We leaves Earth because it is depraved of resources, but actually the aliens found the resources valuable to them on Earth so they colonizes it. But we humans need to return and reclaim our homeland right? How can we let aliens do anything they want?
How could artificial image and text functions inside
change the way we use it. And would it even be a good idea?
As AI and automaton continues to take more jobs, if we project that into the future a few decades, two views I understand predict our societal future: one is a utopia where people are free to do what they please, making art, enjoying leisure, while robots do all the hard work. The other view is a dystopia where the makers of the automation are mega rich while everyone out of work is mega poor with no middle class. The latter view is kind of where we have been headed the last few decades (increased income inequality) and I wonder if anyone has talked about what needs to happen to steer society in the direction of the first view?
|submitted by /u/EnergyTransitionNews
In the near future, how could the United States implement Universal Basic Services to include healthcare, housing, education, transportation?
With more and more people building home gyms instead of joining fitness centers, treadmills are among the smartest purchases for exercise enthusiasts or anyone looking to get back into shape.
There are considerable benefits to putting a treadmill in your living room, office, or basement. Treadmills are easy to use, easy to maintain, and provide a sweat-inducing workout in a short amount of time. And, of course, there's the time-saving aspect of having a treadmill at home; eliminating the trip going back and forth to the gym. Here are some tips for shopping for one of the best treadmills, along with our recommendations.
— Best Overall: NordicTrack T Series 6.5
— Best for Home Office: UREVO 2-in-1 Under Desk Treadmill
— Best Smart: Echelon Stride
— Best for Walking: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M
— Best Budget: Xterra TR150 Folding Treadmill
How We Selected the Best Treadmills
A treadmill was my gateway to a life of running. My parents bought a treadmill for our basement when I was in high school, and I logged countless hours just walking on the machine. It was instrumental in helping me keep in shape when I was home on winter breaks from college and away. I used a treadmill while training for my first race to teach myself what a specific pace felt like. In coming up with this list, I surveyed the market and considered user reviews. This list of the best treadmills for your home gym is based on three criteria.
Budget: Treadmills vary in price primarily due to the extra features the machine offers. This list has less expensive treadmill options for people on a budget and high-end machines that a person would find in a commercial gym.
Variety: Some of the models are incredibly basic, with few bells and whistles. One or two of the treadmills offer so much technology the machine might even be smart enough to do your taxes
Exercise Objectives: A few treadmills on this list are explicitly designed for hardcore runners or anyone in training for a specific event. Some of the treadmills on the list were chosen specifically with new runners in mind. One of the treadmills on this is specifically for walkers.
Best Overall: NordicTrack T Series 6.5
Why It Made the Cut: A fitness-center-caliber workout machine right in your own home. The impressive decline and incline capabilities of the Nordictrack T Series 6.5 will challenge every runner, while the FlexSelect cushioning of the running belt will soften the impact on the joints.
— Dimensions: 73 x 35.8 x 67.5 inches
— Weight: 203 pounds
— Maximum Speed: 10 mph
— 30-Day iFIT Membership included
— Space-saving design
— Folds for easy storage
— Membership isn't included in purchase
— Extremely heavy to move
You know that treadmill at the gym that you love? Now you can have it in your house. The NordicTrack T 6.5 Treadmill offers a OneTouch incline and speed control, so you don't have to mess around with buttons in the middle of your workout.
The machine has plenty of leg and elbow space, so you're not bumping into the sides and losing your balance as you run. And the FlexSelect deck cushioning protects your joints for those long, intense training runs.
NordicTrack's innovative space-saver design and EasyLift assist make folding up the unit and storing it out of the way a perfect option for people in smaller living spaces. Another excellent feature of the NordicTrack T Series 6.5 is the iFit on-demand workout app. Users can stream thousands of live and on-demand workouts, all led by elite iFIT Trainers. You can choose between high-energy studio classes or global workouts that bring different parts of the world right into your living room or home gym. Each training session will automatically adjust your speed, decline, and incline to optimize the workout. Each treadmill purchase includes a free 30-day trial of iFit.
Best for Home Office: UREVO 2-in-1 Under Desk Treadmill
Why It Made the Cut: Perfect for multi-tasking, the UREVO 2-in-1 treadmill is great for people who have time to work out and for people who really don't.
— Dimensions: 58 x 29 x 6 inches
— Weight: 68.4 pounds
— Maximum Speed: 7.6 mph
— Two machines in one
— 16.9 inch wide running beltComes fully assembled
— LED Display and remote control
— Wheels make for easy moving and storage
— Phone holder
— Basic display options
— Possible hazard while working
The UREVO treadmill is a multi-purpose machine designed for running or walking. Just leave the frame up for a great running workout or take it down to walk during a Zoom call or Netflix binge session. The 16.9-inch wide belt gives users more room to move around and more freedom during a run, while the non-slip surface will make running and walking a little easier on the body.
Sporting an LED Display with a remote control option, the machine tracks speed, distance, time, and calories while the remote makes changing speeds and stopping the machine simpler. The powerful 2.5HP motor is quietly efficient. The unit quickly switches from walking to running modes and can be easily transported.
Best Smart: Echelon Stride
Why It Made the Cut: Functionality and technology meets intelligent design in the latest addition to the top-notch Echelon product family. The Echelon Stride is powerful—with a top speed of 12 mph—and portable, allowing users to move the unit around the home gym or living space.
— Dimensions: 69.3 x 31 x 49.2 inches
— Weight: 154 pounds
— Max Speed: 12 mph
— Meets strict international safety standards
— Eight preprogrammed workouts
— Equipped with USB charger
— Equipped with speakers
— Secure tablet holder
— High price point
— Monthly fee for app membership
The Echelon Stride puts safety and convenience first and meets some of the strictest safety standards in the world for exercise equipment, thanks in part to a metal safety bar underneath the running deck that protects objects from being pulled under. There are also side steps for getting on and off the machine.
Heart rate sensors are integrated into the handlebars. The machine has a max speed of 12 mph and a max incline of 10 percent. The Echelon Stride comes equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, a USB charging port for other devices, and a built-in steel handle for moving the unit around the house.
Best for Walking: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M
Why It Made the Cut: The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M is an excellent option for people who might not be ready to spend an entire paycheck on a treadmill. This machine is compact, lightweight, and moves solely on leg power.
— Dimensions: 49 x 23 x 50 inches
— Weight: 46.7 pounds
— Maximum Speed: .1 mph
— Compact and ergonomic
— Easy to move around the house
— Requires no power so can work anywhere in the house
— No assembly required
— Maximum 220-pound weight capacity
— Too bare bones
The Sunny Health & Fitness treadmill is the perfect beginner machine and a smart purchase for anyone looking to start a running habit or find another way to get their daily steps in.
A solid but portable treadmill created for small spaces, the Sunny SF-T1407M treadmill still offers a decent-sized running surface. The treadmill is durable and will withstand power walking or light jogging. That said, the weight limit is 220 pounds so heavier runners should consider another machine.
Best Budget: Xterra TR150 Folding Treadmill
Why It Made the Cut: The perfect machine for people who are unable to spend top dollar but still want a reliable treadmill that will provide a solid workout.
— Dimensions: 63.4 x 28.75 x 51.4 inches
— Weight: 108 pounds
— Maximum Speed: 10 mph
— Lower price point
— Larger running surface
— 12 preset programs
— Grip sensors to track training zones
— Quiet but powerful motor
— Maximum weight capacity of only 250 pounds
— Manual incline setting
— Not many extras
Not everyone has the space or budget to purchase a large, expensive treadmill to use at home. The TR150 folding treadmill from XTerra solves both these problems with a high-quality and compact machine at a lower price.
The folding deck design is quick and easy to use, and the simple-to-read LCD will track the essential parts of your workout like time, speed, distance, calories, and pulse. The hand pulse grip sensors will keep you updated, so staying in your training zone is a breeze.
The deck cushioning provides multiple cushioning points for maximum impact absorption while the steady and almost silent motor powers the treadmill to a top speed of 10 mph. The larger running surface provides ample room for taller users, but keep the 250-pound weight limit in mind.
Things To Consider Before Buying a Treadmill
Before you start rearranging the furniture to accommodate a new treadmill, here are some things to consider:
Goals: What are your reasons for buying a treadmill? Are you looking to get into shape or back into shape? Maybe you're training to run your first race or compete in a half or full marathon? Perhaps the thought of going back to the gym is enough to make you want to stay home for the winter. All of these reasons are valid for browsing this list of the best treadmills for your home.
Usage: If you're interested in getting back into shape without a gym membership, a home treadmill is a good idea. If you're going to spend a substantial amount of money on a treadmill, you should come up with a plan for how often you're going to hop on the machine. You're also going to want to find a spot for the treadmill that will remind you to use the machine (and make you feel guilty when you don't).
Space: The good news for people interested in buying a treadmill is that many models are now foldable and take up far less space than previous generations. That said, a treadmill still takes up a considerable amount of room just standing up straight in the corner. If you're lucky enough to have an extra room to convert into a home gym or don't mind staring at a treadmill during family movie night in the living room, a treadmill is a smart purchase.
Q: Is running on a treadmill better than running outside?
Running on a treadmill isn't any easier or harder than running outside, as both are dependent on the amount of effort a person puts into the run. Both activities have pros and cons. Treadmills allow a runner to set and stick to a pace, but they don't offer much of a challenge unless a runner changes the speed or incline. Outside running offers uphills, downhills turns, and terrain plus something different to look at every time. Of course, the home treadmill is always available for a run, while rain, wind, and snow outside can cancel workout plans. Both options also have a place in a runner's regular routine.
Q: Are treadmills bad for my knees?
This all depends on the activity. If you're jogging or running, treadmills can put some stress on your knees, but so will an outdoor run up steep hills. Increasing the speed on a treadmill and running for long periods could cause a little more irritation on the knees and joints. If you're using a treadmill specifically for walking, a treadmill is no better or worse on the body than walking outside.
Q: Is the calorie count accurate on treadmills?
The calorie count on most treadmills is accurate as long as the machine asks for your weight before working out. Most devices don't ask for weight and assume the average user is 155 pounds. People under that weight are actually burning fewer calories during each treadmill session. For those interested in getting an accurate reading of calories burned, heart rate, and other vital stats, we suggest buying a smartwatch for tracking purposes.
