Scientists make history, identify fossilized dinosaur brain tissue for the first time

Scientists make history, identify fossilized dinosaur brain tissue for the first time

LONDON (Reuters) – British and Australian scientists have identified an unassuming brown pebble, found more than a decade ago by a fossil hunter in southern England, as the first known example of fossilised dinosaur brain tissue. The fossilised brain, found by fossil enthusiast Jamie Hiscocks near Bexhill in Sussex in 2004, is most likely from a species similar to Iguanodon – a large herbivore that lived during the early cretaceous period, some 133 million years ago. In a report of their analysis in a Special Publication of the Geological Society of London, the researchers said they believed this piece of tissue was so well-preserved because the dinosaur’s brain was “pickled” in a highly acidic and low-oxygen body of water – like a bog or swamp – shortly after it died. “The chances of preserving brain tissue are incredibly small, so the discovery of this specimen is astonishing,” said Alex Liu of Cambridge University’s department of earth sciences, who worked on its identification. Cambridge’s David Norman, who led the work, said the finding also raised questions about the common perception of dinosaurs as animals with very small brains. In typical reptiles, the brain is sausage-shaped and surrounded by a dense region of blood vessels and sinuses, meaning the brain itself only takes up about half of the space in the cranial cavity. The tissue in the fossilised brain, however, appeared to have been pressed against the skull, the scientists said, raising the possibility that some dinosaurs had larger brains. But Norman’s team cautioned against drawing any firm conclusions from this single fossil about dinosaurs’ brain size or intelligence levels. “As we can’t see the lobes of the brain itself, we can’t say for sure how big this dinosaur’s brain was,” he said. “Of course, it’s entirely possible that dinosaurs had bigger brains than we give them credit for, but we can’t tell from this specimen alone.” (Reporting by Kate Kelland; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

Why Sleeping May Be More Important Than Studying | MindShift | KQED News

Getty Getting enough sleep is an under-valued but crucial part of learning. Contrary to students’ belief that staying up all night to cram for an exam will lead to higher scores, truth is, the need for a good night’s rest is even more important than finishing homework or studying for a test. A recent study…

Source: Why Sleeping May Be More Important Than Studying | MindShift | KQED News

Towards the end of a typical six- to eight-hour night of sleep, the brain gets its chance at rejuvenation, during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. This is the stage that’s crucial for learners because the brain solidifies all that was taken in the day before and clears out old, unnecessary memories to make room for new information.

“In REM sleep your brain is basically replaying everything that happened during the day and consolidating what you’ve learned,” Carter said. During the learning process, the brain’s synapses fire in particular patterns. At night, those patterns are firing over and over again, strengthening the path. Equally important, there are many small details the brain remembers from the previous day that it won’t need. During REM sleep the brain purges the unnecessary details to make room for new learning the following day.

Google’s neural networks invent their own encryption | New Scientist

26 October 2016

Google’s neural networks invent their own encryption

Machines have been learning how to send secret messages to each other.
John Lund/Getty
By Timothy Revell
Computers are keeping secrets. A team from Google Brain, Google’s deep learning project, has shown that machines can learn how to protect their messages from prying eyes.
Researchers Martín Abadi and David Andersen demonstrate that neural networks, or “neural nets” – computing systems that are loosely based on artificial neurons – can work out how to use a simple encryption technique.
In their experiment, computers were able to make their own form of encryption using machine learning, without being taught specific cryptographic algorithms. The encryption was very basic, especially compared to our current human-designed systems. Even so, it is still an interesting step for neural nets, which the authors state “are generally not meant to be great at cryptography”.
The Google Brain team started with three neural nets called Alice, Bob and Eve. Each system was trained to perfect its own role in the communication. Alice’s job was to send a secret message to Bob, Bob’s job was to decode the message that Alice sent, and Eve’s job was to attempt to eavesdrop.
To make sure the message remained secret, Alice had to convert her original plain-text message into complete gobbledygook, so that anyone who intercepted it (like Eve) wouldn’t be able to understand it. The gobbledygook – or “cipher text” – had to be decipherable by Bob, but nobody else. Both Alice and Bob started with a pre-agreed set of numbers called a key, which Eve didn’t have access to, to help encrypt and decrypt the message.

