Meet Sofia, the Humanoid Robot That Looks, Thinks and Talks Like a Human

The latest robot from Hanson Robotics took the stage at the Web Summit in Lisbon, displaying simple emotions, human-like facial expressions and bad jokes


Morons Shine Laser at News Helicopter, Get Exactly What’s Coming to Them

Not great, guys. By Andrew Moseman

America has no shortage of idiots who pass the time by shining lasers at planes and helicopters. Thankfully, today’s awesome camera technology means that our nation’s worst and dimmest are caught pretty easily.

Take this recent clip at LiveLeak. As it opens you can see a blue light at the bottom, clearly people shining a laser at the news chopper. The thing about shining a bright laser at somebody, though, is that it gives away your position. The news chopper guys call it in, and pretty soon the cops come for these geniuses.

Don’t be these guys. If you’re not swayed by the very real danger of blinding pilots, then take a moment to consider the people who decided to point a laser at a police helicopter. Yeah. They didn’t get away.

Source: LiveLeak via Reddit

Here’s how much marijuana it would take to kill you

Melia Robinson,Business Insider

Mouse Brain Visualized in Stunning 3D Detail

One small step for man, one giant leap for mousekind.

Scientists have painstakingly mapped the connections in a tiny segment of the mouse’s brain. The stunningly intricate picture provides an unprecedented level of detail of an organ smaller than a pebble and lighter than the average cotton ball.

“At the end of the day, we want to understand the human brain. Understanding the mouse brain is an important step toward that goal,” Lydia Ng, senior director of technology at the nonprofit Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, told Live Science in an email.

The resulting 3D structure, called the Mouse Common Coordinate Framework, is the equivalent of leveling up from simple paper maps to a Google Maps or GPS for the mouse brain, Ng said.

“Maps of the brain have always been created in two dimensions, but even a stack of flat maps sitting on top of each other does not necessarily align with the complex three-dimensional nature of the brain,” neuroscientist Christof Koch, the president and chief scientific officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, said in a statement. [See Images of the Mouse Brain Up Close]

Detailed picture

The new map, however, doesn’t just track the firing between different brain cells; it also allows researchers to visualize how different genes are expressed in teensy portions of the brain as well as the physical connections between anatomical structures in the brain.

To create this detailed map, researchers carefully measured and examined 1,675 mouse brains and then created a 3D image of an “average mouse brain.” From there, the scientists used fluorescently labeled brain cells from the mouse brain as clues to help draw the boundaries between different brain regions. Ultra-high-resolution images of individual brain cells were then translated into digital images.

The ultimate goal for this project, as well as for the the National Institutes of Health’s larger BRAIN Initiative, which helped fund the current project, is to create a detailed map of all the connections in the human brain. Though the mouse brain is an important first step, there are many more to go. The human brain weighs about 3.3 pounds (1.5 kilograms), whereas the mouse brain weighs just 0.02 ounces (0.5 grams) — or about the weight of a paper clip. What’s more, the mouse brain contains just 70 million neurons, whereas the human brain contains a whopping 86 billion neurons, according to a study published in 2012 in the journal Nature.

Any researcher interested in using the framework or looking at the data can do so at brain-map.org, Ng said.

Original article on Live Science.


Heart attacks are linked to patients’ activity level, emotional state

 (iStock)

A large global study of more than 12,000 first-time heart-attack patients found a strong link between the attack and what the patients were doing and feeling in the hour preceding the event.

The study, published in the journal Circulation, found that being angry or emotionally upset more than doubled the risk of suffering a heart attack. Performing heavy physical activity in a highly emotional state more than tripled the risk. The researchers compared people’s behavior in the 60 minutes before the onset of heart-attack symptoms with the same one-hour period 24 hours earlier.

The results, based on an analysis of heart-attack patients in 52 countries, were consistent regardless of other, traditional cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity, high blood pressure and diet.

Intense physical activity and negative emotions can increase heart rate and blood pressure, which reduces the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart, the researchers said. This can cause arterial plaque to rupture and trigger an acute myocardial infarction, or heart attack, they said.

Previous studies have found links between heart-attack risk and anger, stress, physical activity—even extreme happiness. But these mostly involved a small number of subjects from Western countries, the researchers said.

Researchers at the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, analyzed data from patients who were examined and interviewed at 262 health centers around the world as part of a larger study. The patients, about three-quarters of whom were men, were 58 years old, on average.

