Talking points: Hacking a plane, misreading emotions, fainting genetics

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Local,Maryland,Talking Points,Kate Jacobson

What else can your Android smartphone do?

Hack into planes, apparently. A German researcher named Hugo Teso found he could hack into an airplane's navigation system with his Android smartphone. He presented his findings at Hack In The Box, a security conference held in Amsterdam. He said he could send radio signals to planes that would cause them to execute arbitrary commands such as changes in direction and speed. International air officials say Teso's claims are false and that it wouldn't work on actual planes.

Can men really read women's emotions?

Though men have battled the timeless clich? that they don't understand lady folk, scientists say there might be some truth to the idea that men are from Mars and women are from Venus -- at least when it comes to reading emotions. A study published earlier this month in the journal Plus One shows men have twice as much trouble deciphering women's emotions from images of their eyes compared with those of men. This causes men to have trouble deciphering what women are feeling and thinking by looking at their face. This isn't the first study to come out showing men might have perception problems when it comes to the opposite sex. One study also showed men interpret friendliness from women as a sexual come on. But all is not lost -- research also shows women prize men who try to understand them. So, gentlemen, perception isn't everything, just as long as there is some effort.

What medical condition might be genetic?

Fainting, researchers say, runs in families. Dr. Sam Berkovic from the University of Melbourne in Australia reported "vasovagal syncope" -- more commonly known as fainting -- is something that is passed on from generation to generation. On average, a third of the world's population suffers from frequent fainting spells. Berkovic hopes the research, which was published in the Journal Neurology, will help him and others understand how to stop people from fainting, though the condition is relatively harmless.

kjacobson@washingtonexaminer.com

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