Galaxy of Flesh
Horror fans, you're either about to be impressed or pissed off — or both.
On Tuesday, music video and commercial director Keith Schofield tweeted out an eye-grabbing series of images titled "David Cronenberg's Galaxy of Flesh (1985)," fooling some into thinking that it was an actual movie by the famed body horror director.
And to an extent, it's not hard to see why. Filled with fleshy appendages and a colorful cast clad in grimy sci-fi attire reminiscent of the decade, you'd be forgiven — especially if you weren't familiar with Cronenberg's body of work — for mistaking the thumbnails for real stills. It's even got the hard lighting nailed down too, bursting with that classic, old school glossy sheen.
But in reality, the shots were generated using the popular AI image generator Midjourney. That would be apparent if you paid close attention to the hands or sometimes the eyes, because, in true AI-generated fashion, they're all sorts of wonky. The overall effect, though, is unquestionably impressive.
Not-So Dead Ringer
Many of you might see these as innocent imitations, but for horror fans and Cronenberg heads, there's just one small problem: the images don't look like Cronenberg's work at all.
"Proof that AI art is a horseshit scam," wrote film critic Jeff Zhang. "David Cronenberg has never in his entire life made a single movie that looked anything like this."
And that's true. Cronenberg didn't make space odyssey, sci-fi epics, nor were his contortions and mutilations of the flesh so gaudy.
The images look more like a general pastiche of 80s horror and sci-fi, like a "Star Wars" crossed with "Society" — at the risk, perhaps, of offending fans of either movie.
Fans' suspicions ultimately proved to be correct, as Schofield later admitted that he actually didn't use Cronenberg as a prompt, since his name is banned in Midjourney, and instead asked the AI to make a "Star Wars medical body horror."
Crimes of the Future
AI image generators remain a touchy subject for artists, as popular models like Stable Diffusion and Midjourney were trained on the work of human artists without their permission, which many would argue is tantamount to plagiarism.
And sometimes, things can get too on the nose when AI-guys try to explicitly copy an artist's style — which is why horror fans weren't too pleased at the notion of attributing the image set to the iconoclast director.
Still, who are we kidding? If this was a real movie and not an AI amalgamation, we'd watch it.
More on AI images: Artist Says They Were Banned Because Their Art Looked Like AI, Even Though They're Human
The post Someone Used AI to Dream Up a Nonexistent David Cronenberg Movie and the Results Are Nauseating appeared first on Futurism.
Scientific Reports, Published online: 14 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-28101-5Hybrid and herd immunity 6 months after SARS-CoV-2 exposure among individuals from a community treatment program
Without consciousness, Princeton neuroscientist Michael Graziano warns in a new essay published by The Wall Street Journal, artificial intelligence-powered chatbots are doomed to be dangerous sociopaths that could pose a real danger to human beings.
With the rise of chatbots like ChatGPT, powerful systems that can imitate the human mind to an impressive degree, AI tools have become more accessible than ever before. But those algorithms will glibly fib about anything that suits their purpose. To make align them with our values, Graziano thinks, they're going to need consciousness.
"Consciousness is part of the tool kit that evolution gave us to make us an empathetic, prosocial species," Graziano writes. "Without it, we would necessarily be sociopaths, because we'd lack the tools for prosocial behavior."
Sure, ChatGPT isn't about to leap out of the screen and murder somebody. But giving artificial intelligence more and more agency could have very real consequences we should be wary of in the not-so-distant future.
To make them more docile, in Graziano's thinking, we should allow them to realize that the world is filled with other minds other than their own.
There's one problem, though: we don't have an effective way to know if an AI is conscious or not. In fact, philosophically, it's hard to even really nail down whether other people are conscious.
"If we want to know whether a computer is conscious, then, we need to test whether the computer understands how conscious minds interact," Graziano argues. "In other words, we need a reverse Turing test: Let's see if the computer can tell whether it's talking to a human or another computer."
If we can't figure those tricky questions out, he fears we could face grim consequences.
"A sociopathic machine that can make consequential decisions would be powerfully dangerous," he wrote. "For now, chatbots are still limited in their abilities; they're essentially toys. But if we don't think more deeply about machine consciousness, in a year or five years we may face a crisis."
READ MORE: Without Consciousness, AIs Will Be Sociopaths [The Wall Street Journal]
More on AI: CNET Is Quietly Publishing Entire Articles Generated By AI
The post Neuroscientist Warns That Current Generation AIs Are Sociopaths appeared first on Futurism.
Some claim the rise in winter infections has been caused by the reduction of seasonal bugs during lockdowns. But experts are sceptical about these oversimplified explanations
The deaths of at least 74 people, including 19 children, from the invasive bacterial infection group A streptococcus, or strep A, are the most extreme consequences of a wave of winter infections that have seemingly left most of the country coughing and sneezing. The parlous state of the nation's health has prompted suggestions that we are now paying an "immunity debt" incurred by the reduction of common infections during the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. But experts seem divided about whether the debt concept is genuine, let alone whether it explains the prevalence of non-Covid afflictions.
As with so many of the debates about the outcomes of the pandemic, there do not appear to be simple answers – but no shortage of self-proclaimed "experts" ready to give them anyway. While there are good reasons to believe that the measures taken to reduce the spread of the coronavirus have broader implications for common infectious diseases, there is no one-case-fits-all explanation for the spate of winter bugs, much less any obvious conclusions to be drawn about pandemic management.Continue reading…
The latest claims by scientists that they are able to break the most common digital encryption system are far-fetched
Security in a digital world requires that our communications are safe from digital eavesdroppers. The way we do that is to encrypt our messages using mathematical tools. The most powerful of these use trapdoor functions – that is, ones that work easily in one direction (making encryption easy) but not in the other (making decryption difficult).
Trapdoor functions utilise a property of multiplication – its asymmetry. It's simple to multiply two numbers together, for example, 971 and 1,249, to get 1,212,779, but it's quite hard to start with 1,212,779 and work out which two prime numbers (its factors) have to be multiplied to produce it. And the task becomes exponentially harder the bigger the original numbers are. Which is why, up to now, computer scientists believe that it's impossible in practice for a conventional computer, no matter how powerful, to factorise any number that's longer than 2,048 bits. Why so? Because it would take it 300tn years, or about 22,000 times longer than the age of the universe (to use just one of the popular analogies), for the machine to crack the problem.Continue reading…
Nature Communications, Published online: 14 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-35836-2Studying chemosensory processing desires precise chemical cue presentation, behavioral response monitoring, and large-scale neuronal activity recording. Here, the authors report a fluidics-based toolkit for studying chemosensation in larval zebrafish, and used it to reveal the brainwide neural representations of cadaverine sensing and its binasal input-dependent behavioral avoidance.
The post Scientists Worried Humankind Will Descend Into Chaos
Ever Discover an Alien Signal appeared first on Futurism.
Imagine for a moment that humankind intercepts an alien probe, sent from countless lightyears away.
Our scientists would study it, Universe Today's Evan Gough predicts, doing their best to unlock its secrets and eventually stashing it away in a museum when they were done.
Perhaps we'd send out own probe back where it had come from. But then, due to the annoyingly slow speed of light, we would have nothing to do but wait, for decades or perhaps millennia, for a followup spacecraft.
If it ever came, according to a recent paper published in the International Journal of Astrobiology and spotted by Gough, our top minds might be in for a mind-bending surprise: that second probe may actually have been launched prior — and hence be much less interesting — than the first.
"If a space-faring civilization embarks on a program to send probes to interstellar destinations, the first probe to arrive at such a destination is not likely to be one of the earliest probes, but one of much more advanced capability," wrote University of California astronomer Graeme Smith in the paper.
"This conclusion is based on a scenario in which an extraterrestrial civilization (ETC) embarks upon an interstellar program during which it launches increasingly sophisticated probes whose departure speed increases as a function of time throughout the program," he added.
Making matters even more confusing, it's even possible that the first interstellar probe may not have been sent with the intention of reaching another civilization at all — not unlike Voyager 1, which reached interstellar space to study it, not to visit another alien race (though it does contain a message for any aliens who happen to scoop it up.)
In short, first contact could likely be the result of a recipient coming across an ancient technological artifact, much like the theories surrounding interstellar object 'Oumuamua, which some experts have argued could be exactly that.
In his paper, Smith assumed that an alien civilization won't wait until its interstellar travel program reaches a certain technological threshold and sends its probes out whenever it is feasible. After all, we didn't.
Which leaves the question: "What probes will be the first to arrive at a disparate planetary system within which there is a civilization capable of retrieving the vehicle?" as Smith writes in his paper.
Smith hypothesizes that an intelligent extraterrestrial civilization with the capability of sending probes into interstellar space would iterate on its own tech, allowing its probes to cover vast distances at increasingly faster speeds.
Assuming that our tech advances linearly, if Earth were to send a probe every 100 years starting with Voyager 2, the kind of probes being sent over 10,000 years from now would get to its destination in a fraction of the time it would take Voyager 2 to cover the same distance.
