Daily Archives: January 6, 2020

The Year’s Most Fascinating Tech Stories From Around the Web – Singularity Hub

Posted: January 6, 2020 at 5:51 am

Last Saturday we took a look at some of the most-read Singularity Hub articles from 2019. This week, were featuring some of our favorite articles from the last year. As opposed to short pieces about whats happening, these are long reads about why it matters and whats coming next. Some of them make the news while others frame the news, go deep on big ideas, go behind the scenes, or explore the human side of technological progress.

We hope you find them as fascinating, inspiring, and illuminating as we did.

DeepMind and Google: The Battle to Control Artificial IntelligenceHal Hodson | 1843[DeepMind cofounder and CEO Demis] Hassabis thought DeepMind would be a hybrid: it would have the drive of a startup, the brains of the greatest universities, and the deep pockets of one of the worlds most valuable companies. Every element was in place to hasten the arrival of [artificial general intelligence]and solve the causes of human misery.

The Most Powerful Person in Silicon ValleyKatrina Brooker | Fast CompanyBillionaire Masayoshi Sonnot Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, or Mark Zuckerberghas the most audacious vision for an AI-powered utopia where machines control how we live. And hes spending hundreds of billions of dollars to realize it. Are you ready to live in Masa World?

AR Will Spark the Next Big Tech PlatformCall It MirrorworldKevin Kelly | WiredEventually this melded world will be the size of our planet. It will be humanitys greatest achievement, creating new levels of wealth, new social problems, and uncountable opportunities for billions of people. There are no experts yet to make this world; you are not late.

Behind the Scenes of a Radical New Cancer CureIlana Yurkiewicz | UndarkI rememberthe first time I watched a patient get his Day 0 infusion. It felt anti-climactic. The entire process took about 15 minutes. The CAR-T cells are invisible to the naked eye, housed in a small plastic bag containing clear liquid. Thats it? my patient asked when the nurse said it was over. The infusion part is easy. The hard part is everything that comes next.

The Promise and Price of Cellular TherapiesSiddhartha Mukherjee | The New YorkerWe like to imagine medical revolutions as, well, revolutionarypropelled forward through leaps of genius and technological innovation. But they are also evolutionary, nudged forward through the optimization of design and manufacture.

Impossible Foods Rising Empire of Almost MeatChris Ip | EngadgetImpossible says it wants to ultimately create a parallel universe of ersatz animal products from steak to eggs. Yet as Impossible ventures deeper into the culinary uncanny valley, it also needs society to discard a fundamental cultural idea that dates back millennia and accept a new truth: Meat doesnt have to come from animals.

Inside the Amazon Warehouse Where Humans and Machines Become OneMatt Simon | WiredSeen from above, the scale of the system is dizzying. My robot, a little orange slab known as a drive (or more formally and mythically, Pegasus), is just one of hundreds of its kind swarming a 125,000-square-foot field pockmarked with chutes. Its a symphony of electric whirring, with robots pausing for one another at intersections and delivering their packages to the slides.

Boston Dynamics Robots Are Preparing to Leave the LabIs the World Ready?James Vincent | The VergeAfter decades of kicking machines in parking lots, the company is set to launch its first ever commercial bot later this year: the quadrupedal Spot. Its a crucial test for a company thats spent decades pursuing long-sighted R&D. And more importantly, the successor failureof Spot will tell us a lot about our own robot future. Are we ready for machines to walk among us?

I Cut the Big Five Tech Giants From My Life. It Was HellKashmir Hill | GizmodoCritics of the big tech companies are often told, If you dont like the company, dont use its products. I did this experiment to find out if that is possible, and I found out that its notwith the exception of Apple. These companies are unavoidable because they control internet infrastructure, online commerce, and information flows.

Why I (Still) Love Tech: In Defense of a Difficult IndustryPaul Ford | WiredThe mysteries of software caught my eye when I was a boy, and I still see it with the same wonder, even though Im now an adult. Proudshamed, yes, but I still love it, the mess of it, the code and toolkits, down to the pixels and the processors, and up to the buses and bridges. I love the whole made world. But I cant deny that the miracle is over, and that there is an unbelievable amount of work left for us to do.

The Peculiar Blindness of ExpertsDavid Epstein | The AtlanticIn business, esteemed (and lavishly compensated) forecasters routinely are wildly wrong in their predictions of everything from the next stock-market correction to the next housing boom. Reliable insight into the future is possible, however. It just requires a style of thinking thats uncommon among experts who are certain that their deep knowledge has granted them a special grasp of what is to come.

The Most Controversial Tree in the WorldRowan Jacobson | Pacific Standardwe are all GMOs, the beneficiaries of freakishly unlikely genetic mash-ups, and the realIsland of Dr. Moreauis that blue-green botanical garden positioned third from the sun. Rather than changing the nature of nature, as I once thought, this might just be the very nature of nature.

How an Augmented Reality Game Escalated Into Real-World Spy WarfareElizabeth Ballou | ViceIn Ingress, players accept that every park and train station could be the site of an epic showdown, but thats only the first step. The magic happens when other people accept that, too. When players feel like that magic is real, there are few limits to what theyll do or where theyll go for the sake of the game.

The Shady Cryptocurrency Boom on the Post-Soviet FrontierHannah Lucinda Smith | Wiredalthough the tourists wont guess it as they stand at Kuchurgans gates, admiring how the evening light reflects off the silver plaque of Lenin, this plant is pumping out juice to a modern-day gold rush: acryptocurrency boom that is underway all across the former Soviet Union, from the battlefields of eastern Ukraine to time-warp enclaves like Transnistria and freshly annexed Crimea.

Scientists Are Totally Rethinking Animal CognitionRoss Andersen | The AtlanticThis idea that animals are conscious was long unpopular in the West, but it has lately found favor among scientists who study animal cognition. For many scientists, the resonant mystery is no longer which animals are conscious, but which are not.

I Wrote This on a 30-Year-Old ComputerIan Bogost | The Atlantic[Back then] computing was an accompaniment to life, rather than the sieve through which all ideas and activities must filter. That makes using this 30-year-old device a surprising joy, one worth longing for on behalf of what it was at the time, rather than for the future it inaugurated.

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Celebrate our bright future on New Years eve! – Fabius Maximus website

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Summary: Amidst the gloom that blankets America, there is evidence that a discontinuity in history approaches a technological singularity. It could blow away many of todays problems. Let this help dispel our fears and give us cause to celebrate. In the New Year, we can begin to prepare for what is coming.

Everything that can be invented has been invented. Attributed to Charles H. Duell, Director of US Patent Office 1898-1901. The quote is as false as the idea it expresses.

Wonders might await us that we cannot even imagine, just as the people of 1850 could not imagine the world of 1950. The rate of economic growth will accelerate, bringing more security and prosperity to the world. Pollution as we know it will be almost gone by 2100. The world will become a garden again as the population crashes. In the 22nd century we can repair the damage done in the 21st as the worlds population grew to 10 or 12 billion. Our next big challenge will be managing the political and social disruptions created by the coming new technologies.

History, from the Serengeti Plains to the Apollo moon landings, is a series of singularities. Fire gave us power over the environment. Agriculture gave us control over our food supply. Writing allowed better accumulation of knowledge across generations. The industrial revolutionn broke us free from the Malthusian limits on our population and wealth.

Each singularity took us into an unknowable future. For a fun illustration of this see Early Holocene Sci-fi by Pat Mathews.

Shaman: I have foreseen a time when everybody can have all the meat, fat, and sweet stuff they can eat, and they all get fat.

Chief: You have had a vision of the Happy Hunting Grounds.

