[ gsmarena.com ] Counterclockwise: plotting the average camera resolution through the years

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Counterclockwise: plotting the average camera resolution through the years

The camera megapixel race is dead as most flagships have scaled back and instead chosen to race with wider apertures and secondary snappers. But mid-range and entry-level phones have been catching up in the megapixel count, pushing the average higher and higher.

We took the 100 most popular phones from our database for each year. For those we averaged the megapixels of their main camera (for dual camera phones, the higher resolution sensor was used in the calculations).

As expected, we see an upwards trend to the average pixel count. Growth accelerates from 2011 to 2015 and then it…

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[ futurism.com ] FDA Approves New Clinical Trial Using Stem Cells to Treat Non-Healing Wounds

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FDA Approves New Clinical Trial Using Stem Cells to Treat Non-Healing Wounds

Futuristic Healing

Using stem cells to heal wounds is not a new concept, but up until recently testing has been largely experimental. Stem cells have been tested for skin tissue engineering and wound healing, regenerative wound healing, and at Samford Health as a treatment for shoulder injuries.  The FDA has approved the institution’s second-ever adipose-derived stem cell clinical trial which is designed to treat non-healing leg ulcers. The trial began back in September of this year.

Participants in the study are above the age of 18 with a leg wound 3-25 centimeters squared (about 1 to 9 inches) and an A1C less than nine. Additionally, to take part in the study, the leg wound must have been present for at least 3 months and non-healing. “This clinical trial can help explore treatments for people with non-healing wounds, including people who have diabetes and others with conditions that affect their quality of life,” according to David Pearce, Ph.D., executive vice president of innovation and research at Sanford Health.

Stem Cell Research

In 2014, the WHO estimated there were 422 million people living with diabetes worldwide. Non-healing wounds can be a complication of diabetes, as can several types of vascular disease. In the United States, 2.4 to 4.5 million people live with chronic wounds on some part of their body. Especially for those already battling a disease, the additional stress of caring for a non-healing wound can lead to infection, pain, and continuing chronic health issues.

Stem cells are being researched to cure diabetes, regenerate body parts, and so much more. The study at Sanford Health has yet to be completed, but the FDA’s support of the clinical trial shows that there is growing interest and investment in this avenue of research.

Stem cell research began in 1981 and has been viewed at both ends of a wide spectrum of possibility: as potential cure-all answer for some of our most enduring medical mysteries, or as an inherently immoral practice capable of great harm should it get into the wrong hands. In recent years, it would seem that stem cell research has become more widely understood and accepted by the general public, and it continues to grow as a body of research with seemingly countless applications.

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[ futurism.com ] Elon Musk: The AI in Tesla’s Cars Will Be Able to Predict Your Destination

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Elon Musk: The AI in Tesla’s Cars Will Be Able to Predict Your Destination

A Car That Knows You

Responding to a post on Twitter, Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk described how the artificial intelligence behind his company’s autonomous vehicles would be completely capable of bringing you where you want to go without asking you for a destination.

On Friday, Twitter user James Harvey suggested that Musk consider designing a vehicle that was able to simply ask you where you need to go once you hopped in. The billionaire techpreneur replied that, apparently for future Teslas, the car will be able to predict your destination most of time without you having to say a word.

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The Tesla Autopilot was one of the first working self-driving systems that ever hit the roads, first deployed on the Model S and then the Model X in 2014. Since then, the system has had a number of hardware and software upgrades and has saved lives in the process. The latest Autopilot hardware 2.0 was released on February, 2017, with a firmware update that followed in June.

Towards True Autonomy

Autonomous driving technology is surging forward thanks to the growing number of automakers, chipmakers, and even private research institutions working towards perfecting automated systems. Governments are also stepping up, either by allowing driverless car test drives or by coming up with guidelines to govern the technology. Today’s driverless systems are capable of learning enough to navigate through roads safely.

This explosion in the autonomous industry makes it easy to see why Musk is so confident in the capabilities of the next generation of self-driving cars.

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As advanced as these systems are now, however, none are classified under what the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) considers to be Level 5 autonomy — even Tesla doesn’t have that yet, something General Motors was recently quick to point out.

However, a feature dubbed as HW 2.5 — an updated Autopilot hardware coupled with a new software — is expected to come out before the end of 2017. This, according to reports, will provide Tesla the necessary upgrades to attain Level 5 autonomy, and could potential also equip Teslas with the ability to predict your destination, if Musk’s tweets are any indication.

The post Elon Musk: The AI in Tesla’s Cars Will Be Able to Predict Your Destination appeared first on Futurism.

