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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Human Longevity
Posted: March 11, 2020 at 3:44 pm
The ongoing biotechnology revolution is less discussed than the digital one, but is on par with it, if not more prevalent. While less visible to the everyday eye, progress in healthcare and genetics will dramatically alter the way and where we live. Indeed, it feels like science fiction has crept into reality.
For some time now, it has been possible to create an embryonic precursor from someones blood cells. Essentially, this means that scientists can recreate a younger you in the form of an unevolved and unaged specimen, which could eventually turn into a fetus that will grow into an adult, with your DNA. Some scientists are suggesting that DNA doesnt age much; what does is the epigenetic, or the molecular processes that regulate the expressions of DNA.
Nowadays, a growing scientific movement views aging not as a consequence of growing older, but as a condition in and of itself, a pathology. In other words, aging is a disease that is not a result of a degradation of DNA, but of the epigenetic. Once we understand how to reboot it and restore the functioning of DNA, we could have treatments for aging and perhaps even the possibility to reverse it.
Highly controversial, of course. Nevertheless, we are slowly but surely moving toward dramatically extending human longevity and eventually, towardcellular regeneration (i.e., regrowing limbs).
There are substantial investments being made with this goal in mind, and results will be obtained much faster than we are aware. As an example, in the 1990s, gene therapy was perceived as high-risk and elusive. Today, a group of technologies named CRISPR-Cas9 enables scientists to edit genomes and alter DNA sequences, with the potential to correct genetic diseases and cure cancer.We may even be able to create immortality. Scientists have not yet found how to do it, but at some point, they well could.
Think of the luminaries the world lost early, of diseases or from causes that genetics research seeks to cure. Steve Jobs lived to be 56. He died as Apple just started really growing exponentially in a business sense, and in creativity benefiting from his decades of experience.
Zaha Hadid, the first woman to win the Pritzker prize (considered the Nobel prize for architects) died in 2016 at age 65. She really began to be at the top of her field after 2000, or age 50. Considering that she still might have had her best years ahead, advances in longevity could have an enormously positive effect on our cities, if world-class architects and real estate developers are able to exponentially leverage their experience for longer. Good news.
Urbanism is turning into one of the worlds most pressing issues. Desirable cities are so unaffordable that housing negatively impairs national GDP growth by several points. And well-planned architecture has been found to reduce crime. Boosting longevity could have a direct correlation with much faster economic growth and lower crime. And immortality, all the more. All in all, as human progress accelerates, so should that of our cities and lifestyles.
Living longer would indeed drastically affect the demographic makeup of our cities. With the nationwide trend of migration back toward cities, downtowns have again become gravity centers as jobs, social life and opportunities are all located next to one another. In other words, cities are becoming harder to leave. As their inhabitants have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and live longer, the populations of cities like New York could explode. And so could real estate prices, by the sheer force of supply and demand not to mention that the older the population grows, the higher the amount of savings in the economy, hence additional capital increasing housing prices.
There urgently need to be solutions. Just based on migration trends, nearly 70% of the worlds population will live in cities in 2050. (That number is over 54% today, and was 34% in 1960.)
One solution could be a movement that is already making a comeback in todays world: multigenerational housing, through which several generations of a same family coexist under the same roof. Would the United States then become more like traditional Europe, where close-knit families often live together for decades into adulthood? The potential societal changes are enormous. Cities would, in this case, revert to what they had always been before: homes for whole families, as opposed to, say, downtowns of solely high-earning young professionals.
Additionally, advances in transportation such as ride-sharing will reduce the need to own our own cars. If we need fewer roads, we will have more space to build probably taller, if the aforementioned experts live longer and are able to develop the appropriate real estate structures. There's another factor increasing urban density.
And what about zoning? If we know we will live until 150, will we take a different outlook at community board meetings, and be more open to rezonings to allow the additional housing that enables our family members to stay close to us? Longevity could lead to less friction on hot-button local issues.
The science fiction of longevity and immortality is much closer to reality than we think. It should be embraced, as it features the potential to drastically improve the way we live together. Optimism is de rigueur for one of the planets most challenging and divisive issues. Public policy must follow and allow cities to shape themselves and grow in a way that retains all this means allowing sound, large-scale construction and urbanism.
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Between Real Estate And Science Fiction: Cities Of Immortals - Forbes
Posted: at 3:44 pm
Throughout the past decade, various topics related to stem cells have made headlines across all platforms. From being hailed as the most innovative method for eradicating specific diseases, to being protested by various groups and organizations, the use of stem cells has gained national attention repeatedly. With promising initial scientific findings, and avid researchers aiming to solidify the presence of stem cell usage in the realm of science on a normalized basis, increasing numbers of startups, biotech giants, and independent companies are forging ahead with stem cell-related projects. As global connectivity, technological advancements, and the marriage between medicine and technology continues to evolve swiftly, Jason Hope sees stem cells will undoubtedly remaining in the spotlight.
Over 20 years ago, scientists successfully extracted the first human embryonic stem cells, and effectively grew these cells in a lab setting. The remarkable feat of being able to successfully grow the parent cells, which essentially allow for the growth of new cells in the body, was a hopeful moment for the medical sector involved in creating effective regenerative treatments for conditions like heart disease, Alzheimers, stroke, and Parkinsons Disease. Using basic reasoning, the successful regeneration of parent cells could provide the regeneration of undesired cells, leading to anti-aging results, or effective care for many age-related conditions that deteriorate the body over time.
Though this initial breakthrough was promising, the scientific community has not yet made significant strides in bringing stem cell therapy to market in a way that is well-researched, backed by medical associations, and commonly accepted by the scientific community. In fact, the only readily utilized stem cell treatments are related to successfully growing blood cells from matching donors for patients with various blood disorders. According to entrepreneur, philanthropist, and expert in the realm of anti-aging and longevity, Jason Hope, these initial utilization of stem cells are commendable, but require a lot more research in order to maximize the potential widespread benefits of stem cells in medicine.
Hope, who has devoted much of his philanthropic endeavors within the medical industry via groups like the SENS Organization, recognizes that most stem cell implementations are rightfully considered experimental until appropriate research, testing, and development can occur. As an expert in the realm of anti-aging, and the championing of increasing health throughout a lifetime, Jason Hope recognizes the potential distrust that can be formulated by the general public as a result of eager companies making lofty claims or promoting potentially faulty treatments not yet fully vetted by the medical community. Thus, while he remains avidly enthralled by the potential maximization of stem cell therapies, hope supports the long-term research needed to safely, successfully, and effectively generate breakthrough stem cell treatments.
