We’re One Step Closer to Pulling Nuclear Fuel Straight Out of the Ocean


Better than digging it out of the ground.

Pulling uranium out of seawater could be a cost-effective way to source nuclear fuel, scientists have found, and the technique could pave the way for coastal countries to switch to nuclear power.

With the International Atomic Energy Agency currently predicting an increase of up to 68 percent in nuclear power production over the next 15 years, finding a new, more environmentally friendly source of uranium – the most critical ingredient in nuclear power – could give this alternative to fossil fuels a boost.

Researchers from Stanford University in California have found a way to more efficiently extract the uranium dissolved in our oceans, which could one day help nations with plenty of ocean-front land and no uranium collect fuel for nuclear energy.

In the form of the isotope U-235, uranium is currently the radioactive element of choice when it comes to using nuclear energy to produce electricity.

Right now, about 450 nuclear power plants spread across 30 countries chew through more than 60,000 tonnes of the stuff each year.

As an element, uranium is about as common as tin, being found in most rocks in a few parts per million. Getting your hands on enough to boil water for power, however, requires finding patches of it concentrated in Earth’s crust – at least if you want it to be cost-effective.

For countries without vast deposits of uranium, going nuclear relies on importing the fuel from countries with significant reserves, such as Australia, Kazakhstan, Canada, and Russia.

Pulling it out of rocks can have a big impact on the environment, both as a result of digging a great big hole, and through the process of extracting the fuel from the surrounding waste material.

Because of that, finding another source for uranium that risks less damage to the environment would also make the power source more environmentally friendly.

And it turns out, the ocean contains an enormous amount of uranium that doesn’t require digging – but the bad news is you need a lot of buckets of water to get even a small amount of the stuff.

“Concentrations are tiny, on the order of a single grain of salt dissolved in a litre of water,” said team researcher Yi Cui from Stanford University. “But the oceans are so vast that if we can extract these trace amounts cost effectively, the supply would be endless.”

“Endless” might be a small exaggeration, but the 4.5 billion tonnes of uranium dissolved in our planet’s waters would see us through for at least a few millennia of energy, with any we remove being replenished as uranium in the surrounding rocks dissolves.

We have a lot of water to sift through – about 1.37 billion cubic kilometres, in fact, (that’s more than 332 million cubic miles), with only about 3 particles of uranium per billion particles of seawater.

But uranium happens to form a positively charged ion in seawater as it reacts with oxygen to form the compound uranyl, providing a potentially easy way to selectively pull it out of solution.

One procedure uses a compound called amidoxime to pick up particles of uranyl while avoiding other positively charged particles.

By coating fibres in amidoxine, it’s possible to sweep a brush through a current of seawater and pull it up once it has a layer of the uranium compound – then it’s a matter of washing the brushes in a chemical bath to remove the uranyl, and sending it off for refining.

Being possible is one thing – being able to compete in a market where existing approaches are cheaper is another.

But in their new study, the Stanford researchers found several ways to improve the process, bringing it a step closer to becoming an economically viable industry.

Adding amoxidone to a pair of carbon electrodes, the scientists created a binding layer which could be hit with alternating pulses of low voltage electricity, allowing at least nine times the amount of uranyl to accumulate before saturation.

Using actual ocean water, the team was also able to collect three times as much uranyl in an 11-hour period, showing an improvement not just in the amount which could be collected in one sweep, but in the rate of collection.

Lastly, they showed this adjustment to the process tripled the lifespan of the amidoxine coating, reducing costs even further.

While it’s an improvement on the existing technology, a lot more needs to be done before mining ocean water for uranium can compete with digging it out of the ground. The next step would be to reduce the voltage required to be fed into the process.

Of course, there is still the question of whether nuclear is the way to go at all; while it’s a carbon-free alternative to fossil fuels, anxiety over the risk of nuclear accidents, access to raw nuclear material, and the need to safely and responsibly dispose of spent fuel remains high.

“For much of this century, some fraction of our electricity will need to come from sources that we can turn on and off,” says researcher Stephen Chu.

“I believe nuclear power should be part of that mix, and assuring access to uranium is part of the solution to carbon-free energy.”

One thing is for certain – nuclear energy isn’t going away any time soon, so finding cheaper, less risky ways to supply the fuel can only be a good thing.

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This New Metamaterial Is the First to Reach the Theoretical Limits of Stiffness


The most efficient foam in the known Universe.

