first_imgA space elevator would extend 22,000 miles above the Earth to a station, and then another 40,000 miles to a weighted structure for stability. And a space elevator – if it ever becomes reality – will be quite long. NASA needs about 144,000 miles of nanotube to build one. In theory, a cable would extend 22,000 miles above the Earth to a station, which is the distance at which satellites remain in geostationary orbit. Due to the competing forces of the Earth’s gravity and outward centrifugal pull, the elevator station would remain at that distance like a satellite. Then the cable would extend another 40,000 miles into space to a weighted structure for stability. An elevator car would be attached to the nanotube cable and powered into space along the track.NASA and its partner, the Spaceward Foundation, hope that a space elevator could serve as a cost-effective and relatively clean mode of space transportation. NASA’s current shuttle fleet is set to retire in 2010, and the organization doesn’t have enough funds to replace it until 2014 at the earliest. To fill the gap, NASA is hiring out shuttles to provide transportation to the International Space Station from private companies. So NASA could use a space elevator, the sooner the better. Space elevators could lift material at just one-fifth the cost of a rocket, since most of a rocket’s energy is used simply to escape Earth’s gravity. Not only could a space elevator offer research expeditions for astronauts, the technology could also expand the possibilities for space tourism and even space colonization.Currently, the Cambridge team can make about 1 gram of the new carbon material per day, which can stretch to 18 miles in length. Alan Windle, professor of materials science at Cambridge, says that industrial-level production would be required to manufacture NASA’s request for 144,000 miles of nanotube. Nevertheless, the web-like nanotube material is promising.”The key thing is that the process essentially makes carbon into smoke, but because the smoke particles are long thin nanotubes, they entangle and hold hands,” Windle said. “We are actually making elastic smoke, which we can then wind up into a fiber.”Windle and his colleagues presented their results last month at a conference in Luxembourg, which attracted hundreds of attendees from groups such as NASA and the European Space Agency. John Winter of EuroSpaceward, which organized the conference, thought the new material was a significant step.”The biggest problem has always been finding a material that is strong enough and lightweight enough to stretch tens of thousands of miles into space,” said Winter. “This isn’t going to happen probably for the next decade at least, but in theory this is now possible. The advances in materials for the tether are very exciting.”via: Times Online and Gizmodo© 2009 PhysOrg.com This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further Solar weather has real, material effects on Earth Citation: Long, Stretchy Carbon Nanotubes Could Make Space Elevators Possible (2009, January 23) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-01-stretchy-carbon-nanotubes-space-elevators.html (PhysOrg.com) — Scientists from Cambridge University have developed a light, flexible, and strong type of carbon nanotube material that may bring space elevators closer to reality. Motivated by a $4 million prize from NASA, the scientists found a way to combine multiple separate nanotubes together to form long strands. Until now, carbon nanotubes have been too brittle to be formed into such long pieces.last_img read more


first_img High-Flying Electrons May Provide New Test of Quantum Theory (PhysOrg.com) — When Enrico Fermi investigated the Rydberg atom in the ’30s, he never imagined that the giant atoms could form molecules. Later, in the ’70s and ’80s, theoretical physicist Chris Greene predicted that Rydberg molecules could exist. But it wasn’t until recent advancements in ultracold physics that such an observation has been made possible. A recent study now shows that the Rydberg molecule can be created in the lab, and its observation supports decades of theory. Explore further In a paper published in Nature, scientists from the University of Stuttgart in Germany and the University of Oklahoma in the US explain how they have created Rydberg molecules with a calculated lifetime of 18 microseconds. Their Rydberg molecule consists of two rubidium atoms, one a Rydberg atom and one a groundstate atom. Connected by a very weak chemical bond, the two atoms are separated by about 100 nm (several thousand Bohr radii), which makes them much farther apart than atoms in most other molecules.As opposed to groundstate atoms, Rydberg atoms are excited atoms that have one electron in an outermost orbit very far from the nucleus (a state with a very high principal quantum number). For this reason, Rydberg atoms are large and can exhibit unusually long-range interactions. For example, scientists have previously investigated the bonding of two Rydberg atoms, which occurs across very large internuclear distances.In the current study, the scientists investigated a different bonding interaction, which occurs between a Rydberg electron and a groundstate atom. As the researchers explain, this bond arises from the low-energy scattering of the Rydberg electron with the negative scattering length from a groundstate atom when the atoms are at a specific location within the Rydberg electron wavefunction. To observe these giant molecules, the researchers prepared a magnetically trapped sample of ultracold rubidium atoms. As the rubidium cloud cooled, the atoms in the gas moved closer together. At temperatures close to absolute zero (-273°C), the atoms’ nuclei were separated by the critical distance of 100 nanometers. The researchers then excited some of the atoms to the Rydberg state with a laser. “If we have a gas at the critical density, with two atoms at the correct distance that are able to form the molecule, and we excite one to the Rydberg state, then we can form a molecule,” said Vera Bendkowsky of the University of Stuttgart, lead author of the study. Using spectroscopic techniques, the researchers could investigate these exotic molecular states, such as determining the 18-microsecond lifetime of the molecules. The experimental results agree well with predictions, confirming long-held fundamental atomic theories. Based on the results of their spectroscopic characterization, the scientists predict that other states could be realized and investigated in the near future. One possibility is the realization of “trilobite molecules,” which are bound states involving a Rydberg electron with large angular momentum.More information: Vera Bendkowsky, Bjorn Butscher, Johannes Nipper, James P. Shaffer, Robert Low & Tilman Pfau. “Observation of ultralong-range Rydberg molecules.” Nature, Vol 458, 23 April 2009, doi:10.1038/nature07945.via: BBC News© 2009 PhysOrg.com Citation: Scientists Make First Observation of Unique Rydberg Molecule (2009, April 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-04-scientists-unique-rydberg-molecule.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Johannes Rydberg, the physicist whom the Rydberg atom is named after. Credit: AIP Emilio Segre Visual Archives, W. F. Meggers Collection. last_img read more