Shaman: It is considered a great and horrible problem! People go out of their way to eat leaves and grass and grains, and work very hard to look lean and brown.

Chief: Youve been eating too many of those strange mushrooms, and are seeing everything backward.

The Singularity has happened. We call it the industrial revolution or the long nineteenth century. It was over by the close of 1918. Exponential yet basically unpredictable growth of technology, rendering long-term extrapolation impossible (even when attempted by geniuses). Check. Massive, profoundly dis-orienting transformation in the life of humanity, extending to our ecology, mentality and social organization? Check. Annihilation of the age-old constraints of space and time? Check.

The Singularity in Our Past Light-Cone byCosma Shalizi (Assoc. Prof of Statistics at Carnegie Mellon).

Industrial revolutions do not just solve problems. They make them irrelevant to be replaced by the problems of a more stable and prosperous world. Each is a leap forward followed by a period of consolidation.

An industrial revolution began in 1700 (to pick an arbitrary date) and ended with WWII. Here is a brief description of how it changed the world on a scale we no longer remember. Its momentum boosted per capita GDP in the developed nations through the 1960s. Few noticed it ending. Even in the 1960s people expected a future of rapid technological progress. But all we got was the manned space program (an expensive trip to nowhere) and the supersonic transport (a premature technology), and radical but narrow changes in communication and computers.

Few predicted this slowdown. One who did was the great physicist Albert Abraham MichelsoninLights waves and their uses

The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered, and these are so firmly established that the possibility of their ever being supplanted in consequence of new discoveries is exceedingly remote. Many instances might be cited, but these will suffice to justify the statement that our future discoveries must be looked for in the sixth place of decimals.

Now the slowing is obvious. The productivity of research the engine of progress is slowing as ever more resources are devoted to it (see this NBER paper). See this dismal graph from Are ideas getting harder to find?, a 2017 NBER paper by Nicholas Bloom et al. More evidence: growth in total factor productivity peaked in the 1940s, despite the skyrocketing number of researchers. We press the gas pedal ever harder, but the car does not accelerate. Click to enlarge the graph.

Looking at the bottom line,US economic growth has been slowing since the 1970s, as has that of the other developed nations. Many books describe this, such as these.

Each year gives more evidence that a singularity lies in our near future, a discontinuity in history that ends our current tech stagnation. We can only guess at what it might bring.

Space travel can bring a vast increase in resources. In the distant future, planetary engineering might make us independent of Earths vicissitudes.

Genetic engineering can liberate humanity from random evolution, bringing the freedom to shape ourselves.

New energy sources, such as fusion can provide ample clean power for a growing world. It has reached a new milestone, as private capital moves in.

New industrial methods are coming. Such as learning the mysteries of catalytic chemistry. Our bodies do near-miraculous chemical processes at room temperature. This will also transform agriculture into a more eco-friendly cornucopia.

Semi-intelligent computers (aka artificial Intelligence) can supplement our minds, just as machines supplemented brawn boosting productivity and hence economic growth. In the more distant future, perhaps they will end our solitude and free us from limitations of biological intelligence.

A longer vital lifespan can change humanity in ways we cannot imagine. In George Bernard Shaws Back to Methuselah

These are only plausible innovations. Who knows what we might achieve in the future?

There are many different concepts of a singularity, some contradictory. A key aspect is that we cannot see through a singularity in the physical universe (e.g., a black hole). Its first mention was by the great John von Neumann (1903-57), paraphrased by Stanislaw Ulam (BAMS, 1958).

One conversation centered on the ever-accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.

The public learned about it from Vernor Vinges 1986 book Marooned in Realtime

There are several kinds of technological singularity, described in this excerpt from Three Major Singularity Schools by AI researcher Eliezer S. Yudkowsky.

Singularity discussions seem to be splitting up into three major schools of thought: Accelerating Change, the Event Horizon, and the Intelligence Explosion. The thing about these three logically distinct schools of Singularity thought is that while all three core claims support each other, all three strong claims tend to contradict each other.

Core claim: Our intuitions about change are linear; we expect roughly as much change as has occurred in the past over our own lifetimes. But technological change feeds on itself, and therefore accelerates. Change today is faster than it was 500 years ago, which in turn is faster than it was 5000 years ago. Our recent past is not a reliable guide to how much change we should expect in the future.

Strong claim: Technological change follows smooth curves, typically exponential. Therefore we can predict with fair precision when new technologies will arrive, and when they will cross key thresholds, like the creation of Artificial Intelligence.

Advocates: Ray Kurzweil, Alvin Toffler(?), John Smart.

Core claim: For the last hundred thousand years, humans have been the smartest intelligences on the planet. All our social and technological progress was produced by human brains. Shortly, technology will advance to the point of improving on human intelligence (brain-computer interfaces, Artificial Intelligence). This will create a future that is weirder by far than most science fiction, a difference-in-kind that goes beyond amazing shiny gadgets.

Strong claim: To know what a superhuman intelligence would do, you would have to be at least that smart yourself. To know where Deep Blue would play in a chess game, you must play at Deep Blues level. Thus the future after the creation of smarter-than-human intelligence is absolutely unpredictable.

Advocates: Vernor Vinge.

Core claim: Intelligence has always been the source of technology. If technology can significantly improve on human intelligence create minds smarter than the smartest existing humans then this closes the loop and creates a positive feedback cycle. What would humans with brain-computer interfaces do with their augmented intelligence? One good bet is that theyd design the next generation of brain-computer interfaces. Intelligence enhancement is a classic tipping point; the smarter you get, the more intelligence you can apply to making yourself even smarter.

Strong claim: This positive feedback cycle goes FOOM, like a chain of nuclear fissions gone critical each intelligence improvement triggering an average of>1.000 further improvements of similar magnitude though not necessarily on a smooth exponential pathway. Technological progress drops into the characteristic timescale of transistors (or super-transistors) rather than human neurons. The ascent rapidly surges upward and creates superintelligence (minds orders of magnitude more powerful than human) before it hits physical limits.

Advocates: I. J. Good, Eliezer Yudkowsky.

Why are so many so gloomy about our future? We have survived ice ages, pandemics, natural disasters (e.g., the eruption of Toba, which exterminated most of humanity), and our own mistakes. Our history gives us good reason to look to the future with anticipation, not fear. Remember that as our elites attempt to lead us by arousing fears. Do not fear the future. Have faith in America.

Ideas!For ideas how to spend your holiday cash, see my recommended books and filmsat Amazon. Also, see a story about our future:Ultra Violence: Tales from Venus.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about forecasts, about the new industrial revolution, about good news for America, and especially these

Our future might see accelerating growth leading to the unimaginable. These two books sketch out what might lie ahead.

Marooned in Realtime

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

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16 New Business Books You Need to Read in 2020 – Inc.

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If your New Year's resolutions include "leadership--get better at it," publishers in 2020 have some refreshingly non-theoretical offerings: one about word choice and one that's a kind of lead-as-you-go field manual. Big names tackle big subjects (see Michael Porter on politics and Sylvia Ann Hewlett on #MeToo). And in a couple of juicy insider accounts, scrappy entrepreneurs take down enemies (Square beats Amazon) or are taken down by friends (Instagram's founders exit Facebook, stage left).


#MeToo in the Corporate World: Power, Privilege, and the Path Forward, by Sylvia Ann HewlettFor decades Hewlett, an economist, has illuminated the practices and power structures obstructing women in the workplace. In#MeToo in the Corporate Worldshe tackles the limitations and unintended consequences of the #MeToo movement, including male skittishness about mentoring or sponsoring junior women. That over-cautiousness, in turn, narrows the pipeline to the C-suite, where we need diversity to end this crap once and for all.

