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A Brief History of Time is 'wrong', Stephen Hawking told collaborator

Thomas Hertog worked with cosmologist on a new book after he shared his doubts about A Brief History of Time

In 2002 Thomas Hertog received an email summoning him to the office of his mentor Stephen Hawking. The young researcher rushed to Hawking's room at Cambridge. "His eyes were radiant with excitement," Hertog recalls.

Typing on the computer-controlled voice system that allowed the cosmologist to communicate, Hawking announced: "I have changed my mind. My book, A Brief History of Time, is written from the wrong perspective."

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Här återskapas den egyptiske faraon Ramses II:s ansikte
Med hjälp av ett datorprogram som annars används i brottsutredningar har man lyckats göra en rekonstruktion av faraon Ramses II:s ansikte – drygt 3 000 år efter hans död.   – Vi är ganska säkra på att han såg ut så här i den åldern. Någon som kände honom när han levde skulle känna igen honom, säger rättsantropologen Caroline Wilkinson i SVT:s Vetenskapens värld – Faraos ansikte.


The Secret Service's Day of Reckoning Approaches

Whether Donald Trump is arrested and booked on Tuesday or not for a case involving a payoff to the porn star Stormy Daniels—something only he has predicted—the potential arrest of a former United States president is not only unprecedented but actually quite technically challenging. How does one arrest a former president in a democracy that has never faced this prospect before? The fate Trump may finally face in a courtroom is not the only reckoning coming around the bend. For the U.S. Secret Service, this is an opportunity for a course correction.

After years in which some agents acted as Trump's loyal servants, the Secret Service must get back to basics. Although the agency faced considerable challenges before Trump became president, by the end of his presidency, its critics charged that its loyalty to the United States had been subsumed by its loyalty to a man. Trump regularly grifted off the service, charging it exorbitant hotel fees for his own protection on his properties. Trump broke the tradition of separating politics from protection when he appointed the deputy assistant director of the Secret Service, Anthony Ornato, to be his own deputy chief of staff; the service seemed a willing accomplice to Trump's agenda. The roles played by both Ornato and the service in the January 6 insurrection were, at best, an embarrassing mess and, at worst, a sign that the service was not salvageable.

We were all talking about the Secret Service too much; it had become the subject and was not, as intended, in the background. Whether President Joe Biden has the capacity or inclination to take on an agency that is simultaneously protecting him and his family remains unclear; Biden has appointed a new director, but there haven't been massive firings or reviews.

Now one of the most unusual moments the agency will ever have encountered presents the Secret Service with the chance to restore its tarnished reputation and return to normal. As a former president, Trump is still a protectee. As a former president, though, he is also no longer in charge. He does not control the environment; he can make noise, but he cannot dictate the terms of his arrest. He may want a perp walk for fundraising purposes, but nobody has to promise him one.

By all accounts of the preparation for a potential arrest, the Secret Service seems to have remembered that its role is to avoid the limelight. Tellingly, the Secret Service is not, in the terminology of site protection, "the coordinating entity." The agents on Trump's detail are not taking charge of site protection or securing the courthouse, and not performing advance work for a public appearance. They are leaving that all to local police. If Trump wants to incite a crowd or call for protests, as he has, so be it. That isn't the service's problem.

The service just needs to show up with the suspect and let the court conduct its typical process, recording the necessary information. In New York, that involves taking the name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth of the defendant. That the man who entered politics by questioning the birth certificate of Barack Obama will now be reduced to verifying his own identity in court is a delicious bit of irony.

If all goes as it should, Trump's arrest should be no different from what the service calls an "off the record" event, as if Trump were invited to a wedding and the agents were checking where he was seated. The service seems to know this. Jonathan Wackrow, a former agent in the Presidential Protection Division, believes that it will be very hard for the service to recover if it is perceived as allowing the protectee to dictate the terms of the arrest. "For the Secret Service," he told me, "they want this to just be another day in the life of the protectee. It is just an administrative movement. That is all. Get him from Point A to Point B and back to Point A."

When a court demands that a person who is being detained be brought forward so that it can assess the legality of the detention, it issues a writ of habeas corpus—loosely, "produce the body." That is a clarifying way to think of the service's role in the days ahead.



Will I even have a job in the next 3 years?

I'm a computer science major trying to focus on AI and machine learning. When chat gpt became popular around I'd say January ( I don't know actual date), it was cool and eye opening especially since it could write code.

Now about 2 months (March) later and this shit is godly at what it does. Combine this with all the other AI that have been becoming increasingly powerful in their capabilities. I'm seriously starting to think that vast majority of people have underestimated this technology A LOT.

If AI can get this good in 2 months what the he'll will we have in December? I mean, at this point there is no point in getting a CS degree. At least that's how I feel. Will I even have a job in 3 years if AI can do everything I'm learning to do faster and better? Like what is the point??? Should I combine my CS degree with another degree to get into something better?

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OpenAI Says GPT-4 Is Better in Nearly Every Way. What Matters More Is Millions Will Use It

In 2020, artificial intelligence company 


 stunned the tech world with its GPT-3 machine learning algorithm. After ingesting a broad slice of the internet, GPT-3 could generate writing that was hard to distinguish from text authored by a person, do basic math, write code, and even whip up simple web pages.

OpenAI followed up GPT-3 with more specialized algorithms that could seed new products, like an AI called Codex to help developers write code and the wildly popular (and controversial) image-generator DALL-E 2. Then late last year, the company upgraded GPT-3 and dropped a viral chatbot called ChatGPT—by far, its biggest hit yet.

Now, a rush of competitors is battling it out in the nascent generative AI space, from new startups flush with cash to venerable tech giants like Google. Billions of dollars are flowing into the industry, including a $10-billion follow-up investment by Microsoft into OpenAI.

This week, after months of rather over-the-top speculation, OpenAI's GPT-3 sequel, GPT-4, officially launched. In a blog postinterviews, and two reports (here and here), OpenAI said GPT-4 is better than GPT-3 in nearly every way.

More Than a Passing Grade

GPT-4 is multimodal, which is a fancy way of saying it was trained on both images and text and can identify, describe, and riff on what's in an image using natural language. OpenAI said the algorithm's output is higher quality, more accurate, and less prone to bizarre or toxic outbursts than prior versions. It also outperformed the upgraded GPT-3 (called GPT 3.5) on a slew of standardized tests, placing among the top 10 percent of human test-takers on the bar licensing exam for lawyers and scoring either a 4 or a 5 on 13 out of 15 college-level advanced placement (AP) exams for high school students.

To show off its multimodal abilities—which have yet to be offered more widely as the company evaluates them for misuse—OpenAI president Greg Brockman sketched a schematic of a website on a pad of paper during a developer demo. He took a photo and asked GPT-4 to create a webpage from the image. In seconds, the algorithm generated and implemented code for a working website. In another example, described by The New York Times, the algorithm suggested meals based on an image of food in a refrigerator.

The company also outlined its work to reduce risk inherent in models like GPT-4. Notably, the raw algorithm was complete last August. OpenAI spent eight months working to improve the model and rein in its excesses.

Much of this work was accomplished by teams of experts poking and prodding the algorithm and giving feedback, which was then used to refine the model with reinforcement learning. The version launched this week is an improvement on the raw version from last August, but OpenAI admits it still exhibits known weaknesses of large language models, including algorithmic bias and an unreliable grasp of the facts.

By this account, GPT-4 is a big improvement technically and makes progress mitigating, but not solving, familiar risks. In contrast to prior releases, however, we'll largely have to take OpenAI's word for it. Citing an increasingly "competitive landscape and the safety implications of large-scale models like GPT-4," the company opted to withhold specifics about how GPT-4 was made, including model size and architecture, computing resources used in training, what was included in its training dataset, and how it was trained.

Ilya Sutskever, chief technology officer and cofounder at OpenAI, told The Verge "it took pretty much all of OpenAI working together for a very long time to produce this thing" and lots of other companies "would like to do the same thing." He went on to suggest that as the models grow more powerful, the potential for abuse and harm makes open-sourcing them a dangerous proposition. But this is hotly debated among experts in the field, and some pointed out the decision to withhold so much runs counter to OpenAI's stated values when it was founded as a nonprofit. (OpenAI reorganized as a capped-profit company in 2019.)

The algorithm's full capabilities and drawbacks may not become apparent until access widens further and more people test (and stress) it out. Before reining it in, Microsoft's Bing chatbot caused an uproar as users pushed it into bizarre, unsettling exchanges.

Overall, the technology is quite impressive—like its predecessors—but also, despite the hype, more iterative than GPT-3. With the exception of its new image-analyzing skills, most abilities highlighted by OpenAI are improvements and refinements of older algorithms. Not even access to GPT-4 is novel. Microsoft revealed this week that it secretly used GPT-4 to power its Bing chatbot, which had recorded some 45 million chats as of March 8.

AI for the Masses

While GPT-4 may not to be the step change some predicted, the scale of its deployment almost certainly will be.

GPT-3 was a stunning research algorithm that wowed tech geeks and made headlines; GPT-4 is a far more polished algorithm that's about to be rolled out to millions of people in familiar settings like search bars, Word docs, and LinkedIn profiles.

In addition to its Bing chatbot, Microsoft announced plans to offer services powered by GPT-4 in LinkedIn Premium and Office 365. These will be limited rollouts at first, but as each iteration is refined in response to feedback, Microsoft could offer them to the hundreds of millions of people using their products. (Earlier this year, the free version of ChatGPT hit 100 million users faster than any app in history.)

It's not only Microsoft layering generative AI into widely used software.

Google said this week it plans to weave generative algorithms into its own productivity software—like Gmail and Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets—and will offer developers API access to PaLM, a GPT-4 competitor, so they can build their own apps on top of it. Other models are coming too. Facebook recently gave researchers access to its open-source LLaMa model—it was later leaked online—while a Google-backed startup, Anthropic, and China's tech giant Baidu rolled out their own chatbots, Claude and Ernie, this week.

As models like GPT-4 make their way into products, they can be updated behind the scenes at will. OpenAI and Microsoft continually tweaked ChatGPT and Bing as feedback rolled in. ChatGPT Plus users (a $20/month subscription) were granted access to GPT-4 at launch.

It's easy to imagine GPT-5 and other future models slotting into the ecosystem being built now as simply, and invisibly, as a smartphone operating system that upgrades overnight.

Then What?

If there's anything we've learned in recent years, it's that scale reveals all.

It's hard to predict how new tech will succeed or fail until it makes contact with a broad slice of society. The next months may bring more examples of algorithms revealing new abilities and breaking or being broken, as their makers scramble to keep pace.

"Safety is not a binary thing; it is a process," Sutskever told MIT Technology Review. "Things get complicated any time you reach a level of new capabilities. A lot of these capabilities are now quite well understood, but I'm sure that some will still be surprising."

Longer term, when the novelty wears off, bigger questions may loom.

The industry is throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. But it's not clear generative AI is useful—or appropriate—in every instance. Chatbots in search, for example, may not outperform older approaches until they've proven to be far more reliable than they are today. And the cost of running generative AI, particularly at scale, is daunting. Can companies keep expenses under control, and will users find products compelling enough to vindicate the cost?

Also, the fact that GPT-4 makes progress on but hasn't solved the best-known weaknesses of these models should give us pause. Some prominent AI experts believe these shortcomings are inherent to the current deep learning approach and won't be solved without fundamental breakthroughs.

Factual missteps and biased or toxic responses in a fraction of interactions are less impactful when numbers are small. But on a scale of hundreds of millions or more, even less than a percent equates to a big number.

"LLMs are best used when the errors and hallucinations are not high impact," Matthew Lodge, the CEO of Diffblue, recently told IEEE SpectrumIndeed, companies are appending disclaimers warning users not to rely on them too much—like keeping your hands on the steering wheel of that Tesla.

It's clear the industry is eager to keep the experiment going though. And so, hands on the wheel (one hopes), millions of people may soon begin churning out presentation slides, emails, and websites in a jiffy, as the new crop of AI sidekicks arrives in force.

Image Credit: Luke Jones / Unsplash

A Cognitive Revolution in Animal Research

This article was originally published in Knowable Magazine.

Several years ago, Christian Rutz started to wonder whether he was giving his crows enough credit. Rutz, a biologist at the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, and his team were capturing wild New Caledonian crows and challenging them with puzzles made from natural materials before releasing them again. In one test, birds faced a log with drilled holes that contained hidden food; they could get the food out by bending a plant stem into a hook. If a bird didn't try within 90 minutes, the researchers removed it from the data set.

But, Rutz says, he soon began to realize that he was not, in fact, studying the skills of New Caledonian crows. He was studying the skills of a subset of New Caledonian crows that quickly approached a weird log they'd never seen before—maybe because they were especially brave or reckless.

The team changed their protocol: They gave the more hesitant birds an extra day or two to get used to their surroundings, then tried the puzzle again. "It turns out that many of these retested birds suddenly start engaging," Rutz says. "They just needed a little bit of extra time."

More and more scientists are realizing that animals, like people, are individuals: They have distinct tendencies, habits, and life experiences that may affect how they perform in an experiment. That means, some researchers argue, that much published research on animal behavior may be biased. Studies claiming to show something about a species as a whole—the distance that green sea turtles migrate, for example, or how chaffinches respond to the song of a rival—may say more about individual animals that were captured or housed in a certain way, or that share certain genetic features. That's a problem for researchers who seek to understand how animals sense their environments, gain new knowledge, and live their lives.

"The samples we draw are quite often severely biased," Rutz says. "This is something that has been in the air in the community for quite a long time."

In 2020, Rutz and his colleague Michael Webster, also at the University of St. Andrews, proposed a way to address this problem. They called it STRANGE.

Why "STRANGE"? In 2010, an article in Behavioral and Brain Sciences suggested that the people studied in much of published psychology literature are WEIRD—drawn from Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic societies—and are "among the least representative populations one could find for generalizing about humans." Researchers might draw sweeping conclusions about the human mind when, really, they've studied only the minds of, say, undergraduates at the University of Minnesota.

A decade later, Rutz and Webster, drawing inspiration from WEIRD, published a commentary in the journal Nature called "How STRANGE Are Your Study Animals?"

[Read: Is 'instinct' really keeping Flaco the owl alive?]

