Summary of “Is there any truth to anti-aging schemes?”

“We were promoting all kinds of ways to slow aging that nowadays are recognized but hadn’t made it into the mainstream yet,” Faloon says.
Barzilai is director of the Institute for Aging Research at New York’s Albert ­Einstein College of Medicine, the lead sponsor of the five-year TAME trial that will soon enroll 3,000 ­participants between ages 65 and 80.
The Cell paper highlighted other ways to disrupt the aging process.
Hariri is a co-founder of Human Longevity Inc., a ­Silicon Valley venture using supercomputers to search for genes related to human aging.
A team at the Mayo Clinic’s Kogod Center on Aging recently managed to destroy senescent cells in mice using a new class of medications called senolytic agents.
Most recently, Faloon underwent a series of infusions of NAD+ molecules, which David Sinclair, co-director of the Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging at Harvard Medical School, has called “The closest we’ve gotten to a fountain of youth.” The molecules help regulate cellular aging but diminish over time.
“People look at aging as something that is very simple,” says Michael Fossel, a former professor of the biology of aging at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.
Aging research can’t promise them-or Bill ­Faloon-​anything.

The orginal article.

Summary of “China Is Genetically Engineering Monkeys With Brain Disorders”

The breeding facility does not itself genetically engineer monkeys, but Feng realized that its huge number of monkeys made it an ideal proving ground for new genetic-engineering technologies.
How could things in the brain go so horribly awry? This basic question had animated his research into brain disorders for three decades, and he thought monkeys might finally unlock some of the answers.
The process of genetically engineering a macaque is not trivial, even with the advanced tools of CRISPR. Researchers begin by dosing female monkeys with the same hormones used in human in vitro fertilization.
In the past few years, China has seen a miniature explosion of genetic engineering in monkeys.
Such was their national importance that the two cloned monkeys were named Zhongzhong and Huahua after zhonghua, which translates to “Chinese nation” or “Chinese people.” Poo was giddy about the breakthrough: With cloning, he said, researchers could more quickly create a colony of identical genetically engineered monkeys instead of engineering one animal at a time.
The lives of monkeys in captivity suddenly seemed very sad. When I mentioned my reaction to both Feng and Desimone, separately, they gave me the same response: The monkeys in labs are well cared for, and what’s more, I shouldn’t idealize monkeys in the wild.
An ethics panel will take up some of the same questions Feng and other researchers are asking themselves: Which diseases are okay to engineer in monkeys? Should monkeys used in research projects be genetically altered to be more humanlike?
Poo, a key figure in the China Brain Project, told me, “There’s no ethical issues … I don’t think there’s any hesitation or problem using monkeys as disease models in preclinical trials.” As long as the monkeys are well cared for, he said it was no different from the current use of neurotoxins to induce Parkinson’s symptoms in monkeys and enable the testing of new treatments.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Deep in the Pentagon, a secret AI program to find hidden nuclear missiles”

Washington is increasingly concerned about Pyongyang’s development of mobile missiles that can be hidden in tunnels, forests and caves.
The Pentagon research on using AI to identify potential missile threats and track mobile launchers is in its infancy and is just one part of that overall effort.
Budget documents reviewed by Reuters noted plans to expand the focus of the mobile missile launcher program to “The remainder of the 4+1 problem sets.” The Pentagon typically uses the 4+1 terminology to refer to China, Russia, Iran, North Korea and terrorist groups.
TURNING TURTLES INTO RIFLES. Both supporters and critics of using AI to hunt missiles agree that it carries major risks.
U.S. Air Force General John Hyten, the top commander of U.S. nuclear forces, said once AI-driven systems become fully operational, the Pentagon will need to think about creating safeguards to ensure humans – not machines – control the pace of nuclear decision-making, the “Escalation ladder” in Pentagon speak.
Experts at the Rand Corporation, a public policy research body, and elsewhere say there is a high probability that countries like China and Russia could try to trick an AI missile-hunting system, learning to hide their missiles from identification.
Dr. Steven Walker, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a pioneer in AI that initially funded what became the Internet, said the Pentagon still needs humans to review AI systems’ conclusions.
Although some officials believe elements of the AI missile program could become viable in the early 2020s, others in the U.S. government and the U.S. Congress fear research efforts are too limited.

