What’s the Safest Way to Get a Tan?

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I’m so diligent about my sunscreen these days that my skin now, in July, is still the same light beige color that it was this winter. But if you yearn for that sun-kissed glow, you’re probably wondering what is the best way to get a tan—and whether any method is truly safe.

The Sun Gives You Cancer

I roll my eyes whenever I hear that such-and-such food additive is linked to cancer, because usually the risk is infinitesimal. But sunlight is strongly linked to cancer, and skin cancer is the most common cancer in America.

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There’s no way to get a tan from the sun without exposing yourself to UVA and UVB rays, so you’re best off using sunscreen when you can.

Once you have a tan, that protects you a bit from further exposure, but only a little: a tan is equivalent to about SPF 4 sunscreen, although to be fair, SPF 15 sunscreen also works out to about SPF 4 protection when you apply it thinly (the way most of us do).

Tanning Beds Also Give You Cancer

Indoor tanning, with UV-emitting light bulbs, is supposed to be a little bit safer than lying out in the sun. The difference is minimal, though. Indoor tanning equipment is considered a carcinogen by both the US and by the World Health Organization, and its use is estimated to be responsible for an estimated 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the US each year.

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Tanning beds only use low levels of sunburn-causing UVB, but they give you a huge dose of UVA light. That can cause tanning, but it also contributes to cancer and to the aging, wrinkling, skin-thickening effects of the sun. So you may look good in the short term, but you’re only making matters worse for future you.

Sunless Tanners Are Probably(?) Safe

Spray tans and sunless tanning lotions are your best bet if you must have a tan. They don’t damage your skin like the sun does, and they haven’t been linked to skin cancer. They contain a sugar-like molecule called dihydroxyacetone (DHA) that reacts with the proteins in your skin to create a brownish color. There are different formulations of sunless tanners, including some that are “DHA-free” but work in a similar way.

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The color they produce on your skin isn’t a true tan; it just looks like one. It doesn’t provide any significant protection from further sun exposure, so you’ll still need to use plenty of sunscreen.

There are still some unknowns about the safety of sunless tanners, but there’s no evidence that they’re worse for you than the actual cancer-causing sun, so keep things in perspective.

So here are the unknowns. We don’t know if it’s safe to inhale the spray in a tanning booth, or to let it contact mucous membranes like the areas in your mouth and eyes. For now, it’s best to use nose plugs, lip balm, and goggles while you get a spray tan. (Check with the tanning facility; they’ll probably supply these.) Or you can use a sunless tanning lotion to get the same look at home, as long as you’re confident you can rub it in evenly.

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There’s also some speculation about whether DHA can damage the DNA in your skin, but to date there’s no clear evidence that it poses risks to real life humans in real life tanning doses. Chances are, even if that turns out to be true, it’s likely to be a much smaller risk than the risk you take by stepping outside sans sunscreen.

from Lifehacker http://bit.ly/2Ny5rUX
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RIP “crypto”

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RIP “crypto”. You had a good run.

This week veteran cryptographer Matt Blaze, finally gave in — to what must have been a near-constant, low-level drone of ‘CAn Buy Crypto.com???$$$$!’ spam — and sold the pithy domain name he registered in 1993, in the midst of the PC era crypto wars, to use as an encryption policy resource, to Monaco, a Zug, Switzerland-based payments and cryptocurrency platform startup whose self-styled mission is “accelerating the world’s transition to cryptocurrency”, positioning itself at the nexus of the current crypto craze.

So crypto.com now points to cryptocurrencies.

Which seems a fitting moment to say RIP “crypto” as shorthand terminology for an entire domain of cryptographic work that underpins so many more things than just Bitcoin or Ether or Ripple or Litecoin or Zcash — or any of the myriad digital coins that have winked (and more recently minted) into virtual existence over the last decade or so, hoping to hit the crypto jackpot.

Frankly this is not at all fair. But, linguistically, so it goes. Languages live or they die. And to live in linguistic terms means to shift your meaning as word usage ebbs and flows.

The sale of crypto.com tells us not so much that money talks, though clearly there’s that too — domain sellers were speculating that the price for crypto.com could have been a cool $5M-$10M, per this Verge report from March; though the actual price-tag paid by Monaco has not been disclosed.

