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Sam Warain

Sam Warain

1 year ago

Sam Altman, CEO of Open AI, foresees the next trillion-dollar AI company

More on Science

Katherine Kornei

Katherine Kornei

2 years 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.

Jamie Ducharme

1 year ago

How monkeypox spreads (and doesn't spread)

Monkeypox was rare until recently. In 2005, a research called a cluster of six monkeypox cases in the Republic of Congo "the longest reported chain to date."

That's changed. This year, over 25,000 monkeypox cases have been reported in 83 countries, indicating widespread human-to-human transmission.

What spreads monkeypox? Monkeypox transmission research is ongoing; findings may change. But science says...

Most cases were formerly animal-related.

According to the WHO, monkeypox was first diagnosed in an infant in the DRC in 1970. After that, instances were infrequent and often tied to animals. In 2003, 47 Americans contracted rabies from pet prairie dogs.

In 2017, Nigeria saw a significant outbreak. NPR reported that doctors diagnosed young guys without animal exposure who had genital sores. Nigerian researchers highlighted the idea of sexual transmission in a 2019 study, but the theory didn't catch on. “People tend to cling on to tradition, and the idea is that monkeypox is transmitted from animals to humans,” explains research co-author Dr. Dimie Ogoina.

Most monkeypox cases are sex-related.

Human-to-human transmission of monkeypox occurs, and sexual activity plays a role.

Joseph Osmundson, a clinical assistant professor of biology at NYU, says most transmission occurs in queer and gay sexual networks through sexual or personal contact.

Monkeypox spreads by skin-to-skin contact, especially with its blister-like rash, explains Ogoina. Researchers are exploring whether people can be asymptomatically contagious, but they are infectious until their rash heals and fresh skin forms, according to the CDC.

A July research in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that of more than 500 monkeypox cases in 16 countries as of June, 95% were linked to sexual activity and 98% were among males who have sex with men. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus encouraged males to temporarily restrict their number of male partners in July.

Is monkeypox a sexually transmitted infection (STI)?

Skin-to-skin contact can spread monkeypox, not simply sexual activities. Dr. Roy Gulick, infectious disease chief at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, said monkeypox is not a "typical" STI. Monkeypox isn't a STI, claims the CDC.

Most cases in the current outbreak are tied to male sexual behavior, but Osmundson thinks the virus might also spread on sports teams, in spas, or in college dorms.

Can you get monkeypox from surfaces?

Monkeypox can be spread by touching infected clothing or bedding. According to a study, a U.K. health care worker caught monkeypox in 2018 after handling ill patient's bedding.

Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, believes "incidental" contact seldom distributes the virus. “You need enough virus exposure to get infected,” she says. It's conceivable after sharing a bed or towel with an infectious person, but less likely after touching a doorknob, she says.

Dr. Müge evik, a clinical lecturer in infectious diseases at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, says there is a "spectrum" of risk connected with monkeypox. "Every exposure isn't equal," she explains. "People must know where to be cautious. Reducing [sexual] partners may be more useful than cleaning coffee shop seats.

Is monkeypox airborne?

Exposure to an infectious person's respiratory fluids can cause monkeypox, but the WHO says it needs close, continuous face-to-face contact. CDC researchers are still examining how often this happens.

Under precise laboratory conditions, scientists have shown that monkeypox can spread via aerosols, or tiny airborne particles. But there's no clear evidence that this is happening in the real world, Rasmussen adds. “This is expanding predominantly in communities of males who have sex with men, which suggests skin-to-skin contact,” she explains. If airborne transmission were frequent, she argues, we'd find more occurrences in other demographics.

In the shadow of COVID-19, people are worried about aerosolized monkeypox. Rasmussen believes the epidemiology is different. Different viruses.

Can kids get monkeypox?

More than 80 youngsters have contracted the virus thus far, mainly through household transmission. CDC says pregnant women can spread the illness to their fetus.

Among the 1970s, monkeypox predominantly affected children, but by the 2010s, it was more common in adults, according to a February study. The study's authors say routine smallpox immunization (which protects against monkeypox) halted when smallpox was eradicated. Only toddlers were born after smallpox vaccination halted decades ago. More people are vulnerable now.

Schools and daycares could become monkeypox hotspots, according to pediatric instances. Ogoina adds this hasn't happened in Nigeria's outbreaks, which is encouraging. He says, "I'm not sure if we should worry." We must be careful and seek evidence.

Will Lockett

Will Lockett

1 year ago

The Unlocking Of The Ultimate Clean Energy

Terrestrial space-solar terminals could look like radio telescopes — Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash

The company seeking 24/7 ultra-powerful solar electricity.