The orginal article.

Summary of “China increasingly challenges American dominance of science”

The Spanish geneticist struggled to renew his visa and was even detained for two hours of questioning at a New York City airport after he returned from a trip abroad. In 2012, he made the surprising decision to leave his Ivy League research position and move to China.
The United States spends half a trillion dollars a year on scientific research – more than any other nation on Earth – but China has pulled into second place, with the European Union third and Japan a distant fourth.
China is on track to surpass the United States by the end of this year, according to the National Science Board.
Recent restrictions on H-1B visas sent a message to Chinese graduate students that “It’s time to go home when you finish your degree.” Since 1979, China and the United States have maintained a bilateral agreement, the Cooperation in Science and Technology, to jointly study fields like biomedicine and high-energy physics.
“At this rate, China may soon eclipse the U.S.,” Sen. Bill Nelson warned at a January congressional hearing on the state of American science, “And we will lose the competitive advantage that has made us the most powerful economy in the world.”
“When the program came out in 2008, it was almost perfect timing because of the global economic crisis,” said Cong Cao, who studies Chinese science policy at the University of Nottingham in Ningbo, China.
According to National Science Foundation statistics, China has almost caught up to the United States in its annual number of doctoral degrees in science and engineering, with 34,000 vs. the United States’ 40,000.
While China recently surpassed the United States in sheer volume of scientific papers published, U.S. papers were cited by other researchers more often.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What’s the best way to avoid regrets?”

How should you spend your life if you don’t want to end up filled with regret? The standard modern answer to this ancient question, often based on research by the psychologist Thomas Gilovich, is that we regret inaction more than action: not things we do, but things we fail to do.
Their new series of studies, which I found via the Research Digest blog, hinges on a distinction between what they call the “Ideal self”, the person you’d be if you fulfilled all your goals and ambitions, and the “Ought self”, the person you’d be if you met your obligations to others, and lived a morally upright life.
That’s not merely because everyone’s incredibly selfish, the researchers argue; it’s that we’re more likely to take action to repair ought-self failures, perhaps because they seem more urgent or shameful.
Gilovich and Davidai are appropriately reticent about deriving life advice from their research, but I’m not: these findings are a powerful argument for figuring out what you truly want from life and giving it a shot, even at the risk of others’ negative judgments.
That’s why I like the trick, with its roots in the work of Carl Jung, of flipping the question and asking not what you want from life, but what life wants from you.
When faced with a big life choice, just asking the question that way can be enough to cut through the noise, to the quiet place where you already know what to do.
Read this: contrary to stereotype, philosophers these days tend to avoid pondering the meaning of life.
In his 2015 book A Significant Life, Todd May bucks the trend.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Scientific Argument for Mastering One Thing at a Time”

Research has shown that you are 2x to 3x more likely to stick with your habits if you make a specific plan for when, where, and how you will perform the behavior.
Eventually, your new habit becomes a normal routine and the process is more or less mindless and automatic.
The habit is becoming fairly routine.
The most important thing to note is that there is some “Tipping point” at which new habits become more or less automatic.
The time it takes to build a habit depends on many factors including how difficult the habit is, what your environment is like, your genetics, and more.
You are 2x to 3x more likely to follow through with a habit if you make a specific plan for when, where, and how you are going to implement it.
Research has found that implementation intentions do not work if you try to improve multiple habits at the same time.
Research has shown that any given habit becomes more automatic with more practice.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Machine learning is helping computers spot arguments online before they happen”