In the hour before the first symptoms, 13.6 percent were engaged in heavy physical exertion, compared with 9.1 percent on the previous day. Feelings of anger or being emotionally upset were reported by 14.4 percent and 9.9 percent during the same periods, respectively. The majority of heart attacks occurred between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.


Business and Vacation Property Rentals

14 States That May Never Legalize Marijuana

Legal cannabis sales are growing rapidly, but these states are unlikely to be seeing green anytime soon, if ever.

Images
IMAGE SOURCE: CANNABIS CULTURE VIA FLICKR.

Marijuana’s expansion over the past two decades has been nothing short of phenomenal.

In the mid-1990s, Gallup’s national poll showed that only a quarter of respondents favored legalizing cannabis nationwide, and not a single state had approved the drug for medical or recreational use. Today, 25 states have legalized the use of medical marijuana, and an additional four — Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and Alaska — along with Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational marijuana.

Gallup’s 2015 poll shows that 58% of the American public now supports the nationwide legalization of marijuana. A separate CBS News poll the same year also found that 84% of the American public is in favor of legalizing cannabis for medical purposes.

Marijuana sales are growing like a weed

It’s not just public support for marijuana that’s budding — sales are growing like a weed, too. According to a recently released report from investment firm Cowen & Co., the legal marijuana market is currently worth about $6 billion, with 8 million daily users and 32 million adults who’ve admitted to using cannabis before. By 2026, Cowen & Co. is predicting legal marijuana sales could grow to $50 billion, which works out to a compound annual growth rate of almost 24% over the next decade.

Marijuana’s growth has businesses and investors seeing green, but it’s also been a major boon to select states and local governments, with Colorado being the best example.

Colorado legalized medical marijuana in 2000, with voters choosing to allow for the sale of recreational marijuana in 2012. Over the trailing 12-month period in Colorado, more than $1 billion in legal marijuana has been sold. Furthermore, based on legal cannabis sales figures from 2015, Colorado reaped approximately $135 million in tax revenue and licensing fees that are being used to fund education, law enforcement, and drug abuse programs in the state. It’s figures like these that have residents and legislatures in states such as California excited about the upcoming elections.

Speaking of elections, residents in nine states will be going to the polls next month to decide whether or not cannabis will become legal either recreationally or medically in their state.

Like I said, marijuana’s growth has been phenomenal.

Businessman Thumbs Down Ceo Getty
IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

These 14 states may never legalize marijuana

Yet, in spite of this rapid growth, some states look unlikely to participate. Of the 25 remaining states that don’t have a medical marijuana law on their books, 14 may never wind up legalizing marijuana. These states are:

  1. Alabama
  2. Georgia
  3. Indiana
  4. Iowa
  5. Kentucky
  6. Kansas
  7. Louisiana
  8. North Carolina
  9. South Carolina
  10. Tennessee
  11. Texas
  12. Virginia
  13. West Virginia
  14. Wisconsin

Scientists hope Japanese probe can answer questions about planet Venus

By Kenneth Chang

Venus is not a placid paradise — that much we know. In addition to searing surface temperatures, wind in the upper atmosphere howls as fast as 250 mph, carrying clouds around the planet once every four days.

Yet Venus itself spins very slowly: one rotation every 243 Earth days — in the wrong direction, no less, opposite to almost every other body in the solar system.

On the whole, the atmosphere on Earth rotates about the same speed as the planet. So why does the air on slow-spinning Venus speed around so much faster than the planet itself?

The Japanese space probe Akatsuki, now in orbit around Venus, seeks to solve the mystery of so-called super-rotation.

That is not just an idle trivia question for planetary scientists. Computer models of our own weather fail when applied to Venus, and knowledge of the planet’s workings could better our understanding of Earth’s.

‘‘We don’t know what is the missing point in meteorology,’’ said Masato Nakamura, Akatsuki’s project manager.

In recent years, Venus has been a backwater of planetary exploration, even though it is much closer in size to Earth than is Mars. For a long time, scientists imagined there could be a habitable tropical paradise beneath Venus’ thick clouds.

In the late 1950s, intense thermal emissions, measured by a radio telescope on Earth, told a different story. Venus broils.

The average surface temperature is more than 850 degrees — an extreme demonstration of the heat-trapping prowess of carbon dioxide, the primary constituent of the Venusian atmosphere. Clouds of sulfuric acid make it an even less appealing place to visit.

