We live in a time of major technological changes.
The fear of artificial intelligence is perfectly legitimate. The acceptance of said technology by different demographic groups is also very thought-provoking. AI fears are most pronounced among the well-educated and women. Technology may once again prove to be a factor that deepens social divisions.
For now, the presentation of the new robot created by Tesla and Elon Musk was only a publicity stunt. It was a man in a costume. Almost no one fears revenge-seeking, Terminator-style AI robots invading their homes.
For a substantial part of society, the AI revolution could mean changing jobs or their lifestyles. The expected disruptions to the job market, education, or transportation should be our major concerns. Before things get out of hand.
To find the way forward in the foundations of physics, we need results, not null-results. When testing new hypotheses takes decades of construction time and billions of dollars, we have to be careful what to invest in. Experiments have become too costly to rely on serendipitous discoveries. Beauty-based methods have historically not worked. They still don’t work. It’s time that physicists take note.
The traditional formulation of quantum field theory—encoded in its very name—is built on the two pillars of locality and unitarity. The standard apparatus of Lagrangians and path integrals allows us to make these two fundamental principles manifest. This approach, however, requires the introduction of a large amount of unphysical redundancy in our description of physical processes. Even for the simplest case of scalar field theories, there is the freedom to perform field redefinitions. Starting with massless particles of spin 1 or higher, we are forced to introduce even larger, gauge redundancies.
Transform curious young minds into engaged environmenal citizens
The waves of change begin with a ripple. iCREST is an international effort to start those ripples, through hands-on, active learning programs that bring young people together to address complex problems in their communities. Working collaboratively with others, youth learn the value of their own expertise and come to understand the contributions they can make to a greater community effort to build socially and environmentally resilient communities that safeguard Earth’s increasing challenged life support system.
iCREST teaches young people four major skill sets:
Literacy in sustainability and community resilience
Modeling, simulation, data analysis, and data visualization
Storytelling to effectively present problems and solutions
Many other physicists get a little blasé about the vastness of the cosmos and forces too powerful to comprehend. You can reduce it all to mathematics, tweak some equations, and get on with your day. But the shock and vertigo of the recognition of the fragility of everything, and my own powerlessness in it, has left its mark on me. There’s something about taking the opportunity to wade into that cosmic perspective that is both terrifying and hopeful, like holding a newborn infant and feeling the delicate balance of the tenuousness of life and the potential for not-yet-imagined greatness. It is said that astronauts returning from space carry with them a changed perspective on the world, the “overview effect,” in which, having seen the Earth from above, they can fully perceive how fragile our little oasis is and how unified we ought to be as a species, as perhaps the only thinking beings in the cosmos.
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
In mathematics and applied mathematics, perturbation theory comprises methods for finding an approximate solution to a problem, by starting from the exact solution of a related, simpler problem. A critical feature of the technique is a middle step that breaks the problem into “solvable” and “perturbative” parts. In perturbation theory, the solution is expressed as a power series in a small parameter ε. The first term is the known solution to the solvable problem. Successive terms in the series at higher powers of ε usually become smaller. An approximate ‘perturbation solution’ is obtained by truncating the series, usually by keeping only the first two terms, the solution to the known problem and the ‘first order’ perturbation correction.
In-house built HD maps covering thousands of kilometers in multiple cities, with centimeter-level accuracy, detailed 3D geometric structures, as well as rich semantic information including lane, traffic control information, etc.
Precise, real-time localization powered by multiple sensors including LiDAR, camera, GNSS and INS, enabling our AD vehicles to drive through tunnels of more than 1 kilometer long under challenging weather such as heavy rainfall.
There are people who are generic. They make generic responses and they expect generic answers. They live inside a box and they think people who don’t fit into their box are weird. But I’ll tell you what, generic people are the weird people. They are like genetically-manipulated plants growing inside a laboratory, like indistinguishable faces, like droids. Like ignorance.
You’ll learn, as you get older, that rules are made to be broken. Be bold enough to live life on your terms, and never, ever apologize for it. Go against the grain, refuse to conform, take the road less traveled instead of the well-beaten path. Laugh in the face of adversity, and leap before you look. Dance as though EVERYBODY is watching. March to the beat of your own drummer. And stubbornly refuse to fit in.
