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  • Twitter bot automatically argues with climate change deniers

    first_imgWhen you feel passionately about the wrong-headedness of a subject, you oftentimes find yourself repeating the exact same arguments over and over again to combat other people’s ignorance. It can get tedious. What if you could just build a robot to automatically make those arguments for you, though? That’s just what one software developer did on Twitter.Software developer Nigel Leck believes strongly in human-caused climate change, and he got sick of making the same arguments over and over again to climate change deniers. His solution? An excellent Twitter Bot called @AI_AGW that prowls the Twitter feeds, looking for phrases that commonly pop up in the arguments of climate change deniers, and then automatically refuting them. How’s it work? Simple. As it turns out, when you have to make the same argument against something, you’re usually responding to the same argument for it. @AI_AGW capitalizes on this principle by using a database where phrases common in specific arguments made by climate change deniers are linked to refuting statements and source links.It’s a nifty (albeit slightly snotty) system to get the message out. Of course, like any other software bot, @AI_AGW can sometimes mess up and start challenging people who don’t actually deny that climate change has human causes. In that case, Leck apologizes in person.Cool, but man, I hope this idea doesn’t catch on: I don’t really want to have my every tweet challenged by a bunch of automated Twitter bots with an axe to grind.Read more at Technology Reviewlast_img read more

  • Xbox 360 Sells More Than Wii in November

    first_imgNovember was a strong month for the gaming industry, according to new number from NPD–one of the strongest Novembers on record, thanks in no small part to stellar showings from the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii. Games sales were up eight percent over the month before, hitting $2.99 billion, a $30 million increase over last November.The Xbox 360 had a particularly good month, moving 1.37, edging out the Wii’s 1.27 million. The Xbox leapt 67 percent over last year’s number (the Wii was only up 0.8 percent), due in no small part to the recent introduction of the long-awaited Kinect hands-free controller.Sony didn’t fare as well, however. The PS3 was down a full 25 percent from last year, down to a paltry 530,000–a fraction of the competition, even with the launch of the company’s Kinect-competing PlayStation Move. Nintendo’s DS was also down a bit, from 1.7 to 1.5 million.The top selling game of the month was, not surprisingyly, Call of Duty: Black Ops at 8.4 million, followed by Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, and Just Dance 2. Interestingly, despite the Kinect’s success, no titles for the new controller cracked the top 10.last_img read more

  • NEC Releasing Android Netbook

    first_imgThus far, Android has been been primarily rolled out on smartphones and tablets. NEC bucked the trend by debuting a netbook in Japan that runs the OS, called LifeTouch Note. While NEC didn’t offer a release date, it announced the price: ¥45,000 ($540 USD). LifeTouch Note has a keyboard, seven inch touchscreen, 2MP Webcam, Wi-Fi, GPS, SD, SDHC slots, can support up to 8GB memory, Nvidia Tegra 2 GPU, and Android 2.2 (Froyo). Not bad for a netbook, but those specs come at with a premium price tag. Via Engadgetlast_img read more

  • Verizons LTE phones cannot switch to ATTs LTE network

    first_imgHere’s a hope-crusher for US mobile customers: Not all 4G LTE-capable phones are created equal. Verizon customers looking to take their high-end LTE devices and hop over to competing networks, such as AT&T, are in for the same sore surprise that customers have dealt with on 3G networks for years–the devices run on different frequencies depending on their carrier.American wireless carriers have played this game for years. A phone may be sold in as many as three or four different carrier’s stores, but each one will be shipped with a radio that uses a frequency that the others don’t. In the case of 3G phones, this problem was most commonly experienced by iPhone owners who jumped ship and left AT&T (usually for T-Mobile). Their phones would still work, but only on EDGE, which is considerably slower than what they had to begin with.AdChoices广告Now, it seems that this aging practice is still in play–even with the new generation of 4G LTE networks and somewhat “open” devices. To make matters worse, the number of potential frequency bands available for LTE networks is a whopping twelve, ranging from 700MHz to 2600MHz. In this case, we’re dealing with Verizon’s use of the upper 700MHz band, while AT&T only uses the lower segment. There’s absolutely no overlap.The disparity between Verizon’s and AT&T’s networks goes beyond LTE, too. Because the two networks use entirely different technologies for their “3G” networks, customers would be unable to keep even the most basic of speeds if they try to switch carriers.Frequency splitting like this is nothing but bad for consumers, but it clearly works for carriers in more ways than one. No amount of rooting has been able to affect the actual bands that a phone’s radio uses, so consumers are more or less locked into their services–even if they hate their carrier. It’s an ugly practice, but it’s unlikely to stop any time soon.via PC Magazinelast_img read more

  • Origo the 3D printer aimed at 10 year olds

    first_imgSo many times in my life, I have encountered parents who have said “I barely understand how this works, but my kid is a whiz at it”. Children who are exposed to technology at a young age often fit this profile very nicely.From that exposure, they have a better chance to become more than users, but creators. Programmers, engineers, photographers, digital wizards of one kind or another.  So, as a company who specializes in an emerging technology that is at best difficult for most to understand, targeting children may not be the best way to ensure immediate sales, but is a fantastic way to ensure that the technology will continue to grow and take shape. If you are a company with a goal of putting a very simple looking 3D printer in homes, maybe marketing to kids is the way to go. That seems to be the gamble being taken by the makers of a yet to be produced 3D printer called Origo.3D printers are the single coolest idea I have seen in awhile. Unfortunately, trying to explain how they work and why they are useful to non-techy folks has been difficult. The software isn’t any easier to explain either, as most people haven’t the need for 3D modeling in their day to day lives. If there’s an easy way to explain how if you make something in a 3D modeling program and press print, the 3D thing you just made will come out in 3D, Origo seems like it would be that thing. Contained inside this little purple box is a fully functioning 3D printer that takes printing commands from 3DTin , a free 3D modeling website. Just make your 3D thing, print to your Origo, and it’s done.The Origo website describes the service as being as expensive as three Xbox 360’s, so we’re assuming right around $750-800, making it one of the cheaper 3D printers out there. The confusing thing here is the marketing. I can understand marketing a device that kids can use, but I’m not convinced that parents would be willing to spend just shy of a thousand dollars on something they don’t necessarily understand. We all know ten year olds don’t have that much cash, so how do they plan to sell this thing, exactly? I think it’s the Lego strategy; tell everyone it’s for kids and then watch as the fully grown children of the world descend upon it.I know I wan’t one, how about you?last_img read more

