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A new FDA-authorized COVID-19 test doesn’t need a lab and can produce results in just 5 minutes

There’s a new COVID-19 test from healthcare technology maker Abbott that looks to be the fastest yet in terms of producing results, and that can do so on the spot right at point-of-care, without requiring a round trip to a lab. This test for the novel coronavirus causing the current global pandemic has received emergency clearance for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and will begin production next week, with output of 50,000 per day possible starting next week.

The new Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test uses the Abbott ID NOW diagnostics platform, which is essentially a lab-in-a-box that is roughly the size of a small kitchen appliance. It’s size, and the fact that it can produce either a positive result in just five minutes, or a negative one in under 15, mean that it could be a very useful means to extend coronavirus testing beyond its current availability to more places including clinics and doctor’s offices, and cut down on wait times both in terms of getting tested and receiving a diagnosis.

Unlike the rapid tests that have been used in other countries, and that received a new type of authorization under an FDA guideline that doesn’t confirm the accuracy fo the results, this rapid testing solution uses the molecular testing method, which works with saliva and mucus samples swabbed from a patient. This means that it works by identifying a portion of the virus’ DNA in a patient, which means it’s much better at detecting the actual presence of the virus during infection, whereas other tests that search the blood for antibodies that are used in point-of-care settings can only detect antibodies, which might be present in recovered patients who don’t actively have the virus.

The good news for availability of this test is that ID NOW, the hardware from Abbott that it runs on, already “holds the largest molecular point-of-care footprint in the U.S.,” and is “widely available” across doctor’s offices, urgent care clinics, emergency rooms and other medical facilities.

In total, Abbott now says that it believes it will produce 5 million tests in April, split between these new rapid tests and the lab tests that it received emergency use authorization for by the FDA on March 18.

Testing has been one of the early problems faced by the U.S. in terms of getting a handle on the coronavirus pandemic: The country has lagged behind other nations globally in terms of per capita tests conducted, which experts say has hampered its ability to properly track and trace the spread of the virus and its resulting respiratory disease. Patients have reported having to go to extreme lengths to receive a test, and endure long waits for results, even in cases where exposure was likely and their symptoms match the COVID-19 profile.

YC startup Felix wants to replace antibiotics with programmable viruses

Right now the world is at war. But this is no ordinary war. It’s a fight with an organism so small we can only detect it through use of a microscope — and if we don’t stop it, it could kill millions of us in the next several decades. No, I’m not talking about COVID-19, though that organism is the one on everyone’s mind right now. I’m talking about antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

You see, more than 700,000 people died globally from bacterial infections last year — 35,000 of them in the U.S. If we do nothing, that number could grow to 10 million annually by 2050, according to a United Nations report.

The problem? Antibiotic overuse at the doctor’s office or in livestock and farming practices. We used a lot of drugs over time to kill off all the bad bacteria — but it only killed off most, not all, of the bad bacteria. And, as the famous line from Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park goes, “life finds a way.”

Enter Felix, a biotech startup in the latest Y Combinator batch that thinks it has a novel approach to keeping bacterial infections at bay – viruses.

Phage killing bacteria in a petri dish

It seems weird in a time of widespread concern over the corona virus to be looking at any virus in a good light but as co-founder Robert McBride explains it, Felix’s key technology allows him to target his virus to specific sites on bacteria. This not only kills off the bad bacteria but can also halt its ability to evolve and once more become resistant.

But the idea to use a virus to kill off bacteria is not necessarily new. Bacteriophages, or viruses that can “infect” bacteria, were first discovered by an English researcher in 1915 and commercialized phage therapy began in the U.S. in the 1940’s through Eli Lilly and Company. Right about then antibiotics came along and Western scientists just never seemed to explore the therapy further.

However, with too few new solutions being offered and the standard drug model not working effectively to combat the situation, McBride believes his company can put phage therapy back at the forefront.

Already Felix has tested its solution on an initial group of 10 people to demonstrate its approach.

Felix researcher helping cystic fibrosis patient Ella Balasa through phage therapy

“We can develop therapies in less time and for less money than traditional antibiotics because we are targeting orphan indications and we already know our therapy can work in humans,” McBride told TechCrunch . “We argue that our approach, which re-sensitizes bacteria to traditional antibiotics could be a first line therapy.”

Felix plans to deploy its treatment for bacterial infections in those suffering from cystic fibrosis first as these patients tend to require a near constant stream of antibiotics to combat lung infections.

The next step will be to conduct a small clinical trial involving 30 people, then, as the scientific research and development model tends to go, a larger human trial before seeking FDA approval. But McBride hopes his viral solution will prove itself out in time to help the coming onslaught of antibiotic resistance.

“We know the antibiotic resistant challenge is large now and is only going to get worse,” McBride said. “We have an elegant technological solution to this challenge and we know our treatment can work. We want to contribute to a future in which these infections do not kill more than 10 million people a year, a future we can get excited about.”

The People and Tech Behind Data Science Explained

Within the past few years, the study of data science and machine learning has exploded into its own job field. However, the tech subgenre has been galavanting to the mainstream for nearly 3 centuries. It all started sometime in the 1740s with Bayes’ Theorem.

Today, the demand for data scientists is at its peak and is only continuing to surge. By the end of this year, there will have been 2.7 million data scientist job openings. The million-dollar question is:

What do data scientists do?

To be direct, data science is the process of analyzing data. Explaining with more complexity, data scientists use heterogeneous data – data that were composed of different forms or dissimilar components – to solve rigorous problems.

To do so, data scientists use their master skills in computer science, high-level mathematics, and more. These aforementioned skills are especially unique to data scientists developing industrial machine learning technologies, programs, and Enterprise AI.

data scientists do

In short, data scientists take three steps in analyzing their data: preparing, testing, and capturing. Of course, 2-3 individual tasks are necessary to complete each step.

Preparing

To prepare for data analysis, data must be first captured. In other words, the first task in a data scientist’s work is to simply collect their data. Scientists can extract or acquire them. To further prepare for data analysis, the scientist then maintains their data, safely storing and staging it.

Some data storage methods include scalable storage optimized with artificial intelligence. Finally, the data undergo processing which involves mining and classification.

Testing

Once data scientists are done with preparation, having completed the previously mentioned tasks, they will move on to physically testing their findings. Think back to your public school science fair days:

What must you do before testing your data?

Draft a hypothesis or an educated guess. It involves developing a theory to test with the data model. After this, the data is finally ready for analysis. This is the stage where new findings based on the initially collected data are discovered. It’s often done by modeling, exploring, and experimenting with data to reach desired outcomes and to decide what the data means.

what data scientists do

Capturing

All that’s left to do at this point is to communicate the results. Reconnecting data science to science fair procedures, how would you express your final discoveries? Perhaps a visual aid, such as a tri-fold poster board.

While data scientists may not necessarily take this route of expression, they create an easily understood picture of the model’s predictions. It’s easily translatable to an audience of laymen. The final task in data analysis is to apply your results. It’s to help end-users understand how to use the predictions to take effective actions within their business.

See Also: The Importance of Big Data In Business And Your Success

Who are data scientists?

More importantly, how do you become one?

Jenn Gamble, Director of Noodle.ai – the leading machine learning software giant – spoke on the subject, saying, “You don’t necessarily need a Ph.D. to do data science – you need an aptitude for math and a creative, problem-solving mentality.”

By 2025, we will be creating data worth 175 billion terabytes on a daily basis, so the primary way to fully understand and analyze the world’s surging data is to hire more data scientists with access to advanced tools.

Some of the most popular tools in the industry include the R programming language, python, PyTorch, hadoop, and Apache Spark. Among the most crucial roles needing fulfillment in the machine learning job economy are data engineers, AI hardware specialists, and software engineers.

Data engineers create and maintain the methods which bring in data, needing skills in Scikit-learn, AForge.NET, and/or Java programming language. Software engineers analyze business data and design software to fit needs, needing skills in Java programming language, SQL, and/or python. Lastly, AI hardware specialists create and program AI to perform specific tasks, needing skills in machine learning, python, Saas, and Java programming language.

Data science provides opportunities for people to express their creativity.

It gives them the means to create technology that can initiate changes worldwide. Think about all of the space exploration, autonomous vehicles, personalized medicine, and personalized education that have been created within the past few years. They are the work of data scientists.

This isn’t all, however.

Data scientists have also created technologies capable of monitoring wildlife migration and optimize energy. The essentiality of data science is no question. In fact, between just 2011 and 2012, job listings for “data scientist” increased by 15,000%.

Find out more about what data science is below.

The post The People and Tech Behind Data Science Explained appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Treating Arthritis Naturally: Home Remedies For Arthritis and Joint Pain

Arthritis is one of the most chronic and common illnesses affecting millions around the globe. It is a disease that causes inflammation of the joints and considered a rheumatic condition. It doesn’t just harm the joints, but sometimes it can also affect the ligaments, tendons, muscles, and bones.

If the condition spreads, it can also affect other internal organs and the immune system. The symptoms of arthritis include severe ache, pain, stiffness, and swelling in bones and muscles. Arthritis can also drain a person mentally, causing sleep disorders and depression.

Arthritis can cause severe fatigue and pain which can make daily tasks appear daunting.

What causes arthritis?

There are five primary types of arthritis: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, and Gout. Each type of arthritis has its own set of causes.

Below are some of the primary causes of arthritis:

  • Injury
  • Infections
  • Immune disorders
  • Heredity
  • Abnormal metabolism
  • Muscle disorders
  • Age
  • Obesity

How to treat arthritis?

The treatment for arthritis involves enriching the bones, joints or muscles, controlling the pain, and alleviating the symptoms. The treatment or care also focuses on minimizing the damage on the joints or nearby muscles and organs.

Home and natural remedies for arthritis involves augmenting the dietary and lifestyle habits. It can help in treating and also preventing the further spread of arthritis or its conditions.

Natural remedies for arthritis

Ginger

treating arthritis naturally ginger

Ginger is favored around the globe for its rich medical properties. It contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These and other components of ginger work together in reducing pain, inflammation, and disability.

Ginger also promotes weight loss and boosts immunity which improves the body’s ability to alleviate arthritis. It plays another critical role by increasing blood circulation and supporting the affected area with its healing properties.

Use powdered ginger to add flavors to dishes. Add grated ginger root to soups, teas or juices to experience its benefits.

Broccoli

treating arthritis naturally broccoli

Broccoli is a superfood that reduces inflammation. It is rich in calcium, potassium, and magnesium which are known to be highly beneficial in treating arthritis.

See Also: A List of Superfoods You Definitely Need in Your Diet

Adding broccoli to salads is the most common practice to take in their benefits.

Healthy dietary management to fight arthritis.

