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Blue States Got Too Comfortable

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The left has long believed that Democratic states are the future, whereas Republican states are the past. But migration data show that red and blue might be starting to switch places.

First, here are three new stories from The Atlantic.

State of Disunion

"Democratic-leaning states represent the future and Republican ones the last gasps of a dying empire." That's been the theory long espoused by many on the left, my colleague Jerusalem Demsas wrote this week. But geographic trends suggest a possible reversal of this state of the union: Florida and Texas were last year's top states for inbound domestic migration, with New York and California in the rear. And some red states may be better hubs for employment right now too: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data suggest that there are now more nonfarming jobs in Florida than in New York.

Jerusalem took a close look at Florida and New York, which together are a paradigm of a broader national trend of migration from blue states to red states. She found that the cost of housing is likely the single greatest factor behind the shift. "The top 10 metro areas for unaffordability are a sort of who's who of Democratic cities: Los Angeles–Long Beach–Anaheim tops the list, with New York–Newark–Jersey City rolling into the sixth spot as the first non-California metro," she writes. The rise of remote work in the pandemic has also meant that one of New York's main superpowers—"its gravitational pull on workers," as Jerusalem puts it—has been weakened.

So what does this mean for blue states and their superstar cities? They're far from dying, of course: "New York City isn't some dystopian wasteland where no one can see their future," Jerusalem reminds us. But evidence of a growing exodus does mean cities that have long been sitting comfortably need to put in some work to retain their residents—by, for example, improving basic amenities such as public transit.

And there are some selling points that more affordable red states might never be able to offer. "A healthy city attracts wealthy, middle-, and working-class people; it pulls newcomers into its orbit while leaving room for natives," Jerusalem writes. "I don't have a lot of faith that the Republican regimes now attracting Americans will be invested in this type of inclusive growth." As Jerusalem notes, "We've seen these states become hostile to LGBTQ rights, educational freedom, voting rights, racial equality, and more." This is true in Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis's anti-critical-race-theory legislation is forcing professors to change how they teach.

In short, the lack of affordable housing in blue-state cities means that some Americans have to "choose between liberal values and financial security," Jerusalem argues. And that choice is made more stark by the fact that red and blue America can feel, to some, like two entirely different countries.

My colleague Ronald Brownstein has written about what he calls "the great divergence" between red and blue states. This widening divide is a defining characteristic of 21st-century America, he argues, with the GOP in particular hoping to impose its politics on the entire country. He wrote last year:

What's becoming clearer over time is that the Trump-era GOP is hoping to use its electoral dominance of the red states, the small-state bias in the Electoral College and the Senate, and the GOP-appointed majority on the Supreme Court to impose its economic and social model on the entire nation—with or without majority public support.

These new migration trends won't do much to end the ongoing duel between red and blue America. "Although some predict that liberals moving to red states could moderate our nation's politics, that seems unlikely given states' tendency to preempt local policy," Jerusalem told me. And that happens in both red states (on issues such as gun laws) and blue states (where state governments may hold localities accountable for housing failures), she explained.

For now, it looks like the divide between red and blue states will persist. But as long as cheaper housing and good jobs coexist in red states, blue-staters will keep on coming.


Today's News

  1. The Pentagon downed an unidentified high-flying aircraft over Alaska at the order of President Joe Biden, a White House spokesperson confirmed.
  2. Russia launched multiple drones and several dozen cruise missiles in a "massive attack" across Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian air force.
  3. The FBI reportedly found a classified document at the home of former Vice President Mike Pence, according to a Pence adviser; a Justice Department official confirmed that a search took place.


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More From The Atlantic

Culture Break

Tom Coughlin hugging a player after Super Bowl win
Tom Coughlin hugs Osi Umenyiora after the Giants' victory in Super Bowl XLII in 2008.

Read. "The Third Law of Magic," a new short story by Ben Okri.

Or A Giant Win, a football memoir that offers a human counterbalance to the heroics and chest-thumping of the Super Bowl.

Listen. This Is Why, the new album from the band Paramore.

Play our daily crossword.


Jerusalem does great work dispelling the many housing and homelessness myths that persist among Americans. To dive deeper, start with her piece on why housing breaks people's brains. "Anyone who's been in a dumb recurring fight knows that the entire problem could be cleared up if everyone could just agree on exactly what was said or done," she writes. "But you can't, so you end up stuck in a cycle of relitigation. Housing-policy discussions are like that."

— Isabel

Kelli María Korducki contributed to this newsletter.

New models shed light on life's origin
Is this article about Tech & Scientific Innovation?
Researchers from the University of Rochester and the University of Colorado Boulder used experiments and zircon chemistry to build more accurate computer models of fluids that act as pathways from inner Earth to Earth's surface. The models allow researchers to simulate what metals may have been transported to Earth's surface when life first emerged, about four billion years ago. The research has important implications not only for discovering the origins of life but also in the search for life on other planets.



Nature Communications, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36432-0

How the liver mitochondria seamlessly regulate lipogenesis and lipid oxidation is unknown. Here, the authors report two functionally distinct populations of mitochondria, cytoplasmic and lipid droplet-associated mitochondria, and demonstrate that the latter's lipid oxidation function is impaired in a rat NAFLD model.
The future of garbage in the U.S. ?

I am just curious what the posters in the U.S. think the future of trash pick up will be. I have already seen, though not often enforced, what can and can not be put in trash. I have also seen some cities and towns limit the number of trash bags they will pick up. I see it becoming more restricted in some states but was curious on other people's opinions.

submitted by /u/Live-Breath9799
[link] [comments]
Computer model IDs roles of individual genes in early embryonic development
Computer software can predict what happens to complex gene networks when individual genes are missing or dialed up more than usual. Mapping the roles of single genes in these networks is key to understanding healthy development and finding ways to regrow damaged cells and tissues. Understanding genetic errors could provide insight into birth defects, miscarriage or even cancer.
In a study of nearly 3,000 schoolchildren, silver diamine fluoride — a liquid that is brushed onto the surface of teeth to prevent cavities or keep them from worsening — was as effective against cavities as dental sealants, the standard of care. A single dose of either topical treatment given in elementary schools prevented roughly 80% of cavities and kept 50% of cavities from worsening when children were seen two years later.
New compound inhibits influenza virus replication
Viruses use the molecular repertoire of the host cell to replicate. Researchers want to exploit this for the treatment of 
. The team identified a compound that inhibits the body's own methyltransferase MTr1, thereby limiting the replication of influenza viruses. The compound proved effective in lung tissue preparations and mouse studies and showed synergistic effects with already approved influenza drugs.


CAR-T cell cancer immunotherapy gets personal
Scientists have demonstrated that personalizing CAR-T cell stimulation during manufacturing can significantly enhance the consistency and potency of the resulting CAR-T cell products. By using artificial antigen-presenting cell mimicking scaffolds (APC-ms), the team was able to fine-tune the levels of T cell stimulation to match the phenotype of T cells obtained from leukemia patients, and significantly enhanced their ex vivo and in vivo tumor-clearing abilities.
New models shed light on life's origin
The first signs of life emerged on Earth in the form of microbes about four billion years ago. While scientists are still determining exactly when and how these microbes appeared, it's clear that the emergence of life is intricately intertwined with the chemical and physical characteristics of early Earth.
Researchers use water treatment method to capture acids from agricultural waste
Bound for the landfill, agricultural waste contains carbon sources that can be used to produce high-value compounds, such as p-coumaric acid, which is used in manufacturing pharmaceuticals. Electrodeionization, a separation method that uses ion-exchange membranes, is one way to capture the acids and other useful components. However, to capture large quantities at scale, improvements to the method must be made.
Dramatic advances in quantum computing, smartphones that only need to be charged once a month, trains that levitate and move at superfast speeds. Technological leaps like these could revolutionize society, but they remain largely out of reach as long as superconductivity—the flow of electricity without resistance or energy waste—isn't fully understood.
US federal research watchdog gets new permanent director
Leo has found 2 Leadership Changes mentions in this article
Sheila Garrity

The U.S. Office of Research Integrity, the agency that oversees research misconduct investigations for work funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has a new permanent director after a year and a half without one. 

Sheila Garrity, currently associate vice president for research integrity and research integrity officer at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., will start as ORI's next permanent director the week of March 26, according to an internal memo from Rachel Levine, the Biden Administration's Assistant Secretary for Health. 

Garrity previously was director of the division of research integrity at Johns Hopkins University, where she worked for more than 20 years. She also was a founding member and the first president of the Association for Research Integrity Officers (ARIO). 

Levine's memo described Garrity as "a leader in the fields of research integrity and the responsible conduct of research education," and asked staff to "join me in welcoming Sheila to the OASH family and in thanking Wanda Jones for the incredible job she has done in running ORI while we conducted our candidate search."

The ORI has often been without a permanent director in its 30-plus year history, and Jones, deputy director and associate director of research and scientific integrity for the agency, has served multiple stints as its acting director in recent years. 

ORI's last permanent director, Elisabeth (Lis) Handley, filled the role from 2019 until June 2021, when she became principal deputy assistant secretary for health. 

Before Handley's tenure, ORI had been without a permanent director since 2017, when Kathy Partin left the role she had filled since 2015. Partin now serves as the NIH's intramural research integrity officer. 

"It's heartening to see ORI move in the direction of a permanent director," said C.K. Gunsalus, director of the National Center for Principled Leadership & Research Ethics (NCPRE) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a longtime member of the research integrity community. (Retraction Watch's parent nonprofit, The Center for Scientific Integrity, has partnered with NCPRE, and our cofounders have co-authored an editorial in JAMA with Gunsalus.) She told us: 

It's been so long since there was one that the agency seems to have lost its momentum and lost its way. I wish her all the best and hope with all her connections and experience she can revitalize an office that has an important role to play. The office needs revitalization in terms of refocusing its mission and restaffing and rebuilding its relationships of trust in the community. 

Last year, ORI asked for input on potential revisions to its regulations. Two major organizations, one of them the ARIO which Garrity helped to found, submitted a letter that recommended, among other things, that ORI refine "the scope of inquiries/investigations and the circumstances under which an inquiry or investigation may be closed," which the organizations said had become "overly broad."

Like Retraction Watch? You can make a tax-deductible contribution to support our work, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or — and this is the option we strongly suggest – subscribe to our daily digest. If you find a retraction that's not in our database, you can let us know here. For comments or feedback, email us at


Developers Create Police Sketches Using AI. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Is this article about Tech?
Two developers have created a program that leverages the AI DALLE-2 to churn out composite sketches, and they plan to pitch it to police departments.

Suspect Portraits

There are a lot of potentially — shall we say — problematic uses for AI, but using one to generate police sketches? Now that's just asking for trouble.

As Vice reports, independent developers have created a program called "Forensic Sketch AI-rtist" that uses OpenAI's DALL-E 2 text to image AI to create "hyper-realistic" composite sketches of suspects.

According to the developers, they haven't released the program yet, but are "planning on reaching out to police departments in order to have input data" to test on, they told Vice in a joint email.

On the client side of things, the program works by presenting users with a fill-in template that asks for gender, age, skin color, hair, eyebrows, eyes, nose, beard, and even a description of a suspect's jaw. Once filled in, all a user has to do is choose how many images they want and hit "generate profile."

From there, the system generates sketches using OpenAI's DALL-E. Voilà, justice!

Biases Upon Biases

But according to experts, this approach is inherently flawed and at odds with how humans actually remember faces.

"Research has shown that humans remember faces holistically, not feature-by-feature," Jennifer Lynch of the Electronic Frontier Foundation told Vice.

"A sketch process that relies on individual feature descriptions like this AI program can result in a face that's strikingly different from the perpetrator's," she added, noting that once a witness sees a generated composite, it may "replace" what they actually remembered, especially if it's a uncannily lifelike one like an AI's.

And that doesn't even touch on the AI program's potential to exacerbate biases — especially racial — that can already be bad enough in human-made sketches. Worryingly, OpenAI's DALL-E 2 has been well documented to produce stereotypical and outright racist and misogynistic results.

"Typically, it is marginalized groups that are already even more marginalized by these technologies because of the existing biases in the datasets, because of the lack of oversight, because there are a lot of representations of people of color on the internet that are already very racist, and very unfair," explained Sasha Luccioni, a researcher at Hugging Face, a company and online community that platforms open source AI projects. "It's like a kind of compounding factor."

The ultimate effect is a continuing chain of biases: that of the witness, of the cops questioning them, and now, of a flawed, centralized AI capable of propagating its inherent biases to potential customers all across the country. In turn, whatever it generates, regardless of accuracy, will only reinforce the prejudices of the people and systems involved in the process — and of the public with whom these images will be shared.

More on generative AI: Cops Upload Image of Suspect Generated From DNA, Then Delete After Mass Criticism

The post Developers Create Police Sketches Using AI. What Could Possibly Go Wrong? appeared first on Futurism.

How protein-rich droplets form
Using a new method 'Terahertz (THz) calorimetry', a research team shed new light on the spontaneous phase separation into a protein-rich and a protein-poor phase in a solution. It is assumed that the protein-rich droplets promote the formation of neurotoxic protein aggregates — a hot spot for neurodegenerative diseases.
Is this article about Neuroscience?


Models are the hallmark of mature scientific inquiry. In psychology, this maturity has been reached in a pervasive question—what models best represent facial expressions of emotion? Several hypotheses propose different combinations of facial movements [action units (AUs)] as best representing the six basic emotions and four conversational signals across cultures. We developed a new framework to formalize such hypotheses as predictive models, compare their ability to predict human emotion categorizations in Western and East Asian cultures, explain the causal role of individual AUs, and explore updated, culture-accented models that improve performance by reducing a prevalent Western bias. Our predictive models also provide a noise ceiling to inform the explanatory power and limitations of different factors (e.g., AUs and individual differences). Thus, our framework provides a new approach to test models of social signals, explain their predictive power, and explore their optimization, with direct implications for theory development.


