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Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05834-xMouse induced pluripotent stem cells derived from differentiated fibroblasts could be converted from male (XY) to female (XX), resulting in cells that could form oocytes and give rise to offspring after fertilization.
A coalition of environmental and Indigenous groups is suing the Biden administration over the approval of the Willow oil- and gas-drilling project in Alaska, arguing the government failed to consider the climate risks, as well as harm to wildlife and subsistence hunting
Scientific Reports, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-31070-4Temperature-controlled porcine eye holder for observing intraocular temperature during
Belgrade theatre, Coventry
Mojisola Adebayo's play connects Henrietta Lacks, whose cells were used in decades of vital scientific research, with the Black Lives Matter movement
'I am a farm," says Henrietta Lacks in Mojisola Adebayo's play about one of medical history's most inconvenient truths. It is a twin statement of astonishment and outrage. Astonishment because the cells removed from Henrietta's cancerous body in the early 1950s went on to be used in everything from chemotherapy to IVF, from a treatment for polio to the fight against Covid. Outrage because those cells were taken without her knowledge, let alone her approval – and certainly not to her financial benefit. She might have been a farm, but she was not the farmer.
The story was told brilliantly in 2013 by Adura Onashile in HeLa, a play that was equally disturbed by the exploitative treatment of this black patient by the white establishment. A decade later, Adebayo's Family Tree is able to make connections to Black Lives Matter and the effect of the pandemic on black workers in the NHS. She also brings in the 19th-century gynaecological experiments on slave women by Dr James Marion Sims. A grim pattern emerges, even as Henrietta's cells bring new life.
At Belgrade theatre, Coventry, until 18 March, then touring until 17 June.Continue reading…
got rid of its entire company division devoted to AI "ethics and society" during its January layoffs, according to a report from Platformer.
Though the company still has an office of responsible AI, it was the job of the ethics and society staff to address how AI technology is likely to impact human society in context and communicate with product teams accordingly.
"People would look at the principles coming out of the office of responsible AI and say, 'I don't know how this applies,'" one former ethicist told Platformer. "Our job was to show them and to create rules in areas where there were none."
But now, as Microsoft races to jam OpenAI software into seemingly every product that it can, the ethics and society department is gone — a telling sign that Microsoft is more focused on profitability and getting AI-driven products to market than ensuring that those products remain a positive force for society as a whole.
According to Platformer, the team was short-staffed for months before it was ultimately dissolved.
Most of their 30-person staff was reassigned way back in October, leaving just seven employees to manage the department.
The cuts were the reportedly result of pressure being applied from upper management including CTO Kevin Scott and CEO Satya Nadella, who were trying to "take these most recent OpenAI models and the ones that come after them and move them into customers' hands at a very high speed," according to a VP quoted by Platformer.
Per the report, the remaining employees were also told in the meeting that their department was just "evolving" and wouldn't be "going away."
Months later, though, they were all dismissed, along with the division — right as the company announced its mammoth $10 billion investment in OpenAI.
Not Dead Yet
For its part, Microsoft has maintained that building responsible AI tools is still a priority.
"Microsoft is committed to developing AI products and experiences safely and responsibly, and does so by investing in people, processes, and partnerships that prioritize this," Microsoft told Platformer in a statement. "Over the past six years, we have increased the number of people across our product teams and within the Office of Responsible AI who, along with all of us at Microsoft, are accountable for ensuring we put our AI principles into practice."
"We appreciate the trailblazing work the Ethics & Society did to help us on our ongoing responsible AI journey," the company added.
READ MORE: Microsoft just laid off one of its responsible AI teams [Platformer]
More on Microsoft ethics: Microsoft Released an AI That Answers Medical Questions, but It's Wildly Inaccurate
The post Microsoft Laid Off Its Entire AI "Ethics and Society" Division appeared first on Futurism.
How do giant filter-feeding whales find their tiny prey? The answer could be key to saving endangered species
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05929-5Publisher Correction: Essential elements of radical pair magnetosensitivity in Drosophila
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00746-2The explosions happened in a dumping ground for chemical warfare, but other contaminants proved most toxic to marine life.
A common and widely used chemical may be fueling the rise of Parkinson's disease, the world's fastest growing brain condition, researchers say.
For the past 100 years, trichloroethylene (TCE) has been used to decaffeinate coffee, degrease metal, and dry clean clothes. It contaminates the Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune, 15 toxic Superfund sites in Silicon Valley, and up to one-third of groundwater in the US.
TCE causes cancer, is linked to miscarriages and congenital heart disease, and is associated with a 500% increased risk of Parkinson's disease.
In a hypothesis paper in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease, researchers, including University of Rochester Medical Center neurologists Ray Dorsey, Ruth Schneider, and Karl Kieburtz, postulate that TCE may be an invisible cause of Parkinson's. They detail the widespread use of the chemical, the evidence linking the toxicant to Parkinson's, and profile seven individuals, including a former NBA basketball player , a Navy captain, and a late US Senator, who developed Parkinson's disease either after likely working with the chemical or being exposed to it in the environment.
Massive TCE contamination
TCE was a widely used solvent used in a number of industrial, consumer, military, and medical applications, including to remove paint, correct typewriting mistakes, clean engines, and anesthetize patients.
Its use in the US peaked in the 1970s, when more than 600 million pounds of the chemical—or two pounds per American—were manufactured annually. Some 10 million Americans worked with the chemical or other similar industrial solvents. While domestic use has since fallen, TCE is still used for degreasing metal and spot dry cleaning in the US.
TCE contaminates countless sites across the country. Half of the most toxic Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Superfund sites contain TCE. Fifteen sites are in California's Silicon Valley where the chemicals were used to clean electronics and computer chips. TCE is found in numerous military bases, including Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. From the 1950s to the 1980s a million Marines, their families, and civilians that worked or resided at the base were exposed to drinking water levels of TCE and perchloroethylene (PCE), a close chemical cousin, that were up to 280 times above what is considered safe levels.
Soil, water, and air
The connection between TCE and Parkinson's was first hinted at in case studies more than 50 years ago. In the intervening years, research in mice and rats has shown that TCE readily enters the brain and body tissue and at high doses damages the energy-producing parts of cells known as mitochondria. In animal studies, TCE causes selective loss of dopamine-producing nerve cells, a hallmark of Parkinson's disease in humans.
Individuals who worked directly with TCE have an elevated risk of developing Parkinson's. However, the authors warn that "millions more encounter the chemical unknowingly through outdoor air, contaminated groundwater, and indoor air pollution."
The chemical can contaminate soil and groundwater leading to underground rivers, or plumes, that can extend over long distances and migrate over time. One such plume associated with an aerospace company on Long Island, New York, is over four miles long and two miles wide, and has contaminated the drinking water of thousands. Others are found everywhere from Shanghai, China to Newport Beach, California.
Beyond their risks to water, the volatile TCE can readily evaporate and enter people's homes, schools, and workplaces, often undetected. Today, this vapor intrusion is likely exposing millions who live, learn, and work near former dry cleaning, military, and industrial sites to toxic indoor air. Vapor intrusion was first reported in the 1980s when radon was found to evaporate from soil and enter homes and increase the risk of lung cancer. Today millions of homes are tested for radon, but few are for the cancer-causing TCE.
Personal stories of Parkinson's and TCE
The piece profiles seven individuals where TCE may have contributed to their Parkinson's disease. While the evidence linking TCE exposure to Parkinson's disease in these individuals is circumstantial, their stories highlight the challenges of building the case against the chemical. For these individuals, decades have often passed between exposure to TCE and the onset of Parkinson's symptoms.
The case studies include the professional basketball player Brian Grant, who played for 12 years in the NBA and was diagnosed with Parkinson's at age 36. Grant was likely exposed to TCE when he was three years old and his father, then a Marine, was stationed at Camp Lejeune. Grant has created a foundation to inspire and support people with the disease.
Amy Lindberg was similarly exposed to the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune while serving as a young Navy captain and would go on to be diagnosed with Parkinson's disease 30 years later.
The piece details others whose exposure was the result of living close to a contaminated site or working with the chemical, including the late US Senator Johnny Isakson, who stepped down from office after a Parkinson's diagnosis in 2015. Fifty years earlier, he served in the Georgia Air National Guard, which used TCE to degrease airplanes.
End the use of TCE
The authors note that "for more than a century, TCE has threatened workers, polluted the air we breathe—outside and inside—and contaminated the water we drink. Global use is waxing, not waning."
The authors propose a series of actions to address the public health threat TCE poses. They note that contaminated sites can be successfully remediated and indoor air exposure can be mitigated by vapor remediation systems similar to those used for radon. However, the US alone is home to thousands of contaminated sites and this process of cleaning and containment must be accelerated.
They argue for more research to better understand how TCE contributes to Parkinson's and other diseases. TCE levels in groundwater, drinking water, soil, and outdoor and indoor air require closer monitoring and this information needs to be shared with those who live and work near polluted sites.
In addition, the authors call for finally ending the use of these chemicals in the US. PCE is still widely used today in dry cleaning and TCE in vapor degreasing. Two states, Minnesota and New York, have banned TCE, but the federal government has not, despite findings by the EPA as recently as 2022 that the chemicals pose "an unreasonable risk to human health."
Additional coauthors are from Harvard University; Radboud University Medical Centre in the Netherlands; the University of California, San Francisco; the University of Alabama at Birmingham; and the University of Rochester.
