Man Bites Snake to Death in Revenge

Man Bites Snake to Death in Revenge - A Nepali man who was bitten by a cobra snake subsequently bit the snake to death, a local newspaper reported on Thursday (Aug. 23).

After being bitten by the snake, while he was working in his rice paddy on Tuesday, 55-year-old Mohamed Salmo Miya chased the snake, caught it and bit it until it died, the Annapurna Post reported, according to Reuters.

An Indian Spectacled Cobra.

"I could have killed it with a stick but bit it with my teeth instead because I was angry," Miya was quoted as saying.

Miya, who lives in a village some 125 miles (200 kilometers) southeast of the Nepali capital of Kathmandu, was receiving treatment at a village health post at the time of the news report and was not in danger of dying from his snakebite. He will not be charged with killing the snake, a local police official said, because cobras (called "goman" in Nepal) are not listed as endangered in the country.

In short, a snake has died of manbite. ( )

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Why are Apple, Google, and Facebook eradicating a linchpin of user interface design?

Save the Scrollbar! - Why are Apple, Google, and Facebook eradicating a linchpin of user interface design?

When I noticed the scrollbars were missing on my smartphone, I didn’t care all that much. When I’m reading an article on a tiny screen, I don’t want anything to distract me from the text. User interface experts refer to all this extra material—the operating system’s borders, menus, and widgets—as “chrome,” and the test of the value of a given piece of chrome is whether you miss it when it’s gone. On the iPhone and other touchscreen phones, the scrollbar—that vertical or horizontal line that tells you how much more of an article lies beyond the screen—only appears when you touch the screen. When your finger is at rest, the scrollbar disappears. And on my phone, at least, I don’t miss it when it’s gone.

But then the scrollbars on my Mac disappeared. And I’ve noticed scrollbars evaporating across the Web as well. This is a maddening trend, and I don’t know what’s come over the interface designers of the world—it’s as if they’ve been gripped by a fashion trend that prizes aesthetics over function, the technological equivalent of sagging or Lady Gaga’s 10-inch heels. It’s time for the scrollers of the world to stand united and say, “Enough!”

I can understand the impulse here: Most scrollbars are kind of ugly. Even the skinny, rounded gray bar that Apple invented for the iPhone isn’t the prettiest interface element ever designed. But as unpleasant as they may be to look at, scrollbars serve a purpose on a busy screen: They tell you, at a glance, where you are in a list or a document. Because most modern scrollbars are proportional to the size of the document you’re looking at, they also give you a sense of how much lies off-screen—the smaller the scrollbar, the larger the document. And when you don’t see a scrollbar—or when the scrollbar is dimmed—this usually means there’s nothing outside the screen to look at.

This might not sound very important. But you don’t know you need all the information a scrollbar conveys until it’s gone. When scrollbars disappear, you feel at sea: Are there more songs left in that iTunes playlist? Are there Facebook status updates that you’re not seeing? That folder looks like it has only three files in it—that can’t be right, can it? In the age of disappearing scrollbars, the only way to know is to move your cursor. And that’s unbelievably annoying.

If you want to blame someone for the disappearing scrollbar trend—and I really do—blame Apple. When you load up Lion, Apple’s latest Mac OS, you’ll see that most windows—from the Finder to iTunes to Web pages in Safari—show up without scrollbars. The bars only appear when you move your cursor over a window and then attempt to scroll (either with your mouse wheel or by using a touch gesture on your track pad). When you do so, you’ll see that Lion has copied the scrollbar design from Apple’s mobile iOS. Scrollbars on the Mac used to be fat and candy blue, but now they’re skinny, gray, and—crucially—lack the arrow buttons that let you scroll with a single click. They also show up for just an instant; once you stop scrolling, the bars disappear.

The first time you encounter this, you’ll think, Whoa, that’s a terrible bug Apple forgot to fix! In reality, though, the company touts these “overlay scrollbars” as a key feature of the new OS. It doesn’t say why these ephemeral scrollbars are better than the old bars, and reaction from critics has been squarely negative. On the bright side, there is a way to make the scrollbars go back to normal. (While you’re at it, turn off Lion’s dastardly “natural scrolling,” too.) But who knows how long Apple will pity the scrollbar dependent—in the next version of the OS, they could be gone for good.