  • CyanogenMod releases CM Tapp an NFC mobile payment solution

    first_imgThere’s no shortage of companies working on an NFC payment system. Unfortunately, it has become a contest to be the most important and it is hurting the customers. For example, Verizon Wireless phones aren’t allowed to install Google Wallet via the Play Store, Visa has publicly stated that carrier negotiations are one of the hurdles in delivering a product to the US, and AT&T has gone as far as to disable NFC on some phones to deny access to competing services. As a user, I find it routinely frustrating to be blocked from this viable technology for any reason. Thanks to the CyanogenMod team I was able to help them test run CM Tapp, which allowed me to experience secure payments on any NFC-enabled device running CyanogenMod.CM Tapp, powered by Simply Tapp, allows you to create what are essentially gift cards for supported locations. For example, if you’re a Whole Foods, McDonald’s, or Tim Horton’s (etc.), customer you can create a gift card on your device for those locations. Alternatively, you can create a universal gift card that will work everywhere NFC readers are used to accept payments. The setup is simple, and the gift card system works just like Google Wallet. While testing out CM Tapp I found myself relying on the CyanogenMod Tapp Reloadable cards, mostly because it was inefficient for me to put $20 on multiple various gift cards and then let the money just sit there if I wasn’t actively using it.It’s not an entirely free service — each card type has a different transaction fee associated with it, based on what CM Tapp is charged for completing transactions with those cards. The price varies for whatever kind of card you are using. If you get a McDonald’s card, your transaction fee is fairly low. If you go with a Tapp Anywhere card, your transaction fee is much higher. The notion of spending money so that you spend your money is awkward, but there’s no major credit card company that is alright with hemorrhaging money for market share involved, so the costs are reflected onto the user.What makes CM Tapp special is how the transaction happens. Google Wallet relies on a secure element, a physical piece of hardware in the phone, to hold the secure credentials of the transaction. This allows the transaction to happen even when the device is offline, but also creates a single hard point of failure if the transaction is ever spoofed by a malicious attacker. CM Tapp requires a data connection, as the secure element needed to complete the transaction lives “in the cloud”. There’s yet to be any third party evidence to suggest that one method is more secure than the other, but at the very least there would be more steps involved in capturing secure data from the CM Tapp method.CM Tapp is available now to any NFC enabled Android device running CyanogenMod 9 Stable Release. This makes CM Tapp supported on more devices than any other mobile payment solution on the market. Obviously this isn’t the end all solution for mobile payments on Android yet, since you must be a CyanogenMod user in order to take advantage of the software right now. While the 3 million strong in the CM community is impressive, that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the vast Android ecosystem growing at 900,000 activations per day. Of those activations, however, more and more of those users will have NFC built into their phone. Those users are going to want mobile payments, and right now CM Tapp is the only app willing to give it to them without some string attached.last_img read more