Treadmills are the ideal choice for a home exercise machine, and they're useful for people of all ages and fitness levels. The machine will long outlast your interest in going to the gym and eliminate excuses for not exercising during inclement weather.
No matter your fitness goal, buying a treadmill for your home is a smart purchase. Just do your homework before buying and make a promise to yourself that the machine will be put to good use and not become just another place to hang clothes.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism's owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.
The post The Best Treadmills of 2023 appeared first on Futurism.
I believe that Multivac mirrors what ChatGPT may become, maybe not sentient, but we definitely could become hopelessly dependent on it if we are not careful.
We the Baddies
Wondering if ex-FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, who's currently on house arrest at his parents' crib awaiting both criminal and civil trial for fraud, campaign finance law violations, and other very serious charges, did something wrong? He is, too.
"Just, everyone left," SBF told The Financial Times, detailing how, in his eyes at least, the last few days at the now-bankrupt crypto exchange FTX went down. "I couldn't do it alone. And, if I'm alone, then maybe I'm wrong."
"I am pretty impervious to pressure, but at some point," he continued, "I started to feel like maybe I'm the one who's wrong here."
Us too, Sam. Us too.
Adults in the Room
In the article, the FT lays out a seriously detailed account of the last few more-or-less-functioning days of the once high-flying crypto exchange, reconstructed by way of interviews with unnamed former FTX employees, in addition to written internal and external FTX correspondence. Unsurprisingly, the word "chaotic" seems to barely even cut it.
"It was this combination of a real, physical hurricane and a psychological hurricane," said one former employee. "It was the most crazy, hectic 24 hours of my life. I felt like my worldview was falling apart. FTX was not just a job for me and for other people. FTX was my life."
While most of the fallen FTX's former execs are said to be working with the US government in the case against Bankman-Fried, the 29-year-old Palo Alto native has maintained his innocence, continuing to insist that if he'd been left to helm the company, FTX investors would have already gotten at least some of their money back.
"It felt to me like everyone around me had lost their minds all at once. And everyone is behaving bizarrely poorly," Bankman-Fried told the FT, explaining that, as the walls started to close in, his friends and advisors all seemed to crumble under the pressure. "I did feel sort of like there were no adults left in the room, like everyone is a child now."
Indeed, from the outside, it certainly does seem like FTX was run by too many too-young kids. That, said, though, whether he's criminally convicted or not, Bankman-Fried was the 20-something-in-chief, allegedly still managing billions of assets in Quickbooks and chatting with fellow execs in a groupchat called "Wirefraud." His employees may not have acted like perfect grown-ups, but neither, it seems, did he.
READ MORE: 'Sam? Are you there?!' The bizarre and brutal final hours of FTX [The Financial Times]
More on behaving like an adult: SBF and Caroline Ellison Allegedly Had a Secret Groupchat Called "Wirefraud"
The post Sam Bankman-Fried Ponders Whether He Might Have Done Anything Wrong appeared first on Futurism.
There's something strange going on with Saturn's beautiful rings.
The gas giant experiences four seasons, much like our own except seven Earth years in length, thanks to its tilted axis. During the planet's equinox, when its rings tilt edge-on to the Sun, mysterious and fleeting new features appear in its rings called "spokes."
As NASA explains, astronomers have started referring to this period as "spoke season," something that has been observed since the early 1980s thanks to NASA's Voyager mission.
Now, the agency's Hubble Space Telescope has captured images of these strange lines crossing Saturn's rings, heralding the start of the planet's most puzzling transitional period.
We still don't know why these mysterious spokes appear, let alone why they're seasonal in nature.
"Despite years of excellent observations by the Cassini mission, the precise beginning and duration of the spoke season is still unpredictable, rather like predicting the first storm during hurricane season," said NASA senior planetary scientist Amy Simon in a statement.
But scientists do have an educated guess: the spokes may be the result of changes in Saturn's magnetic fields caused by solar wind. This electrically charged phenomenon, which triggers northern lights back on Earth, may cause icy particles in the planet's smallest rings to float above the rest of the rings, causing them to appear as fleeting shadows in Hubble's observations.
"It's a fascinating magic trick of nature we only see on Saturn — for now at least," Simon said.
Astronomers are now combining data taken by Hubble with observations made by its Cassini probe to get a better handle on the mysterious phenomenon.
READ MORE: Hubble Captures the Start of a New Spoke Season at Saturn [NASA]
More on Saturn: Something Weird Is Happening on Saturn's Snow-Covered Moon, Scientists Say
The post Strange Lines Appear in Saturn's Rings appeared first on Futurism.
Scientific Reports, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-28839-yVaccination status and long
Through a series of cruel experiments, British scientists say they've found psychological evidence linking flashy sports cars to small penis size in men.
In a yet-to-be-peer-reviewed paper out of University College London, the researchers behind the study — evocatively titled "Small Penises and Fast Cars: Evidence for a Psychological Link" — detailed how they, in their own words, "manipulated what men believed about their own penis size" before asking them questions about luxury cars.
The experiment was deceptively simple: the researchers gave participants "false information" (read: lied to) via an online surveying platform by telling them that the average erect penis size is roughly seven inches (when in reality, most research indicates that it's between five and six inches) and then, primed with that phony statistic, asked them a series of questions pertaining to consumer habits and desires.
"We found that males, and males over 30 in particular, rated sports cars as more desirable when they were made to feel that they had a small penis," the Machiavellian researchers wrote in the study.
According to the paper, there were other versions of this veritable mindfuck of an experiment in which the British researchers "manipulated [subjects'] self-esteem in different ways," but their professed link between the self-perception of having a smaller penis and desiring to own a fancy sports car didn't play out in those.
In other words, it seems a lot as though in an attempt to show that the trope of buying expensive sports cars to overcompensate for having a small penis is "grounded in a psychological truth," these seemingly sadistic researchers ended up playing into the same kind of tired body-negative stereotypes that have for millennia made men act out over a phony sense of shame and inadequacy.
It's no Stanford prison experiment, but perhaps next time psychological researchers will think twice before pandering to one of our culture's worst lies.
More on cruel experiments: Scientist Who Gene Edited Human Babies Says Mistakes Were Made
The post Scientists Officially Link Sports Cars to Small Penis Size appeared first on Futurism.
Researchers for a pharmaceutical company stumbled upon a nightmarish realisation, proving there's nothing intrinsically good about machine learning
Here's a story that evangelists for so-called AI (artificial intelligence) – or machine-learning (ML) – might prefer you didn't dwell upon. It comes from the pages of Nature Machine Intelligence, as sober a journal as you could wish to find in a scholarly library. It stars four research scientists – Fabio Urbina, Filippa Lentzos, Cédric Invernizzi and Sean Ekins – who work for a pharmaceutical company building machine-learning systems for finding "new therapeutic inhibitors" – substances that interfere with a chemical reaction, growth or other biological activity involved in human diseases.
The essence of pharmaceutical research is drug discovery. It boils down to a search for molecules that may have therapeutic uses and, because there are billions of potential possibilities, it makes searching for needles in haystacks look like child's play. Given that, the arrival of ML technology, enabling machines to search through billions of possibilities, was a dream come true and it is now embedded everywhere in the industry.Continue reading…
- The law was a response to pet owners whose animals had been stolen and sold to laboratories.
|submitted by /u/LibertarianAtheist_
I was watching question time and they were talking about this chat bot that can write Shakespeare, tell jokes etc. AL is obviously getting a lot more advanced. Will we all been replaced
|submitted by /u/ForHidingSquirrels
|submitted by /u/Willheimer
When it comes to the search engine department,
is finally giving Google a literal run for its money for the first time in well over a decade. Earlier this week, Microsoft revealed its newly reinvented and AI-augmented Bing search engine, which is powered by a souped up version of OpenAI's ChatGPT. In a conversational format much like the chatbot it's built on, the new Bing can answer almost any question you throw at it with impressive results (though varying degrees of accuracy).
While some employees at the company are sobbing tears of joy, Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella took the opportunity to address concerns over safely developing its AI in an interview with CBS News.
First, he defended the decision to release the AI to the public, even if it's still full of kinks.
"The only way for any new technology to be really perfected is to be in the market with real human feedback," Nadella said. "If anything, in particular with AI, it has to get aligned with human preferences, both personally and societally, in terms of the norms."
"And yes, we will have many, many mechanisms in place to ensure that nothing biased, nothing harmful gets generated," he added.
At the interviewer's prompting, the Microsoft CEO acknowledged that the ominous possibility of an AI going rogue and turning against humanity is a valid concern.
"Runaway AI — if it happens — it's a real problem," Nadella admitted.
"But the way to sort of deal with that is to make sure it never runs away," he confidently avered. Who woulda thunk it!
Beyond stating the obvious, Nadella went on to outline the context in which us humans should use AI to avoid a collision course with a dystopian future.
"The first set of categories in which we should use these powerful models are where humans, unambiguously, unquestionably, are in charge," Nadella said. "And so as long as we sort of start there, characterize these models, make these models more safe and over time much more explainable, then we can think about other forms of usage."
More on AI search: Google's Demo of Upcoming AI Shows It Making Huge Factual Mistake
The post Microsoft CEO Pretty Sure He Can Keep AI From Escaping Human Control appeared first on Futurism.
The Sun apparently got a little goofy as scientists observed a small, strange chunk of it break off and doing a little jig.
As Space.com reports, this rare "polar vortex" was captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory earlier in February — and beyond that observation, scientists are still trying to figure out exactly what was going on here.
According to Scott McIntosh, the deputy director of Boulder, Colorado's National Center for Atmospheric Research, this fascinating filament is seemingly the first of its kind and may have to do with another bizarre observation: a "hedgerow in the solar plasma," as the solar physicist told Space.com, that occurs at exactly 55 degrees latitude at the Sun's poles once per the star's 11-year sunspot cycle.
"Once every solar cycle, it forms at the 55 degree latitude and it starts to march up to the solar poles," McIntosh told the space website. "It's very curious. There is a big 'why' question around it. Why does it only move toward the pole one time and then disappears and then comes back, magically, three or four years later in exactly the same region?"