first_img(Phys.org)—Researchers have shown that tomato pulp dissolved in water can eventually be turned into a powder of nanoparticles containing carbon dots with diameters of less than 5 nm. Like all carbon dots, one of the main characteristics of the tomato-sourced carbon dots is an intense fluorescence, which may lead to applications in imaging and sensing. Journal information: Nanotechnology More information: Weijian Liu et al. “Highly crystalline carbon dots from fresh tomato: UV emission and quantum confinement.” Nanotechnology. DOI: 10.1088/1361-6528/aa900b The researchers, led by Jinping Wang at Qingdao Agricultural University, have published a paper on the synthesis of carbon dots from tomato in a recent issue of Nanotechnology.Carbon dots are a new class of fluorescence nanomaterial that researchers are investigating as a possible alternative to semiconductor quantum dots and organic dyes. Because they are so new, the quantum mechanisms underlying their fluorescence are still not well understood. Carbon dots can come from many different sources, from carbon nanotubes to various kinds of biomass, such as fruits, vegetables, and flowers, and dots from different sources exhibit different fluorescence properties.An advantage of using tomatoes as the source of carbon dots is that tomatoes are inexpensive and the process is relatively simple. Basically, fresh tomato is chopped into pieces, crushed to a pulp by a tissue compactor, dissolved in water, heated in a microwave, centrifuged to remove any large particles, and then filtered by dialysis, leaving behind a solid powder of nanoparticles. Although the process is simple, the researchers showed that it still has the potential to produce high-quality carbon dots.One of the most important results of the new study is the UV fluorescence properties of the carbon dots can be controlled due to the quantum confinement effect, which is not often the case with carbon dots sourced from biomass. Here, the researchers demonstrated that, by adding certain organic compounds (ethylenediamine (EDA) and urea), they could control the size and tune the fluorescence of the nanoparticles formed from the tomato pulp.”Fresh tomato-sourced carbon dots tuned by urea can emit fluorescence in the UV region due to the quantum confinement effect,” Wang told Phys.org. “Our future research plan is to obtain red emissive carbon dots using biomass as precursors.”To illustrate the potential applications, the researchers evaluated the carbon dots for their use as staining agents for bioimaging fungi, and also as sensors for vanillin, which has applications in the biofuel industry. The researchers demonstrated that the carbon dots were highly biocompatible with the fungi and became brightly illuminated when excited by a laser. In the case of vanillin sensing, they showed that the vanillin quenches the fluorescence of the carbon dots, with the amount of quenching being proportional to the vanillin concentration. The researchers plan to further investigate these applications and others in the future. Researchers transform fresh tomatoes into three types of carbon nanoparticles. Credit: Liu et al. ©2017 IOP Publishing © 2017 Phys.orgcenter_img Turning pollen into a low-cost fertilizer Explore further Citation: Researchers transform tomatoes into fluorescent carbon dots (2017, November 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-11-tomatoes-fluorescent-carbon-dots.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more


first_imgKolkata: Breaking new ground, Kolkata’s Jiya Das has become the first transgender Operation Theatre technician in an Indian hospital, but theatre artists and actors from the community still face discrimination in the culture-loving city, say activists. Jiya, who once had to dance at gun point in soirees in Uttar Pradesh, is now working in a city-based super-specialty hospital, said Bappaditya Mukherjee, Secretary, Prantakatha, an organisation working for marginalised youth. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flights “For young people, it is very important to get livelihood. Almost one and half years back, we organised an event called ‘Saathrangi’. During that event, a health entrepreneur said that he will take two members of the transgender community and train them as OT technicians. “Today Jiya Das is the first transgender OT technician in the country,” said Mukherjee. Jiya is treated at par with others in the hospital, he said at a panel discussion titled “South Asian Dialogue on LGBTQI Youth and Livelihood Discrimination” at the American Centre on Wednesday. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killed However, Ranjita Sinha, member of the West Bengal Transgender Board, said problems of the transgender community are getting confused with female issues. “I respect all members of LGBTQI community but transgenders are always visible, hence they face discrimination and violence all the time. The census still is not clear on the transgender community and we are mixing our issues with female issues,” said Sinha. “The West Bengal Transgender Board is supported by the women and child development and social welfare board. I have no idea where the movement is heading,” added Sinha. An activist-cum-theatre personality Anurag Maitrayee said that there is politics between the privileged and non-privileged within the LGBTQ community. To understand the pulse one has to step out and visit the interiors to know what the person actually feels. “For transgender people, monetary exploitation in the field of art and entertainment is tremendous, which must be addressed. We are made to understand that we are at least getting some work,” said Maitrayee. Samarpan Maiti, who finished second runner-up at the Mr Gay World 2018, shared his ordeal and how he faced discrimination in reputed institutes of Kolkata. The condition in rural areas is even worse. “I have seen parents cutting all financial aid for a lesbian girl and not letting them continue their education out of fear that if they are financially independent they will not succumb to the pressures of getting married. They are forcibly married off,” said Subhagata Ghosh, one of the founder members of Sappho for Equality, a Kolkata based 19 year old organisation working for lesbians and bisexual and transgender women. She also mentioned that the condition in the rural and suburban regions is all the more difficult, citing the recent suicide of two girls amid some evidence that they were in love. “Now in that village parents are trying to restrict all the girls from going to school thinking they would become vulnerable and do something like this,” said Ghosh.last_img read more


first_imgUpsetting Congress plans to wrest control of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) council with an all out offensive, BJP won 100 wards out of 198, as the results were declared today by the State Election Commission for the polls held on August 22.After its wins in the civic polls in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the Bengaluru results make it three-in-a-row for BJP, which weathered an aggressive campaign led from the front by the Chief Minister himself against its rule in BBMP. Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJICongress bagged 76, JDS headed by former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda 14 and others eight, according to BBMP officials.Though marginally short of a simple majority mark of 103 in the 254-member council, BJP is expected to draw on support from Independent councilors to reach the magic figure.Admitting that the results are not according to his party’s expectations, Siddaramaiah said, “We had expected a simple majority for Congress.” He said, “This result is not a referendum on my government, but as a Chief Minister I own responsibility.”  Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: KovindAmid wild celebrations by BJP, Union minister Ananth Kumar said, “This mandate shows that countdown has begun for Siddaramamaih and for the Congress.” Union Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said “the results show that Siddaramaiah-led government has not taken off till now,” while BJP Vice-President B S Yeddyurappa said the verdict “shows the relevance of Modi wave still.” The elections were the culmination of a prolonged court battle, as the Siddaramaiah government sought to defer it on grounds of trifurcating BBMP, with the Opposition crying foul and accusing it of doing so out of fear of losing the polls. A total of 1,121 candidates were in the fray. One candidate from BJP was already elected unopposed.Besides Corporators, the 254-member BBMP Council includes 56 other members from Bengaluru with voting rights– 28 MLAs, 15 MLCs, five Lok Sabha and eight Rajya Sabha members.During the 2010 BBMP polls, BJP which then was ruling the state had won in 111 wards, Congress in 65 wards, JD(S) in 15 and others 17.last_img read more


