Japan launches digital TV for cell phones

Japan is now offering digital television broadcasts on mobile telephones. This highly anticipated service could lead to a new genre of TV programs. Handsets that are equipped with the service have been on the market in Japan for several weeks, and broadcast programs can also be received with laptop computers and high-end video-game machines. The service will be free for now, and programming will be the same as on home televisions as mobile operators examine whether the service, dubbed One Seg, will prove popular or not.

Source: AFP

UMD movies for PSP now on endangered species list

Only one year after Sony launched the PlayStation Portable (PSP) in the U.S., rumors are brewing that production of feature-length movies based on the PSP’s proprietary Universal Media Disc (UMD) format will come to a screeching halt. Since the launch of the PSP, sales of UMD movies have become almost invisible. The lackluster response to UMDs has already prompted two major movie studios to discontinue their UMD movie releases and left others contemplating following suit. Adding to Sony’s troubles, some retailers are considering getting out of the UMD business.


IBM scientists create tool to build molecular computers

Scientists at an IBM research center in Silicon Valley have created a magnetism-manipulating tool suited to building molecular computers. The development is a step toward making computers based on the spin of electrons and atoms.

“We have a tool in place to develop the product of the future,” said researcher Andreas Heinrich of IBM’s Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif. “We all know we can’t shrink the silicon-based technology used in today’s computers down to the atomic level. We have to look at a radically different concept, and that is what we are doing here.” The new method is called “spin-excitation spectroscopy” and uses a specially-designed microscope capable of creating magnetic fields as much as 140,000 times stronger than that of the Earth, scientists said.

Source: AFP

Why some kids are smarter

The brains of more intelligent children develop in a characteristic way, growing quickly over an extended period between the ages of five and 12. These findings resulted from a 15-year study done by the National Institute of Mental Health. The study used magnetic resonance imaging to get a detailed picture of how the brains of children change over time. It found that the cortex grew thicker and faster and its growth peaked later in kids who did better on standard IQ tests as compared to their average peers.

The findings could help scientists pinpoint genes involved in brain development and IQ levels. It could also give scientists a better picture of normal brain development and shed light on developmental and psychiatric diseases, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Source: MIT Tech Review