Offbeat and Interesting

Omnidirectional free space wireless charging of multiple wireless devices

Scientists have made great strides in wireless-power transfer development. A new WPT system is capable of charging multiple mobile devices concurrently and with unprecedented freedom in any direction, even while holding the devices in midair or a half meter away from the power source, which is a transmitter.

Encryption made easier: Just talk like a parent

A researcher has created an easier email encryption method – one that sounds familiar to parents who try to outsmart their 8-year-old child. The new technique gets rid of the complicated, mathematically generated messages that are typical of encryption software. Instead, the method transforms specific emails into ones that are vague by leaving out key words.

Traders' hormones' may destabilize financial markets

The hormones testosterone and cortisol may destabilize financial markets by making traders take more risks, according to a study.

Turning the Internet of things into the Internet of 'cha-ching'

That Nest thermostat on your wall could be making you money. Not saving money, mind you. That's its day job: learning your habits so it can fine-tune your energy use and lower your power bills. But most of the time, it's just sitting there with nothing much to do. Add in some code written by a group of computer researchers, however, and that Nest -- along with all the other smart refrigerators, TVs, light bulbs, sensors and more that make up the Internet of Things -- could be helping traveling businesspeople crunch data, tourists Photoshop their vacation snaps, and more.

Emoticons may signal better customer service ;)

Online customer service agents who use emoticons and who are fast typists may have a better chance of putting smiles on their customers' faces during business-related text chats, according to researchers.

With one false tweet, computer-based hack crash led to real panic

A false tweet from a hacked account owned by the Associated Press demonstrates the need to better understand how social media data is linked to decision making in the private and public sector, according to new research.

Spare computing power: Secure, anonymous, easy way to pay for online content

Page views and “likes” are great for journalists' and webmasters’ egos, but they don't pay the bills. Researchers may have found a solution. They have identified a secure, anonymous way for readers, viewers and gamers to pay for online content without them having to make a cash payment. “Any online website could participate, whether they are a news site, a blog, a video streaming service, a gaming site, or social media,” remarked one of the researchers.

The language of invention: Most innovations are rephrasings of past inventions

Most new patents are combinations of existing ideas and pretty much always have been, even as the stream of fundamentally new core technologies has slowed, according to a new study.

Would you rather work for Megatron or Optimus Prime?

Researchers have rated the leadership skills of more than 120 characters featured in 'The Transformers' cartoon in 1984-85 and 'The Transformers: The Movie' in 1986. Their findings have implications for today's workplaces, since many leaders grew up watching those cartoons.

Ten more years of real money?

We will still be using "real" money for at least the next 5 to 10 years, but financial transactions carried out using mobile electronic devices, such as smart phones and tablet computers, will increasingly become the norm during that time period, according to research.