Trending February 2024 # Metavisa: Promoting Development Of Decentralized Identity And Credit System # Suggested March 2024 # Top 11 Popular

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On November 9 of this year, Discord founder and CEO Jason Citron shared an image on Twitter suggesting that Discord may be testing the functionality of linking Ethereum addresses to Discord pages.

Many community members immediately proposed that Discord might soon allow users to display their NFT collections.

As soon as the news came out, the market responded enthusiastically. As a result, many social network giants now plan to link with Ethereum addresses, which is bound to trigger a new encryption boom.

For example, Twitter is developing a feature that may allow users to add BTC and ETH addresses to their account; Facebook changed its name to Meta, foreshadowing the gradual integration of its products to create a “meta-universe platform beyond reality,” and TikTok is considering entering the Metaverse. 

We have seen this kind of sudden bust of interest and innovation after the launch of a new concept before.

A brief review of DeFi’s evolution

DeFi did not get much attention at first, but with the addition of traditional venture capitalists and firms like Andreessen Horowitz, more and more traditional venture capital institutions and enterprises began to look to crypto and DeFi for opportunities. 

The emergence of DeFi eliminates the intermediaries in traditional financial services and establishes a faster, more inclusive, and transparent financial system.

Buyers and sellers do not need a centralized “middleman” to conduct transactions. The applications of this are many and varied, from traditional products to more complex financial tools such as MakerDao and Compound and even the development of token value capture mechanisms and oracles.

The birth of RioDeFi, Chainlink’s development of the world’s first comprehensive platform for a decentralized oracle network, and the beginning of futures market transactions such as Bitpool all show how more and more traditional financial products are being decentralized. This raises the issues of regulation, user experience, and scalability solutions, as the magnitude of transaction users is constantly expanding. Additionally, ever more numerous consumer-scale products are being produced, and many Dex platforms, such as Futureswap, have gained the favor of both the market and capital.

The value of NFTs restated for the GameFi era

The value of NFT is based on the proof of authenticity and the verifiable proof of ownership. In the traditional market, being able to prove that something is authentic is a highly valued commodity.

However, even senior experts in an industry, such as art or antiquities, can be deceived by superb counterfeit manufacturing technology. 

The emergence of NFTs solves this problem. The use of smart contract storage greatly simplifies the resolution of issues such as authenticity and ownership disputes, and the items can be effectively traded or transferred without the need to worry about the process. The art will neither be at risk of destruction or loss while, at the same time, being more sharable than ever.  

NFTs satisfy the collector’s pursuit of aesthetics or beliefs and allow a person to demonstrate ownership as needed.

The emergence of GameFi seems to introduce DeFi gameplay into blockchain games, and players can earn revenue by playing games. From the gradual maturity of the background ecology, the combination of DeFi and NFT has been implemented in the way of games, making GameFi run the blockchain financial system in a more intuitive way. In addition to investment enthusiasts, it also attracts more game players and game companies enter the crypto market.

GameFi’s interactive, entertaining, social, and fairness features, in addition to enabling players to make money, and everyone can participate in the game fairly, without being suppressed by local tyrants, and it also breaks the tradition that game assets belong only to development companies convention.

The emergence of Axie Infinity has also brought GameFi into a higher climax, attracting more traffic, and its daily income is more than three times the Arena of Valor.

SocialFi promotes the development needs of Web3.0

Jassem Osseiran, the founder of MetaVisa, indicates that the emergence of SocialFi may be much larger than that of DeFi, NFTs, or GameFi. While a great deal of attention has been paid to certain applications, SocialFi is not limited to fan or social tokens. The entrance of the existing social media giants into the space will introduce large-scale traffic into the market.

The status quo in the social media era has also laid the foundation for this development. Examples of how this has already worked out abound. For example, consider the consumer output value brought about by the emergence of KOLs or Elon Musk’s influence on the price of Bitcoin and Dogecoin through his social media accounts. 

Mark Zuckerberg said the announcement of Facebook’s official name change to Meta helped drive the price increase of many coins related to the Metaverse, suggesting that a self-sustaining economic system can be formed through the tokenization of social influence. At the same time, this system can help people of different levels of social influence share the benefits.

Distributed digital identity is particularly important in DeFi, GameFi, and SocialFi. In the physical world, identity certificates such as government-issued ID cards are issued by centralized institutions based on the identity of different people and are used to prove the ownership of certain assets or as a qualification to enjoy certain rights- such as the right to purchase alcohol. 

In the modern social system, the verification of identity is the foundation of establishing trust. In the Internet world, trust or verification principally relies on user names and passwords. As long as the correct information is entered, it means that the identity verification is passed. 

