# Riemann Hypothesis solved: Nigerian professor Opeyemi Enoch cracks 156-year-old maths problem | Africa | News | The Independent

A problem that has been confounding mathematicians for more than 150 years may have been solved by a Nigerian university professor.

Dr Opeyemi Enoch, from the Federal University in the city of Oye Ekiti, is thought to have solved the Riemann Hypothesis – which has left mathematicians scratching their heads since it was first proposed by German Bernhard Riemann in 1859.

He presented his proof at the International Conference on Mathematics and Computer Science and, if he is proved correct, could win \$1m (£657,000) for his troubles.

The Riemann Hypothesis is known as one of the seven millennium problems in mathematics.

In 2000, the Clay Mathematics Institute in the US launched a prize fund for anyone who solved seven mathematical problems that have been puzzled over for years.

Dr Enoch may have solved the problem first proposed by Bernhard Riemann (pictured) 156 years ago

If Dr Enoch’s Proof is accepted, he will be the first person to solve a problem since the prize was founded.

The problem concerns the distribution of prime numbers and is arguably the most famous problem in mathematics since the Fermat’s Last Theorem was solved by Dr Andrew Wiles in 1994.

He said: “The motivation was because my students trusted that the solution could come from me – not because the financial reward and that was why I started trying to solve the problem in the first place.”

In a statement, the university said: “Dr Enoch first investigated and then established the claims of Riemann. He went on to consider and to correct the misconceptions that were communicated by mathematicians in the past generations, thus paving way for his solutions and proofs to be established.”

# ‘Gobsmacked’ inventor wins US prize for eye-driven wheelchair.

A man with motor neurone disease has scooped a US prize for inventing a device which allows people to control wheelchairs using only their eyes.

The Eyedrivomatic developed by Patrick Joyce, from Wells, Somerset, allows quadriplegic wheelchair users to steer, recline and change speed.

His wife woke him at 0400 GMT to tell him he had won the top Hackaday prize of \$196,000 (£128,000).

Mr Joyce, 46, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2008.

It links existing Eyegaze software, used to control computers using eye movements, to a joystick on the controls of powered wheelchairs – it is attached to the control pad using “non invasive” velcro, so can be used on loaned wheelchairs.

## ‘Gobsmacked’

Mr Joyce, who is terminally ill, can still control his wheelchair himself, but Mr Evans can only move his eyes.

As well as using the Eyedrivomatic to move around, Mr Evans has also successfully attached it to a Nerf gun to fire foam darts at his children.

Mr Joyce said: “I was gobsmacked that we won… The money comes at an opportune moment as our house is too small and we couldn’t afford to move. I wasn’t supposed to live as long as I have and we hadn’t planned on me still being alive when our kids were teenagers.”

He added: “I doubt Eyedrivomatic will be commercially developed. There are liability issues that would probably prevent it happening. But … I designed it to be easy to build at home.”

# Handheld DNA sequencer could soon allow individual consumers to detect GMOs in food .

In the original Star Trek series, Dr. “Bones” McCoy used a handheld device called a tricorder which could, among other things, instantly diagnose a patient’s health status by reading his or her DNA.

The original series was set in the 23rd century, but here in the 21st century, a similar device has already been developed and it’s being hailed as a revolutionary step towards “the democratization of sequencing.”

The device, called MinION, is not only small and portable – about the size of an older-model mobile phone – it’s also inexpensive. The MinION sells for around \$1,000 and its potential uses are almost limitless.

The handheld device is in its early stages of development, but it is already being put to good use by scientists in the field. For example, MinION has been used in Guinea to read the genomes of Ebola samples and will be put to use by astronauts on the International Space Station in the coming months to read DNA samples in space for the first time.

Although there were performance glitches in the prototype, the latest version of MinION appears to work very well. It’s not as powerful or accurate as some of the larger stationary DNA analysis machines, and it can’t read something as complex as complete human DNA strands, but it is able to perform a number of very useful functions.

From The Guardian.com:

The device is not designed to read very long genomes, such as the 3bn letters that make up the instruction book for human life, nor read them with the accuracy of one of the small car-sized machines found in major genetics labs. But it can quickly identify bacteria and viruses from their DNA, tell one strain from another, and spot different gene variants in sections of human genetic code.

For the time being, MinION is mainly being used by research scientists. The samples still require preparation in a lab before they can be tested, but consumer versions of the device are expected to be on the market soon.

Some of the potential uses for consumers include the ability to analyze food. It will theoretically be possible to read the DNA of an apple or any other fruit or vegetable to find out whether it has been genetically modified.

