New smartphone app ‘hides’ location from third parties
Smartphones send gobs of data to servers in the background of local searches, GPS directions or check-ins for foodie apps. If the app developed at New York’s Binghamton University is developed further, it could help hide that information. The app is not currently available to the public, but it may be in the future.
The research team, led by Linke Guo, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Binghamton, received a Best Paper Award last month at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers GLOBECOM Conference, Symposium on Communication & Information System Security.
“When we release personal information to the Internet, it is out of our control, and can be easily searched and used for malicious purposes,” Guo said. “We are trying to provide a more efficient and feasible solution to make sure that kind of information is secure.”
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How we play memories in fast-forward mode
Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin have discovered a mechanism that may explain how the brain can recall nearly all of what happened on a recent afternoon – or make a thorough plan for how to spend an upcoming afternoon – in a fraction of the time it takes to live out the experience.
The mechanism compresses information needed for memory retrieval, imagination or planning and encodes it on a brain wave frequency that’s separate from the one used for recording real-time experiences. It is described in the journal Neuron.
Brain cells share different kinds of information with one another using a variety of different brain waves, analogous to the way radio stations broadcast on different frequencies. In the brain, fast gamma rhythms encode memories about things that are happening right now; these waves come rapidly one after another as the brain processes high-resolution information in real time. The Texas scientists learned that slow gamma rhythms – used to retrieve memories of the past, as well as imagine and plan for the future – store more information on their longer waves, contributing to the fast-forward effect as the mind processes many data points with each wave.
The findings have implications for research into schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders where real experiences and ones that exist only in the mind can become distorted.
Biggest-ever canyon hiding in Antarctica?
The world’s largest canyon may lie under the Antarctic ice sheet, according to analysis of satellite data by a team of scientists, led by those from Britain’s Durham University.
Although the discovery needs to be confirmed by direct measurements, the previously unknown canyon system is thought to be more than 600 miles long and in places as much as a half-mile deep, comparable in depth to Arizona’s Grand Canyon – but many times longer.
The canyon system is made up of a chain of winding and linear features buried under one of the last unexplored regions of Earth’s land surface: Princess Elizabeth Land in East Antarctica, southwest of Australia. Very few measurements of the ice thickness have been carried out there. Although not visible to the naked eye, the subglacial landscape can be identified in the surface of the ice sheet.
The researchers believe that the landscape beneath the ice sheet has probably been carved out by water and is either so ancient that it was there before the ice sheet grew or it was created by water flowing and eroding beneath the ice.
The research is published in Geology.