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As far our brains are concerned, talking to ourselves in our heads may be fundamentally the same as speaking our thoughts out loud, new research shows.
The findings may have important implications for understanding why people with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia hear voices.

UNSW Sydney scientist and study first author Associate Professor Thomas Whitford says it has long been thought that these auditory-verbal hallucinations arise from abnormalities in inner speech, our silent internal dialogue.
This study provides the tools for investigating this once untestable assumption says Associate Professor Whitford, of the UNSW School of Psychology.
Previous research suggests that when we prepare to speak out loud, our brain creates a copy of the instructions that are sent to our lips, mouth and vocal cords. This copy is known as an efference-copy.
It is sent to the region of the brain that processes sound to predict what sound it is about to hear. This allows the brain to discriminate between the predictable sounds that we have produced ourselves, and the less predictable sounds that are produced by other people.
The efference-copy dampens the brain’s response to self-generated vocalisations, giving less mental resources to these sounds, because they are so predictable says Associate Professor Whitford.
This is why we can’t tickle ourselves. When I rub the sole of my foot, my brain predicts the sensation I will feel and doesn’t respond strongly to it. But if someone else rubs my sole unexpectedly, the exact same sensation will be unpredicted. The brain’s response will be much larger and creates a ticklish feeling.

The study, published in the journal eLIFE, set out to determine whether inner speech, an internal mental process, elicits a similar efference-copy as the one associated with the production of spoken words.
The research team developed an objective method for measuring the purely mental action of inner speech. Specifically, their study in 42 healthy participants assessed the degree to which imagined sounds interfered with the brain activity elicited by actual sounds, using electroencephalography (EEG).
The researchers found that, just as for vocalized speech, simply imagining making a sound reduced the brain activity that occurred when people simultaneously heard that sound. People’s thoughts were enough to change the way their brain perceived sounds. In effect, when people imagined sounds, those sounds seemed quieter.
By providing a way to directly and precisely measure the effect of inner speech on the brain, this research opens the door to understanding how inner speech might be different in people with psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia says Associate Professor Whitford.
We all hear voices in our heads. Perhaps the problem arises when our brain is unable to tell that we are the ones producing them.

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The New 'Jessica Jones' Trailer Is Here and Twitter Can't Deal

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Basketball article of the day… Dec 12, 2017
Guard Moves and Skills

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+JR Raphael weighs in on the Amazon/Google tiff.

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George's outline for 7, 8 & 9 was vastly different. #starwars #thelastjedi

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Phil Schiller thinks Apple got the home button-less iPhone X right, hints at a Face ID iPad - Apple went through a number of compromises and soul-searching in its first effort to make an "all-screen" phone, as per another fresh interview with its marketing boss Phil Schiller. Chief among those was the decision to ditch the home button with its integrated Touch ID finger scanner, and replace it with a Face ID biometric solution, achieved by the TrueDepth camera kit that warranted a "notch" c...

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Application Control security feature in Windows Defender on Windows 10 - The Application Control feature in Windows Defender is a crucial security feature for Windows 10. With advanced malware, ransomware, and spyware, we need advanced security systems. Let us learn about this new feature introduced in Windows 10 v1709. Windows Defender [...] This post Application Control security feature in Windows Defender on Windows 10 is from

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So here it is your live action #Alita Battle Angel trailer. I want to hold onto some hope for this but they aren't giving me anything to grab on to.

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Jaguars ban four fans for throwing objects at Seahawks: The fans will not be allowed to attend future events at EverBank Field and could have their season tickets revoked.

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Roy Moore’s wife: He’s no bigot, one of our lawyers ‘is a Jew’

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Week 15 NFL power rankings: Check out our NFL power rankings going into Week 15 of the 2017 season.

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12/11-12/2017 #TheIngrahamAngle with Real Professional Journalists on Purposeffuly Misleading Media Reports. #FoxNews. You Tube.

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Eubank Jr vs Groves Undercard Update - Ryan Walsh (22-2-1, 11 KOs) will defend his British Featherweight Title against Isaac Lowe (14-0-2, 5 KOs) at the Manchester Arena, February 17. The all-action contest will take place on the undercard of the World Boxing Super Series Super Middleweight Semi-Final clash between George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr. “This is such a great platform […] The post Eubank Jr vs Groves Undercard Update appeared first on Boxing News 24.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2017 – 2018: Best Wearables & Smart Fitness

#holidaygiftguide #giftguide #gifts #wearables #android

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Atlanta Season 2 is Finally Wrapped But When Will it Air?

