Magna Carta, the largest ancient shipwreck ever discovered, cosmic inflation and placentas on a chip

  • Indeed, as the liberals had feared, the century of European peace that began in 1815 came crashing down in 1914, with the First World War. The replacement of liberalism by statism and nationalism was in large part to blame, and the war itself may have delivered the death blow to liberalism. In the United States and Europe, governments enlarged their scope and power in response to the war. Exorbitant taxation, conscription, censorship, nationalization, and central planning—not to mention the 10 million deaths at Flanders fields and Verdun and elsewhere—signaled that the era of liberalism, which had so recently supplanted the old order, was now itself supplanted by the era of the megastate.

For nearly thirty years, a phantom haunted the woods of Central Maine. Unseen and unknown, he lived in secret, creeping into homes in the dead of night and surviving on what he could steal. To the spooked locals, he became a legend—or maybe a myth. They wondered how he could possibly be real. Until one day last year, the hermit came out of the forest

There are still five communist regimes, including China, the most populous nation in the world, as well as North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, and Cuba. The legacy of communism is evident in Russia’s brazen seizure of the Crimea and its open support of pro-Russian militants in Eastern Ukraine. Professors in American colleges continue to teach that Marxism is just a good idea that has never been really tried.

As the report explains, unconventional drilling brought in over $43 billion to annual U.S. GDP and created 2.7 million jobs, which is nearly half of the total jobs added to the nation’s economy since 2005. However, the U.S. is currently stuck “in an unproductive, divisive, and often misinformed debate about our energy strategy, which threatens our nation’s economic and environmental goals.”

While anchored offshore, the divers explored the shallow depths. Along with the usual fare — sponges and other bottom-dwelling sea animals — they discovered something quite extraordinary: a massive shipwreck. Rotting corpses and dead horses were strewn nearby. Subsequent dives would wash away the macabre first impression. The ship was brimming with beautiful artifacts: statues, glasswork, pots, weapons…

What the divers found, confirmed by archaeologists and scientists over the following century, was a 2,000-year-old Roman merchant vessel filled with Greek treasure. To date, it remains the largest ancient shipwreck ever discovered, “the Titanic of the ancient world,” as Brendan Foley, an archaeologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, describes it.

‘It’s true hard work never killed anybody, but I figure why take the chance?’
Ronald Wilson Reagan (40th President) 1981-1989

Cosmic inflation isn’t speculative anymore. Thanks to our observations of the CMB and the large-scale structure of the Universe, we’ve been able to confirm exactly what it predicted. It was the very first thing that we know of that occurred in our Universe, it set up (and happened before) the Big Bang. And stay tuned: there’s possibly even more to come!

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Everyone is prone to a fallacy known as confirmation bias: once you’ve chosen sides in a particular debate, you’re more likely to notice evidence in favor of your point of view and less likely to notice evidence on the other side. This is why liberals and conservatives seem to live in different factual universes. Facts that support a liberal worldview circulate more widely in liberal circles than in conservative ones, and vice versa.

People in emerging countries have more faith in the market than those in developed societies.

“Never let your opponent pick the battleground on which to fight. If he picks a battleground, let him fight there by himself.” So spoke Franklin D. Roosevelt, four-time U.S. president and political animal extraordinaire.

As we celebrate Magna Carta and our own independence, let’s think about reclaiming our ancient liberties.

Google’s image recognition software, which can detect, analyze, and even auto-caption images, uses artificial neural networks to simulate the human brain. In a process they’re calling “inceptionism,” Google engineers sought out to see what these artificial networks “dream” of—what, if anything, do they see in a nondescript image of clouds, for instance? What does a fake brain that’s trained to detect images of dogs see when it’s shown a picture of a knight?

The writer Norman Mailer once observed: “Conservatives are people who look at a tree and feel instinctively that it is more beautiful than anything they can name. But when it comes to defending that tree against a highway, they will go for the highway.” Francis challenges that spirit of the utilitarian, that ugly materialism that says growth will save mankind from the muck in the rivers, the smog in the air and the tar in our souls.

To make the placenta on a chip, a team of researchers used human tissues to create a semi-permeable membrane between a chamber of maternal cells taken from a placenta and a chamber of fetal cells taken from a sample of umbilical cord. They tested it with glucose and found that the device transferred the sugar from mother to child just as the body would.

Computer scientists Ahmed Elgammal and Babak Saleh from Rutgers University define creativity as “the originality of the product and its influential value”, and used this definition to create a kind of “art network” based on how similar paintings are to earlier works. This barometer of originality, dubbed the “time machine experiment”, looked at elements including everything from colour and texture to the type of scenes depicted.

The pair then applied these measurements to a database of some 62,000 paintings, and enabled the algorithm to draw parallels between these creative works, from more modern paintings to those from the distant past.

In 2020 Google plans to launch a self-driving car which has already driven nearly one million miles without causing an accident; it doesn’t get tired and irritable, swerve into lamp posts or require a driving test. The in-built chauffeur comes in the form of a rotating LIDAR laser taking 1.3 million recordings per second, and it’s a better driver than you. By eliminating the element of human blunders, driverless cars are forecast to reduce motor accidents by up to 90% in the US according to McKinsey. That might imply a substantial impact on the insurance industry, with liability potentially shifting to car manufacturers


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