Mostly it underlines that trying to push as an individual against a surging tide is hopeless. Principled, one-man-stands of linguistic resistance against the crypto(currency) craze are futile at this particular juncture of its technological development. Spam with no end in sight would worry the will of anyone.

So apologies also to the few folks who have written to complain about incorrect use of “crypto” in TC headlines. Using “cryptocurrency” is indeed more accurate if that’s what the story is about. But as a term it’s headline-unfriendly as well as being really quite a horrible mouthful.

And, well, “coin” is too generic unless you’re coin trade press.

Alternative linguistic confections — anyone for ‘cryptoc’? — were never going to fly. So cryptocurrency colloquially colonizing “crypto” was really only a matter of time, given how many joules of attention-energy are being claimed and drained in its name.

Turns out language change can have plenty to do with the price of Bitcoin.

On the flip side, any craze can be a fleeting thing, and it’s entirely possible that, in time, “crypto” could revert to its proper meaning of cryptography should the cryptocurrency hype die back, as hype is wont to do when people get bored — because something that was new and novel becomes properly understood and adopted (and thus less of a conversation starter).

Sustained acceptance can make tongue-tripping nicknames less necessary, and reset the linguistic order.

Equally, though, a nickname can stubbornly stick around for ages — outlasting any nonprofessional understanding of the logic underlying its coinage.

Or at least until evolving usage causes another terminology shift. Think, for example, of the rhythmic swings of “telephone” -> “phone” -> “mobile phone” -> “mobile”.

Crypto(currency) could ultimately even lose the ‘crypto’ prefix should the technology end up becoming so ubiquitous as to be considered synonymous with the generic term “currency”, and usurp/displace that word, sinking back into the accepted conceptual morass that envelopes the idea of money.

Of course the crypto(graphy) community have not been at all happy about the linguistic sands shifting treacherously under their foundational field.

And they do have a point, given that without their founding crypto there could be no, er, ‘crypto’…

“”Crypto” could mean encryption, cryptography, or cryptology, but never cryptocurrency,” one computing academic tells us, adding: “I’ve heard plenty of whinging about the changed meaning of “crypto” and I don’t expect a dignified fall-back.”

“Normal usage says “encryption” is only one application of “cryptography” (building schemes for encryption and similar apps) which together with “cryptanalysis” (trying to break such schemes) makes up “cryptology”,” he adds.

Certainly, don’t expect the original crypto community to migrate to alternative terminology — not willingly, and not anytime soon. Which will probably make for some confused messaging at times. But technology applying pressure points to human communications is just par for the course.

As recently as last month the content on Blaze’s (now former) website included the express declaration that: “This site does not trade in or provide services related to cryptocurrencies. It is concerned with cryptography, computer and network security, and technology policy research.”

It further capped that caveat with an explicit disclaimer — writing: “Warning: Many cryptocurrencies are scams, and I strongly advise against their use as investment vehicles.”

Visitors to crypto.com now will not encounter any such caveats. But most of these folks probably weren’t headed there looking for cautionary tales. Nor seeking Blaze’s contact details. So you really can’t blame him for moving with the times.

For the original crypto community, playing the long game and waiting for the upstart crypto usurper to get linguistically cut back down to size seems the best option.

Sure, they’ve lost this “crypto” war — but many more important crypto wars remain to be fought and (hopefully) won.

And of course, in the far-flung future, who knows how 2018’s crypto craze will be viewed? Perhaps as the pinnacle of a hype-cycle that didn’t end in the wholesale reconfiguration of business and society that the crypto oracles promise, even if they managed to shift the conversation of a certain IT crowd for a while.

On another level, given rising levels of tech-fueled disruptive uncertainty crisscrossing so many facets of life, perhaps it’s fitting for “crypto” to become something of a cipher itself, devoid of fixed meaning.

“Encryption technology is the key to the future of the information revolution,” wrote Blaze in 1996. “It allows businesses and individuals to communicate securely over any inexpensive communication platform without fear of eavesdropping.”

That sentiment at least remains constant.

from TechCrunch https://tcrn.ch/2MZ6U5l
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Stumbleupon died right when we needed it the most

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Stumbleupon died right when we needed it the most

The explosion of online content and people's changing internet habits ultimately led to the site's demise — ironically at a time when we need something as simple and unfiltered as Stumbleupon the most.
The explosion of online content and people’s changing internet habits ultimately led to the site’s demise — ironically at a time when we need something as simple and unfiltered as Stumbleupon the most.