However, as many of us know, passwords are easily stolen, and the control of user information is not in the hands of the individual using a website but rather with those who run a centralized platform.

In other words, if the centralized platform is closed or the information is stolen, individuals will not be able to maintain the ownership of personally identifiable information, and the rights and certifications that information grants may be lost.  If we lose the certification of the centralized platform, how can we prove that we are ourselves?

An example of what might happen to a person when such a thing occurs at a larger scale can be seen in the film “The Terminal,” starring Tom Hanks. In the film, a man finds that a coup d’état in his homeland has caused his travel documents to no longer be recognized by the US Immigration Bureau.

While few of us will have to fear living in an Airport for two decades due to a problem with centralized identity, we do have to worry about other issues related to the possibility of the centralized authority having problems or simply failing at its tasks. 

The emergence of decentralized identity will solve these problems and shift the control of user information from the platform to users.

Decentralized identity will be used to prove relevant rights and interests, but it will not form a perfectly overlapping relationship with physical identity. Instead, it will be based on indelible blockchain data such as Defi credit history, blockchain activity records, asset holdings, address correlation, and other related factors.

Taken together, they will provide a snapshot of a person, but it may not be the only snapshot they go around with- multiple decentralized identities will be the rule of the day. 

Different people can provide different identity information on different platforms in different scenarios, times, and conditions. Related rights and asset owners will be bound to different decentralized identities and need only be used when the owner decides they are needed rather than when a platform wants to gather more data about you.

This allows users to engage in interactive behaviors in the Metaverse safely- they can reveal as much or as little information about their hobbies, community participation, asset-level classification, industry attributes, or other aspects as they choose. 

MetaVisa serves as a Web 3.0 middleware protocol and is committed to promoting the development of the best Metaverse identity. Towards that end, it has created the MetaVisa Credit Score system (MCS). Developers in areas such as DeFi, GameFi, or SocialFi can use MetaVisa’s credit system to improve their users’ experience. 

In addition to providing a decentralized Metaverse identity (MID), this system also allows for effective interactions with other applications in the Metaverse by providing a single, trustworthy, easily accessed credential to prove the trustworthiness, assets, and identity of the user. 

The optimization of these interactions also allows for better services in the development and application of SocialFi. Additionally, MCS can be used as a store of personal value. In order to demonstrate a higher personal social influence, MID holders will have to be more active on-chain and earn more value in ecosystems.

The MetaVisa credit score consists of two parts. The first part is calculated by human-designed features and human-designed formulas. The second part is given by the carefully designed machine learning algorithm.

For the human-designed part, we consider the following three aspects.

Address activity: The timing and frequency of transactions with an address are used to describe the activity. The more frequent the transactions are, the more active the address is. 

Address balance: Addresses with more assets should have higher credit. We adopt the following rules when calculating address balance.

Convert different tokens into one unit:

Take the timing into consideration:

Take the debt into consideration: 

With the above rules, we can sample the balance (asset – debt) for each address in each day, and maintain a exponential time weighted average balance for each address as: Bal_avg[t] = a * Bal_avg[t-1] + (1 – a) * Bal[t]. Bal_avg[t] is the exponential average balance in the t-th day, and Bal[t] is the balance in the t-th day.

Interaction with typical smart contracts: We make statistics of smart contracts interactions mainly on three fields, which are DeFi, NFT and GameFi. For each field, we filter out a typical set of applications to construct an applications pool. In the future, as more web3 Apps appear, we will include more fields and typical applications. For each address, the interaction frequency with the applications in the pool is counted.

For each address, a weighted sum of the above features is calculated to obtain the human-designed part of the credit score.

For the machine learning algorithm, we construct a graph. in the graph, each node is an account address. If two addresses have some interaction during the past period of time, there exists an edge between them. For each node, its features in the graph consist of the following parts:

The features of the address itself, including its activity and balance.

The features of its transactions with other addresses.

The features of its neighboring addresses.

To predict the probability that an address will liquidate, we collect the liquidation events in the typical DeFi platforms. For each address, we label it as positive if liquidation events happen in the following period, and negative if not.

We conduct the following machine learning algorithms to predict the liquidation probability: GCN (Graph Convolutional Network), logistic regression, random forest. Based on each single machine learning algorithm, we develop an ensemble algorithm, which is more robust and can generalize better.

Some recent major leaps into SocialFi include these major projects and network expansions. 

Mask Network helps users transition from Web2.0 to Web3.0, allowing users to send encrypted messages, cryptocurrencies, or even NFTs on traditional social platforms. Open-source software development incentive platform Gitcoin promotes the development of an open-source movement.

