By BeauHD from Slashdot's contrary-to-popular-belief department
Science_afficionado writes: Are you a cat lover? A dog lover? If so, you may be interested in the first scientific study to actually count the number of cortical neurons in the brains of a number of carnivores, including cats and dogs. Bottom line: Dogs have about twice as many of these "little grey cells" as cats. These "little gray cells" are associated with thinking, planning and complex behavior. The study found that dogs have about 530 million cortical neurons while cats have about 250 million. (For comparison, the human brain has 16 billion.) Another interesting discovery was that carnivores have about the same ratio of neurons to brain size as that of herbivores, "suggesting that there is just as much evolutionary pressure on the herbivores to develop the brain power to escape from predators as there is on carnivores to catch them," reports Vanderbilt University. "The study's findings also challenge the prevailing view that domesticated animals have smaller brains than their wild cousins. The ratios of brain size to body weight of the domestic species they analyzed -- ferret, cat and dog -- did not scale in a significantly different manner from those of their wild relatives -- mongoose, raccoon, hyena, lion and brown bear." The results of the study are described in a paper titled "Dogs have the most neurons, though not the largest brain: Trade-off between body mass and number of neurons in the cerebral cortex of large carnivoran species" accepted for publication in the open access journal Frontiers in Neuroanatomy.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's future-of-work department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNNMoney: The McKinsey Global Institute cautions that as many as 375 million workers will need to switch occupational categories by 2030 due to automation. The work most at risk of automation includes physical jobs in predictable environments, such as operating machinery or preparing fast food. Data collection and processing is also in the crosshairs, with implications for mortgage origination, paralegals, accounts and back-office processing. To remain viable, workers must embrace retraining in different fields. But governments and companies will need to help smooth what could be a rocky transition.
Despite the looming challenges, the report revealed how workers can move forward. While the introduction of the personal computer in the 1980s eliminated some jobs, it created many more roles. Workers who are willing to develop new skills should be able to find new jobs. The authors don't expect automation will displace jobs involving managing people, social interactions or applying expertise. Gardeners, plumbers, child and elder-care workers are among those facing less risk from automation. The report says that 39 million to 73 million jobs in the U.S. could be destroyed, but about 20 million of those displaced workers can be shifted fairly easily into similar occupations. Globally, up to 800 million workers could be displaced.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's never-before-seen department
Two teams of researchers have published papers [1, 2] in the journal Nature detailing how they were able to create unprecedented quantum simulators consisting of over 50 qubits. The University of Maryland team and National Institute of Standards and Technology team -- the two teams behind one of the two new papers -- were able to create a quantum simulator with 53 qubits. Motherboard reports: Quantum simulators are a special type of quantum computer that uses qubits to simulate complex interactions between particles. Qubits are the informational medium of quantum computers, analogous to a bit in an ordinary computer. Yet rather than existing as a 1 or 0, as is the case in a conventional bit, a qubit can exist in some superposition of both of these states at the same time. For the Maryland experiment, each of the qubits was a laser cooled ytterbium ion. Each ion had the same electrical charge, so they repelled one another when placed in close proximity. The system created by Monroe and his colleagues used an electric field to force the repelled ions into neat rows. At this point, lasers are used to manipulate all the ytterbium qubits into the same initial state. Then another set of lasers is used to manipulate the qubits so that they act like atomic magnets, where each ion has a north and south pole. The qubits either orient themselves with their neighboring ions to form a ferromagnet, where their magnetic fields are aligned, or at random. By changing the strength of the laser beams that are manipulating the qubits, the researchers are able to program them to a desired state (in terms of magnetic alignment).
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By BeauHD from Slashdot's subject-to-the-new-order department
Nearly a year after the case was initially filed, Coinbase has been ordered to turn over identifying records for all users who have bought, sold, sent, or received more than $20,000 through their accounts in a single year. The digital asset broker estimates that 14,355 users meet the government's requirements. The Verge reports: For each account, the company has been asked to provide the IRS with the user's name, birth date, address, and taxpayer ID, along with records of all account activity and any associated account statements. The result is both a definitive link to the user's identity and a comprehensive record of everything they've done with their Coinbase account, including other accounts to which they've sent money. The order is significantly narrower than the IRS's initial request, which asked for records on every single Coinbase user over the same period. That request would also have required all communications between Coinbase and the user, a measure the judge ultimately found unnecessarily comprehensive. The government made no claim of suspicion against individual users, but instead argued that the order was justified based on the discrepancy between Coinbase users and U.S. citizens reporting Bitcoin gains to the IRS.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's fine-line department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Quartz: Snap announced today (Nov. 29), that it was rolling out a redesign for Snapchat that's intended to separate users' feeds between their friends from the brands that publish content on the app. Founder and CEO Evan Spiegel published an op-ed in Axios this morning about the direction that social media has taken over the last few years, where content from brands and influencers has been given the same weight and placement as content from friends and loved ones in users' feeds. Spiegel also took to YouTube, for the second time in about two years, to explain how the new Snapchat works.
