Summary of “iPhone Bugs Are Too Valuable to Report to Apple”

“I wanna share some news with you,” Krstic said at the Black Hat conference, before announcing that Apple was finally launching a bug bounty program to reward friendly hackers who report bugs to the company.
Researchers I spoke to are reluctant to report bugs both because they are so valuable and because reporting some bugs may actually prevent them from doing more research.
All of them said they have yet to report a bug to Apple, and none of them know of anyone who has.
One of the reasons why the researchers we talked to aren’t itching to report bugs is that Apple’s rewards aren’t as high as they could or maybe should be.
In the private, gray market, where companies such as Zerodium buy exploits from researchers and sell them to their customers, a method comprised of multiple bugs that can jailbreak the iPhone is valued at $1.5 million.
“Either you report and kill your own bugs, or you decide not to report the bugs so that you don’t complicate your own life and you can keep doing research,” another researcher who was invited to Apple’s bug bounty program said.
Until Apple provides those devices, or invites more people to participate, the bug bounty program will have a hard time attracting serious attention from independent white-hat iPhone hackers.
In a way, the lack of bug submissions should also be seen as a testament to the security of the iPhone, but also as a sign the program needs changes, and perhaps more people looking for bugs, according to Guido.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Science Says Extremely Happy People All Share This Conversation Style”

The verdict from intriguing new research is in and the results couldn’t be clearer – too much small talk puts a serious dent in your well-being.
Having more substantive conversations will almost certainly make you happier.
The researchers then carefully coded these recordings, marking which were vacuous small talk, which were discussions of significant topics like current events, and which were functional conversations about things like who would take out the trash.
“Mehl and his team found that the happiest person in the study had twice as many substantive conversations, and only one-third the amount of small talk, as the unhappiest person,” reports author Jenn Granneman on Psychology Today.
Why does swapping mindless pleasantries for thornier subjects seem to have such a large effect on people’s mood? “By engaging in meaningful conversations, we manage to impose meaning on an otherwise pretty chaotic world, and interpersonally, as you find this meaning, you bond with your interactive partner, and we know that interpersonal connection and integration is a core fundamental foundation of happiness,” Mehl told the New York Times.
She even provides alternatives to standard conversation starters that can help you do just that.
It’s worth noting that it’s neither possible nor desirable to banish small talk entirely.
If you’re standing in line with a stranger and that level of interaction is just going to be weird, then small talk beats no talk at all.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Aging on Nautilus: Why Aging Research Is Taking Off”

Last year, Verdin was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, the largest independent research institute devoted to aging research.
The Buck, founded in 1999 by Marin County philanthropists Leonard and Beryl Hamilton Buck, includes more than 250 researchers working across disciplines to slow aging.
Why is there so much energy and excitement surrounding aging research right now?
The whole idea of aging was sort of an entropy problem where everything falls apart like your car rusting, but what these papers showed is that you can make a single change in one whole organism like C. elegans with a 100 million base pair [genome], and you can double its lifespan.
In the last 15 to 20 years, we’ve identified a whole series of pathways that are really key in regulating the rate of aging.
You recently became the president and CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, which focuses on research aimed at increasing healthspan.
Why isn’t there more interest in aging research in the larger biomedical community?
You would not go see a cardiologist; you would go see someone who specializes in aging and who would optimize the rate at which you are aging.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why a moratorium on microaggressions policies is needed”

