Mosaic Maker

Hors de prix mais diantre que c’est tentant : le LEGO Mosaic Maker,  qui crée votre portrait en LEGO ! Uniquement au Lego Store de Londres. Une bonne idée cadeau de pas loin de 120€…

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Somebody I used to know (in the 80’s)

Bleriot peux aller se rhabiller désormais 

Comment plier le meilleur avion en papier possible, avec un modèle qui détient le record du monde de distance en vol.

Read the original post Plier le meilleur avion en papier du monde on UFUNK

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Un robot industriel qui fait de tatouages

Pierre-Emmanuel Meunier et Johan da Silveira ont créé une machine qui utilise un bras de robot industriel et des techniques d’impression 3D pour réaliser des tatouages sur des gens.

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Encore du MacAskill

Le talentueux Danny MacAskill est de retour avec Wee Day Out, une nouvelle vidéo dans laquelle il dévoile ses derniers tricks dans l’ambiance bucolique de la campagne écossaise. Toujours aussi impressionnant ! Je vous conseille aussi de revoir ses précédentes vidéos.

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Read the original post Danny MacAskill fait du vélo dans la campagne écossaise on UFUNK

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Oubliée la fiche S

IDI a centralisé toutes les banques de données disponibles sur les citoyens américains en fusionnant les immatriculations, les ports d’armes, les entreprises et les habitudes d’achats sur sites de coupons…
Ils ont littéralement une fiche par habitants des États-Unis… et les vendent aux inspecteurs privés.

Every move you make. Every click you take. Every game you play. Every place you stay. They’ll be watching you.

Source : This Company Has Built a Profile on Every American Adult – Bloomberg

Big Festival Brother?

L’été approche avec tout ses festivals. Une bonne occasion pour partager de bons moments et… ses datas personnelles. 

En Angleterre, la police utilise des logiciels de reconnaissance faciale à l’entrée des festivals pour identifier des criminels potentiels. Pendant ce temps les organisateurs partagent sans vergogne toutes vos données personnelles avec leurs applications. 

quote [It’s May and the sun is finally out after a long British winter. For many that means one thing: festival season.
It’s a good occasion to disconnect from technology, go off the grid and enjoy a few days of carefree excitement. Or not. Along with booze, music and mud — a lot of mud — British festivals may have another feature: mass surveillance.]

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Les fins améliorées par Dire Strait

Tous les films se terminent bien quand ils finissent sur « Walk of life » de Dire Strait

 

It is the assertion of The Walk of Life Project that the Dire Straits song Walk of Life is the perfect thing to play at the end of movies. I have watched more than a dozen of these and they are all great, but I pic

Source : Dire Straits’ Walk of Life improves every movie

NUKEMAP 

Et si on lâchait une bombe thermonucléaire pour de rire? Sur antony par exemple? Qui passerait à la casserole atomique? Un p’tit Fallout ?

Voir même les effets de la bombe du Tsar : http://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/?&kt=100000&lat=48.8583&lng=2.2945&airburst=0&hob_ft=0&casualties=1&fallout=1&ff=52&zm=9

NUKEMAP is a Google Maps mash-up that calculates the effects of the detonation of a nuclear bomb.

Source : NUKEMAP by Alex Wellerstein

I Don’t Owe You


Continuer la lecture de « I Don’t Owe You »

Evolution et religion dans les classes du Kentucky

I was originally reluctant to take my job at the university when offered it 20 years ago. It required teaching three sections of nonmajors biology classes, with 300 students per section, and as many as 1,800 students each year. I wasn’t particularly keen on lecturing to an auditorium of students whose interest in biology was questionable given that the class was a freshman requirement.

Then I heard an interview with the renowned evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson in which he addressed why, as a senior professor—and one of the most famous biologists in the world—he continued to teach nonmajors biology at Harvard. Wilson explained that nonmajors biology is the most important science class that one could teach. He felt many of the future leaders of this nation would take the class and that this was the last chance to convey to them an appreciation for biology and science. Moved by Wilson’s words, and with the knowledge that Funkhouser once held the job I was now contemplating, I accepted the position. The need to do well was unnerving, however, considering that if I failed as a teacher, a future Scopes might leave my class uninspired.

I realized early on that many instructors teach introductory biology classes incorrectly. Too often evolution is the last section to be taught, an autonomous unit at the end of the semester. I quickly came to the conclusion that, since evolution is the foundation upon which all biology rests, it should be taught at the beginning of a course, and as a recurring theme throughout the semester. My basic biology for nonmajors became evolution for nonmajors. It didn’t take long before I started to hear from a vocal minority of students who strongly objected: “I am very offended by your lectures on evolution! Those who believe in creation are not ignorant of science! You had no right to try and force evolution on us. Your job was to teach it as a theory and not as a fact that all smart people believe in!!” And: “Evolution is not a proven fact. It should not be taught as if it is. It cannot be observed in any quantitative form and, therefore, isn’t really science.”

