We are lucky to be alive

If ever I feel the temptation to feel sorry for myself, I like to remind myself of the idea demonstrated in the cartoon below that shows how in order for us to be alive at all, every single one of the millions of our ancestors, all the way back to the first living organism, had to be survive long enough to reproduce. If, at an early stage of that sequence, one were to put odds on that happening, the chances against it are enormous. And yet here we are.
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Self-driving cars

I tend to be swayed back and forth by the promise of self-driving cars. On the one hand, I read about how good they are and have advanced so much that one might expect them to be available for commercial use within the next decade. Then I read that that they are only as good as the latest map updates and cannot cope with the kinds of temporary changes in road conditions that are common and then I feel pessimistic that they will be a reality soon.
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Question for computer security experts

In his interview with John Oliver, Edward Snowden said something that many computer-savvy people are aware of and that is that modern computers can sweep through the entire set of possibilities of eight-character passwords in less than a second and that is how hackers break into systems. He suggested that rather than using complicated and hard to remember combinations of characters, we need to think in terms of long phrases that are easy for each user to remember but are unlikely to be found in any written form anywhere.
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Explaining science and public policy using interpretive dance

John Bohannon, a microbiologist and science writer, and Black Label Movement (a Minneapolis dance company), argue that using interpretive dance would be much more effective than using PowerPoint in communicating things to the public. In this demonstration, they use dance to give the viewer a pretty good sense of how photons can be used to cool atoms down to almost absolute zero and transform it into a superfluid.
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