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I Am Dead is a playful exploration of death and memories

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I Am Dead is a game about objects. It’s obsessed with them, really. The way they look, the way they feel, how they can change depending on your perspective — and, most importantly, what they mean to people. It’s a game where you play as a ghost, but it uses that conceit as an excuse to let you freely explore a quaint island full of charming residents, searching through memories that are anchored by specific objects. It’s heartfelt and charming — and not at all as dark as the name I Am Dead implies.

The premise is, admittedly, quite strange. You play as Morris, the recently deceased curator of a museum on a small island who has two particular ghostly powers: he can venture into the memories of the living and peer inside of objects with a strange sort of X-ray vision. The island, meanwhile, is home to a volcano that could erupt any day; in order to prevent this imminent danger, Morris must search out a fellow ghost to become the island’s new protector. He does this with the help of his dead dog who can now talk. Oh, and the island is also home to races of bird, fish, and fruit people. There’s even a robot with feelings.

It’s all a bit weird, but the game itself is relatively straightforward. As Morris, you have a bird’s-eye view of the world. You can float around, not worrying about a physical form, and use your powers to peer into buildings and objects. It’s a satisfyingly tactile experience: you can lock onto an object and then cut into it to peer inside, all while rotating it around to scan it from every angle. Sometimes, you’ll find important objects; other times, it just looks cool. I Am Dead has a playful nature, encouraging you to peer into everything in order to find secrets, whether that’s some bugs in a head of lettuce or a hidden cache of stolen gloves in a fox’s den.

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The game divides the island into discrete sections — a campground, a boardwalk on the beach, a lighthouse retrofitted into a yoga studio — each of which is home to a ghost that has the potential to become the island’s new guardian. As Morris, your job is to find people who are thinking about the ghost and then search out objects associated with their memories in order to summon the would-be protector.

It sounds complicated, but the process is very streamlined. The characters you need to find will all have thought bubbles above them, and the game will always alert you when an important object is nearby. If you want to, it’s pretty easy to race through the story. Each object is accompanied by a sweet or sad tale that plays out like a narrated comic book. These do an amazing job of giving you a sense of the person you’re investigating, all of whom have personal mysteries that I won’t spoil here.

You could race through these stories, but I didn’t. I found myself lingering. The quiet, colorful world of I Am Dead is such a joy to explore that I never found myself in a rush to see what happened next. Instead, I would use the X-ray tool to look inside of, well, everything: a carton of eggs, a buzzing beehive, a shelf full of old records. The sheer act of cutting into these objects to look inside is fun. But the game is also full of jokes, oddities, and sweet narrative touches that reward poking around. As weird as the island is, it starts to make sense the more you explore, whether that’s the toast restaurant where the crowd is exclusively fish people or the ongoing mystery of whether camels are real.

Perhaps the best thing about I Am Dead is its leisurely nature. It’s a game full of stories, and it gives you the time and space to live with them. You can rifle through someone’s bedroom or relive the memories of their lost love, and the game never pushes you on to what’s next. It’s obsessed with the details and history of things — and it wants you to become obsessed, too.

I Am Dead is out now on PC and the Nintendo Switch.

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How to create an AI that chats like you on WhatsApp

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To train a GPT-2 neural network, first of all we need to pre-process the data, in order to obtain a single .txt with a machine-learning compatible structure.

2.1 Google Colab

For the sake of simplicity and since the machine learning model we will use requires a GPU to work, we’re going to use Google Colab for the next step.

If you don’t know what Google Colab is, check this other article here.

2.2 Start the notebook

Open this Colab notebook and follow these steps:

  1. Run the first block of cells called under the “0️⃣ Init” chapter
  2. Press “Run Anyway” on the pop-up
  3. Make sure that the first command !nvidia-smi shows that a GPU is connected (p100 is suggested)
  4. If no GPU is connected, go to Runtime > Change Runtime type > Hardware accelerator > GPU
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Example output when a Tesla T4 GPU is properly connected. | Image by Author

2.3 Load the data

To work with the data, we need to upload them on Colab, into the right folders.

