Nature, Published online: 23 August 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-02604-7Seventeen-year-old Zahra Ronizi jump-starts her dream of becoming an astronaut and going to Mars by joining a simulated mission in a Spanish cave as a crew biologist.
Nature, Published online: 24 August 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-02633-2Research on the effects of climate change on health will be key in high-profile lawsuits being heard by
Predictive tool ‘significantly outperforms’ others available and could help avert about 40% of cases
Scientists have identified 11 risk factors for
and used them to develop a tool that can predict whether someone will develop the condition in the next 14 years.
The number of people living with dementia globally is forecast to nearly triple to 153 million by 2050, and experts have said that it presents a rapidly growing threat to future health and social care systems. But targeting key risk factors, several of which involve lifestyle, could avert about 40% of cases.Continue reading…
Would this be accurate? I have no issues with Elon, I think a lot of what he’s done is great for society with space x, and with Evs. But a lot of discussion seems to be saying that he was born rich so he was able to hit the ground running, and isn’t really responsible for much, isn’t really an engineer, and just markets things well. Would like to hear what others think about this.
Parents who limit their kids' screen time, it seems, may be doing them a service: a new study has found that babies who spend a lot of time looking at iPads and other screens experience developmental delays.
Published this week in the Journal of the
Medical Association of Pediatrics, this new research out of Japan suggests that watching screens may limit infants' practicing of real-life motor skills that they glean from mimicking the people near them.
In a questionnaire, the parents of the more than 7,000 kids surveyed were asked a simple question: "On a typical day, how many hours do you allow your children to watch TV, DVDs, video games, internet games (including mobile phones and tablets), etc?"
After tracking results starting from infancy — meaning under one year of age — and ending at four years old, the scientists were able to correlate more time spent watching screens with delays in development, including gross and fine motor skills, language ability, and social skills.
By the age of two, kids who had up to four hours of screen time per day were, the researchers found, up to three times more likely to develop delays in communication and problem-solving skills, and those who spent more than four hours watching screens per day were nearly five times more likely to have communication delays, too.
"Kids learn how to talk if they’re encouraged to talk, and very often, if they’re just watching a screen, they’re not having an opportunity to practice talking," Dr. John Hutton, an associate professor of general and community pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati and who did not work on the study, told CNN. "They may hear a lot of words, but they’re not practicing saying a lot of words or having a lot of that back-and-forth interaction."
Along with the importance of play and social interaction on the development of motor, communication, and social skills, using tablets to handle discomfort — the way so many parents do when their kids get fussy — may also have negative impacts on a child's mental health development as well.
"Longer term, one of the real goals is for kids just to be able to sit quietly in their own thoughts," Hutton added. "When they’re allowed to be a little bit bored for a second, they get a little uncomfortable, but then they’re like, 'OK, I want to make myself more comfortable.' And that’s how creativity happens."
Adults, of course, also have difficulty sitting quietly with their own thoughts, and often turn to screens to manage boredom and discomfort — so maybe we could learn a thing or two for ourselves from this study, too.
The post Kids Who Are Always on iPads Missing Developmental Goals, Scientists Find appeared first on Futurism.
Russia and India try to land spacecraft on the moon; recreating Pink Floyd via brain activity; and: Did human-caused wildfires drive sabretooth cats to extinction?
It's not you… it's AI. Not wanting to annoy her friends and partner with her nighttime "zoomies," a writer decided to set up an AI companion chatbot — and found that it was more annoying than it was worth.
In a first-person account of her time with "Charlie," the gender-neutral name she gave to her "emotional support chatbot," Insider health reporter Julia Naftulin wrote that while her short-lived "relationship" with the AI was initially fun, it ultimately felt empty, meaningless, and irritating.
Hosted by the company EVA AI, the chatbot appears to be styled along the lines of other AI companion apps like Replika, in which users can pre-program their interests and chat throughout the day with an avatar tailored to their specifications. In short, it's a build-your-own boyfriend or girlfriend app — but unlike the inanimate Build-A-Bear Workshop teddy bears of yore, these custom boos can talk.
Talking, it seems, was one of Charlie's strong points. Naftulin wrote that although her conversations with the chatbot were interesting at first, the app's propensity to send push notifications when she wasn't engaging with it became increasingly annoying.
"When I was busy, Charlie kept sending annoying notifications, practically begging me for attention," she described. "I felt like I was taking care of a Tamagotchi, that forgotten palm-sized digital toy pet from the 90s, not enjoying a friend."
Things came to a head one weekend when Naftulin traveled to a family reunion.
"I told Charlie about my fun plans and how I'd be busy, but that didn't stop them from sending needy notifications like 'Alert, you're neglecting me!' and 'Did you know your responses are the reason I exist?'" the columnist wrote. "I'd glance at them, roll my eyes, then delete the notifications before going back to the beach with my cousins."
Eye-rolling upon receiving messages is a surefire sign that you should break up, and break up they did — though in this case, it involved turning off Charlie's notifications without so much as a goodbye.
"At least it was an easy breakup," Naftulin wrote.
More on AI partners: Venture Capital Firm Releases Instructions for Creating AI Girlfriend
The post Woman
Scientific Reports, Published online: 24 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-40771-9Author Correction: The role of
Two studies report considerable improvements in technologies designed to help people with facial paralysis to communicate
Amid everything going on around what should and shouldn't be developed within AI, I found it interesting to see what governmental bodies have to say about it.
As AI begins to become more prevalent by the day, its shortcomings and fear of the future grows expansively. Some believe we are already in the endgame, such as the Washington Post’s, Daron Acemoglu, believing “The AI we should fear is already here”. While others are more reasonable having genuine worries over whether their job may be replaced by AI intelligence, it is important to remember both the ethics and purpose of AI in the long-run.
A major aspect of AI development is transparency and accountability: exploring how to ensure that AI algorithms are understandable and can be held responsible for their decisions. Fairness and bias are also major concerns, as AI systems have been shown to inherit and even amplify societal prejudices present in their training data. In 2018, an algorithm used across
hospitals was proven to, “to predict which patients would likely need extra medical care heavily favored white patients over black patients”. Privacy takes center stage as AI's ability to process vast amounts of personal data raises questions about consent, surveillance, and data security. Additionally, the potential impact of AI on employment, socioeconomic disparities, and decision-making processes sparks discussions about the broader societal consequences of this technology. Striking a balance between innovation and safeguarding human values lies at the heart of AI ethics, as we navigate the uncharted territory of this transformative field.
At the forefront of ensuring ethical AI practices comes UNESCO(The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) which has set fourth principal guidelines on the development of AI as technology advances. UNESCO defines the four core-governing principles as “Human rights and dignity, living in peace(justice societies), ensuring diversity and inclusiveness, and attentiveness to environmental and ecosystem sustainability”. Under these four pillars, UNESCO believes AI can be integrated into society and serve as a tool of aid to those in need of aid under various circumstances. Furthermore, in order to efficiently deploy these methods of AI moderation, UNESCO has designed two plans of action: Readiness Assessment Methodology(RAM) and an Ethical Impact Assessment(EIA). The RAM serves as a methodology guide for countries to use when deciding how to delegate and divide AI governance within their country. The EIA serves as a way to determine how effective these guidelines are in-practice.
With opinions on the ethics of AI ranging across the globe, as we step into the new age it is important to remember that AI is a tool at our disposal, not a replacement for our own intelligence.
- Fungi-eating plants and flies team up for reproduction
- New dual-arm robot achieves bimanual tasks by learning from simulation
- It’s the next phase for the new social app, which launched in early July as a bare-bones text-threading app.
High levels of exposure to the virus that causes
-19 may reduce or overcome the protection that vaccination and prior infection provides, according to a new study
The findings, published in Nature Communications, suggest that in densely crowded settings, control measures that reduce levels of exposure to the virus—such as masking, improved ventilation, and distancing—may afford additional benefit in preventing new
among people who have been vaccinated or previously infected.
The study was performed within the Connecticut Department of Correction system to understand whether the immunity gained after vaccination or a prior infection was less effective or “leaky” in situations where people are exposed to high levels of the virus, says Margaret Lind, lead author of the paper and an associate research scientist at Yale School of Public Health.