Below are some of the foods for arthritis patients:

Sulfur rich foods: Asparagus, cabbage, garlic, and onions.
Antioxidant foods: Brussel sprouts, broccoli, carrots, spinach, red & green peppers.
Vitamin-rich fruits: Avocados, berries, melons, papaya, pineapple.

Herbal teas, garlic, turmeric, and cinnamon are highly recommended. These are loaded with anti-inflammatory and immune system boosting properties.

These foods help in rebuilding the damaged tissues, inhibit or reduce inflammation, and alleviate the pain associated with arthritis.

On the other hand, these foods also help in reducing weight, improving the immune system, and overall health which can ease the treatment of the condition.

Essential nutrients for managing arthritis

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the essential nutrients that helps in absorbing calcium and building strong bones. It also regulates the immune system to fight arthritis from inside.

Vitamin D is also vital for muscle movement, fighting inflammation, and enriching the communication between nerves. These attributes help reduce the associated symptoms and reduce stress.

Sun and yogurt are the best sources of vitamin D. Supplements are also recommended to fuel the body with significant amounts of vitamin D.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids help in reducing inflammation and improving the immune system. These essential fatty acids increase the blood flow, reduce joint pains, inflammation, tenderness, swelling, and discomfort in the joints and knees.

Seafood is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Generally, supplements of omega-3 fatty acids are also recommended for those who do not eat fish. You can also get them from nuts and seeds.

Glucosamine, magnesium, and calcium are other essential nutrients that should be taken in significant amounts to treat arthritis.

Warm water therapy

Warm water therapy regulates the size of blood vessels. It, in turn, increases the flow of blood, oxygen, and essential nutrients to repair the damaged tissues. It also eases the stiffness and gives more relaxation to the joints and muscles.

How to do it:

  • Relax in a tub of warm water or soak your legs in warm water.
  • The other way is to apply a warm compress to the affected area.

Avoid this therapy if you see any redness or swelling. You could also try a cold compress which has a similar effect. The cold compress does the opposite and reduces the blood flow and decreases inflammation.

Massage

Arthritis, as mentioned above, can limit mobility or cause severe pain when the affected person does physical workout. In such cases, massage therapy can be helpful.
Regular massage can soothe the pain, improve blood flow, increase flexibility, and strengthen the joints and muscles.

Besides, massage is known to inhibit the stress hormone and boost the serotonin levels, which can improve the mood.

Walking or swimming are also other physical exercises that can help in treating arthritis. Go easy on this routine or work out under an expert’s guidance. These simple exercises can reduce fat, improve coordination, mood, and quality of life.

What to Avoid

treating arthritis naturally what to avoid

A person who has arthritis should take necessary measures to avoid the following:

  • Flour and wheat products
  • Red meat
  • Alcohol
  • Processed or starchy foods
  • High-sugar foods
  • High-intensity exercises
  • Weight-lifting

Conclusion

These tips on treating arthritis can naturally help in alleviating the symptoms, reducing the pain, and treating the condition in the early stages. These remedies also help in improving the everyday physical and mental abilities.

However, in severe or chronic conditions of arthritis, it is a must to get proper treatment from a doctor. Otherwise, it could cause permanent damage and progress to other parts.

See Also: Words of Advice To Keep Your Joints Healthy

Author Bio:

Henna is a wellness lifestyle writer. She loves sharing her thoughts and personal
experiences related to natural remedies, Ayurvedic, yoga and fitness through her
writing. She currently writes for How To Cure. She can connect with others experiencing
health concerns and help them through their recovery journeys through natural
remedies

The post Treating Arthritis Naturally: Home Remedies For Arthritis and Joint Pain appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Fiddler Labs, SRI and Berkeley experts open up the black box of machine learning at TC Sessions: Robotics+AI

As AI permeates the home, work, and public life, it’s increasingly important to be able to understand why and how it makes its decisions. Explainable AI isn’t just a matter of hitting a switch, though; Experts from UC Berkeley, SRI, and Fiddler Labs will discuss how we should go about it on stage at TC Sessions: Robotics+AI on March 3.

What does explainability really mean? Do we need to start from scratch? How do we avoid exposing proprietary data and methods? Will there be a performance hit? Whose responsibility will it be, and who will ensure it is done properly?

On our panel addressing these questions and more will be two experts, one each from academia and private industry.

Trevor Darrell is a professor at Berkeley’s Computer Science department who helps lead many of the university’s AI-related labs and projects, especially those concerned with the next generation of smart transportation. His research group focuses on perception and human-AI interaction, and he previously led a computer vision group at MIT.

Krishna Gade has passed in his time through Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Microsoft, and has seen firsthand how AI is developed privately — and how biases and flawed processes can lead to troubling results. He co-founded Fiddler as an effort to address problems of fairness and transparency by providing an explainable AI framework for enterprise.

Moderating and taking part in the discussion will be SRI International’s Karen Myers, director of the research outfit’s Artificial Intelligence Center and an AI developer herself focused on collaboration, automation, and multi-agent systems.

Save $50 on tickets when you book today. Ticket prices go up at the door and are selling fast. We have two (yes two) Startup Demo Packages Left – book your package now and get your startup in front of 1000+ of today’s leading industry minds. Packages come with 4 tickets – book here.

17-year-old discovers a planet on third day of NASA internship

17-year-old discovers a planet on third day of NASA internship

Gen Z’s intergalactic takeover has begun. 

On Monday, NASA announced that its Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which captures images to be uploaded to the Planet Hunters TESS citizen science project, had evidence of a new planet. The first circumbinary planet captured by TESS, “TOI 1338 b” as it is now known orbits two stars in the constellation Pictor — approximately 1,300 light-year away from Earth.  

The person responsible for the new discovery? 17-year-old intern Wolf Cukier. 

In summer 2019, Cukier was tasked with examining “variations in star brightness” in images captured by TESS. In a NASA press release, Goddard researcher Veselin Kostov explained that the human eye is better equipped than an algorithm when it comes to detecting subtle changes and patterns — so, a perfect job for a first-week intern.  Read more…

More about Nasa, Planet, Science, and Space

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia’s raging fires approached

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia's raging fires approached

The sun didn’t rise on New Year’s Eve. The summer morning in a small beach town on the east coast of Australia looked like a winter’s night. 

That black sky soon gave way to a blazing, eerie orange as the flames approached. At least 4,000 people were told to jump into the ocean. Gas cylinders could be heard popping like fireworks as they exploded. 

The town of Mallacoota looked apocalyptic on Tuesday local time as it became the latest victim of Australia’s out-of-control bushfires.

It was too late to evacuate. 

“We are one road in, one road out. That road’s been blocked for hours and hours and hours,” Francesca Winterson from Mallacoota Community Radio told News Breakfast, a national TV broadcast.  Read more…

More about Australia, Bushfires, Science, and Climate Environment

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia’s raging fires approached

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia's raging fires approached

The sun didn’t rise on New Year’s Eve. The summer morning in a small beach town on the east coast of Australia looked like a winter’s night. 

That black sky soon gave way to a blazing, eerie orange as the flames approached. At least 4,000 people were told to jump into the ocean. Gas cylinders could be heard popping like fireworks as they exploded. 

The town of Mallacoota looked apocalyptic on Tuesday local time as it became the latest victim of Australia’s out-of-control bushfires.

It was too late to evacuate. 

“We are one road in, one road out. That road’s been blocked for hours and hours and hours,” Francesca Winterson from Mallacoota Community Radio told News Breakfast, a national TV broadcast.  Read more…

More about Australia, Bushfires, Science, and Climate Environment

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia’s raging fires approached

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia's raging fires approached

The sun didn’t rise on New Year’s Eve. The summer morning in a small beach town on the east coast of Australia looked like a winter’s night. 

That black sky soon gave way to a blazing, eerie orange as the flames approached. At least 4,000 people were told to jump into the ocean. Gas cylinders could be heard popping like fireworks as they exploded. 

The town of Mallacoota looked apocalyptic on Tuesday local time as it became the latest victim of Australia’s out-of-control bushfires.

It was too late to evacuate. 

“We are one road in, one road out. That road’s been blocked for hours and hours and hours,” Francesca Winterson from Mallacoota Community Radio told News Breakfast, a national TV broadcast.  Read more…

More about Australia, Bushfires, Science, and Climate Environment

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia’s raging fires approached

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia's raging fires approached

The sun didn’t rise on New Year’s Eve. The summer morning in a small beach town on the east coast of Australia looked like a winter’s night. 

That black sky soon gave way to a blazing, eerie orange as the flames approached. At least 4,000 people were told to jump into the ocean. Gas cylinders could be heard popping like fireworks as they exploded. 

The town of Mallacoota looked apocalyptic on Tuesday local time as it became the latest victim of Australia’s out-of-control bushfires.

It was too late to evacuate. 

“We are one road in, one road out. That road’s been blocked for hours and hours and hours,” Francesca Winterson from Mallacoota Community Radio told News Breakfast, a national TV broadcast.  Read more…

More about Australia, Bushfires, Science, and Climate Environment

Blue Origin moves closer to human spaceflight with 12th New Shepard launch

Jeff Bezos -founded Blue Origin has recorded another successful mission for its New Shepard sub-orbital launch vehicle, which is a key step as it readies the spacecraft for human spaceflight. This is also the sixth flight of this re-used booster, which is a record for Blue Origin in terms of relying on and recovering one of its rocket stages.

This is the ninth time that Blue Origin has flown commercial payloads aboard New Shepard, and each launch moves it one step closer to demonstrating the system’s readiness for carrying crew on board. This launch carried experimental payloads that will be used for research, including materials used in student studies. It also had thousands of postcards on board written by students from around the world, which were submitted to the Club for the Future nonprofit set up by Blue Origin earlier this year to provide educational resources about space to schools and students.

Blue Origin intends to fly paying space tourists aboard New Shepard eventually, along with other commercial astronauts making the trip for research and other missions. Up to six passengers can fit in Blue Origin’s capsule atop the New Shepard, but we don’t yet know when it’ll actually be carrying anyone on board, either for testing or for commercial flights.

How Netflix Metaflow Framework Is Different Than Other Python Frameworks

Python is one of the fastest-growing programming languages in the world today. It is already being used by 8 million developers across the world.

It’s hard to say that when Guido Van Rossum first laid the foundation of Python in the 1990s, he would have imagined the extent to which people would adore the programming language.

But, the fact is, organizations from all across the world love to implement Python in their business processes. In the data science industry, for example, Python is being utilized like no other programming language.

Who Uses Python?

Tech and cloud titans are not shying away from using Python for their organizations. Dropbox is a very astonishing and one-of-a-kind move that’s able to write down 4 million lines of Python code. Similarly, Facebook is using Python as its configuration language for its container development system Tupperware.

More and more organizations are shifting their code to Python in recent times and there are many reasons for it. Python is one single language but serves plenty of purposes.