Image: shutterstock/mashable composite

Happy stumbling no more.

Stumbleupon shuttered recently after 16 years of bringing tailored content to users.

The unsocial media platform received multiple large name angel investors at its inception, people like self-help writer Tim Ferriss and early Google investor Ram Shriram. At one point, it had more publisher traffic than YouTube, Reddit, LinkedIn, and Google combined.

Stumbleupon’s future seemed bright. It was named one of TIME‘s 50 best websites in 2007 and logged more than 1 billion stumbles per month in 2011. (I probably accounted for a couple thousand of those.)

“Stumbleupon pioneered content discovery on the web, before the concepts of the ‘like button’, ‘news feed’ or ‘social media’ were mainstream,” wrote Stumbleupon cofounder Garrett Camp on Medium in May.

“The number of platforms to share or host content has increased significantly, yet we still need better tools to help us filter through the exploding amount of content on the web, and find signal within the noise.”

This is unfortunately a task that people are still grappling with, but now without the training wheels of Stumbleupon to better guide us through the weird, confusing thing that is the internet, we’re faced with a barrage of content shared by noisy, angry users.

I was shocked to learn about Stumbleupon’s closure. Sure, I wouldn’t use it for months at a time, but it was always there for me. It was like that high school friend you don’t talk with for months at a time, but you can pick up the friendship right where it left off.

It was always there for me

Peak™ online content now is some snarky one-liner on Twitter to accompany an article. It’s a Facebook friend regurgitating a jargon-filled rant preceding a link bearing bad news. It’s a conspiracy theory comment that beckons Redditors to learn more. They all involve networks of people filtering information and molding how it’s presented to you. 

The Wall Street Journal even created a platform this year called NewsPicks, which it calls a “curation and commenting app” that relies on people commenting on articles.

NewsPicks has bigwigs like Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and former CNN political anchor Candy Crowley on it, who espouse their views on articles and skew how users perceive the content even before they read it. In that way, the app is even worse than social media echo chambers, since these are influential people affecting how people view articles before reading them.

Stumbleupon was the antithesis of that. Stumble: funky Flash game. Stumble: unsolved murder list. Stumble: nature picture.

It taught people like myself the internet’s wide-ranging beauty simply by presenting websites in their pure forms. The only bit of outside influence was the amount of people who liked the content, and it was nonplussed by the advent of commenting and liking and reacting.

If you didn’t like the content, you could hit a thumbs-down button or just click stumble to roll onto a new website — no mean comments were involved, no Twitter fights broke out, and nobody but Stumbleupon needed to know you disliked it.

What a notion.

But now there’s no more of Stumbleupon’s pure, unadulterated content. All we have is angst-filled social media with a new monster around every corner. 

Sad stumbling through the interwebs now, everyone. Sad stumbling and watch your step.

from Mashable! http://bit.ly/2zjFUf9
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NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover is celebrating its 15th birthday with a nap because of a giant dust storm. Look back at its unlikely journey.

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mars rover opportunity

NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover was built to last just 90 Martian sols, or 92 Earth days. But the scrappy machine shocked engineers by lasting far longer than that. The rover is now celebrating 15 years since it first launched from Earth.

Opportunity set off for Mars in the dark of night on July 7, 2003. Engineers at NASA never expected the solar-powered machine to weather a Martian winter, but the golf-cart-sized rover has traveled more than 28 miles on the red planet since it landed there on January 25, 2004.

Today, the teenager is undergoing one of its toughest tests to date: a global dust storm is covering Mars, making it tough for the rover to capture much-needed solar power, so it has gone into safe mode. In other words, Opportunity is celebrating its record-breaking tenure on the red planet with a nap.

NASA plans to try to reconnect with the rover once the storm passes, but on July 3 the space agency reported that it was "still waiting for the dust to settle." 

Here’s a look back at what the Opportunity rover has accomplished so far on its unlikely journey on Mars.

SEE ALSO: Buzz Aldrin, who walked on the moon, wants the lunar surface to become a launch pad for Mars — here’s how

Opportunity was one of two six-wheeled rovers that NASA launched to Mars in 2003.

The rover blasted off from Kennedy Space Center at 11:18 p.m. on June 7, 2003.

Opportunity’s twin, Spirit, left Earth on June 10 of the same year. Scientists wanted the rovers to help them figure out whether Mars might have once been a place where life could exist. 