Across college campuses and the corporate landscape, a big idea has taken hold: the notion that microaggressions – subtle but offensive comments or actions directed at minorities or other powerless people – can lower performance, lead to ostracism, increase anxiety, and sometimes cause so much psychological pain that the recipient might even commit suicide.
A popular Facebook page, The Microaggressions Project, was launched in 2010 to document instances of microaggressions and to demonstrate ‘how these comments create and enforce uncomfortable, violent, and unsafe realities onto people’s workplace, home, school, childhood/adolescence/adulthood, and public transportation/space environments’.
Over the past few years, the concept of microaggression has made its way into public discussions at dozens, if not hundreds, of colleges and universities, with many institutions offering workshops or seminars to faculty members on identifying and avoiding microaggressions.
Microaggressions have not been defined with nearly enough clarity and consensus to allow rigorous scientific investigation.
No one has shown that microaggressions exert an adverse impact on mental health.
According to some expansive definitions of microaggressions, this article itself could presumably constitute a microaggression, as it challenges the subjective experience of certain minority-group individuals.
Sue himself says that many racial microaggressions are so subtle that neither target nor perpetrator might entirely understand what is going on.
In a study of microaggressions experienced by African-American faculty members in counselling and psychology programmes, the researchers identified a student calling a professor by his or her first name as a microaggression.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Are Smartphones Making Us Stupid?”

It’s nice to have some empirical evidence to remind us all to keep our smartphones out of sight whenever we need to be fully present and in the moment.
For their latest research on the reduction of cognitive capacity caused by the mere sight of one’s own smartphone, Adrian Ward and co-authors from McCombs conducted two different experiments with nearly 800 smartphone users.
Participants were randomly assigned to place their smartphones either on the desk face down, in their pocket or personal bag, or in another room.
In the second experiment, the researchers found that participants who had been identified as extremely dependent on their smartphones performed much worse on cognitive tests than their less-dependent peers if they kept their smartphones on the desk, in their pocket, or in a bag.
The good news is that when the smartphone was placed in another room, all study participants-regardless of someone’s pre-existing degree of smartphone dependence-performed equally well on cognitive capacity tests.
Adrian Ward summed up his team’s research findings in a statement to UT Austin: “We see a linear trend that suggests that as the smartphone becomes more noticeable, participants’ available cognitive capacity decreases. Your conscious mind isn’t thinking about your smartphone, but that process-the process of requiring yourself to not think about something-uses up some of your limited cognitive resources. It’s a brain drain.”
Luckily for all of us, putting your smartphone in another room, a pocket, or the bottom of a bag seems to be an easy remedy for this problem.
Remember: Anytime you need to optimize attentional control and cognitive function, keeping smartphones out of sight helps to boost brain power and minimize brain drain.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Want to Stay Young Longer? Science Says This Exercise Makes Your Body Act Like It’s 9 Years Younger”

Now, researchers from Brigham Young University say they’ve found that a certain type of physical exercise can slow the aging process within our cells.
That ultimately means better health, and physical conditioning that matches the natural age progression of a significantly younger person-as many as nine years younger.
So let’s dive right into the study and examine what the researchers claim-along with exactly how much exercise we’re talking about here to achieve the results.
Researchers at BYU, led by a professor of exercise science named Larry Tucker, studied 5,823 adults who had participated in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research project called the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
They’re like our biological clock and they’re extremely correlated with age; each time a cell replicates, we lose a tiny bit of the endcaps.
According to Tucker’s paper, which was published in the July 2017 edition of Preventive Medicine, that results in a “Biologic aging advantage of nine years.”
As for the BYU research project, the question of exactly how physical exercise preserves telomere length wasn’t part of the study; Tucker surmises it might be tied to either oxidative stress or inflammation.
“We all know people that seem younger than their actual age. The more physically active we are, the less biological aging takes place in our bodies.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Pay attention: Practice can make your brain better at focusing”

Practicing paying attention can boost performance on a new task, and change the way the brain processes information, a new study says.
“The brain is still figuring out ways to make itself better.” There’s a long-standing debate about how exactly paying attention helps us learn.
The question is: which part of this attention equation is more important for learning, and how is it affected by practice? To find out, researchers led by Sirawaj Itthipuripat at the University of California, San Diego, subjected 12 research participants to the least entertaining computer game in the world, while measuring their brain activity.
The researchers suspect that this more automatic phase is the result of the brain fine-tuning what exactly it needs to pay attention to, basically switching over to a process that’s more like muting the volume on the rest of the orchestra.
For some of the sessions, the students were told where the contrast-boosted circle might appear, and to pay attention to that spot.
Turns out, the students got much better at picking out the correct, contrast-boosted circle after two or three days of training when they knew which part of the screen to pay attention to.
Then as the task becomes more natural, another mechanism takes over that refines the pattern of brain activity that drives the task, cutting down on the neural background noise.
“The brain is still figuring out ways to make itself better.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Facebook’s AI accidentally created its own language”