They proposed that their fellow behavior researchers consider several factors about their study animals: social background, trappability and self-selection, rearing history, acclimation and habituation, natural changes in responsiveness, genetic makeup, and experience.

"I first began thinking about these kinds of biases when we were using mesh minnow traps to collect fish for experiments," Webster says. He suspected—and then confirmed in the lab—that more active sticklebacks were more likely to swim into these traps. "We now try to use nets instead," Webster says, to catch a wider variety of fish.

That's trappability. Other factors that might make an animal more trappable than its peers, besides its activity level, include a bold temperament, lack of experience, or simply being hungrier for bait.

Other research has shown that adult female pheasants housed in groups of five performed better on a learning task (figuring out which hole contained food) than those housed in groups of three—that's social background. Jumping spiders raised in captivity were less interested than wild spiders in videos of prey (rearing history), and honeybees learned best in the morning (natural changes in responsiveness). And so on.

It might be impossible to remove every bias from a group of study animals, Rutz says. But he and Webster want to encourage other scientists to think through STRANGE factors with every experiment, and to be transparent about how those factors might have affected their results.

"We used to assume that we could do an experiment the way we do chemistry—by controlling a variable and not changing anything else," says Holly Root-Gutteridge, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Lincoln, in the United Kingdom, who studies dog behavior. But research has uncovered individual patterns of behavior—scientists sometimes call it "personality"—in all kinds of animals, including monkeys and hermit crabs.

"Just because we haven't previously given animals the credit for their individuality or distinctiveness doesn't mean that they don't have it," Root-Gutteridge says.

This failure of human imagination or empathy mars some classic experiments, Root-Gutteridge and co-authors noted in a 2022 paper focused on animal-welfare issues. For example, experiments by the psychologist Harry Harlow in the 1950s involved baby rhesus macaques and fake mothers made from cloth or wire. They allegedly gave insight into how human infants form attachments. But given that these monkeys were torn from their mothers and kept unnaturally isolated, the authors ask whether the results are really generalizable. Or do Harlow's findings apply only to his uniquely traumatized animals?

"All this individual-based behavior, I think this is very much a trend in behavioral sciences," says Wolfgang Goymann, a behavioral ecologist at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Intelligence and the editor in chief of Ethology. The journal officially adopted the STRANGE framework in early 2021, after Rutz, who is one of the journal's editors, suggested it to the board.

Goymann didn't want to create new hoops for already overloaded scientists to jump through. Instead, he says, the journal simply encourages authors to include a few sentences in their methods and discussion sections addressing how STRANGE factors might bias their results (or how they've accounted for those factors).

"We want people to think about how representative their study actually is," Goymann says.

Several other journals have recently adopted or recommended using the STRANGE framework, and since their 2020 paper, Rutz and Webster have run workshops, discussion groups, and symposia at conferences. "It's grown into something that is bigger than we can run in our spare time," Rutz says. "We are excited about it, really excited, but we had no idea it would take off in the way it did."

His hope is that widespread adoption of STRANGE will lead to findings in animal behavior that are more reliable. The problem of studies that can't be replicated has lately received much attention in certain other sciences—human psychology in particular.

[Read: Junk food is bad for you. Is it bad for raccoons?]

The psychologist Brian Nosek, the executive director of the Center for Open Science, in Charlottesville, Virginia, and a co-author of the 2022 paper "Replicability, Robustness, and Reproducibility in Psychological Science" in the Annual Review of Psychology, says that animal researchers face similar challenges as those who focus on human behavior. "If my goal is to estimate human interest in surfing, and I conduct my survey on a California beach, I am not likely to get an estimate that generalizes to humanity," Nosek says. "When you conduct a replication of my survey in Iowa, you may not replicate my finding."

The ideal approach, Nosek says, would be to gather a study sample that's truly representative—but that can be difficult and expensive. "The next-best alternative is to measure and be explicit about how the sampling strategy may be biased," he says.

That's just what Rutz hopes STRANGE will achieve. If researchers are more transparent and thoughtful about the individual characteristics of the animals they're studying, he says, others might be better able to replicate their work—and be sure that the lessons they're taking away from their study animals are meaningful, not quirks of experimental setups. "That's the ultimate goal," Rutz says.

In his own crow experiments, he doesn't know whether giving shyer birds extra time changed his overarching results. But it did give him a larger sample size, which can mean more statistically robust results. And, he says, if studies are better designed, it could mean that fewer animals need to be caught in the wild or tested in the lab in order to reach firm conclusions. Overall, he hopes that STRANGE will be a win for animal welfare.

In other words, what's good for science could also be good for the animals—seeing them "not as robots," Goymann says, "but as individual beings that also have a value in themselves."

Why you should make the most of the extra daylight when the clocks change

Daylight helps to regulate hormones and the immune system. It's good for sleep and can help with depression. So be glad of the extra daylight when the clocks go forward

If we took away the walls, the ceilings, the street lights, the screens and allowed our senses to guide us, we might rise with the sun and sleep when it sets. Artificial lighting and blackout blinds allow us to choose our waking hours – but is it good for us to stay up late under the glow of electric bulbs then sleep in late? On Sunday 26 March the clocks spring forward as we switch to British summer time. Here's why we should make the most of the extra daylight.

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Summer 2023's Hot Tick-Borne Flu Disease to Fear: Babesiosis
Babesiosis ticks

Just when you thought we didn't have enough deadly diseases or fungi to worry about, another one rears its head: 


, a severe and sometimes fatal disease carried by ticks, everyone's least-favorite discreet arachnid enemies.

Once considered extremely rare, the CDC now reports that there's been a drastic (ahem) uptick of the disease in the Northeastern United States.

Caused by parasites, babesiosis infects red blood cells and inflicts flu-like symptoms in some patients, including fever, muscle, head, and joint aches, nauseau, and fatigue. It's particularly dangerous to the immunocompromised, while some people don't exhibit symptoms at all. But don't let that undermine the risk it poses to your health.

To wit: It's typically spread by deer ticks, who slurp up the infected blood of rodents containing the parasites. According to the CDC's research, tick-borne diseases in general have increased by 25 percent, from 40,795 cases in 2011 to 50,856 in 2019. For babesiosis, 16,456 cases were reported.

To give an idea of how drastically the latter's tally shot up, the total number of cases in 2011, which was a little over 1,100, has doubled to nearly 2,400 in 2019.

During that period, babesiosis spread from the previous seven states it was originally endemic in, to a total tally of ten: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Among them, New York had the most total cases at 4,738.

While the numbers have stayed steady for most of the Midwestern states, the northeastern ones have almost universally shot up. Maine, for example, only had 9 cases in 2011, but in 2019, it reported 138.

What's driving the spread is likely warmer temperatures due to climate change that makes the colder climates of the northeast more habitable for ticks.

In addition, deers have been growing in number too, which spread ticks and are a favorite for them to feed on.

The surge of the disease could have another unexpected consequence, according to the CDC: hiccups in the blood supply. Because babesiosis can be transmitted through blood transfusions, the health agency is now recommending screening for the disease in fourteen states.

More on things that can kill you: We're Totally OK With This 48,500 Year Old "Zombie" Virus Being Resurrected

The post Summer 2023's Hot Tick-Borne Flu Disease to Fear: Babesiosis appeared first on Futurism.

Mind-Blowing Video Editing App Can Replace Actors With CGI With a Simple Drag and Drop
The AI-powered Wonder Studio allows users to automatically replace real actors with convincing CGI characters — with a simple drag and drop.

Control C, Control V

An AI startup called Wonder Dynamics just came out with a new AI-powered editing studio called Wonder Studio, which they claim allows users to automatically replace real actors with convincing CG characters — with a simple drag and drop.

Gotta say: it looks pretty impressive.

"We built something that automates this whole process, animates it live, frame by frame, there's no need for mocap. It automatically detects actors based on a single camera," Wonder Dynamics cofounder Nikola Todorovic told TechCrunch last week. "It does camera motion, lighting, color, replaces the actor fully with CG."

Industry Madness

Of course, if your first thought, here, is: "hm, a tool like this might be absolutely terrible for the livelihoods of VX artists," you'd be forgiven. But Todorovic and the product's other creator, Tye Sheridan — yes, that Tye Sheridan, actor of "Ready Player One" fame — claim that the tool is designed to help artists, actually. (Never heard that one before.)

"This doesn't disrupt what they're doing, it automates 80 to 90 percent of the objective VFX work and leaves them with the subjective work," Todorovic told TechCrunch. "The beauty of AI is taking something so complicated and simplifying it."

"The goal all along was to make a tool for artists, to empower them," Sheridan added. "Someone who has big dreams doesn't always have the resources to manifest them."

Certainly, a rosy outlook on tech that, no matter how you shake it, is definitely replacing a human task.

But to their credit, the VFX industry, as TechCrunch notes, is notably overwhelmed — too many studios, making too many Marvel movies and/or Marvel knockoffs, fixing everything in post as they go. As GQ reported back in January, the majority of the film industry's VFX studios are booked out for years, and a tool like this could be a legitimately helpful means of bypassing the embattled industry's ongoing clusterfuckery.

According to TechCrunch, Wonder Studio comes with a set of premade characters, but the studio maintains that the preexisting characters are really just there for inspiration, or early-phase work like storyboarding. And soon, they say, they're hoping to build out into CG environments.

"This is a big first step," Todorovic told TechCrunch, "but the big picture is we want to have a platform where any kid can sit and direct films by sitting at his computer and typing."

All in all, congrats to these cofounders, as their platform seems legitimately impressive. And honestly? We're kind of looking forward to a TikTok feed flooded with Wonder Studio animations.

READ MORE: Wonder Dynamics puts a full-service CG character studio in a web platform [TechCrunch]

The post Mind-Blowing Video Editing App Can Replace Actors With CGI With a Simple Drag and Drop appeared first on Futurism.

AI won't replace software developers. It will replace software.

Am I missing something? There is a lot of handwringing over AI replacing coders. Given the current trajectory and multimodal I/O it will replace the need for discrete software applications entirely [edit: and the need for developers].

Everything can be baked into the AI 's interface:

  1. Image editor – AI please remove the peeing dog in the background of this photo of myself and my wife. AI please change the colour of the apple in this photo of fruit to green.
  2. Video Editor – AI please edit this raw footage into five minute clip for my youtube channel. Please follow the same editing style and title graphics as the previous videos on my channel or copy "Channel X's" style.
  3. Word Processor – Please review my linkedin page and create a formatted resume in PDF format.
  4. Email/Calendar/Assistant – Please check my email and respond to the latest message from Brian regarding the dinner party this weekend. RSVP my attendance and ask if I should bring dessert. Also ask him if there is still construction and where the best place is to park. Add it to my calendar and monitor the route prior to departure and warn me of traffic.
  5. Reddit – Please monitor my subscribed reddit subs and show posts you think I may be interested in. Ask me each time if the content was interesting and use that feedback to shape future recommendations.

The list could go on. Software is essentially an interface which allows us to conform to computer friendly communications. If AIs are conforming to human friendly communications we don't need software interfaces.

The Internet essentially becomes a repository of data, "services" become an API that facilitate the only software that now exists – the AI. The AI is the Web3.0 we've been waiting for and it will break the back of Web2.0 services in the same way that have been murdering traditional companies.

If Facebook/Twitter/Youtube/Instagram for example choose not to become a datastore with attached API they get supplanted by a new service that does. The idea of an Internet browser or an application becomes antiquated. I have an interface that is customised "for me" that shows content of interest "to me". There will be no room for anything else.

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Venus: Proof of active volcanoes—at last
Venus is almost the same size, mass and density as Earth. So it should be generating heat in its interior (by the decay of radioactive elements) at much the same rate as the Earth does. On Earth, one of the main ways in which this heat leaks out is via volcanic eruptions. During an average year, at least 50 volcanoes erupt.
Is this article about Health?

Effective treatment usually requires a holistic approach, yet those suffering often avoid seeking help

Many of us are familiar with the uncomfortable feeling of entering a cocktail party at which none of our friends are present. We sidle in awkwardly, imagine others might be wondering what we are doing there and find ourselves not sure where to stand or who to look at. We gaze intently at our prosecco and hope the floor will swallow us up. In most instances we can push through and engage with someone at the party, often ending up having a great time. However, our initial discomfort allows us a window into what it's like to live with social anxiety disorder (Sad), a ubiquitous and crippling mental health condition.

In a study involving thousands of participants aged 16-29 across different socioeconomic strata and from seven different countries, including Brazil, Russia, the United States and China, it was found that a staggering 36% met the threshold for Sad. While akin to shyness, Sad involves anxiety that is way more intense. It leads to the avoidance of social situations including work, family gatherings and even events the person believes they would enjoy if they did not feel so anxious. Research indicates Sad particularly afflicts young people. Explanations for this include neurocognitive changes in this age group as well as a developmental shift towards a focus on peer evaluation. One hypothesis for the apparent rise of Sad in the 21st century is the proliferation of social media and digital alternatives to face-to-face contact.

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Bagsiden: Fra det gamle postkontor
PLUS. Hvad er denne beholder mon til, spurgte vi Bagsidens læsere. Det skulle vise sig, at den har stået på mange postkontorer og jernbanestationer.

Science writer Marcus Chown breaks down the mysteries of the universe into manageable chunks

Traits which enable organisms to compete successfully for scarce food resources and so survive to reproduce become more common with each successive generation

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The Allure of Messy Reddit Stories
Is this article about Lifestyle?

This is an edition of The Atlantic Daily, a newsletter that guides you through the biggest stories of the day, helps you discover new ideas, and recommends the best in culture. Sign up for it here.

Good morning, and welcome back to The Daily's Sunday culture edition, in which one Atlantic writer reveals what's keeping them entertained.

Today's special guest is the staff writer Jerusalem Demsas, whose work examines inefficiencies and oversights in policy, housing, and infrastructure. She recently wrote about how environmental laws are being used by birders, an anti-immigration group, and an oil and gas company, not to protect the environment but to defend the status quo, and reported on what she called the "obvious" answer to homelessness for the January/February issue of the magazine. She's also a winner of the American Society of Magazine Editors' ASME NEXT Award for Journalists Under 30.

