5 Tech Products That Will Be Dead In 5 Years


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Developed by Sony Corp. in 2001, it saw its first commercial launching in

Developed by the Blu-Ray Disc Association, this latest high definition optical disc format player was unveiled in Japan in April 2003; was made commercially available in June 2006 by Sony Corporation in Australia, Canada and the U.S.      

With the speed of innovation in the tech industry, we can’t know every piece of technology that will fill our everyday lives in five years, but we can predict what won’t last. As smartphones begin to render low-end cameras obsolete and Netflix continues to upend the DVD and Blu-ray market, it’s clear the technology landscape will look dramatically different in the near future.

Here are five tech products we predict will go the way of the dodo in the next half-decade.

Blu-ray/DVD players

Netflix, Netflix, Netflix. Amazingly, the entire demise of Blu-rays and DVDs (and Blockbuster) are due to one company. There were other players in the cultural shift to streaming movies, but Netflix is the iTunes of movies on demand. Funny enough, iTunes offers movie rentals as well.

Blu-ray players were the cream of the crop when it came to watching movies for a few years, but 2013 is expected to be the last year of growth for the market. As the ease of use, accessibility and quality of Netflix  continues to increase as it rolls out 4K streaming over the next few years (not to mention other competitors that may generate interest from users), look for Blu-ray players to quickly become a nice collectible right next to your VCR.

Stand-alone in-car GPS units

In a little over six years, over 1.3 billion iPhone and Android smartphones have been sold around the world, and all of those devices have access to mapping software. Combine that with the propagation of in-car GPS systems, and it spells a swift demise for the stand-alone GPS units for vehicle dashboards, which saw widespread success in the early and mid-2000s. Since smartphones started offering GPS capabilities in 2008, sales of stand-alone GPS units for vehicles have seen a 15-20 percent decline per year.

Costing between $75 and $350, standalone GPS units built for vehicles from companies like Garmin and TomTom are already losing their viability (although these companies are still finding success with GPS units for boating and other outdoor activities), and will likely be completely removed from the market in five years. As battery technology allows for more usage time in smartphones and more people move into newer cars with built-in GPS systems, opting for a standalone GPS unit will cease be an option in the near future.

Dial-up Internet

Yes, dial-up Internet is still around, and people still use it. In fact, 3 percent of Americans still use dial-up Internet. That’s 9 million people, equal to the population of New Jersey. Only 65 percent of Americans currently have broadband connections. Thanks to the necessity of the Internet and new alternatives for connecting to the Internet at faster speeds, this won’t be the case for long.

Internet companies are expanding at a rapid pace, as people in underserved areas demand access to broadband speeds. Expansions will continue over the next five years, thanks in part to the FCC’s Connect America Fund, which aims to bring broadband to 7 million Americans who cannot currently receive it. Combined with expansions from cable companies and new viable alternatives like satellite Internet (which now reaches speeds of 15Mbps), dial-up Internet will finally be extinct in five years.

Low-end digital cameras

We have Apple to thank for this one. The 2010 release of the iPhone 4 and its game-changing camera forced the mobile industry to step up camera quality to the point that it has rendered sub-$200 point-and-shoot cameras all but obsolete. There are still a few straggling consumers out there who prefer the optical zoom or battery life of a low-end digital camera over the one in their smartphone, but at the rate of progression of mobile camera technology, those user complaints will soon be addressed.

In five years, camera companies like Nikon, Canon and Sony will have done away with their low-end camera lines and shifted their focus to the mid- and high-end market, as the low-end market will have been completely subsumed by smartphones.

Car keys

One of the quickest and least discussed changes to happen over the last few years is the reduction of physical car keys and the introduction of smart keys in a number of new vehicles by manufacturers. Surprisingly, the move away from physical car keys happened without much of a fuss from consumers. With benefits like keyless entry, push to start, driver profiles and remote start, buyers of newer vehicles have enjoyed the benefits of the new smart system (though many still end up to getting locked out of their cars if they leave the car while the engine is warming up).

But as quickly as smart keys have come on the scene, smartphones may soon replace them. With apps like OnStar RemoteLink offered by Chevrolet, which allows you to unlock and start a your car with an app, the future of car keys may lie in an app store. Whether we stick with smart keys or move on to something more innovative in five years, you can be sure that the physical car key we have used for the last 70 or so years will be a thing of the past for new cars.

This article was written by Micah Singleton and originally appeared on Techlicious.

4 Holiday Card Sites That Do The Mailing For You


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The season for mailing annual holiday cards is fast approaching. Of course you want to send friends and family an unique and memorable holiday card, but finding the right one, adding a handwritten note, addressing it, stamping it and getting it to the post office may take more time than you have this busy season. Even if you order custom cards from Paperless Post or Moo that say just what you want, you’ll still have to address, stamp and mail them by hand.

