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Month: November 2017

26 Nov 2017

A Cheap, Portable Skin Cancer Detector Has Won the Dyson Award


A team of engineering graduates has won the prestigious James Dyson Award for their cheap and portable device that can detect melanoma, a form of skin cancer. The device could potentially save thousands of lives, as skin cancer is the most common type worldwide.


Detecting skin cancer early isn’t easy. Currently, it’s done through visual inspections or biopsies, but some doctors may not pick up on the disease using the former, while some patients may not be able to afford the latter. As such, a team of graduates from McMaster University in Canada set out to develop an inexpensive skin cancer detector, and their innovative work has earned them the prestigious international James Dyson Award.

Cancer affects the metabolic rate of skin cells, with cancerous cells heating up faster than their healthy counterparts following a shock of cold temperature.

To make identifying these cells easier, the McMaster University team — Michael Takla, Rotimi Fadiya, Prateek Mathur, and Shivad Bhavsar — built a skin cancer detector with 16 thermistors that can track the rate of temperature increase following a cold shock from an ice pack.

The thermistors are simply placed on the potentially cancerous area of skin, and the device produces a heat map that can be used to determine the presence of melanoma

“By using widely available and inexpensive components, the sKan allows for melanoma skin cancer detection to be readily accessible to the many” award founder James Dyson said in a statement announcing the win. “It’s a very clever device with the potential to save lives around the world.”

In addition to winning the Dyson Award for their skin cancer detector, the team also received a cash prize of approximately $40,000 to advance their research. They received $10,000 at the the Forge’s Student Start-up Pitch competition in March.


According to Mathur, the team was inspired to create sKan after realizing technology hadn’t had the same impact on skin cancer diagnosis as it had on other medical fields.

“We found research that used the thermal properties of cancerous skin tissue as a means of detecting melanoma. However, this was done using expensive lab equipment,” he said in a McMaster University news release. “We set out to apply the research and invent a way of performing the same assessment using a more cost-effective solution.”

Going forward, the sKan team hopes to create a more advanced prototype that will allow them to begin pre-clinical testing.

skin cancer detector
Image Credit: James Dyson Awards

As reported by The Guardian, nearly 39 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day in the U.K., and the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates 87,110 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. 2017, with 9,730 people dying from the condition. Early detection is key to cancer survival, so if sKan succeeds, it could significantly reduce that number.

“Our aspirations have become a reality,” said Mathur. “Skin cancers are the most common form of cancer worldwide, and the potential to positively impact the lives of those affected is both humbling and motivating.”

Source: Futurism

25 Nov 2017

A New Debit Card Is Poised to Make Spending Crypto a Breeze


To make it easier for people in the United Kingdom to spend their various cryptocurrencies, startup London Block Exchange is launching a new Visa debit card called the Dragoncard. It pays the retailer in pounds, then takes money from the consumer’s crypto wallet.


Cryptocurrencies such as ether and bitcoin are surging in popularity thanks to their many benefits over traditional currencies, but they still lag behind those currencies in one key way: they are not easy to spend in physical stores. People can spend USD and euros using a plethora of debit, credit, and gift cards, but their options are severely limited when it comes to spending bitcoin or ether using a cryptocurrency debit card.

That’s starting to change, though. The Centra Card can be used just like a debit card to spend bitcoin, ether, dash, and several other popular cryptocurrencies. Token Card is another cryptocurrency debit card, and soon, London startup London Block Exchange (LBX) will launch a prepaid Visa debit card that will act in the same fashion.

The Dragoncard from LBX. Image Credit: London Block Exchange

The Dragoncard will allow people to convert their bitcoin, ether, ripple, litecoin, and monero to sterling (aka the British pound) at the time of purchase, thereby making it significantly easier for those currencies to be spent in stores throughout the United Kingdom, including ones that have yet to accept alternative forms of payment.

Business Insider reports the cryptocurrency debit card will be issued by pre-paid card provider Wavecrest, and it comes alongside an app people can use to buy and manage cryptocurrencies on LBX’s own exchange. When someone uses the Dragoncard, LBX will pay the retailer in pounds first, then take the equivalent amount from the shopper’s cryptocurrency wallet.

