Male and female brains wired differently, scans reveal.


Scientists have drawn on nearly 1,000 brain scans to confirm what many had surely concluded long ago: that stark differences exist in the wiring of male and female brains.

Maps of neural circuitry showed that on average women’s brains were highly connected across the left and right hemispheres, in contrast to men’s brains, where the connections were typically stronger between the front and back regions.

Ragini Verma, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, said the greatest surprise was how much the findings supported old stereotypes, with men’s brains apparently wired more for perception and co-ordinated actions, and women’s for social skills and memory, making them better equipped for multitasking.

“If you look at functional studies, the left of the brain is more for logical thinking, the right of the brain is for more intuitive thinking. So if there’s a task that involves doing both of those things, it would seem that women are hardwired to do those better,” Verma said. “Women are better at intuitive thinking. Women are better at remembering things. When you talk, women are more emotionally involved – they will listen more.”

She added: “I was surprised that it matched a lot of the stereotypes that we think we have in our heads. If I wanted to go to a chef or a hairstylist, they are mainly men.”

Female brain
Neural map of a typical woman’s brain.

The findings come from one of the largest studies to look at how brains are wired in healthy males and females. The maps give scientists a more complete picture of what counts as normal for each sex at various ages. Armed with the maps, they hope to learn more about whether abnormalities in brain connectivity affect brain disorders such as schizophrenia and depression.

Verma’s team used a technique called diffusion tensor imaging to map neural connections in the brains of 428 males and 521 females aged eight to 22. The neural connections are much like a road system over which the brain’s traffic travels.

The scans showed greater connectivity between the left and right sides of the brain in women, while the connections in men were mostly confined to individual hemispheres. The only region where men had more connections between the left and right sides of the brain was in the cerebellum, which plays a vital role in motor control. “If you want to learn how to ski, it’s the cerebellum that has to be strong,” Verma said. Details of the study are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Male and female brains showed few differences in connectivity up to the age of 13, but became more differentiated in 14- to 17-year-olds.

“It’s quite striking how complementary the brains of women and men really are,” Ruben Gur, a co-author on the study, said in a statement. “Detailed connectome maps of the brain will not only help us better understand the differences between how men and women think, but it will also give us more insight into the roots of neurological disorders, which are often sex-related.”

Boys’ and Girls’ Brains React Differently to Emotional Strain.


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There is an old saying in education that girls cry tears while boys cry bullets. In other words, females are allowed in our society to express their vulnerability and less pleasant emotions such as sadness. While boys must remain stoic and shoulder the burden quietly or else get angry, and express their pain not through outbursts of emotion, but instead through action. Might there be a biological phenomenon behind these culture-based roles? A study published online in the journal Depression and Anxiety suggests so. It found that boy’s brains react differently than girls in the aftermath of a highly stressful event.

Researchers at Stanford University discovered this by scanning the insula, or insular cortex, of boys and girls who had PTSD and comparing them to those who didn’t. This is a region deep within our brain responsible for integrating emotions. Feelings and the sensation of pain are processed here. It is also where empathy emanates from. The insula takes in data from other parts of the body and related areas of the brain, and incorporates it all into emotions and actions.

This is the first study to denote a gender difference in how the brain reacts to PTSD. In girls, the insula developed or aged rapidly. The same process was not observed in boys. Victor Carrion, MD was the study’s author. He is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the university. Dr. Carrion told the Stanford Medicine News Center that this particular region played a key role in PTSD’s development. “The difference we saw between the brains of boys and girls who have experienced psychological trauma is important because it may help explain differences in trauma symptoms between sexes,” he said.

This is a substantial breakthrough, as it could help neurologists develop personalized treatment options for PTSD sufferers depending on gender. With children and teens, while some who are exposed to a serious trauma do develop PTSD, others don’t. Researchers still aren’t sure why that is. They do know that girls are more likely to develop it than boys.

Anatomy of the insula (insular cortex). 

In this study, the brains of 59 participants, each between the ages of nine and 17, underwent MRI brain scans. 30 of them had PTSD. Another 29 took part as a control group. 16 boys and 14 girls had suffered trauma, while another 14 boys and 15 girls had not. Normal participants showed no differences in insula structure, regardless of gender. Of those who were traumatized, five participants experienced one episode of severe trauma, while 25 had been exposed to two or more episodes. Researchers tried to match up participants and controls, comparing those of a similar age and IQ.

The area within the insula that changes due to severe trauma is known as the anterior circular sulcus. Researchers discovered that while in traumatized boys this area grows larger than normal, with girls it shrinks. Another way to look at it is its development accelerates. These changes in structure are thought to be integral to PTSD’s development. The shrinkage seen in female brains may be the reason why girls are more prone to PTSD.

Dr. Megan Klabunde was the study’s lead author. She told the BBC, “Our findings suggest it is possible that boys and girls could exhibit different trauma symptoms and that they might benefit from different approaches to treatment.” She added that high levels of stress might lead to early puberty in girls, as some previous studies suggest. This breakthrough may also help neuroscientists understand how each gender processes emotions.

Now, Dr. Carrion’s team will scan and examine other brain regions to see if they too change in structure after significant stress. Another project is long-term, ongoing studies following traumatized young people over time, to explore how PTSD may affect their brains as they grow older, with a special focus on developing gender specific treatments to counteract such changes.

9 Life Goals You Should Focus On In Your 20s


Twenties are the time that shape up the years that follow. It is that age when it is as easy to discover yourself as it is to lose yourself in doubt. The elders may keep lecturing you on how the importance of working hard and saving money, but there are a lot of more important things to sort out before you move on to the next phase in life. Here are 9 life goals you must focus on in your twenties.

1. Find Your Calling

Life Goals You Should Focus On In Your 20s

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Don’t take up jobs that drain out your creativity, because you have to. Even if you do take up a job just for the money, don’t lose sight of what you really want to do in life. Switch as many careers as you want, take up a different job every month – do all that it takes to find your calling. It’s always worth the risk.

2. Travel

Life Goals You Should Focus On In Your 20s

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Set off to foreign lands – with friends, with your family, with your dog, alone. Let the world inspire you. Move out of the little bubble you’ve always lived in and see the endless possibilities of life. You’ll realise some truths about life nobody is every going to tell you during one of those journeys. Travel can change lives.

3. Invest In Experiences

Life Goals You Should Focus On In Your 20s

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Money saved is always an asset but what really makes life worth all the struggle are moments that stay with you forever. Miss your friends? Take that flight and surprise them. Want to do something for your mother? Plan a holiday with her. Money isn’t going to stay with you, her smile will! Spend your savings in experiences that move you, not the latest iPhone!

4. Strengthen Friendships

Life Goals You Should Focus On In Your 20s

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Those who stay friendships never last clearly haven’t found the right people. This is the time when you break away from people who don’t matter and come closer to the people who really do. But, as you move onto your late twenties, growing up takes over and pulls you away from them too! So, while you still have time, hold on and hold on strong. There are some friends you should never let go of, come what may. Make it a point to keep in touch. Stick around!

5. Learn Something New

Life Goals You Should Focus On In Your 20s

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You never know what you’re capable of until you try it out. Life is incomplete without challenges. Invest at least some of your time in acquiring a new skill and who knows you might just discover a whole new dimension to your personality!

6. Chase That Ultimate Dream

Life Goals You Should Focus On In Your 20s

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All of us have dreams and for some odd reason, most of us come to believe it’s never going to come true, very early in life. Don’t give up just yet. It’s just the beginning of your career – there’s enough time for you to pursue your dream. Go get it. Do it while you can!

7. Bring About A Change

Life Goals You Should Focus On In Your 20s

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Do something that creates an impact. Not only will it make you feel worthwhile, it might just shape up your life ahead. There is something or the other we all strongly believe in. Find yours and do something about it. It’s one of the most satisfying things in life.

8. Fitness

Life Goals You Should Focus On In Your 20s

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It may sound preachy, but it’s going to pay off in the long run. This is the age when you work on your physique. This is the time when you get those killer biceps and a six pack! Work on your body and see yourself transform!

9. Find Yourself

Life Goals You Should Focus On In Your 20s

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There’s something unique and eccentric that defines each one of us, that tells us apart from everyone else in the world. Find your own quirk; discover that one thing that defines you as a person and embrace it. Unravel your true self.

Boron has been detected on Mars for the first time.


The first signs of habitable groundwater.

The Curiosity rover has found boron on the surface of Mars, indicating that, at some point, the Red Planet had long-term habitable groundwater.

Boron is a chemical signature of evaporated water, and while we still don’t know if Mars once hosted life, the discovery is further evidence that the planet was once plentiful with water, and therefore habitable.

“No prior mission to Mars has found boron,” said one of the researchers, Patrick Gasda, from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

The location of the discovery indicates that the subsurface groundwater the boron was dissolved in would have been warm and suitable for microbial life to thrive in.

“If the boron that we found in calcium sulphate mineral veins on Mars is similar to what we see on Earth, it would indicate that the groundwater of ancient Mars that formed these veins would have been 0-60 degrees Celsius [32-140 degrees Fahrenheit] and neutral-to-alkaline pH,” said Gasda.

Curiosity found the boron on its trek up the slopes of Mount Sharp, within the Gale Crater. It identified the mineral using its on board laser-shooting instrument called Chemistry and Camera.