Smith extrapolates this purely hypothetical scenario in his paper, finding that the 140th probe sent some 14,000 years from now would arrive at the same destination almost two million years before Voyager 2.
In short, if they were to ever receive these probes, an extraterrestrial civilization would receive some seriously confusing signals, and not in the order as intended.
"The ETC would already know more about humanity than could be crammed into a whole spacecraft jammed full of golden records," writes in an article on the paper. "It would be like finding a child's piece of art and showing it to them when they were 80."
But what would happen if technology advances exponentially, not linearly? In simple terms, the difference between the time it takes for the early probes to get to their destination compared to their future iterations would be far greater.
Sure, Smith's thought experiment may be nothing more than speculation — but in the event of an extraterrestrial civilization ever trying to get in touch with us, it can't hurt to be prepared.
READ MORE: Game of Probes: The First Probe Sent to Another Civilization Won't Be the First to Arrive [Universe Today]
More on first contact: Scientists Preparing for Alien Contact
The post The Second Alien Probe We Detect May Be Particularly Bizarre, Scientist Says appeared first on Futurism.
Last year, large language models (LLM) have broken record after record. ChatGPT got to 1 million users faster than Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram did. They helped create billion-dollar companies, and most notably they helped us recognize the divine nature of ducks.
2023 has started and ML progress is likely to continue at a break-neck speed. This is a great time to take a look at one of the most interesting papers from last year.
Emergent Abilities in LLMs
In a recent paper from Google Brain, Jason Wei and his colleagues allowed us a peak into the future. This beautiful research showed how scaling LLMs might allow them, among other things, to:
- Become better at math
- Understand even more subtleties of human language
- reduce hallucination and answer truthfully
(See the plot on break-out performance below for a full list)
If you played around with ChatGPT or any of the other LLMs, you will likely have been as impressed as I was. However, you have probably also seen the models go off the rails here and there. The model might hallucinate gibberish, give untrue answers, or fail at performing math.
Why does this happen?
LLMs are commonly trained by maximizing the likelihood over all tokens in a body of text. Put more simply, they learn to predict the next word in a sequence of words.
Hence, if such a model learns to do any math at all, it learns it by figuring concepts present in human language (and thereby math).
Let's look at the following sentence.
"The sum of two plus two is …"
The model figures out that the most likely missing word is "four".
The fact that LLMs learn this at all is mind-bending to me! However, once the math gets more complicated LLMs begin to struggle.
There are many other cases where the models fail to capture the elaborate interactions and meanings behind words. One other example is words that change their meaning with context. When the model encounters the word "bed", it needs to figure out from the context, if the text is talking about a "river bed" or a "bed" to sleep in.
What they discovered:
For smaller models, the performance on the challenging tasks outline above remains approximately random. However, the performance shoots up once a certain number of training FLOPs (a proxy for model size) is reached.
The figure below visualizes this effect on eight benchmarks. The critical number of training FLOPs is around 10^23. The big version of GPT-3 already lies to the right of this point, but we seem to be at the beginning stages of performance increases.
Break-Out Performance At Critical Scale
They observed similar improvements on (few-shot) prompting strategies, such as multi-step reasoning and instruction following. If you are interested, I also encourage you to check out Jason Wei's personal blog. There he listed a total of 137 emergent abilities observable in LLMs.
Looking at the results, one could be forgiven for thinking: simply making models bigger will make them more powerful. That would only be half the story.
(Language) models are primarily scaled along three dimensions: number of parameters, amount of training compute, and dataset size. Hence, emergent abilities are likely to also occur with e.g. bigger and/or cleaner datasets.
There is other research suggesting that current models, such as GPT-3, are undertrained. Therefore, scaling datasets promises to boost performance in the near-term, without using more parameters.
So what does this mean exactly?
This beautiful paper shines a light on the fact that our understanding of how to train these large models is still very limited. The lack of understanding is largely due to the sheer cost of training LLMs. Running the same number of experiments as people do for smaller models would cost in the hundreds of millions.
However, the results strongly hint that further scaling will continue the exhilarating performance gains of the last years.
Such exciting times to be alive!
If you got down here, thank you! It was a privilege to make this for you. At TheDecoding ⭕, I send out a thoughtful newsletter about ML research and the data economy once a week.No Spam. No Nonsense. Click here to sign up!
- FDA Will No Longer Require Animal Tests Before Human Trials for All Drugs
Microsoft Bets Big on the Creator of ChatGPT in Race to Dominate AI
Cade Metz and Karen Weise | The New York Times
"Microsoft is in talks to invest another $10 billion in OpenAI as it seeks to push its technology even further, according to a person familiar with the matter. The potential $10 billion deal—which would mainly provide OpenAI with even larger amounts of computing power—has not been finalized and the funding amount could change. But the talks are indicative of the tech giant's determination to be on the leading edge of what has become the hottest technology in the tech industry."
The Entrepreneur Dreaming of a Factory of Unlimited Organs
Antonio Regalado | MIT Technology Review
"…if 'unlimited organs' really become available, it's going to vastly increase the number of people who might be eligible, uncorking needs currently masked by strict transplant rules and procedures. …'We don't really talk about it, but if there were unlimited organs, you could replace dialysis, replace heart assist devices, even replace medicines that don't work that well,' says [Robert Montgomery, the New York University surgeon who carried out the first transplant of a pig kidney]. 'I think there are a million people with heart failure, and how many get a transplant? Only 3,500.'i"
Last Year Marked the End of an Era in Spaceflight—Here's What We're Watching Next
Eric Berger | Ars Technica
"Consider the state of play in 2010: A handful of large government space agencies controlled spaceflight activities. NASA was still flying the venerable space shuttle with no clear plan for deep space exploration. The James Webb Space Telescope remained in development hell. Russia was the world's dominant launch provider, putting as many rockets into space that year as the United States and China combined. At the time, China's longest human spaceflight was four days. Much has changed in the last decade or so."
FDA Will No Longer Require Animal Tests Before Human Trials for All Drugs
Lauren Leffer | Gizmodo
"Instead of animal testing, new drugs can now move onto human trials following successful rounds of 'non clinical tests,' an umbrella term that includes animal tests but also allows for technological advances like computer simulations, organ chips, and 3D printed body parts to replace animals."
DARPA Wants to Find a Drug That Makes You Impervious to Cold
Ed Cara | Gizmodo
"The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is looking for a new way to get nice and cozy: The agency is funding research into drugs that could protect people from extreme cold. Should these efforts bear fruit, the drugs could have a variety of uses, from treating hypothermia patients to helping people better explore the Arctic—and, what is surely DARPA's main interest, creating soldiers who aren't fazed by freezing conditions."
If ChatGPT Doesn't Get a Better Grasp of Facts, Nothing Else Matters
Harry McCracken | Fast Company
"…whenever I chat with ChatGPT about any subject I know much about, such as the history of animation, I'm most struck by how deeply untrustworthy it is. If a rogue software engineer set out to poison our shared corpus of knowledge by generating convincing-sounding misinformation in bulk, the end result might look something like this."
The Slow Death of Surveillance Capitalism Has Begun
Morgan Meaker | Wired
"Surveillance capitalism just got a kicking. In an ultimatum, the European Union has demanded that Meta reform its approach to personalized advertising—a seemingly unremarkable regulatory ruling that could have profound consequences for a company that has grown impressively rich by, as Mark Zuckerberg once put it, running ads."
Airbus Is Testing Out Autonomous Flying Tech in Some of Its Planes
Andrew J. Hawkins | The Verge
"Airbus is testing out a suite of new automated technology that it says has the potential to improve the safety and efficiency of flying. The automated technology, which has been branded as the company's DragonFly project, includes 'automated emergency diversion in cruise, automatic landing, and taxi assistance,' Airbus says. The company is testing out the new features using an A350-1000 aircraft at the Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, which is a test site for Airbus."
3D-Printed Houses Are the Suburbs of the Future
Sam Lubell | Fast Company
"[The 3D printing] evolution could finally give award-winning architects like EYRC and BIG—long frozen out of the formula-driven multi-billion-dollar mass homebuilding industry—a feasible way in; particularly if builders are looking to differentiate themselves through innovative tract layouts and home compositions. But while the few 3D printed tracts now going up show some promise, ratcheting up the greenery, sustainability, and design quality, their repetitive planning and architecture don't stray far from the norm."
Don't Ban ChatGPT in Schools. Teach With It.
Kevin Roose | The New York Times
"There are legitimate questions about the ethics of AI-generated writing, and concerns about whether the answers ChatGPT gives are accurate. (Often, they're not.) And I'm sympathetic to teachers who feel that they have enough to worry about, without adding AI-generated homework to the mix. But after talking with dozens of educators over the past few weeks, I've come around to the view that banning ChatGPT from the classroom is the wrong move."
