Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 17 2019Chaos in bodily regulation can optimize our immune system according to a recent discovery made by researchers at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute. The discovery may prove to be of great significance for avoiding serious diseases such as cancer and diabetes.Wide gaps exist in our understanding of how the immune system works and how we might avoid diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Now, two researchers at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute have made a discovery that could prove to be an important piece of the puzzle. PhD Mathias Heltberg and Professor Mogens Høgh Jensen have found an entirely new mechanism in the way that bodily cells regulate themselves – through chaos.The researchers investigated how a particular protein produced within cells, NF-kB, stimulates genes. Among other things, this particular protein is vital for maintaining the body’s immune defense system and thereby, the body’s ability to combat disease. The concentration of NF-kB fluctuates over time, and these swings impact the genes and subsequently, the condition of cells.The researchers demonstrated that chaotic swings in the concentration of the protein – what in mathematics is known as chaotic dynamics – can increase the activation of a number of genes that are otherwise not activated. In other words, when in a chaotic state, the NF-kB protein is most effective at activating genes and optimally “tuning” the immune system.”The results can have a tremendous impact on our understanding of how the immune system functions and how the incidence of some of the most serious illnesses, including diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s, might be avoided. For example, we know that cancer is related to a failure of signaling within the body. So, to avoid cancer, it is imperative to have the right dynamic at work in cells,” says Mogens Høgh Jensen, a professor in biocomplexity at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute.Related StoriesStudy shows potential culprit behind LupusMaking Bacterial Infections a Thing of the Past for Chronic Respiratory ConditionsMathematical model helps identify determinants of persistent MRSA bacteremiaImproved knowledge can improve cancer treatmentThe researchers point out that this new knowledge can be deployed in future therapies.”These could come in the form of new medications that ensure proper protein function. Therapies could also involve the withdrawal and testing of cells from a body to gauge whether cells are in the right condition to have the correct swings. If they aren’t, it may be possible to predict and discover illnesses before they occur,” explains Mathias Heltberg, a PhD student in Biocomplexity.The research results are among the first to prove that chaos can be an important aspect of the mechanisms that steer the enormous complexity characteristic of all living things. Even the researchers were surprised by their discovery, as chaotic dynamics is often seen as something that living organisms seek to avoid. The new knowledge opens up an entirely new understanding of how genes can be regulated through varied swings in the proteins that control them.”Chaos is a mathematically well-defined dynamic, one that, for example, has previously been used to explain great changes in weather systems. With the enormous complexity that characterizes higher order living things, it is evident that chaotic dynamics will occur in different types of systems. But how chaos plays a decisive role in living cells is entirely new,” concludes Mogens Høgh Jensen. Source:https://www.science.ku.dk/english/press/news/2019/chaos-in-the-body-tunes-up-your-immune-system/
By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDMar 18 2019Around a fourth of cancer patients under the NHS have a worryingly long wait for their treatment to begin. This is a cause for significant concern say experts. The new figures from NHS England reveal that the health service has not been meeting targets of on-time health care delivery to cancer patients for over 1,000 days. Similar figures have emerged from the A&E department performance.The figures further show that after an urgent GP referral for a cancer patients, ideally the treatment should begin within 62 days. According to recommendations at least 85 percent of the patients should be seen during this time. January figures however reveal that only 76.2 percent of the patients are seen within this time frame.According to Dr Fran Woodard, executive director of policy and impact at Macmillan Cancer Support, “January 2019 marks five years since the 62-day cancer target was first missed and, despite the best efforts of hard working NHS staff, more than 127,000 people have been left waiting too long to start vital treatment throughout that time.” A spokeswoman from the NHS said in a statement, “More people than ever before are coming forward for cancer checks, with a quarter of a million more people getting checked for cancer this year and thousands more being treated within the two-month target. NHS England is investing an additional £10m this year to treat extra people and the NHS Long Term Plan sets out a range of ambitious measures to catch more cancers earlier, which will save thousands of lives every year.”Related StoriesTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerWaiting time has not been looking good for the A&E department as well says the report. Only 84.2 percent of the patients are seen within the four hour target time. The recommended numbers of 95 percent have not been met since July 2015, says the report. An NHS spokeswoman said to this, “Despite significant increases in demand, almost a quarter of a million more people have been seen and treated within four hours in A&E this winter compared to last year. Ambulance services are responding to life threatening calls faster, with fewer ambulance handover delays at A&E, and significantly more people have got the support they needed to avoid a long stay in hospital.”The Royal College of Surgeons has issued a statement saying that 227,569 patients are kept waiting for over six months for a planned procedure. At present 4.16 million people are waiting to start on their treatment says the report. Professor Derek Alderson, president of the RCS, in a statement said, “The backlog of patients waiting to start treatment continues to grow. There are now over 100,000 more patients waiting longer than 18 weeks to start treatment when compared with the same time last year.”Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth in a statement said, “Today’s statistics will do little to allay frontline concerns that targets will be changed not on the basis of clinical consensus, but because of political pressure from Tory ministers.” He called the situation “shameful”.