Boron here on Earth is associated with sites where there was once lots of water, but it’s since evaporated away – like California’s Death Valley.

That might not necessarily be the case on Mars, but the team thinks the boron could have once been dissolved in the great lake that filled the Gale crater. As the lake dried up, the boron seeped down into groundwater.

Further testing is needed to identify exactly how the boron ended up in this site specifically and nowhere else we’ve yet studied, but the team has two hypotheses.

Either the drying out of the Gale lake resulted in a vast boron-containing deposit in an overlying layer that Curiosity hasn’t yet reached, or maybe shifts in the chemistry of clay-bearing deposits and groundwater changed how boron was transported around local sediments, so it’s not found everywhere that water once was.

The results were presented at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco last week. They’ve yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, and the team has a lot more work to do in analysing the samples before that happens.

But the find is still incredibly exciting. As Curiosity made its way up Mount Sharp, drilling every 25 metres (80 feet), it’s seen evidence of changing rock composition that indicates shifting ancient lakes and wet underground environments back on ancient Mars.

“There is so much variability in the composition at different elevations, we’ve hit a jackpot,” said one of the team, John Grotzinger from Caltech.

“A sedimentary basin such as this is a chemical reactor. Elements get rearranged. New minerals form and old ones dissolve. Electrons get redistributed. On Earth, these reactions support life.”

“We are seeing chemical complexity indicating a long, interactive history with the water. The more complicated the chemistry is, the better it is for habitability. The boron and clay underline the mobility of elements and electrons, and that is good for life.”

Without actually finding evidence of ancient microbes, we’re not going to be able to say for sure whether Mars once hosted life. But with each discovery, it seems more and more likely that it could have at least been possible.

And if we can find out why life did or didn’t form on the red planet, we might gain some insight into one of the most fundamental human mysteries: why we seem to be so alone in the Universe.

Watch the video. URL:https://youtu.be/D29hjfiSHzc

 

Edward Snowden: The Internet Is Broken.


In 2013, a now-infamous government contractor named Edward Snowden shined a stark light on our vulnerable communications infrastructure by leaking 10,000 classified U.S. documents to the world.

One by one, they detailed a mass surveillance program in which the National Security Administration and others gathered information on citizens — via phone tracking and tapping undersea Internet cables.

Three years after igniting a controversy over personal privacy, public security, and online rights that he is still very much a part of, Snowden spoke with Popular Science in December 2015 and shared his thoughts on what’s still wrong and how to fix it.

POPULAR SCIENCE: HOW HAS THE INTERNET CHANGED IN THE THREE YEARS SINCE THE RELEASE?

Edward Snowden: There have been a tremendous number of changes that have happened, and not just on the Internet. It has changed our culture, it has changed our laws, it’s changed the way our courts decide issues, its changed the way people consider what the Internet means to the them, what their communication security means to them.

The Internet as a technological development has reached within the walls of every home. Even if you don’t use it, even if you don’t have a smart phone, even if you don’t have a laptop or an Internet connection or a phone line, your information is handled by tax authorities, by health providers and hospitals, and all of that routes over the Internet.

This is both a force for tremendous good but it is something that can be abused. It can be abused by small time actors and criminals. It can also be abused by states. And this is what we really learned in 2013. During an arrest, police traditionally have had the ability to search anything they find on your person — if you had a note in your pocket, they could read it. But now we all carry smartphones on us, and smartphones don’t just have this piece of ID, or your shopping list, or your Metrocard. Your entire life now fits in your pocket. And it was not until after 2013 that the courts were forced to confront this decision.

 In the post-9/11 era, in the context of this terrorism threat that has been very heavily promoted by two successive administrations now, there was this idea that we had to go to the dark side to be able to confront the threat posed by bad guys. We had to adopt their methods for ourselves.

We saw the widening embrace of things like warrantless wire-tapping during the Bush administration, as well as things like torture1. But in 2014, there was the Riley decision that went to the Supreme Court — that was one of the most significant changes.2

Which is that in the Riley decision, the courts have finally recognized that digital is different. They recognized that the unlimited access of government to continuum of your private information and private activities, whether that is the content of your communication or the meta data of your communications, when it is aggregated it means something completely different than what our laws have been treating it as previously.

It does not follow that police and the government then have the authority to search through your entire life in your pocket just because you are pulled over for a broken taillight. When we change this over to the technical fabric of the Internet, our communications exist in an extraordinarily vulnerable state, and we have to find ways of enforcing the rights that are inherent to our nature. They are not granted by government, they are guaranteed by government — the reality is a recognition of your rights, which includes your right to be left alone (as the courts describe privacy) and to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, as we have in our Fourth Amendment..

And one of the most measurable changes is guaranteeing those rights, regardless of where you are at and regardless of where the system is being used, through encryption. Now it is not the magic bullet, but it is pretty good protection for the rights we enjoy.

About eight months out from the original revelations, in early January 2014, Google’s metrics showed there was a 50 percent increase in the amount of encrypted traffic that their browsers were handling3. This is because all of the mainline Internet service providers — Gmail, Facebook, and even major website providers — are encrypted, and this is very valuable. You can enforce a level of protection for your communications simply by taking very minor technical changes.

AND THIS IS THE MOST FASCINATING ASPECT. ENCRYPTION MOVES FROM AN ESOTERIC PRACTICE TO THE MAINSTREAM. DOES THAT BECOME UNIVERSAL, FIVE TO 10 YEARS LATER?

Yeah, the easiest way to analogize this is that 2013 was the “atomic moment” for the profession of computer scientists and the field of technologists. The nuclear physicists of a previous era were just fascinated with their capabilities and what secrets they could unlock, but didn’t consider how these powers would be used in their most extreme forms.

It is the same way in technology. We have been expanding and expanding because technology is incredibly useful. It is incredibly beneficial. But at the same time, we technologists as a class knew academically that these capabilities could be abused, but nobody actually believed they would be abused. Because why would you do that? It seemed so antisocial as a basic concept.

But we were confronted with documented evidence in 2013 that even what most people would consider to be a fairly forthright upstanding government was abusing these capabilities in the most indiscriminate way. They had created a system of “bulk collection”, as the government likes to describe it — the public calls it mass surveillance. It affected everybody. It affected people overseas and at home, and it violated our own Constitution. And the courts have now ruled multiple times that it did do so4.

Prior to 2013, everybody who thought about the concept of mass surveillance either had to consider it an academic concept, or they were a conspiracy theorist. Now, though, we have moved from the realm of theory to the realm of fact. We are dealing with actual credible and documented threats, and because of that, we can actually start to think about how do we deal with that? How do we remedy the threats?

And how do we provide security for everybody?

AND BRAZIL RECENTLY SHUT DOWN WHATSAPP.

Right5, and this is more topical6. Because of the way the WhatsApp service is structured, the largest messaging service in the world doesn’t know what you are saying. It doesn’t hold your messages, it doesn’t store your messages in a way that it can read. Which is much safer against abuse than if you simply have AT&T holding a record of every text message you’ve ever sent.

During the first crypto-war in the 1990s, the NSA and the FBI asked for backdoors for all the world’s communications that were running on American systems. The NSA designed a chip called the Clipper chip that encrypted the communications in a way that they could be broken by the government, but your kid sister wouldn’t be able to read them6. The NSA said no one is actually going to be able to break this — it is not a real security weakness, it is a theoretical security weakness.

Well, there was a computer scientist at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Matt Blaze, who is now a professor at University of Pennsylvania, who took a look at his chip and as a single individual, broke the encryption, which the government said was unbreakable7. Only they could break it. This is what is called ‘nobody but us’ sort of surveillance. Well, the thing is, it is very difficult to substitute the judgment of ten engineers behind closed doors in a government lab somewhere for the entire population of the world, and say these ten guys are smarter than everybody else. We know that doesn’t work.

This leads the question of the future. Technology progresses at what we see appears to be an accelerating rate. Before 2013, before we had a leg to stand on and say this is what is actually going on, we had developed a panopticon8, which no one outside of the security services was fully authorized to know. Even members of Congress, like Ron Wyden, were being lied to on camera by the top intelligence officials9 of the United States — what if we were never able to take any steps to correct the balance there?

Prior to 2013, everything we did on the Internet was more or less simply because no one wanted to make the effort. There were capabilities that existed. There were tools that existed. But by and large, everything we did on the Internet, as we engaged on the Internet, we were electronically naked, and this is really the most lasting impact is for the classes of cryptographers and security engineers that recognize the path across the network is hostile terrain.

AND THIS HAS NOW CHANGED SIGNIFICANTLY, WITH TOR AND SIGNAL.

We are starting to see a sense of obligation on the part of technologists to clothe the users. And users isn’t the best language to use. We use users, we use customers as a sector, but we mean people.

And this is not just the United States’ problem, it is a global problem. One of the primary arguments used by apologists for this surveillance state that has developed across the United States and in every country worldwide is a trust of the government. This is critical — even if you trust the U.S. government and their laws, we’ve reformed this issues, think about the governments you fear the most, whether it is China, Russia or North Korea, or Iran. These spying capabilities exist for everyone.

Technically they are not very far out of reach. The offense is easier than the defense, or has been, but that is beginning to change. We can move this status quo to a dynamic where everyone is safe.

