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The Xenobots are quicker and more efficient, and they may be used in the future to build more characteristics of biological bots for more complicated behaviours.

Xenobots are living cell collections that lack a brain and digestive system. They may, however, be trained in the traditional sense to corral other cells, as in this work, or to eventually execute other tasks. That is why the researchers call them “tiny biological robots.” Xenobots were developed for the first-time last year using cells extracted from the embryo of the frog Xenopus laevis. Under the correct lab circumstances, the cells self-assembled, moved in groups and sensed their surroundings, forming microscopic structures. When the cells are clumped together, they create spheres of roughly 3000 cells in five days. Each cluster is half a millimetre across and coated with tiny hair-like structures. According to Bongard, they work like flexible oars, pushing the xenobots ahead in corkscrew trajectories. Individual clumps of cells appeared to cooperate in a swarm, pushing other free cells in the dish closer. The ensuing mounds of cells gradually transformed into new xenobots.

Unlike Xenobots 1.0, which was produced from the bottom up by physically depositing tissue and surgically sculpting frog skin and heart cells to generate motion, Xenobots 2.0 is built from the top down. Tufts researchers used stem cells from Xenopus laevis embryos to self-assemble and mature into spheroids, where part of the cells differentiated to form cilia, which are minute hair-like exactly. Instead of the original Xenobots being projections that move back and forth or spin propelled by manually moulded cardiac cells, the new spheroidal bots are propelled by cilia.

“In some aspects, the Xenobots are designed like ordinary robots,” noted senior scientist Doug Blackiston, who co-authored the study with research worker Emma Lederer. “However, we utilise cells and tissues rather than artificial components to form the structure and produce predictable behaviour.” “From a scientific viewpoint, this method helps us understand how cells communicate with one another during development and how we may better manage those interactions.”

Further research indicated that groups of 12 xenobots put in a plate containing around 60,000 single cells appear to collaborate to generate one or two new generations. “One (xenobot) parent may start a pile, and then a second parent can push more cells into that pile, and so on, forming the kid,” Bongard explains.

On average, each cycle of replication produces somewhat smaller xenobot progeny. Offspring with less than 50 cells eventually lose their capacity to swim and breed. The researchers resorted to artificial intelligence to generate further generations of xenobots. Using an evolutionary algorithm, the scientists projected which xenobot beginning forms will produce the most offspring. C-shaped clusters were anticipated by the simulation.

Scientists in the United States have developed “xenobots,” the world’s first “living robots.” The small robots were created using cells from the African clawed frog. Living cells scraped from frog embryos were recycled and built into totally new life forms by scientists. The robots are named after the aquatic frog Xenopus laevis, which is prevalent throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, from Nigeria to Sudan to South Africa. While humans have been manipulating organisms for their benefit since at least the dawn of agriculture, and genetic editing has produced a few artificial organisms in recent years, the latest research is significant because it designs “completely biological machines from scratch” for the first time.

The newest Xenobots are faster and better than last year’s model at tasks like garbage collection, sweeping over a petri dish in a swarm to gather higher amounts of iron oxide particles. They can also move across large flat surfaces as well as microscopic capillaries. These findings also hint that silico simulations may be employed in the future to develop additional aspects of biological bots for more complex behaviours. The ability to record data is an important feature provided with the Xenobot upgrade.

According to Blackiston, the xenobots‘ original spheroid form is “not the greatest design” for this function. Instead, the algorithm recommended a C-shape like a snowplough or, as some have pointed out, Pac-Man. He claims that shape is extremely effective in corralling and collecting free stem cells, which naturally aggregate into big mounds. The researchers saw something surprising when the xenobots gathered up free frog stem cells in the dish: the mounds of cells created clones of the original xenobots. Biology is well aware of several kinds of sexual and asexual reproduction. But what the xenobots performed, known as kinematic self-replication, is novel in living creatures, according to Michael Levin, a Tufts professor of biology and an associate faculty member at the Wyss Institute. “The distinction between a robot and an organism isn’t nearly as clear as… we used to believe,” Levin tells NPR. “These creatures possess both characteristics.” The researchers point out, however, that a xenobot, like a hypothetical von Neumann computer, cannot reproduce itself in the absence of raw components. As a result, they have essentially no chance of escaping and reproducing on their own.