Sizing People Up: A Veteran FBI Agent's User Manual for Behavior Prediction, by Robin Dreeke and Cameron StauthThe same tactics used to detect spies and criminals can be applied to the business world. Whom should I trust? Is this guy going to deliver? What did that comment in the meeting really mean? Is she seriously going to buy or is she stringing me along? Hiring and sales should benefit. Sizing People Upco-author Dreeke is a former head of the FBI's counterintelligence behavioral analysis program.

The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives, by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven KotlerA gazillion books ponder the social and economic effects of disruptors like AI, virtual reality, 3-D printing, blockchain, robotics, and digital biology. What's intriguing about The Future Is Faster Than You Think is the speculation fromDiamondis (executive chairman of Singularity University) and Kotler (a science journalist)about what happens when all that stuff starts coming together. The implication for extending lifetimes is especially intriguing.

Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual, by Jocko WillinkA field manual is perfect for new leaders, who have less time than anyone to wade through great big books on leadership. The military uses field manuals to provide simple, step-by-step instructions for coping with myriad unfamiliar situations. Willink, a onetime Navy Seal commander, takes that approach in Leadership Strategy and Tacticswith subjects like dealing with imposter syndrome, doling out punishment, and giving feedback.

Competing in the Age of AI: Strategy and Leadership When Algorithms and Networks Run the World, by Marco Iansiti and Karim LakhaniJust as the internet required a fundamental reinvention of business models, artificial intelligence challenges leaders to rethink everything about their organizations. AI processes are more scalable than human-powered ones; the technology creates more scope because it easily connects to other digital businesses; and it greatly amplifies learning and improvement. In Competing in the Age of AI,two Harvard Business School professors explain how to take advantage.


Leadership Is Language: The Hidden Power of What You Say and What You Don't, by L. David MarquetLanguage is, arguably, the biggest leadership subject of all. Readers can apply lessons from Marquet, a nuclear-submarine-commander-turned-consultant, simply, immediately and every day. As Leadership Is Language demonstrates, Understanding distinctions between good and bad word choice and phrasing can improve the relationship between you and your team. For example: try delivering information ("I'll start again at 11 a.m.") instead of instruction ("Be back by 11 a.m.). See? Simple.

Experimentation Works: The Surprising Power of Business Experiments, by Stefan ThomkeThirty years ago Peter Senge encouraged companies to become learning organizations. Now in Experimentation Works, a Harvard Business School professor gets more concrete, lauding the power of "experimentation organizations" in which everyone--not just R&D--constantly tests everything from new processes to new business models with scientific rigor. Thomke lays out best practices forcreating a strong hypothesis,setting up control groups, andinterpreting results. Can you tell a true positive or negative from a false one? Do you ever compare current practices to themselves? If not, you may be blowing it.


Competition Overdose: How Free Market Mythology Transformed Us from Citizen Kings to Market Servants, by Maurice Stucke and Ariel EzrachiConventional wisdom says competition is good. Fair enough. But more isn't always better. In fact, the proliferation of rivals sometimes hurts consumers, who pay less but also get less--unhealthy food, toxic drinking water, hidden fees, failing schools, and an internet stalked by advertisers. The authors, both professors of business law, explain in Competition Overdosehow lobbyists, lawmakers, and business leaders conspire to push noxious competition and advocate for something nobler.

The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time, by Jim McKelveyAs co-founder of the small-merchant payment company Square, McKelvey spent the early days of his venture not getting killed by Amazon. Square was so good at not getting killed that it actually took out Amazon's rival service less than a year after its introduction. The company pulled that off using a strategy McKelvey calls the "innovation stack." Other successful startups have used it too, and the author explains how it works.

The Myth of Chinese Capitalism: The Worker, the Factory, and the Future of the World, by Dexter RobertsChina's manufacturing prowess is either threat or opportunity, depending where you live on the supply chain. But will it ultimately hoist that country to world domination? Maybe not, suggests business journalist Roberts. The Myth of Chinese Capitalism is a tale of two cities--impoverished Binghuacun, from which hordes of migrants depart; and industrial Guangdong, where hordes of migrants arrive. The struggles of families there predict rising social tension that endanger the giant's future.


No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram, by Sarah FrierJournalist Frier landed interviews with Instagram's founders, executives, and competitors to chronicle the company's meteoric growth as it hooked the world on visual storytelling, followed by its sale to and rocky relationship with Facebook. No Filter'spublisher promises previously unreported dramatic details of Kevin Systrom's and Mike Krieger's departures from the company they spawned. Also: Marquee users like Anna Wintour and Kris Jenner discuss how they craft their personal brands.

Reprogramming the American Dream: From Rural America to Silicon Valley--Making AI Serve Us All, by Kevin Scott with Greg ShawBooks on AI are proliferating so fast you'd think computers were churning them out. But Reprogramming the American Dream authorScott should have an interesting perspective. First, because he is CTO of Microsoft. Second, because he grew up in rural Virginia and understands how white-collar disruptions affect back-roads populations. Scott advocates international policy collaboration similar to that focused on climate change, space exploration, and public health.


Always Day One: How the Tech Titans Plan to Stay on Top Forever, by Alex KantrowitzThe title, of course, refers to Jeff Bezos's dictum that Amazon employees approach each day like the first day of a startup. Kantrowitz, a BuzzFeed journalist, sat down with Bezos,Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg,Google's Sundar Pichai,and other leaders of the colossi that--for good and ill--dominate our lives and economy. In Always Day One he explains how such companies maintain a constant state of urgency and reinvention to avoid stasis and irrelevancy. And he suggests how startups might try to change that.

The Politics Industry: How Political Innovation Can Break Partisan Gridlock and Save Our Democracy, by Katherine M. Gehl and Michael E. PorterRemember when it was fashionable to argue that government should be run like a business? Even if government isn't a company, politics is an industry, and a singularly destructive one with its own skewed forms of competition. In The Politics Industry,HBS professor Porter--creator of the seminal "Five Forces" strategy--joins activist Gehl to explain what happens when competing parties control the rules of competition and how citizens can help fix the system.


Billion Dollar Burger: Inside Big Tech's Race for the Future of Food, by Chase PurdyAs meatless meat colonizes even the shores of fast food, Purdy, a writer for Quartz, reports on the potentially planet-changing disruption that may stave off hunger, endanger farm economies, and make some folks very rich. Billion Dollar Burger's center is Josh Tetrick, CEO of a Silicon Valley company developing meat from cell cultures. Tetrick, who is beset by hungry competitors, is a fascinating guy who previously took on Big Condiments with vegan mayonnaise.

Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them, by Gary Hamel and Michele ZaniniHooray that business authors now talk less about managing workforces and more about managing individuals. In Humanocracy,London Business School professor Hamel and McKinsey alum Zanini lay out the costs of dehumanizing workers in the interest of control and explain how to achieve the benefits of coordination and consistency while letting employees be themselves.

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Techno fans have a blast – The Age

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Gears shift jarringly as the audiences polite, hushed reverence made way for Neon Pattern Drum, its relentless beat and all-encompassing bass instantaneously transforming the space into a euphoric, hands-in-the-air dance party where patrons risked looking foolish by remaining in their seats.

Hopkins has said his most recent album Singularity is designed to replicate the build, peak and release pattern of a psychedelic experience. Trippy, hypnotic visuals crafted to melt minds are projected onto a large screen while two performers with flashing light-wands that could have been designed to direct UFOs in to land, show off some dazzling routines.

