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Assorted Technology News

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Facebook Knows How You Feel

It’s not a surprise that Facebook is interested in knowing who you are and the personality traits that you have. As a consequence, it has started to develop an artificial intelligence system that will determine what you plan to do and even your feelings.

The technology is not necessarily new; it was launched under the “deep learning” name a while ago, and it will help Facebook understand the emotions and events that are not explicit in the written text. Based on the recognized objects within photos, combined with the large amount of user behavior data that’s deeply analyzed, Facebook’s algorithm will be able to predict people’s future behavior. In an interesting move, Facebook has open sourced some of its deep learning tools this year.facebook deep learning

Supermarkets all over the world are spending a lot of money on studies that promise to reveal future buying trends, for example, and it looks like Facebook’s approach will take research even further. Due to deep learning, Facebook will be able to determine your favorite color, and then use this information to send you marketing materials that make use of it, for example. Of course, some people are afraid that Facebook may also sell this information to third parties.


Tech Houses for the Elderly

Due to progress in medicine, the number of elderly people is raising in many countries. Some of them have started to ask themselves if the healthcare system will manage to take care of them all. Will all of them be able to find a place in an assisted living facility?

A new company aims to create homes that are especially designed for their needs, including electronic devices that will remind the elderly to take their pills, to restock them when only a few pills are left, and even broadband Internet access that makes use of standard RP-SMA cables and adapters. Due to virtual reality, the house could also be populated with virtual images of their relatives.

It’s an ambitious project of Future Living, and this is just the first step in a long term plan that aims to help the elderly live longer on their own, and in their own houses.


New iMac Launch Revealed

It’s quite clear that people are using desktops in lower and lower numbers, and we can’t blame them for that: you can do everything you need on your laptop, and sometimes even on your tablet!

But some people are still in love with their desktop computers. You’ve guessed it: we’re talking about iMac fans here, and it looks like Apple is going to fill their hearts with joy once again by releasing a new iMac model.

Apple’s 27 inch iMac with Retina 5K display has been a success for sure, but there are more and more rumors about a 21 inch iMac with a Retina 4K display as well. KGI Securities, which is known for its accuracy in predicting Apple product releases, expects the new model to be released in the 3rd quarter of 2015.

Obesity and Kidney Stones Development Are Related, According to Study

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Obese women are more prone to developing kidney stones, according to a study authored by Dr. Khurshid Ghani and team.  The findings of the study were published in the August 8, 2013 edition of the Journal of Neurology.  The team conducted the research for four years culminating in 2009:

obesity-and-kidney-stonesThe research finding from this study is supported by an article published online by, which said that obesity, being associated with insulin resistance and compensatory hyperinsulinemia, causes metabolic dysfunction. Such metabolic dysfunction may lead to the formation of kidney stones, the article claimed.

Ghani and his team used emergency hospital visits to track down the number of patients who were diagnosed to be suffering from kidney stones.  They had recorded about 3,200,000 patient visits related to upper urinary tract stones over the four years of study.  From 289 cases of kidney stones in 2006, the researchers noted an increase of 17 cases per 100,000 hospital visits in their 2009 records.

According to Louis Kraml, it is not clear from the report if all the visits were made by unique individuals or there were no repetition of visits from the same individual.  What was clear is that visits from women increased far more greatly than visits from men over the same period, the researchers added. The researchers concluded that the increase in the number of kidney-stone-related hospital visits from women is directly related to the increase of the number of women who are suffering from obesity.

However, the researchers reported that only 12% of those who were diagnosed to be suffering from kidney stone formations were hospitalized.  They thought that the number was too small and may fail to reflect the extent of the problem in some patients.  They suggested that more advanced technology be used in identifying the levels of severity of kidney stone cases.

Implication of the Study

It is important that medical research be geared towards determining the many other negative consequences of obesity. By identifying these consequences, medical experts will have more reasons to encourage obese patients to really take care of one’s diet and the way you live your life.

Great Britain News

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1. A study that has been conducted with almost 3,000 patients, published in The Lancet, has demonstrated that leg wraps in cheap inflatable devices may be responsible for saving the life of a person that has suffered a stroke. The study, which was conducted in Scotland, has also demonstrated the presence of fewer clots in patients that have been given the inflatable leg wraps.

Close-up of red blood cells and germsThese devices are able to prevent blood from flowing. When a deep vein thrombosis happens, the clots can form quite fast. This is a problem for patients in the hospital as well, because they are unable the walk or move. In the U.K. about 60,000 persons were not capable of moving their legs when they have been admitted to hospitals.