Source:https://www.helsinki.fi/en/news/health-news/artificial-intelligence-identifies-key-patterns-from-video-footage-of-infant-movements Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 27 2019Subtle characteristics in the spontaneous movement of very young babies may reveal clinically important aspects of their neurodevelopment. Visual assessment of typical movement patterns (General movements, GM) by a clinical expert is known to be effective in early identification of e.g. cerebral palsy (CP).”A three month old infant shows frequently occurring stereotypical, dancing-like movements throughout the body and limbs. A noted absence of them is highly predictive of later emergence of CP,” says Sampsa Vanhatalo, professor of clinical neurophysiology, University of Helsinki.A very early identification and subsequent therapeutic intervention would be highly beneficial for alleviating the neurodevelopmental impact of CP. Currently, a child is diagnosed with CP at much later age, typically between 6 months and 2 years of age. GM analysis holds promise in early detection of CP, however, it needs special expertise that is currently obtained through international teaching courses, which effectively limits the number of doctors or therapists with the relevant skills. In addition, GM analysis in its present form is based on visual assessment, which is always subjective.”There is an urgent need for objective and automated methods. They would allow employing movement analyses at much wider scale, and make it accessible to basically most, if not all, children in the world,” says Vanhatalo.THE STICK MAN REVEALS THE ESSENTIALSResearchers at University of Helsinki and University of Pisa set out to explore the possibility that a conventional video recording of an infant lying in bed could be transformed to a quantified analysis of infant movements. They collaborated with people from an AI company based in Tampere, Neuro Event Labs, who were able to create a method for an accurate extraction of children’s movements (using a technique known as pose estimation), allowing for the construction of a simplified “stick man” (or skeleton) video.Next, the researchers gave the stick figure videos to doctors with GM expertise to see whether diagnostically crucial information was preserved in those videos.Using the stick figure videos alone, the doctors were able to assign diagnostic groups in 95% of cases, proving that the clinically essential information had been preserved.The study shows that an automated algorithm may extract clinically important movement patterns from normal video recordings. These stick figure extractions can be directly used for quantitative analyses.Related StoriesArtificial intelligence set to revolutionize the field of proteomicsAI coach feasible and useful for behavioral counseling of teens in weight-loss programMachine learning identifies bugs that spread Chagas diseaseTo demonstrate such potential, the researchers provided a proof of concept analysis where simple measures of stick figure movements showed clear differences between groups of infants with either normal or abnormal movements.Use of stick figure videos also enables world-wide sharing among research communities without privacy concerns. This has been a significant bottleneck in setting up multinational research activities within this domain.”This will finally enable a genuinely Big Data kind of development for better quantitative movement analyses in infants,” Vanhatalo states.”Since this study, we have collected larger datasets, including 3D video recordings, and we are currently developing an AI-based method for infantile motor maturity assessment. The rationale is straightforward: there is a developmental issue with the child, if the computational assessment of the motor maturity does not match with the child’s true age.”MOVEMENT ANALYSIS TELLS ABOUT NEURODEVELOPMENT AND EFFECTIVENESS OF THERAPEUTIC INTERVENTIONSIn addition to early CP detection, automated movement analyses have many potential applications in the assessment of infant neurological development.”We could create one kind of functional growth chart,” says Vanhatalo.Movement analyses could also be used in diverse ways to improve therapeutic decisions. Such methods could provide quantitative means to objectively measure efficacy of different therapeutic strategies; one of the global hot topics in restorative medicine.Automated movement analyses could also allow out-of-hospital screening of children to identify those that need further care, or to provide assurance of normality in cases with concern about child’s development.”Use of machine learning and artificial intelligence allows for the extraction of substantial amounts of clinically useful information from a simple home-grade video recording. The ultimate aim is to find methods that will make it possible to provide high and even quality infant healthcare everywhere in the world,” Vanhatalo summarizes.
