In the modern world, the gap between the digital and the real self is becoming more and more noticeable, and Instagram filters and applications like Facetune only increase it. How can you resist when there are so many tools to polish your appearance to perfection? Vox journalist Rebecca Jennings wrote a great article about this. We publish an adapted translation of her material.
There is no limit to perfection. Unfortunately
Popular selfie editing app Facetune has a tool that student Zoe Shuver uses to add sparkle to her earrings. It also allows you to correct skin imperfections and add volume to your lips.
According to Zoe, she and her friends don’t use Facetune very often. But they often see edited photos on Instagram accounts of influencers and celebrities. If someone from her environment was constantly retouching the photo in Facetune, it would seem strange to the girl. “It’s okay to edit minor flaws, but you shouldn’t get carried away with such things,” she said.
For most of their lives, Zoe’s generation had access to modern technology and social networks, and therefore the ability to independently edit photographs. Facetune is a cheap and easy-to-use alternative to Photoshop in your pocket. The application allows you to instantly smoothen the skin, “lose weight” and change any part of the face or body.
With Facetune, anyone can retouch their photo beyond recognition. This is how a digital personality appears, which has almost nothing to do with the real one. New cool filters make us look like experimental cyborgs rather than cute.
Facetune was launched in 2013 by five friends from Israel. In two years, their company Lightricks generated about $ 18 million in revenue from 4.5 million app downloads, each of which cost between $ 3 and $ 4 in 2015. Since its inception, Lightricks has raised at least $ 70 million: $ 10 million in 2015 and $ 60 million in November 2018. At the end of 2016, Lightricks released Facetune 2: the app is free to download, but you have to pay $ 5.99 every month to unlock all features.
By the spring of 2018, Facetune 2 had been downloaded over 20 million times. At the same time, almost 500,000 subscribers paid an average of $ 40 per year. In 2017, Facetune became the most popular paid app in the AppStore.
And science fiction writers warned
Writer David Foster Wallace practically predicted Facetune in his 1996 novel Endless Joke. Events unfold in dystopian North America. Much of the book looks surreal, but some of what the author describes is already happening.
Technology exacerbates human vanity. Is always. In the past, present, and even in fictional universes.
In Wallace’s world, the creation of the videophone caused people to become so self-conscious about their appearance that they began using equipment to adjust the image during calls. These digital masks removed bags under the eyes, smoothed out wrinkles and turned people into perfect versions of themselves. The difference between their real appearance and the virtual picture made them feel bad. Naturally, corporations made money on this.
Facetune and other similar apps follow the same principle. Inspired by digital filters, people go for dermatological treatments or even surgeries to reshape their faces. As in “Endless Joke”, this phenomenon has a name – “video-physiognomic dysphoria.”
Something similar happened when I tried Facetune myself. I downloaded the $ 3.99 version and immediately felt terrible. After smoothing, my skin looked waxy and washed out, and the enlargement of the eyes and lips didn’t make me look like the sexy Instagram girls. My photo looked more like a Bratz doll after an accident.
When I tried to make myself slimmer, it got worse. I became like Forky, a toy that was made out of handy tools in Toy Story 4. Completing the picture was a distorted fence behind me. He betrayed my attempts to “lose weight” with the help of the program. The idea of publishing this photo was unthinkable – like Zoe, I was too worried about what friends who know me in real life would say.
To avoid being caught using Facetune, you need to train constantly. Even celebrities, whose subscribers notice the slightest flaws, still do not edit perfectly. Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Victoria’s Secret models and other celebrities have already been caught changing their Instagram photos. You can also remember Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, who adore Facetune.
Find someone who loves you as much as Donald Trump Jr. and his Fox News girlfriend love FaceTune pic.twitter.com/WuRpe3AEPD
— Gibson Johns (@gibsonoma) June 25, 2018
But the most prominent examples are TV show stars. Their fakaps are broadcast on national television – many were filmed naked, drunk, or at the time of their arrest.
Unlike influencers, who attract fans with carefully selected photographs, TV stars have no control over how they look on screen. They just sign documents and do not know what they will get in the end. However, their Instagram accounts have a lot of edited photos.
Last summer, podcaster Tracy Clayton asked Twitter followers to share pictures of them looking happy but actually going through tough times. Among the 700 respondents was a woman who suffered from nausea and vomiting all day on her wedding day.
im curious. if youre comfortable doing so, post a picture of you that you shared on social media where you were actually having a really tough time in life even tho you look perfectly fine in the picture.
— tracy the business goose (@brokeymcpoverty) July 11, 2018
Clayton tweeted about it to help her feel less lonely. Influencers experience similar feelings when they write that their life is not as ideal as it seems on social networks.
