By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - From ways to eavesdrop on brains and learn what advertisements excite consumers, to devices that alleviate depression, the number of U.S. patents awarded for "neurotechnology" has soared since 2010, according to an analysis released on Wednesday. Most surprising, concluded market-research firm SharpBrains, is that patents have been awarded to inventors well beyond those at medical companies. The leader in neurotechnology patents, according to the report, is consumer-research behemoth Nielsen. That expansion into non-medical uses, said SharpBrains Chief Executive Alvaro Fernandez, who presented the results at the NeuroGaming conference in San Francisco, shows we are at the dawn of "the pervasive neurotechnology age," in which everyday technologies will be connected to brains. "Neurotech has gone well beyond medicine, with non-medical corporations, often under the radar, developing neurotechnologies to enhance work and life," he said. Patents for neurotechnology bumped along at 300 to 400 a year in the 2000s, then soared to 800 in 2010 and 1,600 last year, SharpBrains reported. Those awarded to medical device company Medtronic PLC, for instance, include ways to use electroencephalography (EEG) to measure the severity of a brain lesion. Several held by medical technology company St. Jude Medical Inc. describe ways to change brain activity to, say, improve vision. But it is the explosion in non-medical uses, such as controlling video games with brain waves, that is driving neurotechnology. SharpBrains measured "intellectual property (IP) strength" by number of neurotechnology patents as well as patent quality, reflected in how many other patents reference them, for instance. By that measure, Nielsen leads the pack, with patents describing ways to detect brain activity with EEG and translate it into what someone truly thinks about, say, a new product, advertising, or packaging. Microsoft Corp. holds patents that assess mental states, with the goal of determining the most effective way to present information. If software knows a user's attention is wandering, it could hold back complicated material. Another Microsoft patent describes a neuro-system that claims to discern whether a computer user is amenable to receiving advertisements. Such patents reflect the enthusiasm for neuro-monitoring, something many scientists say has not been shown to be more effective than, say, asking people what they think about a product. On a lighter note, an EEG patent awarded to San Jose-based biosensors company NeuroSky describes a design for a headset that could deliver music based on a user's brainwaves, perhaps a ballad when the listener is feeling contemplative. (Reporting by Sharon Begley; editing by Andrew Hay)
- Yahoo News
Republicans built up QAnon backer Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, but now are they afraid of what they created?
On the eve of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the combative Georgia Republican known for her association with QAnon, was back on Twitter after a 12-hour suspension, and back to making waves.
- Yahoo News
Biden’s homeland security nominee pledges to tackle domestic extremism and prevent another attack on the Capitol
Less than two weeks after a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, Alejandro Mayorkas, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Homeland Security Secretary, assured senators that, if confirmed, he will “tackle the threat of domestic extremism” and prevent future attacks.
Tam Dinh Pham of the Houston police department was part of the deadly mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. A veteran Houston police officer is in trouble after attending the U.S. Capitol riots in Washington, D.C., then lying about it. Officer Tam Dinh Pham joined the deadly mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
- Yahoo News 360
Historians will face a daunting task in trying to assess Donald Trump’s presidency. What will he be remembered for?
- Associated Press
The Kremlin on Tuesday brushed aside calls from the West to release opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was arrested upon his return to Russia from Germany following treatment for poisoning with a nerve agent. Moscow called his case “an absolutely internal matter.” Navalny blames his poisoning on President Vladimir Putin's government, which has denied it.
Armenia has returned all Azeri prisoners who were captured during last year's conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, but the process with Armenian prisoners has been held up, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday. The six-week conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh was brought to a halt in November by a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement under which Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces were expected to exchange all captives. Armenia has said that many of its prisoners of war remain in Azerbaijan, a problem it has raised with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk group.
- Yahoo News
There will be no inaugural balls, no boozed-up crowds dancing and singing. Those festivities of a healthy democracy will be replaced by a capital city under military occupation, a National Mall empty of almost anyone but soldiers.
