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Natural born alpha males. How do leaders emerge? 88 Natural born alpha males. How do leaders emerge? 89

Science & Technology

Natural born alpha males. How do leaders emerge?

Among those in leadership positions, there are many carriers of a particular variation of the CHRNB3 gene, British researchers found. Apparently, it is somehow connected with the innate leadership qualities. However, there are works showing that heredity is not the main thing and completely different factors contribute to the high social status.

In 2013, researchers from University College London (UK) reported that they discovered a DNA site responsible for human leadership qualities. It was a variant of the gene for the acetylcholine receptor CHRNB3.

This is a receptor for neurotransmitters – substances that transmit a nerve signal to the brain. One of the varieties of CHRNB – rs4950 – is more common in the DNA of people in leadership positions. Scientists came to such conclusions by analyzing the genetic data of four thousand volunteers and information about their professional and personal lives. However, scientists estimate the contribution of the rs4950 variant to the formation of leadership qualities at 24 percent probability. The rest depends on other factors.

As suggested by Chinese neurophysiologists, there may be a special zone in the cerebral cortex, the stimulation of which can turn the most insecure person into a leader. So far, it has been found only in mice. Scientists pushed two adult males in a narrow aisle and watched their reaction. As a rule, such situations ended in conflict, and one animal replaced another. But it was not only his physical strength. Rodent behavior was influenced by past victories and defeats. So, the mice behaved more aggressively if they were lucky in the course of preliminary experiments, or they were overly cautious if they had previously lost in fights with alpha males.

Natural born alpha males. How do leaders emerge? 90

The researchers hypothesized that information about these events is stored in the frontal cortex of animals. They infected mice with a retrovirus, which caused neurons to produce proteins, which, in turn, made nerve cells susceptible to light: when they were irradiated with a blue laser, they turned on or off. Modified in this way, the mice again began to push against each other. And it turned out that if you activate these neurons in the omega brain, then the animals begin to push even the strongest and obviously dangerous males for them. This increased the number of their victories and increased the social status of losers among the congeners.

But disabling a group of nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex of alpha males, on the contrary, made them too cautious. They retreated even in absolutely winning situations when rivals were much weaker. A similar area may be present in the human brain, the authors note. The study would help to better understand the causes of some mental illnesses. After all, it is known that men who consider themselves macho and often demonstrate their power over women are prone to mental disorders.

Unhappy alpha males

Health problems are common for alpha males in many animal populations. And it’s not just about the increased risk of injury. As Kenyan and American biologists have found, dominant males live in a state of constant intense stress. As a result, too many glucocorticoids accumulate in their blood – hormones that stimulate the body to work in minutes of danger. In a calm time, an increased concentration of these substances negatively affects the functioning of the immune system.

Scientists have observed for five years five flocks of baboons. They recorded the behavior of monkeys within communities and periodically measured the levels of testosterone and glucocorticoids in the excrement of males. It turned out that the concentration of stress hormones in the feces of leaders is on average several times higher than in the excrement of their deputies – the so-called beta males. These individuals support the leader and, as a result, enjoy the same benefits as he.

Moreover, the amount of glucocorticoids in the feces of the leaders was approximately the same as in the waste of the lowest-ranking males. It turned out that they experience the same level of stress, and in this sense, the position of the leader is not better than the status of “omega”. Earlier, it was shown that outsiders in primacy communities are weaker in immunity and more often suffer from heart problems and endocrine disruption. But with an increase in their position in the hierarchy, the monkeys begin to recover. As it turned out,  until they become leaders.

Science & Technology

New Physics: Mysterious radiation pointed to the verge of discovering a “ghost” particle that makes up dark matter

New Physics: Mysterious radiation pointed to the verge of discovering a "ghost" particle that makes up dark matter 103
Photo: Daniel Molybdenum, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Physicists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the United States have found that the mysterious high-energy radiation emitted from the vicinity of a group of neutron stars may indicate the existence of axions – not yet discovered particles within the framework of New Physics, the search for which has been going on since 1977. It is assumed that special types of axions form dark matter. This is reported in an article published in the journal Physical Review Letters. The research is summarized in a press release on Phys.org.

It is believed that axions can form in the core of neutron stars and transform into photons in the presence of a powerful magnetic field. To detect the electromagnetic radiation associated with axions, you need to find stars that do not emit radiation at different wavelengths that can mask the desired signal. 

These objects include the Magnificent Seven neutron stars that emit only X-ray and ultraviolet radiation. They are located at a distance of 200-500 parsecs from the Earth.

The researchers ruled out the scenario that the excess X-rays produced by the Magnificent Seven are actually emitted by other, more distant objects. These sources would be found in datasets from the XMM-Newton and Chandra X-ray space telescopes.

The extra X-rays likely originate from axions hitting an extremely strong electromagnetic field billions of times stronger than the magnetic fields that could be created on Earth, the scientists concluded. The axions themselves resemble neutrinos in their properties, since both have insignificant masses and rarely and weakly interact with matter.

The axion is currently viewed as the most promising candidate for dark matter particles, since another hypothetical candidate, the massive WIMP particle, has gone unnoticed in experiments aimed at detecting it. 