The Solana Foundation, Audius, and Metaplex jointly launched a US$5 million creator fund to attract artists and musicians into the crypto industry, which has helped promote the development of SocialFi and the arrival of the Web3.0 era. 

We look forward to watching SocialFi as the next hot spot in the market. With luck, it will be as common a term as “DeFi” in the near future.

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Bu Shares Credit For Big Discovery Of Small Particle

“I feel pretty excited and very, very lucky,” says Bilsback (CAS’13), who along with most of the other BU students opted to watch a live feed of the 9 a.m. announcement rather than queue up before dawn to hear it in person. Bilsback is fortunate in many respects—BU is the only university to offer an academic-year undergraduate internship program at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the firmament of particle physics research. Some people waited all night to get into the CERN auditorium to meet a lineup of particle physics luminaries, among them Peter Higgs, the University of Edinburgh professor emeritus who proposed the existence of the Higgs boson in the 1960s.

Kevin Black, a College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of physics, was there too, and he describes an atmosphere of “elation and jubilation.” Black has been working on the LHC since 2005, three years before it was officially completed. “One thing I should point out is that in ‘big science’ there can often be 10, 20, or even 30 years between the conception, design, and execution of a successful experiment, many of which end in disappointment,” Black says. “When you get a big result—those are typically far and few between.” There are people who have searched for the Higgs for their entire professional careers. Black reports that Higgs himself, now 83, was in tears when he saw the data.

Currently being hailed, deciphered, analyzed, and demystified in scientific and lay press around the world, last Wednesday’s news might best be summed up as the result of supercomputer number-crunching on an epic scale. The data in the Higgs boson quest have been long in coming and will continue to flow, but according to CERN, “the 2012 LHC run schedule was designed to deliver the maximum possible quantity of data to the experiments before the ICHEP conference, and with more data delivered between April and June 2012 than in the whole 2011 run, the strategy has been a success.” And the confirmation level of the data consistent with Higgs boson is 5 sigma, which in the particle physics world means that the chance that the information is wrong is only one in 3.5 million. The massive LHC is the flagship project of CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire), now officially called the European Organization for Nuclear Research, a joint venture recognized by the scientific community as the world’s largest particle physics center. The LHC, a 16-mile underground vacuum tube lined with 4,000 of the world’s most powerful superconducting magnets straddling the Franco-Swiss border, can accelerate two beams of protons so they collide at close to the speed of light, creating explosions of particles similar to the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang. Researchers analyze the debris of the fleeting particles as they decay.

Exceeding its design specifications, the LHC computing grid has analyzed an unprecedented torrent of data to pick out Higgs-like events from the millions of collisions occurring every second. In fact, in the two weeks preceding last week’s announcement, researchers analyzed about 800 trillion proton-proton collisions that had occurred over the last two years.

Lawrence R. Sulak, David M. Myers Distinguished Professor of Physics and director of BU’s internship program, who is on sabbatical at CERN, was among the 3,000 signatories to the July 4 research update that shook the world. “If the accelerator performs as anticipated, by the end of this run in February 2013, we hope to verify whether the new particle is the boson of the Standard theory,” says Sulak.

The Standard theory Sulak refers to is the Standard Model of particle physics, for which Sheldon Glashow, Arthur G. B. Metcalf Professor of Mathematics and Science, shared the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics. Glashow’s theory has been extended by colleagues Andrew Cohen and Kenneth Lane, CAS physics professors, and Martin Schmaltz, an associate professor. The Standard Model of particle physics, sometimes called “the theory of everything,” concerns the interactions that mediate the behavior of subatomic particles. Long-standing questions revolve around shortcomings in the Standard Model, which lists the simplest particles known to exist (such as electrons, muons, and quarks) and describes how three fundamental forces—electromagnetism, the strong force that holds together the nuclei of atoms, and the weak force that underlies radioactive decay—act on them. But the Standard Model neglects gravity, and it offers no explanation for “dark matter,” a phenomenon indicating that most of the universe’s mass is invisible because it doesn’t emit light. The existence of the Higgs boson and the related Higgs field would provide the missing piece of the model and solve one of physics’ persistent mysteries—why some subatomic particles, like the quarks that make up protons and neutrons, have mass and others, such as electrons, are super-light.

Tulika Bose, a CAS assistant professor of physics and a 2012 Sloan Fellow, is also working at CERN and called the July 4 developments groundbreaking. If the particle proves to be something more exotic than the Higgs boson, that would be “particularly exciting,” says Bose, “since it would revolutionize our current understanding of particle physics.” It may also help answer some of the fundamental questions facing particle physics today, she says, and in any case, the LHC results will inspire physicists to arrive at “a more complete theory that includes everything.”