Image Credit: Planet Volumes / Unsplash
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.
Before writing this newsletter about how hard it is to remember things, I decided to test myself. I wasn't sure how much of the recent culture I'd consumed would jolt back into my brain; if it turned out I was a memory savant, I figured I should mention that here.
Okay: What was the last TV show I turned on? (The Sopranos). What are the main characters' names? The secondary characters'? What's the plot of the latest episode? And also, what was the last book I read? The last article? One original thought I had about it?
Not a savant, it turns out. Remembering is hard. When we talk about the struggles of memory, many of us blame ourselves, lamenting how we've let the internet erode our cognitive abilities. "My brain is broken," we'll say. But the struggle to remember goes beyond the internet and has a lot to do with how the brain works.
As our senior editor Julie Beck explained in 2018, the internet has dealt a huge blow to our recall memory—the ability to spontaneously call up information in your mind—because that skill is not as necessary when we can just turn to Google. But these memory issues go way back: In one of Plato's dialogues, Socrates warns that writing could cause forgetfulness. And sure enough, "writing absolutely killed memory," one researcher told Beck.
The trade-offs, that researcher noted, may be worth it: What we've lost in memory, we've gained in access to information. And "not all memories that wander are lost," Beck writes. Some of them are just hanging around until the right cue brings them back to the front of our mind.
Today's reading list explores how the human mind remembers, and how it forgets.
Why We Forget Most of the Books We Read
By Julie Beck
… and the movies and TV shows we watch too.
By Annika Neklason
The world's most accomplished memorizers insist their powers aren't an innate gift, but rather a skill that anyone can hone.
You've Probably Seen Yourself in Your Memories
By Jacob Stern
Remembering your life in the third person is a little creepy and surprisingly common.
- Imagining the future is just another form of memory: When you imagine your future, you're really just using projections of your past, Julie explained in 2017.
- You won't remember the pandemic the way you think you will: "We don't shelve a pristine first edition of an experience in a dust-free inner sanctum; we sloppily pass the memory around, inviting comment," Melissa Faye Greene wrote in 2021.
- Can we talk about how weird baby mammals are?
- Hollywood's love affair with fictional languages
- Why happy people cheat (From 2017)
In her piece, Julie highlights one good practice for those of us eager to improve our memory skills: Space out the process of reading a book or watching a show, because your memories get reinforced the more times you reaccess them. In other words, say goodbye to the binge.
The war in Ukraine began trending toward the defenders soon after Russia launched its full-scale invasion on February 24. In the summer and fall of last year, Ukraine rapidly recaptured territory that Russia had seized in the war's early days. Yet the relative stability of the front line in recent weeks has fueled fresh suggestions that Russia may soon go on the offensive again. Many analysts were hypnotized a year ago by what they saw as Russia's overwhelming firepower, modern weapons, and effective planning and leadership. Although the Ukrainians almost immediately proved far more formidable than nearly anyone had anticipated, lulls in the war play to the expectation that Russia will soon start massing its supposed great reserves and recover the situation on the battlefield. The underlying assumption is that Ukraine has little hope of ultimate triumph over a fully mobilized Russia. In this account, the longer the war goes on, and the more rounds of forced conscription that Vladimir Putin and his military impose on the Russian population, the more decisive Russia's supposed advantages will be.
In reality, the logistical, planning, and organizational failures that stalled Russia's advance and allowed Ukraine to recapture territory are likely to keep occurring. As long as its NATO partners keep increasing their support, Ukraine is well positioned to win the war.
[Anne Applebaum: The brutal alternate world in which the U.S. abandoned Ukraine]
Russia's strategy relies on the mobilization of lots of soldiers. But the sheer size of an army is not in itself a decisive factor in modern war and has not been for some time. Russia's new soldiers, who up to this point have resisted every attempt to get them to volunteer but also lacked the motivation to flee their country to avoid conscription, are poor raw material for an army. To do substantial damage to an enemy force, soldiers must be properly trained—which takes a minimum of six months and normally requires about a year. Russia's new army will have no time to practice maneuvers together before being thrown into action.
Crucially, all of these new trainees also need to be given modern new equipment. Quality can be decisive. During World War II, rival armies were constantly improving their weapons systems. But far from upgrading its equipment and expanding production, Russia seems incapable of reversing more than a fraction of the damage it has suffered in the past 11 months.
According to an independent estimate based on photographic evidence, Russia has lost at least 1,600 tanks; the Ukrainian military claims to have captured, destroyed, or otherwise incapacitated 3,100. Before the war, the annual production of frontline equipment was surprisingly small. For example, it made a little more than 200 main battle tanks a year from 2014 to 2021. Now, because of sanctions restricting Russia's technology imports, plus the inefficiencies endemic in the Russian military supply chain, the country seems unlikely even to maintain its prewar production rate, so Moscow will have to take more and more equipment out of storage. Ukrainian officials believe that even the best Russian units now in action, including elite airborne troops, are receiving poor equipment. Some Russian soldiers are being transported in vehicles that are decades old, including Soviet-era BMP-1 armored personnel carriers. This materiel is certainly less effective than the frontline equipment that the Russian army had at its disposal on February 24.
In short, Russia is not gathering its strength in a powerful new army. It is assembling an inferior version of the force with which it started the war.
Although Ukraine has suffered substantial military losses and absorbed a series of attacks on civilian targets, its defensive capabilities keep improving. Only 11 months ago, many of the most pessimistic analysts were saying the Ukrainian army should receive no heavy weapons, because it stood no chance against the mighty Russians. Ukraine's friends limited much of their aid to smaller, handheld systems. Basically all of Ukraine's artillery and armor, for instance, were legacy Soviet designs.
But because Russian barbarity has shocked the West into action, and because Ukraine's military successes proved that advanced weaponry would not go to waste, its forces have steadily received more NATO-standard equipment. First came long-range artillery systems, including French CAESAR self-propelled howitzers and American High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). Next came the promise of a major boost to Ukraine's air-defense capabilities, via National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems and Patriot missile systems. (Training for Ukrainian forces on the latter equipment is expected to begin soon.) In the past several days, Western governments that had previously been wary of provoking Russian escalation by offering too much advanced equipment have crossed an important threshold. Ukraine may soon be receiving high-tech armored personnel carriers and apparently even main battle tanks, including German-built Leopards and British-built Challenger IIs.
[Phillips Payson O'Brien: What Zelensky needs from Washington]
Many NATO leaders now believe not only that Ukraine can outlast the Russian invaders but also that it must. Anything but a complete Ukrainian victory will offer some validation for depraved Russian fighting tactics. It would encourage Putin to test the resolve of other nations that share borders with Russia or were once under Soviet domination. In recent days Norway, Finland, the Baltic states, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia have all promised continued support for Ukraine. These donors do not believe that NATO membership alone will protect them from Russian military interference; their security now hinges on Putin's Russia being vanquished.
This kind of pressure should hopefully persuade the Biden administration to let Ukraine have the final pieces of military technology that it needs to force the Russians out. These include advanced vehicles to provide increased mobility as well as the kinds of long-range artillery systems that will allow it to hit Russian forces anywhere in occupied Ukraine. This might eventually include ATACMS guided missiles, which extend the effective range of HIMARS equipment and would allow Ukraine to sever supply chains through large parts of Russian-occupied territory.
In almost every category of equipment, the Ukrainian army is significantly stronger today than it was in February, and it will keep getting stronger. About 20,000 Ukrainian personnel have now completed advanced training in NATO countries, according to a Ukrainian state news agency, and thousands more will do the same in 2023.
In the coming months, the war could become horrifically bloody if Russian generals continue to send large numbers of poorly trained soldiers into combat. Still, Ukraine has most of the advantages that typically decide a war. Its forces will be better trained, better led, and, with the West's help, far better armed. And most Ukrainians' determination is likely to remain strong, in part because they don't have any choice but to win.
Despite Zuckerberg's ambitions, not many people seem to care about the metaverse in the slightest, myself included. I think the problem is that he has the wrong approach to this. For the last few years we've been increasingly uploading things from our lives to the internet, like information and communication. You could easily think this will continue infinitely to the point where our entire lives exist online. But I think that's the wrong conclusion. Internet is, and should remain, a tool. We've seen the negative effects of people living their lives through the internet. It's not healthy. People don't want virtual lives. People still enjoy going outside, they enjoy talking, touching, feeling. What we should do is we should bring the internet to the physical world. We should use AR rather than VR. We should add to our real lives rather than abandoning them.
At least this is what I hope happens. Maybe Zuckerberg is right, maybe the metaverse is revolutionary and our future way of living. Maybe it's ahead of its time and we're limited by our old-fashioned thinking. We will see.
We're working on a project that aims to create a digital persona or alter ego for each individual, that tracks and understands their behaviour on the internet and generates a digital self of theirs. We believe this could provide people with a representation of themselves in the digital world, and generate personalized content and recommendations.