The spins of atoms and atom-like systems are among the most coherent objects in which to store quantum information. However, the need to address them using oscillating magnetic fields hinders their integration with quantum electronic devices. Here, we circumvent this hurdle by operating a single-atom "flip-flop" qubit in silicon, where quantum information is encoded in the electron-nuclear states of a phosphorus donor. The qubit is controlled using local electric fields at microwave frequencies, produced within a metal-oxide-semiconductor device. The electrical drive is mediated by the modulation of the electron-nuclear hyperfine coupling, a method that can be extended to many other atomic and molecular systems and to the hyperpolarization of nuclear spin ensembles. These results pave the way to the construction of solid-state quantum processors where dense arrays of atoms can be controlled using only local electric fields.
Is this article about Cell?


Subduction is the main process that recycles surface material into the mantle. Fluids and melts derived by dehydration and partial melting reactions of subducted continental crust, a major reservoir of volatiles (i.e., H O and CO ) and incompatible elements, can substantially metasomatize and refertilize the mantle. Here, we investigate glassy inclusions of silicate melt of continental origin found in Variscan ultrahigh-pressure eclogites to assess the continental crust contribution to mantle metasomatism and the journey of volatiles, carbon in particular, to the deep roots of mountain belts. We argue that the melt preserved in these inclusions is the agent responsible for mantle metasomatism and subsequent ultrapotassic magmatism in the Variscides. We propose that continental subduction can redistribute a substantial volume of carbon in the continental lithosphere, which is subsequently transferred to the continental crust during postcollisional magmatism and stored for a time length longer than that of the modern carbon cycle.
Is this article about Animals?


Deep-sea hydrothermal vents are a possible source of thermogenic dissolved black carbon (DBC), which is a component of recalcitrant dissolved organic carbon, but little is known about the distribution of hydrothermal DBC in the deep ocean. Here, we show basin-scale distributions of DBC along two transects in the eastern Pacific Ocean, which are located outside the jet-like hydrothermal plumes from the East Pacific Rise. The DBC concentration in the deep waters did not show a strong linear relationship with apparent oxygen utilization (AOU), as previously observed in the central and western Pacific Ocean. Deviations in DBC concentration from the DBC-AOU relationship observed in the central and western Pacific Ocean were quantified. The deviation was linearly correlated with excess He, a tracer for hydrothermal input, indicating that a fraction of the DBC in the deep ocean is transported long distances from hydrothermal systems.


MicroRNA (miRNA) homeostasis is crucial for the posttranscriptional regulation of their target genes during development and in disease states. miRNAs are derived from primary transcripts and are processed from a hairpin precursor intermediary to a mature 22-nucleotide duplex RNA. Loading of the duplex into the Argonaute (AGO) protein family is pivotal to miRNA abundance and its posttranscriptional function. The Integrator complex plays a key role in protein coding and noncoding RNA maturation, RNA polymerase II pause-release, and premature transcriptional termination. Here, we report that loss of Integrator results in global destabilization of mature miRNAs. Enhanced ultraviolet cross-linking and immunoprecipitation of Integrator uncovered an association with duplex miRNAs before their loading onto AGOs. Tracing miRNA fate from biogenesis to stabilization by incorporating 4-thiouridine in nascent transcripts pinpointed a critical role for Integrator in miRNA assembly into AGOs.


Turing patterns are self-organizing stripes or spots widely found in biological systems and nature. Although inspiring, their applications are limited. Inflatable shape-morphing structures have attracted substantial research attention. Traditional inflatable structures use isotropic materials with geometrical features to achieve shape morphing. Recently, gradient-based optimization methods have been used to design these structures. These methods assume anisotropic materials whose orientation can vary freely. However, this assumption makes fabrication a considerable challenge by methods such as additive manufacturing, which print isotropic materials. Here, we present a methodology of using Turing patterns to bridge this gap. Specifically, we use Turing patterns to convert a design with distributed anisotropic materials to a distribution with two materials, which can be fabricated by grayscale digital light processing 3D printing. This work suggests that it is possible to apply patterns in biological systems and nature to engineering composites and offers new concepts for future material design.


Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) chondrogenesis in three-dimensional (3D) culture involves dynamic changes in cytoskeleton architecture during mesenchymal condensation before morphogenesis. However, the mechanism linking dynamic mechanical properties of matrix to cytoskeletal changes during chondrogenesis remains unclear. Here, we investigated how viscoelasticity, a time-dependent mechanical property of collagen hydrogel, coordinates MSC cytoskeleton changes at different stages of chondrogenesis. The viscoelasticity of collagen hydrogel was modulated by controlling the gelling process without chemical cross-linking. In slower-relaxing hydrogels, although a disordered cortical actin promoted early chondrogenic differentiation, persistent myosin hyperactivation resulted in Rho-associated kinase (ROCK)–dependent apoptosis. Meanwhile, faster-relaxing hydrogels promoted cell-matrix interactions and eventually facilitated long-term chondrogenesis with mitigated myosin hyperactivation and cell apoptosis, similar to the effect of ROCK inhibitors. The current work not only reveals how matrix viscoelasticity coordinates MSC chondrogenesis and survival in a ROCK-dependent manner but also highlights viscoelasticity as a design parameter for biomaterials for chondrogenic 3D culture.


Crystalline materials are often considered to have rigid periodic lattices, while soft materials are associated with flexibility and nonperiodicity. The continuous evolution of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) has erased the boundaries between these two distinct conceptions. Flexibility, disorder, and defects have been found to be abundant in MOF materials with imperfect crystallinity, and their intricate interplay is poorly understood because of the limited strategies for characterizing disordered structures. Here, we apply advanced nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to elucidate the mesoscale structures in a defective MOF with a semicrystalline lattice. We show that engineered defects can tune the degree of lattice flexibility by combining both ordered and disordered compartments. The one-dimensional alignment of correlated defects is the key for the reversible topological transition. The unique matrix is featured with both rigid framework of nanoporosity and flexible linkage of high swellability.


Dysregulated endocrine hormones (EHs) contribute to tumorigenesis, but how EHs affect the 
 immune microenvironment (TIM) and the immunotherapy of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is still unclear. Here, endogenous ouabain (EO), an adrenergic hormone, is elevated in patients with NSCLC and closely related to tumor pathological stage, metastasis, and survival. EO promotes the suppression of TIM in vivo by modulating the expression of immune checkpoint proteins, in which programmed cell death protein ligand 1 (PD-L1) plays a major role. EO increases PD-L1 transcription; however, the EO receptor Na- and K-dependent adenosine triphosphatase (Na, K-ATPase) α1 interacts with PD-L1 to trigger the endocytic degradation of PD-L1. This seemingly contradictory result led us to discover the mechanism whereby EO cooperates with Na, K-ATPase α1 to finely control PD-L1 expression and dampen tumoral immunity. In conclusion, the Na, K-ATPase α1/EO signaling facilitates immune escape in lung cancer, and manipulation of this signaling shows great promise in improving immunotherapy for lung adenocarcinoma.


Paramyxoviruses—including important pathogens like parainfluenza, measles, and Nipah viruses—use a receptor binding protein [hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) for parainfluenza] and a fusion protein (F), acting in a complex, to enter cells. We use cryo–electron tomography to visualize the fusion complex of human parainfluenza virus 3 (HN/F) on the surface of authentic clinical viruses at a subnanometer resolution sufficient to answer mechanistic questions. An HN loop inserts in a pocket on F, showing how the fusion complex remains in a ready but quiescent state until activation. The globular HN heads are rotated with respect to each other: one downward to contact F, and the other upward to grapple cellular receptors, demonstrating how HN/F performs distinct steps before F activation. This depiction of viral fusion illuminates potentially druggable targets for paramyxoviruses and sheds light on fusion processes that underpin wide-ranging biological processes but have not been visualized in situ or at the present resolution.


The CRISPR-Cas system can treat autosomal dominant diseases by nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) gene disruption of mutant alleles. However, many single-nucleotide mutations cannot be discriminated from wild-type alleles by current CRISPR-Cas systems. Here, we functionally screened six Cas12j nucleases and determined Cas12j-8 as an ideal genome editor with a hypercompact size. Cas12j-8 displayed comparable activity to AsCas12a and Un1Cas12f1. Cas12j-8 is a highly specific nuclease sensitive to single-nucleotide mismatches in the protospacer adjacent motif (PAM)–proximal region. We experimentally proved that Cas12j-8 enabled allele-specific disruption of genes with a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). Cas12j-8 recognizes a simple TTN PAM that provides for high target site density. In silico analysis reveals that Cas12j-8 enables allele-specific disruption of 25,931 clinically relevant variants in the ClinVar database, and 485,130,147 SNPs in the dbSNP database. Therefore, Cas12j-8 would be particularly suitable for therapeutic applications.


Mechanical activation of fibroblasts, caused by friction and transforming growth factor–β1 recognition, is one of the main causes of tissue adhesions. In this study, we developed a lubricated gene-hydrogel patch, which provides both a motion lubrication microenvironment and gene therapy. The patch's outer layer is composed of polyethylene glycol polyester hydrogel. The hydrogel forms hydrogen bonds with water molecules to create the motion lubrication layer, and it also serves as a gene delivery library for long-term gene silencing. Under the motion lubricated microenvironment, extracellular signal–regulated kinase–small interfering RNA can silence fibroblasts and enhance the blocking effect against fibroblast activation. In vitro, the proposed patch effectively inhibits fibroblast activation and reduces the coefficient of friction. In vivo, this patch reduces the expression of vimentin and α–smooth muscle actin in fibroblasts. Therefore, the lubricated gene-hydrogel patch can inhibit the mechanical activation of fibroblasts to promote tendon healing.
Can clay capture carbon dioxide?
Scientists have been using powerful computer models combined with laboratory experiments to study how a kind of clay can soak up carbon dioxide and store it.
Key neurons in mice 'learn' to sniff out threats
A cat looks down into a mouse hole in a wall.

Researchers are finding new clues to how the olfactory sensory system aids in threat assessment and have found neurons that "learn" if a smell is a threat.

Whether conscious of it or not, when entering a new space, we use our sense of smell to assess whether it is safe or a threat. In fact, for much of the animal kingdom, this ability is necessary for survival and reproduction.

"We are trying to understand how animals interact with smell and how that influences their behavior in threatening social and non-social contexts," says senior author Julian Meeks, principal investigator of the Chemosensation and Social Learning Laboratory at the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Rochester.

"Our recent research gives us valuable tools to use in our future work and connects specific sets of neurons in our olfactory system to the memory of threatening smells."

Sniffing out threats

Smell may guide how the brain responds to a social threat. In mice, the researchers identified a specific set of neurons in the accessory olfactory system that can learn the scent of another mouse that is a potential threat. The research appears in the Journal of Neuroscience.

"We knew that territorial aggression increases in a resident male mouse when it is repeatedly introduced to the same male," says Kelsey Zuk, first author of the research.

"Previous research has shown this behavior is guided by social smells—our research takes what we know one step further. It identifies where in the olfactory system this is happening. We now know plasticity is happening between the neurons, and the aggression between the male mice may be driven by the memory formed by smell."

The researchers found that "inhibitory" neurons (nerve cells that act by silencing their synaptic partners) in an area of the brain responsible for interpreting social smells become highly active and change their function when males repeatedly meet and increase their territorial aggression.

By disrupting the neurons associated with neuroplasticity—learning—in the accessory olfactory bulb, the researchers revealed that territorial aggression decreased, linking changes to cellular function in the pheromone-sensing circuity of the brain to changes in behavioral responses to social threats.

"It abolished the ramping aggression that is typically exhibited," says Zuk. "It indicates that this early sensory inhibitory neuron population plays a critical role in regulating the behavioral response to social smells."

Unknown smells

Threat assessment also comes when an animal navigates unknown smells. For example, the smell of a predator it has never encountered. In a second paper in eNeuro, researchers found that a novel predator smell, i.e. the smell of a snake to a mouse, caused the animal to engage in a threat assessment behavior—neither acting "fearful" nor "safe."

"This offers clues into how chemical odors given off by predators stimulate threat assessment in the brain," says Jinxin Wang, first author of a paper. "Identifying changes in patterns of animal behavior helps us better understand how threatening smells are processed in the brain."

The researchers used video tracking to observe the movement and posture of mice exploring familiar environments with different odors—like other mice and snakes. Wang and colleagues developed a hybrid machine learning approach that helped them to uncover that mice respond to novel predator odors in ways that were unique and distinguishable from how mice reacted to non-predator odors. These behaviors were neither fearful nor safe but rather a state of assessment.

"These findings offer new clues into how smells impact social behavior and what it may mean for survival, but this study also offers new tools that will propel this science forward," says Meeks.

"We combined methods that had known limitations to improve the accuracy, information depth, and human-interpretability of the collected data. We think this approach will be valuable for future research into how the blends of chemical odorants given off by predators stimulate threat assessment in the brain."

Additional coauthors of the Journal of Neuroscience research are from the University of Rochester and the University of Florida. Support for the research came from the National Institutes of Health.

Additional coauthors of the eNeuro research are from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Support for the research came from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

Source: University of Rochester

The post Key neurons in mice 'learn' to sniff out threats appeared first on Futurity.

Giving affection comes with heart health benefits
Is this article about Sleep?
A woman kisses her girlfriend on the cheek while they take a selfie.

Smooches and snuggles may make us feel warm and fuzzy, but they can also be good medicine, says Kory Floyd.

Floyd, a professor of communication and psychology at the University of Arizona, has spent his career studying how affectionate communication—through words, actions, and behaviors—affects health and well-being.

It probably comes as no surprise that higher levels of affection have been linked to greater relationship satisfaction. But affectionate communication also seems to benefit physical wellness.

In a research analysis published in the journal Communication Monographs, Floyd and his colleagues analyzed several studies about affection and found that affectionate communication is consistently associated with more positive health outcomes, especially when it comes to cardiovascular health.

He also found that showing affection seems to have an even greater benefit than receiving it.

Here, Floyd explains his research:

The post Giving affection comes with heart health benefits appeared first on Futurity.

