IBM just beat Google to a brand new type of computing

IBM Jerry Chow quantum computer scientist
IBM quantum computer scientist Jerry Chow.

On Wednesday, IBM scientists will make a quantum computer available to the public as a cloud service for the first time.Although the cloud service is geared mostly toward scientists and students, anyone interested in this strange new computer will be able to give it a try, Jerry Chow, one of the scientists leading the project, tells Business Insider.

A completely different kind of computer

A quantum computer is different than today’s digital computer.

A digital computer thinks in two states: zero and one (or off and on). A quantum computer uses “combinations of zeroes and ones” to creates multiple states. It can be a zero, a one, both at the same time, something in between them, or it can be a mysterious zero/one state that you can’t really determine, Chow explains.

These messy states are called “entanglement” and there are some well known algorithms (mathematical formulas) that use them, Chow tells us.

Because quantum computers think differently, they can quickly solve tasks that regular computers can’t do, such as working with billions of variables at the same time, like the interaction between molecules in chemistry.

They are also great for machine-learning tasks. These computers are expected to help find new drugs, new forms of computer security, and become smart computers that can think and reason.

Likewise, programming a quantum computer is completely different.

So the IBM team has created a tutorial to help people learn how to do it. You need high-school algebra skills and a background in programming. (It also helps to read a book on the subject before trying your first “Hello world” app, Chow advises.)

As cold as outer space

Quantum computers are also built differently. This one uses a silicon base, like regular computers, but relies on superconducting metals like niobium and aluminum that must be kept unbelievably cold. The low temperature brings out their special quantum mechanical properties.

IBM programmer lab


This is the microwave hardware that generates pulses sent to the quantum processor.

So it’s kept in a special fridge that keeps the computer at “.015 above absolute zero, which is colder than absolute space,” Chow says. (See picture, below.)

The computer behind this cloud service is a five “quantum bits” (qubits) computer, which is powerful (other quantum computers have been 2 qubits), but not so much smarter than a regular supercomputer.

However, the industry is working its way up to a 50 qubits computer which would be so vastly more powerful than any of today’s supercomputers.

No one knows what kinds of problems a computer that fast and smart could solve.

But there’s a race between IBM and Google to find out.

The race with Google is on

IBM’s work is based on research done at Yale through Professor Robert Schoelkopf (the IBM team is mostly his PhD and post-grad students).

The other prominent US school working on this is UC Santa Barbara under Professor John Martinis Group, which was backed and absorbed by Google in 2014.

“Google is working toward very similar goals,” Chow says, and describes the situation as a bit of a turf war.

So score one for IBM for releasing the first cloud service.

Here are some photos of the computer.

What cocaine does to your body and brain

Whether it’s snorted, smoked, or injected, cocaine enters the bloodstream and starts affecting the brain in a matter of seconds.

But the high is short-lived, and in most cases lasts anywhere from five to 30 minutes. Regular, heavy use can have extremely negative consequences, from nose bleeds to permanent lung damage and even death.

coke line snort

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On Having the Courage to Reinvent Yourself

“When things are bad, it’s the best time to reinvent yourself.” ~ George Lopez


On Having the Courage to Reinvent Yourself

If you often catch yourself dreaming of being someone else, it’s usually because you are not happy with whom you’ve become over time. False lives into which we are sometimes forced, tricked, blackmailed or lives we end up in by making wrong choices, more often than not turn into lives of misery, regret and bitterness. Life rarely offers a second chance, so how do we end this charade and start living in earnest?

Don’t you sometimes wish you could turn the clock back and take a different path in life? If it happens occasionally, it’s OK for it happens to all of us from time to time, but if you constantly lament about what “could have been”, then it’s a sure sign that you took a wrong turn in life and that you need to reinvent yourself.

How do we end up living a life we never wanted? It may take years before we summon the courage to admit to ourselves that, somewhere along the line, we took a wrong turn. And it’s never easy admitting to yourself you were wrong.

We all have high hopes for the future when we are young. But over time, society, circumstances and our own life choices shape and steer our life, and sometimes along the way, we lose control over the direction our life is taking.

We may find ourselves in circumstances very different from what we had hoped for. If in this “unplanned” life we often feel trapped, uneasy or always under pressure to catch up, we can be sure it’s a life we were not meant for, even if we enjoy some aspects of it.

We are often not masters of our destiny, and circumstances sometimes force us into accepting the “second best” options in life. How long it will take you to realize you’ve been living a lie depends on many things, but even if they are aware of the mistake they made, many decide to stick to this unfulfilling life for fear of change and uncertainty.

