Summary of “‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Solves the Modern Movie Villain Problem”

Where once there was Vader, now there is his grandson, Ben Solo, reborn as the self-styled heavy-in-waiting Kylo Ren.
Driver’s clambering gait and shaved-ape bearing gave Kylo Ren a quality of being not-quite-evolved, as if he hadn’t finished growing into his cowl and mask.
Throughout The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren take a star tour across pop psychology’s greatest hits: He mocks the graceful heartthrob Dameron like a nerd turning the tides on the high school quarterback; he mewls at his mentor, the shadowy Snoke, desperate for his approval but unyielding in his arrogance; and in an Oedipal twist, he murders his own father, a show of faith to the dark side and also real stakes in the film.
The big-top movie franchises, upon which so much of the scaffolding of the film industry is hanging, have one big problem: The villains suck.
At the end of a simmering, balletic battle, Kylo turns toward Rey and reaches out to her: Join me, he says.
We still don’t quite know what happened between Luke and Kylo, not really.
Through much of The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren wears a mask that is one part downhill racer and one part paintball fetishist.
The kind that make us ask, Who hurt you? Kylo Ren may be a boy at heart, but he’s a villain in full.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Pentagon’s Secret Search for UFOs”

The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program, whose existence was not classified but operated with the knowledge of an extremely limited number of officials, was the brainchild of then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who first secured the appropriation to begin the program in 2009 with the support of the late Senators Daniel Inouye and Ted Stevens, two World War II veterans who were similarly concerned about the potential national security implications, the sources involved in the effort said.
The origins of the program, the existence of which the Pentagon confirmed on Friday, are being revealed publicly for the first time by POLITICO and the New York Times in nearly simultaneous reports on Saturday.
One possible theory behind the unexplained incidents, according to a former congressional staffer who described the motivations behind the program, was that a foreign power-perhaps the Chinese or the Russians-had developed next-generation technologies that could threaten the United States.
The revelation of the program could give a credibility boost to UFO theorists, who have long pointed to public accounts by military pilots and others describing phenomena that defy obvious explanation, and could fuel demands for increased transparency about the scope and findings of the Pentagon effort, which focused some of its inquiries into sci-fi sounding concepts like “Wormholes” and “Warp drives.” The program also drafted a series of what the office referred to as “Queried unverified event under evaluation,” QUEU reports, in which pilots and other personnel who had reported encounters were interviewed about their experiences.
Reid initiated the program, which ultimately spent more than $20 million, through an earmark after he was persuaded in part by aerospace titan and hotel chain founder Bob Bigelow, a friend and fellow Nevadan who owns Bigelow Aerospace, a space technology company and government contractor.
In his resignation letter, addressed to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Elizondo said the efforts of his program were not being taken sufficiently seriously.
The Pentagon’s AATIP program marked a 21st-century effort to replicate some of the decades of inconclusive research undertaken by the Pentagon in 1950s and 1960s to try to explain thousands of reported sightings of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, by military and civilian pilots and average citizens-particularly an effort known as Project Bluebook that ran from 1947 to 1969 and is still a focus of intense interest for UFO researchers.
Some who were aware of the effort in its earliest days were uncomfortable with the aims of the program, unnerved by the implication that the incidents involved aircraft that were not made by humans.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Beyond Machine Sight”

Humans train computers to recognize specific content by “Showing” them a glut of images that both do and do not include the item the programmer wants the computer to recognize.
“Computer vision,” then, mislabels the agency and the process, a verbal misdirection that obscures serious problems.
Labeling facial recognition a type of “Computer vision” dangerously implies a level of nonhuman neutrality and insight that the software does not posses.
“Computer vision” is verbal misdirection, mislabeling the agency and the process.
While human visual standards still judge the success of this training, the process is more intrinsic to the machine than shallower computer vision techniques.
One of the reasons Li valorizes computer vision is in the hopes that it will be able to see what humans are not capable of seeing in their totality: the videos and pictures that make up 85 percent of internet content, what she calls “The dark matter of the digital age.” No human could physically “See,” much less understand, all those images, but a well-trained machine potentially could.
The New Scientist article on the Cambridge study described computers “Seeing through” disguises, but the tactic also brings to mind a blind person running their hands over a loved one’s face.
If we mainly focus on computer vision, we may be numbed into viewing our tactile relationship with machines as simple and self-evident rather than fraught and entangled.