Before rushing off to get a Dragoncard when it debuts in December, though, interested crypto owners should know a few things. First, the card itself is £20 ($26.33). Second, they will be charged a 0.5 percent fee whenever they buy or sell cryptocurrencies on LBX’s platform. Lastly, provider Wavecrest charges a small fee for ATM withdrawals — it is a debit card, after all.


Despite the fees, the Dragoncard and other cryptocurrency debit cards have the potential to help crypto become widely accepted and, more importantly, understood.

The Dragoncard also arrives at a time when bitcoin is experiencing quite a growth spurt. With schools, companies, and even nations starting to embrace bitcoin, the currency is poised to continue increasing in value and popularity, and with the Dragoncard, LBX is hoping to help Londoners join that ever-growing segment of crypto supporters.

“Despite being the financial capital of the world, London is a difficult place for investors to enter and trade in the cryptocurrency market,” LBX founder and CEO Benjamin Dives reportedly said in a statement. “We’ll bring it into the mainstream by removing the barriers to access, and by helping people understand and have confidence in what we believe is the future of money.”

“We’re offering a grown up and robust experience for those who wish to safely and easily understand and invest in digital currencies,” said LBX’s executive chairman Adam Bryant. “We’re confident we’ll transform this market in the U.K. and will become the leading cryptocurrency and blockchain consultancy for institutional investors and consumers alike.”

Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.

Source: Futurism

22 Nov 2017

Measurements From CERN Suggest the Possibility of a New Physics

A New Quantum Physics?

During the mid- to late-twentieth century, quantum physicists picked apart the unified theory of physics that Einstein’s theory of relativity offered. The physics of the large was governed by gravity, but only quantum physics could describe observations of the small. Since then, a theoretical tug-o-war between gravity and the other three fundamental forces has continued as physicists try to extend gravity or quantum physics to subsume the other as more fundamental.

Recent measurements from the Large Hadron Collider show a discrepancy with Standard Model predictions that may hint at entirely new realms of the universe underlying what’s described by quantum physics. Although repeated tests are required to confirm these anomalies, a confirmation would signify a turning point in our most fundamental description of particle physics to date.

Quantum physicists found in a recent study that mesons don’t decay into kaon and muon particles often enough, according to the Standard Model predictions of frequency. The authors agree that enhancing the power of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will reveal a new kind of particle responsible for this discrepancy. Although errors in data or theory may have caused the discrepancy, instead of a new particle, an improved LHC would prove a boon for several projects on the cutting edge of physics.

The Standard Model

The Standard Model is a well-established fundamental theory of quantum physics that describes three of the four fundamental forces believed to govern our physical reality. Quantum particles occur in two basic types, quarks and leptons. Quarks bind together in different combinations to build particles like protons and neutrons. We’re familiar with protons, neutrons, and electrons because they’re the building blocks of atoms.

The “lepton family” features heavier versions of the electron — like the muon — and the quarks can coalesce into hundreds of other composite particles. Two of these, the Bottom and Kaon mesons, were culprits in this quantum mystery. The Bottom meson (B) decays to a Kaon meson (K) accompanied by a muon (mu-) and anti-muon (mu ) particle.

The Anomaly

They found a 2.5 sigma variance, or 1 in 80 probability, “which means that, in the absence of unexpected effects, i.e. new physics, a distribution more deviant than observed would be produced about 1.25 percent of the time,” Professor Spencer Klein, senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, told Futurism. Klein was not involved in the study.

This means the frequency of mesons decaying into strange quarks during the LHC proton-collision tests fell a little below the expected frequency. “The tension here is that, with a 2.5 sigma [or standard deviation from the normal decay rate], either the data is off by a little bit, the theory is off by a little bit, or it’s a hint of something beyond the standard model,” Klein said. “I would say, naïvely, one of the first two is correct.”

