jeudi 6 mai 2010

Links for today

# The advantages of autism [New Scientist] _via RJ Keefe_
How can a group of people who are generally seen as disabled actually have cognitive advantages? For a start, research is challenging the original studies that apparently demonstrated the low IQ of people with autism. Other studies are revealing the breadth of their cognitive strengths, ranging from attention to detail and sensitivity to musical pitch to better memory.

# Horizontalism and Readability
Rereading and losing position, in fact, is a common problem with long, vertical swaths of text. It’s difficult to disregard already read text, and the flow of the eye is not balanced because the implied movement is usually so strongly vertical. The reader is also frequently interrupted by the need to reorient the text by scrolling to produce new paragraphs to read. It’s not torture, but I think the readability is worse than we realize due to our acclimation to the vertical reading environment. We do so much of it, we had to adapt. But that doesn’t mean it’s optimal.

# Targeted Wound Dressings Lure Infectious Microbes in, Then Attack [Popular Science]
The most common bacteria-fighting addition to wound dressings today is silver, which tends to reduce microbial activity. But silver also tends to thwart human cellular activity, complicating the healing process. So researchers at the University of Bath in the UK decided to use the element of surprise to lure bacteria in for the kill. Their dressing contains tiny vesicles filled with an antibacterial agent. To the bacteria, the vesicles look like healthy cells ripe for infecting. But when bacteria attack, the capsules explode, killing the offending microbe and any others that are unlucky enough to be nearby.

# Facebook's Eroding Privacy Policy: A Timeline [Electronic Frontier Foundation]
Viewed together, the successive policies tell a clear story. Facebook originally earned its core base of users by offering them simple and powerful controls over their personal information. As Facebook grew larger and became more important, it could have chosen to maintain or improve those controls. Instead, it's slowly but surely helped itself — and its advertising and business partners — to more and more of its users' information, while limiting the users' options to control their own information.

# IBM's CityOne Is Like Sim City, Except the Solutions Are Real
At the IMPACT conference, IBM plans to unveil CityOne, a video game that plops you into the role of being a city planner, trying to solve the sorts of business and environmental problems that grip today's modern cities. The ultimate aim for this so-called "serious game" is to teach laypeople how to better cope with complex modern problems by showing them the forest of solutions that have to be brought to bear, ranging from technological wizardry like smart grids, to better IT, to smart environmental policy.