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Combining computer science, statistics creates machines that can learn

Combining computer science, statistics creates machines that can learn | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Learning a subject well means moving beyond the recitation of facts to a deeper knowledge that can be applied to new problems. Designing computers that can transcend rote calculations to more nuanced understanding has challenged scientists for years.

Only in the past decade have researchers' flexible, evolving algorithms—known as machine learning—matured from theory to everyday practice, underlying search and language-translation websites and the automated trading strategies used by Wall Street firms.

 

These applications only hint at machine learning's potential to affect daily life, according to John Lafferty, the Louis Block Professor in Statistics and Computer Science. With his two appointments, Lafferty bridges these disciplines to develop theories and methods that expand the horizon of machine learning to make predictions and extract meaning from data.

"Computer science is becoming more focused on data rather than computation, and modern statistics requires more computational sophistication to work with large data sets," Lafferty says. "Machine learning draws on and pushes forward both of these disciplines."

Lafferty's work focuses on the theories and algorithms that power machine learning. The goal is to develop computer programs that, with little or no human input, can extract knowledge from large amounts of numbers, text, audio or video and make predictions and decisions about events that haven't been coded in its instructions.

"The classical areas of applied mathematics, including partial differential equations, developed from the study of physical processes such as fluid flow," Lafferty says. "What we're seeing now is that entirely new directions in applied mathematics are opening up from the study of modern large data sets."

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question everything's curator insight, July 19, 2013 9:53 AM

Amazing what we are learning to do with computers.  Now if we could just learn how to live and let live, we might make real progress.

Knowmads, Infocology of the future
Exploring the possible , the probable, the plausible
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Automatica – Robots that play drums, guitar and turntables and destroy a warehouse

Humans are constantly fascinated by music-playing robots. There is something profoundly compelling about watching a mechanical being imitate the art and skill of playing a musical instrument. The latest crazy robot musical symphony comes in Automatica – a project that enlists several industrial robots to form a giant mechanical orchestra, with amazing and destructive results.The project is the brainchild of engineer-artist-and all around musical mad scientist, Nigel Stanford. You may remember Stanford from an incredible video called Cymatics, released two years ago, which highlighted how sound can affect matter in some genuinely spectacular ways. His latest project, which you can view below, repurposes several industrial robots into a 21st century bot band.


the video is a must watch



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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, September 17, 8:53 PM

Fascinating article, which gives the term "industrial music" a whole new twist.  It appears that robots will have a greater role in defining our culture, music, and art. This article reminds of the computer enhanced German band known as "Kraftwerk".  Listen to the track called "Autobahn" to get a feel of what early robotic music sounds like. This type of music came out of the early 1970s.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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This trend means men now more likely to 'marry up' - Futurity

This trend means men now more likely to 'marry up' - Futurity | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
As the number of highly educated women has gone up, the chances of “marrying up” have increased significantly for men and decreased for women, according to a new study.

“The pattern of marriage and its economic consequences have changed over time,” says lead author ChangHwan Kim, associate professor of sociology at the University of Kansas. “Now women are more likely to get married to a less-educated man. What is the consequence of this?”

Kim and coauthor Arthur Sakamoto of Texas A&M University report their work in the journal Demography. They examined gender-specific changes in the total financial return to education among people of prime working ages, 35 to 44 years old, using US Census data from 1990 and 2000 and the 2009-2011 American Community Survey.

The researchers investigated the return to education not only in labor markets but also in the marriage market.

“Previously, women received more total financial return to education than men, because their return in the marriage market was high. However, this female advantage has deteriorated over time despite women’s substantial progress in education and labor-market performance,” Kim says.
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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, September 17, 8:57 PM

A huge shift in marriage patterns in the United States. The female advantage in marriage has weakened over time.  This study examines the social ramifications of this shift.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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Capitalism isn't broken – but it does need a rewrite

Capitalism isn't broken – but it does need a rewrite | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
In the 1990s, economists indulged heady hopes that globalisation would raise all boats via unfettered free market activity. Now, but a generation later, many are having second thoughts. That’s because global free markets, while indeed maximising GDP for all concerned, have also ushered in staggering rates of inequality together with a looming threat of irreversible climate change from increased greenhouse gas emissions.

Some scholars are going so far as to blame capitalism itself. James Hickel argues that “there’s something fundamentally flawed about a system that has a prime directive to churn nature and humans into capital, and do it more and more each year, regardless of the costs to human well-being and to the environment we depend on”. But what should come in its place is anyone’s guess. Capitalism is the culprit and there’s an angry band of revolutionaries ready to ditch the idea in favour of something entirely new — starting with granting inalienable rights to nature itself, as Hickel himself suggests.