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How Massive Open Online Courses Are Trying To Change Education

Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, have grown fast. In less than ten years they’ve gone from not existing to having almost ten-thousand courses available. They have always been the subject of some controversy and have had their fair share of technical challenges, but the ever-increasing number of prestigious universities creating paths to actual degrees through MOOCs is a clear signal that the way the world learns is changing. There’s a lot of demand for more affordable, open, flexible education, and as online classroom technology improves, getting an online degree will increasingly be seen as a realistic alternative.

Where did they come from and where are they now?

Though the very first MOOCs started in 2008, the platforms that we know today (edX, Coursera, Udacity, FutureLearn, etc.) only came on the scene in 2012. Harvard and MIT were the driving forces behind edX, and Coursera came from two Stanford professors.

There was some initial pessimism because of high dropout rates, the ease of cheating, an uncertain business model, a lack of accreditation, and other perennial issues in online education, but it was outweighed by the number of students who were willing to give free online courses a shot. As of 2023, the MOOC platforms combined have:

Eighty-one million students

Over 800 universities

9,400 courses

500 MOOC-based credentials

And it’s gone way beyond the Ivy League. The Chinese-language XuetangX is the third-largest by enrollment, and there are other locally-organized MOOCs appearing from Thailand to Spain. Employers like Microsoft and IBM have started their own programs, and you can get anything from course credit to a master’s degree if you want to. What’s behind all this?


In the U.S, university costs have risen by 161% (adjusted for inflation) since 1987 and often require going into debt. That makes low-cost online education an attractive proposition for a generation of digital natives with uncertain employment prospects. Low-cost, high-volume MOOC-based degrees are popping up everywhere, especially in tech-heavy fields like computer science, analytics, and cybersecurity.

Open Access

The vast majority of MOOCs don’t have any application process at all. You sign up for the course, pay for a certificate if you want to (it’s free just to audit), and if you do well in the course, you pass.

This means that people from all over the world, regardless of background, don’t have to jump through many formal hoops to get a credential. It also means that it’s easier to do things like explore career changes, learn recreationally, or just have access to some of the world’s smartest people.

Some universities are even using this as part of their admissions process: get good grades in their MicroMasters program, and you’ll have a much better chance of getting into their traditional program.


One reason that good universities are expensive and difficult to get into is that there’s a fairly large imbalance between demand and supply. Stanford only admits five percent of applicants out of the hundreds of thousands that apply each year, and Harvard and MIT have similar numbers, but their MOOC courses have reached millions. Stuffing more people into a finite amount of classroom space is difficult, but as the technology improves and the system is refined, there is no hard upper limit on the number of people who can have a productive experience in a MOOC.


MOOCs don’t require you to drop everything and start studying; you can be as part time or full time as you wish. Many of the courses are self-paced or have frequent start dates, allowing students to take breaks when they need to and customize their course load based on what they can handle. Providers also benefit from the platform’s flexibility in a different way: they can adjust their courses on the fly and improve it over multiple iterations or even update it as new ideas hit the market.

The bad stuff

Of course, like all technologies, MOOCs have a dark side. They’re impersonal, don’t foster bonds between students and teachers, lend themselves better to multiple-choice and mathematical answers than to projects and papers, have high dropout rates, and depending on the courses you take, your credentials may be more or less attractive to employers or future educators. It’s easy to learn and practice skills using MOOCs, but it’s harder to dive deep into difficult social issues and participate in a cohesive learning experience. That’s probably why the vast majority of credentials currently offered are oriented towards technical skills.

The Future of MOOCs

In 2012 MOOCs were a nice idea that mostly caught on with people who enjoyed learning things. In 2023 MOOCs can realistically help you get an education or change careers, though they’re still best for highly technical fields. In 2024 it would be surprising if MOOCs weren’t an even larger part of the educational landscape.

Will they kill the traditional university? Probably not. There’s still a noticeable benefit to in-person instruction and social learning that MOOCs haven’t been able to replicate yet. They are far better-positioned to experiment with new technologies and processes, though. AI could be used to create personalized learning tracks, virtual reality could help improve the social learning experience, blockchains could store educational credentials, et cetera. Regardless of how exactly they turn out, they will certainly be a much-needed injection of innovation into the relatively conservative education industry.

Image credit: MOOC Poster

Andrew Braun

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My Quest To Analyze Every Man

Let’s start with the bad news: You are saturated with man-made chemicals, some of them toxic. Today’s exposure began when compounds in your shampoo and shaving cream seeped into your skin cells, and during your morning coffee, when you drank chemicals that were released into your brew as hot water ran against the plastic walls of your coffeemaker. It continued all day as you touched industrial chemicals in packaging, or walked through pesticide-sprayed lawns, or cooked dinner on nonstick pans. This very minute, your skin is probably touching a piece of clothing or furniture that was doused in protective chemicals to make it resistant to microbes, fungus or water. Tonight, there’s a good chance you’ll curl up in sheets treated with flame retardants.