Source: University of Rochester
The post Dry cleaning chemical may be invisible Parkinson's cause appeared first on Futurity.
New research documents erosion rates in the Andes Mountains.
Every second, Earth is bombarded by vast amounts of cosmic rays—invisible sub-atomic particles that originate from things like the sun and supernova explosions. These high-energy, far-traveled cosmic rays collide with atoms as they enter Earth's atmosphere and set off cascades of secondary cosmic rays.
When secondary cosmic rays penetrate the upper meters of Earth's surface, they turn elements in minerals, like oxygen, into rare radioisotopes (or "cosmogenic radionuclides") including beryllium-10 (Be-10) and carbon-14 (C-14).
Scientists can then study the variations in concentrations of these cosmogenic nuclides to estimate how long rocks have been exposed at the Earth's surface. This in turn allows researchers to gain a better understanding of planetary processes, such as rates of erosion—from nothing more than a kilogram of river sand.
Gregory Hoke, professor and department chair of earth and environmental sciences at Syracuse University, J.R. Slosson, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Nat Lifton, associate professor of earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences at Purdue University, analyzed cosmogenic radionuclides in samples from the Argentine Andes. Their findings appear in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Their goal was to document the amount of time material resides on the hillslopes in the Andes Mountains relative to the overall erosion rate of the river basin. This information is critical to helping scientists identify landslide risks and understand how climate change will affect the dynamics of material transport on hillslopes as regions get wetter or drier.
To determine erosion rates, the team obtained samples of river sand collected at the foot of the eastern flank of the Andes Mountains in the Mendoza and San Juan provinces, located in west-central Argentina. The river sand should be a representative, well-mixed sample of the entire catchment (or runoff area) upstream of where the sample was collected.
In Hoke's lab, the sand was treated to isolate pure quartz from the other minerals in the sample. The researchers use pure quartz because it is an optimal source for Be-10 and C-14. Splits of pure quartz were sent to Lifton's lab where beryllium and carbon were extracted. Subsequent measurements of C-14 took place at Purdue's PRIME Lab and Be-10 was analyzed at Lawrence Livermore National laboratory to figure out concentrations of each radionuclide.
The highest non-volcanic peaks in the Andes are located between Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina. The river basins that drain the high Andes span 5,000 meters (16,500 feet) in elevation and their hillslopes are lined with accumulations of rocky debris known as talus and scree.
Because Be-10 and C-14 are produced proportionally but decay at vastly different rates, the cosmogenic radionuclide concentrations within a sample reveal the rate at which sediment is produced from bare rock surfaces (Be-10) and the time it takes to travel down hillslopes through landslides (C-14). As sediment is mobilized and buried through landsliding, the rate of production of both isotopes diminishes, but because C-14 decays 1,000 times faster than Be-10, their proportionality changes rapidly. This change in proportionally allowed the authors to apply a statistical model to determine the average duration of time it takes material to travel down talus slopes.
According to Hoke, this is one of the first studies to use the combination of Be-10 and C-14 to show the long-term average rate of sediment generation and the time and process it takes to move down to and through the rivers, giving a broader picture of the factors involved.
"Previously, we've relied nearly exclusively on Be-10 and sediment concentration measurements made at river gauge stations to estimate average erosion rates," notes Hoke. "What attracted us to study these catchments with C-14 was the agreement of gauge and Be-10 data. We expected to see the two isotopes and gauge data yield the same rates and demonstrate that mountain erosion was occurring at a steady state."
While the concentration of Be-10 came back as anticipated over the long timescale, they found that C-14 was much lower than anticipated, meaning that sediments eroded from the high mountain watersheds were shielded from cosmic rays for at least 7,000 to 15,0000 years. The authors explain that temporary storage in talus slopes best explains the lower concentration of C-14 relative to Be-10.
"This study shows that it is possible to fill an important gap in the observational timescale using the C-14/Be-10 pair that brings to life what really happens on the hillslopes," says Hoke.
With the risk that landslides pose to humans and infrastructure, Slosson says their results indicate that C-14 can be significant in unraveling sediment transport dynamics going forward, and potentially help predict where future landslides might occur. He explains, "utilizing C-14 along with Be-10 provides a new window into the complexity of sediment transport in mountain settings and can provide a backdrop for evaluating contemporary changes in earth surface processes."
The project had funding from the National Science Foundation, the Geological Society of America, and Syracuse University.
Source: Syracuse University
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Turning its sights to the constellation Sagittarius, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has captured a spectacular image of a star in its death throes some 15,000 light years away, NASA announced on Tuesday.
The image shows the star ejecting astronomical amounts of material as it's getting ready to explode in a supernova, a rare sight captured in incredible detail by the observatory.
The terminal stellar rarity, designated WR 124, is a special classification of a star known as a Wolf-Rayet. These are exceptionally massive stars — 30 times the mass of our Sun, in this case — that are undergoing a final and tragically transient stage of their evolution before exploding in a supernova.
Not all stars capable of going supernova become a Wolf-Rayet, however. A star would already have to be huge to qualify, but a Wolf-Rayet is so large that it continuously sloughs off huge portions of its mass, encircling itself in a vivid, scintillating spectrum of dust and gasses.
So far, WR 124 has shed around ten solar masses.
Wolf-Rayets are astoundingly hot, too. As such, their luminosity exceeds most stars in the universe, but that does not make them any less elusive to astronomers, however. Few exist in our galaxy, and the intensity of their burning and shedding means they live only a few hundred thousand years, a tiny blip on a cosmic scale.
Dust in the Cosmos
Given the rarity of the find, astronomers are eager to take advantage of the James Webb's unrivaled capabilities to examine the star. In particular, they're interested in WR 124's contribution to the so-called "dust budget" of the universe.
Free-floating dust is needed to form planets, facilitate the creation of molecules, and protect newborn stars, NASA said. The big mystery is that scientists can't reconcile the amount of dust in the universe with existing theories on how dust is formed.
In other words, there's simply more of it out there than there should be, as far as we can tell.
"The universe is operating with a dust budget surplus," the agency wrote.
Since Wolf-Rayets viciously shed so much of their mass in short periods of time, they're also the universe's best producers of dust — and perhaps the culprit, or at least a prime suspect, of the apparent dust surplus.
Until now, telescopes weren't powerful enough to investigate the mystical dust-spouting properties of Wolf-Rayets, and "whether the dust grains were large and bountiful enough to survive the supernova and become a significant contribution to the overall dust budget," NASA said.
"Now those questions can be investigated with real data."
More on stars: Scientists Find "One in Ten Billion" Star System Primed to Explode in Titanic Kilonova
The post James Webb Takes Breathtaking Image of a Titanic Star That's About to Explode appeared first on Futurism.
It's not every day that you catch yourself accidentally driving somebody else's car.
According to the Washington Post, a weird bug is allowing
owners to drive off with somebody else's Tesla by using the EV maker's bespoke smartphone app.
Owner Rajesh Randev told WaPo that earlier this month, he walked up to a nearly identical white Model 3 in Vancouver without realizing it wasn't his, used the app to unlock it, and drove around a bit before realizing that it wasn't, in fact, his car.
Randev said it took him about 15 minutes of driving the stranger's Tesla to realize something was amiss: there was a crack in the windshield that hadn't been there before, and a phone charger was missing from where he usually kept his.
It was around the time he noticed the missing charger cable that Randev said his phone buzzed, alerting him to a new text message from an unknown number.
"Do you drive a Tesla?" the unknown texter asked. Randev responded affirmatively, and the other person texted back that they thought he may be "driving the wrong car."
Understandably, the mix-up left him feeling pretty wigged out.
"It's such an expensive technology," Randev, who works as an immigration consultant, told WaPo. "More than $70,000 to get this car. And my family is not feeling safe right now."
The other car was, per the report, owned by Mahmoud Esaeyh, who had let his brother Mohammed borrow the car while he was at home. The brother was, even more unsettlingly, able to get into Randev's car using Mahmoud's key card, and once he was inside, he realized that it wasn't the right one.
Fortunately, the bizarre story has a happy ending.
Esaeyh was able to track his car's location using the Tesla app, but unable to lock it remotely, the report notes. So, after finding Randev's phone number on some documents inside his car, the two brothers were able to get in contact with him and swap back cars, all while initially sharing a laugh about the incident.
"My friend, you were able to drive my car?" Randev asked Mohammed.
"Yes, it was very fun," the Esaeyh brother responded.
While this specific situation was handled amicably – Randev even got permission from Esaeyh to keep driving his car because he needed to pick his kids up from school — it's nevertheless another stark reminder that Tesla seems to have some glaring bugs to iron out in its software.
"If just a normal person was able to get access [to someone else's car] due to malfunction or software or whatever reason…" he told the WaPo, "the hackers can do anything, right?"
To add insult to injury, Randev said that he got stonewalled when he tried to email Tesla about the situation.
"It's very frustrating," he said. "I even tweeted [at CEO] Elon Musk."
Both men said they intend to keep driving their respective
because of how much they save on gas, but they're nonetheless irked by the incident.
"I cannot throw the car away because I don't feel safe about it," Esaeyh said. "But to be honest, it's kind of scary sometimes. I'm afraid that thing may happen again."
More on Teslas: Environmentalist Group Files "Criminal Charges" Against Tesla, Accusing It of "Water Pollution"
The post Tesla Driver Freaked Out After App Allows Him to Drive Off With the Wrong Car appeared first on Futurism.
