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It‘s Ursula’s third time in the functional MRI machine. Heather Kosakowski, a PhD student in cognitive neuroscience, is hoping to get just two precious minutes of data from her session. Even though Ursula has been booked to have her brain scanned for two hours, it’s far from a sure thing. Her first two sessions, also booked for two hours each, yielded only eight minutes of usable material combined.

The task verges on the impossible. Kosakowski needs Ursula to stay both awake, watching projected images of faces and scenes, and very still, ideally for seconds or even minutes at a time. Every twitch and wiggle blurs the MRI’s scan, obscuring the image and rendering it useless. But Ursula tends to squirm and then, inevitably, fall asleep—exactly what you would expect from a six-month-old baby.

Scanning infants’ brains while they’re awake is incredibly difficult and time consuming, and there’s always a risk that a session will produce no data at all. A motivated adult is capable of staying perfectly still for two hours, yielding brain images that read like an open book. Ursula’s sessions produce something more akin to a book that’s been torn up and thrown in a river. Kosakowski, who is jointly advised by cognitive neuroscience professors Nancy Kanwisher ’80, PhD ’86, and Rebecca Saxe, PhD ’03, needs to carefully fish out the usable sections and stitch them together before she can read the story they reveal.

“Heather is probably the most skilled person alive today at getting high-quality functional MRI data from human infants,” says Kanwisher, the Walter A. Rosenblith Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience. 

If Kosakowski doesn’t get the two minutes of still brain images she needs, it’s possible Ursula’s two previous visits will have been for nothing. But if she can get a clear fMRI reading, she will be one step closer to answering one of the most profound questions in modern neuroscience: What are the physical underpinnings of the human mind? 

far-off dream

Kosakowski is no stranger to overcoming obstacles. Her childhood was characterized by the sort of instability that made any kind of higher education feel unattainable. Her father was in the military, so her family moved around a lot. Then her parents divorced, and the difficulties multiplied. When she was about seven, she and her mother moved into a homeless shelter, and at 11, Kosakowski was put into foster care in Western Massachusetts. “Having a bachelor’s degree was always my dream,” she says, but she calls her first attempt at college a “dismal failure.” 

Kosakowski with baby Ursula after her fMRI scan.RACHEL FRITTS

“I dropped out, I was homeless and had no job, and then I totaled my car and I was like, what am I going to do with my life?” she recalls. She decided to enter the Marine Corps but hoped she might someday get a second shot at college. 

After several years in the military, Kosakowski left the Marines and returned to Massachusetts, enrolling part time at Massachusetts Bay Community College. Maybe, she thought, a bachelor’s degree wasn’t so far out of reach after all. She set her sights on Smith College, where she was admitted. But around the time she received that piece of news, she also got another: she was pregnant.

Kosakowski didn’t go to college anywhere that fall, but her eagerness to learn persisted. Her natural curiosity found an outlet in her baby, Hannah, who was born that October. She watched Hannah experience grass for the first time in the spring, delighting at how she reacted to this strange new material covering the ground. As Hannah explored her environment, Kosakowski kept wondering what things looked like from her perspective. What was she experiencing? How was she making sense of the world around her?

When Hannah was two, Kosakowski got a job at a nonprofit that was working to speed up research on multiple sclerosis, giving her the opportunity to attend a neuroscience conference. “After that I was kind of hooked,” she says. “I was like, okay, the thing I really want to be doing is research, and in order to do research I need a degree. I have to go back to school.”

Kosakowski was accepted to Wellesley College—a school she had written off years before because it was so competitive. She became fascinated with neuroscience, peppering her professors with questions until one said, “Heather, some of the questions you ask, nobody knows the answer. You should get a PhD.”

“I just

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By: Rachel Fritts, SM ’20
Title: How do babies perceive the world?
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2021/06/29/1025745/how-do-babies-perceive-the-world/
Published Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2021 03:02:23 +0000

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LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys

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Bitso, a leading cryptocurrency platform operating in Latin America, and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), today announced the joint launch of the first collectible NFT of the Mexico National Team’s jerseys that was acquired in cryptocurrencies.

This morning through their social media platforms, the FMF and Bitso announced the opportunity to acquire the new official National Team fan jerseys ahead of the team’s participation in the 2022 World Cup. In just 20 minutes, the entire collection sold out.

bitsonftjeysey
The NFTs of the jerseys have an exclusive design for the metaverse – each is unique on the blockchain and can be resold by its owner in subsequent transactions.

The collection consisted of 100 official physical jerseys, each with a corresponding NFT version of the jersey that fans’ avatars can wear within the Decentraland metaverse. Each physical and NFT jersey set sold for the equivalent of $1,800 MXN in ethers.

“Our mission is to make cryptocurrency useful in the everyday life of Mexicans; we are committed to spreading the technology through innovative opportunities that help people throughout the country familiarize themselves with this new world. We are very excited to offer the incredible, historic opportunity for the fans of our National Team so that through their Bitso account, they can wear the colors of the National Team on and ‘off’ the field in the metaverse.”
– Bárbara González Briseño, General Director of Bitso México

Jersey NFTs

Created by Bitso, the virtual jersey sports the official colors of Mexico and the new National Team shield, characteristics that will make it stand out when users wear it in the virtual world of Decentraland.

