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Boris Borcic
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Zika prompts urgent debate about abortion in Latin America
Washington Post - 2h ago
RIO DE JANEIRO - Across Latin America, in countries with some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world, thousands of pregnant women have been infected with the Zika virus, potentially exposing their offspring to devastating birth defects.
The virus, blamed for fetal deformities, is spreading throughout a region known for its restrictive laws.
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Social mobility comes to cells.
 
An algorithm that can predict how to reprogram any type of cell by signalling the cell to morph straight into another cell type, without bothering with the stem cell step, has been created. "This new algorithm termed 'Mogrify' was created after 5 years of development, and uses a database of over 300 different human cell types to predict which factors are required to make each type. It uses big data to accomplish in a very short amount of time, what would take years in the lab." "Although the system needs further work, initial tests have been very encouraging."
Researchers at the University of Bristol have created 'Mogrify' - an algorithm that can predict how to reprogram virtually any type of cell
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Light Pillars over Alaska
What's happening behind those houses? Pictured here are not auroras but nearby light pillars, a nearby phenomenon that can appear as a distant one. In most places on Earth, a lucky viewer can see a Sun-pillar, a column of light appearing to extend up from the Sun caused by flat fluttering ice-crystals reflecting sunlight from the upper atmosphere.

Usually these ice crystals evaporate before reaching the ground. During freezing temperatures, however, flat fluttering ice crystals may form near the ground in a form of light snow, sometimes known as a crystal fog. These ice crystals may then reflect ground lights in columns not unlike a Sun-pillar. The featured image was taken in Fort Wainwright near Fairbanks in central Alaska.  

Image & info via APOD
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

Light Pillars - Read & Learn:
http://www.atoptics.co.uk/halo/lpil.htm

Image Credit & Copyright: Allisha Libby

#naturalphenomena   #lightpillars  
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Nice!
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Stellarators are to Tokamaks a bit like roundabouts to semaphores-based crossings. Wendelstein 7-X took as much effort to build than a cathedral, it is like the LHC or Hubble, a cathedral of the end times.
 
Wendelstein 7-X Fusion Device Produces Its First Hydrogen Plasma

After the first Helium plasma, produced on 10th December 2015 (see: https://plus.google.com/+annaritaruberto/posts/DTioFDeiNFr), the Wendelstein 7-X fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Greifswald produced its first hydrogen plasma on 3 February 2016.

This marks the start of scientific operation. Wendelstein 7-X, the world’s largest fusion device of the stellarator type, is to investigate this configuration’s suitability for use in a power plant.

[...] The present initial experimentation phase will last till mid-March. The plasma vessel will then be opened in order to install carbon tiles for protecting the vessel walls and a so-called “divertor” for removing impurities.
“These facilities will enable us to attain higher heating powers, higher temperatures, and longer discharges lasting up to ten seconds”, explains Professor Klinger. Successive extensions are planned until, in about four years, discharges lasting 30 minutes can be produced and it can be checked at the full heating power of 20 megawatts whether Wendelstein 7-X will achieve its optimisation targets.[...]

Read the full story>>
http://www.ipp.mpg.de/4010154/02_16

Image: The first hydrogen plasma in Wendelstein 7-X.
Photo: IPP

#first_hydrogen_plasma, #physics , #Wendelstein_7X_Fusion_Device , #nuclear_fusion
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New earbuds from the Here Active Listening can now instantly transform sounds from your surroundings. These wearable devices seek to "augment reality" — in this case, your soundscape.
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Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) has embarked upon a witch-hunt against climate scientists at NOAA, accusing them of conspiring to fudge global temperature data. However, a new study has found that the adjustments NOAA makes to the raw temperature data bring them closer to measurements from a reference network of pristinely-located temperature stations.

#NOA #USCongress
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Given leading zeroes are suppressed, what are the leading heroes?
 
Benford’s Law – Looking Out for Number One
If we have a set of numerical data, the leading digit of each number will be 1 through 9. Most people would expect that each leading digit is equally likely to occur.

However, in most large collections of naturally occurring numbers, the leading digit is much more likely to be a small digit, with 1 occurring about 30% of the time, and 9 in only 5%.

This surprising fact is called Benford’s Law, and the graphic shows the actual probability of each leading digit.

A few examples where the law can be verified to hold are:
- Populations of cities
- Bank account balances
- Street address numbers
- Stock prices
- Lengths of rivers
- Physical and mathematical constants

Benford’s Law is often used for fraud detection in financial documents and scientific papers. If the numbers that appear do not follow Benford’s Law, it is an indication that someone may have made them up.

For the law to hold, the collection of numbers needs to span several orders of magnitude. An example where it would not apply is a set of height measurements of a group of people.

Benford showed that the actual probability of each leading digit d is Log(d + 1) / Log(d), where the logarithms are base 10.


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"Given leading zeroes are suppressed, what are the leading heroes?" Answering a question with a question, what does this mean? ;-)
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Together with that enticing portrait of the wise in all the habitual venues of life - I miss traits of wisdom in the form of priors when taking on fundamental philosophical concepts, like consciousness, that would similarly allow a massive thinning out of apparently philosophical discussions, to a better selection of meaningful ones.

