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Take a look at these social media statistics. One in three receive their news through Facebook, the average Twitter user spends 170 minutes a month on the platform, and the average user spends $60 when coming from Facebook.
This should show you that more than ever before technology is making people more social. That means you have to form relationships with your target audience. As a startup, it’s the only way you are going to generate sales.TechWeek
The TechWeek conference is perfect for startups because more than ever before you need to leverage technology in your business. It doesn’t matter what industry you happen to be operating in. This will be a week where you will be enjoying talks about everything from gender equality to adopting HP & Dell servers as part of a new technology drive in your business.
Add in the fun activities like yoga, pitching sessions, and hackathons and you have a conference that’s worth every penny.
TechWeek has had some huge names attend as speakers in the past, including Tinder co-founder Jonathan Badeen and Square co-founder Jim McKelvey.Social Media Marketing World 2024
This is the conference of the prominent social media site Social Media Examiner. It’s currently the world’s biggest social media marketing conference. You’ll connect with 3000 other people, including startups, to listen to 100 social media pros talk about how to drive traffic to your website via social media and convert them into paying customers.
The lineup for 2024 is huge, with figures including Facebook marketer Mari Smith, Guy Kawasaki who was formerly associated with Apple, and NYT best-selling author Chris Brogan.Collision
If you are thinking about how new tech can help your company or you are thinking about how to manage your startup from top to bottom while juggling a busy lifestyle, this is the conference for you. Named as America’s fastest growing tech conference, this is produced by the same team that produced the renowned Web Summit event.
This conference has gained a reputation for being special because it brings together people who are just getting started with people who are already well established. Many of the CEOs here were once leaders of the hottest startups in the world, before they became established. Notable investors are also known to attend.
Some of the speakers for this year include Steve Huffman, the founder of Reddit, and Linda Boff, the CMO of General Electric. And with every year the list keeps getting more and more glamorous. This is one of the most important startup events and should be on everybody’s list.
On a side note, this is held on either side of Jazz Weekend in New Orleans, so it’s also the perfect time to take in some authentic American culture at the same time.99U
The mission of the 99U conference says everything that needs to be said. It’s designed to shift the focus from generating ideas to executing ideas. In other words, you are going to learn about the value of taking an idea and actually acting on it. This is about making things happen, which many startups are guilty of not doing.
The setup here is almost intimidating as 16 main stages are erected in New York City for speakers who will show you how you can go about making things happen. They will use their stories and their experiences to help inspire and form startups like yours.
Previous years have included talks by Seth Godin and Leah Busque. This year AJ Jacobs and Brene Brown will be presenting.Big Omaha
Omaha, Nebraska, may not be the place you thought you would find a big startup conference. On the contrary, this is the startup conference that’s all about passion. Instead of bringing people to the glitz of New York, it’s about attracting startups that are passionate about changing the world and making successes of themselves.
The main themes engulfing this low-cost conference are collaboration and connection. It’s one of the smaller and more affordable events, so if you want to find out how to best harness your passion this is most certainly the conference for you.
Speakers that have attended Big Omaha before include Jamie Tworkowski and Brad Feld. Speakers like these are responsible for bringing a passionate community together.
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Since the German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth identified uranium in 1789, atomic number 92 has become one of the most troubling substances on the planet. It’s naturally radioactive, but its isotope uranium-235 also happens to be fissile, as Nazi nuclear chemists learned in 1938, when they did the impossible and split a uranium nucleus in two. American physicists at U.C. Berkeley were soon to discover they could force uranium-238 to decay into plutonium-239; the substance has since been used in weapons and power plants around the world. Today, the element continues to stoke international tensions as Iran stockpiles uranium in defiance of an earlier treaty, and North Korea’s “Rocket Man” leader Kim Jong-un continues to resist denuclearization.
But what is uranium, exactly? And what do you need to know about it beyond the red-hot headlines? Here we answer your most pressing nuclear questions:Where does uranium come from?
