OUR WEIRD WORLD
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The Six Things That Make Stories Go Viral Will Amaze, and Maybe Infuriate, You

The Six Things That Make Stories Go Viral Will Amaze, and Maybe Infuriate, You | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it
In scientific research on what makes articles go viral, amusing stories were shared more frequently than less amusing ones.

Via Danielle M. Villegas
Leonardo Wild's insight:

Interesting for those who wish to attract attention to their social media network or topic of discussion.

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Danielle M. Villegas's curator insight, January 23, 2014 11:32 AM

This is a fascinating article from the New Yorker that was posted on Google+. It's interesting that it's not SEO keywords as dictated by an artificial logorithm that does it, but mostly through emotional means. Definitely an article worth reading, especially for all content writers, whether they write for blogs or other content. 

--techcommgeekmom

Agatha's curator insight, January 26, 2014 6:02 AM

diffuser une histoire

viral

OUR WEIRD WORLD
Reality is stranger than fiction, and that applies to all areas of human endeavor.
Curated by Leonardo Wild
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Hemingway Editor

Hemingway Editor | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it

Via Sharon Bakar
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Sharon Bakar's curator insight, April 4, 11:11 PM
The app highlights long, complex sentences and common errors; if you see a yellow sentence, shorten or split it. If you see a red highlight, your sentence is so dense and complicated that your readers will get lost trying to follow its meandering, splitting logic — try editing this sentence to remove the red. You can utilize a shorter word in place of a purple one. Mouse over it for hints. Adverbs are helpfully shown in blue. Get rid of them and pick verbs with force instead. Phrases in green have been marked to show passive voice. You can format your text with the toolbar. Paste in something you're working on and edit away. Or, click the Write button to compose something new.
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Scientists publish the first RNA interactome of the human nucleus

Scientists publish the first RNA interactome of the human nucleus | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it

Studying sequence and function of DNA has been in the focus of life sciences for decades, but now the interest of many researchers has turned to the RNA. Today, many scientists believe that RNA molecules, together with a variety of different proteins, play a regulatory or structural role in virtually all cellular processes. However, the mechanisms underlying these RNA-protein interactions are still largely unknown. A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin has now successfully identified hundreds of proteins that interact with RNA molecules in the nucleus of human cells. The researchers present the first RNA interactome of a human nucleus and describe how they have identified the bulk of RNA-binding proteins in the nucleus of human cells, using their newly developed method of "serial RNA interactome capturing".

 

For decades, proteins have been regarded as the main functional components in living cells. However, in recent years their paramount importance for cellular processes has been rivaled by the growing knowledge about the involvement of RNA molecules. RNA in the shape of messenger RNA (mRNA) and transfer RNA (tRNA) has been believed to act as a mere mediator between the DNA, carrying the genetic information, and the proteins, being the building blocks of the cell. But for a few years it has been shown now, that in addition to being a messenger for the genomic information, the RNA mediates several other functions. These non-coding functions of RNA include tasks in the regulation of gene transcription and protein production as well as the determination of the positions of other molecules within the cell.

 

Elucidating the interplay between proteins and RNA has therefore become crucial for understanding the molecular mechanisms of the development of organisms and the emergence of diseases.

 

A research group headed by Ulf Andersson Ørom at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin has now for the first time created an overview of the numerous interactions between RNA molecules and proteins in a human nucleus. For this, the scientists had to modify the "RNA interactome capture technique" for analyzing RNA-protein interactions at first, so that they could use it to identify the RNA-protein interactions inside specific compartments of the cell, e.g., the nucleus. With the modified method, the researchers investigated the nuclei of a total of one billion cells in order to capture and catalogue all possible RNA-protein interactions in the nucleus.

 

"It has been particularly interesting for us that many of the discovered RNA-binding proteins do not only control the activity of genes and the fate of the resulting RNA molecules, but are also involved in the detection and repair of damaged DNA", Ørom explains. DNA damage such as false or missing bases or breakage of one or both strands of the DNA double helix can occur as a consequence of reactive oxygen species, UV-radiation or other external or internal stimuli. DNA-damage occurs thousands of times each day within every cell in the body. The cell responds with a complex repair process involving numerous proteins and RNA molecules that specifically repair damaged DNA, thus maintaining the functionality of the cell.

 

"A role for RNA in the repair of damaged DNA has been suspected for some time, but how RNA can impact on this process has remained unknown", says Ørom. "By identifying the protein factors that link RNA to the DNA damage response, this study contributes to a better understanding of these mechanisms." The scientists hope that their findings will contribute to a better understanding of the emergence of human diseases and the development of new therapies against cancer.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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7 "Bad" Writing Habits to Keep, According to Author Mary Roach

7 "Bad" Writing Habits to Keep, According to Author Mary Roach | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it
How-to guides for journalism can often be insufferably filled with rules to follow. Which is why bestselling non-fiction author Mary Roach's keynote address at Boston University's 2016 The Power of

Via Sharon Bakar
Leonardo Wild's insight:
 "If it takes maggots or farts to get people interested in a certain subject, so be it."
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Sharon Bakar's curator insight, April 4, 5:59 AM
 "If it takes maggots or farts to get people interested in a certain subject, so be it."
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32 Maps That Will Teach You Something New About the World

32 Maps That Will Teach You Something New About the World | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it
Our world is a complex network of people, places and things. Here are 32 maps will teach you something new about our interconnected planet.