Protecting the sanctity of critical infrastructure of communications online is not a luxury good or right. It is a public necessity, because of what is described as the cyber-security problem. Look at the Sony hack10 in late 2014, or the Office of Personnel Management hack11 last summer, where the federal government — arguably the world’s most well-resourced actor — got comprehensively hacked. They weren’t using any form of encryption to protect the incredibly sensitive records of people who have top secret clearances. The only way to provide security in this context is to provide it for everyone. Security in the digital world is not something that can be selective.

There is a seminal paper called ‘Keys Under Doormats‘. It’s really good. The idea here is that if you weaken security for an individual or for a class of individuals, you weaken it for everyone. What you are doing is you’re putting holes in systems, keys under doormats, and those keys can be found by our adversaries as well as those we trust.

IS THERE ANY WAY THAT THE TECHNOLOGY AND INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITIES CAN RECONCILE?

There actually is. The solution here is for both sides of the equation to recognize that security premised on a foundation of trust is, by its very nature, insecure. Trust is transient. It isn’t permanent. It changes based on situations, it changes based on administrations.

Let’s say you trust President Obama with the most extreme powers of mass surveillance, and think he won’t abuse them. Would you think the same thing about a President Donald Trump, having his hand on the same steering wheel? And these are dynamics that change very quickly.

This is not just an American thing; this is happening in every country in every part of the world. We first need to move beyond the argumentation by policy officials of wishing for something that is technically impossible. The idea ‘Let’s get rid of encryption’. It is out of their hands. The jurisdiction of Congress ends at its borders. Even if all strong encryption is banned in the United States because we don’t want Al Qaeda to have it, we can’t stop a group from developing these tools in Yemen, or in Afghanistan, or any other region of the world and spreading the tools globally.

We already know the program code, and again, we dealt with this in the ’90s. It is a genie that won’t go back in the bottle.

 Once we move beyond what legislation can accomplish, we need to think about what it should accomplish. There is an argument where the government says, ‘You should give up a lot of your liberty because it’ll give us some benefit in terms of investigatory powers, and we believe it might lead to greater security.’ But security, surveillance, and privacy are not contrary goals. You don’t give up one and get more of the other. If you lose one, you lose the other. If you are always observed and always monitored, you are more vulnerable to abuse than you were before.

They are saying we are balancing something, but it is a false premise. When you can’t protect yourself, you are more vulnerable to the depredations of others, whether they are criminal groups, government, or whomever. What you can’t have is what the courts have referred to as the right to be left alone, in which you can selectively participate and share. You can’t experiment or engage in an unconsidered conversation with your friends and your family because you’ll worry what that is going to look like in a government or corporate database 20 or 30 years down the road.

There are those who argue we need get rid of that. All of this individuality is dangerous for large and well-organized societies. We need people who are observed and controlled because it is safer. That may be a lot of things, but the one thing I’d argue it is not is American.

WE ARE COMFORTABLE SHARING OUR DATA WITH AMAZON, BUT NOT THE GOVERNMENT. DOES THAT SEEM COUNTERINTUITIVE?

When we think about privacy, what we are describing is liberty. We are describing a right to be left alone. We can always choose to waive that right, and this is the fundamental difference between corporate data collection and government surveillance from every sort of two bit government in the world.

You can choose not to use Amazon, or log onto Facebook12 — you can’t opt out of governmental mass surveillance that watches everybody in the world without regard to any suspicious criminal activity or any kind of wrong doing. This is the challenge.

It’s not that all surveillance is bad. We don’t want to restrict the police from doing anything. The idea is that traditional and effective means of an investigation don’t target a platform, a service, or a class. If you were to stop a terrorist attack, you target a suspect, an individual. That is the only way you can discriminate and properly apply the vast range of military and law enforcement intelligence capabilities. Otherwise, you are looking at a suspect pool of roughly 7 billion people in the world.

This is the reason mass surveillance doesn’t work. You don’t have to take my word for it, particularly in the context of public communication. You can cite the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board’s review on section 21513, and their specific quotes, this is their words, “We are aware of no instance in which the [mass surveillance] program directly contributed to the discovery of a previously unknown terrorist plot or the disruption of a terrorist attack14.”

This begs the question: why? Why doesn’t mass surveillance work? That is the problem with false positives and false negatives. If you go look, our program is 99.9 percent effective, and that sounds really good, but when you think about that in the context of a program, that means one out of every thousand people is going to be inaccurately identified as a terrorist, or one out of every thousand terrorists is actually going to be let go by the system, and considered to not be a terrorist.

And the real problem is that our algorithms are not 99.9 percent effective. They are about 80 percent effective at best. And when you upscale that to the population of the entire world, even if they were 99.99999 percent effective, suddenly you are transforming millions of completely innocent people into terrorists. At the same time, you are transforming tons of actual terrorists, whom any police officer, after a cursory review of their actions, would say ‘That’s suspicious,’ into law-abiding citizens. That is the fundamental problem there, and why it hasn’t worked, so if is hasn’t been effective, why are they doing it? It costs a lot of money, so why deal with it at all?

AND WHY DO WE CONTINUE TO HAVE THESE SAME CONVERSATIONS?

These programs were never about terrorism. They are not effective for terrorism. But they are useful for a lot of other things, like espionage, diplomatic manipulation, and ultimately social control.

Imagine yourself sitting at a desk, and you have a little box that lets you search anybody’s email in the world; it lets you pull up their entire web history, anything they’ve ever typed into a search engine; you can read the message they are typing on Facebook as they do it; you can turn on the webcam on any private home; you can follow where anyone goes through their cell phone at any time. This is obviously an extraordinarily valuable mechanism of influence, of power, of capability.

What it doesn’t do, though, is stop terrorist attacks.

And this is one of the fundamental problems of the public debate. The officials who are promoting and desire these capabilities recognize this — ‘Look, it’ll give us an advantage in foreign intelligence collection. It’ll allow us to compete on a stronger basis in the global economic market.’ These are arguments they still might win because people may be OK with that bargain: ‘That’s fine. I don’t care if you spy on foreigners. I don’t care if you commit economic espionage as long as it benefits us. I don’t care if you are monitoring protestors because I don’t agree with protestors.’

But that is a very different argument, and one that is more difficult to win, than saying this will save lives, this will stop terrorism, and this is the solution to our problems.

 MOST PEOPLE CAN GET BEHIND SURVEILLANCE AS A MEANS TO SAVING LIVES, BUT TO COMMIT ECONOMIC ESPIONAGE, OR JUST SPYING FOR SPYING’S SAKE, THE ARGUMENTS ARE MORE DIFFICULT TO MAKE.

Right. And they have been making this argument since 2001, but we are now in 2016. To me personally, this is why I think the environment, and the response, has changed so much since 2013. They said, ‘What this guy did was dangerous. The press was irresponsible reviewing classified programs. Even if [the NSA] did violate the law, even if they did violate the constitution, people will die over this.’

Since 2013, all the top officials at the NSA and the CIA have been brought on the floor of Congress, and Congress has begged them repeatedly, Can you show us any cases? Name a single person who has died as a result of these disclosures? And they’ve never been able to do that. They’ve never been able to show a particular national security operation that has been damaged as a result.15

The dynamic here is the same — it had been easy to make the argument that you should be afraid because we just don’t know. That argument is no longer the case 15 years later.

THE RISE OF HACKTIVISM AND WHITE HAT HACKERS, THEN, SEEMS LIKE A DIRECT ARGUMENT AGAINST THAT.

There are a number of organizations around the world, like the TOR project, that, even if they can’t solve the problem, they are improving the status quo that people are dealing with around the world. Even if you, sitting in Chicago, are being comprehensively surveilled, you might not be concerned. But if you allow that to happen simply because you don’t care about its impact, you are ignoring the collective impact it has on everyone else. This is the fundamental nature of rights. Arguing for surveillance because you have nothing to hide is no different than making the claim, ‘I don’t care about freedom of speech because I have nothing to say.’

Rights are not just individual. They are collective and universal. And I am now working at the Freedom of the Press Foundation to look at: How do we help people in the most difficult circumstances, and who face the most severe threats of surveillance?

Politicians are trying to convince the public to rely on security that is premised on the idea of trust. This is the current political problem: ‘Let us do this stuff, and we won’t abuse it.’ But that trust is gone. They violated it.

There is a technical paradigm that is being shifted to where we no longer need to trust the people handling our communication. We simply will not give them the capability to abuse it in the first place. We are not going to bare our breast for them to drive the knife in if they change their mind about us.

YOU HAVE SAID, AND I AM PARAPHRASING, THAT THE INTERNET ALLOWED YOU TO EXPLORE YOUR CAPACITY AS A HUMAN BEING. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS MORE IMMERSED ONLINE?

Let’s think about the example of AT&T sharing with the government more than 26 years of phone records16. That’s the full span of these people’s lives. They’ll never have made a phone call on AT&T that hasn’t been captured. Their very first AT&T call, when they were four years old and called their mom, has been recorded. And the argument — ‘It is just metadata. This is just your phone bills and calling records’ — misunderstands what it really is and why it matters.

Metadata is the technical word for an activity record, so the government has been aggregating perfect records of private lives. And when you have all of someone’s phone records, purchase records, every website they’ve ever visited or typed into Google, or liked on Facebook, every cell phone tower their phone has ever passed and at what time, and what other cell phones were at that tower with them, what you’ve done is you’ve written a secret biography of every person that even they themselves don’t know.