first_imgIn a suspected inter-caste violence case in which two Dalit kids were burnt alive, the state administration arrested four accused out of 11 and suspended four police officials who were in charge of the situation in the Sunped village of Faridabad district.On Tuesday morning a few people of one community allegedly set fire to the home of a Dalit family killing Vaibhav (2) and Divya (nine-months-old) and causing serious burn injuries to their mother Rekha.According to the information received from a state government spokesperson — Balwant, Dharam Singh, Kartar and Guddu have been detained out of the 11 accused. All these four detained accused belong to the influential Balu Rajput camp in Sunped village in Faridabad district. The police also suspended four policemen who were amongst the seven police personnel who were deployed with the victims’ family for security. The four policemen included police officers of different ranks. Inspector Anil Kumar, OC of  Sadar Ballagbarh police station was suspended for dereliction of duties. Also Read – Man arrested for making hoax call at IGI airportConstables Bali Mohammed, Vikas and Sandeep have been placed under suspension for showing laxity as they failed to protect the victims as they were deployed for the security of the victims’ family. Till now, nineteen persons have been booked for the triple murder in 2014 of the three members of Jitender’s family. Sources also reveal that Balwant’s relatives could be the other accused responsible for the incident as Jitender (father of the two kids) and Balwant have been having clashes between them since October 2014. It also came to light that this bitter rivalry between the Rajput Balu family and the Dalit Lajli camp have been on since three decades.last_img read more


first_imgKolkata: The body of a 14-year-old school student was found from a mustard field at Purbasthali in East Burdwan.The deceased identified as Arshad Shaikh was missing since Monday. On Tuesday, locals saw his body and reported the matter to the police. According to them, Arshad’s father stays outside state due to his profession. As his mother died when he was an infant, Arshad used to stay with his maternal uncle and relatives at Babuidanga, Pachimpara in Purbasthali. He was a student of class VIII in a local school. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeArshad’s family members said on Monday after returning from school, he went to watch a religious programme in the village. As he did not return within the usual time, the family members started searching for him. Despite searching throughout the night, Arshad could not be located. On Tuesday morning, a search for Arshad was again initiated but no one could trace him. In the evening, some villagers located Arshad’s body on the bank of a canal beside a mustard field not far from his home. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedHis family members and police were informed accordingly. Cops reached the spot and faced agitation by the villagers. Later, senior police officials went there and assured villagers that steps would be taken accordingly. Sources informed that several injury marks could be seen on Arshad’s body. His face was partly smashed. Police have started a murder case against unknown person/s on the basis of a specific complaint lodged by Arshad’s uncle Raju Shaikh. The sleuths are suspecting that Arshad may been murdered over some family enmity. To find out the possible motive, cops are questioning Arshad’s family members and people, who are close to Arshad and his family. “Probe is on. All possible aspects will be looked into,” said a senior police officials.last_img read more


first_imgKolkata: Two renowned confectioneries in Kolkata have been asked to maintain hygiene during their cake mixing process.On Tuesday, Deputy Mayor of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) visited the two confectioneries and found their factories and shops to be unhygienic. The process of serving food is also not safe. According to Ghosh, KMC inspected several bakeries and confectioneries as Christmas and New Year are knocking on the door. Citizens usually buy cakes from these renowned confectioneries to celebrate the festive season. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeHe also informed that a total 23 bakeries and confectioneries has been marked for having an unhygienic environment. They will served improvement notice on Wednesday. If they do not comply as per the notice and follow the rules mentioned in the Food Safety and Standards Act properly, steps would be taken. “We found two renowned confectioneries where workers work with bare hands. We told them to use gloves. But one of the owners said it is not possible to properly mix cake using gloves. If gloves cannot be used then they should sanitise there workers in a proper way,” said Ghosh. Deputy Mayor instructed the bakeries and confectioneries to use gloves while serving as well. The utensils for keeping food should be sanitised accordingly.last_img read more


first_imgTeenagers’ natural desire to rebel against authority could be tapped to drive them to replace junk food with healthier choices, a study has found. Food marketing, designed to foster strong positive associations with junk food in kids’ minds and to drive overeating, is one of the biggest obstacles in the public fight against obesity. The study, published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, found that a simple and brief intervention can provide lasting protection for adolescents against these harmful effects of food marketing. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe method works in part by tapping into teens’ natural desire to rebel against authority, researchers said. The team from the University of Chicago in the US went into classrooms and had one group of students read a fact-based, expose-style article on big food companies. The article framed the corporations as manipulative marketers trying to hook consumers on addictive junk food for financial gain. The stories also described deceptive product labels and advertising practices that target vulnerable populations, including very young children and the poor. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveA separate, control group of students received traditional material from existing health education programs about the benefits of healthy eating. The researchers found that the group that read the exposes chose fewer junk food snacks and selected water over sugary sodas the next day. Teens first read the marketing expose material, and then did an activity called “Make It True,” meant to reinforce the negative portrayal of food marketing. The students received images of food advertisements on iPads with instructions to write or draw on the ads – graffiti style – to transform the ads from false to true. The study found that the effects of the marketing expose intervention endured for the remainder of the school year – a full three months. The effects were particularly impressive among boys, who reduced their daily purchases of unhealthy drinks and snacks in the school cafeteria by 31 per cent in that time period, compared with the control group. Researchers found that reframing how students view food-marketing campaigns can spur adolescents, particularly boys, to make healthier daily dietary choices for an extended period of time. “Food marketing is deliberately designed to create positive emotional associations with junk food, to connect it with feelings of happiness and fun,” Christopher J Bryan, from University of Chicago. Teenage boys, a notoriously difficult group to convince when it comes to giving up junk food, started making healthier food and drink choices in their school cafeteria. “One of the most exciting things is that we got kids to have a more negative immediate gut reaction to junk food and junk food marketing, and a more positive immediate gut reaction to healthy foods,” said Bryan. This relatively simple intervention could be an early sign of a public-health game changer, researchers said.last_img read more