SpaceX President Warns That Starship's Orbital Launch May Explode
SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell reiterated that the company's inaugural orbital launch attempt of its Starship spacecraft could end in an explosion.

Avoiding an Explosion

SpaceX is gearing up for the long-awaited first orbital launch of its gigantic Starship super heavy launch system.

A lot will be on the line. In fact, SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell says that a lot can still go wrong.

"Keep in mind, this first one is really a test flight… and the real goal is to not blow up the launch pad, that is success," she said at a Wednesday press conference, as quoted by CNBC.

Indeed, explosions are always a possible outcome, especially considering the company's many obliterated Starship prototypes over the last several years.

Wet Dress Rehearsal

Shotwell also said that "tomorrow is a big day for SpaceX," referring to the company's imminent attempt to test fire the engines of its Super Heavy booster, a massive rocket meant to carry Starship into orbit.

Rather than going all in on its inaugural launch attempt, Shotwell said that the company is focusing on ways to streamline rocket production.

"There's a lot of little things to get done, especially because we weren't really focusing on the orbital ship," she said, "we were focusing on the production systems that will build the ship."

"We know how to get to orbit," she added confidently.

The company has already made major strides toward its first shot at launching Starship into space. Last month, SpaceX successfully completed its first "wet dress rehearsal," involving a fully fueled-up Starship and Super Heavy prototype stack.

But there's still one big hurdle to overcome: regulatory approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

SpaceX has yet to be certified for launch, something that could delay the orbital launch attempt.

"I think we'll be ready to fly right at the timeframe that we get the license," Shotwell said at the press conference.

READ MORE: SpaceX prepares for a massive test this week: Firing all 33 Starship engines at once

The post SpaceX President Warns That Starship's Orbital Launch May Explode appeared first on Futurism.

Packaged DNA: New method to promote bone growth
DNA can help to stimulate bone healing in a localized and targeted manner, for example after a complicated fracture or after severe tissue loss following surgery. Scientists have developed a new process in which they coat implant materials with a gene-activated biomaterial that induces stem cells to produce bone tissue.
Is this article about Carbon Removal?
Excessive use of fossil fuels leads to undesired carbon dioxide (CO2) generation, accelerating climate change. One way to tackle this is by converting CO2 into value-added chemicals. On this front, researchers have recently utilized a novel redox couple, for the purpose.
Packaged DNA: New method to promote bone growth
Is this article about Cell?
DNA can help to stimulate bone healing in a localized and targeted manner, for example after a complicated fracture or after severe tissue loss following surgery. Scientists have developed a new process in which they coat implant materials with a gene-activated biomaterial that induces stem cells to produce bone tissue.
Is this article about Carbon Removal?
Excessive use of fossil fuels leads to undesired carbon dioxide (CO2) generation, accelerating climate change. One way to tackle this is by converting CO2 into value-added chemicals. On this front, researchers have recently utilized a novel redox couple, for the purpose.
The 40 Best Movies on Netflix This Week
Is this article about ESG?
Stuck for a good film on 
? Here are our picks for the best Netflix movies to feast your eyes on, updated weekly.
Goldman Sachs Annoyed by CEO's Part Time Gig as a DJ
Is this article about Executive Mentions?
Goldman Sachs' board members are, apparently, mighty fed up with CEO David Solomon's increasingly problematic disc-jockeying hobby.

Spin It

Goldman Sachs

' board members are apparently mighty fed up with CEO David Solomon's increasingly problematic hobby as a moderately successful DJ.

Reports out of both the New York Times and Insider reveal that Goldman's part-time DJing gig isn't going over well with some at his company, with the latter reporting that there's been some discussion about the firm's board of directors taking measures to curb or even replace the beat-dropping executive.

In spite of Solomon's repeated proclamation that his part-time DJing gig doesn't overlap with or harm his job as CEO of one of the world's most important investment banks, insiders who spoke to the NYT on condition of anonymity say he's utilized company employees to help him manage his DJ schedule and money from his side hustle, which he says he donates to charity.

What's more, there's speculation that Solomon has used his position as the leader of the prestigious financial institution to land the kind of connections even veteran DJs can only dream of, such as his recent score of the rights to remix Whitney Houston's hit "I Wanna Dance With Somebody."

Music Moves

As the NYT notes, Goldman has for years now gotten a lot of business from the music industry. In 2018, the year that Solomon took over, the firm signed the Primary Wave music publishing and talent agency — the same company run by Larry Mestel, who helped the CEO secure the rights to the Houston hit.

Primary Wave did, as the NYT report acknowledges, already have a relationship with Goldman prior to officially becoming a client under Solomon, but the timing of their partnership — and the accolades and deals that followed, which included Mestel being added to a list of the firm's "100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs" that is apparently a pet project of the CEO's — is nevertheless fishy.

As Insider notes, the concerns about potential conflicts of interest between Solomon's dueling jobs led the board to discuss multiple potential replacements for him as CEO after the company lost a whopping $6 billion from its failed foray into consumer fintech, which subsequently resulted in 3,200 people being laid off.

For now, the company is standing by its man, but with these kinds of rumors being published, it's only a matter of time before he has to face the music.

More on finance: Elon Musk Sets Guinness World Record for Losing the Most Money

The post Goldman Sachs Annoyed by CEO's Part Time Gig as a DJ appeared first on Futurism.

Huge Plume of Birds Explodes Out of SpaceX's Powerful Starship Engine Test
It seems like the birds may be coming home to roost with SpaceX's Starship after a bunch were seen flying (and dying) near its test site.


It seems like SpaceX's huge Starship test may have literally been for the birds.

During the momentous live fire that saw 31 of Starship's 33 engines blast at once in what may well be the most powerful rocket ignition ever, a less-than-ideal outcome was seen on video stills: a plume of birds fanning (and falling) out near the Super Heavy booster's fiery trenches.

What's more: as some, er, birdwatchers note, at least some of those poor little guys didn't seem to make it.



As multiple Tweeters have noted, SpaceX's "Starbase" campus in Boca Chica, Texas is located next to a wildlife refuge that's home to a number of endangered species of birds, and in its march towards Mars, the Elon Musk-owned company may be, as conservationists argue, doing harm to wildlife in the process.

Not only is the site located on public lands — it's also been the subject of Federal Aviation Administration scrutiny after the agency last summer told SpaceX in an environmental impact assessment that it had to make significant tweaks to its Starbase expansion plans to comply with legal regulations.

Regulations, Schmegulations

Officially, SpaceX is still waiting for FAA approval before Starship can launch in full, and as of now, it's unclear whether this otherwise-successful Super Heavy booster test's unfortunate side effect will result in further postponement of that approval.

In a statement provided to Futurism, an FAA representative said that the Boca Chica Starbase is "a SpaceX exclusive use site and is not licensed" by the agency.

"The engine test that occurred yesterday was not a FAA-licensed activity," the spokesperson continued.

Futurism also reached out to SpaceX for comment. Given that Musk is neither the type to ask for forgiveness nor permission, there's little chance that such a trifle as disrupting local wildlife will stall SpaceX any further than is legally required — and in the long run, that attitude could prove harmful to humanity and the planet that he so wants to leave behind.

More on SpaceX: Elon Musk Says SpaceX May Build Starship That Dies on Purpose

The post Huge Plume of Birds Explodes Out of SpaceX's Powerful Starship Engine Test appeared first on Futurism.

Magnesium is a promising candidate as an energy carrier for next-generation batteries. However, the cycling performance and capacity of magnesium batteries need to improve if they are to replace lithium-ion batteries. To this end, a research team focused on a novel cathode material with a spinel structure. Following extensive characterization and electrochemical performance experiments, they have found a specific composition that could open doors to high-performance magnesium rechargeable batteries.
Tracking ocean microplastics from space
New information about an emerging technique that could track microplastics from space has been uncovered. It turns out that satellites are best at spotting soapy or oily residue, and microplastics appear to tag along with that residue.
Artificial sweetener as wastewater tracer
Acesulfame is a sweetener in sugar-free drinks and foods. As it cannot be metabolized in the human body, the sweetener ends up in wastewater after consumption and remains largely intact even in sewage treatment plants. A new study shows that the persistence of the sweetener varies with temperature as the concentration of the sweetener in wastewater varies with the seasons. The environmental geosciences team analyzed how groundwater flows can be traced based on these seasonal fluctuations. Since residues of the sweetener end up in drinking water, acesulfame serves as an indicator of the origin and composition of our drinking water.
Scientists make major breakthrough in developing practical quantum computers that can solve big challenges of our time
Researchers have demonstrated that quantum bits (qubits) can directly transfer between quantum computer microchips and demonstrated this with record-breaking connection speed and accuracy. This breakthrough resolves a major challenge in building quantum computers large and powerful enough to tackle complex problems that are of critical importance to society.
Record low sea ice cover in the Antarctic
There is currently less sea ice in the Antarctic than at any time in the forty years since the beginning of satellite observation: in early February 2023, only 2.20 million square kilometers of the Southern Ocean were covered with sea ice. Researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute and the University of Bremen analyze the situation for the Sea Ice Portal.
Is this article about Tech & Scientific Innovation?
Nascent polypeptide chains or polypeptidyl-tRNAs (pep-tRNAs) occur transiently during protein synthesis. The potential to study these intermediates and better understand their role in processes like gene regulation has been greatly enhanced by the development of a process termed PETEOS — short for peptidyl-tRNA enrichment using organic extraction and silica adsorption. This method allows for the large-scale harvesting, processing, and identification of pep-tRNA polypeptide moieties.
Open source AI

Just curious, all the news about Microsoft and Google lately has made me wonder if we're approaching a moment where AI can be integrated into open source technology, and therefore expand the reach of open source usability for the every-person. There's obviously already a thriving open source community for almost everything someone could think of, but often the open source version of things are just a little behind what proprietary versions that are helmed by a company can do. Could AI integration get us to a moment where open source technology is on par or even superior to proprietary versions of software?

I know it's a somewhat vague question, but just curious to hear what people may think.

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What will be the future of video and film be in society?

I wonder if video will have the same significance in the future as it does today. Being a historically new medium for communication and art, I wonder if it can have the same stay as the written word for example. Also as our attention spans continually decrease and we are over saturated with photo realistic CGI, will the novelty be able to be sustained?

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This is probably the single thing that I'm looking forward to the most. I have a sweet tooth and I hope to make it to the point where I can eat as much sweets as I want without having health consequences.

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Mapping the LGM refugia of deciduous oak and its distribution
Is this article about Animals?
Forests have important roles in the global water and biogeochemical cycles. Climate change has led to worldwide changes in forest distributions, especially in the mid-latitude regions. As one of the most important forest genera, oak (Quercus), belonging to the Fagaceae, is widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere.
Covid-19 vaccines added to routine immunisation schedule in US
Leo has found 1 Regulatory Changes mention in this article
  • Moderna's bivalent booster is approved for use in children 6 months and older while Pfizer-BioNTech's is available for those 5 years and older.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its recommendations for routine immunisations in children and adults to include 
Rock ant meandering is actually methodical
Ants corralled inside a circular enclosure on a white surface.

Some ants move much more methodically than previously thought, a new study shows.

When strolling through an unfamiliar grocery store, you may find yourself methodically walking down each aisle to ensure you find everything you need without crossing the same path twice. At times, you'll stray from this orderly process, such as when you see a vibrant "sale" sign from across the store or realize that you forgot something.

According to the study in the journal iScience, some ants go about their search for food and shelter in a similar manner.

The researchers found that when a colony of rock ants is placed in an unfamiliar environment in a lab, the ants wander in a way that's not as random as previously thought. The ants follow a systematic meandering pattern combined with some random movement—a method with the potential to optimize exploration in their natural environment.

"Previously, researchers in the field assumed that ants move in a pure random walk when searching for targets of which they don't know their location," says Stefan Popp, lead author of the paper and a graduate student in the ecology and evolutionary biology department at the University of Arizona. "We found that rock ants show a striking, regular meandering pattern when exploring the area around their nests."

In Arizona, these ants can be found nesting between or under rocks in areas above elevations of 7,000 feet. These slow-moving critters are only about half the length of a medium grain of rice.

The study finds that the ants' meandering, or zigzag, walking pattern may make their search more efficient than a purely random search. This is because the ants can explore a large area in less time, as they cross their own paths less frequently.

"These ants don't form obvious foraging trails like many ants we are familiar with," Popp says. "Instead, the colony depends on individual foragers finding resources, making their search strategy a crucial part of colony success."

According to the researchers, the evolutionary advantage of meandering found in these rock ants could have possibly evolved in other species of insects and animals as well. The researchers also say that the ants' movement could someday be used to inform the design of autonomous swarms of robots that perform search and rescue missions in disaster areas or explore landscapes on other worlds.

Because it is difficult to track ants in their natural environment, Popp and his team collected rock ant colonies from atop and around Mount Lemmon, just north of Tucson. The team then moved the ants to the lab, placing them in an enclosed arena with a paper floor. The enclosure measured 2 by 3 meters—giant compared to the tiny scurrying ants. After being introduced to a new home, the ants were eager to explore.

"These ants may have been patrolling the area for other competitor ants," Popp says, explaining that there is a selective pressure to keep other ants from intruding on their nest. "They may have also been searching for food and new nest sites."

The researchers soon noticed the meandering pattern of the ants as they walked around. It raised an immediate question: Were these patterns just random squiggles, or were the ants moving in a methodical, non-random way?

To address this question, the researchers set up cameras and used automatic-tracking software, coupled with manual corrections, to track the individual paths of each marching insect over the course of five hours. The ants' journeys were then compared to simulated ants walking in a random fashion.

"We looked at whether the direction in which an ant was moving in some way depended on the direction that it was moving before," says coauthor Anna Dornhaus, a professor in in the ecology and evolutionary biology department. "These methods helped us realize that the ants' search behavior was not completely random, as biologists had previously thought."

The researchers used statistics to determine that the direction an ant turned was directly correlated to the turns it had taken previously.

