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Matthew Slotkin • Author at Mirror Daily

A new Belgium study has revealed that, similar to humans and other animals, cockroaches have personalities and thus exhibit complex personality traits, such as shyness or bravery.

The study was performed by scientists at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, who found that cockroaches have personality traits and can be eager to explore their environment, be bold or reluctant and shy. The researchers studied the creepy crawlers and how they seek shelter when exposed to light. For the experiment, the species Periplaneta Americana was studied. The results of their study were published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Isaac Planas-Sitja, PhD student at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles and lead author of the study, said that the Periplaneta Americana cockroaches are simple creatures capable of making complex decisions. He continued:

So with little information, with little interactions, only knowing if I have a partner here or not, only with this information, they can make complex decisions.

For the study, researchers attached tiny radio tags to the back of the cockroaches to track their every movement. Then, the insects were loaded inside a corral with two shelters and were subjected to a very bright light. The scientists wanted to observe which creatures scattered to find shade and which ones stayed to explore their surroundings before trying to find shade.

Amazingly, they found that there were some shy individuals who explored the arena less than bold individuals. They also spend more time sheltered, as opposed to bold ones who spent more time in the bright lights. Every time the experiment got recreated, the same cockroaches reacted in the exact same way.

The interesting thing about this cockroach social experiment wasn’t just the find that there are shy and bold individuals, but that the personality of some cockroaches can influence the whole group. Planas-Sitja said that in the end, they all reach the same consensus.

So, what is the significance of this experiment and its findings? The authors of the study believe that finding that a group of cockroaches having both exploring and bold individuals as well as shy ones, will help people understand why cockroaches are so resilient and so well adapted to surviving in various environments.

Image Source: Structurae

Apple’s Spring Forward event ended a few hours ago and aside from the eagerly-awaited Apple Watch, Apple also launched a brand new MacBook. It’s not a new MacBook Air and it’s not a MacBook pro, so what is it? Well, it’s a MacBook, clear and simple.

Apple discontinued their Apple MacBooks in 2011, when they introduced the MacBook Air and now Apple MacBook is back and it appears to be much better than the MacBook Air. This could be a hint at the fact that Apple is planning to remove their MacBook Air line, but there is no news on that issue just now. All we know is that Apple has refreshed their MacBook Air line and gave it a better processor, but no Retina Display.

The new MacBook is the lightest and thinnest MacBook Apple has ever made. It weighs just 2 pounds and it is 0.53 inches thin, 24% thinner than the Air. It does have Retina Display (2304 x 1440 pixels), which on such a thin product it is a feat in itself, and it comes in one size 12-inch display. The viewing angles are wide and the colors on a Retina Display are vibrant.

To make the new MacBook so light and thin, Apple redesigned the keyboard, the touchpad and the battery completely.

The new MacBook has 8 GB of RAM, 256/512 GB of flash memory and has integrated HD Graphics 5300. It gas Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology and 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking.

So what is the catch, because there obviously has to be one? Well, the new MacBook, aside from the audio jack, only has one port, the USB-C port. The port is for charging, native DisplayPort 1.2 video output and with the help of adapters sold separately, VGA and HDMI ports. The minimalism of the new MacBook may surprise a lot of people and while most people aren’t ready to give up ports, such as USB or HDMI, Apple is clearly moving away from the current trends and going into minimalism.

There are two versions of the new MacBook, one priced at $1,299 and one at $1,599, making the laptop a premium one. It comes in three colors: Gold, Silver and Grey.

Image Source: Macworld

Emma Watson, appointed UN Women Goodwill Ambassador last year, at the age of 24, discussed an interesting aspect of gender equality in her latest interview: the actress questioned the habit of not letting women pay for dinner, since this is an act of chivalry that all human beings should be allowed to enjoy, supposing they are willing to do that. This subtle criticism of traditional gender roles was pronounced in the context of Watson’s ongoing campaign as UN Goodwill Ambassador, “HeforShe”, a campaign launched in September 2014 and aiming to involve men as well as women in the worldwide race for gender equality.

