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Laura Sanders

Laura Sanders

1 year ago

Xenobots, tiny living machines, can duplicate themselves.

Strange and complex behavior of frog cell blobs


A xenobot “parent,” shaped like a hungry Pac-Man (shown in red false color), created an “offspring” xenobot (green sphere) by gathering loose frog cells in its opening.

Tiny “living machines” made of frog cells can make copies of themselves. This newly discovered renewal mechanism may help create self-renewing biological machines.

According to Kirstin Petersen, an electrical and computer engineer at Cornell University who studies groups of robots, “this is an extremely exciting breakthrough.” She says self-replicating robots are a big step toward human-free systems.

Researchers described the behavior of xenobots earlier this year (SN: 3/31/21). Small clumps of skin stem cells from frog embryos knitted themselves into small spheres and started moving. Cilia, or cellular extensions, powered the xenobots around their lab dishes.

The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Dec. 7. The xenobots can gather loose frog cells into spheres, which then form xenobots.
The researchers call this type of movement-induced reproduction kinematic self-replication. The study's coauthor, Douglas Blackiston of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, and Harvard University, says this is typical. For example, sexual reproduction requires parental sperm and egg cells. Sometimes cells split or budded off from a parent.

“This is unique,” Blackiston says. These xenobots “find loose parts in the environment and cobble them together.” This second generation of xenobots can move like their parents, Blackiston says.
The researchers discovered that spheroid xenobots could only produce one more generation before dying out. The original xenobots' shape was predicted by an artificial intelligence program, allowing for four generations of replication.

A C shape, like an openmouthed Pac-Man, was predicted to be a more efficient progenitor. When improved xenobots were let loose in a dish, they began scooping up loose cells into their gaping “mouths,” forming more sphere-shaped bots (see image below). As many as 50 cells clumped together in the opening of a parent to form a mobile offspring. A xenobot is made up of 4,000–6,000 frog cells.

Petersen likes the Xenobots' small size. “The fact that they were able to do this at such a small scale just makes it even better,” she says. Miniature xenobots could sculpt tissues for implantation or deliver therapeutics inside the body.

Beyond the xenobots' potential jobs, the research advances an important science, says study coauthor and Tufts developmental biologist Michael Levin. The science of anticipating and controlling the outcomes of complex systems, he says.

“No one could have predicted this,” Levin says. “They regularly surprise us.” Researchers can use xenobots to test the unexpected. “This is about advancing the science of being less surprised,” Levin says.

More on Science

Katherine Kornei

Katherine Kornei

1 year ago

The InSight lander from NASA has recorded the greatest tremor ever felt on Mars.

The magnitude 5 earthquake was responsible for the discharge of energy that was 10 times greater than the previous record holder.

Any Martians who happen to be reading this should quickly learn how to duck and cover.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, reported that on May 4, the planet Mars was shaken by an earthquake of around magnitude 5, making it the greatest Marsquake ever detected to this point. The shaking persisted for more than six hours and unleashed more than ten times as much energy as the earthquake that had previously held the record for strongest.

The event was captured on record by the InSight lander, which is operated by the United States Space Agency and has been researching the innards of Mars ever since it touched down on the planet in 2018 (SN: 11/26/18). The epicenter of the earthquake was probably located in the vicinity of Cerberus Fossae, which is located more than 1,000 kilometers away from the lander.

The surface of Cerberus Fossae is notorious for being broken up and experiencing periodic rockfalls. According to geophysicist Philippe Lognonné, who is the lead investigator of the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, the seismometer that is onboard the InSight lander, it is reasonable to assume that the ground is moving in that area. "This is an old crater from a volcanic eruption."

Marsquakes, which are similar to earthquakes in that they give information about the interior structure of our planet, can be utilized to investigate what lies beneath the surface of Mars (SN: 7/22/21). And according to Lognonné, who works at the Institut de Physique du Globe in Paris, there is a great deal that can be gleaned from analyzing this massive earthquake. Because the quality of the signal is so high, we will be able to focus on the specifics.

