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Is this article about Ecosystem Management?
Species known as marine habitat-forming species —gorgonians, corals, algae, seaweeds, marine phanerogams, etc.— are organisms that help generate and structure the underwater landscapes. These are natural refuges for other species, and provide biomass and complexity to the seabeds.
Species known as marine habitat-forming species —gorgonians, corals, algae, seaweeds, marine phanerogams, etc.— are organisms that help generate and structure the underwater landscapes. These are natural refuges for other species, and provide biomass and complexity to the seabeds.
Fibers lost during the wear and care of textiles may pose a risk to the environment and human health when released into air and water. A study published in PLOS ONE by Neil J. Lant at Procter & Gamble, Newcastle Innovation Center, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, and colleagues suggests that while condenser dryers may reduce airborne microfibers compared to vented dryers, they are a significant contributor of waterborne microfiber pollution.
Is this article about Climate?
Coccolithophores, a globally ubiquitous type of phytoplankton, play an essential role in the cycling of carbon between the ocean and atmosphere. New research from Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences shows that these vital microbes can survive in low-light conditions by taking up dissolved organic forms of carbon, forcing researchers to reconsider the processes that drive carbon cycling in the ocean. The findings were published this week in Science Advances.
Is this article about Market Research?
Young adults engage in online anti-social behavior for fun and social approval, and those who perpetrate this behavior tend to have lower cognitive empathy scores than average, according to a new study published this week in PLOS ONE by Felipe Bonow Soares of University of the Arts London, UK, and colleagues.
Is this article about Climate?
Coccolithophores, a globally ubiquitous type of phytoplankton, play an essential role in the cycling of carbon between the ocean and atmosphere. New research from Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences shows that these vital microbes can survive in low-light conditions by taking up dissolved organic forms of carbon, forcing researchers to reconsider the processes that drive carbon cycling in the ocean. The findings were published this week in Science Advances.
Can beer convince Americans to drink recycled wastewater?
Is this article about Sustainable Materials?
Earlier this year, a new beer appeared on the menu at Fox City Brewing Company in Forsyth, Georgia. Opened three years ago in a former ice house an hour south of Atlanta, Fox City serves pale ales, stouts and other microbrews. The new addition, called Revival Lager, stands apart from anything it's made before—and from nearly every other beer on tap in 
the U.S.
 Fox City's menu calls it a "light, crisp, eco-friendly lager made from highly repurposed and recycled water." This is a delicate way of saying that it's made from treated sewage.
We're Obsessed With Caroline Ellison's Diary Being Evidence in the FTX Case
If you thought Caroline Ellison's tumblr was salacious, just wait until the public gets a look at her personal diary.

Exes and Ohs

In one of the strangest cases in financial history, a key figure is a millennial who used to blog about her love life — so naturally, we're morbidly fascinated to see what's inside her diary, which is apparently a key piece of evidence in the upcoming trial.

As the New York Times reports, federal prosecutors purportedly have a "mountain" of evidence in their case against 


 CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, who's being accused of everything from defrauding investors to campaign finance violations.

According to the NYT's sources close to the matter, the trove of documents prosecutors are wading through ahead of Bankman-Fried's October trial is among the largest ever collected in a white-collar securities case. And nestled in that mountain of evidence? A small black notebook that belonged to Ellison that was reportedly a diary of sorts.

Per three sources familiar with the soon-to-be-infamous diary, Ellison recorded daily observations in it, and although those sources remained mum on their contents, another admission — about evidence in which the Alameda Research CEO "expressed personal and professional resentment" — makes us very intrigued to see what's in it.

Blog About It

Of all the figures involved in FTX's downfall, details about Ellison have stood out for their degree of personality and unusual, though so far we've only had tidbits to go off.

Unearthed last November, a Tumblr blog that very likely to have belonged to Ellison makes reference to a sort of Machiavellian style of polyamory lend credence to the theory that she, Bankman-Fried, and others within the FTX sphere in the Bahamas might have been romantically or sexually involved.

"When I first started my foray into poly, I thought of it as a radical break from my trad past, but [to be honest] I've come to decide the only acceptable style of poly is best characterized as something like 'imperial Chinese harem,'" the since-deleted blog reads. "None of this non-hierarchical bullshit; everyone should have a ranking of their partners, people should know where they fall on the ranking, and there should be vicious power struggles for the higher ranks."

If that's the sort of content that was on her blog, maybe we'll finally get some clarity from her diary — and we, for one, can't wait.

More on FTX: SBF and Friends Apparently Joked About Their "Tendency to Lose Track of Millions of Dollars in Assets"

The post We're Obsessed With Caroline Ellison's Diary Being Evidence in the FTX Case appeared first on Futurism.

NASA's LRO views impact site of HAKUTO-R mission 1 moon lander
The ispace HAKUTO-R Mission 1 lunar lander was launched on Dec. 11, 2022, a privately funded spacecraft planned to land on the lunar surface. After a several-month journey to the moon, the spacecraft started a controlled descent to the surface to land near Atlas crater. The ispace team announced the following day that an anomaly occurred, and the HAKUTO-R Mission 1 lunar lander had not safely touched down on the surface.
What if dinosaurs were already in decline when the asteroid struck?
Non-avian dinosaurs were probably in decline long before an asteroid smashing into the Yucatan Peninsula 66 million years ago sealed their fate, according to a University of Alberta paleontologist who says the ancient tale is chronicled at three stops on an astonishing three-hour drive along the Red Deer River.
Non-avian dinosaurs were probably in decline long before an asteroid smashing into the Yucatan Peninsula 66 million years ago sealed their fate, according to a University of Alberta paleontologist who says the ancient tale is chronicled at three stops on an astonishing three-hour drive along the Red Deer River.
Towards evidence-based response criteria for cancer immunotherapy

Nature Communications, Published online: 24 May 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-38837-3

Early detection of immunotherapy-induced 
 response is of major benefit for patients but can be complicated by therapy-induced pseudoprogression. A consensus guideline-iRECIST- was developed as a modification of Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumours (RECIST version 1.1). Here we describe which next steps are required to test its validity and how novel approaches for response criteria might be developed and included.
There Is No Evidence Strong Enough to End the Pandemic-Origins Debate

Three and a half years since the start of a pandemic that has killed millions of people and debilitated countless more, the world is still stuck at the start of the COVID-19 crisis in one maddening way: No one can say with any certainty how, exactly, the outbreak began. Many scientists think the new virus spilled over directly from a wild animal, perhaps at a Chinese wet market; some posit that the pathogen leaked accidentally from a local laboratory in Wuhan, China, the pandemic’s likely epicenter. All of them lack the slam-dunk evidence to prove one hypothesis and rule out the rest.


That’s not to say nothing has changed. Those embroiled in the origins fracas now have much more data to scrutinize, debate, and re-debate. In March, I reported that the case for a zoonotic origin had acquired a consequential new piece of support: An international team of scientists had uncovered genetic data, collected from a wet market in Wuhan in the weeks after the venue was closed on January 1, 2020, that linked the coronavirus to wild animals. This evidence, they said, indicated that one of those creatures could have been shedding SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19; one of the most intriguing bits of data pointed to raccoon dogs, a foxlike creature that was already known to be vulnerable to the virus. The finding wasn’t direct evidence of an animal infection, but, stacked alongside other clues, ​​“this really strengthens the case for a natural origin,” Seema Lakdawala, a virologist at Emory University who wasn’t involved in the research, told me at the time.


Not everyone agreed that the finding counted as a substantial new insight. When the researchers who originally collected the samples, many of them from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, published their own analysis of the data in April—a revision of an earlier report—they emphasized that there was no clear evidence that the virus had been introduced to the market by a wild animal. Then, this month, Jesse Bloom, a computational biologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, in Seattle, posted a third analysis of the market data, inspired in part, he told me, by his concern that the public discussion of the initial findings, and their connection to raccoon dogs, had overinflated their worth. The international team’s report, he argued, hardly moved the needle on the origins debate at all—certainly not “much beyond where it was before,” he told me.


Bloom’s analysis, too, set off a wave of fervor—including a fresh spate of claims that he told me were “exaggerated,” or even outright wrong; some even asserted, for instance, that his preprint proves that raccoon dogs “weren’t infected, which is not an accurate summary,” he said. All the while, researchers have been squabbling on social media over the minutiae of statistical methodology, and what constitutes a meaningful amount of viral RNA; some have even come to loggerheads publicly at conferences.


At the crux of this particular fight is a difference of interpretation, with one camp of researchers contending that the recent data matter a lot, and another asserting that they matter much less, or perhaps not even a little bit at all. Under most other circumstances, a scientific scuffle this deep in the weeds might hold the attention of a few dozen people for a few months at best. Here, though, the central topic is one of the most consequential in recent memory—a virus that’s left its mark on the world’s entire population, and will continue to do so. Which has made it easy for pitched battles over differences in scientific opinion to become a public spectacle—and difficult, maybe even impossible, for the debate to ever end, no matter what evidence might emerge next.

The genetic sequences analyzed in the March report contained evidence of a zoonotic origin that is more circumstantial than direct. Researchers extracted them from swabs taken from surfaces in and around Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market from January to March of 2020, weeks after the first known COVID cases were documented in Wuhan. That makes these environmental samples “a useful part of the story,” Alice Hughes, a conservation biologist at the University of Hong Kong, told me. Though, by themselves, “they are limited in what they are able to tell us.”


By the time the swabs were collected by China CDC researchers, Chinese officials had hastily closed Huanan; many vendors had likely disappeared with their animals, or culled them en masse. The swabs could show only where the virus had once been, or which animals the venue had sold—more akin to dusting a crime scene for fingerprints than catching a vagrant in the act. And although they could show where animal and viral genetic material had mixed, they couldn’t guarantee that those two types of genetic material had been deposited at the same time. Nor could they distinguish between, say, a sick creature sneezing on the bars of its cage and an infected human coughing on an enclosure housing healthy wildlife. Those answers could have come from swabs taken directly from the noses or mouths of live animals for sale at Huanan in late November or early December of 2019. But as far as researchers know, those swabs don’t exist—or at least, the public has no record of them.


The sequences from these environmental samples, then, are “what we have,” says Katherine Xue, a computational virologist at Stanford who previously worked with Jesse Bloom, the author of the May preprint, but was not involved in any of the new reports. And “we want to do what we can with what we have.” When the international team behind the March analysis found that several market samples contained genetic material from both the virus and a wild animal known to be susceptible to it—including the common raccoon dog—they said that the best explanation for this commingling was an infection.


As I reported at the time, the data don’t constitute direct evidence of an infected raccoon dog at the market. “But this is exactly what we would observe if infected raccoon dogs were in fact present in this location,” says Kristian Andersen, a computational biologist and virologist at the Scripps Research Institute and one of the authors of the March analysis. Which, they wrote in their analysis, “identifies these species, particularly the common raccoon dog, as the most likely conduits for the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in late 2019.”


Other researchers, though, think that calling the evidence even supportive of an animal origin for the outbreak is a stretch. The samples were taken too long after the outbreak’s start to be meaningful, some said; the data were too shaky to even hint at the idea of an infected raccoon dog, others insisted, much less one that might have passed the virus to us.


Bloom, too, was unswayed. The swabs contained genetic material from many creatures at the market—some of them alive, some dead; some that we now know can host the virus, others that almost certainly do not. In Bloom’s analysis, he explains that the species repeatedly highlighted as potential hosts weren’t the animals that were most frequently and notably commingled with the virus in the market swabs. “If you’re trying to figure out if there is a meaningful association between raccoon dog and viral genetic material,” he told me, there should be a lot of raccoon-dog genetic material in the places where the virus was found, and far less where the virus was not.


But that wasn’t the case for raccoon dogs—or “any of the animals that could conceivably have been infected,” Bloom told me. Instead, in his analysis he saw the virus most closely linked to several kinds of fish, which aren’t known to be viable hosts for it. People, Bloom told me, were the probable source of SARS-CoV-2 in those spots. All of that “probably just suggests that it had been spread around the market by humans by the time” the swabs were taken, diminishing the samples’ usefulness.


