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Scientists use brain imaging to reveal the movies in our mind

BERKELEY Imagine tapping into the mind of a coma patient, or watching one’s own dream on YouTube. With a cutting-edge blend of brain imaging and computer simulation, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, are bringing these futuristic scenarios within reach.

Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and computational models, UC Berkeley researchers have succeeded in decoding and reconstructing people’s dynamic visual experiences – in this case, watching Hollywood movie trailers.As yet, the technology can only reconstruct movie clips people have already viewed. However, the breakthrough paves the way for reproducing the movies inside our heads that no one else sees, such as dreams and memories, according to researchers. The approximate reconstruction (right) of a movie clip (left) is achieved through brain imaging and computer simulation
“This is a major leap toward reconstructing internal imagery,” said Professor Jack Gallant, a UC Berkeley neuroscientist and coauthor of the study published online in the journal Current Biology. “We are opening a window into the movies in our minds.”Eventually, practical applications of the technology could include a better understanding of what goes on in the minds of people who cannot communicate verbally, such as stroke victims, coma patients and people with neurodegenerative diseases.It may also lay the groundwork for brain-machine interface so that people with cerebral palsy or paralysis, for example, can guide computers with their minds.

However, researchers point out that the technology is decades from allowing users to read others’ thoughts and intentions, as portrayed in such sci-fi classics as “Brainstorm,” in which scientists recorded a person’s sensations so that others could experience them.
Previously, Gallant and fellow researchers recorded brain activity in the visual cortex while a subject viewed black-and-white photographs. They then built a computational model that enabled them to predict with overwhelming accuracy which picture the subject was looking at.In their latest experiment, researchers say they have solved a much more difficult problem by actually decoding brain signals generated by moving pictures.
“Our natural visual experience is like watching a movie,” said Shinji Nishimoto, lead author of the study and a post-doctoral researcher in Gallant’s lab. “In order for this technology to have wide applicability, we must understand how the brain processes these dynamic visual experiences.”

Mysterious UFO spotted on India-China border by Indian Army troops

Indian Army troops have sighted mysterious unidentified flying objects (UFOs) in the Ladakh sector along the Line of Actual Control with China. On August 4, the UFO was sighted by Army troops in Lagan Khel area in Demchok in Ladakh area in the evening and a report has been sent to the Army headquarters by the local formation, sources said here.

There have been over 100 sightings of UFOs along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the last several months but this sighting has come after some time-gap, they said. Asked about the UFO sightings by the Army troops in Ladakh sector, Defence Minister A K Antony had told Parliament that there is no conclusive proof of sighting of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) over the Sino-Indian border. The UFO sighting on August 4 comes after reports suggested that a top-level science research institute had found that the UFOs were actually planets Jupiter and Venus, which are clearly visible from the high altitude and thin atmosphere terrain of Ladakh.

The reports said that the research institute had found out that the Army troops deployed in the area had mistaken the two planets as UFOs. However, it is not clear whether the conclusion arrived at by the research institute has been accepted by the Army and Government or not. Last year, the 14 Corps, which looks after military deployment along Kargil-Leh and the frontiers with China, had sent reports to the Army Headquarters about the sightings of UFOs by an ITBP unit in Thakung near the Pangong Tso Lake.

Reports suggested that these yellowish spheres appear to lift off from the horizon on the Chinese side and slowly traverse the sky for three to five hours before disappearing. The officials had confirmed that these UFOs were not Chinese drones or satellites.

Human Body Facts

Read some fun human body facts for kids and find out more about bones, skeletons, eyes, blood, muscles, the brain, heart and much more.

The brain uses over a quarter of the oxygen used by the human body.

Your heart beats around 100000 times a day, 36500000 times a year and over a billion times if you live beyond 30.

Red blood cells carry oxygen around the body. They are created inside the bone marrow of your bones.

The colour of a humans skin is determined by the level of pigment melanin that the body produces.

Those with small amounts of melanin have light skin while those with large amounts have dark skin.

Adult lungs have a surface area of around 70 square metres!

Humans have a stage of sleep that features rapid eye movement (REM). REM sleep makes up around 25% of total sleep time and is often when you have your most vivid dreams.

The smallest bone found in the human body is located in the middle ear. The staples (or stirrup) bone is only 2.8 millimetres long.

Your nose and ears continue growing throughout your entire life.

Infants blink only once or twice a minute while adults average around 10.

As well as having unique fingerprints, humans also have unique tongue prints.

The left side of your body is controlled by the right side of your brain while the right side of your body is controlled by the left side of your brain.

Antibiotics are only effective against bacteria, they won't help in fighting off a virus.

It takes the body around 12 hours to completely digest eaten food.

Your sense of smell is around 10000 times more sensitive than your sense of taste.

Latest Trends in e-Learning!

Elearning is constantly evolving, and so are its uses in both academia and the corporate world. Looking at the trends of elearning provides useful insight into what is working and what is not. Every year, Elearning Magazine administers a survey to their readers asking for their input into some of the more key areas of elearning. Their study has shown that over the past year, the most important training programs are as follows:

Product Training
Professional/Industry Training
Desktop/IT Training
Number one doesn’t surprise me much as it is often the easiest to create elearning for (and ultimately the most cost effective given that they are pretty change adverse). There is still very much a need for compliance training to be developed as some organization still rely on dated methods. I would estimate that professional/industry training begins to gain some ground though as more people are looking for certifications through distance learning.

Another part that I found interesting from their survey is that  respondents indicated that they plan to invest nearly 240% more into elearning in 2013. This was a similar pattern found in the previous year’s report, and the data is backing it up as a reported $1.46 million was spent in 2011 compared to the $3.5 million spent in 2012.

I’m going to make a guess that we’ll see somewhere in the realm of $4.1 million in 2013. This is merely speculation though as I anticipate the mobile learning industry will drive much of the continuing growth. New technologies and specifications (such as TinCan API) are leading the charge, giving the rise to a boatload of startups all over the world.

As many instructional designers and elearning professionals know, this industry is growing every year, it’s really starting to turn heads. The likes of Google are now entering the elearning industry, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see others follow, and the overall demand for skilled instructional designers and technologists to grow. Exciting times we live in!