AI Will Bring About the Biggest Transformation in Human History

Importance Principle

Advanced AI could represent a profound change in the history of life on Earth, and should be planned for and managed with commensurate care and resources.

In the history of human progress, a few events have stood out as especially revolutionary: the intentional use of fire, the invention of agriculture, the industrial revolution, possibly the invention of computers and the Internet. But many anticipate that the creation of advanced artificial intelligence will tower over these achievements.

In a popular post, Tim Urban with Wait But Why wrote that artificial intelligence is “by far THE most important topic for our future.

Or, as AI professor Roman Yampolskiy told me, “Design of human-level AI will be the most impactful event in the history of humankind. It is impossible to over-prepare for it.”

The Importance Principle encourages us to plan for what could be the greatest “change in the history of life.” But just what are we preparing for? What will more advanced AI mean for society? I turned to some of the top experts in the field of AI to consider these questions.

Societal Benefits?

Guruduth Banavar, the Vice President of IBM Research, is hopeful that as AI advances, it will help humanity advance as well. In favor of the principle, he said, “I strongly believe this. I think this goes back to evolution. From the evolutionary point of view, humans have reached their current level of power and control over the world because of intelligence. … AI is augmented intelligence – it’s a combination of humans and AI working together. And this will produce a more productive and realistic future than autonomous AI, which is too far out. In the foreseeable future, augmented AI – AI working with people – will transform life on the planet. It will help us solve the big problems like those related to the environment, health, and education.”

“I think I also agreed with that one,” said Bart Selman, a professor at Cornell University. “Maybe not every person on earth should be concerned about it, but there should be, among scientists, a discussion about these issues and a plan – can you build safety guidelines to work with value alignment work? What can you actually do to make sure that the developments are beneficial in the end?”

Anca Dragan, an assistant professor at UC Berkeley, explained, “Ultimately, we work on AI because we believe it can have a strong positive impact on the world. But the more capable the technology becomes, the easier it becomes to misuse it – or perhaps, the effects of misusing it become more drastic. That is why it is so important, as we make progress, to start thinking more strongly about what role AI will play.”

Short-Term Concerns

Though the Importance Principle specifically mentions advanced AI, some of the researchers I interviewed pointed out that nearer-term artificial intelligence could also drastically impact humanity.

“I believe that AI will create profound change even before it is ‘advanced’ and thus we need to plan and manage growth of the technology,” explained Kay Firth-Butterfield, Executive Director of “As humans, we are not good at long-term planning because our civil systems don’t encourage it, however, this is an area in which we must develop our abilities to ensure a responsible and beneficial partnership between man and machine.”

Stefano Ermon, an assistant professor at Stanford University, also considered the impacts of less advanced AI, saying, “It’s an incredibly powerful technology. I think it’s even hard to imagine what one could do if we are able to develop a strong AI, but even before that, well before that, the capabilities are really huge. We’ve seen the kind of computers and information technologies we have today, the way they’ve revolutionized our society, our economy, our everyday lives. And my guess is that AI technologies would have the potential to be even more impactful and even more revolutionary on our lives. And so I think it’s going to be a big change and it’s worth thinking very carefully about, although it’s hard to plan for it.”

In a follow up question about planning for AI over the shorter term, Selman added, “I think the effect will be quite dramatic. This is another interesting point – sometimes AI scientists say, well it might not be advanced AI will do us in, but dumb AI. … The example is always the self-driving car has no idea it’s driving you anywhere. It doesn’t even know what driving is. … If you looked at the videos of an accident that’s going to happen, people are so surprised that the car doesn’t hit the brakes at all, and that’s because the car works quite differently than humans. So I think there is some short-term [AI] risk in that … we actually think they’re smarter than they are. And I think that will actually go away when the machines become smarter, but for now…”

Learning From Experience

As revolutionary as advanced AI might be, we can still learn from previous technological revolutions and draw on their lessons to prepare for the changes ahead.

Toby Walsh, a guest professor at Technical University of Berlin, expressed a common criticism of the principles, arguing that the Importance Principle could – and probably should – apply to many “groundbreaking technologies.”

He explained, “This is one of those principles where I think you could put any society-changing technology in place of advanced AI. … It would be true of the steam engine, in some sense it’s true of social media and we’ve failed at that one, it could be true of the Internet but we failed at planning that well. It could be true of fire too, but we failed on that one as well and used it for war. But to get back to the observation that some of them are things that are not particular to AI – once you realize that AI is going to be groundbreaking, then all of the things that should apply to any groundbreaking technology should apply.”

By looking back at these previous revolutionary technologies and understanding their impacts, perhaps we can gain insight into how we can plan ahead for advanced AI.

Dragan was also interested more explicit solutions to the problem of planning ahead.

“As the AI capabilities advance,” she told me, “we have to take a step back and ask ourselves: are we solving the right problem? Is there a better problem definition that will more likely result in benefits to humanity?

“For instance, we have always defined AI agents as rational. That means they maximize expected utility. Thus far, utility is assumed to be known. But if you think about it, there is no gospel specifying utility. We are assuming that some *person* somewhere will know exactly what utility to specify for their agent. Well, it turns out, we don’t work like that: it is really hard for people, including AI experts, to specify utility functions. We try our best, but when the system goes ahead and optimizes for what we inputted, the result is sometimes surprising, and not in a good way. This suggests that our definition of an AI agent is predicated on a wrong assumption. We’ve already started seeing that in robotics – the definition of how a robot should move didn’t account for people, the definition of how a robot should learn from demonstration assumed that people can provide perfect demonstrations to a robot, etc. – I assume we are going to see this more and more in AI as a whole. We have to stop making implicit assumptions about people and end-users of AI, and rigorously tackle that head-on, putting people into the equation.”