Jack Burns

Jack Burns

1 year ago

Here's what to expect from NASA Artemis 1 and why it's significant.

NASA's Artemis 1 mission will help return people to the Moon after a half-century break. The mission is a shakedown cruise for NASA's Space Launch System and Orion Crew Capsule.

The spaceship will visit the Moon, deploy satellites, and enter orbit. NASA wants to practice operating the spacecraft, test the conditions people will face on the Moon, and ensure a safe return to Earth.

We asked Jack Burns, a space scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder and former member of NASA's Presidential Transition Team, to describe the mission, explain what the Artemis program promises for space exploration, and reflect on how the space program has changed in the half-century since humans last set foot on the moon.

What distinguishes Artemis 1 from other rockets?

Artemis 1 is the Space Launch System's first launch. NASA calls this a "heavy-lift" vehicle. It will be more powerful than Apollo's Saturn V, which transported people to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s.

It's a new sort of rocket system with two strap-on solid rocket boosters from the space shuttle. It's a mix of the shuttle and Saturn V.

The Orion Crew Capsule will be tested extensively. It'll spend a month in the high-radiation Moon environment. It will also test the heat shield, which protects the capsule and its occupants at 25,000 mph. The heat shield must work well because this is the fastest capsule descent since Apollo.

This mission will also carry miniature Moon-orbiting satellites. These will undertake vital precursor science, including as examining further into permanently shadowed craters where scientists suspect there is water and measuring the radiation environment to see long-term human consequences.

Diagram depicting earth, moon, and spacecraft travel route

Artemis 1 will launch, fly to the Moon, place satellites, orbit it, return to Earth, and splash down in the ocean. NASA.

What's Artemis's goal? What launches are next?

The mission is a first step toward Artemis 3, which will lead to the first human Moon missions since 1972. Artemis 1 is unmanned.

Artemis 2 will have astronauts a few years later. Like Apollo 8, it will be an orbital mission that circles the Moon and returns. The astronauts will orbit the Moon longer and test everything with a crew.

Eventually, Artemis 3 will meet with the SpaceX Starship on the Moon's surface and transfer people. Orion will stay in orbit while the lunar Starship lands astronauts. They'll go to the Moon's south pole to investigate the water ice there.

Artemis is reminiscent of Apollo. What's changed in 50 years?

Kennedy wanted to beat the Soviets to the Moon with Apollo. The administration didn't care much about space flight or the Moon, but the goal would place America first in space and technology.

You live and die by the sword if you do that. When the U.S. reached the Moon, it was over. Russia lost. We planted flags and did science experiments. Richard Nixon canceled the program after Apollo 11 because the political goals were attained.

Large rocket with two boosters between two gates

NASA's new Space Launch System is brought to a launchpad. NASA

50 years later... It's quite different. We're not trying to beat the Russians, Chinese, or anyone else, but to begin sustainable space exploration.

Artemis has many goals. It includes harnessing in-situ resources like water ice and lunar soil to make food, fuel, and building materials.

SpaceX is part of this first journey to the Moon's surface, therefore the initiative is also helping to develop a lunar and space economy. NASA doesn't own the Starship but is buying seats for astronauts. SpaceX will employ Starship to transport cargo, private astronauts, and foreign astronauts.

Fifty years of technology advancement has made getting to the Moon cheaper and more practical, and computer technology allows for more advanced tests. 50 years of technological progress have changed everything. Anyone with enough money can send a spacecraft to the Moon, but not humans.

Commercial Lunar Payload Services engages commercial companies to develop uncrewed Moon landers. We're sending a radio telescope to the Moon in January. Even 10 years ago, that was impossible.

Since humans last visited the Moon 50 years ago, technology has improved greatly.

What other changes does Artemis have in store?

The government says Artemis 3 will have at least one woman and likely a person of color. 

