The two worst things about trading

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…or why automation is so attractive

Matt Levine has a great newsletter at Bloomberg. It’s mostly about finance industry news and once in awhile it touches on forex.

Today he nailed what’s so attractive about automated trading.

There has been a lot
written recently about how the business model of high-frequency trading isn’t
as lucrative as it used to be, but I must say that at its core it is a very
appealing business model. Its two main features are:

1.You automate the
trading, so you don’t have to do it; and

2.You get in and out of
positions very quickly, so you don’t have to take much risk.

The two main
stressors of most jobs, it seems to me, are work and risk; if you can program a computer to do
the work and avoid the risk then you have yourself a nice little business.

That’s a great take, but it also touches on two things truths: Avoiding hard work and struggling to manage risk are the undoing of most traders. You have a better chance of mastering discipline than you do of writing a risk-free, money-printing algo.

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The science behind attraction explained

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The science behind attraction explained

Physician Dr. Roshini Raj explains 8 ways your mind & body subconsciously look for a breeding partner in the premiere episode of Love University.

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Love University is a new mini-series from Mashable and Bravo. Dr. Roshini Raj guides you through the effects of falling in and out of love.

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Richard Branson: Uber’s CEO should have stepped back ‘years ago’

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Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has some advice for troubled Uber cofounder and CEO Travis Kalanick.

"I think he should have put himself out of the business on a day-to-day basis years ago," Branson said.

Branson was speaking at the Accelerate-Her event in London for female startup founders, and his comments come as Uber deals with a series of huge crises around its CEO and company culture.

"An entrepreneur is not a good manager of people, and Travis Kalanick is definitely not a good manager of people," Branson said. "He should have realised that long ago, and done what he was good at."

This week, Uber released a report detailing how it would improve its corporate culture, after serious allegations about sexism. It’s reducing the amount of alcohol it serves at staff parties, and has banned employee-manager relationships. It will also take steps to hire a more diverse workforce. But all of this was marred by an Uber board member making a sexist remark in the middle of the report’s internal launch. 

And now Kalanick is taking some time off after a recent family tragedy, but his departure is temporary.

According to the Virgin founder, Kalanick should have handed the management reins to someone who could handle day-to-day business.

"The best advice I can give to entrepreneurs is find someone better than yourself, who’s a good manager of the company, who can manage it on a day-to-day basis, to deal with all the day-to-day problems, who can do some things better than you, and some things not quite the same way you do, don’t second guess them, let them get on and run the company on a day-to-day basis," he said.

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NOW WATCH: Neil deGrasse Tyson explains what Earth will look like in 500 years

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Sending an email in 1984 was a very different experience than it is today

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sending email in 1984 video

Ah, 1984, what a time to be alive.

The CD-ROM was just invented, the Apple Macintosh was launched, Tetris made its debut, and contrary to George Orwell’s predictions in his book "1984," it was business as usual for the world.

1984 was also a time when email and the internet was in its infancy, and people were just starting to use them in the mainstream.

Thankfully, British television channel "Thames TV" documented how 1984 techies Julian and Pat Green sent and received emails back in the day in a program called "Database," and uploaded the experience to YouTube

Follow the Green family in its journey to connect to the internet and send an email: 

COMPUTER MONITORS HAVE ALSO COME A LONG WAY: Samsung just unveiled the widest computer monitor you can buy — here’s how it looks in person

Before sending an email in 1984, you first had to connect to the internet. Sounds simple enough now, but not so much in 1984…

You first needed to hook up the phone line to the modem, and then connect the modem to the computer:

Then, you needed to call your computer with a phone.

It’s "extremely simple," according to Julian Green.

Once you got a dial tone, you would just flick a switch on the modem.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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New houses will have Alexa and Wi-Fi built into the walls

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New houses will have Alexa and Wi-Fi built into the walls

You can now have a Wi-Fi network built right into your home.You can now have a Wi-Fi network built right into your home.