While certain reforms may sound refreshing, we might not want to reach for such desperate measures as dismantling an economic system that has managed to bring us unprecedented access to cutting-edge technology, information, and medicine at eminently affordable prices. Besides, capitalism at its root isn’t so much about greed as basic self-interest. And each of us is self-interested to some degree. This is a fact of biology we ignore at our peril.
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"Economics Nobel Prize" Winners Are Advocating For Universal Basic Income

"Economics Nobel Prize" Winners Are Advocating For Universal Basic Income | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Up until very recently, most people had not heard of universal basic income (UBI). While the idea itself isn't entirely new, its significance has been explored lately because of job displacement fears intelligent automation is expected to bring with it.

As such, UBI has been endorsed by experts from various industries, including some of the Silicon Valley's bigwigs. Now, some of the world's top economists are backing it up, too.

Speaking at a panel discussion at the 6th Lindau meeting on economic sciences back in June, winners of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel - more commonly known as the "economics Nobel prize" - endorsed UBI as a solution to the inequality brought by globalisation and automation.

"We should not try to deal with inequality by stopping these global processes, because these have the capacity to bring more prosperity to the world," Sir Chris Pissarides said.

"We should welcome expansion of trade and the opening up of India and Africa, and improve R&D to bring robotics into production. After all, if there aren't enough jobs for us all to do, we can take more leisure."

"We are ageing, so we can feel comfortable that machines will do more of the work that human beings currently do."

Simply put, a UBI program allows people to receive a fixed income regardless of circumstances - employment, social status, etc.

Aside from potentially helping people cope with automation, those who favour UBI also see it as an alternative to today's social welfare programs. Others who are skeptical of it often point out how it could make people lazy and reluctant to find proper employment.
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Jose Luis Yañez's curator insight, September 3, 2:42 PM
"Economics Nobel Prize" Winners Are Advocating For Universal Basic Income
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Amazon has developed an AI fashion designer

Amazon has developed an AI fashion designer | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
mazon isn’t synonymous with high fashion yet, but the company may be poised to lead the way when it comes to replacing stylists and designers with ever-so-chic AI algorithms.

Researchers at the e-commerce juggernaut are currently working on several machine-learning systems that could help provide an edge when it comes to spotting, reacting to, and perhaps even shaping the latest fashion trends. The effort points to ways in which Amazon and other companies could try to improve the tracking of trends in other areas of retail—making recommendations based on products popping up in social-media posts, for instance. And it could help the company expand its clothing business or even dominate the area.

“There’s been a whole move from companies like Amazon trying to understand how fashion develops in the world,” says Kavita Bala, a professor at Cornell University who took part in a workshop on machine learning and fashion organized by Amazon last week. “This is completely changing the industry.”

A number of forward-thinking retailers are already using social networks like Instagram and Pinterest to track the latest fashion trends and react quickly. And startups like the subscription service Stitch Fix already make personalized recommendations based on user preferences and social-media activity.
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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, August 29, 1:45 AM

Great article on how artificial intelligence and machine learning are changing the fashion industry.  It appears your next fashion consultant will be some kind of AI robot.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

samsangsmith's curator insight, August 30, 7:25 AM
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It's seafood - but there's no 'sea' required - BBC News

It's seafood - but there's no 'sea' required - BBC News | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Seafood has become the United States' second-largest trade deficit.

But researchers in West Virginia believe Americans can end their country's dependence on foreign fish – and cut down the carbon footprint of eating seafood – with "recirculating aquaculture systems".
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Your dog might want praise even more than food - Futurity

Your dog might want praise even more than food - Futurity | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Given the choice, many dogs prefer praise from their owners over food, according to one of the first studies to combine brain-imaging data with behavioral experiments to explore canine reward preferences.

“We are trying to understand the basis of the dog-human bond and whether it’s mainly about food, or about the relationship itself,” says Gregory Berns, a neuroscientist at Emory University.

“Out of the 13 dogs that completed the study, we found that most of them either preferred praise from their owners over food, or they appeared to like both equally. Only two of the dogs were real chowhounds, showing a strong preference for the food.”

Dogs were at the center of the most famous experiments of classical conditioning, conducted by Ivan Pavlov in the early 1900s. Pavlov showed that if they are trained to associate a particular stimulus with food, they will salivate in the mere presence of the stimulus, in anticipation of the food.