In an interview held at the London Facebook headquarters, Miss Watson exemplified her idea about renouncing double standards with a personal anecdote. She recounted a date she had with a man (whose name she didn’t disclose) and described his reaction when she insisted to pay for dinner. Although the man had thought himself a feminist and although he did not overreact, Watson said there was a bit of uneasiness between them, something “not going down well”. Watson argues that this shouldn’t happen, since two persons – man and woman – can agree to pay for dinner alternatively or to split the bill. Chivalry, manifested in the form of opening the door for someone or taking someone out to dinner, should not be a male privilege, the actress claims. She is trying to challenge the assumption that gender equality has only downsides for men and reveal the fact that true equality means not just equal rights, but also equal obligations. Another meaning of her objection to women’s being always the receivers of chivalry, not the ones to grant it, is that being offered favours that one cannot return can sometimes push people into a subordinate position. Since women are supposed to be equal and paying for dinner is not a form of reminding them of their relative lack of financial strength, but a simple form of politeness, it should also be exercised freely and equally. “The key is chivalry should be consensual, both parties should be feeling good about that. I think it’s a problem when people expect things to be a certain way, to follow a certain status quo.” – Watson explained

The conclusion to her anecdote was nevertheless an optimistic one, since, as the actress observed, gender equality talks have evolved far enough to allow for such an episode to be discussed and overcome. “The cool thing was that we were both willing to have the conversation about why it was awkward, or why it was uncomfortable. We were able to have this dialogue.” – Emma said.

The HeforShe campaign has gathered 240,000 commitments from men all around the world promising to treat women fairly, and as many as 30 million Facebook likes.

image source: the inspiration room

In a partnership with Google, researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, are working towards setting up a quantum computing research laboratory. Professor John Martinis from the University of California, who joined the team at Google a year ago, is directing work on superconducting aluminium chips that function very near the absolute zero temperature (0°K, which is −273.15° C or −459.67° F). This research, which had already begun before Professor Martinis joined Google, has yielded results that were published today in “Nature”.

Google started investing interest in quantum computing in 2009. It worked together with D-Wave Systems, who sell a proto-form of a quantum computer. Microsoft has a quantum computing research program as well. But with all the energy devoted, it will still take some time before all the difficulties of this new technology are solved and these computers become accessible to the public.

Quantum programming is based on qubits, the quantum equivalent of bits. They are quantum-mechanical systems with two simultaneous states (for instance, the polarization of one photon, that can be vertical or horizontal), which make possible the codification of more information. Because of the superposition of states in qubits, they can code both 1 and 0 at the same time, thus reducing the difficulty of large calculations. A quantum computer requires the assembling of many qubits together, which makes it susceptible to errors because these qubits code the 1s and 0s using minute quantum mechanical effects that cannot be detected at normal temperatures, nor in large scales. Thus heat and other disturbances can distort the quantum states and cause failures.

Most of the research in this field is set on trying to make the systems of qubits correct its internal errors. Martinis’s team of scientists has advanced a very plausible technique for achieving this goal, known to experts as “surface codes”. A nine-qubit chip was programmed to monitor its own errors (called “bit flips”) – each qubit monitored the others and took action to ensure that the mistakes would not affect later steps of the calculation, but the qubit network was not able to actually correct the bit flips. Of course, a lot more is to be done before the errors become harmless to the system, according to researcher Daniel Gottesman. Simple bit-flips like the ones the Martinis group is working on require classical algorithms, but there are other errors (like phase alterations due to environmental noise) whose fixing presupposes other, more complicated algorithms. Google quantum electronics engineer Austin Fowler declared that the group of researchers is now working on error-checking in systems larger than nine qubits. Gottesman (who works on quantum error correction in Waterloo, Ontario) is confident that it will not take more than a few years before error correction techniques are perfected.

image source: fossBytes

An ancient lost city was discovered deep in the jungles of Honduras by American and Honduran archeologists.