Fortunately, you can go online for a completely new way to mail out custom holiday cards — and it doesn’t require you to buy a single stamp.



Mail cards to your whole list

Shutterfly is our favorite holiday card mailing service. You may know Shutterfly for its custom photo gifts, but the company also prints custom cards for every occasion. You’ll find lots of design options, including postcard-style cards and folded cards in a range of styles, and you can upload family photos and completely customize the text for a greeting card that’s your unique creation. Best of all, Shutterfly will ship your cards directly to your recipients, so there are no envelopes to address or stamps to lick.



Shutterfly lets you import your holiday card list from Excel, Outlook or your iPhone, among others, meaning you don’t even have to type in mailing addresses to get your cards to their destination.

Pricing varies depending on the card you select, the design elements you want and how many cards you’re buying. Expect to spend $2 to $3 per card, plus an extra 99 cents to send them domestically ($1.49 internationally). That price is more expensive than store-bought greeting cards, but saves you the trouble of running to the post office.

Celebrations also offers a good selection of holiday cards at prices similar to Shutterfly’s ($2.50 per card plus postage), along with easy mailing options, including importing from your address book. It doesn’t offer as many card options or customization options — but if Shutterfly’s designs don’t thrill you, try Celebrations.



A custom card for every recipient

If you’re looking for a custom card for everyone on your holiday card list (or your list isn’t terribly long), you might prefer a service like Treat. It lets you personalize the perfect card for your recipients, either on the web or using the Treat iPhone app.

Although customizing a card for each of your recipients may seem like a lot of extra effort, you can do things like address people by name on the front of the card or add personalized messages inside of the card. And if you’d like to add a gift, Treat will print a gift card code fromAmazon, Target and SpaFinder, among other retailers, making holiday gift-buying a snap.

The cost of cards from Treat varies depending on the card and whether you buy in bulk through the Treat Card Club. Non-members should expect cards to cost around $3.49 each plus the cost of a stamp. If you’re sending a number of holiday cards, membership is a good deal; an 18-card membership plan brings the cost of cards down to $1.99 each.


Sincerely Ink

If nothing on Treat strikes your fancy or you’re an Android user, try Sincerely Ink. This card service is an app rather than a website, letting you customize cards with images straight from your phone and mail them directly to recipients. Sincerely Ink has fewer card options and limits you to creating cards on your smartphone, but the pricing — $1.99 per card — can’t be beat.

We hope one of these services will prove to be the ideal answer to your holiday card conundrum. Happy holiday card shopping!

This article was written by Elizabeth Harper and originally appeared on Techlicious

Meet The Dog That Knows 1,000 Words


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Chaser, the 9-year old border Collie is dubbed as "the  most important dog in over a century.

Chaser, the 9-year old border Collie is dubbed as “the most important dog in over a century.”

When people ask me how smart my dog is, I say that she has about the intelligence of a toddler. Chaser is a 9-year-old border collie who knows 1,000 words, but any dog is potentially capable of reaching toddler-level cognition and development, including learning the basic elements of language.

Thanks to her language learning, Chaser has been called “the most scientifically important dog in over a century” by Duke University animal-intelligence researcher Brian Hare. Language learning is an interesting test of animal intelligence because it requires unconsciously grasping a series of concepts in much the same way that children do as they advance from wordless babbling to complete sentences. For me, the most crucial common characteristic of dogs and toddlers is that they both learn best through play. I made games and other playful interactions with Chaser the basis of an ongoing conversation, speaking to her throughout the day in simple words and phrases just as I would to a toddler. Our language games revolved around finding, chasing, fetching and herding her toys — behaviors that released her instinctive drives as a border collie. Instinct-based play gave the toys value in Chaser’s mind, and that in turn gave value to the words — proper nouns and common nouns, verbs and even prepositions, adverbs and adjectives — I spoke to her in connection with the toys.

Chaser’s first conceptual breakthrough came when she was 5 months old when she realized that objects like her toys could have unique names. Like a young child, she also grasped the referential cues — my holding up a toy and pointing to it while saying its name — that enabled her to map a particular word to a particular object (called “one-to-one mapping” by language-learning researchers). That learning opened the door to a succession of concepts. Chaser learned that nouns and verbs have independent meanings and can be combined in many different ways (combinatorial understanding). She learned that a single thing can have more than one name, like a favorite stuffed animal that can be identified both by a unique proper name like Franklin and the common noun 
toy (many-to-one mapping). She learned that a single common noun, like stick or car, can identify several different things (one-to-many mapping). And she learned to reason by exclusion, meaning that she can identify a new object she’s never seen from among a group of familiar objects simply on the basis of hearing its name for the first time (drawing an inference). She achieved all of this learning, including knowing the proper-noun names of over 1,000 stuffed animals, balls and Frisbees in her first three years.