However, we understand that this project raises important privacy and ethical considerations. We want to make sure that we are taking into account the potential downsides and risks of creating a digital persona, as well as the potential benefits.
That's why we're reaching out to our community to ask for your feedback on this project. We would love to hear your thoughts on the potential benefits and drawbacks of creating a digital persona, as well as any concerns you may have about the privacy and ethical considerations.
We value your feedback and it will play an important role in shaping the direction of this project. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below or reach out to us directly via our contact page.
Investors are pursuing legal action against Virgin Galactic, claiming its carrier aircraft and space vehicle were not designed for regular space travel
In a desert basin in New Mexico, Richard Branson hopes history will be made later this year with the launch of Virgin Galactic's first commercial flights to the edge of space, with tickets costing about $450,000 (£370,000) each.
It is an ambitious schedule to launch the "world's first commercial spaceliner" at Spaceport America, even though it is already more than a decade late.Continue reading…
Nature Communications, Published online: 14 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-35786-9
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The week at Retraction Watch featured:
- Police investigating after Polish journal accuses authors of 'crime of plagiarism'
- Judge orders OSU cancer researcher to pay $1 million to lawyers from failed libel suit
- Japanese university asks surgeon to retract eight 'fraudulent' papers
- Russian publishing watchdog decries 'retraction misuse' following ban on 'LGBT propaganda'
- Was a paper from Taiwan retracted because of a geopolitical dispute?
Our list of retracted or withdrawn
papers is up to 285. 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):
- "Abstracts written by ChatGPT fool scientists."
- "Study debunks idea that Covid trials cut clinical corners."
- "Do journals need societies, and do societies need journals?"
- "Mistakes happen in research papers. But corrections often don't."
- "Retraction (mal)practices of elite marketing and social psychology journals in the Dirk Smeesters' research misconduct case."
- "Alzheimer's drug saga prompts journal to scrutinize whistle-blowers."
- "Issues with Ethics in Research – A Case Study of the IHU Mediterranee
- "'Institute for scientific facts' aims to smash fake news."
- "Oops. After ten years and 1,000 studies, epigeneticists uncover trouble in their tool box."
- "Jot is a free and open-source web application that matches manuscripts in the fields of biomedicine and life sciences with suitable journals…"
- "Academic writing is transforming – into comics, podcasts, installations – but that doesn't mean bog-standard peer-reviewed papers are less key to institutional status or individual promotion."
- Paper mills hit the press in Thailand.
- A university "'plagiarism-for-profit' probe" is launched in Thailand.
- "The Preprint Club – A cross-institutional, community-based approach to peer reviewing."
- "Policing of fraudulent conference proceedings needs collaboration."
- A journal edited by kids "pushes scientists for clear writing on complex topics."
- What's the best way to improve correction in science?
- "Do you want to publish an article in a
scientific journal? Easy. Pay a few hundred dollars and receive an article ready for submission."
- A call for transparency about software used to detect image manipulation.
- "Citation of studies by research fraudsters in medical journals."
- "A Conflict of Interests–Manipulating Peer Review or Research as Usual?"
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 email@example.com.
Scientific Reports, Published online: 14 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-28066-5QTL mapping for seed density per silique in Brassica napus
NPR's Scott Simon talks to Admir Masic, professor of civil and environmental engineering at MIT, about what made concrete used by Ancient Romans so incredibly durable.
The recent discovery of a small number of classified documents, left over from President Joe Biden's time as vice president and found at his private office and home, has injected confusion into the public's understanding of whether any criminal liability might be appropriate for former President Donald Trump in connection with the huge trove of classified documents found last year at Mar-a-Lago.
Given the facts as they are now known, only the most superficial parallel can be drawn between Biden's possession of these documents and Trump's conduct relating to the documents held at Mar-a-Lago. To be clear, Biden having classified documents in unsecure, nongovernmental settings violates the law regarding the handling of such documents. Unfortunately, his administration has done itself no favor by its delayed disclosure of the problem, creating unnecessary suspicion and political turmoil.
[Quinta Jurecic: The classified-files scandal is the most Trumpy scandal of all]
Under these circumstances, Attorney General Merrick Garland has, in our view, acted wisely in appointing special counsels to fully evaluate the facts concerning both events, and his selection of a highly qualified, experienced prosecutor—Robert K. Hur—is a sign that he is taking account of the need for public trust in the administration of justice.
Even if, at some point, evidence of potential criminal conduct develops in the Biden case, in no proper prosecutorial universe should that affect or deter Special Counsel Jack Smith's investigation of Trump. In the unlikely event that both men did commit crimes, that would be no reason not to prosecute Trump—or Biden, for that matter, once he is out of office. No person is above the law.
But these two cases are not equivalent. For starters, let's consider the two stories through the lens of the statutes cited in the Mar-a-Lago search warrant approved by a federal court.
Individuals violate the Espionage Act when, among other things, they willfully retain national-defense documents and fail to return them to a proper government official upon request. In November, Biden's personal lawyer discovered the classified documents and returned them to the government without a request. So that statute does not apply. Biden has denied knowing that he had the documents.
The contrast with Trump is stark. The National Archives and Records Administration first asked him to return missing documents in May 2021. The following January, Archives officials retrieved 15 boxes of government records, and on June 3, 2022, his lawyer signed a sworn statement that all documents responsive to a grand jury subpoena were being returned after a "diligent" search. (That any lawyer would do so without conducting the search herself raises serious ethical questions, and strongly implies that she was instructed by someone to make the statement.)
[Bob Bauer: Why do former presidents have access to classified information?]
In August, a federal court was provided evidence that the lawyer's statement was likely false, and the court issued the search warrant that allowed the FBI to seize upwards of 11,000 documents from Mar-a-Lago. They included more than 70 documents marked "Secret" or "Top Secret," some apparently containing information whose disclosure could conceivably endanger the lives of American intelligence sources overseas.
The apparent obstruction of justice—with evidence pointing to Trump's direct involvement—make up the serious misconduct here, more serious than a former president simply having removed documents from their proper place. Trump's lawyers repeatedly asserted in court that the Mar-a-Lago documents were "personal," effectively admitting that Trump took them and kept them.
The centrality of concealment to the case is made even clearer by the second statute cited in the Mar-a-Lago affidavit. It subjects to prosecution anyone who "knowingly … conceals [or] covers up … any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede [or] obstruct … the investigation or proper administration of any [federal] matter."
By contrast, in Biden's case, no evidence yet exists of concealment or of intent to impede or obstruct the proper administration of any federal matter. With Trump, a federal judge has already determined, in approving the Mar-a-Lago warrant, that there was probable cause to believe that Trump intended to impede or obstruct an investigation or NARA's proper administration of government records, and likely both.
[David French: Don't minimize Biden's classified-information mess]
Similarly, the third criminal statute relied on in the Mar-a-Lago affidavit prohibits "willfully and unlawfully concealing [or] removing" a government record or document from "any public office … of the United States." Willful and unlawful intent requires knowledge that one is breaking the law, and Trump was placed on notice over the course of many months, and asked numerous times by multiple federal agencies to return all classified and presidential records. He still did not.
From what we know now, Biden's situation differs significantly both from Trump's conduct at Mar-a-Lago and from prior prosecutions of high-level government officials for mishandling classified documents.
In 2005, Sandy Berger, a former national security adviser to President Bill Clinton, pleaded guilty to unlawfully removing government documents. In 2003, years after his government service, he had gone to the National Archives to review files, and as he left, a staffer spotted what appeared to be paper protruding from Berger's pant leg. Stuffing documents into his trousers to hide them, along with his later attempt to throw the records into a construction site, was powerful evidence of willful and unlawful intent.
In 2015, David Petraeus, a former general and CIA director under President Barack Obama, pleaded guilty to having given his mistress and biographer, Paula Broadwell, classified material that he had improperly retained. Petraeus had falsely attested to having no classified material in his possession. Like documents taken and concealed in clothing, false statements are compelling evidence of a guilty mind and a cover-up.
One of us (Mark S. Zaid) has represented many clients who have accidentally taken classified documents home or unintentionally left them in unsecured environments. Those cases involved no deliberate flouting of law but rather negligent or reckless conduct. These situations are routinely resolved through administrative proceedings, such as suspension or revocation of security clearances or other sanctions short of prosecution.
Biden's case requires careful handling, and that appears to be just what Garland has in mind. In November, shortly after learning that classified documents were discovered at Biden's University of Pennsylvania think tank, Garland properly directed U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch Jr., a Trump-appointed prosecutor, to investigate the matter and later accepted his recommendation to appoint a special counsel. In that role, Robert Hur will determine whether the matter involves anything more than inadvertent security violations without any effort to conceal them.
The current state of facts strongly suggests that Biden's errors are not criminal. It is not even clear that these incidents can be tied to him personally, unlike Trump's conduct at Mar-a-Lago. But whatever Hur finds to be true, the facts and law regarding Trump's concealment and evasion are a separate matter. The administration of justice must advance swiftly and not be influenced by those attempting to create a false equivalence between the two cases.
