2014年11月27日 星期四

Google's new 'smart' spoon helps steady shaking hands

Google is getting into the spoon business.
But not just any spoons: This high-tech cutlery is aimed at people with essential tremors and Parkinson’s disease and, according to the company, can reduce shaking of the spoon bowl by an average of 76%.
Hi-tech invention aims to help sufferers from essential tremors and...

Essential tremor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Essential tremor (ET, also referred to as benign tremor or familial tremor or shaky hand syndrome) is the most common movement disorder; its cause is unknown ...

2014年11月24日 星期一

The evolution of Darwin’s Origin: Cambridge releases

The evolution of Darwin’s Origin: Cambridge releases 12,000 papers online

The origins of Darwin’s theory of evolution – including the pages where he first coins and commits to paper the term ‘natural selection’ – are being made freely available online today in one of the most significant releases of Darwin material in history.

The information Darwin received, and the discussions he conducted in these letters played a crucial role in the development of his thinking.
Alison Pearn
In total, Cambridge Digital Library (http://bit.ly/1y7q4e1) is releasing more than 12,000 hi-res images, alongside transcriptions and detailed notes as a result of an international collaboration with the Darwin Manuscript Project, based at the American Museum of Natural History. These papers chart the evolution of Darwin’s journey, from early theoretical reflections while on board HMS Beagle, to the publication of On the Origin of Species – 155 years ago today.
The launch of Darwin’s papers also marks the end of the first phase of funding for Cambridge’s Digital Library, launched to worldwide acclaim in 2011 with the publication of Isaac Newton’s scientific archive. Initial £1.5m funding for the Digital Library was provided by the Polonsky Foundation. Funding for the digitisation and transcription of the Origin papers was provided by the US National Endowment for the Humanities and National Science Foundation.
Cambridge University Library holds almost the entire collection of Darwin’s working scientific papers and the ones being released today are the most important for understanding the development of his evolutionary theory. They are being published simultaneously on the Cambridge Digital Library and Darwin Manuscripts Project websites, with a further release planned for June 2015, covering the notes and drafts of his eight post-Origin books.
None of the Darwin documents available from today have hitherto been digitised to the present high standard of full colour and high resolution, and many have never been transcribed or edited before now.
Professor David Kohn, Director of the Darwin Manuscripts Project, said: “These documents truly constitute the surviving seedbed of the Origin. In them, Darwin hammered out natural selection and the structure of concepts he used to support natural selection. It was here also that he developed his evolutionary narrative and where he experimented privately with arguments and strategies of presentation that he either rejected or that eventually saw the light of day with the Origin’s publication on November 24, 1859.”
The current release includes important documents such as the “Transmutation” and “Metaphysical” notebooks of the 1830s and the 1842 “Pencil Sketch” which sees Darwin’s first use of the term “natural selection”.
It was in Transmutation Notebook B, that Darwin first attempted to formulate a full theory of evolution and it was in Notebooks D and E that natural selection began to take form in late 1838 and early 1839. The further maturation of Darwin’s theory is found in the three experiment notebooks he began in the late 1830s and mid 1850s, and above all in a large mass of previously unpublished loose notes, primarily from the 1830s-1850s, which Darwin organised into portfolios that generally parallel the chapters of the Origin.
Also included will be images of nearly 300 of Darwin's letters with transcriptions and notes provided by the Darwin Correspondence Project, an Anglo-American research group also based in Cambridge University. 
Associate Director, Dr Alison Pearn, said: “The information Darwin received, and the discussions he conducted in these letters played a crucial role in the development of his thinking. It is a really significant step that now for the first time they can be studied and searched in the context of the scientific papers of which they are an integral part.”
Also being published on the Digital Library today is a catalogue of the University Library’s Sanskrit Collections, detailing more than 1,600 manuscripts, 500 of which are fully digitised. Along with important works from the many religious traditions of South Asia, including Vedic, Hindu, Buddhist and Jainist texts – the collection also includes texts on “secular” topics, ranging from works of poetry and drama to treatises on philosophy, mathematics, grammar, astronomy, law, eroticism and medicine.
Anne Jarvis, Cambridge University Librarian, said: “With seed funding from the Polonsky Foundation, we launched the Cambridge Digital Library in 2011 with Isaac Newton’s papers, declaring our ambition of becoming a digital library for the world, opening up our collections to anyone, anywhere on the planet with access to the Internet. Now, after millions of visits to the Digital Library website, we bookend our first phase of development with the launch of Charles Darwin’s papers and our Sanskrit collection. These now sit alongside Newton’s scientific works and a wealth of other material, including the Board of Longitude papers and, most recently, our Siegfried Sassoon archive.”

