AugCog

Augmented Cognition International Society: “Limitations in human cognition are due to intrinsic restrictions in the number of mental tasks that a person can execute at one time, and this capacity itself may fluctuate from moment to moment depending on a host of factors including mental fatigue, novelty, boredom and stress. As computational interfaces have become more prevalent in society and increasingly complex with regard to the volume and type of information presented, researchers have investigated novel ways to detect these bottlenecks and have devised and continue to determine strategies to aid users and improve their performance by effectively accommodating capabilities and limitations in human information processing and decision making.

A main goal of the field of Augmented Cognition (AugCog) is to research and develop technologies capable of extending, by an order of magnitude or more, the information management capacity of individuals working with 21st Century computing technologies.”

Military to use bomb-sniffing robots

“As it increases its use of robots in war zones, the military will begin using an explosive-sniffing version that will allow soldiers to better detect roadside bombs, which account for more than 70 percent of U.S. casualties in
Iraq.

…There are nearly 5,000 robots in Iraq and Afghanistan, up from about 150 in 2004. Soldiers use them to search caves and buildings for insurgents, detect mines and ferret out roadside and car bombs.” (Yahoo! News)

Why do we sleep?

“Promoting changes in brain circuitry may well be the fundamental purpose of slumber—the answer we’ve long been searching for. But it could also turn out to be a byproduct of something more fundamental still. For instance, some of the genes that are especially active during sleep seem to play a role in rebuilding cell membranes and synthesizing basic molecules like proteins and lipids. So sleep’s ultimate function could be to repair or rebuild brain cells in light of new experience, with reinforced circuitry as one result.” (Slate)

U.S. Iraq Role Is Called Illegal by Saudi King

“King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia told Arab leaders on Wednesday that the American occupation of Iraq was illegal and warned that unless Arab governments settled their differences, foreign powers like the United States would continue to dictate the region’s politics.

The king’s speech, at the opening of the Arab League meeting here, underscored growing differences between Saudi Arabia and the Bush administration as the Saudis take on a greater leadership role in the Middle East, partly at American urging.” (New York Times)