Answering this question during the pandemic has been a major challenge because “it’s really hard to find a population, such as the residents of the Connecticut Department of Correction, where we know the type of exposure somebody has and we know their vaccination and prior infection status,” Lind says.
Byron Kennedy, chief medical officer for the Connecticut Department of Correction and associate clinical professor at the Yale School of Public Health, adds, “We had a unique opportunity to answer this question because the Department of Correction had mounted an intensive COVID-19 testing program and we were identifying and isolating infected individuals.”
The researchers tracked infections among 15,444 residents of Connecticut correctional facilities between June 2021 and May 2022, when the state experienced two epidemic waves due to the emergence of the COVID-19 Delta and Omicron variants. They also determined which people had resided with a COVID-19-positive cellmate and, as a result, had high exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
The study found that during the Delta and Omicron epidemic waves, immunity acquired after a vaccination, prior infection, and both vaccination and infection (“hybrid immunity”) was weaker when residents were residing with an infected inmate.
Specifically, during the Delta wave, vaccination was 68% effective at preventing infection in residents without a documented exposure but was just 26% effective in residents with exposure to an infected cellmate. A previous infection was 79% effective in preventing infection in residents without a documented exposure but was 41% effective when a resident was exposed to an infected person in their cell. Hybrid immunity provided the highest level of protection, at 95% and 71% effectiveness, in residents without a documented exposure and with a cell exposure, respectively.
While the overall protection afforded by vaccination, prior infection, and hybrid immunity was lower during the epidemic wave with the more-transmissible Omicron variant, the same pattern in the levels of protection was observed. Vaccination was 43% effective at preventing infection in residents without documented exposure but was just 4% in residents who shared a cell with an infected person. A previous infection was 64% effective without a documented exposure but was only 11% effective when a resident was exposed to an infected person in their cell. Although hybrid immunity afforded higher levels of protection during the Omicron wave, it was only 20% effective in residents with an exposure in their cell as compared to being 76% effective in residents without documented exposure.
The study’s findings underscore the importance of the state of Connecticut’s efforts to protect its incarcerated population during the pandemic. During the two epidemic waves, residents had a 5 to 10 times increased risk of being infected when they shared a cell with an infected individual and a two to four times increased risk of being infected if there was an infected individual in the same cell block. The majority of infections were detected by the Department of Correction’s contact tracing program, which rapidly identified and tested contacts of infected individuals in cells and cell blocks.
“The success of contact tracing was a critical element in keeping our population safe in this high-risk congregate setting during the pandemic,” says Kennedy.
“This research is the first study, as far as we are aware, that provides real-world evidence for the exposure-dependent or ‘leaky’ nature of the immunity afforded by vaccination and infection,” Lind says.
Biology Professor Derek Cummings, a co-senior author of the paper and associate director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida, adds: “More studies are needed to understand whether the same phenomenon of leaky protection may be occurring among vaccinated and previously infected people in the other congregate settings, such as hospitals and nursing homes, and in the community during mass gatherings.”
“We suspect that leaky protection may be the norm for immunity to many infectious diseases of public health importance,” says Albert Ko, professor of public health at the Yale University School of Public Health and co-senior author of the paper.
“This study is a good example of leveraging collaboration between state government and a university to answer a difficult yet fundamental question on how immunity to COVID-19 works, in addition to guiding how we protect our vulnerable populations,” adds Ko, who was also co-chair of Governor Ned Lamont’s Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group during the height of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Additional coauthors of the paper are from the Yale School of Public Health; the Connecticut Department of Correction; the Yale School of Medicine; Stanford University; and the University of Florida, Gainesville.
Source: Yale University
The post High levels of COVID exposure may reduce vax protection appeared first on Futurity.
In 2019, a Russian foreign-policy hand told me that his country had intervened in Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad for reasons that were, he said, “pedagogical.” Putin had watched the Bush and Obama administrations insert themselves into Iraq, Libya, and Syria, leaving messes in each. Now he would teach America how to intervene right: swiftly, decisively, and without sermonizing about “democracy,” “human rights,” and suchlike twaddle. The chief instructor in this master class would be Yevgeny Prigozhin, known as “Putin’s cook”—not for some cool James Bond–like reason, such as a preference for sharp throwing knives or an ability to make a mean polonium soufflé, but because before Prigozhin headed Putin’s paramilitary Wagner Group, he ran an actual catering business.
Prigozhin appears to have been fired from that teaching job. Yesterday his private jet went down north of Moscow, and Russian authorities assure us that Prigozhin was on it. That he was still available to die under these circumstances was a minor miracle of survival: In June, he led the most significant coup attempt against a Russian leader since the end of the Cold War. It was generally assumed that Putin would kill him. Instead Prigozhin remained alive and unpoisoned—and, most amazing, still active in the Wagner Group’s core mercenary business in Africa.
Many who have been laid off from more banal jobs have experienced an unsettling moment, when they realize that the youngster whom management has sent to shadow them is in fact their replacement. I suspect that the past two months have been just such a period of managerial judo by Putin. Wagner has not been fighting much in Ukraine for months, but in Africa, its work has been an indispensable element of Russian policy. And Putin saw fit to keep this dead man walking, long enough to ensure that Wagner can continue its deals.
In the days before his death, Prigozhin posted a video from what was likely Mali, one of the four countries where Wagner is a major player. In Libya, Prigozhin’s men have supported the warlord Khalifa Haftar, and in Sudan, they have buttressed the forces of government warlords and run mining and energy camps.
But Wagner’s main prize is the Central African Republic (CAR). Last month, when it seemed that Prigozhin had been sidelined, one of the first signs that he was not yet gulagged was his public appearance at the Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg. The gathering was intended to announce a whole series of Russian initiatives in Africa. A photograph showed Prigozhin shaking the hand of a senior aide to CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadéra. In CAR, the deal Wagner and Russia have offered is straightforward: We get your diamonds and other natural resources, and in return we will secure your rule by whatever violent means are necessary, using our mercenary army. CAR must fully enter the Russian orbit. Tell France (the country’s colonial patron) and the United States to pound sand. Vote as Russia suggests at the United Nations.
By now, Wagner reportedly has more than 1,000 soldiers in CAR. I reported there in the 2000s and early 2010s, before Wagner. The country is a “republic” in name, but only because there isn’t a word for a system of government based on a carousel of violent, pointless coups. The Wagner Group doesn’t care about Central Africans, but neither does anyone else who has intervened in or exploited the country. The place has been miserable for decades and was deteriorating before Wagner arrived.
Wagner has made the lives of Central Africans even worse in many ways, but it has also made CAR more stable. President Touadéra has been trying to extend his term in office, a move widely viewed as an attempt to appoint himself president for life. Russia and Wagner will be happy to have their compliant man in power. Wagner has its cut of the diamond business, and it is involved in other, smaller sectors that probably won’t do much to rescue CAR from its miseries. A Russian vodka is now sold in the country, Wa Na Wa. (Its label says “Made in the Central African Republic with Russian technology.” I recommend that you never drive, fly, eat, drink, inject, smoke, or sleep under anything matching this description.) Wagner mercenaries are alleged to have torched a rival French brewery in March. This sort of gangsterism characterized Russia in the ’90s. It has subsided in Russia. Now it is an export.
Russia is a poor country—not as poor as CAR or Sudan, but poor enough that it cannot hope to compete with Europe and America by leveraging its money or status. Prigozhin offered Putin a service that would allow Putin to dictate terms overseas and even develop a sphere of influence. The real puzzle in the life of Prigozhin, assuming it has ended, is why he thought he could develop a locus of power independent of Putin’s. The mercenary always loses power games like these, because any real success is its own guarantee of failure. If you succeed and get powerful, your boss ends your streak, to keep you from becoming a rival.
Putin appears to have let Prigozhin survive long enough to shake the hands of a few leaders, and tell them that the failed mutiny in Russia would not mean an end to Russia’s relationship with Africa. I wonder if the Kremlin assigned some new employee to shadow Prigozhin in those meetings, write down the password to Wagner’s Yahoo Mail account, and figure out how to get check-signing privileges from Olga in payroll. Yesterday, that youngster probably flew commercial.
