Summary of “You Don’t Need Sports Drinks To Stay Hydrated”

The American College of Sports Medicine, a professional organization of sports science experts, put out a consensus statement in 1996 recommending that “During exercise, athletes should start drinking early and at regular intervals in an attempt to consume fluids at a rate sufficient to replace all the water lost through sweating, or consume the maximal amount that can be tolerated.” The message coming from experts was that athletes needed to replace the fluids they lost during exercise lest their performance and health suffer.
“As it turns out, if you apply evidence-based methods, 40 years of sports drinks research does not seemingly add up to much,” Carl Heneghan and his colleagues at the University of Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine wrote in a 2012 analysis published in the British medical journal BMJ. When Heneghan’s team gathered and examined all of the available evidence on sports drinks, they found what amounted to a bunch of preliminary or inconclusive evidence packaged as more definitive proof.
“Worryingly, most performance tests used to assess sports drinks have never been validated.”
Another common shortcoming was that the studies were often designed in a way that almost assured that they’d find a benefit from sports drinks.
Some of the dazzling powers that sports drinks display in the studies touted by their makers may be nothing more than the placebo effect.
“Worryingly, most performance tests used to assess sports drinks have never been validated,” Heneghan and his colleagues write, and some of them are known to produce highly variable results that may not be reproducible.
Heneghan and his team concluded that claims about sports drinks rely on small studies with comparison groups that favor the products being studied, a lack of rigorous blinding so that participants were likely nudged to perform better while taking in the sports drinks, and measurements of effectiveness that might not be meaningful in real life.
If staying hydrated were as simple as just drinking to thirst, you wouldn’t need expert advice or scientifically formulated products like Gatorade.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Suspense Novelist’s Trail of Deceptions”

Jonathan Karp, the publisher of Simon & Schuster, recently recalled that Mallory, as a junior colleague in the New York book world, had been “Charming, brilliant,” and a “Terrific writer of e-mail.” Tess Gerritsen, the crime writer, met Mallory more than a decade ago, when he was an editorial assistant; she remembers him as “a charming young man” who wrote deft jacket copy.
Mallory had been self-contained-Jeffery West, who taught Mallory in a Duke acting class, and cast him in a production of Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia,” said that he was then a “Gawky, lanky kind of boy, an Other.” After Oxford, Mallory was bolder.
Adam Korn, then a Random House assistant, who saw a lot of Mallory socially, told me that Mallory was “a good guy, lovely to talk to, very informed,” and already “Serious about being a writer.” Another colleague recalled that Mallory immediately “Gave off a vibe of ‘I’m too good for this.'” Ballantine’s books were too down-market; Mallory’s role was too administrative.
An Oxford arts doctorate generally takes at least three or four years; in 2009, midway through his second year, Mallory was signing e-mails, untruthfully, “Dr. Daniel Mallory.” Oxford recently confirmed to me that Mallory never completed the degree.
The London colleague said that Mallory would tell his superiors, “This is a bunch of dullards working for you.” Another colleague said of Mallory, “When he likes you, it’s like the sun shining on you.” But Mallory’s contempt for perceived enemies was disconcertingly sharp.
On February 12, 2013, some people in London who knew Mallory professionally received a group e-mail from Jake Mallory, Dan’s brother, whom they’d never met.
The same night the “Jake” e-mail was sent, an ex-colleague of Mallory’s at Little, Brown received an anonymous e-mail calling her one of the “Nastiest c*nts in publishing.” Mallory was asked about the e-mail, and was told that Little, Brown would contact law enforcement if anything similar happened again.
At Mallory’s request, his psychiatrist confirmed to me that Mallory was given a diagnosis of bipolar II. The psychiatrist said that Mallory, because of his mother’s illness, sometimes had “Somatic complaints, fears, and preoccupations,” including about cancer.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Turbulence Is a Hard Physics Problem”

This is hard because of turbulence, a problem that gives physicists and mathematicians more trouble than you might think.
On the physical side, turbulence happens when a smooth fluid flow starts to split into smaller eddies and vortices.
These swirls then break into smaller swirls, with those swirls begetting ever-smaller whorls, an unpredictable cascade that dissipates the energy from the original smooth stream.
These whorls all affect one another, making it impossible to precisely predict what is going to happen to any particular particle in the fluid you’re measuring.
The mathematics of turbulence would at first appear to present a simpler case.
The Navier-Stokes equations have been used to describe fluid flows since the early 19th century.
They take into account properties of the fluid such as its density and viscosity, along with any forces acting on it.
For all practical purposes – and so long as we don’t ask the equations to predict the exact motions of all the eddies in a turbulent fluid – we know that they work.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why CAPTCHAs have gotten so difficult”