To Klein, this variance is inevitable considering the high volume of data run by computers for LHC operations. “With Petabyte-(1015 bytes)-sized datasets from the LHC, and with modern computers, we can make a very large number of measurements of different quantities,” Klein said. “The LHC has produced many hundreds of results. Statistically, some of them are expected to show 2.5 sigma fluctuations.” Klein noted that particle physicists usually wait for a 5-sigma fluctuation before crying wolf — corresponding to roughly a 1-in-3.5-million fluctuation in data.


Physics is studied here at CERN: CMS.

These latest anomalous observations do not exist in a vacuum. “The interesting aspect of the two taken in combination is how aligned they are with other anomalous measurements of processes involving B mesons that had been made in previous years,” Dr. Tevong You, co-author of the study and junior research fellow in theoretical physics at Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge, told Futurism. “These independent measurements were less clean but more significant. Altogether, the chance of measuring these different things and having them all deviate from the Standard Model in a consistent way is closer to 1 in 16000 probability, or 4 sigma,” Tevong said.

Extending the Standard Model

Barring statistical or theoretical errors, Tevong suspects that the anomalies mask the presence of entirely new particles, called leptoquarks or Z prime particles. Inside bottom mesons, quantum excitations of new particles could be interfering with normal decay frequency. In the study, researchers conclude that an upgraded LHC could confirm the existence of new particles, making a major update to the Standard Model in the process.

“It would be revolutionary for our fundamental understanding of the universe,” said Tevong. “For particle physics […] it would mean that we are peeling back another layer of Nature and continuing on a journey of discovering the most elementary building blocks. This would have implications for cosmology, since it relies on our fundamental theories for understanding the early universe,” he added. “The interplay between cosmology and particle physics has been very fruitful in the past. As for dark matter, if it emerges from the same new physics sector in which the Zprime or leptoquark is embedded, then we may also find signs of it when we explore this new sector.”

The Power to Know

So far, scientists at the LHC have only observed ghosts and anomalies hinting at particles that exist at higher energy levels. To prove their existence, physicists “need to confirm the indirect signs […], and that means being patient while the LHCb experiment gathers more data on B decays to make a more precise measurement,” Tevong said. “We will also get an independent confirmation by another experiment, Belle II, that should be coming online in the next few years. After all that, if the measurement of B decays still disagrees with the predictions of the Standard Model, then we can be confident that something beyond the Standard Model must be responsible, and that would point towards leptoquarks or Zprime particles as the explanation,” he added.

To establish their existence, physicists would then aim to produce the particles in colliders the same way Bottom mesons or Higgs bosons are produced, and watch them decay. “We need to be able to see a leptoquark or Zprime pop out of LHC collisions,” Tevong said. “The fact that we haven’t seen any such exotic particles at the LHC (so far) means that they may be too heavy, and more energy will be required to produce them. That is what we estimated in our paper: the feasibility of directly discovering leptoquarks or Zprime particles at future colliders with higher energy.”

Quantum Leap for the LHC

Seeking out new particles in the LHC isn’t a waiting game. The likelihood of observing new phenomena is directly proportional to how many new particles pop up in collisions. “The more the particle appears the higher the chances of spotting it amongst many other background events taking place during those collisions,” Tevong explained. For the purposes of finding new particles, he likens it to searching for a needle in a haystack; it’s easier to find a needle if the haystack is filled with them, as opposed to one. “The rate of production depends on the particle’s mass and couplings: heavier particles require more energy to produce,” he said.

Electricity is studied at a physics research lab.

This is why Tevong and co-authors B.C. Allanach and Ben Gripaios recommend either extending the LHC loop’s length, thus reducing the amount of magnetic power needed to accelerate particles, or replacing the current magnets with stronger ones.

According to Tevong, the CERN laboratory is slated to keep running the LHC in present configuration until mid-2030s. Afterwards, they might upgrade the LHC’s magnets, roughly doubling its strength. In addition to souped-up magnets, the tunnel could see an enlargement from present 27 to 100 km (17 to 62 miles). “The combined effect […] would give about seven times more energy than the LHC,” Tevong said. “The timescale for completion would be at least in the 2040s, though it is still too early to make any meaningful projections.”

