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UPI NewsTrack Science and Technology News

Nov. 16, 2012 at 7:08 PM   |   Comments

Photos show Einstein's brain 'different'

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Recently discovered photographs of Albert Einstein's brain made after his death show it was unlike those of most people, a U.S. researcher says.

After Einstein died in 1955, his brain was removed and photographed but many of the photos were thought to be lost for more than 55 years.

Fourteen were recently uncovered by the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring, Md., as part of a donation from the estate of Thomas Harvey, the pathologist who took the original photos, USA Today reported.

A study of the photographs was led by Florida State University evolutionary anthropologist Dean Falk.

"Einstein's brain has an extraordinary prefrontal cortex, which may have contributed to ... some of his remarkable cognitive abilities," Falk said.

The study is being published in the journal Brain.

"Although the overall size and asymmetrical shape of Einstein's brain were normal, the prefrontal, somatosensory, primary motor, parietal, temporal and occipital cortices were extraordinary," Falk said.

After the photos were taken, the brain was dissected into 240 separate pieces, most of which remain at the University Medical Center in Princeton, N.J. The locations of some of the brain segments are unknown.


Report: Google Maps for Apple iOS 6 coming

NEW YORK, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Google is preparing a new Google Maps app that will be compatible with both Apple's iPad and the iPhone, a source told The Wall Street Journal.

Many iPhone and iPad owners -- dismayed when Apple replaced Google Maps with its own flawed Maps app when iOS 6 was released in September -- has been waiting for an iOS version of Google Maps, industry analysts say.

The map app caused so many complaints Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook was forced to issue an apology.

Many iPhone and iPad owners have resisted downloading the latest version of Apple's operating system because they didn't want to lose access to Google Maps that came pre-installed on the devices in earlier versions of iOS.

The Journal source was unable to say when Google would actually submit its new Google Maps for iOS app for approval to the iTunes store, the Los Angeles Times reported.

A feature expected in the new Google Maps version for iOS is turn-by-turn navigation, which was not included in Google Maps that came pre-installed on previous generations of iPhones and iPads.


'Superbugs' found in Canadian hotel rooms

OTTAWA, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- An examination at six hotel chains in Canada found antibiotic-resistant "superbug" bacteria in tested rooms, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Microbiologists Keith Warriner, who conducted the tests for the CBC's "Marketplace" program, said the discovery of clostridium difficile and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was "alarming."

"It was a surprise at the start, but amazing that all these hotels had superbugs," he said. "When you get ... the antibiotic-resistant bacteria we're finding, that's not scare-mongering, that's real. These are real pathogens that can cause real illnesses."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says MRSA kills over 15,000 Americans each year.

Warriner examined rooms at EconoLodge, Super 8, Best Western, Holiday Inn, Fairmont and Sheraton rooms in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

He was initially surprised by the presence of the superbugs in so many hotel rooms, he said.

"But if you think about lack of sanitation, multiple people coming in every day, it wasn't surprising in that respect."

Hotel chains reacted to the "Marketplace" broadcast.

"Seeing it on camera suggests that we need to revisit our housekeeping practices, specifically at these hotels," Tim Oldfield, EconoLodge's managing director of franchise performance said.

The findings, he said, didn't meet "my expectation of the standards we set as an organization."


Business urged to embrace social media

ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 16 (UPI) -- U.S. businesses are in denial about social media, considering it a fad, or just another version of the Internet, a human resources professional group said.

Seventy-two percent of businesses don't have a clear strategy or goals for incorporating social media into their operations, the study by the Society of Human Resource Management, based in Alexandria, Va., said.

One of the main reasons why businesses haven't pursued a social media strategy is lack of data tied to return on investment, said Rob Ployhart of the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.

In a report released in October by the SHRM, Ployhart offered guidance for business executives struggling with the issue.

"There is a lot of hype that goes along with technology," Ployhart said. "After doing this review, I'm convinced that social media is radically different and that existing theories about communications can't be applied the same way.

"It puts incredible power in the hands of employees and customers. One person sharing on social media is more powerful than 50 or more people saying it."

Companies should look at social media from a strategic perspective across the entire business organization, he said.

"Usually people think about social media from the employee issue part of it -- for disciplinary, firing and hiring -- by establishing social media policies for what employees can and can't do. They're not looking at it from 'how can I use this to drive results for my business?'" Ployhart said.

"In today's world, we are all interconnected. Companies that are thinking about this proactively are the ones that are probably going to have an advantage in leveraging this technology."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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