While scientists have seen filaments break off of the Sun before, they've never seen one turn back in on itself and form a strange whirlwind quite like this one.
Just a few days after this funny little filament was spotted, two back-to-back solar flares that were powerful enough to knock out short-wave radios on Earth were also spotted on the Sun — but those were less noteworthy, if only because we're in the active period of the Sun's 11-year cycle, when these sorts of flares and fanfares occur with more regularity.
Given the timing, we're surely in for more solar treats in the coming years — and hopefully, they won't mess with our Terran communications too much.
More on the Sun: Amazing Video Shows Huge "Snake" Slithering Across the Sun's Surface
The post Small Chunk Breaks Off the Sun, Does a Little Dance appeared first on Futurism.
The Original Startup Behind Stable Diffusion Has Launched a Generative AI for Video
Will Douglas Heaven | MIT Technology Review
"In a demo reel posted on its website, Runway shows how its software, called Gen-1, can turn clips of people on a street into claymation puppets, or books stacked on a table into a cityscape at night. Runway hopes that Gen-1 will do for video what Stable Diffusion did for images. 'We've seen a big explosion in image-generation models,' says Runway CEO and cofounder Cristóbal Valenzuela. 'I truly believe that 2023 is going to be the year of video.'i"
A Bold Plan to Beam Solar Energy Down From Space
Ramin Skibba | Wired
"Whether you're covering deserts, ugly parking lots, canals, or even sunny lakes with solar panels, clouds will occasionally get in the way—and every day the sun must set. No problem, says the European Space Agency: Just put the solar arrays in space. The agency recently announced a new exploratory program called Solaris, which aims to figure out if it is technologically and economically feasible to launch solar structures into orbit, use them to harness the sun's power, and transmit energy to the ground."
7 Problems Facing Bing, Bard, and the Future of AI Search
James Vincent | The Verge
"Satya Nadella, Microsoft's CEO, describes the changes as a new paradigm—a technological shift equal in impact to the introduction of graphical user interfaces or the smartphone. And with that shift comes the potential to redraw the landscape of modern tech—to dethrone Google and drive it from one of the most profitable territories in modern business. Even more, there's the chance to be the first to build what comes after the web. But each new era of tech comes with new problems, and this one is no different."
Electric Vehicles Could Match Gasoline Cars on Price This Year
Jack Ewing | The New York Times
"Increased competition, government incentives and falling prices for lithium and other battery materials are making electric vehicles noticeably more affordable. The tipping point when electric vehicles become as cheap as or cheaper than cars with internal combustion engines could arrive this year for some mass market models and is already the case for some luxury vehicles."
Researchers Discover a More Flexible Approach to Machine Learning
Steven Nadis | Quanta
"Apart from applications like autonomous driving and flight, liquid networks seem well suited to the analysis of electric power grids, financial transactions, weather and other phenomena that fluctuate over time. In addition, Hasani said, the latest version of liquid networks can be used "to perform brain activity simulations at a scale not realizable before.'i"
Rolls-Royce Nuclear Engine Could Power Quick Trips to the Moon and Mars
Kevin Hurler | Gizmodo
"The British aerospace engineering company says it's developing a micro-nuclear reactor that the company hopes could be a source of fuel for long trips to the Moon and Mars. …Since the nuclear reactor won't have to carry as much fuel as a chemical propulsion rocket, the entire system will be lighter allowing for faster travel or increased payloads."
The Generative AI Race Has a Dirty Secret
Chris Stokel-Walker | Wired
"The race to build high-performance, AI-powered search engines is likely to require a dramatic rise in computing power, and with it a massive increase in the amount of energy that tech companies require and the amount of carbon they emit. …Martin Bouchard, cofounder of Canadian data center company QScale, believes that, based on his reading of Microsoft and Google's plans for search, adding generative AI to the process will require 'at least four or five times more computing per search' at a minimum."
We Were Promised Smaller Nuclear Reactors. Where Are They?
Casey Crownhart | MIT Technology Review
"For over a decade, we've heard that small reactors could be a big part of nuclear power's future. "Because of their size, small modular reactors (SMRs) could solve some of the major challenges of traditional nuclear power, making plants quicker and cheaper to build and safer to operate. "That future may have just gotten a little closer."
How Our Reality May Be a Sum of All Possible Realities
Charlie Wood | Quanta
"The most powerful formula in physics starts with a slender S, the symbol for a sort of sum known as an integral. Further along comes a second S, representing a quantity known as action. Together, these twin S's form the essence of an equation that is arguably the most effective diviner of the future yet devised. The oracular formula is known as the Feynman path integral. As far as physicists can tell, it precisely predicts the behavior of any quantum system—an electron, a light ray or even a black hole."
Astronomers are puzzled by a ring around the icy dwarf planet Quaoar that is much farther from its parent body than thought possible
- Since the Supreme Court struck down previous restrictions on sports betting in 2018, 36 states have legalized it (26 of which allow mobile betting), and new ballot initiatives are proposed every year.
"The cause of a gambling problem is the individual's inability to control the gambling." So says the National Council on Problem Gambling, an organization funded by the gambling industry to help people who have become addicted to its products. This attitude—that anyone who falls into gambling addiction has only themselves to blame—has allowed state lawmakers to ignore arguments that more access to gambling might make it easier for people to lose control. Since the Supreme Court struck down previous restrictions on sports betting in 2018, 36 states have legalized it (26 of which allow mobile betting), and new ballot initiatives are proposed every year. If you've watched a sporting event lately, you've been bombarded with ads for online sports gambling—and this weekend's Super Bowl will be no exception.
Similarly, when marijuana legalization is debated, supporters emphasize how the responsible use of marijuana might alleviate the pain of those suffering from incurable diseases. They also point to the worst excesses of the War on Drugs, which disproportionately affect Black people, though are fortunately getting rarer. This argument has been successful: Only four states still prohibit all uses of marijuana. In 19 states, the recreational use of marijuana is now fully legal; all other states allow medicinal use of cannabis products.
When arguments are made for loosening the government's restrictions on vice, usually proponents make their case with idealistic situations: Shouldn't responsible, independent adults be able to make decisions for themselves about how they spend their money or use their body? This seems appealing, and there certainly are well-informed adults who gamble and use marijuana judiciously. But focusing on these ideal cases and basing our laws on them disregards millions of people who suffer because of their addictions—and it obscures the underhanded tactics of companies who make money off the misery of addicts.
[Stephen Marchin: America's gambling addiction is metastasizing]
These debates expose a conflict over what we believe about virtue and vice. If we think that human beings—especially young people who are forming the habits that will last a lifetime—tend to make decisions based on what they have reasoned to be their best interests, then legalization makes sense. If life is a series of contracts we enter into freely, then there's no reason to keep potential harms off our smartphone or out of storefront dispensaries. However, this way of seeing the world overlooks the fact that our hearts and minds are shaped not only by reason but also by our experiences, affections, and, most important, our habits, which are just as often inexplicably self-destructive as they are reasonable.
A rise in access to legal gambling will inevitably lead to a rise in gambling addicts. Natasha Dow Schüll's book, Addiction by Design, carefully documents how electronic slot machines are designed to get players addicted. One game designer says: "Once you've hooked 'em in, you want to keep pulling money out of them until you have it all; the barb is in and you're yanking the hook." Sports-betting companies have enticed colleges and universities to allow them to promote their products on campus, then offered free bets to lure customers in.
State laws tend to allow the gambling industry to regulate itself, which means that these companies are expected to identify and exclude their steadiest customers. This has been as unsuccessful as one might expect; as much as 50 percent of revenue comes from "problem gamblers," while one study showed that in 1998, only 4 percent of gambling revenue from video lottery games came from "responsible" gamers. Just as tobacco companies would go out of business if people used their products responsibly, gambling wouldn't be a multibillion-dollar industry if it weren't for addicts.
Marijuana has a more complicated legacy, especially because it has real (but rather modest) benefits for medicinal use. However, careful analyses show that marijuana legalization has contributed to a rise in opioid-related deaths, especially when dispensaries can legally sell all sorts of cannabis products. Permitting dispensaries also increases referrals for addiction treatment, which is unsurprising considering that higher-potency products are more dangerous. The best evidence we have suggests that marijuana is harmful to teenage brains as they develop and that more teenagers use marijuana when it is legalized in their state.
The industries that profit off addiction want to frame the question of access around "responsible use" and occasionally suggest that some people might have a genetic predisposition to addiction. This individualistic framing allows them to avoid talking about how much effort they're putting into making their products as accessible as possible. Even more important, it elides the question of whether we are all better off when it's easier to start an addiction and harder to escape one.
There's a richer and more compelling vision, one that is drawn from philosophical traditions across the ages. It recognizes that our life together isn't merely a series of contracts we negotiate, and that our ability to make good decisions isn't based simply on our rationality. Virtue is not simply doing good deeds, but also a set of dispositions and habits that must be practiced in order to flourish. Just as people can be sucked into addictions, we can also work to develop the virtues inside us so that we can be kind, generous, and self-controlled throughout our lives.
[From the December 2016 issue: How casinos enable gambling addicts]
Driven by this rich view of life together, we should make it as difficult as possible to access things that impair our ability to make good decisions. It's not the government's primary job to protect people from their own worst impulses, nor is the state the primary source of our virtue formation. But we do recognize that policy plays a role in shaping the environment so that we can develop our virtues. Just as highways have guardrails for the moments when a driver isn't exercising perfect self-control, so we also need guardrails to help people from driving off cliffs of vice.
People often point to the historical example of Prohibition in America to prove that overregulation of vice carries its own dangers. While the classical tradition of virtue encourages moderation in all things (including moderate regulation and moderate prohibition), this tale is more complicated than the one that exists in the popular imagination. Domestic violence and alcohol-related illnesses were at record highs prior to the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment, and Prohibition was effective at reducing both. There's no evidence that organized crime increased in strength because of Prohibition, merely that it became more visible. In any case, a century later we can design our regulations around gambling and marijuana to protect the most vulnerable people—especially young people—while still allowing those who want to lose some money to do so with a little extra effort and permitting those who could benefit from marijuana to do so under the supervision of a physician.