Whether you want to use it as a scripting language, for machine learning development or for data science projects, Python is full of surprises for every use and purpose. It is easy to learn and start implementing which is why it catches the attention of both beginner and professional developers.

Python is scalable, too. It consists of abundant libraries that reduce the burden of coding something from scratch. These, along with many other reasons, contribute to the widespread use of Python across the data science industry.

The Origin of Metaflow

netflix python metaflow

The cloud-based video streaming giant Netflix is one organization that uses Python in almost everything that it does. The organization is a classic example of how Python can be utilized to its full potential for business-critical processes along with real-world data science projects.

Netflix uses a mixture of already existing libraries and in-house frameworks of Python development. Not only this, Netflix also has its very own Python framework for data science known as Metaflow. Ever since its inception a few years ago, it is the first time that Python has turned it into an open-source framework.

But the foundation stone of Metaflow wasn’t laid because Netflix wanted to reform the way data scientists work today. Around two years ago, the entire machine learning team at Netflix gathered just to understand the most robust challenges faced by data scientists while carrying out their tasks.

The answers expected for this question were supposed to revolve around data models and GPUs of massive scale. Instead, what came out as an actual fact was surprising.

Data scientists faced a lot of challenges involving projects and their initial versions which took a significant amount of time to get produced.

Data scientists were found to be more excited about off-the-shelf machine learning libraries. However, these couldn’t be completely utilized because of the issues caused during dependencies in a production workflow. As a result, the entire task of a data scientist became a hassle-filled affair.

The result was this: almost everything could be performed using the existing data science libraries in the world.

The only issue was that there was no such thing as easy. Owing to this reason, Netflix set out to develop Metaflow. They did it to allow common operations in data science to become as easy as pie. The entire focus was to channel the energy with the sole focus of increasing the productivity of data scientists. As a result, metaflow was made with a humancentric fanatic in mind.

How Metaflow Improves the Job of a Data Scientist

netflix metaflow

Models are only a miniature part of a complete end-to-end project. In other words, production-grade projects rely heavily on a thick stack of infrastructure. Even for the smallest of projects, businesses need data and a way to perform computation on top of it.

When it comes to Netflix’s typical data science project, scientists touch almost every single layer of their business stack.

Data scientists at Netflix basically love the freedom of being able to choose the most befitting modeling approach for their projects. Even though they understand that feature engineering is fundamental to several models, they do not want to be limited by this fact.

Put differently, in the modern world, data scientists want to express their business logic through Python code, but don’t want to spend too much time thinking about the engineering issues behind it. These issues include factors like object hierarchies, packaging issues, and dealing with dubious APIs that are not closely related to their work.

Most data scientists don’t have anything against the Python code. They just want the foundation components to work when they don’t display messages that are clear and understandable. To solve all these issues, Metaflow provides a unified approach to navigating the stack.

It allows data scientists to write models and business logic with idiomatic Python code and leverages existing infrastructure whenever feasible. It is conveniently integrated into full-stack with humancentric APIs as its core proposition.

Even though Metaflow might not feel very different from what one could easily achieve in R or other Python frameworks, its main feature lies in quickly putting the existing workflows to the cloud. Metaflow quickly snapshots the code along with the data and dependencies automatically in a content-addressed data store. This is typically backed by S3 or a local file system as well. Therefore, it helps scientists resume workflows along with reproducing past results and inspecting almost everything about the workflow in a notebook.

Conclusion

Even though Metaflow only supports Amazon Web services today, but soon another could be supported, too. Quite some engineering has gone into developing Metaflow. This is why being open source can help plenty of organizations up their data science projects and ease the lives of their data scientists. Ultimately, it is making the data speak to solve the toughest business problems.

See Also: 5 Awesome Tools To Help You Newbie Geeks With Your Open Source Project

The post How Netflix Metaflow Framework Is Different Than Other Python Frameworks appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How Netflix Metaflow Framework Is Different Than Other Python Frameworks

Python is one of the fastest-growing programming languages in the world today. It is already being used by 8 million developers across the world.

It’s hard to say that when Guido Van Rossum first laid the foundation of Python in the 1990s, he would have imagined the extent to which people would adore the programming language.

But, the fact is, organizations from all across the world love to implement Python in their business processes. In the data science industry, for example, Python is being utilized like no other programming language.

Who Uses Python?

Tech and cloud titans are not shying away from using Python for their organizations. Dropbox is a very astonishing and one-of-a-kind move that’s able to write down 4 million lines of Python code. Similarly, Facebook is using Python as its configuration language for its container development system Tupperware.

More and more organizations are shifting their code to Python in recent times and there are many reasons for it. Python is one single language but serves plenty of purposes.

Whether you want to use it as a scripting language, for machine learning development or for data science projects, Python is full of surprises for every use and purpose. It is easy to learn and start implementing which is why it catches the attention of both beginner and professional developers.

Python is scalable, too. It consists of abundant libraries that reduce the burden of coding something from scratch. These, along with many other reasons, contribute to the widespread use of Python across the data science industry.

The Origin of Metaflow

netflix python metaflow

The cloud-based video streaming giant Netflix is one organization that uses Python in almost everything that it does. The organization is a classic example of how Python can be utilized to its full potential for business-critical processes along with real-world data science projects.

Netflix uses a mixture of already existing libraries and in-house frameworks of Python development. Not only this, Netflix also has its very own Python framework for data science known as Metaflow. Ever since its inception a few years ago, it is the first time that Python has turned it into an open-source framework.

But the foundation stone of Metaflow wasn’t laid because Netflix wanted to reform the way data scientists work today. Around two years ago, the entire machine learning team at Netflix gathered just to understand the most robust challenges faced by data scientists while carrying out their tasks.

The answers expected for this question were supposed to revolve around data models and GPUs of massive scale. Instead, what came out as an actual fact was surprising.

Data scientists faced a lot of challenges involving projects and their initial versions which took a significant amount of time to get produced.

Data scientists were found to be more excited about off-the-shelf machine learning libraries. However, these couldn’t be completely utilized because of the issues caused during dependencies in a production workflow. As a result, the entire task of a data scientist became a hassle-filled affair.

The result was this: almost everything could be performed using the existing data science libraries in the world.

The only issue was that there was no such thing as easy. Owing to this reason, Netflix set out to develop Metaflow. They did it to allow common operations in data science to become as easy as pie. The entire focus was to channel the energy with the sole focus of increasing the productivity of data scientists. As a result, metaflow was made with a humancentric fanatic in mind.

How Metaflow Improves the Job of a Data Scientist

netflix metaflow

Models are only a miniature part of a complete end-to-end project. In other words, production-grade projects rely heavily on a thick stack of infrastructure. Even for the smallest of projects, businesses need data and a way to perform computation on top of it.

When it comes to Netflix’s typical data science project, scientists touch almost every single layer of their business stack.

Data scientists at Netflix basically love the freedom of being able to choose the most befitting modeling approach for their projects. Even though they understand that feature engineering is fundamental to several models, they do not want to be limited by this fact.

Put differently, in the modern world, data scientists want to express their business logic through Python code, but don’t want to spend too much time thinking about the engineering issues behind it. These issues include factors like object hierarchies, packaging issues, and dealing with dubious APIs that are not closely related to their work.

Most data scientists don’t have anything against the Python code. They just want the foundation components to work when they don’t display messages that are clear and understandable. To solve all these issues, Metaflow provides a unified approach to navigating the stack.

It allows data scientists to write models and business logic with idiomatic Python code and leverages existing infrastructure whenever feasible. It is conveniently integrated into full-stack with humancentric APIs as its core proposition.

Even though Metaflow might not feel very different from what one could easily achieve in R or other Python frameworks, its main feature lies in quickly putting the existing workflows to the cloud. Metaflow quickly snapshots the code along with the data and dependencies automatically in a content-addressed data store. This is typically backed by S3 or a local file system as well. Therefore, it helps scientists resume workflows along with reproducing past results and inspecting almost everything about the workflow in a notebook.

Conclusion

Even though Metaflow only supports Amazon Web services today, but soon another could be supported, too. Quite some engineering has gone into developing Metaflow. This is why being open source can help plenty of organizations up their data science projects and ease the lives of their data scientists. Ultimately, it is making the data speak to solve the toughest business problems.

See Also: 5 Awesome Tools To Help You Newbie Geeks With Your Open Source Project

The post How Netflix Metaflow Framework Is Different Than Other Python Frameworks appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Nikola Tesla: The Man Who Defeated The Prediction Fate

In today’s world of advancing technologies and innovation-obsessed cultures, there are a number of technological heroes we should be thankful for. The new gadgetry made feasible for every day use has since reverberated with billions of people across the globe.

One of those original superstars of inventions was Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), who is responsible for nearly 300 patents and numerous breakthroughs in technology. His fame fluctuated significantly during his lifetime while it reached to a well-deserved peak in the recent times.

Today, Tesla’s name has already graced one of the most reputed and newsworthy technological companies. Also, his reliable predictions have made him a bona fide inspiration of all time. He also collaborated with Thomas Edison, another prominent inventor.

Nikola Tesla had correctly predicted the birth of smartphones, internet, Wi-Fi, and every type of wireless communication. Along with that, he had invented a great number of innovations developed in the 21st century.

Without Tesla, it is hard to even imagine what it would look like if he had not influenced them. We may not have the TV, the radio, AC electricity, fluorescent lighting, Tesla coils, and radio-controlled devices. We wouldn’t have neon lighting, x-rays, microwaves, robotics, radar, and hundreds of other useful inventions, too.

Wondering what we have done without this genius? Let’s have a look at these Nikola Tesla predictions.

Wi-Fi

Prediction: “Present wireless receiving apparatus will be scrapped for much simpler machines; static and all forms of interference will be eliminated, so that innumerable transmitters and receivers may be operated without interference. It is more than probable that the household’s daily newspaper will be printed ‘wirelessly’ in the home during the night. Domestic management—the problems of heat, light and household mechanics—will be freed from all labor through beneficent wireless power.”

Undoubtedly, a person who was obsessed with wireless technology can easily envy Wi-Fi and can gladly predict how a wireless device can be beneficial for future generations.

See Also: How WiFi6 Will Make Your Home (And Business) Better

Smart phones

nikola tesla predictions smartphone

Prediction: “When wireless is perfectly applied, the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this but through television and telephony, we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.”

The above description by Tesla may quickly sound like the prediction of a smartphone to the current generation. Nikola envisioned wireless devices, just like a Wi-Fi, that would be able to incorporate telephonic technology and videos over the rays of transmission like the internet and virtual reality.

See Also: How Do Smartphones Help Business Succeed

Self-driving Cars

Prediction: “As early as 1898, I proposed to representatives of a large manufacturing concern the construction and public exhibition of an automobile carriage which, left to itself, would perform a great variety of operations involving something akin to judgment.”