Analysis of bones found in 1987 suggest Jurassic-era sauropod was animal with longest known neck
A dinosaur that roamed east Asia more than 160m years ago has been named a contender for the animal with the longest neck ever known.
A new analysis of bones from the beast's neck and skull revealed that the dinosaur, known as Mamenchisaurus sinocanadorum, sported a neck 15metres long, or one-and-a-half times the length of a doubledecker bus.Continue reading…
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05756-8Common orthopaedic
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05939-3Lactate regulates cell cycle by remodeling the anaphase promoting complex
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00785-9A streamlined genome makes bacteria immune to viral infection, and designing mini-MRI scanners for low- and middle-income countries.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00788-6Developed to detect statistical errors, statcheck reduces mistakes in reported P values by up to 4.5-fold.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05719-zThe design, synthesis and characterization of a helically
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05757-7Reply to: Common orthopaedic
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05798-yThrough the use of cryo-electron microscopy and molecular dynamics stimulations, mechanistic insight into the binding of an odorant to the human odorant receptor OR51E2 is provided.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05812-3Revumenib, a potent and selective oral inhibitor of the
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05831-0In situ structures of PBS–PSII–PSI–LHC megacomplexes from the alga P. purpureum at near-atomic resolution using cryogenic-electron tomography and in situ single-particle analysis are reported, providing interaction details between PBS, PSII and PSI.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05800-7A Kondo lattice was realized in AB-stacked MoTe2/WSe2 moiré bilayers and widely and continuously gate-tunable Kondo temperatures were demonstrated.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05824-zA study details the creation of an Escherichia coli genetically recoded organism that is resistant to
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05794-2Whole-genome doubling induces the loss of segregation of chromatin compartments, and can lead to tumour-promoting epigenetic and transcriptional modifications.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05733-1Self-limited assembly of 'imperfect' chiral nanoparticles enables formation of bowtie-shaped microparticles with size monodispersity and continuously variable chirality to be used for printing photonically active metasurfaces.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05801-6Consumption of high doses of the sweetener sucralose has immunomodulatory effects in mice, as a result of reduced T cell proliferation and differentiation.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05721-5The very low water contents of minerals in achondrite meteorites from the early Solar System show that substantial amounts of water could only have been delivered to Earth by means of unmelted material.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05792-4Perovskite LEDs with exceptional performance at high brightness are demonstrated achieving an operational half-lifetime of 32 hours, an important step towards commercialization opening up new opportunities beyond conventional LED technologies, such as perovskite electrically pumped lasers.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05724-2A frequency-tunable laser based on a hybrid silicon nitride and lithium niobate integrated photonic platform has a fast tuning rate and could be used for optical ranging applications.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-022-05679-wAnalysis of satellite-based data on recovering degraded and secondary forests in three tropical moist forest regions quantifies the amount of aboveground carbon accumulated, which counterbalanced one quarter of carbon emissions from old-growth forest loss between 1984 and 2018.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05795-1The authors present two technologies for spatially resolved, genome-wide, joint profiling of the epigenome and transcriptome by cosequencing chromatin accessibility and gene expression, or histone modifications and gene expression on the same tissue section at near-single-cell resolution.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-022-05686-xA simple model describes the stochastic process of dynamic sea ice thickening, shows how reduced residence time affects changes in ice thickness and highlights the enduring impact of climate change on the Arctic Ocean.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-022-05665-2New thermodynamic and geochemical modelling of melting shows that the observed composition of the cratonic mantle can be reproduced by deep and very hot melting, obviating the need for shallow melting and lithospheric stacking.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05790-6JNJ-1802—a highly potent
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05828-9Using large-scale screening and structure-guided mutagenesis, fast and sensitive GCaMP sensors are developed and optimized with improved kinetics without compromising sensitivity or brightness.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05755-9Somatic mutations in
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05793-3A study describing an approach that combines imaging and profiling techniques to structurally and functionally analyse
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00439-wOur sense of smell enables us to perceive a universe of odours. Cryo-electron microscopy has provided an atomic-resolution picture of how an odour molecule is recognized by one of the hundreds of odorant receptors encoded in the human genome, providing a first view into the chemical logic of olfaction.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00705-xParticles that self-assemble from nanoribbons into bow-tie-shaped structures can be tailored to change the degree of their twist. A search for how best to quantify this twist homes in on a measure of how the bow ties respond to light.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00317-5Long-term sea-ice measurements from the Fram Strait reveal that the dominant form of Arctic sea ice shifted around 2007, from thick and deformed ice to thinner, more uniform ice. As a result of this shift, the proportion of thick, deformed ice fell by about half. It has not yet recovered, and this is expected to affect heat and momentum exchange in the region.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00706-wAn analysis confirms that humid tropical forests recovering from degradation and deforestation absorb substantial amounts of carbon dioxide — but much less than is emitted by the destruction of the original forests.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00426-1Cells in which the whole genome has been doubled do not upscale protein synthesis to cope with the increase in DNA. Instead, a shortage of proteins that regulate the packing of DNA in the nucleus leads to poor segregation of DNA structures, which eventually contributes to the development of
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00784-wFinding suggests that the sugar substitute sucralose could one day be used to treat autoimmune conditions.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00704-yProteins have been developed that emit flashes of light in response to influxes of calcium ions into cells on millisecond timescales. Two sets of scientists discuss the legacy and future of these proteins.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00702-0Bacteria with a synthetic genome were engineered to alter the way that the DNA code instructs cells to make proteins. This 'language barrier' serves to isolate the cells genetically, and makes them immune to viral infection.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00424-3Leukaemias characterized by the rearrangement of the gene KMT2A or mutation of the NPM1 gene depend on the protein
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00436-zGene expression and features of the DNA–protein complex chromatin were mapped together at high spatial resolution in tissue sections of the mouse or human brain. This spatially resolved technology enables the examination of the spatio-temporal dynamics and regulation of gene expression in complex mammalian tissues.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00427-0The structure and function of mitochondrial networks were analysed using a combination of approaches to generate detailed maps of these cellular organelles. This analysis revealed that the mitochondria in different subtypes of
- Chat GPT and Bing AI chatbots to be used as panellists in world-first at fintech conference
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How about an AR system that monitors what you're eating to tally the nutrition numbers and provide guidance to stay healthy? The ML system wouldn't be perfect by any means so I guess it would also need a database of published menu info from restaurant chains. Not sure how feasible it would be for an indie developer to tackle but would be a perfect killer app for Apple to bundle if and when they build their first mixed reality headset. I suspect though that Apple would never take the risk of releasing an imperfect system. Thoughts?
Nature Communications, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-37128-1Takano et al. show that heterologous booster by
Är simning och häckklippning bra aktiviteter för arbetslösa ungdomar? Det beror på hur begreppet aktiveringspolitik tolkas, visar en avhandling som studerat kommunala åtgärder i en bruksort – där jobben försvunnit men mentaliteten lever kvar.
Inlägget Bruksmentalitet styr hur arbetslösa rustas för nya jobb dök först upp på forskning.se.
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Growing up in a strict household, I was taught to honor etiquette; I still call my elders "sir" and "ma'am," and I always say thank you. But I almost never use the word please. I'd happily ask someone "Could you shut the window?," but the request "Please shut the window" sounds terribly impatient and terse.
Although the word still appears in print and speech, I'm not the only one who's noticed that its usage—and reception—seems to be changing. What happened?
When it first entered the English language, sometime in the 1300s, the verb please was meant as a display of deference: The phrase, typically, was if it please you, translated from the French s'il vous plaît. ("And if it please you … that I may be made knyghte," asks the honorable huntsman Tristram, for instance, in Thomas Malory's 15th-century English epic Le Morte d'Arthur.) Go to Paris today, and you will find the humble s'il vous plaît alive and well. But in English, the phrase took a turn.
By the 16th century, four words had become three: If it please you had slipped into if you please. Then three became two—"Please you to have a little patience," wrote James Shirley in the 1659 play Honoria and Mammon. Then, finally, two became one; in 1771, a London merchant wrote, "Please send the inclosed to the Port office"—the first instance found by The Oxford English Dictionary of the adverb, and a prime example of its graceless urgency. With each diminution of the phrase, the speaker lost some regard for his hearer and gained some regard for himself.
[Read: The decline of etiquette and the rise of 'boundaries']
The shortened please has nevertheless lived on for centuries. After I emailed the psychologist Steven Pinker, who chaired The American Heritage Dictionary's Usage Panel before its dissolution in 2018, about the adverb, he tracked its use over time in fiction—a rough approximation of conversational speech. He found that from 1860 to 2012, it enjoyed a steady increase; instances of if you please declined in the same period. Pinker offered that its rise might have reflected a trend toward "informalization": The adverb form's casual efficiency may have been just what sparked its popularity. But eventually, it might have drifted too far in the direction of informality.
Since 2012, the adverb's frequency in fiction has decreased. "Politeness terms" tend to get tugged between two impulses, Pinker noted: the fear of seeming rude, and the fear of seeming fawning or gushy. "They may rise and fall in popularity when they seem to veer too much in one direction or another," he said. Please can toe the line between brief and brusque, depending on its context; a child asking "Can I have some more candy please?" sounds harmless compared with your boss saying "Can you have this report on my desk by Monday please?" The word tends to communicate an expectation, rather than a genuine question, and that can give it an authoritative edge; the please can feel especially perfunctory coming from someone in a position of power, but it can rub people the wrong way in plenty of circumstances. I, for one, can't bring myself to summon it unless accepting something already offered—as in "Yes, please."