first_imgNatya Vriksha, its president dancer Geeta Chandran and the India International Centre, New Delhi have been celebrating the World Dance Day for last 15 years by conducting activities (such as talks, lectures, discussion, film screening, workshops and performances by young exceptionally talented dancers) related to dance.This year marks the 15th year of this collaboration. Like every year, very interesting programs are lined up for April 27 and 28, at the India International Centre. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe mornings would feature workshops by Santosh Nair, followed by a workshop on ‘Rythm’ the following day by young percussionist, Manohar Balatchandirane. One of the very interesting feature of this year’s World Dance Day program is a lecture by Amb Pavan K Varma on the topic ‘The glorious legacy of Indian Culture: Challenges and Opportunities.’ Also, there will be a presentation by senior dancer and dance teacher from Baroda, Rema Srikanth on her personal journey. This will be followed by beautiful dance recitals by young and talented dancers from different parts of India. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveSpeaking about the event, Geeta Chandran says, “This is the 15th year that I am curating World Dance Day events with the India International Centre.” The dancer says that each year she tries to change the format of the observance; sometimes it is lectures, other times it is films, discussions, seminars, workshops, demonstrations. According to her, the fluidity of the festival is its strength and its resilience. And, this year, the festival is bigger and more exciting.last_img read more


first_img“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain “The gentle reader will never, never know what a consummate ass he can become until he goes abroad.” – also Mark TwainMark Twain is the author of some of the greatest American novels, but when he was alive, he was known more for his travel books, according to the NPR show Here and Now. In 1866, he made his first trip “abroad” to Hawaii, staying for five months.Mark Twain relaxing on a porch in New Hampshire.Even prior to that trip, he was a seasoned traveler around the US. He had been all around the country, working as everything from a steamboat pilot, to a printer, to a writer.According to Biography, in 1861, he left Missouri for the West, for Nevada and California, first trying his hand at prospecting and ultimately ending up as a reporter.Twain in 1867He began to achieve some success and had developed his own unique narrative style, which was approachable, irreverent, and satirical.After that, he spent most of the next 12 years traveling around the globe, making dozens of separate transatlantic crossings and exploring vast swaths of Europe, Asia, and Africa.Cabin where Twain wrote “Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, Jackass Hill, Tuolumne County. Click on historical marker and interior view. Photo by “Will Murray (Willscrlt)” CC BY-SA 3.0 usHe had a deep need to see new things and have new experiences and, as the first quote above states, he felt there was immense, inherent value in broadening one’s horizons.Twain wrote three books that outlined his travels around the world: The Innocents Abroad, A Tramp Abroad, and Following the Equator.The books are evenly distributed through his writing career and address not only his life during the timespan covered in each book but also how travel can change people’s perspectives on the world, including his own.Samuel Clemens, age 15In 1867, he took a five-month cruise around the Mediterranean, writing humorous articles for American newspapers about the sights and experiences.This led to his publishing The Innocents Abroad, which chronicled his “Great Pleasure Excursion” on the charter vessel Quaker City, making a trip through Europe and the Holy Land with a group of other American travelers.Mark Twain in 1871.Twain didn’t come from a cultured upbringing. He grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, the sixth of seventh children in a family that frequently struggled financially. He wasn’t highly educated or sophisticated and neither were his traveling companions.In many ways, he embodied the values of the America of his time — he was brash, independent, outspoken, and all of those traits were evident in this book.Mark Twain in the lab of Nikola Tesla, spring of 1894. Twain is holding Tesla’s experimental vacuum lamp, which is powered by a loop of wire which is receiving electromagnetic energy from a Tesla coil (not visible). Tesla’s face is visible in the background.The second quote above is from The Innocents Abroad and reflects Twain’s views likening American tourists to the Vandals, the wandering Germanic tribe that sacked Rome.He satirically described the American Vandal in ways that showed the best and the worst of the American mindset – brazen, often unimpressed with the local environment, and tending to rely on guidebooks to tell them how they should respond to the things they were seeing and experiencing.Mark Twain in his gown (scarlet with grey sleeves and facings) for his D.Litt. degree, awarded to him by Oxford University.The American Vandal combined both fairly cheerful ignorance and disregard of the broader world with a desire to collect whatever historical or religious objects they could obtain along the way.And yet, even if he saw himself and other new world travelers in that light, he also saw the underlying desire, in himself and others, to come to a broader understanding of, and connection with, the wider world.A color photograph taken of Mark Twain in 1908, using the recently developed Autochrome Lumiere process.The two subsequent books are perhaps less widely known than the first, but continue to demonstrate his evolution as both a traveler and a thinker.A Tramp Abroad covers his experiences on a “walking tour” through France, Germany, and Switzerland and portrays a traveler who has gained confidence and self-sufficiency with regard to moving around outside the usual boundaries of his world.Mark Twain, 1907.Following the Equator is a more serious look at his around-the-world lecture tour in 1895 and 1896, by which time he was an international celebrity.Through all of his travels and explorations, he remained a writer and storyteller. He continued to publish and give lectures. Despite that, his life still had struggles. Finances were an issue. He and his wife lost three children, one of whom died while Twain was traveling.Read another story from us: Stalin Tried to use The Grapes of Wrath as Anti-Capitalist Propaganda – It Backfired BadlyHis wife also died while he was abroad, in 1901. In his later life, he lost all interest in further travels and suffered from fits of rage and depression before his eventual death in 1910. The American Vandal roamed no more.last_img read more