What Do You Think?

What kind of impact will advanced AI have on the development of human progress? How can we prepare for such potentially tremendous changes? Can we prepare? What other questions do we, as a society, need to ask?

The Awesome Omega Male: What Makes Him Better than the Alpha.

Most of us have heard of an alpha male, but do you know what an omega male is? This type of guy doesn’t get much attention, but he’s awesome anyway.

Usually when we think of the male species, we think of strength, competition, domination, and leadership. However, there are many kinds of guys who don’t fit into those stereotypes. Because of this, they don’t get talked about very often.

Let’s talk about two of the basic types of males, according to mainstream society.

 #1 Alpha male. The alpha male is your stereotypical “cave man” kind of guy. He wants to stand out in a crowd and be the one who everyone pays attention to. He must be the strongest, the fastest, the smartest, and just the overall best. In a word… he’s competitive to the max. Think of a pack of wolves. The “top dog” is the alpha male.
#2 Omega male. Unlike the alpha male, the omega male avoids risk and confrontation. In fact, they have a bit of a distaste for the alpha males. While they can have a confidence similar to the alpha male, they don’t need to be the center of attention.
They are just content to not be the one who stands out, and they don’t have a need to compete with other males to be the best.
Unfortunately, humans pretty much revere the alpha male. For example, who is the best and most popular player on a football team? The kicker? No. The quarterback. He is the leader of the team. He is the brains behind all the plays. Everyone knows the quarterback’s name. But does anyone know the kicker’s name? Probably not.
Because alpha males are the center of attention, and that’s all a lot of people pay attention to. But the omega male has some awesome qualities as well. So, let’s take a look at some of these things that make an omega male someone you want to get to know:
#1 Introverted. Typically, the omega male is somewhat of an introvert. Unlike his alpha male counterpart, he doesn’t need to be the life of the party. He doesn’t need all the attention on him. In fact, being in a crowd or the person everyone is paying attention to drains his energy.
Instead, the omega male prefers to be alone a lot of the time. He recharges when he is in his own element, rather than out among people trying to prove that he is top dog. He simply has no interest in that.
#2 Laid back. The alpha male is extroverted, charismatic, and the life of the party. But the omega male is much more laid back and even-keeled. He doesn’t get riled up very much. He just lets things roll off his shoulders and isn’t in the mindset to “fight” for anything. Instead of making waves, he would just rather shrug and walk the other way.
#3 Gentle. Because they’re not as dominant and seemingly testosterone-filled as the alpha male, they tend to be more gentle in relationships. They might be the guy who rubs your shoulders after a hard day at work.
Or he will cuddle with you on the couch and watch your favorite movie. He has a soft side, and that’s pretty attractive in a romantic relationship.
#4 Kind. The omega male is not busy trying to show off and be “the man of the hour,” so he is a little more focused on other people. If you need someone to help you move, you should ask an omega male.
#5 Empathetic. If you’re seeing a pattern here, you’re right. Being empathetic means that a person can identify with what someone else is going through. And it goes beyond sympathy *feeling sorry for someone*. Instead, the omega male has a much better ability to try to see reality through someone else’s eyes. This is not a quality that many alpha males possess.
#6 Prefer deep relationships. An omega male will not have a ton of friends. Because he is introverted and prefers to spend a lot of time alone, he will likely not have a long list of friends on his social media accounts *if he is even on social media*.
He likes long, deep conversations. He prefers trustworthy, life-long friends who he knows he can count on. Anyone else is just an annoyance to him.
#7 Wants to work on his own. The omega male will have friends and close acquaintances, but he likes to work alone. Whether it’s in his profession or on a more personal level, he doesn’t like to belong to a clique or a group. Since he doesn’t have a desire to be the leader or to stand out, why bother belonging to a group?
 #8 Not much of an ego. An alpha male is really concerned with how everyone else views them. Because of that, they always want to pump up their ego. This includes boasting about their accomplishments and anything related to that. But the omega male doesn’t care.
They might still accomplish just as much as the alpha male *or even more*, but other people may never know. He won’t announce it on Facebook or Twitter. And maybe he won’t even tell his closest friends. He doesn’t need the recognition or notoriety to pump up his ego.
Both the alpha and the omega man has his redeeming qualities. However, because we live in a culture that highly values ultra-masculine traits, sometimes the omega male gets overlooked.
This is a shame, because as you can see from this list, an omega male can be a great person to be friends with, be married to, or just to have as a friendly neighbor.
Just because someone doesn’t stand out in a crowd doesn’t mean they are any less important. An omega male is an awesome guy, so keep your eyes out for one instead of just passing him by.

World’s first genetically modified ants shed light on how complex insect societies evolved

Every ant colony is a marvel of cooperation, where each ant goes about her appointed tasks in such close concert with her sisters that a colony is sometimes called a “superorganism.” Now, a new study on the world’s first genetically modified ants finds that ants’ sociality depends on their sense of smell. The finding provides key clues to how social behavior evolved in these insects.

“This is a real breakthrough in experimental sociobiology,” says Bert Hölldobler, a behavioral biologist at Arizona State University in Tempe who was not involved with the work. Before this, no one had succeeded in genetically modifying ants for study.