Providing continued backing for the extensive research completed at the SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) Organization, Hopes contributions aid in the research aiming to create preventative treatments for degenerative diseases and utilizing breakthrough science to increase the overall long-term quality of life for individuals. Instead of focusing on the treatment of symptoms and the disease throughout the progression of the condition, the scientists at SENS work to examine ways to successfully prevent the disease from happening. Through this boundary-pushing work, a lot of their research focuses on stem cell intervention. According to Hope, stem cell treatments for Parkinsons Disease are now in the second stage of clinical trials at SENS. While the process of undergoing such extensive trials may appear slow, it is crucial to maintaining overall public support via successful treatment launches and promising in terms of the long-term possibilities linked to stem cell treatments.
In addition to the research being conducted by SENS, preliminary medical studies are being conducted with a myriad of uses for stem cells. Experimental stem cell transplants of retinal cells were recently utilized in a small research study of macular generation, providing initially promising results for the handful of patients who have received artificially generated retinal cells. Elsewhere, scientists have begun to explore ways to minimize potential rejection of stem cells in organs like the liver, through maximizing the most conducive environment for stem cells to thrive. While these slow-moving vehicles of change are less prominent than startups promising the proverbial Fountain of Youth via experimental stem cell treatments, these medically sound research studies are forming the backbone of stem cell treatment for the future.
As with all scientific and medical innovations, Hope also recognizes the potential risks, hurdles, and roadblocks within the growing field of stem cell research, and integration into medicine. From supply chain concerns to potential long-term side effects, and the risk of overly eager startups making too-lofty claims, Hope understands that the road to the everyday utilization of stem cells remains lengthy and potentially bumpy. However, the proverbial juice may very well be worth the squeeze in this example. As stem cells harvest the potential power to overturn the degenerative effects of some of the most prominent diseases, allow individuals to maintain active health for elongated periods of time, and increase the quality of life for countless individuals, expanding upon the initial promising research is potentially a pivotal point for the medical community and humankind. Though the road to successful scientific integration of stem cells is long, the potential healthcare benefits are limitless, and according to industry experts like Jason Hope, worth investing in, exploring, and championing.
About Jason Hope
An avid entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist, Jason Hope is a futurist involved in the championing of technological advancement, community involvement, and innovative medical interventions. Deeply passionate about the anti-aging, longevity, and human advancement niche of biomedicine, Hope remains actively involved in various scientific organizations.
After receiving a degree in Finance from ASU, and a subsequent MBA from ASUs W.P. Carey School of Business, Hope developed a successful mobile communications company. Professionally, he currently focuses on investing in startups and developing grant programs for small businesses.
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What Jason Hope Says About New Longevity Research - HealthTechZone
Longevity And Anti-Senescence Therapy Market Overview, Consumption, Supply, Demand & Insights – Kentucky Journal 24
Posted: at 3:44 pm
The global longevity and anti-senescence therapies market should grow from $329.8 million in 2018 to $644.4 million by 2023 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.3% during 2018-2023.
The scope of this report is broad and covers various therapies currently under trials in the global longevity and anti-senescence therapy market. The market estimation has been performed with consideration for revenue generation in the forecast years 2018-2023 after the expected availability of products in the market by 2023. The global longevity and anti-senescence therapy market has been segmented by the following therapies: Senolytic drug therapy, Gene therapy, Immunotherapy and Other therapies which includes stem cell-based therapies, etc.
Get Sample Copy Of The Report@https://www.trendsmarketresearch.com/report/sample/11698
Revenue forecasts from 2028 to 2023 are given for each therapy and application, with estimated values derived from the expected revenue generation in the first year of launch.
The report also includes a discussion of the major players performing research or the potential players across each regional longevity and anti-senescence therapy market. Further, it explains the major drivers and regional dynamics of the global longevity and anti-senescence therapy market and current trends within the industry.
The report concludes with a special focus on the vendor landscape and includes detailed profiles of the major vendors and potential entrants in the global longevity and anti-senescence therapy market.
71 data tables and 40 additional tables An overview of the global longevity and anti-senescence therapy market Analyses of global market trends, with data from 2017 and 2018, and projections of compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) through 2023 Country specific data and analysis for the United States, Canada, Japan, China, India, U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Australia, Middle East and Africa Detailed description of various anti-senescence therapies, such as senolytic drug therapy, gene therapy, immunotherapy and other stem cell therapies, and their influence in slowing down aging or reverse aging process Coverage of various therapeutic drugs, devices and technologies and information on compounds used for the development of anti-ageing therapeutics A look at the clinical trials and expected launch of anti-senescence products Detailed profiles of the market leading companies and potential entrants in the global longevity and anti-senescence therapy market, including AgeX Therapeutics, CohBar Inc., PowerVision Inc., T.A. Sciences and Unity Biotechnology
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Global longevity and anti-senescence therapy market deals in the adoption of different therapies and treatment options used to extend human longevity and lifespan. Human longevity is typically used to describe the length of an individuals lifetime and is sometimes used as a synonym for life expectancy in the demography. Anti-senescence is the process by which cells stop dividing irreversibly and enter a stage of permanent growth arrest, eliminating cell death. Anti-senescence therapy is used in the treatment of senescence induced through unrepaired DNA damage or other cellular stresses.
Global longevity and anti-senescence market will witness rapid growth over the forecast period (2018-2023) owing to an increasing emphasis on Stem Cell Research and an increasing demand for cell-based assays in research and development.
An increasing geriatric population across the globe and a rising awareness of antiaging products among generation Y and later generations are the major factors expected to promote the growth of global longevity and anti-senescence market. Factors such as a surging level of disposable income and increasing advancements in anti-senescence technologies are also providing traction to the global longevity and anti-senescence market growth over the forecast period (2018-2023).
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the total geriatric population across the globe in 2016 was over REDACTED. By 2022, the global geriatric population (65 years and above) is anticipated to reach over REDACTED. An increasing geriatric population across the globe will generate huge growth prospectus to the market.
Senolytics, placenta stem cells and blood transfusions are some of the hot technologies picking up pace in the longevity and anti-anti-senescence market. Companies and start-ups across the globe such as Unity Biotechnology, Human Longevity Inc., Calico Life Sciences, Acorda Therapeutics, etc. are working extensively in this field for the extension of human longevity by focusing on study of genomics, microbiome, bioinformatics and stem cell therapies, etc. These factors are poised to drive market growth over the forecast period.
Global longevity and anti-senescence market is projected to rise at a CAGR of REDACTED during the forecast period of 2018 through 2023. In 2023, total revenues are expected to reach REDACTED, registering REDACTED in growth from REDACTED in 2018.
The report provides analysis based on each market segment including therapies and application. The therapies segment is further sub-segmented into Senolytic drug therapy, Gene therapy, Immunotherapy and Others. Senolytic drug therapy held the largest market revenue share of REDACTED in 2017. By 2023, total revenue from senolytic drug therapy is expected to reach REDACTED. Gene therapy segment is estimated to rise at the highest CAGR of REDACTED till 2023. The fastest growth of the gene therapy segment is due to the Large investments in genomics. For Instance; The National Human Genome Research Institute (U.S.) had a budget grant of REDACTED for REDACTED research projects in 2015, thus increasing funding to REDACTED for approximately REDACTED projects in 2016.
