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The Paradoxical Power of the Tiny Tweet

Twitter followings are small. Personally, I recently hit more than 2,000 followers on Twitter after a few solid years of use. It’s nothing to crow about, not publicly at least. Most of my favorite Twitter friends have exponentially more followers than I do, and those are just the people who will meet me for a drink. Compared to celebrities, I’m followed by almost nobody. Of course it’s about quality, not quantity, and I cherish the conversations I have with any and all of my Twitter followers, but I don’t fool myself into thinking I’m influential or famous because of a measly 2,000 people.

[aquote]We can fool ourselves that the Twitter echo chamber is sparking revolutions[/aquote]

Twitter may have millions of users, but in terms of its effect on the zeitgeist, I’d stay it’s still minimal. Until my parents ask about it, it isn’t popular enough to matter. Sure, we can fool ourselves into believing the Twitter echo chamber is sparking revolutions and acting as a force for good, but mostly it’s a way to report on earthquakes in California and kvell about bad airline service.

After hurricane Sandy hit, I found myself called to northeastern New Jersey for a business meeting. All of the hotels were completely booked, filled mostly with refugees who still lacked power and the utility workers called in from around the country to try to restore it. I travelled with a team of three people, and all of us had to stay at different hotels because no single spot could accommodate us all.

When I checked into the Hampton Inn in Parsippany, I was told my room had been smoked. Of course, the hotel is non-smoking, but the previous tenants had decided the fee for smoking was worth paying to avoid battling what must have been an all-consuming religion of cigarette addiction. The room smelled of people who smoked like they were on a plane barreling towards the Atlantic with multiple engine fires.

The front desk apologized, but they could not offer a different room until the next night. I’d have to suffer. Hampton Inn has a very generous 100% guarantee, but the front desk only offered a “discount,” and then only “if I asked.”

I did not ask. I went to my room to sniff it out. It was awful, but I would survive, save the throbbing in my skull. Still, I did not ask for the refund. Not yet, at least.

Instead, I did what most of my friends would do. I went to Twitter. I did my best to brutalize Hampton Inn in the most civil way I could muster (ie. no cursing).

I heard from the corporate social networking response team within minutes. Minutes. If I had set a fire in my room and waited for the emergency squad to arrive, they would have taken longer to reach me than the Hilton International social networking team took to respond. They resolved my issue quickly, even beyond my expectations. At one point, I’ll admit I stooped so low as to provide my online bona fides and bylines, as a way of forewarning them this column would be coming. But it didn’t matter, because their response was already formidable.

For the same reason, Twitter is unusually popular with celebrities. You might think it’s a great place to drum up publicity and support, but is it really? I don’t think a Twitter following is so large that sheer numbers alone can make the difference. I don’t think the audience is paying close enough attention to catch the message, even in short bursts.

I think it is the highly personal nature of the interaction. It is direct, unmediated feedback. When I went to speak to the front desk, I liked to think I was speaking directly to Hilton International, but I was not. I was speaking to a poor young woman who was doing her best to manage a perturbed customer in a time of real crisis. It wasn’t even my crisis, I just stepped in it.

[aquote]Corporations have granted supreme power to social networking teams[/aquote]

Somehow, Twitter messages are taken more seriously. I am now tweeting directly to the corporation as a whole. Corporations, wisely I think, have granted supreme power to their social networking teams to respond to these issues. The front desk could offer me a discount, but the social networking team could do much more. They have resources, connections, and the ear of the power brokers.

I also think there is a fascinating dynamic in the follower / following relationship. If I am following you, you can send me a private message. I cannot respond, not privately, unless you are following me. For celebrities, this means that any celebrity can lean over and whisper in your ear, using a Direct Message. It is fleeting, and titillating. So much more personal than catching an eye in a crowd or reaching out a hand to shake.

Corporations have the opposite relationship. If they want to talk to you personally, they need to ask you to follow them. Now, you are the power broker. You can keep screaming into the wind, or you can make the connection and hear what they have to say; but first they have to reach out personally, directly, and ask to be heard.

You're reading The Paradoxical Power Of The Tiny Tweet

The Power Of The Samsung

A great company name holds weight, and endures over time. It’s memorable, recognizable and trustworthy.

But it can’t be born overnight. That’s why when YESCO Electronics, the LED sign and display manufacturer, was acquired by Samsung, a lot of consideration went into the brand’s new name: Prismview, A Samsung Electronics Company.

Merging the new (Prismview) with the established (Samsung), the name evokes trust, something especially important in technology. Samsung’s vast resources added to existing expertise and has positioned Prismview to become the world leader in digital signage.

People trust the Samsung brand, and so they trust Prismview. But what is in a name? And what does it bestow on Prismview?

A proven track record

A well-established company has more than just years under its belt, it has years of providing quality services and producing quality products.