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[ singularityhub.com ] Why Peak Globalization Is the Path to a Sustainable World Economy

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Why Peak Globalization Is the Path to a Sustainable World Economy

At some point in the future—and in some ways we are already seeing this—the amount of physical stuff moving around the world will peak and begin to decline. By “stuff,” I am referring to liquid fuels, coal, containers on ships, food, raw materials, products, etc.

New technologies are moving us toward “production-at-the-point-of-consumption” of energy, food, and products with reduced reliance on a global supply chain.

The trade of physical stuff has been central to globalization as we’ve known it. So, this declining movement of stuff may signal we are approaching “peak globalization.”

To be clear, even as the movement of stuff may slow, if not decline, the movement of people, information, data, and ideas around the world is growing exponentially and is likely to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.

Peak globalization may provide a pathway to preserving the best of globalization and global interconnectedness, enhancing economic and environmental sustainability, and empowering individuals and communities to strengthen democracy.

At the same time, some of the most troublesome aspects of globalization may be eased, including massive financial transfers to energy producers and loss of jobs to manufacturing platforms like China. This shift could bring relief to the “losers” of globalization and ease populist, nationalist political pressures that are roiling the developed countries.

That is quite a claim, I realize. But let me explain the vision.

New Technologies and Businesses: Digital, Democratized, Decentralized

The key factors moving us toward peak globalization and making it economically viable are new technologies and innovative businesses and business models allowing for “production-at-the-point-of-consumption” of energy, food, and products.

Exponential technologies are enabling these trends by sharply reducing the “cost of entry” for creating businesses. Driven by Moore’s Law, powerful technologies have become available to almost anyone, anywhere.

Beginning with the microchip, which has had a 100-billion-fold improvement in 40 years—10,000 times faster and 10 million times cheaper—the marginal cost of producing almost everything that can be digitized has fallen toward zero.

A hard copy of a book, for example, will always entail the cost of materials, printing, shipping, etc., even if the marginal cost falls as more copies are produced. But the marginal cost of a second digital copy, such as an e-book, streaming video, or song, is nearly zero as it is simply a digital file sent over the Internet, the world’s largest copy machine.* Books are one product, but there are literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in once-physical, separate products jammed into our devices at little to no cost.

A smartphone alone provides half the human population access to artificial intelligence—from SIRI, search, and translation to cloud computing—geolocation, free global video calls, digital photography and free uploads to social network sites, free access to global knowledge, a million apps for a huge variety of purposes, and many other capabilities that were unavailable to most people only a few years ago.

As powerful as dematerialization and demonetization are for private individuals, they’re having a stronger effect on businesses. A small team can access expensive, advanced tools that before were only available to the biggest organizations. Foundational digital platforms, such as the internet and GPS, and the platforms built on top of them by the likes of Google, Apple, Amazon, and others provide the connectivity and services democratizing business tools and driving the next generation of new startups.

“As these trends gain steam in coming decades, they’ll bleed into and fundamentally transform global supply chains.”

An AI startup, for example, doesn’t need its own server farm to train its software and provide service to customers. The team can rent computing power from Amazon Web Services. This platform model enables small teams to do big things on the cheap. And it isn’t just in software. Similar trends are happening in hardware too. Makers can 3D print or mill industrial grade prototypes of physical stuff in a garage or local maker space and send or sell designs to anyone with a laptop and 3D printer via online platforms.

These are early examples of trends that are likely to gain steam in coming decades, and as they do, they’ll bleed into and fundamentally transform global supply chains.

The old model is a series of large, connected bits of centralized infrastructure. It makes sense to mine, farm, or manufacture in bulk when the conditions, resources, machines, and expertise to do so exist in particular places and are specialized and expensive. The new model, however, enables smaller-scale production that is local and decentralized.

To see this more clearly, let’s take a look at the technological trends at work in the three biggest contributors to the global trade of physical stuff—products, energy, and food.

Products

3D printing (additive manufacturing) allows for distributed manufacturing near the point of consumption, eliminating or reducing supply chains and factory production lines.

This is possible because product designs are no longer made manifest in assembly line parts like molds or specialized mechanical tools. Rather, designs are digital and can be called up at will to guide printers. Every time a 3D printer prints, it can print a different item, so no assembly line needs to be set up for every different product. 3D printers can also print an entire finished product in one piece or reduce the number of parts of larger products, such as engines. This further lessens the need for assembly.

Because each item can be customized and printed on demand, there is no cost benefit from scaling production. No inventories. No shipping items across oceans. No carbon emissions transporting not only the final product but also all the parts in that product shipped from suppliers to manufacturer. Moreover, 3D printing builds items layer by layer with almost no waste, unlike “subtractive manufacturing” in which an item is carved out of a piece of metal, and much or even most of the material can be waste.