… the LHCb experiment at CERN announced new results which, if confirmed, would suggest hints of a violation of the Standard Model of particle physics. The results focus on the potential violation of lepton flavour universality …
The fundamental building blocks of the proton—quarks and gluons—have been known for decades. However, we still have an incomplete theoretical and experimental understanding of how these particles and their dynamics give rise to the quantum bound state of the proton and its physical properties, such as its spin. The two up quarks and the single down quark that comprise the proton in the simplest picture account only for a few per cent of the proton mass, the bulk of which is in the form of quark kinetic and potential energy and gluon energy from the strong force. An essential feature of this force, as described by quantum chromodynamics, is its ability to create matter–antimatter quark pairs inside the proton that exist only for a very short time. Their fleeting existence makes the antimatter quarks within protons difficult to study, but their existence is discernible in reactions in which a matter–antimatter quark pair annihilates. In this picture of quark–antiquark creation by the strong force, the probability distributions as a function of momentum for the presence of up and down antimatter quarks should be nearly identical, given that their masses are very similar and small compared to the mass of the proton. Here we provide evidence from muon pair production measurements that these distributions are considerably different, with more abundant down antimatter quarks than up antimatter quarks over a wide range of momenta. These results are expected to revive interest in several proposed mechanisms for the origin of this antimatter asymmetry in the proton that had been disfavoured by previous results, and point to future measurements that can distinguish between these mechanisms.
Money, social status, plastic surgery, beautiful houses, powerful positions – none of these will bring you happiness. Lasting happiness comes only from serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.
The romantic contrast between modern industry that “destroys nature” and our ancestors who “lived in harmony with nature” is groundless.
As far as we can tell from a purely scientific viewpoint, human life has absolutely no meaning. Humans are the outcome of blind evolutionary processes that operate without goal or purpose. Our actions are not part of some divine cosmic plan, and if planet earth were to blow up tomorrow morning, the universe would probably keep going about its business as usual. As far as we can tell at this point, human subjectivity would not be missed. Hence any meaning that people inscribe to their lives is just a delusion.
It looked like the fall of Saigon in 1975 on fast-forward: an American-backed army melting away, enemy fighters strolling into the presidential palace, desperate crowds mobbing the airport. But the similarities between Afghanistan and South Vietnam were not only superficial. Both states, built to please their American sponsors, had been hollowed out by one of the oldest diseases of governance: corruption.
In Afghanistan, “from your birth certificate to your death certificate and whatever comes in between, somehow you have to bribe,” says Ahmad Shah Katawazai, a former Afghan diplomat. Officials and police routinely demand baksheesh (a “tip”). As the Taliban advanced, the pay-off required for a passport rose to thousands of dollars.
In theoretical physics, quantum chromodynamics (QCD) is the theory of the strong interaction between quarks and gluons, the fundamental particles that make up composite hadrons such as the proton, neutron and pion. QCD is a type of quantum field theory called a non-abelian gauge theory, with symmetry group SU(3). The QCD analog of electric charge is a property called color. Gluons are the force carrier of the theory, just as photons are for the electromagnetic force in quantum electrodynamics. The theory is an important part of the Standard Model of particle physics. A large body of experimental evidence for QCD has been gathered over the years. In simpler words, quantum chromodynamics is the process of quarks that possess a color charge, exchanging the strong interaction via trading gluons to form nucleons (i. e. protons and neutrons).
Challenge a person’s beliefs, and you challenge his dignity, standing, and power. And when those beliefs are based on nothing but faith, they are chronically fragile. No one gets upset about the belief that rocks fall down as opposed to up, because all sane people can see it with their own eyes. Not so for the belief that babies are born with original sin or that God exists in three persons or that Ali is the second-most divinely inspired man after Muhammad. When people organize their lives around these beliefs, and then learn of other people who seem to be doing just fine without them–or worse, who credibly rebut them–they are in danger of looking like fools. Since one cannot defend a belief based on faith by persuading skeptics it is true, the faithful are apt to react to unbelief with rage, and may try to eliminate that affront to everything that makes their lives meaningful.
The clinical presentation of COVID-19 due to infection with SARS-CoV-2 is highly variable with the majority of patients having mild symptoms while others develop severe respiratory failure. The reason for this variability is unclear but is in critical need of investigation. Some COVID-19 patients have been labelled with ‘happy hypoxia’, in which patient complaints of dyspnoea and observable signs of respiratory distress are reported to be absent. Based on ongoing debate, we highlight key respiratory and neurological components that could underlie variation in the presentation of silent hypoxaemia and define priorities for subsequent investigation.
