Alibaba is using artificial intelligence to help raise pigs.


https://qz.com/1202142/alibaba-is-using-use-artificial-intelligence-to-help-raise-pigs/

Divers bump into a creature so big it could inhale a human being.


https://www.aol.com/article/news/2015/10/21/divers-bump-into-a-creature-so-big-it-could-inhale-a-human-being/21252261/?ncid=txtlnkusaolc00000904

Leaked U.N. climate report sees ‘very high risk’ the planet will warm beyond key limit.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/02/14/leaked-u-n-climate-report-sees-very-high-risk-the-planet-will-warm-beyond-key-limit/?utm_term=.25f9fa73e14b&wpisrc=nl_green&wpmm=1

Why are human breasts so big?


https://www.businessinsider.in/Why-are-human-breasts-so-big/articleshow/62935247.cms

Stephen Hawking Just Said “God Does Not Exist and The Universe is Not His Creation”


http://ewao.com/2017/11/02/stephen-hawking-just-said-god-does-not-exist-and-the-universe-is-not-his-creation/

6 Things You Should Know about True Love


6 Things You Should Know about True Love

True love is like ghosts, which everyone talks about and few have seen. ~ Francois de La Rochefoucauld

True Love

We go around looking for true love, hoping and wishing to find that ONE person who will make our imperfect life perfect. We fool ourselves into thinking that true love can only come from outside of us but rarely from within ourselves.

True love can only be found by love. It goes where love is. And the more love you hold in your heart and the more love you have for yourself, the more love you will be able to attract upon yourself.

Love cannot and will not go to those who have an empty heart. True love comes from within. It starts with you. It comes to you abundantly when there is an abundance of it in your heart. It flows through you and it ends with you.

“Seek not outside yourself, for all your pain comes simply from a futile search for what you want, insisting where it must be found.” ~ from A Course in Miracles

This being said, here are 6 things you should know about true love:

1. Self-love is the best way to attract true love.

Love yourself with all your heart, for who you are and for who you are not. Be good to yourself and the whole world will be good to you also. If you don’t have love for yourself, you can’t expect to get it from someone else. And even if you get it, it will only be for a little while. It won’t last too long. It doesn’t work that way. Love comes in abundance to those who have it in abundance in their hearts.

“Find the love you seek, by first finding the love within yourself. Learn to rest in that place within you that is your true home.” ~  Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

2. True love is not about finding your completeness in another.

You are already whole and complete and the more you learn to love and accept yourself the more you will know this to be true. You really don’t need another person to complete you, you only need someone with whom you can share your completeness. True love is not about finding your completeness in another person but rather about sharing your completeness with them fully in order to grow and expand more and more each day.

3. The love of your life is YOU.

Why look outside yourself for something that is already within you? True love starts with you. The love of your life is nobody else but you. Within you lies all the love that you need and desire. In you, not outside of you. The love you will receive from outside of yourself will be nothing but a projection of the love that is present within you.

“Life is just a mirror, and what you see out there, you must first see inside of you.” ~ Wally Amos

4. True love doesn’t need to be fought over.

You often hear people say, “if you really love somebody, you have to fight for that person.” I really don’t think so. If you need to “fight” for someone’s love it means it ain’t worth having. It ain’t the real thing. It ain’t love. “To fight” and “to love” are two opposite things and you can only have one without the other. You can’t have them both.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

5. True love is effortless.

True love feels easy. It flows and everything comes naturally. Where there is true love, there is no need for control, no need for fixing the other person, no need for criticism, judgment, jealousy, blame or any other toxic behaviors. Love is love and that’s all there is to it.

“True love does not come by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” ~ Jason Jordan

6. True love is free from bondage.

Love needs to do what love knows best – to love and be loved. Love imposes no demands. Love has no interest in holding on to something or someone. Where there is love there is no clinging and no bondage, and where there is bondage there is no love. These two cannot coexist. 