Hopkins largely skips the quieter moments from his discography in favour of keeping the momentum high, reaching fever pitch during an intense, acid-techno strafing delivered via 2013 single Open Eye Signal.

As an exercise in both blasting away Sunday night cobwebs and giving an accurate depiction of what a dance party would look and sound like within the Blade Runner universe, the performance was a winner. Hopkins made the iconic venue serve his particular artistic vision, rather than the other way around.

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Does Dark Matter Really Exist or Is the Genie Going Back in the Bottle – Science Times

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(Photo : upload.wikimedia.org)How sure are we that dark matter is real? Or is the genie going back to the bottle that will change everything?

The universe is a sea of black that surrounds everything in the universe as it is. Right now, galaxies are moving apart at fantastical rates of speed as they drift apart. What fuel this universal expansion? Since the big bang, there have been pockets of dark matter, this forms the unseen framework of the universe. It is till now, one counter-theory about is suggesting it does exist which is like sending the genie back to the bottle. What happens to the ever-expanding universe model without dark matter to fill up the spaces, in between the physical universe as every sentient life form understands it?

One of the first assumptions is with the genie in the bottle postulate is that implosion on a universal scale without the dark matter. Researchers with the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (IKBFU), located in Russia are boldly suggesting there are more forces at work with universal expansion. Like all theories from relativity to Isaac Newton's law of gravity they are grounded on the concept of gravity. But, this force operates independent of space-time and is an essentially a free agent from the four universal forces. In short, gravity has an effect upon it, and the proposed is one controversial concept too.

It will be a big break from most reasoning because it can operate free from universal gravitation. Mind numbing when gravitation is the force that keeps matter intact or destroys it. The presence of dark matter is vital to keep the galaxies apart, but without it to hold expansion and keep moving away. Acceleration slows down and the inevitable countdown to the singularity where the galaxy began. Call it point zero or "god". Without the mechanics of dark matter, the view of the expanding universe does not apply.

Details of the theory will be like no other concept that has been suggested, because it operates similar to dark energy but is not. Introducing the Casimir effect, which was first introduced as forces that are created as a result of quantum reactions in a quantized field. Predicted by Dutch physicist Hendrik Casimir in 1948.

What alternative theory to universal expansion caused by it, not dark matter that exists in pockets as described. The Casimir effect can fuel universal expansion because it creates spaces in the "space", that expands as the quantum effect multiples similar to repulsion on a grand universal level. Next question is for everyone, how far will the walls created by the effect expand? Will it be an infinite expansion or finite, and where does everything end. Does the universe begin or does it go out with the singularity?

One possible answer is the universe exists as a three-dimension construct that allows the Casimir effect to expand the spaces in the 3-d model. The earth lies on a two-dimension plane in the universe, while the universe overlays everything is the third dimension. With dark matter out of the equation, the genies is back in the bottle which leaves the Casimir effect filling the spaces and repulsing at the same

Related Article: New dark energy theory claims it may not even exist

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Technology in 2050: will it save humanity or destroy us? – The Guardian

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Futurism is a mugs game: if youre right, it seems banal; if youre wrong, you look like the founder of IBM, Thomas Watson, when he declared in 1943 that there is room in the world for maybe five computers.

David Adams knew these risks when he wrote about the future of technology in the Guardian in 2004 even citing the very same prediction as an example of how they can go awry. And from our vantage point in 2020, Adams certainly did a better job than Watson. When he looked ahead to today, he avoided many of the pitfalls of technology prediction: no promises about flying cars nor sci-fi tech such as teleportation or faster-than-light travel.

But in some ways, the predictions were overly pessimistic. Technology really has made great leaps and bounds in the past 16 years, nowhere more clearly than AI. Artificial intelligence brains simply cannot cope with change and unpredictable events, wrote Adams, explaining why robots would be unlikely to interact with humans any time soon.

Fundamentally, its just very difficult to get a robot to tell the difference between a picture of a tree and a real tree, Paul Newman, then and now a robotics expert at Oxford University, told Adams. Happily, Newman proved his own pessimism to be unwarranted: in 2014, he co-founded Oxbotica, which has hopefully solved the problem he mentioned, because it makes and sells driverless car technology to vehicle manufacturers around the world.

If we move on from worrying over details, there are two key points at which the 2020 predictions fall apart: one about tech, the other about society.

Gadget lovers could use a single keypad to operate their phone, PDA [tablet] and MP3 music player, Adams wrote, or combine the output of their watch, pager and radio into a single speaker. The idea of greater convergence and connectivity between personal electronics was correct. But there was a very specific hole in this prediction: the smartphone. After half a century of single-purpose consumer electronics, it was difficult to perceive how all-encompassing a single device could become, but just three years after Adams pubished his piece, the iPhone launched and changed everything. Forget carrying around a separate MP3 player; in the real 2020, people arent even carrying separate cameras, wallets or car keys.

Failing to foresee the smartphone is an oversight about the progress of technology. But the other missing point is about how society would respond to the changing forces. The 2004 predictions are, fundamentally, optimistic. Adams writes about biometric healthcare data being beamed to your doctors computer; about washing machines that automatically arrange their own servicing based on availability in your electronic organiser; and about radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips on your clothes that trigger customised adverts or programme your phone based on where you are. And through it all is a sense of trust: these changes will be good, and the companies making them well-intentioned.

There is a loss of privacy that is going to be very difficult for people and we havent figured out how to deal with that, one of Adamss interviewees admitted, when describing technology in 2020. But if you explain what it does, how much information it provides and where it goes and that the trade-off is that you dont have to wait as long in line at the supermarket then people will take the trade-off. In fact, over the past decade and a half, the vast majority of people were simply never given the choice to accept the trade-off, and it is increasingly clear that many of them never would have if they had understood what was at risk.

If the Guardian missed the advent of the smartphone, despite writing just three years before the launch of the iPhone, how can we possibly do better today, looking 10 times further ahead? The world of 2050 will be unimaginably different in many ways, even if we can safely assume people will still generally have two arms, two legs and an unpleasant smell if they dont wash for long periods of time.

But there are forces working in our favour. The internet is far more entrenched now than it was in 2004, and while its chaotic effect on our lives shows no sign of abating, it is at least predictably unpredictable. Similarly, smartphone penetration in the west is now as high as it looks likely to go. However the world changes over the next 30 years, it wont be as a result of more Britons or Americans getting phones.

Other predictions can be as simple as following trendlines to their logical conclusion. By 2050, the switchover to electric cars will have mostly finished, at least in developed nations as well as in those developing nations, such as China, that are starting to prioritise air quality over cheap mechanisation.

The next billion will be online, mostly through low-cost smartphones receiving increasingly ubiquitous cellular connections. But what they do on the internet is harder to guess. In 2020, there are two countervailing trends at work: on the one hand, providers, principally Facebook, have been trying to use subsidised deals to push newly connected nations on to stripped-down versions of the internet. If they succeed at scale, then many of the benefits of the web will be stolen from whole nations, reduced instead to being passive participants in Facebook and a few local media and payment companies.

But pushback, from national regulators in places such as India and from competing carriers, could bring the new nations to the real internet instead. Unless, that is, national regulators push in a different direction, copying China, Iran and Russia to keep Facebook out by building a purely nationalistic internet. How better to ensure that the benefits of the web accrue domestically, they reason, than by requiring your citizens to use home-grown services? And if it makes it easier to impose censorship, well, thats just another benefit.