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2014年11月23日 星期日

Coding and creativity

Coding and creativity

GSE’s Brennan takes computer programming to a child’s level

November 12, 2014 | Popular
It seems that these days everyone knows at least a little about computers, from the 3-year-old who can confidently maneuver through his parents’ iPad to the 93-year-old grandmother who has a presence on Facebook. We are constant consumers of media. We are — whether we like it or not — surrounded by computational media.
But what about creating media? Most of us don’t have nearly as much experience creating it as we do consuming it. So are we selling ourselves short? The late Steve Jobs of Apple was known for, among other things, saying, “Everybody in the country should learn how to program a computer … because it teaches you how to think.”
Harvard’s Karen Brennan couldn’t agree more. “I believe that learning how to code — learning how to program a computer — essentially how to create, should be for all kids and not just for some kids,” said the assistant professor of education at the Graduate School of Education.
Brennan recently spoke to a gathering of nearly 50 at the Harvard Allston Education Portal as part of its Faculty Speaker Series, which aims to bring Harvard faculty members to the community to discuss topics that are timely and interesting, and to provide exposure to things that are relevant and visual.
Brennan is one of the developers of Scratch, a free online computer programming language that allows users to create stories, games, and animations. She, together with her colleagues, developed the program while working on her Ph.D. at the MIT Media Lab.
Scratch is a powerful, integrative, and collaborative way of learning. Created in 2007, it has more than 4.3 million users worldwide, mainly between the ages of 8 and 18. It is translated into more than 60 different languages and houses more than 6.7 million projects.
Scratch lets children not only create, but share ideas, passions, and learning. Some users make tutorial projects for each other. Others work together, oftentimes cross-country, to create their own “production companies,” sharing their work with other users.
At the Ed Portal talk, nearly a dozen kids were scattered among the audience. Their parents, some of whom are currently learning Scratch as part of the Ed Portal’s Mentoring Program, said they attended because they wanted to be able to understand and support their children’s growing excitement and interest in programming.
“I really like the freedom of actually being able to do what you want, when you want, and I like being able to share what I create with other kids who use Scratch as well,” said 10-year-old Cora Cloherty of Brighton.
“This is learning in a very different way,” said Brennan. “Kids were used to being told how to think, how to memorize. This allows them to be in control. It takes some time, but once kids have a little taste of being creative, many of them don’t want to look back.”
Another benefit is the growing diversity of those involved.
Girls Who Code, a group that provides computer science education and exposure to young women, recently found that just 0.3 percent of high school girls select computer science as a college major. Scratch hopes to help bump up those numbers. And according to Brennan, it’s heading in the right direction. Approximately 40 percent of Scratch users today are female.
“This is not about wanting everyone to become a computer scientist,” said Brennan. “Just like the ability to read, it’s about computational fluency for everyone and the ability to think and create.”

2014年11月21日 星期五

闌尾炎 ("虫垂炎")


Wedekind, Frank, 1864-1918. 湯元吉

臺北 : 臺灣商務 民60[1971;上海 : 商務印書館 1935

Frühlings Erwachen (Spring Awakening / Spring's Awakening, 1891)    --HC的介紹:《春醒》Spring Awakening




2014年11月20日 星期四

using technology to uncover mysteries about the age and authenticity of historic paintings

By MICHAEL HILL, Associated Press
ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) — Richard Johnson can see right through the masterpieces of Rembrandt and Van Gogh.
The Cornell University electrical and computer engineering professor is a digital art detective, able to unlock the mysteries of a work's age and authenticity by analyzing its underlying canvas or paper.
Using high-resolution X-ray images, the 64-year-old academic can actually determine if paintings came from the same bolt of hand-loomed canvas, each of which has a varying thread density pattern that can be as unique as a fingerprint. Linking multiple pieces of canvas to the same bolt can shore up arguments for authenticity and even put works in chronological order.
It's a valuable service to world-class museums that comes through the unlikely cross-pollinating of traditional art history and contemporary computer science.
Computer and engineering professor Richard Johnson is using technology to uncover mysteries about the age and authenticity of historic paintings by artists like Johannes Vermeer and Vincent Van Gogh.
Read more at:

2014年11月18日 星期二

The Golden Ratio: Possibly the best rectangle in the world

Image for The Golden Ratio: Possibly the best rectangle in the world

The Golden Ratio: Possibly the best rectangle in the world

Find out more about how the proportions of the Golden Ratio are consistently found in nature and have replicated by artists and architects for thousands of years. Voiced by Harry Shearer. Scripted by Nigel Warburton.
Available since: Last Tuesday


A HISTORY OF IDEASVicky Neale on the Mathematics of Beauty

Mathematician Vicky Neale on the mathematics of beauty and the beauty of mathematics.
Image for Vicky Neale on the Mathematics of Beauty