- NBC News
Suspect William McCall Calhoun Jr. faces a host of charges stemming from the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol Building.
- The Telegraph
Vaccine ‘passports’ would risk spreading coronavirus, the Government warned on Tuesday, despite the European Commission tentatively backing the idea. EU leaders will have their first discussions on the vaccination certificates at a video summit on Thursday. The Department of Health confirmed that vaccine passports were not being considered in Britain because it is not yet known whether the vaccines stop you being a carrier. That could mean British tourists missing out on EU holidays because they will not have the vaccination certificates, which the commission said could be used in the EU “and beyond”. It is unlikely that Britain would accept the certificates from EU citizens hoping to travel to the UK. Brussels said that using the vaccination certificates to allow greater travel and tourism in the EU was “premature” at this stage but left the door open for the plans to be picked up in the future. “We feel that now this is the time for these vaccine certificates to be recognised across the European Union, and even beyond the European Union.” said Margaritis Schinas, a commission vice-president. Mr Schinas said it was “perfectly imaginable that this can open avenues for other use, including facilitating travel”. But EU heads of state and government would have to agree to the idea and enough Europeans would have to be vaccinated first, he said. The commission said member states should set ambitious targets to vaccinate at least 80 percent of health and social care professionals and people over 80 years old by March 2021 and a minimum of 70 percent of the total adult population by summer. The bloc started jabs three weeks ago and has so far approved two vaccines - from BioNTech/Pfizer and from Moderna - with others soon expected to follow. But its pace of vaccination trails behind countries such as the US, Britain, Israel and the United Arab Emirates. In a swipe at Britain, Mr Schinas said the EU had opted for “safety first” instead of granting emergency approval for vaccines as the UK had. “It is not a race between countries but a race against time in Europe,” he said. The commission said the EU would agree the minimum data necessary for the vaccination certificate and ensure it would respect data privacy laws by the end of January. The common approach could be “scaled up globally” by becoming a model for the certification systems of the World Health Organisation. Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, whose country is dependent on tourism, has called for the certificates to allow for vaccinated people to travel freely around Europe. Other countries, including Germany, are more cautious, especially after the arrival of the British variant on the Continent, and are against any plan which discriminates between those who have the jab and don’t. Chancellor Angela Merkel and leaders of Germany's 16 states were expected to extend and tighten a partial lockdown beyond January last night, as fears grow over virus variant strains believed to be more contagious. The former Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has told Times Radio he's feeling "optimistic" about being able to travel in 2021, and has already booked two summer holidays, including a trip to Italy in June.
- Yahoo News Video
President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be his assistant secretary of health, leaving her poised to become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
- Architectural Digest
Mercedes-Benz’s Hyperscreen, General Motors’ Bright Drop, and Jeep’s Electric Wrangler were among the unveils that turned headsOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- Associated Press
President Donald Trump has commuted the prison sentence of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who has served about seven years of a 28-year sentence for corruption. The announcement Wednesday morning was part of a flurry of clemency action in the final hours of Trump's White House term that benefited more than 140 people, including rap performers, ex-members of Congress and other allies of Trump and his family. A White House statement said that prominent members of the Detroit community had supported the former Democratic mayor's commutation and it noted: “During his incarceration, Mr. Kilpatrick has taught public speaking classes and has led Bible Study groups with his fellow inmates.”
