All Posts (39)

Let’s Hear it For Puzzles

Did you know puzzles have been around since at least 1700 BCE?  Archaeologists have found puzzle jugs in Cyprus dating back to that long-ago era.  Most of us have probably never played with a puzzle jug, but even the ubiquitous jigsaw puzzle has been here since 1767.  Crossword puzzles got a later start in 1913, and the Rubik’s Cube debuted in 1974. Whether you solve puzzles with pen and paper, with friends, or with your keen mental strength, puzzles have a lot to offer our brain.  Check out these 7 benefits including the growth of new brain connections, and the ability to better formulate and test theories.

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We know the world is ever-changing and, honestly, we like it that way.  We like the innovation and creativity that comes from human dreams and observations of the world around us.  We are definitely fans of such leaps forward as indoor plumbing and air conditioning. But, what about changing something that seems like a foundational building block for our world?  Something we refer to as “not just a good idea, but a law”? Yes, we’re talking about gravity. Dutch theoretical physicist Erik Verlinde has a hypothesis that completely rethinks what gravity could be.  It doesn’t get rid of it or ignore its existence, but it explains it in different terms than Newton and Einstein.  His theory, still being studied and fleshed out, is that gravity is an “entropic force that comes into existence as a result of information associated with the positions of material bodies...what drives gravity is the quantum entanglement of tiny bits of spacetime information.”  If you find that hard to understand, that’s okay. Verlinde says new ideas in theoretical physics takes time. 

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Self-Flying Spacecraft

On June 24, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launched, carrying new NASA technology to space.  One of the technologies, the Deep Space Atomic Clock, will hopefully improve deep space navigation and, one day, enable spacecraft to fly itself.  The Clock is similar to atomic clocks found in GPS satellites, but more stable, and will be a critical part of future spacecraft navigation systems - if it works.  The Clock just started a one-year technology demonstration, and it will take weeks for the Clock to fully power on, and months before any performance analysis can begin.


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The ocean hides many treasures in various forms: exotic marine specimens, colorful and bizarre flora and fauna, and innumerous wreck sites.  When wrecked ships, planes, and cars can’t be safely brought to the surface, how do scientists study them? With the help of photogrammetry.  With a combination of laser scans, thousands of photos, and software that pieces everything together to make 3D models, researchers have the ability to study wrecks from the comfort of an office.  Photogrammetry helped solve the mystery of a couple who went missing in 1928 because it allowed a diver to capture images of a 1927 Chevrolet; it made it possible to display a PBM Mariner virtually in a museum - there’s only one of these planes left intact in the world; and, it’s even been used to bring real-world objects and places realistically into video games.

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Faster Than Normal – A Positive Side to ADHD

In 2016, approximately 9.4% of children between the ages of 2-17 had ever been diagnosed with ADHD.  This amounts to 6.1 million children, with the majority of the children affected falling between 12-17 years old.  A Google search for “living with ADHD,” returns 89,500,000 results.  Articles range from “What Being Undiagnosed Feels Like,” to “Adult ADHD and Your Relationships.”  Many of the articles discuss the struggles and strains of living with ADHD, but that isn’t the only perspective out there.  There’s a very interesting ADHD podcast that focuses on the benefits of being gifted with ADD/HD.  Peter Shankman created Faster Than Normal, the podcast that features people from all over the world in multiple different professions; teachers, politicians, CEOs, and rock stars are all there.  They talk about unlocking the gifts of their diagnosis, and using their self-knowledge to grow personally and professionally, bettering their lives.  That’s a lesson anyone could benefit from.

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Radio Signals from Deep Space

A telescope in Canada picked up 13 fast radio bursts (FRBs) coming from a galaxy about 1.5 billion light years away. That’s an intense long-distance message. Such an event has happened before, but only once, and that time the FRBs were picked up by a different telescope. What does it all mean? It’s fun to think the bursts could originate from an alien spaceship or populated planet, but scientists tend to think along other lines. For example, the source could be a neutron star with a very strong magnetic field, or two neutron stars merging together. Whatever the reason, it’s pretty amazing that Earth telescopes can pick up something that’s travelled 1.5 billion light years.

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At Home on Mars

The InSight lander safely reached Mars on November 26, traveling at an insanely fast 12,300 mph (19,795 km/h).  Of course, it drastically slowed down before making contact, but we’re still very impressed.  InSight immediately sent a message back to Earth and started taking pictures of its new home, just like anyone would do after finally reaching an exotic destination.  Eventually, Insight will deploy a seismometer to measure “marsquakes,” and set up a HP3 heat probe to take Mars’ temperature.  All that will take time though, as Insight needs to settle in and complete the setup process.  Jim Green, NASA Chief Scientist, hopes InSight will be happily at work by March 2019.

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How to Make Working Remotely Work Well

Remote work is growing in popularity, and it isn’t hard to see why.  Hiring remotely allows businesses to save on real estate, and to engage talented people from around the world.  For employees, remote work removes a need to relocate and completely eliminates time spent commuting.  It’s also tempting to picture ourselves working in our pajamas, or maybe in a beachfront café, or taking time in the middle of the day to take the dog for a run.  All of this is possible with at least some remote jobs, but it’s important to remember the challenges that come with working and hiring remotely.  Do companies have a strategy in place for getting employees access to necessary technology?  How do people interact for work?  How do you make people feel like part of a team when they haven’t ever met face-to-face?  For some companies this is all new, but they’re working at getting it right.  For other companies, like Clevertech, remote work has been the name of the game for over a decade.  They know how to engage employees and clients, while building a strong community and culture.  View Clevertech careers here.

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Meta Data and Videos

Meta Data is an interesting topic.