 Scientists have demonstrated that the design of their new 3D metamaterial is the first structure of its kind to achieve the theoretical limit of stiffness.

Called Isomax, the material is a hard foam based on a repeating formation of geometrically shaped cells. Structures like this are an example of what’s called a heterogeneous material – made up of different components – and despite Isomax mostly being air and empty space, it’s actually the toughest such composite ever designed.

“The Isomax geometry is maximally stiff in all directions,” explains materials scientist Jonathan Berger from UC Santa Barbara.

Berger originally conceived of the design for Isomax in 2015, when he was searching for a material with the highest possible stiffness to lightness ratio.

The idea was to find a repeating cellular 3D structure – such as honeycomb – but one that offered extremely low density in terms of overall mass, and with the maximum possible toughness and crush-resistance.

Now, in a new paper, Berger and his team have backed up their initial computer modelling with new calculations showing that Isomax’s geometric structure reaches the limits of elastic stiffness as formulated by a theorem called the Hashin-Shtrikman bounds.

“There was obviously a lot of positive feedback [in 2015],” says Berger, “but for me as a scientist, it’s a bit too much hand waving until you have something in a peer-reviewed journal.”

Isomax hasn’t yet been manufactured, but what makes the material so stiff theoretically is its combination of two basic shapes – a triangle and a cross. Using these two motifs, the Isomax repeating cell is made up of a number of pyramids reinforced by interior walls.

According to the researchers, the intersecting walls are perfect for resisting perpendicular crushing forces, while the pyramidal shapes provide stability and resist shearing (unaligned) forces from opposing directions.

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Because the design of the cell means that Isomax is mostly empty space, the foam ends up being incredibly light, despite its extreme resilience, leading Berger to describe it as “the most efficient [foam] in the Universe”.

“Because it has certain symmetries and alignments and achieves the theoretical bounds for stiffness, there is no other material like it,” he explained in 2015.

The next step for the team is to investigate the potential of this metamaterial in the real world.

An experimental analysis will let them test the physical resilience of Isomax in the lab, and they’re also looking into manufacturing processes that would enable the structure to be fabricated efficiently.

Once manufactured, the team envisages Isomax being used in everything from new kinds of packaging materials to lightweight prosthetic devices.

“It will also be an excellent thermal insulating and sound absorbing material,” says one of the team, Haydn N. G. Wadley from the University of Virginia.

“Potential applications for this ultralight material are likely to emerge in aerospace structures, for lightweighting automobiles and in many robotic machines, especially mobile types that carry their own power and must manoeuvre.”

No One Can Figure Out What’s Behind a Mysterious Radiation Spike Across Europe


It appears to be linked to pharmaceuticals.

 Small amounts of nuclear radiation spread across Europe last month, and no one can figure out why.

First detected over the Norway-Russia border in January, the radioactive Iodine-131 bloom was then found over several European countries, and while unsubstantiated rumours of nuclear testing by Russia have been cropping up, officials say it’s most likely linked to an unreported pharmaceutical mishap.

While the radiation spike happened in January, officials in Finland and Francehave only just gone public with information on the incident, announcing that after the spike was detected in Norway, it appeared in Finland, Poland, Czechia (Czech Republic), Germany, France and Spain, until the end of January.

When asked why Norway didn’t inform the public last month, when it was the first to detect the radiation in its northernmost county, Finnmark, Astrid Liland from the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority told the Barents Observer:

“The measurements at Svanhovd in January were very, very low. So were the measurements made in neighbouring countries, like Finland. The levels raise no concern for humans or the environment. Therefore, we believe this had no news value.”

As France’s nuclear safety authority, the IRSN, announced last week, the actual amount of radioactive Iodine-131 in Europe’s ground-level atmosphere in January “raise no health concerns”, and has since returned to normal.

But what’s most disconcerting about the event isn’t the level of radiation that spread through Europe – it’s the fact that no one can say what actually happened.

iodine-detectionIodine-131 (value +/- uncertainty) in the atmosphere.

What we do know is that Iodine-131 has a half-life of just eight days, so detecting it in the atmosphere is proof of a recent release.

“The release was probably of recent origin. Further than this, it is impossible to speculate,” Brian Gornall from Britain’s Society for Radiological Protection told Ben Sullivan at Motherboard.

