A new strain of mice engineered to lack a gene with links to autism displays many of the hallmarks of the condition. It also responds to a drug in the same way as people with autism, which might open the way to new therapies for such people.
While their fellow friends from Columbia University were reading science-fiction books about intergalactic battles on distant planets, Bob Coyne and Richard Sproat were developing the uncanny Wordseye project. The motto of this software is terribly simple: the user must describe a scene or situation in a short text, and the computer program then uses this verbal input to generate a visual representation based on the description. It functions like an image/text based version of the Surrealist game exquisite corpse, a back-and-forth volley of interpretation between man and machine where we truly get a sense of just how well we understand each other (or not).
A smart-phone app under development for heart-failure patients allows them to keep track of the pressure inside their heart as measured by an implanted sensor. That data could help patients adjust their medication to maintain a healthy pressure, much as diabetics do with insulin and blood sugar readings.
The U.S. Postal Service appears to be the latest casualty in digital technology’s slow but steady replacement of working humans. Unless an external source of funding comes in, the post office will have to scale back its operations drastically, or simply shut down altogether. That’s 600,000 people who would be out of work, and another 480,000 pensioners facing an adjustment in terms.