More time at school may boost IQ

Spending more time at school may increase intelligence, according to a study of Norwegian men.

The research, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggested that an extra year in the classroom could boost IQ by nearly four points.

The authors said that extra schooling had a "sizeable effect" on IQ in early adulthood.

But they do not know if this applies to all children, or just those in this study.

A link between a higher IQ and more education has already been established, the authors say.

However, determining whether spending more time in school actually improves IQ is more difficult, as it is possible that children with a naturally higher IQ are those who choose to spend more time in the education system.

Researchers from Statistics Norway, which publishes official government data, and the University of Oslo took advantage of a natural experiment in the Norwegian education system and its effect on 107,223 pupils.

Between 1955 and 1972 regional governments in Norway increased compulsory schooling from seven to nine years. It meant pupils left school at 16 instead of 14.

The effect of this forced increase in schooling was measured at the age of 19, when the military gave all men eligible for drafting an IQ test.

The researchers reported that: "An unusually large increase in both average education and average IQ is apparent at the same time as the reform was introduced."

They said one additional year in school raised IQ by 3.7 points.

They added: "By exploiting the increase in schooling induced by a comprehensive compulsory schooling reform, this study is able to uncover a statistically significant and sizeable effect of middle school education on IQ scores in early adulthood for Norwegian men."

The statisticians caution against drawing too many conclusions, as they admit that the effect may only apply to Norwegian society or its education system at the time.

However, they argue that it may be possible to improve intelligence in adolescence.

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Iran says it will not return US drone

Iranian headache for Obama
 TEHRAN, Iran — Remaining defiant in the face of crippling sanctions and diplomatic hand-twisting, Iran insists it will not return a U.S. surveillance drone captured by its armed forces, a senior commander of the country's elite Revolutionary Guard said Sunday.
Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy head of the Guard, said in remarks broadcast on state television that the violation of Iran's airspace by the U.S. drone was a "hostile act" and warned of a "bigger" response. He did not elaborate on what Tehran might do.
"No one returns the symbol of aggression to the party that sought secret and vital intelligence related to the national security of a country," Salami said.
Iranian television broadcast video Thursday of Iranian military officials inspecting what it identified as the RQ-170 Sentinel drone.
Iranian state media have said the unmanned spy aircraft was detected over the eastern town of Kashmar, some 140 miles (225 kilometers) from the border with Afghanistan. U.S. officials have acknowledged losing the drone.
Salami called its capture a victory for Iran and a defeat for the U.S. in a complicated intelligence and technological battle.
"Iran is among the few countries that possesses the most modern technology in the field of pilotless drones. The technology gap between Iran and the U.S. is not much," he said.
Officers in the Guard, Iran's most powerful military force, had previously claimed that the country's armed forces brought down the surveillance aircraft with an electronic ambush, causing minimum damage to the drone.
American officials have said that U.S. intelligence assessments indicate that Iran neither shot the drone down, nor used electronic or cybertechnology to force it from the sky. They contend the drone malfunctioned. The officials had spoken anonymously in order to discuss the classified program.
But Salami refused to provide more details of Iran's claim to have captured the CIA-operated aircraft.
"A party that wins in an intelligence battle doesn't reveal its methods. We can't elaborate on the methods we employed to intercept, control, discover and bring down the pilotless plane," he said.