Biologists as far back as Charles Darwin have been fascinated by the evolution of social behavior, in which organisms as different as ants and people form cohesive groups that work together and, sometimes, let one or few individuals do all the reproducing. Studies of honey bees have provided tantalizing hints of what genes might be involved in that insect’s sociality, but pinning down the functions of those genes in bees and  other insects like ants has been difficult. That’s because researchers had no good way to disrupt genes of interest—the way they can easily do in mice—or even to ferret out the exact genes involved.

Social insects are especially hard to genetically modify. Even if scientists can modify the genome of an individual, “the eggs of ants are very sensitive and difficult to raise without workers,” so it’s hard to get a genetically modified egg to survive, explains Laurent Keller, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. Also, the life cycle of social insects is complicated and drawn out, making it difficult to obtain large quantities of genetically modified offspring in a reasonable time frame.

So Daniel Kronauer, an evolutionary biologist at The Rockefeller University in New York City turned to a species called clonal raider ants (Ooceraea biroi). Unlike other insects, these stocky invasive ants—about as long as a U.S. nickel is thick—lack queens in their colonies; instead each one lays unfertilized eggs that develop as clones. That means that once researchers modify an individual ant’s genome, they can quickly breed a genetically modified strain. “For the vast majority of ant species, doing real genetics is basically impossible,” because of the complications of dealing with eggs and larvae and that it can take years to get a genetically modified strain going, says Kronauer, but because these ants are clones, “this species allows us to take shortcuts.”

To modify the raider ants’ genes, Kronauer’s graduate student Waring Trible and Leonora Olivos-Cisneros, a research assistant, turned to CRISPR, a gene-editing technique that makes altering genes much easier than before. Still, the odds were against them.

Over 2 years, the researchers learned that existing eggs give off a chemical that inhibits other adults from egg-laying. Once the scientists discovered that, they were able to isolate ants, synchronize egg production, and get the numbers they needed. But it took 10,000 tries to develop the right touch to not damage the eggs while taping them to slides, injecting them with genetic material, and raising them to hatching. Then it took months to learn how to put the newly hatched young back into an ant colony and get the ants there to take care of them. The secret: Put the larvae in groups of 10.

For most animals, including mice, producing one individual with a modified genome is just the first step, as it can take many generations to ensure all offspring carry the modification. In social insects, those steps can take months, if not years. But because these raider ants are clonal, Trible was able to easily test the first offspring for any effects.

Trible disrupted a gene called orco, which produces a protein essential to the function of specialized odor-sensing nerve cells in an ant’s antennae. Those cells, called odorant receptors, are one of several kinds of sensors that detect chemicals called pheromones that ants and other animals use to communicate. Ants have many more odorant receptors than most other insects—at least 350 compared with the fruit fly’s 46, whereas the number of other kinds of sensors is about the same as other insects. So Kronauer wondered whether this expansion had made the ants’ complex social system possible.

The behavior and brain anatomy of the transgenic ants suggest that, indeed, the expansion in the number of odorant receptors played a role. Young adult ants—which are light colored—tend to spend their first month motionless with their nest-mates. But the young transgenic ants had “ants in their pants” so to speak, and immediately started wandering around, the team reported last week in bioRxiv. “To see these baby ants running around is just utterly bizarre,” Trible says. The transgenic ants also failed to follow trails laid down by other ants. Both sticking together and following trails are behaviors that keep a colony cohesive and working together.

These ants were at a long-term disadvantage as well. Clonal raider ants typically lay six eggs every 2 weeks, whereas the transgenics laid only about one egg in that time period. And the transgenics tended to die within 2 to 3 months, instead of the usual 6 to 8 months.

Even more surprising was the effect the genetic modification had on the brain. There the nerve endings of each type of odorant receptor meet up in clusters called glomeruli. When other researchers knocked out the orca gene in fruit flies, their glomeruli were unaffected. But in the ants, the glomeruli never formed. That’s just what happens to the equivalent part of the brain in mice when similar genes are knocked out.

This was “the real eye-opening result,” says Eugene Robinson, a behavioral genomics researcher at the University of Illinois in Champaign who was not involved with the work. “It provides the opportunity to be comparing and contrasting brain development” in different species. Such comparisons could be important for assessing how brains evolve to manage the complex behaviors seen in social animals, another key aspect of the evolution of sociality in ants and other species.

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Wellness Chiropractic — Benefits Beyond Pain

Story at-a-glance

  • Contrary to popular belief, chiropractic can be used to optimize wellness, not just treat pain. Tips for finding a qualified wellness chiropractor are included
  • Subluxation refers to misalignment or dysfunction in your spine, which will interfere with the signals traveling across those nerves. This can cause pain, as well as dysfunction in your internal organs
  • Getting regular chiropractic treatments can help prevent progressive spinal degeneration, i.e. osteoarthritis or disc disease

Many are confused about the benefits and value of chiropractic treatment. According to Dr. Billy DeMoss, a chiropractor with a practice in Newport Beach, who believes chiropractic is vastly underutilized.

He’s also the founder Cal Jam, one of the largest chiropractic teaching events in the world. I will have the privilege of speaking there later this year. Many will only consider chiropractic when they have back or neck pain, but its scope actually goes far beyond that.

“I try to get people to understand that your nervous system and your brain control every function of your body,” he says.

“When we have a condition in chiropractic we call subluxation, which is misalignment or dysfunction in the spine as far as mobility is concerned, it can cause nerve interference, which will interfere with the expression of intelligence that flows over the spinal cord and nerves.

It can contribute not only causing pain that most people perceive as a chiropractic problem but also can cause organs not to function 100 percent.”