It took the two rovers more than six months to fly the roughly 283 million miles to Mars.

Opportunity arrived on Mars on January 25, 2004, and was drop-bounced onto the ground inside of a kind of heavy-duty bubble wrap. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

from SAI https://read.bi/2tZAfpy
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Why penalty kicks are so unfair to goalies

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It’s one of those things that make soccer such an intense and nail-biting sport — penalty shootout. But are penalty kicks actually fair and how likely is it that the goalie can successfully block a penalty kick? With the help of statistics and economist, Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, who studied more than 11,000 penalty kicks, we take a look at why penalty shootouts are so unfair to the goalies and what can be done about it. Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: 0.4 seconds. That’s the time it takes you to blink. It’s also about how long goalkeepers have to save a penalty kick or fail trying. And it’s certainly not enough time for a goalie to react and respond. So goalies can’t solely rely on their speed and agility to save a penalty kick. Instead they have to pretty much guess which direction to go and rely on either luck or game theory.

Game theory is a popular strategy in economics where the outcome of a situation relies more on how well you predict your opponent’s actions than how you perform your own. So since the goalie has no choice but to guess, they’re better off guessing logically than randomly. That’s where economists come in. 

Ignacio Palacios-Huerta: I would like to know what you do in the last 80 penalty kicks you faced? Do you have any tendencies? What does this guy do against right-footed kickers versus left-footed kickers?

Narrator: That’s economist Ignacio Palacios-Huerta. He studied over 11,000 penalty kicks, and in 2008 during the UEFA Champions League Final, it paid off, sort of. It was Manchester United against Chelsea. The game came down to a penalty shootout which was the perfect opportunity for Chelsea to put Huerta’s advice into action.

Along with several pointers Huerta had given Chelsea’s goalie a key insight about Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo would almost certainly kick the ball to the right if he paused on the run-up. And the advice worked. Ronaldo indeed paused and indeed kicked the ball to the right. Chelsea’s goalie followed Huerta’s advice and made the save. Ultimately Manchester United won the game, but despite Chelsea’s loss, it was clear that economists and statisticians can help even the odds when it comes to penalty kicks.

Because otherwise, it’s a crap shoot for the goalie. In 2014 for example, FiveThirtyEight calculated that 72.5% of penalties in World Cup history went in. For all competitions worldwide, it’s even higher. And when you take a closer look, it’s no wonder. Human response time takes roughly 1/10 of a second to kick in. The average kicker kicks a 70 mile per hour ball, which means the goalie won’t even register the ball’s direction until it’s about 25 feet away. It will take him another .5 to .7 seconds to react and reach for the ball, but by that point, it’s all over.

Now the goalie can improve the odds if they start to move before the ball is even kicked, but the goalie still has to basically guess a side and just go for it. So if time is the goalie’s enemy, maybe we should just move the penalty kicker further back. But for now, economists are a goalie’s best friend when it comes to stopping penalty kicks, and turns out, Huerta is helping a team in the 2018 World Cup, though he wouldn’t tell us who.

Join the conversation about this story »

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HIV vaccine delivers promising results in human tests

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Penchan Pumila / Alamy

A Harvard-led team of scientists has made important progress in the quest to prevent HIV infections. They’ve had early success testing a multi-strain vaccine in humans — everyone who received the drug produced at least some kind of anti-HIV immune response, with at least 80 percent producing more advanced responses. The researchers also found that the same vaccine protected 67 percent of rhesus monkeys against simian-human immunodeficiency virus, which suggests it might be effective against HIV.

This doesn’t mean that the group has found an effective vaccine. While the monkey test is encouraging, there need to be more tests to show that the drug could effectively fend off infections in humans. The next step is to test the vaccine with 2,600 women in southern Africa who are at risk of contracting HIV. It’s one of just five vaccines to ever make it that far in testing, but those that have weren’t effective enough to go further.

However, there’s a strong incentive for this vaccine to succeed. Unlike past efforts, which only focused on specific HIV strains, this vaccine is a “mosaic” that includes pieces of multiple strains in a bid to create a more universal drug. Should it prove effective, doctors could administer vaccine on a broad scale where past vaccines would have only worked for small populations even if they’d worked well. This is unlikely to represent a catch-all solution, but it might just land a significant blow against HIV if everything goes well.

from Engadget https://engt.co/2KJ4LhS
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