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Longevity And Anti-Senescence Therapy Market Overview, Consumption, Supply, Demand & Insights - Kentucky Journal 24
The Global Precision Medicine Software Market is expected to grow by USD 882.65 mn during 2020-2024, progressing at a CAGR of 11% during the forecast…
Posted: at 3:44 pm
New York, March 09, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Reportlinker.com announces the release of the report "Global Precision Medicine Software Market 2020-2024" - https://www.reportlinker.com/p05873485/?utm_source=GNW Our reports on global precision medicine software market provides a holistic analysis, market size and forecast, trends, growth drivers, and challenges, as well as vendor analysis covering around 25 vendors. The report offers an up-to-date analysis regarding the current global market scenario, latest trends and drivers, and the overall market environment. The market is driven by benefits of precision medicine.In addition, digitization of healthcare is anticipated to boost the growth of the global precision medicine software market as well.
Market Segmentation The global precision medicine software market is segmented as below: Delivery Mode: On-premise
Geographic Segmentation: Asia
Key Trends for global precision medicine software market growth This study identifies digitization of healthcare as the prime reasons driving the global precision medicine software market growth during the next few years.
Prominent vendors in global precision medicine software market We provide a detailed analysis of around 25 vendors operating in the global precision medicine software market , including some of the vendors such as F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Fabric Genomics Inc., Gene42 Inc., Human Longevity Inc., International Business Machines Corp., Koninklijke Philips NV, NantHealth Inc., Roper Technologies Inc., SOPHiA GENETICS SA and Syapse Inc. . The study was conducted using an objective combination of primary and secondary information including inputs from key participants in the industry. The report contains a comprehensive market and vendor landscape in addition to an analysis of the key vendors.Read the full report: https://www.reportlinker.com/p05873485/?utm_source=GNW
About ReportlinkerReportLinker is an award-winning market research solution. Reportlinker finds and organizes the latest industry data so you get all the market research you need - instantly, in one place.
Posted: at 3:44 pm
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There's a new trend emerging of AAA open world games built for longevity that flop at launch, only for the studios behind them to spend months, even years trying to save them.
No Man's Sky is one shining example of a rally that worked. Anthem, despite sputtering along for a year already, is just now beginning the process. And in about a month we'll see whether the results of Bethesda's attempt to save the flopped launch of Fallout 76 will bear any fruit.
That's because on April 7, Bethesda is launching the Wastelanders expansion, a supposedly massive free overhaul that adds -- among many other standard expansion components -- a huge change for the world of Fallout 76: non-player characters.
"We learned from launch was that there was a lot to do, but what we needed for a lot of our audience was to bring the humanity back"
If it seems odd that an open world game in a series known for its characters and writing might launch without any NPCs to support its world-building or quests, yeah, everyone else thought so too. The game launched in late 2018 to criticism for being "soulless," lacking a "strong focus," and "boring" -- problems which were all tied in some way to the lack of in-world characters with stories and stakes to provide motivation. While all the other additions included with Wastelanders -- new locations, enemies, equipment, and quests -- will likely improve Fallout 76's chances, lead designer Ferret Baudoin feels the NPCs are the most important key to righting the ship.
"There was quite a lot that worked at launch," he says at Bethesda's PAX East fan event. "If you're a person who liked exploration, for example, from our traditional games, it was possibly one of the best worlds to explore that we've ever had. It was just huge, full of stories and stuff like that. But there was a large portion of our audience that wanted people. They wanted an emotional connection. And if you know everyone is dead, and you come across a holotape from someone, it loses that hope that you might meet that person and help them out.
"I think what we learned from launch was that core combat was fun, it was great to explore, there was a lot to do, but what we needed for a lot of our audience was to bring the humanity back."
Baudoin acknowledges the humorous contradiction of needing computer-controlled NPCs to provide "human" experiences, but he adds that Fallout 76 isn't totally devoid of humanity. Because players only have one another to interact with, he says, the team has seen all sorts of unusual and uniquely human stories unfold just from players interacting in strange and often wonderful ways.
"The funny thing is that in some respects [the players] added the most human things of all," he says. "The role-playing, for example, or some of the stories you hear about people dressed up as Santa Claus giving out gifts. That was something we didn't anticipate.
"We had whole plans for ways to let players murder each other, and they just wouldn't do it"
"We had all these plans for PvP, and actually, we have the least PvP audience ever. We had whole plans for ways to let players murder each other, and they just wouldn't do it. We have a weird, wonderful audience that would rather help each other out even when they have the other options."
Baudoin is also candid about launching the game without a world full of characters not being the best decision. Had the team known what the response would have been at the time, he admits, they would have included more of what's coming in Wastelanders in the launch version of the game. But because of Fallout 76's relative novelty, Baudoin doesn't think there was any way the team could have known that not having NPCs would be so frustrating.
"At the time, there was no clear analog to what we were making," he says. "So it was very tricky, because you would make arguments as to what you think the game should be, but there was no clear right decision.
"As soon as we saw what people were saying, there was a real fire in the belly to say, 'No, we can address this.' If we solve these problems, there's a whole package here that is very enticing to people, and we just need to provide that extra step... It's far more of a Bethesda experience than we were at launch."
"At the time, there was no clear analog to what we were making"
Because it's such a well known series, Fallout 76 was met with rapid, vocal disapproval at launch. There have been plenty of suggestions across forums and social media outlets for how to improve the game, and while Baudoin says he tries to read as many of them as possible -- he checks one particular popular message board at least twice a day for feedback -- there's a degree of filtering that takes place when the team designs what to change, and how.
"In some respects, our own internal team makes suggestions which are mirrored by the community. We're experts at dealing with that. But you can definitely notice trends.
Originally, Fallout 76 was empty, with the player character the first to leave the vault after a nuclear apocalypse. But in Wastelanders, new faces arrive from outside Appalachia
"Neil Gaiman has that quote, 'When people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.' If there's an itch somewhere and it's bugging people, it's our job to figure out as experts how we can address the problem. Sometimes communities get it right, but you have to think of the millions of factors that go into that and make the best decision to address the problem that makes the itch go away and doesn't create further itches down the road."
"This is one of the first times I've been able to, before launch, see what people are reacting to and course-correct"
Later on, he adds:
"As a developer this is one of the first times I've been able to, before launch, see what people are reacting to and course correct. It's been fantastic."
Because the Wastelanders update is free, Baudoin is optimistic that a good chunk of the community that bought the game over a year ago will make their way back to see what's changed. He's hopeful, too, that an overarching love for the Fallout series among the community will keep them in the game.
"I think [Wastelanders] looks a lot more like a traditional Fallout game," he says. "The tagline in my head a lot of the time is: 'Fallout 76 is Fallout with friends.' I think now we've added more of the Fallout into it, the things you expected from Fallout 3, Fallout 4, are now in there. I think we're more properly delivering on that expectation that some people had."