WhatsApp chats
Select all your .txt files and upload everything into the following notebook folder:
./messaging-chat-parser/data/chat_raw/whatsapp/

Telegram JSON
Get the file telegram_dump.json and upload it into the following notebook folder:
./messaging-chat-parser/data/chat_raw/telegram/

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Example of the notebook files after the chats are uploaded | Image by Author

2.4 Parse the data

Now, run all the cells up until the block “2️⃣ Parse the data”.

Here we need to replace the variable “whatsapp_user_name” with your WhatsApp name, called  on the 1.1 chapter.

You can also change the date format parsing system if some of the exported data show a different format due to local time formatting.

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Cells used to set the user name. | Image by Author

So, for example, if my name is “Bob” and I’m from America, the code I should use is the following:

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Here’s why scientists think women are better suited to space travel

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Are women better astronauts than men? This question will become central to the selection of crews to the Moon, Mars, and beyond as we undertake the colonization of space.

In the struggle for gender equality, women have already proven they are capable of doing anything — including conquering space, showing that not even the sky is the limit for their success.

[Read: Meet Alyssa Carson, the 18-year-old training to become the first human on Mars]

“The first all-women spacewalk at the International Space Station was carried out in October of 2019 and many other milestones have already been accomplished by women astronauts. But there has yet to be a first woman on the moon (or on Mars),” Katharina Buchholz writes for Statista.

The first woman in space 

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Valentina Tereshkova seen in 1963 became the first woman in space. Image credit: RIA Novosti

Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova was born in Russia, in 1937. At the age of 18, working at a textile factory, she designed parachutes to aid her love of skydiving.

In the early 1960’s, the Soviet and American space programs were each engaged in reaching milestones in space exploration, attempting to upstage their adversary. Striving to beat the United States in sending the first woman in space, Soviet officials selected Tereshkova to become the first woman in space.

Tereshkova was launched into space on June 16, 1963, aboard the spacecraft Vostok 6. After 3 days, Vostok 6 reentered the atmosphere, culminating in Tereshkova successfully parachuting to Earth after ejecting at 20,000 feet. (This was standard for cosmonauts at the time).

“After her historic space flight, Valentina Tereshkova received the Order of Lenin and Hero of the Soviet Union awards… In 1966, Tereshkova became a member of the Supreme Soviet, the USSR’s national parliament, and she served as the Soviet representative to numerous international women’s organizations and events. She never entered space again, and hers was the last space flight by a woman cosmonaut until the 1980s,” The History Channel reports.

Although women successfully trained as American astronauts in the 1960’s, It took 15 years for the U.S. to fully accept women in their astronaut corps. In 1978, NASA approved six women to become the first woman astronauts of the U.S. space program.

One of them was Sally Ride, a doctor in physics who became part of the STS-7 crew on April 30, 1982, serving as a mission specialist. She was also the first American woman astronaut to return to space a second time, in 1984.

“Ride again made history when she became the first American woman to fly to space a second time on October 5, 1984, on shuttle mission STS-41G, where she was part of a seven-member crew that spent eight days in space. Another woman, mission specialist Kathryn D. Sullivan, was also part of that crew, making it the first NASA space flight with two women aboard (Sullivan became the first American woman to walk in space during that mission),
The History Channel reports.

After that, more than 59 women including cosmonauts, astronauts, payload specialists, and foreign nationals have flown in space, and several other women astronauts are now preparing to take their first flight beyond Earth.

Despite enormous progress, since Sally Ride took her first flight, over 80% of the astronauts are still men. The 2013 class of incoming astronauts were the first to reach a 50/50 division of women to men.

