We’ve been very skeptical about reports claiming the next-generation Xbox would require a persistent Internet connection to play games. Although an updated Xbox roadmap detailed by VGLeaks mostly dispelled that idea, today we’re as close as we’ll get to putting the rumors to rest short of an official announcement. … …
Scientists could ‘see’ the pain experienced just by looking at a brain scan after taking real-time images of the brain’s immediate response, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). When researchers gave participants a painful ‘dose’ of heat, the fMRI charted blood flows through the brain, leaving a pattern – or ‘signature’ – of brain activity.The study involved 114 healthy people, and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday.The ‘neurological signature’ was used to predict subjective pain experiences with over 90 percent accuracy. Scientists devised an algorithm that could calculate this correspondence of brain images to the actual degree of pain felt.“Right now, there’s no clinically acceptable way to measure pain and other emotions other than to ask a person how they feel,” said Tor Wager, lead author of the paper.The results of the discovery could be used to monitor the pain felt by people who are unable to express it, and even bring an end to subjective patient self-evaluation of their own agony.Experts have said that the experiment’s findings could also pave the way to objective measurement of people’s pain on a real scale. In present times, patients usually rate their own pain on a scale of 1 to 10, a method that is often deemed unreliable. “Persistent pain is measured by means of self-report, the sole reliance on which hampers diagnosis and treatment,” the study’s background explained.Heat-induced and emotional pain on scannerScientists were able to determine reactions to only certain types of painful feelings.For once, heat-induced pain could be separated from regular warmth, pain anticipation and emotional pain, with researchers concluding that it “is possible to use fMRI to assess pain elicited by noxious heat in healthy persons.”The intensity of pain visibly subsided when pain relief was administered.Emotional pain was also measured: Some subjects who had recently gone through relationship break-ups were shown pictures of their former partners, or ‘rejecters.’ Scientists applied the ‘pain signature’ to determine how participants responded to what they called ‘social pain.’“There are many ways to extend this study,” Wager said, offering a possible path for future research: “Is the predictive signature different if you experience pressure pain or mechanical pain, or pain on different parts of the body?”Additionally, the issue of mapping chronic pain over the lifetime of an individual is yet to be addressed, such as with persistent migraines or fibromyalgia. Researchers do not yet know whether this ‘signature’ would appear in people with these afflictions.Pain lie-detector?However encouraging the results of the experiments are, researchers still point out that the study’s consequences should not be used to devalue people’s perception of their own pain. “This is not a pain lie-detector test, and it should not be used that way,” Head Researcher Tor Wager said. “People in pain need to be believed.”The incoming president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, Lynn Webster, aired some concern to National Public Radio.“The bad scenario would be you come in in pain, the physician scans your brain and says, ‘Well, we don’t see the pain here so we think it’s in your mind. … We don’t think it’s really pain,’” she said, also explaining that insurance companies could use these results to avoid paying for drugs. …
North Korea has been known to regularly attempt cyberattacks on the South Korean government. On Friday, however, PyongYang accused the U.S. of carrying out “intensive and persistent” attacks on its computer networks.The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) stated Friday, “It is nobody’s secret that the US and South Korean puppet regime are massively bolstering up cyber forces in a bid to intensify the subversive activities and sabotages against the DPRK [North Korea].”Via Reuters:North Korea has itself been blamed for spreading malicious software that crashed the websites of government agencies and businesses, and for a cyber attack on a South Korean state-run bank server in 2011 that took more than a week to fix. North Korea denies cyber attacks and accuses the South of a conspiracy to fuel confrontation, although defectors from the North have said that Pyongyang is recruiting thousands of computer engineers to its cyber warfare unit. Military experts have said cyber warfare is a major threat from North Korea, along with its conventional forces and its weapons of mass destruction program, posing a security risk to utilities and communication networks in the South.Continue Reading… …
The Royal Palace announced today that Prince William and Kate Middleton are expecting their first child. The royals aren’t saying exactly how far along the Duchess of Cambridge is, but the pregnancy has reportedly not yet passed the 12-week mark, the point at which most people wait … …
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Rams say running back Steven Jackson is not available in a trade.