Though Bethesda isn't revealing anything else new for now, Baudoin says that Wastelanders won't be the end of the team's work on Fallout 76. He describes the game as "a chance to tell an evolving story," with those opportunities only expanded by the addition of the characters and plotlines of this new update.
"You have to take risks," Baudoin says. "You have to reach for the stars sometimes. Sometimes you'll fall short, but if you don't, if you lack that ambition, the game is going to feel flatter. It's not going to be as interesting. Some of the things we've done...at the time sounded insane, but then we worked on it and we did it and lo and behold it really works. If we hadn't been willing to take that risk, it wouldn't've been there."
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Bethesda wants to bring humanity to Fallout 76 through NPCs - GamesIndustry.biz
Posted: at 3:44 pm
Carlo Allegri / Reuters
Lets just say it: The longest economic expansion in U.S. history may already be over, killed by Covid-19.
It might seem crazy to talk about a recession when jobs are plentiful. Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced a decline in the February unemployment rate to 3.5%, tying a 50-year low.
But a recession isnt when things are bad. Its when they arent quite as good as they were at the peak. (Conversely, an expansion begins when the economy hits bottom and starts back up.)
When economic historians look back, they may pick February as the peak of the expansion that began in June 2009. That would give it a longevity of 128 months, the longest in records maintained by the National Bureau of Economic Research going back to 1854.
This wouldnt be the first time the U.S. was in a recession without knowing it. In the summer of 2008 policymakers of the Federal Reserve were still predicting decent economic growth for that year and the nexteven though a recession had begun the previous December, as later determined by the business cycle dating committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The February jobs report that just came out is based on household and business surveys conducted in the week containing the 12th of the month. A lot has changed since then. On Feb. 12 there were still almost no cases of Covid-19 reported in the U.S. By March 5 there were 99, including 10 deaths, reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New research from State Street Associates and Massachusetts Institute of Technology indicates that the U.S. economy was vulnerable to a recession even before Covid-19 struck. In January the chance of recession over the next six months was about 70%, even though the stock market was then up about 22% over the previous year, it says.
Related video: Larry Summers Sees 80% Chance of U.S. Recession
The stock markets sharp decline since January damages growth by making households feel poorer and businesses more pessimistic. The chance of a recession with stock prices where they were this week is around 75%, according to Will Kinlaw, a senior managing director and head of Cambridge, Mass.-based State Street Associates, the research unit of financial giant State Street Corp. If stocks give up all of their gains over the past 12 months, Kinlaw says, the likelihood of a recession will grow to 80%.
In addition to the stock market, the State Street Advisers forecasting model takes into account industrial production, the shape of the Treasury yield curve, and jobs. Its based on a statistical concept called the Mahalanobis distance, which was developed to comparehuman skulls in India.
Covid-19 hit an economy that was less robust than it might have appeared. Nonfarm payroll employment was up 1.4% in January from a year earlier, which is OK. But industrial production was down 0.8% in January from a year earlier. And the Treasury yield curve was perilously close to inversion in January. (Inversion of the yield curvein which long-term interest rates are lower than short-term onesis a strong indicator of recession.)
The only strong indicator in January was the stock market, and now, thanks to the coronavirus, that indicator is flashing red as well.
While few economists have said the economy may already be in recession, some are beginning to say one is probably imminent. Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moodys Analytics, says the chance of a recession this year is at least 50%.
In the financial markets, in contrast, recession talk is rampant. This is what the start of a recession after a long bull market feels like, John McClain, a portfolio manager at Diamond Hill Capital Management, told Bloomberg News today. This is the first day of seeing some panic in the market.
Kissing is frowned upon in the age of the coronavirus, but you might want to think about kissing goodbye to the longest economic expansion in U.S. history.
Read more: Coronavirus Could Cost the Global Economy $2.7 Trillion. Heres How
Posted: at 3:44 pm
If you need any further convincing that artificial intelligence (or AI to you and me) represents big business in the digital age, you simply need to see the level of investment in this technology and its associated start-ups.
However, this burgeoning market remains in its infancy, while AI is still a relatively under-used technology in the typical workplace. In this post, we'll discuss some of the key challenges facing AI brands and ask why it's still so difficult to build a functional robot.
What are the Challenges Facing AI Brands in 2020?
Unsurprisingly, one of the main challenges facing AI brands is creating robots that can function without being connected to an external power attachment. This issue is commonplace in the contemporary technology market, with smartphones and similar mobile devices facing significant challenges in terms of battery performance and longevity.
Of course, the development of Lithium Ion battery technology has helped to improve the lifespan of such devices on a single charge, while further research in this field has also helped to fuel the expansion in robot runtime and functionality.
While the available technology has advanced at a rapid pace during the last few years, however, much work is to be done to create fully functional robots that can operate for the requisite period of time.
More specifically, innovators must identify ways of maintaining power and longevity without introducing heavier battery units, as this would also increase the level of power consumption required, add further weight and subsequently and limit functionality in some instances.
Today's robots also struggle with perception, despite the advancements in machine learning and the increasingly intuitive nature of individual components such as microcontrollers. Sold widely through supplier such as RS Components, this component effectively serves as a mini-computer that sits on an integrated circuit chop and enables robots to carry out a number of core functions.
While such components are now capable of enabling devices to name pictures with sentences, however, they still lack the ability to recognise function and association.
Even though modern sensors have evolved to improve functionality and recognition amongst robots, they still lack the intuition to understand context and operate outside of simple processes and automated tasks.
The Last Word
This arguably provides the biggest to AI in the modern age, as while today's robots are increasingly effective that controlling pre-characterised processes and routines, they lack the capability to perform more intuitive tasks with the same efficiency as a human.
There's no doubt that machine learning is evolving at a rapid pace, however, while the increased level of investment in AI will expedite the speed with which the technology grows over the course of the next decade or so.
The increased spend in the market will also make it easier to build more effective and durable robots in the future, while potentially driving down the cost of construction and procuring individual components.
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Why Making Robots is Hard, Even in the Age of AI - University Herald
The Guy I Was Dating Asked To Be My Boyfriend. Three Days Later, He Broke Up With Me – BuzzFeed News
Posted: at 3:44 pm
Paige Vickers for BuzzFeed News
We were in the middle of having sex when D. said to me, I want us to be official. I want to be your boyfriend. The elation I felt a warm sensation I remember so vividly was tremendous, especially since we had only been seeing each other for about three months. Is this a decision you want to make while naked and horny? I thought to myself, but I pushed aside that fleeting moment of rational inquiry and replied, happily, Yes. Of course I want to be your boyfriend too.