“If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love.” ~ Thích Nhất Hạnh

 

And this is what true love is really all about… Many have heard of it but only a few have really experienced it. Have you? You can share your insights by joining the conversation in the comment section below 🙂

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Winner of Prestigious Science Photo Competition Shows Near-Impossible Shot


By the end of high school, most of us had some idea of what an atom is. They’re the most basic forms of the elements on the periodic table. They’re tiny spheres that theoretically make up everything in the universe, from the cells in our bodies to the air that we breathe. They can be split to create an atomic bomb. Sometimes they’re drawn like solar systems of round protons and orbiting electrons, though of course that’s not actually how they look. As with so many concepts in science, the tricky thing about atoms is that we can’t really see them.

best science photography single atom

But the winning photo in a prestigious, U.K.-wide science photography competition organized by the nation’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has changed that. The photo, taken by Oxford University quantum physicist David Nadlinger, Ph.D., is entitled ‘Single Atom in an Ion Trap.” The title is self explanatory: Nadlinger literally captured a photo of a single atom in a device called an ion trap. The closest scientists have come to doing this was when Griffith University researchers photographed the shadow of an atom in 2012.

But here’s Nadlinger’s atom, in all its minuscule glory. You might have to squint.

atom science photography winner u.k.
‘Single Atom in an Ion Trap’ by David Nadlinger.

Zooming into the space between the trap shows a slightly better view of the atom, which Nadlinger described with a reference to Carl Sagan’s timeless words about our planet.

“The idea of being able to see a single atom with the naked eye had struck me as a wonderfully direct and visceral bridge between the miniscule quantum world and our macroscopic reality,” Nadlinger said in an EPSRC statement. “A back-of-the-envelope calculation showed the numbers to be on my side, and when I set off to the lab with camera and tripods one quiet Sunday afternoon, I was rewarded with this particular picture of a small, pale blue dot.”

single atom photography
Nadlinger’s “pale blue dot.”

Ion traps are a family of devices that use magnetic and electric fields to capture individual charged particles (ions are just atoms that don’t have a stable number of electrons), which are useful to quantum physicists studying time and quantum computing. To prevent the atom from zooming off, the trap employs an ultra-high vacuum chamber. Nadlinger took this photo by pointing his camera through a window of this chamber, capturing the atom trapped in the 2-millimeter space between two needles.

The atom in this photo is a positively charged ion of strontium; when enough of these ions network together, they form what we know as the silvery metal strontium. But since we can only see things that reflect light, Nadlinger illuminated the atom with a specific blue-violet laser, which caused the atom to absorb and re-emit enough light for a long exposure photograph to capture.

strontium
A whole lot of strontium atoms connected to each other in crystal form.

Nadlinger’s photograph may not make it any easier for students of science to understand the quantum structure of the atom, which requires breaking it down to even tinier, impossible-to-photograph parts. But at least it provides our struggling brains with something tangible to work with.

Brain Scans Reveal How Drinking Turns People Into Raging Assholes


We all have that friend who gets a little out of hand when they start drinking alcohol. Maybe he gets loud, or maybe she starts fights with strangers for looking at her funny. Alcohol seems to induce aggression, changing the brain in a way that makes a drunk person more likely to see minor social cues as threats, but how it does so has always been a bit of biological mystery.

Scientists found that alcohol-induced aggression was correlated to decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex.

But in a paper published in the journal Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, a team of researchers led by Thomas Denson, Ph.D., of the University of New South Wales School of Psychology use brain scans to show that alcohol changes activity in certain key parts of the brain related to aggression and emotion.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a technique that tracks changes in blood flow in the brain, the team looked at the brains of 50 young men after they consumed either two alcoholic drinks or two non-alcoholic placebo drinks. These volunteers engaged in a task that gauged their level of aggression in the face of provocation, which revealed the parts of the brain that become more active in such situations.

These scans show how alcohol-induced aggression was related to decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex, caudate, and ventral striatum, but increased activity in the hippocampus.
These scans show how alcohol-induced aggression was related to decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex, caudate, and ventral striatum, but increased activity in the hippocampus.

The researchers found that alcohol-induced aggression was correlated with decreased activity in prefrontal cortex, caudate, and ventral striatum, but increased activity in the hippocampus. These parts of the brain all control key factors in aggression: The prefrontal cortex is associated with thoughtful action and social behavior, the caudate is linked to the brain’s reward system and inhibitory control, and the ventral striatum is a part of the reward system that makes you feel good when you do something good. The hippocampus, meanwhile, is associated with emotion and memory.