Scientific Reports, Published online: 14 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-27914-8β-Aminoisobutyric acid (L-BAIBA) is a novel regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis and respiratory function in human podocytes
Scientific Reports, Published online: 14 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-28055-8Unraveling the electronic influence and nature of covalent bonding of aryl and alkyl radicals on the B12N12 nanocage cluster
Scientific Reports, Published online: 14 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-28074-5Effect of date molasses on levetiracetam pharmacokinetics in healthy rats
Scientific Reports, Published online: 14 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-28004-5Learned value modulates the access to visual awareness during continuous flash suppression
Scientific Reports, Published online: 14 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-27886-9Anticodon table of the chloroplast genome and identification of putative quadruplet anticodons in chloroplast tRNAs
Scientific Reports, Published online: 14 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-022-26919-zThe impact of the striped field mouse's range expansion on communities of native small mammals
Scientific Reports, Published online: 14 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-27601-8Job satisfaction has differential associations with delay discounting and risk-taking
Scientific Reports, Published online: 14 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-27668-3Prevalence and factors associated with
|submitted by /u/shivani74829
Ask the AI program a question, as millions have in recent weeks, and it will do its best to respond
Since its launch in November last year, ChatGPT has become an extraordinary hit. Essentially a souped-up chatbot, the AI program can churn out answers to the biggest and smallest questions in life, and draw up college essays, fictional stories, haikus, and even job application letters. It does this by drawing on what it has gleaned from a staggering amount of text on the internet, with careful guidance from human experts. Ask ChatGPT a question, as millions have in recent weeks, and it will do its best to respond – unless it knows it cannot. The answers are confident and fluently written, even if they are sometimes spectacularly wrong.
The program is the latest to emerge from OpenAI, a research laboratory in California, and is based on an earlier AI from the outfit, called GPT-3. Known in the field as a large language model or LLM, the AI is fed hundreds of billions of words in the form of books, conversations and web articles, from which it builds a model, based on statistical probability, of the words and sentences that tend to follow whatever text came before. It is a bit like predictive text on a mobile phone, but scaled up massively, allowing it to produce entire responses instead of single words.Continue reading…
Nature Communications, Published online: 14 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-35925-2Polymers with low ceiling temperatures (Tc) are highly desirable as they can depolymerize under mild conditions, but they typically suffer from demanding synthetic conditions and poor stability. Here, the authors envision that this challenge can be addressed by developing high-Tc polymers that can be converted into low-Tc polymers on demand.
Nature Communications, Published online: 14 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-35923-4Developing computational tools for interpretable cell type annotation in scRNA-seq data remains challenging. Here the authors propose a Transformer-based model for interpretable annotation transfer using biologically understandable entities, and demonstrate its performance on large or atlas datasets.
Nature Communications, Published online: 14 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-35917-2Oncolytic viruses are able to target tumours and thought to induce apoptosis while remodelling the tumour immune microenvironment. Here authors show in an oncolytic parapoxvirus ovis model that pyroptosis, a highly immunogenic
Nature Communications, Published online: 14 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-35892-8Studies on the fractional Schrödinger equation (FSE) remain mostly theoretical, due to the lack of materials supporting fractional dispersion or diffraction. Here, the authors indirectly realized the FSE using two programmable holograms acting as an optical Lévy waveguide.
Researchers spurred by injustice explain why 18th century Irish man famed for his exceptional height deserves burial he wanted
Thomas Muinzer recalls the day when, as a bored student in Belfast learning about property law, a few sentences about the 18th century "Irish Giant" Charles Byrne caught his eye.
"I saw a footnote about a celebrity Irish giant from Northern Ireland whose remains were stolen on the way to his funeral – querying whether or not that was the theft of property, because it was a dead body," he says.Continue reading…
- England will ban a wide range of single-use plastic items from October including plates and cutlery in order to limit their "devastating" effect on the environment, the government said Saturday.
Nature Communications, Published online: 14 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-35860-2Changes in Polycomb repression during interphase transition modulate the ability of pluripotent cells to enter cell differentiation.
Even in 2023, in the broader temporal context, we are among the very earliest humans to ever use social media, and have our own detailed digital footprints.
If humanity survives a very long time, there may some day be far more than one quadrillion people for each one of us. In such a future, our current global population might seem a relatively sparse, ancient, and localized community.
When you consider that future humans (or cyborgs, AI, etc) may have ways of rapidly processing vast data —perhaps reading many detailed life stories simultaneously— we might all become easily researched in as much detail as our digital footprints allow.
It might be similar to how we would respond to the existence of an ancient island civilization consisting of just 100 people, and they proved to be the earliest society to write things down, including status updates about their daily life.
And so, with the potential for a large, intelligent human species in the future… And with us being alive now when social media is new… Will we all be studied in great detail? Might we all basically be famous among quadrillions upon quadrillions of super-intelligent anthropologists?
Recently, I found a Chrome extension called Engage AI. I've been using the tool for the past week or two. I wanted to share my experience with it.
The Chrome extension essentially writes comments for you for
posts. All you have to do is copy the link of a post and paste it into the extension. The app scrapes information from the post and comments, then it generates a related comment for you using AI.
The comments generated by the extension are accurate and have perfect spelling and grammar. They sound genuine, human, and high-effort, far better than generic comments such as "Great post" or "Thanks for sharing."
Unfortunately, the comments aren't always accurate. Occasionally, the app will generate a comment that doesn't make much sense with the post and I need to refresh it. It's also a shame that it's specific for LinkedIn and no other platforms, so you're out of luck if you don't use LI.
It's not for everyone, but for someone like me who uses LinkedIn to build relationships with leads for my employer, it's a great help. I feel like VAs could benefit a lot from this, and anyone else trying to stay in front of your target audience on LinkedIn.
Personally, I comment on prospects' posts on a weekly basis. It can take me hours to come up with, say, twenty insightful and well-thought-out comments. With this extension, those hours are reduced to just a few minutes. I've gotten positive feedback from the comments I've made with it so far.
Overall, the app is a great time-saver and saves me the effort of needing to write a comment that makes sense in a field I'm not always familiar with. I'm already on the paid plan, but there's a free trial if you want to test it out.
If anyone else has tried it, I would love to hear your thoughts.
|submitted by /u/MilkshakeBoy78
We have all had moments like this with friends and relatives. Your 65 year old dad writes his passwords in a book. Your 80 year old grandma calls you when she has trouble with her phone.
What do you think you will need help with 30 years in the future that will be cringe to the youngsters then?
Nature Communications, Published online: 14 January 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-35931-4Fabrication of 3D covalent organic framework thin films is challenging. Here the authors report on a liquid-liquid interfacial approach based on physical-organic considerations to synthesize an ultrathin covalent crystal film.
Another January, another annual data point.
As in years past, the annual rollout of the GISTEMP, NOAA, HadCRUT and Berkeley Earth analyses of the surface temperature record have brought forth many stories about the long term trends and specific events of 2022 – mostly focused on the impacts of the (ongoing) La Niña event and the litany of weather extremes (UK and elsewhere having record years, intense rainfall and flooding, Hurricane Ian, etc. etc.).
But there are a few things that don't get covered much in the mainstream stories, and so we can dig into them a bit here.
What influence does ENSO really have?
It's well known (among readers here, I assume), that ENSO influences the interannual variability of the climate system and the annual mean temperatures. El Niño events enhance global warming (as in 1998, 2010, 2016 etc.) and La Niña events (2011, 2018, 2021, 2022 etc.) impart a slight cooling.
Consequently, a line drawn from an El Niño year to a subsequent La Niña year will almost always show a cooling – a fact well known to the climate disinformers (though they are not so quick to show the uncertainties in such cherry picks!). For instance, the trends from 2016 to 2022 are -0.12±0.37ºC/dec but with such large uncertainties, the calculation is meaningless. Far more predictive are the long term trends which are consistently (now) above 0.2ºC/dec (and with much smaller uncertainties ±0.02ºC/dec for the last 40 years).
It's worth exploring quantitatively what the impact is, and this is something I've been looking at for a while. It's easy enough correlate the detrended annual anomalies with the ENSO index (maximum correlation is for the early spring values), and then use that regression to estimate the specific impact for any year, and to estimate an ENSO-corrected time series.
The surface temperature records are becoming more coherent
Back in 2013/2014, the differences between the surface indices (HadCRUT3, NOAA v3 and GISTEMP v3) contributed to the initial confusion related to the 'pause', which was seemingly evident in HadCRUT3, but not so much in the other records (see this discussion from 2015). Since then all of the series have adopted improved SST homogenization, and HadCRUT5 adopted a similar interpolation across the pole as was used in the GISTEMP products. From next month onwards, NOAA will move to v5.1 which will now incorporate Arctic buoy data (a great innovation) and also provide a spatially complete record. The consequence is that the surface instrument records will be far more coherent than they have ever been. Some differences remain pre-WW2 (lots of SST inhomogeneities to deal with) and in the 19th C (where data sparsity is a real challenge).