In addition, there may be a whole family of axion-like particles that form dark matter, as suggested by string theory. If axions are found, it will prove that there is a whole new area of ​​physics outside the Standard Model describing the properties of all known particles.

To find out, the next step will be to study white dwarfs, which are not expected to emit X-rays.

“If we see an abundance of X-rays there too, our arguments will be pretty compelling,” said lead author Benjamin Safdie.

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Science & Technology

The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear?

The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear? 104

Various sources often talk about civilizations that lived long before us. They all developed, prospered for a while, and then disappeared in an incomprehensible way. 

What is the reason for their decline, we probably will not know. All we can do is admire the remains of stone buildings, over which time has almost no power.

While looking for an answer, we somehow accidentally stumbled upon an interesting saying about the life of Japanese samurai: “A samurai has no goal, but a path.” In the end, the “path of the samurai” ended in what is known – death. The path of any civilization ended in the same way.

If you look at the issue through the prism of a samurai saying, then there is no point in looking for why and how civilization ended its existence. Probably, the process itself and its result are important here. But to whom is it important and what result does it expect?

Mysterious director

Apparently, behind the curtains of this “ancient theater” there is a mysterious “director” who periodically makes necessary adjustments to the history of civilization.

To figure out what’s what, you need to look at current trends in science. Where does a person strive with such an irresistible desire to “play God.” This attracts him and at the same time frightens him, but in no way turns him away from the intended path. Most likely, artificial intelligence (AI) is the purpose of our civilization’s existence.

About 50 years ago it would have seemed nonsense, but to someone, perhaps even now. However, if you trace the last 100 years of the life of our civilization, you get the feeling that most of the discoveries were given to mankind at the same time. A powerful leap has taken place in a hundred years. Why did it happen?

At the beginning of the last century, scientists recognized the existence of fields that have memory and the ability to store and transmit information. It is very likely that such or a similar field can be around the Earth and, more interesting, possess intelligence. Isn’t this the same “Director” hiding behind the screen of the “ancient theater”?

If this is so, then at a certain moment the “Director” gives the selected scientist “access” to certain knowledge (perhaps even in a dream, like Mendeleev), and another scientific breakthrough occurs in the world. Step by step, discovery after discovery, humanity is steadily moving towards the creation of AI. The trend is already well visible.

The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear? 105

AI is probably the next “Babylon”, which will combine all the knowledge, culture and accumulated experience of civilization. In the future, the neural network will enter into a connection with the general information field and leave humanity without knowledge, technology, and even a spoken language. This will be the next decline of civilization. And the “Director” will receive another array of new data (experience) in order to start creating a new civilization.

If someone believes that past civilizations ended in large-scale conflicts, then most likely this is already the consequences of “turning off” AI.

Co-founder of Skype talked about the threat of AI to humanity

One of the creators of the Skype internet call service, Jaan Ta

The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear? 106
Photo: 
© still from the movie “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”

llinn, said that the development of artificial intelligence (AI) threatens humanity. According to him, humans face three key threats, but it is AI that should be feared most of all, the expert said. 

Tallinn explained that at the moment, no one can predict what development AI will achieve in the next decades. In addition, the fact that scientists are creating artificial intelligence that can form a new AI without human intervention is also a cause for concern.

In addition, as the co-founder of the popular video calling service noted, the development of synthetic biology also causes concern. According to him, this direction in science allows the creation of artificial DNA sequences and biological systems that may not exist in nature.

Tallinn also drew attention to the fact that he fears we are entering an era of “unknown unknowns”, things that people are not even able to imagine right now.

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Science & Technology

Volkswagen robot will autonomously charge cars: a working prototype presented

Volkswagen robot will autonomously charge cars: a working prototype presented 107
Copyright: © VW

The renowned German car manufacturer announced a new development. This time, engineers have created a unique robot capable of autonomously charging electric vehicles. 

For more than a year, specialists have been developing this project, but only now the concern was ready to demonstrate the first working prototype. The robot is ready to charge electric vehicles and has shown the high efficiency of this process.

It is called the Mobile Charging Robot, and experts have already compared it to the R2-D2 droid from Star Wars, including squeaks and clangs. Indeed, there is a similarity. Before implementing this idea, the engineers decided that robots should be allowed to charge cars parked in large residential complexes.

This will save their owners from leaving in order to find a gas station. Another advantage is that large parking lots and garages do not have to contain several expensive charging points for electric cars. The car company said in a press release that the robot works exclusively autonomously.

It independently controls and interacts with the vehicle being charged. It opens the cover of the charging socket and independently connects the power plug, then disconnects it. The robot looks like a trailer, which is a mobile energy storage.

It is capable of charging multiple electric vehicles at the same time. Despite the fact that the manufacturer confidently praises its concept, experts saw inefficiency in the fact that first it is necessary to charge the robot’s battery, which is then used to recharge electric cars.

Volkswagen Group Components CEO Thomas Schmall noted that creating an efficient charging infrastructure for the cars of the future is an important step in the company’s development.

Its engineers focus on finding solutions to avoid costly do-it-yourself measures. The mobile robot is only part of the concept that will continue to be developed.

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