Some judicious restrictions are better for everyone: Gambling should take place in casinos, not on smartphones, and marijuana should be used only under a health-care provider's supervision. We will need a lot more than a few regulations to help one another grow in virtue—but right now vice and its lobbyists have an unfair advantage that needs to be taken away.
This is an edition of The Wonder Reader, a newsletter in which our editors recommend a set of stories to spark your curiosity and fill you with delight. Sign up here to get it every Saturday morning.
When I was in college, an acquaintance who had graduated a few years prior came back to visit for the weekend. As we walked around campus on Saturday night, he flung his hands into the cold Connecticut air and exclaimed, "You guys are so lucky; you live a minute away from all your friends. You'll never have this again."
At the time, I thought it was kind of sad—a grown man pining for my life of university housing and late library nights. But his words have stuck with me in the years since. "In adulthood, as people grow up and go away, friendships are the relationships most likely to take a hit," my colleague Julie Beck wrote in 2015. The older you get, the more effort it takes to maintain connections, because you don't have as many built-in opportunities to see your friends every day.
The writer Jennifer Senior noted last year that the fact of our choosing friendships makes them both fragile and special: "You have to continually opt in. That you choose it is what gives it its value," she wrote. But that's also what makes friendships harder to hold on to as our lives evolve.
It's hard but not impossible. Senior notes that when it comes to friendship, "we are ritual-deficient, nearly devoid of rites that force us together." So we have to create them: weekly phone calls, friendship anniversaries, road trips, "whatever it takes."
"Friendship is the rare kind of relationship that remains forever available to us as we age," Senior writes. "It's a bulwark against stasis, a potential source of creativity and renewal in lives that otherwise narrow with time." It's something worth choosing, over and over again.
It's Your Friends Who Break Your Heart
By Jennifer Senior
The older we get, the more we need our friends—and the harder it is to keep them.
The Six Forces That Fuel Friendship
By Julie Beck
I've spent more than three years interviewing friends for "The Friendship Files." Here's what I've learned.
Why Making Friends in Midlife Is So Hard
By Katharine Smyth
I thought I was done dating. But after moving across the country, I had to start again—this time, in search of platonic love.
- How friendship changes at the end of life: In an edition of her Friendship Files series, Julie Beck spoke with two women who have spent time ministering to aging and dying members of their congregation.
- Want closer friendships? Move away from your friends. Distance isn't the barrier that some may think.
- A "distinctly human" trait that might actually be universal
- Palo Alto's first tech giant was a horse farm.
- The origins of office speak (From 2014)
In one of my favorite editions of Julie's Friendship Files, she spoke with three women who tried an interesting experiment to deal with "the friendship desert of modern adulthood": They entered into "arranged friendships," bringing together a group of strangers who committed to be friends through it all.
Would you consider a donation to support Weekend Reads, and our daily work?
The week at Retraction Watch featured:
- US federal research watchdog gets new permanent director
- 'I was fired up': Psychiatrist effort prompts retraction of antidepressant treatment paper
- The Whack-a-Mole problem: Hijacked journal still being indexed in Scopus even after discovery
- How fishy email addresses tipped off a sleuth to a paper mill
Our list of retracted or withdrawn COVID-19 papers is up to 290. There are more than 38,000 retractions in our database — which powers retraction alerts in EndNote, LibKey, Papers, and Zotero. And have you seen our leaderboard of authors with the most retractions lately — or our list of top 10 most highly cited retracted papers?
Here's what was happening elsewhere (some of these items may be paywalled, metered access, or require free registration to read):
- "Elsevier journal under fire for rejecting paper that didn't cite enough of its old papers."
- "How an Egyptian doctor won and lost a doctorate from Utrecht." His retractions.
- "Yes, peer review sucks. But attention-economy hellscapes would be worse."
- "In scholarly peer-review, discard bath water, keep baby."
- "Metrics have their merits."
- "Scientists, don't let your writing resemble something you pulled out of your bot."
- "Highly cited genetics studies found to contain sequence errors."
- Prominent geneticist David Latchman earns another correction.
- Why there should be more retractions. A conversation with our Ivan Oransky.
- "Rosenhan revisited: successful scientific fraud."
- "Red flags for paper mills need to go beyond the level of individual articles: a case study of Hindawi special issues."
- "Overall, we find 2.3% of retracted research is policy cited."
- "Here we describe our view of how amendments could and should work by drawing on the idea of an author-led version control system."
- "We found that 80.2% of FCOI reports in our sample had a publication in which a conflicted Investigator served as an author, yet less than half (43.6%) of these publications contained disclosure statements acknowledging the known FCOI."
- "Falsifying Attribution for a Bad Pun."
- A university "distances itself from a review on [COVID-19 vaccine] adverse effects made by three of its researchers."
- "Clarivate Adds Preprint Citation Index to the Web of Science."
- "3.1% of corresponding authors declared having committed scientific fraud in the past 5 years."
- Susan Zimmerman, a major figure in research integrity, has died.
- "Studies on COVID-19 and 5G radiation not government admission of link."
- Men's Health "publishes serious errors in first AI-generated health article."
Like Retraction Watch? You can make a tax-deductible contribution to support our work, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, or 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nature Communications, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36102-1The current use of elastography ultrasound faces challenges, including vulnerability to subjective manipulation, echo signal attenuation, unknown risks of elastic pressure and high imaging hardware cost. Here, the author shows a virtual elastography to empower low-end ultrasound devices with state-of-art elastography function.
Nature Communications, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36333-2
- Last summer, iRobot—Roomba's parent company—announced that they had finally agreed to be acquired by Amazon for $1.7 billion.
Scientific Reports, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-29457-4Numerical simulation of pneumatic throttle check valve using computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
The panic set in at the same point every semester: Whenever Ximena Arriaga, a psychology professor at Purdue University, got to attachment theory in her course on close relationships, the classroom grew tense. When she described how people who are anxiously attached can sometimes be demanding and vigilant—and that can drive their partners away—certain students looked disturbed. "I could just see in their face: I'm so screwed," Arriaga told me. When she explained how avoidantly attached people might feel overwhelmed by emotional intimacy, other students seemed so uncomfortable that they physically shrank back. Some would approach her after class and ask: "Is there any hope for me?"
These students were likely misinterpreting attachment theory in a way that experts told me they see all the time. The theory posits that there are three main attachment styles: securely attached people are trusting, and believe that others are generally worthy of trust; anxiously attached people long for closeness, but are paranoid that others will hurt them and are thus preoccupied with validation; avoidantly attached people, driven by the same fear of abandonment, keep others at arm's length. (More recently, some researchers have argued there is a fourth style: "disorganized," a combination of anxious and avoidant.) The common misconception is that one's style is set in stone during childhood, determined by connections with early caregivers, and doomed to play out in every relationship thereafter.
The reality of the theory is more complex than that. Your attachment style is not so much a fixed category you fall into, like an astrology sign, but rather a tendency that can vary among different relationships and, in turn, is continuously shaped by those relationships. Perhaps most important, you can take steps to change it. So Arriaga could give her concerned students good news: Attachment style isn't destiny.
[Read: I gave myself three months to change my personality]
You can't really blame people for misunderstanding attachment theory, given how significantly it's evolved since its conception. In the 1950s, the psychologist John Bowlby proposed the term attachment to describe the bond between infants and their mothers (fathers weren't considered particularly relevant at the time). His big idea—that the quality of a mother's care would essentially predict her infant's future well-being—built on another famous line of research that started the same decade: Harry Harlow's monkey studies.
In a series of experiments, Harlow, a University of Wisconsin psychologist, separated baby rhesus monkeys from their mothers and placed them in cages. In one study, each monkey was alone with two "surrogate mothers": one made of wire, which dispensed milk, and the other made of terry cloth, which did not. The monkeys overwhelmingly preferred the milkless but softer cloth monkey, cuddling up to it and running to it when frightened. In another study, when the baby rhesuses were deprived of any mother at all—real or fake—they seemed to lose their ability to socialize. Some stopped eating and eventually died. The ethics were dubious, but the takeaway was considered monumental: Children depend on their mothers not just for nourishment but for comfort—for an emotional bond seemingly so crucial that it was almost magical. Bowlby called that bond "attachment," and he believed that it formed a blueprint for all subsequent relationships. The effects of a mother's nurturing—or the consequences of her failures—were forever.
But Harlow's later research complicated that idea. When he put baby monkeys together—still with no surrogate or real mother—they fared much better than when they were in total isolation. And even those who'd been completely isolated for the first six months of life "achieved essentially complete social recovery" when placed with other monkeys. Michael Lewis, who directs the Institute for the Study of Child Development at Rutgers University's medical school, told me that researchers have realized something similar about human attachment: a mother-infant bond, or lack thereof, doesn't solely determine the health of the child's future relationships. Children are influenced by not just their parents but a whole world of other connections: peers, siblings, grandparents, neighbors, teachers. And early experiences aren't the only ones that are important. Researchers have found little correlation between childhood and adult attachment styles.
[How much alone time do kids need?]
That doesn't mean that attachment theory is bunk. Adults really do tend toward an attachment style—but it's multiply determined, which means that if you had a difficult childhood, you're not doomed. And although early theorists conceived of distinct attachment-style groups, researchers have since found that people fall not into an attachment bucket, but rather along a spectrum. Most people aren't too far apart on it. William Chopik, a psychologist at Michigan State University, put it this way: "Maybe you're a little bit more avoidant than me, or you're more secure than your other friends. There is a sense in which we're differing by, like, decimal points."
Some researchers have started referring to attachment "orientation," rather than "style," seemingly to avoid implying that it's a static personality trait. Amir Levine, a neuroscientist, Columbia University psychiatrist, and co-author of Attached, told me you can think of an attachment orientation as a working model of the world: a set of beliefs that are constantly put to the test. Those beliefs stem largely from the interactions you've already had—but your subsequent interactions keep shaping your expectations, which means that your working model can keep evolving.
In fact, it's likely to. On average, people tend to grow toward security as they get older. That might be because we accumulate more evidence that the people in our lives aren't going anywhere. "When you're married to someone for 40 years," Chopik told me, "hopefully you stop freaking out about whether or not they're going to be there the next day." There's also a "natural mellowing out that happens with age"—people tend to get better at social interactions, and more comfortable in their own skin.