The structural uncertainty in satellite records is large
While the surface-based records are becoming more consistent, the various satellite records are as far apart as ever. The differences between the RSS and UAH TLT records are much larger than the spread in the surface records (indeed, they span those trends), making any claims of greater precision somewhat dubious. Similarly, the difference in the versions of the AIRS records (v6 vs. v7) of ground temperature anomalies produce quite distinct trends (in the case of AIRS v6, Nov 2022 was exceptionally cold, which was not seen in other records).
When will we reach 1.5ºC above the pre-industrial?
This was a very common question in the press interviews this week. It has a few distinct components – what is the 'pre-industrial' period that's being referenced, what is the uncertainty in that baseline, and what are the differences in the long term records since then?
The latest IPCC report discusses this issue in some depth, but the basic notion is that since the impacts that are expected at 1.5ºC are derived in large part from the CMIP model simulations that have a nominal baseline of ~1850, 'pre-industrial' temperatures are usually assumed to be some kind of mid-19th Century average. This isn't a universally accepted notion – Hawkins et al (2017) for instance, suggest we should use a baseline from the 18th Century – but it is one that easier to operationalise.
The baseline of 1880-1900 can be calculated for all the long temperature series, and with respect to that 2022 (or the last five years) is between 1.1 and 1.3ºC warmer (with Berkeley Earth showing the most warming). For the series that go back to 1850, the difference between 1850-1900 and 1880-1900 is 0.01 to 0.03ºC, so probably negligible for this purpose.
Linear trends since 1996 are robustly just over 0.2ºC/decade in all series, so that suggests between one and two decades are required to have the mean climate exceed 1.5ºC, that is around 2032 to 2042. The first specific year that breaches this threshold will come earlier and will likely be associated with a big El Niño. Assuming something like 2016 (a +0.11ºC effect), that implies you might see the excedence some 5 years earlier – say 2027 to 2037 (depending a little on the time-series you are following).
2023 is starting the year with a mild La Niña, which is being forecast to switch to neutral conditions by mid-year. Should we see signs of an El Niño developing towards the end of the year, that will heavily favor 2024 to be a new record, though not one that is likely to exceed 1.5ºC however you calculate it.
[Aside: In contrast to my reasoning here, the last decadal outlook from the the UK MetOffice/WMO suggested that 2024 has a 50-50 chance of exceeding 1.5ºC, some 5 or so years early than I'd suggest, and that an individual year might reach 1.7ºC above the PI in the next five years! I don't know why this is different – it could be a larger variance associated with ENSO in their models, it could be a higher present day baseline (but I don't think so), or a faster warming rate than the linear trend (which could relate to stronger forcings, or higher effective sensitivity). Any insight on this would be welcome!]
- E. Hawkins, P. Ortega, E. Suckling, A. Schurer, G. Hegerl, P. Jones, M. Joshi, T.J. Osborn, V. Masson-Delmotte, J. Mignot, P. Thorne, and G.J. van Oldenborgh, "Estimating Changes in Global Temperature since the Preindustrial Period", Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, vol. 98, pp. 1841-1856, 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0007.1
The post 2022 updates to the temperature records first appeared on RealClimate.
|submitted by /u/yaykarin
Research suggests hormone replacement therapy may reduce risk of Alzheimer's in some women
Hormone replacement therapy may help prevent Alzheimer's disease in millions of women at risk of developing the condition, research suggests.
is one of the world's biggest health threats. The number of people living with the condition worldwide is set to nearly triple to 153 million by 2050, and experts have warned it presents a major and rapidly growing threat to future health and social care systems in every community, country and continent.Continue reading…
The average person blinks roughly 15 to 20 times per minute, but when we're caught up in a task like, say, defending the point in an "Overwatch" match or playing "Ghost of Tsushima" until the sun comes up, we tend to blink less. And while we may not even notice it while we're absorbed in a game, this can have a domino effect on our health that leads to splitting headaches, sore eyes, and fatigue. It's a condition called digital eye strain, and it's triggered by staring at screens for too long without taking breaks. Blinking lubricates your eyes, so when you're blinking less, your eyes get dry and have to strain to keep you seeing things properly.
Gaming glasses can help alleviate these symptoms by filtering out some of the blue light emitted from your monitor, phone, or tablet to reduce its impact on your eyes, letting you play comfortably for longer without feeling like you got hit by a truck by the time you log off for the day. Here's our guide to finding the best gaming glasses to give your eyes a much-needed break.
— Best Overall: Gunnar Vayper Glasses
— Best for Glasses Wearers: LifeArt Blue Light Blocking Glasses
— Best for Streamers: Gunnar Lightning Bolt 360 Gaming Glasses
— Best for Eye Strain: Horus X Blue Light Blocking Glasses
— Best Value: Feiyold Blue Light Blocking Glasses
How We Picked the Best Gaming Glasses
To choose our top contenders for the best gaming glasses, we extensively researched and compared lenses from the industry's leading manufacturers. We also compiled critical consensus from reviewers and gamers worldwide.
We took into consideration the specifications of each pair, paying attention to how much blue light and UV rays each blocks, as well as whether they filter out blue light in a specific range of wavelengths that experts believe may be linked to symptoms of digital eye strain. For the frames, we compared the durability, strength, flexibility, and weight of each pair's materials. As for the lenses, we looked at the intensity of their tint and whether they offer magnification along with blue-light filtering. Finally, we looked at each pair's design, particularly how universal or limited their appeal would be to a wide variety of face shapes.
The Best Gaming Glasses: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Gunnar Vayper Glasses
Why It Made The Cut: Gunnar's Vayper glasses have strong blue light filters, a lightweight frame that won't get in the way of a headset, and everything else players could want in a pair of gaming glasses.
— Dimensions: Lens Width: 58mm, Bridge: 15mm, Temple: 130mm
— Filters blue light and UV rays
— Scratch-resistant lenses
— Strong blue light filters
— Lightweight frame
— Adjustable magnification
— Narrow lenses
Gunnar is one of the leading manufacturers of gaming glasses, so it's little surprise that two of their products made our list of top picks. Gunnar's Vayper glasses are one of its most lightweight models to date. The frame, which is made out of a combination of high tensile steel and polymer, is very durable but also flexible enough to allow you to adjust the temples to your face shape without cracking or breaking them. The nose bridges are similarly adjustable.
The Vayper's temples rest slightly above the ear to minimize any interference with over-the-ear headphones and headsets. The lenses sharply cut down on screen glare caused by other lights in the room while also increasing the contrast between colors to make objects look more crisp and clear. The lenses do have a slight magnification, which could be a pro or a con depending on your vision needs. They block 65 percent of harmful blue light along with 100 percent of UV rays to help prevent eye strain.
One of the main drawbacks of these glasses is that the lenses are on the narrower side, so they don't completely encase your peripheral vision. That could take some getting used to if you don't regularly wear glasses.
Best for Glasses Wearers: LifeArt Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Why It Made The Cut: These blue-light blocking glasses have an extensive range of magnification options, making them our top choice for people who already wear prescription glasses.
— Dimensions: 6.3 x 6.3 x 6.3 inches
— Magnified lenses
— Flexible TR90 resin frames
— Wide range of magnification options
— Lightweight frames
— Minimal color distortion
— Thick frames
— Subpar blue-light filtering
LifeArt's gaming glasses pull double duty: They reflect and filter blue light while also helping regular glasses wearers see more clearly without having to shell out for a pricey prescription pair. These glasses come in a range of magnification options from +0.25 up to +6.0 diopters (a unit of measurement for the optical power of a lens; the higher the number, the greater its magnification). For reference, reading glasses you can buy in any drugstore typically range from about +0.75 to +3.0 diopters.
Reducing eye strain hinges on more than just blocking out blue light alone: Most people don't even realize they've been squinting to read their computer screen until that telltale ache starts pounding at their temples.
The lenses themselves are fairly clear with only a slight tint, which minimizes noticeable color distortion. However, this clarity comes at a cost, as it limits the percentage of blue light the lenses are able to filter out, making them comparatively less effective than other gaming glasses. Still, several testimonials from verified buyers said these lenses helped keep their eyes from getting tired and achy after working at a computer all day. The design of these glasses isn't understated by any means, so some players may find the chunky frames too large for their face shape.
Best for Streamers: Gunnar Lightning Bolt 360 Gaming Glasses
Why It Made The Cut: Gunnar's Lightning Bolt 360 gaming glasses have a modular design with interchangeable lenses, nose pieces, and temples to rest comfortably under all manner of gaming headsets and over-the-ear headphones.