Coach Jeff Fisher did his best to quash persistent rumors, saying Tuesday that the Rams aren’t shopping Jackson and have not been getting calls about him, either.
“The Steven Jackson rumors are rumors,” Fisher said. “He’s our running back and we’re not calling around, nor are we getting calls for that matter.
More on AP
The possibility of AMD building chips based on ARM technology has been a persistent rumor over the last eighteen months or so. Today, the company has made it official, announcing plans for a highly-integrated, 64-bit ARM multicore System-on-a-Chip (SoC) optimized for dense, energy-efficient servers. …
Valerie Jarrett is one of the most influential women in
America. Protective, fearless, dedicated: the controversial White House figure and Chicago titan is now yolo'ing on the homestretch to get her “little brother” re-elected.
Valerie Jarrett with Bill Daley, David Plouffe, and Jay Carney.
Valerie Jarrett is hard to find. Outsiders catch only short glimpses of her — a public conversation with Natalie Portman at a campaign event for women in Las Vegas, a wire photo with Will.i.am on the convention floor, a rare television appearance on Morning Joe. She's not one of the administration's leading public faces, but her low profile belies her importance. She holds the title of senior advisor to President Barack Obama; she is a best friend to Michelle. She is one of the most powerful black women in American history.
Since 2008, more than 42,000 words in at least three dozen major-media profiles and large sections of Jodi Kantor’s bestselling book The Obamas have sought to convey her importance. The New Republic alone has called her “The Third Obama” and “Barack Obama’s Fixer” and “protector of Barack’s immortal soul.” The Washington Post has dubbed her “Obama’s Cold Shoulder” and “the real power” in the White House. Vogue says she's “Barack’s Rock.”
But she has her haters. She’s butted heads with some of the biggest male egos in the administration, including Rahm Emanuel, Robert Gibbs, David Plouffe, Larry Summers, Peter Orszag, and even the relatively mellow David Axelrod. And in the final stretch of the president’s reelection campaign, Jarrett’s position has come under persistent attack from both inside and outside the White House. A piece in the New York Times that gave her the nickname “the Night Stalker” (for allegedly playing the family-friend card to access the White House's residential wing and lobby the president after work hours) and reported that some anonymous fellow staffers said she enjoyed “the trappings of power” to an unbecoming degree. In the piece, Axelrod was quoted on the record describing Jarrett’s powerful but not strictly defined place within the White House's organizational hierarchy as a “manageable problem” — not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Meanwhile, Bob Woodward gave her an unflattering portrayal his new book, The Price of Politics. In chapter nine, former economic adviser Larry Summer blames Jarrett for the White House’s frayed relationship with Wall Street. In chapter six the former CEO of Verizon complains Jarrett didn’t arrange enough time with him for the president at a Super Bowl party. “15 seconds,” the CEO is quoted as saying. Jarrett is alleged to have responded by telling him he was lucky just to be in the room.
What makes Jarrett such a contentious figure inside the White House? Some friends and colleagues say it's the envy provoked by her powerful bond with the First Family. What terrifies Jarrett’s internal critics most, her friends say, are the moments that only she shares with Barack and Michelle, and the idea — real or imagined — that those discussions may have more sway than the conversations the president and first lady hold with other top advisors in the court. That those private moments between Jarrett and the president are essentially unknowable, even to the inner circle, makes her presence a threat. “There’s a certain parlor game about people who have pre-existing relationships with the First Family or with the president — people whose jobs you can’t necessarily put in a neat box,” says a former White House aide who worked with Jarrett. “There’s a natural curiosity about that, and for people, there’s a natural insecurity about that.”
There’s also the fact she’s not from the Beltway. She had already established a separate universe of power before coming to Washington, which might intimidate those political creatures whose resumes include little achieved beyond the Acela corridor. And then there's the fact that, however liberal the ideals of the Democratic Party might be in theory, she's still a black woman in a world of white men. Jarrett’s friends and allies suspect the recent attacks stem not just from resentment over her close relationship to the president but from blatant sexism. “If she wasn’t a woman, it would be different,” one close friend and former White House official told BuzzFeed. “Sexism is there.”
