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Physicist creates AI algorithm that may prove reality is a simulation

Physicist creates AI algorithm that may prove reality is a simulation

Key Takeaways A scientist devised a computer algorithm which may lead to transformative discoveries in energy and whose very existence raises the likelihood that our reality could actually be a simulation.The algorithm was created by the physicist Hong Qin, from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL).The algorithm employs an AI process called machine learning, which improves its knowledge in an automated way, through experience. Qin is now adapting the algorithm to predict and even control other behaviors, with a current focus on particles of plasma...

March 1, 2021
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An ancient technique can improve your attention span

An ancient technique can improve your attention span

By Does this sound familiar? You can’t focus. You’re bored one minute, overwhelmed the next, and stressed either way. You make mistakes you shouldn’t and then dwell on them for hours. When you try to be productive, you can’t go five minutes without checking your texts, dreading some future engagement, or walking into another room to check on … something. (What was it again?)Neuroscientist  opens her book, , with this vignette to illustrate an important truth: You’re not alone. Most people  at work without being interrupted by a chatty colleague, and students...

Aug 31
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The Universe is flat. Here’s what that teaches us.

The Universe is flat. Here’s what that teaches us.

What is the shape of the Universe? If you had come along before the 1800s, it likely never would have occurred to you that the Universe itself could even have a shape. Like everyone else, you would have learned geometry starting from the rules of Euclid, where space is nothing more than a three-dimensional grid. Then you would have applied Newton’s laws of physics and presumed that things like forces between any two objects would act along the one and only straight line connecting that. But we’ve come a long way in our understanding since then, and not only can space itself be curved by the...

Aug 30
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The sooner you expose a baby to a second language, the smarter they’ll be

The sooner you expose a baby to a second language, the smarter they’ll be

A new study shows that babies raised in bilingual environments develop core cognitive skills like decision-making and problem-solving — before they even speak.The study, out of the University of Washington, tested 16 babies. Half came from English-speaking households and half came from English- and Spanish-speaking households. The babies listen to a variety of speech sounds, from preverbal to English- and Spanish-specific sounds. Researchers monitored the babies’ responses to the sounds using magnetoencephalography (MEG), which helped them clearly identify which parts of the brain were...

February 2, 2020
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At long last, we might have an HIV vaccine

At long last, we might have an HIV vaccine

By HIV-1 is one of the fastest-mutating viruses ever studied. Over a dozen distinct subtypes exist, with countless specific versions of the virus varying from person to person. The extraordinary diversity of HIV-1 and rapid mutation rate makes vaccine development a challenge that researchers have failed to overcome for over three decades. However, a new vaccination strategy for HIV-1 induced a diverse arsenal of protective antibodies in monkeys.Most vaccines offer protection by inducing antibodies that recognize and bind to a functional region of the pathogen. For example,  result...

Sep 12
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Selfish sperm genes 'poison' the competition for the win

Selfish sperm genes 'poison' the competition for the win

Key Takeaways In the life-or-death scramble to fertilize an egg, not all sperm are alike. A new study of mice by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics (MPIMG) in Berlin identifies a genetic factor called “,” whose tag-team act with the protein RAC1 helps a spermatozoan speed straight to the prize.The study is published in .The researchers conducted experiments with mouse sperm to learn more about the properties of the t-haplotype, a group of genetic alleles that are known to appear on Chromosome 17 of mice.Comparing the movement of mouse sperm with the t-haplotype...

February 9, 2021
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Less-advanced alien civilizations may be nearby — but we're not looking for them

Less-advanced alien civilizations may be nearby — but we're not looking for them

Key Takeaways How will humans discover the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations?Unless aliens decide to visit Earth, the most likely answer is by scanning the skies for “technosignatures,” which are observational evidence of technological or industrial activity in the Universe.In a recent published in the journal Acta Astronautica, a team of NASA-funded researchers outlined some of the most promising ways scientists and space agencies could search for technosignatures. The paper included a somewhat surprising proposition: Humanity’s “first contact” with aliens is likely to be with a...

March 25, 2021
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Why very smart people are happiest alone

Why very smart people are happiest alone

In a about how our ancestral needs impact our modern feelings, researchers uncovered something that will surprise few among the highly intelligent. While most people are happier when they’re surrounded by friends, smart people are happier when they’re not.The researchers, Norman P. Li and Satoshi Kanazawa, of the Singapore Management University, Singapore and the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK, respectively, were investigating the “savanna theory” of happiness.The savanna theory — also called the “evolutionary legacy hypothesis” and the “mismatch hypothesis” — posits...

November 19, 2016
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