance to the sound.Dr. Gitt’s book, though 14 years old, is highly recommended if you can find it.  It’s well illustrated and extremely interesting.  Not only does he provide a wealth of information about the senses and other body organs, he gives the glory not just to an unspecified designer, but to the Lord Jesus Christ.  [Note: None of the secular sources in this entry dared mention their idol, Charlie.]  The power of the Christian explanation for the wonders of creation is in the details that this book so beautifully presents.last_img read more


5 Years On: ReadWriteWeb’s 2004 Interview With Tim O’Reilly


first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… With the benefit of hindsight, I think O’Reilly nailed it in 2004 with this statement: “Microsoft will continue to dominate on the PC, but the PC is going to be a smaller and smaller part of the entire business.”The Mobile Web, for one, has taken attention away from Microsoft. Which is where Apple comes in…Apple and Web 2.0At the inaugural 2004 Web 2.0 Conference, Apple was a no-show. In talking about Apple’s position in the Web industry back then, O’Reilly said that “Apple is in a position they’ve been in a lot of times before. They’re like Moses showing the way to the promised land, but they don’t actually go there.”Although Apple never did open up, as O’Reilly foresaw, nevertheless they went on to create the most successful new gadget of the past decade: the iPhone. Apple also created a thriving iPhone app ecosystem. So in the case of the Mobile Web, Moses (a.k.a. Steve Jobs) actually did lead us to the promised land! Remember that Facebook had just launched in February 2004 and was confined to some selected American Universities (Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and Yale). It had yet to reach the 1 million users mark. While O’Reilly couldn’t have known that Facebook would turn into the juggernaut it now is, he did accurately predict that data lock-in would become a major issue:“I believe that data lock-in of various kinds is going to be one of the key tools of business advantage in the internet era. I think that as companies realize this, they will figure out how to be evil – so to speak (to use Google’s terminology) – and I predict that we will in fact have some major battles in that area.”ConclusionIt is remarkable how much can change in the Web industry in five years. Back in 2004, Facebook was a baby and Twitter wasn’t even a glint in the milkman’s eye. Among the big companies of that time, Apple hadn’t yet given birth to the revolutionary iPhone and Microsoft was entering its mid-life crisis.On reflection, Tim O’Reilly did extremely well in his 2004 predictions – considering how fast the Internet evolves. And I’m still grateful to him for giving an interview to an unknown New Zealand blogger. How times change…Image credits: Niall Kennedy; Shht!; Alex Eckford 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Facebook and Data Lock-inIn 2004 I noted that “a lot of what Web 2.0 is about is users producing content and not just consuming it.” I pointed to O’Reilly’s own example at the time: Amazon compared to the Barnes & Noble website. However, I said that “the other side of that coin […] is the ‘data lock-in’ of users, where users may not necessarily have control over their content.” I asked O’Reilly if that was something for users to be concerned about?O’Reilly replied, in November 2004, that “there are companies that are trying to use data lock-in as a competitive tool – and there will eventually be a recognition that this is a problem.” This has indeed happened – and data lock-in is nowhere more of a problem than on the world’s most popular social network circa 2009, Facebook. Over the past few years we at ReadWriteWeb have written many articles about Facebook’s ‘walled garden’ approach to user data. Users can’t take their personal data elsewhere. What’s more, there have been bungled attempts to use that data for commercial means. Five years ago I interviewed tech publisher Tim O’Reilly about a new term that his company had just coined: Web 2.0. The first Web 2.0 conference had been held the previous month, October 2004, and O’Reilly had graciously agreed to give an interview to yours truly – “an unknown blogger from New Zealand,” as I put it back then. The interview ran in a 3-part series (see also part 2 and part 3) and covered Web 2.0, new business models, social software and eBooks.I’ve always been a big believer in learning from history as we look to the future. So let’s re-visit this interview from five years ago and see how prescient the father of Web 2.0 was.Microsoft and Web 2.0In 2004 the leading Web 2.0 companies were Google, Yahoo! and Amazon. But what of the dominant software company of the previous generation, Microsoft? I asked Tim O’Reilly back in November 2004 whether Microsoft’s core strategy of software lock-in would survive in web 2.0?O’Reilly argued that Microsoft would have to change: “I think that the business of Microsoft, the company of Microsoft, is going to continue to succeed. But I think the business model of Microsoft is going to have to change.”This has turned out to be the case. Over the past 5 years, Microsoft has slowly rolled out a “software plus services” strategy under the catch-all phrase ‘Live.’ While the Windows OS and desktop software such as Office continue to be Microsoft’s mainstay products, some of the functionality gradually moved into the cloud – e.g. syncing over devices. Vista, the current generation of Windows, began that transition. In 2009, Microsoft is even taking steps to put Office online. Tags:#Analysis#web Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… richard macmanuslast_img read more