Every Day Hazmats

Are the chemicals we encounter every day doing toxic damage to our bodies?

I am a paranoid and curious person, and I’ve been following environmental-exposure studies for years. Over time, I developed a morbid curiosity about how many chemicals were lodged in my body. Would I learn how to detoxify? Would I learn that I’m screwed? Would the information be useful at all? In any case, I decided to undergo the most comprehensive testing available to find out.

Last December, I lay on a clinic bed in Buckley’s laboratory at Rutgers. A nurse named Rosalind swabbed my arm in preparation for the Ironman of blood testing. My presence had caused a stir in the lab. They had agreed to take the blood samples I needed for my experiment, but it was far from standard procedure. To get a sense of what I was asking for, think of a lab as a restaurant. I was ordering 150 different dishes—one of everything on the menu—and each would require 10 to 30 complex steps to make. In addition to Rosalind, two other nurses stood by, studying pages of instructions from Quest Diagnostics and Axys Analytical, the labs that would later be analyzing my blood for chemicals including flame retardants, pesticides, plastics and metals.

Rosalind picked up a needle, and the two nurses positioned themselves to grab vials as quickly as my arm could fill them. As I wondered what all that blood would reveal, my mind wandered to memories of a summer childhood ritual: standing in the bathroom in my bathing suit as my mother slathered me with thick layers of sunblock, pausing to let the greasy lotion soak in. Then she’d reach for another canister. “Shut your eyes.” This was my signal to clamp my eyes tight, stop breathing, and turn in a circle while my mother hosed me down with bug spray.

Rosalind read aloud: “OK, ladies. Now we are going to ‘Remove 14 size-large vials of blood from the patient, or as much as is safe.‘ “She looked up. “OK?”

It was the beginning of my experiment, designed to mimic research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nation’s primary source for information on exposure to industrial chemicals in the population. In the late 1970s, the agency began searching for exposure to heavy metals like lead and cadmium. Since then, the CDC has periodically conducted a census of American bodies called the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The agency uses the data for many things, ranging from children’s growth charts to obesity statistics—and, since 2001, to produce a study called the National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. The next such report, due out late this year, will include data on the prevalence of 228 of the most common environmental toxins.

That’s only a fraction of the few thousand chemicals produced in large quantities, but it’s also a major leap from several decades ago, when there was lead in the gas, asbestos in the walls, and no official effort to figure out whether these things were causing harm. To choose the chemicals it will test for, the CDC publishes a notice in the Federal Register soliciting recommendations from scientists. After the suggestions flood in, it gradually narrows the list, choosing chemicals that are widely distributed and suspected of causing harm. Practical concerns rule out searching for more than a few hundred chemicals. “There’s a limit if you’re getting just a few tubes of blood,” says Jim Pirkle, deputy director of science for the CDC.

The NHANES survey begins when the CDC uses a computer algorithm to select 15 counties nationwide. Surveyors appear on the doorsteps of 800 to 1,600 people in each county and interview them, and around a third of the finalists—5,000 or so people nationwide—are ultimately screened. The agency takes measurements on height, weight, body-fat levels, blood pressure and heart rate, among other things. It does an oral-health exam, a bone scan and a vision test. The study participants fill out questionnaires on diet, sexual behavior and drug use. And yes, they also give copious amounts of urine and blood. The results are anonymous, although participants get a copy, along with a toll-free number to call for help understanding them.

Unless the CDC shows up at your house, it’s just about impossible to get this kind of testing. Until the past few years, chemical-exposure testing was available only in research labs, where academics focused on specific families of chemicals, using expensive techniques like gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy. “It really wasn’t available to the public-health community, or to groups of people who figured they might be exposed to pesticides or other agents, because no one had the hundreds of thousands of dollars to open labs and do the testing,” says environmental-exposure researcher Michael McCally, a senior scientist at Physicians for Social Responsibility in Washington, D.C. The technology has slowly moved into specialized commercial labs, but it’s still wildly expensive to access it. My testing would cost me more than $4,000, and that was with Quest agreeing to do much of the blood analysis for free.