Right now, the best bet is that the origin of the radioactive Iodine-131 is somewhere in Eastern Europe – something that conspiracy theorists have latched onto as evidence that Russia performed a nuclear test in the Arctic.

But there is no evidence of this taking place, and the fact that only Iodine-131 – and no other radioactive substances – were detected strongly suggests this is not the answer.

“It was rough weather in the period when the measurements were made, so we can’t trace the release back to a particular location. Measurements from several places in Europe might indicate it comes from Eastern Europe,” Liland told the Barents Observer.

Based on the particular isotope, experts are saying it’s far more likely that the radiation spike is the result of some kind of pharmaceutical factory leak, seeing as Iodine-131 is used widely in treating certain types of cancer.

“Since only Iodine-131 was measured, and no other radioactive substances, we think it originates from a pharmaceutical company producing radioactive drugs,” Liland told Motherboard. “Iodine-131 is used for treatment of cancer.”

And, oddly enough, the case for pharmaceuticals being behind the mess has a surprisingly similar parallel to back it up – an almost identical event occurred in 2011, when low levels of radioactive Iodine-131 were detected in several European countries for a few weeks.

At the time of the announcement, officials were also at a loss to explain the spike in Iodine-131, but quickly ruled out a link to nuclear power plants.

“If it came from a reactor we would find other elements in the air,” Didier Champion, then head of environment and intervention at the IRSN, told Reuters in 2011.

Interestingly, a paper came out just last week confirming that the source of the 2011 Iodine-131 leak was a faulty filter system at the Institute of Isotopes Ltd in Budapest, Hungary, which produces a wide variety of radioactive isotopes for medical treatment and research.

The investigation is still ongoing for the 2017 leak, with the US Air Force deploying its WC-135 nuclear explosion ‘sniffer’ aircraft to the UK last week to help narrow down the source.

Hopefully researchers can nail down what exactly happened here, so factory owners – if they are to blame this time around – can ensure these kinds of leaks don’t continue.

Because while both events posed no health risk to humans, it’s really not something any manufacturer should be risking.

 

Scientists Just Found Evidence That Neurons Can Communicate in a Way We Never Anticipated


A new brain mechanism hiding in plain sight.

Researchers have discovered a brand new mechanism that controls the way nerve cells in our brain communicate with each other to regulate learning and long-term memory.

The fact that a new brain mechanism has been hiding in plain sight is a reminder of how much we have yet to learn about how the human brain works, and what goes wrong in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and epilepsy.

“These discoveries represent a significant advance and will have far-reaching implications for the understanding of memory, cognition, developmental plasticity, and neuronal network formation and stabilisation,” said lead researcher Jeremy Henley from the University of Bristol in the UK.

“We believe that this is a groundbreaking study that opens new lines of inquiry which will increase understanding of the molecular details of synaptic function in health and disease.”

The human brain contains around 100 billion nerve cells, and each of those makes about 10,000 connections – known as synapses – with other cells.

That’s a whole lot of connections, and each of them is strengthened or weakened depending on different brain mechanisms that scientists have spent decades trying to understand.

Until now, one of the best known mechanisms to increase the strength of information flow across synapses was known as LTP, or long-term potentiation.

LTP intensifies the connection between cells to make information transfer more efficient, and it plays a role in a wide range of neurodegenerative conditions – too much LTP, and you risk disorders such as epilepsy, too little, and it could cause dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

As far as researchers were aware, LTP is usually controlled by the activation of special proteins called NMDA receptors.

But now the UK team has discovered a brand new type of LTP that’s regulated in an entirely different way.

After investigating the formation of synapses in the lab, the team showed that this new LTP mechanism is controlled by molecules known as kainate receptors, instead of NMDA receptors.

“These data reveal a new and, to our knowledge, previously unsuspected role for postsynaptic kainate receptors in the induction of functional and structural plasticity in the hippocampus,” the researchers write in Nature Neuroscience.

This means we’ve now uncovered a previously unexplored mechanism that could control learning and memory.

“Untangling the interactions between the signal receptors in the brain not only tells us more about the inner workings of a healthy brain, but also provides a practical insight into what happens when we form new memories,” said one of the researchers, Milos Petrovic from the University of Central Lancashire.

“If we can preserve these signals it may help protect against brain diseases.”

Not only does this open up a new research pathway that could lead to a better understanding of how our brains work, but if researchers can find a way to target these new pathways, it could lead to more effective treatments for a range of neurodegenerative disorders.

