Tag Archives | Alternatives

The epigenetics of The X-Files

X chromosome inactivation can definitely be explained by epigenetics. X-Files? Less certain. Image from Reinius et al., BMC Genomics 2010, 11, 614.

X chromosome inactivation can definitely be explained by epigenetics. X-Files? Less certain. Image from Reinius et al., BMC Genomics 2010, 11, 614.

via The Guardian:

The X-Files was my absolute favourite television show in the 1990s. My flatmates and I would tune in every week to watch intrepid FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully track down assorted aliens, psychics, vampires, ghosts, and government conspiracies. We bought the soundtrack CD; we even had a poster on our living room wall. It was A Big Deal, for all seven seasons (some people think there were nine seasons, but I refuse to admit that seasons eight and nine – or the second movie – ever happened).

Dana Scully was a scientist, always looking for a perfectly rational explanation for the strange phenomena encountered each week. Many of these explanations were based on genetics, especially in the “monster-of-the-week” episodes featuring assorted freaks and other abominations not part of the main alien conspiracy storyline.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Fifty More Ways to Leave Leviathan

Matthias Ripp (CC BY 2.0)

Matthias Ripp (CC BY 2.0)

via Fee:

It’s been over a year since we published “50 Ways to Leave Leviathan.” That successful piece showed how innovation and entrepreneurship are gradually undermining the top-down, command-and-control approach to governance.

It is happening quickly by any historical standard, but it is also happening incrementally in ways that cause us not to notice. The bigger the pattern, the more slowly we tend to recognize it. The bigger the implication, the more resistant we are to acknowledging it.

We even take it all for granted. In reality, the ground is shifting beneath our feet. Those in power feel it, and it scares them. The innovation can be slowed, but it can’t be stopped, much less reversed. This great transformation is already underway.

The theme, as always, is human freedom, which is the insuppressible urge within all of us to live full and ever more prosperous lives, regardless of the barriers put in the way.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Why Elon Musk is probably not freaking out over plunging oil prices

Elon Musk's Twitter Photo.

Elon Musk’s Twitter Photo.

via Quartz:

One of the indirect casualties of tumbling oil prices in recent weeks has been Tesla. Shares in Elon Musk’s electric automaker have sunk by about 25% over the past three months.

Lower gas prices, in theory, eliminate one of the key advantages of owning an electric car: They cost much less to run than normal cars, at least when gas prices are high. So the decline in oil prices is not great news for the company.

On the other hand, there are reasons to not be too alarmed about it. If you can afford to buy a Tesla, the cost of gassing it up is probably not your chief concern. (Its current flagship Model S costs about $70,000, though a “cheaper” new car, the model 3, is expected to cost at least half that when it is released in 2017.)

And don’t forget, Musk himself expressed alarm about the rapid rise in Telsa’s share price earlier this year.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Turning E-Waste into Light

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

via IEEE Spectrum:

Bangalore-based IBM Research India has a bright idea for keeping discarded lithium laptop batteries out of landfills: repurposing their cells as energy supplies for the powerless. The idea, presented at this weekend’s fifth annual Symposium on Computing for Development (DEV 2014) in San Jose, has passed a small proof-of-principle test run with Bangalore’s working poor.

The IBM researchers used disused lithium batteries to create a new device they dubbed the UrJar—a multilingual monicker uniting the Hindi word urja for energy with jar. Hardware R&D firm Radio Studio, India, built the units. The first phase was tear-down. Radio Studio disassembled laptop batteries to isolate those cells that could still hold several hours’ worth of charge—over 60 percent of cells on average, according to their sampling.

Cells that passed quality control were repackaged in a housing with basic electronics, starting with a charging circuit to limit the rate and level of charge on the lithium cells and thus minimize fire risk.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Game Is Rigged: Why Americans Keep Losing to the Police State

Tony Webster (CC BY 2.0)

Tony Webster (CC BY 2.0)

via Canada Free Press:

“The truth is that the State is a conspiracy designed not only to exploit, but above all to corrupt its citizens.”—Leo Tolstoy

My 7-year-old granddaughter has suddenly developed a keen interest in card games: Go Fish, Crazy Eights, Old Maid, Blackjack, and War. We’ve fallen into a set pattern now: every time we play, she deals the cards, and I pretend not to see her stacking the deck in her favor. And of course, I always lose.