One issue people face when purchasing large-scale tech like LED displays is cost. In an effort to save money, they may opt for a cheaper display from a relatively new company that hasn’t been around long enough to prove itself. Keeping costs low is important, but budget products can come with long-term problems. If and when the display needs repairs down the line, the question is, will that company still be around to make the necessary fixes or provide the necessary parts?

Founded in 1938, Samsung has a long, proven track record of success building high-quality products that can stand the test of time. In 2023, the company maintained its ranking as one of the top 10 Best Global Brands (#6) in the annual list by Interbrand. Samsung is a globally established company, and customers can confidently trust it will be around for the long-haul. And so will Prismview.

A network of global support

Over the past 25 years, Prismview has installed LED displays around the world. Armed with the elite customer service capabilities of the in-house Network Operations Center (the NOC), Prismview is able to effectively support customers worldwide.

And now, with the added resources of Samsung’s global offerings, Prismview is not only able to expand the reach of the NOC, but also provide customers with additional support options. Samsung’s global network of operations and support resources have been able to amplify Prismview’s worldwide reach, giving customers a higher tier of service.

A legacy of excellence

There’s a lot of work that goes into ensuring a product is ready to go to market. Each iteration of a new product has to go through ample rounds of testing and strict checks to meet compliance standards. To do this effectively takes substantial resources and a commitment to excellence that only an established company like Samsung can have.

As part of the Samsung company, these quality assurance checks inform Prismview’s processes as well. In order for the Prismview displays to fall under the Samsung name, they have to meet the highest standards.

And Prismview itself has its own legacy of rigorous quality control. With a manufacturing site in Logan, Utah, as opposed to overseas, Prismview is able to consistently ensure the highest quality product for customers. A multitiered approach to guaranteeing a high standard of craftsmanship is a hallmark of Samsung Prismview.

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A commitment to continued innovation

The best tech companies don’t sit on their laurels. They constantly evolve, adapt and innovate across their product offerings. But innovation (and not just a one-time upgrade, but constant improvements) takes substantial resources to continuously invest in research and development.

This is what Samsung is known for, and what the company has proven to do across both consumer and commercial product lines. Prismview capitalizes on this. With newfound resources and a commitment to innovation that is coming from their parent company, Prismview is able to promise cutting-edge technology to their partners for now, and well into the future.

With Prismview products, customers aren’t just getting top-of-the-line LED displays. They’re getting a promise of quality, a network of service, and a long-term, committed partner. And thanks to the Samsung name, customers have this assurance well before their new display is installed.

Explore the latest in digital signage from a time-tested brand.

Experience The Power Of Langchain: The Next Generation Of Language Learning

LangChain is an innovative framework for creating language-powered applications. LangChain, with its configurable approach and extensive integration features, gives developers a new level of control and flexibility when it comes to exploiting language models.


LangChain is a framework for creating language-powered apps. The most powerful and distinct apps will not only use an API to access a language model, but will also:

Be data-aware: Connect a language model to additional data sources.

Be agentic: Permit a language model to interact with its surroundings.

The LangChain framework is designed with the above principles in mind. This is the Python specific portion of the documentation.


At a high level, prompts are organized by use case inside the prompts directory. To load a prompt in LangChain, you should use the following code snippet:

from langchain.prompts import load_prompt prompt = load_prompt('lc://prompts/path/to/file.json')


Chains extend beyond a single LLM call to include sequences of calls (to an LLM or another utility). LangChain offers a standard chain interface, numerous connections with other tools, and end-to-end chains for typical applications.

Chains are organized by use case inside the chains directory at a high level. Use the following code snippet to load a chain in LangChain:

from langchain.chains import load_chain chain = load_chain('lc://chains/path/to/file.json')


Gents involve an LLM making judgements on which Actions to do, performing that Action, observing an Observation, and repeating this process until completed. LangChain provides a standard agent interface, a collection of agents, and examples of end-to-end agents.

Agents are organized by use case inside the agents directory at a high level. Use the following code snippet to load an agent in LangChain:

from langchain.agents import initialize_agent llm = ... tools = ... agent = initialize_agent(tools, llm, agent="lc://agents/self-ask-with-search/agent.json") Installation

To get started, install LangChain with the following command:

pip install langchain # or conda install langchain -c conda-forge Environment Setup

Integrations with one or more model providers, data storage, APIs, and so on are frequently required when using LangChain.

Because we will be using OpenAI’s APIs in this example, we must first install their SDK:

pip install openai

We will then need to set the environment variable in the terminal.

export OPENAI_API_KEY="..."

Alternatively, you could do this from inside the Jupyter notebook (or Python script):

import os os.environ["OPENAI_API_KEY"] = "..." Building a Language Model Application: LLMs

We can begin developing our language model application now that we have installed LangChain and configured our environment.

LangChain has a number of modules that may be used to create language model applications. Modules can be integrated to make more complicated applications or used alone to construct basic apps.