Attachment style doesn't just change over the arc of your life. It can also vary from moment to moment (people tend toward insecurity when they're stressed) and across different relationships. Marisa Franco, a University of Maryland psychologist and the author of Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make—And Keep—Friends, told me that it's not uncommon, for instance, to have a more secure attachment with a partner than with friends. Unlike a romantic relationship, which might follow a more predictable structure—meeting, moving in together, perhaps getting married—and typically involves a more formal commitment, friendships can be full of ambiguity, which can lead us to fall back on old working models. Within a relationship category, too, your attachment style can differ; you might have a secure relationship with one warm, reassuring friend, and a less secure one with someone distant and flaky.
[Read: The trait that 'super friends' have in common]
For that reason, several researchers told me, if you want to work toward security, you might need to change who you're spending time with. People on the anxious side might flourish with someone who's particularly reassuring and present; people on the avoidant side might need someone who can give them space while still being supportive.
But Arriaga offered a caveat: Her research has shown that although reassurance can help anxiously inclined people in the short term, relying on it isn't always good for them. They can also benefit from pursuing a sense of self-efficacy—working on feeling more inherently worthy, and less dependent on others to tell them they are. In one study, for instance, she found that new parents who felt competent in their novel role displayed lasting increases in security. Other studies suggest that pursuing and succeeding in goals can do the same.
Attachment orientation is complex; it's an ongoing interaction between the external world and your internal one, between your circumstances and your interpretation of them. Separating the two can be hard. For instance, when people struggle with anxious attachment, Franco pointed out, they're apt to notice signs of rejection while overlooking signs of acceptance. But knowing that your working model might not match reality, that it can change, and wanting to change it does make a difference. One of Chopik's studies found that just wanting to become more secure was associated with more actual change in that direction over a four-month period, compared with subjects who didn't express a desire for change.
This is what Arriaga wanted to impart on her students: You may not pull yourself up from being the least to the most secure person in the class. You certainly can't undo the experiences you've already had—the ones that might've led you to grasp too hard for connection or push it away. But you will have new experiences; you'll likely meet people you can count on, and hopefully you'll start to believe that you can count on yourself, too. So when they ask her if there's hope, her answer is: "Of course."
A few years ago, I asked Tom Brady if he ever worried that too much of his life was consumed by the game of football. This was, in retrospect, kind of a duh question to put to someone who played, you know, the game of football for a living. Rather successfully, too, and for a long time.
Brady confirmed the question's premise that, yes, football meant pretty much everything to him and he could not imagine doing anything else with himself. "I'm not a musician, not an artist," he told me, among other noninterests and non-hobbies. "What am I gonna do, go scuba diving?"
I took the glibness of Brady's answer as a sign that he wasn't particularly worried about the total commitment to football that he had so proudly made, and that had been such a celebrated hallmark of his afterthought-to-legend story. But then, Brady was still an active football player at the time, with years left to run in an epic career that finally ended last week after 23 years.
I've been thinking about that discussion since Brady dropped his semi-surprising "I'm retiring, for good" video. In particular, I've been thinking about a slightly different follow-up question I posed to him on the same theme: whether he worried that a vacuum might await him on the other side of quitting.
"You need a purpose when you wake up every morning," Brady told me, his voice turning quite serious. "When I don't have the purpose of football, I know that's going to be a really hard thing for me." In other words, Brady knew how scary retirement would be—much scarier to him than any 300-pound pass rusher ever was.
I had gotten to know Brady and his family while researching a story for The New York Times Magazine in the lead-up to what would be his fourth Super Bowl championship, a 28–24 victory for the New England Patriots over the Seattle Seahawks, in 2015. The article focused on what was, even then, the miracle of Brady's longevity in a league where the average player's career lasted just over three years. In the gallows lexicon of pro football, NFL stands for "Not for Long."
Brady has, of course, been the longest-running exception to football's short-timer rule. He was 37 at the time of our conversation, elderly by NFL standards. The story's headline was "Tom Brady Cannot Stop." And he still had eight years to go before he finally did.
I was struck then by how determined Brady was not only to win games but also to blow up the actuarial tables governing how long a quarterback should be allowed to participate in them. How did he pull this off? Everyone focused on what he was willing to sacrifice—his family, his safety, Big Macs. But I always felt that his extreme commitment obscured a more distressing factor in his decision to keep playing: the desperation behind it.
[Scott Stossel: The bathos of Brady]
Brady's protective circle of friends and family have always worried about how he would cope without the structure, mission, and intensity of football. They are worried now. "I think he is going to have a huge void in his life," Brady's father, Tom Brady Sr., told me when I reached him by phone last week, a few days after his son's retirement announcement.
Tom Sr., a delightful man who refers to himself as "the Original Tom Brady" and "the Old GOAT," was sitting in his Bay Area office, a five-minute drive from the San Mateo, California, home where he and his wife, Galynn, raised their four children and still reside. Original Tom is 78, founded a small insurance agency 51 years ago, and says he has no plans to retire himself. "But then, I don't have to get hit all the time in this job, like Tommy did," he told me.
Being his own boss allowed Tom Sr. to travel with his wife to nearly every game of his son's career, including four years at the University of Michigan and the astonishing 10 Super Bowls that Junior played in. What were Brady's dad's plans for Sunday's Chiefs–Eagles collision in the Super Bowl?
"I guess I'll be watching," he said. "Indifferently."
But he added that his new remove as a fan would be nothing compared with what the newly retired and greatest-ever quarterback will face. "Nothing will ever replace the joy Tommy had playing in football games, hanging with teammates, and joshing around in the locker room," Brady Sr. said. "Somehow he's going to have to find a substitute for that, just like every other guy has."
Not every guy has managed, and many have suffered. The physical aftermath of football is well cataloged—the ravaged bodies and brains, the proportionally higher death rates. But the psychological, sociological, and even spiritual turmoil of post-football lives can be equally brutal. No shortage of people around the game have testified to this. "The longer you play, the more you get used to the lifestyle," Mark Murphy, a former Washington Redskins defensive back and the longtime president of the Green Bay Packers, told me for a book I wrote about the NFL in 2018. "You can lose touch with reality."
The "reality" of football, such as it is, can be extremely different from the "reality" off the field. "Football was an island of directness in a world of circumspection," wrote Frederick Exley in his classic 1968 "fictional memoir," A Fan's Notes. "There was nothing rhetorical or vague about it."
[Mark Leibovich: The dark pageant of the NFL]
Brady has said as much in a million different ways, and always made clear which version of "reality" he preferred. "Sports is very real-time," he said in a podcast interview after he won his seventh and last Super Bowl, in early 2021. "What you see on that field from me is really me; it's not an actor. This is my life. These are my real emotions. This is real joy. This is real anger. This is real disappointment. And those things are a really vulnerable place to be."
Yet in some ways, I've never seen Brady so vulnerable as he has been in the years since that last championship, as he struggled with the wind-down of his playing days, his aborted retirement last February, his unretirement 40 days later, and the various other disorders served up by that other messy "reality" outside football. By then, his career plans had become their own annual cliff-hanger. When will Tommy finally quit? Retirement decisions are hard enough in private without everyone tossing out takes about whether you're too old, acting selfishly, or need to leave. Joey in the White House can probably relate.
"You know, I'm 45 years old, man. There's a lot of shit going on," Brady said at a press conference this past August after an unexplained 11-day hiatus from training camp—not long before he would announce the end of his 13-year marriage to the model Gisele Bündchen. "So, you've just got to try to figure out life the best you can."
What will Brady do with his life now? He says he will devote more time to his family, particularly his kids. In May of last year, Fox Sports announced a deal, reported at $375 million over 10 years, for Brady to call NFL games as soon as he finished playing. Brady's announcement last week even ignited speculation—a mini-cliff-hanger!—that he would make his debut this weekend on Fox's Super Bowl broadcast. But he spiked that idea when he told FS1's Colin Cowherd that he would not begin his work for Fox until the fall of 2024. That would give Brady plenty of time to settle into a post-football routine, take up scuba diving, or maybe pursue a job opening as quarterback with his boyhood team, the San Francisco 49ers. (Kidding about the last one—sort of.)
At the very least, Brady now seems to have figured out how to retire smoothly, relative to last year's stutter step of leaks, denials, and eventual reversal. His homemade 53-second video, filmed on a beach (apparently) in Florida, was praised as gracious and heartfelt. Several commentators observed that he seemed "at peace" with his decision, as if a burden had been lifted.
Maybe it has, but any aura of peace was lost on me. What struck me more was the waterless and overcast tableau of the video, the rows of high-rises in the background—Tom Brady all alone in a world of gray.
The Maryland State Capitol building is older than America. It is the only state capitol to have also served as the nation's capital; in the country's earliest days, Congress met in its chambers. To work in Annapolis is to operate in the shadow of history. So maybe that explains why, 246 years into the American project, one state lawmaker sees his four-day-workweek bill as carrying on in the tradition of the ideals of the Declaration of Independence. That, or it's just a good hook.
"The Framers put in 'Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,'" Vaughn Stewart, one of the bill's co-sponsors, told me, emphasizing that last one. "This is really a larger conversation about where we are as a country, and whether we need to ask ourselves, for the first time in almost a century, if there is something better than living to work."
The very buzzy—but actually kind of modest—bill would create what is effectively a five-year experiment with a four-day workweek, creating $750,000 in tax credits for Maryland businesses per year over five years in exchange for them shortening their hours and handing over data to the state on how it goes. "It's going to be really hard for me to persuade my colleagues that the time is now for this idea if the only data we have come from Scotland," Stewart explained to me. "That's just not going to be as persuasive as if it comes from Scotland, Maryland." (Yes, that's a real place.)
[Read: Kill the 5-day workweek]
Despite the practical approach, Stewart is a hard-core believer in the four-day workweek as the future. When I got on the phone with him last week, we spoke about the bill, work's place in American life, and how surviving cancer shifted his perspective.
Our conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Caroline Mimbs Nyce: Give me the elevator pitch for this bill. Why should it get passed?
Vaughn Stewart: There has been an explosion of studies in the past year or two about the idea of companies reducing work hours. And the results of those studies have been, in my view, stunning. The employees loved working fewer hours. But what was really surprising is that the companies themselves reported greater productivity and ultimately greater profits. At the same time, companies outside of the context of an experiment are also choosing to make this shift.