Via Seth Dixon
Leonardo Wild's insight:

Some of these maps are more compellling than others (like all lists like this) but some are really telling.  The map above shows the dense concentration of tech corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley/San Francisco. 

 

Tags: technology, map, map archive. 

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StacyOstrom's curator insight, April 4, 9:18 AM

Some of these maps are more compellling than others (like all lists like this) but some are really telling.  The map above shows the dense concentration of tech corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley/San Francisco. 

 

Tags: technology, map, map archive. 

Jodi Esaili's curator insight, April 4, 9:28 AM

Some of these maps are more compellling than others (like all lists like this) but some are really telling.  The map above shows the dense concentration of tech corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley/San Francisco. 

 

Tags: technology, map, map archive. 

macellomedeiros's curator insight, April 4, 10:18 AM

Some of these maps are more compellling than others (like all lists like this) but some are really telling.  The map above shows the dense concentration of tech corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley/San Francisco. 

 

Tags: technology, map, map archive. 

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Volcán Popocatépetl 27 de marzo 2016

"The Popocatépetl volcano, situated in Puebla, Mexico, erupted between March 28 and 29, spewing hot ash and gas into the atmosphere. According to reports, a 7-mile exclusion zone was put in place around the volcano." Credit: www.webcamdemexico.com


Via Seth Dixon
Leonardo Wild's insight:

This visually spectacular (but in terms of damage, fairly harmless) eruption is a sight to behold...especially knowing that Puebla and Mexico City aren't too far from the smoldering giant.   If your students have ever asked, "What does a volcanic eruption look like?" then you've got something ready to go.   

 

Tags: disasters, Mexico, physical, volcano.

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Maricarmen Husson's curator insight, April 1, 7:56 PM

This visually spectacular (but in terms of damage, fairly harmless) eruption is a sight to behold...especially knowing that Puebla and Mexico City aren't too far from the smoldering giant.   If your students have ever asked, "What does a volcanic eruption look like?" then you've got something ready to go.   

 

Tags: disasters, Mexico, physical, volcano.

Leoncio Lopez-Ocon's curator insight, April 3, 6:42 AM

This visually spectacular (but in terms of damage, fairly harmless) eruption is a sight to behold...especially knowing that Puebla and Mexico City aren't too far from the smoldering giant.   If your students have ever asked, "What does a volcanic eruption look like?" then you've got something ready to go.   

 

Tags: disasters, Mexico, physical, volcano.

Ivan Ius's curator insight, April 3, 12:01 PM

This visually spectacular (but in terms of damage, fairly harmless) eruption is a sight to behold...especially knowing that Puebla and Mexico City aren't too far from the smoldering giant.   If your students have ever asked, "What does a volcanic eruption look like?" then you've got something ready to go.   

 

Tags: disasters, Mexico, physical, volcano.

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The End of America's Love Affair With Route 66

The End of America's Love Affair With Route 66 | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it
For a brief time in American tourism, travel was about the journey. Here's how it came to be about the destination.

Via Seth Dixon
Leonardo Wild's insight:

Route 66 holds a special place in the America’s collective soul and taps into a feelings of nostaglia for a bygone era...but we don't really want to go back to that time (hence the economic decline of these withering small towns). "In 1956, Eisenhower's Interstate Highway System effectively bypassed Route 66. The straight-lined, speedy interstates often bifurcated cities. They also cut paths far from Route 66's small, idiosyncratic towns. The rise of modern air travel also diminished the appeal of the winding, open road.  Yet it was not only new modes of transportation that faded Route 66; it was also a changing definition of 'vacation.' Disneyland and Las Vegas staked their claims to the American travel budget in the mid '50s. Suddenly, the 'there' took precedence over the 'getting there.'"

 

Tags: mobility, transportation, place, tourism, historical.

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ismokuhanen's curator insight, March 31, 2:47 PM

Route 66 holds a special place in the America’s collective soul and taps into a feelings of nostaglia for a bygone era...but we don't really want to go back to that time (hence the economic decline of these withering small towns). "In 1956, Eisenhower's Interstate Highway System effectively bypassed Route 66. The straight-lined, speedy interstates often bifurcated cities. They also cut paths far from Route 66's small, idiosyncratic towns. The rise of modern air travel also diminished the appeal of the winding, open road.  Yet it was not only new modes of transportation that faded Route 66; it was also a changing definition of 'vacation.' Disneyland and Las Vegas staked their claims to the American travel budget in the mid '50s. Suddenly, the 'there' took precedence over the 'getting there.'"

 

Tags: mobility, transportation, place, tourism, historical.

Jodi Esaili's curator insight, March 31, 3:00 PM

Route 66 holds a special place in the America’s collective soul and taps into a feelings of nostaglia for a bygone era...but we don't really want to go back to that time (hence the economic decline of these withering small towns). "In 1956, Eisenhower's Interstate Highway System effectively bypassed Route 66. The straight-lined, speedy interstates often bifurcated cities. They also cut paths far from Route 66's small, idiosyncratic towns. The rise of modern air travel also diminished the appeal of the winding, open road.  Yet it was not only new modes of transportation that faded Route 66; it was also a changing definition of 'vacation.' Disneyland and Las Vegas staked their claims to the American travel budget in the mid '50s. Suddenly, the 'there' took precedence over the 'getting there.'"