LLMs: Get predictions from a language model

The most fundamental LangChain building component is calling an LLM on some input. Let’s go over an easy example of how to achieve this. Assume we’re creating a service that generates a company name based on what the company produces.

To achieve this, we must first import the LLM wrapper.

from chúng tôi import OpenAI

We can then initialize the wrapper with any arguments. In this example, we probably want the outputs to be MORE random, so we’ll initialize it with a HIGH temperature.

llm = OpenAI(temperature=0.9)

We can now call it on some input!

text = "What would be a good company name for a company that makes colorful socks?" print(llm(text)) Feetful of Fun Prompt Templates: Manage prompts for LLMs.

Calling an LLM is a good start, but it’s only the beginning. When you utilise an LLM in an application, you usually do not pass user input directly to the LLM. Instead, you’re presumably gathering user input and creating a prompt, which you then send to the LLM.

In the last example, for example, the text we provided in was hardcoded to request a name for a firm that sold colourful socks. In this hypothetical service, we’d like to take only the user input describing what the company does and format the prompt with that information.

This is simple with LangChain!

Let’s start with the prompt template:

from langchain.prompts import PromptTemplate prompt = PromptTemplate( input_variables=["product"], template="What is a good name for a company that makes {product}?", )

Let’s now see how this works! We can call the .format method to format it.

print(prompt.format(product="colorful socks")) What is a good name for a company that makes colorful socks? Chains: Combine LLMs and prompts in multi-step workflows

Until now, we’ve only used the PromptTemplate and LLM primitives on their own. Of course, a real application is a combination of primitives rather than a single one.

In LangChain, a chain is built up of links that can be primitives like LLMs or other chains.

An LLMChain is the most basic sort of chain, consisting of a Prompt Template and an LLM.

Extending on the previous example, we can build an LLMChain that accepts user input, prepares it with a Prompt Template, and then sends the processed result to an LLM.

from langchain.prompts import PromptTemplate from chúng tôi import OpenAI llm = OpenAI(temperature=0.9) prompt = PromptTemplate( input_variables=["product"], template="What is a good name for a company that makes {product}?", )

We can now create a very simple chain that will take user input, format the prompt with it, and then send it to the LLM:

from langchain.chains import LLMChain chain = LLMChain(llm=llm, prompt=prompt)

Now we can run that chain only specifying the product!"colorful socks")

The first chain is an LLM Chain. Although this is one of the simpler types of chains, understanding how it works will prepare you for working with more complex chains.

Agents: Dynamically Call Chains Based on User Input

So far, the chains we’ve looked at run in a predetermined order.

An LLM is no longer used by agents to choose which actions to do and in what order. An action might be examining the output of a tool or returning to the user.

Agents may be immensely strong when utilized appropriately. In this tutorial, we will demonstrate how to utilize agents using the simplest, highest-level API.

In order to load agents, you should understand the following concepts:

Tool: A function that serves a certain purpose. This can include Google Search, database lookups, Python REPLs, and other chains. A tool’s interface is presently a function that is meant to take a string as input and return a string as output.

LLM: The language model that drives the agent.

Agent: The agent to use. This should be a string containing the name of a support agent class. This notebook only covers utilizing the standard supported agents because it focuses on the simplest, highest-level API. See the documentation on custom agents if you wish to implement one.

Agents: For a list of supported agents and their specifications, see here.

Tools: For a list of predefined tools and their specifications, see here.

For this example, you will also need to install the SerpAPI Python package.

pip install google-search-results

And set the appropriate environment variables.

import os os.environ["SERPAPI_API_KEY"] = "..."

Now we can get started!

from langchain.agents import load_tools from langchain.agents import initialize_agent from langchain.agents import AgentType from chúng tôi import OpenAI # First, let's load the language model we're going to use to control the agent. llm = OpenAI(temperature=0) # Next, let's load some tools to use. Note that the `llm-math` tool uses an LLM, so we need to pass that in. tools = load_tools(["serpapi", "llm-math"], llm=llm) # Finally, let's initialize an agent with the tools, the language model, and the type of agent we want to use. agent = initialize_agent(tools, llm, agent=AgentType.ZERO_SHOT_REACT_DESCRIPTION, verbose=True) # Now let's test it out!"What was the high temperature in SF yesterday in Fahrenheit? What is that number raised to the .023 power?")

I need to find the temperature first, then use the calculator to raise it to the .023 power. Action: Search Action Input: "High temperature in SF yesterday" Observation: San Francisco Temperature Yesterday. Maximum temperature yesterday: 57 °F (at 1:56 pm) Minimum temperature yesterday: 49 °F (at 1:56 am) Average temperature ... Thought: I now have the temperature, so I can use the calculator to raise it to the .023 power. Action: Calculator Action Input: 57^.023 Observation: Answer: 1.0974509573251117

Thought: I now know the final answer Final Answer: The high temperature in SF yesterday in Fahrenheit raised to the .023 power is 1.0974509573251117.