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The new feature is also said to deliver live updates direct to your lock screen and alert you when it's time to disembark. #News #Google #GoogleMaps

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Fedora 27 Server "classic" is available. Read about the backstory here:

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It’s Official: iMac Pro Launches December 14th, Will Be Apple’s Most Powerful Mac Yet - Apple has today announced that its brand new and extremely powerful iMac Pro all-in-one desktop will be available to order starting from December 14, 2017. [ Continue reading this over at ]

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King's Cove, Newfoundland

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Well fed in a rapidly changing home

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus)

A week ago a video by photographer Paul Nicklen of an emaciated polar bear ( went viral, and tears were rolling as we watched how it was barely able to walk and in desperation chewing on some human garbage with zero value to it.

I have watched stranded polar bears eat sea weed off the beaches on the northern shores of Svalbard. During this trip I also encountered an emaciated polar bear lying down on the only snow on the islet that had appeared as the ice cap of Kvitøya (White Island) has retreated considerably. This despite the islet being home to a large colony of terns. Its coat was matte, uneven and its body skinny and it acted lethargic. It did not have any energy to stand up or to follow us by sight or movement – it only occasionally opened its eyes which was resting on its front paws.

Every year the sea ice has retreated further away, and this time we found it 81.31 degrees north. South of it only sporadic floats and ice bergs were found. Those polar bears stranded were all scouring the land, and those with luck would encounter incubating geese, or a sea bird colony with access to nests. I’ve seen polar bears climb to ledges even I would not have considered accessible.

For now the polar bears are decimating the reproduction of the bird populations they raid, but the energy they gain form their raids is far too little, and eventually the stranded bears will not be able to survive.

I have also encountered polar bears swimming far out at sea where the nearest access to a shore is a day or more away by boat – like Austfonna – Europes largest ice cap by area. How they survive is beyond me.

It is such joy every time we encounter successful individuals, and especially a mother with a cub as seen here at 81.31 degrees north. It was a large male that had made the kill, and he was eating all he could manage and rested in intervals a bit away from the seal carcass. Each time the mother went in with her cub to eat as fast as they could before the male came back for more.

This went on until there was nothing more to eat and the mother decided to investigate the ship from where this is shot.

As the ocean itself is warming, the ice is melted from the underside, so how long will the lucky polar bears that stay on the sea ice have any ice left to carry them? And what about the seal populations dependent on the sea ice?

I fear this lovely capture is fast becoming a rare sight even around Svalbard, and that the ships travelling in these waters might need to go much further north to reach the sea ice.

Image Copyright © 2017 +Morten Ross
Image Capture Date: 27 July 2016 13:10
Altitude: 3 meters

#mammals #polarbear #polar #ice #arctic #svalbard

#hqspanimals +HQSP Animals
#BTPAnimalPRO+BTP Animal Pro , owned by +Nancy Dempsey , curated by +Annette Junge Daugaard

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trees in the valley

#treetuesday by +Ralph Mendoza+Tree Tuesday
#hqsplandscape +HQSP Landscape
#btplandscapepro +BTP Landscape Pro

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Urban Garden

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A rose in the evening light

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Taylor Swift & BF Joe Alwyn show MAJOR PDA during Ed Sheeran Performance #celebs #celebrities #entertainment

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ArchLabs Review: A Quick Look At The Rising Arch Based #Linux Distribution

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The FCC and FTC have drafted an agreement to ensure ISPs "live up to the promises they make to consumers" following the net neutrality rules repeal... and it ain't great. #News #FCC #NetNeutrality

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Hot vibrating gases under the electron spotlight - Natural gas is used in refineries as the basis for products like acetylene. The efficiency of gaseous reactions depends on the dynamics of the molecules—their rotation, vibration and translation (directional movement). These motions provide the kinetic energy to drive reactions. By understanding gas dynamics, researchers can design more efficient and environmentally friendly industrial systems.

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New eruptions detected in two luminous blue variables - (—Astronomers report the detection of new eruptions in two luminous blue variables, known as R 40 and R 110, located in the Magellanic Clouds. The finding, presented December 5 in a paper published on the arXiv pre-print repository, could shed new light on the final phases of stellar evolution process.

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Colts K Adam Vinatieri’s FG misses in blizzard could cost him $500K: Vinatieri has a clause in his contract that includes a bonus if he makes 90 percent or more of his field goals this season.