Digital alter ego
The perfect digital look is called Instagram Face: big eyes, plump lips, radiant skin, narrow waist. To achieve this result, you have to go under the surgeon’s knife. Or download yourself Facetune. These enhancements (digital or surgical) must be sophisticated enough to be perceived as natural.
“Nobody wants to be called a fake. Influencers feel they need to look authentic while getting as beautiful a picture as possible, ”says Brooke Erin Duffy, Associate Professor at Cornell University.
This is the paradox: we want celebrities (and ourselves) to look flawless, but at the same time remain natural. This has led to the emergence of accounts that “follow” the authenticity of celebrities.
For example, profile celebface with 1.1 million subscribers. They publish photos of celebrities in the “before / after” format – the results of retouching or surgical interventions, as well as close-up shots from the red carpet, where the pores and wrinkles of the stars are clearly visible.
Another example is subreddit r / Instagramreality. Since its launch a year and a half ago, it has amassed nearly 500,000 members. “In my opinion [Facetune] has done more harm than good and its popularity is scary, ”says Instagramreality creator Zaza9000.
She launched the subreddit after studying Photoshop in her graphic design class in high school. This knowledge made her ashamed of her own photographs. The girl wanted to talk about it with people who are experiencing the same. Zaza9000 says she no longer edits her photos in Photoshop and feels much better.
The distinction between real and digital appearance is often the subject of ridicule. For example, famous YouTube blogger Ethan Klein shot a video comparing influencers on Instagram and in real life.
People like Klein can object, they say, they are just trying to attract subscribers. But there’s another option: Instagram’s aesthetics are just going out of style. Influencers like Emma Chamberlain and Joanne Seddia have already abandoned Facetune in favor of realistic photos. Being beautiful is no longer so interesting, because it is available to everyone.
Oddly enough, even my poorly edited photos seemed to me better than the original. I wanted to touch up imperfect skin, and make my eyes a little larger, even if it made me look like a porcelain doll.
A similar feeling was experienced by the heroes of “Endless Joke”. In the book, users of videophone masks became so emotionally attached to their appearance during a conversation that they were afraid to communicate with people in real life. Technology has solved this problem by almost completely eliminating the human face from the conversation – almost like in a regular phone. What an irony.
The author of the dystopia offered an almost joyful ending to the novel: “The subscribers found that they were again without makeup and with bags under their eyes. And free again. “
Tesla’s autopilot is to blame for the deaths of two people: is it true or not?
In April 2021, a terrible accident occurred in the US state of Texas. A Tesla car with two passengers flew off the highway at high speed, crashed into a tree and began to burn. It took the firefighters 4 hours and more than 120 thousand liters of water to put out the fire. Subsequently, the burnt bodies of two men were found inside the car: the first was sitting in the front passenger seat, and the second – in the back. Before the trip, they told their wives that they wanted to ride the car and mentioned the autopilot system. There was really no one in the driver’s seat, so the media began to write that the accident was the fault of Tesla’s automatic driving system. Our editorial staff immediately had a question: how could the autopilot system be turned on if no one was driving? After all, Tesla cars carefully ensure that while driving on autopilot, a person sits in the driver’s seat and holds on to the steering wheel. A very mysterious story has happened – now I will tell you everything that is known at the moment.
Tesla crash in Texas
The fatal accident occurred on April 18 and became known about it thanks to The Verge… Two elderly men from the Texas city of Spring got into a car that did not fit into a turn and crashed into a tree. The police said that at the time of the accident, there was definitely no one in the driver’s seat. It has been argued that Tesla’s autopilot is to blame for the deaths of the men. Many people easily believed it, but the owners of electric cars from Elon Musk strongly disagreed with the police version.
The fact is that Tesla cars carefully ensure that the driver always sits behind the wheel and watches the road. If the driver’s seat does not feel the weight of a person in the driver’s seat, his face is not in the camera view and no one is holding the steering wheel – the autopilot simply does not work. All this is done because the system still cannot fully control the vehicle and must be constantly monitored. Tesla’s autopilot can only follow a given lane, park on its own, keep its distance from other cars and avoid collisions. In any dangerous situation, the driver must take control.
How to trick Tesla’s autopilot?
However, Tesla’s autopilot can be easily fooled. One of the popular hackers recently said that the system starts working if a photo of the driver is hung in front of the camera inside the car. Even if the image does not move, the software thinks that the person is watching the road closely. The hand tracking feature can be fooled by simply stuffing a large orange into the steering wheel. And the pressure sensors on the driver’s seat are simply turned off when deceived by the methods mentioned above.
Apparently, it was these tricks that were used by people who posted provocative videos with Tesla cars. In 2018, a man was stripped of his license for sitting in a passenger seat with his arms thrown back behind his head while driving an electric car. And in 2020, the blogger lay down to rest in the back seat while the car was driving on autopilot. True, it did not last long.