Finally, 3D printing is also highly scalable, from inexpensive 3D printers (several hundred dollars) for home and school use to increasingly capable and expensive printers for industrial production. There are also 3D printers being developed for printing buildings, including houses and office buildings, and other infrastructure.

The technology for finished products is only now getting underway, and there are still challenges to overcome, such as speed, quality, and range of materials. But as methods and materials advance, it will likely creep into more manufactured goods.

Ultimately, 3D printing will be a general purpose technology that involves many different types of printers and materials—such as plastics, metals, and even human cells—to produce a huge range of items, from human tissue and potentially human organs to household items and a range of industrial items for planes, trains, and automobiles.

Energy

Renewable energy production is located at or relatively near the source of consumption.

Although electricity generated by solar, wind, geothermal, and other renewable sources can of course be transmitted over longer distances, it is mostly generated and consumed locally or regionally. It is not transported around the world in tankers, ships, and pipelines like petroleum, coal, and natural gas.

Moreover, the fuel itself is free—forever. There is no global price on sun or wind. The people relying on solar and wind power need not worry about price volatility and potential disruption of fuel supplies as a result of political, market, or natural causes.

Renewables have their problems, of course, including intermittency and storage, and currently they work best if complementary to other sources, especially natural gas power plants that, unlike coal plants, can be turned on or off and modulated like a gas stove, and are half the carbon emissions of coal.

Within the next decades or so, it is likely the intermittency and storage problems will be solved or greatly mitigated. In addition, unlike coal and natural gas power plants, solar is scalable, from solar panels on individual homes or even cars and other devices, to large-scale solar farms. Solar can be connected with microgrids and even allow for autonomous electricity generation by homes, commercial buildings, and communities.

It may be several decades before fossil fuel power plants can be phased out, but the development cost of renewables has been falling exponentially and, in places, is beginning to compete with coal and gas. Solar especially is expected to continue to increase in efficiency and decline in cost.

Given these trends in cost and efficiency, renewables should become obviously cheaper over time—if the fuel is free for solar and has to be continually purchased for coal and gas, at some point the former is cheaper than the latter. Renewables are already cheaper if externalities such as carbon emissions and environmental degradation involved in obtaining and transporting the fuel are included.

Food

Food can be increasingly produced near the point of consumption with vertical farms and eventually with printed food and even printed or cultured meat.

These sources bring production of food very near the consumer, so transportation costs, which can be a significant portion of the cost of food to consumers, are greatly reduced. The use of land and water are reduced by 95% or more, and energy use is cut by nearly 50%. In addition, fertilizers and pesticides are not required and crops can be grown 365 days a year whatever the weather and in more climates and latitudes than is possible today.

While it may not be practical to grow grains, corn, and other such crops in vertical farms, many vegetables and fruits can flourish in such facilities. In addition, cultured or printed meat is being developed—the big challenge is scaling up and reducing cost—that is based on cells from real animals without slaughtering the animals themselves.

There are currently some 70 billion animals being raised for food around the world [PDF] and livestock alone counts for about 15% of global emissions. Moreover, livestock places huge demands on land, water, and energy. Like vertical farms, cultured or printed meat could be produced with no more land use than a brewery and with far less water and energy.

A More Democratic Economy Goes Bottom Up

This is a very brief introduction to the technologies that can bring “production-at-the-point-of-consumption” of products, energy, and food to cities and regions.

What does this future look like? Here’s a simplified example.

Imagine a universal manufacturing facility with hundreds of 3D printers printing tens of thousands of different products on demand for the local community—rather than assembly lines in China making tens of thousands of the same product that have to be shipped all over the world since no local market can absorb all of the same product.

Nearby, a vertical farm and cultured meat facility produce much of tomorrow night’s dinner. These facilities would be powered by local or regional wind and solar. Depending on need and quality, some infrastructure and machinery, like solar panels and 3D printers, would live in these facilities and some in homes and businesses.

The facilities could be owned by a large global corporation—but still locally produce goods—or they could be franchised or even owned and operated independently by the local population. Upkeep and management at each would provide jobs for communities nearby. Eventually, not only would global trade of parts and products diminish, but even required supplies of raw materials and feed stock would decline since there would be less waste in production, and many materials would be recycled once acquired.

“Peak globalization could be a viable pathway to an economic foundation that puts people first while building a more economically and environmentally sustainable future.”

This model suggests a shift toward a “bottom up” economy that is more democratic, locally controlled, and likely to generate more local jobs.