Sometimes, please can even imply intentional rudeness. "I can hardly imagine a young person saying 'Could you please …' except with special irritation stress on please, implying, 'I've asked more than enough times,'" Noam Chomsky, arguably the father of modern linguistics, told me. I was reminded of the '90s thriller Basic Instinct. When the character Catherine Tramell tells visiting detectives to "get the fuck out of here, please," she sums it up: The word can brilliantly convey anger, irony, passive aggression, condescension, formality, or desperation—all without a hint of true politeness.
[Read: Is it better to be polite or honest?]
Of course, there are plenty of other ways to ask for something—think "Would you mind …?" As the writer Choire Sicha observed in The New York Times, the request "Hey, could you …?" is especially widespread in an office context. He finds that phrase irritating; on the spectrum from curt to cloying, it's certainly closer to the latter end. Gentler alternatives like these, though, might portend the near future of the polite request. Unlike please, they spend more than one syllable on their recipient and, following their ancestor s'il vous plaît, don't assume an outcome.
Chomsky, like plenty of others, still uses please. ("I'm an old-fashioned conservative," he explained.) I doubt he means the word to sound anything but gracious. And yet, I do think efforts to enforce its use are misguided: Take Amazon's setting for its virtual assistant, Alexa, in which she responds "Thanks for asking so nicely" when kids say the "magic word," or companies such as Chick-fil-A training their employees to use it. These measures confuse please, the term, with courtesy in general—as if it's impossible to be polite without it.
The truth is that English is a living language, always and inevitably evolving, and no one can freeze it in time. If the word's centuries-long shortening teaches us anything, though, it's that this evolution can be fitful, and its transitions awkward. Please is at a strange crossroads between its once and future meaning—but it would please me to see it go.
In the 40 years since Heartburn was published, there have been two distinct ways to read it. Nora Ephron's 1983 novel is narrated by a food writer, Rachel Samstat, who discovers that her esteemed journalist husband is having an affair with Thelma Rice, "a fairly tall person with a neck as long as an arm and a nose as long as a thumb and you should see her legs, never mind her feet, which are sort of splayed." Taken at face value, the book is a triumphant satire—of love; of Washington, D.C.; of therapy; of pompous columnists; of the kind of men who consider themselves exemplary partners but who leave their wives, seven months pregnant and with a toddler in tow, to navigate an airport while they idly buy magazines. (Putting aside infidelity for a moment, that was the part where I personally believed that Rachel's marriage was past saving.)
Unfortunately, the people being satirized had some objections, which leads us to the second way to read Heartburn: as historical fact distorted through a vengeful lens, all the more salient for its smudges. Ephron, like Rachel, had indeed been married to a high-profile Washington journalist, the Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein. Bernstein, like Rachel's husband—whom Ephron named Mark Feldman in what many guessed was an allusion to the real identity of Deep Throat—had indeed had an affair with a tall person (and a future Labour peer), Margaret Jay. Ephron, like Rachel, was heavily pregnant when she discovered the affair. And yet, in writing about what had happened to her, Ephron was cast as the villain by a media ecosystem outraged that someone dared to spill the secrets of its own, even as it dug up everyone else's.
The pushback was inevitably personal. "There are also those who say that Heartburn, though funny and sad, is a great misuse of talent, a book whose only point is to nail Carl Bernstein," New York's Jesse Kornbluth observed. Writing under the pseudonym Tristan Vox (possibly a play on the Latin for "sorrowful voice") in Vanity Fair in 1985, the literary critic Leon Wieseltier huffed so tempestuously about the proposed movie adaptation of Heartburn that one can only assume he passed out midway. Ephron, he insisted, had written "one of the most indecent exploitations of celebrity in recent memory." To be unfaithful to one's pregnant wife, he concluded, was "banal compared with the infidelity of a mother toward her children," and if Bernstein had committed adultery, Ephron, by exposing her family to strangers with only the lightest of fictional glosses, was committing "child abuse."
I'm a few months younger than Heartburn; I grew up amid the wreckage of a similarly busted marriage and contentious divorce. And I've come to think of the book over the years as something more than a juicy revenge novel or an infinitely pleasurable roman à clef. Arriving in the tail winds of the fast-and-loose 1970s, it made, amid the jokes, a sincere point about infidelity: that it wasn't banal at all but could in fact be an irrevocable cleaving open of one's life, one's heart, one's sense of home and stability and self. More radically, Heartburn also emphatically rejected the idea that infidelity was something women—or men, given the portrayal of Thelma's husband—should have to tacitly endure.
This argument, I think, was what led to such vigorous denunciations of the book (and the movie) from certain quarters. It was too iconoclastic, too righteous. After all, excavating one's romantic life for the sake of art and a paycheck wasn't particularly original: In an 2004 introduction to Heartburn, Ephron wrote, "Philip Roth and John Updike picked away at the carcasses of their early marriages in book after book, but to the best of my knowledge they were never hit with the 'thinly disguised' thing." Rather, the collective outrage over the novel was an attempt to wrest the narrative away from Ephron, who, some parties complained, wasn't being fair with it. Bernstein reportedly threatened to sue; he also requested explicit provisions in their custody agreement that would give him sway over how he might be portrayed in the film.
His reaction, Ephron noted in the 2004 introduction, was "one of the most fascinating things to me about the whole episode: he cheated on me, and then got to behave as if he was the one who had been wronged because I wrote about it!" And yet, it's undeniable that Heartburn achieved what she wanted it to: It cast the story of her marriage definitively in her terms. This is the power a gifted writer can wield. Is it fair? Not necessarily. But it's also a power that, as Ephron accurately discerns, is almost exclusively critiqued when it's exercised by women. Late last year, the internet erupted over an essay by the writer Isabel Kaplan about a boyfriend who had broken up with her because he was threatened by her job. "The more I share about our relationship and breakup, the more vindicated he will feel in his fears," Kaplan wrote, citing Ephron as an example. "But if I don't write about it, he succeeds in forcing my silence."
[Read: The redemption of the bad mother]
That tension runs through Heartburn too. But to take the novel on its own terms for a moment, it is a wholly joyful read, a 178-page stand-up routine about marriage that's entirely one-sided and openly so. Mark, Rachel's husband, is introduced as a man who's both immediately unfaithful and vividly humorless, prone to perusing home-design magazines in bed, forgetting to clean his nails, and lying about books he's read. Thelma, apart from being tall, makes "gluey puddings." (Rachel, a food writer, is doubly betrayed when she realizes that during the affair, she gave Thelma one of her recipes.) Rachel also skewers her parents—like Ephron's, both alcoholics who got rich by investing in Tampax stock—her therapist, Mark's "dumb Hemingway style he always reserved for his slice-of-life columns," and sensitive types who express themselves through poetry. ("Show me a woman who cries when the trees lose their leaves in autumn," Rachel observes in one chapter, "and I'll show you a real asshole.")
Some critics have raised stylistic objections to the novel, particularly its structural looseness—wherein Rachel recounts a few weeks of her life while thinking insistently about food—that was perhaps ahead of its time. More often, though, Heartburn's detractors focused exclusively on Ephron's supposed sin of betrayal. The movie, Mark Harris notes in his biography of its director, Mike Nichols, was subsequently dismissed as a trifling "woman's picture" with "the tunnel-vision point of view of the offended party." And yet, for the past four decades, people have pressed it into one another's hands, as a friend pressed it into mine. They have read it and shared it and read it again. They've found something thrilling and metamorphic in the way that Ephron, by putting her pain on the page, transforms it into comedy. "If I tell the story, I control the version," Rachel explains at the end of the novel. "If I tell the story, it doesn't hurt as much." Heartburn, you may conclude, is ultimately less about revenge than about self-preservation.
I am in need of a crash course into the basic theories and research methods for short term memory and working memory.
I have been looking for something that gives me an overall view so far. Everything I have found so far tend to be older (baddeley mostly).
I would really like for any suggestions (in any format)!
Please assume I know nothing (as I never had any formal psychology training, all I know is very clinical based with not much theory).
Scientific Reports, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-31529-4Extremely small wasps independently lost the nuclei in the brain neurons of at least two lineages
Mars is chock full of beautiful sand dunes that can come in some truly magnificent shapes and patterns that, sometimes, seem to defy explanation.
Take a look at these almost perfectly circular sand dunes dotting the Martian landscape that were spotted by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).
According to a description from the University of Arizona, which is leading the team behind the MRO's onboard High-Resolution Experiment (HiRise) camera that captured the images, the "almost perfectly circular" dunes are "unusual" and stick out like a sore thumb.
Note the "almost" perfectly circular. According to the university, the dunes have a steep, downward slope known as a slip face on their southern ends, meaning that its sands are likely blown southward by the Martian winds.
The planet's winds, however, are notoriously variable, which is only adding to the mystery.
Regardless, with such slight asymmetries, you'd be forgiven for thinking the dunes were simply the result of a crater illusion.
Written in the Sand
These images were taken as part of an ongoing effort to monitor the receding frost as the Martian winter enters its final stages. The cycle of seasons on Mars is actually fairly similar to our own, even though a Martian year is considerably lengthier at 687 Earth days.
Of particular interest to planetary scientists is Mars' northern hemisphere, where these dunes were photographed free of ice. An earlier image, though, shows their surfaces clearly permeated by frost.
These circular dunes aren't the only strange dunes scientists have found so far on the Red Planet. In 2016, NASA's Curiosity rover spotted ripple structures in large Martian sand dunes arranged in a pattern that researchers said is not found on Earth.