The orginal article.

Summary of “10 Schools of Philosophy and Why You Should Know Them”

The key idea of it is the lack of belief in meaning or substance in an area of philosophy.
Moral nihilism argues that moral facts cannot exist; metaphysical nihilism argues that we cannot have metaphysical facts; existential nihilism is the idea that life cannot have meaning and nothing has value-this is the kind that most people think of when they hear the word.
Hedonism is the idea that pleasure or happiness is the one thing with intrinsic value.
This idea has been held by many other schools across history, most famously the utilitarians.
Marxism is a school based on the collected ideas of Karl Marx, the 19th century German philosopher, and the related ideas others have added after his death.
His key ideas are all critiques of capitalism, such as the idea that the capitalist mode of production alienates us from the results of our labor, the tendency of capitalism to overproduce and crash as a result, and the labor theory of value.
Most of you are probably familiar with the idea of “Cultural relativism” which is the notion that the morality of two differing cultures cannot be compared and a person outside of one culture cannot critique the values and morality of another.
The many schools of Buddhism are rather diverse in their thought, bound together primarily by the Buddha’s ideas on suffering.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Exercise May Aid Parkinson’s Disease, but Make It Intense”

Animal studies already had shown that exercise reduced symptoms and slowed physical decline in a rodent version of Parkinson’s.
Many of these earlier studies had used many different types and amounts of exercise, and none had systematically compared different varieties of exercise head-to-head.So for the new study, which was published in JAMA Neurology, the researchers decided to treat exercise as if it were a drug and carefully track the safety and effectiveness of different “Doses” of exercise in a formal Phase 2 clinical trial.
Likewise those in the moderate exercise group showed declines of around two points, meaning that, by the study’s standards, the exercise had been “Futile” as a Parkinson’s treatment.
Almost everyone in both exercise groups had managed to complete six months of regular exercise without injuries and with only sporadic complaints of sore muscles.
The study was not designed to determine why intense exercise slowed the progression of Parkinson’s and moderate exercise did not.
A larger, longer-term Phase 3 study of intense exercise as a treatment for early Parkinson’s also is needed, he says, and is now justified, based on these results.
In the meantime, the results indicate that someone who has recently received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s might consider “An intense exercise program,” he says.
The findings are encouraging, suggesting that intense exercise is unlikely to be harmful and, in meaningful ways, could help.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Neuroscience Has a Lot To Learn from Buddhism”

Can training the mind make us more attentive, altruistic, and serene? Can we learn to manage our disturbing emotions in an optimal way? What are the transformations that occur in the brain when we practice meditation? In a new book titled Beyond the Self, two friends-Matthieu Ricard, who left a career as a molecular biologist to become a Buddhist monk in Nepal, and Wolf Singer, a distinguished neuroscientist-engage in an unusually well-matched conversation about meditation and the brain.
Such intellectual constructs cannot replace two millennia of direct investigation of the workings of mind through penetrating introspection conducted with trained minds that have become both stable and clear.
Singer: What you have to learn then is to adopt a much more subtle approach to your internal emotional theater, to learn to identify with much higher resolution the various connotations of your feelings.
In the beginning, it is difficult to do it as soon as an emotion arises, but if you become increasingly familiar with such an approach, it becomes quite natural.
Once these developmental processes come to an end, the connectivity of the brain becomes fixed, and large-scale modifications are no longer possible.
Do you think you can apply the same learning strategy to your emotions by learning to pay attention to them, differentiate them, and thereby familiarize yourself with their dynamics so as to later become able to rely on automatized routines for their management in case of conflict?
In brain scans, one observes that different brain structures take over when skills that are initially acquired under the control of consciousness become automatic.
To become a real expert seems to require then at least as much training as is required to become a world-class violin or piano player.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Drugs To Fight ‘Neglected Tropical Diseases’ Can Cost Far More In The U.S. Than Abroad”