A decade later, after Google had bought the program from Carnegie Mellon researchers and was using it to digitize Google Books, texts had to be increasingly warped and obscured to stay ahead of improving optical character recognition programs – programs which, in a roundabout way, all those humans solving CAPTCHAs were helping to improve.
In 2014, Google pitted one of its machine learning algorithms against humans in solving the most distorted text CAPTCHAs: the computer got the test right 99.8 percent of the time, while the humans got a mere 33 percent.
The problem with many of these tests isn’t necessarily that bots are too clever – it’s that humans suck at them The literature on CAPTCHA is littered with false starts and strange attempts at finding something other than text or image recognition that humans are universally good at and machines struggle with.
Such cultural CAPTCHAs are aimed not just at bots, but at the humans working in overseas CAPTCHA farms solving puzzles for fractions of a cent.
“It’s not only our physical capabilities, you need something that [can] cross cultural, cross language. You need some type of challenge that works with someone from Greece, someone from Chicago, someone from South Africa, Iran, and Australia at the same time. And it has to be independent from cultural intricacies and differences. You need something that’s easy for an average human, it shouldn’t be bound to a specific subgroup of people, and it should be hard for computers at the same time. That’s very limiting in what you can actually do. And it has to be something that a human can do fast, and isn’t too annoying.”
Figuring out how to fix those blurry image quizzes quickly takes you into philosophical territory: what is the universal human quality that can be demonstrated to a machine, but that no machine can mimic? What is it to be human?
“As people put more and more investment into machine learning, those sorts of challenges will have to get harder and harder for humans, and that’s particularly why we launched CAPTCHA V3, to get ahead of that curve.” Malenfant says that five to ten years from now, CAPTCHA challenges likely won’t be viable at all.
In his book The Most Human Human, Brian Christian enters a Turing Test competition as the human foil and finds that it’s actually quite difficult to prove your humanity in conversation.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How To Be Productive When Your Life Is In Chaos”

As you and I both know, that’s not how life works.
We accept that life is chaos and find a way to adapt ourselves.
How do you adapt when life is uncertain? How do you still manage to be productive when you can’t even catch your breath before you have to deal with the next thing?
Before you know it, your whole life can be consumed by something random.
Even though it’s great to be in love, there’s more to life.
We can’t allow ourselves to forget where we are going in life.
No matter how hectic your life is, you can always find 10 minutes to sit down and reflect.
Once you live your life that way, you can’t even function properly without challenges.

The orginal article.

Summary of “One Of The Biggest At-Home DNA Testing Companies Is Working With The FBI”

Family Tree DNA, one of the largest private genetic testing companies whose home-testing kits enable people to trace their ancestry and locate relatives, is working with the FBI and allowing agents to search its vast genealogy database in an effort to solve violent crime cases, BuzzFeed News has learned.
Federal and local law enforcement have used public genealogy databases for more than two years to solve cold cases, including the landmark capture of the suspected Golden State Killer, but the cooperation with Family Tree DNA and the FBI marks the first time a private firm has agreed to voluntarily allow law enforcement access to its database.
While the FBI does not have the ability to freely browse genetic profiles in the library, the move is sure to raise privacy concerns about law enforcement gaining the ability to look for DNA matches, or more likely, relatives linked by uploaded user data.
The Houston-based company, which touts itself as a pioneer in the genetic testing industry and the first to offer a direct-to-consumer test kit, disclosed its relationship with the FBI to BuzzFeed News on Thursday, saying in a statement that allowing access “Would help law enforcement agencies solve violent crimes faster than ever.”
While Family Tree does not have a contract with the FBI, the firm has agreed to test DNA samples and upload the profiles to its database on a case-by-case basis since last fall, a company spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.
Now, under the previously undisclosed cooperation with Family Tree, the FBI has gained access to more than a million DNA profiles from the company, most of which were uploaded before the company’s customers had any knowledge of its relationship with the FBI. Despite the concerns over privacy, officials at Family Tree touted their work with the FBI. “Without realizing it had inadvertently created a platform that, nearly two decades later, would help law enforcement agencies solve violent crimes faster than ever,” the company said in a statement.
Officials at Family Tree said customers could decide to opt out of any familial matching, which would prevent their profiles from being searchable by the FBI. But by doing so, customers would also be unable to use one of the key features of the service: finding possible relatives through DNA testing.
Under the arrangement, the company has also agreed to test DNA evidence for the FBI in its private laboratory.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Good News at Last: The World Isn’t as Horrific as You Think”