“One theory about dogs is that they are primarily Pavlovian machines: They just want food and their owners are simply the means to get it,” Berns says. “Another, more current, view of their behavior is that dogs value human contact in and of itself.”

Berns heads up the Dog Project in Emory’s psychology department, which researches questions surrounding man’s best and oldest friend. The project was the first to train dogs to voluntarily enter a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner and remain motionless during scanning, without restraint or sedation.

In previous research, the Dog Project identified the ventral caudate region of the canine brain as a reward center. It also showed how that region of a dog’s brain responds more strongly to the scents of familiar humans than to the scents of other humans, or even to those of familiar dogs.
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Microsoft's speech recognition system is now as good as a human

Microsoft's speech recognition system is now as good as a human | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Microsoft researchers have hit a milestone 25 years in the making. The company's conversational speech recognition system has finally reached an error rate of only 5.1 percent, putting it on par with the accuracy of professional human transcribers for the first time ever.

A year ago, the Microsoft's speech and dialog research group refined its system to reach a 5.9 percent word error rate. This was generally considered to be the average human error rate, but further work by other researchers suggested that 5.1 percent was closer to the mark for humans professionally transcribing speech heard in a conversation.

For over 20 years, a collection of recorded phone conversations known as Switchboard has been used to test speech recognition system for accuracy. This is done by tasking either humans or a machine to transcribe recorded telephone conversations between strangers on topics including politics and sport.
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Laurent Sedano's curator insight, August 23, 12:15 PM

wieder ein kleiner Schritt 

prgnewshawaii's curator insight, August 23, 7:07 PM

Soon, we won't be able to determine a human voice from a computer generated voice. Microsoft's speech recognition system will be as accurate or even more accurate than professional human transcribers. Another career field that will be ending soon. Singularity is coming.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

Dave berkeley's curator insight, August 25, 5:23 PM
Progress!
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How long will you keep playing? The game knows

How long will you keep playing? The game knows | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
We have a tendency to consider ourselves unique and unpredictable, but digital games research shows that this is far from the case. In fact, we can be categorised into groups of people who show the same behaviours, and what we do in the future is imminently predictable. For example, how you play a game will reveal what you are likely to do in the game next and how long you are going to stay interested in doing it. This means that games can now change tack while you’re in them to provide you with the best possible experience and to encourage you to keep playing.

When we play games, we generate traces of data which provide information on how we played. Across the almost two billion gamers in the world, this adds up to enormous, highly varied and exceptionally diverse data about human behaviour.

Joining forces with the game industry, international teams of researchers have for the past few years been deciphering this data, diving into the mysteries of how people play games. Experts have been investigating how player behaviour correlates with psychological traits, what we find fun and engaging, and what this tells us about our future behaviour. For an industry generating roughly US$100 billion a year, this knowledge is essential to ensure player satisfaction, and to build competitive edges in the fiercely competitive creative industries.
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We Are Nowhere Close to the Limits of Athletic Performance - Issue 51: Limits - Nautilus

We Are Nowhere Close to the Limits of Athletic Performance - Issue 51: Limits - Nautilus | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
For many years I lived in Eugene, Oregon, also known as “track-town USA” for its long tradition in track and field. Each summer high-profile meets like the United States National Championships or Olympic Trials would bring world-class competitors to the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field. It was exciting to bump into great athletes at the local cafe or ice cream shop, or even find myself lifting weights or running on a track next to them. One morning I was shocked to be passed as if standing still by a woman running 400-meter repeats. Her training pace was as fast as I could run a flat out sprint over a much shorter distance.

The simple fact was that she was an extreme outlier, and I wasn’t. Athletic performance follows a normal distribution, like many other quantities in nature. That means that the number of people capable of exceptional performance falls off exponentially as performance levels increase. While an 11-second 100-meter can win a high school student the league or district championship, a good state champion runs sub-11, and among 100 state champions only a few have any hope of running near 10 seconds.
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Graphene-fed spiders spin bionic silk

Graphene-fed spiders spin bionic silk | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Natural spider silk is already amazingly strong stuff, plus scientists have developed synthetic versions of the material. Now, however, Italian and British researchers have split the difference, in a manner of speaking – they've created silk that comes from spiders, but that has added man-made ingredients which give it extra strength.

Led by Prof. Nicola Pugno from Italy's University of Trento, the scientists fed "special" water to three species of spiders. What made it special? Dispersed within it were microscopic flakes of graphene, or carbon nanotubes (which are made of rolled-up sheets of graphene). Taking the form of a one-atom-thick sheet of linked carbon atoms, graphene is currently the world's strongest material.

