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Will You Spend More Time in Metaverse than in the Real World? What is Metaverse?

The Metaverse is a term used to describe a virtual reality world that is fully immersive and interactive. It is a digital world where users can interact with each other and with digital objects in a way that feels real and natural. The Metaverse is essentially a virtual universe that is accessible to anyone with an internet connection. It is a combination of virtual reality, augmented reality, and the internet, it allows users to interact, create and engage in a wide range of activities that were previously limited to the physical world. The Metaverse is considered to be the next step in the evolution of the internet and it promises to change the way we interact with technology, entertainment, education, and each other. Companies like Facebook and Google are already investing in this technology, and it are expected to have a significant impact on various industries, from gaming to e-commerce, from social media to education, etc. The Metaverse is an exciting concept that is already starting to take shape, and it’s worth paying attention to as it continues to develop and evolve.

How metaverse is different from virtual reality

Metaverse and Virtual Reality (VR) are related but different technologies. While VR provides a fully immersive experience in a digital environment, the Metaverse takes it one step further by allowing users to interact, create, and engage in a wide range of activities in a virtual world that feels real and natural. The Metaverse is a virtual universe that is accessible to anyone with an internet connection and it’s an evolution of the internet, it goes beyond gaming and entertainment to education, e-commerce, and social interaction. While VR is mostly used for gaming and entertainment, the Metaverse has a wider range of applications and it is expected to have a significant impact on various industries. The Metaverse is a highly connected, interactive and social space, it’s a place where people, businesses and organizations can meet, interact and exchange information, ideas, and value. It is different from virtual reality as it does not just provide an immersive experience but also a new digital environment with endless possibilities.

What are the benefits of the metaverse?

The Metaverse offers a wide range of benefits to individuals, businesses, and society as a whole. One of the most important benefits is its ability to connect people in ways that were previously not possible. The Metaverse allows users to interact and engage with each other in a virtual world that feels real and natural, this opens up new opportunities for social interaction, collaboration and building communities.

Another key benefit is its ability to drive innovation and creativity. The Metaverse offers endless opportunities for users to create and build new digital worlds, and this is expected to lead to new technologies, products, and services that were previously not possible.

The Metaverse also has the potential to drive economic growth and create new job opportunities, particularly in fields such as gaming, e-commerce, entertainment, education and many more. It is also expected to bring new opportunities for training, simulation, and research in various fields.

Additionally, the Metaverse has the potential to improve education and access to information. It provides an immersive and interactive learning environment, that can be accessible to everyone with an internet connection.

How will the metaverse change the way we live?

The Metaverse has the potential to revolutionize the way we live by changing the way we interact, create and engage in the digital world. It allows users to connect and interact with each other in a virtual world that feels real and natural, this opens up new opportunities for social interaction, collaboration and building communities. It has the potential to change the way we work, learn and play by providing new opportunities for businesses, education, and entertainment.

The Metaverse is expected to drive innovation and creativity by providing new ways to create and build digital worlds, and this is expected to lead to new technologies, products, and services. It also has the potential to drive economic growth and create new job opportunities, particularly in fields such as gaming, e-commerce, entertainment, education and many more.

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When you wear a screen on your face, “there’s a lack of situational awareness of the actual world,” says Leap Motion co-founder Michael Buckwald, sipping a soda at a demo at the company offices in San Francisco. “Also, every time I want to take a sip of Coke, I have to take the Oculus Rift off.”

“In a first-person shooter, you need to be able to turn around quickly,” says Omar Khan, the lead Unity developer at Austin-based Chaotic Moon, which designed a humorous Oculus Rift game called Shark Punch. “And if you’re sitting in a chair, tethered to a computer, it’s very difficult to be able to turn. And to aim — it’s very awkward, it’s kind of weird.”

The system gives a user full awareness of the real world while immersed in a virtual one.

Most importantly, Leap has released an application programming interface (API) that will essentially turn the device into a 3-D camera, by letting programmers access infrared data about the user’s surroundings. Using this API, raw infrared imagery of the real world can blend with a representation of the virtual realm. This is a crucial milestone on the way to true augmented reality.

Leap VR

“We’re able to take the live feed of what [users] see and convert it on the fly into a virtual world,” says Khan. “That is something that is quite different.”

Google Glass bombed with many early adopters because it was essentially a “phone for your face” that did nothing more than display output from conventional apps. The new API will incorporate the room into the game. This is true augmented reality.