 When we think about surveillance as being a mechanism of control, at the lowest level it means that this young cohort is growing up in a society that has transformed from an open society to a quantified society. And there is no action or activity they could take that could be unobserved and truly free. People will say ‘We trust we’ll be ok,’ but this is an entire cohort that at any moment in the future could have their life changed permanently. And this is what I described in that first interview as ‘turnkey tyranny17.

It’s not that we think of it as evil. It’s that we’ve said for generations that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and this is a country where the Supreme Court said two years ago that the American Revolution was actually kicked off in response to general warrants of the same character that are happening in the U.S. today.18

LET’S INTERJECT A BIT OF LEVITY TO THE DISCUSSION. POP CULTURE HAS GARNERED PRAISE RECENTLY FOR ACCURATELY PORTRAYING THOSE THREATS, AND DEPICTING HACKING. DO YOU PARTAKE IN SHOWS LIKE ‘MR. ROBOT’?

Hollywood is only going to be so accurate in the technical sense, but yes, I do watch it. [Television and movies] are improving slowly. They are certainly better than the neon 3D virtual city back in the ’80s. But it is going to be a long road.

There is also a very interesting cultural dynamic we see shifting. For example, Captain America, in the recent Winter Soldier movie, quite openly questioned whether it is patriotism to have absolute loyalty to a government, is it more critical to have loyalty to the country’s values? There is that old saying, ‘my country, right or wrong,’ that was criticized for a long time as blindly jingoistic, but eventually it has been reformulated, “My country right or wrong. Right to be kept right, wrong to be put right.”

And this is something we are rediscovering. It is critical that the United States not just be a strong and a powerful country. We have to have a moral authority to recognize that we have the capability to exercise certain powers, but we don’t. Even though it would provide us an advantage, we realize it is something that would lose us something that is far more valuable. We saw this in the Cold War that we forgot about in the immediate post 9/11 moment.

WITH THE BENEFIT OF HINDSIGHT, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY IN 2013?

It was never my goal to fundamentally change society. I didn’t want to say what things should or shouldn’t be done. I wanted the public to have the capability and the right to decide for themselves and to help direct the government in the future. Who holds the leash of government? Is it the American people, or is it a few people sitting behind closed doors?

And I think we have been effective in getting a little bit closer to the right balance there. We haven’t solved everything. But no single person acting in a vacuum is going to be able to solve problems so large on their own. And none of this would have happened without the work of journalists.

Would I have done anything different? I should have come forward sooner. I had too much faith that the government really would do no wrong. I was drinking the Kool-Aid in the post-9/11 moment. I believed the claims of government, that this was a just cause, a moral cause, and we don’t need to listen to these people who say we broke this law or that law. No one could really prove with finality that this was not the case, that the government was actually lying.

One of the biggest legacies is the change of trust. Officials at the NSA and the CIA were seen as James Bond types, but now, they are seen as war criminals. At the same time, people like Ashkan Soltani was hired to the White House. He had been reporting on the archive in 2013 and printing classified information to the detriment of these people19. There is this really interesting dynamic where the people you would presume would be persona non gratis in Washington are now the ones in the White House, and the ones previously in the White House are now exiled and are being asked ‘Why haven’t you been prosecuted?’ It gives the flavor of that change.

SO HOW DOES THE INTERNET LOOK NOW, AFTER THIS SEMINAL MOMENT? WE HAVE MORE ENCRYPTION THAT EVER BEFORE, AIR GAPPED LAPTOPS, BURNER PHONES. HOW DO YOU SEE OUR CHANGING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE INTERNET IN THE COMING DECADES?

We are at a fork in the road. We’ll move into a future that is just a direct progression from the pre-2013 development of technology, which is where you can’t trust your phone. You would need some other device. You would need to act like a spy to pursue a career in a field like journalism because you are always being watched.

On the other hand, there is the idea you don’t need to use these fancy trade craft methods. You don’t need to worry about your phone spying on you because you don’t need to trust your phone. Instead of changing your phone to change your persona — divorcing your journalist phone from your personal phone — you can use the systems that are surrounding us all of the time to move between personas. If you want to call a cab, the cab doesn’t need to know about who you are or your payment details.

You should be able to buy a bottle of Internet like you buy a bottle of water. There is the technical capacity to tokenize and to commoditize access in a way that we can divorce it from identity in such a way that we stop creating these trails. We have been creating these activity records of everything we do as we go about our daily business as a byproduct of living life. This is a form of pollution; just as during the Industrial Revolution, when a person in Pittsburgh couldn’t see from one corner to another because there was so much soot in the air. We can make data start working for us rather than against us. We just simply need to change the way we look at it.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Don’t Replace Humans with Robots — Allow Humans to Do What Robots Can


Article Image
MAX, a flexible exoskeleton, from suitX.

Artificial Intelligence hasn’t taken over the labor market, yet. It’s in unstructured workspaces where human laborers will continue to thrive, explained Dr. Homayoon Karerooni, founder and CEO of suiX. His company isn’t in the business of replacing humans with robot workers, rather his team wants to enhance and augment our abilities with MAX, a flexible exoskeleton.

“Our goal is to augment and support workers who perform demanding and repetitive tasks in unstructured workplaces in order to prevent and reduce injuries,” he said in a press release.

The MAX system comprises three exoskeleton modules: backX, shoulderX, and legX. So, depending on the task, a module could be worn to augment any kind of lifting, stooping, bending, or squatting. The company says it’s not just meant for picking up heavy things and putting them down, the suit and its modules are meant to decrease the rate of injury doing these repetitive maneuvers.

 For businesses and their employees, this technology would help to reduce workplace injury and enhance productivity. It’s basically a back brace that minimizes the amount of force and torque on the wearer’s back, which means less strain on the human and less risk of injury. But it’s industrial projects, like these, which will help fund suitX’s Phoenix line of bionic suits, which allows those bound to a wheelchair to walk.

The goal with Phoenix was to go a step beyond the wheelchair and create the independence we know advanced robotics can provide. These exoskeletons would go a long way in reducing healthcare costs, like MAX. The Phoenix, however, would prevent secondary injuries to those wheelchair-bound–a result from sitting for prolonged periods of time.

It’s the continued interest from military and industrial groups, asking for the creation of power-suits that enhance human strength, which will help propel this technology forward. And SuitX’s wheelchair-bound clients will (hopefully) be the beneficiaries.

The 50 big ideas for 2017: What to watch in the year ahead 


Let’s be honest: We’re ready for 2016 to end. After a year of polarizing politics, devastating natural disasters and a growing number of global refugees as wars wage on, we want to hope that bigger—and possibly better—things lay ahead in the new year.

To get a sense of what’s next, LinkedIn editors reached out to some of our most prescient writers—our Top Voices, Influencers and members of our Next Wave list—as well as other people who inspire us to find out what they’re predicting in the coming year.

Their responses are encouraging, humorous and sobering. Some are ambitious, possibly overly so: We’ll finally fix the internet, ridding it of trolls and anonymity. Others are specific and practical: Instagram will debut clickable links. Surely, not all of these ideas will materialize, but the vision and sentiment behind them is worth reading—and working towards. If it takes five years instead of one, for example, to transplant the first pig kidney into a human, we’ll take it.

So, without further ado, here are the 50 big ideas for 2017:

1. The IPO market snaps back.

This year saw the fewest number of companies make their debut on stock exchanges since 2009, according to Jay R. Ritter, a professor at University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business. The broad post-election rally — the S&P 500 is up 5 percent — should make companies a lot more willing to sell their shares. The big test: Snap Inc., the parent of Snapchat, said to have confidentially filed its papers for a $25 billion IPO as early as March. If it’s successful, it could clear the way for other high-profile unicorns, like Airbnb, to follow. Ritter’s also watching the energy industry, rebounding from the glut in oil prices. Where he’s less optimistic: biotech. While those companies drove IPOs in the past couple of years, the Valeant-induced scrutiny on drug prices “kind of choked off the enthusiasm,” he says.

2. Social media gets held accountable…

“It’s unclear just how much the outcome of this presidential election was impacted by the fake news controversy surrounding Facebook and Twitter. What is clear, however, is that social media companies will be held more accountable for the content posted to their sites, and in 2017 they will have to find the sweet spot between free speech and censorship,” predicts Mahesh Vellanki, an investor at Redpoint Ventures. Read his full prediction here.

3. …And media isn’t let off the hook, either.

2016 featured the rise and ravages of fake news, and the coming new year will bring a radical rethinking of where we get our information and how, predicts Top Voice and best-selling author Ryan Holiday. “The sudden awareness of fake news, the endless political scandals and conflict, fatigue with polarization will mean that people are going to ask themselves: Why am I consuming all this?” says Holiday.

4. The middle of the U.S. will become the “Saudi Arabia of wind.”

“States like Iowa have embraced wind energy and off-shore wind turbines are fast becoming commercially viable,” says T. Boone Pickens, chairman and CEO of BP Capital. Wind and solar prices are going to continue to drop in 2017, making it even easier to switch to these more renewable sources of power, he predicts. That’s already under way: Iowa approved the largest wind farm in U.S. history in September. It will include 1,000 turbines and be able to produce 2,000 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 800,000 homes in the state. Read his full 2017 energy predictions here.