When silk was subsequently gathered from the spiders, it was found that the graphene/nanotubes had been passed into the fibers. As a result, its tensile strength and toughness were much higher than that of regular spider silk.
"We found that the strongest silk the spiders spun had a fracture strength up to 5.4 gigapascals (GPa), and a toughness modulus up to 1,570 joules per gram (J/g)," says Pugno. "Normal spider silk, by comparison, has a fracture strength of around 1.5 GPa and a toughness modulus of around 150 J/g.
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identicalbolt's comment, August 17, 3:02 AM
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Calling all aliens: What's the best way to contact our galactic neighbors?

Calling all aliens: What's the best way to contact our galactic neighbors? | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
August 20, 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of the launch of the the first NASA Voyager mission, which is carrying a golden record filled with messages to potential civilizations beyond our solar system. This year is also the 20th anniversary of the sci-fi film Contact that dealt with receiving radio messages from extraterrestrials. Both the record and the film were brain children of the late Carl Sagan and raise an interesting question: which approach has the greater chance of success of making contact with aliens – sending radio messages or unmanned probes?First contact with extraterrestrial civilizations has long fascinated scientists, philosophers, and writers. It's been the topic explored by serious scientific studies, crackpots, tabloids, science fiction epics, and international debates. The speculated results of the first meeting of man and alien run the entire gamut of imagination. Visits by aliens or receiving greetings from the stars has been seen as ranging from wonderfully transcendent, with the human race raised to the next step in evolutionary perfection, to us ending up as the main course on someone's dinner table.
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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, August 12, 11:37 PM

Interesting, speculative essay on what may be waiting for us should we choose to contact alien species. Of course our television and radar signals have been leaking into space for decades, so some intelligent life could be planning to find out more about us.  I recommend caution. Be careful for what you wish for.


Russell Roberts


Hawaii Intelligence Digest

biovennison's curator insight, August 14, 6:55 AM

good

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Microbes have their own version of the internet

Microbes have their own version of the internet | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Creating a huge global network connecting billions of individuals might be one of humanity’s greatest achievements to date, but microbes beat us to it by more than three billion years. These tiny single-celled organisms aren’t just responsible for all life on Earth. They also have their own versions of the World Wide Web and the Internet of Things. Here’s how they work.

Much like our own cells, microbes treat pieces of DNA as coded messages. These messages contain information for assembling proteins into molecular machines that can solve specific problems, such as repairing the cell. But microbes don’t just get these messages from their own DNA. They also swallow pieces of DNA from their dead relatives or exchange them with living mates.

These DNA pieces are then incorporated into their genomes, which are like computers overseeing the work of the entire protein machinery. In this way, the tiny microbe is a flexible learning machine that intelligently searches for resources in its environment. If one protein machine doesn’t work, the microbe tries another one. Trial and error solve all the problems.

But microbes are too small to act on their own. Instead, they form societies. Microbes have been living as giant colonies, containing trillions of members, from the dawn of life. These colonies have even left behind mineral structures known as stromatolites. These are microbial metropolises, frozen in time like Pompeii, that provide evidence of life from billions of years ago.
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Here's a List of 100 Words Scientists Really Want You to Stop Misusing

Here's a List of 100 Words Scientists Really Want You to Stop Misusing | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Without language, things between humans would get pretty confusing pretty fast. And even though the ways we communicate can be super-flexible, it's best to make sure we actually know what the words we're using really mean.

This becomes all the more important when we try to understand science, where words often take on highly specialised meanings. And that's why a team of researchers just published a master list of terms they would like everybody to stop getting wrong.

"In psychology, many terms are confused not only by new students but also by advanced students, psychology instructors, and science journalists," says one of the researchers, Scott Lilienfeld from Emory University.

This new work is actually a sequel to a paper Lilienfeld and colleagues published last year, in which they collected a list of the most "inaccurate, misleading, misused, ambiguous, and logically confused words and phrases in psychology, genetics, and science in general."

Now the team has compiled a new list of 50 pairs of words that mean completely different things, yet often get confused with each other.

We should all pay attention here, because such confusion affects not just the field of psychological science, but can impede and even harm public understanding of concepts we encounter every day.

For example, antisocial is a common term we use to describe shy, withdrawn people, but that's actually painting them with a much darker brush than they deserve, since antisocial behaviour usually involves being reckless and harming others.

Instead, an introvert who prefers to hang out at home rather than talk to other people is better described as asocial.