Why Apple’s iPad Will Beat Out Kindle as a News Reader


first_img8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts Tags:#Apple#web mike melanson A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… While there are a million rumors over what Apple’s new tablet will do, from having a built-in Web cam to doing your laundry (not really), we can be sure that it will at least have a color display and show pictures, right? These simple features would put it well ahead of the Kindle in the newspaper industry’s hopes of finding a savior in new technology.A study out of the University of Georgia took a look at whether or not the Kindle would be a viable substitute for the traditional newspaper and it found the device lacking in a few key areas.The results were pretty much as expected: devices like the Kindle need some basic functionality, like color, photographs and touch screens in order to pull newspaper readers in. According to the study, many of the respondents agreed that the Kindle was easy to read, but for many of the younger participants, the Kindle felt “old” and lacked many of the basic features, such as music and Internet access, they had become used to with smartphones.Smartphones, on the other hand, while containing all of these features, are not designed for reading as a primary activity. They are made for portability and interactivity. So the size and continued portability of a tablet would allow for increased readability, while retaining the functionality of a smartphone. With the Kindle, users lamented the loss of the crossword and the comics, features we certainly could not do without, either.We do wonder, however, if the issue of screen glare when being used outside will be addressed with this new tablet. Sunny or cloudy, we can see a newspaper just the same, but an LCD display can very much depend on the lighting. At least we know a breezy day won’t be an issue, like with a newspaper, and reading on the subway should be, well, a breeze.Just on these simple facts alone, Apple’s yet-to-be-announced tablet stands out as a much more viable option as a news reader, but even then, we wonder if it can make a difference.Editors Note: Headline was altered to include “iPad” as it was announced live at Apple’s conference today.last_img read more


We don’t believe we are from two different countries: Bopanna


first_imgThe India-Pakistan connection made them a global talking point at the US Open but Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi do not even consider themselves from two different nations.They were the first India-Pakistan combination to reach a Grand Slam final and their coming together and doing well at a tennis major, generated a huge interest.Even the Ambassadors from the two countries to the United Nations came together to cheer them and it was enough for media to add some political colour to the coverage, considering the two countries have fought three wars since becoming independent.Media coined terms like ‘Indo-Pak Express, Indo-Pak peace pair’ to describe their pairing but Bopanna today said he and Qureshi have never thought about the countries they belong to and their compatibility as individuals was the sole reason behind their partnership.”Qureshi and I got together because we felt that we would make a good doubles team. We know each other for so long and have a great understanding so it only made sense to play together.”We never intended on making any political statement. It is the media who gives us these tags, we never look at each other as being from different countries,” Bopanna told PTI in an interview.Asked that playing with a strong slogan such as “Stop War, Start Tennis” itself was a political statement, Bopanna said them being ambassadors for peace was the sole reason for having that message on their on-court attire.”We are just here to play tennis. We are great friends off the court and are looking to take our careers forward together. Since we are ambassadors for peace we try to spread that message through sports. We are not here to make any political statements,” he insisted. .advertisementThey brought together the two hostile nations to clap, scream and enjoy together and Bopanna said he and Qureshi would love to do more with their partnership.”Well, we want people to trust and respect each other.Sports should never be subject to religion or politics,” he said.Talking about the biggest match of their career, the Indian Davis Cupper said he and Qureshi now have the belief that they are Grand Slam material and could soon even win one.”Earlier we used to win the first set but fall of on the second set and then take the third. But now we want to win big. We focus even harder on the second set, and the entire US Open, the only sets we dropped were in the finals.”Also that we can compete at this level and we know we belong here. We just need to stay focused, work hard and we can win a Grand Slam final.”The runners-up trophy has already earned them a huge bonanza as they are now ranked world number six.”Hopefully, it will lead to many great performances and eventually take us to the No.1 spot in doubles. I am noted as a confidence player, and I am sure that this final, will help me be a more confident player and doing better.”Bopanna could have been only the fourth Indian and Qureshi first Pakistani to win a Grand Slam had they beaten the Bryan brothers — Mike and Bob — in the US Open final.They are little disappointed to miss out on history but still very much satisfied.”We are still working our way towards winning a Grand Slam. Despite the result it was a great achievement to make it to the finals. We were a bit disappointed, but looking back I think that is definitely something to be proud of,” he said.last_img read more