Practice makes perfect
Initially, the neural nets were fairly poor at sending secret messages. But as they got more practice, Alice slowly developed her own encryption strategy, and Bob worked out how to decrypt it.
After the scenario had been played out 15,000 times, Bob was able to convert Alice’s cipher text message back into plain text, while Eve could guess just 8 of the 16 bits forming the message. As each bit was just a 1 or a 0, that is the same success rate you would expect from pure chance. The research is published on arXiv.
We don’t know exactly how the encryption method works, as machine learning provides a solution but not an easy way to understand how it is reached. In practice, this also means that it is hard to give any security guarantees for an encryption method created in this way, so the practical implications for the technology could be limited.
“Computing with neural nets on this scale has only become possible in the last few years, so we really are at the beginning of what’s possible,” says Joe Sturonas of encryption company PKWARE in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Computers have a very long way to go if they’re to get anywhere near the sophistication of human-made encryption methods. They are, however, only just starting to try.
Journal reference:

Women work 39 days more than men per year: WEF

Women work 39 days more than men per year: WEF

Women are equally educated, yet get 68% of the benefits and income of men in US

Rwanda is ranked at 5, just ahead of Ireland; US is ranked far lower, at 45

Women around the world work an average of 39 days per year more than men do, which breaks down to a full 50 minutes more per day, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2016.

Women also currently have access to only 59 percent of the economic advantages enjoyed by men, the new research said. This figure is at its lowest level since 2008 and current trends suggest it will take another 170 years before there is global equality of the sexes, the report’s authors have found.

The sobering message from the study highlights what it describes as “a dramatic slowdown in progress” with the estimate for when the economic gap between men and women could close slipping to 2186 this year, a severe setback from the 2015 forecast of parity being achieved by 2133.

The report’s authors point to “chronic imbalances” in labor force participation and salaries as key drivers of the disappointing results, with the number of women holding senior positions as another area of continued poor performance.

Concerns the situation could be exacerbated in the future stem from the fact a large proportion of occupations with a preponderance of female workers are set to be among those most likely to be disrupted by technological innovation, potentially leading to a fall in the number of jobs needed to service these particular sectors.

On a country-by-country basis, the usual Scandinavian suspects outperformed with Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden picking up – in that order – the top four places. Following the Nordic countries, it was Africa’s Rwanda which beat Ireland to claim fifth place. The U.S. slunk to 45th position out of a total of 144 countries while the U.K. settled into 20th place.

In an email to CNBC, Saadia Zahidi, Head of Gender Initiatives at the World Economic Forum (WEF) said, “A world where women have 68 percent of the same opportunities as men when it comes to health and education, the workplace or in politics equates to a chronic misuse of talent at a time when the global economy needs sustainable, inclusive growth.”

“Addressing bottlenecks preventing progress in education translating into better career opportunities and more political power should be a priority for leaders looking to reverse this trend,” she continued.

Of the four components analysed in the report – Educational Attainment, Health & Survival, Economic Opportunity and Political Empowerment – it is the last which has seen the most significant progress since the WEF first measured the gender gap in 2006.

Equality for this pillar was recorded at 23 percent in 2016, demonstrating a 1 percent uptick on 2015’s findings and a clear 10 percent jump since the first year of measurement.

The report’s conclusions from an economic perspective are all the more disappointing given a stronger educational picture, with women in 95 countries representing at least as many of the university student population as men.

Several companies are seeking to take matters into their own hands, with the most high-profile example being Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton’s recent announcement it has set a goal of 50 percent of its currently 65,000-strong workforce being comprised of women by 2025.

This month has also seen 60 U.K. financial services group pledge to have women fill at least 30 percent of senior roles by 2021 with 13 aiming for gender parity.

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Facebook invents “virtual reality emoji” gestures – TechCrunch

Facebook invents “virtual reality emoji” gestures

By Josh Constine

Oct 6, 2016
Shake your fist and your VR avatar’s face will turn “angry.” Put your hands on your face Home Alone-style to express “shock.” Triumphantly thrust your hands in the air and your virtual self’s face will show “joy.”
These are what Facebook calls “VR emoji,” and they’re the company’s vision for how we’ll convey emotion in virtual reality. We’re not talking about yellow illustrated emoticons popping up over your head. Instead, your avatar’s eyes, eye brows, mouth and other facial features will change to mimic how we exhibit body language in the real world.

Michael Booth, Facebook’s head of social VR, describes that “when you send a message and you want to make an emotional point, you stick an emoji on there.” We lose tone and physical cues when we text, so emojis emerged to clarify what you really mean. Otherwise, the recipient won’t know whether you’re excited or worried when you say “oh my.”
Booth wanted to alleviate similar sentiment ambiguity that exists in social VR as you don’t usually see someone’s real face. The solution goes far, far beyond the “Reactions” you can leave on 360 News Feed content to express more nuanced feedback than just a “Like.”
“We’re coming up with a language that triggers your avatar to make certain emotions,” aka “VR emoji” Booth tells me. “We can’t just be a blank presence. [In VR] we have eyes, we have mouths. We need some kind of emotions or it seems like totally flat affect.” If you say something shocking to a friend in VR, but their face stays completely static, it breaks your sense of presence. We’re accustomed to facial cues.
For example, in the real world if you’re in the middle of a long explanation and someone doesn’t understand you, you can recognize the confused expression on their face. That tells you to dumb it down a bit, provide more background context or say it again in a different way.
Without VR emoji, your conversation partner would either have to interrupt you, flail their arms in a non-obvious way or wait until you’re finished. With Facebook’s VR emoji, you can shrug with your palms up, and your face will show an easily recognized expression of confusion — eyes scrunched and mouth crooked. Though Booth warns the gestures behind its VR emoji vocabulary are sure to change over time.