A device of this type could also be used to evaluate potential mates for genetic compatibility; this capability will likely prove to be controversial, among many other potential uses that will undoubtedly raise ethical questions.

Whether or not consumer versions will soon appear along with a demand for such technology by the average person remains to be seen. However, there are many commercial, scientific and medical applications that are well within reach of the technology as it currently exists:

GPs could analyse patients’ breath to identify bacteria that are making them ill. Health workers could use them to hunt for reservoirs of drug-resistant microbes in hospitals. Animal hairs and skin could be analysed to catch poachers and traffickers of endangered animals. Inspectors at fish markets could verify what fish is being sold. In the water-cooling towers of office buildings, you could install a device to scan for the bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s disease.

The ability to cheaply analyze DNA samples on the spot is certainly a useful, and indeed revolutionary, development. There is little doubt that MinION and devices like it will be in widespread use within a short period of time, especially as the technology becomes more advanced and even less expensive.

It is always interesting to see science fiction turn into science fact, as it often does. Dr. McCoy would wholeheartedly approve of this exciting new development, one that has appeared a couple of centuries earlier than predicted by his creators.

# Climate Change Helped Spark Syrian War, Study Says

Research provides first deep look at how global warming may already influence armed conflict.

Picture of Syrian refugees caught in a dust storm.
A sand tornado passes through as thousands of Kurds stream into Dikmetas, Turkey, from Syria in September 2014. Years after rural residents fleeing drought poured into Syria’s cities, helping to spark a civil war, the region remains in turmoil.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JOHN STANMEYER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
A severe drought, worsened by a warming climate, drove Syrian farmers to abandon their crops and flock to cities, helping trigger a civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, according to a new study published Monday.

The research provides the most detailed look yet at how climate change may already be helping spark violent political unrest.

“Up until now we’ve understood and established that changes in climate may affect human conflict in the future. But everything until now has stopped short of saying climate change is already having an effect,” says Solomon Hsiang, a University of California, Berkeley professor who has studied the role of climate change in violence. He did not participate in the new study.

The authors acknowledge that many factors led to Syria’s uprising, including corrupt leadership, inequality, massive population growth, and the government’s inability to curb human suffering.

But their report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, compiled statistics showing that water shortages in the Fertile Crescent in Syria, Iraq, and Turkey killed livestock, drove up food prices, sickened children, and forced 1.5 million rural residents to the outskirts of Syria’s jam-packed cities—just as that country was exploding with immigrants from the Iraq war. (Related: “Half of Syrians Displaced: 5 Takeaways From New UN Report.”)

The entire world needs to be planning for a drier future in that area. And there will be lots of global implications.
After examining meteorological data, the researchers determined that natural variability alone was unlikely to account for the trends in wind, rain, and heat that led to the massive drought. All these factors, combined with high unemployment and bad government, helped tip Syria into violence. (Related: “Wars, Murders to Rise Due to Global Warming?”)

“Being able to, in a specific region, draw this story line together we think is pretty significant,” says study co-author Richard Seager, a climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “The entire world needs to be planning for a drier future in that area. And there will be lots of global implications.”

Drought and Migration
Gul, 22, rests with her children at a gas station in Suriç, Turkey, after fleeing violence in Syria in 2014. While scientists acknowledge that many factors contributed to the conflict in Syria, a new study documents how mass migration influenced by climate change appears to have played a role.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JOHN STANMEYER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
Scientists and the U.S. military have argued for years that rising temperatures will likely spur waves of human migration and battles over increasingly scarce resources—particularly water. That, however, has proved controversial, with other scientists arguing that there has been too little evidence to support the connection.

“There tends to be two points of view about this kind of research—either ‘that’s obvious’ or ‘that can’t be true,'” Hsiang says. “This paper is an important contribution. It’s building on a collection of results that has really gained a lot of momentum recently.”

The research came about in part because one of the study’s authors noticed that Syria’s drought and wave of immigration occurred at the same time that violence was breaking out. “Then we looked at the fact that there had been this warming trend and drying trend, which takes moisture out of the soils at the same time,” Seager says.

The drought was at least partially naturally occurring, he says, but it was the most severe on record, and its severity matched trends expected to occur with rising temperatures.

Still, he understands the limits of the research.

“All someone would have to say to criticize it is that all this would have occurred without the drought,” Seager says. “That may well be true. This regime was tremendously unpopular to begin with.”

But, Seager says, that’s not how events unfolded. The drought increased the risk that the country would unravel, and climate change was almost certainly a factor in the drought.