We're rushing to adopt low-carbon energy to prevent a self-made doomsday. We're using solar, wind, and wave energy. These low-carbon sources aren't perfect. They consume large areas of land, causing habitat loss. They don't produce power reliably, necessitating large grid-level batteries, an environmental nightmare. We can and must do better than fossil fuels. Longi, one of the world's top solar panel producers, is creating a low-carbon energy source. Solar-powered spacecraft. But how does it work? Why is it so environmentally harmonious? And how can Longi unlock it?

Space-based solar makes sense. Satellites above Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) enjoy 24/7 daylight. Outer space has no atmosphere or ozone layer to block the Sun's high-energy UV radiation. Solar panels can create more energy in space than on Earth due to these two factors. Solar panels in orbit can create 40 times more power than those on Earth, according to estimates.

How can we utilize this immense power? Launch a geostationary satellite with solar panels, then beam power to Earth. Such a technology could be our most eco-friendly energy source. (Better than fusion power!) How?

Solar panels create more energy in space, as I've said. Solar panel manufacture and grid batteries emit the most carbon. This indicates that a space-solar farm's carbon footprint (which doesn't need a battery because it's a constant power source) might be over 40 times smaller than a terrestrial one. Combine that with carbon-neutral launch vehicles like Starship, and you have a low-carbon power source. Solar power has one of the lowest emissions per kWh at 6g/kWh, so space-based solar could approach net-zero emissions.

Space solar is versatile because it doesn't require enormous infrastructure. A space-solar farm could power New York and Dallas with the same efficiency, without cables. The satellite will transmit power to a nearby terminal. This allows an energy system to evolve and adapt as the society it powers changes. Building and maintaining infrastructure can be carbon-intensive, thus less infrastructure means less emissions.

Space-based solar doesn't destroy habitats, either. Solar and wind power can be engineered to reduce habitat loss, but they still harm ecosystems, which must be restored. Space solar requires almost no land, therefore it's easier on Mother Nature.

Space solar power could be the ultimate energy source. So why haven’t we done it yet?

Well, for two reasons: the cost of launch and the efficiency of wireless energy transmission.

Advances in rocket construction and reusable rocket technology have lowered orbital launch costs. In the early 2000s, the Space Shuttle cost $60,000 per kg launched into LEO, but a SpaceX Falcon 9 costs only $3,205. 95% drop! Even at these low prices, launching a space-based solar farm is commercially questionable.

Energy transmission efficiency is half of its commercial viability. Space-based solar farms must be in geostationary orbit to get 24/7 daylight, 22,300 miles above Earth's surface. It's a long way to wirelessly transmit energy. Most laser and microwave systems are below 20% efficient.

Space-based solar power is uneconomical due to low efficiency and high deployment costs.

Longi wants to create this ultimate power. But how?

They'll send solar panels into space to develop space-based solar power that can be beamed to Earth. This mission will help them design solar panels tough enough for space while remaining efficient.

Longi is a Chinese company, and China's space program and universities are developing space-based solar power and seeking commercial partners. Xidian University has built a 98%-efficient microwave-based wireless energy transmission system for space-based solar power. The Long March 5B is China's super-cheap (but not carbon-offset) launch vehicle.

Longi fills the gap. They have the commercial know-how and ability to build solar satellites and terrestrial terminals at scale. Universities and the Chinese government have transmission technology and low-cost launch vehicles to launch this technology.

It may take a decade to develop and refine this energy solution. This could spark a clean energy revolution. Once operational, Longi and the Chinese government could offer the world a flexible, environmentally friendly, rapidly deployable energy source.

Should the world adopt this technology and let China control its energy? I'm not very political, so you decide. This seems to be the beginning of tapping into this planet-saving energy source. Forget fusion reactors. Carbon-neutral energy is coming soon.

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Bloomberg

Bloomberg

2 years ago

Expulsion of ten million Ukrainians

According to recent data from two UN agencies, ten million Ukrainians have been displaced.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates nearly 6.5 million Ukrainians have relocated. Most have fled the war zones around Kyiv and eastern Ukraine, including Dnipro, Zhaporizhzhia, and Kharkiv. Most IDPs have fled to western and central Ukraine.

Since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, 3.6 million people have crossed the border to seek refuge in neighboring countries, according to the latest UN data. While most refugees have fled to Poland and Romania, many have entered Russia.