Chiropractic as Preventive Medicine

Research by Dr. Dean Harrison and others suggests chiropractic treatments can help prevent progressive spinal degeneration, i.e. osteoarthritis or disc disease. Just like regular dental care will prolong the useful life of your teeth, getting regular chiropractic treatments can do the same for your spine.

Your spinal column, the vertebrae, and the discs, also protect your most delicate and important system — your nervous system — and impingements can contribute to a number of health problems and ailments.

According to DeMoss, anything you do to protect and nurture our spine will promote “greater expression of nerve intelligence” and “a higher vibrancy in health.”

“Healthcare is really about doing everything you can to get the body back in alignment, not only chemically but also spiritually and mentally.

Where I think chiropractic shines is that we address the cause of the problem. Somebody might have high blood pressure. Their high blood pressure is not due to the fact that they [lack] high blood pressure medication.

Your child might have asthma, but it’s not because he’s got a shortage of albuterol; an ear infection is not a shortage of amoxicillin. Those things have their place in a crisis situation. But [chiropractors] don’t look at the symptoms; we look at what caused the symptoms.

Many times if there’s nerve interference lowering the expression and function of organs, it can contribute to the body not functioning at 100 percent, which leaves it more susceptible to, as we in chiropractic say, ‘Dis-Ease’ and then the body becomes sick or symptomatic.

What we like to do is look at the individual holistically and see what’s going on with their nervous system. “

A Brief History of Chiropractic

Osteopathic medicine was founded by Andrew Taylor Still about 140 years ago. As many of you know I’m a doctor of osteopathy (DO). DOs, like chiropractors, receive extensive additional training in spinal adjustments.

However, in my experience, only a small percentage of DOs are really skilled in this area as they have chosen a more conventional allopathic model, which includes more of an emphasis on drugs and surgery rather than diet and lifestyle changes.

Daniel David “D.D.” Palmer is considered the father of chiropractic. He opened the first chiropractic school in 1897. In 1910, the Flexner Report, which was funded by the Carnegie and the Rockefeller Foundations, set a new tone for medicine and led to the systematic undermining of natural medicine.

In the ’60s, there was a persistent tendency to suppress physicians from referring patients to chiropractors — so much so that Dr. Chester Wilk ended up filing an antitrust suit against the American Medical Association (AMA) in 1976.

The lawsuit dragged on for more than a decade, but Wilk was ultimately successful. In 1987, the court ruled that the AMA had engaged in an unlawful conspiracy in restraint of trade to contain and eliminate the chiropractic profession.

How Children Can Benefit From Chiropractic

A large portion of DeMoss’ patients are children. They don’t come in for pain issues, but rather your typical childhood problems such as earaches, allergies, and asthma, for example.

“Children are healing machines. As long as you get things properly lined up, their metabolism and capacity to heal is in there,” he says. “Sometimes you need to do more than cleaning up the diet and adjusting it.

Sometimes they need to be detoxified, whether it was from some type of possible toxic vaccine or from eating toxic foods. You’ve got glyphosate from GMOs …. preservatives … food colorings and additives … bromines.

You’ve got all these different things that can contribute to lowering the vibration of that patient’s healing potential, i.e. children …

It’s sad because I’ll see kids that come to me and it’s the same story over and over. It’s like, ‘He’s on his 12th round of antibiotics,’ and I’m thinking to myself, ‘Why would you continue to do something if it didn’t work the first, second, third, or even fourth time? Why do you keep doing it?’

I’ve never taken an antibiotic. I’m fortunate. I wouldn’t take it unless I was on my death bed. The microbiome has become a hot topic lately. I’ve always known about that … When you just indiscriminately use an antibiotic … you’re destroying part of your … immune function.

The more antibiotics these kids take, the weaker their immune systems and the worse the symptoms get. That’s what I do as a chiropractor. I’m really good about adjusting. But I’m really an articulate teacher. I make it so that people can understand it.”

Not All Chiropractors Have the Same Philosophy

According to DeMoss, “chiropractic is like brushing your teeth;” it’s something you need to do on a regular basis to maintain the life of your spine, because regular activities, such as chronic sitting, can contribute to its functioning less than optimally. Granted, some chiropractors focus primarily on pain and injuries, and do not have the full skill set required to address issues like allergies or disease. So it’s important to make sure the chiropractor you choose has the appropriate vitalistic philosophy.

Most of DeMoss’ patients come to him via word of mouth, and this is perhaps one of the best ways to find a good wellness chiropractor. You may also want to find out if he or she is trained in any other treatment modalities, such as muscle testing, applied kinesiology, or neuroemotional technique (NET). There are literally dozens of different techniques that can have a profound impact on addressing the bioenergetic component of disease, not just the structural.

Tips for Choosing a Wellness Chiropractor

  • Ask your friends for a recommendation. A friend who knows both you and the chiropractor may be able to judge whether your health philosophies and personalities are compatible.
  • Meet the doctor. Many chiropractors will agree to a no-cost consultation to determine whether you are a good match. To make this visit as productive as possible, here are a few things to consider:

1.Does the practice focus on vertebral subluxation and wellness? Physical, biochemical, and psychological stress may result in spinal subluxations that disrupt nerve function and compromise your health. If you’re looking for a wellness chiropractor, it’s essential that this be the focus.

Some chiropractors confine their practice to the mechanical treatment of back and neck pain, and this is something you need to be aware of beforehand.

2.Does the doctor “walk the talk”? If he or she is overweight, looks unhealthy, or does not live a healthy lifestyle, this speaks volumes regarding their commitment to wellness.

3.Do the two of you “click”? Do you like each other? Do you communicate well? Avoid a doctor who seems rushed, talks down to you, or seems disinterested in listening to your concerns.