  • Many have made no payments at all for years PTSB defends controversial

    first_img Image: Shutterstock/Semmick Photo – FILE IMAGE ‘Many have made no payments at all for years’: PTSB defends controversial €3.7 billion mortgage sell off The proposed sell-off has become the subject of a political battle in recent days. Tuesday 20 Feb 2018, 8:42 PM Many have made no payments at all for years.TheJournal.ie asked Permanent TSB’s spokesperson whether the bank could provide a further breakdown on how many customers had not engaged in over seven years. They said that no further information was available this evening.The statement said the sale of non-performing loans to third parties was common in the UK and other European countries.“In the UK there are a number of examples since the current crisis began of the UK Government disposing of homeloans to third party funds.”Legacy of the crisis In a section of its statement titled ‘After Ten Years’ PTSB set out why it believed it should be allowed move ahead with the sell off, describing non-performing loans as “are one of the last significant legacy issues of the financial crisis”.“All stakeholders have worked extremely hard over almost a decade to minimise the number of loans that are not performing and to give customers the space and time to try to resolve their issues themselves.“However, we are now almost ten years on from the start of the crisis. A new generation of home buyers needs to be able to engage with healthy, competitive banks who can finance and purchase homes and, the banks themselves need to ensure that they are strong, profitable and capable of withstanding potential future shocks.“Given all this, and the existence of appropriate consumer protection regulation of the interaction with customers by any acquirer, the Bank believes that now is an appropriate time to implement measures that are considered part of normal banking practice in the UK and other European countries.These include allowing third parties to work out these non-performing loans and allowing banks to use their resources to concentrate on providing new loans to home buyers and businesses who need access to credit. These are not just names on a list, they are families, some of them are in a difficult position. 39,169 Views Image: Shutterstock/Semmick Photo – FILE IMAGE Feb 20th 2018, 3:42 PM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Many have engaged with the bank, they have agreed to restructure loans, they have agreed to split mortgages, they are fully meeting the terms of their loan, yet they find themselves in a non-performing loan bundle – why is that?He added that the legislation his party is proposing must be a priority.In the Dáil, Micheál Martin raised concerns that any legislation introduced would need to be fast-tracked and allowed through all stages in a speedy manner.“We have time,” Varadkar responded.Varadkar said he understood that mortgage holders did not need further stress, adding that the government would give “open and constructive” consideration to further protections.- With reporting by Daragh Brophy ‘It’s not fair’: Fianna Fáil poised to block PTSB loan sale to ‘unregulated’ vulture funds>‘You’re throwing people to the vulture funds’: Government criticised for taking no action to halt PTSB loan sale> By Christina Finn Share407 Tweet Email 194 Comments Source: TheJournal Politics/Twitter Leo Varadkar says he knows there is considerable concern about the sale. PTSB hasn’t yet sold any loans yet, there is no buyer yet. The bank has yet to consult the minister, which it is required to do— TheJournal Politics (@TJ_Politics) February 20, 2018 Updated at 8.5opm PERMANENT TSB HAS released a statement defending it’s plan to sell off a €3.7 billion book of non-performing loans known as Project Glas.The proposed sell-off of 18,000 properties, including 14,000 private dwelling homes, has become the subject of a political battle in recent days, and was raised several times today in Leaders’ Questions.Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil earlier that Permanent TSB, which is 75% owned by the state, had not yet found a buyer.Fianna Fáil has sought to challenge the government on the issue, and has launched a bid to block the planned PTSB sale.Party leader Micheál Martin told the Taoiseach the bank was “outsourcing its dirty work” and said a message must be sent by the government that it would not countenance such behaviour.“The government very much stands by families,” the Taoiseach said.He said it would be illegal for the government to instruct the bank on the issue of the sale, but said as the State is a majority shareholder, the bank must consult with the finance minister – something Varadkar said the bank is yet to do.The Taoiseach said the government was open to considering whether further protections and regulations are needed.PTSB statement In its statement this evening Permanent TSB said that around €2 billion worth of the loans it planned to sell on were comprised of private dwelling home loans.It said the loans were “typically owned by customers who have not engaged with the bank, whose mortgages are unsustainable or who have been unable to meet the terms of various treatments put in place”.Of this portion of Project Glas, some account holders have not engaged with the Bank for over 7 years and on average the loans are over 3.5 years in arrears. Short URL http://jrnl.ie/3861799 Vulture funds Michael McGrath, the Fianna Fáil finance spokesman, had made a “strong case” for further protections for mortgage holders, the Taoiseach said earlier today, adding that he had asked Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to work with McGrath on the issue.Speaking to reporters earlier, McGrath said all mortgage-holders should have the same protections.He said:“Do you think vulture funds really have an interest in working out a loan book over 15 to 20 years?They absolutely do not. They are here for the quick buck and we know what they will do – they will move on them [mortgage-holders] at the first opportunity, particularly as house prices continue to rise.last_img read more

  • By sticking to some redundant idea of what it takes to win

    first_img iTunes By sticking to some redundant idea of what it takes to win, Ireland are losing Former Leinster and Munster back Eoghan Hickey takes a closer look at Ireland’s gung-ho approach to getting points on the board. 75 Comments Wednesday 8 Feb 2017, 2:50 PM Analysis: Ireland tried to play at Murrayfield but just weren’t good enough at it By Eoghan Hickey Share74 Tweet Email1 21,143 Views center_img Source: Inpho/Billy SticklandLIKE QUESTIONABLE FASHION tastes, rugby strategies too often seem just as whimsical. Initially entrenched in some simplified notion of the now, they’re then dumped after dubious overuse in ways that weren’t originally intended.When Ireland finally beat New Zealand in Chicago in early November, it felt monumental, and that a real shift had taken place, something tectonic. A duck had been broken and so with it a national predisposition to unendingly find new ways to snatch defeat from odds-on victory.While there’s no doubting the excellence of that superb result, it feels more like an outlier given Ireland’s inability to back it up since. Sure, they have beaten a poor Australian side, but that’s a team that was beaten by England on four consecutive occasions last year. The real issue seems to be that Ireland seem incapable of turning dominance into actual points on the board.Against New Zealand in Chicago, Ireland had 50% of territory and possession but were clinical and disciplined, returning five tries and conceding only four penalties. Perhaps most alarmingly though, New Zealand managed to carry the ball 514 metres against Ireland’s 194 metres, hinting at a lack of attacking incision and potency. Source: Inpho/Billy SticklandAfter the match, much was made of Ireland’s newfound positive mind-set, one that turned down normally kickable opportunities in favour of potential tries. The thinking was that if they were to beat New Zealand, they would need to score circa 35 points, as this was roughly the All Blacks’ regular points tally during the previous Rugby Championship.As a press conference soundbite, it might be interesting, but as a guiding strategy, it’s woefully misleading.Unlike golf, rugby isn’t a game played in isolation, where you compare scores only at the end. A rugby match is an 80-minute process where each small outcome affects decisions thereafter. It’s as if the dice is constantly being loaded and reloaded to skew the outcome in either direction.It’s true that concerted pressure often leads to points, but alone it doesn’t load the dice. You have to score points. That’s the problem with such simplistic notions and hypothetical scoreboards. They don’t allow for nuance and aren’t fit for purpose. Source: Inpho/Billy SticklandBack when I was playing with London Irish, I remember we were fed the same equally useless statistics to remind us how to win, as if it wasn’t already clear that simply scoring more points might do the job. Apparently there was a magical number, plucked from some biased sample of previous games, which suggested that if we conceded less than seventeen points, we would win the match.As a random statistic for discussion during one of the many rudderless team meetings, it was relatively harmless. But when it was bellowed out again the following weekend in the dressing room before the match, as a sort of actionable rally cry, it became both harmful and stupid. As a tool, it was blunt and meaningless in the moment, with only marginal value in hindsight for those pretending to sound prescient. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHOOf course simplification is sometimes useful. I am doing it now to make a point, but focusing on one number and thinking that destiny lies therein is moronic. Summarising this more eloquently, a supposed law of economics, named after Charles Goodhart, warns that “when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.”Two weeks on from Chicago, when playing New Zealand in Dublin, Ireland enjoyed a sweeping victory nearly everywhere, except on the scoreboard. With two-thirds of possession and more than that in territory, Ireland only gave away four penalties compared to 14 for the All Blacks, two of which also resulted in sin-bins, further enabling the men in green.Yet New Zealand still managed to carry the ball for 470 metres to Ireland’s 360 metres en route to winning a bruising encounter with some to spare, 21-9. Notable again in this match was Ireland’s stubbornly positive (or overoptimistic) attitude that refused plenty of kickable penalties and came away with nothing.The same plan hadn’t just come up short, it was undone. New Zealand had scored considerably less than 35 points, but this was quickly forgotten. Source: Craig Watson/INPHOAgainst comparatively weaker opposition in Scotland last weekend, a positive Ireland were similarly defeated by themselves. Having enjoyed roughly 60% of position and possession, they failed to translate pressure into points and deservedly lost. Drop goals and kicking all available penalty options is seemingly out of vogue for no good reason.One result in Chicago has changed nothing, and certainly hasn’t affected probability. The Irish rugby team seem to believe that they have a winning strategy because it worked once when they played roulette. They would do well to consider that what separates good traders from bad isn’t the size of their wins, but the extent of their losses.By sticking to some redundant idea of what it takes to win, Ireland are losing. Time to ditch the latest trend and get back to basics.Subscribe to The42 Rugby Show podcast here: Feb 8th 2017, 2:50 PM Android https://the42.ie/3229116 Short URL Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