Source: AP News


Microsoft and GE in new healthcare venture

REDMOND, WA - General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), through its healthcare IT business, and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq “MSFT”) today announced plans to create a joint venture aimed at helping healthcare organizations and professionals use real-time, systemwide intelligence to improve healthcare quality and the patient experience. Upon formation, the new company will develop and market an open, interoperable technology platform and innovative clinical applications focused on enabling better population health management to improve outcomes and the overall economics of health and wellness.
As healthcare providers and payers around the globe shift from episodic single-patient care to continuous population management, new requirements have emerged for integrated care processes, greater insight and engaging patient experiences. These delivery system reforms, including a shift toward new payment models, require healthcare providers to address gaps and integrate data across silos of care delivery to help enable better care coordination and performance improvement.
This new joint venture will combine Microsoft’s deep expertise in building platforms and ecosystems with GE Healthcare’s experience in clinical and administrative workflow solutions, empowering healthcare professionals and organizations with the intelligence and capabilities to respond to the rapidly evolving and complex healthcare landscape.
“The complementary nature of GE Healthcare’s and Microsoft’s individual expertise will drive new insights, solutions and efficiencies to further advance the two companies’ shared vision of a connected, patient-centric healthcare system,” said Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and CEO of GE. “The global healthcare challenges of access, cost and quality of care delivery are creating a new focus on the performance and accountability of healthcare delivery systems — in every country, at every level of care. This venture will demonstrate what is possible when leading companies with complementary capabilities work together to meet a common goal.”
The new company will deliver a distinctive, open platform that will give healthcare providers and independent software vendors the ability to develop a new generation of clinical applications. The venture will develop healthcare applications on the platform using in-house developers and the platform will connect with a wide range of healthcare IT products. GE Healthcare IT will immediately be able to connect existing products to the platform, helping current customers to derive new insights.
“High-quality, affordable healthcare is one of the biggest challenges facing every nation, but it’s also an area where technology can make a huge difference,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. “Combining Microsoft’s open, interoperable health platforms and software expertise with GE’s experience and healthcare solutions will create exciting opportunities for patients and healthcare providers alike. Working together, GE and Microsoft can help make healthcare systems more intelligent and cost efficient while improving patient care.”
The two parent companies bring complementary expertise to this new venture and will contribute intellectual property, including the following:
Microsoft Amalga, an enterprise health intelligence platform
Microsoft Vergence, a single sign-on and context management solution
Microsoft expreSSO, an enterprise single sign-on solution
GE Healthcare eHealth, a Health Information Exchange
GE Healthcare Qualibria, a clinical knowledge application environment being developed in cooperation with Intermountain Healthcare (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Mayo Clinic
The long-term vision of the venture is to create new value by offering a healthcare performance management suite that includes many of these products.
In addition to the new joint venture, GE Healthcare and Microsoft will each maintain a strong presence in the healthcare IT industry, as both parent organizations will continue to sell other products and services to healthcare organizations around the globe.
“Improving the quality of healthcare through innovative collaboration is a goal that we share with GE Healthcare and Microsoft. Working together with others to identify new ways to improve health outcomes and drive down cost is a hallmark of our patient-care philosophy,” said C. Michel Harper, M.D., executive dean for Practice, Mayo Clinic. “We’re pleased to see healthcare IT companies embrace this same idea and come together in new ways. We look forward to seeing the progress this new endeavor will bring in medicine.”
“Intermountain Healthcare and GE have a strong history and partnership in developing and advancing transformational healthcare information technologies,” stated Charles S. Sorenson, MD, president and chief executive officer of Intermountain Healthcare. “Our common vision is driving powerful advancements in healthcare and improving the clinical work process by making real-time information available at the point of care. We look forward to continuing our efforts to further these principles, achieving our combined objectives, and putting these important technologies into practice.”
The new company’s products and services will provide the information and insight required to help address many critical problems in the healthcare system today, including these:
Healthcare associated infections. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 1.7 million healthcare associated infections occur annually, resulting in $35 billion in additional healthcare costs1,2 and the loss of nearly 100,000 lives.3 By pulling together data from disparate IT systems, identifying those patients most at risk for a given HAI, and surfacing guidelines and protocols within provider workflow, the solutions will enable healthcare organizations to more effectively deploy their resources and deliver better care at lower costs.
Chronic disease management. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 133 million Americans (nearly half of all adults) live with at least one chronic illness and most chronic diseases require a lifetime of ongoing care.4 To help patients and their physicians work together more efficiently to manage chronic conditions, the platform and applications will support the sharing of data from at-home medical devices (such as blood pressure cuffs, scales and glucometers) with caregivers to facilitate better tracking of chronic conditions, coordination of treatment schedules, management of medication regimens and timely interventions.
The new venture complements the existing offerings from both parent companies and is expected to yield job growth in its first five years of existence. It will operate globally, offering interoperability platforms and application solutions targeting both healthcare providers and payers. Michael J. Simpson, vice president and general manager at GE Healthcare IT, will serve as the company’s CEO.
The new company, which has yet to be named, will be headquartered near the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Wash., with significant presence in Salt Lake City, Utah, and additional cities around the world.
Launch of the new joint venture is subject to customary conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected in the first half of 2012.
About GE Healthcare
GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our broad expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services help our customers to deliver better care to more people around the world at a lower cost. In addition, we partner with healthcare leaders, striving to leverage the global policy change necessary to implement a successful shift to sustainable healthcare systems.
About Microsoft in Health
Microsoft is committed to improving health around the world through software innovation. Over the past 16 years, Microsoft has steadily increased its investments in health, with a focus on addressing the challenges of health providers, health and social services organizations, payers, consumers and life sciences companies worldwide. Microsoft closely collaborates with a broad ecosystem of partners and develops its own powerful health solutions, such as Microsoft Amalga and Microsoft HealthVault. Together, Microsoft and its industry partners are working to deliver health solutions that enable better health outcomes for more people.
About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Source: CNBC News