Uranium is a common metal. “It can be found in minute quantities in most rocks, soils, and waters,” geologist Dana Ulmer-Scholle writes in an explainer from the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources. But finding richer deposits—the ones with concentrated uranium actually worth mining—is more difficult.
When engineers find a promising seam, they mine the uranium ore. “It’s not people with pickaxes anymore,” says Jerry Peterson, a physicist at the University of Colorado, Boulder. These days, it comes from leaching, which Peterson describes as pouring “basically PepsiCola—slightly acidic” down into the ground and pumping the liquid up from adjacent holes. As the fluid percolates through the deposit, it separates out the uranium for harvesting.
Uranium ore. Deposit PhotosWhat are the different types of uranium?
Uranium has several important isotopes—different flavors of the same substance that vary only in their neutron count (also called atomic mass). The most common is uranium-238, which accounts for 99 percent of the element’s presence on Earth. The least common isotope is uranium-234, which forms as uranium-238 decays. Neither of these products are fissile, meaning their atoms don’t easily split, so they can’t sustain a nuclear chain reaction.
That’s what makes the isotope uranium-235 so special—it’s fissile, so with a bit of finessing, it can support a nuclear chain reaction, making it ideal for nuclear power plants and weapons manufacturing. But more on that later.
There’s also uranium-233. It’s another fissile product, but its origins are totally different. It’s a product of thorium, a metallic chemical much more abundant than uranium. If nuclear physicists expose thorium-232 to neutrons, the thorium is liable to absorb a neutron, causing the material to decay into uranium-233.
Just as you can turn thorium into uranium, you can turn uranium into plutonium. Even the process is similar: Expose abundant uranium-238 to neutrons, and it will absorb one, eventually causing it to decay to plutonium-239, another fissile substance that’s been used to create nuclear energy and weapons. Whereas uranium is abundant in nature, plutonium is really only seen in the lab, though it can occur naturally alongside uranium.How do you go from a rock to a nuclear fuel source?
People don’t exactly lay out step-by-step guides to refining nuclear materials. But Peterson got pretty close. After you’ve extracted uranium from the earth, he says chemical engineers separate the uranium-rich liquid from other minerals in the sample. When the resulting uranium oxide dries, it’s the color of semolina flour, hence the nickname “yellowcake” for this intermediate product.
From there, a plant can purchase a pound of yellowcake for $20 or $30. They mix the powder with hydrofluoric acid. The resulting gas is spun in a centrifuge to separate from uranium-238 and uranium-235. This process is called “enrichment.” Instead of the natural concentration of 0.7 percent, nuclear power plants want a product that’s enriched to between 3 and 5 percent uranium-235. For a weapon, you need much more: These days, upwards of 90 percent is the goal.
Once that uranium is enriched, power plant operators pair it with a moderator, like water, that slows down the neutrons in the uranium. This increases the probability of a consistent chain reaction. When your reaction is finally underway, each individual neutron will transform into 2.4 neutrons, and so on, creating energy all the while.
Uranium glass dinnerware. Deposit PhotosAny fun facts I should take with me to my next dinner party?
Try this: In PopSci‘s “Danger” issue earlier this year, David Meier, a research scientist at Pacific Northwest National Lab, talked about his work to create a database of plutonium sources. Turns out, every plutonium product has a visible origin story, because “there’s not one way of processing it,” Meier says. The United States had two plutonium production sites. While the intermediate product from Hanford, Washington (the Manhattan Project site from which PNNL grew) was brown and yellow, the Savannah River site in Akon, South Carolina, produced “a nice blue material,” Meier says. Law enforcement officials hope these subtle differences—which may also correspond to changes in the chemical signature, particle size, or shape of the material—will one day help them track down illicit nuclear development.