  • A number of city centre overdoses linked to gangs toxic drug mixing

    first_img Share Tweet Email Monday 1 May 2017, 12:10 AM Image: Shutterstock/RCH Photography A number of city centre overdoses linked to gang’s toxic drug mixing in flats complex Heroin and cocaine were being cut in the same location. By Garreth MacNamee 15 Comments May 1st 2017, 12:10 AM 24,479 Views Image: Shutterstock/RCH Photography Short URL http://jrnl.ie/3356909 A POTENTIALLY LETHAL batch of heroin which was being prepared in a city centre flat complex is responsible for a number of recent overdoses in Dublin.There has been at least two deaths in the last two weeks in relation to what is suspected to be the same heroin.In one incident, gardaí raided a flats complex in the south inner city where they discovered a makeshift drug cutting enterprise. A handgun, cash and supplies of other illegal drugs were discovered. Cocaine with a very high purity was discovered. This drug was expected to be cut using the same facilities, a possibly lethal practice for those who consume drugs.There have been some high-profile overdoses in recent weeks. Friends of some senior criminal figures, unconnected with the Hutch-Kinahan feud, have been brought to hospital after taking contaminated drugs.Gardaí believe they know the identities of the men involved in the preparation of the illegal drugs. These are men who would be supplied with the initial batch of purer drugs by the Kinahan cartel.Well-placed sources have told TheJournal.ie that high-ranking members of the Kinahan cartel are unhappy with the way in which their drugs are being mixed and sold in certain parts of the city.The Irish Sun has also reported on how low-level drug suppliers have been using council-owned sheds to mix drugs.City councillor Daithí de Róiste told TheJournal.ie that he finds the whole practice shocking.“It’s madness that you have such large quantities of drugs and weapons near where children are playing. There are innocent, hard-working families who are trying to get on with their lives. They don’t need this criminality where they live. I want to congratulate the gardaí on their work.”Read: ‘We can’t keep our head in the sand’: Only 3 armed gardaí covering Dublin Airport >Read: At least two arrested over ’tissue packet begging scam’ on Irish trains > Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

  • Les sucres ajoutés sont mauvais pour le cholestérol

    first_imgLes sucres ajoutés sont mauvais pour le cholestérolÉtats-Unis – Selon une étude publiée dans le journal de l’American medical association, une consommation trop importante d’aliments comprenant des sucres ajoutés entraînerait non seulement des risques de diabète mais également une augmentation du taux de cholestérol dans le sang.L’étude a porté sur 6.113 hommes et femmes. Les scientifiques ont analysé les apports nutritifs ainsi que les taux de lipides dans le sang entre 1999 et 2006. Les participants ont été répartis dans cinq groupes, selon la quantité de sucres ajoutés qu’ils consommaient chaque jour.À lire aussiPourquoi le café donne-t-il envie de faire caca ?Il s’avère qu’une consommation trop importante de sucres ajoutés augmente le taux de triglycérides dans le sang et diminue l’HDL cholestérol (le bon cholestérol). Les femmes subissent également une augmentation du taux de LDL cholestérol (mauvais cholestérol), phénomène qui ne touche pas les hommes. Le co-auteur de l’étude, le Pr. Miriam Vos conclut : “tout comme un régime alimentaire riche en matières grasses peut augmenter votre taux de triglycérides et de cholestérol, la consommation de sucre peut également affecter ces mêmes lipides”.Selon l’OMS (Organisation mondiale de la santé), la proportion de sucres ajoutés consommés chaque jour ne doit pas dépasser 10% des apports quotidiens. C’est cependant difficilement réalisable puisque cet ingrédient peu cher est ajouté dans de nombreux aliments et boissons.Le 23 avril 2010 à 19:19 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