Jarrett has faced this Revolt of the White Male Ego in her usual style — with discretion and the confidence that her place within the administration is always secure. She has a twenty-year friendship with Barack Obama and gave Michelle her first important job. She's inured from the Washington anxiety of worrying about your status with the president in a time of crisis. Her role is too broad and essential for that. She is a political North Star — trying to keep, say, a sense of continuity for the First Family between DC and Chicago; reminding Obama that his values, shaped on the city’s South Side, are truly liberal and progressive. She ensures that no unseemly suitors — like insufferable CEOs or overeager staffers — get inappropriately close to Barack. She’s Michelle Obama’s proxy in policy debates — “the reason you don’t see Michelle’s fingerprints on anything is because of Valerie,” says one scribe who’s covered her extensively. And she's an enforcer. “To work with Valerie, you have to understand that she’d cut your throat and your children’s throat to protect the president,” one White House official told BuzzFeed. “If you go into it understanding that, then there’s no problem.”
Jarrett has continued to be what campaign spokesperson Stephanie Cutter calls one of Obama's most “sought-after surrogates,” involved in “raising money, launching Women for Obama, visiting college campuses traveling the country, rallying our supporters.” Besides the media hits and campaign events, Jarrett has done at least seven private fundraisers this year. “Valerie helps the Obamas achieve what they want to do,” says her cousin, Anoinette C. Bush, a partner at Skadden, a powerful law firm that hosted a phone bank for Obama’s 2008 bid. That's not as obvious an observation as it sounds. To someone powerful, an advisor that has no personal agenda — even a benign one — or biases is a precious commodity. “Her role [now] is to get the president re-elected.”
Only once during the 2012 campaign cycle has Jarrett truly advertised the extent of her power — the week of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. She was relentless. At the DNC, Jarrett’s days began around 5 a.m. She did seven major media appearances over the three-day period. Jarrett’s octogenarian mother proudly accompanied her onto CBS This Morning, “in awe” of her daughter, as one friend put it. VJ — as she signs her emails to friends, and is referred to in internal White House communications — traveled to events with a robust Secret Service escort, shaded from hassles in a cocoon of black sedans. Unapproved reporters struggled to get close to her, while she was treated with deference at her appearances.
On Tuesday of the convention, she headlined the California Democratic Party breakfast in the Blake Hotel, right after spending thirty minutes on stage for a Bloomberg Q&A. On Wednesday evening, she partied with President Obama’s closest friends and supporters in a private event at Delta’s, a southern-themed soul food restaurant and bar. The guest list included Obama’s former body man Reggie Love, uber-bundler and private equity player Brian Mathis, consulting and finance bigshot Robert Wolf, and the New York Times’ Kantor. Eyewitnesses said she tore up the dance floor, enjoying her role as “the Queen Bee” of Obamaland, as one guest put it. Topping off Jarrett’s week: on Thursday night, she watched Barack Obama’s acceptance speech from Michelle Obama’s box seats on the Time Warner Cable Arena’s third floor. It was a display of status unmatched by anyone else in Obama’s inner circle.
How did Valerie Jarrett come to be powerful enough to brush off attacks conveyed through such Establishment mediums as the New York Times and Bob Woodward? She declined a request to be interviewed for this story. BuzzFeed did, however, interview over a dozen of her friends and colleagues. We visited the Chicago neighborhoods where she built her Illinois legacy, and spoke at length with other journalists who covered her. And in the course of the reporting, BuzzFeed did get to meet Jarrett once — but in an off-the-record setting on the campaign trail. Though we're not allowed to report what was said, our general impression was that Jarrett, among Obama’s advisors, projects a certain fearlessness and composure exclusive to accomplished maternal figures the world over. It reminded us of story we’d heard about her: unflinchingly watching a Chicago housing project demolished in 1998, her face and clothes covered in soot. “She took so much pride in being there,” says a friend who was with her that day. “Not just talking about it, [but] an ability to turn talk into action.”
In other words: she’s a woman who is not going to take any shit, from anyone, including the President.