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PURETICS...

PURETICS...


Interesting Findings And World Unfolding Through My Eyes.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Don't Say To Women That She is Beautiful !

A man who told two women they were extremely beautiful was arrested on charges of harassment last week, Denver police said.

Police said 32-year-old Jeff John Hergert approached the women and "expressed interest in them." He told each woman in two separate incidents that they were extremely beautiful and that they should consider modeling.
Hergert was arrested and is being held on two counts of harassment. He is being held on a $10,000 bond.

Posted by Ajay :: 5:53 PM :: 0 comments

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Why Is Yawning Contagious?

Rather than being a precursor to sleep, yawning is designed to keep us awake, say US researchers. But why does seeing someone else yawn make you to do the same?

Yawning is an involuntary action that everyone does. We start before we are born and most creatures on the planet do it - even snakes and fish.

New research suggests rather than being a precursor to sleep, the purpose of yawning is to cool the brain so it operates more efficiently and keeps you awake.

The theory could explain a puzzling question about subconscious human behaviour - why many of us yawn when we see or hear another person doing it, or even read about it or even just think about it?


THE ANSWER
It is a protective mechanism to make a group more alert
Or, it's a form of herding behaviour
Or it's a means of communicating sleeping times
The brain cooling theory says that when we contagiously yawn we are participating in an ancient, hardwired ritual that evolved to help groups stay alert and detect danger.

'Herding behaviour'

It's not copying another person's sleepiness, say scientists at the University of Albany in New York, who are behind the latest research.

"We think contagious yawning is triggered by empathic mechanisms which function to maintain group vigilance," says Dr Gordon Gallup, a leading researcher at the university.

The belief is further supported by the observation of University of Maryland's Robert Provine that paratroopers report yawning before jumping.

But there are other theories. It's been suggested contagious yawning could be a result of an unconscious herding behaviour - a subtle way to communicate to those around us, similar to when flocks of birds take flight at the same time.


WHO, WHAT, WHY?
Question Mark - from original architect's doodle design for BBC TV Centre
A regular part of the BBC News Magazine, Who, What, Why? aims to answer some of the questions behind the headlines

Another theory suggests contagious yawning might have helped early humans communicate their alertness levels and co-ordinate sleeping times.

Basically, if one decided it was time to sleep they would tell the others by yawning and they would do it in return to show they agreed.

Chimpanzees also suffer from contagious yawning, according to researchers at Kyoto University in Japan. They are thought to be the only other creatures, apart from humans, who do so.

The rest of the animal kingdom - including birds, snakes and hippos - yawn for other reasons. Dogs yawn to stay calm in certain situations, says Turid Rugaas, author of On talking Terms with Dogs.

Anyone who gets to the end of this article without yawning may wish to think of themselves as a medical apparition. In fact, only about half of adult humans are prone to contagious yawning.
Via-BBC

Posted by Ajay :: 5:48 PM :: 0 comments

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Toothpaste Can Regrow Your Teeth!

The $3 billion global market for toothpaste is on the verge of a shake-up as new biotechnologies come through that not only curtail sensitivity problems but will also enable teeth to re-grow to fill in small cavities. Today’s toothpaste comes in a plethora of flavours and can of course whiten teeth but from a medical viewpoint, little has progressed in the 40 years since fluoride was added to fight decay.
Now though scientists in various countries have developed differing technologies that produce similar results to deaden sensitivity and recalcify the teeth, problems that have increasing significance as populations age. Researchers have found fluoride ceases to be as effective with older people. That’s because the elderly have more difficulty generating the large amounts of saliva – loaded with calcium and phosphate - necessary to combine with fluoride to resist the demineralisation of teeth. Also, said Richard Bernholt, managing director of west London-based dental care company Periproducts: “The older you are the more likely you are to have gums receding and sensitivity problems because of what you eat.”
Periproducts, which sells Retardex products in the UK, has licensed NovaMin technology from a Florida firm of the same name and hopes to be the first company to have it formulated in a retail brand in the UK later this year. Periproducts plans to launch its new toothpaste in October at the British Dental Trade Association exhibition at NEC Birmingham. The company wants to get its as-yet-unnamed toothpaste with dentists and into the retail chain before the big names in oral hygiene – Colgate-Palmolive, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Unilever and Procter & Gamble reformulate their products with NovaMin or competing calcium phosphate compounds.
more at:The $3 billion global market for toothpaste is on the verge of a shake-up as new biotechnologies come through that not only curtail sensitivity problems but will also enable teeth to re-grow to fill in small cavities. Today’s toothpaste comes in a plethora of flavours and can of course whiten teeth but from a medical viewpoint, little has progressed in the 40 years since fluoride was added to fight decay.
Now though scientists in various countries have developed differing technologies that produce similar results to deaden sensitivity and recalcify the teeth, problems that have increasing significance as populations age. Researchers have found fluoride ceases to be as effective with older people. That’s because the elderly have more difficulty generating the large amounts of saliva – loaded with calcium and phosphate - necessary to combine with fluoride to resist the demineralisation of teeth. Also, said Richard Bernholt, managing director of west London-based dental care company Periproducts: “The older you are the more likely you are to have gums receding and sensitivity problems because of what you eat.”
Periproducts, which sells Retardex products in the UK, has licensed NovaMin technology from a Florida firm of the same name and hopes to be the first company to have it formulated in a retail brand in the UK later this year. Periproducts plans to launch its new toothpaste in October at the British Dental Trade Association exhibition at NEC Birmingham. The company wants to get its as-yet-unnamed toothpaste with dentists and into the retail chain before the big names in oral hygiene – Colgate-Palmolive, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Unilever and Procter & Gamble reformulate their products with NovaMin or competing calcium phosphate compounds.

