Tag Archives: tool

A New Tool in the Search for Extraterrestrial Life: A Tricked-Out Point-and-Shoot

UA engineers have turned an off-the-shelf digital camera into an imaging device that could be key in the search for life forms on other planets.

The next time a NASA rover blasts off to explore Mars or some other planet, it might be equipped with a new type of “do-it-all” camera developed by an engineering team at the University of Arizona.

The prototype of the “Astrobiological Imager” – described in a research paper featured on the cover of a recent issue of the journal Astrobiology – consists of an off-the-shelf digital point-and-shoot camera with some surprisingly simple modifications. A slightly more sophisticated version, mounted on a rover, could do what even NASA’s latest and greatest Mars rover, Curiosity, can’t: identify, photograph and even analyze patches of soil or rocks from afar and in extreme close-up, all with the same camera.  (more…)

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New Tool Available to Help Track Spilled Oil

Computer model can help with current, future clean-up efforts

St. Petersburg, Fla. – A newly developed computer model holds the promise of helping scientists track and predict where oil will go after a spill, sometimes years later.  U.S. Geological Survey scientists developed the model as a way of tracking the movement of sand and oil found along the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  The new tool can help guide clean-up efforts, and be used to aid the response to future oil spills.  (more…)

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International Research Team Close Human Evolution Gap with Discovery of 1.4 Million-Year-Old Fossil Human Hand Bone

University of Missouri researcher part of team that found the bone in Kenya

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Humans have a distinctive hand anatomy that allows them to make and use tools. Apes and other nonhuman primates do not have these distinctive anatomical features in their hands, and the point in time at which these features first appeared in human evolution is unknown. Now, a University of Missouri researcher and her international team of colleagues have found a new hand bone from a human ancestor who roamed the earth in East Africa approximately 1.42 million years ago. They suspect the bone belonged to the early human species, Homo erectus. The discovery of this bone is the earliest evidence of a modern human-like hand, indicating that this anatomical feature existed more than half a million years earlier than previously known. (more…)

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Facebook Use by Organizations During Crises Helps Public Image, MU Study Finds

PR professionals can improve public attitudes by communicating through Facebook during times of crisis

COLUMBIA, Mo. ­— Social networking sites have become incredibly popular in recent years, with Facebook now ranking as the third most popular website in the U.S. With so many people spending so much time on Facebook, public relations professionals are using the site more and more to communicate to the public. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri School of Journalism have found that posting public relations information on Facebook during a time of crisis can improve the overall image of the organization that is experiencing the crisis.

Seoyeon Hong, a doctoral candidate in the MU School of Journalism, along with co-author Bokyung Kim, a professor at Rowan University and former doctoral student at MU, created two fictional universities and gave participants news stories about organizational crises each university was experiencing. After the participants read the news stories, she measured their attitudes about each university and how severe they thought the crisis was. She then showed the participants Facebook posts from the universities’ main Facebook accounts which gave additional information and messages directly from the universities. Hong then measured the participants’ attitudes a second time and found that following the Facebook posts, attitudes toward the universities were significantly more positive than before participants read the posts. She also found that participants felt the crises were less severe following the Facebook posts.  Hong believes these findings show the positive impact Facebook can make in crisis management efforts. (more…)

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Big Data? No Biggie. Microsoft Partners Have Your Business Covered

Microsoft partners Infusion, BlueGranite and Neudesic weigh in on how they use big data to shape their business strategy.

REDMOND, Wash. – Feb. 13, 2013 – IT departments are being overrun with big data – gigabytes, terabytes, petabytes of data – that is racing through their servers, often untamed and uncontrolled, with more data crowding onto the IT network every day, every hour.

While businesses can choose to keep all this data penned up, they are missing an opportunity to mine valuable business intelligence from their big data unless they harness it and analyze the information they have corralled, using that insight to gain a competitive edge. While a portion of this big data is well-organized information on products and finances, much of it is unstructured, from social media posts and photos to disparate research findings and customer feedback. (more…)

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Facebook Activity Reveals Clues to Mental Illness, says MU Researcher

Analysis of social media use could give therapists more complete view of patients’ health

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Facebook activity provided a window into the psychological health of participants in a study at the University of Missouri. Social media profiles could eventually be used as tools for psychologists and therapists, according to study leader Elizabeth Martin, doctoral student in MU’s psychological science department in the College of Arts and Science.

“Therapists could possibly use social media activity to create a more complete clinical picture of a patient,” Martin said. “The beauty of social media activity as a tool in psychological diagnosis is that it removes some of the problems associated with patients’ self-reporting. For example, questionnaires often depend on a person’s memory, which may or may not be accurate. By asking patients to share their Facebook activity, we were able to see how they expressed themselves naturally. Even the parts of their Facebook activities that they chose to conceal exposed information about their psychological state.” (more…)

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Taking ‘Multi-Core’ Mainstream

UD professor works to overcome challenges in harnessing power of multicore computer processors

Computer processors that can complete multiple tasks simultaneously have been available in the mainstream for almost a decade. In fact, almost all processors developed today are multicore processors. Yet, computer programmers still struggle to efficiently harness their power because it is difficult to write correct and efficient parallel code.

According to the University of Delaware’s John Cavazos, to effectively exploit the power of multi-core processors, programs must be structured as a collection of independent tasks where separate tasks are executed on independent cores.

The complexity of modern software, however, makes this difficult. (more…)

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Long-Term Sea Level Rise Could Cost Washington, D.C. Billions

College Park, MD – A University of Maryland study projects that Washington, D.C. city and federal property could suffer billions of dollars in damage if sea level rise from global warming increases over the next century. Potential for significant damage will be even greater in the event of extreme weather like Hurricane Sandy

The study by Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Bilal Ayyub, Haralamb Braileanu and Naeem Qureshi, of the Clark School of Engineering’s Center for Technology and Systems Management, looks at possible long term effects of projected sea level rise on Washington, D.C. real-estate property and government infrastructure. They conclude that over the next 100 years, continuing sea level rise could cause damages of more than $24.6 billion to Washington’s commercial property, museums, and government agencies. (more…)

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