> Finished chain.

Memory: Add State to Chains and Agents

All of the chains and agents we’ve encountered so far have been stateless. However, you may want a chain or agent to have some concept of “memory” in order for it to remember information from previous interactions. When designing a chatbot, for example, you want it to remember previous messages so that it can use context from that to have a better conversation. This is a sort of “short-term memory.” On the more complex side, you could imagine a chain/agent remembering key pieces of information over time – this would be a form of “long-term memory”.

LangChain provides several specially created chains just for this purpose. This notebook walks through using one of those chains (the ConversationChain) with two different types of memory.

By default, the ConversationChain has a simple type of memory that remembers all previous inputs/outputs and adds them to the context that is passed. Let’s take a look at using this chain (setting verbose=True so we can see the prompt).

from langchain import OpenAI, ConversationChain llm = OpenAI(temperature=0) conversation = ConversationChain(llm=llm, verbose=True) output = conversation.predict(input="Hi there!") print(output)

Prompt after formatting: The following is a friendly conversation between a human and an AI. The AI is talkative and provides lots of specific details from its context. If the AI does not know the answer to a question, it truthfully says it does not know.

Current conversation:

Human: Hi there! AI:

> Finished chain. ‘ Hello! How are you today?’

output = conversation.predict(input="I'm doing well! Just having a conversation with an AI.") print(output)

Prompt after formatting: The following is a friendly conversation between a human and an AI. The AI is talkative and provides lots of specific details from its context. If the AI does not know the answer to a question, it truthfully says it does not know.

Current conversation:

Human: Hi there! AI: Hello! How are you today? Human: I’m doing well! Just having a conversation with an AI. AI:

> Finished chain. ” That’s great! What would you like to talk about?”

Building a Language Model Application: Chat Models

Similarly, conversation models can be used instead of LLMs. Language models are a subset of chat models. While chat models use language models behind the scenes, the interface they expose is slightly different: instead of exposing a “text in, text out” API, they expose an interface where “chat messages” are the inputs and outputs.

Because chat model APIs are still in their early stages, they are still determining the appropriate abstractions.

Get Message Completions from a Chat Model

You can get chat completions by passing one or more messages to the chat model. The response will be a message. The types of messages currently supported in LangChain are AIMessage, HumanMessage, SystemMessage, and ChatMessage – ChatMessage takes in an arbitrary role parameter. Most of the time, you’ll just be dealing with HumanMessage, AIMessage, and SystemMessage.

from langchain.chat_models import ChatOpenAI from langchain.schema import ( AIMessage, HumanMessage, SystemMessage ) chat = ChatOpenAI(temperature=0)

You can get completions by passing in a single message.

chat([HumanMessage(content="Translate this sentence from English to French. I love programming.")])

You can also pass in multiple messages for OpenAI’s gpt-3.5-turbo and gpt-4 models.

messages = [ SystemMessage(content="You are a helpful assistant that translates English to French."), HumanMessage(content="Translate this sentence from English to French. I love programming.") ] chat(messages)

You can go one step further and generate completions for multiple sets of messages using generate. This returns an LLMResult with an additional message parameter:

batch_messages = [ [ SystemMessage(content="You are a helpful assistant that translates English to French."), HumanMessage(content="Translate this sentence from English to French. I love programming.") ], [ SystemMessage(content="You are a helpful assistant that translates English to French."), HumanMessage(content="Translate this sentence from English to French. I love artificial intelligence.") ], ] result = chat.generate(batch_messages) result

You can recover things like token usage from this LLMResult:

result.llm_output['token_usage'] Chat Prompt Templates

Similar to LLMs, you can make use of templating by using a MessagePromptTemplate. You can build a ChatPromptTemplate from one or more MessagePromptTemplates. You can use ChatPromptTemplate’s format_prompt – this returns a PromptValue, which you can convert to a string or Message object, depending on whether you want to use the formatted value as input to an llm or chat model.

For convenience, there is a from_template method exposed on the template. If you were to use this template, this is what it would look like:

from langchain.chat_models import ChatOpenAI from chúng tôi import ( ChatPromptTemplate, SystemMessagePromptTemplate, HumanMessagePromptTemplate, ) chat = ChatOpenAI(temperature=0) template = "You are a helpful assistant that translates {input_language} to {output_language}." system_message_prompt = SystemMessagePromptTemplate.from_template(template) human_template = "{text}" human_message_prompt = HumanMessagePromptTemplate.from_template(human_template) chat_prompt = ChatPromptTemplate.from_messages([system_message_prompt, human_message_prompt]) # get a chat completion from the formatted messages chat(chat_prompt.format_prompt(input_language="English", output_language="French", text="I love programming.").to_messages()) Chains with Chat Models