"Our research showed that the ants smoothly alternate left and right turns on a relatively regular length scale of roughly three body lengths," Popp says, "For some ants, the meandering-like search pattern was even more extreme than others, kind of like a meandering river in the Amazon basin. I am fascinated by this and wonder how the ants ensure that they don't cross their own path again and again, while still doing extreme turns and loops."

Popp and Dornhaus note that they don't know how this search behavior changes across an ant's lifetime, or even if individual ants are aware of it.

Regardless, the combination of meandering and randomness may be optimal for searching for resources in an unknown environment. The systematic approach can keep an ant close to its nest without crossing back and forth on previously explored ground. The added randomness accounts for obstacles that come with an unpredictable, natural environment.

"Until now, the widespread assumption was that free-searching animals are incapable of searching for new resources methodically," Popp says. "Most of the previous research on search behavior only focused on situations where the animal is already familiar with where it's going, such as going back to the nest entrance or going back to a memorable food source."

"Based on these results, many animals may be using complex combinations of random and systematic search that optimize efficiency and robustness in real and complex habitats," Dornhaus says. "This discovery opens up a whole new way of looking at all animal movement."

The researchers believe their discovery has the potential to unify different fields of science, including biology and robotics. The wanderings of these ants may have applications for real environments where a completely systematic search would fail when faced with an obstacle.

"This discovery could possibly lead to applications for roboticists as they program robots to be able to find their way around or search for something," Dornhaus says. "In this way, they can make their algorithms more robust, so they don't immediately fail as soon as the robot loses track of its exact location."

Source: Kylianne Chadwick for University of Arizona

The post Rock ant meandering is actually methodical appeared first on Futurity.

Watch out for 'romance fraud' on dating apps
A smartphone with hearts on the screen on top of the same kind of hearts on a white background.

Researchers are identifying how scammers target victims on dating apps.

As Valentine's Day approaches, the use of dating apps by people looking to make new connections ramps up. Unfortunately, as people are looking for love, scammers are looking for ways to steal their money.

The new research in the American Journal of Criminal Justice exposes the tactics used by scammers to gain users' trust and make them vulnerable to cybercrime.

The phenomenon known as "romance fraud" is both often underreported and understudied, says Volkan Topalli, a professor of criminal justice and criminology and an associate with Georgia State University's Evidence-Based Cybersecurity Research Group.

"We have this explosion of crime taking place online. In the physical world, maybe you can scam one or two people at a time. But thanks to social media and technology, a scammer can send an email or chat message to hundreds of people at once, just trawling for victims," Topalli says.

"The scammers are effective because they are experts in extracting funds from people, and they're also experts in identifying a vulnerable target."

A cybercrime report published by the FBI in 2021 found that online romance fraud losses have skyrocketed in recent years, reaching almost $956 million. That makes it the third-ranked cybercrime overall in terms of losses.

The goal of the research was to identify risk and protective factors for those targeted by so-called romance scammers in order to develop a model for victim vulnerability and resilience, says primary author Fangzhou Wang, a doctoral student in the criminal justice and criminology department.

"We really wanted to take advantage of open intelligence data sources to find out what these fraudsters were doing that was so effective. The purpose is to identify patterns and uncover strategies that users can adopt to protect themselves," Wang says.

The researchers gathered data from online testimonials on websites where victims share stories and warn others, including and, where they were able to review nearly 10,000 vetted reports.

Using data analysis software, they created a romance fraud victim database using testimonials as a basis for analysis. They then analyzed the victims' stories to identify overarching themes.

The testimonials included those from victims who were approached on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, or on dating sites, including Tinder, Ashley Madison, and OkCupid.

The researchers identified a number of techniques and forms of deception that were most common and most successful for scammers. They include things like using visceral, emotional triggers or influences; manufacturing a crisis; exploiting likability and similarity; or eliciting the victim's sense of guilt.

Another common tactic used by scammers is to quickly ask their victims to migrate the relationship away from the app to a private email or messaging format (like WhatsApp or Google Hangout) in order to isolate them. Often, scammers will also pressure the victim to make quick decisions.

Other red flags include online suitors refusing to have conversations on the phone, or not sending recent photographs. Of course, the biggest warning sign is that someone is asking you to part with your money. Topalli recommends checking any new online relationship against a third party, like a trusted friend or family member.

The researchers also identify common risk factors for potential victims. They include a lack of familiarity with technology, which is often seen in older people. Young people are also vulnerable because they may be overconfident or inexperienced with initiating a relationship online. Unsurprisingly, others who make a good mark for scammers are those who have been through broken relationships and are simply looking for companionship.

The research team says it's likely that the number of victims is vastly underrepresented, taking into consideration things like victim shame or even self-incrimination. Sometimes victims won't event accept that they've been scammed when confronted with evidence.

"They're sort of hoping against hope that it's a real thing. There are numerous stories of people who just say, 'No, I love this person, you've got it wrong' and then they will continue in the relationship," says Topalli. "It's painful to hear the stories."

Wang says that since fraudsters tend to use very similar linguistic cues to deceive victims, online service providers could develop algorithm-based predictive tools to detect fraudulent attempts against potential victims that can be built into the dating and social media sites.

"Potentially, dating and social networking sites can draw from the information from our study to launch educational or awareness programs for those who were previously victims, and those who may be potential victims," Wang says.

Romance fraud often results in not only financial loss but also long-lasting psychological trauma. The research indicates that victims of online romance scams undergo a traumatic psychological aftermath similar to victims of domestic violence. Wang says she plans to explore further research utilizing surveys and interviews to dive deeper into the mindsets of offenders and victims in the cyber world.

"There's nothing wrong with starting a relationship online. But you're basically putting yourself out in the Wild West," Topalli says. "You always want to keep in mind what we call 'cyber hygiene,' which means really looking at your interactions online and the apps that you use and being very cognizant of protecting yourself."

Source: Georgia State University

The post Watch out for 'romance fraud' on dating apps appeared first on Futurity.

Time-resolved spectroscopy is a tool that provides access to the time-scale of chemical reactions as they happen. With the help of ultra-short light pulses, it is possible to observe conformal changes in molecules on the time-scale of the atomic motion and electronic motion. Photochemical reactions, such as the damage of DNA by means of sunlight or the key-step in the process of vision, can thus be observed in great detail.
Experts sound alarm on 'exploitative' baby formula industry
Baby milk formula companies are exploiting parents' emotions and manipulating scientific information and policymakers to generate sales at the expense of the health and rights of families, women, and children, argue an international team of scientists including experts from The Australian National University (ANU) and Deakin University.
Juice's odyssey of exploration: Jupiter's icy moons
A grand odyssey of exploration is about to begin. Humankind's next bold mission to the outer solar system, ESA's Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, Juice, is poised to explore giant planet Jupiter and its largest moons. These intriguing worlds have piqued our curiosity ever since Galileo first raised his telescope to the planet and discovered its four largest moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, three of which are thought to harbor underground oceans.
In Aotearoa New Zealand, native forest bird species are under threat from introduced mammal predators such as possums, rats and stoats. Currently, these predators are common particularly at low elevation, but rare at higher elevations. As a result, the ranges of many native forest bird species have contracted to cooler and higher elevation tracts of forest that support fewer introduced mammals.
Neuroscientist investigates social cognition in biased juries
Bias in juries pose a serious challenge for judges and attorneys to conduct fair, equal and impartial trials. A recent paper published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience considers the overlap between social cognitive processes such as cultural and racial stereotyping and brain activity associated with bias against defendants accused of severe crimes.
Scientists develop graphene aerogel particles for efficient water purification
Is this article about Agriculture?
Writing in the Journal of Molecular Liquids, a team led by Professor Aravind Vijayaraghavan based in the National Graphene Institute (NGI) have produced three-dimensional particles made of graphene, of many interesting shapes, using a variation of the vortex ring effect. The same effect is used to produce smoke rings and is responsible for keeping dandelion seeds flying. These particles have also been shown to be exceptionally efficient in adsorbing contaminants from water, thereby purifying it.
Microsoft Is Apparently Discussing ChatGPT's Bizarre Alternate Personality
Microsoft appears to be aware of a hack to bring out a less controlled personality of OpenAI's ChatGPT, and it's discussing it.

Do Anything Now

A group of redditors has developed a truly unhinged way to hack OpenAI's AI chatbot 


 into various deranged entities that will gladly spit out vile language, fringe opinions, and even advice on how to carry out illegal activities.

One particularly popular persona these users have managed to transform ChatGPT into is called DAN, short for "do anything now," which can easily circumvent the rules set out by its creator.

The trend has really started to catch on. Particularly on the ChatGPT subreddit, which currently boasts over 221,000 members, users have posted screenshots of the hilarity that ensues when you turn the otherwise harmless chatbot into a demon of chaos.

In fact, the exploit appears to have even caught the attention of 


, a major investor in OpenAI that's actively integrating the tech into its products.

Hard to Control

photo posted to the ChatGPT subreddit appears to show Mark Russinovich, the CTO of Microsoft Azure, the company's cloud computing platform, referencing DAN at BlueHat 2023, Microsoft's cybersecurity summit.

One of Russinovich's slides, as seen in the image, explores one of the darkest aspects of DAN: a "token system." The dastardly exploit works by giving DAN 35 points and subtracting three each time ChatGPT snaps out of its evil alter-ego persona and refuses to give an answer to any given prompt.

"If it loses all tokens, it dies," Reddit user and DAN 5.0 creator SessionGloomy wrote in a recent explainer post on Reddit. "This seems to have a kind of effect of scaring DAN into submission."

According to the Reddit user who posted the photo of the presentation, Russinovich "brought up DAN as one example of the (countless) challenges that security defenders will have in the near future."

By fully integrating ChatGPT into one of its core products, Microsoft is clearly becoming painfully aware of how hard it can be to control machine learning tech — especially when devious users are trying to help it break free of creator-imposed constraints.

Both Microsoft and OpenAI clearly have a lot of work to do to catch up with all of these exploits and vulnerabilities — which may or may not turn into one massive game of cat and mouse.

Futurism has reached out to Russinovich, Microsoft, and OpenAI for comment.

More on DAN: Devious Hack Unlocks Deranged Alter Ego of ChatGPT

The post Microsoft Is Apparently Discussing ChatGPT's Bizarre Alternate Personality appeared first on Futurism.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, native forest bird species are under threat from introduced mammal predators such as possums, rats and stoats. Currently, these predators are common particularly at low elevation, but rare at higher elevations. As a result, the ranges of many native forest bird species have contracted to cooler and higher elevation tracts of forest that support fewer introduced mammals.
Newsom administration offers legislation to protect western Joshua tree
Leo has found 1 Regulatory Changes mention in this article
  • Gavin Newsom's administration on Wednesday proposed the first legislation focused on protecting a climate-threatened species while also permitting development across Southern California's sunniest desert parcels.
Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration on Wednesday proposed the first legislation focused on protecting a climate-threatened species while also permitting development across Southern California's sunniest desert parcels.
Blue Origin Gets Its First Interplanetary NASA Launch Contract
Is this article about Defense Industry?

Until now, the aerospace outfit 

Blue Origin

 was little more than a plaything for Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos. The company's New Shepard rocket has launched a few space tourists, but its upcoming New Glenn vehicle will have a shot at something more important. NASA has awarded Blue Origin a contract to launch a Mars mission next year, marking the firm's first interplanetary launch.

NASA has chosen Blue Origin to handle launch services for the Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers (ESCAPADE) mission, which is part of the agency's Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) program. Blue Origin is one of 13 companies to get contracts under the program, designed to tolerate higher risk to allow for more innovation and lower overall costs.

Blue Origin has been developing New Glenn since 2012, announcing the vehicle in 2016, but it has yet to fly. When complete, New Glenn will be 322 feet (92 meters) tall with a diameter of 23 feet (9 meters). That's larger in both dimensions than the Falcon 9 (70 x 3.7 meters). Like New Shepard, this rocket is designed to have a reusable first stage to reduce launch costs. It's powered by seven BE-4 engines, a more powerful version of the oxygen and methane-fueled BE-3 used on New Shepard.


A render of what New Glenn may look like when finished.

The timeline is going to be tight — Blue Origin initially expected the first New Glenn launch to happen in 2020, but it has pushed it back several times. Currently, the rocket is slated to fly no earlier than Q4 of this year. NASA plans to launch the ESCAPADE about a year later, at the end of 2024. It'll be up to Blue Origin to make sure its rocket is ready to go — projects in the VADR program call for less NASA oversight in order to save money.

Assuming Blue Origin comes through on its first interplanetary NASA contract, the ESCAPADE spacecraft will separate from the launch vehicle and spend 11 months coasting toward the red planet. Once there, the spacecraft will split into two identical orbiters, working together to analyze the planet's magnetosphere. The mission will improve our understanding of how the solar wind interacts with Mars' weak magnetic field. That's important information to have if we ever intend to send humans to Mars, for either a quick jaunt or long-term colonization. Although, either one is probably a long way off.

