With its dark, heavily cratered surface interrupted by tantalizing bright spots, Ceres may not remind you of our home planet Earth at first glance. The dwarf planet, which orbits the Sun in the vast asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, is also far smaller than Earth (in both mass and diameter). With its frigid temperature and lack of atmosphere, we’re pretty sure Ceres can’t support life as we know it.
But these two bodies, Ceres and Earth, formed from similar materials in our solar system. And, after combing through thousands of images from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, which has been orbiting Ceres since 2015, scientists have spotted many features on Ceres that look like formations they’ve seen on Earth.
By looking at similar features on different bodies — what scientists call “analogs” — we can learn more about the origins and evolution of these bodies over time. Check out these prominent features of Ceres, and see if you recognize any of their earthly cousins!
Snaking beneath roads and strung across oceans, hundreds of thousands of miles of cables and their connections make up the backbone of the internet. Despite its magnitude, this network is increasingly vulnerable to sea levels inching their way higher, according to research presented at an academic conference in Montreal this week. The findings estimate that within 15 years, thousands of miles of what should be land-bound cables in the United States will be submerged underwater.
“Most of the climate change-related impacts are going to happen very soon,” says Paul Barford, a computer scientist at the University of Wisconsin and lead author of the paper.
Read more/Source:- Popular Science: Rising sea levels are going to mess with the internet, sooner than you think
LibreOffice. The Best Free Alternative to Microsoft Office.
You can’t be blamed for believing you have no choice but to use Microsoft Office for your word processing, spreadsheet and other formal, work related activities.
You might even believe that any free alternative is incompatible, hard to use and simply too much trouble.
You couldn’t be more wrong.
I’ve been using LibreOffice for several years now. I’ve created and exchanged Word documents, spreadsheet template invoices, presentation software with clients and friends who have Microsoft Office for both Windows and Apple Macs – all with no problems at all.
I’ve even installed LibreOffice on clients computers and they have adapted to it and continued to work on the files they had previously created using Microsoft Office all with no problems.
LibreOffice is free, as are all the upgrades and updates but I give them a donation of several pounds every time there is an upgrade
Here is what Techradar says about LibreOffice:
“LibreOffice is so good, you’ll wonder why you ever paid for office software. It’s compatible with all Microsoft document formats, and has almost every feature you’ll find in the latest versions of Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
The suite contains six programs to cover every common office task: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base. The last three are tools you won’t find in many other free office suites, and are designed for vector diagrams, mathematical functions and databases, respectively. The latter is particularly useful; free alternatives to Microsoft Access are hard to find.”
Read the full article here along with reviews of other free Office software
Click this link to Download LibreOffice. Try it out, you can always uninstall if you suffer MS Office withdrawl symptoms.
The CPU, Hard Drive and Memory
It’s understandable to be confused about the Central Processing Unit (CPU), memory, hard drive,
So here’s an explanation in terms that I hope will hep you understand what function these components perform.
Now let’s move on to the Hard Drive; this is like your bookshelf, it stores all your application programs; your word processor, spreadsheet, photo editing or picture management software. The hard drive is also the place where the files, images, music, video are stored. The hard drive also as a special place where your Operating System, Windows or Linux or Mac OS resides. The hard drive is commonly labelled the C drive Some hard drives are partitioned into two or more partitions; giving you a D, E, F etc drives. It’s like partitioning a room, you get more rooms but not more space
The memory of the computer is known as RAM, short for Random Access Memory. Memory is like your tabletop; the bigger it is, the more stuff from your bookshelf you can put on it.
If you have small amount of memory – and these days 2GB and even 4Gb can be a small amount of space. Older computers can’t handle more than 4Gb of memory.
There is a workaround whereby the Operating System will shuffle files between the tabletop (memory) and the bookshelf (hard drive) if the tabletop becomes crowded.
This shuffling slows your system down further and increases the wear on your bookshelf (hard drive)- especially if your bookshelf (hard drive) is pretty full.