The new structure seems like a positive move. It's sort of solidifying the app, which turned down $3 billion from Facebook in 2013, as the "anti-Facebook." Facebook has muddled the line between content, news about friends, and pure internet garbage to the point where it's become nearly impossible for the average user to know what's important, or even true -- on purpose. Snapchat is reaffirming the value of staying connected to your friends, and enjoying news and entertainment content, but showing that the two activities should not be the same thing. Whether this restructuring will convince more people to start using Snapchat, however, is unclear.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's electric-efficiency department
Tesla's Model 3 has a confirmed range of 310 miles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. "That figure applies to the long-range version of the Model 3, and echoes the vehicle specs released by Tesla back in July," reports The Verge. "It also makes the Model 3 one of the most efficient passenger electric vehicles on the market." From the report: The EPA's range is used as the advertised figure for electric vehicles that are sold in the US. The 310-mile range is an estimate of the number of miles the vehicle should be able to travel in combined city and highway driving from a full charge. That's 131 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (MPGe) for city driving, 120 MPGe on the highway, and 126 MPGe combined. You'll have to pay more to get that extended range, though. Tesla said it would be selling a standard version of the Model 3, with just 220 miles of range, for $35,000. The long-range version will start at $44,000, the automaker says. Production on the standard version isn't expected to begin until 2018.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's working-in-the-trees department
Armand Winter shares a report from ZDNet: Microsoft president Brad Smith said the company will spend $150 million in transport infrastructure, public spaces, sports fields and green space. It expects the project will create 2,500 construction and development jobs. Microsoft's renovation budget is modest compared with the $5 billion Apple spent on its new spaceship headquarters in Cupertino, while Microsoft's Washington neighbor and cloud rival, Amazon, will spend $5 billion on a second North American headquarters, which will offer space for 50,000 people. "We are not only creating a world-class work environment to help retain and attract the best and brightest global talent, but also building a campus that our neighbors can enjoy, and that we can build in a fiscally smart way with low environmental impact," said Smith in a blog post.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cease-and-desist department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNET: Whether you love to add a little sparkle to your skin, or you think glitter truly is the herpes of the craft world (once it's on you, it never comes off), some scientists are now claiming that glitter is a hazard to the environment. Glitter, along with microbeads, are considered to fall under the category of microplastics, which are defined as plastics which are less than five millimeters in length. Microbeads are often found in facial scrubs, toothpaste, soaps, cosmetics and more. These microbeads pass through water filtration systems after usage but don't disintegrate, and often end up being consumed by marine life, causing concern among scientists keeping a close eye on how pollution effects fish.
"I think all glitter should be banned, because it's microplastic," Dr. Trisia Farrelly of New Zealand's Massey University told the Independent. Historically, glitter was made from mica rock particles, glass and even crushed beetles. Modern-day crafting glitter is made primarily from metals, while fine-milled cosmetic glitter is made from polyester, foil and plastics.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's down-time department
Fearful of missing out on the frenzy in the Bitcoin world, several people were left disappointed on Wednesday noon after they were unable to buy some cryptocurrency because the websites of Coinbase and Gemini, two of the largest online exchanges for Bitcoin trading in the United States, were either down or taking too long to load, they said. In a statement, Coinbase said it was facing issues handling the overwhelming traffic it has been receiving on its website. Bitcoin surged past $11,000, the highest it has ever been, early Wednesday, though it has since taken a tumble as well, going as low as $9,290.30. Gemini said in a tweet it had resolved the performance issues, though some users continue to report delays on the website. Bitcoin's professional trading platform GDAX and exchanges Kraken and Bitstamp were also facing issues on Wednesday. The issues had been addressed, they said.Read Replies (0)