IEEE Spectrum's weekly selection of awesome robot videos; Google offers free weekly COVID-19 testing for employees; Proposing solutions for social media dysfunction; Proof of concept stem cell therapy for organ transplants; and Four common cognitive biases
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- Video Friday: These Robots Wish You Happy Holidays! - This week, the IEEE Spectrum's weekly selection of awesome robot videos includes the following:
- A video with a holiday message from dancing Jibo home robots from NTT Disruption
- Another video with a robot holiday party, camp fire, and marshmallow roast, from FZI Living Labs.
- Robotiq's video tells a heart-warming story about elves and robots.
- A winter holiday gyro from TUM
- and more
Here is an Astrobotic CubeRover that is currently being tested by NASA:
- Google is offering its US employees free weekly COVID-19 tests that they can administer at home - As reported in The Wall Street Journal, Google is offering free COVID-19 tests from BioIQ. Google will be paying about $50 per test, and employees can test themselves as many as two times per week, which leads to estimates of a possible total outlay in the neighborhood of $4.5 million (24 million STEEM). The test is comprised of a nasal swab that employees can use on themselves and then send to a lab for analysis.
- Solving the social dilemma - Globally, 3 1/2 billion people participate in the social media attention economy and MIT's Sinan Aral says that its not all sunshine and roses. Instead, he argues that social media disrupts our health, our economy, and our elections, and has influence over nearly every facet of our lives. Aral has studied social media for about 20 years, and he was part of a team that showed in 2018 that "fake news" spreads faster than true news, with fake stories being about 70% more likely to receive retweets on Twitter. To reduce the reach and impact of misinformation, Aral favors a combination of automated and user-generated labeling, suggests that federal privacy measures may be useful, and argues for data mobility so that users can migrate easily between competing platforms.
- UMD Researchers Perform Crucial Proof-of-Concept Experiment, Paving the Way for Growing Human Organs for Therapeutics and Transplantation - In StemCell Reports, researchers from Renovate BioSciences and the University of Maryland report observing, for the first time, that "newly established stem cells from pigs, when injected into embryos, contributed to the development of only the organ of interest (the embryonic gut and liver)". According to the team, this research is laying the ground work for stem cell therapy and organ transplantation. The goal is to use stem cells for terminal diseases that have traditionally required organ transplantation, either by creating a new pipeline for supplying organs or by entirely eliminating the need for transplants. This research with pigs is a necessary precursor to developing the technique for human use. The eventual marketplace for this technology with liver transplants may be as much as $3 billion per year, and it is hoped that the technology will eventually also be suitable for other organs. -h/t RealClear Science
- Cognitive biases - Daniel Lemire describes for common cognitive biases: (i) the One-sided bet where a person assumes that an action will only have good consequences; (ii) The Politician's Sylogism, which is the decision to follow a particular course of action simply because "something must be done"; (iii) Confirmation bias, where a person is primed to accept evidence for a belief that is already held; and (iv) Historical pessimism bias, which is the erroneous belief that life was better at some long-past time in history.
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