5. Get ready to see Trump in lots of fine print.

In M&A paperwork, lawyers are slipping a new word into those pages and pages of documents surrounding deals: Trump. The president elect is seen as unpredictable in corporate America, so legal teams are already adding him as a “risk factor” in documents outlining potential acquisitions, a new twist in corporate boilerplate.

6. Watch out, music labels: streaming services will become star-makers.

“We’d like to be a home where artists can do their thing,” Apple Music head Jimmy Iovine told Rolling Stone in June. And with Chance the Rapper’s streaming-only album Coloring Book up for several Grammys, Iovine’s comment isn’t just a warm-and-fuzzy sentiment—it’s a roadmap. 2017 will be the year streaming services start to seriously embrace the other half of the music equation: not just distribution, but cultivation of talent. They may not replace labels anytime soon (especially as labels are finally “getting it” with streaming), but Chance’s success, and the numerous exclusives we’ve seen in 2016, are just the first, tiniest steps into this world. Tech giants with deep pockets like Apple obviously have the power to support artist development, but Spotify (even without buying SoundCloud) has also expressed interest in owning more of the artist-fan connection and amping up its own discovery engines. This time next year, expect to see Spotify and Apple Music do to the Grammys what Amazon and Netflix have done to the Emmys.

7. The year of the VR platform wars.

“2016 was the year VR reached the ‘rest of us.’ 2017 will be the year of the platform wars in VR, when we’ll begin to see a winner emerge,” predicts Lightspeed Venture partner Alex Taussig. “Today it’s not clear who that will be, but Sony is ahead by some measures.” Read his full predictions here.

8. “Worry-itis” will become a medical condition.

“Worry-itis, like its close cousin anxiety, is what you “catch” when you feel out of control about your future and there are no answers in sight,” says Top Voice Julie Kliger. That feeling has been heightened since the U.S. election. (The American Psychological Association says more than half of all Americans are under significant stress since then.) That is likely going to continue into the new year, predicts Kliger as “uncertainty about people’s health care coverage, costs of care and access to health care, will lead to an epidemic of stress and anxiety. Also on the rise will be innovative ways to get health coverage outside traditional means, providing a ray of hope as we move into and through 2017.” Read her full prediction here.

9. The return of the experts: Economists strike back.

“Economists have found themselves out of favor with populist politicians over the last year, classed as out of touch with reality and having their forecasts constantly criticized. However, 2017 promises to be a year of disruption with the world in the midst of an economic transformation and the need for high quality economic advice is greater than ever,” predicts Mark Gregory, a UK Top Voice and chief economist for the UK and Ireland at EY. Read his full prediction here.

10. Drones get jobs for real this time.

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“Commercial drones will show explosive growth as an emerging sector as insurers, farmers, construction companies, resorts, energy and telco providers embrace the use of autonomous flying vehicles and replace human inspection,” predicts Lightspeed Venture partner John Vrionis.

11. Construction workers gain the upper hand.

For all the talk about America’s need to roll up its sleeves and start building again, far less is said about this: We’re running out of people to do the building. Take residential real estate. New home construction is now at a nine-year high, yet 76 percent of builders reported concerns about finding help, according to a survey released earlier this year. “Construction costs have skyrocketed due to lack of labor,” says John Burns, the CEO at John Burns Real Estate Consulting and a LinkedIn Influencer. “Surging retirement by those born in the 1950s will make this worse, and any tightening of immigration policy or spending on infrastructure will make the shortage even more acute.” What it means: It’ll cost more to build a home. It may take longer. But for in-demand contractors benefitting from higher wages and more work? Next year looks pretty sweet.

12. A Fortune 100 company decides to become a do-gooder.

“Large companies are increasingly under pressure from employees, customers, and society to create value for more than just their shareholders. For decades, business was allowed to tax environmental, social, and societal resources in pursuit of profit. A new generation of consumers and employees are demanding that business ladder to more than simple profit, but rather, have a core purpose—one that makes the world a little (or a lot) better place,” says Top Voice and Influencer John Battelle. “It’s this pressure that led Unilever to redefine its brand as ‘the trustmark of sustainability,’ and it’s this pressure that led Aetna to commit to a $16 minimum wage. Turns out, there’s already a corporate governance structure that encourages this approach to running a company—the Public Benefit Corporation, or B Corp. Still a relatively new construct, the B Corp. movement will gain a significant boost in 2017 when a Fortune 100 company announces it is formally exploring a move to B Corp. status.”

13. Small finance will give big banks a run for their money.

“Financial institutions will increasingly lose market share to online lenders and non-banks (i.e. non-banks already do over 50% of all home loans in the US). As a result, the large incumbent financial institutions will get more aggressive with their expansion into online lending,” predicts Louis Beryl, the founder and CEO at Earnest, an online lender itself. Watch for this to play out in three ways: Banks could launch their own services, like Goldman Sachs did with its Marcus online bank, aimed at consumers. They could strike partnerships, as JPMorgan Chase did with lender OnDeck. Or they could simply pull out their wallets, buying some of the up-and-coming names in finance. Read his full prediction here.

14. 80 percent of singles won’t go on one date.

Paul Carrick Brunson, one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices who also works as a matchmaker, says the sheer number of dating apps is creating chaos. “Users have what they believe are so many options that they rarely connect with the options they do have.” His prediction: The majority of singles will spend 2017 swiping — and hooking up. But dates? “As so many people have told me: ‘Why date when I can remain single and get sex whenever I want it?’” Read his full prediction here.

15. The odds are high that a recession is on its way.

“The current economic expansion will start 2017 at the ripe old age of 90 months old, longer than the post World War II average of nearly 60 months, but still not in the top three longest on record – that honor goes to 1991-2001 (120 months), 1961-1969 (103 months) and 1982-1990 (92 months),” says Top Voice and Influencer Jill Schlesinger. “The sheer length of the period may be why before the election, a Wall Street Journal survey of economists found that the odds of a recession occurring within the next four years at nearly 60 percent.” Read her prediction here.

16. Social change through bits and bytes.

”In an effort to make true, measurable impact let’s strive to make change, not chatter.”

Social justice initiatives will turn to technology to accelerate change—but this year won’t be just about Twitter campaigns and hashtags, predicts Top Voice Dennis Williams. It will be about leveraging tech advancements in areas like big data, virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

“Imagine the use of virtual reality to allow users to get a POV experience of life in another skin color or gender. Imagine AI paired with live video used to spread awareness of police interactions and potential misconduct. We should also consider EdTech programs that empower minority youth to build skill sets in-line with the many jobs of tomorrow’s technology field. Moving forward, there is no box to think within,” says Williams. Read his full prediction here.

17. Do you hear the people Snap? If you haven’t, you will.

“Facebook and Google curate much of the information we receive throughout the day. Snapchat has kicked the middleman to the curb and favors the personal touch over algorithms. If we want to figure out how to pop the bubbles that have plagued our conversations in 2016, Snapchat might show us the way,” predicts Marianne Griebler. Snap Inc. has already kicked off the coming revolution with its Spectacles launch this past Fall. The hardware device allows users to record 10-second clips sans a hand-held mobile device—opening up a new way of seeing, and recording, the world. Read her full prediction here.

18. The anti-establishment takes the reins—and the outcome is anyone’s guess.

“If they succeed, 2017 may finally see the type of pick-up in inclusive growth that has been frustratingly elusive for much of the advanced world, together with genuine financial instability. If, however, they fall short, low growth would become recession and artificially-repressed financial volatility would give way to unsettling financial instability,” says Top Voice and Influencer Mohamed El-Erian. Read his full prediction here.

19. The race for cloud computing gets fierce (and goes public).

Worldwide spending on public cloud computing services is expected to grow to over $141 billion by 2019, from only $70 billion in 2015. That huge growth is going to generate some big winners…and some losers. Lightspeed Venture partner John Vrionis predicts Microsoft [Note: LinkedIn’s parent company] will come out ahead in 2017. “Microsoft Azure will surpass Amazon AWS as the optimal cloud service provider for enterprises. Conversely Google compute will lose ground to both,” he says.

But, don’t ignore the small players in the enterprise cloud game. They won’t be giving up anytime soon. Get ready for some of the stand-out players to woo investors, predicts Lightspeed Venture founder and managing directer Ravi Mhatre. Companies like Nutanix and Twilio will hit their stride in 2017 after debuting this year, as others like Mulesoft and Appdynamics get ready for IPOs. Read his full prediction here.

20. You thought China’s food scandals were bad? Wait until the pharma crisis.

China’s drug-safety issues get scant attention compared to the country’s well publicized former troubles with melamine-laced milk or exploding watermelons, a surprise to Jeffrey Towson, a professor at Peking University in Beijing. “I still think this is a far bigger story,” he says. “But it’s still mostly off the radar.” Pharmaceutical problems — fake pills, expired vaccines — are harder to catch than tainted food, but potentially more dangerous, since 80 percent of the world’s active pharmaceutical ingredients are made in China or India. “I’m waiting for this story to break.”

21. We don’t need to live in cyber hell. 2017’s the year we finally fix the Internet.

”We have to fix the internet. After forty years, it has begun to corrode, both itself and us. It is still a marvelous and miraculous invention, but now there are bugs in the foundation, bats in the belfry, and trolls in the basement.”