The idea of sending undergraduates to be part of this sweeping effort was born five years ago, when, “with the nexus of particle physics having moved from the United States to Geneva,” Sulak says, “we realized that BU students should be trained at CERN, where all the action is.” Funded by BU and the U.S. Department of Energy, the eight-month stints (Bilsback and several others have opted to stay on at CERN through the summer) constitute the only such program in the world, according to Sulak. In the program’s three years of operation, 23 BU undergraduates have participated, according to Sulak.

Bilsback, who plans to earn a PhD in physics, is the only BU intern working on CERN’s ATLAS detector, the LHC experiment providing most of the data for Higgs. And with the LHC being the Mecca of particle physics, great minds are everywhere. “It was a bit intimidating at first; everyone is a doctoral or postdoc student,” says Bilsback, who like fellow CERN interns has lunched with international Nobel laureates. “But everyone has been so welcoming and helpful.”

Back at BU, Glashow explains that in the world of particle physics, each new discovery opens the door to many others. The Higgs boson is “the last of the particles predicted by the theory I shared the Nobel Prize for,” says Glashow, “but everyone agrees there have to be other particles, and other structures as well.” As for headlines touting discovery of “the God particle,” Glashow’s distaste is pronounced. “That’s not a term we use,” he says. The catchy term is traced to the title publishers gave to a 1993 book about the Higgs boson by Leon Lederman, The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? Lederman was “not too happy” about the title, Glashow says. “Nobody likes to use that term. It has nothing to do with God. It’s just a very important particle.”

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Earth Summit: Meaning And Development

A parallel NGO forum with 17,000 additional NGO delegates offered suggestions to the Earth Summit. Global attitudes towards the environment have changed, as seen by the enormous interest and participation of states and NGOs in the Earth Summit. Human activity was harming the environment, according to scientific evidence obtained in the second half of the 20th century.

What is Earth Summit

The Earth Summit, also known as the Rio Summit or Rio Conference, was the name of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), which took place from June 3 to June 14, 1992. Determining a thorough agenda and a novel approach for international action on environment and development concerns in the twenty-first century was the aim of the Rio Summit. After the Cold War, the Earth Summit was established to encourage member governments to work together worldwide on development issues. The Earth Summit was established to provide a forum for member states to work together on sustainability-related challenges that were too large for any one of them to manage alone. Since its inception, many additional organisations working in the sustainability field, including non-governmental organisations, have developed in a way that is similar to the topics covered in these conferences (NGOs).

What is Rio Earth Summit

The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, which was held in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1972, was commemorated by the Earth Summit on its twentieth anniversary. The 1972 summit was the first time an environmental meeting of this caliber resulted in the adoption of the Stockholm Declaration and Plan of Action.

Development of Earth Summit

A key result of the meeting was a deal on the Climate Change Convention, which later gave rise to the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. A further commitment was made to “not engage in any actions on the territory of indigenous peoples that would degrade the environment or be culturally incorrect.”

At the Earth Summit, the Convention on Biological Diversity was made available for signature, and it represented a first step towards redefining policies in a way that did not innately support the destruction of natural ecoregions and alleged uneconomic growth. At this conference, the idea for World Oceans Day was first put forth, and it has been celebrated ever since.

The proposed Convention on Biological Diversity was not signed by the United States, despite President George H. W. Bush signing the Earth Summit’s Convention on Climate. EPA Administrator William K. Reilly acknowledges that the United States’ goals at the conference were challenging to negotiate and that the agency’s international results were mixed.

The Local Government Honours Award, given in recognition of outstanding regional environmental initiatives, was given to twelve cities. These included Kitakyushu in Japan for incorporating an international education and training component into its municipal pollution control programme, Sudbury in Canada for its ambitious programme to repair environmental damage caused by the nearby mining industry, and Austin in the United States for its green building strategy.

Impact and Issues

The Earth Summit of 1992 resulted in a number of long-term reports and implementation plans that are still used as guidelines for global environmental action, including the Kyoto Protocol and the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Earth Summit 2002). Agenda 21, the Statement of Forest Principles, and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development were all products of the 1992 Earth Summit. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity were both established as a result of the Earth Summit (UNFCCC).

Additionally, it demands that all local, state, and federal governments create and carry out strategies to save the environment and natural resources for future generations. Sustainable management of forests was urged in the Declaration of Forest Principles. A compromise was reached to create the non-binding declaration after rich nations declined to foot the bill for developing countries’ preservation of national forests.