More Jamaicans for Overseas Employment Programme


first_img More Jamaicans should receive employment opportunities in Canada and the United States. The move comes as the demand for skilled Jamaicans continue to grow in Canada and the United States. The Minister pointed out that Canada, in particular, has a huge labour market that needs to be filled. Story Highlights More Jamaicans should receive employment opportunities in Canada and the United States, as the Government seeks to expand the overseas employment programme.Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says the move comes as the demand for skilled Jamaicans continue to grow in Canada and the United States. He informed that the Canadian farm work programme should see a 10 to 15 per cent growth this year.“The same goes for the United States where we were down a couple years ago, but the numbers are creeping up again and we expect to see, based on new legislations that President Obama is trying to get through the Congress and the Senate, additional opportunities for us here in Jamaica, if those legislations are approved . So, there is going to be growth,” the Minister said.Mr. Kellier  was speaking at a meeting with representatives of Caribbean Airlines to formalize agreements for flying Jamaican workers to the United States and Canada.The Minister pointed out that Canada, in particular, has a huge labour market that needs to be filled. He noted that Jamaica is currently doing well in filling some of that demand, but “we can double the numbers in another three years.”He  emphasized that the programme is of mutual benefit to the countries involved, as it provides work for Jamaicans, so that they can take care of their families as well as help to generate economic activity within the  US and Canada.“So, it is a cross border win, win situation for both of us and hence we in Jamaica have something to protect and to uphold, to ensure that this programme runs smoothly and that it develops and expands for the benefit of all our citizens who have the ability to participate in it; and that the employers in North America can be satisfied that they get good quality workers to expand their business in a productive way,” the Minister said.Mr. Kellier noted that the Government has put in “a lot of effort to grow the programme,” and warned against any illegal activity that might compromise the programme.“We have put in a lot of resources to ensure the integrity of the programme at all levels. We want to ensure that we stand up to the highest level at scrutiny… We cannot afford to have persons travelling on the aircraft with illegal substances,” he said.The Minister pointed out that the overseas employment programme benefits the country immensely, with the foreign exchange that is remitted.last_img read more


Fort William First Nation still waiting for bridge fix


first_imgAPTN National NewsA northern Ontario First Nation continues to push for the reopening of a bridge that’s been closed for over two years.CN Rail has not fixed the bridge since it caught fire. That’s left Fort William First Nation with only one other access point.APTN’s Dennis Ward has this story.last_img