# People fear dying of unprotected sex the most.

It won’t be a surprise if this news sweeps the bed sheet off you, literally. According to a researcher from the University of Michigan, more people are afraid of dying from unprotected sex than a 480-km road trip via car.

According to Terri D Conley , risky behaviour related to sex is judged more harshly than other comparable health risks, including car driving. Conley found that stigmatisation of sexuallytransmitted infections (STIs) has resulted in people being disproportionately terrified of having unprotected sex.

The participants stated a 7.1% chance of dying from one unprotected sexual encounter compared with a 0.4% chance of dying in a car accident. That is roughly 17 times as high.

In the second study , partici pants read one of two vignettes, in which a target either unknowingly transmitted an STI (chlamydia) or a nonsexual disease (H1N1) to another person through a sexual encounter. In the third study, participants read one of 12 vignettes; the type of disease (chlamydia or H1N1), severity of the disease outcome (mild, moderate, or severe), and sex of transmitter (female or male) were manipulated.

# General relativity at 100

In November 1915, Albert Einstein put the finishing touches on his radical reinvention of space, time, gravity and the Universe itself. Throughout the following 100 years, experimenters have confirmed the general theory of relativity to ever-higher precision, and theorists have unravelled implications of it that even Einstein had not dreamed of, from black holes to the Big Bang. In this special collection and in a companion e-book, Nature celebrates the past triumphs of Einstein’s creation and the milestones yet to come.

# What do those temporary Facebook profile pictures really mean?

If you want the tl;dr response, stop here: social media is a pretty effective mechanism for peer pressure. If you disagree, please consider how many temporary profile pictures have been updated on Facebook to red, white, and blue in the wake of the horrific attacks in Paris (including perhaps your own). We know that online peer pressure is powerful. But what we don’t know is whether that pressure is driving real change.

Sharing your opinions and thoughts online is as simple as clicking a button. But you might want to hold off on clicking that button if your opinion or thinking differs from the at-the-moment sentiment sweeping through your social network. To do otherwise, might bring the ire of your connections, and with it ostracism from the group. While it has never been easier to share online, it’s also never been harder to share things that differ from public sentiment or to not offer an opinion in the wake of emotionally charged events. Peer pressure, which was once categorically regarded as a negative driver of drugs and deviant behavior, has morphed to a broader expression of social pressure in online spaces and is more aligned with maintaining group norms.

Why is this an issue? There is a difference between norms that arise as a result of social consideration and norms that are driven by social momentum. The former are designed to improve a group’s cohesiveness by establishing degrees of sameness through agreement; they can be challenged and debated, and there is room for them to change to meet the needs of the widest possible group set. The latter, however, are driven by emotional responses. They become established quickly and decisively, spreading like wildfire, and bear a violence toward those who disagree. This has rightly been described as mob mentality because there is little discussion or debate; and while some people are relieved to have their beliefs finally expressed publicly, others follow because they are swept along by the expressions of the group or because they are afraid to stand apart from the group. In the online world, this has recently been helpful in highlighting cases of harassment but caution is warranted. There is a speed-to-action online that is troubling in that in quickly establishes a stigma tied to behavior or thinking that differs and forces people to act in less than meaningful ways.

In recent years, both of these circumstances have played out on Facebook. In 2012, Facebook allowed users to indicate their organ donor status. Later that year, Facebook asked users to pledge to vote in the presidential election. Both actions were marked by a sharable status that a user could use to broadcast action/intent to his or her network. The organ donor initiative was meant to help reduce the misconceptions that plague the donor community and prevent donor sign-ups. It drew criticism because it highlighted a personal choice as something a person could not be judged on, calling out a status that may differ between people and matter more than if you both liked the television show Friends. Similarly, “I Voted” was meant to mobilize people based on peer pressure. The idea being that if the majority of your friends had voted, you might want to as well. While most people will agree that becoming an organ donor or casting a vote is not a bad thing, the pressure to indicate that you’re in sync with your community might result in a false reporting of your status. There was no means of verifying that you were an organ donor or that you voted. What mattered, however, was the show of solidarity, which was driven by emotional wave of activism and change, respectively.

Behaviors and thoughts spread much in the same way that viruses do: they’re most powerful, and contagious, when passed between people who have close contact with each other. Within social networks–both online and offline–there is evidence to suggest that in groups where there is a great deal of overlap between members in terms of shared connections and interests, there are higher rates of adoption of behaviors and thinking because members are receiving reinforced signals about certain patterns. In these types of clustered networks, behavior and thought exist as complex contagions, requiring multiple points of contact before “infection” is established.