Posted by Ajay :: 9:54 AM :: 0 comments

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What,If Artificial Intelligence Took Over All Of Us?

“Machine Intelligence,” will pass the so-called Turing test by 2029. The Turing test, a challenge to see if a computer can fool a human judge into thinking it is human, is a traditional benchmark for the point when true Artificial Intelligence can be said to have been achieved - a historic moment, by any measure.

But with recent discussion of AI taking place in the context of a wager, debates have tended to focus on the difficulty of the problem rather than the implications - as though the arrival of true Artificial Intelligence would only mean the difference between a robot making your coffee and brewing it yourself.

What are the stakes, really? Why should this wager matter to you personally? And what, exactly, are the odds?

First Scenario: Kapor Wins. (No true AI by 2029)

Between now and 2029, the steady march of progress will continue; worker productivity will climb as technological innovation improves efficiency in most industries. Genetic engineering will make new headway in combating disease and improving food supplies. Nanotechnology - the engineering of materials and devices at the molecular level - will steadily mature, accelerating economic development.

As a consequence of these conditions, your standard of living will improve, your life expectancy will increase, and you will enjoy new leisure activities made possible by faster computers and richer interfaces (i.e. Virtual Reality). But during this time you will also endure the usual misfortunes of illness and injury, and one or more persons close to you will suffer a disease, accident, or age-related death. There is also a good chance that somewhere in the world, an intentional or accidental use of genetically engineered bio-weapons or self-replicating nanotechnology will cause casualties numbering in the millions. And there is a small but non-zero chance that such a disaster will bloom out of control and wipe out the human race.

Second Scenario: Kurzweil Wins. (True AI before 2029)

Between now and 2029, scientists will work out a functional design for true AI that possesses a core desire to understand and assist humanity (a characteristic called Friendliness by some researchers). While unimpressive at first, the new AI will learn quickly and receive extra computing capacity to increase its capabilities. Once mature, it will assist its programmers in the design of a next-generation AI. This process will be repeated a number of times with considerable improvements in both intelligence and Friendliness, and before too long will produce one or more minds that can only be called superintelligent. Applying phenomenal brilliance to the betterment of the human condition, Friendly superintelligence will ensure that nanotechnology and genetic engineering are quickly mastered to an extent that human scientists alone could never have reached. Technological progress will be so rapid as to fundamentally change our perception of civilization itself.

As a consequence of these conditions, you (and everyone else) will enjoy unconditional material prosperity and indefinite life-expectancy - with the resulting time and means for pursuits that may include increasing your own intelligence and exploring the galaxy. You will be free to forgo most of the usual misfortunes of illness and injury, and no person close to you will suffer death from disease or old age unless they choose to. The same intelligence that allows for the mastery of genetic engineering and nanotechnology will also work to prevent the possibility of cataclysmic disasters stemming from these technologies. And other potential threats to our planet, such as asteroid strikes and climate change, will be averted or remedied with surprising ease.

You may feel that this second scenario sounds too good to be true; indeed, this is one reason why many people bet against it. It does, admittedly, depend on a number of things going right. But the chief requirement for a positive outcome is reasonably straightforward: namely, that the first AI to begin the spiraling cycle of increasing intelligence be engineered to share human compassion and values, despite any changes incurred through successive redesigns. Given success in this area, the huge and positive contribution that could be made by superintelligence is generally accepted by futurists; in fact, they even have a name for the point at which greater-than-human intelligence starts changing the world: the Singularity.

It must be said, then, that the stakes in the Kurzweil/Kapor wager are, in fact, awesome. But what are the actual odds that AI will be developed anytime soon? Gambling metaphors fail, for predicting the Singularity is not like forecasting the weather or winning the lottery. The answer to the question of when true AI will be born depends entirely on the actions of real people, like you, who are free to participate in this discussion and support the causes they care about.