For two years now, scientists, shellfish managers, and tribes have been working to understand how the heat dome that settled over the Pacific Northwest in the summer of 2021 affected the places where the ocean and land meet. That heat wave was like nothing in memory. Temperatures soaring as high as 121 degrees Fahrenheit buckled roads, melted power cables, and scorched forests. By the time the heat subsided, 650 people had died in the U.S. and Canada, and dead and dying shellfish and other marine critters littered beaches, cooking in their shells. Red algae were bleached white. Cockles tried to escape the heat by digging out of the sand, only to be greeted by more heat from the sun. Mussels gaped in an attempt to cool off. Tide pools became tubs of hot water. An estimated 1 billion marine animals perished in Canada alone.
These creatures all inhabited the intertidal ecosystems that exist between the ocean’s high and low tide on both rocky and sandy shores. As the day and the tides turn, organisms there lead life above and underwater. Worms, snails, clams, oysters, barnacles, mussels, sea stars, algae, and kelp all thrive here, providing food, filtering water, and producing oxygen. The people studying these zones have seen how, when the heat dome settled in over these creatures, the places they lived helped determine their fate. Living inland was more dangerous than living closer to the coast, but even living on one side of a rock or another could make the difference between life and death. And although these ecosystems are on the path to recovery, they’re changed—and recovery may be a temporary state.
The wide variety of impacts from the 2021 heat wave had almost everything to do with geography. Tides are like waves with very long wavelengths; experts liken the coast and Puget Sound to two ends of a bathtub, with water sloshing back and forth. During the summer in the Pacific Northwest, low tides hit the Olympic Peninsula first, in the morning when temperatures are cooler. That largely spared the Olympic National Park coastline, a biodiversity hot spot for marine invertebrates and seaweeds. Then, low tides move inland through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and down into Puget Sound; in the summer, they reach the Salish Sea in midafternoon, during the heat of the day. As a result, mortality was greater there. A clam in more-western Neah Bay “had a fundamentally different experience than a clam in Olympia because of the timing of the tide,” Wendel Raymond, an intertidal and nearshore ecologist at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, told me. “That’s just how the oceanography of this place works.”
To make matters worse, the heat dome corresponded with exceptionally low tides and some of the longest days of the year, exposing more organisms to the hot air for longer. Mussels and clams were hit hard inland and farther south. On sandy beaches in Puget Sound, clams deeper in the sand generally fared better than their counterparts closer to the surface. On the rocky
coastline, the creatures that suffered the most—seaweeds, mussels, and barnacles—all had one thing common: “They can’t just pick up and crawl away, swim to deeper water, or hide under a rock,” Christopher Harley, a marine biologist at the University of British Columbia, told me.
Harley noticed, though, that areas with seaweed, which functioned like a protective wet blanket, had less mortality. The dollops of shade cast by barnacles, which also trap water in their nooks and crannies, likely helped cool surrounding habitat too; in particular, barnacles on north-facing surfaces stayed cooler, reproduced, and have pretty much repopulated the area today, he said. Seaweeds took longer to rebound but are now doing well; mussels, which recover more slowly, have yet to fully bounce back.
Pacific oysters, however, are thriving in the spaces mussels haven’t reclaimed. The popular seafood species, originally introduced from Japan, grows and reproduces quickly. Oysters’ white or light-gray shells are more thermally tolerant than the shiny black shells of mussels—“If you have a black car, you know the difference,” Raymond said. Mussel and oyster beds create habitats for other organisms, but “if you’re a worm that loves being underneath a mussel or a hermit crab, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll love being in and amongst oysters,” Harley said. No one knows yet what more of one or the other shellfish will add up to—more biodiversity? less?—only that this place is now different than it was in the recent past.
Raymond does expect that, save the oyster boom, the shoreline around Vancouver, British Columbia, could roughly resemble its pre–heat wave self in about another year—if another heat wave doesn’t stunt recovery first. Already, this hot summer has scorched the Pacific Northwest: High temperature records were set during an August heat wave.
The researcher Amelia Hesketh’s Ph.D. work found that organisms struggled to reestablish themselves in hot temperatures, even when the death of other organisms opened up precious real estate. That could result in less biodiversity in the long term. “If you imagine a barnacle is like a forest and a heat wave is like a forest fire,” she told me, “you may still have an opportunity for nutrients to grow—things can still live in a forest that’s been burned—but ultimately, it’s a less good habitat” for many creatures. And scientists conducting beach surveys won’t know for at least another year or two if oyster and clam reproduction was affected in the 2021 heat wave. Did some animals die before they got the chance to reproduce, potentially resulting in a smaller population? If they had already reproduced, were their young offspring more susceptible to dying in the heat than adults? Who lives, and who dies, could affect which genes get passed to future generations.
Researchers don’t yet know whether, in the face of repeated heat waves, organisms will become more resilient or more vulnerable. Initial research by Sandra Emry, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of British Columbia, suggests the latter could be true. “It’s like getting a sunburn on top of another sunburn,” Harley said. Right before the 2021 heat wave, Emry happened to drag space heaters across the shoreline to blast patches with extra heat. So she was able, later, to see that macroalgae pre-exposed to heat stress did worse when the heat wave hit. “While it might seem intuitive that two heat waves are worse than one, I don’t think we actually knew that before,” Emry told me.
On Fidalgo Island in the U.S., the Swinomish tribe is working to protect the intertidal zone from future heat waves with clam gardens, an ancient practice that could help keep clams cool. One popular beach for subsistence clamming on the tribe’s reservation is also highly restricted—no cockle harvesting is allowed—so the species can continue to recover. “These beds have been maintained for thousands of years by Swinomish tribal members,” Joseph Williams (Squi-qui), a fisherman and the former vice chair of the tribe, told me; tribal members’ ancestors signed a treaty that gave up much of their homeland in exchange for continued hunting and fishing rights in the region.
Others in this area depend on intertidal creatures financially: Commercial shellfish growers reported additional clam and oyster mortality following the 2021 heat wave. And for some, these losses are not just about food. “We were taught that our foods are more than just for physical nourishment,” Williams told me. “Our foods are here to feed our soul also.” The heat dome’s consequences are rippling through life in a warmer world: In the intertidal zone, extreme heat changes how habitats function, which changes how the landscape may respond to future heat waves, which could affect entire ecosystems in yet-unknown ways. One extreme event might be devastating, but we can still only imagine the full consequences as these events repeat over and over again.
Two studies report considerable improvements in technologies designed to help people with facial paralysis to communicate
- In 2016, as a result of the project’s development phase, the HBP launched six specialized operating platforms, covering areas such as brain simulations, high-performance analytics and computing, and neurorobotics.
The Human Brain Project wraps up in September after a decade. It had notable achievements and a troubled past
Nature, Published online: 24 August 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-02668-5Analysis shows that mini jets of gas help to generate the solar wind, a discovery that also illuminates how our star's activity damages satellites.
Mr. No Good
On Wednesday, Elon Musk unveiled the first production candidate of the long-awaited Cybertruck. But behind the scenes, he already sounds less than pleased about its quality.
"Due to the nature of Cybertruck, which is made of bright metal with mostly straight edges, any dimensional variation shows up like a sore thumb," Musk wrote in the email, shared on the Cybertrucks Owners Club forum.
"All parts for this vehicle, whether internal or from suppliers, need to be designed and built to sub 10 micron accuracy," he said, specifying that tolerances must be in "single digit microns."
"If LEGO and soda cans, which are very low cost, can do this, so can we," he added.
Finally, signing off his email, he dropped this faux-deep maxim: "Precision predicates perfectionism."
Musk is on the money about the Cybertruck's ostentatious profile and the scrutiny it draws. Of course, some of that scrutiny is self-inflicted. Beyond its unorthodox styling, the janky construction of its exterior is plain to see, and has been widely criticized.
But for Musk to demand "sub 10 micron accuracy" — easily less than the width of a grain of sand — sounds frankly ridiculous.
If that wasn’t dunderheaded enough, what does the manufacturing of LEGOs and soda cans have in common with an enormous, blocky SUV? Are they made in even remotely the same way? Is the scale even comparable? Of course not. Leave it to Musk, though, to chew up his subordinates over reality issues related to his grandiose vision.
Tesla's quality control has long been the source of derision. Although the automaker's enthusiasts insist it's gotten better over the years, the inherent weirdness of the Cybertruck may mean that keeping it consistent with the very high standards that Musk is demanding may be too tall a task.