These days, Jerusalem spends her leisure time falling down 


 rabbit holes, reading the poetry of W. H. Auden, and rocking out to Vampire Weekend. You'll find her culture and entertainment recommendations below.

But first, here are three Sunday reads from The Atlantic:

The Culture Survey: Jerusalem Demsas

The television show I'm most enjoying right now: Abbott Elementary. I'm someone who can usually only watch TV while doing at least one or two other things at the same time, and this show grabs my full attention. Unbelievably funny. [Related: Abbott Elementary, Minx, and the end of the girlboss myth]

An actor I would watch in anything: Amy Adams. I fell in love with her while watching Arrival, and every time she comes on-screen, anyone near me gets a five- to 10-minute monologue about how the Academy is biased against science fiction. [Related: Is Arrival the best "first contact" film ever made?]

Best novel I've recently read, and the best work of nonfiction: Children of Time, by Adrian Tchaikovsky, is a fantastic science-fiction novel that I recently read. The best thing about science fiction is when someone is able to construct a world that is both familiar—or at least logically consistent with how we see the world—and adds a new depth or dimension to our understanding of it. Tchaikovsky does that brilliantly.

For a nonfiction work, I'd choose Strangers to Ourselves, by Rachel Aviv. Aviv is probably the best example of a nonfiction writer who has a clear perspective and shows it through the stories she tells. Many nonfiction writers fall too far in one direction: Either it's sort of unclear what they're getting at and we're bogged down in characters or narrative that don't advance our understanding, or there's too much preaching and in-your-face explanations that leave us wanting a more human dimension. [Related: The diagnosis trap]

An author I will read anything by: Ted Chiang. Kazuo Ishiguro. Jeffrey Eugenides. Melissa Caruso. Gabrielle Zevin. (Okay, sorry, that's five, but my editors are letting me keep them all in!)

A quiet song that I love, and a loud song that I love: Hozier recently released some new songs that prompted me to go back to one of my favorites off his first EP: "Cherry Wine." It's probably my favorite of his. And my go-to karaoke song is "Gloria," by Laura Branigan, so I have to pick that for my loud song!

A musical artist who means a lot to me: Vampire Weekend is a band that I've listened to through many formative moments of my life. Their self-titled album was released as I was finishing middle school, Modern Vampires of the City was released as I was graduating high school, and Father of the Bride was what I listened to as I was struggling to make a career change. Some of my favorites are "Big Blue"; "Jerusalem, New York, Berlin"; "Ya Hey"; "Don't Lie"; and "Walcott."

The last museum or gallery show that I loved: I went to Berlin for the first time last year and visited the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial, where a man who had been imprisoned by the Stasi—the state security service of East Germany—as a youth gave us a tour of the former prison. He explained that in 1968, when the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia following the Prague Spring, he and his friends papered his community with the following message:

"Citizens – Comrades. Alien tanks in Czechoslovakia only serve the class enemy. Think about the reputation of Socialism in the world. Demand truthful information. Nobody is too stupid to think for himself."

As a result of this political activity, he was arrested and held in the prison. He walked us through it, weaving his own story with what history has uncovered about the experiences of other prisoners, as we stepped carefully through narrow hallways and cold cells, and peered into a replica of the transport van that brought him to the prison. He recounted a winding journey that took several times longer than a direct route would have, in order to confuse the detainees as to where they actually were (sometimes just minutes from home). Our guide also described the experience of living as neighbors with some of the very people responsible for his unjust incarceration and mistreatment: Many of the implicated officials were never fully held accountable, and some may have continued to live in East Berlin.

Despite what he had been through, the guide ended the tour by saying, "It has not been such a hard life. It has been a good life." He exhorted us to see democracy as a constant project, lest we end up with any of its alternatives. [Related: The lingering trauma of Stasi surveillance]

A favorite story I've read in The AtlanticI doubt there's a more important story written in recent memory than Caitlin Dickerson's "An American Catastrophe." I spend a lot of time writing about how to reduce roadblocks to government progress. It's easy to make the case for efficiency in our government when what we're talking about is building housing, clean-energy infrastructure, and mass transit, or other policies I agree with. It's more challenging (but probably even more important) to contend with what to do when democracies vote for people willing to pursue extreme and horrific policy agendas. A big part of that is accountability through the press, which is what makes Caitlin's piece so great. [Related: "We need to take away children."]

My favorite way of wasting time on my phone: As an avid r/AmITheAsshole reader, I discovered r/BestofRedditorUpdates last year and refuse to disclose how much time I've spent on that subreddit chasing down threads and updates to stories people tell (or make up) on Reddit. The best tales are the ones where there is significant ambiguity over what the right thing to do actually is. I find it endlessly fascinating to watch people debate morality in real time, and to force my friends to read the posts and tell me what they think. [Related: Inside r/Relationships, the unbearably human corner of Reddit]

A poem, or line of poetry, that I return to: "Musée des Beaux Arts," by W. H. Auden. The author is reacting in part to the painting Landscape With the Fall of Icarus, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, in which Icarus (from the Greek myth) is drowning. The only part of him you see is his legs flailing above the water right before he dies. The majority of the painting is made up of an indifferent world—ships sailing, workers continuing about their day. The sun shines brightly, and no one knows about the boy's death.

"Musée des Beaux Arts," by W. H. Auden

About suffering they were never wrong,
The old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position: how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

Read past editions of the Culture Survey with Kaitlyn TiffanyBhumi TharoorAmanda MullMegan GarberHelen LewisJane Yong KimClint SmithJohn HendricksonGal BeckermanKate Lindsay, Xochitl Gonzalez, Spencer Kornhaber, Jenisha Watts, David French, Shirley Li, David Sims, Lenika Cruz, Jordan Calhoun, Hannah Giorgis, and Sophie Gilbert.

The Week Ahead

1. Marie Antoinette, a new period drama about the teenage Marie Antoinette (premieres tonight at 10 EST on PBS)

2. Poverty, by America, a new book by the sociologist and Pulitzer Prize–winning author Matthew Desmond about the persistence of poverty in the U.S. (on sale Tuesday)

3. John Wick: Chapter 4, in which Keanu Reeves's stoic assassin faces his scariest foe yet: his own weariness (in theaters Friday)

illustration of bootstraps against an American flag motif
Illustration by Adam Maida

America's Most Insidious Myth

By Emi Nietfeld

When I was 17, I won $20,000 from the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. Named after the prolific 19th-century novelist whose rags-to-riches tales have come to represent the idea of "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps," the scholarship honors youth who have overcome adversity, which, for me, included my parents' mental illnesses, time in foster care, and stints of homelessness.

In April 2010, the Distinguished Americans flew me and the other 103 winners to Washington, D.C., for a mandatory convention. We stayed at a nice hotel and spent an entire day learning table manners. We met Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who I remember shook hands with the boys and hugged the girls. Before the event's big gala, we posed in rented finery, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the center of our group photo. The political commentator Lou Dobbs praised the awardees' perseverance in his opening speech. In the words of the Horatio Alger Association, we were "deserving scholars" who illustrated "the limitless possibilities available through the American free-enterprise system." We were proof that anyone could make it.

Read the full article.

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'Slam on the Brakes,'the motion category winner of the 2023 Sony World Photography Awards (Steven Zhou / 2023 Sony World Photography Awards)

Browse the top snapshots from the 2023 Sony World Photography Awards; our editor rounded up 22 winners and finalists from across the contest's 10 categories.

UN commission calls for closing the gender digital divide
The U.N
.'s premiere global body fighting for gender equality on Saturday called for wide-ranging efforts to close the gap between men and women in today's technology-driven world and urged zero tolerance for gender-based violence and harassment online.
The forgotten maths genius who laid the foundations for Isaac Newton

A new play explores the short life of Jeremiah Horrocks, whose astonishing discoveries 'changed the way we see the universe'

On a cloudy afternoon in England in 1639, 20-year-old Jeremiah Horrocks became the first person to accurately predict the transit of Venus and measure the distance from the Earth to the sun.

His work proved, for the first time, that Earth is not at the centre of the universe, but revolves around the sun, refuting contemporary religious beliefs and laying the foundations for Isaac Newton's groundbreaking work on gravity.

Continue reading…
Shroom boom: the hunt is on as California rains fuel a mushroom explosion

Unusual weather has created the ideal conditions for fungus, delighting foragers and researchers

On a sun-dappled trail in the woods of Calabasas, Jess Starwood narrows her eyes and gasps with glee. Scrambling up a leafy hillside, she points to a small hump in the ground, covered in leaf litter. "That's a shrump," she says – a mushroom hump, where a mushroom may be pushing up the ground as it emerges.

There were times when Starwood, an author, naturalist and foraging guide, would walk this trail and consider herself lucky to find even one mushroom. Today, on one of the hikes she regularly leads, we uncover nearly 50 mushrooms of 10 different species pushing up through the ground, growing out of damp logs, or springing from the dark earth.

Continue reading…
A trip to my mother's native Sweden helped me recapture my childhood
Is this article about Parenting?

It was a nostalgic journey to rediscover my family roots, but it was also great fun and reminded me how much I missed this beautiful land

When I saw the sign saying "Sweden", I cheered. I was alone in the car, but still I cheered. It was my brother's car, a white Nissan Note I had managed to dent at a petrol station within an hour of driving off Le Shuttle. Nine hundred miles on, the Nissan and I had survived the deluge that had made the windscreen wipers squeak, the thundering trucks on the Autobahn and the stern young policeman at the Danish border who had made me feel sure I had a car full of hash. I was alive, intact and two hours away from the red wooden cabin where I spent every summer holiday of my childhood.

As I cruised over the Swedish half of the Oresund Bridge, the car filled with the sound of Lisa Stansfield singing Someday (I'm Coming Back). I gasped and found my eyes pricking with tears. It took me a moment to realise I'd knocked a switch that flicked the sound from Swedish pop to the last CD my brother ever played in his car. It made me feel he was there in the car with me, and so were my parents and my sister, willing and cheering me along.

Continue reading…
2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #11
Feedly AI found 1 Regulatory Changes mention in this article
  • Biden administration approves controversial Willow oil project in Alaska, which has galvanized online activism by Ella Nilsen, CNN, Mar 13, 2023
A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Mar 12, 2023 thru Sat, Mar 18, 2023.

Story of the Week

Guest post: What 13,500 citations reveal about the IPCC's climate science report


IPCC WG1 AR6 SPM Report Cover – Changing by Alisa Singer. Credit: Alisa Singer / IPCC.

In August 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published their long-anticipated report on the "physical science basis" for climate change. 

The report concluded that climate change is "unequivocally" caused by humans and already affecting every region on our planet. These findings were reported around the world, drawing international attention.

The mammoth 2,500-page document brings together an enormous volume of peer-reviewed literature to provide the most up-to-date summary of climate science yet published. Every statement in the report is backed up by authoritative sources.

Altogether, the report boasts a staggering 13,500 citations.

Our analysis explores which citations were included in the report and reveals a surprisingly broad and diverse range of topics.

However, it also shows that citations in the report are heavily dominated by the global north and commonly sit behind a paywall.

We found that 99.95% of the cited references were written in English and three-quarters of all literature cited in the report featured at least one author based in either the US or the UK.

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on the Carbon Brief website.

Guest post: What 13,500 citations reveal about the IPCC's climate science report by Dr Sarah Connors & Félix Chavelli, Carbon Brief, Mar 16, 2023


Links posted on Facebook

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I asked ChatGPT-4 how it could simulate creativity
Is this article about Natural Language Processing?

You're correct that an AI can incorporate randomization into its algorithms to generate creative outputs. However, true creativity involves more than just randomization. A genuinely creative AI should be able to understand context, evaluate its own ideas, and come up with novel solutions that are both useful and relevant to a given problem or situation.

Here's how an AI model could potentially "simulate" creativity:

  1. Randomization: Introducing randomness in the generation process can help produce a diverse range of ideas, which can be useful for exploring new concepts and possibilities. For example, AI models like GPT-4 can generate text by sampling from a probability distribution of words, allowing them to produce a wide array of outputs.
  2. Context understanding: A creative AI should be able to understand and process context to generate relevant and coherent ideas. This may involve using natural language processing, computer vision, or other techniques to parse and interpret input data.
  3. Evaluation and refinement: Once the AI generates potential ideas or solutions, it should be able to evaluate and rank them based on their relevance, novelty, and usefulness. This evaluation process may require training on additional data, incorporating human feedback, or using reinforcement learning to optimize the AI's outputs over time.
  4. Adaptive learning: To improve its creative capabilities, an AI system should be able to learn from its successes and failures. By incorporating feedback loops, the AI can refine its internal models and improve its ability to generate creative outputs that are both novel and useful.

While AI systems can "simulate" creativity to some extent, there's still much work to be done before they can fully replicate the depth and nuance of human creativity. Researchers continue to develop new techniques and algorithms to advance AI's creative capabilities and make them more versatile, adaptable, and context-aware.

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Actually good AI music with instruments and vocals?
Is this article about Entertainment?

So there has been quite a lot of AI generated music lately, but nothing really "surprised" me at this point. However, as a fan of rock / metal music this one got my absolute attention:

However, I'm not quite sure where this will lead in the long run in terms of real bands and what it might do to some musicians (mentally). Mixed feelings. It's "scary good".

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Greetings, I am a master's student at the University of Galway conducting my dissertation. I am recruiting participants for an online experiment that aims to examine language and emotion processing when listening to multiple speakers in individuals with and without ASD. This online study would involve completing two questionnaires and two tasks on your own PC or laptop with headphones, and only takes about 15 minutes. If you are interested in taking part, please click the link below. Thank you.

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Oh, Great, Elon Musk Has Entered the Trans Kids "Debate" Chat
Is this article about Parenting?

Elon Musk just offered a take nobody asked for, on the bad-faith "debate" regarding transgender children and access to medical care — though of course, it's not the first time the Twitter owner has waded into trans reactionary rhetoric.

Responding, for some reason, to a video of Minnesota's lieutenant governor coming out in favor of trans kids' access to affirmative healthcare, Musk — who, lest we forget, has an estranged trans child of his own — echoed the invective spewed by transphobic fanaticists and the New York Times alike.

"When our children tell us who they are, it is our job as grown-ups to listen and to believe them," MN's Lt. Governor, Peggy Flanagan, said in the clip. "That's what it means to be a good parent."