James Bridle, the author of the unsettling book New Dark Age, points out that the discussion cant lose sight of who the next billion actually are. I keep thinking about the way the tech industry talks about the next billion users without acknowledging that those people are going to be hot, wet and pissed off, he says, and were only talking about hardening borders, rather than preparing politically, socially, technologically for this reality.

Because, if we are guessing the future from simple trend lines, there is another one that we need to acknowledge: the climate. The specifics of what will change are not for this piece, but the human response very much is.

One possibility is plan A: humanity, in time, reaches net zero when it comes to emissions. In that scenario, we will live in a world where plant proteins replace meat in everyday consumption, where electrically powered networked mass transit reaches into the suburbs and beyond, a world of video-conferencing and remote attendance steadily chipping away at business flights, and of insulation inside the walls of British homes. (Look, it cant all be high-tech.)

If plan A fails, then there is a chance we turn to plan B. That is a world in which megascale injections of sulphur dioxide into the stratosphere turn the heavens a milky-white, and a whole generation never sees a clear blue sky, in order to reflect more of the suns rays and pause the greenhouse effect. It is one in which we turn on gigantic processing plants that do nothing but extract carbon dioxide from the air and pump it underground into disused oil wells. It is one in which whole cities are abandoned and populations relocated to avoid the worst effects we cant prevent.

Plan B geoengineering is neither optimistic nor pessimistic about the future of humanity, says Holly Jean Buck, the author of After Geoengineering. The worst thing would be we fail plan A and plan B. Over the next decade, I think geoengineering will definitely be tried. Right now, its toned down, I think because of people not wanting to talk about it. We dont have the body of knowledge, and would need 20 or 30 years to develop it. Right about midcentury means it will be a crunch point: climate change will be really apparent.

But for Buck, as for Bridle, the distinctions that really matter arent necessarily the technology. The choices around whether we have a livable future or a dystopian one are about social attitudes and social changes.

Right now, were in this era of stopgaps. Society used to be able to make a long-term plan: people built long-term infrastructure and thought a bit further out. Thats not something that happens now: we go to quick fixes. We need a cultural change in values, to enable more deliberate decision-making.

There is another possibility: that technology really does save the day, and then some. John Maeda, the chief experience officer at the digital consultancy Publicis Sapient, says that by 2050, computational machines will have surpassed the processing power of all the living human brains on Earth. The cloud will also have absorbed the thinking of the many dead brains on Earth, too and we all need to work together to survive. So I predict that we will see a lasting cooperation between the human race and the computational machines of the future.

This sort of thinking has come to be known as the singularity: the idea that there will be a point, perhaps even a singular moment in time, when the ability of thinking machines outstrips those who created them, and progress accelerates with dizzying results.

If you interview AI researchers about when general AI a machine that can do everything a human can do will arrive, they think its about 50/50 whether it will be before 2050, says Tom Chivers, the author of The AI Does Not Hate You.

They also think that AGI artificial general intelligence can be hugely transformative lots of them signed an open letter in 2015 saying eradication of disease and poverty could be possible. But also, he adds, citing a 2013 survey in the field, on average they think there is about a 15% to 20% chance of a very bad outcome [existential catastrophe], which means everyone dead.

There is, perhaps, little point in dwelling on the 50% chance that AGI does develop. If it does, every other prediction we could make is moot, and this story, and perhaps humanity as we know it, will be forgotten. And if we assume that transcendentally brilliant artificial minds wont be along to save or destroy us, and live according to that outlook, then what is the worst that could happen we build a better world for nothing?

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Technology in 2050: will it save humanity or destroy us? - The Guardian

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Noel Fielding teases return of ‘The Mighty Boosh’ – NME.com

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Noel Fielding has hinted there will be more of The Mighty Boosh in the new decade.

The comedian and television presenter, who co-wrote as well as starred in the surreal cult comedy series with Julian Barratt from 2004-09, posted an image of himself and Barratt on Instagram and suggested its time for a comeback.

There really wasnt enough Boosh this decade! lets try and rectify that in the next one, Fielding wrote beneath the photo.

Last year Fielding and Barratt returned as The Mighty Boosh for the first time in five years to become the UKsRecord Store Day ambassadorsfor 2019.

We are approaching singularity, when computers will overtake and replace us. Therefore, it suddenly felt prescient to outwit them and somehow save our precious early recordings onto a format that the dawning artificial intelligences will not see as a threat, Barratt said of their acceptance to be ambassadors.

The Mighty Boosh comedy troupe has existed in many artistic forms since its inception in 1998 from stand-up shows and gigs to a radio series and a celebrated TV show.

In recent years, Fielding has co-presented The Great British Bake Off since its move from the BBC to Channel 4, while Barratt has starred in TV shows including Flowers and Killing Eve.

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Best Places To Stay In Palawan – Forbes

Posted: at 5:50 am

El Nido bay and Cadlao island, Palawan, Philippines

Palawanan archipelago in the Philippines with some 1,780 islandsis magic. Its seascape is unrivaled and can be compared to the most lustrous of gemstones. While other tropical destinations only talk about turquoise and clear blue waters, the aquatic and tropical landscape in Palawan is a kaleidoscope of the most vibrant colors. Visiting its many small islands and cruising through its waters often feels like a dream.

Apart from the natural wonders that will take your breath away, Palawan offers a wide variety of activities that can suit any type of traveler. There are amazing dive sites all around the area as well as reefs that are friendly for snorkeling or simply swimming with fish. The underground caves are a sight to behold. The same goes for the many lagoons that clue you in on what paradise is truly like.

To say that the beaches are stunning is an understatement. The shores are pristine and waters refreshing to mind, body and soul. One can bask on shore all day, taking in the sights and sounds of heaven on earth for hours on end.

Whether you are visiting for the first time, or returning, know that no two trips to Palawan will ever be the same. It stages a new narrative each trip and part of that new experience has to do with which part of the island you choose to explore. Here, a list of the best places to stay for the most unforgettable Palawan holiday.

AMANPULO is heaven on earth in every sense of the term. Ran by acclaimed luxury hotels group, AMAN, this private island on Pamilican is accessible only via private plane. A 70-minute flight from the Philippine capital will take you right smack in the middle of the Sulo Sea. You get the unparalleled Aman experience from the time you board up to when you disembark get off after you holiday. Staff and crew immediately know you by name ,which was pleasantly surprising and intruiging. Welcome to Amanpulo, Bianca said one of the staff as I stepped on the islands runway for the first time.

An aerial view of Amanpulo on Pamalican Island

After welcome drinks and seamless check in, we were driven via golf carts to our beach casita. Accommodations were massive at 68-square-meters. It featured a wooden sundeck with hammocks for lounging. Inside, there was a spacious living room, masters bedroom and a bath and tub the size of most peoples studios. It was private space that made one want to stay in for days, but the beauty outside beckoned. A path just outside the casita led to a private beachfront access that opened up to views of the white sands and a gorgeous ombre blue ocean.

Casitas at Amanpulo.

Immaculate shores at Amanpulo's private beach.

Sunset cruise at Amanpulo

Activities at Amanpulo that make it the ultimate luxury island experience included an intimate sunset cruise where bubbly and delicious canapes were set up just for us as we sailed into a golden sky. There was a private dinner on the beach which was also opportunity for gazing at stars while enjoying gastronomic seafood fare. A spa treatment was also in order, especially after a full day of water sports and activities. An Aman patron confirmed that of all the properties ran by the group, Amanpulo, is hands down the best. Little wonder there.