Image: Shutterstock / asharkyu

The Wi-Fi Alliance, the non-profit organization that certifies Wi-Fi enabled products, is ready to usher in a new era of the smart homes. 

Traditionally, there have been no set standards for integrating a wireless network directly into home blueprints, unlike other essential utilities, such as plumbing and electricity. But as our houses continue to be filled with IoT appliances that depend on the internet, a strong network signal is becoming increasingly important.

The org has issued a new set of guidelines for homebuilders to follow to include wireless networks in their designs, which were drafted with an eye to the needs of a connected future, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance announcement

The requirements consider the increasing number of smart home devices expected in homes over the next decade, and the growing demand for data-intensive usages such as virtual reality and simultaneous 4K video streams. Wi-Fi Home Design will scale to accommodate both the growth in Wi-Fi devices and high-bandwidth applications. 

The first homebuilding company to use the certification, South Florida-based Lennar, is bringing Amazon’s Alexa as part of the project. 

Sure, blueprints may sound wonky, but anyone who’s ever suffered from a persistent deadzone knows how important well-designed network coverage is. 

The all-over coverage will come courtesy of strategically placed LAN access points (APs) throughout the floor plan based on the Wi-Fi alliance guidelines, which should provide a strong wireless network in the entire home and even outside of it, to patios and garages. 

The certified houses offer multiple access points for better connections.

The certified houses offer multiple access points for better connections.

Lennar’s partnership with Amazon brings a new wrinkle to the idea of a smart home, with Alexa included even before move-in and the homes optimized for smart appliances. The integration will come through Amazon’s Echo speakers, which a spokesperson said will be included in each build. We’re not quite at the point where the AI lives directly in the walls, à la my colleague Damon Beres’ favorite film Smart House, but it’s a start.

The Lennar-built homes will also offer devices on the Samsung SmartThings connected platform and activation and service from Amazon Home Services as a perk of the partnership. However, other devices can also be connected. If you love your Google Home, it will work here too. 

Lennar will start offering the Wi-Fi Alliance-certified homes in the 19 states in which it operates next month, and the Wi-Fi certification could become a major new aspect in home design if other builders adopt the standards. We all want that perfect network connection — and if your house is built with Wi-Fi as a central focus, perhaps we can finally have it.  

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3 Things Keeping You from an Ultra-Clean Bathroom

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An immaculate bathroom is hard to find. Considering how much time you spend in your bathroom everyday, keeping it clean and fresh can have a real impact on how you feel. Unfortunately, even after you spend hours cleaning, bathrooms have a tendency to get grimy fast. However, once you look past all the dusty makeup drawers and toothpaste-soiled sinks, it’s clear the real problem isn’t just your messy toiletries; it’s the unsightly buildup that’s embedded in your grout, bathtub, and fixtures.

So to help you score an ultraclean bathroom, we’ve broken down the three areas you really need to focus to keep it clean and sparkling. And while scrubbing these won’t excuse you from your regular wipe-downs, it does ensure a more perfect-looking bathroom. Read ahead for the three things you need to keep clean so your bathroom can really shine.

1. Dirty grout

Anyone with shower tiles knows exactly what dirty grout lines look like. It’s that gross buildup between your tiles that you probably assumed was rust or mold. However, believe it or not, that grout stain is actually bacteria—scientifically known as Serratia marcescens—and it’s making your bathroom appear way dirtier than it actually is. Although generally harmless to humans, grout bacteria grows in moist locations where there’s oily substances to feed on (aka soap residue). And while it’s nearly impossible to get rid of completely, there are plenty of ways to reduce and control these unsightly stains. For a store-bought option consider trying a grout pen or Goo Gone Grout Clean and Restore—a foam that breaks down mold, mildew, soap scum, and other bacteria-triggers. And if all-natural, DIY cleaners are your weapon of choice, you can mix water, vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide (and scour with a grout scrubber or toothbrush) for a thoroughly green clean. When you’re all done be sure to coat your shower walls and doors with a water repellant spray (such as Rain-X) to keep the buildup from coming back.

