Get Psyched: Cog­ni­tive bias

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TechLife Australia - - WELCOME - [ SHARMISHTA SARKAR ]

Sir David At­ten­bor­ough warns cli­mate change will lead to the “col­lapse of civil­i­sa­tion” PLANET EARTH AND BLUE PLANET IN JEOP­ARDY.

Speak­ing at the United Na­tions Cli­mate Sum­mit in Ka­tow­ice, Poland, in De­cem­ber 2018, Sir David At­ten­bor­ough’s iconic nar­ra­tive took a dra­matic turn. Call­ing cli­mate change “a man­made dis­as­ter of global scale”, he warned that if some­thing wasn’t done, it would lead to the “col­lapse of civil­i­sa­tion” and “the ex­tinc­tion of much of the nat­u­ral world”. He urged world lead­ers to take ac­tion, say­ing, “The con­tin­u­a­tion of our civil­i­sa­tions and the nat­u­ral world upon which we de­pend is in your hands.” As per a re­cent re­port re­leased by the UN, even a 1.5 de­gree in­crease in global tem­per­a­ture this cen­tury will re­sult in cat­a­strophic con­se­quences, in­clud­ing floods, the loss of 90% of the world’s coral reefs, mass ex­tinc­tions, and famine.

RE­SEARCHERS HAVE FOUND BI­O­LOG­I­CAL MEANS TO SPEED UP OUR COM­PUT­ERS BY US­ING GE­NET­I­CALLY EN­GI­NEERED VIRUSES.

A col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween re­searchers from MIT and the Sin­ga­pore Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy and De­sign has helped de­vise a ground-break­ing method to en­hance com­puter speed and ef­fi­ciency. By “ge­net­i­cally” en­gi­neer­ing a virus, the team has been able to cre­ate a phase-change mem­ory which can match the speeds of a RAM chip and con­tain more stor­age than a hard drive. This type of mem­ory re­quires a ma­te­rial that can switch be­tween amor­phous and crys­talline states. While such ma­te­ri­als ex­ist, us­ing them to make tiny wires used in RAM chips causes ex­treme heat gen­er­a­tion which de­stroys the ma­te­rial it­self. How­ever, us­ing M13 bac­te­rio­phages (a type of virus that in­fects bac­te­ria), these wires can be con­structed with­out rais­ing tem­per­a­tures, this build­ing speed­ier and more ef­fi­cient RAM.

Lim­it­ing so­cial me­dia use to 30 min­utes a day can stave off men­tal health is­sues TOO MUCH OF SOME­THING IS AL­WAYS BAD.

A new study – con­ducted by re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia and pub­lished in the jour­nal Jour­nal of So­cial and Clin­i­cal Psy­chol­ogy – has found that keep­ing so­cial me­dia usage lim­ited to 30 min­utes a day can sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove one’s well-be­ing. 143 un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dents were tested in two sep­a­rate groups – one group was lim­ited to us­ing so­cial me­dia plat­forms to just 30 min­utes, while the other was al­lowed to carry on as per nor­mal. Both groups were then as­sessed for men­tal health is­sues. The study found that scrolling through oth­ers pho­tos is the main cause of men­tal health is­sues, and spend­ing less time do­ing that can lower the risk of de­pres­sion and feel­ings of lone­li­ness. While most stud­ies so far have proven there is a cor­re­la­tion be­tween so­cial me­dia and men­tal health, this is the first time a cause-and-ef­fect re­la­tion­ship has been demon­strated. How­ever, it is im­por­tant to keep in mind that these stud­ies can never take into ac­count ev­ery sin­gle fac­tor that af­fects men­tal health.

There might be a way to store so­lar and wind en­ergy for fu­ture needs IT’S TIME TO START STOCK­PIL­ING.

While we do pro­duce elec­tric­ity from so­lar and wind power, stor­ing this form of en­ergy is an ex­pen­sive af­fair. How­ever, a new con­cep­tual de­sign from MIT en­gi­neers could solve that prob­lem for us. The sys­tem is able to store heat gen­er­ated by ex­cess elec­tric­ity from the sun and wind in large tanks of white-hot molten sil­i­con. The light from the molten metal then gets con­verted back to elec­tric­ity when re­quired. This de­sign is able to power a small city not just when so­lar and wind power is di­rectly avail­able, but also on cloudy or still days – mean­ing around the clock. The re­searchers es­ti­mate that this process would be more af­ford­able than us­ing lithium-ion bat­ter­ies to store the elec­tric­ity for fu­ture use, as well as cost half as much as we cur­rently spend on pump­ing stored hy­dro­elec­tric­ity into the grid – cur­rently the cheapest form of en­ergy stor­age.