I'm looking forward to seeing more diversity so young kids can say, "Hey, there's an astronaut that looks like me. I can do this. I can be part of the space program.

Nojus Tumenas

Nojus Tumenas

1 year ago

NASA: Strange Betelgeuse Explosion Just Took Place

Orion's red supergiant Betelgeuse erupted. This is astronomers' most magnificent occurrence.

Betelgeuse, a supergiant star in Orion, garnered attention in 2019 for its peculiar appearance. It continued to dim in 2020.

The star was previously thought to explode as a supernova. Studying the event has revealed what happened to Betelgeuse since it happened.

Astronomers saw that the star released a large amount of material, causing it to lose a section of its surface.

They have never seen anything like this and are unsure what caused the star to release so much material.

According to Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics astrophysicist Andrea Dupre, astronomers' data reveals an unexplained mystery.

They say it's a new technique to examine star evolution. The James Webb telescope revealed the star's surface features.

Corona flares are stellar mass ejections. These eruptions change the Sun's outer atmosphere.

This could affect power grids and satellite communications if it hits Earth.

Betelgeuse's flare ejected four times more material than the Sun's corona flare.

Astronomers have monitored star rhythms for 50 years. They've seen its dimming and brightening cycle start, stop, and repeat.

Monitoring Betelgeuse's pulse revealed the eruption's power.

Dupre believes the star's convection cells are still amplifying the blast's effects, comparing it to an imbalanced washing machine tub.

The star's outer layer has returned to normal, Hubble data shows. The photosphere slowly rebuilds its springy surface.

Dupre noted the star's unusual behavior. For instance, it’s causing its interior to bounce.

This suggests that the mass ejections that caused the star's surface to lose mass were two separate processes.

Researchers hope to better understand star mass ejection with the James Webb Space Telescope.

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Sea Launch

Sea Launch

1 year ago

A guide to NFT pre-sales and whitelists

Before we dig through NFT whitelists and pre-sales, if you know absolutely nothing about NFTs, check our NFT Glossary.

What are pre-sales and whitelists on NFTs?

An NFT pre-sale, as the name implies, allows community members or early supporters of an NFT project to mint before the public, usually via a whitelist or mint pass.

Coin collectors can use mint passes to claim NFTs during the public sale. Because the mint pass is executed by “burning” an NFT into a specific crypto wallet, the collector is not concerned about gas price spikes.

A whitelist is used to approve a crypto wallet address for an NFT pre-sale. In a similar way to an early access list, it guarantees a certain number of crypto wallets can mint one (or more) NFT.

New NFT projects can do a pre-sale without a whitelist, but whitelists are good practice to avoid gas wars and a fair shot at minting an NFT before launching in competitive NFT marketplaces like Opensea, Magic Eden, or CNFT.

Should NFT projects do pre-sales or whitelists? 👇

The reasons to do pre-sales or a whitelist for NFT creators:

Time the market and gain traction.

Pre-sale or whitelists can help NFT projects gauge interest early on.

Whitelist spots filling up quickly is usually a sign of a successful launch, though it does not guarantee NFT longevity (more on that later). Also, full whitelists create FOMO and momentum for the public sale among non-whitelisted NFT collectors.

If whitelist signups are low or slow, projects may need to work on their vision, community, or product. Or the market is in a bear cycle. In either case, it aids NFT projects in market timing.

Reward the early NFT Community members.

Pre-sale and whitelists can help NFT creators reward early supporters.

First, by splitting the minting process into two phases, early adopters get a chance to mint one or more NFTs from their collection at a discounted or even free price.

Did you know that BAYC started at 0.08 eth each? A serum that allowed you to mint a Mutant Ape has become as valuable as the original BAYC.

(2) Whitelists encourage early supporters to help build a project's community in exchange for a slot or status. If you invite 10 people to the NFT Discord community, you get a better ranking or even a whitelist spot.

Pre-sale and whitelisting have become popular ways for new projects to grow their communities and secure future buyers.