Will AI be possible in the near future? Yes. The human brain is extremely complicated and not yet fully understood, but AI engineers do not need to simulate the entire brain in silicon - only the patterns and features that give rise to general intelligence. And if all else fails, the brain can eventually be modeled in close detail. Though mysterious, the brain is tangible proof that intelligence can come in small packages.

AI naysayers would have us believe that the disappointing failure of AI projects over the last fifty years means that we cannot hope to achieve true Artificial Intelligence in the next fifty. However, as investment advertisements must always warn, past performance is no guarantee of future results - an axiom that applies to failure as well as success. Forward-looking individuals realize that, barring our own extinction, AI will eventually be created. But when and how AI comes into being will not depend on a roll of the dice or a spin of the wheel, but on how aggressively and responsibly we set about solving the problem. Think back to the above scenarios for a moment. Kapor and Kurzweil have each bet $10,000. But given the enormous qualitative difference between life before and after the Singularity, how much would it be worth to you to see Friendly AI happen sooner - whether by a few decades, a few years, or even just one day?

We are all participants in this wager, with the chips already down and the stakes astronomically high. But what are the odds?

The odds are whatever we choose to make them.

Posted by Ajay :: 9:49 AM :: 0 comments

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More Sex Is Safer Sex?

NyTimes:
"It's true: AIDS is nature's awful retribution for our tolerance of immoderate and socially irresponsible sexual behavior. The epidemic is the price of our permissive attitudes toward monogamy, chastity, and other forms of extreme sexual conservatism.

You've read elsewhere about the sin of promiscuity. Let me tell you about the sin of self-restraint.

Consider Martin, a charming and generally prudent young man with a limited sexual history, who has been gently flirting with his coworker Joan. As last week's office party approached, both Joan and Martin silently and separately entertained the prospect that they just might be going home together. Unfortunately, Fate, through its agents at the Centers for Disease Control, intervened. The morning of the party, Martin happened to notice one of those CDC-sponsored subway ads touting the virtues of abstinence. Chastened, he decided to stay home. In Martin's absence, Joan hooked up with the equally charming but considerably less prudent Maxwell - and Joan got AIDS.

When the cautious Martin withdraws from the mating game, he makes it easier for the reckless Maxwell to prey on the hapless Joan. If those subway ads are more effective against Martin than against Maxwell, they are a threat to Joan's safety. This is especially so when they displace Calvin Klein ads, which might have put Martin in a more socially beneficent mood.

If the Martins of the world would loosen up a little, we could slow the spread of AIDS. Of course, we wouldn't want to push this too far: if Martin loosens up too much, he becomes as dangerous as Maxwell. But when sexual conservatives increase their activity by moderate amounts, they do the rest of us a lot of good. Harvard professor Michael Kremer estimates that the spread of AIDS in England could plausibly be retarded if everyone with fewer than about 2.25 partners per year were to take additional partners more frequently. That would apply to three-fourths of all British heterosexuals between the ages of 18 and 45.

A cautious guy like Martin does the world a favor every time he hits the bars. In fact, he does the world two favors. First he improves the odds for everyone who's out there seeking a safe match. The second favor is more macabre, but probably also more significant: If Martin picks up a new partner tonight, he just might pick up an infection as well. That's great. Because then Martin goes home, wastes away in solitude, and eventually dies - taking the virus with him.

If someone has to get infected tonight, I want it to be Martin rather than Promiscuous Pete, who would probably infect another twenty people before finally dying.

I'm always glad to see guys like Martin in the bars. When he takes home an uninfected partner, he diverts that partner from a potentially more dangerous liaison. When he takes home an infected partner, he diverts that partner from giving the virus to someone who might spread it far and wide. Either way, I sure hope he gets lucky tonight.

Sadly, none of this makes for a good pickup line. You're unlikely to get very far with an approach like "You should sleep with me so you can get infected, die, and take the virus with you." That would be like saying "You should sell your leaf blower so your neighbors' lawns stay cleaner" or "You should stay seated at the ballpark so everyone else can see." The whole point is that what's good for the group can be bad for the individual, and that's why we get bad outcomes.

If multiple partnerships save lives, then monogamy can be deadly. Imagine a country where almost all women are monogamous, while all men demand two female partners per year. Under those circumstances, a few prostitutes end up servicing all the men. Before long, the prostitutes are infected; they pass the disease on to the men; the men bring it home to their monogamous wives. But if each of those monogamous wives were willing to take on one extramarital partner, the market for prostitution would die out, and the virus, unable to spread fast enough to maintain itself, might well die out along with it."
More at:http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/08/books/chapters/0708-1st-land.html?ex=1184558400&en=09fff5564cc07afa&ei=5070&emc=eta1

Posted by Ajay :: 9:46 AM :: 0 comments

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