Medical students might take nanoscale walking tours of the brain.

“Let’s say we wanted to create a game where we create creatures that come out of the environment around us, like my office,” says Khan. “Because of the ability of [the new API] to give you raw image data, you could make a tree grow right in the middle of your office. Or, if you want enemies to come spawning at you, there’s your desk, and all of a sudden, there’s this goblin in your desk. So there’s a lot of things you can do that haven’t been seen before.”

Medical students might take nanoscale walking tours of the brain. Or high schoolers might go on intergalactic journeys. The ability of the device to track tiny .01 millimeter finger motions, far finer than those by the Microsoft Kinect, permits sculpting of 3D virtual objects that might give rise to a new generation of claymation artists.

But in the short-term, virtual reality will sink or swim with gaming. Khan thinks game studios will be attracted by the possibility of doing something entirely new. After all, in theory, the raw-image data will allow you to turn your ordinary living room into the infested space station from Aliens.

“We know that our office looks like this, has a wall over here, but we want to render something from Aliens. We could do that. Or you could create a Nerf battle virtually, or a paintball game virtually, in your office,” Khan says. “Everyone is walking around Oculus Rifts and Leap Motion cameras, pulling data from where they’re at.”

These games can get gamers off their behinds in a far more elaborate way than with the Wii or the Kinect, because you’re no longer tethered to your T.V. or to your same-old surroundings.

Charting Real Time Data In Excel

I’ve previously written about getting real time data (RTD) into Excel using Python.

In this post I’m going to chart that data as it arrives in Excel. Think real-time stock price updates.

The steps required to get this working are:

Install Python and PyXLL.

Write a Python function to get the real time data and put it into an Excel sheet.

Write VBA event code to process that data into a table.

Write an array formula to fetch the latest 30 data points.

Create a chart to plot the data from 4.

I’ve written the Python function for you so you just need to get Python and PyXLL installed and you can be plotting your own real time data.

Download the Workbook and Python Code

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Function to Fetch Real Time Data

I’m using the same function I wrote to get RTD in this blog post.

I’ve had to make some minor changes like the URL being used to fetch the data.

RTD Data Source

I’m using stock data provided by chúng tôi You can sign up for a free account which allows you to retrieve unlimited test data from their system. They provide a paid service if you want to get real market data.

An example of such a request asking for a quote on Microsoft’s stock price is

The code MSFT specifies that I want information about Microsoft. Change this code to get information on other companies e.g. AAPL for Apple.

{"symbol": "MSFT", "companyName": "Microsoft Corp.", "primaryExchange": "QSDAAN", "calculationPrice": "close", "open": 185.39, "openTime": 1616306324959, "openSource": "cloififa", "close": 187.2, "closeTime": 1625984148002, "closeSource": "fcilifao", "high": 193.8, "highTime": 1628543496620, "highSource": "etcen 1ery p aeiidl5umd", "low": 188.13, "lowTime": 1637173833781, "lowSource": "yred eld1pnua5e m citei", "latestPrice": 184.4, "latestSource": "Close", "latestTime": "May 7, 2023", "latestUpdate": 1594186049584, "latestVolume": 28838019, "iexRealtimePrice": 190.05, "iexRealtimeSize": 100, "iexLastUpdated": 1621380167409, "delayedPrice": 186.2, "delayedPriceTime": 1659707262460, "oddLotDelayedPrice": 183.6, "oddLotDelayedPriceTime": 1657798168478, "extendedPrice": 187.8, "extendedChange": 0.5, "extendedChangePercent": 0.00285, "extendedPriceTime": 1609328086679, "previousClose": 183.04, "previousVolume": 32634011, "change": 1.06, "changePercent": 0.00587, "volume": 29283999, "iexMarketPercent": 0.01933576245291531, "iexVolume": 559683, "avgTotalVolume": 50424989, "iexBidPrice": 0, "iexBidSize": 0, "iexAskPrice": 0, "iexAskSize": 0, "iexOpen": null, "iexOpenTime": null, "iexClose": 188.18, "iexCloseTime": 1610857954764, "marketCap": 1439473962659, "peRatio": 30.49, "week52High": 196.9, "week52Low": 120.18, "ytdChange": 0.14410775142262264, "lastTradeTime": 1641935074822, "isUSMarketOpen": false}

A bunch of data about Microsoft in JSON format.

The Python code will sift through this, pull out the Latest Price and send it back to Excel.