In the 1990s, NASA’s Magellan spacecraft precisely mapped the topography of Venus through radar. Except for a few flybys by spacecraft on the way to somewhere else, NASA has not returned to Venus, although the agency is considering two modest proposals.

A European mission, Venus Express, studied the planet from 2006 to 2014, discovering among other things a frigid layer of atmosphere, minus 280 degrees Fahrenheit at an altitude of 75 miles, sandwiched between two warmer layers.

But now Akatsuki, which entered orbit last December, has begun its work. Takehiko Satoh, one of the mission scientists, said that one of ‘‘the most exciting, most surprising results’’ so far came almost immediately after the spacecraft arrived.

The camera that captures long-wavelength infrared light from the cloud tops discovered an arc-shaped white streak that stretched 6,000 miles from nearly the south pole to nearly the north pole.

Curiously, this giant atmospheric feature does not move with the atmosphere. ‘‘It seems to be fixed to the ground,” Satoh said.

The arc sits above Aphrodite Terra, a highland region about the size of Africa that rises up nearly 3 miles from the surface. Scientists working on data from the Venus Express reported a similar finding in July.The small spacecraft — the main body is a box a bit bigger than a refrigerator — carries five cameras, collecting light at different wavelengths to monitor the Venusian atmosphere at different altitudes.

In another experiment, scientists will observe how the radio signal from the spacecraft to Earth is distorted when it passes through the atmosphere. That will reveal temperature, abundance of sulfuric acid vapor and other properties. By observing the atmosphere at different altitudes, they can detect wavelike features that rise and fall, like blobs in a lava lamp.That Akatsuki, which means ‘‘dawn’’ in Japanese, is there at all is the result of ingenuity and perseverance.

It launched in May 2010 and arrived at Venus seven months later. But when its main engine failed to fire properly, it sailed right past the planet. ‘‘It was a very sad moment,’’ Satoh said.

Within a day, Satoh said, calculations indicated that in six years, Akatsuki, in orbit around the sun instead of Venus, could meet up with Venus again. But it was not clear the spacecraft still would be able to slow down and enter orbit.

An investigation found that a valve in the engine had leaked, leading to the formation of salts that fused it shut. The engine, as it fired, had overheated beyond repair.

Akatsuki still had the maneuvering thrusters that were to be used after it entered orbit. They were not as powerful as the broken engine, but they could apply enough force to slow it down enough so that Venus’ gravity could capture it.The Akatsuki’s orbit is different from the one originally envisioned. Instead of being synchronized to the spinning atmosphere, which would have allowed scientists to better track small changes, the spacecraft now loops around Venus in a large elliptical orbit.

That provides different benefits. Instead of intently staring at one spot, seeing the smallest changes, scientists are now able to see what happens on a global scale, although they will miss some of the details.

Akatsuki is to continue operating until at least April 2018, depending on how much fuel it has left. ‘‘We know at least we have one kilogram of fuel,’’ said Nakamura, likening the uncertainty to an imprecise fuel gauge in a car.

If it turns out that Akatsuki has more, the spacecraft could continue operating for perhaps up to six years, he said.

 


https://stacksocial.com?aid=a-t05y2r3p

More than 300 reindeer killed by lightning in Norway

 

China to attempt a space first: Landing on the far side of the Moon


The Chang’e-3 probe carried the Yutu rover to the lunar surface in 2013.
CNS

China plans to become the first nation to land a probe on the far side of the Moon, according toXinhua News Agency, the country’s official press organization.

Launching possibly as early as 2018, the mission represents the next step in China’s plans to explore the Moon with robotic probes and, within the next decade, to return a couple of kilograms of lunar material to Earth. The proposed Chang’e-4 probe follows the successful soft landing of the Chang’e-3 probe on the near side of the Moon in December 2013.

Although the new probe was built as the engineering backup to the Chang’e-3 lander, Chinese officials said the structure could handle a larger payload. China plans to use the probe to study “geological conditions” on the far side of the moon. The Chang’e probes are named after the Chinese goddess of the Moon.China has also offered foreign countries the opportunity to participate in its lunar exploration programs. In contrast to NASA, Europe and Russia have both signaled their interest in further studying the Moon and likely landing humans there, before moving on to Mars. Many countries and businesses see potential value in ice at the lunar poles and rare minerals in the lunar soil. The US Congress recently passed a law to legalize the mining of these resources.

Humans have studied the far side of the Moon from above since 1959, when the Soviet Union’s Luna 3 spacecraft returned the first grainy images of its pockmarked surface. But no humans or robotic spacecraft have yet landed there.