The global trends in democratization of technology make the vision technologically plausible. Much of this technology already exists and is improving and scaling while exponentially decreasing in cost to become available to almost anyone, anywhere.

This includes not only access to key technologies, but also to education through digital platforms available globally. Online courses are available for free, ranging from advanced physics, math, and engineering to skills training in 3D printing, solar installations, and building vertical farms. Social media platforms can enable local and global collaboration and sharing of knowledge and best practices.

These new communities of producers can be the foundation for new forms of democratic governance as they recognize and “capitalize” on the reality that control of the means of production can translate to political power. More jobs and local control could weaken populist, anti-globalization political forces as people recognize they could benefit from the positive aspects of globalization and international cooperation and connectedness while diminishing the impact of globalization’s downsides.

There are powerful vested interests that stand to lose in such a global structural shift. But this vision builds on trends that are already underway and are gaining momentum. Peak globalization could be a viable pathway to an economic foundation that puts people first while building a more economically and environmentally sustainable future.

This article was originally posted on Open Democracy (CC BY-NC 4.0). The version above was edited with the author for length and includes additions. Read the original article on Open Democracy.

* See Jeremy Rifkin, The Zero Marginal Cost Society, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), Part II, pp. 69-154.

Image Credit: Sergey Nivens / Shutterstock.com

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[ lifehack.org ] Meow! Use “Q-chan” app and Your Cat Will Love You More Than Ever

[ mukeshbalani.com ] “You heard it here first…if you haven’t already heard it elsewhere”…

Meow! Use “Q-chan” app and Your Cat Will Love You More Than Ever

Cats have a stereotype that seems to be true more often than not. They are independent and sassy, only seeking humans when they need something. This description certainly differs from that of dogs. K9 breeds are of course known to be affectionate to a fault. Studies have long existed showing that, like humans, dogs release the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin [1].

In fact, scientists are just as curious as the rest of us as to whether cats even like their owners, especially compared to dogs. Dr. Paul Zak decided to conduct a study to measure the oxytocin levels in dogs and cats after interacting with their owners.

“He took saliva samples from 10 cats and 10 dogs on two occasions – 10 minutes before a playtime session with their owners and immediately after – and tested both samples for oxytocin.”

The results show the hormone increased by an average of 57.2 per cent in dogs but only by 12 per cent in cats.

So in theory, dogs are scientifically proven to love humans more than cats do.

However, while the research (and cliches) may indicate dogs love all, not all love dogs; some people prefer felines and would like a way to improve relationships with their snoody and sassy cats. While it can be frustrating to try to build a relationship with a cat, especially if it is well past kitten age, there is hope.

Taking care of the basics

Cats don’t require much, but in order to cultivate a happy and successful bond between you and your whiskered companion, it is important to ensure he or she has everything they need.

1. Litter Box

Make sure your cat’s litter box is somewhere they like it and is easy for them to find. Keep the box clean, or your cat may take to leaving you surprises in other places.

2. Quality food and clean water

Quality pet food often comes at a price, but it’s worth it to know that your cat is healthy and taken care of. Consult your vet to determine the appropriate food for your kitty, and of course make sure they always have access to clean water.

3. Help your cat entertain herself

Cats, much like people, don’t want to be bored. Make sure your pet has lots of fun toys to play with to satisfy their curiosity. Buy different treats and determine which your particular cat prefers. Once you’ve identified it, keep some on hand all the time.

4. Give them a good bed, or at least the option of one…

Cats are pretty independent, so they will likely find their sleeping space on their own. However, while cats often prefer to choose their own sleeping place, it’s a good idea to buy a cat bed or some soft bedding. While you may feel a little silly doing so, rub her bedding on you so that it picks up some of your scent. She’ll associate her safe, resting area with your smell [2].

5. Provide a scratching post

A scratching post can calm your cat’s nerves and prevent her from ruining your furniture!

It can be challenging to understand any animal, because they can’t tell you what they want. For instance, if you have ever owned a cat before, you know you could be petting them one moment and listening to them purr, only to suddenly be attacked by your precious pet for seemingly doing the same thing! While the cat obviously felt justified in biting or clawing at you, you were left trying to understand the sudden change in attitude. Undoubtedly, you wished there was a way your cat companion could tell you what happened. If only there was a cat to human dictionary you could reference. But wait, there might just be an app for that…

Introducing the Q-cat App

This innovative app is designed to help you capture your cat’s attention. The adorable technology is easy to use and filled with over 250 quality meow sounds!