After the prediction of wireless technologies, he went on to predict today’s driving technologies. Although it took more than a century to make it into a reality, the effort led a larger than life innovator company making it possible with a timeless imagination.

Wireless Energy Transmission

Prediction: “When the wireless transmission of power is made commercial, transport and transmission will be revolutionized. Already motion pictures have been transmitted by wireless over a short distance. Later the distance will be illimitable, and by later, I mean only a few years hence. Pictures are transmitted over wires—they were telegraphed successfully through the point system thirty years ago. When wireless transmission of power becomes general, these methods will be as crude as is the steam locomotive compared with the electric train.”

As mentioned above, Tesla’s lifelong inventions involved a massive project of wireless transmission of energy across long distances. During a lecture at her research center, Stella Drake (Physicist at Crowd Writer) elaborated that; “Tesla came to know the revolutionary potential of the generation and consumption of energy in 1926. This is the thing our scientists are still struggling as a challenge to understand and implement.”

Since, Tesla worked and, fortunately, got a motivating outcome of the Tower of Power in 1904 in Shoreham, Long Island, New York; however, the tower was destroyed curiously by the U.S. Government in 1917 on suspicion of it being used by the Germans.

Fuel-less Aircrafts

Prediction: “Perhaps the most valuable application of wireless energy will be the propulsion of flying machines, which will carry no fuel and will be free from any limitations of the present airplanes and dirigibles. We shall ride from New York to Europe in a few hours. International boundaries will be largely obliterated, and a great step will be made toward the unification and harmonious existence of the various races inhabiting the globe. Wireless will not only make possible the supply of energy to the region, however inaccessible, but it will be effective politically by harmonizing international interests; it will create understanding instead of differences.”

With the idea of wireless energy transmission, he predicted the ability of rays to transmit energy over great and long distances without wires and even fuels.

The Death Ray

The death ray or mass destruction mutually assured destructive weapon was the last invention of Tesla. He worked on a particle beam weapon in hope to end all wars. He thought that if countries would have these weapons, wars would be endless. The reason was that it can throw out attacks hundreds of miles away.

The death ray was never completed, while the documented plans were lost mysteriously as well. Successfully, the concept was the cornerstone in cold wars. The mutually assured description and countries with nuclear weapons were not daring to attack each other.

Blogging Reporter Scotsman Richard at Premium Jackets confirmed that there was an FBI man charged for searching for Tesla’s notes after his death, concluded that there was nothing useful in his paperwork regarding the death ray. However, it is expected that it’s not the first time an official governmental agency is hiding information and not telling the truth.

MRI

nikola tesla predictions mri

Prediction: “I expect to photograph thoughts. In 1893, while engaged in certain investigations, I became convinced that a definite image formed in thought, must by reflex action, produce a corresponding image on the retina, which might be read by a suitable apparatus…Now, if it be true that a thought reflects an image on the retina, it is a mere question of illuminating the same property and taking photographs, and then using the ordinary methods which are available to project the image on a screen… If this can be done successfully, then the objects imagined by a person would be clearly reflected on the screen as they are formed, and in this way, every thought of the individual could be read. Our minds would then, indeed, be like open books.”

When talking about modern inventions, Tesla expanded outlandish ideas with the above prediction, more like an MRI, serving as the most useful diagnostic tool of the century.

Drone Technology

In 1898, at an Electrical Exhibition at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Tesla demonstrated a remote-controlled boat. He made the antennae-equipped four-feet long boat went through a small pool with flashing lights. Sost of the audiences present were mesmerized with the magic with military officials taking it like a torpedo. In the present, there are a variety of controlled devices the military has made use of. This includes drones and missiles.

See Also: 7 Creative Ways To Use Drones For Kids’ Learning

Flying Cars

Prediction: “I foresee the development of the flying machine exceeding that of the automobile, and I expect Mr. Ford to make large contributions toward this progress. The problem of parking automobiles and furnishing separate roads for commercial and pleasure traffic will be solved. Belted parking towers will arise in our large cities, and the roads will be multiplied through sheer necessity, or finally rendered unnecessary when civilization exchanges wheels for wings.”

Tesla delved into the world of anti-gravity successfully. In 1928, he came up with an electro propulsive flying machine resembling a helicopter. Also, he was reported to have plans for the engine called an anti-electromagnetic field drive or Space Drive as well. This may lead us to his vision of the future with flying cars.

Woman Empowerment

Prediction: “This struggle of the human female toward sex equality will end in a new sex order, with the female as superior.”

This prediction may not be a technological invention. However, Nikola Tesla’s vision of a world where women could be superior and do jobs that only men did before is now starting to actively manifest. Recently, the U.S. Presidential election featured the first-ever female nominee; the prediction may reach an apex soon.

Conclusion

The above Nikola Tesla predictions are some of his most famous statements. There are other multiple predictions that are expected to come true from the veritable oracle. Let’s see where the time takes the vision of the genius named Tesla.

The post Nikola Tesla: The Man Who Defeated The Prediction Fate appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Postpartum Challenges: What New Mothers Need to Know

Postpartum is frequently thought of as the first six weeks after giving birth. Six weeks is when many women have their last medical appointment with their doctor. However, those of us that have had a baby or who have treated women postpartum know otherwise.

In 2018, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recognized that there was a fourth trimester of pregnancy, which lasts for 13 weeks postpartum. This was a big step in the right direction.

Postpartum is forever

postpartum challenges for moms

The changes that occur during pregnancy and postpartum can last for weeks, months, years or even the rest of a woman’s life. However, just because the body has changed means that it is any better or worse — just different.

Outlined below are many of the challenges women face postpartum and what to do about them.

Urinary incontinence

Just because you had a baby does not mean you will leak forever. If you have any urinary leakage, then you would benefit from getting help from a pelvic health or women’s health physical therapist. You may be pleasantly surprised to know that you may only need a few visits to prevent a lifetime of discomfort and embarrassment.

The pelvic floor is made up of muscles and can be treated. Many hip, back, and lower extremity injuries that occur years later could be avoided by taking care of the pelvic floor early in the postpartum period.

I often recommend that my patients have a check up with a pelvic health therapist six to eight weeks postpartum. If this is not a possibility in your area, there are many online resources for postpartum women.

Diastasis recti abdominis (DRA)

A split in the abdominal wall is also common in up to two thirds of women during pregnancy and postpartum. It should slowly improve on its own.

However, if the split does not resolve, then there are many nonsurgical options to improve it. A great place to start is diaphragmatic breathing, deep core stability, and Pilates with someone who is well-versed in DRA. If the DRA persists, reach out to a physical therapist.

Postpartum depression

Exercising postpartum decreases the risk for postpartum depression. So, begin exercising as soon as you feel comfortable. You can begin with gentle breathing and deep core exercises and slowly transition to Pilates, yoga, and walking.

When returning to moderate or intense exercise, wait until the postpartum bleeding has stopped or slowed down significantly. If you begin exercising and the bleeding increases, you are doing too much too soon.

Always walk before you run. You are not the same person you were prior to having a baby. Take it slowly and you will save yourself a lot of anguish later.

See Also: 19 Ways to Get Motivated to Exercise

Overtraining injuries and stress fractures

This is because stress is stress and your body cannot differentiate between emotional, mental or physical stress. The stress of having a new baby, not sleeping, healing from birth and much more does contribute to injuries.

Additionally, if you are breastfeeding, the calcium is pulled from your bones to create your milk supply. This is not to say you cannot exercise while breastfeeding — you can!

Should you decide to exercise, make sure you are not doing too much too soon. Always listen to your body.

Lastly, be kind to yourself

postpartum challenge

This is a period of change and growth for you and your family. Remember that despite what the media says, your body is still healing for a long time after giving birth. The better you treat it now, the better it will perform for you later.

The post Postpartum Challenges: What New Mothers Need to Know appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Morning Workout Benefits You May Not Be Thinking about

Waking up in the morning to work out while the rest of the world is sleeping takes a lot of effort. Sleeping is one of the most satisfying human activities, so it’s understandable if you want to snuggle under the sheets instead of working out.

Most people actually prefer working out in the evening. However, after a long day at work, you might not have the energy for an impactful workout session.

So why would you rather workout in the morning and not in the evening? Well, there is scientific proof that working out in the morning is far much better than doing the same at the end of the day.

Begin the Day Feeling Upbeat

Managing to get out of bed and completing your workout session ensures you begin the day feeling upbeat. Waking up in the morning is challenging, and overcoming it gives you the motivation you need for the rest of the day.

Working out your joints and muscles ensure that you have an active day. It’s very unlikely that you’ll have a lazy day after your morning workout. Morning workouts make you feel unstoppable and accomplished.

When you work out, your brain releases a hormone called dopamine which is also known as the happy hormone. Is there a better way to start the day than to fire up your system with a happy hormone? You’re bound to have a positive attitude and have an easy time interacting with people.

Morning Workouts Boost Your Quality of Sleep

benefits of morning exercises

Every person requires quality sleeping time to rest their body and rejuvenate. Working out in the morning guarantees that you won’t struggle to find sleep at night.

When your brain gets the rest it requires, your memory improves, and you get better at retaining information. Who doesn’t want a sharp memory and improved body function?

See Also: A Good Night’s Sleep: The Key to a Happy Life

You End Up Consuming Fewer Calories

Mastering the willpower to get up every morning translates to other aspects of your life. Individuals who are resolute to work out each morning have an easy time, fighting cravings throughout the day. That means that you’ll end up consuming fewer calories as well.

It’s very unlikely for anyone to head for their favorite food joint after working out in the morning. Now imagine another person who prefers working out in the evening. They can easily eat junk food throughout the day with the consolation that they’ll burn those calories in the evening.

A 2012 study carried out by Brigham Young University supports this logic. The findings show that working out in the morning helps individuals fight cravings.

You’ll Get Better at Coping with Stress

benefit of morning exercise

Working out in the morning is known to reduce stress and anxiety. This is because intense workout sessions ensure you begin the day feeling relaxed and refreshed. This way, nothing will hardly agitate you throughout the day.

Exercising ensures that you sweat it all out so that you begin the day with a clear mind. Besides, nothing beats the peace that comes with having time to process your thoughts uninterrupted.

Improve Your Metabolism

Your body is likely to burn more calories after you work out. Exercising in the morning ensures you have fast metabolism throughout the day. You’ll be able to burn calories even when you’re seated at your work station.

Pumping up your metabolism before you eat anything ensures that you stay in shape. The faster the metabolism, the more energy you have to go through the day. A slow metabolism can be risky because the food you eat gets stored as fat. This is how people gain weight and get out of shape.

See Also: Interesting Facts About the Human Body You Might Not Know About

Final Thought

As you can see, the benefits of morning workouts are unlimited. Instead of hitting the snooze button, get out of bed and get your daily exercise.

