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Capacitors: the magic behind - and under - the touchscreen of your smartphone

A capacitor is a device that stores electrical charges on two metal plates, separated by a dielectric material such as waxed paper.

The modern smartphone screen consists of thousands of them and our finger, when comes into contact with them, triggers off the discharging process that results in our purpose being fulfilled.

The animation shows how the combination of the resistance and capacitance determines the discharging rate of a capacitor. In short, it can easily be modelled by the famous, exponential function in mathematics.

More on the technical side of the function can be found here:


Animated Photo

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The Singularity is Near (When Humans Transcend Biology)
By Ray Kurzweil (2005)

Ray Kurzweil is a noted inventor. He holds 21 honorary degrees and has been awarded national citations from three American Presidents. As a futurist and trans-humanist, Kurzweil’s mighty tome “The Singularity is Near” explains how technological change is accelerating to the point where he foresees a melding of our brains and bodies with the very machines that we have created. Advances in genetic coding; the burgeoning progress in nanotechnology and high speeds in computation will propel humanity into the next phase of our evolution. Kurzweil prophesizes as these new phases in scientific achievement come online beginning in the next decade we will eradicate disease; regenerate worn out body parts; enhance our mental capabilities; and extend our lives to the point where we may even eliminate death. Truly this all sounds incredible; however, the author shares how our new tools are shifting our capabilities and how we can manipulate our world into a wonderous new frontier of human transformation.
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Resistance to Unfairness in Dogs and Wolves 🐕🐕 🐺🐺
Preference to fairness and aversion to inequalities are fundamental features of human and non human primates. New study from Vienna suggests, Wolves and dogs refused to cooperate in a task, when only the partner got a reward or they themselves received less reward. Therefore, resistance to unfair condition (inequity aversion) is not likely to be an effect of domestication.
Study link:

Photos by Rooobert Bayer. Videos from Wolf Science Center in Ernstbrunn, Austria.
#vienna #wolf #dog #inequality #aversion #biology #earth #evolution #ancestor #nature #science #forest #AnimalBehaviour #reward #saturdayscience

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Health Psychology = Bio/Psycho/Social theory

Biological A flawed, but, very convincing study stated that MMR vaccine caused autism

Psychological Somali parents raised concerns that their children were disproportionately affected by autism spectrum disorder

Sociological Measles outbreaks continue to rise.

In the news

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Have you seen this article claiming, "Ancient stone carvings confirm how comet struck Earth in 10,950BC, sparking the rise of civilisations."? The paper behind this claim has some inconsistencies with established research. First, the authors are not experts in the field of archaeology nor astronomy. Second, the researchers base their interpretations on the works of discredited authors. Third, there is no evidence of the population decline they claim. Read more from +Jeff Baker, who argues: "This is a poorly researched paper that should not be getting the attention it is currently receiving."
When I first saw this article in my stream, I was skeptical of the findings. The first thing I noticed was that the primary author is in an engineering department. Martin Sweatman is apparently a chemical engineer. There is nothing about his biography with the University of Edinburgh to suggest he has the background to discuss either astronomical theories or archaeological theories.

His co-author on the paper is a bioengineer who has done research into Parkinson’s Disease. Again, his biography doesn’t suggest he has any expertise in astronomy or archaeology.

In the Telegraph article, they acknowledge that some of their interpretations of the images at Gobekli Tepe were originally made by Graham Hancock. Among Hancock’s other arguments are that Antarctica is Plato’s Atlantis. The civilization Plato described is, according to Hancock, buried under the ice sheet. Hancock claims that Antarctica was originally located in the mid-Atlantic, but, galloping plate tectonics shifted the location of the continent to the South Pole, in less than a generation.

Looking at the article (which you can read here: ), they start out citing Clube and Napier for the astronomy portion of their paper. I had never heard of these two astronomers nor their Neo-Catastrophist theories, so I googled them. I came upon this critique of their theories:

Basically, it is a crap theory that doesn’t fit with any established astronomical model. Oh, and Clube and Napier cite Velikovsky, like Hancock he is a pseudo-scientist/charlatan.

