“Brainternet” Brings The Human Mind Online

The human brain knows no limits. The fact that we only use 10% of it remains a myth, as antennas and bendable batteries are furthering biomedical engineering. Lately, researchers at Wits University in Johannesburg have made the greatest breakthrough yet with the “Brainternet.” (But it’s not exactly what you might think!)

The project works by taking brainwave EEG signals gathered by an Emotiv EEG device connected to the user’s head. The signals are then transmitted to a low cost Raspberry Pi computer, which live streams the data to an application programming interface and displays the data on an open website where anyone can view the activity.

In essence, you can download information about your brain and pretty much study the thing. So, no, you can’t update your Twitter in your sleep. However, the technology is still potentially valuable in transferring brain data.

“Brainternet can be further improved to classify recordings through a smart phone app that will provide data for a machine-learning algorithm. In [the] future, there could be information transferred in both directions – inputs and outputs to the brain,”

Sorry to disappoint you, millennials, but keep in mind that understanding brain functions could make mind-controlling Facebook possible eventually. For now, stick to a MacBook.

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Dare to Care: Why Helping Out is an Act of Bravery

In this world, to be kind is to be brave. It takes no effort to be comfortable in our own homes, binge-watching TV shows while munching on popcorn, cozy in our jammies and unbothered about the rest of humanity. But it takes a bit of courage to open our eyes and see those who need us, whether they are people on the other side of the world or people who belong to our own communities; it takes stepping up to be aware of our selfish conveniences and realize that there’s someone out there seeking help, with no one to help him or her. Just the initiative to feel for others is an act of bravery.

Now more than ever, the Internet has given us access to an infinite number of stories. Some say humans have never witnessed so much tragedy before; of course, these atrocities have always been happening and suffering has always been a constant in this world. Generations before us had to endure so much pain as well. But they never had the same access to the lives of others. Now, with just one click, you are able to read about everything horrible that is going on in the world. And as humans, we are not built to carry so much heartache.

Empathy is painful. Neurologically speaking, the pain you feel for yourself and the pain you feel for others seem to activate the same processes in the brain. This must be why it’s so easy to ignore the pain of others: it gives us the same pain, but it’s a pain we can avoid. After all, it’s not really our lives at stake. To be empathetic is to subject ourselves to hurting. This is precisely why it is an act of bravery to see the pain of others.

And what better way to express this courage than to actually do something about it? Not only are you being aware of another’s suffering, you are going out of your way to help alleviate it. To disregard one’s comfort in life is a very difficult task, but sometimes, helping others doesn’t necessarily mean abandoning yourself. Sometimes, there are ways to take the initiative without severely hurting yourself and challenging your pain tolerance. Sometimes, a simple act of bravery every now and then should suffice.

The BeepBeep Nation app has a mission of making the world a better place by encouraging people to be a little courageous every now and then. By providing a platform to connect people who need help and people who can offer help, it enables its users to do an act of bravery and improve their sense of compassion, with only a bit of effort.

BeepBeep Nation motivates its users to reach out to other individuals in various ways: by simply offering a ride to work or a place to stay, by simply answering questions in an accurate manner, by simply offering an extra hand during a medical emergency, and many others. Reaching out in little ways seems convenient, right? But like I said, a simple act of bravery at particular moments should be enough. Because a simple act of bravery through the BeepBeep Nation app can nurture a culture of compassion like never before. It can start a revolution of people being kind to each other and paying it forward (perhaps endlessly). So dare yourself to be brave and use that courage to care for others.

If you want to join BeepBeep Nation’s mission of motivating everyone to be kind, helpful, and brave, the app’s official website will help you every step of the way. Its fuel, the EMINENT token, is also now available for sale, so be sure to check that out to get started. Dare to care, and dare to see this for yourself: a world of kindness.

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AI Can Distinguish Abusive Language Online

So far, we’ve used artificial intelligence much to our advantage in whatever way possible. We’ve built devices as trivial as visual emotion masks, but overall, people feel mostly optimistic. But now that we know AI can serve purposes of various degrees of impact, developers from McGill University are developing an AI that can recognize hate speech on social media.

Instead of focusing on isolated words and phrases, they taught machine learning software to spot hate speech by learning how members of hateful communities speak… They focused on three groups who are often the target of abuse: African Americans, overweight people and women.

Previous softwares detecting abusive language have proven unsuccessful due to the misleading nature of online slang. That and the fact that machines aren’t well-versed in sarcasm. The system, however, was able to identify racist slurs and avoided false positives. And I believe this first step in compiling data about sites that condone and even encourage abusive language can lead to finding solutions in the future. Perhaps hopefully, not just online. After all, our material reality reflects our online visual reality, and vice versa.