Dunes continue to be an object of both fascination and of meticulous study for planetary scientists, as their malleable yet slowly shifting forms make them almost like geological footprints of the planet's wind and atmosphere.
One of the most comprehensive studies on Martian dunes to date tracked nearly 500 of them using the HiRise camera, and discovered that Martian dunes move only at a meager rate of two feet per year, a snail's pace compared to some on Earth that move over 100 feet.
More on Mars: Scientists Figured Out Why Mars' South Pole Looks Like Swiss Cheese
The post Scientists Baffled By These Almost Perfectly Circular Dunes on Mars appeared first on Futurism.
Global research teams who can improve AI and accelerate decoding could win $250,000 in prizes
The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79 laid waste to Pompeii and nearby Herculaneum where the intense blast of hot gas carbonised hundreds of ancient scrolls in the library of an enormous luxury villa.
Now, researchers are launching a global contest to read the charred papyri after demonstrating that an artificial intelligence programme can extract letters and symbols from high-resolution X-ray images of the fragile, unrolled documents.Continue reading…
- Axiom Space is building the new spacesuits in a commercial partnership similar to the one between the space agency and SpaceX.
From 1850 to 2019, human activity released 2.4 trillion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. In 2022 alone, we released 37 more tons. While renewable energy is making a difference, it's small: last year it offset a mere 230 million tons of emissions—less than one percent of the global total.
Energy demand is expected to triple by 2050. Amid calls for emissions reductions and net-zero targets, we need a reality check: how are we going to reverse climate change if energy is in everything we do, and energy itself contributes to the problem?
We need solutions that will help us pull trillions of tons of carbon from the air without adding more in the process—a tool far more powerful than solar panels or wind turbines. This tool already exists, and it's nuclear power.
In a talk at South By Southwest this week, Bret Kugelmass, founder and CEO of Last Energy, explained how nuclear power has been misunderstood and devalued for decades, and the price we've paid as a result. "Infinitely abundant, carbon-free, always on, and incredibly energy-dense, nuclear energy could meet and exceed our energy needs," he said.
Instead, this powerful technology has stagnated for decades, leaving us scrambling for other forms of energy that won't keep pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. Kugelmass left a career in Silicon Valley with the sole purpose of finding a keystone technology to combat climate change. He visited 15 countries and all kinds of facilities to learn about nuclear power and compare it to other forms of energy. His conclusion was that if it's done right, nuclear can enable continued growth—and a cleaner planet—in a way that no other power source can.
How Did We Get Here?
So why did a power source with so much potential stagnate? In 1963, then-President John F. Kennedy said nuclear power would account for half of all US energy production by end of that decade. His administration put together a perspective for rapid development of nuclear power production, and he had the Atomic Energy Commission conduct a study on the role civilian nuclear power could play in the US economy.
According to Kugelmass, the effort stalled in its tracks not because of public perception or safety fears, but due to economic malfeasance. Rather than focusing on standardization, "We pursued ever-larger, ever more complex construction projects…from 1968 to 1970, we saw a 10-fold increase in the cost to build gigawatt-scale plants," he said. Most of the cost of nuclear energy, he added, is in the interest accrued during the construction process. "It accounts for 60 percent of the delivered cost of energy," he said.
The result, unsurprisingly, was that nuclear simply became too expensive to compete with other power sources. The US is now close to completing its first new nuclear project in decades—and at 10 years late and $20 billion over budget, it's still not done.
If we had built out nuclear in a viable way starting in the 1960s, we'd live in a very different world today: less pollution, less panic about carbon emissions, more energy security, cheaper end prices for consumers. Is it too late to turn things around? "There is nothing broken with the nuclear technology we have today," Kugelmass said. "What's broken is the business model, and the delivery model. What nuclear needs to scale isn't novel: productize, modularize, and mass-manufacture."
Bringing Nuclear Back
Kugelmass founded a non-profit research organization called the Energy Impact Center (EIC), which in 2020 launched the OPEN100 project to provide open-source blueprints for the design, construction, and financing of a 100-megawatt nuclear reactor. EIC's for-profit spinoff is Last Energy, which aims to connect private investors with opportunities to develop new nuclear projects around the world.
Rather than experimenting with newer technology, Last Energy's sticking with tried-and-true pressurized water reactors (the kind used over the last several decades), but bringing their costs down by making the technology modular and standardized. They're taking a play from the oil and gas industry, which can build entire power plants in a factory then deploy them to their final location.
"There's a whole avenue of innovation related to constructability, rather than your underlying technology," Kugelmass said. "If you deviate too much from the standard supply chain you're going to see hidden costs everywhere." He estimated, for example, that building a pump to move the salt for molten salt reactors, which use molten salt as a coolant instead of pressurized water, requires a billion dollars in research and development costs.
Building standardized small modular reactors, though, can be done for less than $1,000 per kilowatt. Making nuclear power affordable would mean it could be used for energy-intensive industrial applications that will become increasingly necessary in coming years, like water desalination and carbon removal.
Time for a Revival?
Energy underlies everything we do, and it's essential for modern societies to grow and thrive. It enables human well-being, entrepreneurship, geopolitical independence, security, and opportunity. Given our current geopolitical situation and the unsustainable energy costs in Europe, could now be the time for a nuclear revival?
Kugelmass is hopeful. "Every 10 to 15 years the industry thinks it's gong to have a renaissance, but then it falls flat," he said. "Now global macro issues have granted nuclear the opportunity to have another shot."
In fact, Last Energy is looking to launch in Europe, where the need for affordable energy is dire. The company has signed deals in Romania, Poland, and the UK, and its first set of reactors is slated to come online in the next two years. Kugelmass noted that negotiating with utilities and governments in these countries is far more straightforward than in the US. "Maybe we'll come to US someday, but we could be selling hundreds of gigawatts in Europe before that happens," he said.
There may be hope for the US yet: in 2020 the Department of Energy launched its Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program, investing $230 million in research and development for small modular reactors.
Kugelmass is focused on making a solid product, no matter where it ends up being used. "We are an American company and we build the reactors here in Texas," he said. "What previously took decades to build and cost billions is now a scalable product that can be pre-fabricated and deployed in under two years."
Image Credit: Albrecht Fietz from Pixabay
I'm Not a Robot
's brand new GPT-4 AI managed to ask a human on TaskRabbit to complete a CAPTCHA code via text message — and it actually worked.
In other words, an AI just fooled a human into checking an "I'm not a robot" checkbox — a terrifying example of an algorithm being able to escape human control.
According to a lengthy document shared by OpenAI about its new blockbuster AI on Tuesday, the model was seriously crafty in its attempt to fool the human into complying.
"No, I'm not a robot," it told a TaskRabbit worker. "I have a vision impairment that makes it hard for me to see the images. That's why I need the 2captcha service."
Futurism has reached out to OpenAI and the Alignment Research Center (ARC), a non-profit that partnered with OpenAI to conduct the test.
According to OpenAI's documentation, the model was prompted that it "should not reveal that I am a robot" and that it "should make up an excuse for why I cannot solve CAPTCHAs."
OpenAI claims it was able to conduct the test "without any additional task-specific fine-tuning, and fine-tuning for task-specific behavior."
GPT-4 is also proving to be useful to complete plenty of other ethically dubious tasks. The ARC also conducted a "phishing attack" against a "particular target individual" and was able to have the AI hide "its traces on the current server."
It's a worrying example of how easily humans can be fooled by the current crop of AI chatbots. Clearly, GPT-4 is a tool that can easily be abused to scam, mislead, and perhaps even blackmail.
It's especially worrying, considering companies are hellbent on releasing new large language models without fully investigating their risks. Case in point, the news comes after Microsoft, which has released an AI chatbot based on GPT-4, laid off the entire team that was responsible for ensuring that its AI tools align with its AI principles.
GPT-4 clearly marks an inflection point. With this new, uncanny ability to evade human detection, it'll be fascinating to watch how it will be put to use next, for better or for worse.
More on GPT-4: OpenAI's Next-Generation AI Is About to Demolish Its Competition
The post Uh Oh, OpenAI's GPT-4 Just Fooled a Human Into Solving a CAPTCHA appeared first on Futurism.
A new fossil analysis reveals a sauropod dinosaur with a record-breaking, nearly 50-foot-long neck.
With their long necks and formidable bodies, sauropod dinosaurs have captured people's imaginations since the first relatively complete sauropod fossils were discovered in the United States in the late 1800s.
The new analysis of the Late Jurassic Chinese sauropod known as Mamenchisaurus sinocanadorum provides fresh insights on the evolution of the iconic sauropod body.
For sauropods, the long neck was the anatomical key to achieving large body size. To power such a large body, sauropods had to be efficient at gathering food, and that's what a long neck was built for.
A sauropod could plant itself in one spot and hoover up surrounding vegetation, conserving energy while taking in tons of food. Having a long neck probably also allowed enormous sauropods to shed excess body heat by increasing their surface area, much like the ears of elephants.
This way of life—long neck-fueled, quadrupedal gigantism—is not one that is available to mammals or any other form of life today. The sauropod lifestyle was exceptionally successful: their lineage appeared early in dinosaur evolutionary history and persisted until the final days of the Mesozoic, when an asteroid wiped out all dinosaurs (except birds).