The post Morning Workout Benefits You May Not Be Thinking about appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Elon Musk says Starship should reach orbit within six months – and could even fly with a crew next year

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk delivered an update about Starship, the company’s nest generation spacecraft, which is being designed for full, “rapid reusability.” Musk discussed the technology behind the design of Starship, which has evolved somewhat through testing and development after its original introduction in 2017.

Among the updates detailed, Musk articulated how Starship will be used to make humans interplanetary, including its use of in-space refilling of propellant, by docking with tanker Starships already in orbit to transfer fuel. This is necessary for the spacecraft to get enough propellant on board post-launch to make the trip to the Moon or Mars from Earth – especially since it’ll be carrying as much as 100 tons of cargo on board to deliver to these other space-based bodies.

Elon Musk

These will include supplies for building bases on planetary surfaces, as well as up to 100 passengers on long-haul planet-to-planet flights.

Those are still very long-term goals, however, and Musk also went into detail about development of the current generation of Starship prototypes, as well as the planned future Starships that will go to orbit, and carry their first passengers.

The Starship Mk1, Mk2 and the forthcoming Mk3 and Mk4 orbital testers will all feature a fin design that will orient the vehicles so they can re-enter Earth’s atmosphere flat on their ‘bellies,’ coming in horizontal to increase drag and reduce velocity before performing a sort of flip maneuver to swing past vertical and then pendulum back to vertical for touch-down. In simulation, as shown at the event, it looks like it’ll be incredible to watch, since it looks more unwieldy than the current landing process for Falcon boosters, even if it’s still just as controlled.

SpaceX Starship Mk1 29

The front fins on the Starship prototype will help orient it for re-entry, a key component of reuse.

Musk also shared a look at the design planned for Super Heavy, the booster that will be used to propel Starship to orbit. This liquid-oxygen powered rocket, which is about 1.5 times the height of the Starship itself, will have 37 Raptor engines on board (the Starship will have only six) and will also feature six landing legs and deployable grid fins for its own return trip back to Earth.

In terms of testing and development timelines, Musk said that the Starship Mk1 he presented the plan in front of at Boca Chica should have its first test flight in just one to two months. That will be a flight to a sub-orbital altitude of just under 70,000 feet. The prototype spacecraft is already equipped with the three Raptor engines it will use for that flight.

Next, Starship Mk2, which is currently being built in Cape Canaveral, Florida, at another SpaceX facility, will attempt a similar high altitude test. Musk explained that both these families will continue to compete with each other internally and build Starship prototypes and rockets simultaneously. Mk3 will begin construction at Boca Chica beginning next month, and Mk4 will follow in Florida soon after. Musk said that the next Starship test flight after the sub-orbital trip for Mk1 might be an orbital launch with the full Super Heavy booster and Mk3.

Elon Musk 1

Musk said that SpaceX will be “building both ships and boosters here [at Boca Chica] and a the Cape as fast as we can,” and that they’ve already been improving both the design and the manufacture of the sections for the spacecraft “exponentially” as a result of the competition.

The Mk1 features welded panels to make up the rings you can see in the detail photograph of the prototype below, for instance, but Mk3 and Mk4 will use full sheets of stainless steel that cover the whole diameter of the spacecraft, welded with a single weld. There was one such ring on site at the event, which indicates SpaceX is already well on its way to making this work.

This rapid prototyping will enable SpaceX to build and fly Mk2 in two months, Mk3 in three months, Mk4 in four months and so on. Musk added that either Mk3 or Mk5 will be that orbital test, and that they want to be able to get that done in less than six months. He added that eventually, crewed missions aboard Starship will take place from both Boca Chica and the Cape, and that the facilities will be focused only on producing Starships until Mk4 is complete, at which point they’ll begin developing the Super Heavy booster.

Starship Mk1 night

In total, Musk said that SpaceX will need 100 of its Raptor rocket engines between now and its first orbital flight. At its current pace, he said, SpaceX is producing one every eight days – but they should increase that output to one every two days within a few months, and are targeting production of one per day for early in Q1 2019.

Because of their aggressive construction and testing cycle, and because, Musk said, the intent is to achieve rapid reusability to the point where you could “fly the booster 20 times a day” and “fly the [starship] three or four times a day,” the company should theoretically be able to prove viability very quickly. Musk said he’s optimistic that they could be flying people on test flights of Starship as early as next year as a result.

Part of its rapid reusability comes from the heat shield design that SpaceX has devised for Starship, which includes a stainless steel finish on one half of the spacecraft, with ceramic tiles used on the bottom where the heat is most intense during re-entry. Musk said that both of these are highly resistant to the stresses of reentry and conducive to frequent reuse, without incurring tremendous cost – unlike their initial concept, which used carbon fibre in place of stainless steel.

Musk is known for suggesting timelines that don’t quite match up with reality, but Starship’s early tests haven’t been so far behind his predictions thus far.

Silicone 3D printing startup Spectroplast spins out of ETHZ with $1.5M

3D printing has become commonplace in the hardware industry, but because few materials can be used for it easily, the process rarely results in final products. A Swiss startup called Spectroplast hopes to change that with a technique for printing using silicone, opening up all kinds of applications in medicine, robotics and beyond.

Silicone is not very bioreactive, and of course can be made into just about any shape while retaining strength and flexibility. But the process for doing so is generally injection molding, great for mass-producing lots of identical items but not so great when you need a custom job.

And it’s custom jobs that ETH Zurich’s Manuel Schaffner and Petar Stefanov have in mind. Hearts, for instance, are largely similar but the details differ, and if you were going to get a valve replaced, you’d probably prefer yours made to order rather than straight off the shelf.

“Replacement valves currently used are circular, but do not exactly match the shape of the aorta, which is different for each patient,” said Schaffner in a university news release. Not only that, but they may be a mixture of materials, some of which the body may reject.

But with a precise MRI the researchers can create a digital model of the heart under consideration and, using their proprietary 3D printing technique, produce a valve that’s exactly tailored to it — all in a couple of hours.

ethz siliconeprinting 1

A 3D-printed silicone heart valve from Spectroplast.

Although they have created these valves and done some initial testing, it’ll be years before anyone gets one installed — this is the kind of medical technique that takes a decade to test. So in the meantime they are working on “life-improving” rather than life-saving applications.

One such case is adjacent to perhaps the most well-known surgical application of silicone: breast augmentation. In Spectroplast’s case, however, they’d be working with women who have undergone mastectomies and would like to have a breast prosthesis that matches the other perfectly.

Another possibility would be anything that needs to fit perfectly to a person’s biology, like a custom hearing aid, the end of a prosthetic leg or some other form of reconstructive surgery. And of course, robots and industry could use one-off silicone parts as well.

ethz siliconeprinting 2

There’s plenty of room to grow, it seems, and although Spectroplast is just starting out, it already has some 200 customers. The main limitation is the speed at which the products can be printed, a process that has to be overseen by the founders, who work in shifts.

Until very recently Schaffner and Stefanov were working on this under a grant from the ETH Pioneer Fellowship and a Swiss national innovation grant. But in deciding to depart from the ETH umbrella they attracted a 1.5 million Swiss franc (about the same as dollars just now) seed round from AM Ventures Holding in Germany. The founders plan to use the money to hire new staff to crew the printers.

Right now Spectroplast is doing all the printing itself, but in the next couple of years it may sell the printers or modifications necessary to adapt existing setups.

You can read the team’s paper showing their process for creating artificial heart valves here.

NASA and SpaceX practice Crew Dragon evacuation procedure with astronaut recovery vessel

NASA and SpaceX continue their joint preparations for the eventually astronaut crew missions that SpaceX will fly for the agency, with a test of the emergency evacuation procedure for SpaceX’s GO Searcher seaborne ship. The ship is intended to be used to recover spacecraft and astronauts in an actual mission scenario, and the rehearsals this week are a key part of ensuring mission readiness before an actual crewed SpaceX mission.

Photos from the dress rehearsal, which is the first coordinated end-to-end practice run involving the full NASA and SpaceX mission teams working in concert, saw NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken don SpaceX’s fancy new crew suits and mimic a situation where they needed to be removed from the returned Crew Dragon spacecraft and taken to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station from the GO Searcher by helicopter.

By all accounts, this was a successful exercise and seems to have left parties on both sides happy with the results. Check out photos released by NASA of the dry run below.

SpaceX and NASA continue to work towards a goal of launching Crew Dragon’s first actual crewed flight this year, though they’ve encountered setbacks that make that potentially impossible, including the explosion of a Crew Dragon test vehicle during a static test fire in April.

Is It Possible To Find High Quality CBD?

CBD, shorthand for cannabidiol, is one of the fastest growing yet most misunderstood cannabis products. Largely unregulated by the FDA and derived from a substance which has been federally illegal for decades, this compound has medicinal effects often denied by big Pharma.

It’s no wonder there are massive amounts of misinformation and blatant lies surrounding CBD. Plus, there’s a near complete lack of scientific research into it.

Today, 69% of all “CBD” products aren’t labeled correctly. Amidst the sea of mislabeled products, hidden THC content, and flat out fakes, how does one find high-quality CBD?

Look For Availability, Gauge Your Own Needs

cbd

When considering CBD, the first step is to know thyself, so to speak.

What exactly will you take it for? What methods of dosage are you comfortable with or will be effective? And how important is the source of extraction? Should it come from hemp or marijuana?

The decision to use marijuana-derived may come down to a state law level and availability. Cannabidiol is a natural extract from naturally occurring cannabis plants. This includes both hemp and marijuana.

Though the CBD extracted from each source is comparable, there are some important differences in legal and usage levels. Hemp is classified as cannabis strains with less than 0.3% THC content. This constitutes legal levels of THC within federally legal CBD products.

On Different CBD Products

Hemp-derived CBD is legal in all 50 states to sell, buy, possess, and consume with no prescription required. However, states and localities may have differing laws on the books.

Marijuana-derived CBD is extracted from cannabis strains with higher than the federally legal amount of THC. It is only legal in selected states and may or may not require an accompanying prescription.

CBD isolate is CBD crystals that are 99% pure and THC-free, but may not offer the same relief and effects as full spectrum. Full spectrum CBD includes additional cannabinoids, may contain traces of THC and has been shown to be more effective than CBD isolate at treating inflammation and pain in mice.

CBD products come in many different forms. The first fork in the road is fast-acting or long-lasting.

For headaches or insomnia, rapid relief from fast-acting effects is a good choice. While for chronic pain, inflammation or arthritis, long-term effects may provide the best course of action.

Oil concentrates applied orally via a tincture or liquid vaping from pen or e-cigarette are among the most popular and effective means for rapid relief needs. Gel caps, infused edibles, and even skin patches that slowly release CBD through the skin are favored by those seeking steady, long-term effects.

