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At the end of a stressful day, you pop on a pair of headphones, hit “play” on your favorite song—and your mood instantly improves. This emotional response occurs, a new study suggests, because music activates a chemical reward system in your brain: the same system that makes yummy food, vigorous exercise, and opioid drugs feel good.
Humans have had music on the brain for most of our existence—cultures all over the world create, listen to, and experience pleasure from music. To study this phenomenon, researchers have surveyed people’s feelings, scanned the brains of performers and listeners, and even measured hormone production. Their findings thus far suggest that our enjoyment comes from the same two-phase reward process—a dopamine-driven anticipatory phase, followed by a dopamine- and opioid-influenced consummatory phase—that kicks into gear when you eat a tasty treat or experience a rush after an intense workout. This neurological reward system also gives drugs their appeal.
While the brain’s reward system makes us feel good, it can also lead to unhealthy behavior such as stress-eating or drug addiction. Controlling it might be key to fighting these behaviors. To that end, scientists have previously tested the effects of drugs that block opioid receptors, such as naltrexone and naloxone, and discovered that the blockers do indeed reduce feelings of pleasure after physical activity and eating, and show potential for treating dependence on alcohol and opioid drugs.
Now a new study in Scientific Reports has tested the effect of naltrexone on musical enjoyment. Researchers at McGill University instructed a 15 students to choose two pieces of music that they loved—songs that make them feel chills—and bring them to the lab. There, the subjects received either naltrexone or a placebo. An hour later, the students listened to their chosen music, as well as two “neutral” songs that the scientists selected. As the music played, the students used a slider to indicate their current level of pleasure, while sensors measured electrical activity in their facial muscles. Before leaving, they took a survey about their reactions. A week later, the subjects went through the same thing, this time with the naltrexone group receiving placebos and vice versa.
When the researchers crunched the numbers, they found that participants moved their facial muscles less with naltrexone in their system, indicating that it had reduced their emotional response to what they were hearing. This went for both positive and negative emotions—the highs felt lower, and the lows felt higher. The sliders, which measured a subjective sense of enjoyment, also suggested that the subjects got less pleasure from their favorite music when they had taken naltrexone, although this did not affect their feelings about the neutral music.
As it does for stimuli like exercise, food, and drugs, naltrexone seems to induce a muted response to music. Which supports the theory that the same reward system in the brain is responsible for our reactions to all of them.
Of course, given the petite sample size—15 students from a similar age range and location do not accurately represent the whole human race—this finding is by no means certain. But it does suggest an intriguing way to just say no to drugs: Turn on the music, tune in, and drop out.
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Whether you’re looking to upgrade or you’re looking to harvest the RAM from one PC to use in another, it helps to know what kind of RAM your system is using. That’s doubly true now that Intel’s 12th- and 13th-gen motherboards can use either DDR4 or DDR5 RAM, and AMD’s Ryzen 7000 processors made the switch to DDR5. There are a handful of ways to figure that crucial information out!
Further reading: The best gaming motherboardsIn Windows 10 and 11
You can find basic information about your RAM through your system’s About page and through the Performance tab on your Task Manager.
Here are two simple methods to access the About page:
Press the key combination Win + Pause/Break
Type “About your PC” in the Windows Start menu search
To access the Task Manager, here are three simple options:
Press the key combination Ctrl + Shift + Escape
Press the key combination Ctrl + Alt + Delete and select “Task Manager”
Type “Task Manager” in the Windows Start menu search
These two methods will provide you with the most simplistic view of your PC’s RAM information, primarily showing how much RAM you currently have, along with some RAM speed information. If this isn’t enough information for what you’re looking to do, then you may want to check out the Windows Management Instrumentation command-line utility, or wmic.
In order to use wmic, you need to open a Command Prompt window, which is quickly done by typing “cmd” into the Windows Start menu search. Once there, you can use a “wmic MemoryChip get” command to typically pull up the information you’re looking for.
You can find a comprehensive set of properties to include on your “wmic MemoryChip get” command here, but the following should cover the practical bases for most RAM identification needs:
wmic MemoryChip get MemoryType, Capacity, Speed, Configuredclockspeed, DeviceLocator, FormFactor, Manufacturer, Serialnumber, Partnumber
This will provide a table with the following information, if it’s available:
MemoryType will report back a number that aligns to a particular “type” of RAM module. 20 means it’s DDR memory. DDR2 is 21. DDR3 is 24. DDR4 is 26. Sometimes, this may show a 0. If so, you’ll want to use “SMBIOSMemoryType” instead.