Or, dazzle your guests with a short history of radioactive dinnerware. The manufacture of uranium glass, also called canary glass or Vaseline glass began in the 1830s. Before William Henry Perkin created the first synthetic color in 1856, dyes were terribly expensive and even then they didn’t last. Uranium became a popular way to give plates, vases, and glasses a deep yellow or minty green tinge. But put these household objects under a UV light and they all fluoresce a shocking neon chartreuse. Fortunately for the avid collectors who actively trade in uranium glass, most of these objects aren’t so radioactive as to pose a risk to human health.
Last one: In 2002, the medical journal The Lancet published an article on the concerning potential for depleted uranium—the waste leftover after uranium-235 extraction—to end up on the battlefield. The concern is that its high density would make it an incredible projectile, capable of piercing even the most well-enforced battle tank. Worse yet, it could then contaminate the surrounding landscape and anyone it.
Since the early 2010s, smart TVs have become a significant presence in the modern home entertainment marketplace. A hybrid of television and computing technologies, they serve as a central hub for entertainment and news from a wide range of sources: over-the-air broadcasts, cable, streamed video from the Internet, as well as game consoles, Blu-ray players and other devices. Though gadget-lovers appreciate the variety possible with smart TVs, old-school TV fans may prefer the simplicity of a basic television set.Appearance
Smart TVs look like almost any modern traditional television set: a familiar rectangular screen on a stand, a forest of connector sockets on the backside, and a remote control. The real difference is in what you don’t see – the microprocessors, software, and other tech on the inside.Technology Operating System
When you turn a smart TV on, it “boots” like a computer into an custom operating system tailored to managing its various functions. The OS software coordinates the video sources, runs the apps, and provides on-screen menus you navigate with the remote.Apps
Traditional TV programming from cable, satellite or antenna is but one of many functions offered on a smart TV. They come with a host of apps, each tailored to a specific purpose. In addition to factory-installed apps, you can typically add hundreds of others. Streaming apps, such as YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu, provide content from these sources. There are also apps for games which run on the TV itself. Other apps deliver specialty content such as for sports leagues and a range of Interests. Utility apps let you “mirror” video and images from your smartphone, laptop or tablet device, or display a slideshow of pictures from a USB stick.High Definition
Smart TV features are typically found on higher-end models, so they come with High-Definition and 4/8K screens. Note that not all ultra high definition TVs have what it takes to be a smart TV. Some offer a super-sharp picture without the processor, apps or WiFi.Advantages
The features found on smart TVs command a premium price compared to simpler models, so be prepared to spend money. Their flexibility and sophistication also means they’re complicated, with many features to learn and menus to navigate. Because of the remote’s limited ability to enter text, web browsing and other functions are more awkward than doing the same task on a tablet. Also, some smart TVs spy on their owner’s viewing habits to gather marketing data.Conclusion
Smart TVs are a significant evolution in home entertainment, offering many media options from a single convenient package. For those who are into the latest high-tech gadgets and who might already own set-top boxes, game consoles and other devices, a smart TV will help further expand their digital universe. On the other hand, others who want nothing more than to flip on a favorite channel would probably be happier with a simple television set.
Image credit: Remote control on a table with a TV on the background by DepositPhotos
John Parsons is a freelance writer with many years in software development. He has a Physics degree and lives in Chicago with his wife and a zooful of animals.
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Reinforcement learning (RL) is the area of machine learning that is concerned with how software is able to take the right decision. The computer employs a trial and error method in order to find the best possible behavior or path that should be taken in a specific situation. Reinforcement learning is more or less a game-like situation. In order to enable the machine to do what is desired by the programmer, the artificial intelligence gets either rewards or penalties for the actions it performs. Ultimately, the goal is to maximize the rewards. Needless to say, this aspect of machine learning is the most effective way to hint at a machine’s creativity as of now. Consider an example wherein an autonomous vehicle is to be designed with a focus on parameters like minimizing the ride time, reducing pollution, obeying the traffic rules, etc. While coming up with this model, rather than relying on lengthy ‘if-then’ statements, reinforcement learning serves to be a savior. Here, the programmer would focus on preparing the reinforcement learning agent capable enough of learning from the system of rewards and penalties.How to get into this field?