Park Hotel Tokyo showcases Japan through art


first_imgArtist Room Geisha GoldfishIn the midst of Shidome, Tokyo’s media city, is a hidden gem of a hotel that sets itself apart by incorporating contemporary art and design throughout the entire property.After two successful art exhibits in the Atrium, Park Hotel Tokyo took its ART (Atrium, Restaurant, Travel) concept to another level with a new initiative: Artist in Hotel.Artist Room SumoOn level 31 of the hotel are 18 unique Artist Rooms, each designed and decorated by talented artists from all over the world.The Artist in Hotel project launched in 2013 and is a take on the popular ‘artist in residence’ concept.Park Hotel Tokyo invites an artist to stay in the hotel to absorb the atmosphere of a particular room before transforming it into a work of art.The artist paints directly onto the walls and ceiling with an incredible level of detail and artistic flair.Each art room portrays a particular Japanese theme, including ‘sumo’, ‘zen’, ‘bamboo’ and ‘dragon’, which is explained in a small plaque inside the room.The art continues into the bathroomOne of the most striking, colourful rooms is Geisha Goldfish, the 12th room in the series painted by Aki Narita.Over seven months, Ms Narita hand painted red goldfish on the walls and ceilings, creating the illusion that the guestroom is an aquarium.“When I looked out of the window, I felt like I was inside an aquarium,” Ms Narita said.The hotel’s fusion of art extends beyond level 31 to the Atrium, which spans from the 25th to the 34th floor and is flooded with natural light from a skylight above.Currently, during Japan’s autumn season, the Atrium is home to a unique exhibit titled ‘The world of Koji Nakano – kneading, molding, dusting and laying down’.Artist Room ZodiacPark Hotel Tokyo describes the exhibit as “somehow charming, somehow absurd, somehow crazy” and invites not only hotel guests but the public as well to enjoy lunch, tea, or a cocktail surrounded by Koji Nakano’s original artworks.After receiving very positive feedback from guests, Park Hotel Tokyo has decided to turn the entire 31st floor into an Artist Floor.By 2016, the floor’s 33 rooms will be uniquely designed Artists Rooms and two of these will be set aside to become an executive lounge; a special benefit to guests staying on the Artist Floor.Additionally, the hotel also plans to host private viewing sessions of the Artist Rooms and hotel art fairs to further embrace and showcase Japanese aesthetics to the world.It is no surprise Park Hotel Tokyo is affiliated with Design Hotels, a collection of 270 independent hotels that each incorporate genuine hospitality, cultural authenticity and though-provoking design.Artist Room Geisha Goldfish Book your stay at Park Hotel TokyoSource = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinsonlast_img read more


A former Al Jazeera executive has launched a new p


first_imgA former Al Jazeera executive has launched a new pan Arabian satellite channel Al-Mayadeen (The Squares).Ghassan bin Jiddo quit the Qatar-based news broadcaster last year to protest against its reporting of the uprising in Syria and has launched the new channel, which is based in Beirut, to counter the influence of Al Jazeera and Al-Arabiya.“We are not a channel that speaks in the name of Iran or the Syrian regime. We are a completely independent channel which reflects reality as it is,” bin Jiddo said at a news conference in Beirut.last_img


Ukrainian cable operator Volia will launch its hyb


first_imgUkrainian cable operator Volia will launch its hybrid IP/cable Smart HD set-top box and catch-up services next month, with multiscreen content to be added by the end of the year, according to Andrzej Metelski, overall project manager for OTT, speaking at Informa’s Digital TV CEE conference in Krakow yesterday.Volia launched OTT to provide interactive services to its own subscriber base and also to extend its reach beyond its own footprint. The operator is already providing the service to partner operators. Next month it will launch a hybrid set top for its existing clients. Catch up TV will also arrive in July, with multiscreen distribution to be added by the end of this year, according to Metelski.He said that customers wanted to watch time-shifted content and the willingness of customers to pay for this convenience has been shown by the success of services such as Netflix and Hulu. Smart HD already provides a library of 20,000 content assets to customers and Volia is planning to deliver as much as possible to multiple screens.Smart HD subs will need a Volia Smart HD set top and an internet connection of 5Mbps. There are three packages, Start for the equivalent of €8 with 90 channels, Optimal for €11 with 120 channels and Optimal HD for €13 with 130-plus channels.Metelski said half of all TV households in the Ukraine currently access analogue over the air TV, with about a third using cable services. Analogue switch off is expected in 2015 and Volia wants to be prepared to win sub to pay TV at that point. To target this market, Volia may offer a hybrid box as well as its IP box, Metelski told attendees. He said Volia is also offering a large number of advertising-supported VOD titles that it can use to tempt free-to-air viewers.Metelski said other reasons for the launch of Smart HD included that high-speed mobile networks are on the way and OTT operators are expected to compete for business. He said an intensification of campaigns against piracy will also help drive those that currently use illegal services to legitimate pay TV services, and Volia could stand to benefit from that.last_img read more