4.Does the doctor use objective assessments of nerve function? Since your care is not based just on addressing pain, your chiropractor should be using some form of objective assessment of your nerve function, as spinal subluxations can sometimes be asymptomatic.

Non-invasive instruments that measure the electrical activity in your muscles, and/or a thermal scanner that evaluates the function of your autonomic nervous system can be used, for example.

5.What treatment techniques are used? Chiropractic techniques include low-force adjustments by hand, and more forceful adjustments using instruments. Ask which technique would be used on you, and if you have a preference, make sure the doctor is willing to use it.

As mentioned earlier, many chiropractors are also trained in other complementary techniques, so ask what else your doctor may have in his or her tool bag.

Cal Jam

To share and spread his philosophical principles of health, DeMoss brings together natural health practitioners and chiropractors from all across the country for an annual event called Cal Jam. I first learned about it through one of my best friends, a Dr. Patrick Gentempo, who is also a chiropractor and has spoken many times at this event.

This year, they’re expecting close to 3,000 attendees, so it’s one of the largest chiropractic conventions. As one of the speakers at this year’s event, I’ll be sharing some information about my new passion, metabolic medicine, which focuses on the health of your mitochondria. This is also the topic of my next book.

The original vision for Cal Jam was inspired by the film “The Dead Poets Society,” where people would get together and read poetry in a cave, and California Jam, a 1970s music event.

“I used to run a little group here in my office called the ‘Dead Chiropractics Society.’ We would read old chiropractic literature from D.D. and B.J. Palmer. We would discuss it, and then people really got into it. It grew to where we would have a hundred people in my office every month.

From that, I was doing some relicensure stuff with a gentleman named Dr. Brian Porteus, who’s a chiropractor, and he goes, ‘Why don’t we do a big philosophy event in California? We can do it for relicensure …’

In the ’70s, there was an event called California Jam. It was a huge music event … these seas of people. I said to myself, ‘If we could get these big leaders in healthcare in front of masses of people, we could really change the consciousness of the planet,'” he says.

“As [the original] California Jam, we have live music to help raise the level [of energy]. The vibration at Cal Jam is higher than any other event you’ll ever go to because of the music. But the music also pushes the same theme. We pick songs that have messages to it.”

Mark Your Calendar, Cal Jam Starts March 18

His vision now is to start attracting the general public to the event, so if you’re interested in attending this live music and information-packed event, check out the Cal Jam website for more information. It’s being held March 18 through 20 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, CA.

To buy tickets, see the “Store” tab. To appeal to the widest general audience, speakers will present a wide range of health-related topics, not just chiropractic. DeMoss’ dream is to grow this event from 3,000 to 25,000 or more.

“My vision is to attract bigger sponsors,” he says. “I would love to have Red Hot Chili Peppers play at it, to make it a fun festival where people can come and have a great time, but at the same time learn a lot of important concepts that they’re not going to hear on TV, and things that are going to improve and push the human population to greater health.”

Chiropractic Is Good for More Than Just Pain

According to DeMoss, if you’re not healthy, chiropractic can often address the epigenetic and bioenergetic underpinnings. Naturally, diet and lifestyle play major roles, and DeMoss addresses all of those areas with his patients as well. To give you an example of what he’s talking about, a patient DeMoss has treated for 20 years told him about his daughter-in-law’s infertility problem.

She’d been trying to get pregnant for two and a half years, and they’d spent about $75,000 on infertility treatments, without any success.

“I said, ‘Gary, why didn’t you refer them here?’ It doesn’t make sense to put the bun in the oven if the oven is not working. He didn’t think there was any correlation between her back and her capacity to become pregnant. I said, ‘I’m so confident, you don’t have to pay me until she becomes pregnant.’ So he sent her in.

She was in her 10th week of care here when she became pregnant. He came in the other day and said, ‘OK. I owe you now.’ He wrote me a nice check.

I want people to understand that when something’s not working in your body, there are things that we can do to make it work, other than drugs and surgery. It’s so sad that people have this limited belief set on what chiropractic is about. It’s more than just you coming in and seeing us as a Band-Aid to get rid of your pain.

In reality, I want people to come and utilize chiropractic to maximize their expression of life and maximize not only the quality but the quantity of the life that God have intended for them.”

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Can Adjusting the Amount of Helium in a Balloon Affect Its Height?

A reader asks this question: “I have a question about helium, lift and an idea I have. First, please assume an efficient design with little gas loss. Compressed helium is in a storage tank and connected to an deflated balloon. The gas is released into the balloon, inflating it to be full enough to provide lift to the attached empty (or partially full) tank, and the assembly floats up. Connected to this system is a battery-powered air compressor. Turned on, the compressor extracts the helium gas from the balloon causing deflation, and the gas is returned back into the tank. As the helium returns to the tank in compressed form, the assembly starts to float down. So… once again assuming this is an efficient assembly with relatively minor loss of gas, could this method be used to control the ascent and decent of the assembly?

A hot air balloon flies because the weight of the air it displaces is greater than the weight of the balloon.

The short answer is yes. The more detailed explanation follows.

Archimedes’ Principle

Archimedes’s principle, which states that the buoyant force on an object in a fluid equals the weight of the fluid displaced by the object, applies here.

What does this statement mean?

To start, scientists define a fluid as either a liquid or a gas, rather than the everyday use of the word fluid we use to mean a liquid. Hence the air around a helium-filled balloon is a fluid. That means Archimedes’s principle applies to balloons in air, as well as the more familiar idea we have of boats floating in water.