D.s unprompted admission that he wanted to be exclusive was a surprise to me because just days before, hed expressed reservations about taking the relationship to the next level. Five weeks before he asked me to be his boyfriend, Id had a major anxiety attack, stemming from a lack of sleep and unexpected, stressful travel. D. had gradually become the first person Id speak to in the morning and the last person Id talk to at night. He was someone Id answer FaceTime calls for with no need for prior notice, and so I decided to open up about my various anxieties. He was becoming my person, and with the relationship going so well, I felt comfortable letting him in a bit more.
But, alas, my black gay romantic fairy tale was not meant to be at least not with this guy.
While he calmed me down on the phone during that initial anxiety attack, I would later learn that this very human moment where I expressed my worry that my depression and anxiety would ruin the good thing we had going was something he couldnt quite shake.
Alas, my black gay romantic fairy tale was not meant to be.
My explanations for why the anxiety attack occurred never seemed to be good enough, which in retrospect was a red flag. He once told me that we shouldnt see each other until Id spoken with my therapist a blow to the heart, considering how intertwined wed become. In my defense, its so much easier to rationalize and diminish why your needs arent being met when youre falling for someone. As the exceptional animated series BoJack Horseman puts it, When you look at someone through rose-colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags.
I dont think were a match, D. told me, three days after he'd asked me to be his boyfriend while in bed. We were at the popular gay club Therapy, an ironic location in retrospect, since I had once asked him if hed ever seen a therapist and he told me he had and had been informed that he was completely fine. Wed been having a date night, which I thought was going well. Earlier, wed gone to Rockefeller Center, taken a photo by the tree (the picture was his suggestion), and gotten dinner before making our way to the club. I was stunned by D.'s comment and didnt know how to respond, so I blurted out, Who tells someone that they want to be with them, only to recant that statement three days later?
Tears began to stream down my face, so I grabbed my coat and walked outside to get some air. After a few minutes in the freezing cold, I went back into the club and tried to talk to D., but he refused and suggested I go home and wed talk about everything in the morning. I remember feeling devastated and crying in the Uber back to Brooklyn, wondering how the night had begun so perfectly and ended so poorly. And even though we hadnt had a discussion about how to salvage the relationship that would happen the following day I knew in my heart that things were already over.
I had been through breakups before and was fairly comfortable being alone, but the abrupt ending of this relationship felt destabilizing in a new way. I could not think about anything or anyone other than D., how isolating it felt to be broken up with before we could celebrate the New Years Eve plans we had been excitedly texting about just days before. My appetite was nonexistent, showering felt like a chore, and going for a brief walk to get sunlight each day which my therapist insisted on felt impossible, mostly because I couldnt help thinking that everyone I passed could clearly see the pain I was trying to camouflage.
Amid the unimaginable hurt I was feeling, I wondered how other people were navigating the often disappointing and demoralizing venture of dating. In search of answers, I set out to see how others stung by love mostly millennials were dealing with dating, breakups, and loneliness.
I think we've gotten to a point where we're just taking what you can get, even if its not serving you really, said Mary Beth Barone, 28, a New Yorkbased comedian, improviser, and actor who hosts a comedy show called Drag His Ass: A Fuckboy Treatment Program.
Like, I felt like the attention was really nice, Barone told me in an interview after her sold-out show at the end of January, describing the ups and downs of a relationship with a recent fuckboy whod occupied her attention. And when things were good, they were good. And then when things were bad, it almost got to a point where I was like, Well, he's already hurt me so much; you can't hurt me more.
Drag His Ass, held every three months and alternating between New York and Los Angeles, is a place where singles can come and laugh or cry together about dating, which Barone says seems to be going pretty poorly for everyone.
I think weve gotten to a point where were just taking what you can get, even if its not serving you really.
She got the idea for the show a year ago, after deciding to start holding myself more accountable by not going out with terrible guys. She even bought herself a whiteboard and began marking each day she successfully made it through fuckboy-free. Sometimes she would make it to 30 days and then would sleep with someone who turned out to be horrible. And you can't always tell [that they are a fuckboy] before you sleep with them, Barone joked, which is the hard thing about it. The goal was to make it to 100 days.
Last March, Barone posted that shed finally completed 69 fuckboy-free days as a gag to her Instagram followers, and emboldened by the support she received, she decided to create a show. I felt like a lot of my friends and especially comedians, because they're so open about everything, would have really relatable stories about dating and fuckboys, Barone told me. And just feeling like, What are we doing? Like, what does dating even look like right now?
At each show, mostly packed with women attendees, a rotating roster of Barones comedian friends and acquaintances get onstage and regale the audience with stories about their dating train wrecks. At the end of each show, Barone tries to rehabilitate a fuckboy which is a term the comedian said doesnt apply to any specific gender and her attempts have paid off in some instances.
Mary Beth Barone (left) and Alex Linde during Drag His Ass.
During the show I attended, a woman named Alex Linde who was emanating an aggressive devil-may-care sort of attitude approached the stage and was questioned by Barone about her chaotic dating life. Barone began with a sampling of texts from guys who had once messaged Linde. "But I'm about to not answer my phone so if you show up I'm here if not okay, Linde had messaged to a guy named Jon. Alex. I'm literally in a car On my way to you rn. Keep your phone handy, he said in a series of messages back. When Jon texted Linde that he was at the location, he received a reply that said: wait, who is this lol.
Throughout the evening, the audience nervously laughed at Lindes bold approach to dating, which also included how she once had three different men she had dated or had just been casually talking to and who were strangers to one another help her move into an apartment. Toward the end of the conversation, Linde finally opened up about what caused her to treat with such disregard the men she comes into contact with, admitting that a former sexual partner in high school had given her a sexually transmitted infection, which had a significant impact on her. Its unclear if Linde was transformed by the end of her rehabilitation, but the line of questioning definitely led to a better understanding of her seemingly detached way of dating.
Do you have any hope for fuckboys? I asked Barone after the show, to which she replied, I do. Because a lot of the ones I've spoken to want to change, and I think they just don't know where to start. Barone added that its totally fine for people who are in their early twenties to want to fuck around and be crazy and irresponsible, but the problem with a lot of fuckboys is that theyve been stuck behaving this way for years. How do you switch that off? she said.
She gave me another example of a guy who had been a self-proclaimed fuckboy for years and found himself in the middle of an identity crisis once he fell in love with someone and entered a monogamous relationship with her. He said he lost all sense of self because pursuing sex with women has been so rooted in his identity now for almost a decade, Barone said of the guy, who eventually freaked out and broke up with the woman. He was like, I know I'm in love with her. I cant commit. There was another man, named Tom, who messaged Barone after attending her show in August to let her know hed ended things with two girls before sleeping with them because he knew it wasnt going anywhere.
And that, to me, was like, if it helps two people, thats enough, Barone said. I know it sounds crazy to say that, but thats why I want to do this.
The thing about dating is that you often dont know that someone is a fuckboy until after youve slept with them. When I think about my relationship with D., I have a hard time characterizing him completely as a fuckboy, especially when thinking about the glimpses of his personality that initially attracted me to him.