It’s still early days, and the discovery will now need to be verified by independent researchers, but it’s a promising new field of research.

“This is certainly an extremely exciting discovery and something that could potentially impact the global population,” said Petrovic.

One of the Biggest Myths About Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Just Got Debunked


Chronic fatigue IS a real disease.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is one of the most perplexing conditions out there. It affects up to 1 million Americans and 2.6 percent of the global population, often triggering exhaustion so severe that patients can’t work or study.

But for decades, researchers have struggled to find an underlying cause, leading to an assumption by many doctors that it’s ‘not a real disease’. Now, Australian researchers have blown that myth wide open, showing for the first time that CFS is linked to a faulty cell receptor in immune cells.

“This discovery is great news for all people living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and the related Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), as it confirms what people with these conditions have long known – that it is a ‘real’ illness – not a psychological issue,” said Leeanne Enoch, the Science Minister of Queensland – the Australian state that’s supporting the research.

“CFS and ME are notoriously difficult to diagnose, with sufferers often going for years without getting the proper care and attention they need.”

Not only is this the first research to show how the faulty cell receptor causes the immune system changes seen in CFS/ME, it also offers researchers a long-sought-after target for future treatments and tests.

It was two years ago that the US officially listed CFS/ME as a disease, but there’s still no way to test for the disease, and no effective treatment.

In fact, the two most commonly prescribed treatments for the condition are cognitive behavioural therapy and exercise, neither of which have any evidence to support they work – and many feel could actually be doing more harm than good.

Now, the latest study shows the disease actually has a serious cell receptor dysfunction at its core.

The breakthrough came after researchers from Griffith University identified that patients with CFS/ME were far more likely to have single nucleotide polymorphisms – DNA typos – in the genetic code for certain cell receptor.

This cell receptor is known as transient receptor potential melastatin 3 (TRPM3), and in healthy cells it plays a crucial role – transferring calcium from outside the cell to the inside, where it helps regulate gene expression and protein production.

But in several peer-reviewed papers published by the Griffith team last year, they showed that in CFS/ME patients, something seemed to be going wrong with TRPM3.

In the latest study, the team looked at blood samples 15 CFS/ME patients and 25 healthy controls, and found that immune cells in chronic fatigue patients had far fewer functioning TRPM3 receptors than those of healthy participants.

As a result, calcium ions weren’t making it inside the cell like they should be, meaning cell function was impaired.

What makes matters worse is that TRPM3 isn’t just found in immune cells. The team tested its presence on immune cells as they’re easy to access in blood samples, but the receptor is found on every single cell in the body, which not only explains why CFS/ME has been so difficult to diagnose, but also why it’s so severe.

“This is why it’s such a devastating illness, and why it’s been so difficult to understand,” one of the researchers, Don Staines, co-director of Griffith University’s National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases, told ScienceAlert.

“This dysfunction affects the brain, the spinal cord, the pancreas, which is why there are so many different manifestations of the illness – sometimes patients will suffer from cardiac symptoms, sometimes it will be symptoms in the gut.”

It’s something that’s confused doctors for decades, and has lead to much of the misdiagnosis of the condition – but the new research suggests that all of the common CFS/ME symptoms can be explained by these faulty calcium ion channels.

“We now know that this is a dysfunction of a very critical receptor and the critical role that this has, which causes severe problems to cells in the body,” said Staines.

To be clear, the research is still in its early phases – all we know for now is that these dysfunctional TRMP3 receptors are involved in the disease, and there’s a lot more work to be done.

But Staines suggests that the involvement of TRPM3 receptors could explain why so many patients appear to experience CFS/ME following a traumatic event or serious infection.

The class of receptors TRPM3 belongs to are also known as ‘threat rececptors’, because they’re upregulated when the body is under any kind of threat, such as infection, trauma, or even childbirth.

Staines and his colleagues predict that it’s this upregulation that causes the the faulty genetic receptors to get over-expressed and then take over, messing up the calcium transfer in a range of cells.

For now, that’s just a hypothesis. But it’s a much-needed starting point for researchers to look into further.

Already, Staines and his team are working to figure out the best markers that can be used to test for these faulty receptors, so they can begin to create a CFS/ME test.

They’re also looking for medications that act on these specific calcium ion channels in the hopes of finding potential treatments for the disease.