Creative, conceptual learning builds on prior learning in an open-ended way. Most recently, Chaser has learned to successfully interpret sentences with three elements of grammar (“To ball, take Frisbee”) and a semantic reversal (“To Frisbee, take ball”). And I am using verbal and visual cues to enhance her ability to learn by direct imitation of me and to match to sample.

Learning by imitation — I tell Chaser, “Watch what I do. Now you do it” — requires her to have the conceptual understanding, conscious or unconscious, that I want her to copy my behavior. When toddlers grasp the concept that we want them to imitate us, science says that they are demonstrating an implicit theory of mind and understand, unconsciously, that another person has a unique point of view different from their own. Matching to sample — I hold up an object, like a shoe or a ball or a stuffed teddy bear, and ask Chaser to find another one — is also an abstract conceptual challenge; it requires understanding, “I’m supposed to find something that has the same characteristics.” This, too, is a signpost in toddlers’ cognitive development

Like toddlers, Chaser and all other domestic dogs understand human pointing, more evidence that they have an implicit theory of mind. It is fascinating that in addition to dogs, elephants also seem to understand human pointing, whereas our closest animal relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos, do not. (Chimpanzees, bonobos and other primates have demonstrated implicit theory of mind in other ways.) These disparate findings show that science has a long way to go before it can say exactly what constitutes intelligence in any species, including humans.

Science is finding increasing evidence of creative problem solving, together with a propensity for play, in animals as diverse as crows, parrots, dolphins, dogs and primates. We are nowhere near being able to rank these animals in a hierarchy of intelligence, but dogs seem to be particularly good candidates for language-learning experiments because of their shared evolutionary history with humans and their unique interspecies social relationship. The greatest misconception about animal intelligence is that animals and humans have completely different kinds of minds. Through play, however, Chaser continues to learn things that were once thought to be possible only for humans, demonstrating that our minds and dogs’ minds are much more alike than we think and differ much more in degree than in kind.

John W. Pilley is an emeritus professor of psychology at Wofford College. Chaser has been a member of his family since 2004, and he has published the findings from their work in the journals Behavioural Processes and Learning and Learning.

12 Facts That Would Shock the Masters of Sex


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William Masters and Virginia Johnson became famous for the groundbreaking sex research they conducted at Washington University in St. Louis in the 1950s and 1960s—so famous, in fact, that Showtime decided to turn their story into a new drama series, Masters of Sex. Masters and Johnson’s discoveries changed the way we think about sex and about women’s sexuality in particular. Their studies showed that women were capable of multiple orgasms, among other things. These were revolutionary ideas the time, but new research about women and sex has revealed some facts that would shock even Masters and Johnson. Here’s the latest on sex research from Dr. Eden Fromberg of SoHo OBGYN and Naomi Wolf’s most recent book, Vagina: A New Biography.

1. Cycles of light affect our fertility
Women used to menstruate during the new moon (when it’s dark at night) and ovulate during a full moon (when it’s light). Now, in a world full of artificial lighting and bright screens, women are not as in tune with the connection between their biology and nature. Some have tried “lunaception,” altering the lights in their bedrooms based on the moon lighting to change their ovulation.

2. Women can get pregnant five to eight days after having sex
Studies have shown that some sperm can live in the cervical mucus crypt before the egg is actually fertilized for anywhere from five to eight days after sex.

3. Wearing high heels can negatively affect a woman’s orgasm
Certain high-end shoe brands developed the arch in their high-heeled shoes to approximate the arch in a woman’s pelvis when she is having an orgasm. The heels create a contraction in the pelvic floor, which is problematic because the pelvic floor then cannot contract further during orgasm. “An orgasm is usually like going from zero to 60,” explains Fromberg. “If you’re already at 55 [from wearing heels], you’re not going to have a full experience.”

4. Orgasms can make women more creative
Studies have shown that orgasms can make women more confident, productive and creative. And it’s a feedback loop—women achieve fuller orgasms when they are being creative.

5. Birth control pills dampen the libido
Any hormonal contraception has that psychological side effect. Sometimes women even have trouble conceiving once they’re off the pill because while they may have been attracted to their partner on the pill, they’re not actually compatible with each other biochemically without the extra hormones.

6.  Sitting in chairs can arouse women
Pudendal nerves, underneath the buttox and the sitting bones, feed arousal tissues (in the vagina, clitoris, anus, etc.). Sitting in a certain kind of chair pressing on the pudendal nerves in a certain way can lead to sexual arousal.