In order to protect the environment through sustainable development, international organisations, national governments, local governments, and NGOs must collaborate under Agenda 21. Four categories make up this document: Social and Economic Aspects, Conservation and Management of Resources for Development, Enhancing the Participation of Main Organisations, and Methods of Implementation The primary organisation in charge of carrying out Agenda 21 is the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development.

Both developed and developing countries are responsible for environmental deterioration, according to Agenda 21. Environmental rules are frequently laxer in less developed countries, which also prioritise economic growth. Developed countries have more stringent environmental restrictions, but their manufacturing and consumption patterns still pollute the environment.


The major purpose of “Earth Summit” is to ensure sustainable development, which could be achieved by everyone on the globe, whether they were at the local, national, regional, or international level. It also recognized the necessity of integrating and balancing economic, social, and environmental issues in order to meet human needs, as well as the viability of such an integrated approach. This concept was revolutionary for its time and sparked a contentious debate about how to ensure sustainability for development both inside governments and between governments and their citizens.

Frequently Asked Question

Q1. How Many countries participate in the earth summit?

Q2. Which country held Earth summit2?

Ans. South Africa hosted the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development from August 26 to September 4, 2002. Ten years after the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, it was called to explore sustainable development organisations. (Thus, it was also referred to as “Rio+10” informally.)

Q3. Who did found the earth summit?

Ans. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), often known as the Earth Summit, was launched by United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali on June 3, 1992. Fernando Collor de Mello, President of Brazil, was chosen to lead the conference.

Q4. What is the first earth summit?

Q5. When was the last Earth summit held?

Ans. In 1992, the first summit was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rio de Janeiro also played host to the 2012 Rio+20 Earth Summit.

2024 Lexus Ls 500 First Drive: The Luxury Of Identity

2024 Lexus LS 500 First Drive: The luxury of identity

If it’s usually your thirties when you discover your real identify, you could argue the 2023 Lexus LS 500 and LS 500h are ahead of schedule. The fifth-generation of the automaker’s flagship luxury sedan arrives just before the car’s thirtieth birthday, promising more refinement, more technology, and – arguably most important – more character. If the original LS defined Lexus as a luxury upstart in 1989, the new LS finally sees the automaker come to terms with its Japanese roots.

It’s no stretch to say that some generations of LS have been anonymous in their design. This, after all, is the car that for several years was the vehicle-of-choice for the clandestine agents in the BBC series “MI-5” when they wanted to remain surreptitious around London.

Lexus’ answer was the addition of a controversial grille in 2012, officially keeping the sedan in line with the “spindle” design of its range-mates, but quickly compared to the gaping maw of the Predator. It also added an F SPORT edition to the line-up, with tuning to the suspension as well as a more aggressive body kit. Still, one of the lingering complaints – the quality of the interior compared to Lexus’ German rivals – remained.

It’s all change for the fifth-generation LS. The spindle remains, but it’s more curvaceous than before: a bow-sided hourglass more akin to the cinched waist of an elegant ballgown than the battle grimace of an interstellar warrior. Chief designer Koichi Suga says the 2023 LS was “forged from passion” and the car’s more flowing lines and curves reflect that. It leaves it looking smaller, too, even though it’s actually a little longer and wider than before, albeit lower.

Some key considerations remain. Rear seat headroom proved to be a particular obsession, and the wheelbase grew 1.3-inches, predominantly stretching legroom for those in the back. As a result there won’t be an “L” long-wheelbase version, at least for now.

There’s a heritage story to be told, too, something Lexus has at times struggled to achieve. If the first LS was Toyota’s attempt to out-German the Germans, each subsequent car has tried for an uneasy balance between directly competing with Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi, and honoring the automaker’s own Japanese heritage.

So, Lexus turned to master craftsmen to develop traditional decorative glass panels, which it used as the molds for interior door trim. Rather than just wrapping sections of the cabin in leather, it used origami-style folded fabric. The woodwork is laser-cut, bonded woodgrain slices for symmetrical grain, nestling among swathes of grooved aluminum that echo the blades of a tea whisk. One woman spent eight hours a day, for six whole months, computer-generating the surfaces on the grille: 5,000 of them on the regular LS, and 7,000 on the F SPORT.

It’s possible that Lexus has gone a little overboard. Indeed, the interior of the LS can be an overwhelming place, full of shapes, curves, overlaps, and layers. Happily there’s been a focus on choice as well as craftsmanship: none of the cars I sat in were entirely subtle, but there were certainly more sedate trims compared to the Japanese glass and origami options.