2. A gross bathtub

Bathtubs are breeding grounds for mold, mildew, and other water-inducing buildup. So it’s no surprise they often keep your bathroom from looking perfectly clean. Luckily, there are several ways you can tackle a grimy bathtub and even prevent future stains from spreading. If you’re dealing with a porcelain tub, try using an eco-friendly blend of liquid dishwashing soap, ammonia, baking soda, lemon oil, table salt, and lemon along with a soft scrub or sponge. However, if you’re in possession of an acrylic or enamel tub, it’s best to avoid anything that’s overly acidic. Instead, go for a cream cleanser or homemade paste and let it sit for a solid hour; it’ll help break down the buildup without damaging your bathtub. Of course you can always pick up a heavy-duty cleaner at the store—like X-14 or Ajax—just remember to use sparingly because they can be super abrasive.

3. Faucet and mirror spots

Last, but certainly not least on our list of things keeping you from a squeaky-clean bathroom are hard water stains—specifically those pesky spots on your mirrors and faucets. Caused by large amounts of minerals (including limestone, calcium, and magnesium) in your H2O, moisture-filled rooms such as bathrooms are prime targets for these eyesores. Still, there are lots of easy ways to combat water spots. For mirror stains, you can buy a premade cleaner like Meguiar’s Water Spot Remover and Ettore’s Water Spot Remover Paste, or make your own mix of vinegar, Epsom salt (for scrubbing), and all-natural dish soap. For chrome fixture stains, try a slightly stronger cleaner (such as Lime-A-Way) or simply wipe down your faucet with lemon juice or vinegar (and then scrub with a toothbrush) for a greener clean.

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This Artificially Intelligent Robot Composes and Performs Its Own Music

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Shimon—a four-armed marimba playing robot—has been around for years, but its developers at Georgia Tech have recently taken this futuristic musical machine to the next level. Using deep learning, the robot can now study large datasets from well-known musicians, and then produce and perform its own original compositions.

Shimon was originally developed by Gil Weinberg, director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology. Under its original programming, the robot was capable of improvising music as it played alongside human performers, using an “interestingness” algorithm to make sure it wasn’t just copying its bandmates. But now, thanks to the efforts of Ph.D. student Mason Bretan, Shimon has become an accomplished composer, capable of autonomously generating the melodic and harmonic structure of a song. And you know what? Shimon’s songs are actually quite good!

To turn Shimon into an autonomous music-making machine, the researchers turned to artificial intelligence. Using deep learning, the bot studied a database of nearly 5,000 pre-existing songs, including compositions by Beethoven, the Beatles, Miles Davis, and Lady Gaga. The robot was also given access to more than two million musical motifs, riffs, and licks of music. To kickstart a composition, Bretan would offer Shimon a starting “seed” of music that included the first four measures. From there on, it was all Shimon.

“Once Shimon learns the four measures we provide, it creates its own sequence of concepts and composes its own piece,” said Bretan in a press release. “Shimon’s compositions represent how music sounds and looks when a robot uses deep neural networks to learn everything it knows about music from millions of human-made segments.”

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The researchers say it’s the first time a robot has used deep learning to create music. You can listen to Shimon’s first two compositions, which are roughly 30 seconds in length, right here:

Previously, Shimon was only able to play monophonically (only one note at a time), but now it can play harmonies and chords—and it’s beginning to compose more like a human. Instead of just focusing on the next note, Shimon is now taking a holistic view of composition, devising meaningful measures and higher-level musical semantics.

“This is a leap in Shimon’s musical quality because it’s using deep learning to create a more structured and coherent composition,” said Weinberg. “We want to explore whether robots could become musically creative and generate new music that we humans could find beautiful, inspiring and strange.”

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Listening to the compositions, it’s clear that Shimon is a good student, drawing inspiration from the extensive database it’s been given. “[The pieces] sound like a fusion of jazz and classical,” said Bretan. “I definitely hear more classical, especially in the harmony. But then I hear chromatic moving steps in the first piece—that’s definitely something you hear in jazz.”

