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Kindle readers absorb less information than traditional book readers

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Anne Mangen, a researcher from Norway’s Stavanger University conducted a study in which she wanted to know if there were differences in understanding a given text which was read on Kindle, or paperback. In the study, 50 subjects had to read a short story by Elizabeth George, half read it on Kindle, the other half on paperback. After the reading session, several tests were conducted upon the readers to find out if they understood the aspects of the story.

The tests revealed that the Kindle readers performed equally well at understanding the text, except when it comes to timing the story’s events. The Kindle readers were much worse in placing 14 story events in the correct order, than the traditional book readers. “When you read on paper you can sense with your fingers a pile of pages on the left growing, and shrinking on the right, you have the tactile sense of progress, in addition to the visual,” said Mangen.

“The differences for Kindle readers might have something to do with the fact that the fixity of a text on paper, and this very gradual unfolding as you progress through a story, is some kind of a sensory offload, supporting the visual sense of progress when you’re reading. Perhaps this somehow aids the reader, providing more fixity and solidity to the reader’s sense of unfolding and progress of the text, and hence the story,” added Anne Mangen.

This particular study had only two experienced Kindle readers and the researcher wants to expand it to more “advanced” Kindle users to see how the results will change. She also leads a research network of empirical studies, based in Europe to investigate the effects of digitization on text reading. “We need to provide research and evidence-based knowledge to publishers on what kind of devices (iPad, Kindle, print) should be used for what kind of content; what kinds of texts are likely to be less hampered by being read digitally, and which might require the support of paper. That will be very interesting to explore,” concluded Mangen.

Who doesn’t enjoy listening to a good story. Personally I love reading about the people who inspire me and what it took for them to achieve their success. As I am a bit of a self confessed tech geek I think there is no better way to discover these stories than by reading every day some articles or the newspaper . My bookcases are filled with good tech biographies, they remind me that anyone can be a success. So even if you come from an underprivileged part of society or you aren’t the smartest person in the room we all have a chance to reach the top. The same message shines in my beliefs. All it takes to succeed is a good idea, a little risk and a lot of hard work and any geek can become a success. VENI VIDI VICI .

Medicine and Health

Scientist Investigating SARS-CoV-2 Virus Suggests Possible Indications of Simulation Existence

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A physicist specializing in the study of mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 virus has put forward intriguing evidence supporting a potential new law of physics known as the “second law of infodynamics.”. This discovery raises fascinating questions about the nature of our reality and the possibility of living in a simulated universe. In addition, he suggests that the study seems to suggest that the theory of evolution is incorrect, as it challenges the notion that mutations are completely random.

There is a great deal of complexity to delve into in this situation. It is important to note that making extraordinary claims necessitates providing extraordinary evidence. However, as Dr. Melvin Vopson elucidates in his research, we currently lack such evidence. Actually, we are far from reaching that point. Nevertheless, the concepts and findings presented are captivating and thought-provoking, even if additional research or examination may later disprove them.

In his most recent study, Vopson examined mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 virus from a unique perspective, focusing on information entropy rather than the traditional concept of entropy.

“The physical entropy of a given system is a measure of all its possible physical microstates compatible with the macrostate,” Vopson explained in the paper. “This is a property of the microstates in the system that do not carry any information.” Given the same system and the ability to generate N information states within it (such as by encoding digital bits), creating N information states results in the formation of N extra information microstates that overlap with the existing physical microstates. These extra microstates contain valuable information, and the increase in entropy they bring is known as information entropy.”

According to Vopson, there is a tendency for entropy to increase over time, but interestingly, information entropy tends to decrease. Consider the heat death of the universe, where the entire cosmos eventually reaches a state of thermal equilibrium. At this stage, the maximum value of entropy has been attained, although not in terms of information entropy. During heat death (or just before), the temperature range and potential states in any part of the universe become extremely limited. As a result, the number of possible events decreases and the amount of superimposed information decreases, leading to a decrease in information entropy.

Although it may offer an intriguing perspective on the universe, can it provide us with any novel insights, or is it merely a secondary and insignificant approach to describing entropy? According to Vopson, the concept has the potential to be a fundamental law that could impact a wide range of fields, including genetics and the evolution of the universe.

“Based on my research, it seems that the second law of infodynamics is an essential principle in cosmology.” According to Vopson’s article in The Conversation, this has broad applicability and significant scientific implications. “It is understood that the universe undergoes expansion while maintaining a constant total entropy, without any heat loss or gain.” However, it is important to note that entropy always increases according to the principles of thermodynamics. This indicates the presence of an additional form of entropy, namely information entropy, that serves to counterbalance the increase.

With the expertise of a seasoned scientist, Vopson observed the ever-changing SARS-CoV-2 virus throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Regular sequencing of the virus has been conducted to closely monitor its changes, primarily with the aim of developing new vaccines. Examining the RNA instead of DNA, he discovered a gradual decrease in information entropy.

One fascinating example of a rapidly mutating organism is a virus. According to Vopson, the pandemic has provided an exceptional opportunity for research, with the numerous variants of SARS-CoV-2 serving as an unprecedented test sample. The amount of data available is truly remarkable, as stated in a press release.