  • AVC les facteurs génétiques passés au crible

    first_imgAVC : les facteurs génétiques passés au cribleFrance – Les chercheurs du CHU de Nantes ont décidé de lancer un protocole de recherche visant à identifier les marqueurs génétiques à l’origine de l’apparition des accidents vasculaires cérébraux (AVC).Les spécialistes connaissent les facteurs de risque de ces anévrismes (tabac, hypertension artérielle) mais les raisons de leur apparition restent encore inconnues à ce jour. Les équipes du centre hospitalier nantais vont donc désormais essayer, grâce à des recherches biologiques, de cibler les facteurs génétiques qui pourraient augmenter les risques de développement d’un anévrisme chez un patient. “Depuis 2000, nos services suivent une population de 1.500 patients qui vont être contactés. L’objectif, c’est de leur proposer, ainsi qu’à leur famille, une prise de sang pour tenter d’identifier des marqueurs génétiques”, a expliqué le neurologue Benoît Guilllon au journal Ouest-France. Depuis 20 ans, les médecins de ce centre hospitalier traitent de façon préventive les anévrismes non rompus par voie endovasculaire, une technique chirurgicale qui consiste à combler l’anévrisme par des microspires métalliques. Désormais, leur objectif est de faire évoluer cette prévention afin de réduire la survenue des accidents vasculaires cérébraux, troisième cause de mortalité dans les pays industrialisés.Le 10 mai 2010 à 11:19 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

  • La lèpre est toujours présente dans le monde

    first_imgLa lèpre est toujours présente dans le mondeBien que le nombre de cas de lèpre ne cesse de diminuer depuis un peu plus de dix ans, la maladie est toujours présente dans le monde et nécessite toujours d’être considérée.En 2009, le nombre de cas de lèpre recensés par l’Organisation mondiale de la santé s’est porté à 212.000. Ainsi, chaque jour, près de 600 personnes seraient diagnostiquées comme victimes de la lèpre alors que la maladie est trop souvent considérée comme éradiquée. Il est vrai que le nombre de cas recensés depuis l’an 2000 a fortement diminué mais la lèpre nécessite toujours une importante mobilisation. Ainsi, dimanche 30 janvier aura lieu la 58e Journée mondiale des lépreux.La maladie a largement perdu du terrain depuis de nombreuses années, alors qu’en 2006, seuls 16 pays sur les 192 membres de l’OMS ont enregistré plus de 1.000 nouveaux cas. La lèpre est une vieille maladie qui a été éradiquée dans 98 pays mais qui continuent à en toucher d’autres. Elle se transmet par gouttelettes (buccale ou nasale) qui laissent le bacille mycobacterium leprae entrer dans l’organisme. Les principales conséquences d’une lèpre non soignée sont des lésions de la peau, des nerfs, ou encore des yeux. Aujourd’hui, la lèpre peut être soignée grâce à une combinaison de trois antibiotiques.Le 28 janvier 2011 à 15:17 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

  • En Australie des perroquets saouls tombent du ciel

    first_imgEn Australie, des perroquets saouls tombent du cielChaque année au mois de mai, un étrange phénomène se répète dans la région de Darwin, en Australie. Comme ivres morts, des perroquets tombent du ciel, sans doute empoisonnés par une plante, ou intentionnellement par des habitants de la région.Comme l’année dernière et la précédente, plusieurs perroquets ont été retrouvés morts dans la région de Darwin, rapporte le Herald Sun. Ce phénomène se produit tous les ans au mois de mai, et à chaque fois, les perroquets se livrent à un étrange spectacle, comme s’ils étaient ivres, avant de tomber du ciel ou des arbres.À lire aussiL’étrange maladie qui rend ivre sans boire une goutte d’alcoolPour Stephen Cutter, un vétérinaire de l’Ark Animal Hospital de Darwin, les loriquets, une espèce vivant en Australasie, sont victimes d’une intoxication. “Il s’agit sûrement d’une plante qui contient de l’alcool ou des toxines”, estime-t-il. Toutefois, il envisage une autre hypothèse, celle d’un empoisonnement volontaire organisé par des habitants de la région importunés par le bruit et l’agressivité des perroquets. “Je sais qu’il ne sont pas très populaires. Ce sont d’adorables animaux, mais ils peuvent être méchants quand ils sont sauvages”, explique Stephen Cutter.Le mystère de cette hécatombe du mois de mai est donc irrésolu, et les services vétérinaires s’attendent à découvrir d’autres victimes dans les jours à venir.Le 24 mai 2011 à 16:49 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

  • Les planètes possédant deux soleils seraient loin dêtre rares

    first_imgLes planètes possédant deux soleils seraient loin d’être raresRien que dans notre galaxie, il existerait des millions de planètes possédant deux soleils à l’image de Kepler-16b récemment découverte, d’après une nouvelle étude.En septembre dernier, des astronomes ont annoncé une découverte étonnante : ceux-ci sont parvenus à dénicher une planète qui tourne autour de deux soleils. Baptisée Kepler-16b, celle-ci constituait alors une trouvaille inédite et très inattendue. Mais aujourd’hui une nouvelle étude révèle que les planètes à posséder deux soleils seraient en fait beaucoup plus nombreuses que prévu. Elles constitueraient même une nouvelle classe de monde à part entière : les planètes circumbinaires. À lire aussiSpaceX : un satellite d’Elon Musk manque d’entrer en collision avec un satellite de l’ESACes conclusions, présentées jeudi à l’American Astronomical Society, se basent sur la découverte de deux géantes gazeuses faisant deux fois la taille de Saturne : Kepler-34b et Kepler-35b. Chacune d’entre elle orbitant autour de sa paire d’étoiles, maintenues entre elles par la gravité. La découverte de ces deux nouvelles planètes circumbinaires montre bien que Kepler-16b n’est pas une erreur de la nature, indique William Welsh, principal auteur de l’étude parue dans la revue en ligne de Nature. Selon lui, “on peut même estimer qu’au moins un million de planètes semblables existent dans notre galaxie”.Par extension, il est légitime, d’après les chercheurs, de penser que “plus nombreuses sont ces planètes, plus il y a de chances pour qu’elles ressemblent à la Terre” et donc pour qu’elles abritent une quelconque forme de vie. Comme le rapporte le National Geographic, la découverte de Kepler-16b, Kepler-34b et Kepler-35b alimenterait donc l’espoir de trouver un jour de la vie ailleurs que sur la Terre.Le 14 janvier 2012 à 13:51 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