Hed been my neighborhood crush for a few months in the beginning of 2019 before we actually had a real conversation. Last May, he messaged me on the predominantly black gay hookup app Jackd, and we made plans to go on a date, but when he didnt take the initiative to choose a location to meet up, I decided I couldnt be bothered and didnt follow up. But later that fall, after coming to the conclusion that I wanted to date seriously and try a long-term relationship, I mustered up the courage to ask him out via the app and he said yes. We met at a bar in the East Village later that week, and its still one of my favorite first dates. He showed up a little late because of work, but I can still recall how he looked when he turned the corner and our eyes met. I remember instantly feeling at ease with him, which I credit to the copious amounts of alcohol we drank. And when he began to gently rub my left thigh, a sign that he was surely interested in more than just lighthearted conversation, it was clear to me that the night would likely end with us sleeping together.
We saw each other three times that first week of dating, which is honestly a lot for people living in New York City. Communication was fun and steady, never too much, never too little. We made time for each other, prioritized each other even though we had busy schedules, and for a while, that was enough. I began to fall for him because there was reciprocity, and for the most part he ticked all the boxes of what I wanted in a partner. I loved the way his eyes squinted when he laughed and when he flashed his dazzling smile; I loved the mesmerizing sway of his tiptoed gait, the random debates wed have because he loved being playfully argumentative. And his dedication to helping black and brown children at an after-school program signaled to me that he valued community.
But while D. could be charming and delightful to be around, those positive attributes could disappear in a second, and Id find myself on the receiving end of criticism that felt unfair. He would make cutting remarks about how I seemed unstable and was too sensitive and emotional. It often felt like he despised me for being aware of my emotions, and even more for wanting to talk about them. He said that he processed his emotions differently, but I didnt understand why he needed to judge me for the ways in which I processed my own. When youre dating someone and considering commitment, arent you supposed to want to talk to your partner about these things?
The thing about dating is that you often dont know that someone is a fuckboy until after youve slept with them.
Thirty-four-year-old Donovan Thompson, a Brooklyn-based executive producer for The Grapevine, a YouTube series that gears its content to a young black audience, said hes noticed that millennials tend to compartmentalize sex and intimacy. Because of the ability to quickly swipe left or right on potential partners on various dating apps, Thompson said, you reduce the conversation of intimacy off the bat, based on just the physical, which is not necessarily the case when you meet someone live in person.
Thompson is not alone in his assessment. In 2018, an Atlantic magazine story about how Tinder revolutionized the dating landscape noted how the relative anonymity of dating appsthat is, the social disconnect between most people who match on themhas also made the dating landscape a ruder, flakier, crueler place. That cruelty comes in many forms, including ghosting, which has become par for the course in a depersonalized dating landscape.
A New York Times story from September even highlighted how a number of IRL mixers like DateMyFriend.ppt, where folks in their twenties and thirties make slideshow presentations in an attempt to woo suitors for their friends, have started popping up to counteract the drudgery of online dating. Its telling that one of the most discussed dating shows of the year so far is Netflixs Love Is Blind where singles who have been unlucky in finding love get to know potential partners by only listening to their voices highlighting how fatigued people have become with the impersonality of dating.
Thompson said he believes that social [media] has become a drug and, in some ways, has made us more averse to wanting to fully commit to someone and more afraid of vulnerability. Theres no opting out of an argument; theres no Im just going to swipe off of this person. So then weve developed ghosting as a mechanism to protect us from the real-life awkwardness that we cant escape.
Weve developed ghosting as a mechanism to protect us from the real-life awkwardness that we cant escape.
Having some distance from your breakup undoubtedly brings clarity, and now, a couple of months later, I often think about how D. viewed me. Dealing with a 6-foot-1, large-framed black man who is open about his feelings can throw a lot of people, even men who date men. I often think my ex was drawn to me because of how I looked, and likely thrust his own beliefs on me about how I should act. But I think, as it became more apparent that I wasnt just going to be some aloof person who was fine with surface-level conversations, he panicked. I often go back to our horrible argument the night before our breakup, where I asked him, Why are you so upset with me just because Im asking you how youre feeling? to which he responded, Because youre making me feel like a bitch! Misogynistic undertones aside, the response hurt because it made me feel weird for being concerned about a person I felt I loved.
Before going over to D.s place that morning for our final conversation, I stopped by the corner store to pick up two cups of coffee. I hated myself for knowing how he took his black with two sugars, no cream. It was a reminder of what he seemed to dislike about me: that I cared too much.
I can still remember the look on his face when I entered his apartment: tired and sullen. I had a sinking feeling that there was something else weighing on him besides the fight that wed had the previous night at Therapy. I petted his dog as we talked running my fingers through the pups fur kept me at ease. D. kept going on about how he felt like I was guided by my emotions and that the way I reacted in the club was indicative of this. I countered by saying that I was hurt and there was no other way I could have responded, considering wed been out all night seemingly having fun when he sprang this bombshell on me that he didnt feel we were compatible, just days after saying he wanted me to be his boyfriend. Our conversation was going in circles when I asked him if there was anything else he needed to tell me. He said there was but that he didnt feel like it would be helpful.
Look, Ive clearly indicated that theres something on your mind. Were having an open conversation, so just be out with it, I said.
D. got up from his couch and moved over to his bed. I remember how drained and stripped of color his face looked as he lay down and finally told me what was on his mind.
He said that about 24 hours after telling me he wanted to be my boyfriend, while he was coming back home on a Friday night, he was complimented by a guy on the train who made a remark about the book he was reading, and he decided to sleep with him. He said he didnt want to tell me because he knew Id be hurt and because he vowed to himself that it wouldnt happen again. I laughed upon hearing his revelation because it was comical that the person who so often tried to make the case that my mental health was unpredictable ended up being the one who was volatile.
But even with his admission of infidelity, I still had a hard time letting go at that moment. I joined him on his bed, lying by his side. Soon we were embracing, comforting each other in this agonizing moment. I remember him asking if I still wanted to make things work, and then in the next breath saying he actually didnt want to make a determination right then. We talked about being in an open relationship, but it felt like his transgression was so out of left field that I wouldnt be able to trust him ever again. I remember kissing his soft, full lips one last time and leaving the apartment, completely devastated.
In the hours and days after our breakup, it seemed like no matter what I tried to do, the crying wouldnt cease. I couldnt stop thinking whether there was something I could have done differently so our relationship couldve been more successful. And even though I had the company of my roommate while dealing with this traumatic ordeal, I was overwhelmed by a sense of loneliness that felt debilitating.
Its better this happened now and not six months into the relationship, my roommate told me. I could understand his remark on an intellectual level, but it did nothing to assuage feeling like I was inside a black hole, being ripped apart.