Targeted treatments for specific pain respond to CBD lotions and salves. They also work best for skin conditions and localized pain.

Meanwhile, vaping is the most popular method of dosing CBD but among the less discreet options. Oils and sublingual tinctures are more portable and often just as effective. Treatment needs aside, it’s often a personal preference that helps guide product selection.

Lack of Oversight Means Nearly Anything Goes

cbd products

Without the FDA labeling safeguards, content regulations, and legal uncertainty, it’s up to the manufacturers to keep their own products in check. Nonetheless, it’s still the consumer’s responsibility to make informed choices.

But how?

If this were any other variety of vitamins, supplements, prescription medication or even over-the-counter drug, it would be simple to visit the corner store and pick up something that was as labeled. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case with CBD.

Without the watchful eye of the FDA, industry standards are not subject to the strict rules of government agency beyond legal levels of THC. It’s this confusion that is passed on directly to the consumer and it’s the consumer’s job to find a manufacturer and retailer they can trust.

Again, nearly 70% of CBD products are mislabeled and this could mean anything from misprints to unlabeled contaminants. Fortunately, many reputable manufacturers of oral CBD products choose to follow the FDA guidelines for supplements and vitamins, much to the benefit of consumers.

However, there are still some best practices to keep in mind when browsing products:

  • How long will it last? Identify servings per container, packing and storage instruction, and expiration date of products.
  • How strong is it? Products should indicate exact CBD content, dosage, and serving size.
  • What does it come with? Terpenes, like other natural plant extracts, may add aroma, sweeteners may enhance flavoring, and carrier oils for tinctures should be food-grade.

See Also: How CBD Has Improved the Medical Industry

Just last year, the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of hemp and its cannabinoids for CBD products and manufacturing. But it’s still up to the consumer to stay informed, know the difference, and find quality products on their own. Here’s where to begin.

The post Is It Possible To Find High Quality CBD? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Enormous, weird fish washes up on an Australian beach. So, what is it?

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This is certainly one very fishy encounter.

Two fishers stumbled across quite the surprise when they found a sunfish which had washed onto the beach at Coorong National Park in South Australia.

The photos, taken by Linette Grzelak, were posted on Facebook by National Parks South Australia on Tuesday, and boy, it’s a weird looking fish.

Grzelak told CNN they thought the fish was a piece of driftwood when they drove past it.

The strange-looking sea creature has since been identified by the South Australian Museum’s ichthyology manager Ralph Foster as an ocean sunfish (Mola mola), due to markings on its tail and the shape of its head. Read more…

More about Australia, Science, Animals, Fish, and Science

Elon Musk shows off SpaceX’s Starship Raptor engine firing

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Who knew seeing a rocket fire up close could be so pretty?

On Sunday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk shared photos and video of the company’s Starship Raptor engine firing in its first ground test.

A still shows a kaleidoscope of colours streaming from the engine, although that could be just the camera not quite keeping up with the fire’s intensity.

“Green tinge is either camera saturation or a tiny bit of copper from the chamber,” Musk added in a tweet.

First firing of Starship Raptor flight engine! So proud of great work by @SpaceX team!! pic.twitter.com/S6aT7Jih4S

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 4, 2019 Read more…

More about Space, Science, Elon Musk, Rockets, and Spacex

All I want for Christmas is the new, largest diamond ever found in North America

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I don’t want a lot for Christmas. There is just one thing I need — and it’s that gigantic 552-carat diamond recently uncovered by Canadian miners.

Because this isn’t just your run-of-the-mill huge ass yellow diamond. The gemstone is actually the largest to ever be found in North American history, according to a press release by Dominion Diamond Mines

Coming in at 33.74mm by 54.56mm, this stocking stuffer blew the previous record out of the water, which was a 187.7 carat diamond found in the same mine back in 2015.  Read more…

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CRISPR scientist in China claims his team’s research has resulted in the world’s first gene-edited babies

In what represents a dramatic and ethically fraught escalation of CRISPR research, a Chinese scientist from a university in Shenzhen claims he has succeeded in helping create the world’s first genetically-edited babies. Dr. Jiankui He told the Associated Press that twin girls were born earlier this month after he edited their embryos using CRISPR technology to remove the CCR5 gene, which plays a critical role in enabling many forms of the HIV virus to infect cells.

The AP’s interview was published after a report by the MIT Technology Review earlier today that He’s team at the Southern University of Science and Technology wants to use CRISPR technology to eliminate the CCR5 gene and create children with resistance to HIV.

He’s claims are certain to cause a huge stir at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing, set to begin in Hong Kong on Tuesday. According to the Technology Review, the summit’s organizers were apparently not notified of He’s plans for the study, though the AP says He informed them today. (It is important to note that there is still no independent confirmation of He’s claim and that it has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal.)

During his interview with the AP, He, who studied at Rice and Stanford before returning to China, said he felt “a strong responsibility that it’s not just to make a first, but also make it an example” and that “society will decide what to do next.”

According to documents linked by the Technology Review, the study was approved by the Medical Ethics Committee of Shenzhen HOME Women’s and Children’s Hospital. The summary on the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry also said the study’s execution time is between March 7, 2017 to March 7, 2019, and that it sought married couples living in China who met its health and age requirements and are willing to undergo IVF therapy. The research team wrote that their goal is to “obtain healthy children to avoid HIV providing new insights for the future elimination of major genetic diseases in early human embryos.”

A table attached to the trial’s listing on the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry said genetic tests have already been carried out on fetuses of 12, 19, and 24 weeks of gestational age, though it is unclear if those pregnancies included the one that resulted in the birth of the twin girls, whose parents wish to remain anonymous.

“I believe this is going to help the families and their children,” He told the AP, adding that if the study causes harm, “I would feel the same pain as they do and it’s going to be my own responsibility.”

Chinese scientists at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou first edited the genes of a human embryo using CRISPR technology (the acronym stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats), which enables the removal of specific genes by acting as a very precise pair of “genetic scissors,” in 2015. Though other scientists, including in the United States, have conducted similar research since then, the Southern University of Science and Technology’s study is considered especially radical because of the ethical implications of CRISPR, which many scientists fear may be used to perpetuate eugenics or create “designer babies” if carried out on embryos meant to be carried to term.

As in the United States and many European countries, using a genetically-engineered embryo in a pregnancy is already prohibited in China, though the Technology Review points out that this guideline, which was issued to IVF clinics in 2003, may not carry the weight of the law.

In 2015, shortly after the Sun Yat-sen University experiment (which was conducted on embryos that were unviable because of chromosomal effects) became known, a meeting called by several groups, including the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, the Institute of Medicine, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of London, called for a moratorium on making inheritable changes to the human genome.

In addition to ethical concerns, Fyodor Urnov, a gene-editing scientist and associate director of the Altius Institute for Biomedical Sciences, a nonprofit in Seattle, told the Technology Review that He’s study is cause for “regret and concern” because it may also overshadow progress in gene-editing research currently being carried out on adults with HIV.

TechCrunch has contacted He for comment at his university email.

SpaceX lands its first rocket on West Coast ground

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SpaceX has just successfully landed its first rocket on the U.S. West Coast.

After launching a satellite from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base on Sunday evening with the Falcon 9 rocket, the spaceflight company brought its first stage booster back to Earth just under eight minutes after liftoff.

While SpaceX has launched a rocket from Vandenberg AFB in July, its landing took place on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean.

This time around, the Falcon 9’s booster returned to SpaceX’s ground-based Landing Zone 4 (LZ-4), located right next to the launch pad at Vandenberg AFB. It’s a former launch pad for NASA’s Titan family of rockets, which were retired in 2005.  Read more…

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So, turns out snakes have been hitchhiking on planes. Have a nice flight.

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Seems Snakes on a Plane isn’t as a ridiculous film as we thought, as new research suggests snakes have been hitchhiking on planes. Feel good about that trip you’re about to take? 

A team of scientists led by the University of Queensland has found that the brown tree snake, which has been obliterating Guam’s native bird population, made it to the Pacific island by hitchhiking on planes. 

And from Guam, they’re hitching it to Hawaii.

What planes? Don’t worry, the snakes didn’t just slither through security to a business class seat on a commercial flight. According to the study published in the Journal of Molecular Evolution, they hopped on military transport planes somewhere around Australia during World War II. Read more…

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NASA study says setting off bombs over Mars isn’t the best idea

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Remember when Elon Musk said he wanted to nuke Mars

As he later clarified, the idea was to create two “pulsing suns” over the poles with fusion bombs, which would release trapped carbon dioxide to thicken the atmosphere and warm the planet. Next, people would pack up their belongings, board a spaceship, and touch down on a much more habitable Mars. 

This is called terraforming — altering a planet to make it more like Earth. (Yes, like in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.)

Welp, it looks like that plan has a fatal flaw, according to a NASA-sponsored study published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy. There just isn’t enough carbon dioxide trapped on Mars to make it work.  Read more…

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The largest dinosaur foot ever belongs to ‘Bigfoot’

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The largest dinosaur foot ever found, belonging to one of the largest land animals this planet’s ever seen, surely deserves the title “Bigfoot” more than Sasquatch.

Excavated in 1998 by an expedition from the University of Kansas, and described in a new study published in PeerJ – the Journal of Life and Environmental Sciences, “Bigfoot” was discovered in the Black Hills area of Wyoming. Scientists determined the dinosaur — a very close relative of Brachiosaurus — had the biggest feet of any sauropod, and roamed the area 150 million years ago. 

Crew member Anthony Maltese, who is also the lead author of the study, writes that the foot was nearly 1 meter wide. It didn’t belong to the largest dinosaur ever discovered, the study said, but “Bigfoot” did have particularly large feet. Read more…

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Disney tech smooths out bad CG hair days

Disney is unequivocally the world’s leader in 3D simulations of hair — something of a niche talent in a way, but useful if you make movies like Tangled, where hair is basically the main character. A new bit of research from the company makes it easier for animators to have hair follow their artistic intent while also moving realistically.

The problem Disney Research aimed to solve was a compromise that animators have had to make when making the hair on characters do what the scene requires. While the hair will ultimately be rendered in glorious high-definition and with detailed physics, it’s too computationally expensive to do that while composing the scene.

Should a young warrior in her tent be wearing her hair up or down? Should it fly out when she turns her head quickly to draw attention to the movement, or stay weighed down so the audience isn’t distracted? Trying various combinations of these things can eat up hours of rendering time. So, like any smart artist, they rough it out first:

“Artists typically resort to lower-resolution simulations, where iterations are faster and manual edits possible,” reads the paper describing the new system. “But unfortunately, the parameter values determined in this way can only serve as an initial guess for the full-resolution simulation, which often behaves very different from its coarse counterpart when the same parameters are used.”

The solution proposed by the researchers is basically to use that “initial guess” to inform a high-resolution simulation of just a handful of hairs. These “guide” hairs act as feedback for the original simulation, bringing a much better idea of how the rest will act when fully rendered.