The LLMChain discussed in the above section can be used with chat models as well:

from langchain.chat_models import ChatOpenAI from langchain import LLMChain from chúng tôi import ( ChatPromptTemplate, SystemMessagePromptTemplate, HumanMessagePromptTemplate, ) chat = ChatOpenAI(temperature=0) template = "You are a helpful assistant that translates {input_language} to {output_language}." system_message_prompt = SystemMessagePromptTemplate.from_template(template) human_template = "{text}" human_message_prompt = HumanMessagePromptTemplate.from_template(human_template) chat_prompt = ChatPromptTemplate.from_messages([system_message_prompt, human_message_prompt]) chain = LLMChain(llm=chat, prompt=chat_prompt)"English", output_language="French", text="I love programming.") Agents with Chat Models

Agents can also be used with chat models; you can initialize one using AgentType.CHAT_ZERO_SHOT_REACT_DESCRIPTION as the agent type.

from langchain.agents import load_tools from langchain.agents import initialize_agent from langchain.agents import AgentType from langchain.chat_models import ChatOpenAI from chúng tôi import OpenAI # First, let's load the language model we're going to use to control the agent. chat = ChatOpenAI(temperature=0) # Next, let's load some tools to use. Note that the `llm-math` tool uses an LLM, so we need to pass that in. llm = OpenAI(temperature=0) tools = load_tools(["serpapi", "llm-math"], llm=llm) # Finally, let's initialize an agent with the tools, the language model, and the type of agent we want to use. agent = initialize_agent(tools, chat, agent=AgentType.CHAT_ZERO_SHOT_REACT_DESCRIPTION, verbose=True) # Now let's test it out!"Who is Olivia Wilde's boyfriend? What is his current age raised to the 0.23 power?") > Entering new AgentExecutor chain... Thought: I need to use a search engine to find Olivia Wilde's boyfriend and a calculator to raise his age to the 0.23 power. Action: { "action": "Search", "action_input": "Olivia Wilde boyfriend" } Observation: Sudeikis and Wilde's relationship ended in November 2023. Wilde was publicly served with court documents regarding child custody while she was presenting Don't Worry Darling at CinemaCon 2023. In January 2023, Wilde began dating singer Harry Styles after meeting during the filming of Don't Worry Darling. Thought:I need to use a search engine to find Harry Styles' current age. Action: { "action": "Search", "action_input": "Harry Styles age" } Observation: 29 years Thought:Now I need to calculate 29 raised to the 0.23 power. Action: { "action": "Calculator", "action_input": "29^0.23" } Observation: Answer: 2.169459462491557 Thought:I now know the final answer. Final Answer: 2.169459462491557 > Finished chain. '2.169459462491557' Memory: Add State to Chains and Agents

Memory may be used with chains and agents that have been initialized using conversation models. The primary difference between this and Memory for LLMs is that instead of condensing all previous messages into a string, we may store them as their own distinct memory object.

from langchain.prompts import ( ChatPromptTemplate, MessagesPlaceholder, SystemMessagePromptTemplate, HumanMessagePromptTemplate ) from langchain.chains import ConversationChain from langchain.chat_models import ChatOpenAI from langchain.memory import ConversationBufferMemory

prompt = ChatPromptTemplate.from_messages([ SystemMessagePromptTemplate.from_template("The following is a friendly conversation between a human and an AI. The AI is talkative and provides lots of specific details from its context. If the AI does not know the answer to a question, it truthfully says it does not know."), MessagesPlaceholder(variable_name="history"), HumanMessagePromptTemplate.from_template("{input}") ])

llm = ChatOpenAI(temperature=0) memory = ConversationBufferMemory(return_messages=True) conversation = ConversationChain(memory=memory, prompt=prompt, llm=llm)

conversation.predict(input="Hi there!")

conversation.predict(input="I'm doing well! Just having a conversation with an AI.")

conversation.predict(input="Tell me about yourself.")

Infrared Hot Yoga Mimics The Power Of The Sun. But Is That … Good?

Another fitness trend is heating up across the US—and it involves stretching and sweating in dry, desert-like heat.

Rather than cranking up the temperatures in studios with traditional forced air systems, infrared hot yoga uses heated panels to mimic the sun’s warmth. The radiant energy warms practitioners’ bodies and the floor rather than the surrounding air. 

“It was definitely a different sensation, practicing in the dry heated conditions,” says Stacy D. Hunter, the director of the Cardiovascular Physiology Lab at Texas State University, who has practiced hot yoga for more than a decade and studies how the heated and non-heated forms affect vascular health. “It didn’t really feel hotter [at first] because there was practically no humidity there, but when you get to practicing … it’s very difficult, it feels very hot, and it’s very mentally challenging.”

Hot yoga vs. regular yoga

“Yoga in general is great for so many reasons, for physical and mental health,” says Cara Hall, a physician who specializes in primary care sports medicine at Keck Medicine of USC. 