first_imgIn late October 2018, the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. removed five Dead Sea Scroll fragments from public view after testing indicated that they were fakes. The Dead Sea Scrolls are Jewish texts that date to the days of Jesus, discovered in caves at Qumran near the Dead Sea 70 years ago.The Museum of the Bible is a charitable museum. It opened in November 2017, showcasing artifacts that span 3,500 years of history.Museum of the Bible, Washington, D.C. Photo by Fuzheado CC BY-SA 4.0The $500 million museum, largely funded by the evangelical owner of Hobby Lobby, purchased a number of fragments of the Scrolls for its collection.But museum officials were forced to announce that five fragments showed “characteristics inconsistent with ancient origin.”A portion of the second discovered copy of the Isaiah scroll, 1QIsab.The museum is not disclosing who the fake fragments were purchased from.“Though we had hoped the testing would render different results, this is an opportunity to educate the public on the importance of verifying the authenticity of rare biblical artifacts, the elaborate testing process undertaken and our commitment to transparency,” said Jeffrey Kloha, Ph.D., chief curatorial officer for Museum of the Bible, in a statement. “As an educational institution entrusted with cultural heritage, the museum upholds and adheres to all museum and ethical guidelines on collection care, research and display.”Part of Dead Sea Scroll number 28a (1Q28a) from Qumran Cave 1. The Jordan Museum, Amman, Jordan Hashimite Kingdom. Photo by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP (Glasg) CC BY-SA 4.0The research of the fragments focused on “scribal quality and technique in the penning of the texts as well as the physical composition and current state of the manuscript media.”The museum sent five fragments to the German federal material research institute, BAM, for 3D digital microscopy, scanning X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDX) material analysis of the ink, sediment layers, and chemical nature of the sediment.Museum officials declined to say how they determined the fragments were fakes, because they don’t want people who engage in fraudulent scrolls and relics to know what mistakes to avoid.Dead Sea Scroll, Pesher Isaiah, from Qumran Cave 4. The Jordan Museum, Amman. Photo by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg) CC BY-SA 4.0An article posted on CNN in late 2017 had challenged the authenticity of the fragments, with the headline “Mystery at the New Bible Museum: Are Its Dead Sea Scrolls Fake?”In the article, academics and religious scholars wondered if the fragments purchased by the new museum were too good to be true.The Dead Sea Scrolls, adding up to more than 800 documents, were written between 200 BC and 70 AD, and contain parts of every book of the Old Testament except for the Book of Esther.Dead Sea Scroll 175, Testimonia, from Qumran Cave 4. The Jordan Museum, Amman. Photo by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg) CC BY-SA 4.0“The first of the writings were discovered in 1947 in a cave near the shore of the Dead Sea and are believed to have been produced by a Jewish sect known as the Essenes,” according to The New York Times. “Only a handful of the scrolls were found intact; most are fragments that scholars have reconstructed into hundreds of different manuscripts. Nearly all are housed in Jerusalem.”However, in the last 15 years a number of private collectors say they have somehow obtained fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls.Dead Sea Scroll 109, Qohelet or Ecclesiastes, from Qumran Cave 4. The Jordan Museum, Amman. Photo by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg) CC BY-SA 4.0On the website of Arstein Justnes, a professor of biblical studies at the University of Agder in Norway,  scholars and scientists have identified more than 70 Dead Sea Scroll fragments that surfaced on the antiquities market since 2002. Ninety percent of those are fake, Justnes says, including the ones at the Museum of the Bible.Gary A. Rendsburg, a professor of Jewish studies at Rutgers University, said, “There were those who immediately said, ‘These have to be forgeries.’ There couldn’t possibly be — from the exploration from the 1940s and ’50s — dozens of fragments sitting around that look like they came out of the cave yesterday.”Steve Green won’t say how much his family spent on the fragments. But other evangelicals, including a Baptist seminary in Texas and an evangelical college in California, have paid millions to purchase similar pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls, reported CNN.Read another story from us: Hobby Lobby smuggling ringHobby Lobby had been investigated by the federal government for importing ancient Mesopotamian artifacts to the U.S. In July 2017 Hobby Lobby agreed to forfeit these artifacts that, it was revealed, had been illegally imported from Iraq.last_img read more


first_img6. Carolina Panthers – Colin still likes the Panthers at 6, even though Cam Newton hasn’t played well at home, where he’s 1-2 with a 59.1 completion %, 1 touchdown, 6 interceptions, and a 55.6 passer rating. Away from home he’s 3-0 and completing 71.3% of his passes with 8 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and a 122.9 passer rating.The Panthers defense also hasn’t intercepted a pass in 4 games while allowing 10 passing touchdowns and an opposing quarterback passer rating of 111.1. They’re also allowing 29 points per game in that span. Even if Cam is inconsistent, Colin still likes the Panthers. 3. Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks have forced 7 Turnovers over their last 2 games (2-0 in those games), and have the best red zone Defense (23.1%) in the NFL.  Russell Wilson has been running for his life – only Carson Palmer has taken more hits this year – but he’s completing 50% of his passes when pressured.Colin still loves Wilson, Pete Carroll and their organizational structure. They always play fast and physical. Philadelphia Eagles – Colin picked them to win the NFC East, and the Eagles look better than even he expected. They’re the only team in NFL ranking in the Top 5 in rushing offense and defense, and lead the league in rushing defense (65.7 ypg) and 3rd down offense. Offensively, they lead the NFL in time of possession, 3rd down conversion percentage (50.6%), and Carson Wentz’s 13 passing touchdowns are tied for second most in the NFL.Colin thinks Wentz has superstar potential, and he loves the Eagles up front on both sides of the ball. The Eagles are for real and grab the top spot. 9. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers sneak back into the hierarchy a week after their disastrous loss to the Jags. Colin isn’t as high on Pittsburgh as some, but they have the 2nd most sacks in the NFL (20), and have averaged 397.0 YPG over their last 3 games after averaging just 302.3 YPG over their 1st 3. They’re starting to lean on Le’veon Bell, who’s had 2 games of 30+ carries and 150+ rushing in two of his last 3.Colin still doesn’t like the drama, and that they look like a different team on the road, but good enough for 9. 7. Denver Broncos – The Broncos drop down after getting manhandled by a struggling Giants team on Sunday Night. Denver’s defense is allowing the 2nd fewest yards per play in the NFL, but they’ve lost both games when they’ve allowed more than 21 points. Trevor Siemian has limitations, hasn’t played well on the road, and isn’t going to win any shootouts.In their 3 wins, Broncos average 35.7 rushes per game and 153.7 ypg. In their 2 losses, 20 rushes per game and 78.5 ypg. Denver is solid but still has offensive limitations. 8. Minnesota Vikings – Minnesota can’t catch a break with injuries, but they’re defense has been overwhelming. They’re the only team ranked in the Top 5 in 3rd down defense (25.0%, 1st) and red zone defense (37.5%, 4th). They’re also the only team in the NFC ranked in the Top 5 in scoring defense (17.2, 5th) and total defense (295.5, 5th).With Dalvin Cook out for the year, they’ve still been able to run the ball with Jerick McKinnon, who’s averaged 21.5 touches, and 122.5 ypg, to go along with 3 TD’s since Week 5.  Colin loves the roster and thinks they’ll still be a playoff team with Case Keenum, despite all their injuries. They still lead the NFL in Scoring Offense (29.8 ppg), are 4-0 when scoring 21 or more points – 0-2 with 20 or fewer – and have 7 different defensive players with multiple sacks (most in the NFL). Jared Goff has struggled his last 2 games, completing just 48.5% of his passes for barely 6 yards/pass with 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions and a passer rating of 60.4. The Rams as strong a 10th ranked team as Colin has had in his rankings. He wouldn’t be surprised to see them move up as the season progresses.center_img Advertisement 4. New England Patriots – The Patriots 4 different players with 20+ catches and 300+ receiving yards is the most in the NFL, and last week was the first week since Week 17, last year, that Tom Brady wasn’t sacked.Despite having allowed at least 400 yards in all 6 games, and becoming the only team in NFL history to allow a 300-yard passer in their first 6 games, the Patriots have allowed less than 20 points in each of their last 2. Belichick will coach up the defense as the season progresses, but they still don’t have a pass rush. Still good enough for 6. 2. Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs drop out of the top spot after several weeks following a disappointing loss to the Steelers, where many of the flaws some said had disappeared, reappeared. They’re still 2nd in total offense (387.0 ypg), and 4th in rushing offense (134.8 ypg). Alex Smith is first in completion percentage (72.9), and third in passing yards per game (272.8). Star rookie Kareem Hunt leads the league in rushing yards (630), and scrimmage yards per game (147.5).The Chiefs have the best overall roster in the NFL, but can Smith get it done when the weather gets cold and the playoffs start? Colin will believe it when he sees sit. Every Tuesday during the NFL season, Colin puts out his Herd Hierarchy NFL power rankings, and there’s plenty of movement after Week 6.This week, the Steelers and Vikings move back into the Top 10; the Saints make their first appearance of the year; the Packers and the Cowboys drop out; and there’s a new #1.Here are his Top 10 teams after Week 6:10. Los Angeles Rams – The Rams won on the road in Jacksonville, but Colin still drops them in the ranking because they’ve become inconsistent on 3rd downs and in the red zone. 5. New Orleans Saints – The Saints make their first appearance of the year at 5 after winning three in a row. The New Orleans defense has been a joke in years past, but they’ve got 9 takeaways in their last 3 games, and allowing less than 5 yards a play during that stretch.They’ve also committed to the run, averaging 30.6 rushing attempts, 142.7 yards pergame,with 3 touchdowns during the streak. Drew Brees can still get it done, and finally it looks like he has some help.last_img read more