The COVID data provides strong evidence for the second law of infodynamics, and this research has the potential to unlock countless possibilities. Imagine examining a specific genome and determining the potential benefits of a mutation before it occurs. This technology has the potential to revolutionize various fields, such as genetic therapies, the pharmaceutical industry, evolutionary biology, and pandemic research.

According to Vopson’s perspective, this implies that mutations are not haphazard but rather subject to a governing principle that dictates that information entropy should either remain constant or decrease over time. If this discovery is verified, it would be truly remarkable, as it challenges our current understanding of evolution. Vopson draws attention to a previous experiment conducted in 1972, where a virus unexpectedly experienced a decrease in its genome over 74 generations under optimal conditions. He argues that this observation aligns with his second law of infodynamics.

“Mutations occur randomly and are then subject to natural selection, which determines their impact on an organism,” he explained. What if there’s an underlying process that fuels these mutations? Whenever we encounter something beyond our comprehension, we tend to label it as ‘random’, ‘chaotic’, or ‘paranormal’, when in reality, it is simply our own limitation in explaining it.

By adopting a deterministic perspective, we have the potential to harness the laws of physics to anticipate and forecast genetic mutations, or even their likelihood, prior to their occurrence.

Vopson suggests that the law could potentially provide an explanation for the prevalence of symmetry in the universe.

“A high level of symmetry is associated with a state of low information entropy, which aligns with the requirements of the second law of infodynamics,” stated Vopson in his paper. “Therefore, this fascinating observation seems to provide an explanation for the prevalence of symmetry in the universe; it can be attributed to the influence of the second law of information dynamics.”

The audacious assertions (with their need for additional evidence) don’t end there.

“According to Vopson in The Conversation, the second law of infodynamics is a cosmological necessity and seems to have a universal application. This suggests that the entire universe might be a simulated construct or a massive computer.”

“In order to efficiently run a simulation of our incredibly complex universe, it would be necessary to incorporate data optimization and compression techniques. This would help reduce the computational power and data storage requirements needed for the simulation.” This is precisely what we see happening everywhere, from digital data and biological systems to mathematical symmetries and the vast expanse of the universe.”

Confirmation of the “second law of infodynamics” wouldn’t necessarily imply that we are living in a simulation. It’s important to consider that the theory could still hold true even if that scenario isn’t the case. There are additional quantum mechanical effects that seem to indicate that we are not.

So, what are the next steps for testing this further? According to the principles of infodynamics, it is believed that information possesses mass, enabling it to interact with all other entities. There are indications that this might be true, as suggested by a study conducted in 2012 that found that irreversible erasure of information seems to release heat. According to Vopson’s findings, it suggests that this energy needs to be converted into mass before it can be erased, essentially treating information as a distinct form of matter that is on par with mass and energy.

Experimentally determining whether information possesses mass may not pose a significant challenge. Performing a basic experiment involves measuring the mass of a hard drive both before and after irreversible information erasure. Regrettably, our current capabilities are insufficient to handle the minute mass change anticipated.

However, if this theory holds true, it is highly probable that elementary particles would contain valuable self-information, as suggested by Vopson. For example, consider the fascinating process of informing an electron (perhaps the sole electron in the entire universe) about its unique characteristics, such as its charge and spin. An interesting experiment involves colliding particles and antiparticles at high velocities.

“The experiment entails eradicating the information stored within elementary particles by allowing them and their antiparticles (mirror images of the particles with opposite charge) to annihilate, resulting in a burst of energy known as ‘photons’ or light particles,” explained Vopson. “I have accurately determined the anticipated range of frequencies for the photons that will be produced using principles from information physics.”

Although the concept may not align with conventional thinking, the experiment comes at a relatively affordable price of $180,000 (which is insignificant for advocates of simulation theory like Elon Musk) and can be tested using existing technology. Indeed, it may provide valuable insights into the validity of the concept. Exploring this idea could prove to be intriguing, as we aim to either dismiss it or determine its significance in terms of mass.

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Tesla will create a 1,800-mile semi-truck charging circuit after Biden financing rejection

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Tesla remains committed to its ambitious project of constructing an electric big-rig charging corridor spanning from Texas to California, undeterred by being excluded from a lucrative federal funding program associated with President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. However, we have learned that the project’s original scope may still undergo modifications.

The company had been looking to secure close to $100 million from the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant program under the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). With approximately $24 million of its own funds, Tesla aimed to construct nine electric semi-truck charging stations spanning from Laredo, Texas, to Fremont, California.

This corridor, if implemented, would create a groundbreaking charging network that has the potential to revolutionize long-distance and regional electric trucking, making a significant contribution to the reduction of pollution in the transportation industry. Without it, however, Tesla’s commitment to revolutionize heavy-duty trucking could face even more delays than it already has.

The project, known as TESSERACT, was presented to the FHWA. It was mentioned in a slide within a lengthy 964-page filing with the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Tesla worked together with SCAQMD on the application.