Several other scientists not involved in Bloom’s preprint were quick to point out the limits and flaws in his approach. To draw meaningful conclusions from this type of analysis, researchers would need samples amassed at about the same time, with the same collection goals in mind. That wasn’t the case for these samples, Zach Hensel, a biophysicist who has been publicly critical of Bloom’s report, told me. Researchers took them over the course of many weeks after Huanan’s closure, altering their tactics as more intel came to light. A first foray into the market, for instance, targeted the parts of the venue where COVID cases had been identified, a strategy that would, by design, turn up more virus-positive samples; another, conducted days later, focused on stalls that had been discovered to have housed wildlife, regardless of their proximity to sick people. Many samples in the latter set, then, would be expected to be virus-negative—and were. Sloshing them together with the first set of swabs and trying to pull patterns out could end up masking actual associations between the virus and any wild animal hosts.


Bloom also points out that many of the swabs that turned up mammalian DNA, including one containing raccoon-dog genetic sequences that some members of the international team initially emphasized, had relatively little material from the virus on them. But genetic material, especially RNA—the basis of SARS-CoV-2’s genome—degrades fast; a difference of even a few days could artificially deflate how important a particular swab looked. Alice Hughes also pointed out that certain market locales highlighted in Bloom’s preprint, including surfaces around duck or fish tanks, might have better preserved viral RNA simply because they were cold or damp. When I brought up these concerns with Bloom, he admitted “there are certainly a lot of confounders” that could have skewed his results. His main goal, he said, was just to show that “the samples are not sufficient to answer whether or not there were infected animals.”


Bloom’s re-analysis doesn’t mark a major shift in thinking for Hughes, who told me she thinks “there is reasonable support for a zoonotic origin.” Felicia Goodrum, a virologist and an immunologist at the University of Arizona who has written repeatedly on the origins debate but was not involved in the team’s analysis, agrees. The Huanan market is “most likely where the spillover occurred,” she told me. “I really, truly believe that, based on the accumulation of the evidence.”

Data never sit alone in a vacuum: They’re amassed, interpreted, and reinterpreted alongside the totality of evidence that precedes them. By themselves, the sequences from the Huanan market couldn’t say much. But they fit a broader, more detailed scenario that researchers on the team behind the March analysis had been exploring for years.


History has always supported a zoonotic scenario: A wet-market spillover is what researchers are fairly certain started the SARS outbreak in China in 2002, potentially via infected masked palm civets. In this latest outbreak, the Huanan Market was one of only four wet markets in all of Wuhan that has consistently been documented selling an array of live, coronavirus-susceptible wildlife; the earliest known COVID cases were detected near the venue, centering “on it like a bull’s-eye,” says Michael Worobey, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona and one of the authors of the March report. Scientists analyzing genetic sequences collected from the venue have also detected two distinct coronavirus lineages from the outbreak’s earliest days—a likely indication, some researchers have argued, that the pathogen spilled over from animals into humans twice.


The missing clincher for them is which creature might have initially carried the virus into the market. The raccoon-dog swab was particularly compelling to the team not only because it contained gobs of animal genetic sequences, and very few human ones—but also because it had been plucked from a stall where Eddie Holmes, one of the report’s authors, had snapped a photo of a raccoon dog in a cage years before. The clues to a possible animal host, Worobey told me, were “right in the very stall we said they would be.”


But data are also amassed, interpreted, and reinterpreted by humans, who have their own biases. The experts now quarreling over the importance of the recent data approached the new evidence having already drawn tentative conclusions and made their opinions known. Kristian Andersen was an early proponent of a zoonotic origin, and has repeatedly denounced the notion of a lab leak; Worobey was later to voice his support for the zoonotic hypothesis, but is now no less enthusiastic. And long before they and their colleagues stumbled across the data that yielded their March analysis, which didn’t become publicly available until recently, the researchers had been hoping that such sequences would appear—noting in a 2022 paper that this sort of intel could constitute an essential and still missing puzzle piece. Now that the evidence has emerged, and fits with their established thinking, it feels validating, Worobey told me.


Bloom, by contrast, has long positioned himself as an agnostic moderate, and isn’t yet budging from his neutral territory. Others who have come out vocally in favor of a lab-leak scenario have cast their own doubts on the international team’s analysis. In a landscape so sparsely populated by data, it gets all too easy for people to fill in the gaps with speculation; “what starts off as a weak preference,” Hughes told me, “becomes almost like a religion.” I’ve been reporting now for three years on many controversial COVID stories, along the way interviewing hundreds of opinionated scientists about dozens of thorny questions. Through it all, this debate has stood out for being so ignitable. Individual data points have become catalysts; single statements have been endlessly scrutinized. And experts have staked out territory and stuck to it almost dogmatically—many of them to the point of avoiding admitting past mistakes. COVID’s origins are now shrouded in combustible gas, with matches scattered everywhere: Lighting up a single point, normally harmless enough, inevitably sets off a conflagration.


All of this leaves the world trying to peer through the smoke. “All hypotheses are on the table,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s technical lead on COVID-19, told me. “We can’t take any off.” To her mind, though, “there’s much more evidence to support a zoonotic origin.”


More evidence could still emerge. The international team isn’t yet done analyzing the Chinese researchers’ original data set, which was recently released in fuller form. They’re eager to mine the sequences to tease out the subspecies of some of the market’s potential SARS-CoV-2 hosts, which could inform searches for the virus out in nature or on animal farms; other experiments, analyzing how degraded certain genetic samples are, could hint at how much time passed between the moment the biological material was dropped and the moment it was picked up. Van Kerkhove has also separately been pressing the Chinese researchers for more information on how these and other samples might have been collected, and any intel on where the market’s animals might have been sourced from—which could guide searches for evidence of the virus or its relatives on farms or in the wild. These bits of data, too, would all be incremental,with no single shred of evidence acting as total proof or disproof. But each could constitute a clue, Van Kerkhove told me, to continue nudging the conversation along.

In the grand scheme of things, though, the world probably won’t ever get data that will conclusively end the debate. Even if scientists were to turn up virus-positive samples from a live creature from the market—direct evidence of an infected animal—it would remain technically possible that a human caught the virus first, then passed it on to the venue’s wildlife. But data that aren’t debate-ending can still be notable. And the recent sequences from the market swabs could easily, and frustratingly, end up being one of the best clues to the pandemic’s roots that the world is likely to get.

The Israeli Minister Who Is Defending Elon Musk

When Elon Musk tweeted that the Jewish financier George Soros “hates humanity” and “wants to erode the very fabric of civilization,” he drew international condemnation. Musk’s outburst was “not just distressing,” but “dangerous,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the Anti-Defamation League’s CEO, said on Twitter. “It will embolden extremists who already contrive anti-Jewish conspiracies and have tried to attack Soros and Jewish communities as a result.” Later that day, Israel’s foreign ministry tweeted, “The phrase ‘The Jews’ spiked today on the list of topics trending on Twitter following a tweet with antisemitic overtones by none other than the owner and CEO of the social network, Elon Musk.”

But soon after, that statement was deleted and disavowed by Israel’s foreign minister, who promised, “There will be no tweets like this again.” The next day, Amichai Chikli, the country’s minister of diaspora affairs, went further. A hard-right politician who first entered Israel’s parliament in 2021, Chikli broke with his own party when it joined the country’s recent anti–Benjamin Netanyahu government, and was later rewarded with a parliamentary seat in Netanyahu’s Likud party. Last Thursday on Twitter, he publicly praised Musk as an entrepreneur and “role model,” and declared that “criticism of Soros – who finances the most hostile organizations to the Jewish people and the state of Israel is anything but anti-Semitism, quite the opposite!” Chikli subsequently doubled down on this position, citing an op-ed written by Alan Dershowitz that states, “No sin­gle per­son has done more to dam­age Is­rael’s stand­ing in the world, es­pe­cially among so-called pro­gres­sives, than George Soros.”

[Yair Rosenberg: Elon Musk among the anti-semites]

I’ve reported critically on the activities of Soros’s foundation, and I certainly don’t think scrutiny of him is bigoted. But having covered anti-Semitism for more than a decade, I also found Musk’s remarks about Soros to be demonstrably anti-Semitic, and was confused by how some people, like Chikli, seemed willing to excuse such rhetoric out of distaste for Soros’s politics. So I spoke with Chikli yesterday in an attempt to understand his perspective. Our conversation below has been edited for clarity, but there was not much to be found, in part because even after we spoke it was unclear to me whether Chikli had read Musk’s tweets in the first place.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and length.

Yair Rosenberg: Let’s start with the tweet that kicked off the whole controversy. Last week, Musk goes on Twitter and writes, “Soros reminds me of Magneto.” What did you think of this comparison when you saw it?

Amichai Chikli: First of all, I hadn’t seen it at the beginning. I just saw the waves of reaction. I listened to what was being said in the media. I saw Soros becoming the victim. I saw Elon Musk becoming the vicious anti-Semite. And it sounded ridiculous to me.

Rosenberg: So you didn’t see the specific thing that he wrote.

Chikli: I was responding to the trend and not directly to the tweet. Obviously, before I wrote something, I learned about the tweet. But I was responding to the trend. What added to my motivation to respond was that a lower-level foreign ministry employee, who is not the minister, was saying that [Israel is] standing up to protect Soros.

Rosenberg: So I assume you saw Musk’s second tweet, where he explained what he meant in the first one. He wrote that Soros “wants to erode the very fabric of civilization. Soros hates humanity.” What did you think of that?

Chikli: But I wasn’t responding to his tweets. I was reacting to the reaction to the tweets, and in particular the reaction of nonelected officials in the foreign ministry, who spoke in the name of the state of Israel, and joined the trend that portrayed Elon Musk as an anti-Semite.

Rosenberg: Okay. So let me read what you said. You wrote, “As Israel’s minister who’s entrusted on combating anti-Semitism, I would like to clarify that the Israeli government and the vast majority of Israeli citizens see Elon Musk as an amazing entrepreneur and a role model. Criticism of Soros – who finances the most hostile organizations to the Jewish people and the state of Israel is anything but anti-Semitism, quite the opposite!” So you made a case there, and I suspect you could make a longer case here, that George Soros is anti-Israel.

Chikli: One hundred percent. This is one of the most hostile individuals, who funds dozens of organizations that are all into delegitimizing the state of Israel. It’s not just because of his opinion. It’s very systematic.

Rosenberg: But here is my question. This whole thing happens because of Musk’s tweets. And he didn’t say he didn’t like Soros because of his positions. He said that Soros wants to end civilization because he hates humanity. Aren’t these two very different things? If Musk had just said, “I don’t like Soros, because he doesn’t like Israel,” do you think anyone would have called him anti-Semitic? Didn’t that only happen because Musk accused a rich Jew of wanting to ruin the world, which is what anti-Semites have said about Jews for centuries, whether it’s “Zionists” or the Rothschilds or whoever?

Chikli: But if you’d like to have a serious interview, you must understand, and I will say it, I think it’s the third time. I wasn’t—

Rosenberg: —responding to the tweet, you were responding to the reaction. But it’s confusing to me that you would respond to say Elon Musk is not an anti-Semite when you don’t know what he said.

Chikli: I stand behind my words. I don’t think that he’s an anti-Semite. You can also say that George Soros is doing huge damage, not just to the state of Israel, by promoting the deal with Iran, which I think is damaging for humanity.

Soros speaks highly about the “open society” while his foundation has zero transparency about where the money goes. It’s not just anti-Israel, I think it’s anti–freedom of speech. I think he is the No. 1 promoter of what we call today “woke soft tyranny.” And his ideology is a threat to freedom of speech and the core values of the Western civilization. This is far more than the state of Israel.

Rosenberg: Let me try to put this in a different way because maybe I’m not being as clear as I want to be in my question. Here’s an analogy. As you know, many Israelis today think Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to destroy Israel. Many others think former Prime Minister Yair Lapid and the opposition are trying to tear the country apart. But if someone in America says something anti-Semitic about Netanyahu or Lapid, it’s still anti-Semitic, regardless of the target and whether one agrees with them, right? That’s a separate question.

You can have the lowest opinion of Soros, but that still doesn’t give anyone license to say anti-Semitic things about him. So you might not like George Soros at all, but Musk didn’t say Soros is bad on Israel, or he’s bad on freedom of speech. He said Soros hates humanity and wants to destroy civilization.

Chikli: I think we are now on the fourth time, you insist—

Rosenberg: I will print every time that you say this, don’t worry!

Chikli: [Laughs.] You think I was looking with a microscope at every single letter in Musk’s tweets. Again I will say, I was responding first to the trend, and second to the response of unelected officials who took authority from nowhere to speak with the name of the state of Israel on a very serious issue, to protect a man who is super hostile to the state of Israel, and who is maybe the No. 1 promoter of woke anti-Semitism that seeks to delegitimize and demonize the state of Israel.