“Comparing hateful and non-hateful communities to find the language that distinguishes them is a clever solution… [But] ultimately, hate speech is a subjective phenomenon that requires human judgment to identify,”

While it won’t eliminate every online bully, it’s a commendable attempt at making the Internet a safer environment.

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So You Want To Start A Blog?

Now that we’ve established anyone can write a book, starting a blog might be on your radar. While it’s a great way to express yourself and share opinions with netizens, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Casual or professional, blogging isn’t for the idle writer. But if you’re brimming with ideas, it may be the perfect platform for you.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a computer wiz to start a blog. All you need is a vision and lots of commitment. But before jumping ahead, decide what you want to blog about. A sensible place to start would be where your passion lies. Don’t dwell on how your potential readers might respond — we’ll get to that later. Think of a topic you can go on about for hours, or even days. You can also try brain-mapping. 

Once you have outlined your content, pick out a blogging platform. For most, WordPress is more or less a go-to site for its user-friendly interface. However, the freedom is yours. If you are hoping to reach a wide audience (which, I assume, would be anyone’s intent), select a host for your blog. Most web hosts provide inexpensive plans that will suit your needs. This will get your site circulating.

It may seem the least of your worries, but choosing a domain is essential to your online identity. Remember that your title will come with a fee, so be thoughtful! Figure out what best represents you and what is easiest to remember. If you are keen on using your own name, consider dropping anything that is hard to spell. Using a suggested title isn’t out of the question, but keep it unique.

Another important step (and no, you needn’t be an HTML expert) is to establish a themeFree options are perfectly fine but a few tweaks and accents may help your aesthetic stand out. Tinker with various layouts that best suit your style. Are you a photographer? A journalist? What would catch your eye? Be meticulous. Don’t teeter between formats — it may confuse your followers!

After getting the technical tasks out of the way, it’s time to begin your journey! While it’s important to make sure your first piece is gripping, make sure you consistently put out quality content. Nobody wants to read a boring blog! If, at some point, you’re stumped for topics, draft your ideas in advance. It always helps to know what you’ll be writing about in a few weeks’ time. Better yet, schedule your posts. Are you willing to publish once, twice, or three times a week? Decide how great of a load you can carry to avoid missing out on a post. Remember — nothing beats being honest with yourself regarding how much you can handle.

In a (now) predominantly virtual world, blogging is the most efficient way to have meaningful conversations. Though the most successful writers are undoubtedly very opinionated, don’t forget your online etiquette. A smart blogger may end up popular, but a firm and respectful one is also highly esteemed.

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Carbon Yarn Creates Energy When Pulled

The future of smart fabric is here. Researchers recently created a fitness tracker woven into athletic wear. While it can track physical performance, it’s facing competition from a new contender. This carbon yarn made from nanotubes can create energy when pulled.

The new material works by essentially generating electricity out of mechanical energy… The carbon nanotube yarns are coated with an electrolyte material (like table salt and water) which charges the yarn up when its twisted or stretched. That voltage, then stored in the yarn, harvests electricity.

Not only is the yarn — dubbed twistron yarn — more futuristic than The Defenders; it can produce a lot of power. Stretch it 30 times and create 250 watts, or get four old-school bulbs working at once. The yarn can also be used in tandem with IoT (Internet of Things) components (smart devices).

“You don’t have to plug them into the wall and you don’t have to change the batteries all the time.”

As of now, the yarn costs far more than an arm and a leg, but developers hope to lessen the cost of production. In doing so, the yarn can be used to generate electricity from ocean waves. Talk about a futuristic product!

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Alphabet Shipping Internet To Puerto Rico By Balloon

In devastated Puerto Rico, faulty cellphone service is a pressing issue. While Tesla is working to revive the territory’s power grid, loved ones are having trouble reaching others abroad. But the country in crisis is getting the help it needs, thanks to Google’s parent company. Alphabet is bringing Internet back to Puerto Rico by balloon.

Project Loon was born in Alphabet’s moonshot X division, with the aim of serving the half of the world’s population that is still without internet access. It has launched several successful pilot projects, but has yet to be deployed commercially on a wide scale.

30 balloons will be hovering over Puerto Rico for up to 6 months. A single balloon can power up to 5,000 square kilometers of coverage. Project Loon, which is currently active in Peru, will be useful in easing communications between groups.