Facebook absorbs Gowalla developers as part of software team

Facebook has announced it is hiring the co-founders of Gowalla.

The social network is also taking on other developers from the location-based "check-in service". Gowalla will close in 2012 as a consequence.

The news comes days after Facebook announced plans to take on "thousands" of new members of staff.

The company is opening a software engineering centre in New York as part of the strategy - its first away from of the West Coast of the US.

Despite a report last week by CNN that Facebook had acquired Gowalla for an undisclosed sum, the company said on Monday that it had taken on key members of the businesses's staff but had not bought the organisation outright.

"We're excited to confirm that Gowalla co-founders Josh Williams and Scott Raymond, along with other members of the Gowalla team, are moving to Facebook in January to join our design and engineering teams," a statement said.

"While Facebook isn't acquiring the Gowalla service or technology, we're sure that the inspiration behind Gowalla will make its way into Facebook over time."

Texas-based Gowalla is a two-year-old social network based around the idea of allowing users to "check in" to locations and share pictures from their visits.

Members used to receive virtual "items" at certain check-in points. However, the company struggled against a larger competitor, Foursquare.

In September it refocused its efforts on becoming a travel service, offering "social guides" to 60 cities, including London, Paris and Chicago, based on its members' postings.

A blog post on Gowalla's site said: "Gowalla, as a service, will be winding down at the end of January. We plan to provide an easy way to export your Passport data, your Stamp and Pin data (along with your legacy Item data), and your photos as well. Facebook is not acquiring Gowalla's user data.

"As we move forward, we hope some of the inspiration behind Gowalla - a fun and beautiful way to share your journey on the go - will live on at Facebook."

The original CNN report suggested that the Gowalla team would work on Facebook's Timeline feature.

Timeline turns users' profile pages into digital scrapbooks, making it easier for them to view each others' life histories.

The feature was announced in September, but has yet to be rolled out to many of the site's members.

Facebook already had a location-based service built into its mobile device apps and website, but experts say the network may want to use the developers' experience to create a richer experience.

"Facebook Places seems to work fairly well but they want to make a big play in this area," said Lee Bryant, the European managing director of Dachis Group, a social media consultancy.

"Location-based services are still in their early stages. Gowalla was interesting and slightly more story-based than Foursquare, which Facebook may feel will help it strengthen its Timeline service."

The announcement follows Friday's news that the firm plans to open a software engineering centre in New York in early 2012.

The company already employs an advertising team in the city. However, it is the first time the company has created a software base that is not on the US West Coast.
Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, announced the New York expansion plan at a press conference attended by the city's Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and other officials.

"We are trying to grow at a clip that will allow us to get the very best people and integrate them," she said.

"We will be adding thousands of employees in the next year."

The new office will be headed up by Serkan Piantino. He previously led the engineering team behind Facebook's News Feed and helped develop its Timeline feature.

Ms Sandberg did not specify how many of the promised posts would be created in New York.

The moves come ahead of an expected share flotation which analysts say may occur in the first half of next year.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the firm could raise $10bn through the sale, valuing the company at $100bn.

It quotes sources saying that the initial public offering (IPO) could be completed by June.

Facebook has declined to comment, saying it does not want to add to speculation about the move.

Source: BBC Tech News