On the other hand, those strong enough to challenge life, will do everything to get out of the vicious circle of resentment over missed opportunities and frustration of being unable to live a meaningful and purposeful life.

Be brutally honest with yourself.

Reinventing yourself doesn’t mean that all your beliefs, actions and life choices were wrong and that you now have to become a completely different person. You need to look hard into your past and figure out what was it, or when was it, that things started going downhill for you. Once you know where and when the mistake was made, you can start plotting your road to recovery.

But, before taking any steps, be brutally honest with yourself and tell yourself what was it that brought you to the situation you are in now. You may have been too young, or powerless, or in a situation that big life decisions were made for you by others, but more often than not, it is our own lack of planning, unrealistic expectations or lack of direction, that fool us into overestimating ourselves or taking too big a risk.

We have all heard of people who claim that for them “life began at 40 or 50”… Actually, life “begins” when we stop pretending and start being true to ourselves and instead of living for others, start living for ourselves.

The happy, reinvented you.

Everyone changes over time, but sometimes your environment may have a problem accepting the new you. Especially if the “new” you is, or threatens to become, better, happier or more successful than those around you. Even those closest to you may find it difficult to accept that you have outgrown the role they are used to, or the role they had planned for you.

This is particularly true of women who are, more often than men, molded into certain roles. A happy, confident person is not so easy to push around and some may even miss the sad, miserable you because it made their own unhappy lives slightly easier to bear. In other words, be prepared to meet with resistance and ready to confront the world.

To reinvent yourself, be prepared to dig deep:

Identify the reason.

Identify the reason you’ve been living a life you never wanted or the moment when you started feeling trapped. Be brutally honest with yourself because it’s most likely that you yourself created the life you now have to live. Blaming others won’t help, it will only lead to more bitterness. And if you want to reinvent yourself, you need to let go of blame. 

Think of what it would take to radically change your life.

Some changes may be easy to implement and some improvements would show quickly, but it is the fundamental, long-term action that is the most challenging. The bigger the “lie” you’ve been living, the bigger the change you will have to make to your life.

Think long-term and make a businesslike life-plan.

Be prepared for career change, lower pay, downsizing or whatever else it might take tocreate a meaningful life you feel comfortable in. In other words, be prepared to give up even the things you now feel you can’t live without.

Let go of worry.

Stop worrying about what others will say, and for once in your life be who you really want to be. You will find that a life without pretense is such a relief.

Keep in mind that in order to reinvent yourself you don’t have to become a different person, you just have to be true to yourself. For, as Joseph Campbell so beautifully put it, “You have to give up the life you planned, so as to have the life that’s waiting for you”.

10 Weird Side Effects of Stress

All the things going on in your life — work, family, trying to get (or stay!) fit, etc. — can all add up to stress, even if the stressor is a positive one. “Stress is a physiological and emotional response to a threat,” says John McGrail, Ph.D., a Los Angeles-based clinical hypnotherapist and author of “The Synthesis Effect: Your Direct Path to Personal Power and Transformation.” The problem is that modern society often creates long-term chronic stress, which can be devastating to both the mind and body. The effects of chronic stress can manifest in some surprising ways. Read on to discover 10 weird side effects of stress.

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Why do so many elite athletes have asthma?

Simon Yates tested positive for asthma medication, while studies found a third of Team Sky’s riders and 70% of the top British swimmers have the condition
Simon Yates
Simon Yates did not have a therapeutic use exemption certificate for Terbutaline but hard work in tough conditions can bring on exercise-induced asthma. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

The idea of a supremely fit professional cyclist like Simon Yates having to occasionally reach for an inhaler to ward off a wheeze might seem anomalous. But asthma is surprisingly common among some elite athletes.

A handful have classic asthma, the usually allergy-triggered constriction of the bronchial tubes that tends to begin in childhood.

Much more common in sport is exercise-induced asthma, or EIA, in which rapid and heavy breathing causes the same symptoms. The effect can be exacerbated by atmospheric conditions, which means some sportspeople tend to suffer more than others.

John Dickinson from Kent University’s school of sport & exercise sciences, a world expert on asthma in sport, tested all 33 UK-based members of the British swimming squad and found 70% had some form of asthma, against a national asthma rate of about 8% to 10%. It is believed the chlorinated atmosphere of a pool could be a factor in this.