The post LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/29/latam-crypto-exchange-bitso-and-fmf-launch-nft-of-mexicos-national-team-jerseys/
Published Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2022 15:19:02 +0000

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Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth

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EXMO, a crypto exchange platform operating since 2014, announced this week a rebranded visual identity with includes a new logo, brand colors, and design features. This new branding comes as EXMO continues to grow its crypto platform while also seeking to expand its presence in other jurisdictions.

Some new developments underway at EXMO:

Soon, users will be able to earn passive income from EXMO’s new staking platform.Plans to launch an EXMO crypto debit card.Expansion of its services in international markets with the opening of offices in Poland and Lithuania.

EXMO’s new logo

The rationale for the re-brand:

“At EXMO, we have a vision of a world where crypto is in every wallet. Hassle-free. We want to achieve this by making crypto as simple and accessible to everyone as possible. And we know that you already appreciate EXMO for offering user-friendly services and helpful support. Also for the opportunity to trade anywhere and anytime, closing deals in just a few taps. Such important changes required a rethinking of our corporate style, which has long needed a massive upgrade. So today we are introducing a new brand identity for EXMO with a completely new visual concept. We are launching a new logo, brand colors, and design elements. Our key design principles are simplicity, boldness, and a pinch of fun. But most importantly, we have changed our logo. Simple and easily recognizable, it represents the humanity of our brand. The logo stands out due to the wavy letter ‘m’ which symbolizes exchange rate charts and also resembles a spring that will launch you into the crypto world.”
– The EXMO Team regarding the re-branding

The post Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth appeared first on CryptoNinjas.

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By: CryptoNinjas.net
Title: Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/26/long-running-crypto-exchange-exmo-unveils-lively-rebrand-amidst-growth/
Published Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2022 08:10:38 +0000

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Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens

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The blistering heat waves that set temperature records across much of the US in recent days have strained electricity systems, threatening to knock out power in vulnerable regions of the country. 

The electricity has largely stayed online so far this summer, but there have been scattered problems and close calls already. 

Heavy use of energy-sucking air-conditioners is the biggest problem. But intense heat can also reduce the output of power plants, blow transformers, and force power lines to sag. Severe droughts across large parts of the country have also significantly reduced the availability of hydroelectric power, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). 

It’s unlikely to get better soon. A number of grid operators may struggle to meet peak summer demand, creating the risk of rolling blackouts, the NERC report notes.

The nation’s isolated and antiquated grids are in desperate need of upgrades to keep the lights, heat, and air-conditioning on in the midst of extreme weather events that climate change is making more common, severe, and dangerous. One clear way to ease many of these issues is to more tightly integrate the country’s regional grids, stitching them together with more long-range transmission lines. 

If electricity generated in one area can be more easily shared across much wider regions, power can simply flow to where it’s needed at those moments when customers crank up air-conditioners en masse, or when power plants or fuel supply lines fail amid soaring temperatures, wildfires, hurricanes, or other events, says Liza Reed, a research manager focused on transmission at the Niskanen Center, a Washington, DC, think tank.  

The problem is it’s proved difficult to build more long-range transmission and grid interconnections for a variety of reasons, including the permitting challenges of erecting wires through private and public lands across cities, counties, and states and the reluctance of local authorities to forfeit control or submit to greater federal oversight.

The case of Texas

The unreliability of the US grid is not a new problem. Severe heat and winter storms have repeatedly exposed the frailty of electricity systems in recent years, leaving thousands to millions of people without power as temperatures spiked or plunged.

One of the fundamental challenges is that the grids today are highly fragmented. There are three main electricity networks within the US: the Eastern Grid, the Western Grid, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). But there are numerous regional transmission organizations within those first two systems, including the California Independent System Operator, Southwest Power Pool, PJM Interconnection, New York ISO, and more. 

These grids form a complex web of networks operating under different regulators, rules and market structures, and often with limited connections between them.

Map USA grid
A variety of regional transmission organizations oversee different parts of the nation’s aging and fragmented grids, which operate under different rules and with often limited connections between them.
legend

ERCOT is especially isolated, in part because of the desire among local politicians, citizens, and power companies to avoid added competition, the hassle of following other states’ rules, and oversight from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). But the state offers a case study in why that can be a serious problem amid increasingly harsh climate conditions, Reed says.

The Texas grid operator pleaded with customers several times earlier this month to cut electricity use as blistering summer temperatures created  demand surges that threatened to outstrip supply and require rolling blackouts.  Low wind conditions, cloud cover, and outages at fossil-fuel power plants added to the strains.

Shutting off the electricity needed to run air-conditioning in triple-digit temperatures

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By: James Temple
Title: Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/07/28/1056483/stitching-together-the-grid-will-save-lives-as-extreme-weather-worsens/
Published Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 08:00:00 +0000

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