This is one of the most exciting fields that has garnered attention from so many. For the ones looking to make a career in this, there’s no better time than now to get started.AWS Deepracer
Signing up for Deepracer will give you an access to a simulator. This further allows the user to select a track, code a reward function, and also adjust tuning parameters. With a default reward function with tuning parameters, one can start training the racer followed by evaluating its performance. AWS Deepracer is undoubtedly a great tool to get started and get acquainted with RL.Real-world examples
The best way to learn anything is to see how it applies to the real-world. With tons of real-world examples of business, academics, and government organizations experimenting as well as succeeding with this innovative aspect of machine learning, a lot can be learned and understood. Some real-life examples that can help in this aspect are – a grocery store that employs a personalized and recommendation engine that uses reinforcement learning, army deploying vehicles in different parts of the battle area, a robot playing sports, to name a few.Books
Needless to say, books are certainly one of the best ways to gain knowledge and expertise no matter what the field is. Some of the best books and papers to get going are –
The Basics of Deep Q Learning: With this book, one can surely gain command on Math and processes of Reinforcement Learning.
The Hierarchical Learning paper: This is handy especially for those who want to understand Hierarchical Learning in detail.
Deep RL: As evident as the name, this delves deeper into the subject.Applications of RL
Some of the applications of RL are in the areas of –
Bidding & Advertising
Supply Chain & Logistics
Load BalancingChallenges in RL
Scaling and tweaking the neural network that controls the agent
The agent performs the task as it is and not in the optimal or required way.
Preparing the simulation environment is yet another challenge faced.
Reinforcement learning (RL) is the area of machine learning that is concerned with how software is able to take the right decision. The computer employs a trial and error method in order to find the best possible behavior or path that should be taken in a specific situation. Reinforcement learning is more or less a game-like situation. In order to enable the machine to do what is desired by the programmer, the artificial intelligence gets either rewards or penalties for the actions it performs. Ultimately, the goal is to maximize the rewards. Needless to say, this aspect of machine learning is the most effective way to hint at a machine’s creativity as of now. Consider an example wherein an autonomous vehicle is to be designed with a focus on parameters like minimizing the ride time, reducing pollution, obeying the traffic rules, etc. While coming up with this model, rather than relying on lengthy ‘if-then’ statements, reinforcement learning serves to be a savior. Here, the programmer would focus on preparing the reinforcement learning agent capable enough of learning from the system of rewards and chúng tôi is one of the most exciting fields that has garnered attention from so many. For the ones looking to make a career in this, there’s no better time than now to get started.Signing up for Deepracer will give you an access to a simulator. This further allows the user to select a track, code a reward function, and also adjust tuning parameters. With a default reward function with tuning parameters, one can start training the racer followed by evaluating its performance. AWS Deepracer is undoubtedly a great tool to get started and get acquainted with chúng tôi best way to learn anything is to see how it applies to the real-world. With tons of real-world examples of business, academics, and government organizations experimenting as well as succeeding with this innovative aspect of machine learning, a lot can be learned and understood. Some real-life examples that can help in this aspect are – a grocery store that employs a personalized and recommendation engine that uses reinforcement learning, army deploying vehicles in different parts of the battle area, a robot playing sports, to name a few.Needless to say, books are certainly one of the best ways to gain knowledge and expertise no matter what the field is. Some of the best books and papers to get going are –Some of the applications of RL are in the areas of –The crux of RL is how the agent is trained. Reinforcement learning is, without a doubt, cutting-edge technology and has the potential to transform the world. It is one of those ways that can make a machine creative
Update 8/19/2024: At the time this post was written, the so-called “female Viagra” was recommended for approval by the FDA. On August 18, 2024, the FDA officially approved the drug.