Prevent gas wars.

Most new NFTs are created on the Ethereum blockchain, which has the highest transaction fees (also known as gas) (Solana, Cardano, Polygon, Binance Smart Chain, etc).

An NFT public sale is a gas war when a large number of NFT collectors (or bots) try to mint an NFT at the same time.

Competing collectors are willing to pay higher gas fees to prioritize their transaction and out-price others when upcoming NFT projects are hyped and very popular.

Pre-sales and whitelisting prevent gas wars by breaking the minting process into smaller batches of members or season launches.

The reasons to do pre-sales or a whitelists for NFT collectors:

How do I get on an NFT whitelist?

  1. Popular NFT collections act as a launchpad for other new or hyped NFT collections.

Example: Interfaces NFTs gives out 100 whitelist spots to Deadfellaz NFTs holders. Both NFT projects win. Interfaces benefit from Deadfellaz's success and brand equity.

In this case, to get whitelisted NFT collectors need to hold that specific NFT that is acting like a launchpad.

  1. A NFT studio or collection that launches a new NFT project and rewards previous NFT holders with whitelist spots or pre-sale access.

The whitelist requires previous NFT holders or community members.

NFT Alpha Groups are closed, small, tight-knit Discord servers where members share whitelist spots or giveaways from upcoming NFTs.

The benefit of being in an alpha group is getting information about new NFTs first and getting in on pre-sale/whitelist before everyone else.

There are some entry barriers to alpha groups, but if you're active in the NFT community, you'll eventually bump into, be invited to, or form one.

  1. A whitelist spot is awarded to members of an NFT community who are the most active and engaged.

This participation reward is the most democratic. To get a chance, collectors must work hard and play to their strengths.

Whitelisting participation examples:

  • Raffle, games and contest: NFT Community raffles, games, and contests. To get a whitelist spot, invite 10 people to X NFT Discord community.
  • Fan art: To reward those who add value and grow the community by whitelisting the best fan art and/or artists is only natural.
  • Giveaways: Lucky number crypto wallet giveaways promoted by an NFT community. To grow their communities and for lucky collectors, NFT projects often offer free NFT.
  • Activate your voice in the NFT Discord Community. Use voice channels to get NFT teams' attention and possibly get whitelisted.

The advantage of whitelists or NFT pre-sales.

Chainalysis's NFT stats quote is the best answer:

“Whitelisting isn’t just some nominal reward — it translates to dramatically better investing results. OpenSea data shows that users who make the whitelist and later sell their newly-minted NFT gain a profit 75.7% of the time, versus just 20.8% for users who do so without being whitelisted. Not only that, but the data suggests it’s nearly impossible to achieve outsized returns on minting purchases without being whitelisted.” Full report here.

Sure, it's not all about cash. However, any NFT collector should feel secure in their investment by owning a piece of a valuable and thriving NFT project. These stats help collectors understand that getting in early on an NFT project (via whitelist or pre-sale) will yield a better and larger return.

The downsides of pre-sales & whitelists for NFT creators.

Pre-sales and whitelist can cause issues for NFT creators and collectors.

NFT flippers

NFT collectors who only want to profit from early minting (pre-sale) or low mint cost (via whitelist). To sell the NFT in a secondary market like Opensea or Solanart, flippers go after the discounted price.

For example, a 1000 Solana NFT collection allows 100 people to mint 1 Solana NFT at 0.25 SOL. The public sale price for the remaining 900 NFTs is 1 SOL. If an NFT collector sells their discounted NFT for 0.5 SOL, the secondary market floor price is below the public mint.

This may deter potential NFT collectors. Furthermore, without a cap in the pre-sale minting phase, flippers can get as many NFTs as possible to sell for a profit, dumping them in secondary markets and driving down the floor price.

Hijacking NFT sites, communities, and pre-sales phase

People try to scam the NFT team and their community by creating oddly similar but fake websites, whitelist links, or NFT's Discord channel.