 

Tags: mobility, transportation, place, tourism, historical.

Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks's curator insight, April 1, 12:18 AM

Route 66 holds a special place in the America’s collective soul and taps into a feelings of nostaglia for a bygone era...but we don't really want to go back to that time (hence the economic decline of these withering small towns). "In 1956, Eisenhower's Interstate Highway System effectively bypassed Route 66. The straight-lined, speedy interstates often bifurcated cities. They also cut paths far from Route 66's small, idiosyncratic towns. The rise of modern air travel also diminished the appeal of the winding, open road.  Yet it was not only new modes of transportation that faded Route 66; it was also a changing definition of 'vacation.' Disneyland and Las Vegas staked their claims to the American travel budget in the mid '50s. Suddenly, the 'there' took precedence over the 'getting there.'"

 

Tags: mobility, transportation, place, tourism, historical.

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These Charts Show How Globalization Has Gone Digital

These Charts Show How Globalization Has Gone Digital | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it
Just 15 years ago, cross-border digital flows were almost non-existent. Today, they exert a larger impact on global economic growth than traditional flows of goods, which developed over centuries.

Via Seth Dixon
Leonardo Wild's insight:

"Yes, globalization. For many people, that word conjures up, at best, images of container ships moving manufactured goods from far-flung factories. At worst, it harkens back to acrid debates about trade deficits, currency wars and jobs moving to China. In fact, since the Great Recession of 2008, the global flow of goods and services has flattened, and cross-border capital flows have declined sharply. But globalization overall isn't on the wane. Like so much in our world today, it has reinvented itself by going digital."

 

Tags: technology, globalization, diffusion, industry, economic.

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Leoncio Lopez-Ocon's curator insight, March 31, 6:13 AM

"Yes, globalization. For many people, that word conjures up, at best, images of container ships moving manufactured goods from far-flung factories. At worst, it harkens back to acrid debates about trade deficits, currency wars and jobs moving to China. In fact, since the Great Recession of 2008, the global flow of goods and services has flattened, and cross-border capital flows have declined sharply. But globalization overall isn't on the wane. Like so much in our world today, it has reinvented itself by going digital."

 

Tags: technology, globalization, diffusion, industry, economic.

Trish Harris's curator insight, March 31, 7:40 AM

"Yes, globalization. For many people, that word conjures up, at best, images of container ships moving manufactured goods from far-flung factories. At worst, it harkens back to acrid debates about trade deficits, currency wars and jobs moving to China. In fact, since the Great Recession of 2008, the global flow of goods and services has flattened, and cross-border capital flows have declined sharply. But globalization overall isn't on the wane. Like so much in our world today, it has reinvented itself by going digital."

 

Tags: technology, globalization, diffusion, industry, economic.

malbert's curator insight, April 4, 4:15 PM

"Yes, globalization. For many people, that word conjures up, at best, images of container ships moving manufactured goods from far-flung factories. At worst, it harkens back to acrid debates about trade deficits, currency wars and jobs moving to China. In fact, since the Great Recession of 2008, the global flow of goods and services has flattened, and cross-border capital flows have declined sharply. But globalization overall isn't on the wane. Like so much in our world today, it has reinvented itself by going digital."

 

Tags: technology, globalization, diffusion, industry, economic.

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Special APHG Edition of the Journal of Geography

Special APHG Edition of the Journal of Geography | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it

"The special APHG issue of the Journal of Geography (Volume 115, Issue 3) has 11 articles that are all focused on APHG."


Via Seth Dixon
Leonardo Wild's insight:

With 11 superb articles from leaders in the APHG community, this issue of the Journal of Geography is a MUST HAVE for all APHG teachers (all NCGE members can digitally access it).  If you aren't an NCGE member yet, this alone is reason to become one today).  

 

On Saturday, July 30, 2016, members of the AP Human Geography Development Committee will present a workshop for high school AP teachers during the annual conference of the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE). The workshop will take place between 8:00 A.M. and 12:15 P.M. at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel. The cost of the workshop is included in the NCGE conference attendance fee.  A special conference rate is available for Florida teachers.  Early-bird registration ends April 1st so act now.

 

Tags: NCGE, APHG, geography education, teacher training.

 

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MsPerry's curator insight, March 31, 12:38 PM

With 11 superb articles from leaders in the APHG community, this issue of the Journal of Geography is a MUST HAVE for all APHG teachers (all NCGE members can digitally access it).  If you aren't an NCGE member yet, this alone is reason to become one today).  

 

On Saturday, July 30, 2016, members of the AP Human Geography Development Committee will present a workshop for high school AP teachers during the annual conference of the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE). The workshop will take place between 8:00 A.M. and 12:15 P.M. at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel. The cost of the workshop is included in the NCGE conference attendance fee.  A special conference rate is available for Florida teachers.  Early-bird registration ends April 1st so act now.