Capacity will show the raw byte value of the RAM’s memory capacity, so something like 8,589,934,592 will be for an 8GB RAM module.
Speed is the supported memory speed value that your RAM module indicates it can support, which is typically anywhere between 800 and 3200.
Configuredclockspeed relates to the speed at which your RAM is currently configured to be running at.
DeviceLocator will tell you which physical slot the RAM module is plugged into on your system’s motherboard.
FormFactor is the physical shape type of the RAM module. This will typically be the number 8 for DIMM modules found on desktop PCs or the number 12 for laptops’ SODIMM forms.
Manufacturer indicates an identified manufacturer of the RAM module. This may show up as Unknown sometimes.
Serialnumber will give you the hardware serial number for that specific stick of RAM, which is typically only relevant when dealing with the manufacturer for troubleshooting purposes.
Partnumber provides the manufacturer’s model number for that particular RAM module, which can be very useful with the help of a Google search to identify the RAM stick you have and whether or not you can buy it again.Additional software options
Much of the above information is also available with the help of some third-party software, such as CPU-Z and Speccy.
In CPU-Z, you’ll want to use the “Memory” and “SPD” tabs to see information about your RAM. Memory will show you memory type and current frequency information. The SPD tab, which stands for “serial presence detect,” provides information related to the RAM modules themselves including the manufacturer and part number information.
In Speccy, you’ll want to go to the “RAM” view from the left menu. In there, you should find virtually all of the RAM and memory information you’d need. You may need to expand the “SPD” drop-down in order to get more specific information about the RAM depending on what you’re trying to find.In Linux
You can find virtually all of the information shown above via your Linux terminal by using the following command:
sudo dmidecode —type memory
This should provide a sorted list of information about your memory devices, aka your RAM, including size, types, and manufacturer information.Physical RAM module
Most consumer RAM modules will come with a label to identify the type of RAM it is. Typically, these labels will either be a sticker applied directly to the stick of RAM, engraved onto the fancy heat spreader on higher-performance modules, or may be printed directly onto the circuit board. In these cases, you’ll typically find the part number, which you can then look up with your favorite search engine to figure out the rest of the specs. If you can’t locate a label or identifier anywhere, then it may be prudent to use one of the methods described above instead.
These options should help you figure out what RAM your PC is using. If you’re looking to upgrade, be sure that you’re getting the same type and form factor of RAM, because you can’t directly swap out DDR3 for DDR4 RAM without having to also replace your motherboard. For more information on upgrading RAM, see our guide on how to install new memory in your PC.
A Different Kind of Texas Candidate Gina Ortiz Jones (CAS’03, GRS’03) is running for office because of Trump
Gina Ortiz Jones (CAS’03, GRS’03) is trying to turn a US House of Representatives seat blue in the reddest of red states: Texas. Photo by Ana Isabel
If Gina Ortiz Jones beats the Republican incumbent to win the US House of Representative seat in the Texas 23rd district this November, she will be the first woman to represent her district. She will also be the first Filipina American and the first lesbian to hold a US House seat from Texas. The Democrat and former Air Force intelligence officer might also be part of the so-called Blue Wave to tip the balance of power in Washington, D.C., against President Donald Trump.
In fact, it was Trump’s 2023 election, which Jones (CAS’03, GRS’03) calls a “gut check,” that persuaded her to quit her job at the Office of the United States Trade Representative and return home to San Antonio to start her campaign. She won the Democratic primary in March and a runoff in May and will face two-term Republican Representative Will Hurd, a former CIA agent, in the 2023 midterm election.
Ortiz Jones graduated from BU with a bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies and a master’s degree in economics. She served with Air Force intelligence in Iraq and elsewhere from 2003 to 2006, and in a variety of other intelligence positions before joining the trade office in 2023.
Her district, which stretches from San Antonio to the outskirts of El Paso in southwest Texas, traditionally leans Republican, but the seat has been swapped back and forth between the parties for a decade. Trump’s stance on immigration—including separating children of asylum-seekers from their parents—should help Ortiz Jones with the more than two-thirds of voters who identify as Hispanic.
“This is a district that very much mirrors the challenges and opportunities we face as a country,” she says. “It’s a majority-minority district, something the whole country will be by 2040. We talk about the Wall and immigration policy because 40 percent of the US-Mexico border is in this district. A lot of the issues being discussed nationally are playing out in this district.”
Bostonia spoke with Ortiz Jones last week about her Congressional race and some of the issues confronting voters.