Source:Plataforma SINC Having this possibility on the horizon favours the patients’ focus on living well, a better acceptance of palliative care and a greater openness to meaningful conversations with the health team about the end of their lives.”María Arantzamendi Setting priorities and making choicesThe later phase continues to integrate advanced cancer into everyday life in order to minimize its impact. “The key is to be aware of one’s life span. This makes them focus on what really matters, set priorities and make choices,” she adds.Related StoriesSpecial blood test may predict relapse risk for breast cancer patientsLiving with advanced breast cancerNew study to ease plight of patients with advanced cancerFor the researchers, four strategies facilitate this challenge: making adjustments in daily life to integrate treatments or problems derived from the disease, maintaining a positive attitude, normalizing the natural aspects of life – for example, that all human beings die – and having hope – being open to new possibilities, such as feeling better.The fourth phase consists in sharing the experience of living with the disease and involves maintaining family and social relationships that help one feel supported. The authors indicate that it is necessary to have someone to count on, especially in the family environment. They also stress the importance for patients of protecting their loved ones.The last phase shifts attention away from oneself and the disease to ‘living in the moment.’ “Participants made significant contributions to their family, community and society, such as donating their bodies to science, helping others or planning for their family’s well-being after their death,” Arantzamendi stresses.Likewise, the strategies they used to maximize life time were fundamentally two: paying full attention to moments of joy or beautiful things and controlling thoughts, particularly those related to illness and death.Acceptance: a process with ups and downsThis study, published in the journal Qualitative Health Research, has several implications for practice. The authors stress that acceptance is key to living well with advanced cancer, although it requires time and is a process with ups and downs.Therefore, they do not recommend health professionals to focus prematurely on acceptance, as this may interfere with the construction of a supportive therapeutic alliance. On the other hand, they emphasize that maintaining a positive attitude is of great importance, but that this does not imply leaving aside one’s awareness of the proximity of death. That leads to the second step, to accept, to a greater or lesser extent, the illness, the limitations that arise, the finitude… and to cope with the situation with relative peace.”María Arantzamendi, researcher at the University of Navarre Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)May 14 2019A qualitative study of 22 cancer patients shows how acceptance is key to living as well as possible, although it requires time and is a process with ups and downs. Led by the University of Navarre, this research emphasizes the importance of focusing on life rather than on the disease.Each year 14.1 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed, 8.2 million people die from the disease and another 32.6 million live with it. In recent years, new therapies have favored an early diagnosis and a progressive increase in life expectancy.It is no longer rare to see cancer as a chronic pathology that, although it cannot be cured, can be controlled for many years. For oncologists, this implies a new challenge: to increase the quality of life of patients in this period.A study spearheaded by the Instituto Cultura y Sociedad (ICS) of the University of Navarre, in which the University of British Columbia (Canada) has also collaborated, analyses the experience of 22 people with advanced cancer who receive treatment in three health centers in Spain.The number of patients is reduced because it is a qualitative research, that is to say, it requires a very close follow-up, with in-depth interviews. The so-called theory of how to live well with chronic diseases, proposed in 2017 by one of the authors of this new work, Carole Robinson was applied to this group.This theory was developed from a field study of 43 patients and describes five interconnected phases: struggle, acceptance, living with chronic disease, sharing experience, and rebuilding life.Qualitative research techniques have shown what this process is like for this type of patient. According to María Arantzamendi, a researcher at the University of Navarre and the main author of the new study, “the process of living with advanced cancer revolves around the awareness of the finitude of life with five phases that patients can relive throughout the process.”The first phase begins with a struggle, when patients are either diagnosed with advanced cancer or are aware that something is happening to them; they experience shock, anger, anxiety and fear.Participants recognized that, over time, they realized that this struggle created additional difficulties for them – even if they returned to it following complications or bad news – and that it was counterproductive for them to move on with their lives. The researchers emphasize the importance of love and family support for a good life at the final stages of the disease. “This also requires the involvement of health professionals, especially as regards helping patients to find the balance between sharing their experience and keeping information in order to protect their loved ones,” she concludes.