[Matt Welch: Why the right loves to hate George Soros]

One last thing about the accusation of Elon Musk allowing anti-Semitism to spread on Twitter. The organization that reported this is called the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. And guess what? When you go and check them out, there are a few interesting things about them. One is that they are funded by Soros’s Open Society Foundations. And second, in their methodology, when they are looking for anti-Semitic tweets, they look for the following: Jesus, Hitler, and George Soros. This is also one of the points that I wanted to dispute—suggesting criticism of Soros is anti-Semitism; that is ridiculous.

Rosenberg: Of course. But the question isn’t whether it’s inherently anti-Semitic to criticize Soros. He’s one of the richest and most influential people in the world; obviously, you have to be allowed to criticize him. The issue is that sometimes anti-Semites criticize Soros because he’s Jewish and rich, and it’s not about his positions; it’s about who he is, right? You should be familiar with this problem because the same thing happens to Israel. It’s not anti-Semitic to criticize Israel, but some people criticize Israel because they’re anti-Semites and therefore say anti-Semitic things. Isn’t that what’s happening here?

Chikli: I want to give you the professional answer to why I wasn’t putting the focus on those people who, as you said now, might refer to Musk’s quote from an anti-Semitic perspective. Why was it not my focus at all? In the United States, when we researched the trends in the media, the vast majority of anti-Semitism is new anti-Semitism: the anti-Semitism that delegitimizes, demonizes, and sets double standards against the state of Israel.

It’s true that anti-Semitism coming from the far right is often louder and more violent. But that’s a small part of the phenomenon that we see today. It’s not less disturbing, but it’s not the new, main trend. And I was responding to the big picture. I wasn’t interested in how did everyone feel about the following tweet of Elon Musk, dada dada dada. That’s not what I was responding to, as I said—I think this is now time No. 4.

Rosenberg: Five.

When Will Betelgeuse Explode?
Is this article about Space?
The big, red galactic troublemaker has kept humanity guessing for thousands of years. Physicists predict when Betelgeuse will explode.
How To Identify An AI With A Single Question
Is this article about Deep Learning?
Advanced AI systems can mimic human conversation with remarkable authenticity. Now researchers are fighting back with carefully crafted questions that force AIs to reveal themselves.
Reading The Mind With Machines
Researchers are developing brain-computer interfaces that would enable communication for people with locked-in syndrome and other conditions that render them unable to speak.
Scammer Tricks Man With Face and Voice Swap of His Friend, Cops Say
A scammer in China has managed to cheat a man out of his money by cloning his friend's voice and face with the use of AI-powered apps.

Skin Walker

Cops say a scammer in northern China has managed to cheat a man out of his money, Reuters reports, by masquerading as his friend with the use of AI-powered face-swapping and voice-cloning software.

If the tale holds up to scrutiny, the incident would go to show how easy it has become for scammers to deepfake their way to a payday using new AI tools.

While we've come across examples of scammers cloning their voices to extort money out of their victims over the phone, this new incident offers a glimpse of an uneasy future in which a perpetrator can even take on the physical appearance of a victim's friend. As such, it raises an old specter of modernity: is technology drawing us closer, or tearing us apart?

Scam Link

According to law enforcement in the city of Baotou, in Inner Mongolia, the scammer managed to convince a friend to transfer a whopping $622,000 to their account during a video call, claiming it was for a deposit during a bidding process.

Shortly after, the victim contacted his real friend, who had no idea about the conversation.

Fortunately, the victim was able to recover most of the stolen funds, according to Reuters, and is in the process of tracking down the rest.

AI-powered scams are on the rise worldwide, with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) publishing a consumer alert on emerging voice cloning scams earlier this year. Seniors in particular are increasingly becoming targets of scammers who use voice-cloning tech to impersonate relatives, saying they need money for emergencies.

Last month, a mom even got a call from the purported kidnapper of her daughter, whose voice appeared to be being cloned in the background.

Griftpocalypse Now

It's a troubling new trend worldwide. Users on the Chinese social media network Weibo expressed worry about AI scams "exploding across the country."

In response, regulators have been attempting to tamp down on fraud by increasing scrutiny of deepfake apps that can change somebody's voice and appearance, Reuters reports.

But whether these actions will allow law enforcement to stay on top of the trend remains to be seen. As the tech improves, cloned voices and faces are only going to become more believable sounding — and looking — as time goes on.

More on AI scams: Mom Says Creeps Used AI to Fake Daughter's Kidnapping

The post Scammer Tricks Man With Face and Voice Swap of His Friend, Cops Say appeared first on Futurism.

Most biological cells have a fixed place in an organism. However, cells can become mobile and move through the body. This happens, for example, during wound healing or when tumor cells divide uncontrollably and migrate through the body. Mobile and stationary cells differ in various ways, including their cytoskeleton.
Like thread tightly wrapped around a spool, DNA is wrapped around histones and packaged into structures called nucleosomes. Scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital are exploring how a type of transcription factor called a pioneer transcription factor accesses DNA even when it is tightly wound. Their work revealed how the epigenetic landscape influences transcription factor binding.
Most biological cells have a fixed place in an organism. However, cells can become mobile and move through the body. This happens, for example, during wound healing or when tumor cells divide uncontrollably and migrate through the body. Mobile and stationary cells differ in various ways, including their cytoskeleton.
How the epigenetic landscape modulates pioneer transcription factor binding
Like thread tightly wrapped around a spool, DNA is wrapped around histones and packaged into structures called nucleosomes. Scientists at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital are exploring how a type of transcription factor called a pioneer transcription factor accesses DNA even when it is tightly wound. Their work revealed how the epigenetic landscape influences transcription factor binding.
Is this article about Animals?
Varroa mites—notorious honey bee parasites—have recently reached Australian shores, detected at the Port of Newcastle in New South Wales last year. If they establish here, there would be significant implications for agricultural food security, as honey bees are heavily relied on for the pollination of many crops.
Gluten is one of the largest natural proteins and has fantastic properties: It keeps a well-cooked dough airy until baking stabilizes the open-pore structure. Prof. Dr. Mario Jekle from the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart is working on processes in which selected proteins from peas, rapeseed, rice, or maize, for example, directly replace gluten protein or can be linked to form chains with gluten-like properties. Saponins from daisies and quinoa seeds or mucilages from cereal hulls additionally support the formation of an airy dough—and in some cases enrich it with valuable dietary fiber. The result can be put in the oven—or printed out in the 3D printer in an energy-saving way and with many additional options.
Pulsed discharge plasma helps in heavy oil conversion
Is this article about Automation?
The increasingly inferior quality of heavy oil resources has brought more difficult challenges to traditional heavy oil processing technology. The high temperature and pressure conditions, and the carbon emission and energy consumption required to convert heavy oil to value-added chemicals are far from ideal.
Is this article about Animals?
Varroa mites—notorious honey bee parasites—have recently reached Australian shores, detected at the Port of Newcastle in New South Wales last year. If they establish here, there would be significant implications for agricultural food security, as honey bees are heavily relied on for the pollination of many crops.
Finally delicious: New proteins to revolutionize gluten-free baked goods
Gluten is one of the largest natural proteins and has fantastic properties: It keeps a well-cooked dough airy until baking stabilizes the open-pore structure. Prof. Dr. Mario Jekle from the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart is working on processes in which selected proteins from peas, rapeseed, rice, or maize, for example, directly replace gluten protein or can be linked to form chains with gluten-like properties. Saponins from daisies and quinoa seeds or mucilages from cereal hulls additionally support the formation of an airy dough—and in some cases enrich it with valuable dietary fiber. The result can be put in the oven—or printed out in the 3D printer in an energy-saving way and with many additional options.
Trees and tall buildings reduce urban heat island effect
Is this article about Gardening?
A woman looks down at her phone as trees and buildings tower over her in the background.

Urban heat islands can lead to dangerous temperatures in the summer months, but there are things city managers can do to reduce the effect, according to a new study.

The researchers found that trees had a cooling effect on outdoor air temperature, mean radiant temperature, and predicted mean vote index, a measurement designed to evaluate thermal comfort levels.

Additionally, the researchers determined that higher building-height-to-street-width ratios—when taller buildings create shade for thinner adjacent streets—as well as pavement that is better at reflecting sunlight, or having higher “albedo,” both led to lower mean radiant temperature and greater comfort levels.

The findings could help encourage the adoption of measures that create more favorable temperatures in cities, especially for low-income communities, people of color, and the elderly, who are disproportionately impacted by the urban heat island (UHI) effect, says Guangqing Chi, professor of rural sociology, demography and public health sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State.

“Global warming makes some human habitats unbearably hot, but more so for socially and historically disadvantaged communities,” Chi says. “This interdisciplinary project provides an effective, equitable urban design solution for enhancing resilience against extreme heating.”

Urban heat island hotspots

Published in the journal Buildings, the study was based in Philadelphia, a city that, according to the researchers, experiences high rates of both poverty and extreme weather.

For example, a 2021 study found that Philadelphia had the highest poverty rate out of the most populated cities in 

the United States

, with 22.8% of people in the city living below the poverty level. The city also has experienced its snowiest winter, two warmest summers, wettest day, and two wettest years on record since 2010.

This combination of socioeconomic and climate factors made Philadelphia an ideal location for the study, says Farzad Hashemi, a Hamer Center researcher who will graduate in August with a doctorate in architecture.

“Heat island hotspots and mortality rates tend to be greater in urban blocks with a socially disadvantaged population,” Hashemi says. “This is due to the combination of physical factors, such as impervious surfaces and lack of vegetation, and social factors, such as vulnerability to heat-related health effects.”

For the study, the researchers used the social vulnerability index, or SVI—gathered by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—along with data about tree coverage to identify two neighborhoods in the city. One had the lowest SVI and high tree coverage and another had the highest SVI and the lowest tree coverage.

Then, they used digital tools to construct 3D models of each neighborhood, incorporating information on construction materials, land cover, albedo, and heat generated by human activities. Additional data included environmental factors, such as air temperature and mean radiant temperature—or the heat given off by buildings and other infrastructure—and urban morphology, such as surface albedo and building-height-to-street-width ratios.

Finally, the researchers ran 24-hour simulations for six scenarios—winter, spring, summer, fall, extreme hot, and extreme cold—in each neighborhood to see how different factors affected each other.

Better city planning

While trees can create a cooling effect, these benefits are limited to their immediate surroundings. Areas without trees had significantly higher mean radiant temperatures, and the effect of trees on air temperature decreased as distance from the tree canopy increased.

Chi says the findings suggest ways that urban climate knowledge can contribute to better city planning and design.

“For example, using taller and denser buildings alongside pavement surfaces with higher albedo could be considered to support more comfortable thermal conditions, particularly in urban blocks with less vegetation coverage,” he says.

“Overall, the study highlights the importance of considering urban morphology and vegetation coverage in the design of sustainable and livable urban environments.”

The project could form the basis for future research utilizing longer simulation cycles and incorporating information on indoor thermal comfort, Hashemi says.

“Our study focused on Philadelphia, which is in the US Northeast region,” he says. “Expanding the data to incorporate more cities from other climate zones, including hot and dry or extremely cold, could give us a better understanding of the effects of urban properties on varying climates and social vulnerability indexes.”

The Institutes of Energy and the Environment seed grant program and the Penn State Hamer Center for Community Design helped support the work.

Source: Penn State

The post Trees and tall buildings reduce urban heat island effect appeared first on Futurity.

Tree islands enhance biodiversity and functioning in oil palm landscapes

Nature, Published online: 24 May 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06086-5

A large-scale, five-year study in Indonesia finds that enriching oil palm-dominated landscapes with patches of trees bolsters biodiversity and ecosystem functioning without impairing oil palm yields but should not replace forest protection.
Ångström-resolution fluorescence microscopy

Nature, Published online: 24 May 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05925-9

The authors introduce a single-molecule DNA-barcoding method, resolution enhancement by sequential imaging, that improves the resolution of fluorescence microscopy down to the Ångström scale using off-the-shelf fluorescence microscopy hardware and reagents.
Histone modifications regulate pioneer transcription factor cooperativity
Is this article about Cell?

Nature, Published online: 24 May 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06112-6

Binding of the human pioneer transcription factor OCT4 to nucleosomes containing endogenous DNA sequences causes changes to the nucleosome structure and facilitates the cooperative assembly of multiple pioneer transcription factors, a property that can be affected by histone modifications.
Gap junctions desynchronize a neural circuit to stabilize insect flight

Nature, Published online: 24 May 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06099-0

In the Drosophila central-pattern-generating neural network, a mechanism for network desynchronization relying on weak electrical synapses and specific excitability dynamics of the coupled neurons translates unpatterned premotor input into stereotyped neuronal firing with fixed sequences of cell activation, ensuring stable wingbeat power.
γ-Linolenic acid in maternal milk drives cardiac metabolic maturation
Is this article about Cell?