Bostonia: Is the United States a country in crisis?
Ortiz Jones: It depends who you talk to. There are some legal experts who would argue we are in a constitutional crisis. I think the election was such a significant emotional event for me because I’ve seen what it looks like in other countries when women and minorities are targeted. I’ve seen what it looks like when a government disregards conflict of interest, and hollows out the middle class, and ultimately their democracy. I’ve also seen what happens when good people don’t stand up and fight back. I am trying to respond by seeking public service again.
How do you respond to things like the separation of immigrant families?
It’s egregious. The pictures we’ve seen! With 40 percent of the border in the district, I think we see this issue just a little bit differently than the rest of the country. But frankly, as Americans, we all know that seeing a young child, a toddler, crying as they’re being held in a cage like an animal—that’s not the right thing to do. It’s so far from American, it’s unbelievable. It’s atrocious. I think we need leaders who are going to speak up and not be silent when this is happening. I look forward to doing that.
I think I also see it differently as a first-generation American myself. My country is special. There are not a lot of other countries where the daughter of someone who came to the country as a domestic helper can run for Congress. That doesn’t just happen. It happens because this country has historically understood that immigrants are the lifeblood of our country, and I think we need representatives who recognize that. When you look back, not only are compassionate immigration policies the right thing to do, but they make economic sense.
You have both intelligence experience and international trade experience. What did you think of Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un?
It’s concerning on a number of levels. Is it historic that the two met? Yes. But we have no idea what they talked about. It sure does look like a wonderful photo opportunity and not a lot of substance. And what’s not lost on me is that we validated a dictator, someone with a known record of attacking his own people, someone who sent back an American who was tortured and in awful physical shape and died shortly thereafter.
But I don’t only think of the North Korea deal, but of what President Trump did before that at the G7 summit. Frankly, the way he’s treated our allies is just unbelievable. It shows what happens when you don’t know our history, don’t care about our history. We need members of Congress who are going to be a check on these things.
Given your service in intelligence in the Middle East, where do you stand on “enhanced interrogations” and waterboarding, things Trump is talking about bringing back?
Look, torture is against our values and has no place in our national security. That’s how I feel about that.
You came to BU on an ROTC scholarship, so you were bound by the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the military at that time. That meant keeping secrets?
It was actually a very deep secret. I could not be as open as I would have liked, because I needed that scholarship to stay at BU. I knew what I had to do. And when I served in the Air Force, that policy applied to me too. If someone is ready and willing to serve their country, there shouldn’t be any policies—especially policies rooted in bigotry—that would prevent that.
When I think of national security, I don’t just think of Iraq, China, Russia—I think of the pipeline of talent into national security. I don’t think we think about that nearly enough. I think it’s outrageous that someone like President Trump, who’s never served a day in uniform, or anyone else in his administration is intent on crafting these policies that strip away rights from the LGBT community, including serving in our military. I think it’s just egregious, and I look forward to ensuring that it doesn’t happen.
We think of Texas as the reddest of red states. Has it been difficult campaigning there?
I must say Texas can at times get a bad rap. There’s a lot of opportunity here. I am the product of Texas just as much as some of the other people you hear about. We won our primary. I know that being a first-generation American lesbian veteran running for office in Texas is challenging some assumptions, but look, that’s the real Texas. There’s a fierce independence about every Texan. We’re a great state, and I’m looking forward to changing our representation so it reflects that.
Growing up with your mother and sister, was the social safety net important to you?