The buoyant force is an upward force that pushes an object suspended in a fluid upward. The object will also have a gravitational force equal to its weight pulling it downward. The object will accelerate in the direction of the greater force. That means if the object is heavier than the fluid it displaces, it will sink. Conversely, if the object weighs less than the fluid it displaces, it will move upwards, or if it is at the top of the fluid, it will float.

If an object is less dense than the fluid, the fluid it displaces will weigh more than the object. Hence the buoyant force will be greater than the object’s weight and the object will rise in the fluid or float on the top of the fluid.

If the object is more dense than the fluid, the reverse occurs. The fluid displaced weighs less than the object, the upward buoyant force is less than the downward gravitational force, and the object sinks.

This ship floats in the Miraflores lock of the Panama Canal because it weighs less than the water it displaces. The small amount of water left in the lock has no effect. Image Credit: Paul A Heckert

As a result of Archimedes’s principle, an object will rise in a fluid if it is less dense than the fluid and sink in the fluid if it is more dense than the fluid.

Ascent and Descent

As the helium gas fills the balloon, the balloon becomes larger, and therefore displaces more air. Eventually the balloon can become large enough to displace an amount of air that weighs more than the total of the balloon and the apparatus described in the question.

Even though the pumping apparatus is much more dense than air, a large enough helium filled balloon can reduce the average density of the balloon and pumping apparatus to less than the density of air. When this happens, the buoyant force will become larger than the downward gravitational force on the balloon and apparatus.

The balloon will then begin to rise, as the balloon effectively floats on air.

Balloon Apparatus Limitations and Capabilities

The main limitation here is the fact that the apparatus described in the question is likely to be fairly heavy. Hence there must be enough helium, and the balloon must be large enough, to displace enough air to weigh more than the apparatus.

Pumping the helium gas from the balloon back into the storage tank reverses this process. The balloon and apparatus will therefore sink back down towards the ground as the questioner speculates will happen.

Air is thinner and less dense at higher altitudes. When the helium-filled balloon rises, it will rise to the altitude where the weight of the air displaced equals the weight of the balloon and apparatus. At this point the balloon will float at a stable altitude.

If a small additional amount of helium enters the balloon, the balloon will rise a small amount. If the pump returns some of the helium from the balloon to the storage tank, then the balloon will sink a small amount.

So, yes – one can control the height of the balloon by adjusting the amount of helium in either the balloon or storage tank.

Hackers Versus Cyber Criminals: Know the Difference

Short Bytes: People are often confused between two terms: hackers and cyber criminals. In this article, I’m sharing a video that tells you the difference between these two.

Cyber crime occurs when breaking into the private worlds of people, these bad hackers start to misuse the information for their own benefit and loss of others. The story of hacking and cyber crime goes back to early 1950s when some phone freaks, commonly known as “phreaks”, started hijacking world’s phone networks and making long-distance calls.

 A report sponsored by the security firm McAfee estimates the annual damage to the global economy due to cyber crimes at $445 billion and near about $1.5 billion was lost in the year 2012 due to online debit and credit card fraud in the US.

According to me, there are two types of hackers: good hackers and bad hackers. The bad hackers are the ones who commit cyber crime.  Here’s a video that shows how Darren Kitchen, a hacker and the host of tech show Hak5, tells how hacking is different from cyber crime:

Watch the video discussion. URL:

Who Is A Hacker? Mark Zuckerberg Explains In His Letter From The Past

A person who want to do impossible things in a clever way.

Mark Zuckerberg

Short Bytes: The word hacker has been viewed with a bad filter that hackers always break into people’s computers. According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, hacking is an approach to doing things quickly and testing their limits. Hacking is an active discipline, and one should focus on the quick implementation of ideas.

The term ‘hacker’ has always been viewed in a negative context among the general public. The contribution of the media can’t be denied in portraying a hacker as a person who does evil things. Recently, I came across the Founder’s Letter, 2012 which Mark Zuckerberg shared on his timeline. 2012 was the year when Facebook went public.

 Zuckerberg also acknowledges the fact that the term hacker has an “unfairly negative connotation” from being tagged as a person who trespasses into people’s machines.

“In reality, hacking just means building something quickly or testing the boundaries of what can be done,” Zuckerberg said.

“Like most things, it can be used for good or bad, but the vast majority of hackers I’ve met tend to be idealistic people who want to have a positive impact on the world.”

The understanding of the word ‘hacker’ has changed from being an isolated guy — sitting on a computer, sneaking into people’s lives or stealing confidential data — to the one trying to get things done quickly and efficiently.

According to Zuckerberg, hacking is an “inherently hands-on and active discipline.” Hackers will first build a prototype of an idea to see if it works rather than figuring out its success possibilities. They focus on chunks, working on smaller iterations. Eventually, product or service becomes better over time. And to do that, Facebook has a testing framework where thousands of Facebook versions can be checked at a given time.

Another hacker trait is an “extremely open and meritocratic” mindset. The attention should be paid to the outcome, the idea, instead of the people who gave it. Facebook conducts hackathons to nourish this open thinking.

The different prototype ideas submitted during hackathons are collectively looked upon. Various popular products like the timeline, chat, videos, HipHop, etc. sprung out of such internal brainstorming events.

All of that said can be assumed as one positive picture of a hacker. As far as the negative versions are concerned, some people feel more comfortable calling them crackers. The hacker culture Zuckerberg believes has been in existence for the last few decades.

The hacker culture Zuckerberg believes has been in existence for a long time, largely been associated with computer programming. We can smell the existence of the hacker culture since the 1960s when a series of practical jokes happened at MIT.