Nature, Published online: 24 May 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06068-7

The switch from glucose- to fatty acid-dependent metabolism in cardiomyocytes of newborn mice is governed by γ-linolenic acid in maternal milk, which binds to retinoid X receptors, thereby causing a transcription-dependent metabolic transition.
Lead immobilization for environmentally sustainable perovskite solar cells
Is this article about Neuroscience?

Nature, Published online: 24 May 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05938-4

An analysis of chemical processes to immobilize lead from perovskite solar cells is presented, highlighting the need for a standard lead-leakage test and mathematical model to reliably evaluate the potential environmental risk of perovskite optoelectronics.
Users choose to engage with more partisan news than they are exposed to on Google Search

Nature, Published online: 24 May 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06078-5

Ecologically valid data collected during the 2018 and 2020 
 elections show that exposure to and engagement with partisan or unreliable news on 
 Search are driven not primarily by algorithmic curation but by users’ own choices.
Orbital Fulde–Ferrell–Larkin–Ovchinnikov state in an Ising superconductor

Nature, Published online: 24 May 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05967-z

The discovery of an orbital Fulde–Ferrell–Larkin–Ovchinnikov state in the multilayer Ising superconductor 2H-NbSe2, in which the translational and rotational symmetries are broken, enables the preparation of such states in other materials with broken inversion symmetries.
A Pseudomonas aeruginosa small RNA regulates chronic and acute infection
Is this article about Biopharma Industry?

Nature, Published online: 24 May 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06111-7

A study examining bacterial gene expression in human-derived samples identifies a gene encoding a small RNA and describes how it orchestrates the transition between chronic and acute 
 in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Observation of the radiative decay of the 229Th nuclear clock isomer
Is this article about Energy Industry?

Nature, Published online: 24 May 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05894-z

The authors report on the radiative decay of a low-energy isomer in thorium-229 (229mTh), which has consequences for the design of a future nuclear clock and eases the search for direct laser excitation of the atomic nucleus.
A small-molecule PI3Kα activator for cardioprotection and neuroregeneration
Is this article about Cell?

Nature, Published online: 24 May 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-05972-2

A new specific, small-molecule activator of the PI3Kα isoform (UCL-TRO-1938) identified through high-throughput screening can transiently activate PI3K signalling and biological responses in cells and tissues, with potential therapeutic applications in tissue protection and regeneration.
Tumour extracellular vesicles and particles induce liver metabolic dysfunction
Is this article about Cell?

Nature, Published online: 24 May 2023; doi:10.1038/s41586-023-06114-4

Remote tumours cause liver dysfunction by releasing extracellular vesicles and particles containing palmitic acid, which induces TNF signalling in Kupffer cells, resulting in inflammation, fatty deposits and metabolic dysregulation, thus both reducing the efficacy and increasing the toxicity of chemotherapies.
World’s strongest laser enables pressure-driven ionization

Nature, Published online: 24 May 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-01363-9

The degree of ionization inside giant planets and stars determines their material properties. In burning stars, ionization is controlled by temperature, whereas pressure-driven ionization is dominant in cooler objects. Experiments creating the extreme conditions needed for pressure-driven ionization in the laboratory shed light on this complex process.
Parasitic nematodes activate chemicals that can kill them
Is this article about Agriculture?

Nature, Published online: 24 May 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-01498-9

Nematode worms that parasitize plants ravage food crops and threaten global food security. Conventional nematode control relies on agrochemicals that are broadly toxic, so less-risky strategies are needed. Benign precursor chemicals that are metabolically converted to lethal products selectively in worm tissue could be the solution.

Nature, Published online: 24 May 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-01345-x

Spinal-cord injury interrupts communication between the brain and spinal cord, leading to 
. An implant that decodes the brain signals that control movements and drives electrical stimulation of the spinal cord re-establishes this communication, enabling an individual with spinal-cord injury to walk naturally.
Flexible solar cells made with crystalline silicon
Is this article about Energy Industry?

Nature, Published online: 24 May 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-01357-7

Although crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells were developed nearly 70 years ago, their use is still limited. Tailoring the structural symmetry on the edges of textured c-Si wafers changes their fracture mechanism such that they can be used to fabricate flexible solar cells with a bending radius of about 8 millimetres.
A bacterial small RNA controls the switch between chronic and acute infection

Nature, Published online: 24 May 2023; doi:10.1038/d41586-023-01510-2

Bacterial infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa can shift between chronic and acute. An investigation of P. aeruginosa gene expression during human 
 identified a small RNA that is expressed in low-oxygen conditions and controls this transition.
A foster care system where every child has a loving home | Sixto Cancel
the US
, youth in foster care are nearly twice as likely as war veterans to suffer from PTSD. Placed in foster care at just 11 months old, 2023 Audacious Project grantee Sixto Cancel experienced the faults of the system firsthand. Now, he's the founder of Think of Us, an organization working to reform child welfare by centering kinship care, or placing a child with an extended family member or a familiar adult. Learn more about his plan to help thousands of kids searching for a loving home with one simple, systemic switch. (This ambitious idea is a part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)
Heat-stressed fish embryos can induce stress in nearby embryos
Is this article about Animals?
Heat-stressed fish embryos release chemical signals that change the appearance, behavior, and development of fish embryos that were not heat stressed, according to a study. Stress during development can change how an embryo grows and which genes are activated. Katharina Wollenberg Valero and colleagues explored how stress might be communicated to other animals and what the consequences are. Their work is published in the journal PNAS Nexus.
Is this article about Animals?
Heat-stressed fish embryos release chemical signals that change the appearance, behavior, and development of fish embryos that were not heat stressed, according to a study. Stress during development can change how an embryo grows and which genes are activated. Katharina Wollenberg Valero and colleagues explored how stress might be communicated to other animals and what the consequences are. Their work is published in the journal PNAS Nexus.
Feedly AI found 1 Product Launches mention in this article
  • A team of engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder has designed a new class of tiny, self-propelled robots that can zip through liquid at incredible speeds—and may one day even deliver prescription drugs to hard-to-reach places inside the human body.
A team of engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder has designed a new class of tiny, self-propelled robots that can zip through liquid at incredible speeds—and may one day even deliver prescription drugs to hard-to-reach places inside the human body.
What gets people to share articles on social media?
Is this article about Wellbeing?
hands pass metal wrench

Social media users are likely to share posts that contain information that they feel has value to themselves or to the people they know, research finds.

Merely encouraging people to consider the value led to increased activity in the areas of the brain associated with sharing decisions and increased a person’s motivation to share an article, the research finds.

“A lot of prior research on what makes posts go viral has focused on identifying the characteristics of messages that are shared often or not shared often,” says lead author Christin Scholz, assistant professor in persuasive communication at the University of Amsterdam. “We’re looking at the neural mechanisms of sharing decisions. Targeting those mechanisms could be a way to encourage the spread of high quality health information.”

During the study, led by senior author Emily Falk, professor of communication, psychology, and marketing and director of the Communication Neuroscience Lab at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, participants were instructed to consider sharing articles about healthy living from the New York Times while their brain activity was measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Inside the fMRI scanner, participants were asked to think about sharing an article with a specific goal in mind: to either “help somebody” (use the article to relate positively to others) or to “describe yourself” (use the article to present yourself positively to others). As a control, participants were assigned the neutral “to spread information” goal.

“In all areas of life, people want to present themselves in a positive light or to relate positively to others,” Scholz says. “Our method encourages people to identify ways in which they can fulfill these motives through the sharing of health articles. If they are successful, they should be more likely to decide to share the article.”

After reading the headline and summary of a health-related article, participants were asked to consider what they might say or write to another study participant if they were to share the article with them, keeping in mind their assigned goal. Finally, participants rated their likelihood to share the article in real life.

Thinking about sharing in terms of how it might help someone else not only increased activation in brain regions associated with self-related thinking, value-related thinking, and social-related thinking (particularly mentalizing—the act of imagining what others are thinking), but also increased a person’s self-reported willingness to share an article.

“I think we’re only scratching the surface in terms of how you could encourage people to share high quality health information,” Scholz says. “A health communicator might want to focus on being accurate and clear and not have to worry about whether their content is emotional to get clicks. We’re trying to find ways to focus on the would-be sharer, to help them find personal meaning in sharing content that can benefit others and society.”

The study appears in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

Source: Penn

The post What gets people to share articles on social media? appeared first on Futurity.

‘Ancient’ vase repatriated from UK to Greece faces fresh forgery claim

Exclusive: Archaeologist says 5th-century BC wine vase with modern decoration widely regarded as fake

Days after Greece announced the recovery of hundreds of antiquities from a disgraced British dealer, its ministry of culture faces the accusation that one of those artefacts, a vase of the early 5th-century BC, bears a decoration that is in fact a “modern forgery” created in the 1990s.

Christos Tsirogiannis, an archaeologist based in Cambridge, expressed astonishment that the ministry had included the olpe – a vase for wine – among treasured ancient objects that will be coming home.

Continue reading…
New method predicts extreme weather events more accurately
Is this article about Agriculture?
With the rise of extreme weather events, which are becoming more frequent in our warming climate, accurate predictions are becoming more critical for all of us, from farmers to city-dwellers to businesses around the world. To date, climate models have failed to accurately predict precipitation intensity, particularly extremes. While in nature, precipitation can be very varied, with many extremes of precipitation, climate models predict a smaller variance in precipitation with a bias toward light rain.
Why has Virgin Orbit shut down and what will happen to UK spaceports?
Feedly AI found 2 Mergers and Acquisitions mentions in this article
Virgin Orbit
's failed launch in January was the start of the end for the company, which has now sold off its assets and shut down for good. But what does this mean for Richard Branson's other space firm, Virgin Galactic?

A man who was paralysed in a cycling accident in 2011 has been able to stand and walk with an aid after doctors implanted a device that reads brainwaves and sends instructions to the spine to activate the right muscles.


Gert-Jan Oskam, 40, was told he would never walk again after breaking his neck in a traffic accident in China, but has climbed stairs and walked for more than 100 meres at a time since having the operation. The 'digital bridge' is the latest from a team of neuroscientists in Switzerland who have a longstanding programme to develop brain-machine interfaces to overcome paralysis


Continue reading…
Paralysed man walks using device that reconnects brain with muscles

Pioneering research could help development of miniaturised devices for stroke patients and paralysed people

A man who was paralysed in a cycling accident in 2011 has been able to stand and walk with an aid after doctors implanted a device that reads his brain waves and sends instructions to his spine to move the right muscles.

Gert-Jan Oskam, 40, was told he would never walk again after breaking his neck in a traffic accident in China, but has climbed stairs and walked for more than 100 metres at a time since having the operation.

Continue reading…

Hurtling down trails on two wheels might not be the most obvious way to cope with a life-changing news, but for Tracey Croke it helped her find inner peace

It wasn’t the news my doctor expected from the scan. I could tell by the look on his face. Most partial hearing loss episodes are caused by infections. I was that rare, one-in-whatever-thousand case where they’d discovered a squatter – which I now call “the thing” – was hanging out in my head.

“It’s a brain tumour,” he said.

Continue reading…
Brazil builds 'rings of carbon dioxide' to simulate climate change in the Amazon
Is this article about Sustainability?
In the depths of the 
, Brazil is building an otherworldly structure—a complex of towers arrayed in six rings, poised to spray mists of carbon dioxide into the rainforest. But the reason is utterly terrestrial: to understand how the world's largest tropical forest responds to climate change.
Ligand-nanocrystal interactions under visible light irradiation
When designing optoelectronic devices, such as solar cells, photocatalysts, and photodetectors, scientists usually prioritize materials that are stable and possess tunable properties. This allows them precise control over optical characteristics of the materials and ensures retention of their properties over time, despite varying environmental conditions.
How global flows of toxic mercury impact human health
Is this article about Market Reports?
Almost half of mercury exposure comes from mercury embedded in global trade, according to an analysis of the global flows of the toxic metal. Mercury is a neurotoxin that harms human health in even very small doses.
Quantum matter breakthrough: Tuning density waves
Is this article about Tech & Scientific Innovation?
Scientists at EPFL have found a new way to create a crystalline structure called a "density wave" in an atomic gas. The findings can help us better understand the behavior of quantum matter, one of the most complex problems in physics. The research was published May 24 in Nature.
'Segment-jumping' ridgecrest earthquakes explored in new study
On the morning of July 4, 2019, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck the Searles Valley in California's Mojave Desert, with impacts felt across Southern California. About 34 hours later on July 5, the nearby city of Ridgecrest was struck by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake, a jolt felt by millions across the state of California and throughout neighboring communities in Arizona, Nevada, and even Baja California, Mexico.
Spiny mice found to have bone-plated tails
Mammals are a bit odd when it comes to bones. Rather than the bony plates and scales of crocodiles, turtles, lizards, dinosaurs and fish, mammals long ago traded in their ancestral suit of armor for a layer of insulating hair.