However, Tesla was not on the list of 47 recipients that the Biden administration announced in January. Together, those winners were granted a staggering $623 million to construct electric vehicle charging and refueling stations nationwide. Despite Tesla’s success in winning approximately 13% of all other charging awards from the Infrastructure Act, the company has only managed to secure around $17 million in revenue.

Rohan Patel, who recently departed from his VP position at Tesla amidst the company’s 10% workforce reduction, mentioned in a message that Tesla might explore options such as state funding opportunities or future rounds of the CFI program. According to him, some of the sites along the route are obvious choices, even without funding.

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The 1,800-mile route would connect Tesla’s two North American vehicle factories, as well as one that is planned but delayed in Mexico. Every station was initially planned to have eight 750kW chargers specifically for Tesla Semis, along with four chargers available for other electric trucks. It’s uncertain how successful it would be if the company couldn’t construct all nine stations, which are evenly spaced along the route.

Approximately half of the CFI funding recipients selected by the Biden administration have prioritized the expansion of EV charging infrastructure in various communities, including urban and rural areas. These efforts aim to establish charging stations at key locations such as schools, parks, libraries, and multi-family housing complexes, among others.

A significant portion of the funding was allocated to support 11 “corridor” projects, several of which are located along the I-10 corridor that coincides with Tesla’s proposed route. This allocation involves $70 million to the North Texas Council of Governments for the construction of up to five hydrogen fueling stations catering to medium and heavy-duty trucks in the Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio regions.

The Department of Transportation stated in January that the project will contribute to the establishment of a hydrogen corridor stretching from southern California to Texas.

“Funding hydrogen stations will be seen as a complete waste of money,” Patel stated in an interview.

Although he is no longer representing Tesla, he expressed his disapproval of funding hydrogen infrastructure during his tenure at the company.

On X in February, he expressed his frustration with governments worldwide for squandering tax dollars on hydrogen for light/heavy duty infrastructure. Quitting is always possible, just like giving up smoking.

There are other challenges to the project besides funding. Tesla’s recent restructuring could add another layer of complexity.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has expressed a strong commitment to advancing autonomy within the company. It has been reported that Tesla has shifted its focus from a planned low-cost electric vehicle to prioritizing the development of a specialized robotaxi. The Semi has experienced significant delays in its production timeline, with Tesla having manufactured only a limited number of around 100 units so far.

Despite all this, the Tesla Semi program continues to gain traction among customers. Shortly after the restructuring, Dan Priestley, the head of the Semi program, took to social media to announce a promising new customer for the trucks. In March, Priestley also mentioned that Tesla has been utilizing Semis to transport battery packs from Nevada to the Fremont factory.

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Medicine and Health

Vaccine Breakthrough Could Mean Future-Proof Shots Without Boosters

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A novel vaccine platform could eliminate boosters for some diseases since one dose could cover all future viral strains. It’s only been tried in mice, but researchers are optimistic.

“This could be the universal vaccine that we have been looking for,” said UC Riverside virologist Rong Hai.

The vaccination contains live, attenuated virus. Many vaccines, including MMR and chickenpox, use a similar mechanism. Unlike them, the new vaccines won’t require the immune system to respond to the infection. RNA interference (RNAi) will be activated instead.

Though it sounds like COVID-19’s mRNA vaccines, it operates differently.

As an immunological response to viral infection, hosts—people, mice, and others—produce short interfering RNAs. “These RNAi knock down the virus,” said lead author Shouwei Ding, renowned microbiology professor.

By generating proteins that prevent RNAi, viruses can avoid this response, but weakening them first solves the problem. It can replicate, but the host RNAi response wins. This weakened virus can be utilized as a vaccination to improve our RNAi immune system, Ding said.

Mutating won’t help either. “Viruses may mutate in vaccine-untargeted areas. We target their entire genome with thousands of tiny RNAs, Hai said. “They cannot escape this.”

The idea that RNAi can help people fight viral infections has been controversial, but over the last decade, several researchers have begun studying RNAi-based treatments.

The novel vaccine platform has another major benefit. Since it doesn’t require B and T cells, it could be utilized in very young babies or persons with immunological problems who can’t receive live vaccines.

The researchers designed a Nodamura mouse virus vaccination to test this. Mice genetically engineered to eliminate B and T immune cells received one shot. That one shot protected them from the Nodamura virus for at least three months, a considerable period considering mice typically live two to three years.

Since newborn mice can manufacture short RNAs, the vaccine worked in them, making it suitable for babies too young to receive immunizations.

A previous study suggests that flu infection triggers the RNAi system; therefore, that’s their next target. To reduce needle anxiety, they want to create a nasal spray vaccine.

We’ll apply this idea to create a flu vaccination for infants next. If we succeed, they won’t need their moms’ antibodies, added Ding.

It’s still early, but if it works, applying the method to other infections should be easy.

Ding said, “Dengue, SARS, and COVID are well-known human pathogens. They share viral functions. For easy knowledge transfer, this should apply to these viruses.”

The paper appears in PNAS.

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