EL NIDO RESORTS PANGALUSIAN ISLAND is a pioneer and gamechanger of eco-luxury. Located on the Bacuit Bay in El Nido Palawan, the property features a picturesque 750-square-meter private beach front as its faade, Its backdrop, verdant tropical forests. When billeted at Pangalusian, you are treated to panoramic views from dusk till dawn. This is why many also refer to the property as the Island of the Sun.

An aerial view of El Nido Resorts Pangalusian Island

Private, intimate and exclusive are key words that distinguish this property from the rest. There are only 42 villas, each one inspired by green, modern Philippine design. Villas are about 65-square-meters big with provision for a spacious private balcony. They come complete with beds that feel like fluffy clouds, reliable Wi-Fi access, satellite TV, an Ipod dock and a fully stocked mini bar.

Canopy Villa at Pangalusian Island

Bath and tub of the Canopy Villa at Pangalusian Island

Location is remote enough so that you are able to enjoy peace and quite. This is not to say that you are removed from the rest of the island, just a few minutes away are El Nidos dynamic beach clubs. I love that you can explore El Nido on some days and retract back to the heavenly shores of Pangalusian for more tranquil moments. Other features of the property include: a boutique, library (nothing like a good book while lounging seaside), food outlets, a beach bar, hiking trails and a viewing deck.

FLOWER ISLAND RESORT proposes singular Philippine tropical experience to any holiday. Located in Taytay, Palawan, the Flower Island was build with the intention of supporting and protecting its surroundings. This is why for the 30 years now, the island continues to astound guests with its vibrant landscapes. Its almost like visiting a truly untouched tropical paradise, but with five star amenities and comforts.

Facade of the Premium King Cottage at the Flower Island Resort

There are only 20 cottages on the sprawling property, each one surrounded by lush, emerald green foliage. Bungalow-style accommodations are crafted using only indigenous, natural materials, creating a distinctive rustic atmosphere. Every detailseen and unseenin the resort is testament to the proprietors commitment to preserving Mother Nature. Private verandas allow guests to commune with the sights and sounds of the sea or nearby greenery. Even amenities that require extra consumption of electricity are solar powered.

Hammocks in every cottage at Flower Island Resort

The Sunset Bar at Flower Island Resort

Remote location makes Flower Island the ideal retreat, away from the hustle and noise of everyday life. Apart from lounging sea side or engaging in water sports, there are luxurious amenities in that define the island experience. The propertys restaurant, Pearl is a friendly space for enjoying fusion cuisine. You may also enjoy the sensations brought about by sands between your toes while sipping on a refreshing beverage from the Sunset Bar. What you will love most about your stay at the Flower Island? The lazy days lying on the hammocks while zoning out from the rest of the world.

SUNLIGHT ECO TOURISM ISLAND RESORT on Culion Island is a dream getaway for travelers with close affinity for nature and adventure. The property covers 18 hectares of rolling hills and pristine white beaches. It features 111 well-appointed rooms and villas, each offering the most spectacular views of Palawans sapphire blue waters.

Aerial view of Sunlight Eco Tourism Island Resort

The Water Villas, more specifically, are extraordinary as they are built above water bringing closer to Palawan's famed underwater landscapes. They also feature floors that look into the waters and balconies for private lounging. All accommodations are arranged to offer five-star amenities. There are varied configurations for water villas including a single studio, duplex and single cluster. The Honeymoon Water Villa, however, hits the spot when it comes to vacationing in paradise.

Water Villas at Sunlight Eco Tourism Island

Sunlight Eco Tourism Island by night

After a long day of activities retreat to the Sanctuary Spa where you can enjoy several hours of uninterrupted pamperingisland style. Several restaurants and cafes on the islands property offer guests an abundance of flavors. And if exploring the town's attractions are what youre looking to do, Sunlight Eco Tourism Island is only a few kilometers from the city center and islands other must-see destinations.

MAREMEGMEG BEACH CLUB is one of the hippest and chicest addresses in El Nido. Located right on the beachfront of Maremegmeg Beach, also known as Las Cabanas, MBC is a place where one can get an authentic feel for the laid-back, boho vibe of the island. The property was built to resemble a well-appointed home by the shore. There are limited suites, each beautifully dressed and configured to address the needs and wants of the modern island traveler. Rooms are spacious and done in the most soothing palette of neutrals. This is punctuated by infusion of local weaves and patterns. Private balconies in each room open up to pool and ocean views and are a great place for quiet at sunrise.

Maremegmeg Beach Club in El NIdo, Palawan

Stylish and spacious suites at Maremegmeg Beach Club

Front row seats to a stunning sunset at the Maremegmeg Beach Club

After a full day on shore, the resorts beach club is a place to enjoy libations, great company and front row seats to a spectacular sunset. Ideally located just next to the newly opened Vanilla Beach strip, guests at MBC are within close proximity to the island's chicest watering holes, cafes and gastronomic hubs. And in case, staying in to enjoy your cozy suite is more your jam, in-room dining at MBC wont disappoint.

BAMBOO PRIVATE ISLANDS promises travelers a green and luxurious island experience. Hidden right in the middle of the Culion Bay, Bamboo Private Island is an embodiment of eco tourism at its finest. Cottages and pavilions were built using only sustainable and indigenous materials. These private havens are configured to give guests the five-star island experience. Luxuriate in massive beds dressed in high-thread count sheets and comfy pillows. Enjoy priceless views of the island in the privacy of your own terrace.

Aerial View of Bamboo Private Island

Balcony of the Deluxe Cottage on Bamboo Private Island

Farm to Table dining experience at Bamboo Private Island

Bamboo Private Islands also offers a delectable farm-to-kitchen dining experience. The resort serves up home cooked fare from produce grown on the island. During your stay, book for lunch at the Tapiken Organic Farm where you get to harvest your own ingredients then partake in a hearty and healthy meal served on banana leaves. Other activities to engage in while at Bamboo Private include: yoga, a sunset cruise and deep sea fishing. You can even ask your personal chef to whip up something from your daily catch.

CLUB AGUTAYA in San Vicente, Palawan gives guests immediate access to a picturesque stretch of white sandy shores also known as Long Beach. The property was developed with a mindset for blending harmoniously with nature. Distinctive Philippine design and architecture stand grand against a mesmerizing background of lush greenery and vast oceanic blues. Apart from its breathtaking location, Club Agutaya prides itself its pioneering eco friendly policies and practices. Electricity is generated by solar and wind power. Meanwhile, waste and water systems are set for efficient segregation, treating and recycling.

Club Agutaya offers access to Palawan's famed Long Beach

Beyond its pioneering efforts at sustainability and eco tourism, Club Agutaya is a most welcome tropical island treat. Access to the best that Mother Nature has to offer inspires and rejuvenates mind, body and soul. A sparkling infinity pool where you can lounge and refresh while taking in views of the island is also a feature to enjoy while on the island. You can even ask the concierge to set up a few hours of absolute privacy on the beachtheyll make it happen for you!

Spacious suites at Club Agutaya

Sunsets by the infinity pool of Club Agutaya

Beach front lounging at Club Agutaya

Club Agutayas world-class restaurant, Caf Lily, offers an impressive menu of global flavors. Following a philosophy for using only the freshest ingredients, the islands beloved restaurant serves up favorites like the San Vicente Chicken BBQ, Beef Curry in Coco and Tabbys Fried Rice. Youll also want to try their creative cocktailsabsolutely refreshing!

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These are the most expensive homes on and around Vancouver Island – CTV News

Posted: at 5:50 am

VICTORIA -- With BC Assessment releasing Vancouver Island's 2020 property assessments Thursday, the organization has also compiled a list of the 100 most expensive homes in the region.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the District of Oak Bay is home to many of the priciest properties on the island. However, a number of private islands just off Vancouver Island are also at the top of the list.