Established and new NFT projects must be vigilant to always make sure their communities know which are the official links, how a whitelist or pre-sale rules and how the team will contact (or not) community members.

Another way to avoid the scams around the pre-sale phase, NFT projects opt to create a separate mint contract for the whitelisted crypto wallets and then another for the public sale phase.

Scam NFT projects

We've seen a lot of mid-mint or post-launch rug pulls, indicating that some bad NFT projects are trying to scam NFT communities and marketplaces for quick profit. What happened to Magic Eden's launchpad recently will help you understand the scam.

We discussed the benefits and drawbacks of NFT pre-sales and whitelists for both projects and collectors. 

Finally, some practical tools and tips for finding new NFTs 👇

Tools & resources to find new NFT on pre-sale or to get on a whitelist:

In order to never miss an update, important pre-sale dates, or a giveaway, create a Tweetdeck or Tweeten Twitter dashboard with hyped NFT project pages, hashtags ( #NFTGiveaways , #NFTCommunity), or big NFT influencers.

Search for upcoming NFT launches that have been vetted by the marketplace and try to get whitelisted before the public launch.

Save-timing discovery platforms like sealaunch.xyz for NFT pre-sales and upcoming launches. How can we help 100x NFT collectors get projects? A project's official social media links, description, pre-sale or public sale dates, price and supply. We're also working with Dune on NFT data analysis to help NFT collectors make better decisions.

Don't invest what you can't afford to lose because a) the project may fail or become rugged. Find NFTs projects that you want to be a part of and support.

Read original post here

Hasan AboulHasan

Hasan AboulHasan

1 year ago

High attachment products can help you earn money automatically.

Affiliate marketing is a popular online moneymaker. You promote others' products and get commissions. Affiliate marketing requires constant product promotion.

Affiliate marketing can be profitable even without much promotion. Yes, this is Autopilot Money.

Screenshot of my profits following this strategy (Just From One Product)

How to Pick an Affiliate Program to Generate Income Autonomously

Autopilot moneymaking requires a recurring affiliate marketing program.

Finding the best product and testing it takes a lot of time and effort.

Here are three ways to choose the best service or product to promote:

Find a good attachment-rate product or service.

When choosing a product, ask if you can easily switch to another service. Attachment rate is how much people like a product.

Higher attachment rates mean better Autopilot products.

Consider promoting GetResponse. It's a 33% recurring commission email marketing tool. This means you get 33% of the customer's plan as long as he pays.

GetResponse has a high attachment rate because it's hard to leave and start over with another tool.

2. Pick a good or service with a lot of affiliate assets.

Check if a program has affiliate assets or creatives before joining.

Images and banners to promote the product in your business.

They save time; I look for promotional creatives. Creatives or affiliate assets are website banners or images. This reduces design time.

3. Select a service or item that consumers already adore.

New products are hard to sell. Choosing a trusted company's popular product or service is helpful.

As a beginner, let people buy a product they already love.

Online entrepreneurs and digital marketers love Systeme.io. It offers tools for creating pages, email marketing, funnels, and more. This product guarantees a high ROI.

Make the product known!

Affiliate marketers struggle to get traffic. Using affiliate marketing to make money is easier than you think if you have a solid marketing strategy.

Your plan should include:

1- Publish affiliate-related blog posts and SEO-optimize them

2- Sending new visitors product-related emails

3- Create a product resource page.

4-Review products

5-Make YouTube videos with links in the description.

6- Answering FAQs about your products and services on your blog and Quora.

7- Create an eCourse on how to use this product.

8- Adding Affiliate Banners to Your Website.

With these tips, you can promote your products and make money on autopilot.

Alexander Nguyen

Alexander Nguyen

1 year ago

A Comparison of Amazon, Microsoft, and Google's Compensation

Learn or earn

In 2020, I started software engineering. My base wage has progressed as follows:

Amazon (2020): $112,000

Microsoft (2021): $123,000

Google (2022): $169,000

I didn't major in math, but those jumps appear more than a 7% wage increase. Here's a deeper look at the three.