“We don’t know that we can necessarily cure the illness but we can help people lead a normal life,” Staines explained.

In the meantime, the research is a stark reminder of how serious CFS/ME can be – and how useless, and potentially even damaging, current treatment options are.

“This is a much more debilitating illness than people have realised – people die from CFS/ME because they’re not taken seriously,” Staines told ScienceAlert.

“The new research also suggests that diagnosing exercise is just unbelievably bad as it can put the body under further stress,” he added.

“This is why we’re working day and night to develop a test – so that people start taking the disease seriously.”

 

Elon Musk doubles down on universal basic income: ‘It’s going to be necessary’


In an interview with CNBC in November 2016, Tesla CEO Elon Musk joined a growing list of tech executives who support universal basic income as a possible solution to the widespread unemployment automation will likely cause.

Universal basic income (UBI) is a system in which all citizens receive a standard amount of money each month to cover basic expenses like food, rent, and clothes.

On February 13, Musk doubled down on his initial support for the concept.

elon musk

“I think we’ll end up doing universal basic income,” Musk said to a packed crowd at the World Government Summit in Dubai, according to Fast Company . “It’s going to be necessary.”

The economic forecasts for the next several decades don’t bode well for the American worker. In March of last year, President Obama warned Congress about the looming threat of job loss, based on several reports that found as many as 50% of jobs could get replaced by robots by the year 2030.

The downside of that reality is that millions of people will wind up out of a job, a possibility Musk discussed at the Summit.

” There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better,” he said. ” I want to be clear. These are not things I wish will happen; these are things I think probably will happen.”

UBI-friendly executives like Musk – a group that also includes Y Combinator President Sam Altman and Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes – also believe that automation will dramatically increase a society’s wealth.

“With automation there will come abundance,” Musk said. “Almost everything will get very cheap.”

That money could theoretically be redistributed to give people financial security even if they don’t work. UBI advocates often point to those reduced costs as part of the reason the system could be cheaper to implement than most assume.

“Because a very small amount of people have an almost unimaginable amount of money at the very top,” UBI advocate Scott Santens wrote for Huffington Post, “a basic income could actually decrease almost everyone else’s income tax burdens except for theirs.”

Musk retains some skepticism about the effects of UBI – he has voiced concerns what will happen to people’s sense of purpose if they have less of a need (or no need at all) to work.

“If there’s no need for your labor, what’s your meaning?” he said. “Do you feel useless? That’s a much harder problem to deal with.”

NASA Is Set to Announce a Breaking Discovery From “Beyond Our Solar System”


IN BRIEF
  • NASA will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. EST Wednesday, February 22nd to present new findings on exoplanets, and the public will be able to ask questions via twitter.
  • Many are curious what this press conference will entail. Has evidence been uncovered of life beyond our planet?

AN EXO-CONFERENCE

NASA has served as a symbol of wonder and scientific enthusiasm. From landing on the moon to the exploration of our solar system, it has been the organization’s ultimate goal to make the unknown, known. As of this moment, one of the most pressing unknowns is the existence of extraterrestrial life.  Avoiding discussion without a fact base, NASA has already launched several evidence-based research projects on the matter. From establishing a martian colony to diving into the seas of Europa—NASA is at work trying to find answers.

NASA will be holding a press conference at 1 p.m. EST Wednesday, February 22nd to present new findings on exoplanets, which are planets that orbit stars other than our sun.


Participants of the briefing include Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Michael Gillon, astronomer at the University of Liege in Belgium, Sean Carey, manager of NASA’s Spitzer Science Center at Caltech/IPAC, Nikole Lewis, astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute, and Sara Seager, professor of planetary science and physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

During the conference, NASA will be taking questions from the public and the media on twitter through the hashtag #askNASA. At 3 p.m. EST, following the briefing, NASA will host a Reddit AMA(Ask Me Anything) session with the scientists available to answer questions in English and Spanish.

The event can be streamed live on NASA TV at the time of the conference.

WHERE ARE WE NOW?

The first exoplanet around a main-sequence star to be discovered was in October of 1995,  and ever since, we have discovered 4,696 candidates, 3,449 confirmed exoplanets, and of these exoplanets, 348 have been terrestrial. Thanks to advanced technology, we continue to unravel more and more mysteries of the universe, and exoplanets are no exception.