There’s ev­i­dence to sug­gest our brains have a liv­ing mi­cro­biome JUST LIKE THE BAC­TE­RIA IN OUR GUT.

We all know that the bac­te­ria in our stom­ach are im­por­tant to our well-be­ing, but a startling dis­cov­ery sug­gests there’s a sim­i­lar bac­te­rial ecosys­tem in our heads. Re­searchers from the Univer­sity of Alabama took brain sam­ples from 34 de­ceased per­sons – half of whom suf­fered from schizophre­nia while the other half were con­sid­ered healthy at the time of death. They found rod-shaped bac­te­ria “in vary­ing amounts” in each case, with thriv­ing colonies in the sub­stan­tia ni­gra, hip­pocam­pus, and pre­frontal cor­tex. Bac­te­ria were also found in cells re­spon­si­ble for neu­ral com­mu­ni­ca­tions. The re­searchers aren’t sure how the bac­te­ria got to the brain, al­though it has been hy­poth­e­sised that they made their way through blood ves­sels. It should be noted that the re­sults of this study are pre­lim­i­nary, but could pro­vide a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive to how our brains func­tion.

DOL­PHINS ARE BE­ING FORCED TO CHANGE THEIR CALLS DUE TO IN­CREAS­ING NOISE POL­LU­TION NOISY HU­MANS TRULY ARE A NUI­SANCE.

Dol­phins are known for their vo­cal chit­ter­ing, a lan­guage they use to com­mu­ni­cate un­der wa­ter. This lan­guage has been stud­ied for years by wildlife bi­ol­o­gists, who have proved that its as com­plex as our own spo­ken lan­guages. How­ever, dol­phins are now be­ing forced to sim­plify their calls due to a va­ri­ety of noises from hu­man ac­tiv­ity, ac­cord­ing to new re­search from the Univer­sity of Mary­land Cen­ter for En­vi­ron­men­tal Sci­ence. And it’s not just dol­phins — noise pol­lu­tion is af­fect­ing many un­der­wa­ter crea­tures that em­ploy vo­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Ac­cord­ing to the study, the change in dol­phin lan­guage is sim­i­lar to us shout­ing sim­ple sen­tences or sin­gle words over a mighty din in a noisy bar or party. Sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of lan­guage isn’t the only detri­men­tal ef­fect of noise pol­lu­tion; pre­vi­ous stud­ies have shown that sonar test­ing force whales to beach or suf­fer from de­com­pres­sion sick­ness when ris­ing to the sur­face too quickly.

MUL­TI­TASK­ING CAN IM­PACT MEM­ORY AND AT­TEN­TION SPAN ONE THING AT A TIME, PEO­PLE, ONE THING AT A TIME.

In to­day’s al­ways-switched on world, be­ing able to mul­ti­task is es­sen­tial. How­ever, new re­search sug­gests that might not be good for your brain, af­fect­ing your mem­ory and at­ten­tion. The ef­fects are even more pro­nounced if you hap­pen to be a “heavy” mul­ti­tasker. A paper en­ti­tled “Minds and brains of me­dia mul­ti­taskers: Cur­rent find­ings and fu­ture di­rec­tions” states that while heavy mul­ti­taskers might get more done in a short pe­riod of time, they “ex­hibit poorer per­for­mance in a num­ber of cog­ni­tive do­mains” as com­pared to those who jug­gle only a cou­ple of things at a time. The au­thors of the paper ex­plain that the low per­for­mance could be due to at­ten­tion lapses that oc­cur when there aren’t too many things to con­cen­trate on – mean­ing mul­ti­task­ing could be ex­act­ing a “men­tal penalty” which is po­ten­tially detri­men­tal.

THIS DE­SIGN IS ABLE TO POWER A SMALL CITY NOT JUST WHEN SO­LAR AND WIND POWER IS DI­RECTLY AVAIL­ABLE, BUT ALSO ON CLOUDY OR STILL DAYS — MEAN­ING AROUND THE CLOCK.

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