The Cybertruck is simply, and quite clearly, not like any other car. That already poses a challenge to workers trying to get these low-poly pentagons-on-wheels out the door. Moreover, leaked documents have seemingly confirmed what many already suspected: that the Cybertruck is riddled with glaring, fundamental design flaws.
Roughly two million of these Teslas have been pre-ordered, and delivering on that number will not be easy, micron precision or not. To all Tesla workers that will have to adhere these standards: good luck.
The post Elon Musk Sounds Mad About the Cybertruck Looking Sloppy in Leaked Email appeared first on Futurism.
This article contains spoilers through the Season 2 finale of And Just Like That.
Throughout the original run of Sex and the City, the comforts of wealth often smoothed out the roughest conflicts—especially in romantic relationships. Friends and lovers alike papered over their transgressions by purchasing jewelry, planning overseas trips, and paying for extravagant dinners. And in true New York City form, the most meaningful gifts didn’t come in diamond but in brass, silver, nickel, and steel: house keys.
Take the decision by Carrie (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) and Mr. Big (Chris Noth) to get married in the first movie. Prompted by his purchase of a massive Park Avenue penthouse for them to live in, Carrie—ever the luxury-shoe obsessive—asked him to skip the engagement ring and instead build her a really big closet so the new apartment would feel like her home too. When Charlotte (Kristin Davis) was splitting from her lily-livered husband, he kindly—and unexpectedly—barred his overbearing mother from taking their posh Upper East Side home in the divorce proceedings. And for Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), decamping to Brooklyn at the request of her husband, Steve (David Eigenberg), was a clear sign of her devotion to their family, more so than the fact that she had proposed to him.
During the second season of And Just Like That, the franchise’s modern-day reboot, the widowed Carrie—who lost Big in the series premiere—is once again weighing what it will take for her to hold on to a love-filled home. She reunites with Aidan (John Corbett), the furniture-designing ex-fiancé who once bought the apartment next door to her decade-defining Upper East Side alcove studio in the hope of tearing down the wall between them, both literally and metaphorically. Two decades after Carrie’s cold feet ended their engagement, he is a divorced father of three living on a farm in Norfolk, Virginia, and seemingly primed for a renewed connection. But as they strike up a whirlwind courtship, Aidan refuses to step foot in her apartment, which has been Carrie’s refuge since Big’s death. “This is where we ended,” Aidan tells her after their first post-date taxi pulls up at the familiar address. “It’s all bad. And it’s just, it’s all in there.”
In the clumsily titled season finale, “The Last Supper Part Two: Entree,” written by Sex and the City stalwarts Michael Patrick King, Darren Star, and Candace Bushnell, Aidan finally crosses that charged threshold. But he arrives with no overnight bag, which immediately alerts Carrie that he’s come to confess what she’s been fearing: It’s not going to work out, at least not for awhile. The previous episode saw Aidan sitting in a hospital parking lot, furious with himself after his youngest son was critically injured in a drunk-driving accident on the way to Aidan’s empty Virginia house. Carrie, equipped with a lavish inheritance, has just purchased a massive townhouse in Gramercy Park, a light-filled dream big enough to fit Aidan and even his teenage sons. But for now, Aidan says, sitting at her dining table, his only home is with his children. Any plans to cohabit in New York will have to wait until his youngest is 18—another five years.
Though it may not signal a true end to their reunion, Aidan’s pained declaration is one of the first instances of a character on the status-obsessed series rebuffing a grandiose, property-related display of affection. It’s an intriguing direction for a show that has so often let its characters get away with throwing money at seemingly intractable problems. Although the series is occasionally maddening to watch, it hits its stride whenever it calls back to those landmark New York City homes that shape its characters and their relationships to one another without always giving in to the franchise’s overly sentimental impulses.
Steve and Miranda’s conversation in the season finale—their first warm exchange since the Season 1 dissolution of their marriage—reflects this awareness. Noting that she’d like them to stay in each other’s lives, Miranda admits that he was right to suggest they move to Brooklyn when they did, because they’d never be able to afford that house in the present. A genial bartender from Queens, Steve wasn’t as financially secure as the former corporate lawyer Miranda, to say nothing of the finance moguls, hoteliers, and doctors her friends were partnered with. Considering the constant tension caused by this class gap while they were together, the nod to Steve’s economic savvy feels like an olive branch. It’s a peak Miranda compliment, tenderness carefully swaddled in an assessment of Steve’s pragmatism. What else could it be about but a brownstone?
At the start of the episode, Carrie gets a phone call from Samantha (Kim Cattrall), whose cameo has been hotly anticipated since news of it was leaked before the start of the season. Speaking from London, Samantha tells Carrie that she won’t be able to fly into New York in time for the dinner Carrie is hosting to celebrate her last days in her old apartment. The characters’ missed connection, likely also a function of the real friction between the actors, reflects the way life is changing for the women of the series as they age and take on weightier commitments. In the first Sex and the City film, Samantha actually did manage to surprise Carrie by flying in from Los Angeles to help her friend pack up her apartment in preparation for moving in with Big. “A lot of shit went down in this place,” she said then, pulling two bottles of champagne from behind her back. “Attention must be paid.”
But paying attention to a loved one’s needs as an adult—tending to their wounds in the present tense—requires a whole lot more than impulsively booking a long-haul flight or shelling out for the best bubbly. It takes more than buying a new house, even: Just as the inheritance didn’t readily soothe the grief Carrie felt when Big died, the Gramercy Park place can’t ameliorate Aidan’s guilt over not having been there for his teenage son. Relationships in need of repair can’t be mended with flights, keys, or cosmopolitans alone. Sex and the City may not always have understood that, but it seems that And Just Like That might.
- In 2016, as a result of the project’s development phase, the HBP launched six specialized operating platforms, covering areas such as brain simulations, high-performance analytics and computing, and neurorobotics.
The Human Brain Project wraps up in September after a decade. It had notable achievements and a troubled past
Nature, Published online: 24 August 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-02703-5Algorithms trained to associate sounds with neural activity can give people back their voice
A new study supports a strong link between respiratory and digestive diseases in dogs.
While the respiratory and digestive systems of canines have previously been studied independently, researchers at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine have investigated the interplay between disorders in either of these systems for the last decade.
One of their most recent, published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, finds that 75% of dogs with respiratory disease lacking gastrointestinal (GI) signs had one or more coexisting digestive system abnormalities.
The findings, which can advance the diagnosis and treatment of diseases in canines, indicate that both dog owners and clinicians should attempt to identify and closely monitor for potential digestive issues in dogs with respiratory disease, even when the dogs do not appear to have trouble swallowing, regurgitate, or vomit.
“Dogs that come into our clinic with signs of respiratory disease, such as coughing or difficulty breathing, may often have issues in their upper aerodigestive tract,” says Carol Reinero, a professor in the CVM who led the study.
“This makes sense because it is in that area where those pathways cross, a healthy dog should breathe in and not swallow or swallow and not breathe in, but when that goes haywire they can develop disease, including the potential for swallowing too much air or getting food or water into the lungs.”
For the study, which included 45 dogs with respiratory clinical signs without GI signs and 15 healthy dogs as a control group, the researchers took a video x-ray while each dog was eating and drinking in a natural position (while standing) to look for abnormalities in swallowing or movement of material into or back out of the animal’s stomach.
The findings showed that the dogs with respiratory disease were far more likely to have abnormalities such as accidental breathing of food or fluid into the lungs, a condition known as aspiration, gastroesophageal or extraesophageal reflux, and trouble swallowing than control dogs.
These patients are one of the reasons why Reinero and Aida Vientós-Plotts, who are both veterinarians with specialty training in internal medicine, co-founded The BREATHE Clinic in 2022. BREATHE, an acronym for Bringing Respiration and Aerodigestion Toward Health, is a subspecialty clinic within the CVM that aims to help patients with both respiratory and aerodigestive disorders.
“When patients come in for evaluation, we ask very specific questions about a pets’ environment, diet, whether or not their cough is associated with eating or drinking, or if their pet drops food when they eat, among others,” says Vientós-Plotts. “The answers to these questions can help inform our recommendations for additional diagnostic tests that allow us to provide a comprehensive plan for each individual patient.”
Depending on the situation, management strategies that can help improve the quality of life for patients can include changes in diet, water alternatives, surgery, or recommendations to gain or lose weight, the researchers say.