The guide hairs will cause hair to clump as in the upper right, while faded affinities or an outline-based guide (below, left and right) would allow for more natural motion if desired.

And because there are only a couple of them, their finer simulated characteristics can be tweaked and re-tweaked with minimal time. So an artist can fine-tune a flick of the ponytail or a puff of air on the bangs to create the desired effect, and not have to trust to chance that it’ll look like that in the final product.

This isn’t a trivial thing to engineer, of course, and much of the paper describes the schemes the team created to make sure that no weirdness occurs because of the interactions of the high-def and low-def hair systems.

It’s still very early: it isn’t meant to simulate more complex hair motions like twisting, and they want to add better ways of spreading out the affinity of the bulk hair with the special guide hairs (as seen at right). But no doubt there are animators out there who can’t wait to get their hands on this once it gets where it’s going.

Machine learning boosts Swiss startup’s shot at human-powered land speed record

The current world speed record for riding a bike down a straight, flat road was set in 2012 by a Dutch team, but the Swiss have a plan to topple their rivals — with a little help from machine learning. An algorithm trained on aerodynamics could streamline their bike, perhaps cutting air resistance by enough to set a new record.

Currently the record is held by Sebastiaan Bowier, who in 2012 set a record of 133.78 km/h, or just over 83 mph. It’s hard to imagine how his bike, which looked more like a tiny landbound rocket than any kind of bicycle, could be significantly improved on.

But every little bit counts when records are measured down a hundredth of a unit, and anyway, who knows but that some strange new shape might totally change the game?

To pursue this, researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne’s Computer Vision Laboratory developed a machine learning algorithm that, trained on 3D shapes and their aerodynamic qualities, “learns to develop an intuition about the laws of physics,” as the university’s Pierre Baqué said.

“The standard machine learning algorithms we use to work with in our lab take images as input,” he explained in an EPFL video. “An image is a very well-structured signal that is very easy to handle by a machine-learning algorithm. However, for engineers working in this domain, they use what we call a mesh. A mesh is a very large graph with a lot of nodes that is not very convenient to handle.”

Nevertheless, the team managed to design a convolutional neural network that can sort through countless shapes and automatically determine which should (in theory) provide the very best aerodynamic profile.

“Our program results in designs that are sometimes 5-20 percent more aerodynamic than conventional methods,” Baqué said. “But even more importantly, it can be used in certain situations that conventional methods can’t. The shapes used in training the program can be very different from the standard shapes for a given object. That gives it a great deal of flexibility.”

That means that the algorithm isn’t just limited to slight variations on established designs, but it also is flexible enough to take on other fluid dynamics problems like wing shapes, windmill blades or cars.

The tech has been spun out into a separate company, Neural Concept, of which Baqué is the CEO. It was presented today at the International Conference on Machine Learning in Stockholm.

A team from the Annecy University Institute of Technology will attempt to apply the computer-honed model in person at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge in Nevada this September — after all, no matter how much computer assistance there is, as the name says, it’s still powered by a human.

Facebook’s new AI research is a real eye-opener

There are plenty of ways to manipulate photos to make you look better, remove red eye or lens flare, and so on. But so far the blink has proven a tenacious opponent of good snapshots. That may change with research from Facebook that replaces closed eyes with open ones in a remarkably convincing manner.

It’s far from the only example of intelligent “in-painting,” as the technique is called when a program fills in a space with what it thinks belongs there. Adobe in particular has made good use of it with its “context-aware fill,” allowing users to seamlessly replace undesired features, for example a protruding branch or a cloud, with a pretty good guess at what would be there if it weren’t.

But some features are beyond the tools’ capacity to replace, one of which is eyes. Their detailed and highly variable nature make it particularly difficult for a system to change or create them realistically.

Facebook, which probably has more pictures of people blinking than any other entity in history, decided to take a crack at this problem.

It does so with a Generative Adversarial Network, essentially a machine learning system that tries to fool itself into thinking its creations are real. In a GAN, one part of the system learns to recognize, say, faces, and another part of the system repeatedly creates images that, based on feedback from the recognition part, gradually grow in realism.

From left to right: “Exemplar” images, source images, Photoshop’s eye-opening algorithm, and Facebook’s method.

In this case the network is trained to both recognize and replicate convincing open eyes. This could be done already, but as you can see in the examples at right, existing methods left something to be desired. They seem to paste in the eyes of the people without much consideration for consistency with the rest of the image.

Machines are naive that way: they have no intuitive understanding that opening one’s eyes does not also change the color of the skin around them. (For that matter, they have no intuitive understanding of eyes, color, or anything at all.)

What Facebook’s researchers did was to include “exemplar” data showing the target person with their eyes open, from which the GAN learns not just what eyes should go on the person, but how the eyes of this particular person are shaped, colored, and so on.

The results are quite realistic: there’s no color mismatch or obvious stitching because the recognition part of the network knows that that’s not how the person looks.

In testing, people mistook the fake eyes-opened photos for real ones, or said they couldn’t be sure which was which, more than half the time. And unless I knew a photo was definitely tampered with, I probably wouldn’t notice if I was scrolling past it in my newsfeed. Gandhi looks a little weird, though.

It still fails in some situations, creating weird artifacts if a person’s eye is partially covered by a lock of hair, or sometimes failing to recreate the color correctly. But those are fixable problems.

You can imagine the usefulness of an automatic eye-opening utility on Facebook that checks a person’s other photos and uses them as reference to replace a blink in the latest one. It would be a little creepy, but that’s pretty standard for Facebook, and at least it might save a group photo or two.

Sharks apparently don’t mind jazz music

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Turns out you can train a shark to like jazz.

Researchers at Australia’s Macquarie University have shown that the animal has a more discerning taste in music than you’d anticipate.

The study, published in Animal Cognition, shows that baby Port Jackson sharks can learn to associate music with food. If played jazz, the sharks would swim over to a feeding station to receive their delicious reward.

“Sound is really important for aquatic animals, it travels well under water and fish use it to find food, hiding places and even to communicate,” Catarina Vila-Pouca, the study’s lead author, said in a statement online. Read more…

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Why Australia is spending millions to make GPS signals more accurate

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Maybe Australians haven’t noticed, but the little blue marker showing where you are in Google Maps, or even Apple Maps, isn’t as accurate as it could be.

It’s why Australia is spending over A$260 million (US$193 million) to invest in satellite infrastructure and technology to improve GPS accuracy, as part of the Federal Government’s budget announcement.

As it stands, Australians get uncorrected GPS signals that are accurate to five metres (5.4 yards).

To improve that, the majority of the funds will be invested in a Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS), which aims to correct GPS accuracy to around a metre (1.09 yards), across Australia and its maritime zone. Read more…

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Preventing Dog Attacks: Myths And Facts You Should Know

There are ninety million dogs kept as pets in the United States. One of the most common breeds is the pit bull.

Considered as vicious, this dog breed is chronically misunderstood.

Pit bulls were bred in the 19th century from a mix of two breeds: the Old English Bulldog and the Old English Terrier. With their strength and agility, they were brought to America before the Civil War. Here, they became known as the American Pit Bull Terrier.

Pit bulls have three distinct types: the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Pit Bull Terrier. There are also countless look-a-like breeds, which contribute to the confusion about pit bulls in general.

The American Temperament Test Society (ATTS) assesses the aggression of dog breeds in a series of simulated encounters that range from passive to threatening. Dogs who pass this test are able to safely interact with humans and their environment.

When testing pit bull breeds, ATTS found a pass rate of over 80% while the Staffordshire Bull Terrier passing 91% at the time.

If Pit Bulls Aren’t Aggressive, Why The Bad Reputation?

pitbulls are not aggressive

Pit bulls are often blamed for cases of serious dog attacks. In reality, the breed is responsible for only 69% of the cases.

In 2007, two dog attacks occurred only days apart but received wildly different coverage.

On August 18th, a Labrador attacked a 70-year-old man. He ended up hospitalized and in critical condition. On August 21st, two pit bulls attacked a 56-year-old woman in her home.

The lab attack was in a single article in a local paper. The pit bull attack, on the other hand, was on the national and international news. It was in over 236 articles and television news networks.

Labeling Pit Bulls Does More Harm Than Good

labeling pit bulls

Every year, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters and 670,000 are euthanized.

A 2014 study of potential adopters found that dogs labeled as “Pit Bull” remained in the shelter more than 27 days longer than look-a-like dogs who were labeled differently. A whopping 50% of people say they would never consider adopting a pit bull.

The harm caused by labeling pit bulls as vicious extends beyond potential adopters. When asked if they considered pit bulls safe enough to live in residential neighborhoods, 40% of people said no, while only 27% thought all medium-sized dogs were somewhat or very dangerous.

Breed Specific Legislation

Due to pit bulls’ reputation for aggression, they are often the target of breed specific legislation (BSL). BSL bans or regulates specific breeds, including breed mixes.

Only 27% of “dog experts” can visually identify dog breeds without error. This is why BSL applies to dogs that resemble a pit bull or other banned breed.

Supporters of BSL say that it prevents dogs attacks on humans and other animals. Critics condemn the law as discriminatory, costly, and ineffective.

Many argue that BSL punishes dogs instead of the owners who failed to properly train and control them. National organizations opposed to BSL range from the Humane Society of the United States to the Center Centers for Disease Control. A few states have begun to prohibit municipal BSL, too.

Preventing Dog Attacks

According to the ATTS standards, Chihuahuas and Dachshunds are the most unruly breeds – pit bulls don’t even broach the top five. However, the breed is not a major factor contributor to dog attacks.

Researchers comparing factors across a 10-year range of dog attacks found that the greatest predictor of an attack was having no able-bodied person present to intervene. Attacks are also more likely to happen if the victim and the dog are strangers. Dogs that lacked positive socialization with humans and those that aren’t neutered can be aggressive, too.

These factors have nothing to do with breed and everything to do with proper training.

In general, there are three important components of training to consider:

  1. Learn to read dogs’ body language and spot the warning signs that a dog may attack
  2. Engage your dog in obedience training to learn basic commands, like “come” and “stay”. These commands will help redirect the dog in any situation.
  3. Every dog needs to be exposed to different people and situations so they can learn to feel comfortable

Finally, to learn more about why pit bulls aren’t a security threat, check out this infographic.

Pit Bulls and Public Health
Source: Online Masters in Public Health

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The world reacts to the death of the much-loved Stephen Hawking

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It may be a cliché to describe someone as an inspiration, but there is no title more befitting for the late Stephen Hawking.

The British theoretical physicist died early Wednesday morning aged 76, after a lifetime awing scientists and the public alike with his brilliance, wit, and his encouragement to investigate the universe around us.