Either way, it might run the risk of feeling tacky had Lexus not taken a noticeable step up in materials and the quality of its fit and finish. As the Lexus LC coupe demonstrated, the automaker is absolutely capable of putting together a cabin that’s aeons away from that of your Toyota. Happily, that has translated over to the new LS.

It’s not a completely clean sweep, mind. Lexus gives its new dashboard a vast display atop the center console, but then squanders its potential with its Enform infotainment system.

Enform looked dated on the old LS, and it looks positively archaic on the new car. Where Mercedes, Audi, and BMW give you crisp graphics and smooth transitions, Lexus’ system is visually clunky and overloaded with iconography. As in the LC you get a touchpad in the center console with which to navigate the UI. It’s better than the joystick other Lexus cars use, but with its bizarre achievement of being somehow both too sensitive and not sensitive enough, that’s still faint praise.

The experience is all the more frustrating given how much time you’ll spend navigating through the UI. The 2023 LS isn’t short of physical buttons for things like HVAC and multimedia, which is welcome, but most of the electronics rely on digging through Enform to access them. A second control panel, this time a touchscreen, lives in the armrest between the rear seats and has a better interface, and I can’t help but wish it had been carried forward to what those in the front use.

It’s a shame, because Lexus hasn’t stinted on technology. The Lexus Safety System+ is standard, with pre-collision with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure alerts and lane-keep assistance, and auto high-beams, together with a 12-speaker Pioneer audio system. Go digging through the options list, though, and there’s plenty to choose from.

A 23-speaker, 2,400W Mark Levinson audio system with 7.1 surround sound that uses speakers embedded in the cabin’s roof sounds tremendous. The four-zone climate control uses sixteen sensors spread across the four main seating positions to track occupant temperature, adjusting both the HVAC, seat heating and cooling, and steering wheel heating to maintain a comfortable level. The driver’s seat is 28-way adjustable, with five massage programs and a clever easy-exit system that partially deflates the outer side cushion.

An Executive power rear seat has a fold-out ottoman with adjustable leg-rest angle and extra seat recline, together with massage. Both moonroof and panoramic moonroof options are offered, plus a hands-free power trunk with both open and close features, and a vast color head-up display. More cameras than the average TV studio give a full 360-degree perspective along with close-ups of the corners of the car.

The Lexus Safety System+ Advanced Package adds in pedestrian alerts and active steering assistance that can help swerve the LS around someone who has wandered off the sidewalk and into your lane. It also gets front cross traffic alerts and – courtesy of better front and rear radar coverage and a stereo front-facing camera array – road sign recognition. Lexus is talking up its ability to track road markings, too, with Lane Tracing Assist, that can minimize steering input required to keep the LS in the center of the lane.

What it isn’t is the semi-autonomous driver assistance that Audi, BMW, and Mercedes have begun offering, among others. The 2023 LS can keep you dead center in the road, but Lexus is clear that it’s a “co-driving” system and that you still need to have your hands on the wheel. A few fingers should be enough to satisfy the sensors, but this isn’t Tesla Autopilot or Cadillac Super Cruise.

Happily being behind the wheel of the new LS isn’t as somnolent as was at times the case with previous generations. Lexus has two engines for the 2023 model year, a 3.5-liter V6 with 416 HP and 442 lb-ft. of torque, and a 3.5-liter hybrid with 354 HP. Both can be had in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive forms; the LS 500 gas-only car has an F SPORT option and a Performance Package option.

I spent time in both LS 500 and LS 500h, and came away generally impressed. The former has a 10-speed automatic with closely-spaced ratios, and isn’t shy about gear changes. There’s a smooth surge of power when you apply your right foot, though I’m not entirely convinced that the car really needs so many gears. Switch from normal mode to Sport or Sport+ using the dial mounted up on the side of the instrumentation binnacle and things get more eager. Just as the LS looks smaller from the outside compared to the outgoing car, it shrinks around you a little more from behind the wheel, too.

As for the hybrid, though it’s not the first time the LS has offered an electrified powertrain, Lexus does expect a much higher percentage of buyers this time around. It too promises a 10-speed transmission, though it’s achieved with some engineering and electronic magic. In fact, there’s what amounts to a four-speed automatic which then simulates ten gears by chopping those four speeds into individual chunks.

The result, Lexus says, is the “rhythmic shifting” of a regular car without the rubber-band feel of a CVT. As with its gas-only counterpart, I’m just not convinced it’s required, however, though it does pay dividends when it comes to economy. Lexus is quoting 25 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway, and 28 mpg combined with the RWD hybrid, adding up to the potential of 600+ miles from a full tank of gas. You lose a little of the urgency of the more powerful car – 0-60 mph comes in 5.1 seconds, rather than 4.6 – but it’s a hushed, smooth place from which to do your bit for Mother Earth.

