WOW!! It has been a WHILE!!
I took a few months off to publish the second and third book of my sci-fi trilogy, The Farmed. The Mutated was released on Feb 14th and The Cured will be released on Mar 14th!
I've been busy...but now I'm back!
Here are all the articles covered on Episode 14 of Spaced Out:
Malaria, Mosquitos Don’t Know How to Quit You
Parasites know a thing or two about survival…and Malaria is no exception. Formally called Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite produces a molecule that makes the blood of the infected “more attractive to malaria-transmitting mosquitos.” The molecule is called HMBPP ((E)-4-hydroxy-3-methyl-but-2-enyl pyrophosphate) and scientists observed that when mixed with red blood cells (versus a serum), more carbon dioxide was emitted. They also noticed that larger quantities of airborne chemicals (aldehydes and monoterpenes) were released as well. The scent not only attracted more mosquitos but enticed them to eat more.
Are Robots to Blame for the Thinning Middle Class?
When artificial intelligence is mentioned, a lot of people automatically think about the Terminator franchise. But leading AI scientists, although they’ve created guidelines to ward off the possibility, aren’t very concerned with that scenario: they’re more concerned about the use of robots in manufacturing plants. In 1979, the number of manufacturing jobs in the US peaked. Demand for manufactured products has only increased since that time…so what gives? On assembly lines, machines have taken the place of humans, machines that are faster, more efficient, and quite frankly, better. Middle class job creation has decreased since the 1980’s…and considering how quickly machines and technologies are advancing, those numbers will likely keep going down.
Warping the Truth
Have you ever heard of the “illusory truth effect?” Neither had I. It is a “glitch in the human psyche that equates repetition with truth.” Because repeating something, over and over again, tricks us into believing it’s more plausible. Scientists first observed this phenomena in 1977 in a joint study conducted by Villanova and Temple Universities (click here to view the report) and apparently, the “illusory truth effect” is more likely to occur when people are tired or distracted by other information. In 2012, Central Washington University researchers discovered that the concept works for fake news, too, and is commonly used in political propaganda.
Digital Democracy, the New Political Frontier
It seems like everyone is fact-checking these days…myself included. This is especially true concerning all things political. More than ever, Americans want to hold their elected officials responsible. Now, with the creation of Digital Democracy, that’s becoming easier. The company uses bots to transcribe meetings, hearings, etc., and face recognition software monitors who is speaking. The website also lists the amount of money each elected official has received and where the money comes from. “Voters can search the transcripts by speaker and subject while at the same time getting a glimpse of legislators’ financial ties.” Currently, Digital Democracy is only available in California and New York.
Sources: Science News, Wired, Astronomy Magazine, Space.com