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What's that under your sleeve? A computer Add to ...

Wear your computer

“It may soon be possible to wear your computer or mobile phone under your sleeve, with the invention of an ultra-thin and flexible electronic circuit that can be stuck to the skin like a temporary tattoo,” reports The Independent. “The devices, which are almost invisible, can perform just as well as more conventional electronic machines but without the need for wires or bulky power supplies, scientists said. The development could mark a new era in consumer electronics. The technology could be used for applications ranging from medical diagnosis to covert military operations. … ‘We think this could be an important conceptual advance in wearable electronics, to achieve something that is almost unnoticeable to the wearer. The technology can connect you to the physical world and the cyberworld in a very natural way that feels comfortable,’ said Prof. Todd Coleman of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who led the research team.”

Insecure? That’s useful

“If being insecure is so socially undesirable, then why is it so common? An innovative experiment suggests that some amount of insecurity may actually be very beneficial for groups,” The Boston Globe reports. “One hundred thirty-eight Israeli students were divided into 46 groups of three, who reported to a laboratory for what the students thought was a straightforward computer task. The experimenter left the room, which was watched by hidden cameras. One minute later, the computer began emitting smoke, as if it had caught fire. Groups with at least one insecure individual were more effective in dealing with the incident. In particular, groups with a more anxious individual were faster at detecting smoke, and groups with a more distant individual were faster in exiting the room. In contrast, groups with a very secure individual were less effective in dealing with the incident.”

We want what’s hard to get

“Science has given us a little insight into what we desire: We like things (and people) that are hard to get,” The Huffington Post says. “A new study from the Journal of Consumer Research shows that people and things not easily attainable – like the beautiful, mysterious woman all the way across the bar, or the perfect birthday gift for a friend that’s only available across town – are also the things most desired by people who want the absolute best. For the study, University of Chicago researchers had heterosexual men identify themselves as either ‘smooth talkers’ or ‘shy gawkers.’ They were then presented with clear images of a potential date, or a slightly blurred (by 15 per cent) image of the date. The ‘shy gawkers’ said the dates were more attractive when their photos were clear, while the ‘smooth talkers’ said the dates were more attractive when their photos were blurry, according to the study. Time [magazine]explains that’s because the ‘smooth talkers’ likely felt a sense of effort when evaluating the blurred images, therefore subconsciously thinking that the date must be a catch. Researchers also found that people who identify themselves as ‘smart shoppers’ seem to like things more when you have to go all the way across town to buy them, even if you could get a similar product nearby.”

Survive a kidnapping

Veteran U.S. kidnap and ransom negotiator Ben Lopez (not his real name), tells The Guardian what a victim can expect:

– “The chances are you will be seized within 10 miles from your home. … But you are most likely to be taken on your way to work when your mind will be on other things and you will be operating on autopilot.”

– “Just go along with it. Don’t try to escape. … The most dangerous moment is the 10 minutes to half an hour when you’re being taken to the safe house. That’s when the kidnappers are most volatile because it’s when they stand the highest chance of getting caught.”

– “The chances are that you will be kept in solitary and you will be blindfolded whenever you come into contact with one of the kidnappers. This is partly to make sure you can’t identify them, but also to help them see you as a commodity rather than a person.”

– “Ask them for what you need – medicines, newspapers – but don’t push them. And eat what you’re given. You never know when your next meal is coming. And above all, don’t try to negotiate your own release. You will screw things up big time.”

Fire scares pigeons

Tests are being carried out on a gel that fools pigeons into believing they are flying into a fire, says The Sunday Times of London. “Bird Free, invented by scientists in South Korea, has proved more effective in tests than sharpshooters, hawks or wire netting and spikes. The gel is made from cinnamon oil and peppermint oil, treated to give off ultraviolet light – which looks like fire to pigeons – and stings them harmlessly if they touch it. The gel is squeezed into bowls, which are then positioned a few feet apart on parapets and rooftops where pigeons roost.”

Thought du jour

“The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.”

-Theodore Rubin (1923-), U.S. psychiatrist

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