The movements improve strength, flexibility, and balance. Research also indicates that yoga can ease lower back and neck pain, reduce stress, and improve sleep. When practiced consistently, Hunter says, it can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and helps the blood vessels dilate to improve blood flow. She and her collaborators are further investigating how non-heated yoga affects immune function.

During a hot yoga class, the room is heated to around 90 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, which lets participants limber up and sweat more. This variation is intended to further boost flexibility and deepen stretches.

“For someone who is training or conditioning to do some sort of performance event in a hot place or just trying to peak their performance, hot yoga may be a good way to kind of acclimate to that environment or to be able to push yourself a little more,” Hall says.

[Related: 5 stretches you should do every day]

However, Hunter notes, the overall amount of calories burned during hot yoga and other traditional yoga styles are pretty similar. She and her team have further found that hot yoga and non-heated yoga have similar effects on blood vessel dilation. “It didn’t appear that the heat conferred any additional benefit in terms of vascular function,” she says. 

“A lot is still undocumented in terms of the benefits of hot yoga,” Hunter adds. “Some of the claims that have been made about it have definitely preceded the evidence to back that up.” 

The benefits of yoga don’t come from sweating. Deposit Photos

Let’s talk about detoxing

One particularly shaky claim is that hot yoga, and infrared hot yoga in particular, help with “detoxification.” But the main thing to remember is that the primary role of sweating is to cool the body, not to flush out harmful substances. In fact, when you work up a sweat, you lose electrolytes, which include minerals that are essential for many bodily functions. “I am unaware of any detoxification through sweating,” Hunter says. 

The liver is the main organ responsible for dealing with waste products and any damaging substances that a person might encounter, like ammonia. “When we’re talking about losing toxins, I would leave that to the liver,” Hall says. 

In general, it’s possible that practicing in dry heat could lessen the risk of overheating during class, Hunter says, although more data is needed to confirm this. “Humidity makes it harder for sweat to evaporate … it’s really the evaporation of the sweat that carries the heat away from the body,” she says. “With the dry infrared heat you can definitely tolerate higher temperatures as well, compared to the heat combined with the humidity like in the Bikram, or traditional, hot yoga style.” (Bikram is a particularly intense form of hot yoga popularized in the 1970s by a self-prescribed Indian guru, who later fled the US after multiple accusations of sexual assault). 

[Related: How much exercise do I need to stay healthy?]

Regular hot yoga can be pretty “sticky,” Hall acknowledges. “The infrared [heat] may make it a more pleasant experience, which may help you further along your practice because it feels less stuffy, more natural, etcetera,” she says. “I think the main target for this is going to be the people who are doing hot yoga to begin with and potentially make it more comfortable.”

Hunter is also running a study to determine whether infrared hot yoga may improve vascular health in Black adults in the US, who tend to be disproportionately sensitive to blood pressure changes. Still, she suspects that the practice doesn’t offer many health benefits beyond the classic kinds of yoga.

What to consider before you try infrared hot yoga

There are a few potential risks to keep in mind when practicing infrared and other other kinds of hot yoga.

Practicing in toasty conditions makes for a vigorous workout, but it can lead to injuries when people push themselves too far because they’re looser than usual. Hot yoga also comes with an increased risk of dehydration and overheating. 

[Related: The best (and worst) beverages to sip when you’re dehydrated]

“I caution people not to go past their point of comfort; it should feel like a bit of a stretch but nothing extreme and definitely do not push through pain,” she says. “That is a risk that you run with hot yoga: overdoing it.”

It’s also important to familiarize yourself with the signs of heat-related illnesses. “I have been in situations in which there has been someone in the room who starts to be disoriented, or maybe they look like they’re going to pass out, and the instructor will tell them not to leave the room. That is dangerous,” Hunter says. “Definitely don’t listen to that instruction.”

There are a number of conditions that can make it unsafe for people to practice infrared and other forms of hot yoga, Hunter says, such as heart disease, pregnancy, very high blood pressure, or being on certain medications. 

If you end up committing to an infrared hot yoga practice, “just set your expectations realistically going into it,” Hall says. “The focus should be on it getting you stronger, potentially some mental health benefits, and flexibility benefits, rather than, ‘How much can I sweat?’”

20 Of The Best Siri Shortcuts For Ios Power Users

Say what you will about Siri, but shortcuts are among the most useful features that have found their way to Apple’s AI assistant over the years. They’re also a rare case where Apple has ceded its typically tight control over its mobile operating system, letting savvy people develop their own shortcuts and share them with fellow iOS users.

It’s a really neat system, and to help you dive deeper into it, here are some of the best Siri shortcuts you can use.

1. Play Favorites

Play Favorites is very simple, but indispensable for music lovers everywhere. It uses your favorites playlist from Apple Music to shuffle all your greatest tunes right away. Not much more to it than that, but if you just want to kick back with your best beats then that’s all you need.

As an accompaniment, there’s a shortcut to “Add Current Album to Favorites“, which chucks the entire album you’re listening to into your favorites playlist.