"Not when they're fed propaganda by adults," Musk said in response nearly a week after the initial post. "Moreover, every child goes through an identity crisis before their personality/identity crystallizes. Therefore, we shouldn't allow severe, irreversible surgery or sterilizing drugs that they may regret until at least age 18."

We shouldn't have to break down why the Tesla CEO's mealy-mouthed take is flatly wrong, but in the interest of public service journalism, we'll note that every aspect of his response, from thefact that he's been sock-puppeted propagandato the patent misinformation regarding children getting surgery or being given "sterilizing" drugs, is, as we mentioned before, lacking. To say the least.

Again: Musk himself is father to a trans kid— his daughter, who last summer, along with changing her name and her gender marker, said she "no longer live[s] with or wish[es] to be related to my biological father in any shape or form."

While we can't know his daughter's precise reasons for wishing to distance herself in such a bold manner, it's not unreasonable to imagine this all might hold a clue. That's to say nothing of what else Musk has opined on trans people — one example of which happened when a trans woman just so happened to be embroiled in drama with him.

Indeed, almost exactly a year ago and just a few days after news leaked that his ex/baby mama Claire "Grimes" Boucher was dating government leaker and trans girl DJ extraordinaire Chelsea Manning, Musk posted a "Wojack" meme meant to mock fair-weather activists for "support[ing] the current thing," and one of those "things" included, per a flag shown in the background of the image macro, a transgender pride flag.

Two years prior, Grimes publicly called Musk out on Twitter while the pair were still dating after he tweeted, apropos to nothing, that he thinks "pronouns suck."

"I love you but please turn off ur phone or give me a dall [sic]," the electronic artist responded to her then-boyfriend in a since-deleted tweet. "I cannot support hate. Please stop this. I know this isn't your heart."

Given what he's said and done since that 2020 exchange, it appears clear that Grimes was wrong about Musk's "heart" — and that the owner of Twitter has, it seems, come out in support of restricting the rights of children (and, likely, adults).

Whether or not his politics inform the way speech about this issue continues on one of the largest social media platforms in the world is, at this point, anyone's guess.

More on Elon's bigotry: Elon Musk Finally Relents and Apologizes for Mocking Disabled Twitter Ex-Employee

The post Oh, Great, Elon Musk Has Entered the Trans Kids "Debate" Chat appeared first on Futurism.

Two new species of yeast named after Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips

Discoveries that could help diabetics titled in honour of activist and journalist murdered in Amazon

Scientists in Brazil have found two new species of fermenting yeasts and named them after journalist Dom Phillips and activist Bruno Pereira, the two men murdered last year in the Amazon rainforest.

The discovery came from four isolates of the Spathaspora species, according to a paper published in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.

Continue reading…
Key role identified for nervous system in severe allergic shock
A key feature of the severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis is an abrupt drop in blood pressure and body temperature, causing people to faint and, if untreated, potentially die. That response has long been attributed to a sudden dilation and leakage of blood vessels. But in a study using mice, researchers have found that this response, especially body temperature drop, requires an additional mechanism — the nervous system.
Is this article about Economy?

People are touting AI as a tech that will finally fulfil that long desired dream of freeing people from the drudgery of work. In the past, we were supposedly guaranteed a future where most jobs only required 15 hours a week of work. They wondered what everyone would do with all of their free time. Everything from vacuum cleaners, robotic vacuum cleaners, washing machines, cars, computers, internet, smart phones, etc was supposed to save time.

What actually happened was we found more work. Email meant people worked for longer and work crept into their personal life. Instead of a short conversation in the office, long and tedious email chains become commonplace. The gains that tech like computers made simply meant fewer workers were hired and the remaining "lucky ones" were made to work the same or even longer hours. Greater productivity simply led to more work. Electrical home appliances meant wives were expected to work full time jobs on top of doing household chores. Instead of cars reducing journey times, commute times expanded to cover longer distances.

AI is likely to follow the same route. It will lead to higher productivity, which inevitably means far greater wealth for those at the very top. But, the rest of us are unlikely to see significant material gains as more will be expected of us.

The only real hope lies in making social, political, and economics changes that will mean at least some of the advantages conferred by AI will benefit the rest of society.

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What Made Taylor Swift's Concert Unbelievable
Is this article about Entertainment?

Breaking: Taylor Swift is not simply a voice in our ears or an abstract concept to argue over at parties, but a flesh-and-blood being with a taste for sparkling pajamas and the stamina of a ram. All concerts are conjurings, turning the audience's idea of a performer into a real thing, but last night's kickoff of Taylor Swift's Eras tour in Glendale, Arizona, heightened the amazement with Houdini-escapes-handcuffs physicality. After years of having their inner lives shaped by Swift's highly mediated virtual output, 63,000 individuals can now attest to the vibrancy of Taylor Swift the person. Somehow, seeing her up close made her seem more superhuman.

Every aspect of the night felt shaped by the Ticketmaster-breaking reality that she has not shared air with masses of mortals since touring in 2018, and that she released six albums in the interim (four original, two rerecorded). The emotional brew was excess and gratitude, cut with nostalgia for time lost, and made chaotic by physical circumstances. The structure was unwieldy yet urgent: 44 (yes, 44) songs over more than three hours. Swift created the vibe of an ecstatic cram session, like an epic outing with a far-flung bestie visiting for one night only. "So, uh, is it just me or do we have a lot of things to catch up on?" Swift asked early on, sitting behind a piano whose mossy encrusting gave it the look of long-submerged treasure and helped underscore her point.

Going into the night, fans speculated about how Swift would bring her perfectionism to bear on the tricky question of which songs to perform. Maybe she would swirl her albums together into a sleek playlist, reframing a now-sprawling catalog around some thematic through line. But she instead decided to segment the night by album, leaving the big lessons of her trajectory to emerge from the juxtapositions already present in it. And really, any expectations of a focused fireside chat fell away at the beginning of the set, when the onstage clock struck midnight (though really it was only 8 p.m.).

No space on earth could've handled the hype released at that moment. Her opening pick was unexpected: a woozy, truncated "Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince," a somewhat deep cut from 2019's Lover (key refrain: "It's been a long time coming"). Then came the hugely awaited live debut of the fan favorite "Cruel Summer," a track emblematic of Lover's careening, happy-go-lucky maximalism. Overlapping waves of sound—fans wailing like emergency sirens, the thump and bump of Swift's live band and backing tracks—ricocheted around the Super Bowl venue into an awful din. Everyone was singing along but no one, at least where I was sitting, could hear Swift. She was facing a physics problem: How do you tell a story in a literal echo chamber?

The answer was for Swift to slow down and take control as she always has, with her words. With each break to address the audience, Swift's knack for focusing emotions and maneuvering them helped coalesce a mood. In those overwhelming first few minutes, her first statement was relatable: "I don't know how to process all of this." Soon she explained that the concept of the show was to "adventure" through her first 17 years of music, album by album—in unstated, and thereby suspenseful, order. Then came the night's first true gut punch, the ballads "Lover" and "The Archer." For the latter, Swift stood alone, listing her vulnerabilities to a pulsing beat, until pyrotechnic sparks fell in a curtain behind her. This was where we all wanted to be: feeling one-on-one intimacy but with spectacular three-dimensionality.

Taylor Swift kneeling in a lavender flowy robe holding a microphone
Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for TAS

The turning of one "era" to the next was like the turning of a pop-up-book page, revealing new colors, architecture, and story lines. Swift's art direction remains intuitive and unfussy, but the detail work is sharp, helping to re-enchant familiar imagery. For the segment devoted to the cozy Folklore, she lazed, catlike, on the slanted roof of a cabin whose frame glowed with what seemed to be starlight. The requisite giant snakes of Reputation, her 2017 armored tank of an album, hung amid stark, vertically imposing scaffolding. By contrast, the urban wonderland of 1989 was horizontal, with the stage becoming a fashion runway for Swift's lively dancers to stomp across in crisscrossing patterns. On a night this long, little visual surprises went far. At one point, she induced gasps by seeming to dive into the stage and then swim to the other side, as if it were a pond.

The ordering of the eras, and of the songs within eras, also kept the suspense high. Swift's beloved 2010 album, Speak Now, emerged for only the keening "Enchanted," sung by Swift in a ball gown amid a field of flowers. Her self-titled debut also appeared just once, in a humble, piano-bound performance of her first single, "Tim McGraw." By contrast, the 2020 album Evermore—seen by some as a glorified B-sides collection—got five tracks with lavish set changes. After spending the past few years letting her work speak for itself while the audience litigated its meaning and merits, she was finally asserting a point of view about her own catalog. Evermore, she said, is "an album I absolutely love, despite what some of you say on TikTok." She cast a hilariously suspicious gaze across the enormous room. "I see it—I see all of it."

Her facial expressions were often just as potent, making up for the sonic detail that the stadium's acoustics swallowed. With her older lyrics achieving the cultural familiarity of folktales, Swift was game for theatrical reinterpretation. Giving fans the "Delicate" performance they'd agitated for on social media, Swift went comedic, delivering "You can make me a drink" as an impatient command, not a come-on. For the 2010 Fearless section, she acted charmingly blasé as she strapped on her guitar, invited us "back to high school," and made half-hearted cheerleading gestures. These early songs were still great, but, she seemed to say with a wink, she'd grown a lot since writing them. The most stunning performances, however, were dead serious, conveying icy resentment in glistening eyes and a sternly set jaw, as on "Champagne Problems," "My Tears Ricochet," and the 10-minute version of "All Too Well."

Oh yeah, that's right—that giant set list made time for a 10-minute song. When she donned a glittering robe and began strumming that wounded ballad, it was the prestige of a magic show. The audience could at last wrap their heads around the fact that she was really going for it, not just with this song but with this whole marathon-revue concept she'd been dreaming up for years. Late in the night, she broke from the era-by-era format with an acoustic moment—one whose featured song, she said, would change every night of the tour. For this opening show, she picked Folklore's "Mirrorball," clarifying her mission statement: "I'm still trying everything / To keep you looking at me."

She succeeded in keeping us looking, though it must be said that by the time the culminating Midnights era rolled around, the crowd—at least those who'd survived—had moved from excitement to awestruck submission. Around me, seats where people had screamed at throat-scorching frequencies at the beginning of the night were now empty. Small children who'd been brought to the show were napping in the arms of their chaperones. I felt the sort of happy daze that often precedes deep sleep. The concert had been unbelievable, but so was the fact that this one human woman planned to do it again the next night, and for many after.

3D-printed revolving devices can sense how they are moving
Researchers created a system that enables makers to incorporate sensors directly into rotational mechanisms with only one pass in a 3D printer. This gives rotational mechanisms like gearboxes the ability to sense their angular position, rotation speed, and direction of rotation.
Can ChatGPT be counted on?
Chatbots and artificial intelligence are increasingly becoming more popular to answer questions about health. Researchers studied one of these resources, 
, to provide incredibly valuable and well-timed insights into the capabilities and limitations of artificial intelligence in the context of cancer-related information. Are people with cancer and their caregivers getting accurate answers?
'The fungal awakening': how we came to love (and fear) fungi
Feedly AI found 1 Regulatory Changes mention in this article
  • From July the controlled clinical use of psilocybe has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for the treatment of post-traumatic stress and depression – in a world-first .

After centuries of distrust and disdain, mushrooms are having their moment. From sci-fi smash hits to drug trials, an emerging league of mycophiles are bringing fungi out of the shadows

Some people are drawn to beautiful birds. Others are enamoured with orchids. There are those who are mesmerised by the kaleidoscopic swish and sway of tropical fish. But mention you're interested in fungi, and you're likely to be met with a raised eyebrow, a sideways glance, or perhaps even a choked-back guffaw. You may even watch faces warp from expressions of interest to ones of disgust. Fortunately, however, things are changing, and fungi are finally being looked at anew.

Fungi have endured a long history of neglect and disdain. In 1887 the British mycologist William Hay commented that he who studied fungi "must boldly face a good deal of scorn … and is actually regarded as a sort of idiot among the lower orders". A few years earlier the nature writer Margaret Plues observed how the stranger "blinded by conventionalities" sneered at those seeking fungi. Unlike birders who look upwards for their charismatic avian delights, fungus hunters glance downwards, for what the "father of modern taxonomy", Swedish biologist Carl Linnaeus, referred to as "thievish and voracious beggars".

Continue reading…
How TKI cancer drugs cause inflammatory side effects
Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) are employed to attack specific types of 
 cells. The downside to using TKs is that they can cause serious inflammation. A team of researchers has discovered the underlying mechanism that causes this inflammation.
Stalactites and stalagmites in the battery?
They are considered the 'Holy Grail' of battery research: so-called 'solid-state batteries'. They no longer have a liquid core, as is the case with today's batteries, but consist of a solid material. This leads to several advantages: Among other things, these batteries are more difficult to ignite and can also be manufactured on a miniature scale. Scientists have now turned their attention to the life cycle of such batteries and targeted processes that reduce it. With their findings, more durable solid-state batteries could be realized in the future.
Trump Did It Again

Let us begin with the obvious thing that just happened: This morning, Donald Trump threatened to summon a mob—for the second time in two years—to his defense. The former president of the United States and a leading candidate for the Republican nomination for the White House in 2024, facing a possible indictment in New York, claimed to know the exact day on which he would be arrested and then called on his supporters to "protest." Trump and his cult know what a call for "protest" means: The last time he rallied his faithful supporters this way, they stormed the U.S. Capitol, which resulted in death and destruction and many, many prison sentences.

Spokespeople from the former president's office have already walked back Trump's statement, noting that they have not been told of any specific date for an indictment or an arrest. Indeed, any attempt to book Trump is unlikely to happen as soon as Tuesday, for many reasons. But that's not the point. Trump's message today to the American people has already come through loud and clear: I am too dangerous to arrest.

Despite my political feelings about Donald Trump, I am agnostic on whether he should be indicted and arrested for possible financial violations involved in the payoff to the porn star Stormy Daniels. Personally, I have no doubt that he broke the law, and part of me is now growling that if you can get Al Capone for tax evasion instead of murder, file the tax case already. But as my colleague David Frum noted, juries tend to be forgiving of personal misdeeds by political leaders (shown, for example, by the 2011 acquittal of former Democratic Senator John Edwards), and the hush-money scandal is not the strongest possible case against Trump.