2014年11月12日 星期三

Philae spacecraft makes historic landing on comet


【十年太空夢首次登陸彗星 人類文明邁出巨大一步】文: 場邊故事
今次漫長的太空旅程得來不易,飛船十年前啟航,曾繞地球三次,借助地球的重力揈到老遠的木星軌道附近,追上彗星 67P。靠太陽能推動的飛船曾因為距離太陽太遠,無力前行,控制中心唯有把它「催眠」,讓它在太空沉睡了兩年半,期間和地球失去聯絡。後來在預定時間甦醒及向 67P 最後進發,歐州太空署才鬆一口氣。

  • Philae spacecraft makes historic landing on comet
    The Guardian - 41 mins ago
    Philae is talking to us,” said a jubilant Stephan Ulamec, Philae lander manager at the DLR ...

  • Philae spacecraft makes historic landing on comet

    Rosetta mission’s safe landing gives scientists their first chance to ride a comet and study close up what happens as it gets closer to the sun

    • Rosetta mission landing: follow the live reaction
    • See the historic landing in pictures
    • Usama Hasan: mission will help illuminate origins of life

    The European Space Agency mission control in Darmstadt, Germany, celebrates as Philae touches down
    The signal broke a seven-hour wait of agonising intensity and sparked scenes of jubilation at the European Space Agency’s mission control in Darmstadt. The team in charge of the Rosetta mission achieved what at times seemed an impossible task by landing a robotic spacecraft on a comet for the first time in history.
    The moment the tension broke came shortly after 1600 GMT when the Philae called home. “We are there. We are sitting on the surface. Philae is talking to us,” said a jubilant Stephan Ulamec, Philae lander manager at the DLR German space centre. “We are on the comet.”
    Andrea Accomazzo, the Rosetta flight operations director, added: “We cannot be happier than we are now.”
    But celebrations were tempered by the later discovery that the probe’s two harpoons had not fired to fasten the craft down in the ultra-low gravity. Scientists now think the probe may have bounced after first coming into contact with the surface. Ulamec said: “Maybe today we didn’t just land once, we landed twice.”
    The safe, if precarious, touchdown of the lander gives scientists a unique chance to ride onboard a comet and study from the surface what happens as its activity ramps up as it gets closer to the sun. The first images beamed back from the lander’s descent revealed a dramatic landscape of pits and precipices, craters and boulders. However, there have been gaps in its radio link with the orbiting Rosetta mothership. 

    Philae lander lander seen from Rosetta
    The Philae lander on its way to the comet, photographed by the Rosetta spacecraft.Photograph: AP

    The £1bn ($1.58bn) Rosetta mission aims to unlock the mysteries of comets, made from ancient material that predates the birth of the solar system. In the data Rosetta and Philae collect, researchers hope to learn more of how the solar system formed and how comets carried water and complex organics to the planets, preparing the stage for life on Earth.
    Space agencies have sent probes to comets before, but not like this. In 1986, Nasa’s Ice mission flew through the tail of Halley’s comet. In 2005, the agency’s Deep Impact spacecraft fired a massive copper block at comet Temple 1. But none before now has landed.
    The feat marks a profound success for the European Space Agency (ESA), which launched the Rosetta spacecraft more than 10 years ago from its Kourou spaceport in French Guiana. Since blasting off in March 2004, Rosetta and its lander Philae have travelled more than 6bn kilometres to catch up with the comet, which orbits the sun at speeds up to 135,000km/h.
    “We are the first to do this, and that will stay forever,” said Jean Jacques Dordain, director general of the ESA.
    Matt Taylor, a Rosetta project scientist, who had selected an extremely colourful shirt for the event, revealed an impressive – and brave – tattoo of the lander on the comet’s surface.

    2014年11月4日 星期二


    窩速食店八年的中研院新院士「敢做大學問」 張益唐破解160年數學難題
    撰文 / 蔡曜蓮
    出處 / 今周刊   920期
    關聯關鍵字: 中研院數學研究兩岸風雲920
    • 窩速食店八年的中研院新院士





















    關於科學研究,有個流傳甚廣的笑話:「我們很難在一片漆黑的房間裡找出一隻黑貓, 尤其是當房間裡根本沒有貓的時候。」張益唐對數學的執著,讓他從沒想過這一切是不是枉然,「我人生沒什麼後悔的事,就算證明題做不出來,我也不會覺得後悔。」他全心投入數學研究,和外界聯繫不多,他的妹妹曾在網路上貼出尋人啟事,以為他失蹤了,還是朋友看到替他回信,「你哥哥很好,在研究數學呢!」





    質數對(p , p+2)稱為孿生質數。「孿生質數猜想」在1849年由數學家阿爾方.德.波利尼亞克提出,即當數值無限大時,也存在差距2的相鄰兩質數。