There's also psychopath versus sociopath - while psychopathy is a diagnosable personality disorder, sociopathy actually is not.

As the researchers point out, it's a colloquial term that can mean one of several concepts, and is so confusing they say we basically shouldn't use it at all.

The team also takes pains to explain how insanity and incompetence are not the same thing when it comes to legal charges - a person found legally insane in a trial cannot be found guilty of a crime, but if they're deemed incompetent, they can't even face a trial to begin with.

And when it comes to socially and culturally relevant terms, they also provide a clear breakdown of sex vs gender, race vs ethnicity, and the difference between prejudice and discrimination.

Those are just a few examples of the 50 word pairs Lilienfeld and colleagues have highlighted in their new paper.
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Turns Out Our Biases Really Are Stronger Than Our Ability to Perceive Facts

Turns Out Our Biases Really Are Stronger Than Our Ability to Perceive Facts | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
We all like to think that we're rational creatures able to make objective decisions, but our biases may be a lot stronger than we think.

New research has found that humans have an excellent ability to ignore facts that don't fit with our own biases, not just on Facebook where the stakes are pretty low, but even when it can cost us money.

Stefano Palminteri of École Normale Supérieure led a team of researchers from ENS and University College London, which previously reported that humans are biased towards the path of least resistance, even though that can make us depressed later on.

In those situations, people don't seem to be able to perceive intangible future repercussions.

Palminteri's team sought to discover in an experimental environment whether our biases are so strong that we continue to hold onto them even when something tangible is on the line in that moment.

The study involved 20 volunteers performing two variants of a task: choosing between pairs of symbols, each of which had been assigned a points value.

For the first variant of the task, the participants were only told the value of the symbols they chose. Over time, they learned that some symbols were more valuable and developed a bias towards choosing those symbols.

For the second variant, the participants were told the values of both symbols, even though they could only pick one. However, they continued to choose the symbols they had learned to be biased towards in the first part of the experiment, even when they had proof that the other symbol was worth more.

This could be why some people won't change their minds, even when the evidence is staring them in the face.

"It's as if you don't hear the voices in your head telling you that you're wrong, even if you lose money," Paliminteri told New Scientist.
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English's curator insight, September 7, 1:11 AM
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Dr Huey Allen's curator insight, September 8, 9:22 AM

Yes, personal biases do affect leadership decisions!

Jose Luis Yañez's curator insight, September 9, 8:45 PM
Turns Out Our Biases Really Are Stronger Than Our Ability to Perceive Facts
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These are the skills you should learn that will pay off forever

These are the skills you should learn that will pay off forever | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
The further along you are in your career, the easier it is to fall back on the mistaken assumption that you’ve made it and have all the skills you need to succeed. The tendency is to focus all your energy on getting the job done, assuming that the rest will take care of itself. Big mistake.

New research from Stanford tells the story. Carol Dweck and her colleagues conducted a study with people who were struggling with their performance. One group was taught to perform better on a task that they performed poorly in. The other group received a completely different intervention: for the task that they performed badly in, they were taught that they weren’t stuck and that improving their performance was a choice. They discovered that learning produces physiological changes in the brain, just like exercise changes muscles. All they had to do was believe in themselves and make it happen.

When the groups’ performance was reassessed a few months later, the group that was taught to perform the task better did even worse. The group that was taught that they had the power to change their brains and improve their performance themselves improved dramatically.

The primary takeaway from Dweck’s research is that we should never stop learning. The moment we think that we are who we are is the moment we give away our unrealized potential.
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Jose Luis Yañez's curator insight, September 3, 2:39 PM
These are the skills you should learn that will pay off forever
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This Ultimate Infographic Breaks Down 100 of The Most Common Misconceptions

This Ultimate Infographic Breaks Down 100 of The Most Common Misconceptions | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
The internet has busted open a floodgate of knowledge, and now more than ever you need special skills to separate truth from falsehood. Misconceptions have a way of wriggling into our brains and spreading through word-of-mouth, and social media has put that process on steroids.

But fear not, the internet also delivers the tools to help us learn, like this new interactive graphic that puts to rest a whopping 100 most common myths you always see floating around. Yeah, it's as epic as it sounds.

The handy new resource comes from GeekWrapped, a site for nerdy people to find appropriately themed gifts and tech products. But in their blog section the editorial team have been tackling projects that veer straight into the land of critical thinking - including mythbusting.

"Our goal was to create a truly authoritative piece on this topic," website founder Simon Saval told ScienceAlert.

