Open Source — the Last Patent Defense?

Slashdot - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 1:12pm
dp619 writes "A developer might fly under the patent troll radar until she makes it big, and then it's usually open season. Apple just shared that it has faced off 92 lawsuits over just 3 years. Even Google's ad business is at risk. FOSS attorney Heather Meeker has blogged at the Outercurve Foundation on what to consider and what to learn if you're ever sued for patent infringement. 'There have been at least two cases where defendants have successfully used open source license enforcement as a defensive tactic in a patent lawsuit. ... In both these cases, the patent plaintiff was using open source software of the defendant, and the patent defendant discovered a violation of the applicable open source license that it used to turn the tables on the plaintiff. In this way, open source license enforcement can be a substitute for a more traditional retaliatory patent claim.' Meeker also examines how provisions of open source licenses can deflate a patent troll's litigation and shift the balance in favor of the defense."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Bees fight to a stalemate in the battle of the sexes

Science Daily - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 12:49pm
Just like humans, whether or not some genes are switched on in bumblebees is a result of a battle of the sexes between genes inherited from their mother and genes inherited from their father.
Categories: Science

Healthy habits pay off in long term

Science Daily - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 12:49pm
Can initial modes of behavior be used to predict how fit and healthy a person will be 18 years later? This question was in the focus of studies performed by researchers. A basic survey covered about 500 adults over a longer term. The result: Initial habits determine physical fitness and health in the long term.
Categories: Science

Genomes of Richard III and his proven relative to be sequenced

Science Daily - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 12:49pm
The genomes of King Richard III and one of his family’s direct living descendants are to be sequenced.
Categories: Science

First map of core white-matter connections of human brain developed at USC

Kurzweil AI - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 12:36pm

Graphical representation of the human-brain connectivity scaffold. Standard 3D graphs (A) and a connectogram (B) are used to visualize white-matter connections whose removal leads to significant changes in network integration and segregation. Only connections with this property are represented. (Credit: USC Institute for Neuroimaging and Informatics)

USC neuroscientists have systematically created the first map of the core white-matter “scaffold” (connections) of the human brain — the critical communications network that supports brain function.

Their work, published Feb. 11 in the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, has major implications for understanding brain injury and disease, the researchers say.

By detailing the connections that have the greatest influence over all other connections, the researchers offer a landmark first map of core white matter pathways and also show which connections may be most vulnerable to damage.

“We coined the term white matter ‘scaffold’ because this network defines the information architecture which supports brain function,” said senior author John Darrell Van Horn of the USC Institute for Neuroimaging and Informatics and the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging.

“While all connections in the brain have their importance, there are particular links which are the major players,” Van Horn said.

Using MRI data from a large sample of 110 individuals, lead author Andrei Irimia, also of the USC Institute for Neuroimaging and Informatics, and Van Horn systematically simulated the effects of damaging each white matter pathway.

Core pathways not limited to vulnerable gray-matter areas

They found that the most important areas of white and gray matter don’t always overlap. Gray matter is the outermost portion of the brain containing the neurons where information is processed and stored. Past research has identified the areas of gray matter that are disproportionately affected by injury.

But the current study shows that the most vulnerable white matter pathways — the core “scaffolding” — are not necessarily just the connections among the most vulnerable areas of gray matter, helping explain why seemingly small brain injuries may have such devastating effects.

“Sometimes people experience a head injury which seems severe but from which they are able to recover. On the other hand, some people have a seemingly small injury which has very serious clinical effects,” says Van Horn, associate professor of neurology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “This research helps us to better address clinical challenges such as traumatic brain injury and to determine what makes certain white matter pathways particularly vulnerable and important.”

“Such applications may be very useful to the task of determining how specific connectivity scaffold changes due either to gross pathology or to longitudinal white-matter atrophy can accumulate and ultimately produce appreciable neurological and cognitive deficits in TBI patients,” the researchers note in the paper.

The brain’s ‘social networks’

The researchers compare their brain imaging analysis to models used for understanding social networks. To get a sense of how the brain works, Irimia and Van Horn did not focus only on the most prominent gray matter nodes — which are akin to the individuals within a social network. Nor did they merely look at how connected those nodes are.

Rather, they also examined the strength of these white matter connections — which connections seemed to be particularly sensitive or to cause the greatest repercussions across the network when removed. Those connections that created the greatest changes form the network “scaffold.”

“Just as when you remove the internet connection to your computer you won’t get your email anymore, there are white matter pathways which result in large scale communication failures in the brain when damaged,” Van Horn said.

When white matter pathways are damaged, brain areas served by those connections may wither or have their functions taken over by other brain regions, the researchers explain.

Irimia and Van Horn’s research on core white matter connections is part of a worldwide scientific effort to map the 100 billion neurons and 1,000 trillion connections in the living human brain, led by the Human Connectome Project and the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at USC.

Irimia notes that, “these new findings on the brain’s network scaffold help inform clinicians about the neurological impacts of brain diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as major brain injury. Sports organizations, the military and the US government have considerable interest in understanding brain disorders, and our work contributes to that of other scientists in this exciting era for brain research.”

The research was supported by three NIH grants.