One of the world’s most beloved scientists and a prolific authors, Hawking leaves the world with his pioneering work on black holes and relativity, as well as quintessential science books like his bestseller, A Brief History of Time.  Read more…

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Elon Musk drops epic Falcon Heavy launch trailers made by ‘Westworld’ co-creator

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Attendees of the the Westworld panel at SXSW got a surprise visit from Elon Musk.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO used the panel to not only inspire a new generation on space exploration, but also drop two epic highlight reels of the Falcon Heavy rocket launch that carried Starman riding in a Tesla Roadster into deep space.

“Life cannot just be about solving one miserable problem after another,” Musk said. “That cannot be the only thing. There need to be things that inspire you, that make you glad to wake up in the morning and be part of humanity.” Read more…

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Turn your smartphone camera into a microscope with this 3D-printed accessory

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OK, so you can’t bring a microscope everywhere with you.

But you can certainly take this 3D-printed version, designed to clip onto your smartphone and work with its camera.

The device was developed by researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) at Australia’s RMIT University, and is the subject of a paper in Scientific Reports.

Requiring no external power or lighting source, the smartphone microscope is slated to be a handy tool for conducting fieldwork in remote areas, especially when bringing a larger microscope is impractical or unavailable. Read more…

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Elon Musk announces an early February launch plan for Falcon Heavy

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Elon Musk’s “week or so” until the Falcon Heavy launch is now looking like it’ll be closer to two weeks.

The SpaceX founder confirmed on Twitter that he’s “aiming” to have a Feb. 6 launch for the private aerospace company’s largest rocket to date. It will lift off from the Apollo launchpad 39A at Cape Kennedy, Musk tweeted.

“Easy viewing from the public causeway.”

Aiming for first flight of Falcon Heavy on Feb 6 from Apollo launchpad 39A at Cape Kennedy. Easy viewing from the public causeway.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 27, 2018 Read more…

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This new species of brittle star lived 435 million years ago

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Scientists say the fossilized remains of a brittle star that lived 435 million years ago belong to a new species. 

The fossil was named Crepidosoma doyleii, after the paleontologist who discovered it. Eamon Doyle was a Ph.D. student when he discovered the remains of the thumbnail-sized creature in the late 1980s, embedded in a layer of fossils on a hillside in the Maam Valley in Ireland. 

Though this species of brittle star (which are closely related to starfish) first developed nearly half a billion years ago, its modern day descendants are remarkably similar.  

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This chatbot wants to cut through the noise on climate science

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Noise and misinformation, especially on climate, has long been a problem on social media.

To counter this, Australian not-for-profit the Climate Council has created a Facebook Messenger chatbot to inform people about climate science.

Launched on its Facebook page last week, it’s an effort to connect with younger people who are interested in issues like climate change, but aren’t the most engaged with the organisation — largely due to broader information overload.

“Young people are saturated on social media because they’re the most active on it, we know that they care and that they’ve got the thirst for information,” Nelli Huié, digital manager at the Climate Council, explained. Read more…

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SpaceX caps a record year with 18th successful launch of 2017

 SpaceX has completed its 18th launch in 2017, marking a record year for the private space company. It’s the most rockets SpaceX has launched in a single year, beating its previous best by ten missions. The launch today was for client Iridium, delivering 10 satellites to low Earth orbit for its Iridium NEXT communications constellation. This is the fourth such mission that SpaceX has… Read More

Oh nothing, just ‘spider lightning’ dancing across a stormy sky in Australia

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“Spider lightning”: It’s a thing.

An especially hard weather phenomenon to catch on film but one savvy videographer managed to capture it illuminating the sky in South Australia.

During an electrical storm illuminating the seaside suburb of Glenelg outside of Adelaide, local man Caleb Travis shot the stunning lightning on Monday night.

What’s spider lightning? It occurs when lightning bolts branch out and creep along the underside of stratiform clouds.

Seriously, if there’s an indication wizards are battling in our atmosphere, this could be it. Read more…

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Watch the sixth annual Breakthrough Prize awards live right here!

 As we head into awards season, one of the first shows to lead the pack is all about science. The Breakthrough Prize, a cumulative $22 million in awards that go to superstars in the fields of physics, life sciences, and mathematics, is going into its sixth year. The show was founded by Yuri and Julia Milner, Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, Jack Ma and Cathy… Read More

Tencent CEO joins Breakthrough Prize as founding sponsor

 Tencent founder and CEO Ma Huateng (Pony Ma) is joining the Breakthrough Prize, sometimes referred to as “the Oscars of Science,” as a founding sponsor. He joins the likes of co-sponsors Sergey Brin of Google, Yuri Milner of DST Global, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Anne Wojcicki of 23andMe and others. “Fundamental science is the bedrock of technological advancement,”… Read More

6 Science-Backed Tips On How To Be More Successful In Life

Balancing your work responsibilities and personal life commitments is never easy.

Being in an active relationship can put you way behind your professional objective. Focusing intensely on your goals at work can prevent you from keeping an eye on your lifestyle and eating habits. In the end, you may need to sacrifice one for the other.

Fortunately, it doesn’t always have to be that way. There are things you can do to make sure no areas of your life suffer as you work on achieving your goals.

And to help you with that, here are some highly-effective tips on how to be more successful in life.

Set A Deadline For Each Task

set deadline

One amazing tactic to organize your workload is to set a time limit. By doing so, you will be forced to refrain from indulging in frivolous activities and getting involved in unimportant tasks. You will save more time and have a better day at work with all of your ducks in a row.

According to a study conducted back in 2002, setting deadlines can increase self-motivation and ultimately help individuals to prosper at double rates. The researchers state that self-imposed deadlines work more efficiently than externally imposed ones.

What happens is, when we know that we have endless time to complete a job, we begin to indulge in vain activities. We put other things first, delaying the job in the end.

By putting a tap on your workload, you’ll be able to invest your utmost attention and dedication to finish the job successfully and on time.

Reward for Progress

No matter how old you become, you will always need that little spark of appreciation and reward to be motivated.

After setting deadlines for your tasks, you should also think of something to reward yourself. The idea of receiving a reward increases the level of dopamine in your brain.

According to a recent study, people who are more active and enthusiastic have shown to have more dopamine level than those who are always lazy and tired. By rewarding yourself, you remain grounded and feel encouraged to accomplish your goals. Moreover, it makes you feel completely satisfied from the inside.

Celebrate The Tiny Wins

Frank Gruber stated, “This is a journey — a hard one — and the only way to make it sustainable and bearable is if you actually acknowledge your small successes along the way.”.

One principle to follow for a successful life is to love yourself.

In your journey to being successful, you need to set big goals and targets. Unfortunately, those big goals require time and waiting for them to happen can ultimately demotivate you.

So, instead of focusing on those big goals, take some time out and set your eyes on the little achievements you made by the end of the day or week. Cherish those little achievements and you’ll surely stay motivated.

See Also: The Surprising Success Strategy That Will Empower Your Next Steps

Do Not Consume Negative News Before Going To Work

A study at the University of Pennsylvania suggested that you should stop watching negative news at the start of your day. By viewing negative news for only three minutes, you are more likely to spend an unhappy day. Keep in mind that happiness is related to productivity.

Therefore, being exposed to the negative news before 10 o’clock in the morning can build up a mindset that you are unable to take control of things. This will ultimately affect your level of productivity. It will influence your ability to organize your workload.

Instead of focusing on the negative, try to watch some solution-driven news that can motivate and freshen up your mind. Stay away from depression-inducing news and keep your head up to show the world who you truly are.

Meditate

meditate daily

Experiencing excessive workload stress creates tiny clots in our brain. This affects our nerves and blood circulation, resulting in a severe headache and laziness.

To keep our brain functioning well, you can try mindfulness meditation. Meditation rejuvenates the body from head to toe. It prevents the body from cognitive loss, controls high blood pressure, and reduces the intensity of pain by up to 40 percent.

By meditating properly, you’ll feel positive changes within your mind and body. Practices, like inhaling pure oxygen and being under the sun, can recharge your body, giving it an enthusiastic flame of energy flow. According to researchers, even the simple act of opening a window can lift one’s mood.

Therefore, to perform better, you need to recharge yourself, meditate, and get closer to nature.

See Also: Questions and Answers: A Beginners Guide to Meditation

Act Like A Pro

If you think you are investing enough efforts into your professional life but your outcomes are still minimal, then analyze the things you are doing wrong just for a second. Upon focusing, you will realize that the real problem lies in your attitude towards your work.

You are probably acting amateur. This mindset is stopping you from stepping out of your comfort zone. You take every suggestion as criticism and you never try to move ahead and learn new skills and abilities.

One tip on how to be successful is to act professionally.

Being a pro means putting your utmost dedication and surpassing every obstacle that comes along your way. You need to face your challenges as a pro learns from his mistakes and never backs down.

Conclusion

At present, the world has transformed into a highly competitive platform where every other person aims to take the superior spot. In such times, you have to work like a pro if you want to be successful. Search for new opportunities, learn from experiences, and practice new technologies. Keep pace with the ever-growing advancements and discoveries and you’ll be well on your way to the top.

The post 6 Science-Backed Tips On How To Be More Successful In Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Terrifying Hurricane Maria videos shared from Puerto Rico and Dominica

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As Hurricane Maria continues to rampage through the Caribbean, images of the destruction are starting to surface. 

The island of Dominica was completely devastated by the storm. Puerto Rico was hit by “catastrophic” flooding, as the National Weather Service put it, and its capital could be without power for four to six months. 

When Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on Wednesday, it was a Category 4 storm with winds up to 155 miles per hour. As you can see, it was a terrifying event to live through. 

My moms friend in Puerto Rico sent us this video she took from her apartment #hurricanemaria #maria #MariaPR #pr pic.twitter.com/TzOvmfrTIC

— TheHungryCondor (@TheHungryCondor) September 20, 2017 Read more…

More about Puerto Rico, Dominica, Hurricane Maria, Science, and Climate Environment

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Why some people can't handle coffee

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While java love is widespread, some people can’t handle the jittery effects of coffee. Why is it that some people can chug coffee like water while others can’t have a single sip without feeling like their hearts are going to pop out of their chest? Dr. Marilyn Cornelis from Northwestern University explains the genetic reason behind this phenomena. Read more…

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Don't fall for these fake Facebook videos of Hurricane Irma, like millions of other people did

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More breaking news, and another score of fake videos and Facebook Lives, attracting tens of millions of views. 

The first example is this 30-second video which falsely claims to depict Hurricane Irma devastating the islands of Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean. 

The video, which was shared on Facebook by Hendry Moya Duran, attracted more than 27 million views and more than 789,000 shares. 

However, the footage he used is at least more than one year old, and it allegedly shows a tornado that hit Dolores, Uruguay, in May 2016, according to several comments on this YouTube video from that time.  Read more…

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