Using the Python Function to Retrieve RTD

The function is used like any other in Excel.

You can pass in the ticker symbol for the company as a string, or reference a cell containing that string.

Every time an update is received, this is written into the calling cell.

Charting the Data

To chart the data you need to keep a record of prices as they come in. I’m going to store prices for each stock in a table on its own sheet.

Using a Worksheet_Calculate() event you can take the new price as it arrives and enter it into a table.

The table looks like this

I’m giving each data point a numeric unique ID which can be used to identify it in subsequent processing. If you wanted you could just as easily use a timestamp as the unique identifier, which is provided in the data returned by IEXCloud.

The first price received has ID 1, the second has ID 2 etc. I want to plot the most recent data so I need to get the prices with the largest ID numbers. I’m going to plot 30 points so I need the 30 largest ID’s.

Using SORT I can sort the data from the MSFT table into descending order based on ID, and then use INDEX to give me the first 30 in this list i.e. the 30 most recent data points.

In this formula ROW is providing the numbers 1:30 for INDEX to grab the 30 points.

Everything is wrapped in IFERROR because when there is no data in the table, the formula will return #REF errors. Because I’m going to use a scatter plot, #REF will be plotted as 0, but using IFERROR I can replace the #REF with #N/A and #N/A is not plotted.

This isn’t a major thing to worry about but does make the chart look a little neater.

Repeat this process on other sheets for other stocks.

With the 30 points sorted out I just need to create my chart, on another sheet, and configure it to plot this data in reverse order.

Plotting in reverse order means the data flows in from the right side of the chart, rather than the left.

Controlling Data Flow

The formula that calls the Python RTD function is actually dependent on this visual indicator. If the system is RUNNING the Python function is called.

If the system is STOPPED, the Python function is not called.

Here’s what it looks like in action. Maximise the video clip to get a better view.

Your browser does not support the video tag.

Summary

This is intended as a demonstration of what can be done using Python to get real time data.

Download the workbook and Python file (below) and you could modify the code to get other financial information, or some other form of data completely.

I haven’t used a timestamp along the x-axis of the chart but you may want to do this. As I said earlier, a timestamp is provided in the data received by the Python function so it’s a case of passing that through to Excel for processing.

More Than 350 Elephants Died In Botswana, And We May Finally Know Why

Months after more than 300 elephants were found dead in northwestern Botswana, the nation has announced that it has found the cause of their deaths—toxins produced by a unique type of algae

“Our latest tests have detected cyanobacterial neurotoxins to be the cause of deaths,” said Mmadi Reuben, the principal veterinary officer of Botswana’s department of wildlife, at a Monday news conference. But questions remain, he acknowledged, including why only elephants died and why the deaths were concentrated in one region.

However, some experts say they’re skeptical about exactly what killed the elephants. “I think a lot more investigation needs to be done,” says James Metcalf, a biochemist at the non-profit Brain Chemistry Labs in Wyoming. Metcalf, who studies cyanobacteria, which are also known as blue-green algae, says autopsies on the elephants and testing the water and earth in the area will be needed to determine definitively what killed these elephants.

If it was cyanobacteria, he says, it would still be complicated. The organisms “produce all kinds of neurotoxins,” he says. “So it’s very hard to work out exactly what’s happened.”

Toxins from blue-green algae blooms have caused the deaths of numerous animals, including cattle in the United States. “I do think it’s plausible,” says Schonna Manning, a molecular bioscientist at the University of Texas at Austin who also primarily studies cyanobacteria and other algae. Still, “without doing the biochemical testing [of the elephants and the area], we cannot say for sure,” she says.

The elephants that died were African elephants, which the IUCN classifies as “vulnerable.” These elephants face a large variety of threats, many of which were considered as Botswana tried to figure out what had happened to the elephants who died unexpectedly this year. Poaching was a prime suspect, but at the news conference, another spokesperson said there was no evidence of human involvement in the elephant deaths.

“That’s a lot of elephants,” Manning says. If algae did kill the elephants, it’s surprising that it didn’t kill other local animals. But Manning speculates that the fact other dead animals weren’t found nearby has something to do with the smell of death that would have pervaded the pond’s surroundings. “Even if there are resources available, usually the animal’s going to be deterred from that area” if a dead animal is close by, she says.