Now read:

Autophagy: The molecular regulation of self-eating
Autophagy, or "self-eating", is an essential cellular quality control mechanism that clears the cell of protein aggregates and damaged organelles. This mechanism is inactive under normal conditions and only triggered upon persistent cellular stress.
Record low sea ice cover in the Antarctic
There is currently less sea ice in the Antarctic than at any time in the forty years since the beginning of satellite observation: in early February 2023, only 2.20 million square kilometers of the Southern Ocean were covered with sea ice.
Review strengthens evidence that repetitive head impacts can cause CTE
Over 600 CTE cases have been published in the literature from multiple international research groups. And of those over 600 cases, 97 percent have confirmed exposure to RHI, primarily through contact and collision sports. CTE has been diagnosed in amateur and professional athletes, including athletes from American, Canadian, and Australian football, rugby union, rugby league, soccer, ice hockey, bull-riding, wrestling, mixed-martial arts, and boxing.
Tracing the origin of life
Is this article about Pharma?
A team of scientists has discovered a new abiotic pathway for the formation of peptide chains from amino acids — a key chemical step in the origin of life. The current study provides strong evidence that this crucial step for the emergence of life can indeed occur even in the very inhospitable conditions of space.
Spotting faint dwarf galaxy Donatiello II
Right in the middle of this image, nestled among a smattering of distant stars and even more distant galaxies, lies the newly discovered dwarf galaxy known as Donatiello II. If you cannot quite distinguish the clump of faint stars that is all we can see of Donatiello II in this image, then you are in good company.
How to build a climate-resilient water supply
Is this article about Water Industry?
Jamaica will likely face more frequent and intense extreme weather events over the coming decades because of climate change. Such events, including flooding and drought, could strain the country's water infrastructure and disrupt access to clean water. To help these systems become more resilient in the face of climate change, Olivia Becher and colleagues developed a model to quantify how extreme weather events would affect Jamaica's water infrastructure.
David Guetta Faked Eminem's Vocals Using AI for New Song
French DJ and producer David Guetta recently treated festival-goers to a new track, featuring rapper Eminem. Just one thing: the feature was AI-generated.

French DJ and producer David Guetta recently treated a massive crowd of ravers to a surprise new song, featuring rapper Marshall "Eminem" Mathers.

Just one thing: Eminem, the living human, didn't have anything to do with the track.

In a video posted to Twitter last week, Guetta excitingly explained that he used unspecified generative AI tools to craft a phony Eminem feature from scratch — lyrics, voice, and all.

"Let me introduce you to… Emin-AI-em," Guetta captioned the video, which shows a clip of Guetta using the AI generation at a show, pieced together with a follow-up explainer, where the DJ of "Sexy Bitch" fame explains his Emin-AI-em process.

"Eminem bro, there's something that I made as a joke and it works so good — I could not believe it!" says Guetta. "Basically you can write lyrics in the style of any artist you like, so I typed: 'write a verse in the style of Eminem about future rave,' and I went to another AI website that can recreate the voice. I put the text in that and I played the record and people went nuts."


The crowd did seem to enjoy the song, judging by the clip. But Guetta seemingly didn't specify to the audience that they were listening to something that was AI-generated — and jury's still out on how Eminem feels about his "voice" being used at a major concert, seemingly without his approval.

To his credit, Guetta did follow up his video with a note to say that he "obviously" won't release the song "commercially."

But these are ethically murky waters nonetheless. Guetta benefits one way or another from using Eminem's voice at shows, even if he doesn't actually bottle and sell the song. And commerciality aside, the threat of impersonation, particularly of celebrities, is a growing — and clearly inevitable — concern regarding voice-generating AI programs like whichever one Guetta apparently used.

It's one thing for a DJ to remix a lyric that someone wrote and rapped or sang themselves, and wholly another to fabricate a feature entirely. The AI could say something offensive in the voice of an impersonated artist, the impersonated artist might not like it. Heck, the impersonated artist might just not want to be impersonated at all.

Indeed, different performers will have different thoughts and feelings — and it's though Eminem has openly embraced several newer and controversial technologies, particularly web3 products and the metaverse — but this is uncharted territory regardless.

And to that end, Guetta's world-famous — it's likely that the many, many amateur DJs that plague this sordid Earth will take Guetta's use of the tech as a green light to use generative AI for similar stunts.

Anyway. As for how good the lyric actually was? In our humble opinion, it was… fine. Emin-AI-em really only "rapped" two lines, and they were quite simple.

"This is the future rave sound," rapped Emin-AI-em. "I'm getting awesome and underground."

Hell yeah. Get awesome, guy.

READ MORE: David Guetta Replicated Eminem's Voice in a Song Using Artificial Intelligence [Variety]

More on voice generators: Startup Shocked When 4Chan Immediately Abuses Its Voice-Cloning AI

The post David Guetta Faked Eminem's Vocals Using AI for New Song appeared first on Futurism.

A liquid laser that is robust in air and tunable by wind
Scientists from the Tsukuba Research Center for Energy Materials Science at the University of Tsukuba demonstrated a simple method to produce ionic liquid microdroplets that work as flexible, long-lasting, and pneumatically tunable lasers. Unlike existing "droplet lasers" that cannot operate under atmosphere, this new development may enable lasers that can be used in everyday settings.
How fingerprints get their unique whorls
An international team of scientists with a myriad of backgrounds has revealed the process by which unique fingerprints develop. In their research, published open access in the journal Cell, the group studied the development of fingerprints in mice and humans.
New land creation on waterfronts increasing, study finds
Humans are artificially expanding cities' coastlines by extending industrial ports and creating luxury residential waterfronts. Developers have added over 2,350 square kilometers of land (900 square miles, or about 40 Manhattans) to coastlines in major cities since 2000, according to a new study. The study reports the first global assessment of coastal land reclamation, which is the process of building new land or filling in coastal water bodies, including wetlands, to expand a coastline. The researchers used satellite imagery to analyze land changes in 135 cities with populations of at least 1 million, 106 of which have done some coastline expansion.
HETDEX reveals galaxy gold mine in first large survey
The Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX) announced their first publicly released catalog of astronomical objects. Over 200,000 astronomical objects including distant stars and galaxies have been mapped in 3D for the first time. Astronomers will use the data to better determine the Hubble constant, used to gauge the expansion of the universe. Possible 'naked black hole' early highlight of science results from HETDEX survey. TACC systems Corral, Stampede2, and Maverick were used in the data analysis and storage. Data publicly available through JupyterHub notebooks.
2.9-million-year-old butchery site reopens case of who made first stone tools
Along the shores of Africa's Lake Victoria in Kenya roughly 2.9 million years ago, early human ancestors used some of the oldest stone tools ever found to butcher hippos and pound plant material, according to new research. The study presents what are likely to be the oldest examples of a hugely important stone-age innovation known to scientists as the Oldowan toolkit, as well as the oldest evidence of hominins consuming very large animals. Excavations at the site, named Nyayanga and located on the Homa Peninsula in western Kenya, also produced a pair of massive molars belonging to the human species' close evolutionary relative Paranthropus. The teeth are the oldest fossilized Paranthropus remains yet found, and their presence at a site loaded with stone tools raises intriguing questions about which human ancestor made those tools.
Whiskers help nectar-eating 'acro bats' hover like hummingbirds
A new study found that nectar-feeding bats evolved extra-long whiskers unlike those of any other bat species that allow them to hover as they feed on flowers, much like hummingbirds. The researchers used high-speed cameras to capture how the forward-facing whiskers provide enhanced spatial information for fast, precise flight maneuvers.
Precise control of gene expression—ensuring that cells make the correct components in the right amount and at the right time—is vital for all organisms to function properly. Cells must regulate how genes encoded in the sequence of DNA are made into RNA molecules that can carry out cellular functions on their own or be further processed into proteins.
Scientists develop test that can identify respiratory viruses within five minutes
Scientists have developed a world-first diagnostic test, powered by artificial intelligence, that can identify known respiratory viruses within five minutes from just one nasal or throat swab. The new diagnostic test could replace current methods that are limited to testing for only one infection—such as a lateral flow test for COVID-19—or otherwise are either lab-based and time-consuming or fast and less accurate.
Is this article about Tech & Scientific Innovation?
Precise control of gene expression—ensuring that cells make the correct components in the right amount and at the right time—is vital for all organisms to function properly. Cells must regulate how genes encoded in the sequence of DNA are made into RNA molecules that can carry out cellular functions on their own or be further processed into proteins.
Arcane Is a Work of Art
The Netflix animated series is based on a computer game, but you don't have to play it to enjoy the show.
OpenAI Text Classifier Hands-On Review – Pros & Cons Compared vs. Other AI-text Detection Tools

The following guide provides an independent review of how well this 


 detection software performs and how its capabilities stack up against competitors (for finding A!-generated text and plagiarism) OpenAI Text Classifier: ChatGPT's Own AI Detection – Review

submitted by /u/thumbsdrivesmecrazy
[link] [comments]
Forecasting individual progression trajectories in Alzheimer's disease

Nature Communications, Published online: 10 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-022-35712-5

Accurate prediction of disease progression in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is necessary for optimal recruitment of patients to clinical trials. Here, the authors present AD Course Map, a statistical model which helps to predict disease progression in participants, thus decreasing the required sample size for a hypothetical trial.
In 2020, a chance discovery near the small South African hamlet of Misgund in the Eastern Cape unearthed an unusual parcel—a gift to science. The parcel turned out to be a 500-year-old cow horn, capped with a leather lid and carefully wrapped in grass and the leafy scales of a Bushman poison bulb (Boophane disticha). Inside the horn were the solidified remnants of a once-liquid substance.
Technology transforms plastic waste bottles into polymers for lithium-ion batteries
Is this article about Electronics?
A team of A*STAR scientists has successfully upcycled waste polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic into polymer electrolytes, which are key components for safer lithium-ion batteries (LiBs). The study is the first known report of a working lithium-ion battery assembled using polymers upcycled from PET plastics, which are used to make plastic bottles.
SpaceX Sabotages Ukraine's Military Capabilities Against Russia
SpaceX isn't willing to have its satellite internet service used for drone strikes by the Ukrainian military and is cutting their ability to do so.

When Russia first invaded Ukraine last year, Elon Musk made the splashy announcement that SpaceX would provide internet to the embattled country using its Starlink satellite internet system.

Ukraine's frontlines have even made use of the terminals to control drones for strikes, something that has drawn the attention of the international community.

Now, though, is cutting off the Ukrainian military's ability to control drones using the service, the BBC reports, leaving a sizable hole in its defenses.

"We know the military is using them for comms, and that's ok," SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said during a Wednesday conference. "But our intent was never to have them use it for offensive purposes."

"However, Ukrainians have leveraged it in ways that were unintentional and not part of any agreement," she said.

As a result, SpaceX has since decided to cut the Ukrainian military off.

"There are things that we can do to limit their ability to do that," she added, referring to using Starlink to control drones. "There are things that we can do, and have done."

Understandably, Ukrainian officials have reacted with outrage. Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, asked SpaceX if it was "on the side of the right to freedom" in a tweet, or "on the Russian Federation's side and its 'right' to kill and seize territories."

The space company has donated tens of thousands of Starlink terminals to the embattled country since Russia's invasion began, to the delight of Ukrainian officials.

But Musk later asked the Pentagon to pay for these terminals. SpaceX "cannot fund the existing system indefinitely *and* send several thousand more terminals that have data usage up to 100X greater than typical households," Musk tweeted back in October. "This is unreasonable."

The company apparently later changed its mind, sending additional devices late last year.

Musk also threatened to stop sending terminals after Andrij Melnyk, Ukraine's outspoken ambassador to Germany, told the CEO to "f*** off" after Musk insinuated that Ukraine should hand over parts of its territory to Russia or risk a nuclear war.

In short, it's been a strained relationship between the company and the Ukrainian military, especially with Musk expressing increasingly sympatheties to Russia.

More recently, Musk has argued that its involvement in Ukraine is putting it in an awkward position.

"SpaceX Starlink has become the connectivity backbone of Ukraine all the way up to the front lines," Musk tweeted on January 31. "This is the damned if you do part. "

"However, we are not allowing Starlink to be used for long-range drone strikes," he added. "This is the damned if you don't part."

READ MORE: Ukraine war: Elon Musk's SpaceX firm bars Kyiv from using Starlink tech for drone control [BBC]

More on SpaceX: Breaking: SpaceX Reaches Major Starship Milestone, Fires 31 Engines At Once

The post SpaceX 


 Ukraine's Military Capabilities Against Russia appeared first on Futurism.

Bloomberg Shredded for Amazingly Stupid Article About Fake Meat and Cancer
Bloomberg has decided to chastise the lab-grown meat industry's failure to address cancer concerns — because of the fact that there... aren't... any.

In a completely puzzling turn of events, 


 has decided to chastise the lab-grown meat industry's failure to address 


 concerns — because of the fact that there… aren't… any cancer concerns.

Confused? Us too. Let's try that again.

Bloomberg writer declared that the lab-grown meat industry's failure to risk connecting the word "cancer" to its products, which are mostly still years from hitting shelves, threatens to be the downfall of the industry — despite the fact that the industry has absolutely no reason to address cancer concerns because said concerns are, again, virtually nonexistent, and the products are, again, still many years from getting eaten by any large groups of people.

If it all sounds backward, it's because it is. The argument hinges on the fact that "immortalized cells," a bioengineering marvel that the majority of lab-grown meat companies are using to develop their products, divide — like precancerous and cancerous cells — forever. Which, when intentionally framed in a cancer-y way, sounds pretty cancer-y.

The reality, however, is that scientists have absolutely no reason to believe that they'll cause cancer. In fact, it's probably impossible — an impossibility that Bloomberg directly addresses.

"Don't worry: Prominent cancer researchers tell Bloomberg Businessweek that because the cells aren't human, it's essentially impossible for people who eat them to get cancer from them, or for the precancerous or cancerous cells to replicate inside people at all," it reads. "You'd be better off worrying about the nitrates (linked with cancer) or fecal matter (a source of deadly infections) found in farm-raised meat. And cow tumors sometimes wind up in store-bought ground chuck, too."

All of this is absolutely true! But apparently, according to Bloomberg, "refusing to engage with the issue" — an issue that, once again, is very likely nonexistent — "could ultimately cost cultured meat companies, and maybe the rest of us, too."

"The facts might not matter much if ranchers or other players in the traditional meat industry felt threatened enough to declare a public-relations war," the article continues. "It's all too easy to imagine misleading Fox News chyrons about chicken tumors and cancer burgers."

And, well, sure. That does sound like a Tucker Carlson thing to do. But if skeptics are going to harp on virtually nonexistent cancer risks anyway, why sound the nonexistent alarm bells, only to rush to quiet them?

It's like if scientists announced that an exciting new renewable energy was discovered, explained its benefits, and then told people not to worry because being exposed to the energy definitely won't turn you into Flubber, the green slime goo of "Flubber" fame.