How to explain the CPU; The CPu is commonly known as the Brains of a computer. Imagine Einstein as a juggler chef. He makes the sure the right things happen in the right order at the right time then tidies up after the job is done. (except for hard disks left fragmented my Microsoft Windows Operating System)
Gigabytes (GB) megabytes (Mb)
Thousands of Swedes are inserting microchips into themselves – here’s why
Thousands of people in Sweden have inserted microchips, which can function as contactless credit cards, key cards and even rail cards, into their bodies. Once the chip is underneath your skin, there is no longer any need to worry about misplacing a card or carrying a heavy wallet. But for many people, the idea of carrying a microchip in their body feels more dystopian than practical.
Some have suggested that Sweden’s strong welfare state may be the cause of this recent trend. But actually, the factors behind why roughly 3,500 Swedes have had microchips implanted in them are more complex than you might expect. This phenomenon reflects Sweden’s unique biohacking scene. If you look underneath the surface, Sweden’s love affair with all things digital goes much deeper than these microchips.
The term biohackers refers to those amateur biologists who conduct experiments in biomedicine, but do so outside of traditional institutions – such as universities, medical companies and other scientifically controlled environments. Just as computer hackers hack computers, biohackers hack anything biological.
Biohacking is also a culture and a diverse one, with many different subgroups – all with different types of interests, goals and ideologies. But within this diversity there are two main groups: “wetware hackers” and transhumanists.
Wetware hackers are citizen science hobby biologists who build laboratory equipment from household utensils. They conduct so called “frugal science”, where they find inexpensive solutions that will improve the living standards for people in developing countries. But they also do more playful experiments where plants are genetically modified to become fluorescent, or algae is used to make new types of beer.
The other group are the transhumanists, who focus on enhancing and improving the human body – with the aim, in the long run, of improving the human race. Only through bettering ourselves – and escaping biological boundaries – will humans be able to compete with AI in the future.
Often, different biohacking scenes reflect the different societies and cultures in which they develop. So, for example, European biohackers generally differ from their North American counterparts. North American groups are concerned with developing alternatives to the established healthcare practices. European groups, meanwhile, are more focused on finding ways of helping people in developing countries or engaging in artistic bio-projects.
But Swedish biohacking culture actually differs from the rest of Europe. Swedish biohackers are generally part of the transhumanist movement. And it is the transhumanists – or more specifically the subgroup “grinders” – who have been inserting NFC chips somewhere between the thumb and the index finger of thousands of Swedes. These are the same microchips that have been used for decades to track animals and packages.
What is it about Sweden?
So why are Swedes so happy to put microchips into their body? One theory put forward is that Swedes are more prone to sharing their personal details because of the way the Swedish social security system is structured.
This myth of the “naive Swede”, who innocently trusts the government and Sweden’s national institutions, is an exaggeration – which has even been noted by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If it is part of the explanation, it is certainly not the whole truth. More convincing is the fact that in Sweden, people have a strong faith in all things digital. Swedish people have a deep belief in the positive potential of technology.
Over the past two decades, the Swedish government has invested heavily in technology infrastructure – and it shows. The Swedish economy is now largely based on digital export, digital services and digital tech innovations. And Sweden has become one of the most successful countries in the world at creating and exporting digital products. Notable companies, such as Skype and Spotify, were founded in Sweden.
A belief in digital technology and a trust in its potential has strongly affected Swedish culture. And the transhumanist movement has built upon this. In fact, Sweden played an important part in the formation of the transhumanist ideology. The global transhumanist foundation Humanity+ was co-founded by the Swede Nick Bostrom in 1998. Since then, many Swedes have become convinced that they should be trying enhance and improve their biological bodies.
So as the world expresses shock at the number of people being microchipped in Sweden, we should use this opportunity to delve deeper into Sweden’s remarkable relationship with all thing digital. After all, this latest phenomenon is just one manifestation of an underlying faith in technology that makes Sweden quite unique.