“Some people, even though we’ve documented the fact… that we’ve delivered food and water, it hasn’t gotten to some of them. Now, it could be for a whole host of reasons. One of them could be that they couldn’t hear it; the information didn’t get to them.” [said governor Ricardo Rosselló.]

As compared to the existing setup in Peru, Loon will experience some turbulence in Puerto Rico. It currently lacks a wireless network — but with Alphabet’s previous successes, shouldn’t be too big of an issue.

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Design Is Not Just Pretty — It’s Saving The Planet

Design: its goal may be aesthetics, but it goes way beyond just looks. It’s works like vegetable leather and zero-emissions air conditioning that make design more meaningful than it appears. Some parts of the world may look pristine, but without the sustainability to back it, they end up being wasteful. Here are reasons design is the key to saving the planet.

It’s raising awareness. As you probably learned in middle school, awareness is the best place to start when it comes to change. Things such as infographics or interactive billboards have been altering our perspectives on major issues for decades. What design does that lectures don’t always do is shake up our realities. Whether we like it or not, celebrities endorsing a cause on a poster are often more effective than anything else. But if it’s helping to improve the planet, I’m not mad at it.

If you’ve ever worn eco-fibers, you’ll know design promotes sustainability. Famous retail brands such as Nike and Merrell have started incorporating eco-friendly materials into their shoes and clothing. Much like cosmetics brand Lush, other big names have also transitioned into using minimal to no packaging. Again, if the big guns are going green, everyone else is likely to follow — which means plus points for designers.

If you hadn’t noticed, “trashion” is a big thing in the vogue world. But beyond the clothing industry, using recyclables is also popular in the realm of food. Many startups are turning waste into shopping bags or containers that can be reused to kingdom come. Some groups are even manufacturing edible packaging, which is a little weird — but a big thumbs up anyway. Recycling may not come with a posh label, but it brings an earthy and rustic charm to table.

Just like the iPhone, many others are coming out with products that can do a million things all at once. Designers are not only giving consumers what they want, they’re handing everything over in a compact fashion. Future creators are considering multifunctional commodities. Doing more with less doesn’t apply to just makeup anymore. It covers everything from home appliances to portable gadgets. After all, if you can watch TV, order a pizza, and get your laundry done with the click of a button, why not?

Beyond function and materials, design is also bringing people together. Sharing ideas is what everyone is about these days, and design is its catalyst. In a way, this also guarantees that certain goods don’t go to waste. It is now easier than ever to trade items when they are no longer wanted. Better off in someone else’s hands than in the trash. There are an endless number of websites that help users course donations to various charities. There are even services that help re-construct items that seem a little out of date.

We can no longer deny that the potential of design is exploding. I don’t just mean this in a trendy sense, but that we ought to give people in graphics, interiors, and the industrial world more credit. Anyway, without them, there would be no innovation.

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Antennas Could Make Smart Brain Implants Possible

Our ability to combine healthcare with various forms of technology makes the notion of cyborgs less absurd. After all, if iPhones are now also hearing aids, and our own sweat an alternative for batteries, what isn’t possible? For now, nearly nothing. But if ideas run dry, these acoustic antennas could make smart brain implants a reality.

“Current antennas are limited to large sizes, which are hard for many applications like bio-implantable, bio-injectable, and bio-ingestible antennas,”

Traditional antennas can’t be downscaled because they receive and transmit large electromagnetic waves. Acoustic antennas interact with wavelengths thousands of times smaller, allowing them to be millimeters in size.

The team has so far developed two types of acoustic antenna. The first has a circular membrane and is used for frequencies in the gigahertz range — including those frequencies used for Wi-Fi. The other acoustic antenna has a rectangular membrane for megahertz frequencies, typically used for TV and radio.

Primary application of the antennas is to shrink bulky technologies (or simply make the iPhone even thinner). As a smart brain implant, the device would presumably enhance methods of communication and memory retention. It’s every struggling university student’s dream — but will likely cater to a more exclusive group.

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How Technology Isn’t Killing Us

I remember when 3D glasses and Game Boys were the future. Little did I know that the likes of Snapchat and Alexa would steal the technological spotlight. Most science fiction in film and literature see an ugly demise. More often than not, technology is evil, and if you’ve ever seen an episode of “Black Mirror”, you’d agree. While we place so much blame on smartphones and the Internet, we fail to realize that in some ways, they’re actually useful.

We owe our improved communication to SEs and Galaxy Notes. After all, snail mail is pretty much a thing of the past. People may perceive our constant tapping away as social isolation when, in fact, we are involving ourselves with others–just in another medium. Yes, social media is part of a vicious universe, but with it, we are able to build connections. 