That said, Trump himself today upped the ante by saying, in effect, that it doesn't matter what's in the indictment. Instead, he is warning all of us, point-blank, that he will violate the law if he wants to, and if you don't like it, you can take it up with the mob that he can summon at will. This is pure authoritarianism, the flex of a would-be American caudillo who is betting that our fear of his goons is greater than our commitment to the rule of law. Once someone like Trump issues that kind of challenge, it doesn't matter if the indictment is for murder, campaign-finance violations, or mopery with intent to gawk: The issue is whether our legal institutions can be bullied into paralysis.

This is not to say that Trump should now be indicted out of spite, as some kind of test of wills in which prosecutors go after Trump just to prove that he cannot intimidate them. But if an indictment is in fact pending, our legal institutions and the people who serve in them should proceed with stoicism and determination. Trump, once again, is stress testing our institutions, and if he can scare off a state indictment by threatening a riot, he'll do it again. After all, he thinks he got away with it on January 6, 2021—and so far, he has.

Trump, for his part, seems to think that being the GOP presidential front-runner should matter, and both Trump's friends and enemies alike seem to think that an indictment would seal his nomination. That would certainly explain the silence from leading Republicans about Trump's implied threat to summon another mob.

Well, not exactly silence. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, whose entire career is bound up in a handful of extremist votes in his own caucus, has Trump's back. "Here we go again," he tweeted after Trump's call to action. "An outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance against President Trump." This is the same Kevin McCarthy who once, for a fraction of a second, held Trump responsible for nearly getting him killed. But the amalgam of ambition, fear, and opportunism that holds McCarthy's skeleton together is, apparently, a powerful epoxy.

I am not so sure that this panicked, all-caps call from Trump will be to his benefit. It's possible that Trump, finally, is approaching his Joe McCarthy moment, although many of his critics (including me) have seen such moments come and go. Nevertheless, one riot might be explained away. Two riots, with the promise of more to come, might be intolerable.

But if this is what the Republicans want, so be it. If an indictment secures Trump the nomination, it will likely also cost him the election.

Regardless, the administration of justice should not be dependent on polling. This, again, is part of Trump's innate autocratic instinct, his sense that justice can be thwarted by making his political opponents feel the cold pit of fear in their bellies. But make no mistake: Trump feels that same fear. He is reportedly "anxious" about being arrested, which is why he is willing, yet again, to bring a mob to his defense.

Perhaps Alvin Bragg's case isn't all that strong, and perhaps Trump will beat him in court. But that is for a judge and jury to decide, not a bunch of short-fused cultists toting bear spray and wearing blue Trump flags like superhero capes. Trump's entire political career has been an attack on the Constitution and the rule of law, and he is telling us yet again, in the clearest terms, that the law does not apply to him and never will.

What happens next with his case is up to the legal system, but whether this lawless and deranged authoritarian returns to Washington is up to all of us.

An elegant new orchid hiding in plain sight
It is extremely rare for a new plant species to be discovered in Japan, a nation where flora has been extensively studied and documented. Nevertheless, botanists recently uncovered a stunning new species of orchid whose rosy pink petals bear a striking resemblance to glasswork. Interestingly, it can be found in familiar environments such as lawns and parks, and even in private gardens and on balconies. This research suggests that other new species may be hiding in common places.
Better simulations of neutron scattering
Tripoli-4® is a tool used by researchers to simulate the behaviors of interacting neutrons in 3D space. Recently, researchers have developed eTLE: a next-event simulator which aims to increase Tripoli-4®'s precision using Monte Carlo simulations. New research implements and validates eTLE's reliability.
Attending live sport improves wellbeing: Study
New research has found that attending live sporting events as a spectator improves levels of wellbeing and reduces feelings of loneliness. This large-scale scientific study included data from 7,209 adults, aged 16-85.
'A wake-up call': total weight of wild mammals less than 10% of humanity's

From elephants to tigers, study reveals scale of damage to wildlife caused by transformation of wildernesses and human activity

The total weight of Earth's wild land mammals – from elephants to bisons and from deer to tigers – is now less than 10% of the combined tonnage of men, women and children living on the planet.

A study by scientists at Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science, published this month, concludes that wild land mammals alive today have a total mass of 22m tonnes. By comparison, humanity now weighs in at a total of around 390m tonnes.

Continue reading…

Scientific Reports, Published online: 18 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-30947-8

Tranexamic acid for the prevention of postpartum haemorrhage: the TAPPH-1 pilot randomized trial and lessons learned for trials in Canadian obstetrics
This New Delivery Drone Could Be Our Adorable, Awesome Future

Most delivery drones look like droids too dumb for Star Wars, or dystopian gnats people want to shoot from the sky — until now. Meet Zipline, the adorable, Jetson-esque delivery drone of your dreams, as debuted today in a series of Tweets on Twitter by its founder.

Watch this:



According to Zipline founder Ryan Oksenhorn, after "tens of millions of miles" delivering packages via the ol' oopsie daisy method of just parachuting stuff from a drone in the sky, they've cooked up a better way to deliver by drone — one that's cuter, and more importantly, has a hell of a lot less room for error.

The way it works: Zipline's "mamma drone" hovers silently a few hundred feet in the air, and dispatches downward a tethered baby delivery drone containing your package. The delivery drone, which contains its own thrusters to compensate for wind and downward inertia, "dynamically identifies" its landing target. Once it lands, it drops your package through a cargo bay in its belly, closes the bay, and zips right back up to the mamma drone — all, apparently, in ten seconds. Adorable! 



Oksenhorn, who called his system the best home delivery system "the planet has ever seen," explained that his drone had to past what they call the "neighbor test," as in, it should be so silent, your neighbors shouldn't be able to tell it's even making a delivery. He also claimed the drones — which, according to Zipline's website, can race to its destination at speeds up to 70 MPH — can deliver in all weather conditions, using the aforementioned thrusters and motion sensors.

As for loading the drones, they start on rail systems, guided to users dropping packages into them. Then, the drones then shoot out to their delivery sites — kind of like the pneumatic tubes you might at your local drive-through bank or pharmacy. The drones would operate on dock/charging systems businesses could theoretically order by the tens, or hundreds. Most impressively, Oksenhorn claims that Zipline drones use 34 times less carbon than gas-powered cars (and "nearly 9x" less electric cars).

It's difficult to verify those numbers without more data — for example, we don't know exactly how much power the chargers use, how much power the drones can store, and how long these drones would last on a single charge. That's all to say nothing of the economics of it. How much are they to purchase? Or operate, and perform maintenance on?

Whether or not these questions have sufficient answers (or if this thing even makes it past a series of Tweets) not withstanding, Oksenhorn's vision of delivery drones — quiet, accurate, efficient, environmentally sound, and definitely adorable — are part of an all-too-rare visage of a charming, functional, Jetsons-esque future filled with whimsical (if not truly useful) changes to the way we live our lives. 

The post This New Delivery Drone Could Be Our Adorable, Awesome Future appeared first on Futurism.

Why is it so hard to check your own technical drawings compared to checking someone else's?

The best I can come up with the same reason it's hard to proofread your own work. But I'm not convinced this is correct.

I asked a similar question on r/MechanicalEngineering –

No one had much more than opinions from an engineering perspective. I would love to get a psychological opinion and I'm still interested any tangible research on the matter.

submitted by /u/WallyLouis92
[link] [comments]
Rolls-Royce Will Be Building a Nuclear Reactor for the Moon
Feedly AI found 1 Regulatory Changes mention in this article
  • British luxury carmaker Rolls-Royce just got the go-ahead from the UK government to build a nuclear reactor for a future Moon base.

Puttin' on the Ritz

British luxury carmaker 


 just got the go-ahead from the UK government to build a nuclear reactor for a future Moon base.

In a press release announcing the decision, the UK Space Agency (UKSA) officially affirmed that Rolls-Royce has been selected as its manufacturer of choice to build a prototypical nuclear reactor for a potential lunar base.

Rolls' scientists and engineers are developing a research program for what they're calling a "Micro-Reactor" — which is, just like it sounds, a miniature "plug-and-play" reactor, as described by the US Department of Energy — that will ultimately provide power for a lunar base. Per the statement:

"The UK Space Agency has announced £2.9 million of new funding for the project" — the equivalent of roughly $3.5 million USD — "which will deliver an initial demonstration of a UK lunar modular nuclear reactor."

Sporting Life

As with other non-American governments, the British minister of state in the UK's Department of Science, Innovation and Technology came fairly close in the press release to admitting that this investment is in response to NASA's forthcoming Artemis lunar missions, the third of which "humans return to the Moon for the first time in more than 50 years."

Interestingly enough, this is the second time this week that Rolls was tapped by the British to build a nuclear reactor; the other came in the form of a trilateral agreement between the UK, the US and Australia.

As Naval News reported earlier in the week, the British carmaker's submarine division that apparently has supplied the country with many of its naval needs for more than half a century will be developing nuclear reactors for underwater vessels currently being developed by the international consortium.

All that said? It's pretty tony for the British to be using the makers of some of the world's classiest cars to potentially power a lunar base — because who said Moon living can't be done in style?

More on future lunar colonies: MIT Students Built a Terrifying Mix-and-Match Spider Robot to Build Lunar Colonies

The post Rolls-Royce Will Be Building a Nuclear Reactor for the Moon appeared first on Futurism.

This Week's Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through March 18)
Feedly AI found 1 Regulatory Changes mention in this article
  • AI-Generated Images From Text Can't Be Copyrighted, US Government Rules


You Can Now Run a GPT-3-Level AI Model on Your Laptop, Phone, and Raspberry Pi
Benj Edwards | Ars Technica
"On Friday, a software developer named Georgi Gerganov created a tool called "llama.cpp" that can run Meta's new GPT-3-class AI large language model, LLaMA, locally on a Mac laptop. Soon thereafter, people worked out how to run LLaMA on Windows as well. Then someone showed it running on a Pixel 6 phone, and next came a Raspberry Pi (albeit running very slowly). If this keeps up, we may be looking at a pocket-sized ChatGPT competitor before we know it."


A Gene Therapy Cure for Sickle Cell Is on the Horizon
Emily Mullin | Wired
"[Evie] Junior…is one of dozens of sickle cell patients in the US and Europe who have received gene therapies in clinical trials—some led by universities, others by biotech companies. Two such therapies, one from Bluebird Bio and the other from CRISPR Therapeutics and Vertex Pharmaceuticals, are the closest to coming to market. The companies are now seeking regulatory approval in the US and Europe. If successful, more patients could soon benefit from these therapies, although access and affordability could limit who gets them."


This Couple Just Got Married in the Taco Bell Metaverse
Tanya Basu | MIT Technology Review
"The chapel at the company's Taco Bell Cantina restaurant in Las Vegas has married 800 couples so far. There were copycat virtual weddings, too. 'T​​aco Bell saw fans of the brand interact in the metaverse and decided to meet them quite literally where they were,' a spokesperson said. That meant dancing hot sauce packets, a Taco Bell–themed dance floor, a turban for Mohnot, and the famous bell branding everywhere."


Inside the Global Race to Turn Water Into Fuel
Max Bearak | The New York Times
"A consortium of energy companies led by BP plans to cover an expanse of land eight times as large as New York City with as many as 1,743 wind turbines, each nearly as tall as the Empire State Building, along with 10 million or so solar panels and more than a thousand miles of access roads to connect them all. But none of the 26 gigawatts of energy the site expects to produce, equivalent to a third of what Australia's grid currently requires, will go toward public use. Instead, it will be used to manufacture a novel kind of industrial fuel: green hydrogen."


Has the 3D Printing Revolution Finally Arrived?
Tim Lewis | The Guardian
"i'What happened 10 years ago, when there was this massive hype, was there was so much nonsense being written: "You'll print anything with these machines! It'll take over the world!"' says Hague. 'But it's now becoming a really mature technology, it's not an emerging technology really any more. It's widely implemented by the likes of Rolls-Royce and General Electric, and we work with AstraZeneca, GSK, a whole bunch of different people. Printing things at home was never going to happen, but it's developed into a multibillion-dollar industry.'i"


AI-Imager Midjourney v5 Stuns With Photorealistic Images—and 5-Fingered Hands
Benj Edwards | Ars Technica
"Midjourney v5 is available now as an alpha test for customers who subscribe to the Midjourney service, which is available through Discord. 'MJ v5 currently feels to me like finally getting glasses after ignoring bad eyesight for a little bit too long,' said Julie Wieland, a graphic designer who often shares her Midjourney creations on Twitter. 'Suddenly you see everything in 4k, it feels weirdly overwhelming but also amazing.'i"


AI-Generated Images From Text Can't Be Copyrighted, US Government Rules
Kris Holt | Engadget
"That's according to the US Copyright Office (USCO), which has equated such prompts to a buyer giving directions to a commissioned artist. 'They identify what the prompter wishes to have depicted, but the machine determines how those instructions are implemented in its output,' the USCO wrote in new guidance it published to the Federal Register. 'When an AI technology receives solely a prompt from a human and produces complex written, visual, or musical works in response, the "traditional elements of authorship" are determined and executed by the technology—not the human user,' the office stated."


GPT-4 Has the Memory of a Goldfish
Jacob Stern | The Atlantic
"By this point, the many defects of AI-based language models have been analyzed to death—their incorrigible dishonesty, their capacity for bias and bigotry, their lack of common sense. …But large language models have another shortcoming that has so far gotten relatively little attention: their shoddy recall. These multibillion-dollar programs, which require several city blocks' worth of energy to run, may now be able to code websites, plan vacations, and draft company-wide emails in the style of William Faulkner. But they have the memory of a goldfish."


Microsoft Lays Off an Ethical AI Team as It Doubles Down on OpenAI
Rebecca Bellan | TechCrunch
"The move calls into question Microsoft's commitment to ensuring its product design and AI principles are closely intertwined at a time when the company is making its controversial AI tools available to the mainstream. Microsoft still maintains its Office of Responsible AI (ORA), which sets rules for responsible AI through governance and public policy work. But employees told Platformer that the ethics and society team was responsible for ensuring Microsoft's responsible AI principles are actually reflected in the design of products that ship."