These results support previous hypotheses that prefrontal cortex dysfunction is associated with alcohol-induced aggression. Taking all these brain areas together, the researchers say their findings suggest that intoxicated people have trouble processing information through their working memory. In short, they suspect that alcohol focuses a person’s attention on the cues that could instigate aggression while taking attention away from their knowledge of social norms that say violence is not acceptable.

Along similar lines, they also suspect that alcohol could make relatively minor cues seem aggressive or violent, which can cause a drunk person to overreact to a minor incident, like someone looking at them funny or accidentally bumping into them at the bar. Denson’s previous research on the angry brain found a lot of overlap in the way the prefrontal cortex behaves when someone is drunk and angry versus when they’re simply ruminating on their anger while sober.

This research proposes some possible brain biomarkers for alcohol-induced aggression, which is a significant public health issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, alcohol-related violence — including homicide, child abuse, suicide, and firearm injuries — was responsible for more than 16,000 deaths between 2006 and 2010, the most recent years the agency reported figures.

While the new study doesn’t propose a solution per se, it does build on our body of knowledge around an age-old question: Why do some people become assholes when they get drunk?

Abstract: Alcohol intoxication is implicated in approximately half of all violent crimes. Over the past several decades, numerous theories have been proposed to account for the influence of alcohol on aggression. Nearly all of these theories imply that altered functioning in the prefrontal cortex is a proximal cause. In the present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiment, 50 healthy young men consumed either a low dose of alcohol or a placebo and completed an aggression paradigm against provocative and nonprovocative opponents. Provocation did not affect neural responses. However, relative to sober participants, during acts of aggression, intoxicated participants showed decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex, caudate, and ventral striatum, but heightened activation in the hippocampus. Among intoxicated participants, but not among sober participants, aggressive behavior was positively correlated with activation in the medial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. These results support theories that posit a role for prefrontal cortical dysfunction as an important factor in intoxicated aggression.

Four Lessons Psychology Teaches Us about Inspiring Climate Action


There’s the old line that the first step to solving a problem is understanding it. But when it comes to climate change, what happens when understanding alone isn’t enough?

We know it’s important to educate the public so people understand why climate change is happening, what regions are most at risk, and how impacts like sea-level rise, extreme weather, and ocean acidification continue to harm our health and economy.

But education is the easy part. It’s getting people to take action that can be a challenge – and that’s because changing people’s attitudes and behaviors is a daunting task.

Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution, say, to eat healthier – and you find yourself saying “yes” to that second piece of chocolate cake on January 15? You may know eating too many sugary treats isn’t good for your health (attitude), but you may find it difficult to stick to eating healthier (behavior).

Social scientists of all kinds have studied the question of how to change human behavior in many different contexts from public health to public policy to environmental psychology and more. In the climate context, environmental psychologists have begun exploring this larger question by trying to understand why, for example, more Americans aren’t taking action with their votes and voices. Especially when the majority agree that humans are causing climate change.

There’s no simple answer here. The reality is that changing the behavior of one person is hard enough – let alone millions of citizens around the world. But psychology can give us some insight into better ways to motivate people to change their behavior and stand up for the planet we share.

That’s why we’ve compiled four lessons from the field that any activist can take and use to help inspire their friends, colleagues, family members, and more to act.

1. Connect the climate crisis to what’s happening in real communities to reduce psychological distance.

Climate change is a unique issue because although millions of people in the US and around the world feel the drastic effects of it in their daily lives, many people don’t (yet).

Why does this matter? Because of a construct known as psychological distance. Psychological distance refers to things that are not in our immediate reality or felt in the present moment. For example, you might think about your first year of marriage if you’re still single (temporal distance), what neighborhood or city you might buy a home in one day (spatial distance), how your best friend or family member perceives you (social distance), or how your career would be different if you had studied a different major in college (hypothetical distance).

Why is psychological distance relevant to the climate crisis? Studies have found that people who believe the effects of climate change are unlikely to happen to them or are more likely to affect other people and regions of the world are less likely to be concerned about solving it. In other words, if climate change feels psychologically distant, you worry less about it in your daily life and feel less urgency to take action.

To bridge this gap, research suggests that we should discuss how climate change affects communities and families on the local level. That means calling attention to real-life examples of how the climate crisis is affecting real people, especially in regions experiencing extreme weather. From wildfires destroying homes in the western US to hurricanes damaging homes and businesses along the Gulf Coast and southern US to droughts affecting farms in dozens of countries, it’s clear that extreme weather is devastating the livelihoods of many communities around the world.