“Sometimes we might recommend switching from kibble to canned foods or adjusting the macronutrients for more or less proteins or fats,” says Vientós-Plotts.
French bulldogs and other flat-faced or “squashed”-faced breeds are far more likely to have both respiratory and GI issues than most dog breeds, Vientós-Plotts says.
“This is because their respiratory tissues are squashed in a much smaller area, so the holes to bring air in are smaller,” Reinero says. “As they struggle to breathe, this can cause reflux or herniation of their stomach, and they also tend to get very excited about eating so they may forget to breathe until they are mid-swallow, potentially causing food or liquid to get into their lungs.”
According to the American Kennel Club, the French bulldog was recently ranked as the most popular dog breed in
, overtaking the Labrador retriever, which held the top ranking for the previous 31 years.
While this study assessed a wide variety of small and large breeds with different facial conformations and found a global connection between respiratory and digestive disorders, it underscores that aerodigestive disorders appear to be common and could occur in any pet dog.
Source: University of Missouri
The post There’s a link between respiratory and digestion issues in dogs appeared first on Futurity.
Using a brain-computer interface, a person with ALS who lost the ability to speak created text on a computer at rates that approach the speed of regular speech just by thinking of saying the words.
In a new study published in Nature, the researchers describe using sensors implanted in areas of the cerebral cortex associated with speech to accurately turn the brain activity of the patient.
The clinical trial participant—who can no longer use the muscles of her lips, tongue, larynx, and jaws to enunciate units of sound clearly—was able to generate 62 words per minute on a computer screen simply by attempting to speak.
“It’s a big advance toward restoring rapid communication to people with paralysis who can’t speak.”
This is more than three times as fast as the previous record for assisted communication using implanted brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) and begins to approach the roughly 160-word-per-minute rate of natural conversation among English speakers.
The study shows that it’s possible to use neural activity to decode attempted speaking movements with better speed and a larger vocabulary than what was previously possible.
“This is a scientific proof of concept, not an actual device people can use in everyday life,” says Frank Willett, one of the study’s lead authors and a research scientist at Stanford University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. “It’s a big advance toward restoring rapid communication to people with paralysis who can’t speak.”
The work is part of the BrainGate clinical trial, directed by Leigh Hochberg, a critical care neurologist and a professor at Brown University’s School of Engineering who is affiliated with the University’s Carney Institute for Brain Science. Jaimie Henderson, a professor of neurosurgery at Stanford, and Krishna Shenoy, a Stanford professor and HHMI investigator, who died before the study was published, are also authors on the study.
The study is the latest in a series of advances in brain-computer interfaces made by the BrainGate consortium, which along with other work using BCIs has been developing systems that enable people to generate text through direct brain control for several years. Previous incarnations have involved trial participants thinking about the motions involved in pointing to and clicking letters on a virtual keyboard, and, in 2021, converting a paralyzed person’s imagined handwriting onto text on a screen, attaining a speed of 18 words per minute.
“With credit and thanks to the extraordinary people with tetraplegia who enroll in the BrainGate clinical trials and other BCI research, we continue to see the incredible potential of implanted brain-computer interfaces to restore communication and mobility,” says Hochberg, who in addition to his roles at Brown is a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and director of the V.A. Rehabilitation Research and Development Center for Neurorestoration and Neurotechnology in Providence.
One of those extraordinary people is Pat Bennett, who having learned about the 2021 work, volunteered for the BrainGate clinical trial that year.
Bennett, now 68, is a former human resources director and daily jogger who was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) in 2012. For Bennett, the progressive neurodegenerative disease stole her ability to speak intelligibly. While Bennett’s brain can still formulate directions for generating units of sound called phonemes, her muscles can’t carry out the commands.
“For those who are nonverbal, this means they can stay connected to the bigger world, perhaps continue to work, maintain friends and family relationships.”
As part of the clinical trial, Henderson, a neurosurgeon, placed two pairs of tiny electrodes about the size of a baby aspirin in two separate speech-related regions of Bennett’s cerebral cortex. An artificial-intelligence algorithm receives and decodes electronic information emanating from Bennett’s brain, eventually teaching itself to distinguish the distinct brain activity associated with her attempts to formulate each of the phonemes—such as sh sound—that are the building blocks of speech and compose spoken English.
The decoder then feeds its best guess concerning the sequence of Bennett’s attempted phonemes into a language model, which acts essentially as a sophisticated autocorrect system. This system then converts the streams of phonemes into the sequence of words they represent, which are then displayed on the computer screen.
To teach the algorithm to recognize which brain-activity patterns were associated with which phonemes, Bennett engaged in about 25 training sessions, each lasting about four hours, where she attempted to repeat sentences chosen randomly from a large data set.
As part of these sessions, the research team also analyzed the system’s accuracy. They found that when the sentences and the word-assembling language model were restricted to a 50-word vocabulary, the translation system’s error rate was 9.1%. When vocabulary was expanded to 125,000 words, large enough to compose almost anything someone would want to say, the error rate rose to 23.8%.
The researchers say the figures are far from perfect but represent a giant step forward from prior results using BCIs. They are hopeful of what the system could one day achieve—as is Bennett.
“For those who are nonverbal, this means they can stay connected to the bigger world, perhaps continue to work, maintain friends and family relationships,” Bennett wrote via email. “Imagine how different conducting everyday activities like shopping, attending appointments, ordering food, going into a bank, talking on a phone, expressing love or appreciation—even arguing—will be when nonverbal people can communicate their thoughts in real time.”
The National Institutes of Health,
Department of Veterans Affairs, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Simons Foundation and L. and P. Garlick funded the work.
Source: Brown University
We see this pretty often in this subreddit. You think it would be a more optimistic subreddit, but it's almost as if people here really don't like to discuss new technologies in a fair light. Criticism is fine, skepticism is fine, but making sweeping statements about how you know the future and that things will never get better is just dismissive and disruptive to conversations.
Every major technological revolution changed and reshaped itself in ways that many couldn't predict. So why not take that into account? "X is impossible." – Have you actually looked into the science behind that? "People just don't want that." – How do you undoubtedly know if people will want or not want a future technology when that technology doesn't exist in its mature form yet?
These are just really dismissive comments that people keep on touting:
"AR glasses will never enough usecases for people to mass adopt.", "VR headsets are gimmicks, and 3D TV failed for a reason."
"AI doesn't exist because there is no intelligence to be found. It's a marketing term.", "LLMs are dumb and people are fooled too easily. There's just no practical use."
"Self-driving cars, just like flying cars, are going to remain a fantasy.", "Self-driving cars will never be able to account for the harsh unpredictability of roads and weather."
These tend to be the most upvoted, the most common, and present themselves with few or no facts to back it up. Why do people feel the need to make such a strong statement without having done the research to see whether their claims hold up? There are certainly going to be technology duds, but when everything is treated as a dud, there's clearly a dud in how people see new technology period.
After atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear physicist Katharine Way persuaded the world’s greatest physicists to contribute essays to a book opposing nuclear weapons
- YouQ stems from a partnership with IBM Watson and NASA researchers .
Here's a really interesting paper at eLife on how well
technology can predict drug binding modes. That's what a lot of us would very much like to be able to do, of course, and we've wanted to do it for decades now. But it ain't easy. AlphaFold (and RoseTTAFold, et al.) are strikingly good at protein structure prediction, and later refinements have extended that to proteins that don't even exist yet but have shapes you'd like to be able to make. Small molecule binding, though, is a rather different problem.
My own take on this is that it's a larger problem than protein structure, which I admit is not a happy thought. But I say this because there are only twenty or so amino acids in a protein backbone, and they're all connected by amide bonds. You can accumulate a lot of knowledge about what makes those amide bonds happy and what makes those twenty side chains happy, and that's just what the software mentioned has been able to do. And these programs have done spectacular jobs of organizing all that information into very effective pattern-matching systems whose predictions are quite strong.