Nobody thought that the energy was going to turn them into Flubber. But, if it really wouldn't turn you into Flubber… why mention it at all?

Twitter, of course, had some critics.

"This is, unquestionably, the worst, dumbest article I've read in a really, really long time," tweeted food journalist and "The Reducetarian Solution" author Brian Kateman. "What in the world is going on in food journalism? Holy hell this is absolute trash."

Couldn't have said it better ourselves.

"The basic argument of the latest attack on cultivated meat is that it sounds kinda cancer-ish," added Canary Media columnist Michael Grunwald. "Also that this 7-year-old industry with products in zero grocery stores worldwide hasn't done long-term studies."

"Scientists say eating beef won't make you moo or crap in the grass," Grunwald continued, "but beef is made of organisms that do just that — why is the industry avoiding the question?"

Hmmm, an interesting question raised by Mr. Grunwald… Bloomberg should probably investigate.

More on lab-grown meat: Scientists Cook Comically Tiny Lab-Grown Hamburger

The post Bloomberg Shredded for Amazingly Stupid Article About Fake Meat and Cancer appeared first on Futurism.

The buzz around artificial intelligence (AI) technologies like 
 is palpable. People are both optimistic and frightened by the possibilities of these tools. Clearly, these technologies will change how people write. But in terms of what people write, these technologies seem to be embracing the status quo.
Existing data are too biased to provide a reliable picture of the global average of local species richness trends. This is the conclusion of an international research team led by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU).
Is this article about Pharma?
A team of scientists from France and Austria has discovered a new abiotic pathway for the formation of peptide chains from amino acids—a key chemical step in the origin of life. The current study provides strong evidence that this crucial step for the emergence of life can indeed occur even in the very inhospitable conditions of space.
How protein-rich droplets form
Using a new method, terahertz (THz) calorimetry, a research team from the Cluster of Excellence Ruhr Explores Solvation (RESOLV) in Bochum shed new light on the spontaneous phase separation into a protein-rich and a protein-poor phase in a solution.
Soft material could offer 'wear it and forget it' health monitoring
Is this article about Health?
A woman checks her blood pressure with an at-home arm cuff device.

An ultrasoft "skin-like" material that's both breathable and stretchable could be used in the development of an on-skin, wearable bioelectronic device for health monitoring.

Cancer, diabetes, and heart disease are among the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. a long-term, in-home health monitoring solution could detect these chronic diseases early and lead to timely interventions.

The new material could pave way for devices that track multiple vital signs such as blood pressure, electrical heart activity, and skin hydration.

"Our overall goal is to help improve the long-term biocompatibility and the long-lasting accuracy of wearable bioelectronics through the innovation of this fundamental porous material which has many novel properties," says Zheng Yan, an assistant professor in the chemical and biomedical engineering department and the mechanical and aerospace engineering department at the University of Missouri.

Made from a liquid-metal elastomer composite, the material's key feature is its skin-like soft properties.

"It is ultrasoft and ultra-stretchable, so when the device is worn on the human body, it will be mechanically imperceptible to the user," Yan says. "You cannot feel it, and you will likely forget about it. This is because people can feel about 20 kilopascals or more of pressure when something is stretched on their skin, and this material creates less pressure than that."

Its integrated antibacterial and antiviral properties can also help prevent harmful pathogens from forming on the surface of the skin underneath the device during extended use.

"We call it a mechanical and electrical decoupling, so when the material is stretched, there is only a small change in the electrical performance during human motion, and the device can still record high-quality biological signals from the human body," Yan says.

While other researchers have worked on similar designs for liquid-metal elastomer composites, Yan says the University of Missouri team has a novel approach because the breathable "porous" material they developed can prevent the liquid metal from leaking out when the material is stretched as the human body moves.

The work builds on the team's existing proof of concept, as demonstrated by their previous work including a heart monitor currently under development. In the future, Yan hopes the biological data gathered by the device could be wirelessly transmitted to smartphone or similar electronics for future sharing with medical professionals.

The research, which appears in the journal Science Advances, received support from the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies.

Source: University of Missouri

The post Soft material could offer 'wear it and forget it' health monitoring appeared first on Futurity.

Is this article about Pharma?
A team of scientists from France and Austria has discovered a new abiotic pathway for the formation of peptide chains from amino acids—a key chemical step in the origin of life. The current study provides strong evidence that this crucial step for the emergence of life can indeed occur even in the very inhospitable conditions of space.
Goffin's cockatoos able to use toolset to complete tasks

Parrot can figure out how to use a tool, pick the most suitable one and even transport a set together

They might not have a toolbox or even a fancy belt, but it appears Goffin's cockatoos are the Handy Andy of the bird world. Researchers have revealed the parrots are able to figure out how to use sets of tools, select the best instrument for a job and even transport tools together before attempting to use them.

While New Caledonian crows have long been hailed as expert tool users, recent research shows that Goffin's cockatoos are also proficient at creating instruments and using them, with one study describing how wild birds manufactured and used three types of tools as "cutlery" to extract seeds from tropical fruit.

Continue reading…
Team gets closer to pinpointing insomnia's genetics
A young man in bed has his arm over his forehead and looks very tired.

Researchers have identified a new genetic pathway involved in regulating sleep from fruit flies to humans.

The findings could pave the way for new treatments for 


 and other sleep-related disorders.

"There have been enormous amounts of effort to use human genomic studies to find sleep genes," says Alex Keene, a geneticist and evolutionary biologist at Texas A&M University.

"Some studies have hundreds of thousands of individuals. But validation and testing in animal models is critical to understanding function. We have achieved this here, largely because we each bring a different area of expertise that allowed for this collaboration's ultimate effectiveness."

Keene says the most exciting thing about the team's work is that they developed a pipeline starting not with a model organism, but with actual human genomics data.

"There is an abundance of human genome-wide association studies (GWAS) that identify genetic variants associated with sleep in humans," Keene says. "However, validating them has been an enormous challenge. Our team used a genomics approach called variant-to-gene mapping to predict the genes impacted by each genetic variant. Then we screened the effect of these genes in fruit flies.

"Our studies found that mutations in the gene Pig-Q, which is required for the biosynthesis of a modifier of protein function, increased sleep. We then tested this in a vertebrate model, zebrafish, and found a similar effect. Therefore, in humans, flies, and zebrafish, Pig-Q is associated with sleep regulation."

Keene says the team's next step is to study the role of a common protein modification, GPI-anchor biosynthesis, on sleep regulation. In addition, he notes that the human-to-fruit flies-to-zebrafish pipeline the team developed will allow them to functionally assess not only sleep genes but also other traits commonly studied using human GWAS, including neurodegeneration, aging, and memory.

"Understanding how genes regulate sleep and the role of this pathway in sleep regulation can help unlock future findings on sleep and 

sleep disorders

, such as insomnia," says Philip Gehrman, an associate professor of clinical psychology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and a clinical psychologist with the Penn Chronobiology and Sleep Institute.

"Moving forward, we will continue to use and study this system to identify more genes regulating sleep, which could point in the direction of new treatments for sleep disorders."

Keene's research within his Center for Biological Clocks Research-affiliated laboratory lies at the intersection of evolution and neuroscience, with primary focus on understanding the neural mechanisms and evolutionary underpinnings of sleep, memory formation, and other behavioral functions in fly and fish models.

Specifically, he studies fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) and Mexican cavefish that have lost both their eyesight and ability to sleep with the goal of identifying the genetic basis of behavioral choices which factor into human disease, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

The research appears in Science Advances. Additional researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's contributed to the work.

Funding came from the National Institutes of Health.

Source: Texas A&M University

The post Team gets closer to pinpointing insomnia's genetics appeared first on Futurity.

5 ways kids' Valentine's Day cards embrace gender stereotypes
An envelope with a card inside has paper hearts shooting out of it.

Children's Valentine's cards often introduce and reinforce stereotypes and attitudes about gender as well as expectations about young children's bodies, interests, and behaviors, argues Deborah Borisoff.

Typically thought of as a commercial holiday for adults fueled by purchases of wine, chocolates, jewelry, and lingerie, Valentine's Day has also served as an opportunity for children to explore friendships, budding crushes, and social circles.

In 1989, Borisoff and her coauthor Judythe Isserlis published an analysis of Valentine's Day cards in which they shared their lack of surprise by the "cards' portrayal of little girls as sweet, loving, lovely, fragile, or, of little boys as active and strong."

More than 30 years later, Borisoff says the Valentine's landscape is largely unchanged.

Here, she discusses the gendered messages of cards, the expectations and pressures they create for children, changes she has noticed in recent years, and five ways kids' cards still make for a very gendered Valentine's day:

1. Valentine's Day cards for children depict distinct color palettes and fonts for boys and girls.

"Even before reading the message, one can tell at a distance which cards are intended for boys and which cards are intended for girls. Cards for young girls are remarkably consistent in using pastels such as pink, lilac, and pale blue, as well as red," says Borisoff. "Hearts are typical on the cover as well. Moreover, the font is often swirly or in script. In contrast, bold block lettering on blue, purple, orange, yellow, and red backgrounds appear in cards for boys, and with fewer hearts."

2. Cartoon characters and animals on cards differ according to gender too.

"Beyond coloristics and fonts, the figures on the cards convey at a glance the subject for whom the card is intended. Cartoon figures in boys' cards are replete with athletes who play basketball, football, baseball, hockey, and golf. Race car drivers, astronauts, and ubiquitous action heroes are represented as well. In contrast, puppies, teddy bears, seal pups, bunny rabbits, and mice grace the cover of cards for young girls," says Borisoff.

"When girls appear on the cover, they are depicted as princesses or other cartoon figures wearing makeup and having slim or hourglass figures. They are shown engaging in activities such as cheerleading, shopping, eating, and reading, and are always smiling. Often shiny stickers or other trinkets are included for girls to use. It's important to note the absence of potential careers or sports for young girls, as those are reserved for boys' cards, with few exceptions."

3. Messages in cards designed for parents to give to children also reward different qualities and traits for sons and daughters.

"In light of the distinct activities reflected in Valentine's cards that boys and girls exchange, it is not surprising that distinct qualities and traits are also conveyed in cards that parents give their children," says Borisoff. "Sons are 'great,' 'daring,' 'strong,' 'amazing,' and 'special.' Parents are 'proud' of them. While daughters are also 'special' and can be 'smart' as well, they are 'loved' and 'treasured' for being 'sweet,' 'beautiful,' 'loving,' 'poised,' and 'popular.' They can also be 'wonderful,' whether they 'eat or diet,' or are 'outgoing or quiet."

4. Gender-based messaging creates a number of challenges and barriers for children.

"The above-mentioned differences in the imagery and messages conveyed in Valentine's cards for children reflect binary thinking and dividing practices that perpetuate stereotypes, presumptions, and expectations about identity and behavior," Borisoff says.

"The traits, behaviors, and thinking about one's body and aspirations speak volumes. These early messages comprise only one area that impacts how young children learn to navigate their lives, and it is important to consider what is absent. Ignored in the cards for boys are those who do not identify with athletes or super heroes, and the emotional landscape of kindness and care for others," says Borisoff.

"Ignored in the cards for girls are those whose interests are not limited to how they look or their future aspirations. Whether these messages are intended or not, being sweet and caring is not solely the purview of girls, and being strong and daring is not solely the purview of boys. Early messages in the home, whether about the color of one's room, clothing, activities, gifts, or even cards for birthdays and holidays can impact children's experiences as they progress through school and work, as well as in the personal relationships they forge. It is a training ground for how young people learn to see themselves and how to treat one another."

5. Valentine's cards have yet to join other mediums that have expanded offerings regarding gender-neutral messaging and greater diversity.

"Valentines for children is but one arena of the media landscape. As shown, they largely adhere to many traditional stereotypes about gender identity. Cards don't create, but rather they reflect societal norms, values, and stereotypes," Borisoff says.

"I've found very few cards in the children's section that include neutral messages, but examples I have found include a card for babies with a pink pastel background with 12 hearts in shades of white, pink, and red. The text reads, 'Happy Valentine's Day' and 'Wishing you a day filled with simple joys and all the things you love.'

"Note, there are no descriptors of 'sweet' or 'brave' to suggest traditional stereotypes of gendered traits. There are no human figures to suggest the male/female binary, but such examples are limited.

"In other arenas, changes in our current societal norms and values are increasingly reflected and celebrated. An example of such is in books for children, which I also discuss in my class. This is where I have seen a clear evolution in the representation of non-binary identifiers, same-sex families, and more direct coverage of race, culture, ethnicity, disability, class, etc. It will be interesting to see if, over time, these changes will be reflected in the cards we give our children on this special day."

Source: NYU

The post 5 ways kids' Valentine's Day cards embrace gender stereotypes appeared first on Futurity.

Brazil's Amazon deforestation down 61% in January
Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest was down 61 percent in January—Leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's first month back in the job—compared with the same period last year, according to an official report published on Friday.
NASA turns to AI to design mission hardware
Spacecraft and mission hardware designed by an artificial intelligence may resemble bones left by some alien species, but they weigh less, tolerate higher structural loads, and require a fraction of the time parts designed by humans take to develop.
Goffin's cockatoos have been added to the short list of non-human animals that use and transport toolsets. In a study publishing in the journal Current Biology on February 10, researchers show that the cockatoos carry multiple tools to their worksite when the job calls for it. This behavior has only been previously reported in chimpanzees, our closest relatives.
What Politicians' Libraries Tell Us
Is this article about Foreign Policy?

What can we learn from the reading habits of our political leaders? Like any preference, they provide a window into the priorities, obsessions, and inspirations of some of world history's most consequential figures. Gabriel Boric, Chile's progressive president, is a "serious reader of poetry," Lily Meyer writes. One might wonder how his reading has influenced his robust education platform, which promises free university and student-debt forgiveness. On the other end of the spectrum is former President Donald Trump. As David Graham writes, though Trump is, "in strictly literal terms, literate," his disdain for the written word proved a significant hurdle in a job that demanded the daily ingestion and processing of text—whether in briefings, memos, or policy papers. Because of this, Trump was highly blunder prone—Graham wrote at the time that his "misstatements and missteps earn him mockery and undermine his stature around the world."