I gotta say, this is pretty neat. The bot is producing meaningful, original music largely without human intervention. It’s also a highly innovative way of creating new compositions (the guys from Kraftwerk would surely love this). But to state the obvious, this machine is still light-years away from producing music that feels genuinely human. Simply put, Shimon’s music lacks a bit of soul.

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[Georgia Tech]

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Engineer grows ice pyramids to create a sustainable water source in the Himalayas

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Sonam Wangchuk is an engineer who has come up with an innovative way to provide fresh water to villages in Ladakh, one of the high-altitude deserts in the world located in the Himalayas. 

Wangchuk sources water from streams and uses it to create artificial glaciers, which store fresh water until it’s needed in springtime. Read more…

More about Glaciers, Climate Change, Engineering, Himalayan Mountain Range Himalayas, and Real Time Video

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A neuroscientist explains how being bilingual makes your brain more robust

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Marian Sigman, a neuroscientist and author of "The Secret Life of the Mind: How Your Brain Thinks, Feels, and Decides," explains how babies that grow up bilingual will have brain functions that might be superior to those children that only speak one language. Following is a transcript of the video.

Is it good or bad for my baby to grow listening and speaking more than one language?

I’m Mariano Sigman. I’m a neuroscientist, and I just wrote a book called "The Secret Life of the Mind."

It’s very hard to find places where people speak just one language  It’s not only beautiful, in a way, and it’s not only a way that opens the possibility to talk to many more people and to learn more things and to broaden our minds to other places of the world, but also that it’s somehow associated with intelligence.

So is it good, or is it bad?

There is a very important function, brain function, which is generally called executive function or cognitive control. It’s our ability to control our thoughts. Be attentive to one conversation, because we have to do it even when someone is speaking on the other side. It’s our ability to persist doing something even when our brain is telling you, "I’m tired. I don’t want to do that."

So, in a way, it’s like being pilots of our own existence. This is called cognitive control.

And the one thing we know is that bilinguals are much better in cognitive control than monolinguals. Many, many studies have found that cognitive control is one of the most decisive variables, one of the most important pieces of cognitive function. People that have good cognitive control do good at school, typically find better jobs, are healthier. They have better social insertion.

Bilingualism improves cognitive control. Cognitive control improves cognition in a way that impacts many, many things in life. And bilingualism doesn’t have a risk of actually delaying our linguistic experience.

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This Is The Only Known Recording Of Bruce Lee In An Actual MMA Fight

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only known recording of Bruce Lee MMA fight

YouTube / Beerdy

Bruce Lee was arguably the greatest martial artist to ever live. Before he tragically died at the age of 32 back in 1972, Bruce Lee had pioneered his own field of Kung-Fu.

He’d also done more for the sport than any other man alive by bringing it to mainstream Hollywood (and Hong Kong) in a way that had never been done before. He was a worldwide celebrity, and he was also an incredibly skilled mixed martial artist who was well versed in multiple disciplines.

Bruce is best known for the Kung-Fu he displayed in his movies. The one-handed pushups and his 1-inch punches wowed audiences. Before Bruce Lee was an international celebrity he was competing in martial arts competitions. Remarkably, only one of Bruce Lee’s true MMA fights (not on-screen movie fights) was ever recorded and that footage was recently unearthed.

In this bout, Bruce Lee was fighting one of his own pupils, Ted Wong. Ted is said to have been one of Bruce Lee’s greatest pupils. The two are wearing protective gear in the fight because that was the law of the land back then, and they wouldn’t have been allowed to fight in competition without it.

It truly is a shame that there’s only one known recording of Bruce Lee’s actual fights. If Bruce Lee were alive today we’d have thousands of hours of footage and his entire life would be on display. I’m not sure what’s better…Getting to see the only known recording of Bruce Lee fighting after the video’s been restored to 4K or seeing otherwise incredible athletes make asses out of themselves on social media every day in between moments of greatness?

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