This article on the BBC News website states "An electronic clipboard that has the potential to save lives has been unveiled." My first thought was "at last, we're one step closer to the medical tricorder!" The device, which goes by the rather lame name 'mobile clinical assistant (MCA)', promises to allow clinicians to "access patient records at the bedside, write notes and order essential tests in real-time". It also has, amongst other things, a camera for taking pictures of injuries. It's also expected to "cut mistakes made when administering drugs by up to 70%". Sadly, it's also "prone to frequent crashes"; rumours that Microsoft wrote the software have been vehemently denied. (Note: I made that last part up)
Not quite the tricorder, but merge it with the iPhone in some way and build in some kind of scanner, and we're halfway there! Also, rumour has it that because of the frequent green screens of death it turns users into crotchety people who mutter things to themselves... like 'that green blooded Vulcan'. Pointy ears sold separately.
The New York Times has a story about why people turn into uncivilized animals when engaging in online written communication. Huh? I thought this mystery had already been solved - isn't it because people are assholes and the anonymity of the web allows them to reveal their true nature? Apparently not. It's actually got to do with a "design flaw inherent in the interface between the brain’s social circuitry and the online world". A design flaw? Scientists that believe in intelligent design are not to be trusted! This is all bunk! The article goes on to state "Without the raised eyebrow that signals irony, say, or the tone of voice that signals delight, the orbitofrontal cortex has little to go on. Lacking real-time cues, we can easily misread the printed words in an e-mail message, taking them the wrong way. And if we are typing while agitated, the absence of information on how the other person is responding makes the prefrontal circuitry for discretion more likely to fail. Our emotional impulses disinhibited, we type some infelicitous message and hit “send” before a more sober second thought leads us to hit “discard.” We flame."
So there we go. The next time I get into an online argument, I'm going to blame it on my orbitofrontal cortex. That excuse is golden - God I hope my orbitofrontal cortex is still intact! Orbitofrontal cortex orbitofrontal cortex orbitofrontal cortex!