"It took our editorial team over two months to research, verify, write, and design the content. The result is that we have now published one of the most complete overviews of misconceptions."

A hundred facts is a lot to browse through, but the whole infodump is actually quite user-friendly, since it's been broken down into six categories - the body, food, animals, science, history, and society.

"For each debunked myth we made sure that there were at least three independent and trustworthy sources, including peer-reviewed research and sources from very reputable publishers," explains Simon.
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Facebook has more people than any major religion except Christianity

Facebook has more people than any major religion except Christianity | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
The number of Facebook monthly users has surpassed the followers of Islam, and is closing in on the most numerous religion, Christianity. The Pew Research Center reports that Christianity counts 2.3 billion people among its adherents, followed by Islam with about 1.8 billion. By comparison, Facebook reports it now has 1.32 billion daily active users and 2.01 billion monthly active users as of June 2017—all supported by a staff of just 20,658 people.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes his platform could fill the void left behind by the decline of religious and civil communities in the US. Americans are becoming less religious, join fewer community groups, and report record low levels of trust in their fellow citizens. “That’s a lot of people who now need to find a sense of purpose and support somewhere else,” he said this June at a Chicago rally for creators of Facebook groups.

Zuckerberg has even approvingly cited religions role in society, perhaps implying a similar goal for Facebook. “People who go to church are more likely to volunteer and give to charity—not just because they’re religious, but because they’re part of a community,” he said in June. “A church doesn’t just come together. It has a pastor who cares for the well-being of their congregation, makes sure they have food and shelter. A little league team has a coach who motivates the kids and helps them hit better. Leaders set the culture, inspire us, give us a safety net, and look out for us.”

Facebook is growing at an order of magnitude faster than any established denomination. No major religion is expected to grow faster than 1.4% per year (Islam) over the next two decades, predicts Pew. Yet Facebook, despite rivaling them in size, has steadily grown its global user base by about 22% each year. Of course, Facebook’s expansion will slow as it increases in size (see the “law of large numbers“), but even a drastic drop in this pace means Facebook users will exceed the number of Christians before the decade is out.

As it grows, Facebook has gone so far as to change its mission statement from its focus on making “the world more open and connected” to “bring[ing] the world closer together,” Zuckerberg said in an interview with CNN Tech this June. The company’s CEO has ramped up his campaign to portray Facebook as a force for harmony, rather than division, in public life after an election season which saw the social network accelerate the spread of inaccurate news and conspiracy theories. The CEO not known for public outreach announced a 50-state US tour in January to “get out and talk to more people about how they’re living, working and thinking about the future.”

Facebook already owns three of the five largest online communities in the world: its own network, WhatsApp, and Instagram. The other two, Chinese services WeChat and TenCent, have about 2 billion users between them. To fuel this growth, Facebook has gone on a relentless acquisition spree of any platform where it sees its future audience heading next. For now, that means Facebook can sustain meteoric growth while counting about a quarter of the world’s population as its users. It shows no signs of stopping.
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A man releases a lantern during Chinese Valentine's Day or "Qi Xi" festivities in Shifen August 25, 2007. Chinese Valentine's Day is usually celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar but festivities were postponed this year due to Typhoon Sepat. REUTERS/Nicky Loh (TAIWAN) - RTR1T2T3
The story of Chinese Valentine’s Day teaches us true love is worth waiting for
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nukem777's curator insight, August 28, 6:20 AM

Thank Gopod Mr. Z has not taken up the mantle of prophet

Dove Nobel's comment, August 28, 11:12 AM
https://printertechnicalsupportphone.wordpress.com/2017/08/02/how-to-troubleshoot-paper-jam-problems-of-lexmark-printer/
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, August 29, 1:53 AM

A fascinating look at why Facebook is a dominant force is social media.  With an active customer base of 1.32 billion people, Facebook rivals many religions and "could fill the void left behind by the decline of religious and civil communities in the United States."  Facebook may supply a sense of community that religion and politics can't deliver.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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Intelligence and the DNA Revolution

Intelligence and the DNA Revolution | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
More than 60 years ago, Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the double-helical structure of deoxyribonucleic acid—better known as DNA. Today, for the cost of a Netflix subscription, you can have your DNA sequenced to learn about your ancestry and proclivities. Yet, while it is an irrefutable fact that the transmission of DNA from parents to offspring is the biological basis for heredity, we still know relatively little about the specific genes that make us who we are.