Hey everyone, this year i will begin my university studies as a cognitive sciences and artificial intelligence major. For a very long time i wanted to pursue cognitive sciences and work in a human computer interaction related field after pursuing a master. The program i will study focuses on all areas of cognitive sciences while giving a strong base in computer sciences and artificial intelligence. However, i am having some doubts about studying cognitive sciences directly instead of doing it as a masters degree. Any cognitive scientists out there to give me advice on whether i should take a gap year and study something like computer sciences or psychology or is it worth studying cognitive sciences. Thank you in advance.

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Refined Carbs Linked to Brain Trouble
Is this article about Biopharma Industry?
A team of French scientists has linked refined carbohydrates to worse cognitive function — even when consumed by young, healthy adults.

Not the croissants!!

In a new study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, a team of French scientists has linked refined carbohydrates to worse cognitive function — even when consumed by young, healthy adults.

Though some diet industry folks might tell you to steer clear from carbs entirely, that's not sound advice. Your body needs carbs for energy, as does your brain.

But not all carbs are created equal. Complex, unrefined carbohydrates like whole grains are an essential piece of a well-rounded diet; industrialized, refined carbohydrates like white bread, on the other hand, which go through a process stripping them of nutritional properties like bran, starch, and fiber — think treacly breakfast cereals and snack cakes — aren't good for much more than a quick sugar hit, as opposed to a sustained energy boost.

And of course, as most quick fixes go, your body will soon be craving more — a habituation that, in this case, may eventually lead to insulin disorders and other chronic ailments, neurological disorders included.

As the scientists note in their study, the introduction of refined carbs into the human diet is a very recent phenomenon, at least in the grand scheme of human history. They didn't come around until well into the 20th century, along with the rest of mass-production culture — and our brains, the scientists say, may well be suffering for it.

"A massive diet switch has occurred in the occidental world since the second half of the 20th century, with a dramatic increase in refined carbohydrate consumption generating numerous deleterious health effects," reads the study's abstract. "Physiological mechanisms associated with refined carbohydrate consumption," it continues, "such as hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance, may impact cognition in healthy people before overt obesity, metabolic disease onset or dementia."

In other words, because research in this area tends to focus on older adults who have already developed chronic illness, the scientists specifically chose to study younger adults, who may experience negative cognitive impacts of refined carbohydrates prior to developing any long-term condition like diabetes or dementia.

"To date, studies on the link between the long-term consumption of refined carbohydrates and cognition have mainly been carried out on older individuals or in a pathological context," they write. "Nevertheless, early life exposure to refined carbohydrates may be particularly toxic to cognitive functioning, and neurocognitive deficits induced by a diet high in refined carbohydrates may manifest before overt obesity or metabolic disease onset."

In order to close that gap, the researchers enlisted 95 healthy young adults, all between the ages of 20 and 30 and recruited from the University of Montpellier in France. In order to "limit cultural heterogeneity, only individuals declaring European ancestry" were studied.

Each day, a group of three or four participants were asked to show up to the research lab. Upon arrival, they were asked to first take a test called Wechsler's digit symbol substitution cognitive test. They would then have their glucose tested, and after that, they were given one of two very specific breakfasts.

Each extremely French breakfast — which was given to students at random — consisted of 500 calories and was relatively similar. However, there was one big difference: one group's breakfast of whole wheat bread, butter, cheese, a raw fruit and a non-sweetened beverage contained unrefined carbs only, while the other group, who were fed a French baguette made from processed flour, jam, fruit juice and a non-sweetened beverage with sugar available, was made using refined carbohydrates.

Then, after breakfast, there were more tests. At both half an hour and one and a half hours after finishing their morning meal, participants' glycemic indexes were measured again. With the third glycemic check-in, they were asked to take that Wechsler cognitive test for a second time. Individuals were also asked to complete questionnaires that detailed questions about their personal life, history, and diet.

The researchers were able to confirm that the participants who chowed down on the refined flour baguette saw a "significant immediate effect" on their glycemia. Using questionnaires, the researchers were also able to determine that the more someone consumed refined carbohydrates between meals, they experienced lower cognitive performance, an effect that was "maintained when controlling for potential confounding effects such as age, sex, BMI, physical activity, parental home ownership, chronic energy intake of the three mealtimes, and immediate consumption of refined carbohydrates."

As a disclaimer, there are certainly some caveats to this study. As the researchers were careful to note, the participants in the study weren't exactly diverse. It was also pretty heavily rooted in questionnaires, a method of study that can't prove firm cause-and-effect.

Still, if anything, this study serves as a useful reminder of how important it is to focus on the prevention — rather than a reactive treatment — of chronic illnesses. Our bodies, brains included, might depend on it.

"Our study reinforces the belief that the most promising research should focus on prevention in healthy persons," wrote the study authors. "We have shown that cognition in healthy individuals is impacted by chronic refined carbohydrate consumption, indicating that neurocognitive deficits induced by this type of diet may manifest before overt obesity, metabolic disease onset or dementia."

"Thus," they added, "the identification of modifiable factors that could be targeted in interventions to prevent future health impairment is pivotal."

More on food choices: 40 Percent of American Children Think Hot Dogs Are Vegetables

The post Refined Carbs Linked to Brain Trouble appeared first on Futurism.

Earth Receiving Simulated Alien Signal From Mars
Is this article about Aerospace?
A team of scientists at the SETI Institute have put together a simulated alien signal to see if we have the ability to decode it.

Is Anyone There?

A team of scientists at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute have put together a simulated alien signal to transmit from a spacecraft currently orbiting Mars back to Earth — to see if we have the ability to decode it.

Scientists have long pondered why aliens — if they even exist — haven't reached out to us yet. In fact, there's always a chance they have already tried, but we simply didn't know how to interpret their signals.

The SETI Institute's new project, dubbed A Sign in Space, will challenge scientists from around the globe to come up with novel ways to make sense of these signals, potentially giving us a leg up in case aliens were to ever try to really get in touch with us.

"Receiving a message from an extraterrestrial civilization would be a profoundly transformational experience for all humankind," said Daniela de Paulis, the visionary artist behind the project, in a statement. "A Sign in Space offers the unprecedented opportunity to tangibly rehearse and prepare for this scenario through global collaboration, fostering an open-ended search for meaning across all cultures and disciplines."

The de Paulis Code

The European Space Agency's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) will blast the message, which was encoded by de Paulis and her team, toward Earth on Wednesday.

Three radio astronomy observatories, including SETI Institute’s Allen Telescope Array (ATA) in California, will detect the message 16 minutes later, and make the data available to the public, thereby signaling the start of the project.

The project has its own Discord server and a series of Zoom-based discussions will allow scientists as well as members of the public from around the world to chime in.

In short, it's a unique and creative project that provides a refreshing new take on our quest to figure out if we're alone in the universe or not.

"This experiment is an opportunity for the world to learn how the SETI community, in all its diversity, will work together to receive, process, analyze, and understand the meaning of a potential extraterrestrial signal," said ATA project scientist Wael Farah, in the statement.

"More than astronomy, communicating with ET will require a breadth of knowledge," Farah added.

More on SETI: Scientists Worried Humankind Will Descend Into Chaos If We Ever Discover an Alien Signal

The post Earth Receiving Simulated Alien Signal From Mars appeared first on Futurism.

The Problem With How the Census Classifies White People
Is this article about Political Science?

The U.S. Census Bureau is considering a historic revision to the 2030 count that would recognize the distinct ethnicity of people of Middle Eastern and North African descent—primarily Arab 


, who have been subject to post-9/11 discrimination and, until now, have been grouped into the nebulous American amalgam of “white” people.

The census should make this simple and obvious change, but it shouldn’t stop there. It should overhaul the entirety of its facile race and ethnicity reporting.

Like people of Middle Eastern and North African origins, millions of other Americans have been funneled into one side of our country’s enduring binary of whiteness or the other. According to today’s census forms, Greeks, Irish, Italians, Slavs (who were systematically excluded for a century), and Jews—who are still the target of white-supremacist violence—are indistinct from people with Mayflower backgrounds.

[Yair Rosenberg: Why so many people still don’t understand anti-Semitism]

Being an unspecified “white” person has allowed many of us to blend in, when the most unifying thing we might do in this era of identity-driven polarization is acknowledge all the ways we are different.

Today’s nationalist identity politics are grounded in the grievances of people who think of themselves as white, who fear that established norms are being undone and find it difficult to see themselves in the faces of newer immigrant arrivals. Their insecurity has inspired a new wave of nativism and racial politics in the run-up to the “majority minority” milestone in 2044, when the Census Bureau projects that the share of non-Hispanic white Americans will dip below 50 percent.

But the simplistic survey questions that underpin this milestone—and the accompanying backlash—reflect the choices the bureau has made until now. Once a decade since 1970, the bureau’s demographers and economists make the conscious decision to measure America’s diversity first according to whether someone self-identifies as “Hispanic or Latino” and then whether they are “Black or African American,” “White,” “American Indian or Alaska Native,” “Asian,” “Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander,” or “some other race.”

If these current questions about ethnicity were replaced by a required “select all that apply” question that asked Americans to report the various national, religious, and tribal origins of their ancestors, it would allow us to contextualize race in all the diversity the census’s blunt categories defy. This would not only generate more detailed and measurable data; it would also prompt Americans to reflect on their heritage.

Even the category “Middle Eastern or North African” veils an immense amount of diversity. It groups Iranians, Saudis, Moroccans, Turks, Israelis, and Afghans together. Dozens of other groups would surely appreciate their own checkbox too: Algerians, Bangladeshis, Brazilians, Ghanaians, Sudanese, Trinidadians.

Those who may not be able to trace their lineage to a specific country—including many African Americans—might select a regional origin or identify as “American descendants of slaves.”

Accounting for these differences would swiftly reveal the way today’s racial categories oversimplify the diversity of a nation that has long featured a majority composed of minorities and high rates of intergroup marriage. When we recognize the thousands of national, religious, and language groups that are overlaid, boundaries are harder to draw.

[Richard Alba, Morris Levy, and Dowell Myers: The myth of a majority-minority America]

America’s racial and ethnic lines, which are now recorded by bureaucrats in an office building in Suitland, Maryland, were not drawn in ink at the Constitutional Convention by Washington, Madison, and Mason. The census, instead, reproduces categories that initially reflected the racial worldview of America’s British colonizers and then evolved over a convoluted history that the legal scholar David Bernstein has called “a combination of amateur anthropology and sociology, interest group lobbying, incompetence, inertia, lack of public oversight, and happenstance.”

It’s arguable that the census must account for these categories because so many Americans continue to classify themselves and others along these lines.That said, to contend that the census should reflect existing social boundaries ignores its integral role in constructing them.

Census categories took their modern form after World War II, an era in which the U.S. government began formalizing its system of racial classification to address civil-rights violations. During this period, intense lobbying of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by different parties produced newly recognized categories for people of Asian origins and “American Indians.” Many lighter-skinned ethnic and religious minorities were classified as “white” on employment forms, despite their persistent socioeconomic struggles or exclusion.

Nearly a decade after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned employment discrimination, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a 1973 report urging the federal government to create a system to collect data on the distribution of America’s major ethnic and racial groups. The resulting categories became required for all reporting by federal agencies when the Office of Management and Budget issued the race and ethnic standards” that remain the basis for today’s classification system.

The current boundaries ignore the disparate experiences and identities of people of “Asian or Pacific Islander,” backgrounds whose origins stretch from islands in the Western Pacific to the Indian subcontinent. (The Census of 1970 actually classified South Asians as “white.”) They lump Spaniards together with Bolivian mestizos, and recent sub-Saharan arrivals with other Black Americans whose families have been here for centuries.