I initially brushed off Lion’s disappearing scrollbars as one of Apple’s misguided efforts to achieve aesthetic minimalism at the cost of usability (e.g., Steve Jobs banishing arrow keys from the original Mac). I suspected that no sane UI expert outside Cupertino would replicate Lion’s scrollbar design. But then, while goofing off on Facebook a few weeks ago, I noticed something strange: In its latest redesign, the social network added two lists to the right side of my screen—the “ticker,” which shows real-time updates from my network, and a list of friends who are currently free to chat. Neither one of these lists is accompanied by scrollbars. Just like in Lion, the scrollbars only appear when you move your mouse over the window and begin to scroll.

OK, so maybe it’s just Apple and Facebook? That wouldn’t be so bad, right? But wait! Last week Google unveiled a new design for Gmail, and it also monkeys with scrollbars. For one thing, Gmail’s main scroller is bespoke; in some browsers, the site displays a square-cornered, light-gray bar that is different from every other scrollbar on your operating system. I can’t imagine why Google wanted to redesign the scrollbar—what’s wrong with using the same one that’s in the rest of your OS?—but if it really needed to create its own scroller, couldn’t it have come up with something a little snappier?

Thankfully, Gmail’s main scrollbar is persistent—it doesn’t disappear when you stop scrolling. But when I looked at the left side of my screen, I noticed that the Gchat contacts list lacked a scrollbar. When I moused over and began to scroll, sure enough, the scrollbar appeared—and then disappeared.

By now I was panicked: From Lion to Facebook to Gmail, the disappearing scrollbar virus looked to be spreading beyond anyone’s control. After some research, I found one more example, and this was the biggest, scariest one of all. A prototype of Windows 8, which will go on sale next year, shows that some parts of that OS may also hide scrollbars. If Microsoft gets a hold of this trend, scrollbars may well be doomed—hundreds of millions of PCs around the world will see their scrollbars flicker away.

Don’t let this happen! As a humble technology columnist, I have no power to bring back scrollbars, but I can beseech you, computer users of the world, to stand up for your right to see where you are in a document. Disappearing scrollbars represented a true advance in mobile interface design, but—in the same way that a touchscreen isn’t the best interface for every device—these ephemeral scrollbars don’t make sense on larger screens. There are ways to create scrollbars that are both aesthetically pleasing and useful. In its latest release, the open-source operating system Ubuntu includes skinny scrollbars that expand when you mouse over them; when your cursor isn’t in a window, the skinny scrollbars remain, telling you that there’s stuff you’re not seeing. It’s a simple, elegant solution, one that proves that scrollbars can adapt to modern times. This should be a lesson to Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. Scrollbars have so much more to give us. Please don’t kill them before it’s their time to go. ( )

Blog : The Sensitivities | Save the Scrollbar! - Why are Apple, Google, and Facebook eradicating a linchpin of user interface design?

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Computers Can 'See' People's Dreams

Computers Can 'See' People's Dreams - A computer can predict what you're dreaming about based on brain wave activity, new research suggests. 

By measuring people's brain activity during waking moments, researchers were able to pick out the signatures of specific dream imagery — such as keys or a bed — while the dreamer was asleep. 

"We know almost nothing about the function of dreaming," said study co-author Masako Tamaki, a neuroscientist at Brown University. "Using this method, we might be able to know more about the function of dreaming." 

The findings, which were published today (April 4) in the journal Science, could also help scientists understand what goes on in the brain when people have nightmares. 

Sleepy mystery 

Exactly why people dream is a mystery. Whereas the founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud may have thought dreams were about wish fulfillment, others believe dreams are irrelevant byproducts of the sleep cycle. And yet another theory holds that dreams allow the mind to continue working on puzzles faced during the day. In general, most people believe their dreams have meaning. 