If the leptoquark or Z prime anomalies are confirmed, the Standard Model has to change, Tevong reiterates. “It is very likely that it has to change at energy scales directly accessible to the next generation of colliders, which would guarantee us answers,” he added. While noting that there’s no telling if dark matter has anything to do with the physics behind Zprimes or leptoquarks, the best we can do is seek “as many anomalous measurements as possible, whether at colliders, smaller particle physics experiments, dark matter searches, or cosmological and astrophysical observations,” he said. “Then the dream is that we may be able to form connections between various anomalies that can be linked by a single, elegant theory.”

Source: Futurism

17 Nov 2017

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Opportunities and Challenges

If we are going to talk about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is necessary to be exposed briefly to the stages that preceded this revolution. The First Industrial Revolution was based on the energy of water and steam engines to produce mechanics: the invention of James Watt, in 1775, contributed to the extension of industry in the 19th century from England to Europe and the United States, and the Second Industrial Revolution was based on electric power to create mass production, and this was the most important feature, which began in the early 20th century with the creations of Henry Ford in the production line.

Overall, by the end of the century. the Third Industrial Revolution began, where microelectronics and computer power appeared in the field of manufacturing and used electronics and information technology to automate production. Then the Fourth Industrial Revolution, based on the Third Industrial Revolution, began, characterized by a combination of techniques in which the lines overlap between the physical, digital, and biological fields, where robots took on the difficult and dangerous physical tasks in order to maintain the safety of the factory, the comfort of workers, and the quality of the product.

There are key advantages that we can see, which are not merely a prolongation of the Third Industrial Revolution, or an extension of it, but represent a fourth, distinct, inseparable access to the previous one. At the same time, however, it is also self-sufficient. It is true that previous industrial revolutions have liberated humanity from animal energy, made mass production possible, and achieved the digital capabilities of billions of people, but the Fourth Industrial Revolution is fundamentally different, characterized by a range of new technologies that combine the physical and biological world, and combine the digital world with the biological world. The three advantages of this revolution are the speed and complexity of it, the scope that extends to all walks of life and its fields, and then the impact of systems and their multiplicity. This revolution can radically change relations between states, companies, and societies, within and between each, and the speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent compared with the previous industrial revolutions. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is developing at a tremendous speed, and not linearly. Moreover, their successive developments disrupt almost every industry in every country, and the breadth and depth of these changes are witnessing the transformation of entire production systems, management, and governance.

Therefore, the need for a comprehensive approach to the development of the United Nations system is a key step in the process of achieving the millennium development goals. All of them will open up new markets and stimulate economic growth, as has already happened in the world of the digital economy, which has opened up new horizons, with its digital currencies and mining operations, such as Bitcoin, and the economic services of blockchain, and do not forget the applications and devices of Artificial Intelligence, whose emergence and development have marked a milestone in the history of mankind, and have made Man ask the question of himself – or as Tim Dunlop said: “If humans are no longer the smartest creatures on the planet, we  reimagine our lives.”

There are significant opportunities associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution that will necessarily arise from it, and will play a vital role in attracting foreign direct investment; the emergence of entirely new sectors will create thousands of opportunities for the workforce, but targeting and proactively promoting these sectors, at the local and international level, will attract investors early and inject additional financial resources into the global and Arab economy (in particular) which should be emphasized at this stage.

Perhaps the most important thing that the Fourth Revolution can impose on governments, in general, is to demand legislation commensurate with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, while the greatest burden on companies, institutions and research institutes is on the innovation side. Exiting from the past, via, for example, the new areas offered by 3D printers for design and production, and the programming of robots and smart systems, which, at the same time, will eliminate millions of traditional jobs existing around the world (such as drivers who will be replaced by self-driving cars, and low-skilled workers who will be replaced by robots) requires a delicate balancing act between the two sides. And to talk the rest.