Cyanobacterial blooms occur when still, warm water—like a pond—has so much nitrogen and phosphorus that the algae are able to breed and grow at an extremely fast rate, spreading throughout the pond. Scientists anticipate that they will become an even bigger problem in the future, as a result of both climate change-related warming and drought and human population growth. Sewage and agricultural fertilizer are two potent sources of nitrogen and phosphorus.

These blooms are a known conservation problem for wildlife, but they can harm humans too—even low levels of exposure to cyanobacterial toxins have been linked to human health issues, including liver cancer and potentially even brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s. Toledo, Ohio, had to truck in water for its population in 2014 when an algae bloom on Lake Erie contaminated the city’s water supply.

The good news, says Metcalf, is that it’s possible to monitor bodies of water for potential bloom conditions in order to try to prevent things like sewage and agricultural run-off from reaching bodies of water. Unfortunately, it was too late for these elephants—if that is indeed what truly happened to them.

There’s probably more news to come. “We have a number of hypotheses we are investigating,” Reuben said on Monday. But for now, it’s certainly possible that the elephants died because of toxins produced by cyanobacteria: another reason to keep this human and animal health issue in the foreground.

Will Bitcoin Traders Be More Assured Or More Worried In 2023?

The past year was punctuated by a series of extreme peaks and troughs. In spite of that, however, there is an assured collective acceptance of Bitcoin, one that is palpable. 2023 particularly was dominated by numbers and growth. Here are a few highlights,

Crypto’s collective market cap increased by 284%

Bitcoin Year to Date spike was as high as 272%

Crypto-Derivatives Trading Volume Average in 2023 was 62.4 billion; Q1 2023 crossed $2 trillion, smashing the 2023 average by 314%

Bitcoin Active Addresses % change – 125%

The list goes on and on, but we are not here for the accolades. When speaking about a transitional change (a coming-of-age from 2023), the perspective of crypto-traders or Bitcoin investors has evolved drastically over the past three years. From a point of high risk and high volatility in 2023, how will crypto-traders look at the market in 2023?

Speaking of Volatility and Bitcoin Velocity

Back in 2023, before and after the bull run, volatility was a major concern for traders. It was always an ‘expect the unexpected situation’ with Bitcoin and the rest. The Volatility Index indicated the same, but the end of 2023 has been different.

Another important metric that defines the evolution of Crypto-traders is Bitcoin’s 1-year Active Supply Velocity chart. Velocity measures the number of times an average unit of supply has been transferred. The attached cycle highlights the uncertainty early adopters and traders faced, in comparison to the newer ones.

Since 2023, a successful precedent and better understanding of the digital asset industry has led to controlled FUD, as a result of which, traders are currently better equipped with the knowledge to navigate through the market.

Open the Institutional Floodgates

Traders from 2023 are fortunate to witness the injection of institutional capital. Before the 2023 bull run, CBOE and CME BTC Futures were just beginning to hit the markets. There was no relevant liquidity, let alone optimism, for a successful market ahead.

It was all in an experimental phase, one where traders would literally need to go in with the expectation of losing most of their capital.

Not anymore. CME, one of the largest derivatives exchanges in the world, recorded a new all-time high in Open Interest. OI represents the total value of the outstanding contracts that haven’t been settled. CME’s Bitcoin product is significant because it is accessible to multitudes of retail and institutional traders across the world at the moment.

The improving derivatives instruments have given Bitcoin and other assets exposure, something that was unheard of in 2023. For a trader entering the market in 2023, identifying value in crypto-assets will be much easier, unlike 3 years ago.

Against the Odds, Bitcoin displayed its mettle

With the previous factors, there was a layer of commonality. Each condition evolved and become positive for Bitcoin over time, and all of it mostly relied on market maturity and eventual growth in interest.

However, 2023 threw a curveball at Bitcoin in the form of a pandemic which might have been its strongest test yet. Since 2009, the larger economic landscape had avoided any underlying concerns of inflation. The narrative was flipped when the COVID-19 pandemic crippled the economy during a world-wide lockdown. The traditional market faced its largest depreciation since the 1980s and Bitcoin’s valuation crumbled amidst financial uncertainty.

Dropping under $4000, skeptics were quick to write off Bitcoin’s capability to recover in an inflation-heavy environment. No points for guessing what happened next. 

Not only was Bitcoin the first major asset to bounce back, but it also continued to hold a higher position after every bullish rally. Crypto-traders, new and old, paid attention to Bitcoin’s resilience. With a valuation of nearly $29k at press time (New ATH, that’s right!), it is safe to assume Bitcoin passed with flying colors.