After discussing Clube and Napier, Sweatman and Tsikritsis mention the Washington Scablands as evidence of rapid melting of the glaciers. The Scablands were created by a series of large scale floods involved with the release of water from the Pleistocene Lake Missoula. Geologists estimate these floods occurred between 18,000 and 13,000 years ago.

The carvings at Gobekli Tepe are thought to date to ca. 9,000 BCE, or 2,000 years after the beginning of the Younger Dryas (which Sweatman and Tsikritsis argue was caused by fragments of a comet hitting North America).

They further argue that the animals depicted on the pillars are similar to constellations that, according to a computer model, would have been visible in the sky ca. 11,000 BC. This is an extreme leap of logic. We have no way of knowing what constellations the inhabitants of that time period would have seen in the night sky. That people 2,000 years later would still use the same names is a stretch. Without a written language, which wasn’t developed for another 6,000 years, it is unlikely that the same names would have remained as the “constellations” changed shape.

These two authors also claim that there was a catastrophic population decline associated with the Younger Dryas. There is, to my knowledge, no evidence for such an event. Even in North America, the possibility of a large scale population decline is disputed.

This is a poorly researched paper that should not be getting the attention it is currently receiving.

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Changing Conspiracy Beliefs through Rationality and Ridiculing
Conspiracy theory (CT) beliefs can be harmful. How is it possible to reduce them effectively? Three reduction strategies were tested in an online experiment using general and well-known CT beliefs on a comprehensive randomly assigned Hungarian sample (N = 813): exposing rational counter CT arguments, ridiculing those who hold CT beliefs, and empathizing with the targets of CT beliefs. Several relevant individual differences were measured. Rational and ridiculing arguments were effective in reducing CT, whereas empathizing with the targets of CTs had no effect. Individual differences played no role in CT reduction, but the perceived intelligence and competence of the individual who conveyed the CT belief-reduction information contributed to the success of the CT belief reduction. Rational arguments targeting the link between the object of belief and its characteristics appear to be an effective tool in fighting conspiracy theory beliefs.

#CTs   #ConspiracyTheories   #Psychology   #Science  

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Do rats help other rats?
Scientists from University of Bern, Switzerland trained rats to help each other. Rats were trained to pull a stick fixed to a baited tray to provide food (oat meal) for the partner rat in an instrumental cooperative task. From a series of experiments, they found the generalized reciprocity (which is different from reciprocal altruism) in rats. Rats pulled 20% more often for an unknown partner after they were experienced help than if they had not received help before.
Study link:
Figure adopted from Plos Biology

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Childhood Sexual Abuse vs. Pedophilia

✿ Pedophilia means literally the love of children, however today this term is primarily used as a diagnostic tool that hides the original definition. Pedophilia also explains specification of adults to children and accepts children as being passive sexual objects.

✿ One of the first disputes discovered in the research is the question of whether or not this behavior is sexual in quality. There is no theory that is specific to the diagnosis of pedophilia; however, there are many that relate to the childhood sexual abuser.

✿ It's the latest and a long read for those interested. edited to add a correct link

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Our latest paper has just hit the arXiv: "Immigrant community integration in world cities"

"Migrant and hosting communities face long-term challenges in the integration process. Immigrants must adapt to new laws and ways of life, while hosts need to adjust to multicultural societies. Integration impacts many facets of life such as access to jobs, real state and public services and can be well approximated by the extent of spatial segregation of minority group residence. Here we conduct an extensive study of immigrant integration in 53 world cities by using Twitter language detection and by introducing metrics of spatial segregation. In this way, we quantify the Power of Integration of cities (their capacity to integrate diverse cultures), and characterize the relations between cultures when they act in the role of hosts and immigrants."

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