For their part, Middle Eastern and North African Americans have sought a separate category on census forms for decades. Although early generations of Middle Eastern immigrants saw whiteness as their path toward equal rights, there has been a growing disconnect between the U.S. government’s classification and people’s lived experience.

Under the Obama administration, the Census Bureau conducted studies to determine the extent to which Middle Eastern Americans distinguish themselves from white people in advance of the 2020 count. The researchers concluded that including a “Middle Eastern or North African” category on questionnaires would be “optimal” because it “helps MENA respondents to more accurately report their MENA identities.” The effort stalled during the Trump administration, despite the way the White House’s Muslim ban” implicitly acknowledged many inside this subgroup. The Biden administration has since endorsed a checkbox for Middle Eastern ethnicity alongside the “Hispanic” checkbox.

It would be just as optimal to ensure that other Americans can report their origins too. If the census were to facilitate this, researchers, businesses, and public agencies could examine trends with much more nuance and identify inequities among people of certain national ancestries. Presently, the main time the federal government acknowledges greater detail is when a hate crime occurs.

Why does it take discrimination—or violence—to formally recognize the importance and relevance of people’s national origin and religion? If these are a common basis for discrimination, then they have clearly reached a level of public salience that makes them worthy of full public accounting.

As consequential as census labels are for the way Americans perceive their country, they may be more consequential for the way Americans see themselves. The census could be a reminder of our own complicated stories at a moment when the population share of the foreign-born approaches a historic peak and the boundaries of whiteness can hardly stretch any further. It could reinforce the unquantifiable diversity of American identity rather than its conformity to categories perceived to be mutually exclusive.

We Still Don’t Know Anna Nicole Smith

The most notorious video of Anna Nicole Smith—and, to be clear, the category is competitive—emerged in early 2007, about two weeks after she died from an overdose of prescription drugs. Shot a year earlier in the Bahamas, when the Playboy model, diet-pill spokesperson, and object of tabloid obsession was eight months pregnant, it shows a near-catatonic Smith having clown makeup applied to her face by a 9-year-old girl named Ryley. Behind the camera is Howard K. Stern, Smith’s lawyer and longtime companion. Stern repeats questions that Smith, nodding in and out of sentience, struggles to process. When she does speak, it’s in a grotesque baby voice, her words slurred into garble. She denies that she’s pregnant. Her baby, she tells the camera while pointing to Ryley’s inanimate doll, is way over there. Her oversize belly, she insists, is just “a little gas.” Later, Ryley, disturbed by Smith’s seeming conviction that the doll is a real infant, observes that Smith is having “brain trouble.” Stern keeps rolling. “This footage is worth money,” he says, to no one in particular. “I think we need the hospital,” Ryley says. “Howard, seriously, please help.” He ignores the child and carries on filming.

When the video leaked in February 2007, it was during a moment when tabloid intrusion into the lives of celebrities had never been more frenzied, or more callous. (Splash News, a paparazzi agency, actually gloated on its website about selling exclusive footage to Entertainment Tonight of Smith’s body having CPR administered.) A little more than a week after Smith died, Britney Spears shaved her head in a hair salon in the San Fernando Valley. A few days later came the clown video, teased in a Radar post with the headline “Drugged and Pregnant Anna Nicole Tape Too Hot for TV,” alongside a photo of Smith with the caption “Baby Got Smack?” As snippets from the tape first emerged—in prime time on Fox News—they were so nakedly shocking that even the most avid rubberneckers couldn’t help but be nauseated by what they saw. Here was the destructiveness of mass voyeurism laid bare: the 


 bombshell, heavily expecting and manifestly doped up, defaced with cartoonish face paint; the disturbed child; the man calmly capturing everything on film, calculating his payout.

Multiple narratives accompanied Smith during her life. She was, chronologically: the gold digger who married an 89-year-old Texas oil billionaire when she was 26; the small-town girl turned Guess jeans model and the luminous blonde who poked fun at herself in movies such as The Hudsucker Proxy and Naked Gun 33 ⅓; the party animal who eagerly posed for photographers in various states of disarray; the train wreck whose yo-yoing weight drew widespread derision until it scored her an endorsement deal with a dubious diet supplement, TrimSpa; the pitiable tabloid fixture whose exploits never stopped making other people money. Then there were the lawsuits against her ex-husband’s family, who shut her out of his will. The reality show, in which Smith stumbled and belched her way through contrived scenarios while a record 4 million people watched. The hotly debated pregnancy and the contested paternity of her baby daughter. The awful, awful death of her 20-year-old son from an accidental overdose while Smith was still recovering in the hospital from her C-section. (“We can’t get enough of Anna Nicole Smith’s mama dramas,” the New York Post said at the time.) The “wedding” to Stern, staged just over two weeks after Smith’s bereavement, photos of which were sold for more than $1 million. Her own death, which almost felt inevitable, so giddily had the media been cheering on her undoing.

[Read: Curse of the ’90s bombshell]

We’re comfortably ensconced in our revisionist era now, which is what makes Anna Nicole: You Don’t Know Me, a new documentary on Netflix, so perplexing. The movie, directed by Ursula Macfarlane, seems bent on exploring who Smith really was, arguing that she was much more capable, intentional, and—yes—calculating than she’s given credit for. It’s a strange line of inquiry that requires selective attention to history. The clown video, for instance, in which a palpably incompetent woman is exploited in the most transparent fashion imaginable, isn’t included in the movie. There’s no mention of the legal and criminal cases that preoccupied the media for years after her overdose—how, according to one Reuters report, more than 1,800 pills and a bottle of the sedative chloral hydrate were prescribed to her under a variety of names, by a single psychiatrist, in the five weeks before her death. So many drugs, in fact, that a pharmacist warned Smith’s doctors that they amounted to “pharmaceutical suicide,” and that she shouldn’t be given chloral hydrate “unless you want your picture on the front page of the National Enquirer.” (Smith’s psychiatrist Khristine Eroshevich, was found guilty in 2009 alongside Stern of multiple criminal charges, including prescribing drugs to an addict. The charges for both were subsequently dismissed in 2011; one charge against Eroshevic was reinstated four years later. Smith’s doctor Sandeep Kapoor was also charged, but was acquitted in 2010 on all counts.)

There’s barely even a mention of Stern—a strange, stolid figure who abandoned his law practice in 2002 to become Smith’s unpaid companion and reality-TV co-star, spearheading her legal fight to access her late husband’s fortune, doling out her pills, and brokering her image. (While Smith was still grieving her son, Stern sold graphic footage of her C-section to Entertainment Tonight.) The movie’s thesis seems to be that Smith was—contra whatever you may have heard—in charge of her own destiny. “Howard did not control everything,” Smith’s former bodyguard Maurice “Big Moe” Brighthaupt tells the camera. “Anna was in control of everything.” It’s a nice, empowering declaration. But given that virtually everyone interviewed in the movie has their own self-exculpatory reasons for wanting Smith to own what happened to her, it’s a tough argument to swallow.

Dig a little deeper too, and the movie’s thesis is striking. Suggesting that Smith was more empowered than she seemed at the time also means implying that actually, this particular woman actively embraced and maybe even deserved how she was treated by the media during one of the ugliest decades in celebrity history. This was a moment when magazines and photographers went to the most extreme means to expose stars, and when any famous woman’s face would inevitably have ejaculate doodled next to it at In seeking to uncover who Smith really was, Macfarlane discovers that she could be sweet, a loving mother, and irresistible company. But she could also be a manipulative liar who co-opted a friend’s abusive childhood for her own life story and threatened her elderly husband that if he woke her up with his insistent phone calls again, “I’m gonna knock you out when I see you.” Smith’s famously messy appearance at the 2004 American Music Awards, in which she struggled to get through an introduction for Kanye West, was staged for the cameras, Brighthaupt argues. “I didn’t even have to do a sex tape!” Smith said in a TV interview, clutching her dog and wearing a bedazzled TRIMSPA necklace. “I’m getting all this attention.” Macfarlane concludes her movie with footage of Smith’s late mother explaining that Anna courted bad press because it made her infinitely more money than positive coverage.

To its credit, Anna Nicole: You Don’t Know Me does convey some of the glaring power of Smith’s magnetism, before she became so entrenched as a punch line. We see her in the ’90s, in a blue floral sundress, fresh-faced and gawky as a calf, showing a videographer around her hometown of Mexia, Texas. Hopelessly flirtatious any time she sees a camera, she winks and poses and licks her lips in pure ham, but her schtick is undercut by the auspicious accident of her face. For whatever reason, she has a face you can’t look away from. Features that might be considered unfavorable on their own—the jutting chin, the predatory eyes—become, when combined, something otherworldly. Paired with her statuesque size—she was almost 6 feet tall—and her unfashionable-for-the-’90s curves, it’s easy to remember why she was so famous that her death received nonstop coverage on every cable-news network.

Macfarlane sketches out the broad beats of Smith’s career: how she fled the husband she’d married at 17 with her baby, Daniel, in tow, to audition for a job at a Houston strip club; how she met the oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall but refused to marry him until she’d made a name for herself; how she found fame as a pinup in a blink but struggled to break through as an actor. Even at the time, she was considered too big for Hollywood (a Vanity Faifeature from 1993 marveled that a 5-foot-11-inch woman would dare weigh 140 lbs), too blond and too busty to be anything more than an object. After a few years of career slide, Smith resurfaced with her reality show, whose tagline was “It’s not supposed to be funny, it just is.” Visibly stoned, she toured houses with stunned real-estate agents, challenged her family to an eating contest, and slurred conversationally at an urn containing her late husband’s ashes.

[Read: Why were we so cruel to Britney Spears?]

The film’s accounts of how Smith may have felt about her reality get contradictory at this point. She knew that people were laughing at her, and she didn’t care, a friend says—but she was also mortified by the coverage of her size. (The other Howard Stern, not her lawyer, famously told his colleagues on air to guess her weight, as though she were livestock at the county fair.) She was playing up her train-wreck image for the cameras, her bodyguard argues—but she was also desperate to get back in the media’s good graces, to the point where she almost died of dehydration trying to slim down for her new endorsement deal with TrimSpa. (When she emerges from a limo in the TV ad, cameras popping at her slimmed-down figure, a voiceover purrs, “Get the attention you deserve.”)

If Smith was playing a role during this time, she wasn’t the only one. This was not an era that wanted to think about women as being smart, competent, or even functional. On reality television, the most cynical medium of all, the most famous women in America played vacuous, moronic versions of themselves for the cameras. “She is well aware that the joke is on her—and that the joke is her meal ticket,” Ariel Levy wrote in a 2004 profile of Jessica Simpson, whose 2003 MTV show, Newlyweds, elevated her from B-list musician to pop-culture phenomenon. Of The Simple Life, which debuted the same year, Paris Hilton recalls in her memoir that she and Nicole Richie were given “broad direction” in building their “characters” on the show; she summarizes hers as “beautiful airhead.”

And yet: It’s hard to believe that Smith’s befuddled, chaotic presence on her show was quite as intentional as people want to make out. For one thing, she was clearly an addict. Prescribed a litany of medications (“Valium, Xanax, Lortabs, uh, Vicodin, and, um, the Klonopin,” a friend recalls) after her first breast augmentation, she quickly became a compulsive user whom doctors were happy to enable. Macfarlane interviews one of them, Kapoor, who claims that the methadone he prescribed to her—the same drug her son fatally overdosed on—while she was pregnant was legitimate treatment for her chronic pain. (A criminal court agreed, acquitting him of charges filed after her death.) But the documentary doesn’t include the fact that Kapoor, by his own admission, had partied with Smith, made out with her at a Pride party in West Hollywood, and written in his diary that he feared she would ruin him. (Kapoor also published a tell-all memoir about his relationship with Smith in 2017.)

What’s most obvious from Anna Nicole: You Don’t Know Me, in fact, is that she had virtually no one in her life who wasn’t benefitting from their relationship in some way or outright exploiting her. And the movie leaves out a lot. A Time interview with Smith from 2002 observes how E! producers pumped her full of Red Bull, sometimes seven or more a day, to try to animate her, even installing a special fridge in her home. (“Everybody I know has made money from me and thrown me away,” Smith told the Time reporter, in a moment of acute perception.) There was also Smith’s psychiatrist, Dr. Eroshevich—she of the pills and the chloral hydrate—who traveled with Smith and was photographed frolicking naked with her in a hot tub months before Smith’s death. Not to mention the fact that Larry Birkhead, a former lover who was proved by a DNA test to be the father of her daughter, was obliged to release a statement after her death saying, “I have never requested a trademark, signed or filled out any paperwork on a trademark relating to Anna Nicole Smith, and the saying ‘Goodnight My Sweet Anna Baby.’ The form was filled out by another individual on my behalf.”