It’s the third time this incarnation of what’s being touted in the media as female Viagra has been brought before the FDA for approval. The agency hit the brakes on flibanserin in 2010 and again in 2013, saying its modest benefits didn’t outweigh the risks. This time around, Sprout Pharmaceuticals was betting on new safety data to tip the scales in their direction. They were right.
We talked to several experts to find out more about the search for a libido drug for women—specifically, why it took so long to get one. Here’s what we learned.“Female Viagra” Is a Misnomer
Viagra helps performance. Women want a pill for desire. Pfizer, the makers of Viagra, gave up on women way back in 2004. The little blue pill helps increase blood flow to the penis when a man is aroused. In studies, this functional approach did squat for women with low desire. (A small Pfizer-funded study did show a benefit of Viagra for women on antidepressants.) Since then, pharmaceutical companies interested in this segment have been focusing on hormones and brain chemicals that affect female desire.The Target is Called Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder
HSDD is the most common female sexual dysfunction—affecting up to a fifth of women—and it’s what drug companies have been going after. “This is not a made-up condition,” says Lauren Streicher, MD, associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Women who have HSDD don’t have fantasies and they don’t desire sex. We know that there’s a hormonal component, and it’s also mediated by neurotransmitters, specifically dopamine and serotonin, and the way that they act in the frontal cortex.” The most recent edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-5, which came out in 2013, changed things around, and HSDD is no longer a standalone diagnosis. Now it’s part of a new condition, female sexual interest/arousal disorder (FSIAD). The idea is the same though: It has to be ongoing and cause distress, and it can’t be directly caused by a non-sexual mental disorder, severe relationship distress (like abuse) or other stressors or a drug or other medical condition.Low Desire Is a Complicated Thing
There’s some debate over whether a drug can actually help restore female desire. Unsurprisingly, there are many factors at play when it comes to women and desire, including relationship issues, boredom and discomfort during sex (something that becomes increasingly common after menopause, but can often be treated). “Too often, female sexual desire gets medicalized,” says Washington, D.C.-based psychotherapist and neuropsychologist Marsha Lucas, PhD, author of Rewire Your Brain for Love. “There’s a time and place for it, just like antidepressants—but just like [with] antidepressants, it’s often not a pharmacological ‘cure’ that’s really needed.” Streicher says flibanserin helps a very specific category of woman: “The right candidate is someone that used to have a great libido, but no longer has a great libido and there’s no other explanation for it. She’s in a loving relationship and she’s stopped having sexy thoughts, and—most importantly—she’s distressed by it and she wants to do something about it.”Flibanserin Isn’t an Antidepressant, but It Works on Neurotransmitter Receptors
Flibanserin was first developed as an antidepressant. The original manufacturer, Boehringer Ingelheim, shifted gears after noticing that women taking it in studies started having more sexual thoughts. (Boehringer Ingelheim sold flibanserin to Sprout Pharmaceuticals after the FDA’s first review.) “It’s similar to an SSRI in that it works on neurotransmitter receptors in the brain and is thought to correct an imbalance in neurotransmitters,” explains Sheryl Kingsberg, PhD, division chief of ob-gyn behavioral medicine at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland and a consultant for Sprout. “However, while SSRIs promote serotonin release, which can dampen desire, flibanserin likely promotes dopamine release.” If approved, the drug will be marketed under the name Addyi and will come as a 100-milligram pill to be taken every night at bedtime.The Best Libido Drug for Women Is Probably Testosterone, but Don’t Expect the FDA to Approve It Anytime Soon
Low desire is more common after menopause. Again, there are many reasons for this (symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, sleep deprivation and a bone-dry vagina don’t exactly put you in the mood), but declining testosterone levels are believed to be an important factor. The FDA turned down Proctor & Gamble’s testosterone patch for women in 2004, the same year Pfizer gave up on female Viagra. “The FDA was concerned that if the patch was given to a large number of menopausal women, theoretically it might increase the risk of breast cancer and heart attacks,” says James Simon, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at The George Washington University School of Medicine and lead investigator for flibanserin clinical trials. Simon also worked on the testosterone patch and gel.