Meta tags are used for web pages and are inserted between the head tags which are at the very top of a web page. This meta data helps search engines crawling your site to determine what they are seeing. The more relevant your meta data to your content and advertising, the better your site will rank. 

The concept of meta data can be associated with a lot of content on the internet. Most recently, it was discovered that tagging your videos with meta data correctly can help improve its individual ranking with search engines, much like web pages with meta tags. 

Effective software for tagging these videos is scarce, but the new startup - VRMeta - has put together a solution that allows its user's to effectively and accurately place meta data within a video. 


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3D-Printed Technology Saving Lives

3D-printing has changed dramatically since inventors first attempted to use it in 1980.  It’s now found in multiple industries including manufacturing, architecture, art, and medicine.  Recently, doctors at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta used the technique in a groundbreaking pediatric surgery.  Doctors at the hospital received emergency clearance from the FDA to use 3D-printed tracheal splints to open the airways of a 7-month-old battling congenital heart disease and Tracheobronchomalacia.  Three 3D-printed splints were placed around the baby’s trachea to open his airways.  Eventually, the splints will be absorbed into the body.

This is a fantastic example of human ingenuity, and the miracles that can occur with technology and dedicated professionals working together.

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Football Season

It is the start of the season for the most popular sport in America.


The start of the season means that teams are finally going to see what they've produced over the past 6 months. General Managers are going to love or hate decisions they've made based on actual production on the field. Will the teams at the bottom of the pack make a rise to the top? Will the teams on the bubble of making the playoffs last year finally be able to break through?

Another question looming the NFL is the ever-so abundent term - CTE. Will the NFL be able to sustain its glory even though there is research pointing to detrimental activity in the brain after a player's career? 

Some players like Tom Brady and Eli Manning have been in the league a long time now, and guys like these need to be as healthy and active as possible in order to compete. VA Surgery Associates understands the need to be healthy in order to perform your greatest at your time of need. We are looking forward to the start of a healthy season tonight!

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Should We Manage Our Own Online Identities?

Enthusiasts are looking to blockchain technology to return ownership of personal data to individuals.  This decentralization would give individuals the power to share data, or not, as desired.  It has appeal, certainly, as hacks of sensitive data persist across the world.  There are challenges though.  One: how would the technology actually work?  Two: Are there enough people invested in the idea for widespread adoption?

Marketing would be key to convince people decentralization solves a problem, is safe, and is worth the hard work of managing personal encryption.  Technology is growing.  Here’s another opportunity to see how we’ll grow with it.

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The Power of Twitter

Imagine for a second, the World is at a standstill. It is the cuban missle crisis and a million thoughts per second are going on through everyone's minds. A billion different opinions spanning across the globe that are left unheard.

Imagine... If Twitter were around during this time period. Imagine having a billion opinions on anything going on as we have now. What might have happened if JFK and the World were on Twitter? Could you picture a sporting event where the power of Twitter would have made a huge impact within the sport? 

Appreciate the evolution of technology as we continue to grow with it, and imagine the possibilities in the future as we think about the past through it's lens. 

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Surgery Centers

Surgery centers such as Virginia Surgery Associates provides expert providers to general consumers. While marked by most as a business for profit, the service provides customers with optimum care and surgery in something that is very intriquite and personal which can provide a safe feeling of sorts for anyone looking to receive surgery. 

With incredible providers like Barry Walter, General and Breast Surgeon, customers are able to receive top-of-the-line care.  

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Eight Teams Compete to Change Conversational AI

“I firmly believe that ambient computing is here to stay,” Amazon’s head of devices, Dave Limp, told The Verge in a recent article.  Amazon is currently holding its Alexa Prize competition, a multimillion-dollar competition to build AI that can chat just like a human.  This year’s eight teams know they face incredible challenges but the drive and passion, the ingenuity and creativity is there – and that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  For technology to change, something has to galvanize research. For there to be a future in voice-based computing, someone has to be willing to try and fail, to meld together existing techniques and to think of something completely new.  


As bright minds continue dreaming of ways to change AI, it will be interesting to see how the digital world changes.

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Subscription Services are Taking Over

Lately, I've noticed an influx of competition in the "Subscription Service" industry.

Companies offering their products to be available intermittently whether it is a monthly, bi-monthly, yearly or what have you type of subscription. Everyone is trying to operate under this business model because it is working. Consumers like receiving things in the mail, and the thrill of opening something to see what was put together for you is enough motivation to make this model such a success. Whether it is underwear, socks, razors, or nostalgic products based on a hit TV show like Sophistigeek

Following trends like this in the business world is always interesting, and I am curious to see how the business model fairs in the coming years. 

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Marketing and Fortnite

Fortnite has taken over the world. They have created a free product that is able to generate millions in revenue through purely cosmetic items in an in-game shop. The thought that a single product can cultivate the community that it has online is astounding (not to mention the hundreds of viral fortnite memes and videos). These memes range from angry girlfriends to jaw-dropping gameplay. This game has created more than just a product through its friendly game culture and competitive ability, it has enabled itself to be a dynamic brand. 

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Digital Marketing and Surgery

Obviously Surgery and Marketing are completely seperate fields, but there are some small pieces of each that can be connected in terms of similarities. 

In Marketing, it is important to analyze things and create a plan before heading into a campaign. In surgery, a Surgeon must map out the surgery and plan for patient rehabilitation before a surgery is performed. Carefully analyze the local environment before taking action, and put forth the best plan possible. Many surgical practices take the time to put together a plan for the patients, as do Marketing firms for their clients. Virginia Surgery Associates is able to provide insight for us on the plans put together for patients by expert surgeons. 

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