— Dimensions: 7 x 3 x 2 inches
— Interchangeable parts
— Lightning bolt temple design
— Filters blue light and UV rays
— Modular design
— Comfortable to wear with headphones
— For both indoor and outdoor use
— Slight tint
One of the best ways to grow a following on live streaming platforms like Twitch is to stream often and have a consistent schedule, but that can leave your eyes with precious little time to recover before they're back in front of a monitor for hours on end. Gunnar's Lightning Bolt 360 glasses are specifically designed so that over-the-ear headphones and headsets don't smush them uncomfortably against your face while you're playing, making them a great addition to any streaming setup.
The glasses have a modular design and come with two interchangeable lenses, three nose bridges, and three temples to mix and match for a customized fit. One of the temple options resembles a lightning bolt (hence the name) so that it rests slightly above your ear. Typical lenses have temples that rest directly on top of your ear, so any headphones or headsets worn over top of them will press your ear directly into it, which can become uncomfortable over time. With Gunnar's lightning bolt design, that pressure is more evenly dispersed so you can wear them with headphones more comfortably and for longer periods.
As for the two lens options, Gunnar advertises that its amber lenses block 65 percent of blue light to help prevent eye strain and limit glare while its sun lenses convert the Lightning Bolt 360 into a pair of sunglasses. Both options offer 100 percent protection from harmful UV rays and have a noticeable tint.
Best for Eye Strain: Horus X Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Why It Made The Cut: Of all the glasses we reviewed, these from Horus X have some of the strongest blue light filters you'll find at this price point, so they're our top choice for relieving eye strain.
— Dimensions: 5.28 x 5.71 x 1.57 inches
— Blue light and UV filtering
— Anti-reflective lenses
— Superior blue light filters
— Durable frame
— Heavy tint
These gaming glasses from Horus X come with amber-tinted lenses that filter out more than 86 percent of blue light with wavelengths between 380 and 450 nanometers (for reference, experts believe blue light with a wavelength around 430 nanometers is most responsible for causing symptoms of digital eye strain). They also offer broad-spectrum UV protection, blocking out 100 percent of harmful UV A, B, and C rays.
This protection comes at the cost of a noticeable yellow tint, unfortunately. That may be a small price to pay, as a slew of verified buyers said these glasses helped relieve eye strain, fatigue, and headaches from staring at a computer monitor all day.
These frames are made out of polycarbonate, a material that's more lightweight and less likely to crack or shatter than plastic, which allows them to be super thin and light without sacrificing durability. The glasses also feature similarly durable lenses that come with an anti-reflective and anti-scratch coating.
Best Value: Feiyold Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Why It Made The Cut: Feiyold's offers two pairs of its blue-light-blocking glasses for the price of one, and their lenses filter out as much blue light as more expensive options.
— Dimensions: 6.38 x 2.83 x 2.17 inches
— Filters blue light and UV rays
— Array of styles
— Strong blue light filters
— Comes in several styles
— Low color distortion
— Thick frames
— Not adjustable
If you're still on the fence about whether blue-light-blocking glasses are worth getting, Feiyold bundles two glasses for less than the price of a single pair from many of its competitors. Feiyold says its glasses block out harmful blue light to keep your eyes relaxed while you're staring at screens all day, helping to prevent fatigue and eye strain. These glasses also feature UV protection, have almost no tint, and come in a much wider array of colors than other glasses we found.
There are a few drawbacks worth noting, though. These glasses have an oversized, retro design that may not be to everyone's taste. As for fit, many reviewers said the glasses felt relatively lightweight and remained comfortable even after several hours of wear, though unfortunately there's no way to adjust the position of the temples or swap out the nose piece.
Things to Consider Before Buying Gaming Glasses
Trying to find the right frames can feel overwhelming. Here's what you should keep in mind when shopping for the best gaming glasses to suit your needs.
How You'll Wear Them: Do you plan on wearing your gaming glasses under a headset or headphones? On average, how long will you be wearing them? Do you want a pair that will double as sunglasses for outdoor use? Questions like these will help you narrow down your options to those with features that you'll use the most.
Other Glasses You Wear: If you wear glasses on a day-to-day basis, you'll want to look out for gaming glasses that come with magnification built into the lenses. Filtering out blue light can only help your eyes so much if you're straining to see the screen in the first place. In addition, many manufacturers also offer versions of their products with prescription-strength lenses for a higher cost.
Style: Just like with regular glasses, gaming glasses come in an extensive range of shapes, sizes, and designs, from chunky hipster frames to sleek, futuristic-looking styles. Some manufacturers, like Gunnar and Horus X, let you try on their products virtually on their websites. When deciding on the right pair, take into consideration what kind of glasses suit your face shape and personal style. If you already have a pair of glasses or sunglasses that you really like, try to find gaming glasses with a similar design.
Q: Do gaming glasses really work?
The effects of prolonged exposure to blue light on our eyes is a subject the scientific community continues to research, so it's difficult to pinpoint exactly how bad staring at the glow of your gadgets can be. Blue light itself isn't inherently harmful; our single largest source of exposure is the sun. But studies suggest that the specific wavelengths of blue light emitted from our devices can disrupt our body's circadian rhythm, aka our natural wake and sleep cycles. Too much before you go to bed can throw that cycle out of whack, making it harder to fall asleep or get restful sleep. Regardless, experts do agree that concentrating on a single, bright source of light that's just a few inches from your eyes for hours on end, i.e. a phone or computer screen, can lead to digital eye strain, symptoms of which include headaches, fatigue, and blurry vision. Gaming glasses reduce the impact of prolonged screen time on your eyes by toning down the brightness and filtering blue light to make it appear more warm-toned, because warmer lights have longer wavelengths on the electromagnetic spectrum.
Q: Can gaming glasses have prescription lenses?
Yes, you can get gaming glasses with lenses that match your existing glasses or contact prescription. Granted, these options typically cost significantly more than their non-prescription counterparts, starting at around $100 on average.
Q: Can you wear gaming glasses all day?
There's currently no suggested limit for how long you should wear gaming glasses. But to avoid eye strain, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that for every 20 minutes of screentime, you take a break to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Getting a pair of gaming glasses is something to consider if you routinely find that your eyes feel sore and tired after an hours-long play session (sure, you're supposed to be taking breaks, but we all know that doesn't always happen). Any glasses from Gunnar are a solid option to consider. Their Vayper gaming glasses are our top pick because they combine a lot of our favorite features from other competitors—magnification, adjustability, and strong blue light filters—in one pair of lenses.
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 Gaming Glasses of 2023 appeared first on Futurism.
Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET on January 13, 2023
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Much has been said about the salacious revelations in Prince Harry's new memoir, Spare. But as London-based Atlantic staff writer Helen Lewis writes, the book also makes a powerful—if perhaps futile—case against the monarchy. I emailed Helen to learn more.
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The Panda Problem
Kelli María Korducki: How does Spare threaten the idea of the monarchy? And how might British and American readers read this differently?
Helen Lewis: Americans don't feel the same instinctive defensiveness about the monarchy—after all, your country was founded in opposition to the hereditary power and privilege of Harry's ancestors. Spare depicts the monarchy like The Hunger Games: No one chooses to be a part of it, each individual's success depends on the failure of others, and the ultimate "prize" is worthless. Harry even references [the late author] Hilary Mantel's famous comparison of the royal family to pandas—two threatened species, both ill-suited for the modern world and kept in airy enclosures that are really cages.
Kelli: What does Spare reveal about the strange codependence between the press—and, by extension, the public upon whose support the monarchy depends—and the Royal Family?
Helen: The most shocking allegation in Spare, the one which seems to have driven Harry into exile, is that his own family colluded with the press to plant negative stories about him to distract from their own foibles and missteps. He feels very strongly that the paparazzi chasing his mother's car into that tunnel in Paris were complicit in her death, and yet nothing was done to hold them accountable. Skip forward 20 years, and he also feels that his father and the institution more broadly did not issue statements condemning the press coverage of Meghan Markle, which he feels was both intrusive and racist. The Royal Family's attitude is different from Harry's: They believe that complaining (or suing) doesn't help, so instead, they try to use access and leaks as leverage to control the flow of information.
Kelli: You note in your essay that you grew up around the same time as Harry, and remember the toxic dynamics of '90s and '00s British tabloid culture. Could you describe that culture for an American audience? How has the media changed?
Helen: When Diana died in 1997, there was immediate revulsion at the harassment she had endured from paparazzi, and some papers even promised not to use "pap" shots anymore. (It didn't last.) Around the same time, some reporters discovered that it was trivially easy to listen to someone's voicemails if you knew their phone number; many people didn't bother to change the default code, usually "1111."
Those years really were the Wild West of tabloid culture, and things are different now for a few of reasons:
- [The British journalist] Nick Davies broke a series of stories in The Guardian exposing the extent of phone hacking, which eventually led to prosecutions [and] payouts to those affected, and the Leveson Inquiry into the press.
- Celebrities won legal actions under European laws that guaranteed a right to privacy, which made newspapers more cautious.
- Technology changed. Who leaves a voicemail now? People just text one another.