7. …But it can also dampen their orgasms
On the other hand, sitting in chairs for most of the day shortens the pelvic floor and psoas muscles—muscles which are essential to a full-body orgasm. When these muscles are tight from sitting too much, women find it harder to achieve a great orgasm.

8. Women have three erogenous zones 
The clitoris, the G Spot, AND the opening of the cervix. Some argue nipples belong on that list too.

9. Nerve endings are distributed differently in every woman’s vagina
Like a snowflake, each woman is unique in that her nerve endings are distributed in her genitalia differently than anyone else. That means, every woman needs to employ slightly different methods to achieve orgasm.

10. The pulsations a woman feels during orgasm are actually her uterus trying to gather sperm
Round ligaments that end in the labia majora “rock the uterus back and forth during orgasm so that the cervix has the opportunity to potentially scoop semen up that may have pooled in the back of the vagina to enhance fertility,” says Fromberg.

11. Being well hydrated leads to better orgasms
Because the body is mostly fluid, being hydrated enhances people’s ability to achieve orgasm.

12. All woman can achieve orgasm
Almost no woman was born unable to achieve an orgasm. “Women have the innate machinery programmed to have orgasms,” Fromberg explains. “But not everybody learns how to use that machinery well.”

By Eliana  Docterman @dockterman

In The Land That Made Me, Me….


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I have no idea who put this together, but it is wonderful!

Long ago and far away, in a land that time forgot,
Before the days of Dylan , or the dawn of Camelot.
There lived a race of innocents, and they were you and me, 

For Ike was in the White House in that land where we were born,
Where navels were for oranges, and Peyton Place was porn. 

We longed for love and romance, and waited for our Prince,
Eddie Fisher married Liz, and no one’s seen him since. 

We danced to ‘Little Darlin,’ and sang to ‘Stagger Lee’
And cried for Buddy Holly in the Land That Made Me, Me. 

Only girls wore earrings then, and 3 was one too many,
And only boys wore flat-top cuts, except for Jean McKinney.

And only in our wildest dreams did we expect to see,
A boy named George with Lipstick, in the Land That Made Me

We fell for Frankie Avalon, Annette was oh, so nice,
And when they made a movie, they never made it twice. 

We didn’t have a Star Trek Five, or Psycho Two and Three,
Or Rocky-Rambo Twenty in the Land That Made Me, Me. 

Miss Kitty had a heart of gold, and Chester had a limp,
And Reagan was a Democrat whose co-star was a chimp.

We had a Mr. Wizard, but not a Mr. T,
And Oprah couldn’t talk yet, in the Land That Made Me, Me.
We had our share of heroes, we never thought they’d go,
At least not Bobby Darin, or Marilyn Monroe.

For youth was still eternal, and life was yet to be,
And Elvis was forever in the Land That Made Me, Me. 

We’d never seen the rock band that was Grateful to be Dead,
And Airplanes weren’t named Jefferson , and Zeppelins were not Led.
And Beatles lived in gardens then, and Monkees lived in trees,
Madonna was Mary in the Land That Made Me, Me.

We’d never heard of microwaves, or telephones in cars,
And babies might be bottle-fed, but they were not grown in jars. 

And pumping iron got wrinkles out, and ‘gay’ meant fancy-free,
And dorms were never co-Ed in the Land That Made Me, Me.
We hadn’t seen enough of jets to talk about the lag,
And microchips were what was left at the bottom of the bag. 

And hardware was a box of nails, and bytes came from a flea,
And rocket ships were fiction in the Land That Made Me, Me. 

T-Birds came with portholes, and side shows came with freaks,
And bathing suits came big enough to cover both your cheeks. 

And Coke came just in bottles, and skirts below the knee,
And Castro came to power near the Land That Made Me, Me. 

We had no Crest with Fluoride, we had no Hill Street Blues,
We had no patterned pantyhose or Lipton herbal tea,
Or prime-time ads for those dysfunctions in the Land That Made Me,Me. 

There were no golden arches, no Perrier to chill,
And fish were not called Wanda, and cats were not called Bill. 

And middle-aged was 35 and old was forty-three,
And ancient were our parents in the Land That Made Me, Me. 

But all things have a season, or so we’ve heard them say,
And now instead of Maybelline we swear by Retin-A.
They send us invitations to join AARP,
We’ve come a long way, baby, from the Land That Made Me, Me.
So now we face a brave new world in slightly larger jeans,
And wonder why they’re using smaller print in magazines.
And we tell our children’s children of the way it used to be,
Long ago and far away in the Land That Made Me, Me.

If you didn’t grow up in the fifties, you missed the greatest time in history.
Hope you enjoyed this read as much as I did.
If so, PLEASE FORWARD to someone who might enjoy it.