People calling themselves hackers try to demonstrate their intellectual capabilities through their activities having some hack value. And it includes doing what other people think is impossible.

As far as the definition is concerned, the Jargon File documents it as “A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and stretching their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary.”

Also known as the hacker’s dictionary, the jargon file can’t be thought of as some official glossary for tech terms but has had its own level of influence since it came into existence.

First results of CRISPR gene editing of normal embryos released

Artwork of human embryo with four cells
Disease-causing mutations could be removed in early embryos

A team in China has corrected genetic mutations in at least some of the cells in three normal human embryos using the CRISPR genome editing technique. The latest study is the first to describe the results of using CRISPR in viable human embryos, New Scientist can reveal.

While this study – which attempted to repair the DNA of six embryos in total – was very small, the results suggest CRISPR works much better in normal embryos than it did in previous tests on abnormal embryos that could not develop into children.

“It is encouraging,” says Robin Lovell-Badge of the Francis Crick Institute in London, who has contributed to several major reports on human genome editing. The numbers are far too low to make strong conclusions though, he cautions.

 The CRISPR gene editing technique is a very efficient way of disabling genes, by introducing small mutations that disrupt the code of a DNA sequence. CRISPR can also be used to repair genes, but this is much more difficult.

Until now, results have only been published from experiments in which the CRISPR technique was used in abnormal embryos, made when two sperm fertilise the same egg. The idea behind this work was that it was more ethical to test the technique on embryos that could never fully develop.

In the first attempt to fix genes in human embryos, fewer than 1 in 10 cells were successfully repaired – an efficiency rate that is too low to make the method practical. A second study published in 2016 also had a low rate of efficiency. However, because these embryos were very genetically abnormal, these experiments may not have given an accurate indication of how well the technique would work in healthier embryos.

The Chinese team behind the latest study, at the Third Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, first carried out experiments with abnormal embryos, and found the repair rate was very low. But they had more success when they tried to repair mutations in normal embryos derived from immature eggs donated by people undergoing IVF.

Genetic disease

Immature eggs like these are usually discarded by IVF clinics, as the success rate is much lower than with mature eggs. However, children have been born from such immature eggs.

Jianqiao Liu and his team matured donated immature eggs, and fertilised each by injecting sperm from one of two men with a hereditary disease. They then injected the CRISPR machinery into these single-cell embryos before they started dividing.

The first sperm donor had a mutation called G1376T in the gene for the G6PD enzyme. This is a common cause of favism in China, a disorder in which eating certain foods such as fava beans can trigger the destruction of red blood cells.

In two of the resulting embryos, the G1376T mutation was corrected. But in one of the embryos, not all the cells were corrected. CRISPR turned off the G6PD gene in some of its cells rather than fixing it – making it what is known as a “mosaic”.

The second sperm donor had a mutation called beta41-42, which is one of the causes of the blood disease beta-thalassemia. Four of the resulting embryos carried the mutation. In one, CRISPR induced another mutation rather than fixing the beta41-42. In another, the mutation was successfully repaired in only some of the cells, creating another mosaic embryo.  It did not work at all in the other two embryos.

In total, the mutation in one embryo was corrected in every cell, and two were corrected in some of the cells.

While firm conclusions cannot be drawn based on just six embryos, these results are encouraging as they suggest CRISPR gene repair is more efficient in normal cells. “It does look more promising than previous papers,” says Fredrik Lanner of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, whose team has begun using CRISPR to disable genes in human embryos to study embryonic development.

Preventing mosaics

Several other groups have begun editing the genomes of normal human embryos or plan to start soon. There are rumours that another three or four studies on the use of CRISPR in human embryos have been completed but not yet published. It isn’t clear why this is the case, but the controversy surrounding the area may have made both researchers and journals wary.

The results so far, however, show the technology is far from the point where it could be safely used for editing embryos.

To make it safer to use gene editing to prevent children inheriting disease-causing mutations, researchers will need to find a way to prevent mosaicism. Edited embryos would always be tested before being implanted in a woman, but if they are mosaics such tests cannot guarantee the resulting child will be disease-free.

“This would need to be solved before the methods could be used clinically to correct a disease,” says Lovell-Badge. Progress is already being made: at least two teams have already found ways of reducing the risk of mosaicism in animals.

Mosaicism could also be avoided by editing the genomes of sperm and eggs prior to IVF, rather than embryos. This is expected to become possible in people in the next few years.

There are also a few diseases where mosaicism might not matter, Lovell-Badge points out, such as metabolic liver diseases where only 20 per cent function is enough to keep people healthy.

However, a major report on gene editing by the US National Academy of Sciences recently concluded that trials of germline gene editing should be allowed only if they meet a number of criteria – the first being “the absence of reasonable alternatives”.

Yet almost all inherited diseases can already be prevented by existing forms of screening, such as testing IVF embryos and implanting only disease-free ones. There are only a small number of cases where this method – called preimplantation genetic diagnosis – will not work because none of a couple’s embryos will be disease-free.

High-Intensity Interval Training Could Be Your Best Bet for Keeping Your Cells Young

Recharge your cells.


High-intensity interval training (HIIT), where short bursts of activity are mixed with rest periods, is your best pick when it comes to using exercise to combat the cellular signs of ageing, according to new research.

In the study, HIIT beat weight training for boosting your cells’ mitochondrialactivity – the chemical reactions that release energy and fuels cell growth. This activity usually declines with age, but HIIT was shown to actually reverse it in some cases.

 That could help us understand more about limiting disabilities and diseases such as diabetes as people get older, say researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, even if it can’t help you live forever just yet.