Imagine waking up tomorrow in a world that doesn’t depend on oil. Explore further Provided by University of Alberta That might seem far-fetched, but as engineers and scientists come up with new ways to harness renewable energy, those new sources of energy may soon shape the way our societies function and how we live our daily lives.”We’re going to stop depending on oil long before we run out of it, so we really need to exercise our imaginations about what other futures are possible,” explains University of Alberta associate professor Sheena Wilson, who heads the Future Energy Systems energy humanities theme.”Right now we live in sprawling urban communities with long commutes—we drive everywhere. If we don’t have access to such powerful energy sources, and our lives aren’t organized around auto-mobility, the shape of our cities looks very different. We need to think about communities we’re shaping through the energy systems we’re designing.”Decentralization of energy through the development of wind, solar, biofuels and geothermal could mean that communities no longer need to be centralized. Societal power structures defined by those who presently control energy and wealth could also fundamentally change.If someone living in a remote location unconnected from the grid could have the same reliable energy as someone living in an urban centre, would people need to live together in cities at all? Possibly, but maybe for entirely different reasons.”Our communities might need to be organized in entirely new ways—around social and environmental sustainability, instead of around the easy flow of traffic and consumer goods,” said Wilson.”We can ask ourselves all sorts of questions about why we live the way we live—and if changing the way we access energy will change everything,” she added.Fuel for thoughtThe U of A cultural studies and media expert based in Campus Saint-Jean has been exploring the social aspect of the energy future for years. In 2011 she co-founded the Petrocultures Research Group to explore humanity’s next step after the oil-dominated economy. The group has generated a number of interdisciplinary projects and expanded its membership internationally. One of its research initiatives, After Oil: Explorations and Experiments in the Future of Energy, Culture and Society, explores “the social and cultural implications of oil and energy.” Sheena Wilson, principal investigator with the energy humanities theme of the U of A’s Future Energy Systems initiative, interviews engineering professor Marc Secanell, director of the Energy Systems Design Laboratory. “We’re not just hearing about the next big thing in energy third-hand—we get the chance to talk directly to Canada’s leading energy researchers,” Wilson says. Credit: Kenneth Tam Alaskan microgrids offer energy resilience and independence When the Future Energy Systems research initiative launched at the end of 2016, Wilson was asked to develop the energy humanities theme, which has brought a group of interdisciplinary humanities scholars into the program to work closely with scientists, engineers and social scientists.This approach is unique, and when the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) conference came to Edmonton earlier this month, Wilson and her group were invited to make a mainstage presentation about the energy humanities’ program and how it is now imagining possible futures based on the latest energy research.”We’re not just hearing about the next big thing in energy third-hand—we get the chance to talk directly to Canada’s leading energy researchers, see what’s too new to have hit the headlines and provide input to IPCC reports and recommendations that will influence policy at all levels of government,” said Wilson.Envisioning alternative energy futuresEnergy humanities researchers across the arts faculty—including art and design, English and film studies, sociology, political science and history—are working with scientists, government, artists, activists and Indigenous communities to foster inclusive dialogue.”We’re trying to bring together people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines to inform the thinking we’re all doing as we work toward other possible futures,” said Wilson.The fine arts will also play a role in imagining those futures. A seven-year Future Energy Systems project called Speculative Energy Futures—collaboratively led with art and design historian Natalie Loveless under a larger research initiative called Just Powers, for which Wilson is the research lead—will produce a large-scale, evidence-based exhibition and a series of publications to provide visual perspectives on the social and cultural impacts of energy transition.Another Just Powers visual project called iDoc has been capturing the work of Future Energy Systems on video. In addition to filming interviews and lab footage with U of A researchers, the project will include policy-makers and other players engaged with energy transition in Alberta more widely.This research will be archived for posterity by University of Alberta Libraries, and made available through open access in a range of formats on the web and in public screenings so it can inform public discussions about the possibilities and limits of energy transition and its politics.”Fifty years from now, people might be explaining to their grandkids what it was like to have their houses connected to a central power grid—or to ‘fill up’ their cars,” Wilson said. “We want them to understand why we made the decisions we did, and what we were thinking.” Citation: Understanding how society will change as we move to renewable energy sources (2018, March 30) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-society-renewable-energy-sources.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