Author : Manahel Thabet
Published October 30, 2020
Al Bayan Newspaper

13 Nov 2017

From the Economy of Despair to the Knowledge Economy

The old philosophers stressed that knowledge is power, that knowledge and human power are sprawling, and that the most painful thing for Man was to have knowledge, but lack the strength and that power, which means action and the ability to apply knowledge and transform it into an economy, because that is the ultimate goal in life. Knowledge alone is not enough, and the widening of the knowledge gap deprives most developing countries of genuine participation in the new global economy, which may expose them to many risks, starting with the economy and expanding to include stability and security, as Sheikh Mohammed bin  Rashid Al Maktoum said, and what is not meant by the knowledge gap, is that there are those who cannot own knowledge, or those who do not, but it means the inability to manage it, invest it and its meaning, and turn it into an economic resource that benefits from the prosperity of the national income of individuals, and promotes the national economy, yet the knowledge itself, wherever we manage our faces, we will find it, and this is the kindness of nature, according to Da Vinci; in the age of information, ideas are not the preserve of anyone, but the secret is the idea that is implemented at the time and can be invested, i.e. knowledge in humanity, that is in the humanity of all, that knowledge is in humanity, and in the age of information, ideas are not the preserve of anyone. Wisdom lies in its meaning and the ability of it.

The prevailing definition, in the old days, of the economy was to prepare today for the demands of tomorrow, but today’s economy says that we use yesterday’s trees as wood for today, i.e., they have passed the humidity stage and have become dry and investable.

As it seems, talking about the repercussions of the transition from the economy of despair, a hypothetical, not scientific, metaphorical label, to the knowledge economy, requires an intensive definition of both economies and an explanation of their beginnings.

The economy began from the beginning of humanity with simple beginnings, in which it relied on agriculture, or the so-called economy of nature, after which, population density increased, and with scientific development and abundant resources, man was able to discover the surrounding natural resources, and the simple economy thus turned into an industrial economy, but its features were not clarified until after the industrial revolution in Europe.

The concept of a knowledge economy emerged, as it was the result of the technological and cognitive boom and scientific development, and there are some labels that express it, such as the post-industrial economy, the digital economy, etc., but there is no comprehensive or specific definition of it, and perhaps the scientific future will contribute to a specific definition of the concept of the knowledge economy; it can be agreed, however, that information and its technology are the dominant element in the production process, which shape or define production methods, marketing opportunities and areas, and that information may be intended when mere ideas and data are identified, When it is referred to as scientific research, expertise and skills, i.e. the concept of real wealth in knowledge, its measure is that the one who possesses knowledge has wealth.

There are measurable features of the transition from a traditional economy to a knowledge economy, with priorities of human capital, and it seems that the higher the quality of education and the proper management of talent, the more positive the impact on society, the more talented, knowledgeable and traditional capital are the real wealth of nations: those features are the real wealth of nations, those features are the interest in science, knowledge and some investment in them; scientific application in all fields, strategic plans, then interest in sowing justice in society, fighting real corruption; good governance and health care, and finally, caring for young people and giving their energies to their potential in the management of the economic transformation and the drawing of policies, these features depend on a set of pillars, through which the transformation can be measured and its repercussions; innovation that requires not to import foreign technologies, and is self-sufficient in the Arab world, is hampered by the fact that there is a large gap between research conducted in universities and research centers, with the application of such research in industry and services.

Information is a pillar and another criterion of transformation, as the increasing employment in the worlds of information, communication and information in all activities is a hallmark of our world today, a profound interpretation that provides a new understanding of the role of knowledge and human capital in the development of the economy and the progress of society, including the development of alternative media and its role in the national economy.

It is also the development of human skills through training and education, the creation of an appropriate political and social environment, concern for health and human rights, and the creation of skills from the foundations of the transition to a knowledge economy, in this real sense, that Man is the instrument of true development.