How safe is Tesla autopilot?
The accident in Texas is shrouded in mystery. Not only that, the Tesla car could not go on autopilot while the driver was in the passenger seat. Elon Musk generally said that the owner of the electric car did not buy the Full Self Driving feature, which costs $ 10,000. So at the moment it is impossible to answer exactly what happened on the Texas road. We could assume that the men were simply cheating on Tesla’s security system and resting in the passenger seats. But this is impossible if there was simply no autopilot in the car.
The fatal accident happened at a very inopportune time for Tesla. Many regulators began to seriously question the company’s autopilot safety. In March, the NHTSA began investigating 23 accidents involving Tesla vehicles that may have been the autopilot’s fault. There have been seven fatal accidents in the manufacturer’s vehicles in the past 5 years, with the autopilot system being blamed most.
In 2016, Tesla representatives boasted that their cars drove about 210 million kilometers with the autopilot on. In comparison, ordinary cars kill people every 97 million kilometers of total mileage. In 2017, the NHTSA administration confirmed this data – according to statistics, in Tesla cars with the autopilot on, airbags are deployed 40% less often. From this we can conclude that vehicles with an autopilot are safer than with manual driving. But it is too early to draw hasty conclusions and it is better to wait for the results of new investigations. In the aftermath of the April accident, such cases will clearly be closely scrutinized.
Most accidents in Tesla cars are people’s fault. The company is trying in every way to make sure that drivers follow the road even when the autopilot is on. But no – people want to outsmart technology and relax behind the wheel. In 2018, a Tesla car drove into a concrete divider and caught fire, after which the driver died in hospital. The investigation revealed that during the accident, the owner’s hands were not on the steering wheel and his attention was clearly directed to the smartphone. In 2016, another person crashed in a Tesla car – it turned out that in 37 minutes of the trip he held the steering wheel for only 25 seconds.
Finally, it is worth noting that the problem with Tesla cars is not only the autopilot. The company uses lithium-ion batteries for power supply, which can explode and burn from a strong shock even in the absence of oxygen. It took firefighters about 4 hours to put out a car in Texas. To do this, they had to call Tesla and consult with the company’s specialists.
The microchip will detect COVID-19. Chipping started?
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to march across the planet. According to official data, an average of 8 thousand cases of coronavirus infection are recorded in our country per day, and the first place in the world in terms of the number of infected, according to Johns Hopkins University, is still occupied by the United States with more than 30 million confirmed cases. The fight against the pandemic is also in full swing – mass vaccinations have been deployed in more than 140 countries around the world. However, according to experts, due to the unfair distribution of vaccines in developing countries, it is possible to expect a victory over the virus no earlier than 2023. But do not forget that another effective way to combat infectious (and not only) diseases is their early detection. Recently, scientists from the United States have developed a medical microchip that, when implanted under the skin, can detect SARS-CoV-2 in the body in a matter of minutes.
Microchip for detecting COVID-19
As with other infectious diseases, the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to detect the infection early. This means that in our time, we must be aware of any symptoms that may appear over time. But not everyone can recognize the symptoms when they appear. And, as we all know, failure to do so can lead to the transmission and spread of the virus.
But that could change with a new medical microchip developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a military laboratory unit operating under the US Department of Defense. Designed for subcutaneous implantation, microchip can detect COVID-19 in the bloodstream for a few minutes.
When implanted, the microchip will also be able to display chemical reactions in the body, which signals the “user” that symptoms of COVID-19 will appear the next day. Researchers at DARPA have worked for years on ways to prevent transmission of infections and fight pandemics, according to a published report.
Their job was shown in the show “60 Minutes” on the American television channel CBS on April 11. The microchip, which reportedly does not track movement, sits in a tissue-like gel and is designed to test the patient’s blood, “writes Britain’s The Independent.
Interestingly, the microchip itself is in a green tissue-like gel and, when implanted, can display chemical reactions in the body, which signals the “user” about the impending symptoms of the disease (which, as a rule, appear the next day).
Where and how to use the microchip?
In fact, medical microchips have been (and have been used) for quite some time. For example, back in 2004, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a radio frequency identification (RFID) device called VeriChip, which allowed doctors to view a patient’s medical records for quick and efficient evaluation. Over the years, many implantable microchips for various medical purposes, for example, for the delivery of various types of drugs.
FDA Approval VeriChip met tough opposition, but in the following years, many implantable microchips have been developed for various medical purposes, such as delivering various types of drugs (including birth control) and even microchips that help monitor heart health. And speaking of new developments, DARPA also recently invented a special filter that can be attached to a dialysis machine and literally remove COVID-19 from the blood of critically ill patients.
Once the chip sends you a “signal”, you can check yourself for COVID-19. “It’s like a check engine light,” the developers note, explaining that anyone using the new technology will immediately receive a kind of signal that prompts them to conduct a COVID-19 test on their own.