Mark Zuckerberg dives into how our brain processes social VR
None of this depends on eye or facial tracking, which would require additional hardware to be built into VR headsets. Startups like FOVE are building these headsets, and apps like VR chat room Altspace make your eye movements visible on your avatar. But eye tracking isn’t built into the Oculus Rift, Gear VR, Google Daydream and Cardboard, HTC Vive or PlayStation VR headsets. The hand-tracking that VR emojis require is proliferating much faster toward the scale Facebook craves for its product.
Booth details four of the main goals Facebook has for using avatars to create the sense of believable human presence in social VR:
    “You’re comfortable with the way you look”

    “Friends can recognize you at a glance”

    “It’s not creepy and disturbing”

    “Facebook can create avatars that represent each of its 1.7 billion users”
Facebook is still experimenting with different ways to personalize avatars so they look like you. One option is an internal drawing tool where you illustrate a version of your face to plaster onto your avatar. Another is to use an Occipital Structure sensor or other image-capture device to model your head. Facebook could potentially even try to recreate your VR face from the photos tagged of you on its social network.
Whatever it offers will have to work reliably, otherwise you could end up with a grotesquely disfigured avatar version of yourself that would break rules No. 1 and No. 4 above.

Live VRing
Luckily, Booth knows plenty about avatars. He spent 10 years making video games at Valve and another two at Blizzard. He was planning to start his own VR game studio, but then Facebook showed him the “Toybox” social VR demo, which he says “really blew my mind.” He joined Facebook, and since December has been working on the successor to Toybox, Facebook’s unnamed social VR prototype demoed today.
Presence isn’t enough. VR needs utility — things to do in there. Along with the VR emojis, Booth and Mark Zuckerberg demonstrated the ability to visit VR destinations with your friends’ avatars overlaid on the scene. They showed how you’ll be able to play cards, watch TV and sword fight together. If you see something cool, you’ll be able to take a VR selfie, turn to your wrist and see a button to instantly share the photo to Facebook. You’ll even get a change to take a Facebook Messenger video call and show someone in the real world what your avatar is up to in the virtual realm.
That’s just the start, though. Facebook is plotting to turn you into a VR videographer. Booth tells me it’s developing a way for you to “basically have a virtual camera you can pick up and move around.” This way, friends without headsets can see what all the hype is about by watching your VR antics straight from the Facebook News Feed. “You become a 2D camera man for your friends in VR,” Booth says. “With video streaming, you become a superstar.”

The evolution of Facebook’s social VR avatars, from generic figures to blocky heads to polished faces to emotional creatures
That concept of expanding Facebook Live streaming from the physical world to your adventures in the digital one ties social VR back to the company’s core product that’s increasingly focused on video. While Oculus and Facebook started quite distinct, the dividing lines are blurring.
If Facebook can build a compelling social VR experience at scale, Booth says “we’ll figure out some way to monetize it. I’m sure advertising will be very interesting in VR.”
For now, though, this is all just the next way Facebook wants to accomplish its mission of connecting the world, making friends feel closer together no matter where they are. From basic profiles to photos to auto-play videos in the News Feed, from text chat to multi-media Messenger apps, from web to mobile and now to VR, Facebook continues to evolve. But no matter the technology, Booth says Facebook’s staying true to its principle of “People First.’

What we learned from Sheryl Sandberg’s Facebook Live with Melinda Gates

I recommend watching the video.

Also: The turn of for women is:

– rude language and innuendos constantly put forth by men and peers in the field. It’s a draining battle to constantly put up with

– masochism: men have a tenancy to reject input from women. A woman can know the solution to a problem, but the men temple over them, and will only hear the answer if it is proposed by another man. Until another man puts forth the solution the woman had put forth, the men only listen to what’s inside their own head, and defensive refuse to listen to our consider anything they themselves, or another man did not dream up. Men need to get past these stupid gender roles, competition, and ego, particularly as odd against women. They Also tend to have a bias that belittles and underestimates the intelligence, competency, and inherent respect that the women deserve.

9 tech skills that pay over $120,000

Me: curious where they are getting their salary numbers. It must be for Senior Developers, that have Many Years of experience in That Language.