The archeologists were accompanied by ex-SAS survival experts and a team of writers and photographers to document the expedition and discovery.

The ancient lost city is the fabled White City that has been eluding explorers since the 16th century when Spanish conquistadores started looking for it.

White City was also known as the City of the Monkey God, where inhabitants worshiped such a monkey god. Reports of the city’s gold and monkey children made the White City to be even more mysterious and sought after.

Scientists believe there are more lost cities in the Mosquitia jungle, where the remains of the White City were discovered.

The scientific world knows little about the people that lived in the White City. So little is known, that they don’t even have a name for the pre-Columbian people who inhabited the White City and mysteriously vanished without a trace. The massive discovery was made by an expedition funded by National Geographic.

The White City was discovered in the Mosquitia jungle, in a crater-shaped valley that is encircled by tall mountains.

The archeologists discovered remarkable stone sculptures, an earthen pyramid, extensive plazas and various earthworks. Many of the stone sculptures found were left unexcavated, but the researchers did document every finding.

Christopher Fisher, lead archeologist, revealed that the discovery of the White City in the 21st century only tells us that there is so much we still do not know about our world.

He continued:

The untouched nature of the site is unique and if preserved and properly studied can tell us much about these past people and provide critical data for modern conservation.

Steve Sullivan and Andrew Wood, former SAS soldiers and experts in bushcraft survival skills, joined the team to help them navigate through swamps, rivers, mountains and choking foliage. Honduran troops also joined them while they set up base in a small town in the jungle. The team used a military helicopter to access some areas of the jungle.

The success of this expedition was ensured by a 2012 aerial survey of the area that used novel radar technology to map the jungle floor even through the thick canopy. It was then that the large architectural site was noticed.

All the artefacts the archeologists discovered are believed to date from 1,000 to 1,400 AD.

Image Source: National Geographic

During the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Sunday, Samsung has released the much-awaited Samsung Galaxy S6. The smartphone is much more powerful than its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S5, but it does have some areas that have already drawn some criticism, such as decreased battery capacity.

The only area where the Samsung Galaxy S6 is actually weaker than its predecessor is the battery. The S5 had a 2,800 mAh battery and the Samsung Galaxy S6 battery has a 2,550 mAh battery. That doesn’t necessarily translate into a worse battery life than the S6, as the operating system could optimize everything to make the battery just as good as the S5’s. The Samsung Galaxy S6 comes preloaded with Android 5.0 Lollipop.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 has a octa-core processor (a 2.1 GHz quad-core and a 1.5 GHz quad-core), 3 GB of Ram and three variants of internal storage: 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB. The novelty is that the storage is not expandable anymore, which is why the microSD card slot is gone from the Samsung Galaxy S6.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 measures 5.6 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches and weighs 4.9 oz. The screen resolution is increased from its predecessor to 2560 x 1440.

When Samsung created the Samsung Galaxy S6 front-facing camera, they had selfies and video calls in mind. While the rear camera is exactly the same, with 16 MP, the front camera is much improved. The S5 had a 2 MP camera and the new Samsung Galaxy S6 has a 5 MP camera. Samsung also improved the software so that users can take better pictures than they did with the predecessor. The Samsung Galaxy S6 features quick launch, improved zoom, low light video, slow and fast motion options, automatic white balancing and a pro mode, where users have granular control over their photos.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S6 is a better smartphone than the Samsung Galaxy S5, but it does not bring anything spectacular in the mix. Only time will tell if the decreased battery capacity will indeed affect the battery life, as many suggests will happen.

Aside from the technical specifications mentioned above, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Samsung Galaxy S5 are very similar. They both offer 4G LTE service, have a plethora of sensors (compass, barometer, accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate monitor and fingerprint sensor). Analysts fear that many Samsung S5 users won’t feel like the Samsung Galaxy S6 brings enough improvements to justify a new and expensive purchase.