Not, though, entirely as smooth as I might have expected. The firmer suspension of the F SPORT is one thing, and Lexus will offer an air suspension option atop the standard adaptable variable suspension with its 650 levels of damping force adjustment, but I’m going to blame the standard-fit run-flat tires for being a little less cosseting than regular versions. Lexus says they’re more accommodating than most of their ilk – they even have certain alloy wheel designs that use clever hollow rims and resonator chambers to dissipate vibrations more effectively – and that’s probably true, but I’d still wager most rear-seat passengers would prefer a standard spare and squishier rubber.

Compared to the German cars, Lexus is counting both on a more memorable car and a competitive price to distinguish the new LS. Sales will start at an aggressive $75,000 when the car arrives in dealerships come February 2023, and the automaker expects almost three-quarters of all cars sold to leave the showroom under $80k. At that point, you’re still $10k behind a base-spec S-Class.

All the same, I suspect badge appeal will mean Audi, BMW, and Mercedes keep many of their sales. Lexus’ predicted conquest rate – the number of buyers it converts from rival automakers – is 40-percent, and I think that’s realistic. I just expect it to be brands like Acura, Infiniti, Lincoln, and Cadillac to bear the brunt of those losses.

If the old LS bordered on the forgettable, the new 2023 LS 500 and LS 500h are anything but. You may not like the grille, or the interior design, but at least Lexus has taken a stand, and it leaves the new cars feeling much less like formulaic interpretations of luxury. There are idiosyncrasies still, but competitive pricing and near-obsessive attention to detail make these the most appealing LS models in thirty years.

Promoting Outdoor Learning In Urban Settings

It’s a warm fall day, and a trio of students are bent over a carpet of red, orange, and gold leaves at their feet. They carefully pick through the pile and compare each leaf to the sketches they’ve already made, taking note of the curves and shape of each one. Their goal is to collect as many unique leaves as they can to support the building of a class tree identifier, but before they can complete their sketches,  a large American crow lands in the tree, calls out, and distracts them.

The three students sit quietly, not wanting to disturb the recent arrival, but the bird takes off when a garbage truck goes barreling by its perch. The students get back to work— scooping up as many leaves as they can from their corner of 49th Avenue in New York City. 

When we think about learning outdoors, scenes like the one described aren’t always the first things that come to mind. However, where students live or where their school is located shouldn’t prevent us from providing them with experiences learning outside the classroom, especially given the universal benefits.   

Exposure to the Natural World Has a Positive Effect on Learning

Thanks to a preponderance of recent research along with the experiences of teachers who have taken the leap themselves, the benefits of spending time learning outdoors are widely accepted. Students who learn outdoors perform better on standardized tests, are more engaged and motivated to learn, and are more focused on their work even when back indoors. Exposure to the natural world is associated with lower levels of stress, lower anxiety, and better overall social and emotional health.

What is less well known is recent research that shows that even short-term exposures to the outdoors, sometimes called green breaks, have a positive impact on academic outcomes. A brief stroll in an outdoor environment or a short visit to a community garden can positively impact students’ attentiveness as well as their working memory. This is of particular interest to the teachers of students who live in places such as urban centers, where access to green space might be more limited. Full days spent in rolling hills or forests aren’t necessary for students to experience the benefits of learning outside.  

Even within a concrete jungle like New York City, opportunities for learning outdoors are readily available, because no matter where you live, the natural world exists around you. In addition to the 14 percent of the city that is parkland and 10,000 acres of forest, small-scale opportunities for learning are around every corner and street as most residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park of some kind.

As I explored this further, I was very lucky to connect with the NYC Urban Park Rangers who have created a learning hub with a wealth of resources that can be valuable to anyone living in any city across the globe. Some of the site’s highlights include the following:

An expansive urban wildlife curriculum with lessons for K–12 students focused on topics like animal adaptations, observing wildlife, and virtual programs about the city’s urban white-tailed deer population. 

A K–8 curriculum guide aligned to STEM standards that details the story of the city’s water supply and the importance of water conservation. 

In addition to the resources you find that can be used in an urban environment, you might consider other ideas to get yourself and your students started.   

Find Everyday Elements to Elevate

How do your students encounter nature in their everyday lives? Do they cut across a grass lawn on their way to school? Do the storm drains that fill during a rainstorm empty into a river or bay? How many trees dot the street around their school? All of these factors provide opportunities for teachable moments and can turn classroom knowledge into authentic understanding.  