It's Official: No More Crispr Babies—for Now
Grace Browne | Wired
"After several days of experts chewing on the scientific, ethical, and governance issues associated with human genome editing, the [Third International Summit on Human Genome Editing's] organizing committee put out its closing statement. Heritable human genome editing—editing embryos that are then implanted to establish a pregnancy, which can pass on their edited DNA—'remains unacceptable at this time,' the committee concluded. 'Public discussions and policy debates continue and are important for resolving whether this technology should be used.'i"

Image Credit: Kenan Alboshi / Unsplash

Qualcomm Is Poised to Dominate EVs Before Apple Gets a Chance
Feedly AI found 1 Partnerships mention in this article
  • Unearthing new customer experiences—and, of course, charging for them—is key to LG Electronics' new technical collaboration with Magna, a major global automotive parts supplier that also assembles cars for companies like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Jaguar, and Fisker.
Its digital chassis is an internet-connected platform for the whole car, and the tech giant has General Motors, Jeep, Mercedes, and many more on board.
Crashing Moons Might Be Annihilating Aliens Somewhere, Researchers Argue
Is this article about Tech?

Paradox: Solved

Here's a Fermi Paradox solution for you: killer moons are taking out extraterrestrials. We promise it's not as ridiculous as it sounds.

According to a new study published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Sciences, as spotted by LiveScience, exomoons, or moons that revolve around an exoplanet outside our solar system, could be crashing into their hosts and wiping out any chances for life on a shockingly regular basis.

Here's some background, using Earth as the closest-to-home analog: the Moon is slowly escaping Earth's orbit, quite literally inching away at a rate of roughly 1.5 inches per year. Eventually, the Moon will be completely "unbound" from our planet, in some unimaginably distant future billions of years from now when the Sun has already exploded.

This, we presume, is the same process that will be shared by exomoons. But by using simulations, the study found that depending on how close the exoplanet is to the system's star, the timeline could be drastically accelerated, making it possible for an unbound moon to come crashing back into its former host a mere billion years into the planet's formation.

Either way, fast timeline or slow, the study concluded that an unbound moon eventually colliding with its parent planet is the "overwhelmingly most likely long-term outcome."

SETI Setback

That's not good news for potential alien worlds (or ours, for that matter), which is ironic, since moons may be an essential factor in fostering a livable climate in the first place.

"Moons are often considered helpful,"  study author Brad Hansen, an astrophysicist at the University of California, told LiveScience, because they help stabilize a planet's axis, allowing for stabler climates and seasons better suited for life.

So any planet that life crops up on in the universe will have a built-in, ticking time bomb that "may sterilize an otherwise habitable planet," Hansen wrote, far sooner than when a host star can make short work of one.

"Not the best result in the search for extraterrestrial life, but worth knowing all the same," Jonathan Brande, a University of Kansas astrophysicist who was not involved in the study, told LiveScience.

There's just one small problem: no one has ever actually observed an exomoon. If they're out there, they're almost impossible to detect, though there are strong detection candidates.

Nonetheless, scientists are still confident that they exist since there's no shortage of moons in our solar system, which means bloodthirsty moons may well be dooming alien worlds across the entire cosmos.

More on space: James Webb Takes Breathtaking Image of a Titanic Star That's About to Explode

The post Crashing Moons Might Be Annihilating Aliens Somewhere, 


 Argue appeared first on Futurism.


Nature Communications, Published online: 18 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-37271-9

The reaction efficiency of reactants near plasmonic nanostructures can be enhanced under illumination. Here, the authors show that the activity of a Co porphyrin molecular catalyst bound to Au nanoparticles is enhanced by plasmonic effects, yielding a high photocatalytic hydrogen generation rate.

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The week at Retraction Watch featured:

Our list of retracted or withdrawn COVID-19 papers is up to more than 300. There are more than 39,000 retractions in our database — which powers retraction alerts in EndNoteLibKeyPapers, and Zotero. And have you seen our leaderboard of authors with the most retractions lately — or our list of top 10 most highly cited retracted papers?

Here's what was happening elsewhere (some of these items may be paywalled, metered access, or require free registration to read):

Like Retraction Watch? You can make a tax-deductible contribution to support our work, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, or subscribe to our daily digest. If you find a retraction that's not in our database, you can let us know here. For comments or feedback, email us at


The Decline of Strict Etiquette

This is an edition of The Wonder Reader, a newsletter in which our editors recommend a set of stories to spark your curiosity and fill you with delight. Sign up here to get it every Saturday morning.

In a 1929 Atlantic article titled "Tragedies of Etiquette," an anonymous writer details the many surprises contained in a book on women's etiquette. One example: "My mother, whom I had always considered wellbred, had never taught me that a young man should be offered a stuffed chair, an elderly one an armchair, while a lady must always be seated on the sofa."

Norms of polite behavior have come a long way since then. The etiquette books of today are much more relaxed, Michael Waters wrote last year: "One 2014 study found that whereas early-20th-century etiquette books tended to dish out specific rules, today's etiquette guides are much more general—advocating a set of 'fluid "rules" that help us interact thoughtfully,' as an updated version of Emily Post's Etiquette suggests, rather than a one-size-fits-all directive."

As behavioral norms loosen and people figure out how to act without relying on once-sacred conventions, areas of society are experiencing growing pains—or at least some growing awkwardness. In his article, Waters offers one fascinating case: Strict social codes used to determine what people could discuss at the dinner table, but now it's up to us human beings to figure it out for ourselves, which has led to concerns about whether we're now sharing too much with one another.

Today's reading list explores how our mores of politeness have evolved—and how they continue to change each day, through our language and how we live our lives.

The Decline of Etiquette and the Rise of "Boundaries"

By Michael Waters

For centuries, strict social norms dictated what people could politely talk about. Now we have to figure it out for ourselves.

How Please Stopped Being Polite

By Walker Mimms

The phrase if it please you has been shortened and shortened over time—until it's become more brusque than courteous.

Four Words to Seem More Polite

By Olga Khazan

Empathy makes you better at cocktail parties—and at life. (From 2014)

Still Curious?

Other Diversions


When the first postcards went on sale in the U.S. in 1873, many people worried that the more casual format would "encourage thoughtless disclosure," Waters writes. "In the old days a letter was an important affair, not to be lightly scribbled, and only sent when the writer had something to say," a Boston-based magazine argued in 1884.

I'm not sure postcards have gone on to inspire "thoughtless disclosure," but this anecdote does inspire me to go back to the practice of writing them—and to try to put in a little more thought when I do.

— Isabel

What People Still Don't Get About Bailouts
Feedly AI found 1 Regulatory Changes mention in this article
  • And under President Barack Obama, Washington passed a separate $800 billion economic stimulus bill for Main Street, another subject I've spent too much time thinking about, that helped end the recession in a hurry.

It doesn't seem fair, does it? Just 15 years after our financial overlords went on a bailout binge, showering bankers with trillions of taxpayer dollars, they're once again riding to the rescue of the rich while the public watches in horror. Did they learn none of the lessons from the 2008 meltdown?

Actually, yes, they did. The government's financial-crisis managers clearly studied the lessons of 2008, which is one reason the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank a week ago doesn't seem to have created another cataclysm, at least so far. It's the public that's never understood those lessons, which is one reason the public is likely to draw the wrong conclusions about the SVB mess too. And the most important lesson is the hardest to understand: Good financial-crisis management isn't supposed to seem fair.

That's because managing a financial crisis, as the overlords of 2008 explained in a short book I helped them write, is like fighting a dangerous fire. Good firefighters don't worry whether the burning building was up to code, or whether someone smoked in bed, or whether some friends of the tenants are trashing them on Twitter. They don't ask themselves if maybe some of the bozos inside deserve to burn. They focus on putting out the flames, because fires can spread, and out-of-control infernos can be disasters for everyone.

[Annie Lowrey: You should be outraged about Silicon Valley Bank]

During the 2008 financial crisis, there was no way to extinguish the flames without bailing out some of the financial arsonists, although it's a myth that none of them paid any price, and the bailouts ended up turning a profit for taxpayers. The Biden administration's more modest SVB bailout shouldn't cost taxpayers a dime either, and so far there's been no need to bail out any arsonists, although some depositors (including solar developers as well as wealthy tech bros) who wrongly assumed their building was safe were protected from losses. They weren't protected because they were innocent or worthy or entitled to protection. They were protected to quell a panic, because panic is what turns local financial fires into systemic conflagrations.

Still, even a mini-bailout that doesn't rescue villains or soak taxpayers is a bailout, and bailouts make people mad. Where's our bailout? Why do the government suits always do favors for millionaires with connections? What kind of message does this send?

It sends the calming message that everyone should feel safe stashing cash in banks. But it definitely looks bad; bailouts always do.

The general weakness of the financial system is that it rests on a foundation of confidence. That's why banks are called "trusts," and why many of their buildings have giant pillars out front to convey stability. It's why the word credit comes from the Latin for "believe."

There's also a specific weakness illustrated by the bank run in It's a Wonderful Life: Banks don't keep most of their deposits in the bank. They use deposits to make long-term loans, a great way to help individuals and businesses invest in the future that can become extremely not-great if a lot of depositors suddenly lose confidence and decide they want their money back. After bank runs helped start the Great Depression, the newly created Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation began insuring deposits—originally up to $2,500, now up to $250,000—to eliminate the incentive for freaked-out depositors to run. It's an excellent confidence booster, especially now that a bank run no longer requires an actual run to the bank, just a click of a button.

But deposit insurance didn't eliminate fear. In 2008, panic about sketchy mortgages and complex financial instruments backed by sketchy mortgages sparked a new round of bank runs—except this time, most of the runs were on firms that weren't official FDIC-insured deposit-taking "banks," so they had avoided strict oversight from banking regulators even though they borrowed short and lent long like banks. Countrywide Financial, IndyMac, Bear Stearns, Washington Mutual, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, and AIG all collapsed when their short-term creditors lost confidence and demanded their money back.

The government's crisis managers tried desperately to eliminate incentives to run, first by making cheap liquidity widely available, then by guaranteeing trillions of dollars worth of liabilities, and eventually by persuading Congress to inject $700 billion worth of direct capital into the system through the Troubled Asset Relief Program to assure creditors that their money was safe. When ordinary Americans started to flee from money market funds, the government backstopped those too.

[Derek Thompson: The end of Silicon Valley Bank—and a Silicon Valley myth]

It took more than a year, but it worked. The panic subsided. The system recovered.

The conventional wisdom at the time, and still today, was that the government bailed out Wall Street while screwing Main Street. But the reason the government bailed out Wall Street was to prevent the banking crisis from turning into a second Great Depression that really would have screwed Main Street. The financial rescues of 2008 all helped stabilize the system; the fall of Lehman, which the government failed to rescue, is what nearly dragged the system into the abyss.

And remember, the shareholders of all those failed firms were totally or virtually wiped out. The CEOs lost their jobs. The government put a lot of tax money at risk, but it all got paid back with interest. And under President Barack Obama, Washington passed a separate $800 billion economic stimulus bill for Main Street, another subject I've spent too much time thinking about, that helped end the recession in a hurry.

The mega-bailouts of 2008 did, in fact, protect some irresponsible financial gamblers from the consequences of their bad bets, which did, unavoidably, send a bad message about irresponsible gambling. That's why Obama signed the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law in 2010, which essentially made the fire code much tougher and required more banklike firms to obey it. Dodd-Frank actually weakened some of the government's firefighting tools, an understandable but dangerous response to the anti-bailout backlash. In general, though, it made the financial system much safer and ushered in 15 years of financial stability.

Financial stability, unfortunately, tends to breed overconfidence. I must confess that in 2018 when President Donald Trump signed a bill relaxing Dodd-Frank's oversight rules for SVB-size banks, I didn't think it was a good idea, but I didn't think it was a big deal, either. (Whoops.)

More oversight would have been better because SVB was a disaster waiting to happen—a bank with 94 percent of its deposits uninsured, uniquely vulnerable to a run. It didn't help that most of the deposits came from one gossipy industry, or that its executives were using them to place long-term bets on low interest rates. The whole debacle was reminiscent of the old Saturday Night Live ad for Bad Idea Jeans.

The early stages of a financial crisis can be tricky for the firefighters because it's hard to know whether there's a genuine systemic risk of the fire spreading. They don't want to overreact to every sign of turbulence, because bailing out reckless risk takers can create "moral hazard," which encourages more reckless risk taking in the future. At the same time, the natural instinct to punish irresponsibility can fan the flames of panic in real time.

But SVB was a classic bank run, and a pretty obvious contagion risk for similarly sized banks, so the crisis managers basically followed the playbook from 2008.

I'm embarrassed to say I had never heard of SVB until Friday morning, when a group chat I'm in with some Miami tech entrepreneurs and venture capitalists blew up. I guess I contributed to the panic when one of the VCs said she was torn about pulling out her money because SVB's managers had been such good partners, and I said it didn't matter because none of them would have jobs on Monday. (I'm also embarrassed to say I shared the not-very-reassuring "EVERYBODY STAY CALM" gif from The Office.) When confidence goes, it goes fast.

But this was an unusual situation where the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, and the Treasury Department could act quickly and decisively without creating serious moral hazard. They ousted the SVB managers who got the world into this mess. They let SVB's shareholders lose all their equity. They didn't even backstop all of SVB's bondholders, even though the 2008 rescues protected just about all creditors to prevent others from running. But the government immediately made cheap liquidity widely available and guaranteed all of the uninsured deposits. The thing is, bailing out depositors who happen to park their cash in the wrong bank doesn't encourage risk taking. Parking cash in a bank is supposed to be the opposite of risk taking!

Bailouts are inevitably suboptimal, and they inevitably make people mad. Critics of the Biden administration's handling of SVB say the firefighters have done too much. But continuing problems at First Republic Bank and a few other regional banks caught up in the frenzy suggest otherwise—and some of the anti-bailout and anti-guarantee provisions in Dodd-Frank might have constrained the government's ability to respond even more forcefully. The where's-my-student-loan-bailout analogies whipping around the internet are beside the point; student loans, as burdensome as they might be, don't have the potential to create global calamities when they don't get paid back in full. As for the preposterous Republican complaints that SVB illustrates the dangers of "woke" banking, let's just say it's equally plausible that the countless institutions with similar rhetorical commitments to diversity that didn't fail illustrate the benefits of "woke" banking.