Deadpool’s regenerative abilities could be closer than you think
As we all know, Deadpool can regenerate tissues, organs,even entire limbs.
How close is medical science to duplicating whayt Deadpool’s body can do?
We’ve all read about ears being grown on the backs of mice, and engineering cells from one part of our body to rebuild another part of our body.
But how close are we to seeing someone with Deadpool’s abilities.
I found this here on Futurism
Scott Pruitt’s EPA Prevented A Major Water Pollution Study From Being Published
Would you want to know if certain chemicals in the environment are more dangerous than scientists previously thought?
You would, right?
Well, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disagrees.
In January, embattled EPA head (and mortal enemy of Captain Planet and the Planeteers) Scott Pruitt stymied the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS)’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry from publishing a major new study. That study revealed the newfound risk of exposure to certain toxic pollutants.
Read full article at Futurism: Scott Pruitt’s EPA Prevented A Major Water Pollution Study From Being Published
Is it rational to trust your gut feelings? A neuroscientist explains
Imagine the director of a big company announcing an important decision and justifying it with it being based on a gut feeling. This would be met with disbelief – surely important decisions have to be thought over carefully, deliberately and rationally?
Indeed, relying on your intuition generally has a bad reputation, especially in the Western part of the world where analytic thinking has been steadily promoted over the past decades. Gradually, many have come to think that humans have progressed from relying on primitive, magical and religious thinking to analytic and scientific thinking. As a result, they view emotions and intuition as fallible, even whimsical, tools.
However, this attitude is based on a myth of cognitive progress. Emotions are actually not dumb responses that always need to be ignored or even corrected by rational faculties. They are appraisals of what you have just experienced or thought of – in this sense, they are also a form of information processing.
Intuition or gut feelings are also the result of a lot of processing that happens in the brain. Research suggests that the brain is a large predictive machine, constantly comparing incoming sensory information and current experiences against stored knowledge and memories of previous experiences, and predicting what will come next. This is described in what scientists call the “predictive processing framework”.
This ensures that the brain is always as prepared to deal with the current situation as optimally as possible. When a mismatch occurs (something that wasn’t predicted), your brain updates its cognitive models.
This matching between prior models (based on past experience) and current experience happens automatically and subconsciously. Intuitions occur when your brain has made a significant match or mismatch (between the cognitive model and current experience), but this has not yet reached your conscious awareness.
For example, you may be driving on a country road in the dark listening to some music, when suddenly you have an intuition to drive more to one side of the lane. As you continue driving, you notice that you have only just missed a massive pothole that could have significantly damaged your car. You are glad you relied on your gut feeling even if you don’t know where it came from. In reality, the car in the far distance in front of you made a similar small swerve (since they are locals and know the road), and you picked up on this without consciously registering it.
When you have a lot of experience in a certain area, the brain has more information to match the current experience against. This makes your intuitions more reliable. This means that, as with creativity, your intuition can actually improve with experience.
In the psychological literature, intuition is often explained as one of two general modes of thinking, along with analytic reasoning. Intuitive thinking is described as automatic, fast, and subconscious. Analytic thinking, on the other hand, is slow, logical, conscious and deliberate.
Many take the division between analytic and intuitive thinking to mean that the two types of processing (or “thinking styles”) are opposites, working in a see-saw manner. However, a recent meta-analysis – an investigation where the impact of a group of studies is measured – has shown that analytic and intuitive thinking are typically not correlated and could happen at the same time.
So while it is true that one style of thinking likely feels dominant over the other in any situation – in particular analytic thinking – the subconscious nature of intuitive thinking makes it hard to determine exactly when it occurs, since so much happens under the bonnet of our awareness.
Indeed, the two thinking styles are in fact complementary and can work in concert – we regularly employ them together. Even groundbreaking scientific research may start with intuitive knowledge that enables scientists to formulate innovative ideas and hypotheses, which later can be validated through rigorous testing and analysis.