Researchers Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler gave us a good example of the power of clustered networks by tracing obesity, smoking cessation, and happiness through the Framingham network. This network was revealed following a medical study that collected information on personal contacts, which allowed the participants’ social networks to be mapped years later, and for researchers to trace the spread of certain behaviors. Christakis and Fowler found that:

• If a person became obese, the likelihood his friend would also become obese was 171%.
• When smokers quit, their friends are 36% more likely to also quit. (Although this effect diminishes as the separation between contacts grow, and loses its efficacy at four degrees of separation.)
• Happy friends increased the likelihood of an individual being happy by 8%.

The Framingham data illustrated a potential impact of the connections within a network. Our networks help us establish a sense of what’s acceptable–right down to expanding waistlines. The more social reinforcement we receive that certain actions are appropriate, the more likely we are to adopt those actions ourselves.

The catch here is that the Framingham data represents an offline dataset. So in the case of the smokers who quit and influenced their friends to follow, this happened without a temporary profile picture or an “I quit smoking” Facebook status. This behavior played out offline where it was vetted and assessed before it was adopted. That kind of critical thinking is often missing from the online pressure to conform. What does it mean if your profile picture was not updated? Maybe you’re not active on Facebook often, in which case, you’d probably get a pass. But if you are active, does it mean you condone the attacks? What do we really accomplish with these kinds of acts of solidarity? Ultimately, it sends a message about who we are as people; it serves to distinguish us from an other–it says we aren’t like them, we aren’t bad people. But does it stop there?

Beyond our responses to acts of terrorism, we are establishing new data points upon which we can be judged. In the Framingham study, smokers mingled freely with nonsmokers in 1971 and they were distributed evenly throughout the network. However, by 2001 as groups of smokers quit, those who persisted were socially isolated. What if we required people to list their status as smokers or non-smokers–how would our networks shift as a result of this information? The temporary profile picture is a great way to get people to initially think about what is happening around them. But what does it mean beyond that? How does it drive change in a meaningful way? Right now, it may be a conversation point, but it may also provide an easy way out of having to take action in the real world. There are presently voices online highlighting ways that people can help–but will people feel that need to once they’ve updated their profile picture?

# BAKING SODA AND HONEY REMEDY THAT DESTROYS EVEN THE MOST SEVERE DISEASE

It’s medically proven that all sugars are counter-beneficial when it comes to cancer simply because cancer cells feed on sugar. However, this natural remedy combining baking soda and honey or maple syrup acts in a completely different way.
For one thing, baking soda neutralizes cancer cells thus disabling them from using sugar to support their further growth. On the other hand, honey or maple syrup gives different effect on cancer cells, which use 15 times more glucose, in comparison to healthy cells. It’s because of the honey that baking soda enters and destroys cancer cells.
What you need:
Baking soda
Maple syrup or honey
How to prepare:
Mix baking soda and maple syrup or honey in a ratio 1:3. Stir until the ingredients blend well. Cook on low heat for about 10 minutes.
How to use:
Take 3 tsps. of this remedy each day for one month.

Avoid all kinds of meat, sugar and white flour during the treatment.

# Obese, diabetic? Watch your bones

Obesity and Type-2 diabetes affect bone structure, formation and strength over time, thereby increasing bone fracture risk, says a new study.

The researchers also found that exercise can not only prevent weight gain and diabetes but also increase bone strength. “Researchers once thought obesity was protective of bone because with more body mass, individuals have more bone mass; more bone mass typically decreases risk of osteoporosis and associated fractures,” said Pam Hinton, Associate Professor at the University of Missouri in the U.S.

“What we have come to realise is that the bone of people with obesity and Type-2 diabetes is not good, quality bone. These individuals have an increased risk of fractures; so that extra body weight is not protective,” he said.

For the study, the researchers allowed one group of rats to overeat and voluntarily exercise on running wheels. Another group of rats programmed to overeat remained sedentary.

The researchers also had a control group of rats that remained sedentary but did not overeat.

They studied bones from rats in the three groups at different ages to determine how early in the development of obesity and diabetes the bone was affected negatively.

“As the rats continued to grow, all groups increased their bone mass, but the rats that were obese and sedentary did not accumulate as much bone mass relative to their body weight,” Professor Hinton said.

“So, decreased bone formation, loss of bone mass and decreased bone strength all were present in the obese, diabetic, sedentary rats. However, the rats that exercised did not lose bone strength. In fact, the rats that ran on the wheels had stronger bones than the normal-weight controls,” he said.

The animals in the exercise group did not develop the same insulin resistance and diabetes.