 

2. Make climate action a group experience to promote social norms.

Humans are pack animals. In 1943, American psychologist Abraham Maslow created his Hierarchy of Needs, which proposed that humans have certain needs that begin with the most basic needs (food, sleep, safety) and end with ego-centered needs (self-esteem, creativity).

The hierarchy also proposed that once humans have their physical and safety needs satisfied, the next need in the hierarchy is belongingness. Put simply, humans are social beings that respond to group norms, and for our ancestors, group acceptance meant access to shared resources and feeling protected from predators.

Today, humans are just as keenly aware of social dynamics and psychology tells us that we fear feeling socially rejected. That’s why the more we can make climate action the norm in our social and family circles, the more likely others will join in.

3. Talk about what we’re gaining, not what we’re losing, to avoid loss aversion.

The psychological concept of loss aversion is nothing new, but behavioral scientists have started thinking about it more as it relates to the climate movement. One study examined how framing climate change impacts can affect attitudes and perceptions. In the experiment, researchers presented different climate change impacts to participants (sourced from the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report), who then answered questions about what they saw.

The results showed that framing climate change impacts in a way that highlights possible gains rather than losses increased positive attitudes toward mitigation responses. Participants also perceived climate change impacts as more severe when they were framed as gains.

So when talking about climate change with your friends and family, explain how action is an opportunity. For example, America’s Clean Power Plan, which is now under threat by the Trump Administration, could lead to public health and climate benefits worth an estimated $34 billion to $54 billion annually in 2030. Those are some serious gains! If you agree, we invite you to add your name to support the Clean Power Plan and stand up for clean energy.

4. Give your friends real ways to take action to prevent “environmental melancholia.”

We know that the climate crisis isn’t just an environmental issue. Not only do the people who experience extreme weather, warmer temperatures, drought, rising sea levels, and other devastating impacts feel psychological effects, but many people are affected simply by hearing about the crisis or seeing unsettling images in the news.

Dr. Renee Lertzman, a researcher who promotes climate change activism inside the workplace, explains that people often experience “environmental melancholia.” She explains that although we know the climate crisis is a threat, many people feel anxious and powerless about how they can make a difference, which can prevent them from doing something.

By understanding that people may feel powerless when thinking about the climate crisis, we should communicate and provide real ways to take action and support them throughout the process. If your friends or family members feel powerless or have anxiety about getting involved, one way to help is to share helpful content that gives them specific ways to take action. Our blog post, “Four Ways Anyone Can Take Climate Action,” is a great place to start.

How You Can Make a Difference

Humans are complicated and changing behavior is no easy task, but thinking about how to overcome empathy or powerlessness is the first step to getting others involved with the movement for solutions. If you’re ready to make a difference in your community, download our Make It a Reality Action Kit now to get started. Our climate action kit will give you a thorough look at the climate crisis and ways you can participate in the fight for a bright, sustainable future.

Assist Devices Boost Colonoscopy Quality


Given the theoretical advantage of smoothing mucosal folds, devices that flatten the colon during endoscopy should reveal more polyps. But do they?

Two new studies—one retrospective, one randomized—show the gains from colonoscopy assist devices now available commercially are real. But, how much they will boost a skilled endoscopist’s ability to detect adenomas remains unclear.

Presented at the 2017 World Congress of Gastroenterology/American College of Gastroenterology, the randomized study compared unassisted conventional colonoscopy (CC) and colonoscopy assisted with the Olympus transparent cap (TC) or the Olympus Endocuff Vision (EV) (abstract 39). The retrospective analysis (abstract P1029) compared CC, EV and the Medivators AmplifEYE (AE).

image

AmplifEYE from Medivators

The assist devices obey the same principle: Flattened mucosa should reveal polyps obscured by folds. All devices fit on the end of existing colonoscopes, but the technologies differ. The Olympus TC is designed to maintain an appropriate depth of field while preventing the scope from coming into direct contact with the mucosal membrane. The more sophisticated EV has finger-like projections that permit more controlled flattening of the mucosal folds. The AE device, which is the newest option, also has flexible extensions to stretch and flatten mucosal folds.

