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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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The real price of sex robots

Partner not the best in bed? No worries, sex robots are there and ready to please! Right now, sex robots are dumb. But that doesn't need to be the case: Embedding a smart personal agent like Siri on your sex robot would technologically be relative easy and could spice things up - but at the same time, opens the door to some very borderline questions.

Sure, there are some darker sides to the ethics around sex robots - such as what happens in case of sadistic 'robot abuse', but I think those questions are missing the point. What's considerably more important to think about first is on how sex robots have the potential to impact the average person. And by that I mean questions with wider societal implications.

Some relate to fundamental rights, such as privacy: What happens when the sex robot is turned - knowingly or unknowingly - into a surveillance agent?

Or public safety: Can a sex robot reduce rape frequencies and bring sexual abuse rate down from one in five women in developed countries (even worse in other countries)?

Others relate to demographics: Porn is known to reduce the quality of physical sexual intercourse; how will having a sex robot in the house impact the quality of the partner's sexual experience, and thus desire and ability to procreate?

As well as couple therapy: How will the addition of a sex robot to the bedroom affect partnership stability?

And even the question of personal status: At what point does a robot gain status as a legal person capable of acting and concluding contracts on its own accord?

This last one might actually not be as far away from reality as robots with personality: With smart contracting just around the corner, and the potential legal recognition of automatic software an acceptable form of legal signature, I can imagine a sex robot being set up as a legal signing representative for a company, using smart contracting to sell sexual services for profit.

/via +Sheila Nagig

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Why begging Google to be more careful won't solve the "Ads on Hate Speech Video" issues

Perhaps you remember the waves of advertiser boycotts of YouTube for posting ads on videos with hate speech, followed by considerable online discussion on how big social media companies are evil and should be held liable somehow.

The problem here is that YouTube's hands are bound: They are a content hosting platform, and as such, following the law, there are two ways in which they can deal with offending content:

(1) proactively screen content - in this case, YouTube takes on the ownership for the content it hosts and can't claim immunity from content liability issues - which also means that everyone who uploads a video must agree to pass on ownership of their works, or
(2) react to content only when users flag it - this is the status quo, where YouTube can claim that it doesn't own the offending content and is off the hook for content liability - and everyone who uploads a video retains complete ownership of their works.

From a business perspective, obviously (2) would make the better choice - that is, unless revenues drop as a result, which just happened. But to what extent would the majority of harmless, revenue-generating videos and commercial users agree to hand over ownership rights, at least to a partial extent? Not very likely.

To get out of this deadlock, we need to reassess the role and expectations on communications platforms from a legislative standpoint. Technology has moved on to the point where automatic screening is affordable and mostly accurate, but the laws were created under the assumption that screening required a manual, time-consuming and expensive process that no one could afford. Permitting automated screening under the "intermediary communications platform", of course only to the extent necessary so that we don't end up with a privatized mass surveillance system, looks like it might not be so bad of a choice after all.

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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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