Internally displaced figures are IOM estimates as of March 19, based on 2,000 telephone interviews with Ukrainians aged 18 and older conducted between March 9-16. The UNHCR compiled the figures for refugees to neighboring countries on March 21 based on official border crossing data and its own estimates. The UNHCR's top-line total is lower than the country totals because Romania and Moldova totals include people crossing between the two countries.

Sources: IOM, UNHCR

According to IOM estimates based on telephone interviews with a representative sample of internally displaced Ukrainians, over 53% of those displaced are women, and over 60% of displaced households have children.

Jenn Leach

Jenn Leach

1 year ago

In November, I made an effort to pitch 10 brands per day. Here's what I discovered.

Photo by Nubelson Fernandes on Unsplash

I pitched 10 brands per workday for a total of 200.

How did I do?

It was difficult.

I've never pitched so much.

What did this challenge teach me?

  • the superiority of quality over quantity

  • When you need help, outsource

  • Don't disregard burnout in order to complete a challenge because it exists.

First, pitching brands for brand deals requires quality. Find firms that align with your brand to expose to your audience.

If you associate with any company, you'll lose audience loyalty. I didn't lose sight of that, but I couldn't resist finishing the task.

Outsourcing.

Delegating work to teammates is effective.

I wish I'd done it.

Three people can pitch 200 companies a month significantly faster than one.

One person does research, one to two do outreach, and one to two do follow-up and negotiating.

Simple.

In 2022, I'll outsource everything.

Burnout.

I felt this, so I slowed down at the end of the month.

Thanksgiving week in November was slow.

I was buying and decorating for Christmas. First time putting up outdoor holiday lights was fun.

Much was happening.

I'm not perfect.

I'm being honest.

The Outcomes

Less than 50 brands pitched.

Result: A deal with 3 brands.

I hoped for 4 brands with reaching out to 200 companies, so three with under 50 is wonderful.

That’s a 6% conversion rate!

Whoo-hoo!

I needed 2%.

Here's a screenshot from one of the deals I booked.

These companies fit my company well. Each campaign is different, but I've booked $2,450 in brand work with a couple of pending transactions for December and January.

$2,450 in brand work booked!

How did I do? You tell me.

Is this something you’d try yourself?

Sanjay Priyadarshi

Sanjay Priyadarshi

1 year ago

Meet a Programmer Who Turned Down Microsoft's $10,000,000,000 Acquisition Offer

Failures inspire young developers

Photo of Jason Citron from Marketrealist.com

Jason citron created many products.

These products flopped.

Microsoft offered $10 billion for one of these products.

He rejected the offer since he was so confident in his success.

Let’s find out how he built a product that is currently valued at $15 billion.

Early in his youth, Jason began learning to code.

Jason's father taught him programming and IT.

His father wanted to help him earn money when he needed it.

Jason created video games and websites in high school.

Jason realized early on that his IT and programming skills could make him money.

Jason's parents misjudged his aptitude for programming.

Jason frequented online programming communities.

He looked for web developers. He created websites for those people.

His parents suspected Jason sold drugs online. When he said he used programming to make money, they were shocked.

They helped him set up a PayPal account.

Florida higher education to study video game creation

Jason never attended an expensive university.

He studied game design in Florida.

“Higher Education is an interesting part of society… When I work with people, the school they went to never comes up… only thing that matters is what can you do…At the end of the day, the beauty of silicon valley is that if you have a great idea and you can bring it to the life, you can convince a total stranger to give you money and join your project… This notion that you have to go to a great school didn’t end up being a thing for me.”

Jason's life was altered by Steve Jobs' keynote address.

After graduating, Jason joined an incubator.

Jason created a video-dating site first.

Bad idea.

Nobody wanted to use it when it was released, so they shut it down.

He made a multiplayer game.

It was released on Bebo. 10,000 people played it.

When Steve Jobs unveiled the Apple app store, he stopped playing.

The introduction of the app store resembled that of a new gaming console.

Jason's life altered after Steve Jobs' 2008 address.

“Whenever a new video game console is launched, that’s the opportunity for a new video game studio to get started, it’s because there aren’t too many games available…When a new PlayStation comes out, since it’s a new system, there’s only a handful of titles available… If you can be a launch title you can get a lot of distribution.”

Apple's app store provided a chance to start a video game company.

They released an app after 5 months of work.

Aurora Feint is the game.

Jason believed 1000 players in a week would be wonderful. A thousand players joined in the first hour.

Over time, Aurora Feints' game didn't gain traction. They don't make enough money to keep playing.

They could only make enough for one month.

Instead of buying video games, buy technology

Jason saw that they established a leaderboard, chat rooms, and multiplayer capabilities and believed other developers would want to use these.

They opted to sell the prior game's technology.