2. Fast Charge

If you quickly need to juice up your iPhone as efficiently as possible, then that’s where Fast Charge comes in. A little bit like battery saver, but for plugged-in phones, this shortcut does several things.

It disables background apps, switches off WiFi and Bluetooth, lowers your screen brightness and sets your phone volume to minimum. Through all these little things it preserves battery and helps your iPhone charge up faster.

3. Calendar Assistant

Calendar management is something you want to be able to do with minimal interaction – dictating to your phone like a secretary from the 1950s. This shortcut gives you tons of options for interacting with your calendar, letting you book appointments, get your schedule for the day, creating events and showing your friend’s birthdays (among other things).

Calendar Assistant lets you do more than the default calendar interactions with Siri, organizing yourself in batches rather than just through individual commands.

4. Cooking Aid

Managing the pantry can be a tedious and complex task – remembering every ingredient for a recipe, preparing for batch cooks, and trying to remember when foods in your fridge will expire.

Of course, you’ll get most out of this if you have a smart fridge and use it every day.

5. Intelligent Power

iOS has an existing “Low Power” mode function, which preserves your phone’s battery by disabling features such as mail fetch, background app refresh, and reducing the number of on-screen effects.

Intelligent Power gives you more control over this process by letting you say exactly what percentage of your battery life you want to enable the “Low Power” and “Super Low Power” modes (switching off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and mobile data – preserving your battery in an even more dramatic way).

6. Directions to Next Event

Activating this Directions to Next Event shortcut brings a pop-up menu of your upcoming events (with set location, of course). Tapping on any event will open your favorite maps app, so you’ll be ready to go in an instant. This Siri shortcut works well on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch and can be a real lifesaver at times.

7. Travel Time to Address

Thanks to this Siri shortcut, there’s no more copying between Safari and your favorite maps app. Once you install and activate the Travel Time to Address shortcut, you just need to select an address in any app and then activate the shortcut from the Share Sheet.

Make sure to add this shortcut to your Shortcuts app first, then highlight any address on your device and tap on “Share.” This will open the Share Sheet where you can activate the “Travel Time to Address” command.

8. Destiny 2 Assistant

This one is for the gamers who may not be aware that there are people out there writing Siri shortcuts that can offer crucial information about events in online games. For example, one person wrote a Siri shortcut that tells Destiny 2 players where the mysterious merchant of rare in-game items, Xur, hangs out each week.

All you have to do is say:

Siri, where’s the Agent of the Nine?

9. News Reader

Did you know that you can use Shortcuts to create a dedicated RSS feed? Simply use the RSS Reader shortcut in the Shortcuts app, then add whatever news sources you follow from all over the Web.

You can tweak the RSS reader to take up as much or as little screen space as you want, even having it unravel down your entire screen to show you the latest articles from the sites in your feed. (You can control how many articles are listed.)

10. Remind Me at Work

One of Apple’s ready-made shortcuts, Remind Me at Work, gets you to enter your work address when you first set it up. After that, any reminder you set that corresponds with the address you entered into this shortcut will automatically trigger as soon as you arrive at that location.

Whether it’s a trigger you want when you arrive at home or at work, sometimes a location-dependent poke is just what you need.

11. Speed Dial

It’s true that your iPhone already has a “speed dial” function. However, power users know that there’s always a better solution around the next corner. That’s why we’d like to introduce you to the Speed Dial shortcut.

Using this shortcut, you can add multiple contacts, which will then show up in a pop-up menu (each time you voice-activate the shortcut). You can see how helpful this can be, especially if you have a few contacts that you call often.

Also, you can avoid setting a number, which will force the shortcut to ask you each time you trigger this action. This way, you’ll get to choose any contact from your Contacts app.

12. Pulled Over by Police

The name of this shortcut may be a little ominous, but in truth, there are many situations where it may come in handy. You may urgently want to record a video of a situation you find yourself in and send it immediately to a pre-programmed contact.

With Pulled Over by Police, telling Siri “I’m getting pulled over” turns on the front camera, starts recording a video, then sends that video to a contact of your choice. You can change the actual command, of course, but there’s something to be said for a shortcut that can quickly capture events in a situation where you feel that evidence will be required.

13. Keep Me Alive

As its name implies, Keep Me Alive takes power-saving to an extreme level. While iOS has its own built-in low power mode, Keep Me Alive turns off everything it can to help keep your phone running until you can get somewhere to charge it. This Shortcut turns off Wi-Fi, cellular data, Bluetooth, music, and pretty much anything else it can.

14. Water Eject

Another handy utility-style shortcut, Water Eject plays a certain tone to get water out of your phone’s speakers. The iPhone has been water-resistant for a few generations now, but getting it wet can still cause unexpected problems.

This shortcut gets rid of the water using the same tech as the Apple Watch. That means you’ll hear a low-frequency sound for a couple of seconds, indicating that the shortcut is doing its job. It’s really simple yet very helpful in many situations.