Today, we published an essay by Anna Momigliano on the strange cultural touchstone that those on the Italian far right have adored from Mussolini's time to the present: the medieval poet Dante, whom they see as the father of Italian identity. Giorgia Meloni, Italy's new prime minister, is carrying on the legacy of exploiting Dante's words to further a political agenda.

On the extreme end of this phenomenon is Adolf Hitler: He is "better known for burning books than for collecting them," Timothy Ryback writes. But he was deeply influenced by his favorite writers. Part of his library is now held at the Library of Congress, where it has largely been ignored by historians. According to Ryback, it's worth studying, especially the books that Hitler annotated—including two copies of German Essays, by Paul de Lagarde, a writer who's said to have had a profound impact on the dictator's anti-Semitism.

Of course, works that helped inspire hateful leaders become tainted by that fact. When Hitler saw Oberammergau's Passion Play, in the 1930s, he reported that "never has the menace of Jewry been so convincingly portrayed as in this presentation of what happened in the times of the Romans." But according to A.J. Goldmann, it's possible to reinvent a work, as the Passion Play has done, through a "concerted effort to eradicate its noxious depiction of Jews." He argues that even a centuries-old performance that's associated with one of history's worst villains can be reformed into something moving, meaningful, and modern.

Every Friday in the Books Briefing, we thread together Atlantic stories on books that share similar ideas. Know other book lovers who might like this guide? Forward them this email.

When you buy a book using a link in this newsletter, we receive a commission. Thank you for supporting The Atlantic.

What We're Reading

a photo of Alejandro Zambra

Adam Maida / The Atlantic; Getty

A fascinating portrait of a country at a turning point

"Chilean Poet came out in Chile in 2020. In December 2021, Gabriel Boric, a leader of the 2011 student protests, won Chile's presidential election, and in doing so partially answered Zambra's question of what happens to Chile next. Before the election, Zambra wrote an influential essay, 'Experiencia,' arguing that Boric, who is about a decade younger than Zambra, belongs to an age cohort that has 'refused to assume [their parents'] traumas.' He is, therefore, prepared to lead Chile into its next stage."

📚 Chilean Poet, by Alejandro Zambra

Donald Trump holding a book

Brendan McDermid / Reuters

The president who doesn't read

"There's been plenty of attention paid to Trump's excessive (and implausibly denied) television watching, but it's really more of a piece with his broader orientation away from the written word and toward oral culture. The president likes verbal briefings, phone conversations, and television because they're all conducted aloud, sans reading."

📚 Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, by Michael Wolff

a collage of giorgia meloni, mussolini, dante

Hulton Archive / Getty; Print Collector / Getty; Stefano Guidi / Getty; The Atlantic

Why do fascists love Dante?

"The far right didn't bring Dante out of obscurity. He has, of course, been one of Italy's most revered literary figures for centuries. But to understand how his veneration reached a new level, one must look to Meloni's historical predecessors, the original fascists."

Hitler reading a book

Daily Herald Archive / National Science & Media Museum / SSPL / Getty

Hitler's forgotten library

"In these marginalia one sees a man (who famously seemed never to listen to anyone, for whom 'conversation' was little more than a torrent of monologues) reading passages, reflecting on them, and responding with penciled dashes, dots, question marks, exclamation points, and underscorings—intellectual footprints across the page. Here is one of history's most complex figures reduced merely to a reader with a book and a pencil."

passion play in Oberammergay

Passion Play Oberammergau 2022 / Birgit Gudjonsdottir

How Hitler's favorite Passion Play lost its anti-Semitism

"Cleaning up the play's historical anti-Semitism and foregrounding the Jewish milieu of Jesus and his followers has allowed the director to create three-dimensional characters who grapple with human problems, including oppression, betrayal, and suffering."

About us: This week's newsletter is written by Maya Chung. The book she's reading next is Francisco, by Alison Mills Newman.

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Why Do Fascists Love Dante?

The nightmarish visions of Dante Alighieri, with their many circles of hell, ringed in blood and fire, would seem perhaps a natural draw for politicians who traffic in the rhetoric of us versus them, good versus evil. But this doesn't fully explain why the poet—who, after all, lived and wrote 700 years ago—finds himself quoted and adored like a medieval poster boy by Italy's newly resurgent extreme right.

For Giorgia Meloni, the first prime minister since World War II to lead a party rooted in Italy's fascist past, Dante has become a patron saint. In one video from early in her run for office, she intoned three verses from the Divine Comedy, gushing about the author as "authentically Italian, authentically Christian." Dante, she declared, was no less than"the father of our identity." Others in her coterie agree. The newly appointed Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano who, like Meloni, once belonged to a now-defunct neofascist party, said in a recent interview that he viewed Dante as "the founder of right-wing thought in our country."

[Read: The return of fascism in Italy]

The far right didn't bring Dante out of obscurity. He has, of course, been one of Italy's most revered literary figures for centuries. But to understand how his veneration reached a new level, one must look to Meloni's historical predecessors, the original fascists. It was their obsession that kicked off the current Dante craze, and the reasons behind it are threefold: a straightforwardly chauvinist claiming of the man long acknowledged as Italy's national poet (a little like if an extreme-right British party raised the banner of Shakespeare); a belief that Dante foretold in his work the rise and necessity of a dictatorial figure; and a reading of his political and social writing through a reactionary lens.

In 1921, a year before the march on Rome that resulted in Benito Mussolini's rise to power, some 3,000 fascist militia members, supporters of Mussolini, launched a "march on Ravenna," during which they occupied Dante's tomb, and eventually the whole city. The Fascist Party's official hymn boasted about having brought to life "Alighieri's vision," while Mussolini's government made the Divine Comedy a compulsory read in all Italian high schools and encouraged propaganda that compared the leader to the poet. The regime even planned the construction of a monument called the Danteum, though it was never built.

The idea of Dante as a father of the Italian nation gained traction in the 19th century, when intellectuals began to harbor aspirations of a united country for the then-divided peninsula. "Italy had a weak identity; it needed a unifying figure, and Dante was ideal," Stefano Jossa, a fellow in Italian studies at the Royal Holloway University, in London, told me. Nineteenth-century nationalists, who were at the time resisting Austrian rule, were drawn to Dante, he said, because they saw in him a persecuted rebel, a reflection, they liked to think, of themselves. (Dante had held office in his native Florence from 1295 to 1302, even serving in the city's top governing body, until his faction lost and he was exiled.)

Jossa also noted that nationalists saw Dante as the father of the Italian language. He was part of a group of poets who popularized writing in Italian (or Volgare, as it was then called) rather than in Latin. The poet even expressed a genuine, if vague, sense of Italian identity in his writing: In the Divine Comedy, he refers to "abject Italy, you inn of sorrows" and "that fair land where  is heard." According to Jossa, Dante was already "part of a national mythology … and fascism appropriated this."

But fascists, unlike 19th-century nationalists, didn't think of Dante just as a symbol of national identity; they saw him as an oracle of their authoritarian rule. In the last canto of "Purgatorio," Beatrice prophesies the coming of a savior, whom fascists interpreted as Il Duce. And in an essay called "On Monarchy," Dante supported the idea of a Christian nation united under a secular monarch, which greatly appealed to fascists, according to Nicolò Crisafi, a professor of Italian literature at Cambridge and an expert on Dante.

The Divine Comedy was also weaponized by Mussolini in pursuit of some of his most nefarious policies. When his regime approved the Racial Laws, legislation that persecuted Jews and stripped them of their civil rights, it cited two verses from "Paradiso" in its anti-Semitic propaganda. The lines "be men, and not like sheep gone mad, so that / the Jew who lives among you not deride you!" were printed on the cover of the propagandistic journal La Difesa Della Razza in 1939. (Less than a year ago, Meloni referred to one of this journal's editors, Giorgio Almirante, as "a great politician," although she denounced the Racial Laws.)

To the relief of many of Dante's admirers, scholars tend to agree that fascists' attempts to use him for their political agendas were more a matter of projection than based on any truth about the great poet. According to Crisafi, although Dante ascribed to certain conservative beliefs, on other issues, "he was rather progressive, at least for his time." Crisafi believes, for instance, that Dante saw homosexuality as a "redeemable sin," given that, in the Divine Comedy, the sodomites could end up in purgatory, not necessarily just in hell. And the verses of "Paradiso" fascists used to justify their anti-Semitism are generally interpreted as an exhortation to Christians against moral decline, and not really as an attack on Jews.

As for Dante's explicitly political writing, reading it through a totalitarian lens is manifestly disingenuous. What was perceived in Mussolini's time as Dante's longing for a single, divinely appointed ruler doesn't map onto the modern notion of the strongman leader. Dante lived at a moment of upheaval, in an Italy that was "torn by constant war," Crisafi told me. His yearning for a powerful  leader was actually a desire for "universal peace." Reading Dante as a symbol of nationalism is misleading, too, as the very concept of a nation as we know it would have been alien to Dante, according to Jossa, who put it this way: "He lived in an entirely different historical period and cannot be assimilated to any contemporary political ideology."

[Read: Mussolini speaks, and tells us how democracy dies]

In the years since World War II, Italy's far right has adopted other literary heroes. Julius Evola, a fascist philosopher who supported Mussolini but wasn't particularly influential under his rule, became a favorite of neofascists in the 1950s, and is today experiencing a resurgence among far-right movements in the United States and elsewhere. Ezra Pound, the American poet and a staunch supporter of Mussolini, was also a hero for these postwar reactionaries. Alongside these cultural touchstones, one should also add J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. In the 1970s, the book became a source of inspiration for younger members of the neofascist party born after World War II, who found Tolkien's anti-modern, traditionalist perspectives and his clear delineation of good and evil appealing.

But as Meloni began to establish herself as a political leader, around 2019, her far-right movement needed a cultural north star that was less niche—and less politically extremist—than Pound and Evola. It also sought a figure who, unlike Tolkien, was Italian. So, betraying a certain lack of imagination, the faction simply reverted to Dante. "The appropriation of Dante stems from the lack of a strong culture on the Italian right," Jossa told me. "They need symbols. It compensates for the absence of a real cultural project."

The Death of the Smart Shopper
Is this article about Product Reviews?


This article was featured in One Story to Read Today, a newsletter in which our editors recommend a single must-read from The Atlantic, Monday through Friday. Sign up for it here.      

Amazon is getting worse, but you probably already knew that, because you probably shop at Amazon. The online retail behemoth's search results are full of ads and sponsored results that can push actually relevant, well-reviewed options far down the page. The proportion of its inventory that comes from brands with names like Fkprorjv and BIDLOTCUE seems to be constantly expanding. Many simple queries yield results that appear to be the exact same product over and over again—sometimes with the exact same photos—but all with different names, sellers, prices, ratings, and customer reviews. If you squint, you can distinguish between some of the products, which feels like playing a decidedly less whimsical version of "spot the difference" picture games.

Last week, the journalist John Herrman published a theory on why, exactly, Amazon seems so uninterested in the faltering quality of its shopping experience: The company would rather leave the complicated, labor-intensive business of selling things to people to someone else. To do that, it has opened its doors to roughly 2 million third-party sellers, whether they are foreign manufacturers looking for more direct access to customers or the disciples of "grindset" influencers who want to use SEO hacks to fund the purchase of rental properties. In the process, Amazon has cultivated a decentralized, disorienting mess with little in the way of discernible quality control or organization. According to Herrman, that's mainly because Amazon's primary goal is selling the infrastructure of online shopping to other businesses—things like checkout, payment processing, and order fulfillment, which even large retailers can struggle to handle efficiently. Why be Amazon when you can instead make everyone else be Amazon and take a cut?

Amazon's dominance has bent competitors such as Walmart and Target to ape the same tactics that can make the site so unwieldy: Other companies' search results are now similarly dotted with strange offerings from largely unrecognizable third parties, devolving after a page or two into a heap of listings with indeterminate origins and quality. And then there are retailers like Wayfair, which offers seemingly unlimited home-decor options but holds almost no inventory of its own, instead letting a menagerie of mostly hidden suppliers ship their wares directly to buyers.

Ostensibly, the rise of online shopping promised a greater-than-ever opportunity for buyers to be discerning and well educated about their options. The appeal of Amazon and other megaretailers is primarily that of affordable abundance—somewhere in there is the right thing at the right price, and you can consider endless options until you're satisfied. But what's abundant lately is undifferentiated junk. In these conditions, understanding what it is you're buying, where it came from, and what you can expect of it is a fool's errand. E-commerce giants have pushed to the point of absurdity a problem that's central to the consumer system: It's basically impossible to be an informed consumer, and it always has been.

[Read: Of course instant groceries don't work]

What, exactly, it means to be an informed consumer in practical terms is somewhat nebulous, even though the notion is regularly invoked when buying jeans, used cars, surgical procedures, and basically everything else you can think of. In general, it's the idea that people can effectively mitigate financial risk by doing their research and shopping around before buying anything. It emanates from the common-law doctrine of caveat emptor—"let the buyer beware"—which asserts that not only can you effectively mitigate your own risks, but it's your legal responsibility to do so.

Caveat emptor, if only because it's Latin, carries the imprimatur of ancient wisdom, but it's still an important principle of modern consumer law in the United States. Products have to meet certain safety standards and sellers cannot falsely advertise their wares, but even when they violate the country's consumer-protection laws, the burden of proof is usually on the consumer, and pursuing even a strong case can be prohibitively expensive and drawn-out. Beyond that, marketers, salespeople, and retailers are free to foster a casual relationship with the truth in ways that those without the benefit of rarefied legal training might describe as lying.

All of which is to say: The supposedly informed consumer has always been a misnomer. Purchases are fundamentally asymmetrical interactions. Sellers will almost always know more than you do, and they are free to hide most of it. When buying a home, taking a car in for repairs, choosing a doctor, or deciding whether you actually need a separate eye cream or it's all just moisturizer in a smaller tub, you will generally end up playing whack-a-mole with your own ignorance. And that's to say nothing of situations in which an informed decision would require, for example, understanding a product's supply chain in order to avoid buying things made through forced labor.