Scientists have dreamt of being able to look inside the brain's sleepy wonderland. Past studies had suggested that people's brain activity can be decoded to reveal what they are thinking about: For instance, scientists have decoded movie clips from brain waves. 

Dream reading 

So why not try to read dreams? 

Tamaki and her colleagues tracked brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of three people as they were sleeping; the researchers woke up the trio every few minutes to have them describe their dreams. In total, the scientists collected about 200 visual images. 

The researchers then tied the dream content that participants described in their waking moments to specific patterns in brain activity (as seen in the blood flow in fMRI scans) and had a computer model learn those signatures. 

The computer model then analyzed each person's dreams. The model was able to pick out the time when each person dreamed of specific objects based on their brain activity when they were awake. 

Those findings showed the same brain regions are activated when people are awake as when they are actually having the associated dream. 

"We were amazed," Tamaki said. 

Even though the team just tried to read dream imagery from one person's waking brain activity, they found some common patterns for broad classes of imagery, such as scenery versus people, Tamaki told LiveScience. 

"There is a similarity amongst the subjects, so from that result, we could pick up some basic dream content and then we can build a model from those base contents, and they may apply to other people," Tamaki said. )

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Seven Ways to Trick Your Brain

Seven Ways to Trick Your Brain - By some accounts, the human brain is the most complex object in the universe. But it is also surprisingly easy to trick. 

Mental shortcuts and shortcomings, which allow us to be tricked, also show us how the brain works, said Jerry Kolber, the head writer and executive producer of "Brain Games," a new show on the National Geographic Channel that debuts today (April 22) at 9 p.m. ET/PT. 

Here are some simple games designed to trick your mind and teach you more about what's going on upstairs. 

This publicity image released by the National Geographic Channel shows the four of the captains from the series, "Wicked Tuna," posing on a pier in Gloucester, Mass. The channel faces the challenge of trying to build a successful network in the era of Honey Boo-Boo and "Duck Dynasty" without damaging a National Geographic brand that has stood for quality since the magazine was first published in 1888. The first three months of 2013 was the network's most popular quarter since its launch in 2001. The National Geographic Channel averaged 554,000 viewers in prime time, propelled by "Doomsday Preppers," the "Wicked Tuna" series about fishermen in Gloucester, Mass., and a movie dramatization of Bill O'Reilly's book, "Killing Lincoln." (AP Photo/National Geographic Channel)

1. Biblical question 

Here's a simple question to put your Biblical knowledge to the test. But don't worry, you don't have to go to church or temple every day of the week to get it right: How many of each kind of animal did Moses bring on his ark? 

If you answered "two," you're like most people … and you're incorrect. It was Noah who took animals on his craft. 

Most people get this question wrong because the brain is primed by the words "biblical," "ark" and "animals," and goes straight into accessing its Bible-related knowledge to answer, said Jason Silva, the host of the show. This allows the brain to gloss over the fact that Moses is not the right guy. 

2. Mary's mother 

Mary's mother has four children: April, May, June and …? 

If you answered "July," you've been tricked. The correct answer is Mary. Your brain is built to be efficient and looks for patterns in everything, Silva said. Even though the answer is contained in the first two words of the riddle, your brain automatically goes to "July," because that's the next month. This riddle reveals your automatic, or system 1, brain processes at work. This system uses shortcuts in an effort to save the brain energy needed to do other things, like running the body and keeping a person alive. 

3. Notice anything weird? 

Look at the above photo. Does anything about it appear off to you? If not, look again. And again. As you may or may not notice, the word "you" is repeated. Your brain doesn't notice this because it is unnecessary to comprehend the sentence, Kolber told LiveScience. This glossing-over reveals another automatic process that literally blinds a person to certain unnecessary, extraneous information, Kolber added. 

4. Motion-induced blindness 

If you focus your eyes on a blinking red dot in the center of a spinning circle, you will notice something strange: the yellow dots disappear. That's because attention is like a spotlight that can only shine on one thing at a time, Silva said. In this case, the eyes (and, ultimately the brain) assume that the dots are part of the background, and thus adapt to the dots' presence and disregard them as unimportant, Kolber said. 