That is changing rapidly through genome-wide association studies—GWAS, for short. These studies search for differences in people’s genetic makeup—their “genotypes”—that correlate with differences in their observable traits—their “phenotypes.” In a GWAS recently published in Nature Genetics, a team of scientists from around the world analyzed the DNA sequences of 78,308 people for correlations with general intelligence, as measured by IQ tests.

The major goal of the study was to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms—or SNPs—that correlate significantly with intelligence test scores. Found in most cells throughout the body, DNA is made up of four molecules called nucleotides, referred to by their organic bases: cytosine (C), thymine (T), adenine (A), and guanine (G). Within a cell, DNA is organized into structures called chromosomes­. Humans normally have 23 pairs of chromosomes, with one in each pair inherited from each parent.

A SNP (or “snip”) is a nucleotide at a particular chromosomal region that can differ across people. For example, one person might have the nucleotide triplet TAC whereas another person might have TCC, and this variation may contribute to differences between the people in a trait such as intelligence. Genes consist of much longer nucleotide sequences and act as instructions for making proteins—basic building blocks of life.

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Robot priest: the future of funerals? - BBC News

Robot priest: the future of funerals? - BBC News | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Developers in Japan are offering a robot "priest" to conduct Buddhist funeral rites complete with chanted sutras and drum tapping - all at a fraction of the cost of a human.

It is the latest use of Softbank's humanoid robot Pepper.
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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, August 26, 12:06 AM

Somehow, this makes me uncomfortable. What's next--a synthetic Pope, Rabbi, or Imam? Singularity will be here sooner than you expect.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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Why We Should Send All Our Politicians to Space

Why We Should Send All Our Politicians to Space | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Our world is far from perfect. While the world has been getting better in many ways, we are also continuously faced with challenges. War, political conflict, and social injustices continue to hinder human progress.

All one needs to do is turn on a mainstream news channel and watch the issues that our world is faced with today. Discrimination, political instabilities, climate change, terrorism, cyber-attacks, refugee crises…the list goes on.

We often get so preoccupied with our issues here on Earth that we forget we are part of the grand cosmic arena. Let us zoom out of our planet and observe our actions and values from an objective lens. If an alien species were to observe us, what would they think of us as a species? Are most of our actions justifiable from a cosmic perspective? Are our politicians and leaders pushing humanity forward?

In the words of astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, seeing Earth from space causes one to “develop an instant global consciousness…” He goes on to point out that “From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’ ”
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Greenland: how rapid climate change on world's largest island will affect us all

Greenland: how rapid climate change on world's largest island will affect us all | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
The largest wildfire ever recorded in Greenland was recently spotted close to the west coast town of Sisimiut, not far from Disko Island where I research retreating glaciers. The fire has captured public and scientific interest not just because its size and location came as a surprise, but also because it is yet another signpost of deep environmental change in the Arctic.

Greenland is an important cog in the global climate system. The ice sheet which covers 80% of the island reflects so much of the sun’s energy back into space that it moderates temperatures through what is known as the “albedo effect”. And since it occupies a strategic position in the North Atlantic, its meltwater tempers ocean circulation patterns.


Most of Greenland is covered by more than a kilometre of ice. Eric Gaba / NGDC, CC BY-SA
But Greenland is especially vulnerable to climate change, as Arctic air temperatures are currently rising at twice the global average rate. Environmental conditions are frequently setting new records: “the warmest”, “the wettest”, “the driest”.

Despite its size, the fire itself represents only a snapshot of Greenland’s fire history. It alone cannot tell us about wider Arctic climate change.

But when we superimpose these extraordinary events onto longer-term environmental records, we can see important trends emerging.
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David Stapleton's curator insight, August 21, 8:55 PM
Be aware of your surroundings
Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, August 22, 10:14 AM

More proof of #ClimateChange increase.

Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, August 22, 10:16 AM

More proof of a rapid increase of #Climage Change

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What if jobs are not the solution but the problem? – James Livingston | Aeon Essays

What if jobs are not the solution but the problem? – James Livingston | Aeon Essays | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Work means everything to us Americans. For centuries – since, say, 1650 – we’ve believed that it builds character (punctuality, initiative, honesty, self-discipline, and so forth). We’ve also believed that the market in labour, where we go to find work, has been relatively efficient in allocating opportunities and incomes. And we’ve believed that, even if it sucks, a job gives meaning, purpose and structure to our everyday lives – at any rate, we’re pretty sure that it gets us out of bed, pays the bills, makes us feel responsible, and keeps us away from daytime TV.

