Knowmads, Infocology of the future
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Bidirectional brain signals sense and move virtual objects | KurzweilAI

Bidirectional brain signals sense and move virtual objects | KurzweilAI | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Two monkeys trained at the Duke University Center for Neuroengineering have learned to employ brain activity alone to move an avatar hand and identify the...
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Knowmads, Infocology of the future
Exploring the possible , the probable, the plausible
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You can catch your friend's mood, but not depression - Futurity

You can catch your friend's mood, but not depression - Futurity | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
New research suggests we can “pick up” good and bad moods from friends, but not depression.

The findings, published the journal Royal Society Open Science, imply that mood does spread over friendship networks, as do various different symptoms of depression such as helplessness and loss of interest. However the effect from lower or worse mood friends was not strong enough to push the other friends into depression.

The researchers examined data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, which incorporates the moods and friendship networks of US adolescents in schools.

Using mathematical modeling, they found that having more friends who suffer worse moods is associated with a higher probability of an individual experiencing low moods and a decreased probability of improving. They found the opposite applied to adolescents who had a more positive social circle.

“We investigated whether there is evidence for the individual components of mood (such as appetite, tiredness, and sleep) spreading through US adolescent friendship networks while adjusting for confounding by modeling the transition probabilities of changing mood state over time,” says public health statistics researcher Rob Eyre of the University of Warwick, who led the study.

“Evidence suggests mood may spread from person to person via a process known as social contagion.
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Teenagers Are Avoiding Sex, Alcohol, And Driving Like Never Before, Says New Study

Teenagers Are Avoiding Sex, Alcohol, And Driving Like Never Before, Says New Study | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Today's teenagers don't seem to care much about hitting the open road, scoring a six-pack with a fake ID, or asking their peers out on dates.

According to a recent study from psychologists Jean Twenge and Heejung Park, teenagers instead prefer to sit at home, say no to drugs and alcohol, and scroll through a litany of social media apps.

The study, published in the journal Child Development, analysed survey responses from 8.3 million teenagers given between 1976 and 2016. Overwhelmingly, today's teens were found to be less likely to drive, work for pay, go on dates, have sex, or go out without their parents.

"This isn't just about parenting," Twenge told Business Insider. "It's also about teens themselves and the economy and fertility rates and people living longer."

Of course, since the study's conclusions are based on personal survey responses, the findings may not apply broadly to all of Gen Z. There are also bound to be members of the generation for whom the traits don't apply, as with any demographic study.

But Twenge chalked the findings up to an overall shift in the way society has operated. She is the author of iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy - and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood.

The book explores the conditions in which today's youth are being raised. Contrary to popular belief, Twenge said, teens aren't lazy or square - they're a product of their environment like every other generation.

In the mid-20th-century, she said, people adopted what evolutionary psychologists call a "fast-life strategy." Lifespans were shorter, work was more imperative, and so kids grew up relatively quickly without as much supervision from their parents.
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, September 21, 1:41 AM

An interesting look at how our digital century is impacting our teenaged citizens. Teens are now less likely to have sex, drive, or work for pay...quite a change from my era.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

Bobbi Dunham's curator insight, September 21, 9:40 AM
Personally, not a believer of the 'me-first 'millennial story. All generations are different dependent on their environment. None are better or worse than the other.
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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

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 |
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.
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 |
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 |
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.
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 |
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.
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 |
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 |
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 |
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.
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
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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 |
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 |
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 |
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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Scientists remove one of the final barriers to making lifelike robots | KurzweilAI

Scientists remove one of the final barriers to making lifelike robots | KurzweilAI | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Researchers at the Columbia Engineering Creative Machines lab have developed a 3D-printable, synthetic soft muscle that can mimic natural biological systems, lifting 1000 times its own weight. The artificial muscle is three times stronger than natural muscle and can push, pull, bend, twist, and lift weight — no external devices required.

Existing soft-actuator technologies are typically based on bulky pneumatic or hydraulic inflation of elastomer skins that expand when air or liquid is supplied to them, which require external compressors and pressure-regulating equipment.

“We’ve been making great strides toward making robot minds, but robot bodies are still primitive,” said Hod Lipson, PhD, a professor of mechanical engineering. “This is a big piece of the puzzle and, like biology, the new actuator can be shaped and reshaped a thousand ways. We’ve overcome one of the final barriers to making lifelike robots.”

The research findings are described in an open-access study published Tuesday Sept. 19, 2017 by Nature Communications.

Replicating natural motion

Inspired by living organisms, soft-material robotics hold promise for areas where robots need to contact and interact with humans, such as manufacturing and healthcare. Unlike rigid robots, soft robots can replicate natural motion — grasping and manipulation — to provide medical and other types of assistance, perform delicate tasks, or pick up soft objects.
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It's now tougher (and more expensive) to find big ideas - Futurity

It's now tougher (and more expensive) to find big ideas - Futurity | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Big ideas are getting harder and harder to find, and innovations have become increasingly massive and costly endeavors, according to new research.

As a result, tremendous continual increases in research and development will be needed to sustain even today’s low rate of economic growth.

This means modern-day inventors—even those in the league of Steve Jobs—will have a tough time measuring up to the productivity of the Thomas Edisons of the past.

Nicholas Bloom, senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and coauthor of a paper released this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, contends that so many game-changing inventions have appeared since World War II that it’s become increasingly difficult to come up with the next big idea.

“The thought now of somebody inventing something as revolutionary as the locomotive on their own is inconceivable,” Bloom says.

“It’s certainly true if you go back one or two hundred years, like when Edison invented the light bulb,” he says. “It’s a massive piece of technology and one guy basically invented it. But while we think of Steve Jobs and the iPhone, it was a team of dozens of people who created the iPhone.”
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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 |
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 |
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.
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 |
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.
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 |
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 |
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
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
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 |
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 |
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.
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 |
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 |
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.
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 |
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.
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

David Stapleton's curator insight, August 21, 8:58 PM
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