All posts tagged: idea

The big idea: should we all be putting chips in our brains? | Neuroscience

The big idea: should we all be putting chips in our brains? | Neuroscience

Are we on the verge of a new era in which brain disorders become a thing of the past, and we all merge seamlessly with artificial intelligence? This sci-fi future may seem one step closer after Elon Musk’s recent announcement that his biotech company, Neuralink, has implanted its technology into a human brain for the first time. But is mind-melding of this kind really on the way? And is it something we want? Founded in 2016, Neuralink is a newcomer in the world of brain-machine interfaces, or BMIs. The core technology has been around for decades, and its principles are fairly straightforward. A BMI consists of probes – usually very thin wires – that are inserted into the brain at specific locations. These probes eavesdrop on the activity of nearby brain cells and transmit the infor­m­ation they gather to a computer. The computer then processes this information in order to do something useful – perhaps control a robot, or a voice synthesiser. BMIs can also work the other way round, driving neural activity through electrical stimulation carried …

The Guardian view on GB Energy: Labour’s big idea could be a great one for the planet | Editorial

The Guardian view on GB Energy: Labour’s big idea could be a great one for the planet | Editorial

Sir Keir Starmer’s announcement earlier this month that he will be shrinking his green prosperity plan was disappointing. Last year was the hottest on record and, most likely, in the past 100,000 years. If there were ever a moment to go big on the climate, it is now. However, even in its diminished state, Labour’s plan represents progress compared with the government’s. That is the message contained in a report by the Common Wealth thinktank, which takes heart from Labour’s proposal for a publicly owned company, Great British Energy. Common Wealth says this could be the vehicle to deliver Labour’s 2030 clean power goal. It warns that the UK is not on course to deliver on its green generation target through its current approach to decarbonising the power system. The problem is that the status quo relies on private profits and fragmented markets. But the thinktank argues that this is “slower, more expensive, less secure and more carbon intensive” than a transition based on state coordination. Renewable investment financed out of Labour’s £8.3bn capitalisation of …

What South Carolina Voters Should Hear About Donald Trump

What South Carolina Voters Should Hear About Donald Trump

If Donald Trump beats Nikki Haley on Saturday in her home state of South Carolina, where he leads in the polls, he’s a cinch to win the GOP nomination. And if he wins the GOP nomination, he has a very good shot at winning the presidency. So it’s worth entertaining the strongest argument against Trump, which many Americans haven’t heard before: that Trump brings out the worst in many of us—his critics and supporters alike. To really make this anti-Trump argument, one must go so far as to acknowledge that the anti-Trump coalition has sometimes engaged in unreason, hysteria, and abuses of power. The name for this phenomenon is Trump Derangement Syndrome. In 2003, the conservative writer Charles Krauthammer coined the term Bush Derangement Syndrome to describe “the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency––nay––the very existence of George W. Bush.” The idea wasn’t that any opposition to Bush or his policies was deranged, but rather that Bush hatred was causing some of the president’s critics to …

Chinese EVs in the US? Stellantis’ CEO is open to the idea

Chinese EVs in the US? Stellantis’ CEO is open to the idea

Just days after Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares divulged the automotive conglomerate was mulling building electric vehicles for joint venture partner Leapmotor in Europe, the always interesting Tavares spoke further, sharing an openness to also assemble the Chinese EVs in North America, most likely the US, if necessary. Here’s the latest. Following a very public falling out with inherited joint venture partner GAC Group in China, Stellantis found a new suitor specializing in Chinese EVs in Leapmotor in October 2023. The Netherlands-based OEM invested $1.6 billion to own 21% of the Leapmotor while securing exclusive rights to the manufacturing, sale, and export of its EVs everywhere outside the Chinese market. Last week, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares told Italian media the company was considering the idea of building Leapmotors vehicles at its Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy, to serve the European market as long as there is a good business case to support the strategy. Another source close to the matter said Leapmotor EV production in Turin could begin as early as 2026 with a target of …

The big idea: this simple behavioural trick can help you get more out of life | Psychology

The big idea: this simple behavioural trick can help you get more out of life | Psychology

Imagine you’re out for dinner at your favourite restaurant and the waiter seats you at the best table. It is nice and quiet, so you can have a pleasant conversation with your partner. The table is also right next to a window with great views. You drink your wine and enjoy some delicious food. The dinner lasts a couple of hours. Do you think you’d enjoy the evening more if you sat at the nice table the whole time, or if you were occasionally sent to the back of the restaurant where it was crowded and noisy? “Well, that’s a stupid question,” you’re probably thinking. Who would want to go somewhere rowdy if they had a lovely spot exactly where they were? That’s certainly what intuition suggests. But it’s wrong. Studies show that people enjoy good things in life (like listening to music or getting a relaxing massage) more if they break them up into smaller pieces. A nice table is pleasant, but the joy experienced during the first hour fades over time. The reason? …

