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'Smart tags' can sense when food or medicine go bad

What if you never had to do a smell test for spoiled milk again? Instead of having to take a whiff of the sour liquid, you could just check the color of a small tag placed on the container.

This is exactly what researchers at Peking University in Beijing, China, are working on: color-coded "smart tags."

These corn kernel-sized tags can be stuck to containers of food or medicine and have the capabilities of determining whether the food has gone bad or if the medications are still active. What's more, these tags will reportedly cost less than one penny each. … Read more

Evidence of the Big Bang found in a cosmic 'double rainbow'

While you were thinking about where you'll be spending St. Patrick's Day on Monday night, the hard-working folks at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics were sharing the first direct evidence of a concept first put forward by Albert Einstein almost a century ago that helps explain where we -- and everything else in the universe -- come from.

If your list of to-dos and projects doesn't suddenly seem a little less impressive by comparsion, then congratulations! You're a narcissist.

If you want to cut right to it, scientists have spotted the remnants of the until-now-theorized massive, mind-melting exponential expansion of the universe that occurred in the one trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. This evidence comes in the form of gravitational waves that Einstein predicted back in 1916 as part of his theory of general relativity.… Read more

On Facebook, good (and bad) moods are infectious

Isn't it interesting when someone posts a highly positive comment on Facebook and tons of their friends "like" the post and chime in with like-minded comments? Likewise, the same happens with negative comments. This is no coincidence.

A new study published in Plos One on Wednesday by researchers from the University of California at San Diego says that moods on Facebook are contagious. While negative posts definitely beget negative posts, positive posts are apparently more infectious.

"Our study suggests that people are not just choosing other people like themselves to associate with but actually causing their … Read more

Docs turn to silkworms to spin a better bone implant

Fibers spun by the Bombyx mori silkworm have been used for thousands of years to produce soft, flowing fabrics to cloak the outsides of our bodies. Now researchers are working to put silk inside our bodies with surgical screws and plates made from B. mori cocoons.

Researchers from Tufts University and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) drilled 28 silken screws into the femurs of laboratory rats to test their efficacy in helping bones to heal. Some of the screws were left in for eight weeks, while others stayed in for four. In both cases the screws were biocompatible (accepted by the body); did not degrade when they came in contact with bodily fluids; and had the rats up and about without showing signs of severe pain. … Read more

Dish-Disney deal changes future of online TV

CNET Update is hacking coffee machines:

In this episode of Update:

- Learn why Dish made a deal with Disney so its DVR won't auto-skip commercials on ABC shows for three days after airing. In the compromise, Disney scored the rights to stream Disney-owned networks online, including ESPN, and that could be a game changer in accessing TV on the Internet.

- You may need to hack the Keurig 2.0 machine if you want to use bargain-priced unlicensed single-serve coffee cups. Keurig is fighting copycat K-cups with high-tech machines.

- Watch thousands of music videos on Xbox Music, … Read more

Logitech Harmony Smart Keyboard: A living room keyboard and universal remote

Living room set-top boxes have become increasingly sophisticated, but they can still feel backward any time you need to input a long password or search term using an onscreen keyboard.

Logitech's new Harmony Smart Keyboard ($150 list) is aimed squarely at that problem. It's a full-size keyboard that lets you type on (most of) your living room devices, while also offering total living room control in the manner of a typical Harmony universal remote.

The universal remote capabilities of the system are similar to the Logitech Harmony Smart Control ($130), except the keyboard replaces the simplified remote. The … Read more

Short people may be short on brains, study says

I am not one to cast aspersions -- either up or down.

I had never thought that size meant anything, nor that height made any difference to people, other than altering their visual perspective.

Recently, though, an Oxford University study intimated that short people might be low on self-esteem. They tend, allegedly, not to have high opinions of themselves. Worse, there are many social problems that many short people feel the need to overcome. (See video below.)

Now along trots another British study that suggests the vertically challenged might be short on intellect.… Read more

Don't shoot! You're not in a video game anymore

Editors' note: This story has been substantially revised. See the correction note at bottom for details.

If you're a casual gamer or even -- gasp! -- a non-gamer, that security camera in the mall is nothing more than a surveillance device designed to keep people from stealing sugar packets from the food court. If you're an "excessive" gamer, however, that very same camera is the eye of the evil overlord and it must be avoided at all costs.

That, at least, is what's implied by the findings of a study conducted by Professor Mark Griffiths, … Read more

The Xbox One's Media Remote could be the missing link in the living room

You can already control the Xbox One with your voice, gestures, or a game controller, but sometimes you just want an old-fashioned remote.

Microsoft announced yesterday that it will release the Xbox One Media Remote in early March for $25. The remote can control the Xbox One, but is also capable of controlling other devices, such as a TV or AV receiver, by firing out commands via the Kinect. (It's unclear exactly what wireless technology the remote itself uses.) It also features backlighting as well as motion-sensing, so the buttons illuminate when you pick it up -- crucial for … Read more

Data breach at University of Maryland exposes 300K records

The sensitive personal information for more than 300,000 faculty, staff, and students at the University of Maryland were stolen in a "sophisticated" cyberattack on the school's recently bolstered security defenses, the school's president revealed late Wednesday.

The names, Social Security numbers, and birth dates of 309,079 individuals affiliated with school's College Park and Shady Grove campuses who were issued a university identification card since 1998 were exposed in Tuesday's attack, according to an apology issued Wednesday by university President Wallace Loh. However, no financial, academic, or contact information was compromised, Loh said. … Read more