 

Tags: NCGE, APHG, geography education, teacher training.

 

Nevermore Sithole's curator insight, April 1, 8:12 AM

With 11 superb articles from leaders in the APHG community, this issue of the Journal of Geography is a MUST HAVE for all APHG teachers (all NCGE members can digitally access it).  If you aren't an NCGE member yet, this alone is reason to become one today).  

 

On Saturday, July 30, 2016, members of the AP Human Geography Development Committee will present a workshop for high school AP teachers during the annual conference of the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE). The workshop will take place between 8:00 A.M. and 12:15 P.M. at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel. The cost of the workshop is included in the NCGE conference attendance fee.  A special conference rate is available for Florida teachers.  Early-bird registration ends April 1st so act now.

 

Tags: NCGE, APHG, geography education, teacher training.

 

Ivan Ius's curator insight, April 3, 12:04 PM

With 11 superb articles from leaders in the APHG community, this issue of the Journal of Geography is a MUST HAVE for all APHG teachers (all NCGE members can digitally access it).  If you aren't an NCGE member yet, this alone is reason to become one today).  

 

On Saturday, July 30, 2016, members of the AP Human Geography Development Committee will present a workshop for high school AP teachers during the annual conference of the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE). The workshop will take place between 8:00 A.M. and 12:15 P.M. at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel. The cost of the workshop is included in the NCGE conference attendance fee.  A special conference rate is available for Florida teachers.  Early-bird registration ends April 1st so act now.

 

Tags: NCGE, APHG, geography education, teacher training.

 

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The momentous advance in artificial intelligence demands a new set of ethics

The momentous advance in artificial intelligence demands a new set of ethics | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it

Let us all raise a glass to AlphaGo and mark another big moment in the advance of artificial intelligence (AI) and then perhaps start to worry. AlphaGo, Google DeepMind’s game of Go-playing AI just bested the best Go-playing human currently alive, the renowned Lee Sedol. This was not supposed to happen. At least, not for a while. An artificial intelligence capable of beating the best humans at the game was predicted to be 10 years away.

 

But as we drink to its early arrival, we should also begin trying to understand what the surprise means for the future – with regard, chiefly, to the ethics and governance implications that stretch far beyond a game.

 

As AlphaGo and AIs like it become more sophisticated – commonly outperforming us at tasks once thought to be uniquely human – will we feel pressured to relinquish control to the machines?

 

The number of possible moves in a game of Go is so massive that, in order to win against a player of Lee’s calibre, AlphaGo was designed to adopt an intuitive, human-like style of gameplay. Relying exclusively on more traditional brute-force programming methods was not an option. Designers at DeepMind made AlphaGo more human-like than traditional AI by using a relatively recent development – deep learning.

 

Deep learning uses large data sets, “machine learning” algorithms and deep neural networks – artificial networks of “nodes” that are meant to mimic neurons – to teach the AI how to perform a particular set of tasks. Rather than programming complex Go rules and strategies into AlphaGo, DeepMind designers taught AlphaGo to play the game by feeding it data based on typical Go moves. Then, AlphaGo played against itself, tirelessly learning from its own mistakes and improving its gameplay over time. The results speak for themselves.

 

Possessing a more intuitive approach to problem-solving allows artificial intelligence to succeed in highly complex environments. For example, actions with high levels of unpredictablility – talking, driving, serving as a soldier – which were previously unmanageable for AI are now considered technically solvable, thanks in large part to deep learning.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Leonardo Wild's insight:
The subject matter of one of my so-far unpublished novels, the third book in the Unemotion series *(Yo Artificial, in Spanish). It's starting to happen and we think Climate Change is big.
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Newly discovered organic nanowires leave manmade technologies in their dust

Newly discovered organic nanowires leave manmade technologies in their dust | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it

The discovery, featured in the current issue of Scientific Reports, describes the high-speed protein fiber produced by uranium-reducing Geobacter bacteria. The fibers are hair-like protein filaments called "pili" that have the unique property of transporting charges at speeds of 1 billion electrons per second.

 

"This microbial nanowire is made of but a single peptide subunit," said Gemma Reguera, lead author and MSU microbiologist. "Being made of protein, these organic nanowires are biodegradable and biocompatible. This discovery thus opens many applications in nanoelectronics such as the development of medical sensors and electronic devices that can be interfaced with human tissues."

 

Since existing nanotechnologies incorporate exotic metals into their designs, the cost of organic nanowires is much more cost effective as well, she added.

 

How the nanowires function in nature is comparable to breathing. Bacterial cells, like humans, have to breathe. The process of respiration involves moving electrons out of an organism. Geobacter bacteria use the protein nanowires to bind and breathe metal-containing minerals such as iron oxides and soluble toxic metals such as uranium. The toxins are mineralized on the nanowires' surface, preventing the metals from permeating the cell.

 

Reguera's team purified their protein fibers, which are about 2 nanometers in diameter. Using the same toolset of nanotechnologists, the scientists were able to measure the high velocities at which the proteins were passing electrons.

"They are like power lines at the nanoscale," Reguera said. "This also is the first study to show the ability of electrons to travel such long distances - more than a 1,000 times what's been previously proven—along proteins."