During one of its recent citywide greening initiatives, the NYC Urban Park Rangers were able to create an entire unit of study around the trees planted in traffic circles and along city streets. Students used the trees just outside their apartment buildings to learn about everything from photosynthesis to the carbon cycle to the role that trees play in affecting citywide temperatures. Because of this unit, the trees that students see every day took on new significance and were seen as more than just places to lock up bikes. 

There’s No Such Thing as Too Small of a Space

Nature comes in all sizes, so don’t discount ideas for learning from small-scale natural elements and environments.  

In your habitat, no matter where you are, you are surrounded by wildlife. Whether it comes in the form of a bird sitting on a telephone wire, a squirrel running along a park fence, or a line of ants helping break down a dropped Popsicle, there are opportunities for students to observe, journal, and connect what they see outside to what they are learning in class about living things and how they meet their needs.

Exploring pocket worlds—having students zoom in and look for evidence of the natural world, even in their own bedrooms—can be extremely rewarding. Try challenging students to look in windowsills, planter boxes, or cracks in the concrete to help them identify examples of ecosystems or food chains. You can then reinforce those observations with in-class learning or discussions.

Fix A “Safari Can’t Verify The Identity Of The Website…” Error Message

While Safari usually works just fine for browsing the web, there are times you may encounter a persistent error message about verifying the identity of a particular website. The precise error message may read something like this, and appear on almost any site, where “URL” is a variety of domains:

“Safari can’t verify the identity of the website “URL”

The certificate for this website is invalid. You might be connecting to a website that is pretending to be “URL”, which could put your confidential information at risk. Would you like to connect to the website anyway?”

For a common example, you may find this alert popping up for Facebook related domains while visiting other sites on the web, in such a case, the error may read and look something like the following:

This can happen with almost any website, probably because of the ubiquitous Facebook “Like” and “Share” buttons found all over the web, which may lead users to see the certificate error when they’re somewhere completely different, like IMDB or NYTimes.

Again, you’ll want to confirm the certificate is valid yourself before doing anything else, but if you’re convinced this is a client side error (that is, you or someone you are troubleshooting Safari for), you can often resolve it with the methods detailed below.

This is aimed at resolving erroneous “can’t verify” messages from Safari only in situations where you trust all sites and domains listed, yet still receive the error message. This should be not used to ignore a valid security alert.

Update Safari to the Latest Version

You’ll want to do this before anything else, update to the latest version of Safari that is supported by your Macs version of OS X. You can check this by:

Go to the  Apple menu and choose “Software Update”

Install any and all updates available for Safari

This is important because antiquated versions of Safari may have a bug, flaw, or unpatched security issue that is causing the certificate verification issue to be triggered. Many users find that simply updating Safari fixes the problem entirely.Optionally, you may want to try clearing cookies for the impacted domains too, but it shouldn’t be necessary.

Still having issues on the newest Safari build? Now let’s get into a bit more technical troubleshooting…

Fix Invalid Certificate Errors by Repairing Keychain

The first method to resolve an erroneous certificate error is to turn to Keychain Access, and then verify and repair the certificates contained for the active user account in Mac OS X. Here’s how to do this:

Quit out of Safari

Hit Command+Spacebar to bring up Spotlight search, then type “Keychain Access” and hit return to launch the app

Go to the “Keychain Access” menu and select “Keychain First Aid” from the menu list

Enter the current user password, then check the “Verify” box, followed by choosing the “Start” button

Next, choose the “Repair” radio box and then “Start” again

Relaunch Safari and visit the website(s) again

Things should now be back to normal and Safari should no longer throw the “can’t verify identity” error when visiting websites.

Repairing the keychain is a common troubleshooting technique when various login details and account specifics are not being remembered properly in a variety of Mac apps or system tasks, even including wi-fi routers and persistent wi-fi network login requests, and it usually the resolves such problems.

Confirm the System Time is Correct

If you’re still having the problem, your time settings may be off. Yes, time, as in the clock on the computer. If that’s the problem, it’s quite easy to resolve:

Be sure the Mac has active internet access, this is necessary to retrieve accurate date and time info from Apple servers

Quit Safari

Open the  Apple menu and go to System Preferences

Choose “Date & Time” and check the box for “Set date and time automatically” (if the box is already checked, uncheck it, wait 10 seconds, then check it again)

Relaunch Safari

You should be good to go with no more verification errors. This works for situations where the system time is reporting as vastly different than what is expected from the remote server, like if a computer is reporting itself from the future (sorry McFly).


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