And although the study only involved a relatively small sample size of 72 volunteers, the team says the results are impressive enough to be significant.

“These things we are seeing cannot be done by any medicine,” says one of the researchers, Sreekumaran Nair.

“Based on everything we know, there’s no substitute for these exercise programs when it comes to delaying the ageing process.”

Researchers enlisted the help of 36 men and 36 women split across two age groups; a ‘young’ group aged 18 to 30, and an ‘old’ group aged 65 to 80.

These volunteers were put into three mixed-age groups: one group did high-intensity interval training on bikes; one group did weight training; and one group did a combination of the two, for a period of 12 weeks.

 The HIIT program involved three days a week of cycling, with high-intensity spells of pedalling split up by less intensive periods, plus two days a week of treadmill work.

Muscle cell make-up, muscle mass, and insulin sensitivity were then analysed and compared with a control group that did no exercise at all.

At the molecular level, HIIT produced the biggest benefits, with the younger participants on HIIT showing a 49 percent increase in mitochondrial capacity, and the older participants on HIIT reaching a 69 increase on average.

The cells of the older volunteers started generating energy at a rate comparable to cells from much younger bodies, in other words.

Mitochondria act like energy factories for our cells, converting glucose into power for our bodies at the lowest levels, but as we get older this process starts to slow down. That leads to the cell damage and dysfunction we associate with ageing.

While scientists still don’t fully understand how this all works, kickstarting more mitochondrial activity through exercise could be one way of keeping many of the signs of ageing at bay.

And while it’s been well-established that exercise is good for the body, scientists are still figuring out the changes it makes at the molecular level.

What’s more, the researchers say the regeneration of muscle protein seen in this study could also be replicated in the heart and brain, two other areas of the body where cells wear out more easily as we get older.

HIIT improved insulin sensitivity levels too, which reduces the risk of diabetes, though it wasn’t as effective as weight training at building up muscle mass. As you might expect, any kind of exercise was shown to be better than doing nothing at all.

“If people have to pick one exercise, I would recommend high-intensity interval training, but I think it would be more beneficial if they could do three to four days of interval training and then a couple days of strength training,” says Nair.

These Are the First Images of What Will Soon Be the World’s First Hyperloop Tube

Top speeds of 1,220 km/h.

 Hyperloop One has unveiled the first images of its test site currently under construction in the Nevada desert, which is set to become the first operational Hyperloop system in the world some time this year.

The LA-based startup is one of a number of companies determined to make Elon Musk’s futuristic Hyperloop vision a reality. The concept – billed as the “fifth mode of transport” – is designed to shuttle pods carrying passengers and cargo at speeds of up to 1,220 km/h (760 mph) through sealed, low pressure tubes.

 It sounds like science fiction – and sure enough, the idea of superfast tube transport does have roots in classic sci-fi – but the new photos from Nevada show that Hyperloop won’t be a fantasy for much longer (we hope).

The test site, called DevLoop, currently runs at 500 metres (1,640 ft) long, and weighs over 1 million kilograms (more than 2.2 million pounds).

928347923874-hyperloop-3Hyperloop One

When it’s completed in the next few months, the full-scale structure will extend for 3 kilometres (1.86 miles), and while the test system may not carry passengers, it will give the world its first chance to see if Hyperloop can live up some pretty epic hype.

Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, first proposed the Hyperloop concept in 2012, and later released a white paper outlining how such a transport system might work.

Musk’s original idea was for a Hyperloop tube enabling ultra-fast transit between San Francisco and Los Angeles, but at present it’s unclear if a Californian Hyperloop will be a reality in the near future.

928347923874-hyperloop-2Hyperloop One

Since Musk open-sourced his idea, there have been multiple companies and hundreds of academic research teams working on Hyperloop technology, but the leader at the moment seems to be Hyperloop One.

The startup put on the first demonstration of a Hyperloop propulsion system in May last year, and in October unveiled its plans for the first passenger-carrying Hyperloop system, which it wants to build in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), linking the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

That route extends for some 159 kilometres (99 miles) and usually takes about 2 hours by car, but Hyperloop One researchers say a Hyperloop pod could make the journey in just 12 minutes.

928347923874-hyperloop-4Hyperloop One

The company says that pipeline could be ready by 2020, but before that happens, it first needs to demonstrate that its full-scale DevLoop prototype in Nevada works – and can safely reach the insane speeds its engineers have promised.

Which is why all eyes will be on the Nevada site later in the year, to see what could be one of the most important trial runs in the history of human transportation.

If all goes well, it would be a massive boost for Hyperloop technology on the whole, which despite its immense promise, has been clouded by questions over whether it’s technologically feasible and in any way affordable.


Hyperloop One

Leaked documents last year showed that the estimated costs of the UAE Hyperloop run to a stunning US$4.8 billion in total – more than $30 million per kilometre, or $52 million per mile.

Still, if anything can convince people that this futuristic transport system is worth its astronomical price tag, it will be a successful demonstration at DevLoop in the months ahead, and we can’t wait to see this happen.

For his part, Musk may have given the Hyperloop concept to others to work on, but he’s never backed away from his dream of connecting cities with ultra-fast transport corridors.

 Last month, he teased a glimpse of a massive boring machine that could potentially dig underground tunnels to ease the burden of transport in traffic-congested cities like LA – part of another Musk venture about which little is currently known, cheekily dubbed the Boring Company.

Asked on Twitter if he were planning to combine Hyperloop and these tunnels to make a “transportation revolution”, Musk didn’t give too much away:

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