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Eli Fennell
Living La Vida Científica
Living La Vida Científica

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Where You Can Find Me After Google+ (and Why)
A Survival Guide for Connecting with Me After the Pluspocalypse
Check Back Regularly for Updates

Rather than shoot out a new Post each time I test out a post-Google+ social network, I'm going to Pin this Post to my Profile, with links to the networks I am currently committed to or testing where you can find me. I will also include, in some cases, resources for Tips, Tricks, those sorts of things for these networks. Eventually, I will expand this to a full review and comparison.

I will Update this Post whenever necessary, and Reshare it, but you can also check the top of my Google+ Profile Page for the Pinned Version, which will always be Up-To-Date for as long as Google+ allows Post Updates.

Here is where you can find me, ranked in-order of Committed, meaning I am as committed to remaining on it unless and until it closes down as I have been to Google+; Active, meaning I am Posting to it actively but not Committed; Signed Up, meaning I have an account, so you can find me there, but I may not be at all active or at best slightly active in using it and may not commit to it.

Disclaimer: I cannot and will not be held responsible should you encounter anything by other users of this network that you don't like or is unwholesome. I am not seeing much to bother me, or am good at ignoring it, but your mileage may vary from mine.


ETER9 - -
User Guide: _

Google+ - Like Features: Public Posting, Collections (Preset Categories; No Ability To Follow or Unfollow Collections and no Asynchronous Following; Assign Any Post To Multiple Collections; Add Other User Posts to Your Collections without Resharing); Verified Accounts for Passionate Users. Vanity URL's.

Special Features: Optional Artificially Intelligent Sharing When You Are Inactive or Become Deceased; Multiple Stream Display Settings, Chronological-for-Connections by Default; Followable A.I. User(s).

Advertising: None (Unpledged)

Apps: Web App. Works Well But No Push Notifications

I've put 3-years into ETER9 and written a User Guide. I will definitely stay put.


MeWe -

Google+ - Like Features: Easy To Connect with Other Google Contacts Who Join (Including Google+ Contacts) by Linking Your Google Account (But No Asynchronous Following; Said To Be In Development.); Contact Suggestions (Similar To But More Manual and Less Categorical Than Circle Sharing); Use Your Existing Profile and Cover Images; Text Formatting (with WYSIWYG Editing) for Posts (But No Public Posting; Said To Be In Development); Fairly Clean White Layout, Reminscent of Google+; Community-Like Groups; Quasi-Vanity URL's.

Special Features: Privacy Oriented By Design. Emoji Reactions, Once You Get Used To Them, Are the Best Social Media Reaction System In My Opinion.

Advertising: None (Pledged)

Apps: Native Mobile App. Works Decently. ; Web App. Works Well.

I am slightly active here and want to like this place, so I will give it time to evolve, but will not commit deeply until they add Public Posting at least. I am active in helping onboard new users from Google+ with Contact Suggestions, Tips, etc...

Signed Up

Pluspora -

Google+ - Like Features: Public Posting, Text Formatting (with WYSIWYG).

Special Features: Open Source and Decentralized

Advertising: None (Pledged)

Apps: Dandelion (Android; Requires FDroid or Side Loading). Works Well. ; Diaspora Native WebApp. At-A-Glance-Good.

I don't really like this very much in its current state, and I have long-term fears that it is deliberately a niche, to the point of being a mere lifeboat for former Plusers, but I do have an account, so if it just be a lifeboat, you can Follow me there until you join me somewhere else or it grows more on me.

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Unlocking the Secrets of the Immortals
Classic Google+ Posts Revisited

This Post from 2013 describes the efforts by Biological Scientists to discover the secrets hidden in the biology of several individuals around the world diagnosed with a Slow-Aging Disorder. They remain in many ways 'young', even childlike, as their years pass by into their middle and old ages, almost like the Robin Williams character Jack in reverse.

Presumably, we aren't much closer now, half a decade later, to understanding their secrets as we were then, yet the possibilities remain tantalizing. Do we need to cure them? Or is it they who hold the potential to cure all of us?

#BlindMeWithScience #Immortality #Longevity
Immortals Among Us: The People Who Never Age

In recent years, biologists have identified several individuals around the world with a baffling condition that drastically slows their aging process, including a 40-year old with the body a 10-year old.