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Hacker le cerveau pour influer sur les décisions.

Le rêve de tout marketer, chaîne de télé ou dictateur (rayer la mention inutile) va se réaliser : des scientifiques ont piraté le cerveaux de macaques (nos plus proches cousins) et leur ont fait changer d’avis lors de prises de décision.
Pas encore un risque immédiat, la procédure passant par une opération chirurgicale mais déjà le scientifique de s’inquiéter du danger de cette procédure.

A rhesus macaque. Image: Peter Nijenhuis/Flickr

While your brain should still be safe from hackers for some time yet, a new study, in which macaques had their choices controlled by electrical impulses, adds to a growing body of work that suggests brains can be manipulated with a surprising degree of precision.

Using electrodes implanted in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a region deep in the brain associated with the reward circuitry of the brain, researchers were able to fundamentally influence the decision making of macaques. The work was published today in Current Biology.

The study, conducted by a joint team from KU Leuven in Belgium, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, consisted first of an A/B test in which macaques were shown a pair of images, and their preference for one or the other recorded. Some monkeys might prefer a picture of a ball, others a star, but in any case, the research team was able to glean a baseline preference for each individual.

Then came the big test: Could electrical microstimulation affect the results? Indeed, by applying small, regular electrical impulses to the VTA, the team "was capable of selectively reinforcing and motivating behavior during operant and Pavlovian conditioning paradigms." In other words, after flipping the switch, macaques that preferred image A picked image B, and vice versa.

I asked Wim Vanduffel, a co-author of the report, if the results suggest that electronically-controlled decision making is possible, to which he emailed, "Certainly so!"

The team used fMRI imaging to guide implantation of the electrodes.

"The data show that the preference of the monkeys changes quite dramatically," he wrote. "The effect was slightly larger in the first compared to the third animal, likely because of the positioning of the electrodes (but that is speculation)."

Of course, it’s more complex than simply plugging a wire into a monkey’s brain and controlling what it does. For one, the team, led by John Arsenault, still had to convince the macaques to actually go along with the game, which meant adding in an additional juice reward; the animals didn’t suddenly turn into robots.

"Indeed, we could not have the monkey ‘work’ for microstimulation alone," Vanduffel wrote. "In other words, to reinforce the operant behavior we used an additional reinforcer (juice)."

And lest you fear that your brain could be taken over by someone on the street, the effect of electrical stimulation on decision making requires the extremely precise placement of electrodes deep into the brain—something not likely to happen without you knowing.

"The targeting itself is probably ‘ever lasting’: once the electrodes are in the right locations (and if there are no complications), they probably will work for long periods of time," Vanduffel wrote. "The critical issue is to reach a sufficiently large number of VTA neurons. So positioning is very important—and not trivial."

Postoperative image confirming the planting of electroding in the VTA, deep in the brain.

I particularly like the way Vanduffel put it in a release, saying, "Of course, there is also a potential danger here: The method could be used maliciously to manipulate a person’s brain remotely without his knowledge. But as yet, there is no reason to worry. Non-invasive, high-precision methods for stimulating deep brain centers are not yet available."

Regardless, it’s more evidence that stimulating the brain is indeed possible. Previous work has focused on optical stimulation, including particularly futuristic research into controlling mice brains with lasers. Deep brain stimulation is already used in humans, but not with the direct decision-making effects of the most recent study. 

Perhaps the closest to the brain hacking concept—albeit for good—is DARPA’s interest in developing brain stimulation therapies for treating brain trauma, including PTSD. So while we’re a ways off from worrying about people hijacking our brains or an offshoot from the Matrix scenario, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the brain’s electrical processes can be manipulated with a fine degree of precision—and, one day, we may even be able to copy them.

"We’ve known for a long time that the ‘working of the brain’ can be reduced to the electrical activity of neurons," Vanduffel said. "If one were able to ‘mimick’ this artificially, one would have a working brain. Obviously, this is purely hypothetical since it seems impossible to mimick ~100 billion neurons, and many more connections between them."

Regardless, that we can tap into the electrical systems of the brain means a future where we can regulate our brains with more control than we can imagine now. It’s an area with huge potential for treatment of neurological disorders, as electrical implants could perhaps act with more precision than pharmacological treatmeants—just as long as they don’t get hacked.

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