Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

There’s been a bit of coverage in the last few days about “Kaspar the Friendly Robot” helping children with autism. The American Psychological Association picked up the AP report:

Eden Sawczenko used to recoil when other little girls held her hand and turned stiff when they hugged her. This year, the 4-year-old autistic girl began playing with a robot that teaches about emotions and physical contact – and now she hugs everyone.

And Eden’s progress is attributed to Kaspar, a robot designed by researchers at the University of Hertfordshire as part of the AuRoRa Project, whose goal is to study “if and how robots can become a ‘toy’ that might serve an educational or therapeutic role for children with autism.” Looks like they’re making progress!

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Lots of folks are encouraged and stoked by the new DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) exemptions (aka “Rulemaking on Exemptions from Prohibition on Circumvention of Technological Measures that Control Access to Copyrighted Works”) recently released by the Library of Congress and announced in a press release. Over at Profhacker, Kathleen Fitzpatrick reports:

The exemption on the cracking of CSS [content scrambling system] now extends to all college and university instructors, as well as students in film and media studies courses, and the permitted “educational uses” now include critical commentary and documentary production, as well as the exceptionally broad category of “non-commercial videos.”

This is good news for a number of our faculty who use digital media in their courses and for other projects, as before these exemptions it had been illegal to extract clips from DRM-protected media, even if they were for use in class and even though use in class would be legal otherwise.

Another Profhacker post by Jason Mittell goes into more detail about implications for teaching and research, including that faculty across all disciplines can now rip clips and do it for use beyond the classroom, such as conference presentations and publications.

If you agree that this is wicked good news, be sure to thank the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), who were responsible for a lot of the legwork behind this fair use victory.

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Kudos to Dr. Christine Frick, 2007 Clinical Psychology alumna, who is featured in this Veterans Administration video on the benefits of telehealth:

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You’ve probably seen the earlier version of this video. The updated 2008 version (5 minutes long) is below. The information presented is mind boggling. Do you have an answer for the question posed at the end?

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Wacky Wednesday Post

Worth the 2 minutes 39 seconds to watch this very funny video.

Medieval Helpdesk with English Subtitles

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As a recovering PC user, I can’t live without a right click, which of course Macs don’t have. Or do they?

Actually you can right click on a Mac: just press the control key (ctrl) and click, and you’ll be able to access those handy right-click menus in Zotero and other programs and applications.

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Google’s Chrome may give Microsoft’s Internet Explorer some stiff competition. But until there are extensions or plugins that can compete with Firefox’s, it likely won’t make much headway with Firefox fans.

CNET’s coverage of the launch includes several stories from different angles.

What’s your browser preference?

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Great article, “Science 2.0—Is Open Access Science the Future?”, from Scientific American about the move toward more open science from several different quarters. One example comes from scientists at MIT, who have created a wiki for sharing lab data and more at OpenWetWare.

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Exalead is a great search alternative to Google. The advanced search gives you easy access to your favorite targeted search techniques (e.g. filetype, site, inurl, intitle).
Exalead advanced search options

Use the “on a given site” option to search for org and edu sites.

There are also nifty narrowing options:

Exalead narrowing search options

And it’s worth taking a look at “More choices,” as it gives you options to exclude along with additional sorting and narrowing choices.

Happy searching! Better yet, happy finding!

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According to an article in the Telegraph, MIT researchers are using cell phones to call owls.

When Eben Goodale wants to count the birds, he places a call that triggers phones in the forest to play, via speakers, pre-recorded owl calls, such as hoots and whistles.

Territorial owls raise their heads and approach what they think may be an intruder. If they respond with a hoot, the phones transmit the sound back to the “owl project” website.

Hey, Con Bio students, spark any thesis ideas?

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