It’s one of several drugs for “Neglected tropical diseases” that are priced differently in the United States than they are in the developing world.
Drugs for diseases of the developing world, in particular what are known as “Neglected tropical diseases” like hookworm and leishmaniasis, are enormously more expensive in the United States than in the developing world.
Prices for generic drugs that treat neglected tropical diseases are skyrocketing in the U.S. When a disease affects only a small number of patients in the U.S., “There’s less incentive for generic companies to enter the market,” Alpern explains.
Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, says certain neglected tropical diseases in the U.S. are surprisingly widespread, especially among those who may not be able to afford treatment.
“We have now identified nearly half-a-dozen neglected tropical diseases that are widespread in the U.S. among the poor, especially in the American South,” says Hotez, who last year published Blue Marble Health, a book evaluating neglected diseases in America.
In the years following albendazole’s price hike in 2011, Medicaid spending on the drug went from under $100,000 in 2008 to more than $7.5 million in 2013.
Medicaid spending on Daraprim, another tropical disease drug that just experienced a price hike, went from $2.2 million in 2014 to $15.7 million in 2015.
According to its website, Impax is “Committed to making ENVERM more affordable.” The pharmaceutical company shared an online coupon that can save patients up to $60 for a prescription that would cost more than $369. Alpern hopes to see more companies start manufacturing the generic version of the drug.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Modern life is lonely. We all need someone to help”

What these stories illustrate is the way in which the threat of loneliness is hardwired into modern life.
Practical people doing practical things – travelling far for a job opportunity, opting for the accommodation they can afford, under unbending rules – learn the hard way that human beings can only take so much practical.
Engineering a large-scale change in people’s feelings – it’s a hard thing to do.
Most people understand that loneliness is neither necessarily felt by people who are alone, nor alien to people who are always with others.
Even a community with little in the way of material resources finds some contentment in being in a group of people who are all in it together.
The Cox report mentions social institutions that are becoming a less and less common aspect of people’s daily lives – church, local pub, workplace, social club.
Even schools feel like high-pressure environments rather than places where people are nurtured and coaxed through childhood.
How anyone at all still manages to feel secure in their own company is the real mystery of life today.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What You Need to Know Before Seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

The New Republic didn’t want to jeopardize the peace by attacking them, but it looked the other way when erstwhile princess Leia Organa formed a paramilitary force called the Resistance to fight the First Order.
Back in the original trilogy of Star Wars flicks, Luke went from podunk farm boy to last living practitioner of the ancient Jedi arts.
Luke felt responsible for what happened and went into self-imposed exile, searching for the first temple of the Jedi.
The First Order and the Resistance both showed up and launched into a battle, during which Kylo nabbed her.
Once he’d destroyed the Jedi academy, Kylo joined up with Snoke’s First Order and sought to be as powerful a practitioner of the dark arts as his idolized grandfather, Darth Vader.
At Maz Kanata’s castle, he gave up his little fib and tried to abandon the mission out of fear, but was reinvigorated after seeing the First Order blow up the New Republican capital.
Leia OrganaThe Galaxy’s premiere badass member of a royal family had a rough go of it in TFA. As we mentioned earlier, she was the leader of the Resistance, having formed it in response to the New Republic’s inaction to the rise of the First Order.
When we last saw him, he told Hux to get Kylo and escape Starkiller Base so Snoke could complete Kylo’s training.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Stopping the Rise of Superbugs by Making Them Fight For Food”

Every time scientists identify a new substance that can hold back the tide of infectious disease, resistant superbugs surge over that barrier in a matter of years.
So why aren’t all microbes already resistant to all drugs?
These costs mean that, under normal conditions, resistant microbes grow more slowly than their susceptible peers, and are almost always outcompeted.
Antibiotics tip the balance of this competition by finally giving the resistant microbes a huge advantage; their susceptible rivals die off, and they can finally take over.
These alternatives are shut down by the same mutations that make the parasites resistant to pyrimethamine.
That’s encouraging, Wale says, especially because she used tens of thousands of resistant parasites in these competitive experiments-far more than would normally exist when they first emerge in the real world.
These “Resource limiters” aren’t meant to kill the parasites, but to put the resistant ones at a perpetual disadvantage so a standard antibiotic can finish off the rest.
Some groups are working on substances that stop antibiotics from reaching the gut, and fomenting the evolution of resistant superbugs there.

The orginal article.