Tylenol Just Once A Month Raises A Child’s Asthma Risk 540%


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ASTHMA ATTACKThe vast majority of babies are given Tylenol (acetaminophen) within the first six months of life. It is the go to medicine for modern parents whenever discomfort or fever strikes even very young children and its use is frequently encouraged by many pediatricians.

Now, a major study of over 20,000 children suggests that giving this popular medicine even as infrequently as once per year could have a permanent, life-threatening health effect.

Researchers at the University of A Coruna in Spain asked the parents of 10,371 children ages 6-7 and 10,372 adolescents aged 13-14 whether their children had asthma and how often they had been given acetaminophen within the previous year and when they were babies.

The children in the younger age group who had received the medicine only once per year were at 70% greater risk for asthma while those receiving Tylenol once a month or more were shockingly 540% more likely to have asthma.

The study, published in the European Journal of Public Health, also found that children who had even a single dose of Tylenol before their first birthday had a 60% risk of developing asthma.

In the older age group of 13 and 14 year-olds, asthma was 40 percent more likely if they had taken acetaminophen within the previous 12 months. The young teenagers were 250% more at risk if they took it once a month.

The researchers speculated that Tylenol, called paracetamol in the UK, may reduce a potent antioxidant called glutathione in the lungs and blood, which results in damage to the lung tissue. Glutathione is produced by the body (it is a combination of three amino acids:  cysteine, glycine and glutamine) and is referred to as the “mother” of all antioxidants by Dr. Mark Hyman MD.

While Tylenol use is strongly associated with a significant increase in asthma and the effect is greater the more often the drug is taken, no causal link is yet established via randomized-controlled trials. Does this mean the results of this large study should be dismissed and parents should continue favoring use of the popular over the counter medication for fever and pain?

Not so fast.

It would certainly be the wise and cautious approach for parents to investigate alternatives to Tylenol while additional follow-up research is performed.

Asthma rates have been on the increase for decades at the same time Tylenol use became more widespread.  The potential link cannot and should not be ignored.

Examination of 20,000 children establishing such a strong associative risk must be taken seriously and the dismissal of the research by some doctors is irresponsible given the seriousness and life altering outcome of an asthma diagnosis.

“All the asthma symptoms analysed increased significantly with paracetamol consumption,” the researchers wrote.

Other Autoimmune Illness Also Higher in Children Who Use Tylenol

The associative link is even stronger when one considers that other autoimmune disease is also more prevalent with Tylenol use making the probability of inverse causation far less likely. Inverse causation would mean that children with asthma are simply more likely to pick up coughs and colds that require painkillers.

For example, the Spanish study also concluded that the prevalence of eczema in children increased dramatically the more frequently Tylenol was used.

In addition, scientists in New Zealand found in 2010 that Tylenol use before the age of 15 months was associated with a higher risk of children having allergies at the age of six.

Also in 2010, another large study of 11,000 children conducted by the Imperial College of London demonstrated that taking Tylenol in the first six months of life was associated with a higher prevalence of asthma and wheezing.

Prior to that in 2009, researchers at the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute in Canada found a higher risk of asthma for both adults and children via a meta-analysis of existing research.

Should savvy and health conscious parents wait awhile until the likely causative relationship is established?

Definitely not!

With such repetitive and significant associative links firmly established, taking that Children’s Tylenol and chucking it in the trash would be a really constructive action step. There is absolutely no reason to use this product when raising children anyway. I’ve personally never owned a bottle of Children’s Tylenol let alone used it anytime in the past 15 years since my first child was born. There are plenty of other nontoxic options for dealing with fevers and pain in your young ones!

Another constructive action step? Finding a quality local pasture based farm and having your children drink unpasteurized grassfed milk. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reported in August 2011 that children who drank raw milk had a 41% reduced chance of developing asthma. These same children had a nearly 50% reduction in hay fever as well even when other relevant factors were considered.

Quantum Computing: The Next Information Revolution.


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quantum compurtingCuriosity drives humanity. When confronted with a new phenomenon, we are compelled to search for understanding. We can then control the science with new technologies, making life easier. This, says AAAS Fellow Raymond Laflamme, grants us time to be curious.

In the rapidly evolving field of quantum computing, curiosity over the last hundred years has driven scientists to the brink of controlling this once exoticworld.

Quantum computers, with the capacity to complete in an instant calculations that a classical computer with all the time and energy in the universe could never solve, will propel the next information revolution. Yet the concept of quantum computing is young and, so far, no scientist can predict with certainty when that revolution will occur.

For one AAAS fellow and his team of researchers, the missing tool to jump-start this revolution may be found in diamonds.

The subatomic ocean

Observations and theories in quantum mechanics have led to stories of subatomic particles breaking all known laws of classical physics, essentially walking through walls, teleporting across vast distances and traveling back in time.