And, of course, it should be noted – before you start building any conspiracy theories, just know that these chips that detect COVID-19 will not be able to track movement or location. By the way, recently we talked in detail about why Bill Gates is not going to massively chip the population of the Earth and does not want to end up “killing all people”.
It is noteworthy that the new microchip may well be used by American sailors, especially after the incident associated with the outbreak of COVID-19 aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, as a result of which 1,271 crew members tested positive.
Physicists have invented a way to detect dark matter
Our Universe is formed by something that you and I cannot directly observe. This mysterious substance, called dark matter, fills 85% of the universe and is responsible for its structure and the arrangement of galaxies and stars. Since dark matter does not interact with light, but has weight, it can only be measured indirectly – dark matter bends the light of stars due to the gravitational effect, just as glass refracts light. Is it any wonder that this mysterious substance has puzzled scientists for decades. But science does not stand still, and the latest research in the field of quantum technologies may turn out to be a vital link in unraveling the mystery of dark matter. Recently, a collaboration of US researchers has developed new devices using quantum computing bits that can detect weak signals from any of the subatomic particles. The new method, physicists believe, will search for evidence of the existence of dark matter 1000 times faster than ever.
While the rovers fly across the Red Planet, the world of physics is literally shaken by scientific discoveries. Recently, researchers at Fermilab reported a discovery that contradicts the Standard Model, a theoretical construct that describes the electromagnetic, weak, and strong interactions of all elementary particles. According to the results obtained, muons – they were found in cosmic rays – deflect when passing through a magnetic field, which contradicts theory and may be a sign of the existence of a force of nature unknown to science.
At the same time, scientists from the Budapest-Marseille-Wuppertal Collaboration applied a new method for calculating the interaction of muons with magnetic fields. Their results, oddly enough, confirmed the inviolability of the Standard Model and if they turn out to be correct, then there is no discrepancy between theory and experiment, which means there is no new force of nature.
It is important to note that the studies described above are far from the only ones in this area. For example, earlier results obtained at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN also indicate the possible existence of new physics, and Danish scientists recently questioned the existence of dark energy, a force believed to be responsible for the expansion of the Universe.
Today physicists themselves cannot say anything definite (especially about the collapse of the Standard Model), since all the results obtained will need to be double-checked. This process, according to scientists, can take a year or a year and a half. As the physicist Andrei Golutvin, who works at the Large Hadron Collider, said in an interview with Tass.Nauka, “during this time the existence of the“ new physics ”will either be confirmed or denied”.
In the meantime, scientists are working to verify the results, physicists from the University of Chicago seem to have found a clue to the mystery of dark matter, which – and this is the most interesting – is associated with the results obtained at Fermilab.
How to detect dark matter?
Direct detection of dark matter particles has eluded scientists for decades, but not because of a lack of effort. Experiments on Earth were aimed at searching for a strange substance with the help of the LHC, but space seems to be conducting its own experiments – astronomers (provided they know where to look) can already detect the signature of dark matter today. This can be done using unusual X-rays from galaxies (when dark matter particles decay), strange flashes of light or X-rays near neutron stars (when dark matter particles turn into photons in their powerful magnetic fields). But there is also another way.
It was recently demonstrated by a team of researchers from the University of Chicago and the US Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, developing new devices capable of detecting weak signals from any of the subatomic particles – “axion” and “hidden photon” – they were thought to interact with photons or light particles. in the visible everyday universe.
The theoretical existence of axions was proposed more than 30 years ago, but it was not possible to detect them experimentally. The new technology, according to scientists, is capable of radically advancing scientific research in the study of dark matter. Read the text of the study published in the journal Physical Review Letters. here…
“We know that there is a huge amount of mass around us, which does not consist of the same material as you and I,” – said Aaron Chow, a Fermilab physicist and co-author of the new study, told New Atlas. “The nature of dark matter is truly an insurmountable mystery that many of us are trying to unravel.”
Qubits and dark matter
It should be noted that in the last decade, scientists have improved their ability to use the properties of quantum mechanics that govern the strange behavior of particles on the smallest scales of the universe. Advances in this area have led to technology such as the “qubit” or bit of quantum computing. Qubits are inexpressibly sensitive to the slightest disturbance in the environment. And this (as you might have guessed) is exactly what physicists need to detect dark matter.
The new technique uses qubits to detect photons generated when dark matter particles strike an electromagnetic field. A special device, the so-called superconducting resonator, offers a way to create and store a signal photon: as soon as the photon is there, a qubit is inserted into the cavity and collects data about it. This method is most likely to help detect dark matter, since any invisible particlethat converts to photons can be seen. So you and I will have to wait again, but only this time in anticipation.
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