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Geography’s place in the world

Geography’s place in the world | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it
Is the subject’s amalgam of a wide range of subject matter and methodologies a strength or a weakness? Five scholars have their say

Via Seth Dixon
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I Have Been to the Mountaintop

Audio http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkivebeentothemountaintop.htm

Via Seth Dixon
Leonardo Wild's insight:

On April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.   Shared above is his last speech given the day before he died in Memphis, Tennessee.

 

Tags: historical, race, poverty. 

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 4, 10:56 AM

On April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.   Shared above is his last speech given the day before he died in Memphis, Tennessee.

 

Tags: historical, race, poverty

Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks's curator insight, April 4, 8:59 PM

On April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.   Shared above is his last speech given the day before he died in Memphis, Tennessee.

 

Tags: historical, race, poverty. 

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$75 a day vs. $75,000 a year: How we lost jobs to Mexico

$75 a day vs. $75,000 a year: How we lost jobs to Mexico | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it

"A college-educated, manufacturing engineer makes $1,500 a month working the production line at a GE plant in Mexico (about $75 a day). A typical manufacturing engineer that works for GE in the United States makes nearly $75,000 a year, (about $312 a day ... or 4X the rate in Mexico).  That wage gap can easily explain why so many manufacturing jobs have left the United States. Since 2000, the U.S. has lost about 5 million manufacturing jobs.  Manufacturing has crossed the Rubicon -- or Rio Grande -- and it's hard to see those jobs returning to the U.S."


Via Seth Dixon
Leonardo Wild's insight:

A huge wage gap between American and Mexican workers stands center in the debate over how the U.S. has lost so many blue collar jobs.  We can bemoan the loss of manufacturing jobs in the United States, but it is incredibly unlikely that low-skilled manufacturing will become a viable means to achieve a middle class income in the future because of fundamental shifts in economic geography.  

 

Tags: industry, manufacturing, economic, North America, labor, USA, Mexico, globalization, technology.  

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Jodi Esaili's curator insight, April 4, 9:29 AM

A huge wage gap between American and Mexican workers stands center in the debate over how the U.S. has lost so many blue collar jobs.  We can bemoan the loss of manufacturing jobs in the United States, but it is incredibly unlikely that low-skilled manufacturing will become a viable means to achieve a middle class income in the future because of fundamental shifts in economic geography.  

 

Tags: industry, manufacturing, economic, North America, labor, USA, Mexico, globalization, technology.  

BrianCaldwell7's curator insight, April 4, 3:16 PM

A huge wage gap between American and Mexican workers stands center in the debate over how the U.S. has lost so many blue collar jobs.  We can bemoan the loss of manufacturing jobs in the United States, but it is incredibly unlikely that low-skilled manufacturing will become a viable means to achieve a middle class income in the future because of fundamental shifts in economic geography.  

 

Tags: industry, manufacturing, economic, North America, labor, USA, Mexico, globalization, technology.  

Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks's curator insight, April 4, 9:00 PM

A huge wage gap between American and Mexican workers stands center in the debate over how the U.S. has lost so many blue collar jobs.  We can bemoan the loss of manufacturing jobs in the United States, but it is incredibly unlikely that low-skilled manufacturing will become a viable means to achieve a middle class income in the future because of fundamental shifts in economic geography.  

 

Tags: industry, manufacturing, economic, North America, labor, USA, Mexico, globalization, technology.  

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Neutrinos can flip between different states effortlessly, hinting at a new type of physics

Neutrinos can flip between different states effortlessly, hinting at a new type of physics | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it

Neutrino mutation would not be possible if it weren’t for the particle’s minuscule mass. Because each of the three known mass states is so small and its associated quantum wavelength is so long, the waves corresponding to each state can remain largely in sync, with only small offsets, over cosmic distances. This allows neutrinos to flicker between different flavors in an ephemeral state of multiplicity.

If their masses were larger and their wavelengths shorter, the waves would quickly become so out of phase that this knife-edge balance between different flavors would collapse, forcing the neutrinos into one type or the other. “The different flavors would separate from each other,” says de Gouvêa. “They would have a very binary behavior.” The fact that neutrinos don’t, thanks to their puny mass states, makes sense according to the rules of quantum mechanics, but it is still mind-bending, says neutrino researcher Jason Koskinen of the University of Copenhagen. “I still haven’t wrapped my head around this,” he admits.

There is just one snag: Neutrinos weren’t supposed to have any mass at all. “We built our standard model around the idea that neutrinos are massless,” says Janet Conrad of the Massachusetts Institue of Technology (MIT).

The fact that they have mass, however small, is a big problem. The standard model is physicists’ best idea of how particles and forces interact—a spectacularly strong edifice whose construction was completed in 2012 with the discovery of its last missing particle, the Higgs boson. “Neutrino oscillation is the only confirmed physics right now that can be done outside the standard model,” says Koskinen.

The reason that neutrino mass is so tricky has to do with how any particle gets its mass. Other elementary particles with mass come in two mirror versions—one left- and one right-handed—that correspond to the direction of their spin. Each version can interact with a different force of nature, and both “hands” seem to be required to give particles mass, thanks to their interaction with an invisible quantum “ether” that suffuses all of space: the Higgs field, whose signature particle is the Higgs boson.