Quantum particles can occupy two states at the same time. Incredibly sensitive, their characteristics change in the simple process of observing them. Yet in measuring the interactions of particles with higher mass, experimenters can calculate minute energy fluctuations, allowing a better understanding of this quantum soup.

“Quantum mechanics tells you that the quantum [computing] bit or the quantum coin can be both tails and heads at the same time. And this is really changing how the world works,” says Laflamme, the executive director of the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing.

An early scientist to envision a computing system to harness the nature of quantum physics, Richard Feynman, a renowned physicist and mathematician, suggested in 1982 that the strange ability of quantum particles to occupy multiple states—known as superposition—would theoretically allow for parallel calculations. The idea presented a method far more efficient for solving certain problems than the linear factoring system of classical computing that is based on 1s and 0s.

“We already have the technology to harness a small part of the quantum world. That’s what lasers are and that’s what magnetic resonance imaging is,” says Laflamme. “We want to go further than this and there’s quite a big ocean. So now that we have dipped our big toe in the water of the ocean of the quantum world, we try to go deeper.”

Yet this pursuit has been obstructed by defects found in the nanostructures of traditional computers—imperfections magnified exponentially on the quantum scale. This led physicists in the field to scoff at the idea of being able to contain and control these particles.

In five years—a comparative leap in the long history of quantum research—that thinking changed.

“So all of the work culminated in roughly the year 2000.

in what is called the accuracy threshold theory,” says Laflamme. “In other words, it says that in principle imprecision and imperfection of a realistic device can be controlled.”

And with control came new technologies.

One in a sea of particles

Every two years the number of transistors on a computer chip doubles, according to the famous observation known as Moore’s Law. In shrinking the size of transistors, processor manufacturers can fit more computing power into a smaller space, enabling new technologies like smart phones and ultralight laptops. Yet these electron transistors can only be so small before fans can no longer cool them. The end result is overheating and melting.

“Most of the world of technology has really focused on making very clean and perfect types of material of nanostructures,” says University of California, Santa Barbara, physicist and AAAS Fellow David Awschalom. “Oddly enough it’s the defects in certain materials that can very strongly attract one electron and hold it there in a very convenient way.”

One such material is diamonds.

Rather than being plucked from the earth, this type of diamond is synthesized in a lab: Chemical vapors deposit single crystal fillings to make a strand large enough to be applied in experiments.

The defects in the diamonds—the missing atoms—trap the electrons, allowing Awschalom and his team to study these particles and the interference on their spins that is created by other particles, by other spins, by molecules and a number of other interactions. The scientists can also manipulate the spin of the particle using ultra high-frequency circuits.

The spin direction, in this way, counts as a point of memory. Through superposition, multiple points of memory can be recorded. Each of these particles represents a single quantum bit, or qubit. By lining up about 20 to 50 qubits, scientists can perform searching and sorting algorithms—the equivalent of matching a single phone number in a New York City phone book.

“What’s been interesting about systems like diamonds is that all of these physics and dynamics work on the desktop,” says Awschalom in explaining how this material eliminates the need for supercooling. “So it’s made very accessible to a lot of scientists, including ourselves.”

Beyond the information horizon

In 1994, Laflamme faced a growing concern in the field he then studied, quantum cosmology. How could you factor in the distribution of the universe when so much quantum noise is interfering with every interaction of every particle? Quantum computing, as it turned out, was dealing with the same hurdle. To better understand this issue, Laflamme’s mentor sent him to a conference that year on quantum computing. As it turns out, this became the catalyst for Laflamme’s sudden emergence into this growing field.

The speaker, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was Peter Shor.  This is one mathematician who proved that in principle a computer based on the laws of quantum physics could factor large numbers, which is the basis of all our cryptography,” says AAAS Fellow Steve Rolston, co-director of the University of Maryland’s Joint Quantum Institute.

Shor’s algorithm predicted that a quantum computer could find all the prime factors of a given integer and it could do it far faster than a classical computer ever could. Overnight, the encryption method used for banking systems, online shopping and myriad other code-based networks, became immensely vulnerable. The fact that it was impossible to factor large numbers in this way now stood in doubt.

“Suddenly the attention came to the NSA (National Security Agency),” recalls LaFlamme. “And then they started to say, ‘Is that really true? Is that guy Peter Shor a crank or is he a real scientist?’” If all the encryption the intelligence agency has been using will now be in jeopardy, he says, they want to know when it will happen—when a functioning quantum computer will be built.

With the subsequent boon in funding for quantum research, scientists from an assortment of fields grew fascinated with this emerging science.

“You always hear people talk about interdisciplinary things all the time and sometimes it’s just a buzz word,” says Rolston. “But here it’s really true—ho—physicists of varying types, computer scientists and mathematicians. It’s intellectually stimulating.”