Abstract of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience paper

Brain connectivity loss due to traumatic brain injury, stroke or multiple sclerosis can have serious consequences on life quality and a measurable impact upon neural and cognitive function. Though brain network properties are known to be affected disproportionately by injuries to certain gray matter regions, the manner in which white matter (WM) insults affect such properties remains poorly understood. Here, network-theoretic analysis allows us to identify the existence of a macroscopic neural connectivity core in the adult human brain which is particularly sensitive to network lesioning. The systematic lesion analysis of brain connectivity matrices from diffusion neuroimaging over a large sample (N = 110) reveals that the global vulnerability of brain networks can be predicated upon the extent to which injuries disrupt this connectivity core, which is found to be quite distinct from the set of connections between rich club nodes in the brain. Thus, in addition to connectivity within the rich club, the brain as a network also contains a distinct core scaffold of network edges consisting of WM connections whose damage dramatically lowers the integrative properties of brain networks. This pattern of core WM fasciculi whose injury results in major alterations to overall network integrity presents new avenues for clinical outcome prediction following brain injury by relating lesion locations to connectivity core disruption and implications for recovery. The findings of this study contribute substantially to current understanding of the human WM connectome, its sensitivity to injury, and clarify a long-standing debate regarding the relative prominence of gray vs. WM regions in the context of brain structure and connectomic architecture.

Categories: Science

How Our Milky Way Galaxy Got Its Spiral Arms

Space.com - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 12:09pm
The Milky Way's spiral shape may look a bit like a snail — but galaxies like Earth's own haven't always had this structure. Now researchers say they know when and how these spirals emerged.
Categories: Science

How to Use Your Google Maps — Offline

Wired News - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:30am
To access one of Google Maps' best hidden features, you have to know the magic word. Well, it's a phrase, really, and that phrase is: "OK Maps."
    





Categories: Science

This Movie Works Whether You Play It Backward or Forward

Wired News - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:30am
Paris-based graphic designer Yann Pineill's palindromic short film, Symmetry, is impressive because it presents a mirrored narrative that progresses organically whether watched from the beginning, from the middle, or reversed from the end.
    





Categories: Science

How Netflix and Google Could Lead the Fight For Net Neutrality

Wired News - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:30am
Google Fiber is the fastest way to watch Netflix. That's good news not just for the lucky few who have Google's fledgling high-speed internet service. It's good news for Netflix itself in the coming fight over a free and equal internet.
    





Categories: Science

Awesome, Immersive Exhibition Shows How Architecture Can Shape Your Senses

Wired News - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:30am
Seven designers created brilliant new ways to experience architecture.
    





Categories: Science

We're About 100 Years Away From a Real RoboCop

Wired News - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:30am
Scientifically and technologically speaking we're still at least a century away -- if not more -- from having anything like RoboCops policing the streets. Here's why.
    





Categories: Science

UE Boom: A Slick Bluetooth Speaker With Exquisite Sound

Wired News - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:30am
All-around sound gets a new meaning with the Logitech UE Boom, a circular speaker that casts high-quality sound in 360 degrees.
    





Categories: Science

Knights of Badassdom</em>: Finally, a Movie About LARP (And Syphilis)

Wired News - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:30am
It's been more than two years since we first heard word of the LARPing horror-comedy Knights of Badassdom. Now it's finally available in some theaters and on VOD. Was the wait worth it?
    





Categories: Science

The Best Earth Pics From the Newest Landsat Satellite

Wired News - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:30am
Launched a year ago on Feb. 11, the Landsat 8 satellite has been capturing incredible images of Earth. Here are some of our favorites from the satellite's first year in orbit.
    





Categories: Science

New Sony Camera Focuses Almost Instantly, Takes 11 Shots a Second

Wired News - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:30am
The newly announced Alpha a6000 is a direct successor to the excellent Alpha NEX-6 from 2012. If you're looking to step up from a point-and-shoot camera but aren't quite sold on carrying around a bigger, bulkier DSLR, this camera is for you.
    





Categories: Science

Angry Nerd: For the Love of God, RoboCop, Keep Your Helmet On!

Wired News - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:30am
It's enough of an outrage that the new film replaces the scathing satire of Reagan-era privatization and vigilantism with dumb commentary about drones?but Angry Nerd has some serious doubts about how well star Joel Kinnaman can fill Peter Weller's helmet.
    





Categories: Science

In the Middle East, Arabic Wikipedia Is a Flashpoint &mdash; And a Beacon

Wired News - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:30am
Far more than a translation of its English counterpart, Arabic Wikipedia has 690,000 registered users who've authored more than 240,000 articles. Many of the articles reflect a Middle Eastern worldview entirely different from the Western one, and their writers navigate acute religious and political sensitivities.
    





Categories: Science

A Photographer Obsessed With Controlled Explosions

Wired News - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:30am
Italian photographer Andrea Botto's KA-BOOM project is filled with photos of various controlled explosions from around Europe -- building demolitions, avalanches, etc. The explosions are cool in their own right, but Botto's more fascinated with the scene surrounding the chaos.
    





Categories: Science

Inside the Brief Life and Untimely Death of Flappy Bird</cite>

Wired News - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:30am
Dong Nguyen's game would become one of those breakout viral success stories you hear about on Apple devices, the next Angry Birds, the next Temple Run.
    





Categories: Science

Microsoft's Mobile Future? Making Android Phones

Wired News - Wed, 12/02/2014 - 11:30am
Nobody wants to pirate Windows Mobile phones, and that's a problem for Microsoft.
    





Categories: Science