The most expensive single-family residence on Vancouver Island, which is also the second-most expensive property in the region overall, is located in Oak Bay at 3160 Humber Rd. According to real estate website Redfin, the 11,291-square-foot house has five bedrooms, six bathrooms and was originally constructed in 1996.

Meanwhile, the most expensive property in the region is not a single home itself, but an entire island.

James Island, located just east of North Saanich, is considered the most expensive property in the region this year, and is assessed at roughly $57,747,000.

Last year, the private island was considered the third-most expensive property across B.C., just behind two single-family residences in Vancouver.

The 100th most expensive property on Vancouver Island can be found in North Saanich. The waterfront home, located at 9088 Ardmore Dr., is assessed at $5,571,000.

The top 10 most expensive properties in the Vancouver Island region, according to BC Assessment, are:

Further information on BC Assessment's review of Vancouver Island properties can be found on the organization's website online here.

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These are the most expensive homes on and around Vancouver Island - CTV News

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SO2 – 50 Best Holidays in the Caribbean – Jamaica Observer

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Thetimes.co.uk recently shared its 50 best holidays in the Caribbean in seven parts: romantic retreats, new hotels, foodie spots, budget stays, family escapes, active and twin-centre trips.

Part One: Romantic Retreats

1. Ladera, St Lucia

First opened in 1982, Ladera's swimming pool pre-dates Instagram by several decades, but this free-form pool still bosses it today. High in the hills, between the twin Pitons, the hotel has the most spectacular setting in St Lucia. All rooms are open on one side to the elements (don't worry the four-poster beds have mosquito nets). A shuttle will take you to Sugar Beach; Ladera's bar, restaurant and unique atmosphere will bring you back.

Details: A week's B&B from 2,719pp, including flights and transfers ( tropicalsky.co.uk)

2. Anegada Beach Club, British Virgin Islands

Perched on an atoll on one of the world's largest coral reefs, the Anegada is a gorgeous blend of hotel and glamping experience, with enough nature to satisfy even jaded travel palates. As well as a handful of hotel rooms, there are beachfront thatched palapas for a more Robinson Crusoe-style escape, with a beach bar for romantic sundowners.

Details: A week's room only from 1,220 ( anegadabeachclub.com). Fly to the British Virgin Islands via Antigua with Virgin Atlantic and Liat, then take a ferry.

3. Barbuda Belle, Barbuda

Barbuda, a 90-minute hop from Antigua, was badly damaged by Hurricane Irma, but it's well on the way to recovery; Robert de Niro, who has a thriving secondary career as a hotelier, is turning part of the island into a resort. In the meantime, Barbuda Belle has reopened, with eight bungalows on a 17-mile beach. It's all about serenity, both for guests and the birdlife. Hang out in the Jelly Tree Bar and Grill, on the beach.

Details: A week's B&B from 4,828 ( barbudabelle.com). Fly to Antigua with British Airways, then take the ferry across.

4. Golden Rock Inn, Nevis

This property is artist-owned, and it shows; there are some lovely touches amid the vistas and bold colours. Tiny Nevis, a ferry ride from St Kitts, is a Caribbean island for connoisseurs, and this 11-room hotel is one of the reasons why. Ed Tuttle, who is responsible for some of the best Aman hotels, converted this former plantation, while the acclaimed and brilliantly named Raymond Jungles oversaw the gardens, which are great for a loved-up stroll. An altitude of 1,000ft means that air conditioning isn't needed, and all laundry is included in the room rate.

Details: A week's B&B from 2,150pp, including flights and transfers ( http://www.juststkittsnevis.co.uk)

5. Petit St Vincent, The Grenadines

There are plenty of flashier private islands in the Caribbean, but few with more charm or a better wine cellar. Opened in the 1960s, and with only minimal changes since then, the resort's 22 cottages have a system of flags to summon room service. There is no swimming pool (the beaches are so sublime you won't miss one) and the island has its own water-bottling plant. The Mini Mokes that bring your orders to your villa are the original 40-year-old ones.

Details: A week's full board from 4,115pp, including flights and transfers ( inspiringtravelcompany.co.uk)

6. The House, Barbados

Guests love this boutique-size hotel, with its restrained, wafty dcor on the best bit of the Platinum Coast. Adults-only, with 34 suites, it slathers on the perks for guests, including Champagne breakfast, afternoon tea and evening canaps. From The House you are well placed for excursions to Sandy Lane and the Royal Westmoreland golf club. It's attached to Daphne's, one of Barbados's most celebrated restaurants, should you feel a proposal coming on.

Details: A week's B&B from 2,788pp, including flights ( ba.com/barbados)

7. French Coco, Martinique

This 17-room hotel is in the middle of La Caravelle nature reserve, with plenty of understated luxury. Aimed firmly at couples, most suites have their own pools and gardens. Balancing the sense of privacy, a Creole fishing village on its doorstep adds a genuine sense of place on this French Caribbean island, which is more affordable than St Barts and also more interesting.

Details: A week's B&B from 3,038 ( slh.com). Fly to Martinique via Antigua with Virgin Atlantic and Air Antilles.

8. Sandals Ochi Beach, Jamaica

If you're a bride or groom who wants to walk on water, the glass aisle of the new wedding chapel at this, the largest Sandals, will make it happen. It's adults-only, with 516 rooms and suites, along with plenty of luxurious all-inclusive options, from butlers to sunset cruises. The resort has 16 restaurants and 11 bars, including swim-up ones and a speakeasy. Honeymooners may want to opt for the quieter Butler Village and Great House areas.

Details: A week's all-inclusive from 1,499pp, including flights and transfers ( sandals.co.uk)

Part 2: New Hotels

9. Club Med Michs Playa Esmeralda, Dominican Republic

Club Med opened this resort last month on the Dominican Republic's largely undeveloped northeast coast. It's the first big hotel to pitch in here, and it's posh-eco in style, with no single-use plastic. Attractions include a treetop yoga school, trapeze classes and paddleboarding, and champagne flows after 6pm. There's a freshened-up 1950s feel in the rooms a homage to Club Med's roots.

Details: A week's all-inclusive from 1,496pp, including flights and transfers ( clubmed.co.uk)

10. Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana, Dominican Republic

It's couples to the left, families to the right (more or less) at Hyatt's twin resorts, which opened last month. Between them there are 750 rooms and suites. They look on to the white-sand Juanillo Beach and have beach butlers and 24-hour room service. But the family-oriented Ziva opts for free-form pools, while the adults-only Zilara goes for more angular ones; adults and children can enjoy the water park. An artfully industrial-looking fitness centre will have a boxing ring, and there are 12 restaurants and a two-storey spa.

Details: A week's room only from 1,506 ( hyatt.com). Fly to Dominican Republic with British Airways

11. Hammock Cove, Antigua

Small all-inclusives are a growing trend in the Caribbean, which means that the adults-only Hammock Cove should fit right in when it opens this month. Tucked next to Devil's Bridge National Park, it will have 42 waterfront villas. Each comes with an infinity plunge pool, double showers and a fully stocked cocktail cabinet, while the main areas have two restaurants, multiple bars and a series of pools that lead to the beach.

Details: A week's all-inclusive from 2,728pp, including flights ( eliteislandholidays.com)

12. S Hotel, Jamaica

The S, which opened in January, brings a bit of Miami flair and pool-party action to Montego Bay, with striking crimson parasols round its statement swimming pool. Playing to the Instagram crowd, there's another pool on the roof deck, plus a cocktail bar from which to admire Doctor's Cave Beach. The interiors are a bit more localised; all 120 rooms have a record player and a supply of Bob Marley vinyl. A bold attempt to take on Montego Bay's all-inclusives with something more distinctive.