Below you can find a commercially sponsored trailer for exoplanets created by NASA:

LOS ALAMOS STUDY FINDS AIRPORT SCANNERS CAN RIP APART & ALTER DNA


Can we ever believe what our government tells us about airport security devices?

Apparently not. First they told us those X-ray scanners (that showed way too many naked body parts) were perfectly safe.

Even the manufacturer of the device, Rapidscan, openly admitted the scanners had not been adequately tested. The truth was later revealed that the safety tests turned out to be totally rigged, as reported by Natural News.

With fabricated results, the technology was quickly rushed into every airport worldwide. No one listened to what the scientists in the field of radiation were trying to tell them – it’s not safe.

It wasn’t until the backscatter radiation levels the scanners were putting off began showing an increased incidence of cancer in TSA agents (along with the lawsuits that quickly followed), that the devices were finally yanked. The TSA quickly scrambled for another solution.

Now they also want us to believe that the replacement technology, millimeter wave “digital strip search” scanners, are also “perfectly safe”.

Don’t believe it for a second. The TSA failed to adequately test these devices for health and safety factors as well. Unfortunately, in today’s world, security trumps human safety.

These millimeter wave technologies are designed to bombard innocent travelers with high frequency energy particles known as terahertz photons.

A study conducted by Boian S. Alexandrov et.al. at the Center for Nonlinear Studies at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, revealed that these terahertz waves could “…unzip double-stranded DNA, creating bubbles that could significantly interfere with processes such as gene expression and DNA replication.”

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In other words, this study is the smoking gun that raises serious concerns about the impact of terahertz radiation upon fertility, fetal development, and cancer.

Now think about the thousands of people who are subjected to these levels of untested energy particles every day in the name of “National Security”.

The military’s Active Denial weapon uses millimeter wave technology to create an intense burning sensation on the skin’s surface using a 95 GHz (3.2mm wavelength) beam.

But the TSA tells us not to worry about their millimeter waves because:

“Millimeter wave technology bounces harmless electromagnetic waves off the body to create the same generic image for all passengers.” 

At the microwave technology center in Malaysia, health subjects were exposed to microwave radiation between 20 — 38 GHz, the range in which the TSA scanners operate.

They found that millimeter waves penetrated the subject’s skin at depths of between 1.05 mm at 20 GHz to 0.78 mm at 38 GHz. This is enough to penetrate below the epidermal layer of the skin.

Millimeter waves have been reported to produce a variety of bioeffects, many of which are quite unexpected from radiation penetrated less than 1 mm into biological tissues.

Of particular concern is the citing of studies that show there is an irreversible water memory effect by millimeter waves operating in the 36GHz frequency, and that the millimeter wave effects on blood plasma vary greatly from one person to the next.

Does this information make you extremely uncomfortable? Well, it should. And it should also make every one of us mad as hell.

Since the day they first rolled out these human violation technologies in 2007, I have always chosen to “opt out”. I would rather endure the intrusive body pat down any day than subject myself to covert DNA alteration.

So what if it takes an additional 5-15 minutes of your time getting to your gate? It’s time to exercise your own personal body health consciousness, since the US government has clearly demonstrated they don’t possess any qualms about not protecting you.

Alternation of DNA can be subtle and deadly down the line. Who would ever make the connection that a TSA scanning machine might have contributed to any negative health effects you eventually experience.

dna

If you are a frequent air traveler, like myself, you should be concerned about your levels of exposure. If you’re a TSA agent, you should find another job.

This past weekend as I was trying to make a flight back to Los Angeles from the Columbia, South Carolina Airport, I did my usual “opt out” thing. The TSA agents from this little backwater airport tried to feed me the propaganda line about “minimal risk.”

I told them I’d read the studies and they needed to be better informed. They looked at me blankly trying to tell me it was just like using a cell phone. Not true.

The millimeter wave scanners the TSA operates put out more than 20 billion times more oscillations per second in smaller terahertz waves, so the cellular effects will be different from cell phones.

I’m sure no one ever told TSA agents this, but they feed the same lies back to the people that they’ve been told, so I tried to be more forgiving.

I’m sure no one had requested an opt out for some time in this South Carolina airport, which is why I got the pat down of all pat downs.

The female agent made sure to give me karate chops straight up to my private parts twice in the back and then another two times in the front. Totally unnecessary. She kneaded my waist in a strange manner, grabbing hold of any loose skin she could find.