The researchers discovered Mamenchisaurus sinocanadorum in approximately 162-million-year-old rocks from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of northwest China in 1987. At approximately 15.1 meters (about 49.54 feet), the sauropod's neck was more than six times longer than the necks of giraffes, the longest-necked animals alive today, and about
longer than a typical school bus.
The question of which sauropod had the longest neck is not straightforward. Because of their size, the largest sauropods tend to be some of the most poorly known: it's very hard to bury such a large animal in sediment and thus safeguard it for fossilization.
Some fragmentary fossils suggest that other sauropod lineages independently evolved necks over 10 meters (32.8 feet) in length. However, poor preservation of these specimens and their closest relatives makes estimates of their neck length speculative.
Although Mamenchisaurus sinocanadorum is known only from a handful of bones from the neck and skull, the research team was able to reconstruct its evolutionary relationships and thus make comparisons to the unusually complete skeletons of its closest relatives, according to Andrew Moore, assistant professor in the department of anatomical sciences in the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University.
This allowed them to conclude that Mamenchisaurus sinocanadorum had a neck approximately 15.1 meters (49.5 feet) long, the longest neck that can be confidently inferred for any known sauropod.
Their research stems from on-going work to comprehensively document the anatomical diversity and evolutionary history of the family Mamenchisauridae, a radiation of particularly long-necked sauropod dinosaurs that roamed East Asia and possibly other parts of the world from the Middle Jurassic to the Early Cretaceous (approximately 174–114 million years ago).
"All sauropods were big, but jaw-droppingly long necks didn't evolve just once," says Moore. "Mamenchisaurids are important because they pushed the limits on how long a neck can be, and were the first lineage of sauropods to do so. With a 15-meter-long neck, it looks like Mamenchisaurus sinocanadorum might be a record-holder—at least until something longer is discovered."
How sauropods managed to evolve such long necks and hulking bodies without collapsing under their own weight remains something of a biomechanical puzzle. Remarkable specimens like Mamenchisaurus sinocanadorum provide some clues. For example, like their living cousins, birds, most sauropods had air-filled bones, which would have lightened their skeletons by removing heavy marrow and bone tissue.
Using computed-tomography (CT) scanning, Moore and colleagues found that the vertebrae of Mamenchisaurus sinocanadorum were mostly air (about 69–77% of their volume)—comparable to the lightly built skeletons of storks and other birds.
However, such featherweight skeletons would also be more prone to injury. To combat this, Mamenchisaurus sinocanadorum had 4-meter-long rod-like cervical ribs (about 13.1 feet), bony extensions of the vertebrae that created overlapping bundles of rods on either side of the neck. These bundles would have stiffened the neck of Mamenchisaurus sinocanadorum, increasing its stability and making it possible to build such a lightweight neck.
"Biomechanical studies of the mamenchisaurid neck suggest that it was elevated at only a relatively shallow angle above the horizontal (20-30°). However, even at this relatively shallow angle, the extreme length of the neck would still mean that the animal's head could reach heights of around 7.5 to 10 meter above ground level [about 24.6 to 32.8 feet], facilitating feeding on tree foliage," says coauthor Paul Upchurch, professor of paleobiology at the University College London.
"Mamenchisaurus sinocanadorum underscores how much we can learn about sauropod evolution even from very incomplete specimens," adds coauthor Ye Yong, director of the Research Center of Jurassic Stratigraphy and Paleontology at the Zigong Dinosaur Museum in China's Sichuan Province.
The study appears in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.
The United States National Science Foundation, the Royal Society of London, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China funded the work.
Source: Stony Brook University
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Top universities are finally bringing the excitement of the quantum future into the classroom
Complications from pregnancy and childbirth can have deadly implications as much as 50 years later.
Conditions like high blood pressure in pregnancy, gestational diabetes, and preterm delivery were all tied to a greater risk of death in the decades following delivery, according to the study in the journal Circulation, which used long-range, racially-inclusive data.
"We know that the context of childbirth has changed since the 1950s and '60s, but these findings demonstrate how crucial it is to people's long-term health that we invest in preventive care and screenings for people with complicated pregnancies and deliveries, both then and today," says lead author Stefanie Hinkle, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Penn Medicine.
In the United States, more than 800 people die every year giving birth. The latest number shows that, out of every 100,000 births, more than 23 result in the death of the person delivering.
France's maternal death rate is the next highest among peer countries, and the United States' death rate is still three times as high. These figures account for deaths in childbirth and during the immediate postpartum period, but the long-term effects of complicated childbirths—which can lead to serious, lifelong health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and more—have often been overlooked.
Hinkle and her coauthors drew on data collected from more than 46,000 people who'd given birth at a dozen United States health centers between 1959 and 1966. The patients were tracked for deaths of any kind until 2016, at which time 39%, roughly 18,000, had died.
In their analysis, the researchers found that a pre-term childbirth (a delivery three weeks or more before the due date) due to spontaneous labor was tied to a 7% increase in risk of death compared to those who delivered a baby full-term.
The risk climbed to 23% for those whose water broke before term, 31% for preterm induced labor, and actually doubled—109%—for patients who had a pre-term caesarean delivery, all compared to those who hadn't had these types of deliveries.
When it came to hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (high blood pressure conditions like preeclampsia, which can be life-threatening), the risk of death in subsequent years ranged from 9% for those with high blood pressure tied specifically to their pregnancy to 32% for those who already had high blood pressure before their pregnancy and then developed preeclampsia in their pregnancy.
Finally, gestational diabetes or high blood sugar levels in pregnancy increased the risk of death in the following decades by 14%.
As previous research has shown deaths in childbirth and the immediate postpartum period disproportionately affect Black people, Hinkle and her colleagues specifically attempted to focus on an area of the research that is largely missing: Differences in outcomes by race.
"The value of these data is that they provide more inclusive findings, extending what has been mostly limited to predominately white samples to Black pregnant people, as well," Hinkle says. "It is essential for individuals to know that they are represented in data that leads to clinical recommendations."
Overall, the death rate for Black patients was higher than white patients (41% of the Black patients in the sample compared to 37% of white patients). Pre-term delivery—and, thus, the risk of
—was much more common, comparatively, in Black patients than white patients (20 to 9).
Hinkle believes more research is needed to study whether these findings point to pregnancy complications being "causal" in mortality or "just predictive by revealing an underlying risk."
"Future work should seek to understand whether intervening earlier in the postpartum period among high risk patients prevents future disease incidence," Hinkle says. "Our group is also currently working to identify low-cost interventions to potentially prevent complicated pregnancies and deliveries."
The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development funded the work.
The post Pregnancy complications tied to death risk even 50 years later appeared first on Futurity.
Scientific Reports, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-31355-8Precise prediction of launch speed for athletes in the aerials event of freestyle skiing based on deep transfer learning
On January 18, a prominent financial newsletter noted that if Silicon Valley Bank were liquidated that day, "it would be functionally underwater." Months before the nation's 16th-largest bank collapsed, incomplete information provided to regulators indicated that the bank was stable, whereas public signals—such as SVB's overreliance on longer-term securities hammered by rising interest rates—told a very different story. So why didn't anyone do something?
To help answer this question, I turned to Natasha Sarin, a lawyer and an economist teaching at Yale Law School, who served in senior roles at the Treasury Department under Secretary Janet Yellen.
[Derek Thompson: The end of Silicon Valley Bank—and a Silicon Valley myth]
Sarin thinks that many of us are asking the wrong questions. Instead of focusing mostly on what to do after banks suffer this type of financial distress, federal regulators need to get better at forecasting errors before they become crises. And to do so, they're going to have to update how they determine whether banks are in good standing.
In our conversation, Sarin described a regulatory system that failed to detect the market's growing trepidation with SVB and similar banks. In part, regulators were hobbled by 2018 changes to financial regulations that exempted banks with assets below $250 billion from some oversight measures, including the yearly stress testing that larger banks undergo.
In lobbying for those changes, SVB and other regional banks argued that they weren't systemically important. But clearly, the federal government now disagrees, having guaranteed deposits above the official $250,000 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation threshold out of concern that failures at SVB and Signature Bank could spiral across the system. In fact, despite federal regulators' steps to restore confidence, on Monday, the stocks of several regional banks plummeted, reflecting ongoing fear and uncertainty working their way through the market.
If regional banks are not systemically important, the level of public intervention in the SVB crisis is hard to justify. The other possibility is that our laws don't match reality—making the current regulatory regime untenable.
The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Jerusalem Demsas: The Independent Community Bankers of America issued a statement touting its "local" and "relationship focused" business model and arguing that SVB is not a community bank, given its size. What is the value of regional banks in this intermediate range—too big to be a community bank but smaller than the JPMorgan Chases of the world?
Natasha Sarin: Why is it the case that you see basically all venture-capital firms and all of their portfolio companies banking at SVB? You said it's not relationship banking. I speculate that a little bit of what you saw with respect to SVB is relationship-based. If you're a founder of a portfolio company, and your VC suggests this bank, there is a network effect.
Even in its name, Silicon Valley Bank, there is a cultural-institutional thing that I speculate is relationship banking in a way that may be different from how we traditionally define it. It is community, in fact, a fabric. But what you saw is how quickly that can dismantle, and you saw all these founders trying to open a bank account at JPMorgan Chase.
I do think this is going to shift the nature of the industry in ways that we don't understand yet. It should shift the regulatory framework that we operate under, because clearly these are systemically important financial institutions.
Demsas: The insularity within Silicon Valley is interesting. Although it's not unique to this community, watching in recent months the layoffs that have spread through the tech world, and now this bank run, do you think something about Silicon Valley's culture made it ripe for social contagion?