What’s more, while intuition is seen as sloppy and inaccurate, analytic thinking can be detrimental as well. Studies have shown that overthinking can seriously hinder our decision-making process.
In other cases, analytic thinking may simply consist of post-hoc justifications or rationalisations of decisions based on intuitive thinking. This occurs for example when we have to explain our decisions in moral dilemmas. This effect has let some people refer to analytic thinking as the “press secretary” or “inner lawyer” of intuition. Oftentimes we don’t know why we make decisions, but we still want to have reasons for our decisions.
So should we just rely on our intuition, given that it aids our decision-making? It’s complicated. Because intuition relies on evolutionarily older, automatic and fast processing, it also falls prey to misguidances, such as cognitive biases. These are systematic errors in thinking, that can automatically occur. Despite this, familiarising yourself with common cognitive biases can help you spot them in future occasions: there are good tips about how to do that here and here.
Similarly, since fast processing is ancient, it can sometimes be a little out of date. Consider for example a plate of donuts. While you may be attracted to eat them all, it is unlikely that you need this large an amount of sugars and fats. However, in the hunter-gatherers’ time, stocking up on energy would have been a wise instinct.
Thus, for every situation that involves a decision based on your assessment, consider whether your intuition has correctly assessed the situation. Is it an evolutionary old or new situation? Does it involve cognitive biases? Do you have experience or expertise in this type of situation? If it is evolutionary old, involves a cognitive bias, and you don’t have expertise in it, then rely on analytic thinking. If not, feel free to trust your intuitive thinking.
It is time to stop the witch hunt on intuition, and see it for what it is: a fast, automatic, subconscious processing style that can provide us with very useful information that deliberate analysing can’t. We need to accept that intuitive and analytic thinking should occur together, and be weighed up against each other in difficult decision-making situations.
You can learn more about intuition by listening to this episode of our podcast, The Anthill.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to take part in our research about thinking styles and beliefs, please click here for a 20 minute survey.
Have you heard of carbon nanotubes? Probably not.
They sound like a futuristic technology that has lots of vaguely high-tech properties. And that is pretty much exactly what they are.
Carbon nanotubes are made from similar materials to carbon fiber, and while the nanotubes do have structural applications like carbon fiber, they also do so, so much more.
In this article, we’re going to break down the what, why, and how of carbon nanotubes so that you understand what they are, and why they actually matter to you.
Tory Story. Plastic Bag Distraction
The Tory Green Strategy, intended to pull in the young voters, is out. It’s meant to reduce plastic waste, a matter which many young voters are worried about and which the Tories want to capitalise on to get their support and votes; You know, just like how Corporations worry about paying taxes and the Tories want to help reduce too. And of course it’s another bright idea that we ordinary people have to pay for, again.
Of course, the Tories could have increased Corporation Tax and locked down Corporate tax evasion schemes and used the extra income to support renewable energy production, or household subsidise solar panel, installation, or legislate against non-recyclable plastics, support organic farming.
Of course, the problem with these options is cost, and the Tory Government is not going to upset the people it truly cares about, its wealthy friends and supporters.
According to figures produced by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, “Corporation tax rate cuts cost at least £16.5 billion a year in the near term. Based on official policy costings, cutting the main rate from 28% to 20%, the small profits rate from 21% to 20%, and the (newly) combined rate from 20% to 17%, costs £16.5 billion each year in 2017–18 terms.” (Source: What’s been happening to corporation tax?)
In November, The Guardian article “British government accused of being soft on tax avoidance.” exposed the reluctance of the government to commit to helping the majority of working people in Britain who helped these corporations get rich in the first place.
If the Tory Government really was concerned about the environment, they wouldn’t use cheap ploys they hope will have a mass appeal and be enough of a distraction from their real intention, to stay in power, keep up the ‘Austerity’ scam so the rich can keep siphoning off for themselves the wealth created by ordinary working people