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Sophie Wrobel
Everything is possible in the virtual world, it's only a question of innovation.
Everything is possible in the virtual world, it's only a question of innovation.

Sophie's posts

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Artificial wombs - a first step to a lot of possible futures

These little lambs spent the latter half of their pregnancy term in artificial wombs, outside their mothers bodies. And their physical development appears not to have been affected when compared to normal development - an excellent first indicator on the success of growing babies in artificial wombs.

Of course, the artificial womb isn't ready for a test-tube baby yet: under this scenario, the first stages of pregnancy, until a minimum developmental age has been reached, still takes place inside the biological mother. But it does raise a lot of interesting possibilities:
- Would it be possible to place premature babies in an artificial womb to allow their organs to fully develop properly, thus saving a lot of lives and preventing a lot of complications and agony?
- Is this the future of industrialized meat - with mother animals initiating pregnancies at shorter intervals, and their offspring set in artificial wombs to fully mature for slaughter?
- Would it be possible, one day, to put the first stages of pregnancy into an artificial womb as well, to raise a test-tube baby to birth completely externally from a biological mother?

Aside from the unnatural appearance of the artificial womb, given the high costs of premature birth (both monetary and in terms of trying to save the infant's health, which I assure you looks a lot more unnatural than an artificial womb), this is a very promising development. The other potential applications that spontaneously came to mind, though, perhaps need some serious ethical thought before continuing down the rabbit hole...

/via +Ishmael Ahmed

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Iran's Hidden Faces: Three weeks among everyday Iranian people

My new book is out! What better way to start your weekend than explore a new culture, one that is shrouded in mystery and controversy in light of the current political situation? Join me on a journey to take a look at Iran's culture from the other side of the window.

On this note, I want to thank everyone who has supported me along the way - everyone who has provided suggestions on fine-tuning the storyline and final contents, the title and cover design, and of course everyone who is involved as a character in the story. I'll admit that, based on suggestions, there are several redactions to my original manuscript - after all, some things are a bit more controversial than others. But I think there's more than enough said, in a candid enough manner, so that you, dear intelligent reader, can easily read between the lines.

To celebrate it's launch, I'm giving it away for FREE on Amazon Kindle - until Wednesday. Grab your copy now! And feel free to pass the word around. Together, let's raise some awareness to the difference between the the picture of Iran that politicians want us to see, and Iranian people as they actually are.

This book is available on your local Amazon store - if you're having trouble finding it, here are some of the relevant direct links:

* USA:
* UK:
* Germany:

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Want some gluten-free wheat?

An Italian company has invented a way of treating wheat so that it no longer contains the allergens that celiac (gluten-allergy) patients react to. That means, you can eat gluten-free pasta and breads that taste like normal pasta and bread, but don't cause the nasty gluten-based reactions.

Being curious as to how that works, I dug out their patent and found this key procedure:
1) Soak the wheat grains in tap water (100 grams of wheat grains in 500 ml water) for one hour.
2) Use a sieve to drain the water, leaving just the wheat grains.
3) Microwave the grains for two minutes at 1000 Watts.
4) Cool the microwaved grains to room temperature.

Microwaves are destructive - no big surprise there! But it also raises another question: what else do microwaves change in the process, and how does that affect the quality of our food, and at the end of it all, our health?

Full patent text:
With more than 30% of Europeans suffering from sensitivity to gluten, the market of gluten-free products has boomed.Yet the taste of gluten-free products is not quite the same.

Now 'New Gluten World' aims to make wheat flour accessible to celiac, intolerant or gluten-sensitive patients. Rather than removing the gluten from the flower, their ground-breaking technology removes toxic allergens from the gluten contained in the flour. Read more:!YM89pD

The project received funding from the SME Instrument programme. If you want your company to become the next innovation leader, check how to apply for it:!Rv63mN

#investEU #SMEInstrument #europe #europeanunion #innovation #technology #health #diet #nutrition #gluten #glutenintolerance #glutenallery #glutensesitivity #foodallergies #glutenfree

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RAM and ROM in one: fast long-term memory!

Until now, computer memory chips are divided into two sorts: the fast kind, which is great for doing computations on faster than you can blink, but can't store information once power goes, and the slow kind, which is great for storing information but not fast enough to perform heavy computations on. As a result, a whole computer and information architecture has been built around caching - the art of putting the information you'll need on the 'fast' memory, keeping the information you (hopefully) don't on the 'slow' memory, and synchronizing the two every now and then.

Although it still has a very steep price tag, Intel's latest memory chip has the potential to meet the best of both worlds: stable memory storage which can be accessed and updated rapidly. And when tomorrow's supercomputers won't have to worry about caching penalties anymore, we can expect better performance, faster analyses, and new algorithms for working with big data optimized for this new class of optane memory chips.

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Don't start your day on the wrong foot.

If you cant succeed at the simplest of things, how will you tackle the Monsters you face later? Enjoy every small success you can!

/Via +Hana Salleh

One morning, when he was visiting my house for the holidays, I caught my father-in-law making his bed in the guest room. I told him not to worry about it. I offered to make it up myself later. He was a guest, after all.

“Thanks but no thanks,” he said. “I always make the bed in the morning. It’s the first task of the day and its one I always know I can accomplish. Once you start letting the easy ones slip, how can you ever expect to take on the tougher challenges?” He still has this mentality into his mid 90’s!

After hearing this, I started doing a little of my own research. It turns out, U.S. Navy Admiral William H. McCraven actually gave the graduates of the Naval Academy class of 2014: “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”

Scientific studies support the Admiral’s experience. Research shows that people who make their bed in the morning are happier and more successful than those who don’t.