If scientists can learn the secret they believe is locked in the blood of these exceedingly rare individuals (so rare there's no name for it), they hope to control it, to switch off the aging process in adulthood (unlike these unfortunate individuals locked in the bodies of children), but before the negative consequences of aging take hold.

This, of course, begs the question of whether immortality, if it is achieveable, is even desirable.  Much as these individuals find themselves deprived of the benefits of an adult physiology, are there benefits to aging that the "immortals" would be deprived?  (Studies actually show that people are happiest with their lives each decade longer they live, on the whole, and report their most recent years as their best.  Is there a biological basis to this?)

In any event, it seems the X Men weren't as much of a fiction as some of us might have thought.  There are mutants among us, and some of them are immortal.

#BlindMeWithScience #Mutation #TheImmortals  
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"Can You Smell Me Now?": Researchers Developing 'Internet-of-Smells'

The concept of using fragrances (smells) as yet another sensory channel for electronic media is nothing new.  Some people may remember the infamous Chili's 'Smell-o-Vision' advertising campaign, which tricked many people into believing it was real.  Others may recall a Google April Fools Joke called Google Nose back in 2013.

Not all efforts to develop such a technology have been mass psychological experiments or jokes, but none have reached the mainstream.  Such efforts have usually centered around developing chemical fragrance diffusers of various sorts.

A new approach by researchers at the Imagineering Institute, however, is taking a different approach to creating a "multisensory internet": zapping nostrils with electricity.  Over the course of their research, they've begun to understand how to use electrical zaps to stimulate the same nasal skin cells normally stimulated by chemical smells in order to induce specific smell sensations, though not all participants have done well with the research.

They're also teaming with a company Scentee, a startup developing Artificially Intelligent Fragrance Diffusers able to be controlled via a smartphone app, for those cases where a tube up the nose wouldn't be practical.

While the end goal of this research is still a ways away, it does point to a near future in which smells, like sights and sounds before them, become a standard form of simulated sensory experience for Virtual Reality and other platforms (e.g. Radio, Television, Streaming Video-and-Gaming, etc...).

#ArtificialIntelligence #VirtualReality #InternetofSmells
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A fun project to help us learn about each other.
20 films that had an impact on you, for the next 20 days.

Only post a pic. No film title or comment. Number them and use the hashtags below.


#20MovieChallenge #movies #film
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Stream starting to look a bit emptier than usual? Not seeing as much engagement on your Posts? Is Google+ starting to feel at least a bit like an actual Ghost Town as your connections migrate away, this Community is made for you! A Community for Plussers who plan to Share and Engage all the way to end. We'll keep the music playing and the punchbowl flowing until they drag us out kicking and screaming... or, you know, disappointedly removing the app from our phones and the bookmarks and shortcuts from our Web Browsers.
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AI Helps Physicists Design Better Quantum Science Experiments

Researchers at the Australian National University, working to find better ways to capture super-cold atoms in a cloud using lasers and magnetic fields, enlisted the help of a Machine Learning Algorithm, and obtained excellent results.

Whereas human researchers, over years of fine tuning parameters, had settled on a gradual method to coax the atoms, the algorithm settled on a more aggressive approach involving rapid changes to the laser and field strengths.  This technique doubled the number of atoms they were able to capture.

Its success is also surprising, as researchers don't yet understand why the aggressive corralling technique, thereby opening doors for future understanding, while also raising serious questions about whether humans will always understand our own sciences as these technologies become more involved.  It is perhaps even more surprising that this algorithm was not even specifically designed for nor limited to scientific usage.

In an area where counter-intuitive approaches often pay off, as Quantum Physics is wont to be by nature, A.I.'s enjoy an especial advantage in some ways over human beings, with our minds shaped more by Classical Physics than Quantum Spookiness.  If the result one wishes to obtain have immediate practical benefits, as they do in this case, then it may seem worth it to exchange a bit of understanding for a lot of succeeding, but the price may well be the end of the Scientific Enlightenment as we have known it.  A.I. risks becoming our Prophet, interpreting the Laws of Nature for us, while not always or perhaps not often able to explain their interpretations to us.

#BlindMeWithScience #ArtificialIntelligence #QuantumPhysics
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A fun project to help us learn about each other.
20 films that had an impact on you, for the next 20 days.

Only post a pic. No film title or comment. Number them and use the hashtags below.