I know exactly where I came from and how I got here. For a time it was quite difficult, as my mother was working to get back into education, which is what she was trained in academically. There were times when she worked several jobs, and it was hard to make ends meet. Reduced-price school lunch, subsidized housing—I don’t see these as handouts, I see them as critical investments. Those were investments by my country and my community, and I went on to serve my country in and out of uniform for 14 years, and now I’m looking to preserve those opportunities for someone else. That’s why the election was such a gut check—I know exactly how I got here, and I didn’t do it by myself.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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A high-paying Python developer without a degree does not need to worry about employability in 2023
Programming language like Python is flourishing in the global tech and software applications market. Developers and programmers are highly fond of this trending programming language while educational platforms have started offering multiple courses on Python. A Python developer is blooming with intricating roles and responsibilities as well as lucrative salary packages per annum. There are two categories of developers specializing in Python— Python developers without a degree and programmers with a degree. Yes, programmers with a degree are popular for a long period of time. But a Python developer without a degree is trending in the current market across the world. Some of the top companies have started recruiting Python developers without a degree over programmers with a degree. The mindset of the market is shifting because companies have realized the strength of developers does not depend on the specified degree— Bachelor’s/Master’s/Diploma/Ph.D. Skills and talents solely are dependent on the passion of developers. A Python developer without a degree can showcase more skills and practical knowledge than programmers with a degree from reputed universities. Thus, let’s explore how a Python developer without a degree can land a high-paying job in the programming language domain in 2023 and beyond.Some roles and responsibilities of a Python developer
Writing efficient and scalable Python code
Implementing business goals into software components
Integrating user-oriented elements into software applications
Designing high availability and low latency applications with security features
Improving functionalities of existing applications
Debugging software applications with Python test framework tools
Yes, the above-mentioned roles and responsibilities are just a few of the total functionalities of a Python developer. But a Python developer without a degree can nab a high-paying job in one of the major tech companies to perform these roles. Let’s explore some key steps to outperform other developers or programmers with a degree in the same field.Key steps to being a successful Python developer without a degree in 2023
Having in-depth knowledge of the programming language and front-end technologies
Writing scalable, readable, and error-free code for smart applications
Building a diverse portfolio through self-made projects
Improving technical know-how and fundamental concepts of the programming language
Focusing on the key areas to improve in a wide range of skills such as analytical, designing, communication, technical, debugging, versioning, and many more
Creating own GitHub repository to add value to the CV
Enrolling in free online courses in Python programming language for valid certifications
Joining different communities of developers or programmers with the degree to gain updates and more current knowledge
The average salary of a Python developer ranges from US$70k to US$120k per annum across the world. You can become a high-paying successful Python developer only if you decide to work very hard with passion and effective time management. It covers a wide variety of programming language functions such as web development, game development, application development, and cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science. This profession is a good career and quite rewarding in the IT industry across the world. The hiring committees are relaxing their criteria and are highly interested to offer a Python developer without a degree if the candidate shows sufficient skills and knowledge, as per the business needs.
Any Apple product, service or news is deemed important if it’s preceded by the ‘one more thing’ tagline that the late Steve Jobs used to announce that defined historic moments for Apple in the past. The current boss of Apple Inc, Timothy Cook has used it well to introduce the Apple Watch and the Apple Music in early June 2023.What’s in Apple Music? And How to Use it?
The Apple Music app bears its logo from the early generations of the company when they were just making iPods. Its interface is divided into five main tabs built into the app where-in the first tab is for “You”. This is the section where you will have to give your preference of what you would like to listen from tons of options such as Bollywood, Pop, Rock, Metal, Dance and many more. On selecting your favorites, the app will intelligently search for music that you prefer and build a virtual apple library where you can stream the music and videos on the go. (Below are the screenshots)
Once you are set up, you will see another tab called “New”. This option includes the trending tracks and videos based on your preference. The option also includes new music, top songs, recent releases, recommended videos and essential that are all knitted and brought under one hood just for you.
If you have heard of or remember BBC Radio1, you will not take a moment to understand the third tab which Apple has named “Beats 1”. You guessed it right, Beats 1 is a 24×7 radio station with DJs from New York, Los Angeles and London. The Beats 1 is hosted by former BBC Radio1 presenter Zane Lowe. Apart from playing the latest and greatest music on demand, there are guest RJs, interviews and hordes of contests. Those of you who have listened to BBC Radio may not find a great difference in Apple’s Beats 1 Radio unless there are massive improvements made by Apple in due course of time. In the meantime enjoy the favorite tracks on the move that you may not get to listen live unless you download them.
Creating Playlist in Apple Music
Creating playlist in the new Apple Music app is quite simple, though not easily traceable. This is how you can create a playlist:
You need to be on the latest software (8.4) released by Apple to load the Apple Music
Launch the app and select the last tab “My Music”
Select the “New” option and you will be redirected to a new window
You can Name your playlist in the “Title” along with the description
Then you can add your favorite songs in the new playlist and you are all set
The following screenshots would guide you on how you can create a new playlist:
PS: After you are done creating the playlist, you can then save it. You can even share it by tapping on the share button. Any changes that you make in the future will result in the playlist updating across all iOS devices.How to save tacks / playlists for Offline listening
Did you know that Apple Music allows you to listen to your favorite tracks even offline so that you do not have to burn your data all the time when you are not on Wi-Fi? Here’s how you can do it:
One you have launched the Apple Music app, simply navigate to the song / album or the playlist that you desire to download to your iPhone for offline listening.