After the breakup, I couldnt stand to be alone, which shocked me because I value my alone time. Id stay on the phone for hours with friends who lived in other states, sometimes just sitting with them in silence because I just needed to feel a connection to someone. Even now, I worry that I overstay my welcome whenever Im invited out because I dont want to be alone, still feeling intensely sad.
But according to Josh Klapow, 51, a clinical psychologist who has spoken at length about the loneliness epidemic, There is a big difference between being alone and being lonely. Klapow added that being lonely is a part of the human condition. We all get lonely. That's a normal experience. Persistent or chronic loneliness, he said, is a problem that, when left untreated, can have major effects on an individuals health, including depression and suicidal thoughts.
I knew the breakup had me feeling emotions that didnt always make a lot of sense. Id oscillate between sadness and anger, and then thered be moments where I only thought about the good things D. did, like when he checked up on me and brought me tea when I was sick with strep throat. As someone who has depression, I tend to self-isolate, triggered by feeling alienated from everyone around me. With D. no longer in my life, I felt like a boat in the middle of the sea, unmoored and longing, desperately, for attachment, for comfort, for safety.
Mary Beth Barone during her show Drag His Ass.
He is not someone you needed in your life, my friend Octavia, who once worked in the city but moved away last year to attend law school in North Carolina, said to me over the phone, right around the time when I was feeling the worst about the breakup. Anyone who would do that to you clearly doesnt care about you. Our phone conversations were comforting because listening to her talk about her experiences with dating, especially as it related to being cheated on, helped me see that I wouldnt always feel this way. Her last relationship was with a guy who cheated with another woman two years into their relationship. It hurts, but I promise you will get through it, she told me.
So why, even despite this, was D. the only person my brain kept telling me could fix my heartache? I began to have the crippling fear that Id never find anyone to connect with. Klapow told me that having the foresight to make social plans ahead of time is important, specifically for someone like me, who has been plagued by feelings of loneliness post-breakup.
If you want to not be lonely in life, you do not have to rely on romantic relationships to combat your loneliness.
You dont like being alone; thats okay, Klapow told me. Then you need a plan to address situations like this. Sometimes you can stay with friends and say nothing. You also [have to be] be honest and authentic, he added, saying that I should let friends know about my feelings and offer to help them with an activity or plan an experience together. You also can build in structure into your week so you identify those times when you feel particularly bad about being alone and again have a plan, he said. Although this is helpful in the aftermath of a breakup, it cant be used as a crutch forever. It is important to learn to be comfortable alone. In the end, if you cant self-soothe and be okay being alone, you will never fully be okay, he added.
In the last year, most of my closest friends had moved out of New York to pursue graduate degrees in other states or take jobs on the other side of the country. In a bustling city where it seems like everyone else is constantly connecting and going out with friends and lovers, no longer being in close proximity with each other has been difficult, especially for simple things like asking a friend to dinner or a movie.
If you want to not be lonely in life, you do not have to rely on romantic relationships to combat your loneliness, Klapow told me. You dont even have to rely on longevity of a friendship; what you have to rely on is authentic connection. When I asked him what alternatives there were, Klapow recommended going to a pet shelter, a senior center, or a church or community center where you can potentially form meaningful human connections as a way to combat loneliness. The right person in your life could be somebody who's in a hospital you have a deep connection with who was a stranger youve come to know, he said. And I can't underscore how important that is, because we don't tend to go there naturally, particularly younger folks.
So while my feeling of loneliness may not have been unusual following the breakup with D., being cognizant of the fact that I also have depression was important in making a distinction between feeling alone in the moment and pervasive loneliness. Since my experience with D., Ive decided to take a hiatus from dating, mainly because I cant seem to even drum up serious interest in anyone at the moment. Im also very aware that I am not a person who is living in the world without a single soul to connect with, so Im saying yes to as many social events as my introverted nature will allow. And while I can recognize when men are attractive, I dont feel compelled to go up to anyone and strike up a conversation, and I havent had the courage to redownload any dating apps.
Thompson, the digital producer for The Grapevine, believes that the compartmentalization of emotions in the dating space doesnt give us the opportunity to work through our complex emotions, which is essentially what a relationship is. Because we dont engage in pain, because we dont engage in regular compromise, because once again were outfitted with so many options.
I think things will get worse before they get better, Barone, the creator of Drag His Ass, told me. But I do think theyll get better.
At heart, Im also an optimist. And as Ive continued working through my own breakup, I keep revisiting a moment D. and I had in early December, where we discussed bell hooks All About Love. One quote that has stuck with me goes, When we understand love as the will to nurture our own and another's spiritual growth, it becomes clear that we cannot claim to love if we are hurtful and abusive. Love and abuse cannot coexist. That night, after talking about our favorite parts of the book, we Ubered back to his apartment, his head in my lap. The thought of us cuddling that night is now just a warm memory to revisit every once in a while. But thats all it was, because it wasnt love.
Posted: at 3:44 pm
Even large ecosystems the size of the Amazon rainforest can collapse in a few decades, according to a study that shows bigger biomes break up relatively faster than small ones.
The research reveals that once a tipping point has been passed, breakdowns do not occur gradually like an unravelling thread, but rapidly like a stack of Jenga bricks after a keystone piece has been dislodged.
The authors of the study, published on Tuesday in the Nature Communications journal, said the results should warn policymakers they had less time than they realised to deal with the multiple climate and biodiversity crises facing the world.
To examine the relationship between an ecosystems size and the speed of its collapse, the authors looked at 42 previous cases of regime shift. This is the term used to describe a change from one state to another for example, the collapse of fisheries in Newfoundland, the death of vegetation in the Sahel, desertification of agricultural lands in Niger, bleaching of coral reefs in Jamaica, and the eutrophication of Lake Erhai in China.
They found that bigger and more complex biomes were initially more resilient than small, biologically simpler systems. However, once the former hit a tipping point, they collapse relatively faster because failures repeat throughout their modular structure. As a result, the bigger the ecosystem, the harder it is likely to fall.
Based on their statistical analysis, the authors estimate an ecosystem the size of the Amazon (approximately 5.5m km2) could collapse in approximately 50 years once a tipping point had been reached. For a system the size of the Caribbean coral reefs (about 20,000 km2), collapse could occur in 15 years once triggered.
The paper concludes: We must prepare for regime shifts in any natural system to occur over the human timescales of years and decades, rather than multigenerational timescales of centuries and millennia.
Humanity now needs to prepare for changes in ecosystems that are faster than we previously envisaged through our traditional linear view of the world, including across Earths largest and most iconic ecosystems, and the social-ecological systems that they support.
The paper says this could be the case in Australia where the recent Australian bushfires followed protracted periods of drought and may indicate a shift to a drier ecosystem.
Scientists were already aware that systems tended to decline much faster than they grew but the new study quantifies and explains this trend.
What is new is that we are showing this is part of a wider story. The larger the system, the greater the fragility and the proportionately quicker collapses, John Dearing, professor in physical geography at the University of Southampton and lead author of the study, said.