#20MovieChallenge #movies #film
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MIT 'Reality Augmented' Game To Let Users Control a Real Person

This Halloween, MIT's Media Lab is hosting an ambitious experiment in what they call Reality Augmented, as opposed to Augmented Reality: An online First Person game called BeeMe, which will allow online users to collaborate in order to control the actions of a real person acting as the protagonist of the game.

This real person will be a trained actor, who will give up their own free will and act at the behest of the collective will of the users, who must work together like a swarm of bees (hence the name) to guide the character successfully through a scenario pitting them against an evil AI named Zookd, with the fate of all humanity hanging in the balance.

There will, of course, be some limits on what players can make the actor do, and the need for users to collaborate en masse to control a single game character will further reduce the ability of any one player to make mischief, but the boundaries on what they can do are nonetheless fairly minimal.

Fans of the movie Gamer will recognize this as similar to the fictional Second-Life-with-Real-People platform in that movie called Society, though with far more limits in place. And fans of Black Mirror will find this reminiscent of its recent Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Episode.

#AR #BeeMe #AugmentedReality
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I kind of hate to be that guy, but, I have to do it:

It is not feasible for Google+ to be sold to another owner.

I'm sorry, but it isn't. I see the appeal of the idea. Facebook bought Instagram; SmugMug recently bought Flickr; why not sell Google+?

But the comparisons don't really hold up. The usual examples were social startups, acquired Nuts-and-Bolts by their owners: Leadership, Talent, Technical Resources, etc...

With Google+, all of the employees are and always were Google employees, and all the back-end resources are Google-owned. And even the early Plus Leadership, including Vic, weren't trying to build a social startup, but the behemoth Facebook Killer or, at least, Facebook Challenger within Google.

With those early guys gone, whoever is left is, I assure you, a Google Employee First and a Google+ Employee somewhere way down on the list behind Google, God, Country, Family, and Stamp Collector, not necessarily in that order but definitely with Google+ way below that. Some may even love their jobs, don't get me wrong, but they're not looking to be acquired by some company that doesn't consistently rank #1 in Employee Satisfaction.

And certainly its backend resources can't just be scooped up. It's running on, or tightly integrated with, a whole lot of stuff deep in the cybernetic organs of the Search Giant and scattered across global locations. Even the Account System is deeply integrated, and a potential treasure trove of information for a competitor beyond merely those of us who actively use the network.

Then there are the legalities, both relating to what kinds of access to user accounts Google could even get away with selling, at least without first winding it down into a startup as they did Niantic (which, I hasten to note, was always run as an internal startup, and was far more peripherally integrated), as well as whether a buyer would inherit potential liabilities should other vulnerabilities past or future arise.

Flickr might seem relevant, as they passed through two companies, but they did again maintain more of a distinctive internal culture and resources than Plus ever had from Day 1.

The buyer would basically be buying code, a brand name (nope, not even, because there's no way they'd still be allowed to call it Google+), and unknown legal liabilities. But apart from that, how did you enjoy the play, Mr. Gundotra?
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The efforts of the Google+ Community to reestablish outposts together on the social interwebs has been both heartwarming and heartbreaking.

Heartwarming, because a lot of hard work is being done by Plussers to help migrate individuals and Communities to new platforms like ETER9, Pluspora, Minds, MeWe, and Cake, or just to reconnect on mainstream networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or by channels outside of social media like phone and email. There are whole Communities and Lists dedicated to the purpose of helping people migrate and reconnect, on-and-off network.

Heartbreaking, because there is no one right home for all of us, and we don't stand a chance to find one. Each network choice has some of the things that drew us to the Plus, but not all of them, and even if one had all of them, too many people feel burned by centralized networks where things like this... Mass Digital Diasporas... can happen.

I've been thinking lately about Classic MySpace. I remember a few MySpace hardcores who just never felt at home online anywhere else again. Mind you, at the time, social media was much newer, and many users migrated happily over to Facebook. Plussers, more generally, were at best not wholly satisfied with Facebook, Twitter, or any of the other networks, and have far more options available to use even outside the mainstream networks than were to be had back in the dying days of MySpace.

I wish we could all find a common place to end up. Sadly, that won't happen. Nonetheless, seeing all the effort going into this process, it reminds me of the magical spirit of online community that brought us together in the first place.
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