“The differences between the devices were not very striking, but our data show that using a device is much better than not using a device,” reported Talal Alkayali, MBBS, of the H.H. Chao Comprehensive Digestive Disease Center at the University of California, Irvine, who helped conduct the retrospective study. He called this analysis, which included data from 1,186 screening and surveillance colonoscopies performed by 32 colonoscopists, the first side-by-side comparison of EV and AE.

The study was based on colonoscopies conducted between September 2016 and May 2017. Of these, 520 were CC, 312 were performed with EV and 354 were performed with AE. There were some differences between groups. For example, the cecal intubation rate (CIR) was lower in the CC group (97.3%) than in the EV or AE groups (both >99%; P=0.012).

image

Endocuff Vision from Olympus.

The adenoma detection rate (ADR) was 30% for CC, 54% for EV and 50% for AE, indicating significant superiority of the assist devices (P<0.001 for both vs. CC). The serrated polyp detection rate (SDR) was 7% for CC, 13% for EV (P=0.004 vs. CC) and 14% for AE (P=0.002 vs. CC). When stratified by sex, the detection rates were numerically greater and usually significantly greater for both assist devices relative to CC.

The other study, billed as the first randomized controlled trial to compare EV, TC and CC, enrolled 126 patients. Sooraj Tejaswi, MD, director of the Gastroenterology Fellowship Program at the University of California, Davis Medical Center, in Sacramento, led the trial (abstract 39).

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When performed by three experienced colonoscopists with baseline ADRs ranging from 43% to 55%, few differences between colonoscopy techniques reached statistical significance. The one exception was mean ADR, which was 1.7 in the EV group versus 1.1 for CC and 0.76 for TC (P=0.03 for EV vs. TC), but the higher mean ADR per positive colonoscopy was not significant for EV versus the other methods. EV was associated with a numerically higher ADR (54.8%) than CC (52.3%) or TC, but the ADR for CC was higher than for the cap (40.5%).

“There was no statistical difference with respect to ADR between EV and CC, which may be accounted for by the high prestudy baseline ADR with our experienced endoscopists,” said Joseph Marsano, MD, a GI fellow at UC Davis, who presented the data. The results do not rule out an advantage of EV for providers with lower ADRs, but more studies would be needed to evaluate that hypothesis, he said.

In the randomized study, patient demographics and procedure metrics, such as cecal intubation time, were similar in the three study arms. The ADR was 52% for CC, 40% for TC and 54% for EV. Other measured outcomes followed this same general pattern. For example, the ADR in the proximal colon was 45% for CC, 35% for TC and 50% for EV; the mean numbers of adenomas detected per positive colonoscopy were 2.08, 1.63 and 2.59 in the three arms. None of these differences was statistically significant. When the mean numbers of adenomas per colonoscopy were compared, the difference for EV (1.7) was significantly superior to TC (0.76; P=0.03) but not CC (1.1).

“An interesting finding of the randomized study was the numerically higher sessile serrated adenoma detection rate of 23.8% with EV compared to 16.7% for CC and 14.3% for TC,” Dr. Tejaswi said. Although the study was not adequately powered to confirm this difference, Dr. Tejaswi said future research should explore whether assist devices have an advantage in increasing the detection rate of this type of adenoma.

At Dr. Alkayali’s institution, the assist devices have been widely incorporated into routine practice. In the absence of clear differences between the attachments, experience or personal experience might be more important criteria for selecting one over another. “Further studies will give us verification of the results” and may distinguish relative advantages between available devices, he added.

Why the results of the two studies diverge is unclear. Although randomization provides greater objectivity for making a comparison, there are many variables, such as the skill of the endoscopist, that may be important in considering the utility of these devices in typical patient screening and for future comparative studies.

David Johnson, MD, chief of the Division of Gastroenterology at Eastern Virginia Medical School, in Norfolk, said although the attachments “may be helpful, particularly for less skilled endoscopists, the additional costs and willingness to invest into additional nonreimbursed equipment will be the challenge.”

More data are needed to demonstrate the specific advantage of assist devices for both the detection of adenomas and serrated polyps and their ability to lead to definitive resection, Dr. Johnson said. These kinds of potential technical improvements are welcome, but “clearly, at present, the operator-dependent skills remain the backbone in ADR detection.”

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