Christian-Nation Idea Fuels US Conservative Causes, but Historians Say It Misreads Founders’ Intent

Christian-Nation Idea Fuels US Conservative Causes, but Historians Say It Misreads Founders’ Intent

The U.S. Constitution doesn’t mention Christianity or any specific religion. The Declaration of Independence famously proclaims that people’s rights come from a “Creator” and “Nature’s God” — but doesn’t specify who that is. Yet large numbers of Americans believe the founders intended the U.S. to be a Christian nation, and many believe it should be one. Such views are especially strong among Republicans and their white evangelical base. Already such views are being voiced by supporters of Donald Trump amid his bid to recapture the presidency. The idea of a Christian America means different things to different people. Pollsters have found a wide circle of Americans who hold general God-and-country sentiments. But within that is a smaller, hardcore group who also check other boxes in surveys — such as that the U.S. Constitution was inspired by God and that the federal government should declare the U.S. a Christian nation, advocate Christian values or stop enforcing the separation of church and state. Photos You Should See For those embracing that package of beliefs, it’s more likely …

The Guardian view on the digital pound: an impetuous idea with a risky momentum of its own | Editorial

The Guardian view on the digital pound: an impetuous idea with a risky momentum of its own | Editorial

Two years ago, the House of Lords looked into whether the Bank of England should issue digital pounds to be held in electronic wallets. Peers were unconvinced, asking if this wasn’t “a solution in search of a problem”. Last December, MPs on the Treasury select committee said the same thing. The government’s response, however, was to tell the public to prepare for a “Britcoin” to be in use by the end of the decade. Physical money has been around for thousands of years for good reason. Cash is convenient, reliable and anonymous. It seems unlikely that these advantages could be replicated online. State-backed e-cash might look inevitable to officials who say money is already digital, pointing to cryptocurrencies and smartphone payments. But central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) are different. A Britcoin would shift the management burden from commercial banks to Threadneedle Street. Paul Tucker, a former deputy Bank governor, argued in his book Global Discord that the west is responding to China’s digital renminbi, which potentially gives the state social control through direct access to banking …

I still love my husband after 30 years. But I have no idea how we’ve stayed together | Emma Beddington

I still love my husband after 30 years. But I have no idea how we’ve stayed together | Emma Beddington

February is a double festival of love for me because my wedding anniversary falls just before Valentine’s Day. Most years we share nothing more than a slightly shifty “I haven’t got you anything,” but maybe this time we’ll push the boat out because we’ve been married for 10 years and have known each other for 30. I’ve been thinking about this, not just because those are big numbers, but because we’re in the US and my husband is working, meaning I’m alone in a quiet suburb, walking empty, alien streets and wondering what I’m doing here. That’s pretty much how we met: I was alone in another silent, strange suburb on my pre-university year out, wondering what I was doing there. He offered to take me out to “practise his English”, took me round a hardware store, then bought me an awful burrito (it was Normandy in 1994; you can imagine). The rest is (our) history. My son is here in the US for a year, too, with his first serious girlfriend, and it all …

Rafah ground assault looms over Palestinians who ‘have no idea where to go’

Rafah ground assault looms over Palestinians who ‘have no idea where to go’

CIA Director Bill Burns to travel to Egypt for hostage negotiations CIA Director Bill Burns is going to Egypt on Tuesday to continue hostage negotiations, a senior administration official confirmed to NBC News. The trip was first reported by Axios. Burns has been negotiating with officials from Egypt and Qatar, who are representing Hamas, as well as with Israeli intelligence officials from Mossad, Shin Bet and the IDF on behalf of Israel’s government. The U.S. official said Burns will be working on the next steps for achieving the release of the estimated 136 hostages still being held in Gaza. Last week, Hamas delivered a counteroffer to the original proposal that Burns and other negotiators had agreed upon in Paris last month. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a news conference in Tel Aviv on Wednesday that while some of the elements of the Hamas counteroffer were “nonstarters,” the Hamas response also contained elements that the U.S. could work with. Show more Other U.S. officials, and Qatari diplomats, described the Hamas response as “positive.” But …

Great Movies Have Great Casts

Great Movies Have Great Casts

A new Oscars category will recognize casting directors, who perform a mysterious but vital component of moviemaking. Illustration by The Atlantic. Source: Ted Levine / Getty. February 9, 2024, 1:51 PM ET The last time the Academy Awards introduced a new category, back in 2001, it was very overdue: a dedicated Oscar for animated films. Since then, only one idea has almost broken through, in 2018—an ill-defined “best popular film” award that was triumphantly announced and then quickly shelved when nobody could really agree on what its parameters would be. Expanding the Oscars is always tricky, because there’s already so much hand-wringing about the length of the ceremony. But yesterday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) dropped some shocking news: In two years, the show will add an award for achievement in casting. It’s perhaps not the sexiest of honors. The winner will be a film’s casting director, and they tend to be known only by the most inside-baseball industry folk. Whereas other awards bodies such as the Screen Actors Guild give …