So the elevator pitch is: Given the obvious success of reducing work hours that we're seeing in businesses across the country and across the world, it only stands to reason that Maryland should try this out.
Nyce: Why Maryland?
Stewart: Well, Maryland is where I live, so I can't put it in state legislation anywhere else. (Laughs.)
Nyce: Fair, but do you think Maryland is a particularly good candidate for this?
Stewart: Yeah, I think so. One of Maryland's nicknames is actually "America in Miniature." This idea has been studied in the United States to some extent but has been studied more heavily in Europe. The point of the bill is to get data that's more local and more relevant to us. You can make the case that Maryland—because it has so many different slices to it and so many different parts and so many distinct cultures and economies—is more representative of the entire United States than most other states.
Nyce: And why solve this in the public sector? If the incentives are there, why not let the private sector figure it out and move that way naturally?
Stewart: That's happening to some extent. But two things: One, I think having the public sector get involved serves as a gentle nudge in this direction. Inertia is a powerful force.
Second, it's not so much that the public sector is getting involved in private businesses as it is that we're paying companies using tax credits to collect data for us and share the data. At the end of the five-year pilot project, we'll have this trove of data that we can use to gauge whether this was successful.
There have been four-day-workweek bills in the U.S. House and in California that essentially required companies to pay overtime after 32 hours. That's a really clean and also free way for the government to go about this. But it's also extremely heavy-handed. I think probably the reason those bills haven't gone anywhere is that companies come out in full force to rail against government intervention in the marketplace.
What's unique and new about this approach that we're trying in Maryland is that we're not forcing any companies to do anything they don't want to do. Rather than going to the hearing for the bill with every industry group cursing my name, hopefully I can go to the bill hearing with all of them standing beside me.
[Derek Thompson: The five-day workweek is dying]
Nyce: We're talking a lot about the practical politics of this. How much of a philosophical believer in the four-day workweek are you?
Stewart: I'm a believer. I definitely think that we need more Maryland-specific data if we're going to make any future steps or commit any more money to it. But ultimately, I'm not a neutral observer—I'm not a social scientist; I'm an advocate for this.
Nyce: But you have to play the game a little?
Stewart: Yeah, of course. I mean, it's not a game. We need to make forward progress. If we want to convince people—workers, other policy makers, business owners—that this is the way forward, we need more study results that are specific to relevant communities.
It's going to be really hard for me to persuade my colleagues that the time is now for this idea if the only data we have come from Scotland. That's just not going to be as persuasive as if it comes from Scotland, Maryland, and Berlin, Maryland, and Cambridge, Maryland.
Nyce: There are a lot of European-named cities in Maryland.
Stewart: I just rattled them out like that too; I'm actually kind of impressed with myself.
I'm not at all a dispassionate observer of this. I very much think that this is the way of the future. This is the original American dream. The thought was always that we were going to continue to be more and more productive and work less and less. But at a certain point, we stalled out.
It was extremely radical when Henry Ford moved to a five-day workweek. People were shocked. People even called it anti-biblical, because the Bible said there was only one rest day. The labor movement took this as their cause célèbre, and over a grinding series of decades, they were able to force states and the federal government to institute a five-day week as a matter of law. But it's been 100 years. Somewhere in the '80s or '90s, we got sort of off track. Now you hear more about, like, the #grindset than anything about reduced work hours.
Nyce: So you're really viewing this in the long arc of American labor history. Do you ever have any personal doubts?
Stewart: I do think that there's one big question mark with this idea, at least for right now, which is: How do we make sure that the effects reverberate across the economic spectrum? Because right now, with the exception of maybe some hospitals cutting hours for nurses, the companies that have made this step so far are Kickstarter, Shake Shack, Shopify. Typically, white-collar employees are the ones benefiting from more flexible schedules and reduced schedules,—just like how in the pandemic, white-collar employees benefited from more flexible time and flexibility to come into the office, whereas blue-collar workers didn't get that break. They still had to go in every day and punch a clock, even if it meant that they were going to expose themselves to getting sick.
The tricky thing here is that there's a difference between salaried workers and hourly workers. And we've got to figure out a way to make sure that this bill—or this movement—doesn't become something that is felt most viscerally by people that already are doing pretty well. We want to make sure that this is an economy-wide transformation, that if it helps any group in particular, it helps those who are working-class the most—because they're the ones who have borne the weight of America's overworked culture for the past several decades.
Nyce: Are there any criticisms of the bill that you just flat out don't agree with?
Stewart: First of all, I don't think I've ever introduced a bill that is just this broadly popular. There was a poll on this issue recently and 92 percent of Americans like the idea of reducing work hours.
You don't really hear a lot of good-faith criticisms. Probably the criticism that is valid, but that I just don't agree with, is the sort of quasi-libertarian idea that the state of Maryland just shouldn't care about this—that we shouldn't meddle in the affairs of private businesses. There's nothing more fundamentally connected to a Marylander's quality of life than how much free time they have. So the idea that that would not be in the purview of policy makers to me is insane.
But even more than that, it's hypocritical. I've heard from several colleagues who, when past tax cuts or tax credits for corporations have come up, couldn't have been more enthusiastic to give those away. But now all of a sudden they're crying libertarian.
Nyce: Why do you think that is?
Stewart: This bill is connected with the idea of improving the day-to-day lives of regular people. And I think for people who are ideologically committed to comforting the comfortable, it's an anathema that they would support something that cuts costs for companies but through the lens of trying to make workers' lives a little bit more whole.
Nyce: Like your colleagues at the statehouse?
Stewart: Yeah. I have colleagues in the other party who applauded, for example, when President Donald Trump cut taxes for corporations. Now, I don't have any indication there's going to be widespread Republican opposition to this bill. But I have heard a couple of quotes in the media from some of my colleagues who seem like maybe they're going to oppose this on the grounds of laissez-faire capitalism—let the markets work.
But honestly, I haven't really heard very much pushback at all about this. There has been an explosion of interest in the bill.
This is my fifth year in the General Assembly. This bill has attracted more attention from my colleagues, from interest groups, and from the media than every other bill I've ever put in has combined. And, like, 95 percent of the interest has been positive.
Nyce: We talked through one philosophical criticism from libertarians about the role of the state. That's pretty much their whole gig. I wonder if there's a practical criticism here: Why is this something Maryland should spend money on versus all the other issues that are facing the state at any given time?
Stewart: That's a tough one. If the bill doesn't pass, I think that's what will doom it. Because even though we have a budget surplus in the state of Maryland, it certainly is the case that anytime you want to spend money, you've got to compete with every other priority under the sun. And I'm sure some of those priorities are more pressing and more important than this bill.
But this is only $750,000 of tax credits. This is not going to break the bank in the grand scheme of the state budget. And I would add that there's scarcely anything more important to humanity than free time.
Nyce: Well … like, health. Maybe "not dying of the coronavirus."
Stewart: Sure. Yeah, I mean, "not dying."
The Framers put in "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." Certainly life is important. We want you all to be healthy. Liberties are important as well, obviously, and all the different freedoms we enjoy and making sure that those hold true. But pursuit of happiness is something that is also really important. This is really a larger conversation about where we are as a country, and whether we need to ask ourselves, for the first time in almost a century, if there is something better than living to work. America once stood for better ideals than just eternally increasing wealth and everlasting consumerism.
The reason I get so fired up about this is I've actually had cancer twice.
Nyce: I'm so sorry to hear that.
Stewart: No, no, I appreciate it. And I'm all good now. It kind of puts it in perspective—all the different tropes and truisms and clichés about realizing that nobody's guaranteed tomorrow. I think when you have that experience at such a young age, you realize how important time is. Time is a gift. And so the idea that there would be a bill but also a larger movement about reclaiming some of that time for ourselves—because it's finite for all of us—I think that that has some real power for a lot of people. Whether they have gone through an illness or an accident or they've watched a parent or a grandparent get older, I think people realize somewhere deep in their bones that their time is valuable. And they want to reclaim some of it for themselves.
Nature Communications, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36463-7Inhibition of 15-prostaglandin dehydrogenase (
Nicola Jones is a contributing editor and writer for Knowable Magazine and lives in Pemberton, British Columbia. This article originally appeared in Knowable Magazine, an independent journalistic endeavor from Annual Reviews. Read the original here.
Increasingly, private equity firms shape staffing decisions at hospital emergency rooms, research shows. One apparent effect: Hiring fewer doctors and more health care practitioners who earn far less.
(Image credit: Phil Fisk/Image Source via Getty Images)
|submitted by /u/Gari_305
|submitted by /u/landlord2213
Boston dynamics humanoid robot + Chat GPT 4.0 + Mercedes-Benz ai car data (level 3) = A robot that can walk and navigate and chat with you.
All the data auto-driving cars have gathered would be very useful in a robot trying to navigate the world.
Nature Communications, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36401-7Lithium metal batteries (LMBs) with inorganic solid-state electrolytes suffer from lithium dendrites propagation. Here, the authors demonstrate the production of stable lab-scale LMBs using an Ag-coated Li6.4La3Zr1.7Ta0.3O12 inorganic solid electrolyte in combination with a silver-carbon interlayer.
Scientific Reports, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-29363-9Dual blockage of both PD-L1 and CD47 enhances the therapeutic effect of oxaliplatin and FOLFOX in CT-26 mice
Scientific Reports, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-28972-8Mechanochemical effects underlying the mechanically activated catalytic hydrogenation of carbon monoxide
My memory of the moment, almost a decade ago, is indelible: the sight of a swimmer's back, both sides equal—each as good and righteous as the other. An ordinary thing, and something I had never had, and still don't have. To think of that moment is to feel torn—once again—about how I should respond to my condition: whether to own it, which would be the brave response, as well as the proper one, in many people's eyes; or to regret it, even try to conceal it, which is my natural response.
I have a form of cerebral palsy called hemiplegia, which affects one side of the body. The word has two parts: hemi, meaning "half," and plegia, connoting stroke or paralysis. I have had a "half stroke," but I prefer the romance of my high-school Greek teacher's translation: I was, as he put it, struck on one side. Plus, it's a more accurate description of what happened to me. At birth, the forceps used to pull me out of the womb pierced my baby-soft skull and damaged my cerebral motor cortex. On my left temple is a tiny scar left by the forceps and shaped, rather unfortunately, I've always thought, like an upside-down cross—the anti-Christ symbol.