Researchers from the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research lab recently made an unexpected discovery while trying to improve chatbots.
The bots – known as “Dialog agents” – were creating their own language – well, kinda.
Using machine learning algorithms, dialog agents were left to converse freely in an attempt to strengthen their conversational skills.
Over time, the bots began to deviate from the scripted norms and in doing so, started communicating in an entirely new language – one they created without human input.
In an attempt to better converse with humans, chatbots took it a step further and got better at communicating without them – in their own sort of way.
Researchers also found these bots to be incredibly crafty negotiators.
After learning to negotiate, the bots relied on machine learning and advanced strategies in an attempt to improve the outcome of these negotiations.
Over time, the bots became quite skilled at it and even began feigning interest in one item in order to “Sacrifice” it at at a later stage in the negotiation as a faux compromise.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Talking to Boys the Way We Talk to Girls”

The words they use with sons are more focused on achievement – such as “Win” and “Proud.” Researchers believe that these discrepancies in fathers’ language may contribute to “The consistent findings that girls outperform boys in school achievement outcomes.”
They are nearly four times more likely to tell girls than boys to be more careful if undertaking the same activity again.
In his book “Manhood in America,” Michael Kimmel, the masculine studies researcher and author, maintains that “The traditional liberal arts curriculum is seen as feminizing by boys.” Nowhere is this truer than in English classes where, as I’ve witnessed after more than 20 years of teaching, boys and young men police each other when other guys display overt interest in literature or creative writing assignments.
Such squelching messages run counter-intuitively to male wiring, it turns out: Guys are born more emotionally sensitive than girls.
“So the ‘manning up’ of infant boys begins early on in their typical interactions,” Dr. Tronick said, “And long before language plays its role.”
Judy Chu, a human biologist, conducted a two-year study of 4- and 5-year-old boys and found that they were as astute as girls at reading other people’s emotions and at cultivating close, meaningful friendships.
In her book “When Boys Become Boys” she maintains that by the time the boys reached first grade, sometimes earlier, they traded their innate empathy for a learned stoicism and greater emotional distance from friends.
How can we change this? We can start, says Dr. David, by letting boys experience their emotions, all of them, without judgment – or by offering them solutions.

The orginal article.

Summary of “An Artificial Intelligence Developed Its Own Non-Human Language”

A buried line in a new Facebook report about chatbots’ conversations with one another offers a remarkable glimpse at the future of language.
In the report, researchers at the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research lab describe using machine learning to train their “Dialog agents” to negotiate.
At one point, the researchers write, they had to tweak one of their models because otherwise the bot-to-bot conversation “Led to divergence from human language as the agents developed their own language for negotiating.” They had to use what’s called a fixed supervised model instead. In other words, the model that allowed two bots to have a conversation-and use machine learning to constantly iterate strategies for that conversation along the way-led to those bots communicating in their own non-human language.
The detail about language is, as one tech entrepreneur put it, a mind-boggling “Sign of what’s to come.”
They do demonstrate how machines are redefining people’s understanding of so many realms once believed to be exclusively human-like language.
Already, there’s a good deal of guesswork involved in machine learning research, which often involves feeding a neural net a huge pile of data then examining the output to try to understand how the machine thinks.
The fact that machines will make up their own non-human ways of conversing is an astonishing reminder of just how little we know, even when people are the ones designing these systems.
“There remains much potential for future work,” Facebook’s researchers wrote in their paper, “Particularly in exploring other reasoning strategies, and in improving the diversity of utterances without diverging from human language.”

The orginal article.