first_img. Another video released shows an encounter between U.S. Navy pilot, Cmdr. David Fravor and an unidentified craft off the California coast in 2004. There isn’t any audio, but after tracking the UFO on radar for a period of time, the craft completely disappears from the screen at the end. When asked to describe what he saw that day, Fravor said, “Something not from the Earth.”These videos are remarkable. These aren’t tinfoil hat wearing hippies taking camcorder videos while high on Peyote in the Utah desert, they’re highly trained Naval pilots. This is legitimate documentary evidence. It can also be confirmed that these are not the same Navy pilots that recently drew a dong in the sky recently.Both of the UFO’s were filmed off the California coast, so maybe they’re just scoping out the prime real estate to grab after the coming invasion. Advertisementcenter_img A New York Times article published over the weekend exposed the existence of a Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, a dark money funded program within the Department of Defense that studied alleged UFO reports, reportedly from 2007-2012.In addition to the revelation that there was (and probably still is) a government funded alien hunting program, several videos obtained during the program showing  U.S. Naval jets encountering what appear to be UFO’s have been released. Objectively, it may be the most compelling evidence released to the public proving the existence of alien spacecraft visiting Earth.The first video shows radar and audio from two Navy F/A-18F fighter jets off the San Diego coast in 2004. The pilots can be overheard trying to figure out what the hell they’re looking at, and comment that there are an entire fleet of similar craft in the area. The radar video shows the UFO doing aerial maneuvers and rotating at full speed. This is nuts.last_img read more


first_imgTexas A&M has always been the little brother of Texas college football, but they are expecting big things from Jimbo Fisher as he takes over the program.During a luncheon yesterday, a Texas A&M chancellor made the bold move of awarding Fisher with a national title plaque with a blank date for the national title they expect him to win.This is pretty painful to watch due to the massive cheese factor. Maybe they should have done what they do at Alabama, and have the trophy presentation AFTER winning the title. This pretty much sums up Texas’ delusional love affair with football and an apparent lack of self-awareness regarding the program’s history over the last 30 years. You can’t accuse them of not caring.Watch Fisher receive his toy national title plaque:last_img read more


first_imgAlso:-Hardest and Easiest NFL Schedules-Kyrie’s game is made for the playoffs-Kawhi to the Clippers feels like a perfect fit-Keep Simmons, Trade Embiid Browns will struggle to meet sky high expectationsThe Browns have gone from irrelevant to the NFL’s hottest bandwagon team heading into 2019, thanks to Baker Mayfield and the offseason acquisition of Odell Beckham Jr, but Colin thinks the hype and expectations being created will be hard to meetThe Browns only won 7 games last year, but will play 4 primetime games in 2019, and now have to try to meet the now sky-high expectations and the spotlight in a year where anything less than the playoffs will be considered a failure. Colin doesn’t think they will. Guests:Chris Broussard, Stephen Jackson, Marcus Thompson, Albert Breer, and Berry Tramellast_img read more


first_img This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. 2 min read Enroll Now for Free Global cryptocurrency exchange itBit Trust Company, LLC, is arguably the envy of the entire Bitcoin community today.The nascent Bitcoin trading platform announced this morning that it has officially received a banking trust charter under New York State law. The groundbreaking new license makes itBit the only U.S.-chartered and supervised Bitcoin exchange compliant with New York and federal law, Techcrunch reports.    The trust company charter lends itBit “bank-like status,” as The New York Times put it, not to mention some hefty bragging rights within the Bitcoin community. “This is a big deal,” itBit co-founder and CEO Charles Cascarilla told the Times, “not just for us, but for the entire Bitcoin industry.”Related: Richard Branson Holding Digital Currency Summit on Private Caribbean IslanditBit Trust Company is a game-changer for US #bitcoin regulation & customer asset protection http://t.co/EB8Caty1TL pic.twitter.com/guz90GwEgV— itBit (@itBit) May 7, 2015The license signifies a momentous stride forward in the race to legitimize the fledgling digital currency sector, sullied in the not so distant past by sketchy, unregulated Bitcoin exchanges, like Mt. Gox and Ripple Labs. Just last week, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network slapped Ripple Labs with a $700,000 fine for breaching the bank secrecy act, among other infractions.Related: Is Bitcoin Speculative Foolery or a Financial Services Breakthrough?In addition to heralding its new license, itBit also shared the news today that it clinched a $25 million Series A venture capital financing round. Several new and existing investors participated in the raise. Among them are RRE Ventures, Liberty City Ventures and the Jordan Company. The funding will be used to “significantly scale” the startup’s products and services, as well as to hire talent to staff positions in compliance, customer service, engineering, marketing and operations, according to a statement issued by itBit.Cascarilla, a former Wall Street financial services professional, co-founded itBit 18 months ago. The exchange is based out of New York City and Singapore. He told Techcrunch that it took his company 15 months and a thousand-plus-page application to finally win the historic charter.Related: ‘Days Felt Like Years’: What Morgan Spurlock Found When He Tried to Survive on Bitcoin for a Weekcenter_img Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now May 7, 2015last_img read more