In this Dec. 11, 2018, file photo, Google CEO Sundar Pichai appears before the House Judiciary Committee to be questioned about the internet giant’s privacy security and data collection, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Google attracted concern about its continuous surveillance of users and other concerns bubbled up this month as lawmakers grilled Pichai. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) Explore further The list is long: High-tech tools for immigration crackdowns. Fears of smartphone addiction . YouTube algorithms that steer youths into extremism. An experiment in gene-edited babies .Doorbells and concert venues that can pinpoint individual faces and alert police. Repurposing genealogy websites to hunt for crime suspects based on a relative’s DNA. Automated systems that keep tabs of workers’ movements and habits. Electric cars in Shanghai transmitting their every movement to the government.It’s been enough to exhaust even the most imaginative sci-fi visionaries.”It doesn’t so much feel like we’re living in the future now, as that we’re living in a retro-future,” novelist William Gibson wrote this month on Twitter. “A dark, goofy ’90s retro-future.”More awaits us in 2019, as surveillance and data-collection efforts ramp up and artificial intelligence systems start sounding more human , reading facial expressions and generating fake video images so realistic that it will be harder to detect malicious distortions of the truth.But there are also countermeasures afoot in Congress and state government—and even among tech-firm employees who are more active about ensuring their work is put to positive ends. “It was necessary to convene this hearing because of the widening gap of distrust between technology companies and the American people,” Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said.Internet pioneer Vint Cerf said he and other engineers never imagined their vision of a worldwide network of connected computers would morph 45 years later into a surveillance system that collects personal information or a propaganda machine that could sway elections.”We were just trying to get it to work,” recalled Cerf, who is now Google’s chief internet evangelist. “But now that it’s in the hands of the general public, there are people who … want it to work in a way that obviously does harm, or benefits themselves, or disrupts the political system. So we are going to have to deal with that.”Contrary to futuristic fears of “super-intelligent” robots taking control, the real dangers of our tech era have crept in more prosaically—often in the form of tech innovations we welcomed for making life more convenient .Part of experts’ concern about the leap into connecting every home device to the internet and letting computers do our work is that the technology is still buggy and influenced by human errors and prejudices. Uber and Tesla were investigated for fatal self-driving car crashes in March, IBM came under scrutiny for working with New York City police to build a facial recognition system that can detect ethnicity, and Amazon took heat for supplying its own flawed facial recognition service to law enforcement agencies.In some cases, opposition to the tech industry’s rush to apply its newest innovations to questionable commercial uses has come from its own employees. Google workers helped scuttle the company’s Pentagon drone contract, and workers at Amazon, Microsoft and Salesforce sought to cancel their companies’ contracts to supply tech services to immigration authorities.”It became obvious to a lot of people that the rhetoric of doing good and benefiting society and ‘Don’t be evil’ was not what these companies were actually living up to,” said Whittaker, who is also a research scientist at Google who founded its Open Research group. In this April 10, 2018, file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. We may remember 2018 as the year in which technology’s dystopian potential became clear, from Facebook’s role enabling the harvesting of our personal data for election interference to a seemingly unending series of revelations about the dark side of Silicon Valley’s connect-everything ethos. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File) At the same time, even some titans of technology have been sounding alarms. Prominent engineers and designers have increasingly spoken out about shielding children from the habit-forming tech products they helped create.And then there’s Microsoft President Brad Smith, who in December called for regulating facial recognition technology so that the “year 2024 doesn’t look like a page” from George Orwell’s “1984.”In a blog post and a Washington speech, Smith painted a bleak vision of all-seeing government surveillance systems forcing dissidents to hide in darkened rooms “to tap in code with hand signals on each other’s arms.”To avoid such an Orwellian scenario, Smith advocates regulating technology so that anyone about to subject themselves to surveillance is properly notified. But privacy advocates argue that’s not enough.Such debates are already happening in states like Illinois, where a strict facial recognition law has faced tech industry challenges, and California, which in 2018 passed the nation’s most far-reaching law to give consumers more control over their personal data. It takes effect in 2020.The issue could find new attention in Congress next year as more Republicans warm up to the idea of basic online privacy regulations and the incoming Democratic House majority takes a more skeptical approach to tech firms that many liberal politicians once viewed as allies—and prolific campaign donors.The “leave them alone” approach of the early internet era won’t work anymore, said Rep. David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat poised to take the helm of the House’s antitrust subcommittee. We may remember 2018 as the year when technology’s dystopian potential became clear, from Facebook’s role enabling the harvesting of our personal data for election interference to a seemingly unending series of revelations about the dark side of Silicon Valley’s connect-everything ethos. © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. In this Aug. 8, 2018, file photo, a mobile phone displays a user’s travels using Google Maps in New York. Google attracted concern about its continuous surveillance of users after The Associated Press reported that it was tracking people’s movements whether they like it or not. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File) “We’re seeing now some of the consequences of the abuses that can occur in these platforms if they remain unregulated without meaningful oversight or enforcement,” Cicilline said.Too much regulation may bring its own undesirable side effects, Cerf warned.”It’s funny in a way because this online environment was supposed to remove friction from our ability to transact,” he said. “If in our desire, if not zeal, to protect people’s privacy we throw sand in the gears of everything, we may end up with a very secure system that doesn’t work very well.” In this April 18, 2018, file photo, a graphic from the Cambridge Analytica website is displayed on a computer screen in New York. Among the most troubling cases of what made 2018 so ominous was the revelation in March that political data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica swept up personal information of millions of Facebook users for the purpose of manipulating national elections. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) Citation: Did 2018 usher in a creeping tech dystopia? (2018, December 25) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-12-usher-tech-dystopia.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Microsoft unveils facial recognition principles, urges new laws This Jan. 17, 2017, file photo shows a Facebook logo being displayed in a start-up companies gathering at Paris’ Station F, in Paris. We may remember 2018 as the year in which technology’s dystopian potential became clear, from Facebook’s role enabling the harvesting of our personal data for election interference to a seemingly unending series of revelations about the dark side of Silicon Valley’s connect-everything ethos. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File) “Something that was heartening this year was that accompanying this parade of scandals was a growing public awareness that there’s an accountability crisis in tech,” said Meredith Whittaker, a co-founder of New York University’s AI Now Institute for studying the social implications of artificial intelligence.The group has compiled a long list of what made 2018 so ominous, though many are examples of the public simply becoming newly aware of problems that have built up for years. Among the most troubling cases was the revelation in March that political data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica swept up personal information of millions of Facebook users for the purpose of manipulating national elections.”It really helped wake up people to the fact that these systems are actually touching the core of our lives and shaping our social institutions,” Whittaker said.That was on top of other Facebook disasters, including its role in fomenting violence in Myanmar , major data breaches and ongoing concerns about its hosting of fake accounts for Russian propaganda . It wasn’t just Facebook. Google attracted concern about its continuous surveillance of users after The Associated Press reported that it was tracking people’s movements whether they like it or not.It also faced internal dissent over its collaboration with the U.S. military to create drones with “computer vision” to help find battlefield targets and a secret proposal to launch a censored search engine in China. And it unveiled a remarkably human-like voice assistant that sounds so real that people on the other end of the phone didn’t know they were talking to a computer.Those and other concerns bubbled up in December as lawmakers grilled Google CEO Sundar Pichai at a congressional hearing—a sequel to similar public reckonings this year with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other tech executives.