OpenFeint.

Assisting other game developers

They had no money in the bank to create everything needed to make the technology user-friendly.

Jason and Daniel designed a website saying:

“If you’re making a video game and want to have a drop in multiplayer support, you can use our system”

TechCrunch covered their website launch, and they gained a few hundred mailing list subscribers.

They raised seed funding with the mailing list.

Nearly all iPhone game developers started adopting the Open Feint logo.

“It was pretty wild… It was really like a whole social platform for people to play with their friends.”

What kind of a business model was it?

OpenFeint originally planned to make the software free for all games. As the game gained popularity, they demanded payment.

They later concluded it wasn't a good business concept.

It became free eventually.

Acquired for $104 million

Open Feint's users and employees grew tremendously.

GREE bought OpenFeint for $104 million in April 2011.

GREE initially committed to helping Jason and his team build a fantastic company.

Three or four months after the acquisition, Jason recognized they had a different vision.

He quit.

Jason's Original Vision for the iPad

Jason focused on distribution in 2012 to help businesses stand out.

The iPad market and user base were growing tremendously.

Jason said the iPad may replace mobile gadgets.

iPad gamers behaved differently than mobile gamers.

People sat longer and experienced more using an iPad.

“The idea I had was what if we built a gaming business that was more like traditional video games but played on tablets as opposed to some kind of mobile game that I’ve been doing before.”

Unexpected insight after researching the video game industry

Jason learned from studying the gaming industry that long-standing companies had advantages beyond a single release.

Previously, long-standing video game firms had their own distribution system. This distribution strategy could buffer time between successful titles.

Sony, Microsoft, and Valve all have gaming consoles and online stores.

So he built a distribution system.

He created a group chat app for gamers.

He envisioned a team-based multiplayer game with text and voice interaction.

His objective was to develop a communication network, release more games, and start a game distribution business.

Remaking the video game League of Legends

Jason and his crew reimagined a League of Legends game mode for 12-inch glass.

They adapted the game for tablets.

League of Legends was PC-only.

So they rebuilt it.

They overhauled the game and included native mobile experiences to stand out.

Hammer and Chisel was the company's name.

18 people worked on the game.

The game was funded. The game took 2.5 years to make.

Was the game a success?

July 2014 marked the game's release. The team's hopes were dashed.

Critics initially praised the game.

Initial installation was widespread.

The game failed.

As time passed, the team realized iPad gaming wouldn't increase much and mobile would win.

Jason was given a fresh idea by Stan Vishnevskiy.

Stan Vishnevskiy was a corporate engineer.

He told Jason about his plan to design a communication app without a game.

This concept seeded modern strife.

“The insight that he really had was to put a couple of dots together… we’re seeing our customers communicating around our own game with all these different apps and also ourselves when we’re playing on PC… We should solve that problem directly rather than needing to build a new game…we should start making it on PC.”

So began Discord.

Online socializing with pals was the newest trend.

Jason grew up playing video games with his friends.

He never played outside.

Jason had many great moments playing video games with his closest buddy, wife, and brother.

Discord was about providing a location for you and your group to speak and hang out.

Like a private cafe, bedroom, or living room.

Discord was developed for you and your friends on computers and phones.

You can quickly call your buddies during a game to conduct a conference call. Put the call on speaker and talk while playing.

Discord wanted to give every player a unique experience. Because coordinating across apps was a headache.

The entire team started concentrating on Discord.

Jason decided Hammer and Chisel would focus on their chat app.

Jason didn't want to make a video game.

How Discord attracted the appropriate attention

During the first five months, the entire team worked on the game and got feedback from friends.

This ensures product improvement. As a result, some teammates' buddies started utilizing Discord.

The team knew it would become something, but the result was buggy. App occasionally crashed.

Jason persuaded a gamer friend to write on Reddit about the software.

New people would find Discord. Why not?

Reddit users discovered Discord and 50 started using it frequently.

Discord was launched.

Rejecting the $10 billion acquisition proposal

Discord has increased in recent years.

It sends billions of messages.

Discord's users aren't tracked. They're privacy-focused.

Purchase offer

Covid boosted Discord's user base.

Weekly, billions of messages were transmitted.

Microsoft offered $10 billion for Discord in 2021.

Jason sold Open Feint for $104m in 2011.

This time, he believed in the product so much that he rejected Microsoft's offer.

“I was talking to some people in the team about which way we could go… The good thing was that most of the team wanted to continue building.”

Last time, Discord was valued at $15 billion.

Discord raised money on March 12, 2022.

The $15 billion corporation raised $500 million in 2021.