first_img 5 min read This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Enroll Now for Free October 2, 2015 As nectar was to the Greek gods, patents are to the tech industry.It’s not atypical for big players – your Googles, Apples, Microsofts – to add thousands of them to their portfolios every year. While many are granted only to remain unused, the most interesting ones offer sneak peaks at possible future products.Apple may not lead the tech pack in terms of quantity, but many of its patents have a distinctive ‘it’ factor. For example, take Apple’s patent for earbuds that – get this – actually stay in your ears! (Apple seems to have followed through on this one.)If we had our way, the company would consider doing the same on all seven patents listed below.1. A smart ringWe finally have an Apple Watch – are other accessories far behind? Perhaps not, judging from an Apple patent filed last April and published yesterday.The patent outlines plans to develop a smart, interactive ring that syncs with other Apple devices such as the iPhone or iPad, and can alert the wearer when a text, tweet or status update is received. In the place of a traditional jewel or stone, there is a touchpad touchscreen and the ring could also include a microphone for picking up voice commands.Why a ring when consumers can already purchase an Apple smartwatch and a smartphone? “The light emitted by a touchscreen may be inappropriate in certain social environments or even dangerous if it gives away the position of a threatened user,” the application reads.More practically, a smart ring would eliminate the need for constant phone checking. While some may argue this would bind us even more tightly to technology, it could also be liberating.   2. A battery that lasts days (or even weeks)Filed in March and already approved, this patent for a “portable and cost-effective fuel cell system for a portable computing device” suggests the tech giant is exploring ways to increase battery life for its array of devices.The referenced fuel cells, which most often combine hydrogen with oxygen to create electrical energy, can be far more efficient than other battery types, potentially enabling “continued operation of portable electronic devices for days or even weeks without refueling,” Apple notes in the patent.Even if Apple does pursue this patent, it’ll likely be awhile until it’s incorporated into consumer products. But that doesn’t mean that a day-long – nay, week-long – battery life is an impossibility — just that it hasn’t happened yet. 3. Biometric-tracking headphonesApproved last winter but originally filed back in 2008, this patent refers to a headphone system with built in sensors that can detect a wearer’s heart rate, temperature and perspiration to track his or her movements and activity level.This sounds pretty cool — but also kind of creepy, especially when you pair it with another one of Apple’s patent applications, which lays out plans to serve consumers targeted ads based on their biometric data.Read More: Apple’s Latest Patent Tracks Temperature, Perspiration and Heart Rate — in Your Headphones4. Waterproof electronicsIn March, Apple applied for a patent that details plans to protect “water sensitive” electronics parts by coating them with a hydrophobic coating. Water-resistant iGadgets? Yes, please.Read More: A Way to Waterproof Your iPhone? Apple Is Looking Into It.5. A ‘walk-and-text’ featureBack in 2012, Apple filed a patent for a “transparent based” texting system that would, presumably, streamline the difficult process of texting while walking. The idea is fairly simple: when an iPhone user texts, the device will display video images of what’s directly in front him or her (captured by its rear-facing camera), with semi-transparent text bubbles replacing the typical opaque texting backdrop.It’s a silly one, yes, but we’d still want to see it in action.Read More: Want to Text and Walk and Still See Where You’re Going? Apple Has a Patent for That.6. Voicemail screenerOriginally filed all the way back in 2003, last year Apple was finally granted a patent that would enable iPhone users to listen to voicemails as they’re being left, with the option to pick up mid-message. Almost takes you back to the landline era.Read More: Apple’s Latest Patent Will Let You Pick Up During a Voicemail7. Car-finderLosing your car in a crowded parking lot is a uniquely hellish experience. It’s frustrating, but it also makes you feel kinda dumb.As with the other listed items, a pair of patents filed in 2013 suggests Apple may be working to solve an all-too-common problem. The patents detail how an iPhone could establish a Bluetooth connection with a car and, using triggers such as open doors or shuttered ignitions, determine where it is parked and guide its owner to the location via digital breadcrumbs.Read More: Pair of Apple Patents Aims to Answer: ‘Where’d I Park My Car?’ Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Nowlast_img read more