Advantages of flying women astronauts

There are some reasons suggesting that women astronauts may perform better than men in some respects, including:

  • Women are lighter: Sending too much weight to space requires fuel, costing a lot of money. Having more women on the crew could help reduce the cost of space travel.
  • Women eat fewer calories and use fewer resources: When you plan to send humans to Mars, it may be a good idea to have more women on the crew because they require 15 to 25% fewer energy calories than men. They also expend less energy despite possessing similar activity levels. Additionally, because women are (on average) smaller than men, they produce less waste (CO2 and body excretions), making it easier for the spacecraft systems to recycle it.
  • Space traveling affects men and women differently: Due to the effects of microgravity and radiation, space-traveling can have several implications on astronaut’s health. It seems that men are less affected by space motion sickness than women, but men are quicker to experience diminished hearing. Men also have a higher risk of vision problems, while women tend to have more urinary tract infections.
  • Women can give birth: One idea for the long-term colonization of space is to send an all-women crew to Mars or other colonies. This would reduce travel costs, as an all-women crew to reproduce over time through artificial means.

“More significantly, men tend to have problems with deteriorating vision, which women don’t experience as often or as severely. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly — who has spent a cumulative 520 days in space and has the eye problems to prove it — half-jokingly wrote in his autobiography that if scientists can’t figure out what’s causing those eye issues, ‘we just might have to send an all-women crew to Mars,’” Nadia Drake writes for National Geographic.

Women have already proven to be great astronauts. However, there have not yet been enough studies to conclude whether or not women should make up most — or all — of the first colonists to space.


This article was originally published on The Cosmic Companion by Dr. Ana Luiza Dias and James  Maynard. You can read this original piece here.

Astronomy News with The Cosmic Companion is also available as a weekly podcast, carried on all major podcast providers. Tune in every Tuesday for updates on the latest astronomy news, and interviews with astronomers and other researchers working to uncover the nature of the Universe.

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Yale may have just turned institutional investing on its head with a new diversity edict

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It could be the long-awaited turning point in the world of venture capital and beyond. Yale, whose $32 billion endowment has long been led since 1985 by the legendary investor David Swensen, just let its 70 money managers across a variety of asset classes know that for the school, diversity has now moved front and center.

According to the WSJ, Swensen has told the firms that from here on out, they be measured annually on their progress in increasing the diversity of their investment staff, meaning their hiring, training, mentoring and retention of women and minorities.

Those that show little improvement may see the university pull its money, Swensen tells the outlet.

It’s hard to overstate the move’s apparent significance. Though the endowment saw atypically poor performance last year, Swensen, at 66, is the most highly regarded endowment manager in the world, growing Yale’s endowment from $1 billion when he joined as a 31-year-old former grad student of the school, to the second-largest school endowment in the country today after Harvard, which currently manages $40 billion.

Credited for developing the so-called Yale Model, which is short on public equities and long on commitments to venture shops, private equity funds, hedge funds, and international investments, Swensen has inspired legions of other endowment managers, many of whom worked with him previously, including the current endowment heads at Princeton, Stanford, and the University of Pennsylvania.

It isn’t a stretch to imagine that they will again follow Swensen’s lead, which could go a long way in changing the stubbornly intractable world of money management, which remains mostly white and mostly male across asset classes.

While the dearth of woman and minorities within the ranks of venture firms may not be news to readers, a 2019 study commissioned by the Knight Foundation and cited by the WSJ found that women- and minority-owned firms held less than 1% of assets managed by mutual funds, hedge funds, private-equity funds and real-estate funds in 2017, even though their performance was on a par with such firms.

Swensen tells that WSJ that he has long talked about diversity with the fund managers to which the endowment commits capital, but that he had he held of anything systematic owing to a belief, in part, that there were not enough diverse candidate entering into asset management for a mandate to make sense.

After the Black Lives Movement gained momentum this spring, he decided it was time to take the leap.

What about that perceived pipeline concern? Fund managers will have to figure it out if they. For his part, says the WSJ, Swensen suggested to the U.S. managers that they forget the standard resume and consider recruiting directly from college campuses.

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