President-elect Joe Biden is expected to sign 15 executive actions upon taking office Wednesday, immediately reversing key Trump administration policies. Why it matters: The 15 actions — aimed at issues like climate change and immigration — mark more drastic immediate steps compared with the two day-one actions from Biden's four predecessors combined, according to incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What they're saying: The actions are the first of many, Psaki said in a news release, as Biden works "to address the four crises that he's laid out" — COVID-19, the economic crisis, racial injustice and climate change. * "In the coming days and weeks we will be announcing additional executive actions that confront these challenges and deliver on the President-elect's promises to the American people," Psaki said, "including revoking the ban on military service by transgender Americans, and reversing the Mexico City policy." Highlights * Moving to rejoin Paris Climate Agreement * Asking the Department of Education to extend student loan relief * An executive order to rescind Keystone XL pipeline permit * Rejoining the World Health Organization * Asking the CDC to "immediately" extend eviction restrictions * Reversing Trump's travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries * Temporarily halting oil and gas leasing in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge * An initiative on advancing racial equity in federal policymakingGo deeper: See the full listSupport safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- LA Times
Thousands of pro-Trump crowds have gathered since he took office. No state has had more than California
Despite its reputation as a leader of resistance, California saw more pro-Trump crowds than any other state during the president's term in office.
Two members of the National Guard have been pulled from duties related to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden following vetting for links to extremist movements, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Tuesday. Neither of the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, detailed any conclusions of the vetting and it was unclear what information led the Guard members to be pulled. One of the officials said possibly more than two Guard members could be removed following vetting.
- Associated Press
Already facing allegations of stealing more than $600,000 in federal funds from a health care school she directed, a Tennessee state senator has been charged in a new fraud case, the U.S. attorney’s office in Memphis said Tuesday. Democrat Katrina Robinson and two other people have been charged in a complaint with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, about six months after Robinson was indicted on federal charges that she used grant money earmarked for health care worker training to pay for her wedding and honeymoon, a Jeep Renegade for her daughter, her children’s snow cone business, and other things. In the case disclosed Tuesday, prosecutors said Brooke Boudreaux, an associate of Robinson, convinced someone to pay $14,470 in tuition to the school Robinson runs in Memphis on Boudreaux's behalf.
- The Independent
‘It’s unfortunate’: Ashley Biden confirms first lady snubbed her mother on traditional White House handover
"I think we’re all OK with it,' says incoming first daughter in first ever TV interview
- The Week
Constitutionally-speaking, Chief Justice John Roberts is meant to preside over President Trump's impeachment trial, but he apparently wants out, Politico reports.Multiple Republican and Democratic sources have reportedly told Politico that Roberts is seeking a way to avoid the job because of how things played out when he oversaw Trump's first impeachment trial last year. Roberts, Politico notes, has worked hard to keep the Supreme Court apolitical during his tenure, so he was reportedly displeased that he "became a top target of the left" during the proceedings. "He wants no further part of this," one source told Politico, although there's been no official word from Roberts' camp about what he'll ultimately do.Trump's trial is a bit of a constitutional oddity. On the one hand, it's a presidential impeachment, but on the other hand, the trial will take place after he leaves office, which is why there's a chance Roberts may have some wiggle room. Historically, either the vice president or the longest-serving member of the Senate have taken up the mantle for lower-level impeachments, per Politico. That means Vice President-elect Kamala Harris or Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) could be the choice. Read more at Politico.More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Lindsey Graham seemed very pleased with Biden's secretary of state nominee Trump issues last-minute order attempting to free his appointees from ethics commitments
"This is also a desire that's shared by other GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries," he said in an interview. Separately, the Qatari government was supporting discussions between Iran and South Korea to secure the release of an oil tanker seized by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards early this month, the foreign minister said. As far as any potential U.S.-Iran talks, he said that Qatar will facilitate the discussions if asked and will support whoever is chosen to do so.
- Associated Press
Snow lies knee-deep in the pastoral town of Gulmarg, or “meadow of flowers,” on Indian-controlled Kashmir's high plateau. With its blanket of white, the idyllic hill station is seeing tourists again fill its hotels and ski, sledge and trek its Himalayan landscape. The heavy influx of tourists is a dramatic change for the tourism industry in disputed Kashmir, which faced the double whammy of the coronavirus pandemic and harsh curbs on civil rights India imposed in the region in August 2019.