I don’t mind losing to my granddaughter at Old Maid, knowing full well the game is rigged. For now, it’s fun and games, and she’s winning. Where the rub comes in is in knowing that someday she’ll be old enough to realize that being a citizen in the American police state is much like playing against a stacked deck: you’re always going to lose.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Tweets from the afterlife: social networking with the dead

The possibility of a posthumous digital social life seriously challenges our notions of death. Shimal Ahmed (Fulhi), CC BY-SA

The possibility of a posthumous digital social life seriously challenges our notions of death. Shimal Ahmed (Fulhi), CC BY-SA

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By Bjorn Nansen, University of Melbourne; James Meese, University of Melbourne; Martin Gibbs, University of Melbourne; Michael Arnold, University of Melbourne, and Tamara Kohn, University of Melbourne

Media technologies have operated as both a means of communicating news of a death and memorialising the deceased for a significant period of time, moving from traditional epitaphs, eulogies, wakes and inscription in stone to centuries-old obituaries printed and circulated in newspapers. So where are we now?

Digital commemoration emerged as the internet became readily accessible and an integral part of people’s communicative practices. Initially, during the 90s, it took the form of memorial websites hosted by the families and friends of the deceased.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Many memories, many rooms

Maxwell Hamilton (CC BY 2.0)

Maxwell Hamilton (CC BY 2.0)

via Gemini:

Since the time of the Greeks, people have used a special memory trick called the method of loci,  which links memories to familiar places. You retrieve the memory by thinking of the place and calling up the associated memory.

Now researchers from NTNU’s Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience and Centre for Neural Computation have published new findings on how the brain is able to store many separate but similar events, which helps explain how this trick works. Their results have just been published in the 8 December issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.

“We are extremely good at remembering places and we are very visual creatures,” says PhD candidate and first author of the paper Charlotte Alme. “Rats (and most likely humans) have a map for each individual place, which is why the method of loci works.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

French Publishers Think They Can Fix Online Advertising By Suing The Company Behind AdBlockPlus

dark_banner

via Tech Dirt:

The debate over ad blockers continues, all without gaining much ground in terms of coherence. Most people still find ads annoying, something that plays hell with websites’ attempts to make money by utilizing them. Ad blockers kick these intrusive nuisances to the curb (and block questionable scripts), prompting website owners to make regrettable decisions like blocking users of ad blockers or banning any discussion of ad blocking software, etc. Responses like these seem to emanate from the brainstem rather than from careful consideration, and generally do more to alienate readers than screen-eating splash ads and flash-heavy sidebars that slow systems to a crawl.

So, who’s going to pay for all of this “free” content? That’s the question on many site owners’ minds. Subscriptions, paywalls, data mining, patronage, physical goods tie-ins… all of these are options. Not a single one of these is perfect and none of them have enough pull of their own to completely displace ad revenue.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

“Riddles” Surround 36th Dead Banker Of The Year

via Global Research:

52-year-old Belgian Geert Tack – a private banker for ING who managed portfolios for wealthy individuals – was described as ‘impeccable’, ‘sporty’, ‘cared-for’, and ‘successful’ and so as Vermist reports, after disappearing a month ago, the appearance of his body off the coast of Ostend is surrounded by riddles…

Tack disappeared on November 5th…

 Impeccable. Sporty. Cared for. Successful. Just some qualifications that are attributed to the 52-year-old from the Belgian Geert Tack Haaltert.

Geert Tack worked as a private banker for ING and managed portfolios of wealthy clients. The Belgian was much respected in the financial world and was known as an up and top professional. His sudden disappearance had the effect of a bombshell. “If Tack himself was having trouble he has managed to keep it well hidden”, colleagues say.

Nobody then could have guessed that the man would not return on Wednesday, November 5th to his wife in their villa Vondelen.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Anyone Can Now Use IBM’s Watson To Crunch Data For Free

Screen shot 2014-12-08 at 4.54.15 PM

Watson’s Avatar

via ZDNet:

IBM has launched the public beta of Watson Analytics, its set of cloud-based predictive and analytics tools.

The move to public beta for Watson Analytics on Thursday follows its private beta launch this September. IBM said at the time of the beta release the service will be made available under a freemium model through iOS, Android mobile devices and the web.

Watson Analytics is a cognitive service that’s meant to bear some of the load executives face when preparing data, while making it easier to run predictive analyses and use “visual storytelling”, such as using graphs, maps and infographics to illustrate a point.

Watson Analytics is one piece of IBM’s $1bn gamble that it can commercialise Watson. The company claims it has 22,000 registrations for Watson Analytics since launching in September.

Read More: http://www.zdnet.com/article/ibm-watson-analytics-enters-public-beta/

Read the rest

Continue Reading