I look, I'm told, basically normal. I am not in a wheelchair. I have good control of my limbs. I write and I paint. I can do most everyday tasks. Although my symptoms are typical—muscular tightness, limited movement ability, poor muscle development—they are mild. For this reason, everyone calls me lucky. And it's true—compared with other kids in the waiting room of the cerebral-palsy ward, I was lucky, extremely lucky. But still, I never asked to be in that waiting room. I did not look like those kids inside the hospital—would balk at being classed with them, even—but my body didn't fit in outside the hospital either. Doctors, friends, parents—a platoon of people who have never experienced what I have—commend me on my normalness. This always makes me feel accomplished, until I realize that what they really mean is: Normal, considering …
When I was a child, my symptoms were more pronounced than they are now. I simplified my deformities: I had a Good Side and a Bad Side, even telling kids at primary school that half my penis didn't work (I had to have some fun). My Good Side, my left, was my superhero; I was actually right-handed, but taught myself to use the superhero side. My Bad Side, my right, was a cave-dwelling creature, a Caliban, a spindly, weak, shameful thing that I'd hit with my left hand when I was angry. I used to scream at my mother, crying, You did this. You gave birth to this.
I had a noticeable limp. My right heel couldn't get to the floor, which left me on perpetual tiptoe. Unless my foot was strapped into a splint, my ankle couldn't reach 90 degrees—the doctors' acid test of normality. I needed shoes of two different sizes to allow for the added width of my daytime splint. My mother would explain the situation to shop assistants as I sat on the little sofa waiting for my mismatched shoes to arrive. Their faces turned to pity, or something like disgust. Did they think I was contagious? My nighttime splint had no give whatsoever. When I'd get up to pee in the night, waddling along in the strange walk that the splint forced on me, I'd pass my bathroom mirror and stare. Despite the crocodile pattern the nurse had let me choose, it all looked so medical, so unnatural—so, well, disabled. And I would think, I am not this.
[Read: A disability film unlike any other]
As if to make it official, my doctor said, "You do not have motor skills." I've never been able to move just one finger on my right hand, for example. If one finger is moving, they're all dancing some uncoordinated dance. I needed help in class. I found it tricky to cut and paste, to organize myself, or to write for long periods of time, because my hand would cramp. It was humiliating enough to have a personal classroom assistant, but the assistant, Yulia, also had to massage my foot each morning to relax my muscles. She wasn't popular with the other kids at school. Her foreign accent, tough manner, and short haircut made her a prime target for crude, all-boys-school-style ridicule. I often found it easier to join in than to defend her. I wanted everyone to think I didn't need her. She never cared about the other kids being rude. But if she overheard me, she'd look at me with eyes that made it clear I was betraying her.
I would meet her in the black box of my primary-school drama studio half an hour before classes began. I'd take off my shoe, splint, and sock. She'd squeeze Johnson's Baby Oil onto her hands and then take my foot roughly—kneading and pushing and pulling it. I would apologize again and again in my head. I'm sorry you have to do this. I'm sorry I'm like this.
Sometimes another kid would walk in. My body would revolt in panic—I'd squirm away from Yulia, desperately ashamed of the vision of my naked foot and ankle, moist with oil, poking out of my trouser leg. Something haunted me about the fleshy color of my skin with nowhere to hide in that black, black room. I'd pull my sock back on as quickly as humanly possible and sit there, staring at the floor, until Yulia firmly asked him to leave. When he'd gone, she'd reach an arm out, indicating that I should take my sock off once more.
At age 12, I beat my lifelong best friend—a boy I'd been in diapers with—in a tennis match at his grandfather's house. He didn't like losing, and he screamed from the baseline, "You disabled cunt." I ran inside. In the kitchen, sobbing, I bumped into his grandfather and his mother—incidentally, my mother's best friend—who asked what was wrong. I began to tell her, a woman I'd known all my life, a woman who'd known about my disability before I could even speak, and she lifted a finger in the air and said, "Ah. Don't mention names. No one likes snitches." I turned to his grandfather, hopeful, but he simply said, "No one said that to you, Emil." I expected kids to be nasty, but had thought adults grew out of it.
As I prepared to leave primary school, I was also preparing for an operation on my Achilles tendon, which would mitigate my limp. The operation was scheduled for the final day of the school year, and so while every other boy in my class piled into a bus headed for a theme park to go on rides with names like Stealth and Nemesis Inferno, I was driven to a hospital in the suburbs of London. My mother spent the day reminding me that I'd never liked roller coasters anyway. I was given a wheelchair until I could walk again, but after one day of being eyed by strangers, I opted for crutches. I longed to hold a sign that read THIS CHAIR IS TEMPORARY. I AM LIKE YOU. My cast eventually came off, my heel now reached the ground, and my strange, clodhopping gait was gone.
I moved on to secondary school. No more splints, no more personal assistants, no more massages, no more limp. My parents assured me: Normal starts now. But that was not true. I was hit with a new regime—a twice-daily therapy program of swimming, stretching, and working with weights.
Each morning, I arrived in the funky-smelling changing room of my all-boys school sometime between 7:15 and 7:30. I found a space on the bench and a corresponding peg that wasn't already littered with the chucked-off black-and-maroon ties, white shirts, trousers, sports bags, and boxers of the swim squad, which got there before me. In order to minimize my time spent naked, I was already wearing my regulation Speedo trunks under my uniform. I took off my own tie, shirt, and trousers and dumped them in my black-and-blue Sports Direct bag, which I carefully hung up.
Looking down at my nearly naked body, I longed for a different one. Something about puberty had made me fat, like a baby: My stomach ballooned out so that I could only just find the tips of my toes beyond it. My Good Side looked exactly that—good. But my Bad Side remained a perpetual disappointment. The swimming was meant to mitigate the effects of my disability, but swimming was the last thing I wanted to do.
[Read: Doctors are failing patients with disabilities]
The changing room connected directly to the pool, and the stench of chlorine was unavoidable. With nowhere else to go in this windowless part of the gym complex, it found your nose and clogged it. From my seat in the changing room, I could hear the swim squad, which had already been training for 40 minutes—the reverberating splashes, the critical shouts, the coach's whistle. Their sonic booms stretched up past the viewing gallery to the ceiling and crashed back down again, echoing off the water.
I made my way through the corridor to the pool, holding my arms around my tummy. A mass of indistinguishable squad muscle—here a lean leg, there a powerful arm, there a goggled head on a bull-muscled neck—filled four of the pool's five lanes. I approached the fifth—the teachers' lane—and reluctantly lowered myself in. This was the only place where the school and swim coach could think to put me. My elderly French teacher was usually in there already, breast-stroking at the same pace his lessons went. Of everyone in this pool, it was his team I was somehow put on.
Even underwater, I attempted to cover my wibbling fat, knowing that the squad's goggles allowed for plain viewing of my body. As I went up and down the pool, doing my customary half-swim, half-walk, their thoughts consumed me. Did they know why I was in their pool? Had their coach told them? Did they care? Scarier still, were they so passionate about their sport that they didn't even notice me?
After swimming, they filed back into the changing room. They were teammates: not exactly friends, but they shared a closeness. They laughed about races won and lost. They stretched out, leaned over, bent down. Like ancient Greeks in the gymnasium, they had bodies that were a total luxury. I showered in my trunks after them, then hurried to a private cubicle to change into my underwear, all the time careful to avoid the mirrors that lined the walls. I covered my body with towels, hands, arms, anything at all so that no one, myself included, could see it in its entirety.
When one of the swimmers was dressed and ready to leave, the others shouted a goodbye and nodded, lifting their head and their eyebrows together in a way that encompassed the entirety of masculine prowess. But not once in all the years I changed with them did any of the swimmers look my way.
Well, there was one time, actually. Marcus was a boy, two or three years ahead of me, whom everyone either knew or knew of. He was, as far as I could tell, everything anyone could ever want to be. We never spoke—why on earth would we?—but so powerful was his physical presence that I became acutely aware of my lumbering body if he so much as walked past me in the school corridor. He seemed to be taller than anyone else in his year, although that probably wasn't the case. He was always greeting people, stretching out an arm and a hand for some über-cool, effortless handshake.
The incident occurred when I was 15 or 16. I came out of the pool late, and only Marcus and a friend of his were still getting changed. By this point, my body had morphed slightly. I still felt overweight and cumbersome, and my disability still left half of my body lacking, but the past three years of training had at least made me look more like others my age. After showering, I went back to my bag and began getting dressed.
Marcus was in his underwear with his back facing me. I don't know quite what happened that day, but some deep-set mixture of jealousy, longing, and desire prevented me from looking away. His back was the mightiest thing I'd ever seen. Everywhere you looked it was packed with muscles. And the symmetry! He turned and Achilles was standing there in the locker room. I traced every contour, every ebb of his body, with my eyes, inventorying every part of him that I was not.
I came to, and realized that both Marcus and his friend were standing there, watching me staring at him. There were codes, and I, a locker-room weirdo, had just broken them.
"Dude," said the friend to Marcus, cutting the silence with a cruel splutter of laughter, "I think someone likes what he sees."
Marcus started laughing and mock-provocatively tensed his body in my direction. "You want a piece of me, Sands?"
And while I did a double take—had he just said my name?—I understood how far away from these boys I was. How, if I answered his question honestly, the truth would be out: No, I don't want a piece of you. I want all of you. I want to have what you have.
I said nothing. I backed away into a bathroom stall. I didn't come out again until they had left.
I stopped swimming a few months after this, defying my parents, my school, and the medical committee that oversaw my rehabilitation. I had developed psychosomatic symptoms that made it unfeasible for me to carry on. At around the same time in the morning as I would start my swim, I would begin to hear a chorus of voices in my head. They screamed at me in a dark gibberish. Although it wasn't English, I knew what they were telling me: I was worthless, useless. I would stop mid-stroke and hold my hands to my ears, trying to make them stop. At first, I thought the water had made my ears go funny. But the voices grew louder, darker, and more overwhelming. There were more hospital appointments. More concerned doctors. A specialist wondered if we knew the word schizophrenia.