There’s so much more to this story, more than a two-hour documentary could ever contain. I can understand the impulse to want to portray Smith as the mistress of her own destiny. And it’s gratifying, oddly, to have a revisionist study of a woman that acknowledges how messy she was, how frequently selfish and ambitious and calculating. But it’s a mistake to reconsider Smith without fully acknowledging and studying all the ways in which she was a victim. Her life coincided with so many larger catastrophes in America in the new millennium: the nascent opioid epidemic; the misogynist landscape of cable TV; a legal culture so absurd that Smith’s case for a portion of her husband’s estate wouldn’t be closed until 2018, a full 23 years after his death. Not to mention the astonishingly cruel and brazenly exploitative new world of the internet, where a woman’s death could be alchemized into endless traffic, ratings, attention. (Never forget TMZ’s viral reveal of “Anna’s Death Fridge: Methadone and Slim-Fast.”) Smith’s life was sad, in many ways—but it was also significant in so many other ways that this bumpy, questionable portrait doesn’t begin to unpack.

Is this article about Tech & Scientific Innovation?
For the past 40 years, a devastating fungal disease has been ravaging frog populations around the world, wiping out 90 species. Unlike the global COVID-19 pandemic, you may not even be aware of this "panzootic"—a pandemic in the animal world. Yet it's the world's worst wildlife disease.
How moss helps fight climate change
Is this article about Energy?
A child's hand touches a rock covered in green moss.

Moss, those tiny plants we often see on the ground or rocks, might be an important antidote to climate change, a new study suggests.

Plant life plays a crucial role in fighting climate change by absorbing and transforming greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. For instance, over its lifetime, a tree can absorb more than a ton of carbon from the air and store it in wood and roots.

The new study in Nature Geoscience uncovered evidence that mosses have the potential to store a massive amount of carbon in the soil beneath them.

Mosses sequester around 6.43 billion metric tons more carbon in the soil than is stored in the bare patches of soil without any plants typically found nearby them in global semi-arid areas. To put it into perspective, this is six times the annual global carbon emissions caused by changes in land use (e.g., deforestation, urbanization, mining, etc.) worldwide.

To arrive at these findings, the researchers examined soil samples from a diverse range of ecosystems spanning every continent. In addition to carbon storage, they analyzed 23 traits associated with biodiversity maintenance and various ecosystem services.

They then calculated the contributions of moss and vascular plants such as trees to the 24 soil biodiversity and functional attributes across all sites.

The investigation revealed that moss-covered soil not only exhibited enhanced carbon storage but also possessed heightened levels of vital nutrients, accelerated rates of organic matter decomposition, and fewer instances of soil-borne plant pathogens on average compared to plain, mossless soil.

The explanation is similar to that of trees in forests, says Peter Reich, a forest ecologist at the University of Michigan and director of the Institute for Global Change Biology at the School for Environment and Sustainability.

“Like forests, mosses stabilize the microclimates and physical environments beneath them,” he says. “Additionally, they provide minerals and carbon to the soil and thus offer a better home for the soil microbiome than areas of bare ground.”

One of the remarkable aspects of moss is its widespread presence. The research team found that mosses cover an area of more than 3.6 million square miles (9.4 million square kilometers), which is similar in size to Canada or China. This further underscores why moss can have such a significant impact on soil biodiversity and services like carbon sequestration.

What’s even more impressive is that mosses can thrive in challenging environments where other plants struggle to survive. For instance, they contribute to soil biodiversity in sandy or salty soils and areas with highly variable rainfall.

The study highlights the importance of taking a comprehensive approach when considering nature’s role in addressing climate change.

“These findings support the idea that we can use nature in a variety of ways to fight climate change,” Reich says. “Mosses matter because they show that even tiny plants in harsh environments are capable of acquiring and storing carbon, just like large trees do elsewhere. And both tiny plants and larger trees do this across the whole globe.”

Looking ahead, Reich suggests that future research should focus on understanding the role of all types of vegetation, not just mosses and trees, in capturing carbon.

“As a community of scientists, we need to better understand all of Earth’s vegetation—on land in places wet and dry, and warm and cold, but also in water (i.e., coasts and open oceans) and their role in scrubbing carbon out of the air,” Reich says.

“By comprehending their respective contributions, we can shape policies to optimize the management of nature, enabling vegetation to play a maximally protective role against climate change.”

Additional coauthors are from the University of New South Wales in Australia and the Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología de Sevilla in Spain. The British Ecological Society funded the work.

Source: Cody Abramson for University of Michigan

The post How moss helps fight climate change appeared first on Futurity.

Prof. Liang Haojun from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) proposed a new catalytic assembly approach to escape from metastable states in a far-from-equilibrium system of DNA-functionalized colloids. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
AI in cybersecurity: Yesterday’s promise, today’s reality

For years, we’ve debated the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) for society, but it wasn’t until now that people can finally see its daily impact. But why now? What changed that’s made AI in 2023 substantially more impactful than before?

First, consumer exposure to emerging AI innovations has elevated the subject, increasing acceptance. From songwriting and composing images in ways previously only imagined to writing college-level papers, generative AI has made its way into our everyday lives. Second, we’ve also reached a tipping point in the maturity curve for AI innovations in the enterprise—and in the cybersecurity industry, this advancement can’t come fast enough.


Together, the consumerization of AI and advancement of AI use-cases for security are creating the level of trust and efficacy needed for AI to start making a real-world impact in security operation centers (SOCs). Digging further into this evolution, let’s take a closer look at how AI-driven technologies are making their way into the hands of cybersecurity analysts today.

Driving cybersecurity with speed and precision through AI

After years of trial and refinement with real-world users, coupled with ongoing advancement of the AI models themselves, AI-driven cybersecurity capabilities are no longer just buzzwords for early adopters, or simple pattern- and rule-based capabilities. Data has exploded, as have signals and meaningful insights. The algorithms have matured and can better contextualize all the information they’re ingesting—from diverse use cases to unbiased, raw data. The promise that we have been waiting for AI to deliver on all these years is manifesting.

For cybersecurity teams, this translates into the ability to drive game-changing speed and accuracy in their defenses—and perhaps, finally, gain an edge in their face-off with cybercriminals. Cybersecurity is an industry that is inherently dependent on speed and precision to be effective, both intrinsic characteristics of AI. Security teams need to know exactly where to look and what to look for. They depend on the ability to move fast and act swiftly. However, speed and precision are not guaranteed in cybersecurity, primarily due to two challenges plaguing the industry: a skills shortage and an explosion of data due to infrastructure complexity.  

The reality is that a finite number of people in cybersecurity today take on infinite cyber threats. According to an IBM study, defenders are outnumbered—68% of responders to cybersecurity incidents say it’s common to respond to multiple incidents at the same time. There’s also more data flowing through an enterprise than ever before—and that enterprise is increasingly complex. Edge computing, internet of things, and remote needs are transforming modern business architectures, creating mazes with significant blind spots for security teams. And if these teams can’t “see,” then they can’t be precise in their security actions.

Today’s matured AI capabilities can help address these obstacles. But to be effective, AI must elicit trust—making it paramount that we surround it with guardrails that ensure reliable security outcomes. For example, when you drive speed for the sake of speed, the result is uncontrolled speed, leading to chaos. But when AI is trusted (i.e., the data we train the models with is free of bias and the AI models are transparent, free of drift, and explainable) it can drive reliable speed. And when it’s coupled with automation, it can improve our defense posture significantly—automatically taking action across the entire incident detection, investigation, and response lifecycle, without relying on human intervention.

Cybersecurity teams’ ‘right-hand man’

One of the common and mature use-cases in cybersecurity today is threat detection, with AI bringing in additional context from across large and disparate datasets or detecting anomalies in behavioral patterns of users. Let’s look at an example:

Imagine that an employee mistakenly clicks on a phishing email, triggering a malicious download onto their system that allows a threat actor to move laterally across the victim environment and operate in stealth. That threat actor tries to circumvent all the security tools that the environment has in place while they look for monetizable weaknesses. For example, they might be searching for compromised passwords or open protocols to exploit and deploy ransomware, allowing them to seize critical systems as leverage against the business.

Now let’s put AI on top of this prevalent scenario: The AI will notice that the behavior of the user who clicked on that email is now out of the ordinary.  For example, it will detect that the changes in user’s process, its interaction with systems it doesn’t typically interact with. Looking at the various processes, signals and interactions occurring, the AI will analyze and contextualize this behavior, whereas a static security feature couldn’t.

Because threat actors can’t imitate digital behaviors as easily as they can mimic static features, such as someone’s credentials, the behavioral edge that AI and automation give defenders makes these security capabilities all the more powerful.

Now imagine this example multiplied by a hundred. Or a thousand. Or tens and hundreds of thousands. Because that’s roughly the number of potential threats that a given enterprise faces in a single day. When you compare these numbers to the 3-to-5-person team running SOCs today on average, the odds are naturally in favor of the attacker. But with AI capabilities supporting SOC teams through risk-driven prioritization, these teams can now focus on the real threats amongst the noise. Add to that, AI can also help them speed up their investigation and response—for example, automatically mining data across systems for other evidence related to the incident or providing automated workflows for response actions.

IBM is bringing AI capabilities such as these natively into its threat detection and response technologies through the QRadar Suite. One factor making this a game changer is that these key AI capabilities are now brought together through a unified analyst experience that cuts across all core SOC technologies, making them easier to use across the entire incident lifecycle. In addition, these AI capabilities have been refined to the point where they can be trusted and automatically acted upon via orchestrated response, without human intervention. For example, IBM’s managed security services team used these AI capabilities to automate 70% of alert closures and speed up their threat management timeline by more than 50% within the first year of use.

The combination of AI and automation unlocks tangible benefits for speed and efficiency, which are desperately needed in today’s SOCs. After years of being put to the test, and with their maturity now at hand, AI innovations can optimize defenders’ use of time—through precision and accelerated action. The more AI is leveraged across security, the faster it will drive security teams’ ability to perform and the cybersecurity industry’s resilience and readiness to adapt to whatever lies ahead.

This content was produced by IBM. It was not written by MIT Technology Review’s editorial staff.

DNA facilitates escape from metastability in self-assembling systems
Prof. Liang Haojun from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) proposed a new catalytic assembly approach to escape from metastable states in a far-from-equilibrium system of DNA-functionalized colloids. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Glycolytically impaired Drosophila glial cells fuel neural metabolism via β-oxidation

Nature Communications, Published online: 24 May 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-38813-x

Drosophila are able to survive for several weeks in the absence of glial glycolysis. Here, the authors show that glial cells can utilize fatty acids to supply neurons under restrictive conditions and glial cells act as a metabolic sensor and induce mobilization of peripheral energy stores.
New production process for therapeutic nanovesicles
Particles known as extracellular vesicles play a vital role in communication between cells and in many cell functions. Released by cells into their environment, these "membrane particles" consist of a cellular membrane carrying a cargo of specific signaling molecules, proteins, nucleic acids and lipids. Unfortunately, only tiny quantities of the vesicles are formed spontaneously by cells.
Tiny but tenacious: Arctic-alpine plants are engineers and warning bells
When most people consider the arctic, or high-altitude mountain landscapes, they think of endless snow, ice and bare rock. But pastel-colored flowers, sometimes just a few millimeters wide, bloom in these dramatic places too. The miniature flowers not only weather some of the toughest habitats on Earth, but can also help engineer the landscape for other species.
Why are killer whales attacking boats? Expert Q&A
Is this article about Animals?
Orcas living off Europe's Iberian coast recently struck and sunk a yacht in the Strait of Gibraltar. Scientists suspect that this is the third vessel this subpopulation of killer whales has capsized since May 2020, when a female orca believed to be the originator of this behavior suffered a traumatic encounter with a boat.
Anti-nausea drug gets in cells to offer lasting pain relief
Is this article about Recreational Drugs?
A woman holds her temples while sitting on a couch with her eyes closed in pain.

Altering the chemical properties of an anti-


 drug enables it to enter an interior compartment of the cell and provide long-lasting pain relief, according to a new study.

The study illustrates how pain signaling occurs inside cells rather than at the surface, highlighting the need for drugs that can reach receptors within cells.