The Higgs field acts a bit like a mirror, turning a particle with one spin into its mirror opposite. “The idea is that every once in a while, a left-handed particle will hit the Higgs field and convert to a right-handed particle,” says de Gouvêa. “The net effect is that it looks like a particle with mass.”


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Renato P. dos Santos's curator insight, April 3, 7:40 AM
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What’s that fossil? An app has answers.

What’s that fossil? An app has answers. | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it
Fossil hunters now have a mobile app to help them identify specimens in the field.

Via YEC Geo
Leonardo Wild's insight:
Great application of digital technology.
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Fernando de la Cruz Naranjo Grisales's curator insight, April 2, 7:08 AM
Great application of digital technology.
Lynnette Van Dyke's curator insight, April 2, 7:19 AM
Great application of digital technology.
Renato P. dos Santos's curator insight, April 3, 7:43 AM
What’s that fossil? A free off-line app has answers.
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Can Intelligent Creatures Be as Big as a Galaxy?

Can Intelligent Creatures Be as Big as a Galaxy? | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it

We can imagine building neurons that are smaller than our own, in artificially intelligent systems. Electronic circuit elements, for example, are now substantially smaller than neurons. But they are also simpler in their behavior, and require a superstructure of support (energy, cooling, intercommunication) that takes up a substantial volume. It’s likely that the first true artificial intelligences will occupy volumes that are not so different from the size of our own bodies, despite being based on fundamentally different materials and architectures, again suggesting that there is something special about the meter scale.

 

If both our brains and our neurons were 10 times bigger, we’d have 10 times fewer thoughts during our lifetimes. What about on the supersize end of the spectrum? William S. Burroughs, in his novel The Ticket That Exploded, imagined that beneath a planetary surface, lies “a vast mineral consciousness near absolute zero thinking in slow formations of crystal.” The astronomer Fred Hoyle wrote dramatically and convincingly of a sentient hyper-intelligent “Black Cloud,” comparable to Earth-sun distance. His idea presaged the concept of Dyson spheres, massive structures that completely surround a star and capture most of its energy. It is also supported by calculations that my colleague Fred Adams and I are performing, that indicate that the most effective information-processing structures in the current-day galaxy might be catalyzed within the sooty winds ejected by dying red giant stars. For a few tens of thousands of years, dust-shrouded red giants provide enough energy, a large enough entropy gradient, and enough raw material to potentially out-compute the biospheres of a billion Earth-like planets.

How big could life forms like these become? Interesting thoughts require not only a complex brain, but also sufficient time for formulation. The speed of neural transmissions is about 300 kilometers per hour, implying that the signal crossing time in a human brain is about 1 millisecond. A human lifetime, then, comprises 2 trillion message-crossing times (and each crossing time is effectively amplified by rich, massively parallelized computational structuring). If both our brains and our neurons were 10 times bigger, and our lifespans and neural signaling speeds were unchanged, we’d have 10 times fewer thoughts during our lifetimes.

If our brains grew enormously to say, the size of our solar system, and featured speed-of-light signaling, the same number of message crossings would require more than the entire current age of the universe, leaving no time for evolution to work its course. If a brain were as big as our galaxy, the problem would become even more severe. From the moment of its formation, there has been time for only 10,000 or so messages to travel from one side of our galaxy to the other. We can argue, then, that, it is difficult to imagine any life-like entities with complexity rivaling the human brain that occupy scales larger than the stellar size scale. Were they to exist, they wouldn’t yet have had sufficient time to actually do anything.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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The Planetary Archives / San Francisco, California's curator insight, April 5, 3:05 PM
Sure they can. They are sometimes referred to as "Gods" by primitive beings.
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Startup brings driverless taxi service to Singapore

Startup brings driverless taxi service to Singapore | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it

An exciting “driverless race” is underway among tech giants the United States: In recent months, Google, Uber, and Tesla have made headlines for developing self-driving taxis for big cities. But a comparatively small MIT spinout, nuTonomy, has entered the race somewhat under the radar. The startup is developing a fleet of driverless taxis to serve as a more convenient form of public transit while helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the densely populated city-state of Singapore.

 

“This could make car-sharing something that is almost as convenient as having your own private car, but with the accessibility and cost of public transit,” says nuTonomy co-founder and chief technology officer Emilio Frazzoli, an MIT professor of aeronautical and astronautical engineering.

 

The startup’s driverless taxis follow optimal paths for picking up and dropping off passengers to reduce traffic congestion. Without the need to pay drivers, they should be cheaper than Uber and taxis. These are also electric cars, manufactured through partnerships with automakers, which produce lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions than conventional vehicles do.

 

Last week, nuTonomy “passed its first driving test” in Singapore, Frazzoli says — meaning its driverless taxis navigated a custom obstacle course, without incident. Now, nuTonomy is in the process of getting approval for on-road testing in a business district, called One North, designated for autonomous-vehicle testing. In a few years, Frazzoli says, nuTonomy aims to deploy thousands of driverless taxis in Singapore. The company will act as the service provider to maintain the vehicles and determine when and how they can be operated safely.