  • Les Français prennent encore trop de benzodiazépines

    first_imgLes Français prennent encore trop de benzodiazépinesActuellement, 22 médicaments appartenant à la famille des benzodiazépines (type Lexomil, Seresta, Temesta, Xanax) et apparentés (Imovane, Myolastan, Stilnox…) sont commercialisés en France. Des traitements dont les Français sont les deuxièmes plus gros consommateurs.Les molécules que sont les benzodiazépines agissent sur le système nerveux central et sont à la fois anxiolytiques, hypnotiques (contre l’insomnie), relaxantes musculaires et actives contre les crises d’épilepsie. Par ailleurs, un certain nombre d’effets négatifs et de risques sont associés à la consommation de ces médicaments, d’où ce rapport de l’Agence française du médicament (Afssaps). À lire aussiAntihistaminique : qu’est-ce que c’est ? A quoi ça sert ?Selon l’État des lieux de la consommation des benzodiazépines en France, rendu public hier soir, 134 millions de boîtes ont été vendues en 2010, dont 50% d’anxiolytiques et 37,6% d’hypnotiques. Cela représente un chiffre d’affaires de 183 millions d’euros, soit 0,7% du montant total des ventes de médicaments dans notre pays. En 2009, des données européennes plaçaient ainsi la France en deuxième position des pays européens qui prennent le plus d’anxiolytiques (après le Portugal) et d’hypnotiques (après la Suède), rapporte Lepoint.fr. Chaque année, un Français sur cinq prendrait ainsi au moins une benzodiazépine ou une molécule apparentée et plus de 25 millions de personnes auraient été exposés à ce type de traitement entre mi-2006 et mi-2011. Or, si la consommation des anxiolytiques avait diminué depuis 2002 avec un nombre d’utilisateurs constant, les chiffres de vente semblent repartis à la hausse depuis 2009. Un phénomène qui inquiète les spécialistes mais aussi les autorités sanitaires qui cherchent aujourd’hui à voir comment elles pourraient contrôler et limiter la prescription de ces médicaments. Comme l’explique Science et avenir, un fait est particulièrement pointé du doigt : les traitements prescrits sont en moyenne de 7 mois alors que depuis 1991 la durée maximale de prescription est de 12 semaines pour les anxiolytiques et de 4 semaines pour les hypnotiques.Ajouté à un éventuel contrôle, l’agence française du médicament prévoit aussi une campagne d’information à destination des médecins généralistes, principaux prescripteurs et évoque le besoin d’une meilleure formation initiale et continue sur les psychotropes pour ces mêmes médecins.Le 18 janvier 2012 à 12:01 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

  • Kindle Fire des utilisateurs globalement satisfaits mais

    first_imgKindle Fire : des utilisateurs globalement satisfaits mais…Lancé en novembre dernier sur le marché des tablettes, le Kindle Fire d’Amazon a réussi à séduire les consommateurs. Une étude de satisfaction montre que si le chemin est encore long avant de rattraper l’iPad d’Apple, les utilisateurs du Kindle Fire sont globalement satisfaits de leur achat.Le cabinet d’analyse ChangeWave Research a mené une étude auprès de 254 propriétaires de Kindle Fire pour recueillir leur opinion sur la tablette lancée en novembre dernier par Amazon au petit prix de 199 dollars.À lire aussiMaladie de Charcot : symptômes, causes, traitement, où en est on ?Alors que 6 millions de Kindle Fire auraient déjà été vendus dans le monde, ce sondage montre que la tablette a encore du chemin à faire avant d’atteindre la côte de popularité de l’iPad. 74% des utilisateurs du smartphone d’Apple se disent “très satisfaits” de leur terminal, contre 54% pour le Kindle Fire. Ils sont 38% a être “assez satisfaits” de la tablette d’Amazon.Interrogés sur les principales qualités du Kindle Fire, 59% des 254 sondés évoquent avant tout son prix. Un avantage certain suivi de son écran couleur, cité par 31% des personnes interrogées, puis par sa facilité d’utilisation. Sont en revanche déplorés l’absence de bouton de réglage du volume, d’un appareil photo, ainsi que des connectivités 3G et 4G. Les utilisateurs regrettent également le nombre limité d’applications, la taille de l’écran de la tablette, et la durée vie de sa batterie. Le 8 février 2012 à 09:55 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