The new devices are fixed around the patient and are inflated from time to time; they manage to compress the legs, thus forcing the blood to go back into the heart. The wraps can be worn a month or so, until the patient recovers and is capable of moving again on his own. This is a simple, safe and cost efficient procedure that will definitely show to be of great help, say the specialists. The wraps are estimated to be able to help close to 100,000 persons every year in the UK.

2. A recent study conducted by Cochrane Collaboration has demonstrated that while antibiotics may produce diarrhea, probiotics may prevent it. In fact, it was known for years that diarrhea is one of the side effect of antibiotic intakes.

The probiotics are said to create a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut, whereas antibiotics have the power to kill the necessary organisms, which are present in the digestive system of the patient. Clostridus is a known example of diarrhea trigger, and the infections with this bug are very difficult to treat; some of the patients might even die due to it. The study has clearly demonstrated that people that take probiotics experience in much less numbers the unpleasant side effects of antibiotics.

3. The U.K. plans to revive wildflower meadows. There have been identified over 60 coronation meadows in the U.K. and the plan is to revive more of them. The number of meadows has decreased with 97 percent since the 1930’s.

The Prince of Wales is involved in this project, along with three wildlife organizations. The persons involved will take seeds and green hay from the designated meadows and will create new ones. There have been identified more than 60 meadows until now, and they represent an important treasure of the U.K. By the end of this year, about one hundred such meadows will be included in a program that will rapidly allow people to know their precise location. The meadows vary in age and size, and they are spread all over the U.K. The campaign is meant to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation.

4. German and Scottish researchers have found that city living has a major impact on biological clocks of both humans and animals. The study has shown that people living in the city, as well as the animals, wake up earlier and are unable to rest more. The researchers say that this may be a result of micro-evolutionary changes. The conclusions of the study have been published in the journal of Proceedings of the Royal Society; the study was conducted by researchers at Glasgow University.

One of the study’s conclusions was that birds in the forest have a totally different rhythm of life when compared to those living in cities. They begin their activity 30 minutes before those in the woods, and end their daily activities about ten minutes later. This means that their everyday activities last 40 minutes more.

As a consequence of the results of this study, researchers agreed that now it is vital that some studies are conducted in order to see if this alteration of the rhythm of life can trigger several diseases. It is known that when the sleep pattern is disrupted, depression occurs more often, the risk of obesity increases and some types of cancers may develop.

5. There may be no more homework for the kids in U.K. or at least this is the plan that a school in Norwich has. The idea is to give them less or no homework, so that kids will have more family time. The kids enrolled at Jane Austen College in Norwich will do the homework during their normal daily schedule, and not on their free time, at home. The school is supposed to extend the learning hours until 5 PM, so that the homework is correctly done.

Last year, the President of France was talking about ending homework during the primary years. There are several other primary and secondary schools that have banned homework, explaining that this way the kids will have more time to play and stay with their families. In 2014 the entire school program will change, so that kids will learn more English, gain more cultural knowledge and study Latin.

6. The way people choose to call their babies is influenced by an evolutionary tendency, say the results of a recent study. Boys’ names usually sound large, whereas the girls’ names sound small, and this is said to be directly connected to the chance they have to procreate.

Names like Thomas, Oliver or Jack contain broad vowels that are associated with largeness, while the girls’ names, like Emily, Olivia etc may seem small due to the type of sounds they contain.

The research has been conducted by scientists at University of London, and among the conclusions it has demonstrated that people connect some of the vowels to shapes and sizes. The explanation is that our brain does connections between low frequency noises and large animals or people. On the other hand, high frequency sounds tend to be associated to smaller sized people, so the scientists have concluded that parents choose the names of their kids so that they increase the chance of passing on their genes.

7. Several canoes have been dug out in Cambridgeshire. It seems that ancient Britons constructed such canoes out of tree trunks, using them as transportation means in prehistoric times. Archaeologists try to save eight of the canoes, which will be treated with all sorts of substances that will help conservation.

The boats date from 1600… 1000 B.C. Some of the boats were very light, and thus easily handled by the sailors. Others were very robust, and were probably used to carry heavy objects, and up to ten people. Specialists say that sailing with such boats required skills and that was not at all an easy thing to do.

This is the largest and most interesting canoe collection ever found in Britain or even in Europe. The excavations were led by archaeologists guided by Kerry Murrell of Cambridge Archaeological Unit.