Perhaps the most important complication of the transition to a knowledge economy, in addition to what has been introduced, seems in the great challenges facing the Arab world, in order to develop the education system, especially in light of the emergence of new types of it, such as education through simulation, through artificial intelligence devices, such as augmented reality and virtualization, in order to save time and costs, and facilitate in specialities without exception, as simulations can be used even with children to reach the talents of children, and education is the base of construction in the knowledge economy, and therefore needs great efforts, especially in the Arab world.

Also, the trend towards investing in knowledge threatens the existence of superstitions, and David Hume said that both the school (medieval) and theological controversy have hindered the growth of all forms of true knowledge; Freud stressed that the more the fruits of knowledge become available to human beings, the more widespread the rejection of superstition; all of these results are multiple complications of the transition to the economy of knowledge, which is the most important feature of the traditional economy, or the economy of despair, whose manifestations will not make the desired transition towards the economy of science and knowledge pass peacefully. And to talk the rest

Author : Manahel Thabet
Published November 13, 2017
Al Bayan Newspaper

06 Nov 2017

The Future of Human Jobs and the Knowledge Economy

There is a wide-ranging debate about the future of human jobs, coupled with the prosperity of the knowledge economy, the development of technology, and the devices of artificial intelligence, and it may be said that an employee in this economy may lose his job in the traditional reality, but what must be noted is that alternative jobs have begun to function and are trying to find space in the human world, provided by the knowledge economy in the worlds of technology in general. In some scientific and sports fields, such as chess, in which programmers are able to convey some of the thinking patterns of some players, and their way of thinking, like the Russian world champion of the game, Kasparov, plus other outstanding players, means the player can play with them via the computer, and without a doubt, in front of the greatest competitors in the world – and in their presence as well, as in the game of football and other games, on which computer applications are programmed.

The same idea that, after this development, it threatens to exclude human beings from their jobs because the machines that are programmed in the world of artificial intelligence are performing the function of Man to the fullest, and even performing matters without the slightest complications, or costs, and therefore this acceptance is possible, and the demand of the people of money and business is strong and eager, so one machine can act as five employees, or even an army of employees.

The large factories in this development may create a major unemployment crisis, and, like other institutions in all fields and sectors, and when talking positively and optimistically, we may find some alternative jobs, but few compared to the jobs created by AI devices, including media jobs, such as journalism.

Because the most important feature of the knowledge economy is the decentralisation and far-being of the knowledge economy in all areas, including technology, just as the digital economy has done, plus the jobs provided by the knowledge economy are centrally similar to those that we see in the world of the digital economy, anyone can find their luck in it, and earn money through it, without committing to a moment in a place, or to a specific time, for example.

There is also a serious trend in the private sector towards investment in research and development in response to the negative effects of the wave of technology in the job sector of all kinds, which promotes the idea of achieving a knowledge society in return and seeks its development.

Agriculture remains the economic source closest to the mood of human civilizations, and its innate origins, whose development can be predicted a lot, will be said to be used at the time by retrogressive effects, or what was founded by socialism, which called for it in the most important economic junctures in human history, where the socialist revolution was linked to the agricultural revolution, and here it must be noted that this may actually be achieved, but using the technology system to develop agricultural work will certainly include the boom of agricultural technology, as now, or the job will not be done. By providing more comprehensive machines in their work, human beings need only one person who manages and supervises the work of machines in the fields.

The increasing development of robots and AI applications threatens many jobs that require technical skills, so technology calls for individuals to learn the techniques they make, the most important of which is computers. It leads to lower consumer spending and lower economic growth as the bulk of estimated revenues are enough to impoverish the population from purchasing products and services produced by the knowledge economy.

Of course, these superior technologies, resources, geography, and history — basically, if used responsibly and transparently – will lead to strong economies.

Despite all this, we must not forget the impact of values in society on the implementation of technology and its products, as it will not allow the loss of the people of society in order to catch up with global technological development, and even if it does, it will be in its calculations that the priority is for humanity and not for technology, and this may seem different from one society to another, i.e. according to the prevailing values, and to talk the rest.

Author : Manahel Thabet
Published November 06, 2017
Al Bayan Newspaper