Consumer Reports’ dismissal of HomePod a familiar tale to Apple fans

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Testing stalwart Consumer Reports declared this week that Apple’s HomePod falls behind Google’s Home Max — and even the Sonos One — in terms of audio quality. To anyone who knows the publication’s controversial history with Apple products, that conclusion is utterly unsurprising.
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Disney’s streaming originals may lean on familiar names

We know that Disney will launch its subscription streaming service in 2019, but now Deadline has learned more about the kind of content that will be on it. Info gleaned from Hollywood creative types shows that the plan (at first) will focus on conten…
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Galaxy S9 and S9+ press images leak, look largely familiar

The Galaxy S9 duo have leaked again, this time in a press image, courtesy Evan Blass aka evleaks writing for VentureBeat. From the image, you wouldn’t really be able to tell these are new devices at first glance until someone told you otherwise. The phones feature largely the same design as last year’s S8 and S8+ but have slightly thinner bezels, especially at the bottom. Although the back of the phones aren’t visible in this image, Blass confirmed that it will be different from the current S8, wherein the cameras will be mounted vertically and the fingerprint sensor placed… – Latest articles

Sony’s A7R III packs big improvements into a familiar package

Sony's astonishingly fast A9 is still pretty fresh in people's minds, but that didn't stop the company from fleshing out its mirrorless camera line even more. The company officially revealed its new A7R III at an event in China very early this mornin…
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HTC U11 Plus renders show a small refinement of the familiar design

The HTC U11 Plus leaks are piling on – after benchmarks revealed its innards, time to gaze at the phone’s exterior. Technical details put the phone at 158.2 x 74.6 x 9.1mm in size. That would make it noticeably taller than, say, an LG V30 – another phone with a 6″ 18:9 screen. Thicker too, though @LlabTooFeR (who knows a thing or two about HTC phones) suggests that the U11 Plus will have a batter capacity around 4,000mAh. If that is the case, we’d be quite happy with a 9.1mm phone. Plus, the regular U11 is 153.9mm tall already so this isn’t that much of an increase for the extra screen…. – Latest articles

WhatsApp’s new universal emoji set looks very familiar

A few months ago, WhatsApp announced that a billion users send messages on it daily — which is apparently the right time to introduce its own line of emojis. If you're an iOS user, you might find them familiar, as the messenger's set looks very simi…
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Lenovo’s leaked 25th-anniversary ThinkPad sports a familiar look

The latest ThinkPad that Lenovo brought to CES back in January had a notably sleeker, more modern appearance than the line's traditional boxy black look. But it kept a couple features, like the red TrackPoint nub and 45-degree ThinkPad logo, that hav…
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Study Reveals How the Brain Creates “Maps” to Help Us Navigate Familiar Locations

Your Brain Says, “Turn Right”

Your brain’s ability to help you navigate your favorite grocery store isn’t as simple as you may think. In fact, it first involves a series of complex calculations that result in a “map” the brain can refer to in the future.

This new discovery comes from Aaron Wilber, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Florida State University. He wanted to better understand how a person goes from seeing an area to creating a mental image used for navigation.

“We have not had a clear understanding of what happens when you step out of a subway tunnel, take in your surroundings, and have that moment where you instantly know where you are,” Wilber explained in a press release. “Now we’re getting closer to understanding that.”

His team’s findings have been published in the September issue of Neuron.

A part of the brain known as the parietal cortex is at the center of this research. It uses the various senses to gather information, and that information is then referenced to determine which actions a person should take. These resulting actions are “recorded” and turned into a memory, which acts as a map the brain can use to get from one familiar place to another.

By recording activity in a rat’s brain as the animal performed certain actions, Wilber’s team discovered that clusters of cells — and not just individual cells —work together to form these map memories. When the same action was performed later, the same patterns of activity were observed.

“These different modules are talking to each other and seem to be changing their connections just like single cells change their connections,” Wilber explained. “But now we’re talking about large groups of cells becoming wired up in different ways as you learn and remember how to make a series of actions as you go about your day-to-day business.”

Dreams and Alzheimer’s

Wilber’s team also uncovered something interesting about dreams through the course of their research. When they recorded the activity in the rat’s brain while it slept, they discovered that the rat replayed the same actions and patterns while dreaming, only at a rate nearly four times faster than the one observed during its waking hours.

Reprogramming the Human Mind: Here’s How We’ll Make Humanity 2.0 [INFOGRAPHIC]
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“We think these fast-forward ‘dreams’ we observe in rats could explain why in humans when you dream and wake up, you think a lot more time passed than actually has because your dreams happen at high speed or fast forward,” said Wilber. “Maybe dreams happen in fast forward because that would make it easier to create new connections in your brain as you sleep.”

More work needs to be done before we can fully understand how dreams factor into our ability to remember past actions. Thankfully, Wilber recently received funding from the National Institutes of Health, which he plans to use to investigate why the parietal cortex’s ability to function is less effective in patients with Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases. Ultimately, Wilber’s research, as well as that of others, could lead to better treatment for the nearly 5 million people in the U.S. alone who suffer from Alzheimer’s.

The post Study Reveals How the Brain Creates “Maps” to Help Us Navigate Familiar Locations appeared first on Futurism.


The first ‘Shenmue III’ teaser is comfortably familiar

There's plenty of big news flowing out from this year's Gamescom. Although the Xbox One X has dominated the headlines thus far, some other fan-favorite games are also vying for space at the event. Among them, the long-awaited Shenmue III. Today, eage…
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