Image Source: Forbes

A new study has revealed the least and most addictive foods for humans. The research was conducted by scientists from the University of Michigan and it was published in the Journal PLOS One.

It has been debated for years whether or not food addiction exists. While there is still no definite conclusion, many psychologists believe that addiction to food is real and people who are addicted to certain foods can go through withdrawal-like symptoms that are similar to ones experienced by alcoholics or drug addicts in withdrawal.

The new study was conducted by a researcher from the University of Michigan and one from the New York Obesity Research Center, the Department of Medicine and sought to find which foods and food attributes are capable of actually triggering an addictive response. The scientists felt the need to clarify that the broad term of food doesn’t refer just to foods in their natural state, such as a banana or a potato, but also to those processed foods with added fat and/or sugar or other additives, such as chips and ice cream.

The scientists gathered data from 500 participants about which foods gave them the most problems, in terms of the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YGAS). The scale is a questionnaire that has 25 points and was created by Ashley Gearhardt, a researcher from Yale who wanted to identify which people are more likely to be dependent of certain types of food and the symptoms of addiction experienced.

The researchers found that the most addictive foods are usually heavily processed. The number one most addictive food is ice-cream, followed by chips, chocolate, cookies and pizza. The least-addictive food was found to be cucumber, closely followed by carrots, apples, brown rice and beans.

The most addictive foods aren’t just heavily processed foods, they are also very high in fat and glycemic load, which is a measurement of how a particular food can raise a person’s blood sugar after they consume it.

Scientists concluded:

The current study found that highly processed foods, with added amounts of fat and/or refined carbohydrates (e.g., sugar, white flour), were most likely to be associated with behavioral indicators of addictive-like eating.

Even though the food addiction has some blurry lines, this new study can initiate new exploration into the study of obesity and food triggers.

This isn’t the first time such a study is being made. According to a study conducted in 2014 by researchers at the University of Edinburgh that delved into food addiction revealed that:

The real problem underlying our unhealthy food consumption is the psychological compulsion to eat because of the pleasure and satisfaction we get from food.

The study concluded that food addiction is a psychological disorder and not related to substances present in the food itself.

Image Source: Groton Space

On 19th of February, but 25 years ago, an absolute star of photographic manipulation was born: Adobe Photoshop. The program want to celebrate this fortunate date with a fuss: by showcasing a collection belonging to artists under 25 years old, who all use this notorious and comprehensive suite of tools in unique and witty ways.

This event that uses young artists reflects the philosophy behind Photoshop rather closely. As Adobe pointed it out, the reason the program has had continuous success among the ever-changing modern world that just bursts with possibilities.

Photoshop keeps up with the Joneses, by allowing it software to be used for absolutely everything from designing coffee cups to enhancing a Hollywood blockbuster.

“For 25 years, Photoshop has inspired artists and designers to craft images of stunning beauty and reality-bending creativity. From desktop publishing, to fashion photography, movie production, website design, mobile app creation and now 3D Printing, Photoshop continues to redefine industries and creative possibilities. And today that Photoshop magic is available to millions of new users, thanks to Adobe Creative Cloud,”

said Adobe president and chief executive officer, Shantanu Narayen.

Moreover, Adobe has released a themed movie, which you can watch below. Called Dream On, it will air during The Academy Awards on Sunday. The movie-ad has references to movies such as Gone GirlAvatar or How To Train Your Dragon 2, underlining the times when each of these films used Photoshop during its production process.

Going back to the celebrated 25 artists,  in the end they will take over Photoshop’s Instagram, with a 2-week “being in charge”of the account, so as to showcase their work for the whole world to see. This celebration started yesterday with Fredy Santiago, a 24-year-old Mexican-American artist from California.

Thomas Knoll is an engineer from the United States who was the real mastermind behind Adobe Photoshop, back in the late 1980s. Mr. Knoll, along with his brother, John, put together a program called Display in 1987. But a few years later, in 1989 to be precise, Mr. Knoll got the license from Adobe and therefore the very first version of Photoshop was released one year later.