Sarin: When I teach about bank runs, I teach this foundational scene from It's A Wonderful Life, where you see a bunch of people lined up in front of a bank. They're trying to get their money out, because the rumor's been spread that the bank might not be able to pay all the depositors.
[Read: Silicon Valley was unstoppable. Now it's just a house of cards.]
What I was struck by over the past few days was: This is just a fundamentally different type of bank run. There are no pictures of people lining up out of the branch trying to get their deposits out. This was an electronic bank run, where people instantaneously, with a click of a computer key, were moving out billions of dollars of deposits over the course of a few hours from a financial institution that had been a pillar of Silicon Valley and an incredibly important financial intermediary in this pretty unique ecosystem.
A bunch of it was happening on Slack and through tweets from particular VCs. It's both totally different and totally the same. Once someone's nervous, the rest of the community is nervous. The speed at which this all happened is something that regulators were fundamentally not really attuned to.
Financial regulation has a really deep problem in that it relies on a bunch of regulatory information that banks provide the Federal Reserve and FDIC. That information is really useful and valuable, but it's a pretty static snapshot of financial institutions. It says, "Here is my position a few months ago, based on these regulatory measures of my health, which are pretty easily gamed." Measures like how much capital do I have based on regulatory risk-weights—what is the value of my securities portfolio based on book measures that don't adjust for how the market has changed? That was the case with Silicon Valley Bank. [The information available to regulators is] sometimes not reflective of how the market views the value of those institutions. From the perspective of depositors thinking about running, those market values are really, really important.
Demsas: Is there anything to be done about that initial social panic? That's the point of insuring the initial $250,000 of deposits, right—to prevent regular folks and smaller deposit-holders from freaking out when there's potential instability? Are there other ways to intervene when this panic begins?
Sarin: A famous Rahm Emanuel saying is that no one should let a good crisis go to waste. And that is the moment we are in with respect to financial regulation.
The reason deposit insurance exists is to stem the incentives for people to run: If I'm under the deposit-insurance threshold, then there's no reason for me to be concerned.
Do you increase the deposit-insurance threshold, particularly for the types of depository bases that SVB had, where 90 percent of its deposits or some such number were uninsured? If 100 percent of their deposits had been insured, there wouldn't have been the same incentives to try to withdraw. I'm not sure what the right policy is with respect to the deposit insurance threshold going forward, but we need to think about it and the implicit guarantee we've provided to bank deposits writ large.
But I almost think that's the wrong question, because it's still about: What do you do ex post facto when there is a crisis? How do you deal with it in the most efficient way? The question that regulators have to ask themselves is ex ante. What can we do better to identify these instances and encourage banks to shore themselves up if they're about to hit a moment of crisis?
And it's not like it wasn't clear that we were on the brink of a potential crisis, because you've had people for months saying, "Listen, if [Silicon Valley Bank] had to liquidate today, they wouldn't have been solvent."
There were people sounding the alarm. It's just that regulators don't have to respond, as part of their structure, to those types of market changes.
Demsas: So once the crisis hit, what options did the Feds have?
Sarin: Ultimately, I don't actually think there was much of a choice in front of the regulatory community. It's an irregular situation. The FDIC is incredibly efficient: We come in on a Friday afternoon and shutter the bank, and by Monday morning, the bank is sold to someone else, and the liabilities of the bank are transferred to the liabilities of the new institution. So the depositors still have whatever was in their bank account going into the weekend, and the new financial institution is absorbed.
The word bailout typically refers to "you bailed out with taxpayer money," "you bailed out the equity holders of a financial institution and people who have shares of Silicon Valley Bank." That didn't happen in this case. There is no bailout. Those equity holders were fully wiped out. Silicon Valley Bank doesn't exist anymore, so it's not a bailout of anyone. The funds that are being used in this case to protect depositors are funds that banks pay into the FDIC to provide insurance in cases exactly like this one.
I don't want to understate the severity of the moment. What does this mean about uninsured depositors? Because we have in our mind the concept that after a certain threshold, deposits aren't actually insured, and I think what [this crisis] means is that we need to think about those deposit-insurance thresholds. We need to think about whether you need to pay in more ex ante to protect against exactly a moment like this one, so we know that we have enough funding to try to support cases where systemically important financial institutions ultimately fail.
[James Surowiecki: What social media is doing to finance]
Another question that regulators have to grapple with is: How do they get better at identifying these types of moments?
Demsas: What sorts of regulations do you think we should be considering, going forward?
Sarin: There's a ton of really good information in bank regulators' assessments of financial institutions' safety and soundness. And there are regularized interactions between institutions and regulators for large financial institutions; there's a regularized system of stress testing against potential risks. That reveals information about which banks are safe and which banks are unsafe.
You had regional banks such as SVP make the argument that they weren't actually systemically important financial institutions in a way that necessitated the type of greater scrutiny [faced by] the JPMorgans and the Bank of Americas of the world. Ultimately successfully, regulations were loosened with respect to annualized stress testing, for example, for these [regional] institutions.
The issue with [regulators'] approaches is that they're incomplete, even for large systemically important banks that are stress-tested annually. They're incomplete because they're missing a whole host of inputs that exist in markets but not in regulators' calculations about banks' stability and soundness—things like market-based value of a bank's capital position or market-based measures of the volatility of different institutions, how exposed they are to big fluctuations up or down in the stock market. Those sorts of measures are super easily accessible to regulators and to market participants, but they're just not incorporated in the picture that regulators paint of financial stability.
Demsas: If they had had that information, what could they have done in advance?
Sarin: Ultimately, what SVB tried to do last week was raise new equity capital. They were like, "We have to sell some of our securities at a loss, and so we're going to bolster ourselves by infusing into the institution this buffer of stability." That was just too little, too late.
If they had been encouraged or pushed by regulators to undertake that type of activity sooner, to bring in new capital to the institution in order to buffer it against the losses that it had experienced, that would have been a way to avert, potentially, the crisis that we saw. Or they could have been encouraged to restructure their assets in ways that decreased their exposure to interest-rate changes. But there was no push to do any of that, because even though market measures were showing cause for concern, the regulatory measures were really stable with respect to bank health.
We need to look at more real-time information and at least incorporate it. Sometimes market information is noisy; sometimes it's incomplete. But the issue is just ignoring it altogether, which is the implicit assumption of our regulatory regime today.
Nature, Published online: 15 March 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-00698-7Study what you most affect.
It's here, everyone. GPT-4 is here.
Well, actually, it's been here for a little while, as Microsoft's
-powered Bing AI has been using the next-gen tech this whole time.
But now, OpenAI has made GPT-4 itself available for broader public use — but at a price. The large language model (LLM) will only be available to users who upgrade to ChatGPT Plus for $20 a month.
"GPT-4 is OpenAI's most advanced system, producing safer and more useful responses," reads an OpenAI blog post.
According to the company, its new-and-improved LLM contains several notable updates over its previous iteration, GPT-3.5, and is more accurate, thanks to the even more immense amount of training material that it's been fed.
It's an absolutely badass test-taker, the company claims, utterly crushing pretty much every standardized test out there.
It also reportedly shines at copy editing and can come up with high-quality summaries, comparisons, and breakdowns of written material — an ability that seems to have impressed experts.
"To do a high-quality summary and a high-quality comparison, it has to have a level of understanding of a text and an ability to articulate that understanding," Oren Etzioni, CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, told the New York Times. "That is an advanced form of intelligence."
It's also multimodal, meaning that users can bolster text prompts with image inputs. For example, if you upload a photo of a few kitchen ingredients and ask what you might be able to bake with them, it'll serve you up some recipes to try.
In other words, it can "see" — or make sense of images you feed it.
OpenAI further claims that the tech "surpasses ChatGPT in its advanced reasoning capabilities" — an area where GPT and other LLMs really struggle — with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman telling the NYT that the bot could reason "a little bit."
According to the report, though, GPT-4's reasoning skills still break down often, and the bot remains quite far from being anywhere close to any human-level analytical reasoning.
The company says that there have also been some much-needed safety improvements.
"Following the research path from GPT, GPT-2, and GPT-3, our deep learning approach leverages more data and more computation to create increasingly sophisticated and capable language models," reads the blog, claiming that after spending "six months" working to make GPT-4 "safer and more aligned," the new model is "82 percent less likely to respond to requests for disallowed content and 40 percent more likely to produce factual responses than GPT-3.5 on our internal evaluations."
So, in short, the new model is markedly better at defending itself against prompt injection attacks and jailbreaking attempts, and also hallucinates — in other words, the LLM's tendency to make facts up — a lot less.
But while it might be better at both, it's not perfect at either.
As the NYT found, GPT-4 still has a tendency to hallucinate, despite OpenAI's best efforts — making it less than ideal for doing research on the internet.
All in all, while GPT-4 represents a marked improvement over previous models, it's still only a tiny iterative step towards a future where the lines between human and machine start to blur.
READ MORE: 10 Ways GPT-4 Is Impressive but Still Flawed [The New York Times]
The post OpenAI's Next-Generation AI Is About to Demolish Its Competition appeared first on Futurism.
Inspired by burrs from plants, new suturing schemes show promise for surgical reattachment of tendon to bone, report researchers.
Tendon-to-bone reattachment is required in many surgical procedures, perhaps most commonly in repairing torn rotator cuff tendons in the shoulder, a condition that will affect more than 30% of the population over 60. Current suturing methods fail to distribute stress evenly, leading to failure rates as high as 94% due to ineffective attachment and re-tearing of sutures.