But, it doesn’t have to stay that way, predicts best-selling author Walter Isaacson. There’s steps we can take to change the course of the modern internet—starting today. “The benefits would be many: Easy and secure ways to deal with your finances and medical records. Small payment systems that could reward valued content rather than the current incentive to concentrate on clickbait for advertising. Less hacking, spamming, cyberbullying, trolling, and the spewing of anonymous hate. And the possibility of a more civil discourse,” says Isaacson. Read his full analysis here.

22. Clickable links will finally come to Instagram.

“For years, the only place you’ve been able to click on a link in Instagram is through the link in your bio. Brands, influencers, and small businesses have had to get creative when it comes to making sales and driving traffic through Instagram, which is why Instagram is now flooded with the phrase “Link in bio!” says Top Voice Taylor Loren. “Shoppable Instagram feeds that leverage the link in your bio are exploding in popularity, and with new features like Instagram shopping and “see more” URLs for verified Instagram users in Instagram Stories, I am predicting that 2017 will be the year Instagram grows up as a marketing platform and finally brings clickable links to Instagram posts.”

23. Get ready to chat even more with the bots.

“When it comes to tech innovation, I think 2017 will be the year “Conversational UI” goes mainstream,” predicts Top Voice Nir Eyal. “We’re going to see all sorts of products and services redesigned to work as effortlessly as a chat with a friend.” Read his full prediction here.

24. Your phone will become your doctor.

“2017 is likely to be the year in which virtual health finally crosses the tipping point and achieves scale,” predicts Top Voice Uschi Schreiber. “Instead of being delivered only in hospitals and clinics, health care will become available wherever patients happen to be. In mature economies, systems will need to contain costs as health care spending continues to rise. In emerging markets, where access remains an issue, mobile service delivery such as SMS campaigns and data collection will become more prevalent and is already taking off, for example across countries in Africa. No matter where, wide scale adoption of virtual health will enable approaches that are dramatically more cost-effective and efficient both for the consumer and provider.” Read her full prediction here.

25. Refugees enter the workforce en masse.

“The past two years have been a time of unprecedented crisis for refugees. As we look ahead, 2017 will be make-or-break for developing a model of getting refugees into jobs: the best foundation for addressing their humanitarian needs,” predicts David Miliband, CEO of the International Rescue Committee. “It is clear that with 25 million refugees and asylum-seekers around the world—and less than one percent going home as wars in Syria, Somalia and South Sudan burn on—there needs to be an economic livelihoods solution as well as a social service element to support refugees.” Read his full prediction here.

26. A human will finally break the 2-hour marathon barrier.

Nike is teaming up with three of the world’s fastest men to help train them to finally accomplish what no human has done before: run 26.2 miles in under two hours. That’s a pace of 4:34 per mile. So far no one has gotten close to breaking that touted barrier. The current marathon world record, set by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya in 2014, is 2:02:57, meaning he was still nearly a half-mile from the finish line when the clock ticked past two hours. Nike is putting some major resources towards the effort, which it dubbed Breaking2, including designers, engineers, coaches and physiologists.

“The sub-two-hour marathon is one of those epic barriers that people bust through,” Nike’s VP of Footwear Innovation, Tony Bignell, told Runner’s World. “It’s like breaking 10 seconds for the 100 meters or 4 minutes for the mile. At the end of the day, we just want to show it can be done. We want to show that it’s within the capability of human physiology.”

27. Netflix will bring back Cocoon — or something like it.

“I predict that Netflix might continue to embrace sci-fi/ fantasy,” says Casey Cipriani, a film features writer at Bustle. “With the success that HBO has had with ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Westworld,’ Netflix definitely needs to compete, particularly for awards, and it hasn’t had much luck with that with dramas like ‘House of Cards’ or ‘Orange is the New Black.’ With how well “Stranger Things” did, expect Netflix to keep going down this route. We’ve already got ‘The OA’ coming this week, more ‘Sense 8,’ and a ‘Lost in Space’ remake in the works. So think back to older sci-fi or fantasy properties that Netflix might be able to tackle. Perhaps something like a TV remake of an 80’s sci-fi movie like ‘The Last Starfighter,’ ‘The Abyss’ or ‘Cocoon,’ or maybe even a revisit/revamp of something as hokey as a gritty, live-action He-Man and She-Ra.”

28. Apple v. FBI was only the beginning. The tech privacy war will continue.

“We live in a Post-Snowden/Future Trump (who wants to return to a Pre-Snowden) world now, which all but guarantees raging wildfires on the privacy front between Washington, Silicon Valley, and the Private Industry,” says Top Voice Sarah Mancinho. “It will get ugly; but the tech industry is smart and moves swiftly.” See: Apple’s encryption patent awarded filed not long after its battle with the FBI, making it even harder to crack into its devices. Read her full prediction here.

29. Universities, once again, become sources of change-making protests.

“Higher education campuses across the nation will be the loci of protests, marches and “ruckus,” with students (including student athletes) leading the charge in support of a nation that treats all people—regardless of age, race, gender, ethnicity, economic status, country of origin and social standing—with respect and dignity,” predicts Top Voice Karen Gross. “And the result of these efforts will be felt by educational institutions, businesses, law enforcement and governments near and far, many of which will be forced to at least hear the student voices.” Read her full prediction here.

30. Your office will become your refuge.

“As the country becomes meaner, office will get nicer,” predicts author Janice Kaplan. “A lot of people will feel miserable after the inauguration of 2017. That’s not a prediction—it’s obvious. An erratic, hate-spewing, fear-mongering administration doesn’t make anybody feel good. Anger is exhausting, even if you’re on the same side. And that’s where offices are going to come to the rescue. Social historian Christopher Lasch famously described family as a haven in a heartless world. But as families become more scattered and people remain (or become) single longer, the workplace starts to take that role.” Read her full prediction here.

31. VCs start to obsess about Omaha and Minneapolis.

“In the U.S., venture capital dollars have long been geographically concentrated. Last year, more than three-quarters of venture capital dollars went to just three states: California, New York and Massachusetts.

“Our most entrepreneurial graduates followed that money, creating a financial ecosystem in which the best innovators and investors congregated in just a few places. But that cycle is starting to change. Elected officials, investors like myself, and entrepreneurs are mobilizing in places like Detroit, Omaha, and Minneapolis to create opportunity and promote entrepreneurship. It’s what I call the Rise of the Rest, and it’s a trend I fully expect to accelerate in 2017.

“Here’s why: First, in this next wave of innovation, the Third Wave, entrepreneurs will use technology to revolutionize sectors like healthcare, education and agriculture. To do that, founders will want to be in places where the relevant expertise is located—likely not Silicon Valley. Second, many Third Wave companies will benefit from partnerships with Fortune 500 companies, most of which have headquarters away from the aforementioned coastal tech hubs.

“Third, the election was a wake-up call. It brought to light the lack of opportunity in places often disregarded by the tech and business communities. We are already witnessing the growth of access to capital from crowdfunding, local angel networks and regional microfunds. I expect more investors and tech leaders to start paying attention to what is happening in other parts of the country in the coming year. And in doing so, the barriers to entry will be lowered for all entrepreneurs, regardless of background or geography.” Steve Case, the chairman and CEO of Revolution LLC, and the co-founder of AOL.

32. Medical research will be inspired by the patients.

“Patients are the most important stakeholder in the healthcare landscape. However, they have been excluded from an active contribution to the medical research and clinical development of new medications for too long,” says Dr. Luca Dezzani, a Top Voice and global medical director at Novartis. “In 2017, I believe that the patients will start making active contributions in clinical trials. This will start from the study concept formulation to trial design, data collection and reporting of results at the end.” Read his full prediction here.

33. Your seat at the airport gate will disappear.

Ready to slide into a chair and wait for your flight to depart? How quaint. Whether it’s new boarding procedures — lining up passengers, Southwest style — or new airport designs, finding a seat near a gate will only get tougher. At airports like Atlanta’s Hartsfield–Jackson, Delta Air Lines is testing organizing passengers in long rows before flights, using floor space that could otherwise be used for seats. And at Calgary’s new international terminal, which opened in October, designers essentially did away with gate seating; airlines call passengers from what is essentially a central food court. The aim is to allow travelers “to rest comfortably,” but on Twitter, passengers don’t seem amused. “Nice try,” one tweeted Monday, “but obviously (by the full seats/people sitting on floor) people want to wait at their gate,” adding, “buy some seats.”

34. Hotels admit: It’s time to start working with Airbnb.

Big hotel operators have spent years fighting the sharing economy. But a new model is emerging, one that may be telling for 2017, says Vikram Pradhan, a longtime Starwood executive and the co-founder of startup SuiteStory. In April, French hotel giant Accor acquired Onefinestay, which rents high-end homes to consumers, in a $168 million deal that could easily spread to the U.S. “You’ll probably start to see hotel companies experiment with this,” Pradhan says, either by buying startups that assist Airbnb hosts — helping them maximize their profits through “revenue management” techniques, for example, or by providing housekeeping services — or by snapping up companies that provide peer-to-peer accommodations directly to consumers. The thinking, Pradhan says: “If we can’t beat them, why not embrace them?”

35. More Americans will eat alone in public, forcing restaurants to respond.

“A growing percentage of households – 29 percent — is single, a segment that spends significantly more per capita than married couples. Because no one wants to eat in a crowded dining room alone, we’ll begin to see reconfigured restaurant designs: ones with smaller dining rooms, more bar space, and more high top seating,” predicts Aaron D. Allen, a restaurant guru and the head of ‎consultancy Aaron Allen & Associates. Read more of his restaurant predictions for the year ahead.