These beliefs are no longer plausible. In fact, they’ve become ridiculous, because there’s not enough work to go around, and what there is of it won’t pay the bills – unless of course you’ve landed a job as a drug dealer or a Wall Street banker, becoming a gangster either way.

These days, everybody from Left to Right – from the economist Dean Baker to the social scientist Arthur C Brooks, from Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump – addresses this breakdown of the labour market by advocating ‘full employment’, as if having a job is self-evidently a good thing, no matter how dangerous, demanding or demeaning it is. But ‘full employment’ is not the way to restore our faith in hard work, or in playing by the rules, or in whatever else sounds good. The official unemployment rate in the United States is already below 6 per cent, which is pretty close to what economists used to call ‘full employment’, but income inequality hasn’t changed a bit. Shitty jobs for everyone won’t solve any social problems we now face.

Don’t take my word for it, look at the numbers. Already a fourth of the adults actually employed in the US are paid wages lower than would lift them above the official poverty line – and so a fifth of American children live in poverty. Almost half of employed adults in this country are eligible for food stamps (most of those who are eligible don’t apply). The market in labour has broken down, along with most others.
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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, August 20, 1:50 AM

A fascinating and sobering look at what the job market really is, stripped of all the government hype and rhetoric. The article contends that our conception of work as a way of giving meaning and purpose to our lives,"is no longer plausible." Most of the jobs now available won't elevate your life and are clearly inadequate to meet the demands of a modern, digitally-oriented society. Many of us are doomed to work at low paying jobs that offer no fulfillment or ways to advance socially.  A brutal look at what's really happening in the real world.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

https://hawaiiintelligencedigest.com

David Stapleton's curator insight, August 21, 8:58 PM
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Emotional Intelligence Needs a Rewrite - Issue 51: Limits - Nautilus

Emotional Intelligence Needs a Rewrite - Issue 51: Limits - Nautilus | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
You’ve probably met people who are experts at mastering their emotions and understanding the emotions of others. When all hell breaks loose, somehow these individuals remain calm. They know what to say and do when their boss is moody or their lover is upset. It’s no wonder that emotional intelligence was heralded as the next big thing in business success, potentially more important than IQ, when Daniel Goleman’s bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence, arrived in 1995. After all, whom would you rather work with—someone who can identify and respond to your feelings, or someone who has no clue? Whom would you rather date?

The traditional foundation of emotional intelligence rests on two common-sense assumptions. The first is that it’s possible to detect the emotions of other people accurately. That is, the human face and body are said to broadcast happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and other emotions, and if you observe closely enough, you can read these emotions like words on a page. The second assumption is that emotions are automatically triggered by events in the world, and you can learn to control them through rationality. This idea is one of the most cherished beliefs in Western civilization. For example, in many legal systems, there’s a distinction between a crime of passion, where your emotions allegedly hijacked your good sense, and a premeditated crime that involved rational planning. In economics, nearly every popular model of investor behavior separates emotion and cognition.

These two core assumptions are strongly appealing and match our daily experiences. Nevertheless, neither one stands up to scientific scrutiny in the age of neuroscience. Copious research, from my lab and others, shows that faces and bodies alone do not communicate any specific emotion in any consistent manner. In addition, we now know that the brain doesn’t have separate processes for emotion and cognition, and therefore one cannot control the other. If these statements defy your common sense, I’m right there with you. But our experiences of emotion, no matter how compelling, don’t reflect the biology of what’s happening inside us. Our traditional understanding and practice of emotional intelligence badly needs a tuneup.
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Bobbi Dunham's curator insight, August 14, 11:02 AM
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Science Totally Debunks That Shocking Manifesto That Got a Google Employee Fired

Science Totally Debunks That Shocking Manifesto That Got a Google Employee Fired | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
A Google engineer has been fired after writing a memo asserting that biological differences between men and women are responsible for the tech industry's gender gap.

"We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism," James Damore wrote in the manifesto, which was first reported by Vice's Motherboard and later released in full by Gizmodo.

The 10-page document criticises Google initiatives aimed at increasing gender and racial diversity, and argues that Google should focus more on "ideological diversity" to make conservatives more comfortable in the company's work environment.

In response, Google CEO Sundar Pichai cut his vacation short and wrote a memo criticising Damore's manifesto for advancing harmful gender stereotypes. "To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK," Pichai wrote.

Experts have been quick to cite numerous scientific meta-analyses of differences between the sexes, most of which suggest that men and women are alike in terms of personality and cognitive ability.

Here are the specific claims Damore made in his manifesto, and the real science behind them.
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