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On a scale of 1 to 5, how much retouching would you say was applied to the left-hand image...

Even though we know that the photos we see of models and celebrities are retouched, many of us nonetheless can’t help but think “Yeah, but even without that little bit of airbrushing, that person still looks way better than me.” For most people, such thoughts are merely a little bit humbling. For others, however, they can lead to Body Dysmorphic Disorder, eating disorders, or severely-low self-esteem – all of which can in turn have very serious consequences, including death. Perhaps if those people knew just how retouched that one photo of Mila Kunis or Ryan Gosling was, however, they might realize how much of a lie it really represented. That’s why researchers at New Hampshire’s Dartmouth College are proposing a system that objectively assesses the extent of changes made to a photograph, then displays that amount as a number rating on the published photo.  Read More

An emotion-recognizing computer system has been designed to make the use of automated tele...

Nobody likes having to deal with automated telephone services, that say wonderful things like, “You said ‘Beelzebub,’ is that correct?”. Such services may get slightly less annoying, however, thanks to research being carried out at Spain’s Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Universidad de Granada. A team of scientists from those institutions have created a computer system that is able to recognize the emotional state of a person speaking to it, so that it can alter its behavior to make things less stressful.  Read More

Research from Michigan State University has linked video game playing with creativity (Pho...

Despite the bad press that gaming often gets, there is increasing evidence that it can have positive effects. We've already seen studies suggesting that video games improve decision making and put players in a more relaxed frame of mind, now there's more good news for parents whose offspring are video game junkies. Research out of Michigan State University suggests that 12 year olds who play video games tend to be more creative ... and the more they play the more creative they are.  Read More

The Valkee is a device that its makers claim can treat seasonal affective disorder, by shi...

Many readers in the Northern Hemisphere are likely already starting to experience seasonal affective disorder, appropriately enough known as SAD. For those people fortunate enough not to be familiar with it, SAD is a mood disorder that is brought on by the shorter day-length experienced in winter – less sunlight results in gloomier people. One of the most common treatments involves regular exposure to bright artificial lights, that appear to psychologically serve the same purpose as sunlight. Now, one might assume that such light therapy would require that people see the light. According to the Finnish designers of the Valkee device, however, light also does the trick if you shine it up your ears.  Read More

Dutch artist Olaf Mooij's 'braincar' records images of its travels, then projects them on ...

Have you ever questioned what it would be like if a car “could experience with a kind of consciousness its own passage through spacetime”? Well, Rotterdam artist Olaf Mooij has. It drove him to create “braincar,” which is ... well, it’s a car with a brain on the back. By day, the car captures stills and videos of its travels down the roads. By night, it remixes those images, then projects them on the inside of its translucent brain.  Read More

The My Wake Up Call alarm clock wakes users up using motivational messages

While Gizmag has covered quite a number of alarm clocks in the past, the My Wake Up Call motivating messaging system certainly stands out as a unique way to rise and shine.  Read More

Newly-developed software has been shown to pick out deceptive online reviews with almost 9...

One of the great things about the internet is the fact that everyday people can share what they know with the entire world, so if they’ve had a particularly good or bad experience with a business or product, they can notify everyone via customer review websites. The flip-side of that, however, is that business owners can plant fake reviews on those same sites, that either praise their own business or slam their competition. Well, confused consumers can now take heart – researchers from Cornell University have developed software that is able to identify phony reviews with close to 90 percent accuracy.  Read More

The anterior cingulate and prefrontal cortex (red) and frontal gyrus (orange) areas of the...

The World Health Organization has projected that by 2020, major depression will be the second-most significant cause for disability in the world, after heart disease. Along with psychotherapy, the disorder is usually treated using antidepressant drugs. There is often a frustrating trial-and-error period involved in finding the right drug for the right person, however, while side effects can include obesity, sexual dysfunction, and fatigue ... to name a few. Los Angeles-based company NeuroSigma is now looking into an alternative drug-free therapy, that could ultimately incorporate electrodes implanted under the patient’s skin.  Read More

A Phrygian cap, also known as the 'liberty cap' - one of over 200 species of fungi produci...

The use of mushrooms by man for practical, culinary or recreational purposes is said to date back to at least Paleolithic times, with perhaps the best-known variety in recent times being Amanita muscaria or Fly Agaric. Nibbling on one side of this fungus made Alice grow in size and the other made her shrink, leading to some rather bizarre adventures and inspiring one of my favorite songs - White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane. The favored psychoactive mushrooms of the drop-out 1960s, though, were members of the Psilocybe genus. Researchers now believe that they have found the optimum dose of the pure chemical found in those so-called magic mushrooms, a level which offers maximum therapeutic value with little risk of having a bad trip.  Read More

A team of researchers, utilizing data gathered from the behavior of 14,000 online gamers, ...

Is there such a thing as free will, or are our actions predetermined by the way our brains work? If recent research conducted at North Carolina State University is anything to go by, it might seem that the latter is more likely to be true – at least when it comes to gaming. After analyzing the behavior of 14,000 players of the online role-playing game World of Warcraft, an NCSU team was able to predict the future actions of those players with up to 80 percent accuracy.  Read More

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