 

But a big question remains: Will driverless taxis put public-transit operators out of work? In Singapore, Frazzoli says, that’s unlikely. “In Singapore, they want to have more buses, but they cannot find people to drive buses at night,” he says. “Robotics will not put these people out of jobs — it will provide more capacity and support that’s needed.”

 

Importantly, Frazzoli adds, driverless-taxi services used for public transit, such as nuTonomy’s, could promote wider use of electric cars, as consumers won’t need to purchase the expensive cars or worry about finding charging stations. This could have a major impact on the environment: A 2015 study published in Nature Climate Change found that by 2030 autonomous taxis — specifically, more efficient hybrid and electric cars — used worldwide could produce up to 94 percent less greenhouse gas emission per mile than conventional taxis.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Russell R. Roberts, Jr.'s curator insight, March 30, 12:24 AM
The Singapore taxi startup known as nuTommy may outshine Tesla, Google, Uber and a host of companies trying to cash in on the driverless car market.  This company is a spinoff of an idea promoted by MIT 's Emilio Frazzoli, a professor of aeronautical and astronomical engineering.  This car seems right for a compact urban area such as Singapore, where owning a car is both expensive and dangerouos.  Aloha, Russ.
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Top Ten Tips for Writing Novellas

Top Ten Tips for Writing Novellas | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it
Many writers think that because of their length, novellas are something they can just sit down and write. This is not the case.

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Atomic "Sandblaster" Could Write and Edit 2D Circuits

Atomic "Sandblaster" Could Write and Edit 2D Circuits | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it

The dominance of resist-based lithography in nanoscale fabrication is being slowly eclipsed by the growing emergence of physical-probe methods, such aselectron beam induced deposition  or focused ion beam milling.

 

Now researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have tested the capabilities of one of these physical probe methods, known as helium ion microscopy (HIM), to see whether it may be the way forward in fabricating a next generation of two-dimensional electronic devices.

HIM is similar to other focused-ion-beam techniques in that it uses a scanning beam of helium ions to mill and cut samples. What sets HIM apart is its cleanliness. Milling or imaging with helium or neon is preferred to other ion-beam methods, since these two noble gases aren’t reactive and don’t induce any chemical side effects during the fabrication process. Imaging and milling resolution are also hugely important factors. The helium beam can be strongly collimated offering smaller features—and as a result smaller devices.

 

In research described in the journal Applied Materials and Interfaces,  the ORNL scientists used the HIM technique to serve as a kind of atomic-scale “sandblaster” on bulk copper indium thiophosphate (CITP). CITP is a ferroelectric material, and the HIM beam was used to introduce localized defects that effect its ferroelectric properties.

 

While this research only worked with bulk CITP (2-D versions will come later), ferroelecriticy in CITP is very special because this behavior is completely unexpected in a 2-D material. CITP is a layered van der Waals crystal ferroelectric—part of a family of thiophosphate molecules capable of a huge variety of metal substitutions. Besides ferroelectricity, the thiophosphate family offers a number of useful properities including semiconductivity, magnetism, anti-ferroelectricity, and piezoresponse.

 

By introducing localized defects into the CITP, the researchers discovered it served as a way to manipulate the properties of the material. In particular, the researchers discovered that they could control the distribution of ferroelectric domains in the material as well as enhance its conductivity.

 

The main point of the research was to look at what properties can be particularly appealing in novel 2-D materials and see how can they be incorporated into the next generation of devices, according to Oak Ridge staff scientist Alex Belianinov.


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Newly discovered organic nanowires leave manmade technologies in their dust

Newly discovered organic nanowires leave manmade technologies in their dust | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it

The discovery, featured in the current issue of Scientific Reports, describes the high-speed protein fiber produced by uranium-reducing Geobacter bacteria. The fibers are hair-like protein filaments called "pili" that have the unique property of transporting charges at speeds of 1 billion electrons per second.

 

"This microbial nanowire is made of but a single peptide subunit," said Gemma Reguera, lead author and MSU microbiologist. "Being made of protein, these organic nanowires are biodegradable and biocompatible. This discovery thus opens many applications in nanoelectronics such as the development of medical sensors and electronic devices that can be interfaced with human tissues."

 

Since existing nanotechnologies incorporate exotic metals into their designs, the cost of organic nanowires is much more cost effective as well, she added.

 

How the nanowires function in nature is comparable to breathing. Bacterial cells, like humans, have to breathe. The process of respiration involves moving electrons out of an organism. Geobacter bacteria use the protein nanowires to bind and breathe metal-containing minerals such as iron oxides and soluble toxic metals such as uranium. The toxins are mineralized on the nanowires' surface, preventing the metals from permeating the cell.

 

Reguera's team purified their protein fibers, which are about 2 nanometers in diameter. Using the same toolset of nanotechnologists, the scientists were able to measure the high velocities at which the proteins were passing electrons.

"They are like power lines at the nanoscale," Reguera said. "This also is the first study to show the ability of electrons to travel such long distances - more than a 1,000 times what's been previously proven—along proteins."


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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BioBlitz 2016

BioBlitz 2016 | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it
Learn more about the National Parks BioBlitz 2016 events, from National Geographic.