"Seeing is not believing," Kolber said. "The eye truly can un-see things." 

5. Flash lag 

The flash lag experiment illustrates this gap between perception and reality. Follow the instructions to the game and click on the spot where you think the dot is at the time of the flash. You will likely think the dot is well ahead of where it actually is. 

The experiment shows the "difficulty in accurately detecting the position of an object at the time of another event," according to researcher and author Dean Buonomano. That's due in part to the delay between when something happens and when you fully see and realize the event has happened, Kolber said. 

6. School bus 

Quick: which way is this bus headed? (The image shows a bus without any markings on its side.) The correct answer is to the left — the entrance on a bus is always on the right side, which must be facing away. Children, with more recent experience on buses, are much better at answering this question than adults. It illustrates how important cues and former experience are in interpreting a sight or situation. 

7. Money grab 

Here's a simple game that you can play with a friend. Hold out a dollar bill to your companion and have him or her place a pointer finger and thumb a few inches away from the money, ready to grab it. Then drop the bill. The person won't be able to snatch the cash before it falls (your subject isn't allowed to move his or her whole arm, just the fingers). 

The reason has to do with time and mental processing speed. Everything you see happens basically one-tenth of a second before it registers in your brain, the amount of time needed to assemble the vast amount of information coming in through the eyes and other senses, and made sense of by the brain, Silva said. Moreover, your eyes can only see in two dimensions; 3D vision is a product of the brain, he added. Besides seeing the bill drop, your brain also has to tell your fingers to move to catch the bill. By the time this happens, the bill is already out of reach. 

Given all that, it's actually a wonder how quickly our brains can function — but sometimes we overestimate our reaction time, Kolber said. 

This knowledge has led Kolber to drive slower and put more distance between him and cars in front of him on the road — many accidents can be avoided by taking these kinds of precautions and giving yourself more time. Indeed, one point of the "Brain Games" show is to apply brain science to everyday life. 

"We start with a game, we blow your mind, we explain the science and then talk about how it could be applied to your life," Silva )

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The NASA plan to "shoot" an asteroid with a rocket spacecraft

The NASA plan to "shoot" an asteroid with a rocket spacecraft - NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is quietly working on a computer-piloted spacecraft that might help us understand how to blast an asteroid into a different orbit.

When American government representatives asked NASA head Charles Boden this year what the best response to a large asteroid headed towards New York City would be, his answer was simple - “Prayer”.

But NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is quietly working on a computer-piloted spacecraft that might help us understand how to blast an asteroid into a different orbit.

<span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">The ambitious plan could yield information on how to steer deadly space rocks away from Earth. </span>

The idea sounds like science fiction - but the space agency is already running simulations of the planned mission to fire a high-velocity spacecraft into a rocky asteroid half-way across the solar system.

The ambitious plan could yield information on how to steer deadly space rocks away from Earth - but it will not be easy. 

Shyam Baskaran of NASA siad, “Hitting an asteroid with a spacecraft travelling at hypervelocity is like shooting an arrow at a target on a speeding race car.” 

The“arrow” NASA aims to fire is a ring-shaped spacecraft, piloted bycomputers, which will close on a 1600ft asteroid at incredible speeds - around eight miles per second.

The impact would blast a 100ft crater into the surface of the asteroid - and explode with the force of nine tons of TNT. 

The mission will provide information on what makes up the asteroid, but also how its orbit reacts to being hit by a spacecraft. It's one of several NASA missions targeting asteroids - including an ambitious plan to "capture" an asteroid and land humans on it by 2025.

“While the effect on the orbit of asteroid 1999 RQ36 will be miniscule, it will be measurable,” said Steve Chesley, a near-Earth object scientist at JPL. “Once we know how its orbit changes, no matter how small, we can make better assessments and plans to change some future asteroid’s orbit if we ever need to do so. Of course, we have to hit it in the first place.”