Traders thinking ahead in 2023

So, putting things in context, a lot has changed between 2023 and 2023 for crypto-traders. Unlike the previous allure of ‘get rich quick’ sentiment with cryptos, the digital asset class has evolved into a more definite and trustable unit in the trading industry.

In 2023, it is not a gamble to invest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, as was the case in post-December 2023. Traders are currently identifying injection of smart money, and an organic institutional presence in the digital asset market. While the asset class remains volatile as ever, it is important to note that other assets such as the S&P 500 and Dow Jones have been more volatile than BTC in 2023.

Deadly Heatwaves Like Those In The Pacific Northwest Will Only Become More Common

This post has been updated. It was originally published on June 28, 2023.

The first half of this week has been unprecedentedly hot in the Northwest region of the US and western Canada—this is the most intense heatwave to ever hit the region. After an already scorching and record-breaking weekend, with temperatures as high as 112 degrees Fahrenheit in Portland and 108 in Seattle, thermometers crept even higher Monday and Tuesday, sometimes exceeding 30 degrees above the normal daily temperature. Thankfully, most of the heat had passed by Wednesday, as temperatures settle towards the weekend.

The unbearably high temperatures have led to the suspension of pandemic-related capacity limits across Oregon at swimming pools, movie theaters, shopping malls, cooling centers, and public transit to make sure people have access to air conditioning or other places to find refuge from the heat. In some parts of the country that are being hit, air conditioning in homes isn’t common—in Seattle, only 44 percent of homes are air-conditioned. 

On top of a low rate of air-conditioned homes and a significant population of people without housing, the uncharacteristically high overnight lows proved deadly. In Oregon alone, 63 people died due to heatwave-related causes—45 of these were due to hyperthermia, according to Reuters. That’s nearly four times as many deaths in just one week than all hyperthermia deaths in the state between 2023 and 2023. British Columbia reported at least 486 sudden deaths over the five day period, as temperatures surged above 120 degrees Fahrenheit in some regions.

[Related: Earth used to be cooler than we thought, which changes our math on global warming]

“We’ve never had this type of heat for so many days, it’s a public-health emergency,” Dan Douthit, a spokesman for the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management, told the Wall Street Journal. But these types of heat waves could become more common. A study released last month tied more than a third of heat-related deaths to a changing climate. 

Agriculture is also bearing the heat head-on. Strawberry farms are drying out and endangered salmon species face increasingly warm and unhealthy waters. Meanwhile, many workers in strawberry fields and cherry farms have been forced to work in dangerous conditions as their employers fret about whether their perishable crops will survive the heat. At least one farmworker has died as a result.

The reason for all the maddening weather can largely be attributed to a heat dome—a high-pressure system that sits on top of a region, capturing extra heat over the area and warming it up faster (think putting a lid on a pot of boiling water). Earlier this month, the Southwestern US saw record-breaking temperatures amped up to extreme levels thanks to this same heat dome that has now moved north. 

“It’s the same high-pressure pattern we’ve had parked over the West; it just kind of moves north and south or east and west. It moves and strengthens and weakens,” Andrea Bair, the climate services program manager for the National Weather Service’s western region, told National Geographic. 

[Related: Did the dip in carbon emissions during the pandemic really help the atmosphere?]

More heatwaves like this one are likely, thanks to a changing climate that will only grow more troublesome in the years to come—something that worries experts, especially when it comes to typically colder areas of the US. Additionally, low-income communities with less tree cover face even deadlier effects than their wealthier counterparts, even in the same cities. 

“Unfortunately we’re not well-prepared, generally speaking in the Pacific Northwest, for heat,” Vivek Shandas, a professor of climate adaptation and urban policy at Portland State University, told CNN. “Our [power] grids are largely taxed during the wintertime for heating purposes, but in the summer, there’s a lot less capacity in the grid to be able to actually manage some of the major drains on cooling infrastructure that’s needed.” Shandas told CNN he didn’t have an AC unit in his home until last week.

The Western half of the US is still facing exceptional droughts on top of exceptionally warm days, which creates a kind of feedback loop, Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, told National Geographic. “You have this further self-reinforcing cycle between heat waves and droughts that are being made worse by climate change on top of the linear warming trend,” he said. 

Scorching days in mild-weather climates may be alarming and record-breaking now, but they are only going to get more common as time goes on. 

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