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"Centaurus A is 12 million light-years away from Earth—just down the road in astronomical terms—and is a popular target for amateur and professional astronomers in the Southern Hemisphere due to its size, elegant dust lanes, and prominent plumes of material."

"Astronomers have used two Australian radio telescopes and several optical telescopes to study complex mechanisms that are fuelling jets of material blasting away from a black hole 55 million times more massive than the Sun.

In research published today, the international team of scientists used the telescopes to observe a nearby radio galaxy known as Centaurus A.

"As the closest radio galaxy to Earth, Centaurus A is the perfect 'cosmic laboratory' to study the physical processes responsible for moving material and energy away from the galaxy's core," said Dr Ben McKinley from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) and Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia."

Read more at:

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On This Day: Boxing phenomenon Henry Armstrong was born:

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Which is the Hottest Ronda Rousey Picture? Ep 8

Cast your vote at

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Amazon, the online retail giant, is in the midst of running its own hunger games. The contestants are 238 cities and regions across North America. The prize is being chosen as the site for Amazon’s second headquarters (HQ2), which promises to employ upwards of 50,000 people. These cities are locked in a fierce battle to outbid each other and they’ll do anything, give anything, to be chosen.
In an era of brutal austerity, cities are hollowed out and hoping for a savior. Since the tech sector is flush with cash, by showing up and saying the magic words, growth, jobs, investment, innovation, city leaders bend to their will. Amazon’s HQ2 competition is the latest egregious example of a techno-capitalist regime that’s bewitching cities around the world.

While only about 30 of the proposals are publicly available so far, they paint a troubling picture of cities clamoring to sell their soul to Amazon.
As the Seattle Times reports, the amount of money, perks and power that cities are ready to give away to Amazon is absolutely galling. It goes way beyond just standard subsidies and tax breaks.
New Jersey has offered $7bn in incentives to Amazon if they build HQ2 in Newark. Whereas, in a proposal that sounds like it should be illegal, Chicago’s bid would force employees of HQ2 to pay part of their salary back to Amazon as “income tax”. That is, HQ2 employees would still have income tax deducted, but instead of going to the government, to fund things like public services and infrastructure, it would be given to Amazon. This is a case where taxation is actually (wage) theft.
In a similar vein of outrageous offerings, Fresno, California, has proposed the creation of an Amazon Community Fund, innocuous name, insidious plan. For 100 years, 85% of all taxes collected from Amazon would be put into an account jointly controlled by city leaders and Amazon executives. The taxes would be spent to support HQ2 and Fresno promises to promote Amazon’s role as benefactor for any project paid for by the “community fund” (AKA public dollars).

It’s alarming that so many proposals are essentially treating Amazon as a sovereign, whether that’s collecting taxes for the company or allowing it to control tax spending. Amazon, and by extension the 100-billion-dollar man founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos, will be crowned king of whatever city it decides to grace with the HQ2.
Writing in N+1 Magazine, Nikil Saval shows how the HQ2 competition is not just an exciting project for cities, rather it is a melancholic plea for revitalization: All cities were forced to realize their basic inadequacy: that ultimately, all their tireless work to cultivate their urbanity amounted to nothing if they did not have Amazon.
If only the hunger games brought to you by Amazon was a one-off spectacle, rather than just another in a series of warning signs that we’re all on a bleak trajectory. Frankly, the future of our cities looks grim: Amazon lords over desperate cities, while Google owns entire urban districts, Bill Gates builds his own smart city, and Uber privatizes city services.
These are not discrete events. They are manifestations of an overarching agenda: the techno-capitalist takeover of cities. While corporate promises of high-paying jobs and investments in city infrastructure tantalize politicians, the immediate effects of this agenda will be paid by ordinary citizens through rising taxes, increased housing costs, and selling off public goods.