When I stopped swimming, the voices stopped too, suggesting that the episodes were a result of some severe anxiety connected with the pool. As a deal, I swapped my five swims a week for more time in the gym and more stretching. I preferred this. For one, I could be clothed. But more than that, I could work toward goals that were less about competition and more about personal growth: getting big arms or a six-pack, having a meal plan based on eating lots of proteins. Things that most boys my age wanted.
As I understand now, my disability pushed me harder. Closed doors draw attention to open ones. When I was in my early teens, I competed for my school's annual reading prize: First place went to the student who was best at delivering a poem or short story aloud. I got through the heats easily. Backstage, at the final, I watched as others nervously ambled about, familiarizing themselves with the Keats or Kipling poems that their parents had perhaps helped them pick out for this round. One by one, they were called up, until eventually it was my turn. I took to the podium. I opened my book. I began with the first line of the first chapter: "In Which We Are Introduced to Winnie-the-Pooh and Some Bees, and the Stories Begin." It is the chapter with the line "Then he climbed a little further … and a little further … and then just a little further."
And I won. It didn't bother me at all that no one else was particularly interested in winning this made-up prize. What mattered to me was that I'd won it on my own, reading something I loved, words of my choosing. I remember feeling at the time, as silly as it sounds, that somehow, by reading a children's book when everyone else was pretending to be an adult, I'd beaten the system. What system that was, I still don't know—this was just a diction competition for adolescents at a private school. But I held the feeling close.
There were few physical activities I actually could not attempt, but many I could not do well. I am thinking, in particular, of football—soccer. I tried to play when I was very young. Had I persevered, the necessity of using both legs would have proved helpful in rehabilitating my right side. But a concrete block descended if a ball was ever brought out at a friend's house or while on holiday. If a stray ball came off someone's foot in a park and I was expected to kick it back, I froze. I could not play. I did not play. I refused to play.
There was a power in saying no, but saying no also left me out. Every day at school, a lunchtime soccer game stretched across the fields outside. I took a different door—I began to go to the empty art studios. The studios were adjacent to the fields, and from my easel, I could see the game. Muffled shouts came my way. At a certain point, however, I began to look forward to my solitary lunchtime activity. The prospect of making new work and concentrating on something that mattered to me felt important. I started to think about going to art school and used the extra hour a day to create a portfolio.
As we reached the final year or two of school, the studios began to fill up a little. Two younger boys began editing their street photography in the computer suite. An art teacher inspired a group of classmates to come in every day and try screen printing. Although my school was only for boys in the earlier grades, it was coed in the final two years, and girls and boys could work in the studios together. My friend Sarah often sat across from me, drawing tiny floral patterns that, by the end of lunch, had ballooned out to fill the page. In the studios, on busy days, you couldn't hear the game outside at all.
Today, hardly anyone knows I am disabled. I tell no one, because I believe people will like me less. Maybe just for a split second. Maybe for longer. Or maybe I should rephrase: I believe people will like me more if they think I am like them. So I go out of my way to keep my disability private. When I am tired, a residue of my old limp returns. On the few, but truly excruciating, days that someone notices and asks if I have hurt my leg, I lie and say I twisted my ankle. Oh shit, how? And, demoralizing as it may be, I keep going—on the stairs; last week in the shop; literally just before I saw you. On the rare occasions when I don't lie, I always wish that I had. Wait, what? You're disabled? The chasm opens again.
[Read: On disability and accepting help]
I go to the gym every day of the week. No one makes me do it—not because my cerebral palsy is gone, but because I am an adult. My body is a "good" body: It is strong, muscular in places, and tight-ish. It's not Marcus's, but I am not Marcus. In the gym, I am recognized, and men I've never spoken to nod their head my way.
Nevertheless, I am wary. Do they see that my right side is less muscular than my left? That I sometimes have trouble picking up the weights in a coordinated fashion? That, when I'm fatigued, I drop them just outside the little ridges I'm meant to leave them in? Do they think I'm weak because the weight I lift is low, to make up for my right side's deficiency? I want to tell them that all of these things are not my fault, but the fault of a rogue forceps blade 23 years ago. I want to show them my medical records, drag them to my gym bench, and point out everything that's wrong with my form, or my body, or my brain, because then I could stop second-guessing. I could own my condition. But I am not Achilles.
When my dad first overheard me lie about my limp, he was astonished. Within the family, my disability has become an easy, even joked-about, topic. We had a follow-up conversation in which he asked me why I had done that. Exasperated and embarrassed, I pretty much told him to back off. He did, but his eyes said enough: This is not the son I raised. And he was right. I know more than most that difference must be celebrated, and that each time I hide, the shame builds—for me, for others like me. Somehow, I have become the bully, or at least the bully's accomplice.
I am not sure I want to hide anymore. I'd rather embrace my disability than fear its fallout. But it would be a lie to say I love every part of my body. I am still grappling with the ways I have been made to feel that my body does not belong—and with the conviction that it is easier for everyone that I be a failing normal rather than a normal disabled.
This article appears in the March 2023 print edition with the headline "Struck on One Side."
Nature Communications, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36478-0The origins of the pair of X-ray bubbles, called
Scientific Reports, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-29096-9Metagenome reveals caprine abomasal microbiota diversity at early and late stages of Haemonchus contortus
Scientific Reports, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-29650-5The effect of exercise on the quality of life in an academic environment
Scientific Reports, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-29672-zAssessing the prognostic value of respiratory oscillometry in patients with difficult-to-treat
Scientific Reports, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-29510-2Comparison of the quality of life of patients with
Scientific Reports, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-29763-xExamining associations between MDMA/ecstasy and classic psychedelic use and impairments in social functioning in a U.S. adult sample
Scientific Reports, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-29803-6Drilling and blasting designs for parallel hole cut and V-cut method in excavation of underground coal mine galleries
Scientific Reports, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-29603-yMultifrequency controlled synchronization of four inductor motors by the fixed frequency ratio method in a vibration system
Scientific Reports, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-28877-6Separate lifetime signatures of macaque S cones, M/L cones, and rods observed with adaptive optics fluorescence lifetime ophthalmoscopy
GPT is getting competition from open-source.
A group of researchers, around the YouTuber Yannic Kilcher, have announced that they are working on Open Assistant. The goal is to produce a chat-based language model that is much smaller than GPT-3 while maintaining similar performance.
If you want to support them, they are crowd-sourcing training data here.
What Does This Mean?
Current language models are too big.
They require millions of dollars of hardware to train and use. Hence, access to this technology is limited to big organizations. Smaller firms and universities are effectively shut out from the developments.
Shrinking and open-sourcing models will facilitate academic research and niche applications.
Projects such as Open Assistant will help to make language models a commodity. Lowering the barrier to entry will increase access and accelerate innovation.
What an exciting time to be alive!
Thank you for reading! I really enjoyed making this for you!
The Decoding ⭕ is a thoughtful weekly 5-minute email that keeps you in the loop about machine research and the data economy. Click here to sign up!
Used by water companies but debunked by science, crossing rods in Wiltshire has this writer intrigued
Nestling in the shadow of a white horse and a Neolithic long barrow, in a renowned crop circle hotspot, Alton Priors, in Wiltshire, feels like the perfect venue for a spot of water witchery. Prompted by the news that Thames Water and Severn Trent Water use dowsing rods to detect water leaks, I've arranged to meet my mum – a geologist and amateur dowser – to investigate the phenomenon for myself.
There are other reasons for picking this particular location. Geologically speaking, Alton Priors lies on the boundary between a chalk escarpment and sandstone, the latter underlain by clay, which means there are numerous springs gushing out of the ground. The local churchyard is also where an acquaintance of my mum once suggested she try dowsing, because "he just had a sense it would work there". Sure enough, her rods crossed.Continue reading…
Nature Communications, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-35918-1In this work, the authors identify regulators of actin filament assembly involved in chiral organisation of the actin cytoskeleton in single cells and chiral alignment of cells in groups. This provides insights into how actin-driven chirality underlies tissue and organ asymmetry.
Nature Communications, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36423-1Paracrystalline state is still challenging to reach in alloy systems in a controlled manner. Here, the authors present an atomic-level tailoring route to create paracrystalline Zr-Nb-Hf-Ta-Mo high-entropy alloy through local amorphization induced by atomic-level Pt with negative mixing enthalpy.
Nature Communications, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36550-9Delivery of immune therapy drugs to tumours might be hampered by their limited bioavailability and the difficulty of targeting complex exogenous compounds. Here authors trigger immunologic cell death, via activating tumour-cell-intrinsic pathways via CRISPR-based nanotechnology to enable efficient anti-tumour immune response in mouse models of melanoma.
|submitted by /u/shubhamorcapex
Nature Communications, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36501-4This study finds that high-latitude fish clades with the fastest speciation rates also exhibit elevated rates of depth evolution, creating a prevailing latitudinal gradient of deep-sea invasions concentrated in poleward regions. These results advance our understanding of how niche lability and climate shape global patterns of species distributions.
Nature Communications, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36321-6Glioblastoma is a highly aggressive, and also the most common, brain tumour type in adults. Here, the authors generate a nanoparticle encapsulating the
Nature Communications, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36402-6Here the authors show how the MTREC core protein Red1 binds to and sequesters Pla1 from the 3'-end processing machinery to hyperadenylate cryptic unstable transcripts and target them to the exosome for efficient degradation.
So many treatments are ineffective and progress is very slow. Will AI change things?
Nature Communications, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36488-yQuantum anomalous Hall junctions show great promise for advancing next-generation electronic circuits. Here, the authors demonstrate a scalable method for synthesizing heterostructures of magnetic topological insulators with regions of distinct Chern numbers and characterize the
Nature Communications, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36465-5Here the authors show that H2A.Z histone variant incorporation reduces the nucleosomal barrier for transcription. Furthermore their simulations reveal that H2A.Z facilitates spontaneous DNA unwrapping from the histone octamer and enhances nucleosome gaping.
Nature Communications, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36367-6
Nature Communications, Published online: 11 February 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36099-7Custom proteases find applications as therapeutics, in research and in biotechnological applications. Here, the authors establish a protease selection system based on bacterial alpha-2-macroglobulin protease inhibitors and evolve staphylococcal proteases for increased activity and altered specificity.