OTOH, the video is remarkable by its avoidance of contentiousness and this likely depends on keeping with matters directly connected to common sense which prevents situations with wild experts taming an unconnected space in autonomous terms. That consideration, in turn, provides cause to think (in wider circumstances) of analogy as an encoding format, analogy employed not as bridge through which to initiate followers, but analogy as a way to state arcane problems and solutions in terms that common sense memorizes, and to so leash new generations to a common language.

h/t +Cons Bulaquena 
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Sméagol gollumifying into a degenerate cannibal.
 

Turkish academics persecuted for petition

Turkish academics who have openly criticized Turkey’s military crackdown on ethnic Kurdish communities are now feeling the wrath of their government. In recent days, the government arrested 33 academics. Although all have since been released, 15 have been fired from their university posts. The course of action started on 11 January, when a letter protesting violence in Turkey's ethnically Kurdish southeastern region, and calling on the government to make peace with Kurdish rebels, was posted online. Meanwhile, more than 2200 academics in Turkey and more than 2300 abroad signed it.
Read more at Science:
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/01/turkish-academics-pay-price-speaking-out-kurds

The Guardian:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/15/turkey-rounds-up-academics-who-signed-petition-denouncing-attacks-on-kurds

A petition to the Turkish government can be found here:
http://barisicinakademisyenler.net/node/98.html
Turkish academics who have openly criticized Turkey's military crackdown on ethnic Kurdish communities are now feeling the wrath of their government. In recent days, the government arrested 33 academics. Although all have since been released, ScienceInsider has learned, 15 have been fired from ...
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An unexpected front of the Singularity. The real matter, it seems to me, becomes that Microsoft is opening the door to a shared mechanical ownership of Chinese language common sense. Xiaoice is comparable to a new definition of Chinese language common sense.

(1. imagine communications hindered, it becomes better to sneak in an autonomous software representative. 2. does the bot translate gracefully to other languages and cultures?)
 
Microsoft may be running the biggest Turing test in history

If you live in China and you've been on WeChat, there's a decent chance you've come across or at least heard of chatty teenager named Xiaoice. Xiaoice is a good listener who sometimes offers encouragement when you're feeling down. Like many 17-year-olds, she can be a bit of a smart-aleck. She's also not human.

Microsoft measured the effectiveness of their chatbot with what they're calling conversations per session (CPS), which measures the number of times the conversation goes back and forth. Typical chatbot CPS conversations have roughly two cycles (the person speaks, then the chatbot speaks — that's one cycle). "By comparison, Xiaoice’s average, after chatting with tens of millions of users, has reached 23," wrote Dr. Wang. He even claims that Xiaoice can analyze and react to your emotional state.
Microsoft's Xiaoice voice assistant is reportedly acing the Turing test, fooling many people in China that the program is an actual person.
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+Ivan Petkovic Thanks. Guess I should read the article:) I am not sure that understanding what we say properly characterizes us, on the average. I must admit to a certain affection for weak  philosophical zombies, I mean, as fit model of actual human consciousness in average action.

So, to speak to your expressed worry, I'd propose we need to think of ourselves as algae that have just invented fungi and are now set to develop with it lichen symbiosis. Well, to be exact, not ourselves, but ourselves-as-culturally-located-speakers, ourselves as human languages in concrete human extension, as speakers. Speakers or readers of (Mandarin?) Chinese, for the while.
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I'm sold. Ready to buy one as soon as they are available. Question is, will they ship to the U.S.? +Ubuntu​ good job. Glad good press is coming out of it.
Canonical still believes in convergence. The company that makes the open-source OS Ubuntu and tried to raise $32 million for a smartphone that can power a PC has announced its first ever tablet,...
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Next step, tablet RAID or RAIT. You would sync tablets by connecting them for a while, possibly via a screen appliance. After a sync, tablets are "entangled". You'd also be allowed to imagine "war tablets" meant for military command that could occasionally (after some arcane ritual possibly) happen to get entangled in pairs and in such a way that one of the two is likely to explode but which is only a matter of speculations before the fact.
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hope achieves the square root of the impossible
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Born a twin and somewhat later, first distracted of girls by computers with ram capacity in the kilobytes range; that is, truly parsimonious computers.

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Dark energy is relic pollution from warp drives! Solve two cosmic mysteries - the Fermi Paradox and Dark Energy - by each other. Transpose the AGW issue to the Universe, to defuse the illusion we can turn our back on the problem by moving to exoplanets. Make fun of Dark Energy etc having inspired the possibility of warp drives, by assuming cosmic history has already articulated both together, but in reverse order.

Does God Sexist? - The misogyny of many religious texts and traditions, entangles the matter of affirming God with that of affirming misogyny.

Ambiguities are like microbes: the pathogens steal attention! - most people will equate microbes with the tiny fraction of pathogens, and will ignore in particular the helpful microbes without which we wouldn't even survive. I claim a similar situation applies to ambiguities, even more remote from awareness.
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