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Chris Hadfield
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If Your Computer Existed in Multiple Universes, It Would Be Way Faster

Theoretical physicist Brian Greene gives a crash course on quantum computing in two minutes.

Brian Greene: A quantum computer is a device, a technological device that, in principle, would harness the full capacity of quantum mechanics to undertake calculations that a standard computer would be absolutely unable to achieve. One way of thinking about it is this. There’s an approach to quantum mechanics where one imagines that there are many, in some sense, parallel realities moving along in some larger environment if you will. Where, for instance, if I want to measure an electron, quantum theory says, "Well there’s a 50 percent chance it’s there and a 50 percent chance it’s over there." Now what does that mean? Well one interpretation says well there’s actually two universes and in one universe the electron is here and in another universe it is over there. That’s kind of a crazy-sounding idea but a quantum computer perhaps can harness that by doing some calculations over here and other calculations over there in parallel. Now it’s doing, in some sense, twice as many calculations as a classical computer existing in one world would be able to do. Now imagine taking that idea and spreading it over all of the possible realities allowed by quantum mechanics. Now you’re harnessing all of these different worlds, if you will, to do all of these calculations in parallel much faster, much more powerful. Doing calculations that in a single universe would be impossible. So this is one way of thinking about it and it offers amazing possibilities and we just need to see how successful we are at harnessing these ideas to actually put it into practice. And we don’t know yet. We’ll see going forward, but it’s an exciting possibility.

Theoretical physicist Brian Greene gives a two-minute crash course on quantum computing, which is pretty amazing considering how elaborate such a computer would be. The tl;dr version is pretty much this: If we posit that there are multiple universes in which various probable situations play themselves out, a quantum computer would be able to run calculations within all these different universes at once. Greene, who is chairman of the World Science Festival, explains that the implications of such a machine would be tremendous.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
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Creativity: The science behind the madness

Human brains evolved for creativity. We just have to learn how to access it.

Videos
  • An all-star cast of Big Thinkers—actors Rainn Wilson and Ethan Hawke; composer Anthony Brandt; neuroscientists David Eagleman, Wendy Suzuki, and Beau Lotto; and psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman—share how they define creativity and explain how our brains uniquely evolved for the phenomenon.
  • According to Eagleman, during evolution there was an increase in space between our brain's input and output that allows information more time to percolate. We also grew a larger prefrontal cortex which "allows us to simulate what ifs, to separate ourselves from our location in space and time and think about possibilities."
  • Scott Barry Kaufman details 3 brain networks involved in creative thinking, and Wendy Suzuki busts the famous left-brain, right-brain myth.

Dinosaur bone? Meteorite? These men's wedding bands are a real break from boredom.

Manly Bands wanted to improve on mens' wedding bands. Mission accomplished.

Sex & Relationships
  • Manly Bands was founded in 2016 to provide better options and customer service in men's wedding bands.
  • Unique materials include antler, dinosaur bones, meteorite, tungsten, and whiskey barrels.
  • The company donates a portion of profits to charity every month.
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What if Middle-earth was in Pakistan?

Iranian Tolkien scholar finds intriguing parallels between subcontinental geography and famous map of Middle-earth.

Image: Mohammad Reza Kamali, reproduced with kind permission
Strange Maps
  • J.R.R. Tolkien hinted that his stories are set in a really ancient version of Europe.
  • But a fantasy realm can be inspired by a variety of places; and perhaps so is Tolkien's world.
  • These intriguing similarities with Asian topography show that it may be time to 'decolonise' Middle-earth.
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How #Unity2020 plans to end the two-party system, bring back Andrew Yang

The proposal calls for the American public to draft two candidates to lead the executive branch: one from the center-left, the other from the center-right.

Photo by David Becker/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The #Unity2020 plan was recently outlined by Bret Weinstein, a former biology professor, on the Joe Rogan Experience.
  • Weinstein suggested an independent ticket for the 2020 presidential election: Andrew Yang and former U.S. Navy Admiral William McRaven.
  • Although details of the proposal are sparse, surveys suggest that many Americans are cynical and frustrated with the two-party system.
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