Can You Pass a Drug Test While Using Marijuana?

drug testing on The Office

Dwight Schrute hands Michael Scott a clean urinalysis sample on The Office | NBC

In Season 2 of The Office, employee and Volunteer Sheriff’s Deputy Dwight Schrute finds half of a marijuana jointin the parking lot of the office building, and calls for immediate drug testing of the entire staff. Michael Scott, the manager, had been to an Alicia Keys concert two nights before and smoked what he was told were “clove cigarettes” with other concert-goers. When the drug tester shows up to the office, Michael tells Dwight he might have “gotten high accidentally by a girl with a lip ring,” and convinces Dwight to supply him with a sample of clean urine for the test.
What made for a humorous bit on a TV show is a valid concern for many employees across the United States, who can be subjected to random drug testing during the course of their work — especially during a pre-employment ritual for job applicants. Drug testing isn’t as common as it used to be, since research has shown the threat of peeing in a cup doesn’t really improve workplace safety or productivity. However, roughly half of employers still use the practice, with more considering renewed testing in light of relaxed marijuana laws.
As medical marijuana has become legal in many states, and recreational cannabis has been approved in four states and Washington, D.C., employers have started to consider new testing efforts to ensure their employees are showing up sober. The problem is that even if someone isn’t high, remnants of marijuana can still show up for a significant time period after smoking their last joint. While other drugs like alcohol, cocaine, and heroin disappear in your body’s system after a day or so, marijuana can linger for much longer. How long, exactly? Unfortunately, it depends on numerous personal factors.

Marijuana and drug testing: Will you pass?

Female hands rolling a joint

Unfortunately, urinalysis — the most common form of drug testing in most workplaces — does not detect THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana that actually creates the “high.” Instead, it detects nonactive metabolites from the drug, which tend to stay in the body for much longer. Those metabolites are filtered out by your body but are fat-soluble, which take longer to process than water-soluble components. That also means that factors like your weight, diet, and exercise habits can impact how long the remnants of the drug stay in your body, long after the high is gone. Like most drugs, how often you use cannabis products is also a variable.
Even among expert sources, those estimations vary. However, in Michael Scott’s case, it’s very likely that his own urine sample would have given away his crazy night with Alicia Keys and Lip-Ring Girl. Sources like NORML and the National Drug Court Institute report the following estimations:
  • Occasional users (Once per week or less): Stays in system for 1-5 days after the last use
  • Regular users (More than once per week): Stays in system for 1-3 weeks after last use
  • Heavy users (Multiple times per day, or regular use for a prolonged period of time): Can stay in system up to 4-6 weeks after last use
One study found that for some heavy users, marijuana use is detectable for up to 110 days — which is more than three months..  

Doctor holding a bottle of urine sample

If you’re taking a urine test, the lab technician is looking for a certain concentration of those metabolites. Typically, the threshold for a positive test — and likely a rough conversation with your boss — is 50 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) or more.
A few things to note: At that level, using the excuse of passive smoking (e.g. “My roommate smoked last night, but I didn’t,”) won’t cut it. Only extreme circumstances — like getting locked in a closet with several heavy pot users for hours at a time — would potentially cause enough exposure to register a positive urine sample. NORML notes that passive smoking could cause positive readings at 25 ng/ml or lower, but it still might not be a valid cause.
Even if you legally smoke marijuana, you could still be fired for a positive test result — no matter which state you live in. With that in mind, it’s your best bet to turn in a clean sample, if you’re given advance notice. Most sites caution you to steer clear of self-advertised “cleansing” products, as most of them aren’t proven to be effective and can be harmful to your health. If you have a few weeks to get clean, the best option is to drink plenty of water, eat lean and healthy foods, and perhaps drink natural diuretics like cranberry juice or coffee.marijuana overdose
NORML advises against using marijuana on the job, but if you need to take a test and used marijuana recently, the site recommends drinking as much water before the test as possible, to dilute the concentration of any marijuana-related metabolites. However, some lab techs will reject a sample if it’s too watery. Taking 50-100 milligrams of vitamin B-2 can help to color the sample so it doesn’t appear too diluted — though it’s not a foolproof solution.

Of course, the safest option is to abstain from marijuana use completely in the weeks leading up to a drug test, so you don’t need to have an uncomfortable conversation with your boss or potential HR manager. Even if you’re using marijuana within the confines of your state and local laws, a positive test result could spell trouble for your career.


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