[David A. Graham: Why Republicans are blaming the bank collapse on wokeness]

Once this fire is fully extinguished, God and Fed willing, we should figure out why SVB's supervisors let it play with matches, update our fire code (including the dollar limits on deposit insurance), and make sure our firehouses are properly equipped. But we shouldn't delude ourselves that we can fully fireproof the system or ensure that it never requires another bailout. As long as financial institutions borrow short and lend long, they will always be vulnerable to runs. And risk will always migrate to the path of least resistance, especially in times of stability, when the risk doesn't seem that risky.

Before last week, there weren't many voices warning that SVB was about to erupt in flames. We should have the humility to recognize we probably won't anticipate where the next fire will start either. Hopefully, it won't happen for a while. And hopefully, the men and women with the hoses will have the guts to do the right thing again, because that isn't inevitable at all.

Sometimes, Consensus Can Be Ruinous

The U.S. invasion of Iraq was the most consequential political event of the past two decades. But it doesn't feel that way. It has the faint whiff of youthful indiscretion, an episode that many Americans would rather forget. I was 19. The tenor of that time in American life—after the September 11 attacks—seems ever more foreign to me. Instead of the chaotic information overload of the current moment, in which consensus appears impossible, the early 2000s were a time of conformity, authority, and security. When I think about why even the mere idea of consensus makes me anxious to this day, I keep coming back to what happened 20 long years ago. Consensus can be nice, but it can also be dangerous.  

Once American ground troops were engaged in Afghanistan, risking their lives fighting the Taliban, any criticism of the war effort invited charges of disloyalty. That was the "good war." I was a freshman in college on 9/11. Just a year later, in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion, I became active in the anti-war movement. Grappling with my own identity as an American Muslim in an environment rife with Islamophobia, I wanted somewhere to belong—a safe space, so to speak. And I found it. For the first and probably last time, I organized a die-in. I also helped organize a "tent-in" with a group of friends and fellow travelers, a motley crew of socialists, anarchists, and ordinary students who found themselves stupefied by a war that seemed self-evidently absurd. In the weeks before the war began—and then for the entire duration of the invasion—we protested by setting up camp in Georgetown University's free-expression zone, the ironically named Red Square. In practice, at least one person was expected to sleep in the tents on any given night, which translated into a continuous presence of more than 2,000 hours.

[David Frum: The Iraq War reconsidered]

We failed. Obviously, we were just college students, naive and not yet cynical. But there were many of us. On February 15 and 16, 2003—a weekend of coordinated anti-war demonstrations around the globe—more than 6 million people filled the streets in hundreds of cities. As Patrick Tyler put it in The New York Times, "There may still be two superpowers on the planet: the United States and world public opinion." It was an odd thought, that the people, united, could stop a terrible thing from happening.

When President George W. Bush infamously declared in May 2003—less than a month after Baghdad fell to U.S. forces—that the mission had been accomplished, an extended period of confusion and reckoning set in. After the apathy and triumphalism ushered in by the Cold War's end, mass mobilization was back. But what was the point of people power if government officials couldn't be bothered to listen? They had already decided. A relatively small number of so-called neoconservatives, many of whom had run in the same rarified intellectual circles, were committed to a marriage of overwhelming power and maximalist purpose. As the Lebanese American scholar Fouad Ajami described it:

A reforming zeal must thus be loaded up with the baggage and the gear. No great apologies ought to be made for America's "unilateralism." The region can live with and use that unilateralism. The considerable power now at America's disposal can be used by one and all as a justification for going along with American goals.

Like most utopians, they may have been well-meaning in their fervor. A true believer himself, George W. Bush had admirable views about democracy's universality, for which he deserves some credit. He excoriated critics for suggesting that Arabs weren't ready for democracy; this was nothing more than "cultural condescension," he said. He was right. In a November 2003 speech marking the 20th anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy, he asked, "Are millions of men and women and children condemned by history or culture to live in despotism? Are they alone never to know freedom, and never even to have a choice in the matter? I, for one, do not believe it."

But the stated justification for invading Iraq was not that Saddam Hussein was a dictator. After all, America's closest allies in the region were dictatorships too. As senior administration officials told the United Nations and Congress, military action was necessary because Saddam's regime had weapons of mass destruction and was therefore a mortal threat to the Middle East. Others who might have otherwise been skeptical about the indiscriminate use of American power—including prominent Democrats such as John Kerry and Hillary Clinton—fell in line. In October 2002, 39 percent of Democrats in the House supported the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution. Remarkably, 58 percent of Senate Democrats voted in favor. It was the worst and perhaps most tragic example of "bipartisan cooperation" in recent American history.

Their hearts weren't necessarily in it, but Senate Democrats were an ambitious bunch. For anyone who aspired to higher office, being on the wrong side of the right war was a risky proposition. With the wounds of September 11 still smarting, vengeance was in the air. In mainstream media outlets, passionate anti-war voices—before the war, rather than after—were difficult to find. I mostly got my daily dose of anti-war news and coverage from small leftist websites. I even wrote for one such publication: It was (and still is) called CounterPunch, a wholly appropriate description of both the futility and pluckiness of the endeavor.

A sizable minority of Americans had their reservations about this new culture of patriotic deference, but they were on the defensive from the very start. The post-9/11 consensus was a tragedy upon a tragedy, exemplified by a 98–1 Senate vote for the PATRIOT Act just 44 days after the attacks. "National unity" is usually an aspiration not met. Here, it seemed within reach.

[Melvyn P. Leffler: What really took America to war in Iraq]

This was bipartisan cooperation at its best but also its worst. At more than 130 pages, the PATRIOT Act—a suitably Orwellian acronym for "Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism"—ushered in a perpetually overreaching national-security state and a litany of civil-rights abuses that disproportionately affected Arab and Muslim communities. As the ACLU described it, "While most Americans think it was created to catch terrorists, the Patriot Act actually turns regular citizens into suspects." Under an expansive surveillance regime, the FBI issued about 192,000 "national security letters" from 2003 to 2006, which allowed it to access the private information of American citizens without a warrant.

This is what unity, consensus, and cooperation made possible in the fog of war. For those Americans today who lament polarization and long for a return to the politics of consensus, be careful what you wish for. In 2001, within a sprawling, unwieldy democracy of 285 million people, what could "consensus" even mean? As the Belgian political theorist Chantal Mouffe has written, "All forms of consensus are by necessity based on acts of exclusion." The post-9/11 consensus was artificial, guided and reinforced from above. It was also fleeting. When the Bush administration's hold on the public imagination weakened, Americans returned to their natural boisterousness and distrust of politicians and institutions alike. This is a good thing.

When it comes to wars of choice—which is to say, most wars—Americans should disagree among themselves, and they should express those disagreements forcefully. A democratized news landscape, like democracy itself, can be messy. But that messiness is essential. A certain kind of chaos is precisely what allows for a vibrant exchange of contending and conflicting views. In a democracy, the majority still rules. At the same time, embattled minorities need avenues—and encouragement—to register their dissent, in the hope of convincing enough of their fellow citizens that they are right. Because sometimes they are. And the Iraq War was one of those times.

How to make ourselves valuable in the AI/Singularity era?
Is this article about Deep Learning?
  • How can we prepare ourselves for the ethical, social and economic challenges that the AI/Singularity era might bring?
  • What skills or abilities do you think will be most valuable or essential for humans in the AI/Singularity era?
  • How do you envision the relationship between humans and artificial intelligence in the AI/Singularity era?
  • What are some of the potential benefits or risks of reaching the AI/Singularity era?

  • What are all the jobs that would be available in the future for humans to do?

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Prosthetics workfield with CogSci degree

Is it possible with a cognitive science master degree to get a job in the prosthetics field? Especially in the neuroprosthetics field? Is there anyone who works in this field with this degree?

I have a special needs education degree in Europe specialised in movement and cognitive therapy, and will start my master in cognitive science. My biggest dream is to work in the prosthetics field and work with neuroprosthetics. My bachelor is a great base and the master will be a great addition, but do they hire ppl like me? Country is not relevant, I'm eager to move anywhere.

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Enhanced nonlinear optomechanics in a coupled-mode photonic crystal device

Nature Communications, Published online: 18 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-37138-z

The authors demonstrate the enhancement of nonlinear optomechanical measurement of mechanical motion by using pairs of coupled optical and mechanical modes in a 1D photonic crystal. The design harnesses the anisotropic mechanical elasticity to create strong coupling between mechanical modes.

Scientific Reports, Published online: 18 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-27687-0

Using disproportionality analysis to explore the association between 
 and triazole antifungals in the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System Database

Scientific Reports, Published online: 18 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-31715-4

Estimating aspect ratio of the distal femur and proximal tibia in the Emirati population from MRI scans of the knee: a preliminary experience
The Weekend Silicon Valley Stared Into the Abyss
When SVB collapsed, entrepreneurs who feared losing everything spent nerve-wracking days crafting backup plans, seeking new funds, and pleading with politicians.
Spatial transcriptomics using multiplexed deterministic barcoding in tissue

Nature Communications, Published online: 18 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-37111-w

Examining the spatially resolved transcriptome of tissue sections promises advances in biomedical research. Here, the authors present xDBiT, a versatile, microfluidics-based approach to cost-effectively measure the spatial transcriptome of multiple tissue sections in parallel.
Visualizing defect dynamics by assembling the colloidal graphene lattice

Nature Communications, Published online: 18 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-37222-4

Colloidal particles bonding via attractive patches mimic the bonding of atoms in atomic compounds and materials. By assembling patchy particles into the graphene lattice, the authors obtain insight into lattice defects in this important 2D material.
Giant piezoresistivity in a van der Waals material induced by intralayer atomic motions

Nature Communications, Published online: 18 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-37239-9

Lattice shrinkage is a dominating factor for the strain-induced change of the electronic properties in vdW layered materials. Here, the authors discover a piezoresistivity in pressurized β′-In2Se3, which originates from the intralayer atomic motions.
PCR-like performance of rapid test with permselective tunable nanotrap
Is this article about Tech & Scientific Innovation?

Nature Communications, Published online: 18 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-37018-6

Lateral flow assays are valuable rapid diagnostic tests, but low sensitivity can hinder their precision. Here, the authors report an enrichment method using nanoporous AAO and red blood cell membranes, which when applied to patient samples prior to analysis can improve sensitivity up to 20-fold.

Nature Communications, Published online: 18 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-37268-4

Controlling the morphology of Pt-based nanostructures can provide a great opportunity to boost their catalytic activity and durability. Here the authors report anisotropic mesoporous Pt@Pt-skin Pt3Ni core-shell framework nanowires for oxygen reduction reaction with enhanced mass activity and stability.
Is this article about Pharma?

Nature Communications, Published online: 18 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-37184-7

Here using drug susceptibility profiling, genomics and evolutionary studies the authors provide strategies to exploit collateral drug responses in Mycobacterium 
 to prevent the emergence of drug resistance.

Nature Communications, Published online: 18 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-36979-y

Immunotherapy resistance is common among 
 patients. Here, the authors identify three resistance mechanism subtypes across 
-derived cell lines and matched samples and highlight antigen presentation disruption as a key mediator of resistance.

Nature Communications, Published online: 18 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-37227-z

The secretome of hepatocytes and 
hepatocellular carcinoma
 (HCC) cells can contribute to 
 progression. Here the authors show that 
 inhibits HCC progression through proteolytic depletion of 
 and subsequently decreased neutrophil recruitment to tumours.

Nature Communications, Published online: 18 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-37166-9

Compiled data on litterfall and litter in eucalypt forests and woodlands for the Australian continent shows that litter mass can be robustly predicted using just three independent variables – time, aridity and litterfall quality

Nature Communications, Published online: 18 March 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-37157-w

Despite increasing interest in organic room temperature phosphorescence, it can still be challenging to determine mechanism and develop practical applications. Here, the authors report room temperature phosphorescent systems from chiral components, with strong phosphorescence observed only when both host and guest had the same chirality.
Best undergrad Cog Sci degrees in Canada?

I'm having trouble deciding between the following schools:

Queen's University, Carleton University, and University of British Columbia.

Is anyone able to give me some insight into the best uni for cognitive science?

UBC doesn't outright offer a degree in cognitive science but they have the "cognitive systems" program which is close enough. Carleton has a Bachelor of Cognitive Science and I believe Queen's program is a BA.

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Wyoming Becomes First State to Outlaw the Use of Pills for Abortion
Feedly AI found 1 Regulatory Changes mention in this article
  • The law is the only one in the nation to prohibit the use separate from an overall abortion ban and is part of a growing effort by conservative states to target the pills.
The law is the only one in the nation to prohibit the use separate from an overall abortion ban and is part of a growing effort by conservative states to target the pills.
Solving the water crisis with remote 3D printed drip irrigation.

There is a very good short video from VOX talking about the water crisis in America. 6% of our Western US water usage is residential, 8% is commercial, while 86% is from agricultural.

There is actually a lot that could be done to reduce agriculture watering waste while actually improving yields. Here's one of my ideas:

Remote 3D Printed drip irrigation systems.

Drip irrigation can save up to 25-50% of wasted water by watering plants directly at their roots. For agriculture, where water usage dwarfs residential and business use combined, a reduction of waste in that magnitude could translate into an enormous amount of water savings. Even at an 80% adoption rate, that still accounts for a reduction in Western US water usage of 17.2 – 34.4%. That would be a water savings of nearly 3-6 times all residential water usage in the Western US.

That is why this remote 3D printed agricultural drip irrigation could have enormous impacts even with a small initial adoption rate.

Drip irrigation can translate into large water savings, but the cost of implementation of current on the market solutions is high enough to keep most farmers away. However, a remote semi automatic 3D printed irrigation system could reduce costs significantly by reducing most installation costs.

A drone would first map the farm using traditional drone mapping machine learning image models. There are a number of software services that already do this, so likely one of the market ready models would be used. Then a generative design AI model will overlay a drip irrigation design on the farm map, adjusting both the layout of the irrigation and the amount of water delivered based on crop type. After a confirmation from the farmer for the layout, the STP print files, will be sent to the 3D printing drip system bots to start making new lines.

