A Steem photo-essay describes the mistletoe plant and provides some photos; North Dakota's contact tracing app sends data to FourSquare; Coinbase announces shift to "remote first" after COVID lockdowns end; A robot that can use gait analysis to guess how people are feeling; and Researchers with computer-model determine that Neanderthal went extinct do to resource competition, not climate change
Curating the Internet: Science and techology digest for May 24, 2020
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First posted on my Steem blog: SteemIt.
pixabay license: source.
- Steem @oppongk:Mistletoe on its Host plant - I have heard of the tradition of hanging mistletoe at Christmas time ever since I was a kid, but I'm not sure that I've ever seen what the actual plant looks like. In this photo-essay, the author posts some photos of mistletoe in the wild, and describes the plants lifecycle as a parasite that serves as food for birds, but damages the host plants that it grows on by injecting toxins and stealing nutrients. (A 10% beneficiary setting has been applied to this post for @oppongk.)
- Post COVID-19, Coinbase will be a remote-first company - Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong announces in an e-mail to employees and public blog post that the firm is switching their business model to a new model where employees are given the option to work in an office or remotely in "the vast majority of roles". This switch will continue after government-imposed lockdowns are lifted. As a result of this change, the post says that the company hopes to help build a world with more economic freedom, where wealth is not tied to location. They also hope to be able to attract top talent. Armstrong defines, "Remote first" as the option to work remotely for employees who want it, and the option to work in an office for the employees who don't. As a result of the change, the company estimates that 20-60% of employees will work remotely when the lockdowns are lifted.
- This Robot Can Guess How You're Feeling by the Way You Walk - Subtitle: Walk like you're angry, and the emotionally intelligent machine will give you more room, leaving your personal bubble intact. - People can observe each other's moods by picking up subtle cues from facial expression and mannerisms like gait. Now, researchers from the University of Maryland have developed ProxEmo to do the same thing. The robot is capable of mobility and uses wheels for navigation. It uses the emotional clues that it observes in order to plan its route. If someone seems angry, the robot might choose a more circuitous route. Researcher, Aniket Bera adds, "If somebody's feeling sad or confused, the robot can go up to the person and say, Oh you're looking sad today, do you need help?". The article also notes that the robot operates off of perceived emotions, and that it's not possible to be 100% accurate about a person's internal emotional state. Not even humans can do that. -h/t Communications of the ACM: Artificial Intelligence
- Supercomputer model simulations reveal cause of Neanderthal extinction - It is well established that the decline of the Neanderthals, who occupied Europe for 300,000 years, happened at the same time as major climate changes and also the arrival of Homo Sapiens on the continent, but researchers have been unsure which factor was most influential in their decline. As a result, researchers from the IBS Center for Climate Physics, including Axel Timmermann, built a computer model to try to sort it all out. The findings are summarized as follows:
What exactly caused the rapid Neanderthal demise has remained elusive for a long time. This new computer modeling approach identifies competitive exclusion as the likely reason for the disappearance of our cousins. “Neanderthals lived in Eurasia for the last 300,000 years and experienced and adapted to abrupt climate shifts, that were even more dramatic than those that occurred during the time of Neanderthal disappearance. It is not a coincidence that Neanderthals vanished just at the time, when Homo sapiensstarted to spread into Europe” says Timmermann. He adds “The new computer model simulations show clearly that this event was the first major extinction caused by our own species”.-h/t archaeology.org
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