 

Your cat will love feeling you understand him every time you press a button so signal a new meow. Plus, in an effort to start your day off right, the Q-Cat app even offers a meow alarm that allows you to play meow sounds at a set time to wake up you and call your cat to your bed. You two will feel closer in no time [3].

Attract your cat will be more simple than ever

To select different meow sounds, simply swipe up or down and tap the desired effect.

 

To set the alarm, navigate to the alarm menu of the app and chose the time and sound you’d like. Just make sure your phone isn’t on silent or do not disturb mode.

The Cat-App and you

Along with making sure your cat has all of its basic needs met, the cat-app is an ideal next step in really bonding with him or her. While it may not technically translate what your cat is telling you, it may help your cat to feel more understood by you. This further aids in a comfortable, loving environment for your feline friend and can help the two of you to trust each other more.

Download the app today for iPhone or iPad and let us know here at Lifehack how you and your cat fare!

Reference

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[ futurism.com ] Lack of Access to Morphine Causes 25 Million People to Die in Pain Every Year

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Lack of Access to Morphine Causes 25 Million People to Die in Pain Every Year

A Global Pain Crisis

A new special report from the medical journal Lancet has revealed that more than 25 million people — including 2.5 million children — die every year around the globe in terrible pain. The world’s poor lack pain relief in many nations, either because of fears concerning addictive drugs held by authorities, or a simple refusal to acknowledge the needs of the less privileged. Access to morphine would solve this crisis.

“The world suffers a deplorable pain crisis: little to no access to morphine for tens of millions of adults and children in poor countries who live and die in horrendous and preventable pain,” commission co-chair Professor Felicia Knaul told The Guardian, calling the situation “one of the world’s most striking injustices.”

The three-year study found that almost half of all deaths worldwide — that’s 25.5 million annually — lack palliative care and pain relief, resulting in a high level of suffering. An additional 35.5 million people live with chronic pain and distress, bringing the total in crisis to 61 million annually. 5.3 million of the total are children. Many suffer from preventable conditions.

The Future of Pain Management
Click to View Full Infographic

As an example, Haiti offers neither hospices nor nursing homes, and most terminally ill patients suffer at home without effective pain relief. “Patients in pain from trauma or malignancy are treated with medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen,” University of Miami School of Medicine expert Antonia P. Eyssallenne testified in the report. “Death in Haiti is cruel, raw, and devastatingly premature. There is often no explanation, no sympathy, and no peace, especially for the poor.”

The vast majority of this suffering (more than 80%) happens in low- and middle-income nations. Morphine is difficult or impossible to obtain in many countries. As an example of the world outlook in terms of ability to meet the need for morphine by country, Russia is able to meet 8% of its need, Vietnam 9%, and Uganda 11%. Palliative care with oral morphine does not exist in many of the poorest countries in the world.

Dr. M. R. Rajagopal testified about his palliative care experience in Kerala, India. He treated a man, Mr. S, suffering from lung cancer and in horrendous pain. Mr. S was given morphine and experienced immense pain relief. Upon returning to the clinic next month, morphine was unavailable, so he calmly told Dr. Rajagopal that he would hang himself without it. This is just one example of the difference morphine can make to the lives of patients.

Options Exist for Pain Management

The commission put forth a number of recommendations to deal with the global crisis of pain management. The most important of these is an “Essential Package” that meets minimum health standards for palliative care using medicine, medical equipment, and people who can administer the care.

Knaul expanded on this recommendation to The Guardian, saying, “immediate-release, off-patent, morphine that can cost just pennies should be made available in both oral and injectable formulations for any patient with medical need.” Access to morphine will ease patients’ suffering from a number of painful conditions.

As countries like the United States grapple with opioid addiction, researchers work to parse out what really causes pain — and how to stop it — potentially finding a solution that will help all humans everywhere. In the meantime, backlash against opioids and resistance to even medical marijuana are hurting patients in other countries who desperately need drugs like morphine to manage pain from devastating diseases like cancer.

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[ gsmarena.com ] Top 10 trending phones of week 42

[ mukeshbalani.com ] “You heard it here first…if you haven’t already heard it elsewhere”…

Top 10 trending phones of week 42

A trio of major announcements happened this week and one of the new phones is already leading the popularity chart. The Nokia 7 might be a China-exclusive at this point but its value-for-money proposition is strong enough to get attention all around the globe.

The Mate 10 didn’t do quite so well – despite being proper flagships only one of them made the top 10 – the vanilla Mate 10 is sitting in third, right behind last week’s leader, the Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro.

The Xiaomi Mi A1 has climbed a spot to claim fourth, while the Galaxy Note8 has slid a couple and is now sitting in…

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