36. Big data isn’t everything — in 2017, we’ll need the humans again.

“With big data implosions abounding, people will now look for human insight, beyond the bits and bytes, that is based on real human understanding, empathy and analysis.”

“People, in fact, are truly in vogue again — there will be a shift from all the “firsters” like digital, mobile, wearable — back to people first as the driver of thinking,” predicts David Sable, CEO of Y&R and a 2016 Top Voice. “Not unrelated, we will pay more attention to Generation World, people connected by shared values more than geography or demography. (Again, see recent elections.)”

37. Pokémon Go was just the beginning.

“2017 will be the year of consumer focused Augmented Reality to prosper,” predicts Top Voice QuHarrison Terry. “We saw some early recognition of the technology with the widespread adoption of Pokémon Go and Snapchat’s face swapping technology. However, 2017 will be the year when things get really interesting.” Read his full prediction here.

38. P. Diddy becomes hip-hop’s first billionaire.

Sean “Diddy” Combs should join the elusive ranks thanks to increased valuations of his various businesses — from his TV network to his wine brand — and a lucrative 2016 tour. His entry “legitimizes the power of hip-hop, still considered a new (and, for some experts, a weakening) genre of music,” proving there are many paths to billionaire status, says Paul Carrick Brunson, a top writer in management. Read his full prediction here.

39. The first pig kidney will be transplanted into a human.

Dr. Joseph Tector, a top transplant surgeons, is working to modify kidneys from pigs — using CRISPR gene-editing technology — to then transplant into humans. About 100,000 patients wait for a kidney each year in the U.S., and 5,000 die before ever receiving one. If successful, this “will change the path of kidney disease and dialysis as we know it and will become one of the most significant advancements in medicine ever,” says Dr. Louis Profeta, an emergency physician in Indianapolis and LinkedIn’s top writer in healthcare for 2016. Read his full prediction here.

40. Global brands will look more out of touch than ever.

“As national borders tighten up and local populations retreat to their roots, we can expect societies to increasingly celebrate their local heritage, nationalities, pride, and sense of belonging. Global brands — even the Coca-Colas and Apples of the world — will find it increasingly difficult to retain traction in local markets, as they’ll have to compete with local voices, regional consumer preferences, and nationalism to a degree never seen before,” predicts Martin Lindstrom, the best-selling author and one of LinkedIn’s top writers in marketing. Read his full prediction here.

41. Customer Experience Officer is the hot new job.

“While UX (user experience) was certainly one of the bigger buzzwords in 2016, it’s going to be all about CX (customer experience) in 2017. CX being the umbrella term which encompasses every aspect of the customer’s experience, from the interface to the advertising, the sales process, product delivery, customer service and more, with UX just one part of this,” says Top Voice Anna O’Dea. “We expect to see more and more dedicated CX agencies emerge in 2017 and ‘CX specialists’ to become the hottest property in the recruiting circle.” Read her full prediction here.

42. No diploma necessary: Credentialed skills gain value.

“2017 will usher in a new era in higher education credentialing,” predicts Top Voice and Influencer Jeffrey Selingo. “The big three—the associate’s degree, the bachelor’s degree, and the master’s degree—will no longer be the only college credentials considered in the war for talent, as some industry certifications, badges and new kinds of transcripts will offer assurances to employers that an applicant is job ready. Read his full prediction here.

43. China will surpass the U.S. as the world’s largest market for entertainment. Hollywood should pay attention.

It looked like it would happen in 2016 when box-office receipts in China grew by 50% year-over-year in the first quarter, but sales slowed down as the year wore on. However, the trend is still growing, and 2017 looks like it may finally be the tipping point, predicts Top Voice Jeffrey Towson. That should be a warning sign for Hollywood, which Towson warns could face the same type of competition that popped up for U.S. smartphone makers:

How fast can things change? Consider that in 2008 over 80% of all smartphones sold in China were made by international companies such as Nokia, Motorola and Apple. Today, Apple and Samsung, the only two foreign smartphone companies still kicking in China, have only about 15% of the market between them. The remaining 85% belongs to local competitors such as Xiaomi, Oppo and Huawei.

Hollywood will face the same type of ruthless competition in the next five years. Its golden age in China, defined by wealthy moviegoers but still weak competitors, is coming to an end. It’s all going to get much more difficult.

Read his full analysis of China’s entertainment industry here.

44. An insurance company launches its own wearable.

“2017 will be the year when the behemoth system of health insurance will start to change with data provided by patients,” predicts Dr. Bertalan Mesko, a 2016 Top Voice. “As more and more accurate data sets about our lifestyle through trackers and wearables become available, it is inevitable insurance companies will try to utilize them. I believe that in 2017, a large insurance company (not a start-up!) will launch a package containing wearable sensors and guidance about living a healthy life by measuring data.” Read his full prediction here.

45. You’ll sleep in a Restoration Hardware overnight.

Retailers, desperate to find additional ways to sell their wares, have seized on a new idea: hotels. West Elm is working on a chain of its own, to be decked out with its couches, lamps and furniture. Shinola, the watch company, is doing the same. But one of the first retailer-as-hotel efforts will come in 2017 from Restoration Hardware, set to open a 14-room abode in New York’s meatpacking district. Guests who like the beds and decide to purchase them won’t have to go far; a store will be located just steps away. Read more on retailers-as-hotels from Vikram Pradhan here.

46. In schools, coding becomes the new typing class.

“Leaders and trendsetters all agree on one thing: coding is the new literacy,” says Top Voice Kandi Brown. This has been touted by such names as President Bill Clinton, media mogul Arianna Huffington and rapper Snoop Dogg. ”Teaching our children how to code needs to be implemented in their education process much like typing was for most of us,” she says. Read her full prediction here.

47. This is the beginning of the end for cable television.

Over-the-top (OTT) programming, meaning TV shows and movies that are streamed over the internet sans any need for a cable subscription, is upending the entertainment industry. It’s sparking new distribution channels and new media brands, and old media won’t be able to keep up, predicts Lightspeed Venture partner Alex Taussig:

“The distribution rights [television] networks so fastly protect are no longer valuable when social channels over the internet are a more efficient way to reach customers. At best, these networks will package their own content for distribution via apps and bundles, but that won’t stand out in the sea of other apps competing for a consumer’s brain space in a free and open market. Old media is already losing this fight, and its competitive position will only worsen in 2017.” Read his full predictions here.

48. Humans and AI will converge to create super thinkers.

Humans will start to use Artificial Intelligence—by inserting microelectronics directly in their bodies—to be improve physical health or cognitive capabilities, predicts Top Voice Seyi Fabode. It’s not as outrageous as it sounds: companies like Neuropace and Kernel are already doing it for things like machine-learning prosthetics and Alzheimer’s treatment. “These technologies will start to get into our lives in 2017 as it has started to make the natural progression from critical medical needs,” says Fabode. Read his full prediction here.

49. The 2016 election will leave lasting ripple effects.

“We are in the era of the individual, not the institution,” says two-time Top Voice Dustin Mckissen. “Even if you are thoroughly sick of the term “personal brand,” the way Donald Trump defied political parties, traditional media, and corporate opposition to become the most unlikely president-elect in American history reinforced the power of personality.” And this will have enduring effects (and lessons) for us all. Read his full prediction here.

50. Precision medicine hits its stride.

“2017 promises to be the year where we can begin to redefine how we categorize chronic diseases and cancer using precision medicine,” predicts Top Voice Jacques Kpodonu. From big data to artificial intelligence and dedicated funding from the U.S. government to private philanthropy, the pieces are in place to further unlock the secrets of our genome, which will allow more efficient drug discovery, better diagnoses and targeted treatments that are more effective. This is the year it becomes more accessible.

Starting work before 10am isn’t just soul crushing, this scientist says it’s equivalent to torture.


According to Dr. Paul Kelley of Oxford University, the most prevalent form of modern torture looks like this

Dr. Kelley and a research team at the Sleep and Circadian Institute have studied and developed a conclusion, that it violates the natural circadian rhythm of the human body to wake up every day for work at 9 AM.

As they point out, the rhythms that regulate human energy levels, brainwave activity and hormone production are directly connected to the light cycles of the planet, not the industrial, factory oriented, 9-5 mentality of the 1800s.  Though the 8 hour work day was implemented by factory owners in the late 1800s and seemed to increase productivity for the corporation, it was not a plan, tried and true, for those that wake up and live a modern lifestyle that often includes thinking.

As Kelley told the British Science Festival in Bradford, “We’ve got a sleep deprived society.”  He put his theory to the test when moving a British school’s start time from 8:30 to 10am and saw grades improve by an average of 19%.

Companies that force employees to start earlier than 10am are putting stress on the emotional and physical systems of the workers, causing increased number of sick days and a lower quality of work.  It is also notoriously why Americans spend $40 billion on coffee annually, averaging over 3 9oz cups a day.

As Kelly puts it, “this is an international issue. Everybody is suffering and they don’t have to.”