15. Do Not Disturb with Timers

It’s a fairly common problem to turn on “Do Not Disturb” on your iPhone, then forget to turn it off. Yes, iOS lets you schedule Do Not Disturb, but what about one-off situations where you just want your phone to be quiet for an hour?

The Do Not Disturb with Timers shortcut lets you turn on “Do Not Disturb” mode without worrying about remembering to turn it back on.

16. Receipt/Document Scanner & Storage

Upon activating this shortcut, you’ll get to pick a category, add more information about the receipt and price, and more. This takes your organization to a whole new level, making the tedious task of organizing receipts somewhat enjoyable.

17. Dark Mode v2

The original “Dark Mode” shortcut came years ago when using a dark mode on your iOS wasn’t even possible. However, considering iOS now offers that option, the original “Dark Mode” shortcut went through an evolution and now focuses on translating websites into their own “dark mode” visuals.

To use this shortcut, tap Share when visiting just about any website in Safari. Select “Dark Mode Version 2” using the Shortcut icon. After a few moments, the website you’re visiting will receive a visual overhaul – no matter if that functionality is natively available. It’s quite handy, right?

18. Share Wi-Fi

Does someone need to connect to your Wi-Fi, but you aren’t comfortable just sharing your password? That’s where the Share Wi-Fi shortcut comes in handy.

This shortcut creates a QR code that the other person can scan with their phone in order to connect without ever having to know what your password is. This shortcut is also handy if you just have a really difficult-to-type password.

19. Morning Wake-Up Call

Morning Wake-Up Call lets Siri shortcuts act as a personal assistant. The shortcut wakes you up and lets you know when you need to leave to make it to work on time. The “Morning Wake-Up Call” shortcut can even read you your horoscope if you’d like it to.

20. Back Up Your Shortcuts

A meta shortcut if there ever was one, Backup Your Shortcuts does exactly what it says. It backs up all your shortcuts to your iCloud Drive. If you rely heavily on a few key shortcuts, something like “Backup Your Shortcuts” will certainly come in handy in numerous situations.

Lastly, Don’t Forget to Create Your Own Siri Shortcuts!

While pre-made Siri shortcuts are great, they’ll only take you so far. You’ll get the best results if you try your hand at making your own. It may sound daunting at first, but we promise that your effort will soon pay off!

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One Tiny Craft Just Became The First Electric Plane To Cross The English Channel

E-Fan Crossing The Channel

Airbus Group s E-Fan technology demonstrator became the world s first all-electric two engine aircraft taking off by its own power to successfully cross the Channel on 10 July 2023, some 106 years after Louis Bleriot s epic chúng tôi just before landing in Calais.

Six years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight, Frenchman Louis Blériot became the first person to fly across the English Channel in an airplane. This week, three highly modern airplanes attempted the same feat, for a much smaller place in history: Which would be the first fully electric two-engined airplane to make the leap from Europe to the isle of Great Britain? As of this afternoon, it appears at least two planes crossed successfully, but there’s now a dispute over which was first.

The Airbus E-Fan looks like the tiny, electric-smartcar version of an A-10 fighter. Powered only by batteries, it has two fans situated behind the cockpit, promising up to 45 minutes of flight time with a top speed of 137 mph. Today, the E-Fan cross the channel in about 40 minutes. Here’s a gif of it landing in England:

There’s a good chance that the E-Fan’s channel crossing may be less historic than thought. Last night, pilot Hugues Duwal appeared to cross the channel in a tiny Columban Cri-Cri. It’s name comes from French for “cricket”, and it is an unbelievably tiny airplane. If the E-Fan is a Smart Car, the Cri-Cri designed in the 1970s, resembles nothing so much as a Peel Trident, the world’s second-smallest car. The Cri-Cri is a half-sized cockpit put into the middle of a quarter-scale plane, with two small engines powering propellers that stick out in front of the cockpit like catfish whiskers. The wingspan is just 16 feet, so flying the whole plane is like wearing giant wings. If Duwal’s flight was indeed successful, and his CriCri was indeed an electric one and not the two-stroke engines common to Cri-Cris, then he may have under the cover of darkness snuck past Airbus and into the history books, or at least the books of minor aviation feats.

Hugues Duwal In His Electric Cri-Cri

Hilariously, a third electric plane was also supposed to cross the channel this week. The Pipistrel Alpha Electro (actual prototype name: WATTsUP) was supposed to cross the channel on Wednesday, but Siemens, who provided the engine to the Electro, recalled it, claiming that the engine wasn’t approved for over-water flight. In what can only be an unrelated matter, Siemens also provided the engines for the E-Fan.

While this is absurd theatrics for a minor first, it’s a promising sign for the future of electric aviation, and hearkens back to the early days of human flight, with multiple claims of firsts. Fortunately, when it comes to firsts in flight, there’s only one Wright answer.

Ars Technica

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