Via Seth Dixon
Leonardo Wild's insight:

The network of geographic alliances will be working on a BioBlitz national initiative in 2016. This article highlights two mobile apps that will enable users to use their smartphones to explore and archive the natural world around them and run an awesome BioBlitz. 

 

Tags: National Geographic, physical, biogeography, environment, edtech.

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Yves Carmeille "Libre passeur"'s curator insight, March 27, 12:31 PM

The network of geographic alliances will be working on a BioBlitz national initiative in 2016. This article highlights two mobile apps that will enable users to use their smartphones to explore and archive the natural world around them and run an awesome BioBlitz. 


 


Tags: National Geographicphysical, biogeography, environment, edtech.

Bonnie Bracey Sutton's curator insight, March 27, 3:53 PM

The network of geographic alliances will be working on a BioBlitz national initiative in 2016. This article highlights two mobile apps that will enable users to use their smartphones to explore and archive the natural world around them and run an awesome BioBlitz. 

 

Tags: National Geographic, physical, biogeography, environment, edtech.

Denise Klaves Stewardson's curator insight, March 28, 12:31 PM

The network of geographic alliances will be working on a BioBlitz national initiative in 2016. This article highlights two mobile apps that will enable users to use their smartphones to explore and archive the natural world around them and run an awesome BioBlitz. 

 

Tags: National Geographic, physical, biogeography, environment, edtech.

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Do terror attacks in the Western world get more attention than others?

Do terror attacks in the Western world get more attention than others? | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it
Reports of bombings tend to get huge numbers of mentions on social media, but that doesn't always mean a similar level of news coverage.

Via Seth Dixon
Leonardo Wild's insight:

The short answer is obviously "Yes."  Yet, this question brings up other questions about cultural empathy and how 'connected' we might feel to people of other places than our own global neighborhood.  This political cartoon-ish map

has more truth in it than we might like to admit; it is subtitled 'How terrible it is the the Western world when a tragedy happens in...?'

 

Questions to Ponder: Does the 'where' influence if we perceive the event as a true tragedy or not (or maybe just the magnitude or importance of the tradegy)?  How come?  What does this say about us as inidividuals, society, and the media?  How can we teach our students in a way to foster more cultural empathy?

 

Tags:  social media, place, culture, political, terrorism, media. 

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jorden harris's curator insight, April 4, 9:52 AM

to me it is mind boggling how we can pay more attention to countries with national threats than others especially with ISIS being so prominent which is a war that is going to take help from not only the united states but the other affected countries

                                                                                                        - J.H

Logan scully's curator insight, April 4, 10:11 AM
It somewhat bothers me how that terrorist attacks outside of Europe and North America is pretty much just ignored by the social media while people are sitting in the hospital for crimes in which terrorists and other religious radicalists have done to their area and country.-L.S.
Brealyn Holley's curator insight, April 7, 10:20 AM
For the question "Do terror attacks in the Western world get more attention than others?" In my opinion the answer would be yes because a lot of the terror attacks in the Western world are bigger and are expected more than terror attacks near  us. ~BH
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The black-hole collision that reshaped physics

The black-hole collision that reshaped physics | OUR WEIRD WORLD | Scoop.it

The event was catastrophic on a cosmic scale — a merger of black holes that violently shook the surrounding fabric of space and time, and sent a blast of space-time vibrations known as gravitational waves rippling across the Universe at the speed of light.

 

But it was the kind of calamity that physicists on Earth had been waiting for. On 14 September, when those ripples swept across the freshly upgraded Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (Advanced LIGO), they showed up as spikes in the readings from its two L-shaped detectors in Louisiana and Washington state. For the first time ever, scientists had recorded a gravitational-wave signal.

 

“There it was!” says LIGO team member Daniel Holz, an astrophysicist at the University of Chicago in Illinois. “And it was so strong, and so beautiful, in both detectors.” Although the shape of the signal looked familiar from the theory, Holz says, “it's completely different when you see something in the data. It's this transcendent moment”.

 

The signal, formally designated GW150914 after the date of its occurrence and informally known to its discoverers as 'the Event', has justly been hailed as a milestone in physics. It has provided a wealth of evidence for Albert Einstein's century-old general theory of relativity, which holds that mass and energy can warp space-time, and that gravity is the result of such warping. Stuart Shapiro, a specialist in computer simulations of relativity at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, calls it “the most significant confirmation of the general theory of relativity since its inception”.

 

But the Event also marks the start of a long-promised era of gravitational-wave astronomy. Detailed analysis of the signal has already yielded insights into the nature of the black holes that merged, and how they formed. With more events such as these — the LIGO team is analysing several other candidate events captured during the detectors' four-month run, which ended in January — researchers will be able to classify and understand the origins of black holes, just as they are doing with stars.

 

Still more events should appear starting in September, when Advanced LIGO is scheduled to begin joint observations with its European counterpart, the Franco–Italian-led Advanced Virgo facility near Pisa, Italy. (The two collaborations already pool data and publish papers together.) This detector will not only contribute crucial details to events, but could also help astronomers to make cosmological-distance measurements more accurately than before.

 

“It's going to be a really good ride for the next few years,” says Bruce Allen, managing director of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hanover, Germany.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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