- The rise of reality TV and influencer culture, which meant that papers could fill their pages with people who wanted the attention.
Kelli: Going back to the book, you write, "The tiny violin is played heavily in this symphony." Yet you note that "Harry's memoir makes it impossible to ignore the broken people inside the institution." How so?
Helen: One of the tenets of cognitive behavioral therapy is that you can't control what happens to you, but you can control your reactions. As a result of Harry's hang-up about being the "spare," he is primed to be sensitive to slights. Many of his complaints (for example, that his rent-free apartment was on the lower-ground floor, and so poorly lit) do sound quite petty. But that's relatable! Even many normal, nonroyal families have a dynamic where one kid is designated as the "golden child" and the other is the "troublemaker." The book conveys how much that dynamic might be magnified when your brother is destined from birth to be the head of a millennium-old institution, and must therefore be protected from scandal and blame.
Kelli: What happens now for the monarchy?
Helen: Probably nothing. Buckingham Palace has so far been totally silent on the allegations, and oddly, the sheer volume of revelations helps them, because it prevents a single narrative from emerging. The newspapers are very happy to write about Harry's frostbitten penis and 'shroom trips rather than his criticisms of their own historic practices.
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Cities Really Can Be Both Denser and Greener
By Emma Marris
When I moved from small-town Oregon to Paris's 11th arrondissement last summer, the city seemed like a poem in gray: cobblestones, seven-story buildings, the steely waters of the Seine. But soon I started noticing the green woven in with the gray. Some of it was almost hidden, tucked inside the city's large blocks, behind the apartment buildings lining the streets. I even discovered a sizable public park right across the street from my building, with big trees, Ping-Pong tables, citizen-tended gardens, and "wild" areas of vegetation dedicated to urban biodiversity. To enter it, you have to go through the gate of a private apartment building. Very Parisian.
Dense cities like Paris are busy and buzzy, a mille-feuille of human experience. They're also good for the climate. Shorter travel distances and public transit reduce car usage, while dense multifamily residential architecture takes less energy to heat and cool. But when it comes to adapting to climate change, suddenly everyone wants green space and shade trees, which can cool and clean the air—the classic urban trade-off between density and green space.
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Helen's monarchy-media diet also includes a fanciful drama about royal succession in 16th-century France. "I enjoyed the first few episodes of The Serpent Queen, with Samantha Morton as Catherine de' Medici," she told me. "But I had to bail out when Mary, Queen of Scots, announced she was going to try to seize the French throne for herself, as the king's widow." Why? "France didn't even let men inherit through the female line, never mind [allow] a queen in her own right! A couple of years ago, I wrote about how The Crown needed to twist history into mythology to work as a drama, but come on. There are limits."
Isabel Fattal contributed to this newsletter.
This newsletter originally misstated the century of Catherine de' Medici's reign.
Somehow, in a few short days, gas stoves have gone from a thing that some people cook with to, depending on your politics, either a child-poisoning death machine or a treasured piece of national patrimony. Suddenly, everyone has an opinion. Gas stoves! Who could have predicted it?
The roots of the present controversy can be traced back to late December, when scientists published a paper arguing that gas stoves are to blame for nearly 13 percent of childhood-asthma cases in the United States. This finding was striking but not really new: The scientific literature establishing the dangers of gas stoves—and the connection to childhood asthma in particular—goes back decades. Then, on Monday, the fracas got well and truly under way when Richard Trumka Jr., a member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, said in an interview with Bloomberg News that the commission would consider a full prohibition on gas stoves. "This is a hidden hazard," he said. "Any option is on the table. Products that can't be made safe can be banned."
Just like that, gas stoves became the newest front in America's ever-expanding culture wars. Politicians proceeded to completely lose their minds. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis tweeted a cartoon of two autographed—yes autographed—gas stoves. Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio declared simply, "God. Guns. Gas stoves." Naturally, Tucker Carlson got involved. "I would counsel mass disobedience in the face of tyranny in this case," he told a guest on his Fox News show.
No matter that Democrats are more likely to have gas stoves than Republicans, and, in fact, that the only states in which a majority of households use gas stoves—California, Nevada, Illinois, New York, New Jersey—are states that went blue in 2020. Why let a few pesky facts spoil a perfectly good opportunity to own the libs? The Biden administration, for its part, clarified yesterday that it has no intention of banning gas stoves. In the long run, though, this may prove to have been more a stay of execution than a pardon.
[Read: The gas-stove debate exemplifies the silliest tendencies of American politics]
Beyond the knee-jerk partisanship, the science of gas stoves is not entirely straightforward. Emily Oster, an economist at Brown University, suggested in her newsletter that the underlying data establishing the connection between gas-stove use and childhood asthma may not be as clear-cut as the new study makes it out to be. And because those data are merely correlational, we can't draw any straightforward causal conclusions. This doesn't mean gas stoves are safe, Oster told me, but it does complicate the picture. Switching from gas to electric right this minute probably isn't necessary, she said, but she would make the change if she happened to be redesigning her kitchen.
Whatever the shortcomings of the available data, it's clear that gas stoves are worse for the climate and fill our homes with pollutants we're better off not inhaling. Brady Seals, a manager at the Rocky Mountain Institute and a lead author of the new paper, told me that even assuming the maximum amount of uncertainty, her work still suggests that more than 6 percent of childhood-asthma cases in the U.S. are associated with gas stoves.
Regardless of the exact science, gas stoves might be in trouble anyway. Statistically, they're not all that deeply entrenched to begin with: Only about 40 percent of American households have one. Plus, induction stoves—a hyperefficient option that generates heat using electromagnetism—are on the rise. "We're not asking people to go back to janky coils," says Leah Stokes, a political scientist at UC Santa Barbara who has provided testimony on the subject of gas stoves before the U.S. Senate, and who is currently in the process of installing an induction stove in her home.
Rachelle Boucher, a chef who has worked in restaurants, in appliance showrooms, and as a private cook for such celebrity clients as George Lucas and Metallica, swears by induction. She started using it about 15 years ago and has since become a full-time evangelist. (In the past, Boucher did promotions for electric-stove companies, though she doesn't anymore.) Induction, she told me, tops gas in just about every way. For one thing, "the speed is remarkable." An induction stove top can boil a pot of water in just two minutes—twice as fast as a gas burner. For another, it allows for far greater precision: When you adjust the heat, the change is nearly instantaneous. "Once you use that speed," Boucher said, "it's weird to go back and have everything be so much harder to control." Induction stoves also emit virtually no excess heat, reducing air-conditioning costs and making it harder to burn yourself. And they're easier to clean.
Induction stoves do have minor drawbacks. Because they are flat and use electromagnetism, they aren't compatible with all cookware, meaning that if you make the switch, you may also have to buy yourself a new wok or kettle. Flambéing and charring will also take a little longer, Boucher told me, but few home cooks are deploying those techniques on a regular basis. In recent years, induction has received the endorsement of some of the world's top chefs, who have tended to be ardent gas-stove users. Eric Ripert, whose restaurant Le Bernardin has three Michelin stars, switched his home kitchens from gas to induction. "After two days, I was in love," he told The New York Times last year. At his San Francisco restaurant, Claude Le Tohic, a James Beard Award–winning chef, has made the switch to induction. The celebrity chef and food writer Alison Roman is also a convert: "I have an induction stove by choice AMA," she tweeted yesterday.
If it's good enough for them, it's probably good enough for us. At the moment, induction stoves are more expensive than the alternatives, although their efficiency and the fact that they don't heat up the kitchen help offset the disparity. So, too, do the rebates included in last year's Inflation Reduction Act, which should kick in later this year and can amount to as much as $840. The price has been falling in recent years, and as it continues to come down, Stokes told me, she expects induction to overtake gas. A 2022 Consumer Reports survey found that although 3 percent of Americans have induction stoves, nearly 70 might consider going induction the next time they buy new appliances. "I think the same thing's going to happen for induction stoves" as happened with electric vehicles, Stokes told me. In the end, culture-war considerations will lose out to questions of cost and quality. The better product will win the day, plain and simple.
Still, gas stoves' foray into the culture wars likely means that at least some Republicans will probably scorn electric stoves now in the same way they have masks over the past few years. And this whole episode does have a distinctly post-pandemic feel to it: the concern about the air we're breathing, the discussion of what precautions we ought to take, the panic and outrage in response. The new gas-stove controversy feels as though it has been jammed into a partisan framework established—or at least refined—during the pandemic. "I don't know if this discourse that we're seeing now could have happened five years ago," Brady Seals told me. Whatever happens to gas stoves, the public-health culture wars don't seem to be going anywhere.
Nature, Published online: 13 January 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00082-5Scientists call for the National Science Foundation to add a question about sexual orientation to its 2023 workforce surveys.
- The March on Washington was influential in the passing of the landmark Civil Rights Act, which essentially made segregation illegal.
|submitted by /u/Razariousnefarian