The STP files are compatible with a number of free CAD viewing and drafting software suites. Allowing for easy modification or better viewing as needed.

There are a number of key advantages to this approach. First of all, it gets rid of most of the expensive transportation, installation, and maintenance costs associated with current systems. Printing bots could be shared among farmers, or rented by a service, and maintenance, or the addition of new crops would be fast and easy.

Creation of this would be relatively easy as well. Prototyping and deployment could definitely be done for less than $20-$40M. Basically making it a relatively cheap investment for a government or individual to single handedly solve the world's water shortage (for now). Although, I expect society to be constantly pushing up against our limits though.

That is all accomplished with a semi-easy design, and other already on the market products and software. I have already thought of a mock up of the design for the 3D printing drip irrigation bot. Although, I am not making any moves to seriously develop this at this time, a standard iteration cycle and testing with a few small farms would be enough to get a V1 product ready for the market.

There is potential for future improvements as well. These systems could also include sensors for water level monitoring, automatic repairs, and even sensors for soil health or weed detection as well. All printed with the original drip irrigation. Creating real time health monitoring of plants, and the possibility of automatic pesticide free weed removal. It also could be possible to turn crop waste into filament that could be used for the printing material as well. Further reducing both the material waste, and cost of the system as well.

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Is this article about Ecosystem Management?
More than 85% of the world's bird, mammal, and amphibian species live in mountains, particularly in forest habitats, but researchers report that these forests are disappearing at an accelerating rate. Globally, we have lost 78.1 million hectares (7.1%) of mountain forest since 2000 — an area larger than the size of Texas. Much of the loss occurred in tropical biodiversity hotspots, putting increasing pressure on threatened species.
New study counts the environmental cost of managing Japanese knotweed
Is this article about Agriculture?
New research has looked at the long-term environmental impact of different methods to control Japanese knotweed. Different ways of trying to control the invasive species have developed over the years but now, as sustainability becomes increasingly important, understanding the effect of these management methods is vital.This new study examines at the entire life cycle and long-term impacts of different management approaches.
The ability of a cell to divide, to proliferate, is essential for life and gives rise to the formation of complex organisms from a single cell. It also allows the replacement of used cells from a limited number of 'stem' cells, which then proliferate and specialize. In cancer, however, cell proliferation is no longer controlled and becomes chaotic. Researchers have discovered that, in a healthy individual, certain blood immune cells, the monocytes, also have this ability to proliferate, with the aim to replace tissue macrophages, which are essential for the proper functioning of our body.
Who Would You Be If the World Ended?

This is an edition of The Atlantic Daily, a newsletter that guides you through the biggest stories of the day, helps you discover new ideas, and recommends the best in culture. Sign up for it here.

The critics and the gamers have written much about The Last of Us, the video game that became a majestic HBO series. The main story is about love and family, but there's a dark and nagging question in the scenario: If the world had no more rules, what kind of person would you be?

First, here are three new stories from The Atlantic:

Who Are You?

This story contains spoilers for the entire first season of The Last of Us.

Did you read that disclaimer? No, I mean it—I am going to spoil everything in the first season. You've been warned.

In interviews, the writers of The Last of Us have said that they intended the series to be about love. And they have indeed created a gorgeous—and disturbing—tale of how we find and cherish family. But I want to raise another question that lurks in the adventures of Joel and Ellie, a dark rumble of a thought that most of us would rather not confront: If the world ended, and all of the rules of society vanished, what kind of person would you be?

This question, I think, resonates more with us today than it did during the Cold War. Back then, and particularly in the 1970s and '80s, postapocalyptic fiction included an entire pulpy genre that the scholar Paul Brians called "Radioactive Rambos," in which men—almost always men, with a few notable exceptions—would wander the wasteland, killing mutants and stray Communists. (They also had a lot of sex.) Sometimes, these heroes were part of paramilitary groups, but most typically, they were the classic lone wolf: super-skilled death machines whose goal was to get from Point A to Point B while shooting everything in between and saving a girl, or a town, or even the world.

But we live in more ambiguous times. We're not fighting the Soviet Union. We don't trust institutions, or one another, as much as we did 40 or 50 years ago. Perhaps we don't even trust ourselves. We live in a time when lawlessness, whether in the streets or the White House, seems mostly to go unpunished. For decades, we have retreated from our fellow citizens and our social organizations into our own homes, and since COVID began, we've learned to virtualize our lives, holding meetings on glowing screens and having our food and other goods dropped at our doors by people we never have to meet.

We also face any number of demagogues who seem almost eager for our institutions to fail so that they can repopulate them in their own image and likeness.

Living in a world of trees and water and buildings and cars, we can posture all day long about how we would take our personal virtues with us through the gates of Armageddon. But considering that we can barely muster enough civic energy to get off our duffs and go vote every few years, how certain are we about our own bravery and rectitude?

Although Joel and Ellie are rendered with wonderful complexity by the show's writers and by the actors Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, some of the greatest moments in The Last of Us are with people the protagonists encounter during their travels: Bill, the survivalist (played by Nick Offerman in what should be a slam-dunk Emmy nomination); Kathleen, the militia leader (Melanie Lynskey); and David, the religious preacher and secret cannibal, played with terrifying subtlety by Scott Shepherd. (I warned you there were spoilers.)

Each of these characters is a challenge, and a reproof, to any of us who think we'd be swell folks, and maybe even heroes, after the collapse of civilization.

Bill is a paranoid survivalist who falls in love with a wanderer named Frank. They live together for years and choose suicide when Frank becomes mortally ill. It's a marvelous and heartbreaking story, but Bill admits in his suicide note that he always hated humanity and was initially glad to see everyone die. He no longer feels that way, he says, implying that Frank's love saved him, but right to the end, he remains hostile to almost everyone else in the world—just as he was before Outbreak Day.

Kathleen leads a rebellion in Kansas City against FEDRA, the repressive military government that takes over America after the pandemic. Her "resistance," however, is a brutal, ragtag militia, and Kathleen is a vicious dictator who is no better (and perhaps worse) than the regime she helped overthrow. She promises clemency to a group of FEDRA collaborators, for example, and then orders them all to be shot anyway. "When you're done, burn the bodies," she says casually. "It's faster." She even imprisons her own doctor, who pleads with her, "Kathleen, I delivered you." She executes him herself.

What's important about Kathleen, however, is that she later admits that she really hasn't changed. Her brother was the original head of the resistance: kind, forgiving, a true leader. She admits that she never had that kind of goodness in her, not even as a child—which raises the troubling thought that we all live near a Kathleen who is tenuously bound only by the restrictions of law and custom.

And then there's David.

History is replete with times when desperate human beings have resorted to cannibalism, and although we recoil in disgust, we know it can happen. David hates what he felt he had to do, and he admits his shame. But it turns out that what makes David evil is not that he eats people but that he's a fraud: He cares nothing about religion; he cares about being in charge, and he admits that he has struggled all his life with violent impulses. He is another character whom the apocalypse reveals more than it changes. When he gleefully tries to rape Ellie, she kills the former math teacher in self-defense.

Again, this raises the creepy question of how many Davids walk among us, smiling and toting algebra books, restrained from their hellish impulses only by the daily balm of street lights and neighbors and manicured lawns. We should be grateful for every day that we don't have to know the answer.


Today's News

  1. Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan endorsed Finland's NATO bid; he has not yet approved Sweden's.
  2. The Justice Department is reportedly investigating the surveillance of Americans by the Chinese company that owns TikTok.
  3. President Joe Biden urged Congress to expand the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's authority to impose more stringent penalties on senior executives who mismanage lending banks.


Explore all of our newsletters here.

Evening Read

Animation of speech bubbles moving in a circle
Illustration by The Atlantic

GPT-4 Has the Memory of a Goldfish

By this point, the many defects of AI-based language models have been analyzed to death—their incorrigible dishonesty, their capacity for bias and bigotry, their lack of common sense. GPT-4, the newest and most advanced such model yet, is already being subjected to the same scrutiny, and it still seems to misfire in pretty much all the ways earlier models did. But large language models have another shortcoming that has so far gotten relatively little attention: their shoddy recall. These multibillion-dollar programs, which require several city blocks' worth of energy to run, may now be able to code websites, plan vacations, and draft company-wide emails in the style of William Faulkner. But they have the memory of a goldfish.

Read the full article.

More From The Atlantic

Culture Break

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Read. These 10 poetry collections are worth revisiting again and again.

Listen. Our new narrative podcast, Holy Week, is the story of a revolution undone.

Play our daily crossword.


Today, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and one other Russian official for their possible involvement in the kidnapping of what could be thousands of Ukrainian children. The ICC was created in 1998 by the Rome Statute, an international treaty, and began holding its first sessions in 2003, but it doesn't have a lot of power: Russia, China, and the United States are not parties to the statute, and neither is Ukraine (which has nonetheless granted the ICC jurisdiction over its territory). A Kremlin spokesperson, of course, immediately waved away the warrant as irrelevant.

Things could get interesting, I suppose, if Putin ever travels to a nation that is part of the ICC, which is almost every other country in the world. Would another state decide to enforce the ICC warrant and arrest a foreign leader? That's pretty unlikely, but it's something Putin would at least have to think about if he ever decides to venture too far away from his Kremlin bunker. In the meantime, unfortunately, he and his commanders will continue their crimes in Ukraine, but the ICC warrant is at least a welcome symbolic statement.

— Tom

Isabel Fattal contributed to this newsletter.


MAR 17

Study: Cute (and Non Human-Looking) Robots Will Subdue the Humans
Is this article about Tech & Scientific Innovation?

Robo Life Coach

How could your employer make your workday less miserable? More breaks, a more reasonable workload, or just a bump in salary? Well, screw all that noise: have some "robot wellbeing coaches" instead.

Yes, really: In a series of experiments that involved having wellbeing robots interact with employees in mandatory sessions researchers found that how well a robot boosts employee morale depends on at least one essential factor: how cute they are.

"We wanted to take the robots out of the lab and study how they might be useful in the real world," said study first author Micol Spitale, a computer scientist at Cambridge University, in a press release about his team's findings, presented at the International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction.

Lowered Expectations

Over the course of four weeks, 26 employees attended weekly well-being sessions led by two different kinds of robots. The robots would go around the group, ask each employee to recall a positive experience, and follow up with more questions. Both robots spoke the same script, had the same voice, and used the same facial expressions.

The difference? The robots' bodies. The researchers found that the adorable, toy-like robot, in this case a specific model called Misty, proved best at fostering a connection with employees.

They speculate that the unassuming appearance of Misty — which stands at only 14 inches tall and has a limbless body the shape of a stunted vacuum cleaner — caused the humans interacting with it to have lower expectations for the poor thing. Ouch.

Interactivity Needed

Conversely, the more humanoid robot QT, at nearly three feet tall, inspired higher expectations from employees. This invariably only left them more disappointed when they found out that no, it can't talk with you like a real human.

The researchers explained in their press release that people's expectations of the robot "didn't match with reality." The study's coauthor Hatice Gunes, a professor of Affective Intelligence and Robots at Cambridge, elaborated: "We programmed the robots with a script, but participants were hoping there would be more interactivity."

But, they explained, it's hard to come up with a robot right now that has a natural conversationalist's ability, but developing technology in large language models may soon help with this. That said, overall, the researchers noted that employees actually found taking the wellbeing exercises from a robot helpful.

"The robot can serve as a physical reminder to commit to the practice of wellbeing exercises," explained Gunes. "And just saying things out loud, even to a robot, can be helpful when you're trying to improve mental wellbeing."

Well, sure. If it's adorable, at least.

More on robots: Robodog Peeling Off a Model's Clothes Is a Viral Riff on Ominous Tech

The post Study: Cute (and Non Human-Looking) Robots Will Subdue the Humans appeared first on Futurism.

MIT Students Built a Terrifying Mix-and-Match Spider Robot to Build Lunar Colonies
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MIT students have dreamed up a lunar colony-building robot that's part spider and part worm — and looks 100% creepy as heck.

Do The Worm

America's top minds are apparently putting their all into developing space technology — but we've gotta admit, we wouldn't really have had this in mind.

As the 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 revealed in a blog post, the Walking Oligomeric Robotic Mobility System (WORMS) modular lunar robot is intended to help NASA and other space agencies build and establish permanent Moon colonies by being able to do a bunch of different types of grunt work.

"Robots could potentially do the heavy lifting [on a lunar colony] by laying cables, deploying solar panels, erecting communications towers, and building habitats," the press release reads. "But if each robot is designed for a specific action or task, a moon base could become overrun by a zoo of machines, each with its own unique parts and protocols."

WORMS would head off that potential eventuality, MIT notes, by having mix-and-match components that can be traded in and off for whatever task is at hand — and it's about as weird-looking as one could imagine a mix-and-match lunar robot could look, too.


Student Affairs

The leggy robot was, as the press release notes, dreamed up by students at MIT's Space Resources Workshop in response to NASA's Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge, which charges students with coming up with, well, big and game-changing ideas for spacefaring tech.

The six-legged WORMS-1 prototype was unveiled by its creators last week at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Aerospace Conference in Montana, where the team who built it received the conference's Best Paper Award.

Team leader, graduate instructor, and PhD candidate George Lordos described the spider-worm hybrid robot

"You could imagine a shed on the moon with shelves of worms," team leader, graduate instructor, and PhD candidate George Lordos explained. "Astronauts could go into the shed, pick the worms they need, along with the right shoes, body, sensors and tools, and they could snap everything together, then disassemble it to make a new one."

Each piece, the press release notes, will be about one meter long and weigh roughly 20 pounds each — though on the Moon, which has about one-sixth the gravity of Earth, this would clock in at around three pounds per piece.

There's no telling when and if NASA will use the WORMS bot, but given that some of its seed money came from the agency, it at least has some interest in taking this wormy boi to the Moon.

More on space tech: NASA Debuts Its Brand New Sci-Fi-Inspired Moonsuit — But It's a Rental

The post MIT Students Built a Terrifying Mix-and-Match Spider Robot to Build Lunar Colonies appeared first on Futurism.

What Are Raccoon Dogs?
The monogamous, hibernating canids, which are related to foxes, are sold for meat and fur.