Details: A week's B&B from 1,200 ( shoteljamaica.com). Fly to Montego Bay with Virgin Atlantic.

13. Royalton, Antigua

Overwater villas reached Antigua when this all-inclusive hotel opened in May. Most of the hotel is in more standard accommodation (there are 294 rooms in total), but guests can also splash out on Director's Bungalows for added privacy, and there's the option of having a butler and a mixologist for sunset cocktails on your deck. It's a family-friendly resort and overlooks Fort Barrington.

Details: A week's all-inclusive from 1,779pp, including flights and transfers ( tui.co.uk)

14. Cabrits Resort & Spa, Dominica

Cradled between the francophone islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, rugged Dominica has long billed itself as the nature island, even if nature hasn't been particularly kind in return (Hurricane Maria wreaked serious damage in 2017). Kempinski opened the country's first big resort here in October. The good news is that it doesn't seek to dominate the landscape how could it compete with the rainforests, volcanoes and hot springs of Boiling Lake, anyway? Overlooking Douglas Bay in the north, the hotel has 151 rooms, neutrally decorated in creams, plus restaurants devoted to Creole cooking, and a spa.

Details: A week's room only from 1,390 ( kempinski.com). Fly to Dominica via Barbados with Virgin Atlantic and Liat.

15. Aqua Lodge, Guadeloupe

How about a floating lodge in the Caribbean? There are now four of them in Saint Franois harbour. All sleep four, with a deck, and a glass floor in the kitchen for watching potential dinner ingredients swim by. Guests are provided with a dinghy to get from shiplike accommodation to shore, a kayak and a paddleboard, while eco-touches include solar panels. Not for everyone, perhaps, but experimental and experiential.

Details: A week's self-catering from 1,879 ( aqualodge.fr). Fly to Guadeloupe with Air France via Paris.

16. Htel Barrire Le Carl Gustaf, St Barts

All the big players have reopened in St Barts including Eden Roc and Le Sereno after Hurricane Irma tore through, and this boutique luxury hotel should be fully open early next year. Overlooking Gustavia, the hotel's 24 rooms and suites give off a St Tropez feel. Some have private pools, others expansive balconies. The main restaurant, a branch of the Paris stalwart Fouquet's, is overseen by the celebrated chef Pierre Gagnaire, and there's a spa.

Details: A week's room only from 4,470 ( hotelsbarriere.com). Fly to St Barts via Antigua with BA and Tradewind.

17. Skylark, Jamaica

Designed for maximum millennial appeal, this budget sibling to the well-established Rockhouse Hotel has plenty of style. Big on bluetooth speakers, low on fuss, it's painted white with splashes of colour and vintage posters. The 28 guest rooms have a Jamaican 1960s vibe; bigger rooms have patios or balconies. The restaurant is run by Miss Lily's, New York's jerk-meat centre of excellence, spiced with attitude and humour. Set on Seven Mile Beach, it has views that the original can never match.

Details: A week's room only from 950 ( skylarknegril.com). Fly to Montego Bay with Virgin Atlantic.

18. El Candil Boutique Hotel, Cuba

Opened late last year in a 19th-century mansion, El Candil has five suites with a palpable sense of luxury at play. It's in the less frenetic El Vedado area of Havana, with museums, John Lennon Park and bars and restaurants within easy reach. Staff speak excellent English and there's a restaurant and a rooftop bar with a plunge pool.

Details: A week's B&B from 1,050 ( hotelcandil.com). Fly to Havana with Virgin Atlantic.

19. The Morgan Resort & Spa, St Maarten

St Maarten is part of a Caribbean island with a split personality half-French and half-Dutch and is one of the significant hubs in the Leeward Islands. Staying here means you can take ferries to Anguilla (15 minutes) and St Barts (an hour) without having to shell out for pricey accommodation. Opened last month, the hotel is a good-value base, with extra appeal for aviation geeks; it's next to Sunset Beach, where crowds gather to watch planes flying low as they come in to land.

Details: A week's B&B from 1,048 ( themorganresort.com). Fly to St Maarten via Paris with Air France.

Part three: Foodie Spots

20. CuisinArt, Anguilla

The luxury chains are embedded in Anguilla, with Four Seasons on Meads Bay and Belmond taking over Cap Juluca. But CuisinArt a passion project of the late owner of the kitchen-equipment company still holds its own, especially when it comes to food. The resort, also incorporating sister hotel Reef, has a hydroponic farm to supply ingredients to its restaurants the seafood-oriented Yacht Club, informal Breezes and Tokyo Bay, which fuses Japanese and West Indian dishes.

Details: A week's B&B from 3,525 ( cuisinartresort.com). Fly to St Maarten via Paris with Air France, followed by a 15-minute ferry.

21. Castara Retreats, Tobago

All 16 rooms here have a treehouse feel. They're a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments, each with its own kitchen, meaning guests can buy fish from a boat in the village of Castara, where there is also a fruit and vegetable stall, to cook themselves. But Castara Retreats is also home to Caribbean Kitchen, one of Tobago's best restaurants. It's a relaxed, honesty bar sort of place, where the gap between tourist and local seems to narrow the longer you stay.

Details: A week's room only from 665 ( castararetreats.com). Fly BA to Tobago.

22. East Winds, St Lucia

Tucked into its own little crescent of sand by Rodney Bay, East Winds doesn't like to think of itself as an all-inclusive, but it is. The food defies expectation thanks to relationships forged over the decades with local fishermen and farmers. It also has an organic garden.

As well as a spa, there are now 30 simple rooms and suites.

Details: A week's all-inclusive from 2,199pp with flights and transfers ( tropicbreeze.co.uk)

23. Turks Head Inne, Turks and Caicos

There are 40 islands in the Turks and Caicos and, despite the name, Grand Turk is one of the sleepiest and sweetest. The Turks Head Inne has been given a thorough refresh by new owners and has a new restaurant; expect snapper, lobster and curried conch on the menu. Built in 1830, this weatherboard house was once the British governor's guesthouse and still has a colonial feel, with verandas and a plant-filled courtyard.

Details: A week's room only from 759 ( turksheadinne.com). Fly to Grand Turk via Providenciales with BA and InterCaribbean.

24. Jake's, Jamaica

The no-fuss boutique hotel in Jamaica is, these days, serious about food, working with local Treasure Beach suppliers. Guests can meet them at the monthly Farm & Fisherfolk feast coinciding with the full moon at long tables in the new sand-floored seaside venue. Cooking lessons are also available at the original Jake's restaurant, while on the beach Jack Sprat has freshly grilled seafood, pizza and a constant supply of Red Stripe beer.

Details: A week's room only from 812 ( i-escape.com). Fly to Montego Bay with Virgin Atlantic.

25. Four Seasons Ocean Club, Bahamas

Nassau escaped lightly from Hurricane Dorian, but with the rest of the Bahamian archipelago righting itself again, Jean-Georges Vongerichten he heads Ocean Club's statement restaurant Dune has been holding fundraisers. It's the most well-regarded restaurant in the Bahamas, giving an Asian twist to local seafood, such as ceviche and tuna tartare. Its terraced gardens are modelled on Versailles and rooms and suites are urbane. There's, also, that famously good Cabbage beach.

Details: A week's B&B from 8,759pp, including flights and transfers ( abercrombiekent.co.uk)

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SO2 - 50 Best Holidays in the Caribbean - Jamaica Observer

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