In 2011, BioSante’s testosterone gel failed to show a statistically significant difference in terms of the number of sexually satisfying events from placebo, something Simon and others say is a poor measure of desire in women. Will a flibanserin victory open the door for testosterone treatments for HSDD? Not necessarily, Simon says: “Even if flibanserin gets approved, I still have my doubts about testosterone because the FDA still seems to be overly concerned about the two safety endpoints that they were concerned about in 2004.”
There’s plenty of data showing that very low-dose testosterone is safe and effective for postmenopausal women. Both Streicher and Mary Jane Minkin, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine, said that many ob-gyns prescribe low-dose testosterone off-label for postmenopausal women with good results. Unfortunately, these prescriptions are filled at compounding pharmacies, which aren’t FDA-regulated and aren’t covered by insurance. “I wish I could get testosterone for my ladies,” Minkin says.
For that, we’ll likely be waiting a while longer.
Jennifer Abbasi is a Portland, OR-based freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter at @jenabbasi.
Do you hate typing passwords each time you log in to a computer? If this describes you, it will be faster for you to use biometric login. And if your computer doesn’t come with one, you can use a USB fingerprint reader. This USB device is tiny, lightweight, and easy to carry. Being biometric, it offers an extra layer of security that ordinary passwords simply can’t.
To substantiate that, I can’t help but think of an interesting episode from Cobra Kai, the recent successor to The Karate Kid franchise. (The 30-year old rivalry between the two lead characters is exciting to watch.) In this scene, Robby, the truant son of Johnny Lawrence, steals a customer’s laptop. All he has to do is pose as a smug tech executive and ask for the password. After quietly walking away with the device, Robby’s gang quickly sells it on eBay while the gullible customer is relaxing at a Starbucks.
One has to wonder had this customer enabled fingerprint access on his laptop and knew how to remote wipe it, could it have at least protected him from data theft? Fortunately, it was just a television show, but tech repair scams like this are surprisingly common in the real world.What Do USB Fingerprint Readers Do?
USB fingerprint readers work with any USB port or docking station to unlock a computer. They are expected to work as plug-and-play devices, which are readily compatible with Windows 7/8/10 systems. Kensington VeriMark and Benss Fingerprint Reader are two highly-rated USB fingerprint readers that do not require external drivers.
A few other desirable features of these devices include:
360-degree detection: you should be able to log in from any finger angle
Support for ten fingerprint IDs: if you are working with Windows Hello or other similar systems, you should be able to register all ten fingers.
Compatible with Google, Facebook, Dropbox and Microsoft ID: with a good USB fingerprint device such as Kensington VeriMark, you can not only access your computer but also several online services. In fact, these devices can serve as “tokens” to help you get rid of phone verification on Google.
To set up a USB fingerprint reader on Windows 7/8/10, you need to set up Windows Hello.Who Does Not Need USB Fingerprint Reader?
If your computer came with a built-in fingerprint scanner, you do not need this gadget. You can check your device’s compatibility online for all known Windows 10 brands. You can simply set up the built-in scanner with Windows Hello.Device Failing to Register?
One of the rare problems with USB fingerprint devices is that sometimes they may fail to read the user properly. This is definitely true for me, as I think some people experience this problem more often than others do. With wet or greasy fingers, you are likely to fail authentication more often.
However, the well-known brands mentioned here are very responsive to finger touch. Windows Hello also allows you to authenticate all ten fingers just in case one of them fails.In Summary
Image Credit: Cobra Kai Season 1 episode 4
Sayak Boral is a technology writer with over eleven years of experience working in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise IT, telecommunications OSS/BSS, and network security. He has been writing for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, Internet, Hardware Guides, Browsers, Software Tools, and Product Reviews.
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