Cycling is another sport where EIA is common – Dickinson’s test on cyclists from Team Sky found a third have the condition. Rapid inhalation of cold, dry air has been identified as a trigger of EIA. Around half of elite cross-country skiers have the condition, as does Paula Radcliffe.

While EIA can occasionally bring on have very serious symptoms, sometimes athletes do not realise they have it until they are tested. The test involves them breathing a very dry air mixture for six minutes at high ventilation, with their lung function tested before and after. The asthma-induced fall in lung function can be as much as 40%.

Speaking to the Guardian in 2014, Dickinson said the condition remained a source of some debate: “It depends which respiratory consultant you talk to on whether you put these athletes on a spectrum of asthma, or whether you think that’s purely down to them exercising really hard in a certain environment, and if you take them out of that environment they’re fine. It’s a grey zone. But my argument is it’s a form of asthma.”

It’s not unknown for professional cyclists to carry a reliever inhaler, which helps stop a wheeze as it begins, in the back pocket of a jersey. Use of salbutamol, the most common form of such bronchodilator drugs, usually taken as a blue inhaler, does not need a doctor’s therapeutic use exemption certificate within certain limits.

Terbutaline, the bronchodilator taken by Yates, is permitted by anti-doping authorities as an inhaler, but only with a certificate. Certificates are also needed for the more powerful preventer inhalers for asthma, which aim to ward off symptoms, the most common of which are steroid-based. The injection of any anti-asthma drugs is not permitted.

How to take a power nap at work, even if your office doesn’t have nap rooms

If naps are so good for us, then why are they so hard to take at work?
work nap station

A nap a day could keep the doctor, and therapist, away – so why are they so impossible to take at work?Sleep deprivation is linked to a lot of scary things, like Alzheimer’s disease, depression, memory problems, and cancer – and while a nap won’t completely make up for hours of lost sleep, scientists agree that a power nap can do wonders.

Studies have shown that naps improve immune health, energy, cognitive function, and emotional control – and all you really need is 10 minutes.

But while napping may be an effective strategy to counteract negative emotional, cognitive, and physical consequences, the problem with recommending that we take naps at work, as psychologist Dr. Ron Friedman previously told Business Insider, is that this isn’t entirely practical.

The author of “The Best Place to Work” has long been a proponent for on-the-job napping, but he said that he debated whether or not to recommend this in his book, since many struggle with office-space constraints and cultural attitudes about napping.

“Particularly in American culture, we like to believe that productivity is a function of effort, and that if we work hard we’ll produce,” he said. “But the reality is that we have a biological need for rest no different or less important than our need for food or water.”

So is there a way to reconcile our biological need for rest and napping constraints at work? Arianna Huffington believes there is.

“There will always be times when we don’t get enough sleep: we have a sick child, we have a big deadline, we just toss and turn. My advice there is, as soon as you can, get a nap,” “The Sleep Revolution” author tells Business Insider.

Huffington Post Nap Room

A Huffington Post nap pod.

She says:

The truth is, I predict in the next few years nap rooms are going to be as universal as conference rooms, because the science now is conclusive about the value of napping. Do you want exhausted employees being exhausted during the day, or do you want them to go have a 20-minute nap and literally have another day ahead of them? Because that’s how restorative a nap is.

For those who don’t have nap rooms in their office, Huffington suggests gathering your forces and lobbying for a nap room.

Until there is one, she suggests asking an office manager to ensure that couches are placed in as private a place as possible.

“Then have your kit with your earplugs and your eye mask and you can lie on that couch,” she says.

If there isn’t a couch in a private-enough space – pending manager approval – she suggests bringing a yoga mat to work, finding the most private space in the office, and napping on the mat.

“There are ways to make that happen if you believe that it will actually make you more effective, more productive, and happier,” Huffington says.

She also says:

Luckily, I think the stigma around napping is very fast being eliminated. I know when we launched our nap rooms at the Huffington Post in 2011, there was an enormous amount of skepticism and eye-rolling, and people were reluctant to be seen in the middle of the afternoon walking into a nap room. But that’s no longer the case – the nap rooms are always full, and I think in fact we need to open a third one.

Friedman says that eliminating the stigma around napping comes down to leaders modeling better attitudes about sleep. Huffington would agree.

She says:

I have a couch in my office, and I have a glass wall, so when I wanted to have a nap – I didn’t want to use the nap room so I wouldn’t take it away from others – I would nap on my couch and close the curtain. Now I no longer close the curtain. And that has helped eliminate the stigma, to show that you can nap publicly, and, actually, it’s a performance-enhancement tool, and it should be celebrated as such.