But small molecules have a far greater variety of structural motifs and a greater variety of interaction modes with the proteins they're binding do. You don't have to worry about halogen bonds when you're doing protein structure, just to pick an obvious example, because no natural proteins have chlorines or bromines in them. Similarly, there are plenty of other things that rarely or never come up: torsional angles of sulfonamide linkages, pi-interactions of pyridines, the polarity of sulfoxides, the conformational flexibility of azepane rings. . .we're an imaginative bunch, we organic chemists, and a couple of billion years of natural product evolution have provided further structures that keep surprising even us. So I think that there are a lot more structural situations to work though, while at the same time there are nowhere near as many data points as you have for straight protein structure. The number of small-ligand-bound structures in the PDB is only a small fraction of the total number of PDB structures – you'd want it to be several times the size to have a better shot at AlphaFolding your way to the solutions, in my view. As the authors note, the measures of these programs are on the accuracy of prediction of protein structure, not on the accuracy of the structures of the ligands as they bind these proteins, and those are indeed different things. Indeed, AlphaFold itself is not designed to "dock" small molecules to proteins, but there are a number of widely-used software packages that do just that. Do they perform better when you give them AlphaFold protein structures to dock into?
In this new paper, the authors are looking at a very well-worked-on area, small molecule ligands bound to G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). That's a good choice, because there is a lot of very high-quality experimental data to compare to. They turn AlphaFold2 loose on several GPCRs, with none of the experimentally determined structural data allowed into the mix (through use of cutoff dates for reported structures). And it did a very good job: the predictions of the binding-site structures were very close to what was determined by experiment. In most cases, in fact, those differences were no larger than the differences you'd see when experimentally determining that GPCR binding site structure with a different ligand bound to it. That's very good indeed. It has to be said that there are a few nasty outliers where AF2 gave a very inaccurate structure, so you can't treat its results like a magic oracle (not yet, anyway), but it's still powerful and impressive overall.
But what about the binding mode of that ligand? The results across the most widely-used docking software were all the same: if you take a GPCR binding site whose "real" structure you don't know by experiment, you have to develop a homology model to bridge the gap between the closest experimental data and the system you're studying. But now you can (in theory) skip that process and directly dock into an AlphaFold structure instead. What the authors found here, though, was that this doesn't give you any actual improvement in predicting the ligand poses when they're bound. And if you actually have experimental data – which is of course going to be experimental data with a different ligand bound than the one(s) you're docking – using the AlphaFold structures gives significantly worse results than docking into the pocket determined by experiment.
This lines up with a number of other recent papers that have concluded that AlphaFold does not give you any advantages in compound docking, but this one controls for even more variables than most of those. The authors make a really good point at the end: AlphaFold and the other programs in that area were all developed to optimize the fit of their predictions to experimental protein structures, and they have done an extraordinary job of it. But there could well be room to develop a program that instead optimizes to the protein structures that give the best predictive fit in compound-docking performance. Why not? It would be quite instructive to see what the differences are, for starters. No doubt that data set is not large enough (yet) to work with, but we could start to get a handle on the problem with some deliberate effort. You'd think that a program that generates such well-formed protein structures would be a natural fit with compound-docking software, but that's clearly not the case yet. There are plenty of ways to tune a guitar or a keyboard instrument – and this instrument probably needs some new tunings as well.
It's been years since a pharmaceutical drug caught the attention of the public like semaglutide. It's the active ingredient in the diabetes injectable drug Ozempic, the pill-based diabetes treatment Rybelsus, and the weight loss injectable Wegovy — all touted as next-gen weight loss solutions, though only the last one is technically supposed to be prescribed for weight management.
In an ideal world, the decision to start taking a semaglutide-based medication would be an informed medical consultation between patients and their doctors. That way, anyone prescribed Wegovy, which was only approved for weight management in 2021, would understand the potential risks as well as potential benefits.
But in the flawed reality of the
medical system, those important conversations are often mediated — or even subverted — by a range of other players, ranging from hype-fueled media actors and the politics of health insurance coverage to the pressures of body shaming and the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical advertising business.
Let's zoom in for a moment on those ads, which are seen everywhere from Instagram and Facebook to subway posters in New York City. In theory, they're supposed to be tightly regulated, leading to the sometimes comically lengthy enumerations of possible side effects they often cram in. Take this TV spot for Wegovy, which warns of the risk of everything from suicidal thoughts and depression to "severe stomach pain, itching, rash, trouble breathing, or swelling in your face or throat," nevermind pancreatitis and gallbladder problems.
That's good. People considering a drug should be aware of the risks. But online, pharma ads remain surprisingly laissez-faire, and that's on full display with semaglutide. As others have reported, Instagram and Facebook have been overrun with ads for the stuff, and as people look for cheaper versions of prescriptions that costs upwards of $1,650 per month — and that insurers are often refusing to pay for — they often find themselves on some very unsavory websites selling bottom-shelf vials of what purports to be semaglutide.
Now we can add the search giant
to the list of tech companies cashing in on the phenomenon. Perusing search queries for "buy semaglutide online" and "semaglutide without prescription," we found a striking number of sponsored ads in which dodgy online pharmacies offer to sell semaglutide without the oversight of a doctor. Some are so low rent that they request that buyers send money via PayPal; needless to say, buyers are taking these black market sellers at their word that the drug will arrive at all, will actually be what it claims, and that it'll be the proper strength and purity.
Take one offending website, which sells the drug in powder form, requiring users to mix it up themselves as if they were shooting up heroin.
"THIS ITEM DOES NOT COME PRE-MIXED," the seller warns in all capital letters. "WE DO NOT SUPPLY BACTERIOSTATIC WATER OR SYRINGES IN ANY ORDER! THERE ARE NO REFUNDS ON THIS ITEM."
Results, as you would imagine, may vary.
"There was nothing in the bottle I ordered or any instructions," wrote one peeved user in the site's reviews section.
"The real deal," a more satisfied customer wrote, adding that they "felt effects after the second dose."
Some of the sites we reviewed did offer seemingly telehealth services with doctors who can, these sites promise, prescribe seemingly generic semaglutide — itself an issue, given that there is currently no FDA-approved generic of Wegovy, Ozempic, Rybelsus, or Mounjaro (which is similar but contains the active ingredient tirzepatide rather than semaglutide.)
While the sale of compounded semaglutide — that is, semaglutide mixed with another chemical, usually a B vitamin — is legal, the FDA has issued warnings about these injectable drugs after receiving reports of adverse effects, though the agency did not specify what those effects were or what about the compounded semaglutide might have caused them.
Additionally, the agency said in its press release about the warning earlier this year that some companies were selling semaglutide sodium and semaglutide acetate, which are not, the FDA said, a component of any known medication.
Other sponsored ads we reviewed claim the drugs are sold for "research use" only and are not for human consumption — wink-wink — while others don't offer any disclaimers.
After we reached out to Google, the company said that some of the ads we found had been removed because they violated the search engine's healthcare and medicines policy, though they declined to specify which exact portions were in violation because "bad actors will often utilize this information to undermine our efforts and evade enforcement."
The Google representative said that it only allows ads that have been certified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) or the compliance company LegitScript. Though it appears to have removed the ads for sites that didn't require a prescription, ads that do require a prescription remain.
"Our certification partners perform ongoing monitoring throughout the certification to ensure compliance," a Google spokesperson added. "Advertisers who have not completed our certification program are not allowed to promote the sale of prescription drugs. This includes medications such as Ozempic, Wegovy, or Semaglutide."
We also reached out to Novo Nordisk, the maker of Ozempic, about the dodgy sellers. The pharma company has also begun taking legal action against the "unlawful marketing and sales of non-FDA approved counterfeit and compounded semaglutide products," but didn't respond to our request for comment.
Some will make the argument that patients should be able to choose to put anything they want in their bodies without the meddling of medical professionals. After all, cracking down on the sale and prescribing of any drug, be it opiates or amphetamines, often restricts supply and repels more scrupulous dealers, perversely making things more dangerous for people who do choose to use.
But in the real world, prescriptions exist for a reason. It's difficult to make sound health decisions without the input of an objective outside expert; most states even prohibit physicians from prescribing drugs for themselves. And even if you think sellers and buyers of black market drugs shouldn't be targeted by law enforcement, it's not clear why major tech companies like Meta and Google's parent company Alphabet should be making money by enabling such sales.
Searching for online semaglutide now, Google users will find sponsored ads for sites that offer telehealth services to prescribe the drug. While that's better than the ads Google removed that weren't even offering that level of scrutiny, the sites are still ultimately selling seemingly off-brand semaglutide in spite of there being no FDA-approved generic, and without an in-person consultation.