The field is now redefining what information is and how it will be delivered.

“The information revolution was really a quantum revolution because all our electronics are based on the laws of quantum mechanics, the semiconductors, the transistors, etc.,” says Rolston. “So now what we’re trying to do is see if we can’t do that again, but using those other aspects of quantum mechanics that haven’t been exploited so far. The sky’s the limit in some sense.”

The first likely technology to result from the manipulation of sensitive quantum states will be sensors. In fields like chemistry and biology this could lead to extraordinary advances in imaging the nuclear structure of proteins, changing the way pharmaceuticals are designed.

In time, a machine to capture the immense information capacities of the mysterious quantum frontier may one day fit inside a shirt pocket and will enable humanity to build technologies that top scientists in the field have yet to dream up.

“Once we have quantum computers we’ll have harnessed the quantum world,” says Laflamme. “We’ll be swimming in it in kind of a backstroke. Anything we want to do we’ll be able to do it. It’s our holy grail, quantum computing.”

In Their Own Words — 16 Celebrities Who Survived Bullying


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By Marlo Thomas, Huffington Post

Michael Phelps was bullied for his lisp and big ears in his Baltimore hometown.

Michael Phelps was bullied for his lisp and big ears in his Baltimore hometown.

Tyra Banks got called “Lightbulb Head.” Chris Colfer was stuffed into lockers. Rihanna was mocked for not being “black enough.” And as for Howard Stern, he had to go to judo school just to learn to defend himself.

And all of them not only survived, but thrived.

Since launching our anti-bullying campaign in 2011, we’ve discussed a variety of strategies that can help stem the tide of this urgent national crisis — from parent and teacher intervention, to bully-prevention training for the kids. But there’s something equally empowering about hearing the stories of those who have been bullied themselves — especially because they got through it, survived it and, in some cases, went on to become successful and well known.

Celebrity involvement in social causes is nothing new, of course. But in the case of bullying, it sends a potent message: “I once felt just like you — despairing and without hope — and look what I made of my life.”

Two-and-half years ago, writer Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller proved just how effective star power can be on the war against bullying when they launched their web-based It Gets Better Project, a video-driven anti-bullying campaign that responded to the increasing suicides among gay and questioning youth.

Savage realized that bullied kids needed role models in their lives and they needed to know that things can and do change. The project’s impact was immediate: by week two, its YouTube channel had already exhausted its 650-video limit; and now its website features more than 50,000 entries from people of all sexual orientations, many of them celebrities.

Beyond name recognition and a familiar face, celebrities who speak about having been bullied themselves are also living proof that sometimes the very thing that brought them torment when they were younger turned out to be their signature triumph. “I grew up in Tennessee, and if you didn’t play football, you were a sissy,” Justin Timberlake revealed to Ellen DeGeneres on her show. “I got slurs all the time because I was in music and art. But everything that you get picked on for is essentially what’s going to make you sexy as an adult.”

And, yes, there’s also a bit of sweet revenge in making it big when the bullies tried to make you feel small. “If I could go back and tell my 14-year-old self anything,” says Mad Men star Christina Hendricks, “it would be: ‘Don’t worry. You’re going to be doing exactly what you want to be doing in 20 years, and those a***holes are still going to be a***holes. So let it go!'”

To learn more about how you can help your children deal with bullying visit:www.stopbullying.gov

Why Don’t We Have A Wonder Woman Movie?


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Are producers scared of some overly high expectations that might come with such a film?

I recently got into an argument over Wonder Woman.

WonderWomanTo be fair to both myself and my friend, neither of us had meant for our discussion to escalate into an argument. Both of us were coming from the same place—that we wanted a Wonder Woman movie already, thank you very much—although she was, at least, more realistic about the obstacles standing in the way of such a project.

Actually, that’s not entirely correct. It’s not that I don’t understand how and why various attempts to bring the character to live-action have failed—it’s that I have trouble accepting them. Saying that the character’s mythological roots are too distancing from mainstream (read: non-nerd) audiences doesn’t hold water for me, given that we’re about to get a second Thor movieAnd those who complain that the character is too rooted in a past era are directed to watch Captain America: The First Avenger.

(MORE: Where Are All the (Good) Female Superhero Movies?)

No, according to my friend, the biggest obstacle to a Wonder Woman movie ever being made is that the character lacks the central narrative anything like those given to her DC Comics compatriots Superman and Batman, resulting in a superhero without a clear purpose or core personality. A strong argument, I must admit, even if I can point to how movies from Marvel Studios often cherry-pick those elements from comic-book histories to create a ”movie version” of a character that can engage new audiences.