Systematic Exertion Intolerance Disease (SEID) is reportedly the mew name given to the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This measure comes shortly after the panel from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which is a non-profit agency that advises the U.S. government on health and medicine issues, has also recognised this syndrome to be a real disease nowadays.

Despite previous beliefs, the SEID is not a consequence of modern hysteria, but rather a real condition that can progressively find its way into a healthy individual’s life, making the one suffering from feel tired, sleepless, or very lethargic. All these symptoms can be topped by tunnel vision and intense back pain. In some extreme cases, affected individuals find it really had to get out of bed.

The condition’s former name, chronic fatigue syndrome was believed to trivialise the illness. Between 836,000 and 2.5 million people in the United States are supposedly suffering from this condition as we speak. There’s no known cause for it.

“These people truly cannot function. They’re not just tired. We are talking profound exhaustion. Some people think it’s just malingering, or being tired or lazy. But we’re dealing with real symptoms — total exhaustion after minor physical or even mental exertion,”

said Dr. Nazila Biria, Internal Medicine at Englewood Hospital.

Moreover the IOM also advised the government to start developing a tool kit so as to help doctors diagnose the disease more easily and more precisely, and to take care of the fact that the disorder must be assigned a specific medical billing code.

Diagnosing this disease requires three main symptoms. First of all fatigue and reduction in levels of activity must last for over six months, secondly the post-exertion must be worsening, and thirdly sleep must feel un-refreshing despite obvious exhaustion.

Moreover patients must have one other symptom. May it be cognitive impairment, commonly referred to as “brain fog,” or maybe orthostatic intolerance (symptoms improve whenever one is lying down, that’s why many patients find it rather hard to stand up for longer periods of time).

Nevertheless, replacing “syndrome” with “disease” is definitely a progress as far as the the manner in which it is regarded is concerned.

Scientists recently linked 5 diseases and health condition that hadn’t previously been associated to smoking to this unfortunate habit. While the fact that cigarette smoking is linked to lung disease, cancer, artery disease, heart attack or stroke is scientifically supported, some scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine have proved that smoking is also related to increased risks of infection, kidney disease, intestinal disease caused by inadequate blood flow as well as heart and lung illnesses that had not been previously attributed to tobacco.

Scientists studied almost 1 million people and followed them for 10 years in oder to get the most accurate results. And their findings regarding the actual cigarette-related deaths are baffling. Officially it appears that smoking kills around 480,000 people each year in the U.S. But according to Dr. Eric Jacobs, who was a co-author of the study, smoking could actually be killing around 60,000 extra Americans every year (13 % more out of the 480,000 deaths currently attributed to the addictive habit every year).

If these recent findings were applied to the world wide scale, an extra 780,000 across the world could be dying because of smoking each year.

The number of additional deaths potentially linked to cigarette smoking is substantial.

“In our study, many excess deaths among smokers were from disease categories that are not currently established as caused by smoking, and we believe there is strong evidence that many of these deaths may have been caused by smoking,”

Dr. Eric Jacobs said.

An editorial accompanying the study, written by Dr. Graham Golditz, stated that low-income people tend to underestimate the dangers of tobacco use and need more help in order to quit. They have no idea that smoking is worse than previously thought.

By and large the research found that smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to die from one of the established smoking-related diseases, such as: most kinds of heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stroke,  pneumonia, tuberculosis, influenza, atherosclerosis, aortic aneurysms and other arterial diseases, acute myeloid leukaemia, diabetes, cancers of the lung, colon and rectum, pancreas, kidney, liver, bladder, lip, oral cavity, stomach, larynx and esophagus.

All the above diseases were responsible for deaths among men and women who were still smoking at the end of their lives. Only 17% of deaths female smokers’ deaths and 15% of male smokers’ deaths were traced to other causes than the ones mentioned above.

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