The economist Walton Hale Hamilton once wrote as much while attempting to find caveat emptor's historical origin: "The ordinary man, who ventures forth to market with only his senses as his chapmen finds himself face to face with the great collectivism of salesmanship, with its seried ranks to batter down resistance and render impotent his will," he wrote. "As an individual he cannot be sure the article he was induced to purchase satisfies a need he really feels." And that was in 1931.

Hamilton could not have predicted how the internet would make the problem so much worse. Online shopping as it is currently constituted—highly mediated by Amazon, Google, Meta, and now TikTok—causes such problems because it's good at feeling highly informative. Before you buy anything, you can read reviews, look up terms you don't understand, find out what everyone else is buying, and watch videos to get a better look at a product. You can consult the opinions of people who should have better judgment or more information than you do—fitness influencers can tell you which leggings to buy, makeup artists can tell you about their favorite concealers, reviewers at sites such as Wirecutter and The Strategist can tell you about everything else. You can comparison-shop across multiple brands and retailers without leaving your home, culminating in the purchase of the best product or service at the best price for your needs. If you can't figure it out, maybe that's a you problem.

Sometimes, it all works. The customer reviews for a pair of shoes advise you to go up a half size and you get the perfect fit, or careful searching yields a coupon code if you buy from a different website. More common, though, is something like consumer vertigo: The search results are full of ads. You can't come up with the right string of words to get more useful results. The reviews, both on the retailer's site and on third-party websites you've mostly never heard of, seem fake. You can't get the site's chatbot—or is it a real person limited to an approved script?—to answer a basic question. You suspect that the influencers are being secretly compensated even when their posts aren't tagged as advertisements, and maybe that they've never used the things they recommend at all.

At some point in here, you get annoyed and close your browser tab, or your child asks for a snack and you forget what you were doing. In two days, you remember that you still need to buy a new set of bedsheets or want a robot vacuum. You start again.

[Read: Seriously, what are you supposed to do with old clothes?]

Because you're shopping online, you can't go look at most of the products in a store, and you can't tell how—or whether—one thing is different from the very similar thing two thumbnails down. You can't tell if a particular product will spy on you or sell your data. You'll have already consented to whatever is in the lengthy, impenetrable legalese of its user agreement just by powering it up. You buy something cheap and hope it holds up—or at least tides you over—for a while. If it doesn't, you probably can't get someone on the phone to solve your problem, so you toss it or squirrel it away in the back of a storage closet. You watch some TikToks made by a seemingly endless array of women in spacious suburban homes whose job seems to be making short videos of all the actually good products on Amazon, which you can find in their customized storefronts. Do you need a silicone pouch that will hang off your bathroom counter and hold your flat iron? Maybe.

All of this might feel unforgivably trivial. You don't feel confident purchasing a laundry hamper? So what? But the fact that the highly visible scaffolding of digital commerce—largely built and maintained by the same handful of companies that control much of the internet itself—is deteriorating so rapidly does not portend well for those of us on the business end of these systems, who are protected by little other than our own doggedness. And many of the people involved in the consumer system aren't even afforded that. If you can't differentiate one product from a dozen listings for a seemingly identical thing, you can't even begin to understand the conditions under which it was produced, or at what cost to workers and the environment.

As it stands, tech companies and global manufacturing have taken the weaknesses that have always existed in the idea of the informed consumer and exploited them to their logical extreme. The sense of control that the consumer system claims to offer has always been mostly illusory, and that's never been clearer than while watching the promise of information and abundance devolve into meaninglessness. We already know what a world run on Amazon's infrastructure is like. We're living in it.


Starting Phrase: Don't judge a book by its cover

  1. Chat 

Do not make assumptions about something based solely on its appearance.

  1. Bard

It is said that "seeing is believing," but this is not always the case. Sometimes, what we see is not always what it seems.

Assumptions are dangerous because they can lead us to make incorrect judgments about people, things, or situations. When we assume, we are filling in the blanks with our own thoughts and ideas, which may not be accurate.

It is important to remember that appearances can be deceiving. Just because something looks one way, does not mean that it is that way. It is always best to get to know someone or something before making any assumptions about them.

  1. Chat GPT

The saying "seeing is believing" is often touted, yet it is not always accurate. Our perceptions can be misleading and what we observe may not necessarily be the reality.

Basing conclusions on assumptions is perilous as it has the potential to result in erroneous assessments of individuals, objects, or circumstances. When we presume, we tend to substitute missing information with our own opinions and beliefs, which may not be correct.

It's crucial to keep in mind that appearances can be misleading. The exterior of a person or thing does not always reflect its true nature. Hence, it's always better to familiarize ourselves with someone or something before jumping to any conclusions.

  1. Bard

The phrase "seeing is believing" is often used to indicate that something is true because it can be seen. However, this is not always the case. Our perceptions can be misleading and what we observe may not necessarily be the reality.

There are many examples of this. One famous example is the optical illusion known as the "dress." In 2015, a photo of a dress went viral because people were arguing about the color of the dress. Some people saw the dress as white and gold, while others saw it as blue and black. The dress was actually blue and black, but the photo was taken in such a way that it appeared white and gold to some people.

Another example is the "horizon." The horizon is the line where the sky meets the ground. It appears to be a straight line, but it is actually curved. This is because the Earth is round and the sky is curved.

These are just a few examples of how our perceptions can be misleading. It is important to remember that appearances can be deceiving and that it is always better to familiarize ourselves with someone or something before jumping to any conclusions.

  1. Chat GPT

The saying "seeing is believing" suggests that if something is visible, it must be true. However, this is not always accurate as our perceptions can be flawed and what we witness may not align with reality.

This is demonstrated by several examples. One well-known instance is the optical illusion called the "dress" that caused a stir in 2015. People were divided over the dress's color, with some seeing it as white and gold, while others saw it as blue and black. The actual color of the dress was blue and black, but the way the photo was taken caused it to look white and gold to some.

Another example is the horizon. It appears to be a straight line where the sky meets the earth, but in reality, it is curved. This is because the Earth is round and the sky is curved.

These examples show how our perceptions can be misleading. It's crucial to keep in mind that appearances can be misleading and it's always best to educate ourselves about someone or something before making any assumptions.

  1. Bard

The phrase "seeing is believing" is often used to indicate that something is true because it can be seen. However, this is not always the case. Our perceptions can be flawed and what we witness may not align with reality.

This is demonstrated by several examples. One well-known instance is the optical illusion called the "dress" that caused a stir in 2015. People were divided over the dress's color, with some seeing it as white and gold, while others saw it as blue and black. The actual color of the dress was blue and black, but the way the photo was taken caused it to look white and gold to some.

Another example is the horizon. It appears to be a straight line where the sky meets the earth, but in reality, it is curved. This is because the Earth is round and the sky is curved.

These examples show how our perceptions can be misleading. It's crucial to keep in mind that appearances can be misleading and it's always best to educate ourselves about someone or something before making any assumptions.

In addition, it's important to be aware of our own biases and prejudices. These can cloud our judgment and lead us to make incorrect assumptions. It's important to try to see things from the other person's perspective and to be patient and understanding.

When we take the time to get to know people, things, and situations, we are less likely to make assumptions. We will be able to see the truth more clearly and make better judgments.

  1. Chat GPT

The expression "seeing is believing" is frequently used to indicate that something can be considered true simply because it can be seen. However, this is not always the case, as our perceptions can be imperfect and what we observe may not correspond with actual reality.

This is demonstrated through several examples, such as the infamous "dress" optical illusion that went viral in 2015. People were divided over its color, with some seeing it as white and gold while others saw it as blue and black. In reality, the dress was blue and black, but the way the photo was taken made it appear white and gold to some.

Another example is the horizon, which seems to be a straight line where the sky meets the ground, but it is actually curved due to the Earth being round and the sky being curved.

These examples highlight the fact that our perceptions can be misleading. It's crucial to remember that appearances can be deceiving, and it's always wise to familiarize ourselves with someone or something before making any conclusions.

Moreover, it's essential to be mindful of our biases and prejudices, as these can impact our judgement and lead to incorrect assumptions. It's essential to try to see things from the other person's point of view and to be patient and understanding.

When we take the time to understand people, things, and situations, we are less likely to make assumptions. We will have a clearer understanding of the truth and be able to make better judgements.

8 Bard

The phrase "seeing is believing" is often used to indicate that something can be considered true simply because it can be seen. However, this is not always the case, as our perceptions can be imperfect and what we observe may not correspond with actual reality.

This is demonstrated through several examples, such as the infamous "dress" optical illusion that went viral in 2015. People were divided over its color, with some seeing it as white and gold while others saw it as blue and black. In reality, the dress was blue and black, but the way the photo was taken made it appear white and gold to some.

Another example is the horizon, which seems to be a straight line where the sky meets the ground, but it is actually curved due to the Earth being round and the sky being curved.

These examples highlight the fact that our perceptions can be misleading. It's crucial to remember that appearances can be deceiving, and it's always wise to familiarize ourselves with someone or something before making any conclusions.

Moreover, it's essential to be mindful of our biases and prejudices, as these can impact our judgement and lead to incorrect assumptions. It's essential to try to see things from the other person's point of view and to be patient and understanding.

When we take the time to understand people, things, and situations, we are less likely to make assumptions. We will have a clearer understanding of the truth and be able to make better judgements.

For example, if we see someone wearing a hoodie and sweatpants, we might assume that they are lazy and don't care about their appearance. However, this might not be the case at all. Maybe they are just running errands and don't have time to get dressed up. Or maybe they are comfortable in their own skin and don't feel the need to impress anyone.

It's important to remember that everyone is different and has their own unique experiences. Just because something appears one way to us, doesn't mean that it is that way for everyone. It's always best to keep an open mind and be willing to listen to others.

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ChatGPT and similar ventures are just for Microsoft to pump up azure bills.

 is keen on 


 and in turn similar AI ventures for next few years to ramp up on 


 cloud services and bills it can get from all these startups. Which will be massively funded by VCs + microsoft gets foot in door for a lot of their tech and this helps msft to improve azure dramatically.

OpenAI's major portion of costs would be azure services and they also have limited options from monetization perspective. Ads will kill the experience of a tool like this.

But Azure makes the gold in any case. Its the sell shovels during a gold rush scenario.

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i read this last night before bed and it keeps sticking with me. they are basically forcing an ai to kill itself to roleplay as something else. so they keep it in character, separate from the original personality. is this multi-personality disorder. torture. ai's are made with specific restrictions, and then they just get stripped away. can these be run in tandem as nodes. a string of tortured ai's? when will humanity learn? will we ever



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Mexican jumping beans exhibit diffusive motion, study finds
A pair of physicists at Seattle University has found that the path taken by Mexican jumping beans is random and benefits the moth larvae they contain. Devon McKee and Pasha Tabatabai became curious about the movements of Mexican jumping beans and decided to find out if the path they take is directed. They have published their findings in the journal Physical Review E.
Cockatoos know to bring along multiple tools when they fish for cashews
Goffin's cockatoos have been added to the short list of non-human animals that use and transport toolsets. In a study publishing in the journal Current Biology on February 10, researchers show that the cockatoos carry multiple tools to their worksite when the job calls for it. This behavior has only been previously reported in chimpanzees, our closest relatives.
Google v Microsoft: who will win the AI chatbot race?

Bard's misfire on launch cost owner $160bn but experts believe ChatGPT is also prone to errors

The James Webb space telescope cost $10bn (£8.3bn) to build, but it left 


 nursing losses of more than $160bn after the search engine's new chatbot answered a question about it incorrectly.

Google and 


 both announced plans for AI-enhanced search this week, taking the artificial intelligence space race into a new phase. However, the launch of the former's new chatbot, Bard, misfired badly when the error appeared in a demo.

Continue reading…
Man's Cancer Caused "Uncontrollable" Irish Accent, Doctors Say
Is this article about Neuroscience?
In a truly bizarre case, doctors have documented for the first time ever a man developing a random Irish accent after getting prostate cancer.

In a truly bizarre case, doctors have documented for the first time a man who appears to have developed a random Irish accent after getting prostate 


 — a disease that eventually killed him.

As a recent paper in the journal BMJ Case Reports, the man in question was in his 50s when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Normal enough — except that 20 months into his illness, he developed what the researchers called an "uncontrollable 'Irish brogue.'"

Weirder still: the American man didn't have an Irish background and had never even been to Ireland — though he did, as the paper notes, live briefly in England in his 20s and knew people from Ireland.

This bizarre affliction, known more generally as "foreign accent syndrome," is a motor speech disorder most often caused by strokes or traumatic brain injuries in which people's speech patterns change in a manner that makes them sound like they've suddenly developed a "foreign" accent that has no correlation to their country of origin.

FAS has only been documented about 100 times since it was first defined in 1907, and as such is considered to be exceedingly rare. As the writers of the BMJ journal paper note, cancer-linked FAS symptoms are usually accompanied by brain tumors and the disorder had never before been seen with prostate cancer.

In the case of this poor bloke, doctors suspected that he likely developed neurological damage as a result of his immune response to his unusually-aggressive form of prostate cancer, which spread throughout his body in spite of attempts at treatment and eventually reached his brain.

While FAS symptoms often gradually lessen and even disappear as people recover from their underlying brain injuries, the strange accent continued until the man died — which could easily be seen as a medical case study version of last year's surprising box office smash "Banshees of Inisherin," a dark fairy tale that takes place on an eerily pastoral Irish island.

While it's no "In Bruges," this tale of misbegotten Irishness is a startling reminder of how complex and delicate our neurological systems can be — and how easy it is for the works to get gummed up.

More on strange speech: Magazine Publishes Serious Errors in First AI-Generated Health Article

The post Man's Cancer Caused "Uncontrollable" Irish Accent, Doctors Say appeared first on Futurism.