Paul E. Smith, Lecture Demonstrator for Chemistry, Purdue University This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeVikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 min and see why everyone is addicted!Vikings: Free Online GameUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoKelley Blue Book2019 Lexus Vehicles Worth Buying for Their Resale ValueKelley Blue BookUndoFinance DailySeniors With No Life Insurance May Get Up To $250,000 If They Do This…Finance DailyUndoAncestryThe Story Behind Your Last Name Will Surprise YouAncestryUndoFinance101Oprah’s Mansion Costs $90 Million, And This Is What It Looks LikeFinance101Undo In the earliest days of the United States, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail about the celebration of independence, “It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” “Bonfires and illuminations” refer directly to what we know as pyrotechnics and firework displays. I’m a chemist and also president of Pyrotechnics Guild International, an organization that promotes the safe use of fireworks and using them here in the U.S. to celebrate Independence Day and other festivals throughout the year. As a chemist, and someone who leads demonstrations for chemistry students, I consider fireworks a great example of combustion reactions that produce colored fire. But the invention of colored fireworks is relatively recent and not all colors are easy to produce. Early history of fireworks Firecrackers were first invented serendipitously by the Chinese in 200 B.C. But it wasn’t until one thousand years later that Chinese alchemists developed fireworks in 800 A.D. These early fireworks were mostly bright and noisy concoctions designed to scare evil spirits — not the colorful, controlled explosions we see today. Fast forward another millennium and the Italians figured out how to add color by introducing various elements to the flammable mix. Adding the element strontium to a color pyrotechnic mix produces a red flame; copper, blue; barium, green; and sodium for yellow.Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really LoudThis rapid strike produces a loud ‘pop’ comparable to those made by snapping shrimps, one of the most intense biological sounds measured at sea.Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Why Is It ‘Snowing’ Salt in the Dead Sea?01:53 facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65860-why-blue-fireworks-are-rare.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0000:3500:35 Too much or too little of the chemicals make significant changes in the temperature and thus the wavelength of color seen. The proper mixture of chemicals when ignited produce enough energy to excite electrons to give off different colors of light. Even though the chemistry of these colors isn’t new, each generation seems to get excited by the colors splashed across the sky. We now have a wide range of flame colors: red, green, blue, yellow, purple, and variations of these. Each color works the same way. As different elements ignite they release different wavelengths of light which translate as different colors. Making that perfect blue firework Not all colors of fireworks are equally easy to create. I believe several of my colleagues in pyrotechnic research and development would agree with me that blue is the most difficult color to produce. That is because the evening sky is a shade of blue, which means that most blues do not show up as well. If you try to make the blue brighter to contrast with the background it can look washed out. The right balance of copper and other chemicals in the flame or combustion reaction produce the best blue color flame in a firework. I have taken this into account when trying to create the best blue flame color, which I call pill box blue. It is just bright enough to stand out against the night sky but still a rich blue. I have over 20 blue pyrotechnic formulas and I have found one that comes very close to this elusive hue. Another difficulty in creating an intense blue color is that the chemistry is not simple. It requires a combination of several chemicals and the element copper. When copper ignites, the electrons surrounding the copper atoms get excited and energized in the flame. When the electrons release this energy, it appears to observers as blue light. Each color works the same way. As different elements ignite they release different wavelengths of light which translate as different colors. So when you see blue-colored dots of light creating a pattern in the night sky, you really are seeing excited electrons releasing energy as blue light. [Expertise in your inbox. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter and get a digest of academic takes on today’s news, every day.]