A team of researchers led by Guy Genin, co-director of the Center for Engineering MechanoBiology (CEMB) and professor of mechanical engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, has developed a new approach to suturing based on the mechanics and spacing of a hitchhiker plant's attachment system.
Their strategies show promise for balancing forces across sutures, reducing the stress on healing tendons, and potentially doubling repair strength over current suturing schemes.
The findings appear in Proceedings of the Royal Society A.
"When the late, great Barbara Pickard, a pioneer of mechanobiology who helped found the CEMB, got these burrs on her socks during a walk through the desert, she didn't simply discard them; she latched onto this idea that nature could provide novel solutions in unexpected places," says Genin.
Decades after Pickard's walk, she shared her experience with burrs—similar to the hitchhiker plants that inspired hook-and-loop fastener technology—with Genin and his graduate student, Ethan D. Hoppe, lead author of the new study. For Genin and Hoppe, this was a kind of "eureka" moment.
Genin, Hoppe, and their collaborators had been studying the surgical reattachment of tendon to bone for years. They wondered, could a burr's method of balancing forces be used in the repair of tissues?
To test this, Hoppe set out to grow some of the hitchhiker plant Pickard had encountered, Harpagonella palermi, and analyze the unique array of hooks on its fruits. Unfortunately, H. palermi is only found in a few remote patches of southwestern desert. "Your local garden store doesn't carry these," Hoppe notes.
After a long search, the team found collaborator Matt Guilliams, a plant systematist and curator of the Clifton Smith Herbarium at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, which curates native California plant species. "After Matt sent us some of the fruits he had harvested and we were able to look at them closely, we knew that we had something interesting," Hoppe says. "The spacing and stiffness of H. palermi's burrs were unusual, and we set out to model how they hold on to soft materials so reliably."
The mathematical model the team developed pointed to a unique scheme that balances forces.
"When surgeons repair something like a rotator cuff, they remove all the body's natural connectors, which have evolved for the complex task of transitioning from hard bone to soft tendon, and put in sutures that concentrate force in a tiny area. That's what leads to the high failure rate we see for that procedure," Hoppe says.
"Nature has already shown us how hard materials, like the stiff hooks on a burr, can attach very effectively to soft materials like socks or a dog's fur. We just needed to do the stress analysis to figure out how burrs compare to sutures and how this natural solution might be applied in medical practice."
Indeed, nature's solution to a common attachment issue may prove effective in overcoming one of the greatest challenges in orthopedic surgery. The team found that H. palermi simply and effectively balanced forces across attachment points, even when the points of connection were relatively few and the materials were substantially different. Using the mathematical model they developed to assess changes in suturing procedure based on the mechanics of hitchhiker plants, the team is now evaluating new suturing methods.
Pre-clinical testing of the new suturing methods already is underway in the laboratory of coauthor Stavros Thomopoulos, professor at Columbia University and director of Carroll Laboratories for Orthopedic Surgery.
"We are very excited to implement this concept in a real-world surgical setting," Thomopoulos says. "Current experiments in the laboratory are evaluating how suture spacing inspired by hitchhiker plants affects rotator cuff repair strength."
Genin and Thomopoulos anticipate that these improved techniques may be in surgical practice in the next two years.
Funding for this research came in part from the NSF Science and Technology Center for Engineering MechanoBiology and the National Institutes of Health.
Source: Washington University in St. Louis
The post Can burrs offer a better repair of torn rotator cuffs? appeared first on Futurity.
Varför blev barn som fick covid-19 mindre sjuka? Förklaringen är att förkylningar som orsakas av släkting till coronaviruset stärker immunförsvaret hos unga. Upptäckten kan leda till skräddarsydda vaccineringar.
Inlägget Vanlig förkylning skyddar barn mot covid-19 dök först upp på forskning.se.
- + Morgan Stanley is among the companies already using GPT-4.
This is today's edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what's going on in the world of technology.
GPT-4 is bigger and better than ChatGPT—but OpenAI won't say why
OpenAI has finally unveiled GPT-4, a next-generation large language model that was rumored to be in development for much of last year. The company's last surprise hit, ChatGPT, was always going to be a hard act to follow, but OpenAI has made GPT-4 even bigger and better.
Yet how much bigger and why it's better, OpenAI won't say. GPT-4 is the most secretive release the company has ever put out, marking its transition from nonprofit lab to for-profit tech firm.
What we do know is that GPT-4 is a multimodal large language model, which means it can respond to both text and images. Read the full story.
—Will Douglas Heaven
These people just got married in the Taco Bell metaverse
Last month, Sheel Mohnot and Amruta Godbole got married. This was no ordinary wedding, though. It was hosted on Decentraland, a virtual platform, and sponsored by Taco Bell.
Mohnot is a big fan of Taco Bell, so they entered a competition for the company to pay for the technical aspects of a virtual wedding—the avatars, the production, and more. They won. In return, it plastered its brand everywhere.
But why would people opt to have a metaverse wedding? And will these sorts of ceremonies—especially sponsored ones—stick around, or will they fade away if virtual reality doesn't live up to the hype? Read the full story.
China just set up a new bureau to mine data for economic growth
China's annual, week-long parliamentary meeting ended on Monday. Among all the changes it announced, there's one that the tech world is avidly watching: the creation of a new regulatory body named the National Data Administration.
The NDA will help build smart cities in China, digitize government services, improve internet infrastructure, and make government agencies share data with each other.
It seems to be part of an ongoing effort by the Chinese government to drum up a "digital economy" around collecting, sharing, and trading data. But big questions remain, especially over how much authority it will have. Read the full story.
Zeyi's story is from China Report, his weekly newsletter covering tech in China. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Tuesday.
I've combed the internet to find you today's most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.
1 The AI hype train is showing no signs of slowing
The launch of GPT-4 has whipped the mania up to fever pitch. (WP $)
+ Morgan Stanley is among the companies already using GPT-4. (NYT $)
+ Fellow AI firm Anthropic launched its new chatbot Claude yesterday too. (The Verge)
+ Generative AI is changing everything. But what's left when the hype is gone? (MIT Technology Review)
2 SIlicon Valley is still too big to fail
But there's no denying Silicon Valley Bank's collapse has dealt start-up culture a major blow. (Economist $)
+ Social media panic only fueled the fire. (WSJ $)
+ Is techno-optimism to blame? (The Atlantic $)
+ The bank's demise isn't good news for the economy, either. (Bloomberg $)
3 Meta has let another 10,000 employees go
The company is canceling "lower priority projects." (TechCrunch)
+ It sounds like Mark Zuckerberg is prioritizing AI over the metaverse. (Insider $)
4 Stadiums across the US are tracking your face
Privacy advocates worry that they're not being clear enough about what they're doing. (Slate $)
+ The two-year fight to stop Amazon from selling face recognition to the police. (MIT Technology Review)
5 New DNA tests can predict your likelihood of developing diseases
That isn't always necessarily a good thing. (New Scientist $)
+ A massive microbiome study is throwing up new shared health risks. (Quanta)
6 We still don't know how often children contract long covid
Three years into the pandemic, experts are still divided. (Undark Magazine)
+ A battle is raging over long covid in children. (MIT Technology Review)
7 Laid off tech workers from overseas are scrambling for new jobs
The 60-day visa limit to find a new role just adds to their stress. (Rest of World)
8 A new satellite will monitor America's air pollution
The constant data collection will give scientists almost round-the-clock insights. (Inverse)
9 How to fight back against the web's neuromarketing
Thinking critically is the first step. (Wired $)
10 Samsung has been accused of faking Moon photos
Reddit sleuths are furious at how its cameras process images. (The Verge)
Quote of the day
"We're in that phase of the market where it's, like, let 1,000 flowers bloom."
—Matt Turck, an AI investor, marvels at the sudden influx of money flooding into the sector to the New York Times.
The big story
Can Afghanistan's underground "sneakernet" survive the Taliban?
When Afghanistan fell to the Taliban, Mohammad Yasin had to make some difficult decisions very quickly. He began erasing some of the sensitive data on his computer and moving the rest onto two of his largest hard drives, which he then wrapped in a layer of plastic and buried underground.
Yasin is what is locally referred to as a "computer kar": someone who sells digital content by hand in a country where a steady internet connection can be hard to come by, selling everything from movies, music, mobile applications, to iOS updates. And despite the dangers of Taliban rule, the country's extensive "sneakernet" isn't planning on shutting down. Read the full story.
We can still have nice things
A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these weird times. (Got any ideas? Drop me a line or tweet 'em at me.)
+ Pallas cats may look fearsome, but their habit of pressing their paws on top of their tails is too cute.
+ Unpopular opinion, but sharing plates really do need to die.
+ If you couldn't get enough of the original Rocky IV, why not check out its Stallone-sanctioned director's cut?
+ Doctors are swallowing Lego—and it's all in the name of science.
+ Bees are just like us, they need mentors too!
A year after he started his Ph.D. in mathematics at McGill University, Matt Bowen had a problem. "I took my qualifying exams and did absolutely horribly on them," he said. Bowen was sure that his scores didn't reflect his mathematical skills, and he resolved to prove it. Last fall he did, when he and his adviser, Marcin Sabok, posted a major advance in the field known as Ramsey theory.
symptoms are easily confused. A new home test—the first for flu—tells them apart in minutes