“High-speed impacts on asteroids can tell you so many things that we want to know about asteroids,” said Chesley. "They can tell you about their composition and their structural integrity - which is how they hold themselves together. These are things that are vital for mission designers working on ways to potentially move asteroids, either for exploitation purposes or because they may be hazardous to Earth.”

The impactor would “hitchhike” on a robotic NASA Mars mission, Insight, then loop round Mars to bear down on the asteroid RQ36. It’s not the first time NASA has hit a fast-moving object - a 2005 mission, Deep Impact, hit the surface of a comet.

Asteroids pose entirely different challenges, says Bhaskaran, who was also the navigator on the successful 2005 comet mission.

“Asteroids hardly ever resemble perfect spheroids,” said Bhaskaran. “What you’ve got floating around out there are a bunch of massive objects that look like peanuts, potatoes, diamonds, boomerangs and even dog bones - and if the spacecraft’s guidance system can’t figure out where it needs to go, you can hit the wrong part of the asteroid, or much worse, miss it entirely.”
The robotic spacecraft will pilot itself in the crucial last moments of the mission - the planned impact would be half-way across the solar system, so sending commands by radio would take too long.

Bhaskaran says, “With Earth so far away, there is no chance to send new commands in time. The "pilot", AutoNav, is essentially a cyber-astronaut that takes in all the pertinent information, makes its own decisions and performs the actions necessary to make sure we go splat where we want to go splat.”

In the crucial last two hours of the mission, Autonav will operate entirely on its own.

“AutoNav’s imaging system and its orbit determination algorithms will detect the asteroid and compute its location in space relative to the impactor,” said Bhaskaran.

“Without waiting to hear from us, it will plan for and execute three rocket burns at 90 minutes, 30 minutes and then three minutes out. That last rocket firing will occur when the asteroid is only 1,500 miles away. Three minutes later, if all goes according to plan, the spacecraft hits like a ton of bricks.”

"We expect the crater excavated by the impact of ISIS could be around 100 feet across,” said Chesley. “We will be able to determine how big a hole there is, but also analyse the material thrown out during the impact.”

“We have confidence that whenever called upon, AutoNav will do its job,” said Bhaskaran. “The trick is, we just don’t tell AutoNav it’s a one-way trip." Yahoo! News )

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X-ray telescope reveals secrets of supernova seen in 1000AD

X-ray telescope reveals secrets of supernova seen in 1000AD - An X-ray image from NASA’s Chandra Observatory has offered a glimpse into the ruins of a star that lit up the skies when it exploded 1,000 years ago. The scan could help us understand the huge explosions produced when stars die.
The supernova SN1006 was seen by astronomers in China, Japan, Europe and the Arab world in 1006. 

On May 1, 1006, the explosion began to blaze so brightly it was visible during the day for weeks. Far brighter than Venus, it was reported as “casting shadows” by observers - despite being 7,000 light years from Earth.

An X-ray image from NASA’s Chandra Observatory has offered a glimpse into the ruins of a star that lit up the skies when it exploded 1,000 years ago.
Yahoo! News - An X-ray image from NASA’s Chandra Observatory has offered a glimpse into the ruins of a star that lit up the skies when it exploded 1,000 years ago.

Supernova experts have suggested that people could have read manuscripts by its light in spring 1006. Even now, a millennium later, parts of the cloud of debris are still moving at 11 million miles an hour.

Chandra’s X-ray telescope has looked inside the cloud of debris left by the ancient explosion - caused when a white dwarf star exploded, hurling its material into space.

The image - which took eight whole days of viewing time on the space telescope - could help us understand more about supernova explosions.

The image is the most detailed “map” yet of Type 1a supernovas - caused when a white dwarf rips matter from a companion star and explodes, or when two white dwarfs collide. It could help scientists understand what the original star looked like, and what happened as it exploded.

These supernovas are used by astronomers to measure the how quickly the universe is expanding - used like “mileposts” to measure distances in space.

