Tag: communication

Smart plants: Memory And Communication Without Brains

Evidence of remembering in plants is most evident in their movements. For example, the familiar ability of sunflower flowers to move in a manner that follows the sun is an obvious response to a diurnal light signal.

Their flowers are directed to the easterly direction in the morning and they follow the sun to the west in the evening. During the subsequent night period, the flowers return to face the east.

These return movements in the dark indicate that the flowers not only track the sun, but they anticipate the return of light, even when the light signal has not yet been restored.

The plants remember the coming of morning.

Kalanchoe flowers also show diurnal cycling – being oriented upward during the day and downward during the night. If the plants are transferred to continuous darkness, the flowers continue the diurnal movements for several cycles.




That plants continue cycling without a light signal indicates that the plants remember the daily light signal even after the signal has been discontinued. They remember the cycling of sunlight.

A similar situation is seen in the diurnal movements of leaves in many plants. For example, the leaves of Albizzia show diurnal changes in leaf position during the day and night.

Again, the positional cycling repeats itself, and if one transfers the plant into darkness the cycling of leaf position continues for several day intervals.

The cycling continues without the light signal, again indicating that the plants remember the cycling of light.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

FCC Frees Up Spectrum For Super-Fast Wireless Internet

US government regulators freed up unused spectrum between television channels on Thursday for super-fast wireless service and use by the next generation of mobile devices.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 5-0 to open up so-called “white spaces” — the vacant airwaves between broadcast television channels.

The FCC said the move, the first release of unlicensed spectrum in 25 years, would lead to “a host of new technologies, such as “super Wi-Fi,” and myriad other diverse applications.”

Unlocking this valuable spectrum will open the doors for new industries to arise, create American jobs, and fuel new investment and innovation,” the FCC said in a statement.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said it will lead to “billions of dollars in private investment and to valuable new products and services — some we can imagine, and many we can’t.




We know what the first major application will be: super Wi-Fi. Super Wi-Fi is what it sounds like: Wi-Fi, but with longer range, faster speeds, and more reliable connections,” Genachowski said.

Television networks and wireless microphone users had protested that allowing use of “white spaces” would lead to interference with their signals.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) said following the unanimous vote that it would be reviewing the ruling.

Ed Black, president and chief executive of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, welcomed the FCC move.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Bad Language: Why Being Bilingual Makes Swearing Easier

Many bilinguals report “feeling less” in their second language; it does not bear the same emotional weight as your native language.

Feeling less emotionally connected to your second language might make it easier to use highly emotional vocabulary, which is precisely what I was experiencing with my ease of swearing and talking about sensitive topics in English.

The scientific term for this is reduced emotional resonance of language. It is a fairly well-established phenomenon, but many specific questions still remain unanswered.

For example, what exactly makes one’s second language less emotional? How does this affect different immigrant communities?

This research project aims to address these questions by looking into the reasons and implications of reduced emotional resonance in bilinguals’ second language.




It is still unclear what exactly shapes emotional resonance of a language and in what way – results thus far have been inconclusive.

In the first part of my project, we are exploring which factors in a person’s language background contribute to reduced emotional resonance.

For example, is it influenced by the age at which you have learnt your second language? Does it matter how frequently and in which context you use the language?

Or is your emotional experience of a language predictable from whether you dream or can do maths in it?

To investigate these questions, my project uses eye-tracker technology in order to measure bilinguals’ pupil responses to emotional words in English.

Typically, when shown highly emotional words or pictures, people’s pupils dilate as a non-controllable, emotional reaction.

Previous research has shown the effect is smaller in bilinguals’ second language, which suggests reduced emotional resonance.

Understanding the reasons for why this happens can, in turn, help us explain how you experience a foreign language community, and how this could be taken into account in acculturation and adaptation.

However, not all the implications of reduced emotional resonance are negative – bilinguals can actually benefit from being able to approach things in a less emotionally involved way.

For example, bilinguals have been shown to be able to make more rational decisions in their second language.

Also, switching languages can be used as a tool in therapy when working through emotionally difficult or traumatising experiences.

Imagine how it would be if it were easier to talk about your emotions with your partner – maybe bilingual couples have a communicative advantage?

Ultimately, understanding the full scale of implications of reduced emotional resonance is a way to understand how bilinguals experience the world.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Net Neutrality Is Not “Officially Dead,” Today

There have been a lot of inaccurate reports that the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality will officially go into effect last April 23rd. That’s not true. It’s a bit more complicated than that.

It’s understandable many journalists are confused by this. It’s legitimately confusing. The FCC order said it would go into effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, which would have been April 23rd.

But, it still has to be approved by the Office of Management & Budget.

The most important thing for EVERYONE to understand is that nothing catastrophic or dramatic is going to happen immediately when the FCC rules go into effect.

Telecom shills will immediately start saying “See? The sky didn’t fall, we never needed Net Neutrality.” They’re lying.




The ISPs aren’t going to immediately start blocking content or rolling out paid prioritization scams. They know Congress and the public are watching them.

Rather, the death of net neutrality will be slow and insidious. You might not even notice it at first.

And that’s the worst part. What will happen is over time ISP scams and abuses will become more commonplace and more accepted.

They’ll roll out new schemes that appear good on their face but undermine the free market of ideas by allowing ISPs to pick winners and losers.

Over time we’ll see less awesome startups. Less awesome videos. Less diverse online content. And we’ll see more content that our ISPs want us to see.

The Internet will be watered down and manipulated. It will change forever in ways that harm our democracy. But it will take time.

So don’t fall for ISP lobbyists talking points. They’re ALREADY claiming that net neutrality was never needed since the sky hasn’t fallen, and the rules haven’t even gone into effect.

But also don’t panic. The Internet is not going to die next week. Keep calm and keep fighting. The Senate will vote in a matter of weeks on a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to block the FCC’s repeal. Now is the moment to get engaged.

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Pass it on: Popular Science