first_img Problem Solvers with Jason Feifer Listen Now July 21, 2017 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Customer support services have changed. Before, you’d have a team of people in an office with headsets and computers, answering call after call, and email after email. While this is still the case in many organizations, the way we communicate with our customers has changed and as a result, so has the technology we use.Today, consumers have switched towards messaging applications as their preferred method of personal and professional communications. They interact with brands the same way they would with their family and friends. With that in mind, companies are following their audiences where they’re most likely to be.Unfortunately, finding the resources to interact with millions of potential consumers on a daily basis is near impossible, so we’ve started using robots. These robots are powered by artificial intelligence (AI), allowing them to interact with our consumers in the same way a human would. They’re called chatbots. At ChattyPeople we are working to solve this challenge.Related: Enterprise Chatbot Solutions With AI and Voice-Activation Are the FutureThe Benefits of Integrating an AI-Powered Chatbot Into Your Customer Care ServicesAs AI technology continues to grow, it’s essential that your company includes it in its business processes, and what better place to start than in your customer care department? After all, this is where your company has some of the most important and enlightening conversations with your customers.What makes having an AI-powered chatbot so great that companies of all sizes, from various industries, are using them to have some of their most important interactions with their audiences?Related: Enterprise Chatbots Platforms and the Future of WorkInstant ServiceWhile technological advancements and the proliferation of the internet has given us numerous advantageous business solutions, it has also equipped consumers with the notion that they can receive the information they want, instantaneously. They’ve become increasingly impatient, leaving customer support teams under a mound of pressure.Huge enterprises can’t offer instantaneous support to their customer unless they hire millions of agents. AI-powered enterprise chatbot solutions allow you to create a chatbot that can take on all your more basic customer problems while cutting out the long waiting times.Self-ServiceIt’s not just about offering instant responses to your customers’ queries. Enterprise chatbot solutions empower them to get answers without being put on hold or having to wait for an email response by creating a self-service system in their favorite messaging applications. Aside from empowering them, you’ll only be making a one-time monetary investment, allowing you to cut costs and increase productivity.Related: Enterprise Chatbots and the Conversational Commerce Revolutionizing BusinessBroader ReachOne of the biggest advantages of using enterprise chatbot solutions with AI in your customer support strategy is that you’ll be available to your audience 24/7, on a global scale. Even if every one of your offices is closed, your customers will still be able to contact you with an emergency whether they’re at home on a computer or using their mobile devices on the go.Increased SalesWhile your AI enterprise customer care chatbot will be predominantly used to interact with consumers and resolve any problems they may be facing, it can also become an integral part of your marketing and sales teams. With the right training, it will be able to send personalized offers to your customers on demand, as well as take orders, and process payments, among other activities.Related: Top 10 Best Chatbot Platform Tools to Build Chatbots for Your BusinessData AnalysisAs I mentioned above, your customer support team has some of the most important and enlightening conversations with your customers, but gathering and analyzing that amount of varied data is virtually impossible. Fortunately for us, AI-powered chatbots gather that data for us.While many current enterprise chatbot solutions offer limited analytics, they do offer you the reports you need to analyze your conversations yourself. Metrics you can track include:Total number of users reachedAverage session durationSessions per userInteractions per userClick-through ratesActive and engaged usersConfusion triggersResponse timeConversation stepsRetention ratesCreating Your Own AI Customer Care ChatbotThe real question is: how easy is it for large enterprises to include AI-powered chatbots into their processes? Lucky for us, gone are the days where coding and web development skills were required. Now, you can use an enterprise chatbot solution to simply creating an account and linking it to your social media profiles.By using complex machine learning technologies, chatbot solutions can help you deploy an AI-powered chatbot into your customer care services in a matter of minutes. Your chatbot should be able to:Integrate with all the major payment systemsBecome an integral part of your marketing and sales teamUse AI and natural language processing (NLP) to answer all your customer questionsRelated: How to Create a Facebook Messenger Chatbot For Free Without CodingFinally…Enterprise chatbot solutions with AI are essentially super-intelligent customer service assistants. Despite these chatbots needing a human eye monitoring them ensure everything runs smoothly, they do offer large enterprises the chance to tend to a broader customer base while cutting costs and increasing productivity. Hear from business owners and CEOs who went through a crippling business problem and came out the other side bigger and stronger. 5 min readlast_img read more


first_img Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. 5 min read Author Dave Eggers scared millions with The Circle, his tale of AI-driven surveillance that’s since become a movie starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson. And why not? Decades of science fiction have trained us to believe machines will eventually replace humans in everything — even when it comes to marketing.Related: 10 Ways to Use Chatbots for Marketing and SalesThere is some basis for this belief. Machines have already replaced some learnings to make marketing more efficient. For example, online algorithms like the ones used in Google ads have made it easier to determine purchase intent and predict when prospects are ready to buy. Machines are brilliant at processing data that represents purchase signals. But, what they miss is context about buyers’ existing brand perceptions and the motivations behind their purchase decisions.Context: The key to creating meaningful brand experiencesAnything that informs motivations is context. Let me give you a personal example. I may be searching for signs of a failing hard drive or for good deals on a lightweight PC. To Google, these searches will likely signal that I’m in the market for a computer. What sort of computer will it choose to show in an ad?Maybe Google knows I’m in marketing, I work at a tech company and I live in a creative hub — Austin, Texas — all of which might increase the odds of me being in the market for a Mac. What kind of Mac, though? A check of my search history likely reveals I frequently hunt for good airfares when traveling for business, which leads Google to present me with travel-friendly laptop options.A new, souped-up MacBook sounds great … for just about anyone else but me. I’ve just never been an Apple guy; my brand loyalties lie elsewhere, which is crucial context when presenting me with an offer. Despite the purchase signals I was sending, my brand preferences were overlooked and the ad was essentially a waste of time. So, how can we expect AI technology to create and execute a full marketing campaign if today’s algorithms aren’t even equipped to display an effective ad?Related: AI Is Taking the Art Out of SalesThe challenge for marketers: Injecting context, interpreting dataThat doesn’t mean machines that process data and interpret buying signals are unimportant. But, they still lack context about buyers’ existing brand perceptions and whether or not those perceptions can be influenced. They also lack the ability to define what experiences should be created to reach buyers that are receptive to your message.Sure, machines can provide data to help marketers find prospects that might be in the market for their product. They can also help inform micro-decisions to more efficiently run and promote campaigns. But, they’re not equipped to create personalized brand experiences that can grab your attention.To effectively reach and engage buyers, an understanding of their current perceptions and past experiences with your brand is required. That’s why the creative exercise of developing impactful experiences that take prospects further down the funnel, from awareness to consideration, is still better informed by marketers than machines.Related: Chatbots Can Help Your Team But They Can’t Replace Your TeamArtificial intelligence for a data-driven futureBut, if you think about it, context is just another layer of data so there could be a future where machines expand their algorithms to better understand how customers and prospects perceive brands and consume experiences.For example, let’s say you’re launching a new brand campaign to reaffirm your commitment to customers. Using a model that examines certain behaviors, such as browsing history, Google searches, social media interests and more, AI technology might be able to tell you which customers are more likely to jump ship to a competitor and need a little more attention. But, what experiences should be created to effectively reach the customers at risk? That question should still be answered by a human being.Plus, the privacy implications for harnessing this sort of data for AI are vast. Look at Facebook for example. What if my likes and dislikes, and the time and place I clicked on content that interests me, were made public? What if my friends that share my interests were made public as well? Suddenly, machines would be infused with an extra layer of context — context provided by the personal elements of my life.Related: Survey Finds Marketers Know All the Important Tech Trends But Aren’t Prepared for Any of ThemBut, I might not like that, and it may encourage me to share a manufactured or curated version of myself while hiding the parts I want to remain secret. Or, I may choose to stop sharing anything at all.All of which brings us back to the human experience. Machines are capable of ingesting and processing and making some limited meaning out of more data today than ever before. That’s good, but it may not get us as any closer to our customers.Why? Because data and signals are nothing without context, and context is informed by our existing perceptions and motivations that can be easily hidden. Until AI can perfectly replicate the artful act of human engagement and then make educated decisions about tapping into those motivations, marketers will not be replaced. Today’s machines can’t do all that, and it’ll likely to be years, or even decades, before they can.Related Video: The Only Online Marketing Metric That Actually Matters Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. October 2, 2017 Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Register Now »last_img read more