Here are some interesting facts:
• 71 percent of bed makers consider themselves happy
• While 62 percent of non-bed-makers are unhappy
• Bed makers are also more likely to like their jobs, own a home, exercise regularly, and feel well rested
• Whereas non-bed-makers hate their jobs, rent apartments, avoid the gym, and wake up tired.

So, the next time you feel rushed or a little lazy in the morning, just remember – making the bed sets you off on the right track for whatever tasks life requires of you the rest of the day. It’s your first chance, each and every day to win one! The health benefits are real.

Give it a try!

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Iran's Hidden Faces
Three weeks among everyday Iranian people

After some thought, I've tried revamping the title of my book-in-progress (new working title above) and looking for some new cover photos. What do you think of this selection? Does this wake more interest?

Description: A travelogue of my adventures as a single woman journeying throughout Iran a few years ago. Armed with a limited understanding of Farsi, my Asian ethnicity, and a desire to discover how people live and interact, I wrote this story about my experience in Iran. Join me on a journey which media will never reveal: from attending university classes to playing pranks, from discussing religion to joking around, or from hiking to watching master artists at work and discussing the challenges of survival facing modern Iranians.
I hope that by publishing this book, I will be able to raise some awareness of how everyday life in Iran differs strongly from what media has to portray, and break down some of the phobia and stereotypes that Trump's regime have initiated.
2 Photos - View album

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Finalizing a new book!
Quasicrystals: The many faces of Iran

Given the current political situation in the United States and the resulting fear surrounding persons of Middle Eastern descent, I've decided that it's time to take action and contribute to building bridges of understanding and compassion, and breaking down some of those stereotypes.

I've decided finally publish a manuscript that I've been sitting on for a while - a rather detailed and unique diary of my month-long journey as a single woman through Iran. Equipped with a working, albeit limited, understanding of the Persian language and customs, my personality, and my thirst to experience life as undercover as possible, I was able to see aspects of life that most tourists cannot. From meeting master artists, to talking to local shopkeepers, to visiting university, birthday parties, sermons, and even subsistence villages, I've chronicled in as much detail as I can recall my adventures in Iran. I invite you to join me on a journey among a people with many faces - from people trapped in their economic prospects, who constantly censor what they say to the outside world, to the difference in interactions between locals and foreigners, to the religious sentiments of the various people I encountered along the way, to historical monuments, local practices, and local culture. I'm sure that you'll find the narrative surprising in terms of how very different life in Iran actually is from what you may have heard or seen, and how similar people in the West and the East actually are, despite everything.

But, before I publish, I'm wondering what to put on the cover. Or even if the title (My working title is "Quasicrystals: The many faces of Iran") should be changed. Following the theme of the quasicrystal, I'd originally thought of this photo - but I get the feeling that it doesn't quite raise expectations of the vibrant emotional spectrum and probable surprise that I'd like to raise. What do you think? Do you have a better idea?

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SHA-1 vulnerability published

Google has just disclosed method to create hast collisions. Full sourcecode willfollow in90 days.

In the meantime, you should check that any sites you use to transmit important stuff over is using a more secure algorithm.

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Why Europe's sharing economy is suffocating

I've been thinking lately that there are a couple problems with the way things are set up today which really prevent the sharing economy from taking off in Europe.

At the center of everything is a shift in values: people don't value ownership as much as they used to. Instead, they value access. For example, in a car-sharing model, it doesn't matter who owns the car, or who the renter is, as long as they fit particular characteristics agreeable to both owner and renter - it only matters that users (renters) have access to the car.

If we look at commercial legislation today, access is considered a service - i.e. not a tradable commodity - but yet access is precisely what is valued under the sharing economy model much more than ownership. And this trickles down into many other aspects of digital interaction that simply haven't kept pace with this shift towards communal wellbeing. In my mind, some of the key issues include:

1) virtual identities: the concept of a virtual identity and the concept of a legal identity do not exactly match.

2) trust and authentication: current trust schemes focus around providing technical security, but do not focus around how believable the things that businesses claim actually are.

3) contract term enforcement: because consumers can always claim that they didn't actually read the terms because they were too long, it's difficult for small businesses enforce terms in their contracts.

4) decentralised trust services: since you can get your digital identity from Facebook, Twitter, Google, your bank, or any other provider, the government is no longer the sole identity regulator or trust provider.

5) context-specific execution frameworks: conventional contracts require approval from both sides in order to change the contract, and there are minimum notice periods around that. But smart contracting automates contractual execution, potentially also contractual changes, and these minimum notice periods suddenly become impractical and illogical within the context of their potential applications.

6) autonomous organisations: today's best AI agents are smarter than most people give credit. So what happens when the CEO of a company is actually a robot instead of a person? There are lots of issues around liability, whether or not a robot can conclude contracts with customers and suppliers, whether a robot might qualify as a legal person, and so on.

I think it's going to take change on a number of counts - starting with acknowledging that the value generated by sharing businesses today comes not just from monetary profits, but also from intrinsic motivators - and adjusting both public policy, legislation accordingly to provide a framework that will not hamper growth and innovation in the future.

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EU - Yes to free WiFi, No to free anonymous surfing

Because there are a lot of misleading articles recently, I think this is an important clarification: the recent CJEU decision doesn't say that shopkeepers have to take responsibility for the actions of users on free WiFi networks. On the contrary, it says that shopkeepers are protected from being liable for actions carried out by users, no ifs and buts.

However, it does say that users shouldn't necessarily have a free pass to do whatever they want, either - shopkeepers can provide free WiFi, but may receive an injunction to give provide free WiFi in exchange for identification information (presumably so that infringing users may be traced down and held liable for their actions).

Let's just hope that the day never comes when we need to post something political anonymously on the internet...
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