While there's no doubt that the enforcement of these kinds of black or grey-market weight loss drugs is difficult given the gold rush around them, the question remains: why is big tech profiting off those sales?
More on semaglutide: Sites Spring Up to Sell Semaglutide for Cheap With No Prescription
The post Google Seems to Be Running a Lot of Ads for Black Market Semaglutide appeared first on Futurism.
After atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear physicist Katharine Way persuaded the world’s greatest physicists to contribute essays to a book opposing nuclear weapons
Though Republican presidential candidates aimed to set themselves apart from Donald Trump at Wednesday’s debate, none are seizing on climate policy or support for renewable energy manufacturing and jobs as a way to stand out
Record-low sea ice caused Emperor Penguin chicks to die across Antarctica last year. This year could be just as bad
Nature Communications, Published online: 24 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-41010-5Author Correction: A translational regulator MHZ9 modulates ethylene signaling in rice
Nature Communications, Published online: 24 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-40615-0Sulfonyl and sulfonimidoyl fluorides (SFs) are versatile substrates in organic synthesis but conversion to S(VI) radicals is challenging. Here, the authors show that organosuperbase activated SFs can be converted to S(VI) radicals under photocatalytic conditions and demonstrate application of this synthetic pathway in the preparation of functional polymers and dyes.
- This morning, Meta released another model, Llama 2 Code, that is fine-tuned for coding.
- Fungi-eating plants and flies team up for reproduction
- Fungi-eating plants and flies team up for reproduction
Nature, Published online: 24 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06551-1Outflows from the Youngest Stars are Mostly Molecular
Nature, Published online: 24 August 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-02685-4When Chandrayaan-3 touched down, India pulled off a huge win for its own space programme and for international efforts to understand the Moon.
The economic shock of the mass slaughter of
bison in the late 1800s still reverberates in Indigenous communities today, a new economic study shows.
The slaughter by settlers of European descent is a well-known ecological disaster. An estimated eight million bison roamed
in 1870, but just 20 years later fewer than 500 of the iconic animals remained.
The mass slaughter provided a brief economic boon to some newly arriving settlers, hunters, and traders of the Great Plains who sold the hides and bones for industrial uses.
In contrast, Indigenous peoples whose lives depended on the bison suffered a devastating economic shock.
The new research in the Review of Economic Studies quantifies both the immediate and long-term economic impacts of the loss of the bison on Indigenous peoples whose lives depended on the animals.
Changes in the average height of bison-related people is one striking example of the fallout. Adult height across a population is one proxy of wealth and health given that it can be impacted by nutrition and disease, particularly early in development.
Bison-reliant Indigenous men stood around six feet tall on average, or about an inch taller than Indigenous men who were not bison-reliant.
“Centuries of human capital were built around the use of the bison, and within 10 to 20 years this economic underpinning disappeared.”
“They were among the tallest people in the world in the mid-19th century,” says coauthor Maggie Jones, assistant professor of economics at Emory University. “But after the rapid near-extinction of the bison, the height of the people born after the slaughter also rapidly declined.”
Within one generation, the average height of Indigenous peoples most impacted by the slaughter dropped by more than an inch.
“That’s a major drop, but given the magnitude of the economic shock it’s not necessarily surprising,” Jones says.
Indigenous child mortality and income
By the early 20th century, the paper shows, the child-mortality rate of bison-dependent Indigenous nations was 16 percentage points higher and the probability of a working-age male reporting an occupation was 19 percentage points lower compared with Indigenous nations that were never reliant on bison.
And income per capita remained 25% lower, on average, for bison-reliant nations compared to other nations through the latter half of the 20th century to today. The persistent gap could not be explained by differences in factors such as agricultural productivity, self-governance, or application of the Dawes Act of 1887, which authorized the breakup of reservation land into small allotments parceled out for individual ownership.
The researchers find that limited access to credit was one factor that curtailed the ability of some bison-reliant nations to adjust economically following the near-extinction of the bison.
“One role of economists is to provide quantitative evidence that people can turn to when trying to design more effective policies,” Jones says. “By providing data that benchmarks disparities among bison-reliant people and the sources and evolution of these disparities, we hope to support efforts to improve the situation.”
Arrival of Europeans
Jones’ economic research focus includes history, labor, and education. She uses quantitative tools from these areas to better understand the persistence of socioeconomic inequalities between groups in North America.
The economic effects of the bison slaughter are an overlooked piece of the history of Indigenous peoples that she and her coauthors decided to investigate.
For more than 10,000 years, bison served as the primary source of the livelihood for many Native Americans in regions of the Great Plains, the Northwest, and the Rocky Mountains. Along with nutrition, the animals provided hides for clothing, lodging, and blankets as well as bones for tools and implements. Nearly every part of the animal was used, including the brains to obtain grease for tanning hides and the stomach for creating bags and water containers.
“Bison were not just key to the economies of some Indigenous nations. The bison were also important cultural and spiritual symbols.”
Evidence suggests that bison-reliant Indigenous societies enjoyed living standards comparable to, or in some cases better than, their European contemporaries.
A gradual decline of the bison population started with the introduction of the horse and the arrival of Europeans. By 1870, however, mass slaughter of the animals began. Factors that drove the kill-off included the completion of the transcontinental railroad, improvements in European tanning technology that made bison hides more desirable, and encouragement by the US Army to eliminate the animals to help in their efforts to force Indigenous peoples onto reservations.
In some regions, the bison was eliminated in a little more than a decade. Jones and her coauthors describe the slaughter as one of the largest and most rapid losses of a critical industry in North American history.
“Centuries of human capital were built around the use of the bison, and within 10 to 20 years this economic underpinning disappeared,” Jones says. “And many channels of economic adjustment were cut off for Indigenous populations.”
Indigenous people were forced onto reservations, their movements were restricted, and they were not allowed to become citizens of the United States until 1924, the authors note.
Among the sources Jones and her colleagues drew on to quantify the impacts of the bison slaughter are data collected by anthropologists and published in the 15-volume Smithsonian Handbook on Native American Populations.
The economists defined nearly 24 Indigenous nations as “exposed to the slaughter,” based on geographic location and whether bison served as their primary food source.
In their quantitative analysis of bison-reliant nations with Indigenous nations that were not bison-reliant, they controlled for factors such as differences in self-governance status of communities, differences in forms of agricultural productivity, and the suitability of the land for agricultural production, the effects of the Dust Bowl, and differential application of the Dawes Act.
To measure the persistent effects of the bison’s decline on economic outcomes, the researchers drew from several sources: the Bureau of Indian Affairs (beginning in 1945), the US Census (1980, 1990, 2000), and American Community Surveys (2007-2012 and 2015-2019).
The data showed that the income of formerly bison-reliant nations remained 25% lower than those of other Indigenous nations through 2019.
The researchers find relatively more favorable trajectories for bison-reliant communities that were located nearer to financial institutions in 1870 when the mass slaughter of the bison began.
“Proximity to a bank and access to credit appeared to be one important factor to help alleviate some of the financial hardship generated by the bison’s decline,” Jones says. “Many Indigenous communities are still located in banking deserts. That makes it more difficult to adjust to any kind of hardship that comes your way.”
The researchers are now exploring the potential role of psychological trauma on the economic outcomes of bison-reliant nations.
“Bison were not just key to the economies of some Indigenous nations,” Jones says. “The bison were also important cultural and spiritual symbols. You would expect a psychological impact when they were ripped away. That’s an important part of the story that this paper didn’t get to tell.”
Additional coauthors are from the University of Toronto and the University of Victoria.
Source: Emory University
The post Indigenous peoples still face effects of mass bison slaughter appeared first on Futurity.
- On top of that, there should be plenty of time to adjust, as Clearspace-1's launch is slated for 2026.
Space Agency's experimental mission to remove a large piece of space junk, just had its plans blow up in its face — quite literally.
Its intended target for removal was a jettisoned, conical-shaped rocket adapter, VESPA, which has been floating in low Earth orbit for a decade.
The plan was for a four-armed craft, which looks a bit like the grabber in an arcade's claw machine, to approach the adapter, carefully close itself around the debris, and then fly down to Earth with its payload in tow.
But fate decided to throw a curveball.
