Testing for Health and Ancestry

Source: Business Insider, Apr 2017

the three direct-to-consumer ones I’ve tried out: AncestryDNA, 23andMe and National Geographic’s Geno 2.0 test.

23andMe

If you’re looking at this test as a science experiment, using it as a way to get involved in research, or viewing it as a chance to learn about your genetic health risks, then this is the test for you. And if you just want to know your ancestry percentages and how much Neanderthal variants you have, the $99 version is a good bet. If you do opt for the full test, however, there are some considerations patient groups and genetic counselors would like users to take into account.

Ancestry DNA

If the idea of tracing your family tree through the generations and connecting with distant relatives gets you excited — but you’re less interested in receiving health information — this is the test for you.

National Geographic

Brave New World (Utopia) and “1984” (Dystopia)

Source: The Toll Online, Apr 2017

In both, Brave New World and 1984, common themes are addressed including government, orthodoxy, social hierarchy, economics, love, sex, and power. Both books portray propaganda as a necessary tool of government to shape the collective minds of the citizenry within each respective society and towards the specific goals of the state; to wit, stability and continuity.

In Brave New World, The “Bureaux of Propaganda” shared a building with the “College of Emotional Engineering” and all media outlets including radio, television, and newspaper. Much of the brainwashing of the citizens in Huxley’s world included messaging to stay within their genetically predetermined castes or to encourage the daily use of the drug, Soma, in order to anesthetize emotional agitation:

 

a gramme in time saves nine

A gramme is better than a damn

One cubic centimetre cures ten gloomy sentiments

When the individual feels, the community reels.

The “Ministry of Truth”, in 1984, also known as “minitrue” in Newspeak, served as the propaganda machine for Big Brother and the INGSOC regime. Although its main purpose was to rewrite history in order to realign it with Party doctrine and make the Party look infallible, the Ministry of Truth also promoted war hysteria in order to unite the citizens of Oceania while broadcasting simple messages designed to discourage any self-determination or autonomous thought.

many might consider Brave New World to be a utopian dream. In the context of individual autonomy, however, as well as the pursuit of truth, the opportunity for personal self-actualization, the dilemma of ethical considerations and the governmental dispensation of immoral law; Huxley’s vision of the future removes the lid of a veritable Pandora’s Box of questions. In reality, the societal structure as delineated in Brave New World would greatly resemble what could be called a “prison of pleasure” and, perhaps, even a “penitentiary of profligate practicality”.

Applying the same philosophical critique of 1984, and in similar fashion, Orwell’s nation-state of Oceana would be considered as a bona fide dystopian “prison of fear”.

As a matter of fact, both societies portray prisons of man’s own making, formed by governments following their own directions toward their respective future destinations. To say it another way: The road to hell is actually paved with bad intentions.

Both power structures in Brave New World and 1984 chose to diminish individual rights in order to achieve societal stability. To the governments of both super-states, their citizens were considered as mere “means to an end”; namely, the continuation of power.

Green Day Crowd Singing Bohemian Rhapsody – Hyde Park/London July 1st, 2017

China Plans to have a US$150 billion AI industry by 2030

Source: NYTimes, Jul 2017

The country laid out a development plan on Thursday to become the world leader in A.I. by 2030, aiming to surpass its rivals technologically and build a domestic industry worth almost $150 billion.

The plan comes with China preparing a multibillion-dollar national investment initiative to support “moonshot” projects, start-ups and academic research in A.I., according to two professors who consulted with the government about the effort.

Related Resources: (from the Chinese government:

1. “State Council policy briefing on July 21″

Li Meng said the guideline puts forward the goal and tasks for AI development by 2030. The major goal is broken into three stages: catch up with the advanced global levels in AI technology and application by 2020, make major breakthroughs in basic theories by 2025, and become a global innovation center in this field by 2030.

2. “”China issues guideline on artificial intelligence development“”

The State Council has issued a guideline on developing artificial intelligence (AI), setting a goal of becoming a global innovation center in this field by 2030.

The total output value of artificial intelligence industries should surpass 1 trillion yuan ($147.80 billion). A mature theory and technology system should be formed.

 

Newton and Einstein

Source: WaitButWhy, May 2014

How about Your Life?

Asking Questions of Your Interviewer

Source: Fast Company, Apr 2017

  1. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH THE COMPANY?
  2. WHAT WAS THE LAST BIG ACHIEVEMENT YOU CELEBRATED?
  3. WHAT ACTIVITIES DO YOU OFFER EMPLOYEES?
  4. WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE LAST YEAR, AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM IT?
  5. HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS, AND OVER WHAT TIME FRAME?
  6. HOW MUCH TIME DO THE OWNERS/LEADERS/FOUNDERS SPEND IN THE OFFICE?
  7. WHAT DO YOUR TEAM MEMBERS DO FOR LUNCH EVERY DAY?

The Differences Between Male and Female Brains

Source: NYMag, Apr 2017

… three of the key findings from the paper Ritchie and his colleagues just posted:

(1) Yes, there do appear to be many differences between male and female brains, but there’s also tons of overlap. The researchers examined all sorts of potential sites of male/female differences, and found many such differences. But with many of these brain areas, there’s a lot of variation, and a large range of sizes for which it could be safely said that a given brain could be either stereotypically male or female, as this graph shows:

the most noteworthy difference was that the men in the sample simply had larger brains in general, which isn’t surprising because men are larger than women, in general. They also tended to have denser brains and more white matter. At the level of individual structures, there were also statistically significant differences, some of them more pronounced than others

(2) These differences could, in the long run, help explain and provide treatment for diseases that tend to hit one sex harder than the other. “As has previously been argued,” the researchers write, “providing a clear characterisation of neurobiological sex differences is a step towards understanding patterns of differential susceptibility to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder, a variety of psychiatric conditions, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease.”

There is, at this point, solid evidence of certain robust differences between adult male and female brains, but it’s just too early to know exactly what those differences mean — or why there’s also so much overlap.