Perhaps not on every single measure, or every single year, but step by step, year by year, the world is improving.
Although the world faces huge challenges, we have made tremendous progress.
We still need these dramatic instincts to give meaning to our world.
The number of conflict fatalities has been falling since the second world war, but the Syrian war has reversed this trend.
Our instinct to notice the bad more than the good is related to three things: the misremembering of the past; selective reporting by journalists and activists; and the feeling that as long as things are bad, it’s heartless to say they are getting better.
This tendency to misremember is compounded by the never-ending negative news from across the world.
My guess is you feel that me saying that the world is getting better is like me telling you that everything is fine, and that feels ridiculous.
How can we help our brains to realise that things are getting better? Think of the world as a very sick premature baby in an incubator.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The DIY designer baby project funded with Bitcoin”

For a few years now, Bishop, a 29-year-old programmer and Bitcoin investor, has been leaving a trail of comments about human “Enhancement” on the web.
According to the e-mail, sent in May, Bishop and his partner in the enterprise, Max Berry, a former biotech company lab scientist, were “Starting a company focused on the production of designer babies and human germline genetic engineering.” He noted that “Lab work has started” and “We have an initial parent-couple customer.”
Several weeks ago, a concerned individual sent me a copy of fund-raising slides outlining Bishop’s business proposal, which contains projections of billions in revenue from creating hundreds of thousands of enhanced babies.
According to Bishop’s slides, designer humans wouldn’t be created as they were in China, by injecting gene-editing molecules into an egg at the moment of fertilization.
Bishop is already well known in the cryptocurrency arena: he worked until recently at LedgerX, a Bitcoin exchange, and once added a few lines of code to the underlying software that maintains the digital currency.
Bishop told me then he was working on a designer baby project, but it was his role in Bitcoin-worth $9,072 a coin at the time-that caught my attention.
I never determined if Bishop is sitting on a Bitcoin fortune.
Bishop arranged the tour after I asked him to demonstrate whether there was scientific substance to his project.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The ‘miracle mineral’ the world needs”

Putting phosphorus back into the soil in Africa is particularly important for farmers – and, by extension, for much of the population: eight out of 10 Malawian workers are employed in farming.
These days, most phosphorus in agriculture worldwide comes from mineral fertilisers.
The first phosphorus price shock came in 2008, when the commodity price of rock phosphate, the raw material that is mined, spiked 800%. “That’s when people started to pay attention,” says Dana Cordell, a research director at the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney and co-founder of the Global Phosphorus Research Initiative.
“While all countries and farmers need access to phosphorus, only five countries combined control 88% of remaining phosphate reserves.” Morocco alone has 75% of estimated global reserves, some of it in the occupied territory of Western Sahara.
The solution to Malawi’s phosphorus problems, it turns out, requires more than just pouring mineral fertiliser onto the land.
One of their jobs? Solubilising – which means freeing phosphorus and other nutrients from their bonds and making them available for plants.
Greenhouse experiments show that the tiny organisms facilitate the uptake of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus not just for their hosts, but for other plants, too.
Ultimately, to manage phosphorus sustainably, one has to consider the entire system: from microorganisms to trees, local farmers to fertiliser manufacturers, regional governments to global traders.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Fortnite’s Marshmello concert was a bizarre and exciting glimpse of the future”

Even if you’re not a huge fan of electronic music or have never heard of the EDM producer Marshmello, Fortnite’s live in-game concert was still a shockingly stunning sight to behold – it was also an unprecedented moment in gaming.
It truly felt like a glimpse into the future of interactive entertainment, where the worlds of gaming, music, and celebrity combined to create a virtual experience we’ve never quite seen before.
At 2PM ET today, every one of the likely tens of millions of players of Epic Games’ battle royale title we’re transported to a virtual stage.
There, Christopher Comstock – who goes by the DJ name Marshmello and is known best for his signature food-shaped helmet – began a 10-minute mini-set, all while while up to 60 players across thousands of individual matches were able to watch live.
The stage came to life with building-sized holograms of Fortnite characters, while a custom set of graphics played behind Marshmello’s avatar.
The concert, held at the in-game location Pleasant Park, was teased for days, showing up on Marshmello’s real-life tour schedule and, eventually, advertised via posters within Fortnite itself.
Epic released a Marshmello skin, glider, and emote, alongside a special three-challenge quest for players to earn a matching pickaxe and other items.
Right now, the concert feels like a concerted attempt by Epic to truly out-do itself and raise the stakes for what a live, persistent game world can be capable enough with the right creative minds and technical infrastructure put to the task.

The orginal article.