  • Le numérique à lécole Un devoir et une opportunité

    first_imgLe numérique à l’école ? Un devoir et une opportunitéLe Conseil National du Numérique a remis son rapport sur l’implantation du numérique à l’école. Le constat est clair, des efforts sont à faire.”Le numérique peine à être mis au service de l’École”. C’est le constat principal du rapport remis par le Conseil National du Numérique (CNN) à propos de la place consacré à l’enseignement du numérique dans les écoles françaises. Pour arriver à cela, le CNN propose notamment que se fasse une jonction entre les entre les enseignants et les acteurs du numérique pour favoriser l’essor des technologies dans l’enseignement, relaye Zdnet. Une “jonction” qui devrait déboucher sur une meilleure prise en compte des besoins des enseignants et des élèves et plus d’investissement en faveur “des ressources pédagogiques numériques innovantes”.À lire aussi”Trash Tag Challenge” : le défi utile qui incite Twitter et Instagram à nettoyer la planèteLe CNN pointe surtout la nécessité d’une gouvernance régionale plus adaptée pour participer à l’essor du numérique en milieu scolaire. “En effet, l’éclatement des responsabilités entre les académies, en charge de la pédagogie, et les collectivités territoriales qui assurent les dépenses en équipement et en manuels scolaires, est à l’origine de nombreuses difficultés opérationnelle”, explique le rapport. Comment alors y parvenir ? Par une mutualisation, volontaire, “des responsabilités et des moyens au niveau régional, entre les académies et les collectivités locales”. Soit la création d’une instance régionale propre à cette question, chargée de définir les projets pédagogiques numériques avec les établissements et d’en assurer la gestion opérationnelle.Autre proposition phare, la mise en place d’une plateforme de référencement des ressources pédagogiques numériques, soit un logiciel doté “d’un moteur de recherche et de fonctions collaboratives permettant aux enseignants de noter les ressources, et d’échanger commentaires et conseils”. Le CNN y voit, “en donnant une meilleure visibilité aux ressources identifiées par les enseignants”, la possibilité de créer un marché potentiel pour les éditeurs. Mais certains n’ont pas attendu ce rapport pour faire entrer le numérique dans ce qui sera l’école du futur.Le 12 mars 2012 à 15:00 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

  • SFR change de patron dès cet été

    first_imgSFR change de patron dès cet étéLa direction de Vivendi a annoncé la nomination de Michel Combes au poste de président directeur général de SFR. L’ancien patron de Vodafone remplacera Frank Esser, parti le 26 mars dernier.Changement de PDG pour Vivendi, la maison mère de SFR. Le groupe de télécoms a choisi Michel Combes, ancien directeur général du groupe de télécommunication britannique Vodafone pour remplacer Frank Esser, mis sur la touche le 26 mars dernier. Il prendra ses fonctions dès le 1er août prochain.À lire aussiLe Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini sera proposé chez SFR et Bouygues TelecomMichel Combes aura la lourde tâche de renouer l’entreprise avec la croissance. En deux mois, SFR avait accusé la perte nette de 200.000 clients mobiles. C’est l’occasion pour l’opérateur au carré rouge d’établir une nouvelle stratégie face à la rude concurrence de Free, entré en janvier dernier sur le marché de la télécommunication.”L’expérience de dirigeant international et sa connaissance du secteur des Télécoms seront très précieuses pour conduire l’entreprise dans les défis qui l’attendent, estime Jean-Bernard Lévy, Président du Directoire de Vivendi au sujet de Michel Combes. Nous avons toute confiance dans sa capacité de mobiliser les équipes de SFR et de construire avec elles un projet couronné de succès.”En attendant l’arrivé de Michel Combes à la tête de SFR, Jean-Bernard Lévy continue à assurer la présidence de SFR.Le 3 mai 2012 à 12:59 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

  • Pourquoi le rarissime tigre blanc estil blanc

    first_imgPourquoi le rarissime tigre blanc est-il blanc ? Publiée en ligne sur Current Biology, une étude chinoise a mis en évidence la raison pour laquelle certains tigres du Bengale naissent blancs : une mutation sur un gène codant pour certains pigments.Loin d’être albinos, les tigres blancs – quelques individus au sein de la population de tigres du Bengale (Panthera tigris tigris) – arborent les rayures sombres bien connues mais sur un fond immaculé et non orange comme la grande majorité de leurs congénères. Une équipe de généticiens de l’Université de Pékin, dirigée par le Dr Shu-Jin Luo, s’est penchée sur ce mystère. Les chercheurs ont ainsi cartographié et séquencé les génomes d’une famille de 16 tigres élevés en captivité, comptant des individus ‘normaux’ ainsi que des spécimens blancs. L’analyse a montré qu’une mutation génétique était à l’origine de cette absence partielle de couleur : chez ces derniers, une mutation d’un gène appelé SLC45A2 (gène déjà étudié chez des chevaux, des poulets et des poissons aux coloris singuliers) inhibe la synthèse des pigments rouges et jaunes, sans toutefois affecter celle des pigments noirs qui composent les rayures du pelage.”La base génétique de ce phénotype [= cet aspect physique] restait inconnue. (…) Le tigre blanc représente une partie de la diversité génétique naturelle du tigre qu’il est intéressant de conserver, mais qui n’est désormais observable qu’en captivité”, explique le Dr Luo.Des tigres rarissimes à gérer de façon adaptée “Historiquement, l’observation de tigres blancs dans le sous-continent indien remonte aux années 1500, mais le dernier spécimen connu en liberté a été abattu en 1958”, souligne le scientifique. Néanmoins, “le fait que de nombreux adultes matures blancs aient été chassés suggère qu’ils étaient aptes à vivre dans la nature. Il faut noter que les principales proies du tigre, comme les cervidés, ne distinguent probablement pas les couleurs”, continue t-il cité par Sci-News.À lire aussiMaladie de Charcot : symptômes, causes, traitement, où en est on ?Aujourd’hui, l’équipe veut donc explorer plus avant les forces évolutives qui ont maintenu les deux types de coloration dans la nature. “Le tigre blanc (…) a fasciné les humains depuis des siècles, depuis sa découverte dans les jungles de l’Inde. En captivité, beaucoup de tigres blancs sont élevés en consanguinité afin de maintenir ce caractère récessif et, par conséquent, souffrent de problèmes de santé (…)”, précisent toutefois les auteurs.Ces derniers préconisent ainsi un programme de gestion appropriée pour maintenir en captivité une population saine de tigres du Bengale des deux types de couleur. “Il pourrait même être utile d’envisager la réintroduction de tigres blancs dans leur habitat sauvage”, concluent-ils.Le 28 mai 2013 à 10:34 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

