01.19.11 (1)

posted Jan 19, 2011, 8:41 AM by Franklin Shaddy
  1. Berkeley engineers combine artificial intelligence and StarCraft: "Threat-aware path planning allowed for a number of improvements. Mutalisks could thread their way past enemy defenses to pick off targets. In the early game, the agent could infiltrate the enemy’s base with ground units and keep them alive, avoiding enemy combat units. The path planning also let the agent scatter overlords around the map with much less fear of losing them. Our agent’s overall “picture” of the game improved dramatically. With a better idea of the enemy’s forces, the build planner could react to enemy actions, creating defenses and optimizing the balance between economy and military forces."
  2. The shoes Tim Cook will need to fill at Apple: "Jobs pays meticulous attention not only to product design and development but also how new devices are introduced and marketed. He rehearses presentations five to 10 times before doing them live, according to a former manager who worked with Jobs. Cook has yet to prove his ability to unveil new gadgets with the same success, said the person, who asked not to be identified because he’s not authorized to speak about Apple."
  3. Bankruptcy, as insurance: "Hospitals are required to provide emergency care and typically provide other health-care services without upfront payment.  Patients who experience large unexpected health care costs have the option of avoiding some of these costs by declaring bankruptcy.  Thus bankruptcy is essentially a form of high-deductible insurance where the deductible is the value of assets seizable by creditors. For many of the poorest households, “bankruptcy insurance” is an attractive substitute for health insurance."
  4. Studying how exercise improves brain function: "In a study presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in November, researchers from Brazil secured weights to the tails of a group of rats and had them climb a ladder five sessions a week. Other rats on the same schedule ran on a treadmill, and a third group just sat around. After eight weeks, the running rats had much higher levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (B.D.N.F.), a growth factor that is thought to help spark neurogenesis, than the sedentary rats. So did the rats with weights tied to their tails. The weight-­bearing rats, like the runners, did well on tests of rodent learning and memory, like rapidly negotiating a water maze. Both endurance and weight training seemed to make the rats smarter."
  5. A.J. Daulerio, the reporter who transformed Deadspin into a social phenomenon, profiled: "More than any other sports journalist in years, Daulerio has been redefining where that line is, and then crashing over it. His tactics—reporting rumors, paying for news, and making Deadspin's money on stories that are really about sex, not sports—are questionable. His success is not. When he became editor of the site in July 2008, it had 700,000 readers per month. Today it has 2.3 million."
  6. Murray Hill, in all its glory: "New York, of course, is filled with anthropologically vivid neighborhoods. Murray Hill does not have the bohemian cast of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, but it has long been a singles haunt, a fact obvious to anyone who tries to navigate the swarming bar scene spilling onto Third Avenue on a Friday night in summer. There is even a YouTube video that mocks the neighborhood’s incestuous postgraduate character."