THESE are the amazing things that happen when you drink 3-5 cups of coffee per day.

For all those people out there who are coffee fanatics, there is something to rejoice about. And it’s not only the boost that a cup of coffee gives to your nerves, it is something more. It is something that can enhance your chances of longevity. According to a recent interesting study including coffee, drinking coffee whether regular or non-caffeinated, can actually reduce the risk of death. The study was conducted among the adult population of the US, who were asked how much coffee they drank along with other foods and drinks. The study involved more than 200,000 women and 50,000 men. The researchers then looked at the rate of deaths and diseases over the next 20 years. The researchers conducted the study with various combinations of sample size.


Based on number of cups people drank.


The study though didn’t find a direct link between coffee and mortality; it found that those who drank less than a cup to three cups daily had 5 to 9 percent lower risk of kicking it than those who drank more than three cups of coffee a day.

Coffee consumption among non-smokers

The researchers found that those who drank between less than a cup to three cups daily, had a 6 to 8 percent lower risk of dying than those who didn’t drink coffee at all. This percent saw a hike when the number of cups was increased to three to five or more.
Suicide and coffee drinkers

The study found that those who drank at least a cup of coffee had a 20 to 36 percent lower chance of committing suicide than those who didn’t drink coffee at all.

Summary of results

The overall results or summary of results indicated that those who drank coffee had a 10 percent lesser chance of dying because of a heart disease. Also they were 9 to 37 percent less likely to lose their lives because of neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and dementia.

According to the researchers, coffee has such a chemical makeup that the lignans and chlorogenic acid present in it reduces inflammation and helps control blood sugar both of which help lower the risk of heart disease. Ming Ding, a doctoral student in the Harvard School of Public Health department of nutrition and the study’s lead author said: “The lower risk of mortality is consistent with our hypothesis that coffee consumption could be good for you (because) we have published papers showing that coffee consumption is associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes and (heart) disease.”

The researchers acknowledged that in general coffee drinkers had a healthier diet which also probably helps enhance the longevity. They also acknowledged the fact that coffee fans were more likely to fall prey to vices like alcohol and red meat.

Addicts Using Diarrhea Drug Imodium to Get High

Trend is increasing among those who can’t get opioid prescription painkillers, experts say

Searching for an alternative to opioid painkillers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin, some addicts are now turning to the diarrhea drug Imodium for a high, researchers say.

This abuse of Imodium — with its key ingredient, loperamide — is a growing problem in the United States, according to the researchers.

“People looking for either self-treatment of [opioid] withdrawal symptoms or euphoria are overdosing on loperamide with sometimes deadly consequences,” said study author William Eggleston.

“Loperamide is safe in therapeutic doses but extremely dangerous in high doses,” Eggleston said in a news release from the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

His team published its findings — case reports involving two patients — in the April 29 online edition of the journal.

The two individuals each took massive doses of loperamide. Both overdosed and even though they received emergency medical treatment, both died.

Experts say the two cases represent a growing, dangerous trend.

According to the report, between 2010 and 2011, there was a 10-fold increase in web forum postings about oral loperamide abuse. Most (70 percent) of the postings discussed using the drug to self-treat a discomforting opioid withdrawal, while 25 percent focused on using loperamide to simply get high.

All of this may be having tragic consequences. According to the researchers, there was a 71 percent jump in loperamide abuse/misuse-related calls to poison control centers across the United States between 2011 and 2014.

“Loperamide’s accessibility, low cost, over-the-counter legal status and lack of social stigma all contribute to its potential for abuse,” said Eggleston, who works with the Upstate New York Poison Center in Syracuse.

He said that as regulators and law enforcement tighten access to prescription opioid painkillers, addicts are “seeking alternative drug sources.”

Speaking to CBS News, addiction specialist Dr. Scott Krakower said the trend is not overly surprising.

Loperamide is “an opioid agent and it helps to bind receptors in thebrain and cause a similar euphoria or high,” explained Krakower, a physician at Northwell Health in Glen Oaks, N.Y. But he stressed that the amount needed for a high is enormous — perhaps 50 to 300 pills of Imodium per day.

For his part, Eggleston believes that doctors and health care workers need to be more aware of the danger.

“This is another reminder that all drugs, including those sold without a prescription, can be dangerous when not used as directed,” he said.