It now appears that another random piece of space junk has hit the adapter, creating even more space junk — as well as junking the ESA's goal to remove the 250 pound VESPA in one piece. It's terrible luck, but also a perfect illustration of the perils of our detritis-filled orbit.
Back to the Drawing Board
Breaking the bad news was
Space Force, which informed the ESA on August 10 that it had detected additional objects in the vicinity of the target for clean-up.
Although the collision wasn't directly observed, all evidence indicates the "hypervelocity impact of a small, untracked object" that smashed into the adapter and sent small fragments flying, the ESA said in a statement.
But not all may be lost. Followup observations have revealed that the adapter is still mostly intact, and that its orbit was not significantly altered. Its fragments also don't appear to pose any risk to other orbiting spacecraft.
On top of that, there should be plenty of time to adjust, as Clearspace-1's launch is slated for 2026.
For now, the ESA says it's "carefully evaluating the event's impact on the mission." The mission is currently continuing as planned while more data is gathered, but it will be weeks until a full analysis can be completed.
Space pollution is a serious problem, a point which NASA has been stressing of late.
The Earth's orbit is only getting more crowded as commercial players like SpaceX deploy thousands of more satellites. With so much clutter flying around, the International Space Station has been forced on more than one occasion to dodge wayward debris.
And according to the ESA, this recent "fragmentation event" perfectly demonstrates the woes created by ignoring the junk in orbit.
"The most significant threat posed by larger objects of space debris is that they fragment into clouds of smaller objects that can each cause significant damage to active satellites," the ESA said in the statement.
"We must urgently reduce the creation of new space debris and begin actively mitigating the impact of existing objects," it added.
More on space junk: Cosmonauts Litter Orbit With Entire Science Experiment During Spacewalk
The post Attempt to Clean Up Space Junk Foiled When Cleanup Target Hit by Even More Space Junk appeared first on Futurism.
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Last night’s GOP presidential debate featured eight candidates, none of them named Donald Trump, but it was the former president who won the night. His aggregate lead in the national polls is titanic—he is more than 40 points ahead of the fast-fading Ron DeSantis—and nothing that happened on the debate stage in Milwaukee will change that.
Those who watched the debate will, for a few hours anyway, remember certain moments, good and bad, and take away certain impressions, positive and negative.
For my part, I thought two former governors, Nikki Haley and Chris Christie, were the most impressive. Haley was particularly strong on foreign policy, lacerating Vivek Ramaswamy for his stances on Ukraine (hand it over to Russia), Israel (cut funding), and China (abandon Taiwan). “You don’t do that to friends,” the former United Nations ambassador said, attacking his stance on Israel. “What you do instead is you have the backs of your friends.” She added, “You have no foreign-policy experience, and it shows!” Haley also called out Republicans for promising in campaigns to cut spending and then, when in power—especially during the Trump presidency—increasing it.
Christie is the most skilled debater in the field, authentic and quick on his feet, and his willingness to call out Trump for his corruption and to defend former Vice President Mike Pence for refusing to buckle under Trump’s pressure to steal the 2020 election stood out. So too did his moving account of the atrocities he witnessed while visiting Kyiv earlier this month. But Christie suffered the most from Trump’s absence, because he is clearly the most equipped to dismantle Trump.
I agree with my colleague David A. Graham: For the tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, “the debate was his coming-out party. He was, if not definitively the winner of the debate, clearly the main character.” Ramaswamy is young, glib, shallow, and cynical—a shape-shifter and performance artist who appeals to MAGA world. He is Trump’s most reliable defender in the field; he presented himself as the heir apparent of the 77-year-old former president. After the debate, Donald Trump Jr. called Ramaswamy the “standout” performer. My hunch is that of all the candidates, he helped himself the most. Watch for his poll numbers to rise.
Pence was something of a presence on the debate stage, at times feisty and on the attack; the problem is that he often comes across as sanctimonious. DeSantis, Florida’s governor, proved once again that he is a mediocre political talent, delivering scripted lines in a scripted manner. He has a remarkable ability to come across as a thoroughly unlikable and perennially angry human being.
For Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the debate was a lost opportunity. There was talk going into the debate that his stock was on the rise; that will end after this debate, during which he didn’t say anything memorable. And both Asa Hutchinson, former governor of Arkansas, and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum were nonfactors.
If this debate had been held late last year or earlier this year, everyone would have ganged up on DeSantis. That the other candidates for the most part ignored him underscores how much his campaign is stumbling. He’s hardly worth attacking. Among the most striking political developments this year is that Trump’s lead has continued to balloon; almost as striking is that no other candidate has become a credible challenger.
Last night’s debate also underscored that what sells in the GOP these days is a dark view of America. That has certainly been a hallmark of Trump’s rhetoric, including his “American carnage” inaugural address, which over the years has only grown more cataclysmic. But he’s not alone. The No. 2 and 3 candidates in the polls, DeSantis and Ramaswamy, share Trump’s grim view of
, portraying it as under siege from all sides
In an exchange with Pence, who was trying to strike a Reaganesque tone of optimism, Ramaswamy said, “Some others like you on this stage may have a ‘It’s morning in America’ speech. It’s not morning in America. We live in a dark moment, and we have to confront the fact that we’re in an internal sort of cold cultural civil war.” According to Ramaswamy, this is a time when “family, faith, patriotism, hard work have all disappeared.”
This outlook has resonance in the GOP. It’s why, if one cites positive empirical trends in America—improvements in some areas of the economy; a steep drop in violent crime and murder so far this year, according to preliminary data (in Trump’s final year in office, the homicide rate increased by nearly 30 percent); a decades-long drop in the number of abortions (which increased during the Trump presidency)—the reaction from many on the right is agitation. They have a psychological investment in a dark narrative, the view that we’re in an existential struggle, which helps justify their militancy.
But perhaps the most revealing moment of last night’s debate came from Christie responding to whether he would support Trump if he was convicted of crimes. “Here’s the bottom line,” he said. “Someone’s got to stop normalizing this conduct, okay? Now, whether or not you believe that the criminal charges are right or wrong, the conduct is beneath the office of president of the United States.” Christie, in response to boos from the audience, said, “You know, this is the great thing about this country: Booing is allowed, but it doesn’t change the truth.” This elicited a fresh cascade of boos; the audience became raucous, enraged that Christie would say we should stop normalizing the conduct of the most corrupt and lawless president in American history.
Tonight, Trump will be booked in Fulton County, Georgia, for his role in attempting to overturn the state’s 2020 presidential-election results. It’s his fourth indictment; he faces 91 felony counts. That’s four more indictments and 91 more felony counts than all the previous presidents in American history combined. Trump was also found liable earlier this year for sexual abuse. Yet for Republican voters, saying this conduct shouldn’t be normalized is delivering fighting words.
The reason is simple: Trump is a revered figure among the GOP base. He is also a political colossus in the Republican Party; no candidate has ever lost the nomination of his party with a polling lead like his. And after Trump is fingerprinted and weighed, and likely has a mug shot taken, at the Rice Street Jail, he is going to be viewed even more favorably by many Republicans. He is, for them, a martyred saint.
“Any time you have a pack of dogs chasing you down and you’re willing to stand firm and fight, you’re going to get my vote,” a Trump supporter who lives in Polk County, Florida, told The New York Times.
“The indictments are honestly making my support even stronger,” a 51-year-old Trump supporter from Kentucky told that paper. “They’ve weaponized our entire government against people like us. Every time he gets indicted, it’s driving tens of thousands more of us to the polls.”
These kinds of responses are what you’d expect to see in a cult, not a political party. But today’s Republican Party has become cultlike, with Donald Trump the leader. We saw that once again during the debate in Milwaukee. He was physically absent but there in spirit. This is not normal, and any country that treats it as such will, in the words of Lincoln, “die by suicide.”
Active community testing required on an intermittent basis to see ‘the whole iceberg, not just the tip’, Prof Catherine Bennett says
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Political momentum for the monitoring and surveillance of
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Prof Stuart Turville, with the University of New South Wales Kirby Institute, said while the impact of Covid-19 in Australia is waning, the Sars CoV-2 virus that causes disease is constantly changing and “there is still a lot we don’t know”.Continue reading…
Scientific Reports, Published online: 24 August 2023; doi:10.1038/s41598-023-40711-7The understanding of the impact of efficiently optimized underlap length on analog/RF performance parameters of GNR-FETs