Cities represent the frontier of value extraction for tech corporations, as they are full of public services to “disrupt”, government coffers to raid, and people to exploit. While American cities are no stranger to privatization, the entrance of tech giants into urban development portends a long-term reorganization of local power based on proprietary platforms, data harvesting, managerial control. All of which reshapes cities into profit-generating machines for techno-capitalists.
At the heart of this techno-capitalist agenda is a reimagination of what it will mean to live in the city: how we will access goods and services (Amazon!), how we will move about (Uber!), how we will afford housing (Airbnb!), how we will be governed (Google!), and how we will be recognized as citizens with rights, if at all? The rise of “smart cities” represents a grand experiment in what it will mean to live in and through powerful, data-driven, networked systems.
This might not sound so bad, if you are privileged enough to enjoy the modest conveniences and capabilities that smart tech provides. For many who lack that position in society, however, this vision of the city looks like unaccessible services, unaffordable rents, unmitigated power, and undemocratic politics.
Amazon has said it will make its final decision about where to locate HQ2 in 2018. Wherever it moves, it will mold the urban landscape to feed its hunger for profit and power. That same hunger drives the techno-capitalist takeover.
We cannot be so tempted by promises of prosperity and progress that we miss the pernicious agenda at work. The future of our cities is at stake.

Jathan Sadowski is a postdoctoral research fellow in smart cities at the University of Sydney, Australia, and Karen Gregory is a lecturer in digital sociology at the University of Edinburgh

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Scientists have wondered whether somatic (non-inherited) mutations play a role in aging and brain degeneration, but until recently there was no good technology to test this idea.
A study published online today in Science, led by researchers from Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, used whole-genome sequencing of individual neurons and found strong evidence that brain mutations accumulate as we age. They also found that mutations accumulate at a higher rate in people with genetic premature aging disorders causing early brain degeneration.
It's been an age-old question as to whether DNA mutations can accumulate in neurons, which usually don't divide, and whether they are responsible for the loss of function that the brain undergoes as we get older says Christopher A. Walsh MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Genetics and Genomics at Boston Children's and co-senior author on the paper.
It hasn't been possible to answer this question before, because we couldn't sequence the genome of a single cell, and each mutation accumulated is unique to each cell.

Testing neurons one by one
The research team tested DNA from 161 single neurons, taken from postmortem samples from the NIH NeuroBioBank.
They came from 15 neurologically normal people of different ages (4 months to 82 years) and nine people with one of two accelerated aging and early-onset neurodegenerative disorders: Cockayne syndrome and xeroderma pigmentosum.
Using the latest experimental and data analysis techniques, the team was able to detect mutations as small as single-letter changes in each neuron's genetic code. Each cell had to have its genome amplified, by generating a multitude of copies, before its DNA sequence could be determined, and a large amount of data had to be analyzed.
Because many experimental artifacts arise during the single-cell experiments, a new computational method that can distinguish true mutations from the experimental noise was critical to the success of the project says Peter J. Park PhD, of Harvard Medical School's Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI), the paper's other co-senior author.
The neurons tested came from two areas of the brain implicated in age-related cognitive decline: the prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain most highly developed in humans) and the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus (a focal point in age-related degenerative conditions like Alzheimer's).
In neurons from neurologically normal people, the number of genetic mutations increased with age in both brain areas.
However, mutations accumulated at a higher rate in the dentate gyrus. The researchers think this may be because the neurons have the ability to divide, unlike their counterparts in the prefrontal cortex.
In neurons from people with Cockayne syndrome and xeroderma pigmentosum, there was an increase in mutations in the prefrontal cortex over time—more than two-fold compared to the normal rate. Additionally, the researchers found that the portions of the genome that neurons used the most accumulated mutations at the highest rate, with help from collaborators at WuXi NextCODE.

The aging genome
The researchers coined the term genosenium, combining the concepts of genome and senescence, senility, to capture the idea of gradual and inevitable accumulation of mutations contributing to brain aging.
The mutations themselves fell into three categories.
We were able to take all the mutations we found and use mathematical techniques to deconstruct them into different types of DNA changes says Michael Lodato PhD, one of six co-first authors on the paper. It's like hearing an orchestra and teasing out the different instruments.
One category of "clocklike" mutations was strictly aging-related, accumulating like clockwork in both brain areas, and independent of disease status. Another type did not correlate with age, except in the dentate gyrus, where mutation numbers in dividing neurons did increase over time.
A parallel with cancer?
The third type was associated with oxidative damage to DNA and faulty DNA repair; it increased with age and was seen in high numbers in Cockayne syndrome and xeroderma pigmentosum neurons, and to a lesser extent in normal neurons.
This last finding convinced me I need more anti-oxidants quips Walsh, who is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and the Bullard Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.
Overall, it raises a question as to whether neurodegenerative diseases are like cancer, relating ultimately to DNA mutation.
The researchers are now turning their sights on other neurodegenerative disorders.
The technology we used can be applied to any degenerative disease of the brain says Walsh.
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