Well, we have some good news: scientists are looking into it, and with a little help from machine learning, they could help us stop arguments online before they even happen.
The work comes from researchers at Cornell University, Google Jigsaw, and Wikimedia, who teamed up to create software that scans a conversation for verbal ticks and predicts whether it will end acrimoniously or amiably.
For the scientists, the work shows that we’re on the right path to creating machines that can intervene in online arguments.
“Humans have nagging suspicions when conversations will eventually go bad, and this [research] shows that it’s feasible for us to make computers aware of those suspicions, too,” Justine Zhang, a PhD student at Cornell University who worked on the project, tells The Verge.
Research like this is particularly interesting, as it’s part of an emerging body of work that uses machine learning to analyze online discussions.
In the case of this specific research, you can imagine it being used to intervene in online discussions, giving users a nudge when things look like they’re about to get heated.
Beyond the wider problems of AI moderation, what if a bot like this was adapted to weed out political dissent? Or what if stopping humans from having arguments online is actually a bad thing? No one is claiming that the internet is a model of productive debate, but when a conversation goes wrong, it’s at least an opportunity to find out how not to do things.
Above all, says Zhang, the work showed how unpredictable and dynamic human conversation can be.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Google, Amazon, and Facebook Owe Jürgen Schmidhuber a Fortune”

For decades, Schmidhuber and a handful of other AI savants have pursued the quest for an AGI along similar paths, but only in the past six years has the right mix of powerful computers and plentiful data existed to start turning their theories into reality.
Schmidhuber has a history of, among other things, haranguing fellow researchers in academic journals and at conferences, interrupting speeches to demand that peers admit they’ve borrowed or even stolen his ideas.
Schmidhuber is reasonably sure he has the fate of the human species pretty well figured out.
In 2014, Schmidhuber and four former students set up Nnaisense a few blocks from the university, aiming to pursue commercial partnerships in manufacturing, health, and finance, as well as pure research.
Like his more celebrated AI peers, Schmidhuber spent most of his life on the fringes of computer science.
As the clapping died down, he said he didn’t think the past work was terribly similar to his and that he’d said so in a recent paper, which Schmidhuber already knew.
Where most historians tend to recognize Brits such as Charles Babbage and Alan Turing as the fathers of modern computing, Schmidhuber begins with German engineer Konrad Zuse.
“Either you become something that’s really, really different from a human, or you stay as human for nostalgic reasons,” Schmidhuber predicts.

The orginal article.

Summary of “This Man Is Building an Armada of Saildrones to Conquer the Ocean”

The robotic vessels come from an Alameda startup called Saildrone Inc. Backed by $90 million in venture capital, Saildrone is a big bet on the market for information about the ocean.
During winter, Jenkins traveled to Montana or Canada and ran his yachts on the ice.
In 2009, so did Jenkins, eager to figure out what came after the land yacht.
For two years, Jenkins and a couple of boat building pals rented a little slice of a warehouse for what amounted to a very niche consulting business.
On launch day for the Shark Cafe trackers, Jenkins, driving a forklift with long, extendable arms, lowers two drones into the bay.
From his iPhone, Jenkins can monitor any saildrone around the world.
Building 1,000, the number Jenkins figures would be enough for round-the-clock assessments of the oceans, could cost upwards of $100 million, though that’s still cheaper than a single NOAA research ship.
Like Jenkins, de Halleux is a sailor, and he’s been coaxed into land yachting by his business partner.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Two spaces after period are better than one, except maybe they aren’t, study finds”

In what may be one of the most controversial studies of the year, researchers at Skidmore College-clearly triggered by a change in the American Psychological Association style book-sought to quantify the benefits of two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence.
After conducting an eye-tracking experiment with 60 Skidmore students, Rebecca L. Johnson, Becky Bui, and Lindsay L. Schmitt found that two spaces at the end of a period slightly improved the processing of text during reading.
While modern style, based on the fallacy that computer typography makes such double-spaces redundant and Paleolithic, has demanded the deprecation of the second tap of the space bar after a punctuation full-stop, many have openly resisted this heresy, believing that the extra space is a courtesy to the reader and enhances the legibility of the text.
Some research has suggested closer spacing of the beginning of a new sentence may allow a reader to capture more characters in their parafoveal vision-the area of the retina just outside the area of focus, or fovea-and thus start processing the information sooner.
Having identified subjects’ proclivities, the researchers then gave them 21 paragraphs to read on a computer screen and tracked their eye movement as they read using an Eyelink 1000 video-based eye tracking system.
Two spaces after periods, one space after commas; and.
The “One-spacers” were, as a group, slower readers across the board, and they showed statistically insignificant variation across all four spacing practices.
“Two-spacers” saw a three-percent increase in reading speed for paragraphs in their own favored spacing scheme.

The orginal article.