  • How Actual Gamers Would Behave In Westworld

    first_img Evan Rachel Wood Just As Disturbed by Humanoid Sophia As Everyone ElseTop Movie and TV Trailers to Watch From SDCC 2019 Stay on target HBO has a real gift for creating shows that people want to really dive into. The level of creative freedom the network provides lets some of the greatest programs the medium has ever seen flower – The Sopranos, The Wire, Game of Thrones, Todd McFarlane’s Spawn. And now it’s looking like Westworld is going to go on the same pile.The updated version of Michael Crichton’s novel turned 70s movie is tapping into a lot of things the population is insecure about – machines taking our jobs, digital escapism, the morality of artificial intelligence. And it’s a gripping, rewarding watch that we can’t wait for every week.Of course, it’s also delivering heavily on the mysteries and conspiracies that we expect from a TV show in the post-Lost world (unsurprising, because J.J. Abrams is partially behind the wheel on this one too). But what we’re most interested in Westworld is the geek perspective – most importantly, the idea of the park as a “game.”Although there aren’t really explicit goals or missions for guests once they enter, Westworld is a structured experience like Red Dead Redemption, not a sandbox like Minecraft. But guests have a great deal of freedom in how they interact with the world. So far aside from the brutal Man in Black, most of the guests we’ve seen have gone along with the pre-designed path. But gamers? We’re not so into that.Here are our pointers for how the show would go if real gamers shelled out the $40,000 a day and bought themselves a week in Westworld.Endless LootingAnybody who’s played a Japanese RPG knows that you search every single box, barrel, and cupboard for useful items. It’s like the digital version of “there’s always money in the banana stand,” and NPCs typically don’t get miffed at you for rifling through their underwear drawer to find a Phoenix Down. Especially in the world of Westworld, where hosts are forbidden by their programming from harming the guests.Assumedly there’s some kind of rule in place to keep you from taking anything out of the park. But we’ve seen plenty of games that encourage hoarding – who doesn’t have a Fallout lair full of coffee cans and scrap metal? It’s easy to see gamers just tearing the environment down for scrap.The Genocide PathIf you’ve played Undertale, you probably have some thoughts about how video games seem to encourage the wholesale slaughter of every living thing that crosses your path and doesn’t give you a quest. While the “simulations” of Westworld don’t cause any harm to other guests (preventing PvP, a smart choice), they are capable of putting a Host out of commission for the length of your stay. Although the body count is usually high, we haven’t seen anyone try to take out literally every NPC.In the show, we’re told that there are “overseers” who keep guests in line (except for the Man in Black, who has an “all access pass.” It’s fair to say that if somebody got too rowdy with their six-shooter and started doing a Magnificent Seven on the town, the DMs would sweep in and deal with them. But as any MMORPG player knows, messing with the system is where the fun really begins.GriefingEven though guests can’t shoot each other with their pistols to great effect, the possibilities for griefing are endless in Westworld. You do sign a liability form before you enter the park, but if it’s anything like the EULA you click through when you install a game, nobody reads those things. The possibility for other kinds of injury are present – the horses don’t appear to be robots, for one thing, and if people can get themselves killed at Disneyland they sure can do it here.This all opens up remarkable possibilities for somebody with the “dark triad” of personality traits – narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy – that bubble to the surface when gamers try to ruin other people’s good time. Griefers could not only purposefully injure other guests, but they could also get in the middle of their role-playing and act out in ridiculous ways, or kill important Host characters. Who would spend $40,000 just to ruin somebody else’s day? You’d be surprised.Strategy GuidesOne of the things that’s most missing from Westworld as a game is one of the gamer’s greatest powers: our ability to solve problems together. Even though the Man in Black seems to have advanced knowledge of the ins and outs of the park, a more likely possibility is that long-time visitors have been documenting everything on message boards and sites like GameFAQs. The idea that after 30 years in operation, the park could hold any mysteries at all is pretty silly, but people are still discovering new Mario 64 speedruns.We would be amazed if there weren’t some site out there that already had the Maze mapped out, a description of how you get there, and what comes afterward. When we find secrets, we don’t keep them to ourselves. We share them with other gamers so they can enjoy the challenge. The Man in Black just needs to work on his Google skills.Forming GuildsThis goes along with the last one. If there’s one thing that we’ve learned in our lifetime of gaming, it’s that we can get along pretty well if there’s a lot at stake. That’s why most MMORPGs let you guild up and form a raiding party to cooperate with each other. Although we’ve seen guests come to Westworld together, true gamers wouldn’t just show up and let things go their own way. They’d organize, assign roles – some people would tank to draw the attention of the Overseers, others would maximize DPS on Hosts – and achieve their objectives.That’s the thing that’s most confusing about the Man in Black’s plotline. If he really wants to get down to the next level of Westworld and find the maze, why doesn’t he bring a bunch of allies in with him? If he’s got the money to spend so much time in the game, he could easily buy a few “alt accounts,” as it were. We see Logan and William come to the park together, but they’re not organized at all.Demanding RefundsIf there’s one thing we know about gamers, it’s that they want their money’s worth. One look at the reviews section of a game on Steam will teach you that. We know that the park has “seasons” where the owners change the narratives and situations that guests can experience. But what if you visited a few years ago, want the same story you had then, and don’t get it? We’re surprised we haven’t seen more crabby complainers inside the park feeling ripped off and agitating for a full refund.What is the policy for getting your money’s worth out of Westworld? It’s highly doubtful that people who can shell out 40 large for a day’s entertainment are going to do so without some sort of guarantee. When the ending to Mass Effect 3 stunk, gamers banded together in the thousands to protest, and that game only cost like fifty bucks. A bad trip in Westworld for the wrong gamer (like, say, one with a big YouTube channel) could get the entire park shut down if they don’t make things right.last_img read more