Cancel culture or call-out culture is a modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles – whether it be online, on social media, or in person. Those subject to this ostracism are said to have been “cancelled”. The expression “cancel culture” has mostly negative connotations and is commonly used in debates on free speech and censorship.
The notion of cancel culture is a variant on the term call-out culture and constitutes a form of boycotting or shunning involving an individual (often a celebrity) who is deemed to have acted or spoken in a questionable or controversial manner.
Notably, many people claiming to have been “cancelled” often remain in power and continue their careers as before. Moreover, some cancellations have also been defended as exercising free speech and promoting accountability. Others criticize cancel culture as creating a chilling effect.
I think I’m in a privileged and relatively protected position because I’m a very established author and I’m the age I am. I have a reputation. Perhaps it’s an illusion but I think I’m protected.
I very much fear for the younger generation of writers and what I’m concerned about is that there [is] self-censorship going on and that they would not produce the works that they really want to produce, or that they would have produced and that we would really value, because there is a fear that they’re going to get trolled or they’re going to get cancelled or there’s going to be some sort of anonymous lynch mob that will turn up online and make their lives a misery
Novelists should feel free to write from whichever viewpoint they wish, or represent all kinds of views. Right from an early age I’ve written from the point of view of people very different from myself. My first novel [A Pale View of Hills] was written from the point of view of a woman. (But) I think there are very valid parts of this argument about appropriation of voice, we do have the obligation to teach ourselves and to do research and to treat people with respect if we’re going to have them feature in our work.
“So you think that money is the root of all evil?” said Francisco d’Anconia. “Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?”
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The question has been asked before, famously by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1944. Now biologist Paul Nurse has addressed the question in his book, What is Life? He describes the wonder of the cell, where thousands of chemical reactions take place at a microscopic scale, all coordinated by the instructions contained in DNA. So what are essential qualities of life? It is an ability to change. A living thing is an entity that is subject to natural selection and can evolve. It needs a gene or a genome of genes and changes and adapts to the environment. The purpose is to survive and reproduce.
“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”
“In fact,” said Mustapha Mond, “you’re claiming the right to be unhappy.”
“All right then,” said the Savage defiantly, “I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.”
“Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.” There was a long silence.
“I claim them all,” said the Savage at last.
Mustapha Mond shrugged his shoulders. “You’re welcome,” he said.
We have heard much about the “digital divide”, but one day there may well be a “nano divide”: the gap between those who can access and benefit from nanotechnology and those without. If there is also an “enhancement divide”, it could prove to be an even greater disadvantage for those on the wrong side. They would not be as physically or mentally capable as others. What policies, if any, should be developed to either avoid or cope with this situation?
The rise of information and communications technology (ICT) led to the so-called “digital divide”: those who did not have adequate access to the technology were disadvantaged relative to those who did. While this divide reflected, by and large, the existing divide between haves and have-nots, ICT exaggerated that divide. Not long ago, the less advantaged within developed societies could listen to the radio, go to the free public library, and read inexpensive newspapers. As information and communication increasingly moved to the Internet, their access to both information and communication decreased relative to that by the more advantaged. It is feared by some that nanotechnology will also sharpen and widen divisions both within societies and between nations: a nano divide will be created. Whether or not this happens depends partly on how nanotechnology develops. If its applications are primarily in enhancing existing materials, cosmetics, electronics and medicine and if these are relatively inexpensive, then there may be no increase in inequalities. However, if they are expensive and particularly useful and desirable, then they probably will.
The Central Dogma. This states that once “information” has passed into protein it cannot get out again. In more detail, the transfer of information from nucleic acid to nucleic acid, or from nucleic acid to protein may be possible, but transfer from protein to protein, or from protein to nucleic acid is impossible. Information means here the precise determination of sequence, either of bases in the nucleic acid or of amino acid residues in the protein.
It may have been a butterfly that first started me thinking seriously about biology. It was early spring; I was perhaps twelve or thirteen years old and sitting in the garden when a quivering yellow butterfly flew over the fence. It turned, hovered and briefly settled—just long enough for me to notice the elaborate veins and spots on its wings. Then a shadow disturbed it and it took flight again, disappearing over the opposite fence. That intricate, perfectly formed butterfly made me think. It was both utterly different to me and yet somehow familiar too. Like me, it was so obviously alive: it could move, it could sense, it could respond, it seemed so full of purpose. I found myself wondering: what does it really mean to be alive? In short, what is life?