And I was struck by another thought: Perhaps Wonder Woman is, too much of an icon for adaptation. Maybe the real reason we haven’t seen a live-action Wonder Woman is because she’s … Wonder Woman. Sure, on a story level, Wonder Woman is no different than Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and so on. But in another sense, Wonder Woman is just a little bit more charged than those other characters.

Wonder Woman, after all, is the female superhero to most people. The hardcore comic fans know that’s not actually true, and would possibly delight in telling you about superheroines like Captain Marvel, Power Girl or Valkyrie or any of their crime-fighting sisters. Even those who have never read a comic book could possibly, with a moment or two’s thought, come up with names like Batgirl, Black Widow or Storm from the X-Men movies. Of all of those characters, however, only Wonder Woman has anywhere near the iconic status of a Superman, Batman or Spider-Man.

(PHOTOS: Look Up in the Sky: How Superheroes Fly)

That raises the stakes for a potential Wonder Woman movie, in some way. If Man of Steel failed, it would’ve been bad news for Warner Bros and sad for Superman fans, but it wouldn’t have impacted the legion of other superhero movies out there in any way. Same with the next Thor orCaptain America movies; they’re just films about those particular characters, with no real weight or importance beyond that. A Wonder Woman movie, however…? That comes with a little bit more baggage.

Wonder Woman movie would be the  first to have a solo superheroine since 2004′s Catwoman, and would have to shoulder the same mentality that argues that, because Sucker Punch flopped in 2011, female-led action movies are too much of a risk for studios (That, despite the success of The Hunger Games). A Wonder Woman movie wouldn’t be seen as “just” a movie about Wonder Woman, but a movie for all female superheroes, under both a microscope for hidden meanings and the sheer, crushing expectation of creating something that is, well, worth what’s now become a noticeable wait for a solo female superhero movie.

What if the difficulty in making a Wonder Woman movie has nothing to do with actually making the movie, but instead is all about coming to terms with the pressures that come from who Wonder Woman is in the metatextual sense. Could it be that making a Wonder Woman movie is just… too scary for most filmmakers to want to attempt?

Bangkok is now the number One Tourists’ Destination.


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a thai imagePeople are packing their bags and heading to Bangkok, Thailand’s capital. Bangkok is expected to receive 15.98 million tourists in 2013, compared to London’s 15.96 million and Paris’s 13.92 million, according to MasterCard’s latest Global Destination Cities Index. The city’s luxury malls are legion; Bangkok’s Siam Paragon shopping mall is the world’s second-most photographed location on Instagram, trailing only Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport.

The most interesting trend in the MasterCard data is the surge of Chinese tourists, now the world’s most numerous at 83 million per year and increasingly from smaller cities as well as large ones. They spend an awful lot of money abroad—$102 billion in 2012—and a decent chunk of it goes to retailers in Bangkok. The average Chinese visitor spends $167 per day in Thailand, according to the Thai-Chinese Tourism Alliance, and most stay one week, coughing up a total of $1,000 to $1,300 each.

“Most of them are avid shoppers, snatching up brand name products at duty-free shops and stores around Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong Intersection [home of Siam Paragon and several other big malls],” TCTA president Kasean Wattanachaopisuttold TTR Weekly. While Chinese tourists are no doubt popular with luxury retailers,their reputations have suffered recently, most notably when a Chinese teenager wrote his name on a 3,500 year old Egyptian artifact, prompting Beijing to react with a list of rules to help tourists avoid upsetting the locals.

Bangkok’s popularity as a tourist destination looks unlikely to wane any time soon, thanks in part to a hit Chinese film called Lost in Thailandwhich drew thousands of Chinese tourists. But Thailand’s capital also remains relatively cheap compared to other regional destinations like Singapore, and a hub for everything from pirated DVDs to luxury handbags. The weather can be steamy and the traffic is murder, but inside the shopping malls, it’s an air-conditioned paradise for vacationers whose favorite activity is to give their credit cards a workout.

Bangkok’s rise to the top spot, with 15.98 million visitors projected for 2013, is the first time for an Asian city since the Global Destinations Cities Index launched in 2010. London is expected to have 15.96 million visitors in 2013, and Paris, in third, is forecasted to have 13.92 million.

While Bangkok claims the title of most visited city, halfway around the world in New York City, foreign visitors are shelling out more money than in any of the other 132 cities surveyed, despite expecting 4.46 million fewer tourists. Visitors to the Big Apple are expected to spend roughly $18.6 billion in 2013 — that’s a whole lot of “I ♥ NY” T-shirts.

Meanwhile, Tokyo remains the world’s most expensive city, as measured by total spending per tourist, with the average visitor spending nearly $2,200, according to the Atlantic. Just imagine how many trips to Bangkok you could take with that much money.