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are a large family of proteins that regulate many processes in the body and are the target of one third of clinically used drugs. A subset of these receptors plays an important role in pain, including the neurokinin-1 (NK1) receptor, which is activated by a pain-transmitting neuropeptide called substance P.

Several FDA-approved drugs that target the NK1 receptor are used to prevent nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy or surgery. Scientists previously hoped that the NK1 receptor would be a promising target for treating pain—but drugs targeting the receptor failed to control pain in clinical trials in the 1990s and early 2000s.

One reason why drugs targeting the NK1 receptor may not have been effective against pain is that most drugs block receptors at the surface of cells. However, researchers at the NYU Pain Research Center have shown that GCPRs signal pain not from the surface of cells, but from compartments inside the cell called endosomes.

“Sustained signaling in endosomes is necessary for the hyperexcitability of pain-sensing neurons involved in chronic pain,” says Nigel Bunnett, professor and chair of the department of molecular pathobiology at the New York University College of Dentistry and senior author of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“As a result, treating pain may require the development of drugs that penetrate cells, are retained in endosomes, and disrupt signaling inside the cell.”

In the study, the researchers focused on two drugs, aprepitant and netupitant, both NK1 receptor antagonists used to prevent nausea and vomiting. Studying NK1 receptors in the lab has the benefit of clinically available drugs that target the receptor, but also comes with challenges, as there are large differences between the NK1 receptor in mice and humans. To overcome this, the researchers genetically modified mice to express the human NK1 receptor.

Bunnett and his colleagues had previously shown that encapsulating aprepitant in nanoparticles could deliver the drug to endosomes to block pain, but in this study, aprepitant only briefly disrupted endosomal signaling in cellular studies and stopped pain in mice for short periods.

Modifying the second drug, netupitant, held much more promise. The researchers changed the chemical properties of the drug to make it more capable of penetrating a cell’s lipid membrane. They also altered the charge on the molecule within an acidic environment so that once the drug entered the acidic environment of an endosome, it would stay trapped inside and accumulate.

These changes allowed the modified netupitant to readily penetrate cells to reach the endosome and block signaling of the NK1 receptor in endosomes with a much more prolonged effect in cells. The altered netupitant also had a more potent and long-lasting analgesic effect in mice than aprepitant and the regular form of netupitant.

In another experiment, the researchers studied mice with a different type of NK1 receptor on the outer membrane of the cell, rather than inside. These mice were more resistant to pain than those with human NK1 receptors inside the cell, illustrating the importance of endosomes in signaling pain and the need for treatments that can penetrate cells.

The researchers are continuing this research and other studies in animal models to develop new therapies for pain that block GCPRs in endosomes.

“Although we focused on the neurokinin-1 receptor, our findings are likely applicable to many G-protein coupled receptors because many of them show sustained signaling within cells, and therefore require drugs that can enter cells and block the receptors in endosomes,” Bunnett says.

Additional coauthors are from Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany; Monash University in Australia; and NYU.

The National Institutes of Health , the US Department of Defense, the National Health and Medical Research Council, and the Australian Research Council funded the work. Bunnett is a founding scientist of Endosome Therapeutics Inc. Research in Bunnett’s laboratory is funded, in part, by Takeda Pharmaceuticals International.

Source: NYU

“Sustained signaling in endosomes is necessary for the hyperexcitability of pain-sensing neurons involved in chronic pain,” says Nigel Bunnett. “As a result, treating pain may require the development of drugs that penetrate cells, are retained in endosomes, and disrupt signaling inside the cell.” (Credit:

The post Anti-nausea drug gets in cells to offer lasting pain relief appeared first on Futurity.

Cheating spouses may not feel guilty
older man in suit looks unrepentant, smug

An extensive survey of people using Ashley Madison, a website for facilitating extramarital affairs, challenges widely held notions about infidelity.

Married people who have affairs through the site find them highly satisfying, express little remorse, and believe the cheating didn’t hurt their otherwise healthy marriages, according to the paper in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

“In popular media, television shows and movies and books, people who have affairs have this intense moral guilt and we don’t see that in this sample of participants,” says lead author Dylan Selterman, an associate teaching professor in Johns Hopkins University’s department of psychological & brain sciences.

“Ratings for satisfaction with affairs was high—sexual satisfaction and emotional satisfaction. And feelings of regret were low. These findings paint a more complicated picture of infidelity compared to what we thought we knew.”

Researchers conducted this study to better understand the psychological experiences of those who seek and engage in extramarital affairs. Working with researchers at the University of Western Ontario, Selterman surveyed nearly 2,000 active users of Ashley Madison before and after they had affairs.

Participants were asked about the state of their marriage, about why they wanted to have an affair, and about their general well-being. Respondents, generally middle aged and male, reported high levels of love for their partners, yet low levels of sexual satisfaction.

Participants reported high levels of love for their spouses, yet about half of the participants said that they were not sexually active with their partners. Sexual dissatisfaction was the top-cited motivation to have an affair, with other motivations including the desire for independence and for sexual variety. Fundamental problems with the relationship, like lack of love or anger toward a spouse were among the least-cited reasons for wanting to cheat.

Having great marriages didn’t make cheaters any more likely to regret affairs, the survey found. Participants generally reported that their affair was highly satisfying both sexually and emotionally, and that they did not regret having it.

The results suggest that infidelity isn’t necessarily the result of a deeper problem in the relationship, Selterman says. Participants sought affairs because they wanted novel, exciting sexual experiences, or sometimes because they didn’t feel a strong commitment to their partners, rather than because of a need for emotional fulfillment, the report found.

“People have a diversity of motivations to cheat,” Selterman says. “Sometimes they’ll cheat even if their relationships are pretty good. We don’t see solid evidence here that people’s affairs are associated with lower relationship quality or lower life satisfaction.”

Selterman hopes to advance this work by looking closer at how other populations of cheaters compare to the Ashley Madison population.

“The take-home point for me is that maintaining monogamy or sexual exclusivity especially across people’s lifespans is really, really hard and I think people take monogamy for granted when they’re committed to someone in a marriage,” Selterman says.

“People just assume that their partners are going to be totally satisfied having sex with one person for the next 50 years of their lives but a lot of people fail at it. It doesn’t mean everyone’s relationship is doomed, it means that cheating might be a common part of people’s relationships.”

Source: Johns Hopkins University

The post Cheating spouses may not feel guilty appeared first on Futurity.

When most people consider the arctic, or high-altitude mountain landscapes, they think of endless snow, ice and bare rock. But pastel-colored flowers, sometimes just a few millimeters wide, bloom in these dramatic places too. The miniature flowers not only weather some of the toughest habitats on Earth, but can also help engineer the landscape for other species.
Is this article about Animals?
Orcas living off Europe's Iberian coast recently struck and sunk a yacht in the Strait of Gibraltar. Scientists suspect that this is the third vessel this subpopulation of killer whales has capsized since May 2020, when a female orca believed to be the originator of this behavior suffered a traumatic encounter with a boat.
Astronomers explore a recently discovered luminous quasar
Is this article about Space?
Using various space telescopes, an international team of astronomers have observed a recently detected luminous quasar known as SMSS J114447.77-430859.3, or J1144 for short. Results of the observational campaign, available in the July 2023 edition of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, shed more light on the properties of this source.
Progressive quantum leaps—high-speed, thin-film lithium niobate quantum processors driven by quantum emitters
Scalable photonic quantum computing architectures require photonic processing devices. Such platforms rely on low-loss, high-speed, reconfigurable circuits and near-deterministic resource state generators. In a new report now published in Science Advances, Patrik Sund and a research team at the center of hybrid quantum networks at the University of Copenhagen, and the University of Münster developed an integrated photonic platform with thin-film lithium niobate. The scientists integrated the platform with deterministic solid-state single photon sources using quantum dots in nanophotonic waveguides.
A team of space scientists affiliated with several institutions in Czechia, Japan and the U.S. has found evidence of lightning pulses on Jupiter that are similar to those found on Earth. In their study, reported in the journal Nature Communications, the group examined years of data from the Juno space probe circling Jupiter.
Is It Real or Imagined? How Your Brain Tells the Difference.
Is this article about Health?

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Those aren’t just lyrics from the Queen song “Bohemian Rhapsody.” They’re also the questions that the brain must constantly answer while processing streams of visual signals from the eyes and purely mental pictures bubbling out of the imagination. Brain scan studies have repeatedly found that seeing something and imagining it evoke highly similar…


Virtual Reality Could Soon Include Smells Thanks to New Wireless Scent Interface

Virtual reality experiences depend on goggles and headphones, transporting wearers to new places using sight and sound. Be it a peaceful meadow where the only sounds are birds chirping and the breeze blowing through the grass, or a packed stadium with thousands of fans cheering on a pro football team, what you see and hear are key components of an immersive experience.

But they’re not the only ones. Multiple companies are working on haptic devices, like gloves or vests, to add a sense of touch to virtual experiences. And now, researchers are aiming to integrate a fourth sense: smell.

How much more real might that peaceful meadow feel if you could smell the wildflowers and the damp Earth around you? How might the scent of an ocean breeze amplify a VR experience that takes place on a boat or a beach?

Scents have a powerful effect on the brain, eliciting emotions, memories, and sometimes even fight-or-flight responses. You may feel nostalgic with the cologne or perfume a favorite grandparent wore, comforted by a whiff of a favorite food, or extra-alert to your surroundings if it smells like something’s burning.

If proponents’ vision of the metaverse come to pass, integrating scent will help make the virtual world more immersive and realistic. A team at Beihang University in China published a paper in Nature Communications this month describing a system to make it happen. Their wearable interface uses an odor generator to produce specific smells during virtual experiences.

The team created two different versions of the “olfaction interface”: one that users stick onto the patch of skin between their nose and mouth, and another that’s strapped on like a face mask. The interfaces contain odor generators in the form of miniaturized containers of paraffin wax infused with different scents. These can activate individually or be combined to create many unique smells (though the face mask version has much more versatility with 9 odor generators, while the on-skin version only has 2).

The scents reach the device’s wearer via an actuator and heat source that starts to melt the wax, causing it to release its scent, like a candle. The researchers claim it only takes 1.44 seconds for a scent to be generated and reach the device wearer’s nose. To make the scent stop or transition to a different one—say you’ve left the meadow and are now walking along a paved road upon which there’s a chocolate factory (mmmm)—a copper coil kicks a magnet to cover the wax and cool it down.

Image Credit: Xinge Yu et. al.

It may make users nervous to have a device on their face that gets hot enough to melt wax. The researchers say their interface won’t burn wearers—or even come close to doing so—thanks to an open design that ventilates warm air. There’s also a piece of silicone built in to create a barrier between the interface and wearers’ skin.

In a test with 11 volunteers, the on-skin interface reached a temperature of 90° F; that’s lower than the human body temperature, but not exactly cool and comfortable. The team says they’re working on solutions to make the interface run at lower temperatures. They also have yet to figure out how to program the odor generators in a way that would seamlessly integrate with VR headsets, and release the relevant scents at appropriate times.

Nonetheless, their design is a step forward. “This is quite an exciting development,” said Jas Brooks, a PhD candidate at the University of Chicago’s Human-Computer Integration Lab who has studied chemical interfaces and smell, who was not involved in the study. “It’s tackling a core problem with smell in VR: How do we miniaturize this, make it not messy, and not use liquid?”

Imagine wearing a scent-releasing device while watching The Great British Baking Show or Top Chef. If those shows were addicting (and hunger-inducing) to begin with, being able to smell the cooks’ and bakers’ creations might make us all run out to buy the closest match we can find—or the ingredients to make it ourselves.

That brings us to the final sense that may eventually be added to virtual reality: taste.

Image Credit: SimpleB /

Homeostatic synaptic plasticity rescues neural coding reliability

Nature Communications, Published online: 24 May 2023; doi:10.1038/s41467-023-38575-6

How synaptic plasticity affects neural coding reliability is not well understood. Here, the authors find that reducing neurotransmitter release probability triggers a homeostatic compensation to maintain neural coding and behavioral reliability.
Possibility of human cloning in the future?
Is this article about Future of Work?

What year/timeframe do you think human cloning will start to become at least semi commonplace in the future?

The cloning of animals is pretty much alreadya thing and has been a thing since Dolly was cloned in 1998. Cloning is not necessary that new of a technology

Obviously the cloning process will need to be perfected first before cloning can be commonplace. That and there are various moral issues when it comes to human cloning which will be additional obstacles in making it more commonplace. Human cloning may possibly never be a thing because of the moral issues which come with it.

When do you think humans will begin to be cloned, and how do you think it will affect society?

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