Average salaries otherwise, even in bay area  are lower. 

Starting salaries, even with a few years experience, are much lower, even in bay area. 

Outside the bay area, All salaries are Much Lower across the board.

Keep in mind, the Bay Area has the Highest Cost of living in the US (greater than NYC now), so don’t get too swayed by those numbers! Example: living in a warehouse of bunk beds, the less preferable top bunk will run you around $1400/month! It just goes up from there.

These salaries aren’t available anywhere for new developers. But it is something to look forward to after a few years work, if you can get on at a top company!

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9 tech skills that pay over $120,000 and are in demand
    Julie Bort Oct. 22, 2016, 10:30 AM 555,223 18 
C++ programmerFlickr/A. Zirma
More than 6.7 million Americans work in the tech industry today and close to 200,000 tech jobs were added in 2015 alone, researchers say.
But in order to nab one of those jobs, especially one with a fat salary and loads of perks, you need the right skills.
If you’re an expert in a rare tech skill, you will almost certainly be paid well. But the jobs requiring that skill could be harder to find.
Then again, some skills are needed everywhere, but there’s also plenty of competition for them, keeping salaries lower.
The best tech skills strike a balance: high enough in demand but also specialized enough to command decent pay.
A startup called Paysa, which uses artificial intelligence to help people determine their market worth and to advise them on which skills to learn to boost their salaries, recently conducted research to find the most in-demand job skills in the tech industry.
It looked at the average salary and the number of jobs available for 248 skills, including 29 programming languages, and in 569 cities. From there, it up came with this list of skills that are most in demand.

No 9: PHP is worth $124,475
No 9: PHP is worth $124,475

ShutterStock / timofey123
PHP appeared in 5% of the job listings Paysa scanned. It’s a language popular for web development, though is used for other projects too. It has a reputation for being easy to learn.
Average salary for jobs requiring this skill is $124,475.

No. 8: SQL is worth $126,532

No. 8: SQL is worth $126,532

SQL appeared in 13% of the job listings Paysa scanned. SQL is the language used with databases like Oracle, noSQL and Microsoft SQL.
Such databases can be found in just about every major business all over the world, so this skill is hugely popular. It’s also important enough to command a high salary.
Average salary for jobs requiring this skill is $126,532.

No. 7: PL/Sql is worth $126,177

No. 7: PL/Sql is worth $126,177

Thomson Reuters
PL/Sql appeared in 5% of the job listings Paysa scanned. 
Pl/Sql is Oracle’s programming language extension for the Oracle database. Oracle’s database is the most popular database of its kind, a SQL database, which stands for “structured query language.” So it makes sense that this would be a skill that’s highly in demand.
The average salary for jobs requiring this skill was $126,177.

No. 6: JavaScript is worth $126,988

No. 6: JavaScript is worth $126,988

A little JavaScript code.
Javascript appeared in 11% of the job listings Paysa scanned.
It is an extremely popular language for web development and also considered one of the easiest languages to learn.
Average salary for jobs requiring this skill is $126,988.

No. 5: C# is worth $129,692

No. 5: C# is worth $129,692

Matt Weinberger/Business Insider
C# appeared in 7% of the job listings Paysa scanned.
C# is an offshoot of C developed by Microsoft and made popular by programmers writing apps with Microsoft web programming tools.
 Average salary for jobs requiring this skill is $129,692.

No. 4: Java is worth $131,962

No. 4: Java is worth $131,962

Oracle Java
Java (which is not to be confused with Javascript) appeared in 13% of the job listings Paysa scanned.
Java is an extremely popular language, originally developed by Sun Microsystems. Oracle bought Sun so Java is now owned by Oracle.
The average salary for jobs requiring this skill is $131,962.

No. 3: C is worth $133,691

No. 3: C is worth $133,691

C is a programming language that appeared in 5% of the job listings Paysa scanned.
C is the basis for a lot of other languages, and used to be a staple for a computer science education. But there are easier languages to learn these days and some debate among programmers if it’s still necessary to learn C.  Looks like many employers do prefer their coders to know it.
The average salary for jobs requiring this skill was $133,691.

No. 2: C++ is worth $133,954

No. 2: C++ is worth $133,954

C++ appeared in 7% of the job listings Paysa scanned. It is one of those languages derived from C and is considered a fundamental language to learn if you want to call yourself an expert coder. 
The average salary for jobs requiring this skill is $133,954.

No. 1: Perl is worth $139,214

No. 1: Perl is worth $139,214

Perl is a popular programming language that appeared in 5% of the job listings Paysa scanned. Perl is known as an easier language to learn that is good for all sorts of projects.
Average salary for jobs requiring this skill was $139,214.