What we are saying is dont be taken in by the longevity of these systems just because they may have been around for thousands, if not millions, of years they will collapse much more rapidly than we think.
Dearing said he was concerned that one of the possible implications of the study was that complete destruction of the Amazon could occur within his grandchildrens lifetimes.
This is a paper that is satisfying from a scientific point of view, but worrying from a personal point of view. Youd rather not come up with such a set of results, he said.
A separate study last week warned the Amazon could shift within the next decade into a source of carbon emissions rather than a sink, because of damage caused by loggers, farmers and global heating.
Experts said the new findings should be a spur to action.
I think the combination of theory, modelling and observations is especially persuasive in this paper, and should alert us to risks from human activities that perturb the large and apparently stable ecosystems upon which we depend, said Georgina Mace, professor of biodiversity and ecosystems at University College London, who was not involved in the studies.
There are effective actions that we can take now, such as protecting the existing forest, managing it to maintain diversity, and reducing the direct pressures from logging, burning, clearance and climate change.
These views were echoed by Ima Vieira, an ecologist at Museu Emlio Goeldi in Belm, Brazil. This is a very important paper. For Brazil to avoid the ecosystem collapse modelled in this study, we need to strengthen governance associated to imposing heavy fines on companies with dirty supply chains, divestment strategies targeting key violators and enforcement of existing laws related to environmental crimes. And we have to be quick.
However, the methodology was not universally accepted. Erika Berenguer, a senior research associate at the University of Oxford and Lancaster University, said the regime shifts paper relied too much on data from lakes and oceans to be useful as an indicator of what would happen to rainforests.
While there is no doubt the Amazon is at great risk and that a tipping point is likely, such inflated claims do not help either science or policy making, she said.
The authors said their study was not a forecast about a specific region but a guide to the speed at which change could occur.
Posted: at 3:44 pm
Watching him carve down an Austrian mountainside, throwing up a huge rooster tail of snow, its hard to imagine professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones stalking the corridors of power in Washington DC. Yet increasingly, this is where the 45-year-old American spends his time, swapping his Gore-Tex jacket for a suit, and lobbying lawmakers directly about the issue closest to his heart: climate change.
Its no secret that winter sports are facing an existential crisis. Glaciers are melting at an unprecedented rate, experts predict that the Alps will lose 35 percent of their snow coverage in the next 15 years, and even Japan often billed as the ultimate powdery paradise has been struggling for snow this winter.
Few are more acutely aware of the problem than Jones. Widely recognised as one of the best freeriders ever to strap on a snowboard, hes enjoyed a long and decorated career thats seen him win accolades that include Snowboarder magazines Big Mountain Rider of the Year (an award voted for by his fellow professionals) a record-breaking 10 times. His longevity also means hes witnessed the changes wrought by global warming up close.
Back in 2005, he told me over an aprs-ski beer in the Austrian resort of Damls, I was in northern Canada, in Prince Rupert, on the Alaska border. I was hiking with some locals in February and they were showing me restaurants that had closed. We don't get enough snow anymore, they said.
Realising the devastating impact that the climate crisis would have on mountain communities everywhere, including his hometown of Tahoe, California, Jones set up a charity, Protect Our Winters (POW), in 2007. His aim was to use his profile to raise awareness and campaign for change within the industry. In recent years however, the growing scale of the crisis has forced him to change tack. When we started, we were talking about low-energy light bulbs and reusable water bottles, he said. But as we got more climate experts on board, they said: Look your light bulb is not getting you where we need to go.
POW, Jones he told me, is now a full-on political organisation, and a highly effective one. In 2013, Jones was given a Champion of Change award by then-President Barack Obama for his work on the climate crisis. Yet whats interesting about this move into more direct lobbying is just how apolitical Jones has managed to remain.
Recognising that he risked alienating many of the outdoor enthusiasts that hed need to bring on-side including fishermen, and even hunters hes always been careful to keep any discussion of party allegiances at arms length. POW is, he stresses, a bi-partisan group. If you're a Republican and you're going to take votes on climate action, we've got your back.
In fact, many of Jones recent efforts have been focused specifically on reaching across party divides. He gives the example of a trip he took to Washington with Josh Jespersen, a POW activist and fellow snowboarder whos also a retired NAVY Seal. He did two tours of duty, hes a Republican, a proud American, and hes really fired up about climate change. When Jespersen walks into a Republicans office in Washington, Jones says, people sit up and listen.
Once POW has got their attention, Jones said, our message is simple. This is an economic issue, this is a jobs issue. This is happening, we're seeing the effects, and it's killing us. Given the size of the outdoor recreation industry in the US, the numbers are hard to ignore. According to the latest US government statistics, the sector is worth US$427 billion (329 billion), or 2.2 percent of GDP, and employs hundreds of thousands across the country.
Its bigger than the pharmaceutical industry, it's bigger than the extraction industry and it's bigger than the gun industry, says Jones. And as a CEO himself (he founded his own company, Jones Snowboards, in 2010) hes more than happy talking business with lawmakers.
Of course, politics is about more than whats happening in Washington. POW has off-shoots around the world (including a very active UK branch, based in Aviemore) and with an election coming up, Jones finds himself increasingly focusing on what politicians refer to as the ground game.
Again, his approach is avowedly non-partisan. It revolves around talking to outdoor enthusiasts of all political stripes in a language they can understand, and persuading them to make climate the defining issue when casting their vote. North Carolina, for example, is a big climbing zone. So well go on a climbing gym tour with Tommy Caldwell [star of 2017 extreme-climbing film The Dawn Wall,] and talk about climate change. Or well do events where we bring in a high profile hunter to give a talk. You get people going yeah Im Republican, but Im out in the woods every day and I see the problems.
Putting himself out there as a climate campaigner has meant Jones own behaviour coming under increasing scrutiny. Im hyper aware of my carbon footprint, and I improve every year, he told me, but admits that its far from perfect. He gave up using helicopters and snowmobiles to get to backcountry snow fields years ago, and uses Jones Snowboards as an example of how to run a company as sustainably as possible. Yet most of the constant online attacks he endures are over this issue.
If you look under any post [about me], there will be 400 comments saying I'm the worst human in the world, Jones said, adding that those who write POWs message off because of his personal carbon footprint are missing the point entirely. We need people who eat meat, hop on a plane, or drive a snowmobile - we need those people to vote for climate action. Giving up the personal stuff is good, I mean you need to do everything you can, but really, we need large-scale systemic change.
In the end, any criticism Jones puts up with is a price worth paying, he believes. Its not just a sport he loves thats on the line, but the livelihood of his friends and family, and an entire way of life. Recently I was in the Arlberg [in Austria], looking down over a whole valley. You can see the infrastructure, you can see the fancy lifts, and the villages and the whole lot. I was thinking what happens to all of this?
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Meet the professional snowboarder leading the battle against climate change - The Telegraph