Businesses now have platforms like Facebook and Twitter to thank for their growing successes. Spreading the word has never been easier. Through online advertising and connectivity, brands become more efficient and productive. Not to mention they manage to save an enormous amount of time and money. Promoting through billboards and magazines seem to be almost primitive–definitely a thing of the past.

The Internet is home to everything viral. Fake news is sometimes part of that sphere. However, with such easy access to information, fact-checking technology is always available. Details that previously would’ve required a trip to the library are now just a Google search away. While the facts we learn may be seemingly futile, everything has value to some extent.

Technology has also piloted improvements in healthcare and travel. Everything is convenient. With new features such as online travel agents and virtual therapy, most of our needs are attended to much quicker. Our movements become fleeting and gratification is met in the blink of an eye. We may grow impatient, but with technology evolving as fast as it is, virtually nothing will have to wait.

Additionally, online classes educate us anywhere at any time. We can now learn remotely, outside the four walls of a classroom. Even Ivy Leagues are jumping on the bandwagon, offering courses that are accessible through your laptop or smartphone. Perhaps the question is not, “what are parents feeding their kids that make them so smart?” but “what is on our kids’ smartphones that make them geniuses?” To be perfectly honest, it makes much more sense.

Of course, technology, whether we like to think so or not, also boosts creativity and imagination. Because the Internet makes sharing ideas so simple, we can create jobs in the comfort of our own homes. Design a bestselling app and you’re pretty much financially set for life. Fund-me websites also make concepts reality. With so many people willing to donate to different prototypes, bringing ideas to fruition is not that difficult. In fact, we, not the government, may be funding majority of our future.

We may have doubts about technology taking over the world (or the universe). We may see ourselves at the hands of robots and machines. But the human mind is powerful and together with technology, can pretty much conquer anything.

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Cyberbullying Is So Out Of Fashion

Here are a list of things that are no longer relevant today: the Katy Perry-Taylor Swift feud; apple-bottom jeans and boots with the fur; the T-Mobile Sidekick; and privacy. Yes, privacy. If you haven’t noticed, “What you say can and will be used against you,” is no longer just a Miranda Right.

The 21st century has been a dangerous era for teenagers in particular. With a lack of privacy arrives the need to keep up appearances. Uploading a photo onto your Instagram account is never as simple as sharing a moment but sharing wealth and status. A critical tweet is not just about an opinion but being inarguably right. Networks comprise of the easily offended and those who are “just putting others in their place.” After all, next to Disneyland, social media is the happiest place on earth–for people who are winning at it.

As a person who is far from soft-spoken, my handles are laden with bare-faced selfies, erotic poetry, and new philosophies. I often receive a generous amount of likes and positive comments regarding my boldness and bravery, save for the occasional hater who thinks I am “too loud.” When sharks bite, do you bite back? A younger me would’ve certainly thought so. But if social media is a perpetual game of who can be meaner, who wins? Does it even really matter?

Believe it or not, not everyone is out to offend you. When someone has realized they have hurt you by means of understanding facial expressions and the tone of your voice, they will, more often than not, apologize. This doesn’t exist on FaceBook and Twitter, where movements are carefully calculated and empathy remains a thing of the past.

Cyber bullies, who are shielded by a trusty sheet of fiber optic glass, are plagued with mob mentality, as they are usually part of one. People thrive on validation, and those who join Internet mobs don’t always do so with bad intentions. After all, if the majority thinks it, it must be true. Sometimes, they are just ill-advised.

This isn’t to say there aren’t some truly nasty players out in the virtual field. Some studies claim that cyber bullying has exponentially more negative effects than face-to-face abuse–this is because people feel less obligation to help, especially when disparaging tweets are easily swept away by a sea of song lyrics, play-by-plays, and borderline-creepy statements about Harry Styles.

Instructing kids to stay off social media is no longer an effective method of protection. After all, having an iPhone is no longer an option but a necessity. So how do we avoid getting cyber bullied? The simple answer is we can’t. But it’s up to us to respond.

Bullies thrive on attention. Anger is the fuel to their vehicle. Kill them with kindness or leave them in the dust. Whatever the case, act dignified. Compassion is a bully’s very own Kryptonite.

Report them. Harassment is by no means free speech. Reach out. Hardly ever is there a case where you are the “only one.” Educate yourself and others. Draw the line somewhere. The mute button is just a click away. Attack no one, but defend yourself. Know that bullies are people too.

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