Tab on the truncation (the three dots next to the selected track) to the right of the title.
You will get a menu popping up from the bottom of the screen with various option. Select “Make Available Offline” option
This action will download the music and save it in your iPhone
If you are on Wi-Fi network, your iPhone could automatically download the tracks and you can listen to them when-ever you desire
The tracks and playlists that you download would show up across all your devices loaded with Apple MusicBetter Use of Siri
So, you can now say: “Hey Siri, play me top charted songs from the playlist of Calvin Harris” and there you go.Associated Costs Apple Music and the Competition Compatibility
Apple Music is compatible with iOS 8.4 or later, iTunes 12.2 or later (OS X Mavericks or later; Windows 7 or later), and Apple Watch. It will also release for Android devices and Apple TV in late 2023.End Note
Folks, who are impressed and satisfied with the services of Apple Music would definitely shift their preference to Apple. I’m using Apple Music from the hour it was launched on June 30 and I’m using it thoroughly since 5 days and I should say that I’m pretty impressed with the content and the choice of tracks and videos. But your preference may not be same as mine. I would suggest all music enthusiasts to get excited about Apple Music and if you really like it then go for the subscriptions. However you would also have option to unsubscribe when-ever you want to.
A few years ago, Skype was the rockstar of the messaging world, but now with smartphones and mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage, Skype’s iPhone feature-set and application have begun to stagnate. However, the Skype development team has not been standing still. The Microsoft-owned company is revealing today that it is nearing the launch of a completely revamped Skype application for the iPhone and iPod touch. I met with lead Skype designer Guilherme Schneider last week for an exclusive preview and an interview regarding the new software, and the application certainly seems impressive…
The new design is flat, clean and easy to use. With large and colorful buttons, the interface is more accessible and quicker to navigate. The interface ditches the classic tab bar from the current version of the app in favor of a Windows Phone-style swipe gesture.
With the new app, users can swipe between their contacts list, recent contacts, and favorite people. At the bottom of the app, there are quick action buttons to launch the Skype phone dialer and open chats list. While the interface is akin to that of the Windows Phone and Android Skype apps, it still feels at home on iOS.
The scrolling and the fonts inside of the chat windows are a major improvement over the current version of Skype for iPhone. Additionally, the new app has in-app notification banners so that you can view new Skype messages as they roll in without leaving your current chat window. There is also a nice gesture for swiping quickly between multiple conversations.
At the bottom of each chat window, there are quick buttons to access voice calling, video calling, and an additional options panel. The entire experience is cleaner, more fun, and now poses comparisons to the fluidity of Apple’s in-house iOS Messages app.
New to Skype on iPhone is a Favorites tab that provides large profile icons of the people you talk to most. The interface is similar to the icon tiles on the Windows Phone home screen, but it still feels at home on iOS. As Schneider said in our interview, “we rebuilt the Skype for iPhone calling experience to fit seamlessly into iOS and optimize for mobile users.”
He also noted that iOS is the last platform to receive Skype’s new look, and this means that the iPhone expierience received the full attention of all of Skype’s mobile app designers. As Schneider noted, “we created this version with very high standards and went the extra mile to make sure we were proud of every design component we included.”
Rounding out the ground-up redesign are improvements to two areas: more integrated chatting and messaging synchronization.
Using the new chat button, group chats can more easily be created from an iPhone. Messages to offline users can also now be sent and received, and those messages will appear upon the user’s next sign-in into Skype.
Certainly important to me, Skype now has improved message read/unread notification syncing between multiple devices. So if I have Skype running on my iPad and my iPhone and I read the message on my phone, it will, too, become read on my iPad.
Speaking of notifications, Schneider said that Skype is aware of the interactive notifications enhancements in iOS 8 and that the company is excited about the possibilities for Skype with those new features. While Skype would not confirm which additional features it is considering for the iOS 8 update, it would make sense for the firm to develop a Notification Center widget to quickly access contacts as well as an extension to share content via other apps through the Skype app.
While the 5.0 update is being announced today, Skype is aiming to actually release the new version sometime next week. Skype has no specific announcement plans for an updated iPad app, but a new version for the Apple tablets is in the works, according to Schneider.
At a time when Apple is adding improved group chatting and media messaging to iMessage, when Facebook is buying up messaging apps for billions of dollars, and ephemeral messaging apps are popping up at a rapid pace, the original king of messaging is taking a new step onto Apple’s platform, and I believe that users will appreciate the faster interface, fresh design, and much improved chatting.
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