The Three Categories of Compensation

Most software engineering compensation packages at IT organizations follow this format.

Minimum Salary

Base salary is pre-tax income. Most organizations give a base pay. This is paid biweekly, twice monthly, or monthly.

Recruiting Bonus

Sign-On incentives are one-time rewards to new hires. Companies need an incentive to switch. If you leave early, you must pay back the whole cost or a pro-rated amount.

Equity

Equity is complex and requires its own post. A company will promise to give you a certain amount of company stock but when you get it depends on your offer. 25% per year for 4 years, then it's gone.

If a company gives you $100,000 and distributes 25% every year for 4 years, expect $25,000 worth of company stock in your stock brokerage on your 1 year work anniversary.

Performance Bonus

Tech offers may include yearly performance bonuses. Depends on performance and funding. I've only seen 0-20%.

Engineers' overall compensation usually includes:

Base Salary + Sign-On + (Total Equity)/4 + Average Performance Bonus

Amazon: (TC: 150k)

Photo by ANIRUDH on Unsplash

Base Pay System

Amazon pays Seattle employees monthly on the first work day. I'd rather have my money sooner than later, even if it saves processing and pay statements.

The company upped its base pay cap from $160,000 to $350,000 to compete with other tech companies.

Performance Bonus

Amazon has no performance bonus, so you can work as little or as much as you like and get paid the same. Amazon is savvy to avoid promising benefits it can't deliver.

Sign-On Bonus

Amazon gives two two-year sign-up bonuses. First-year workers could receive $20,000 and second-year workers $15,000. It's probably to make up for the company's strange equity structure.

If you leave during the first year, you'll owe the entire money and a prorated amount for the second year bonus.

Equity

Most organizations prefer a 25%, 25%, 25%, 25% equity structure. Amazon takes a different approach with end-heavy equity:

  • the first year, 5%

  • 15% after one year.

  • 20% then every six months

We thought it was constructed this way to keep staff longer.

Microsoft (TC: 185k)

Photo by Louis-Philippe Poitras on Unsplash

Base Pay System

Microsoft paid biweekly.

Gainful Performance

My offer letter suggested a 0%-20% performance bonus. Everyone will be satisfied with a 10% raise at year's end.

But misleading press where the budget for the bonus is doubled can upset some employees because they won't earn double their expected bonus. Still barely 10% for 2022 average.

Sign-On Bonus

Microsoft's sign-on bonus is a one-time payout. The contract can require 2-year employment. You must negotiate 1 year. It's pro-rated, so that's fair.

Equity

Microsoft is one of those companies that has standard 25% equity structure. Except if you’re a new graduate.

In that case it’ll be

  • 25% six months later

  • 25% each year following that

New grads will acquire equity in 3.5 years, not 4. I'm guessing it's to keep new grads around longer.

Google (TC: 300k)

Photo by Rubaitul Azad on Unsplash

Base Pay Structure

Google pays biweekly.

Performance Bonus

Google's offer letter specifies a 15% bonus. It's wonderful there's no cap, but I might still get 0%. A little more than Microsoft’s 10% and a lot more than Amazon’s 0%.

Sign-On Bonus

Google gave a 1-year sign-up incentive. If the contract is only 1 year, I can move without any extra obligations.

Not as fantastic as Amazon's sign-up bonuses, but the remainder of the package might compensate.

Equity

We covered Amazon's tail-heavy compensation structure, so Google's front-heavy equity structure may surprise you.

Annual structure breakdown

  • 33% Year 1

  • 33% Year 2

  • 22% Year 3

  • 12% Year 4

The goal is to get them to Google and keep them there.

Final Thoughts

This post hopefully helped you understand the 3 firms' compensation arrangements.

There's always more to discuss, such as refreshers, 401k benefits, and business discounts, but I hope this shows a distinction between these 3 firms.