I have had hundreds of pat downs over the years, and no one, I mean no one, has ever been as intrusive as this TSA agent.

My first instinct was to tell her how inappropriate she was being, then I remembered how I would most likely be punished for my non-sheep-like behavior and not be allowed to make my flight.

During the procedure she also sniffled and sneezed, spreading her germ warfare all over me through out the entire security grope session.

I think we have all had enough of this undignified treatment in the name of security. It’s already been proven that these scanner devices and intrusive pat downs have not made our world any safer from terrorists.

Airport security testers have snuck through everything from guns to explosives, clearly proving their ineffectiveness. Metal detectors should be sufficient enough.

If everyone opted out of the scanner, the whole program would eventually fall apart. The lines of opt outs would be so long it would bring the air travel industry to a standstill.

It would also send a clear message that unsafe devices are not going to be tolerated. Take the extra time and just do it — opt out. If you love yourself, than you owe it to yourself.

Now I’m already ahead of you on what you’re thinking — that they’ll just suspend all our civil liberties and make it mandatory to go through the scanners whether we want to or not.

Well, I would like to believe that they would be flooded with lawsuits if they did, but there’s an even easier solution. Go to a medical supply store and buy a cheap inexpensive arm sling and put it on before going through TSA.

If you can’t hold both arms up over your head while in their scanner, it renders the results totally unusable. They know this and have to let you opt out for medical reasons. The sheeple are getting smarter. Afterall, life is all about how you handle Plan B.

Bill Gates: Take Taxes From Robots Who Snatch Jobs From Humans


Bill Gates Robot Tax

Short Bytes: The co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has his idea to help people affected because of job automation, where AI-based robots are replacing humans. Bill Gates says there should be some kind of a robot tax for these machines. The organizations running them should pay the tax.

Various tech leaders have contributed their own share to the ‘AI robots taking our jobs’ debate. Like the Tesla boss Elon Musk, who believes in the future concept of a universal basic income when robots would replace humans in a majority of workplaces.

Bill Gates is another famous name to suggest something. In an interview with Quartz, he said there should be a robot tax. It should be levied by the governments from the companies deploying machine for humans. Well, it might give us a sense of satisfaction while visualizing our jobless future.

But the companies deploying the machines won’t be very happy to hear this. On the other hand, Gates doesn’t believe the companies would be outrageous on this thing. “It’s OK,” he said.

According to him, the robot taxes should be used to fund people working with kids in the schools and helping elderly people. Certainly, it’s a field where humans can still find their need.

Taking taxes from robots might be a good idea, but it would increase the operating costs for these robots. However, it would also slow down the rates with which automation is proliferating every day.

Musk’s idea of a global income becomes more visible when combined with what Bill Gates has suggested. Taking taxes from the robots and paying it to the people.

Government bodies across the world might’ve started to acknowledge the robot tax thing. But still, they’re yet to implement. An example is the European Parliament from Feb 2016, a robot tax proposal to help the affected workers was rejected. The Parliament, however, is working to set guidelines for ethical development and use of the robots, along with damage liabilities.

Google’s AI Learns How To Code Machine Learning Software


 

Google ai machine learning software

Short Bytes: A team of researchers at Google Brain AI research group has created an AI system that has designed its own machine learning software. The software that came up with these designs used the power of 800 GPUs. Interestingly, in tests, the software designed by the AI system surpassed the benchmark of the software designed by humans. 

Just in case you were worrying that the exponential progress in the field of robotics will kill many production jobs, here’s another story along the similar lines. The Google Brain artificial intelligence research group has created a new machine learning system that can design machine-learning software.

Surprisingly, when the software was compared with the ones written by humans, it surpassed their results.

According to MIT Tech Review, Jeff Dean, the leader of Google Brain research group, such efforts can increase the pace of the implementation of the machine-learning software in various fields of economy. It should be noted that companies pay a premium salary to the machine learning experts–a class of experts that are in short supply.

In their experiment, the researchers challenged their software to create machine learning systems. They say that such systems are currently “learning to learn.” They could also reduce the need for vast amounts of data used by machine learning software to give good results.

Using their software, the Google Brain team created learning systems for different kinds of related problems. The system showed an ability to generalize and picks new tasks. To do so, the researchers used 800 high-powered GPUs.

So, did you find this recent development in the field of artificial intelligence interesting? Don’t forget to share your views.

 

 

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