 

 

http://www.theplaidzebra.com/starting-work-before-10am-isnt-just-soul-crushing-this-scientist-says-its-equivalent-to-torture/

Vitamin D Promotes Protein Homeostasis and Longevity via the Stress Response Pathway Genes skn-1, ire-1, and xbp-1


Highlights

  • Vitamin D metabolism is conserved between nematodes and mammals
  • Vitamin D prevents the age-dependent accumulation of SDS-insoluble proteins
  • Vitamin D enhances lifespan and protein homeostasis via IRE-1, XBP-1, and SKN-1

Summary

Vitamin D has multiple roles, including the regulation of bone and calcium homeostasis. Deficiency of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the major circulating form of vitamin D, is associated with an increased risk of age-related chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cognitive impairment, and cancer. In this study, we utilized Caenorhabditis elegans to examine the mechanism by which vitamin D influences aging. We found that vitamin-D3-induced lifespan extension requires the stress response pathway genes skn-1, ire-1, and xbp-1. Vitamin D3 (D3) induced expression of SKN-1 target genes but not canonical targets of XBP-1. D3 suppressed an important molecular pathology of aging, that of widespread protein insolubility, and prevented toxicity caused by human β-amyloid. Our observation that D3 improves protein homeostasis and slows aging highlights the importance of maintaining appropriate vitamin D serum levels and may explain why such a wide variety of human age-related diseases are associated with vitamin D deficiency.

Source: Cell reports.

11 Amazing Health Benefits and Uses of Baking Soda


Story at-a-glance

  • Baking soda can be used to remove plaque and odors from your teeth and also promotes whitening
  • Use baking soda for minor injuries, including insect bites, bee stings, poison ivy, splinters, and sunburn
  • Baking soda can be used as a natural deodorant, foot soak, detox bath, and exfoliator
  • A mixture of baking soda and water is often effective for relieving heartburn, indigestion, and ulcer pain

ou probably have at least one box of baking soda in your home right now. If you’re like many Americans, you might have a box in your pantry for baking, one in your refrigerator to absorb odors and another under your kitchen sink to use for cleaning.

What you might not have considered is that baking soda can be used for health purposes, too, so you might want to stash another box in your medicine cabinet.

What Exactly Is Baking Soda?

It’s 100 percent sodium bicarbonate, which can be used as a leavening agent in baked goods. When mixed with an acid, baking soda reacts, making bubbles and giving off carbon dioxide gas, which causes dough to rise. Anecdotal reports throughout history suggest that many civilizations used forms of baking soda when making bread and other foods that required rising.

In its natural form, baking soda is known as nahcolite, which is part of the natural mineral natron. Natron, which contains large amounts of sodium bicarbonate, has been used since ancient times. And no, you don’t need to get aluminum-free baking soda (you are confusing that with baking powder), as baking soda is already aluminum free.…

For instance, the Egyptians used natron as a soap for cleansing purposes. However, it wasn’t until 1846 that Dr. Austin Church and John Dwight began to manufacture and sell the compound we know as baking soda today. By the 1860s, baking soda was featured in published cookbooks but was still primarily known as a cooking additive.1 By the 1920s, however, its versatility was expanded on and by the 1930s it was widely advertised as a “proven medical agent.”

11 Ways to Use Baking Soda for Your Health

You can purchase a box of baking soda for under $1, making it one of the least expensive home remedies to keep on hand. In addition to using it for minor accidents and injuries, baking soda can become a part of your regular hygiene routine.

1. Natural Deodorant

If you want to avoid the parabens and aluminum found in many deodorants and antiperspirants, try a pinch of baking soda mixed with water instead. This simple paste makes an effective and simple natural deodorant. You can also simply brush some dry baking soda under your arms.

2. Insect Bites and Poison Ivy

Apply a paste made of baking soda and water to insect bites to help relieve itching. You can also try rubbing the dry powder onto your skin. This is also effective for itchy rashes and poison ivy. Baking soda helps to relieve minor skin irritation and itching by neutralizing toxins and irritants on your skin’s surface.2

3. Heartburn, Indigestion, and Ulcer Pain

Most over-the-counter antacids contain some form of bicarbonate. Baking soda works by immediately neutralizing stomach acid, helping to relieve heartburn, indigestion and even ulcer pain. I have personally recommended this to many, including family members, and have been surprised how remarkably effective it is.

Dosing is typically ½ teaspoon fully dissolved in a half a glass of water, taken every two hours (do not take more than seven ½ teaspoons in 24 hours, or three ½ teaspoons if you’re over 60).3

This should only be used as an occasional (not chronic) treatment, however, and be careful not to consume excessive amounts, which can cause serious electrolyte and acid/base imbalances.4

4. Foot Soak and Exfoliator

Add three tablespoons of baking soda to a tub of warm water for an invigorating foot soak. You can scrub your feet with a baking soda paste for additional exfoliation. A paste made from three parts of baking soda combined with one part water can be used as an exfoliator for your face and body, too. It’s natural, inexpensive and gentle enough to use every day.

5. Relaxing Soak

Baking soda and apple cider make a wonderful spa-like bath for soaking. It also cleans the tub and the drain, as a bonus!

6. Hand Cleanser

Mix three parts baking soda with one part of water to make a natural hand cleanser that will scrub away dirt and neutralize odors.

7. Splinter removal

Add a tablespoon of baking soda to a small glass of water, then soak the affected area twice a day. Many splinters will come out on their own after a couple of days using this treatment.

8. Sunburn Remedy

Add ½ cup of baking soda to lukewarm bathwater, then soak in the tub for natural relief. When you get out, let your skin air dry, rather than toweling off the excess baking soda, for extra relief. You can also add a mixture of baking soda and water to a cool compress and apply it to the sunburn directly.

9. Enhanced Sports Performance

Distance runners have long engaged in a practice known as “soda doping” — or taking baking soda capsules — before races to enhance performance, a measure that’s thought to work similarly to carbohydrate loading. It’s also been shown to improve speed among swimmers.5 While I don’t suggest you try this at home, it’s another example of baking soda benefits. Researchers noted:6

Essentially, sodium bicarbonate is an alkali substance that increases the pH of the blood. This seems to reduce and offset the acidity produced in the muscles during intense, anaerobic exercise that produces lactic acid most quickly, such as fast running or swimming.”

10. Tooth and Gum Paste

Baking soda has a mild abrasive action that helps to remove plaque and polish, clean, and deodorize your teeth.7 One review of data from five controlled clinical studies found that toothpaste containing baking soda “enhanced plaque removal effectiveness of tooth brushing to a significantly greater extent” than brushing with a non-baking soda toothpaste.8

Baking soda also has antibacterial activity and has been found to kill Streptococcus mutans bacteria – a significant contributor to tooth decay.9 For an incredibly effective tooth and gum paste, use a mixture of six parts of baking soda to one part of sea salt.

Place them in a blender and mix for 30 seconds, then place in a container to use. Wet the tip of your index finger and place a small amount of the salt and soda mixture on your gums.

Starting with the upper outside gums and then the inside of the upper, followed by the lower outside of the gums then the lower inside, rub the mixture onto your teeth and gums. Spit out the excess. After 15 minutes rinse your mouth. This mixture is incredibly effective at killing bacteria.10

You need to exert some caution in this area though as many believe baking soda can be too abrasive on your enamel, and Dr. Curatola believes that killing the oral microbiome may be highly counterproductive.

11. Teeth whitener

For a natural way to whiten your teeth, crush one ripe strawberry and mix it with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. Spread the mixture onto your teeth and leave on for five minutes. Then brush your teeth and rinse. This method should be used no more than once a week, as excessive use could potentially damage your tooth enamel.

How to Use Baking Soda as a Natural Cleanser

If you find it hard to believe that something as simple and inexpensive as baking soda could really clean your home, consider this: baking soda was used to clean and restore the inner copper walls of the Statute of Liberty during its 1986 restoration. It effectively removed grime without damaging the copper11 – so think it might work around your home, too? Here are some of baking soda’s top uses for cleaning:

 

Baking soda is great to scrub your bath and kitchen with. Put it in a glass grated cheese container with a stainless steel top that has holes in it, and just sprinkle the baking soda on the surfaces and scrub. You may add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to this. Lavender and tea tree oil have potent anti-bacterial qualities. Baking soda mixed with apple cider vinegar is a bubbly combination that has many uses. As a drain cleaner, sprinkle baking soda down the drain, then add apple cider vinegar and let it bubble for 15 minutes, then rinse with hot water. This is a safer alternative to dangerous drain cleaners.
Soak pots and pans in hot water and baking soda for 15 minutes to easily wipe away baked-on food. Use baking soda to scrub your barbecue grill.
Clean baby toys in a mixture of 4 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 quart of water. Baking soda can also be used as a fabric softener in your laundry, or to get your clothes whither and brighter (add one cup to your laundry load).
Baking soda is a natural carpet cleaner. Sprinkle it onto carpets, let it sit for 15 minutes, then vacuum it up. To polish silver without using toxic silver polish, fill your kitchen sink with hot water, add a sheet of aluminum foil and baking soda, and let the silver pieces soak until clean. It is an easy and fun way to clean silver.
Sprinkle baking soda in your shoes for a natural deodorizer. In the event of a minor grease fire in your kitchen, use baking soda to help smother out the flames.
Sprinkle baking soda on a vegetable brush to help remove dirt and residue from fruits and veggies. Make a paste of baking soda and water and use it to scrub away grime from your shower and bath.

Watch the video. URL:;https://youtu.be/VMoLIU0Kxlw

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