X-ray astronomy began 50 years ago, when scientists first launched instruments into space to observe the universe in wavelengths which ground-based telescopes couldn’t see.

SN1006 was detected by the first generation of X-Ray telescopes. The new Chandra image overlays 10 different views captured by Chandra.

By examining the different elements in the debris field -- such as silicon, oxygen, and magnesium - researchers may be able to piece together how the star looked before it exploded, and even model the explosion itself.

The fastest knots are moving outward at almost eleven million miles per hour, while those in other areas are moving at a more leisurely seven million miles per hour.

An X-ray image from NASA’s Chandra Observatory has offered a glimpse into the ruins of a star that lit up the skies when it exploded 1,000 years ago. ( )

Blog : The Sensitivities | X-ray telescope reveals secrets of supernova seen in 1000AD

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Hunt for Mars colonists to launch today (warning, it's a one-way ticket)

Hunt for Mars colonists to launch today (warning, it's a one-way ticket) - A seven-month journey in a tiny, cramped capsule doesn't sound like an attractive prospect - especially when you realise it's a one-way trip. 

But 10,000 people have already contacted Dutch organisation Mars One to volunteer for a trip to Mars planned in September 2022 - due to arrive at the Red Planet on 2023. Return to Earth "cannot be anticipated nor expected", the firm says.

The search for astronauts formally launches today on YouTube and Twitter - in a reality-show-style contest to be among the first humans to live on another world. The age of volunteers so far ranges from 18 to 62, the firm said. 

The Mars One mission will depart in September 2022
Yahoo! News - The Mars One mission will depart in September 2022

Four volunteer astronauts will depart Earth in a tiny capsule in 2022 - heading for a colony that has already been built by twin robot "Rovers". 

The travellers will arrive to begin their new lives in April, 2023. The company aims to fund the $6billion mission using media and television events - pointing to the fact that the Olympics earned $1billion in revenue per week last year. 

One of the founders of the company is Paul Romer, formerly of Endemol, the creators of Big Brother.

“In principle, getting humans to Mars is possible now,” says Bas Landsdorp, founder of Netherlands firm Mars One, in an interview earlier this year.

The astronauts will face challenges including radiation in space during the journey - and gravity which is just 38% of Earth's. Some scientists predict that the volunteers' bodies will change so radically they could no longer survive on Earth if they returned. 

“We have received more than 10,000 emails from over 100 countries, volunteering for our astronaut selection programme. A small percentage don’t know it’s one way, but most do.”

Mars One claims that its plan involves existing technologies - and is less challenging than other plans such as billionaire Dennis Tito's plan to "fly past" the Red Planet. 

“Our plan involves a stay in space that’s pretty much the same as ones astronauts have already done on the International Space Station - seven months,” said Lansdorp. 

“The challenges you face include using a rocket to push humans into space - we already do this for the Space Station. Mars is a bit more challenging, but the Apollo moon missions also required more energy. You also need to protect yourself against space radiation, but again this is a known risk.”

Mars One’s plan would include robotic missions to find the perfect location for a colony, then a Nasa-style 'Rover' which would build the foundations.

“Before we send humans there, a second Rover will fly in 2020,” said Lansdorp. “The robots will ensure there is oxygen, breathable air and water. Then our first pair of colonists will depart in September 2022, arriving in April 2023.”

Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal, says that the eventual goal of his SpaceX company is a colony of 80,000 people on Mars - although he admitted it could cost $36billion.

“Once there are regular Mars flights, you can get the cost down to half a million dollars for someone to move to Mars,” Musk said in a speech to the Royal Aeronautical Society.

“I think there are enough people who would buy that."

Mars One aims to raise money through television events. 

“Our challenge is that we have to get investment up front,” says Lansdorp. “We estimate it will cost $6billion to get the first two colonists to Mars, then $4billion per pair thereafter. But the whole world will be watching. The revenue for the Olympic games was $1billion per week - and this will be the first time humans actually leave the Earth.”

Thousands of volunteers have already contacted Mars One to take part in the $6billion mission in 2023. Yahoo! News )

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