The CDC’s Report on Environmental Exposure doesn’t declare any chemicals harmful or safe. “It’s not their job,” Buckley says. “There are people at the National Institutes of Health who do that stuff, and the ATSDR”—the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, created by Congress with the Superfund act of 1980—”and there are epidemiologists, and all of us academics who spend our whole lives interpreting what the CDC puts out.”

Studies on the connection between environmental disease and chemicals have proliferated since the CDC published its first exposure report. Still, the field is young, and such is the state of the art that my makeshift test would give me only raw data about the chemicals in my body; it wouldn’t tell me anything about the likelihood that a particular chemical would give me cancer. I’d have to assemble a personal posse of experts—those people who spend their lives interpreting CDC data—to help me understand the results.

As I arranged the follow-up to my bloodwork, the inherent difficulty of biomonitoring research became clear. Researchers have uncovered plenty of associations between toxins and diseases, and they’re uncovering more all the time. But it’s nearly impossible to quickly and definitively link an individual chemical to a specific disease without knowingly poisoning test subjects. It’s staggeringly hard to prove causation in a system as complicated as the body, particularly when a fetus exposed to a chemical might not show any sign of harm until it becomes an adult. In one study, men who lived in an agricultural area of Missouri were 40 percent less fertile than city-dwellers. Knockout punch for pesticides, right? Wrong. The British Medical Journal study cites this research as a classic example of the difficulty of linking chemicals to disease. “Although these new findings are suggestive, for none [of the findings] is the mechanism of the chemical’s effect self evident,” the researchers wrote. “This leaves doubts as to whether the measured chemicals are the real culprits or are surrogates for other chemical exposures or lifestyle practices.”

“There are almost no smoking guns,” Buckley says. “True smoking guns usually happen in occupational contamination, where a high percentage of people in a factory come down with, say, lung cancer. Everything else is just estimate or conjecture.”

As for product safety testing, it’s far rarer than you might think. The Food and Drug Administration requires pharmaceuticals to be rigorously tested before entering the marketplace, but although the cosmetic industry conducts tests on animals for skin rashes and allergic reactions, those tests, overseen by an industry organization called the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, aren’t mandatory. Cosmetics and general products are rarely, if ever, tested for long-term health effects, let alone potential effects on a fetus. All those air fresheners and cleaning products and perfumes that are sprayed liberally in the air you breathe? Never tested.

If evidence appears that a chemical might be harmful, it’s still tough to get it off the market. Our regulatory system treats chemicals the same way our judicial system treats people, maintaining that they are innocent until proven guilty and trying them one by one. “Chemical-regulation policy deals with individual chemicals, not families of chemicals,” McCally says. That makes banning potentially harmful chemicals inefficient, because typically, if a single molecule has health effects, all its very similar cousins, known as congeners, may as well. “Each congener is a different chemical, so you spend 10 years in court for each,” he says.

My interpretation team was made up of three experts: McCally, Buckley, and Leo Trasande, director of the Mt. Sinai Center for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research in New York and a lead investigator on the federally funded National Children’s Study, which will ultimately set benchmarks for toxic exposures among our most chemical-sensitive population.

I started by calling Trasande. When I read him the first incomprehensible line from my results, he laughed. “I don’t know what that means,” he said. “Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin is nasty stuff. But I would need to also see the benchmarks.” I found the latest NHANES benchmarks and called him back. After going through the rest of the results with my panel, we arrived at a verdict: I am full of chemicals.

My levels of dioxins and furans, older chlorinated chemicals that are usually released into the air by manufacturing and garbage incineration, are above population averages. Industrial releases have decreased 80 percent since the 1980s, yet I’m still full of them because dioxin exposure is the gift that keeps on giving. The body stores dioxin in fat cells and occasionally releases it into the blood, recirculating the same chemicals throughout the body. These have been linked to reproductive disorders, cancer and other maladies.

My levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons—the result of incomplete combustion, these are commonly emitted by stoves and charred meat—are typical for the population. Some of these chemicals are classified by the EPA as probable carcinogens, and they can stay in the body for 25 years, but scientists still don’t understand how potency and length of exposure relate to illness.

I’m carrying above-typical levels of residue from nonstick coatings like Teflon, specifically one called PFOA that is associated with cancer. “Preliminary studies suggest that even low-level exposures can be problematic,” Trasande says.

I’m loaded with nitrate. “This is principally from processed foods, and there’s a cancer risk associated,” Buckley says.

I also have typical levels of exposure to plastics and plasticizers like phthalates, which add flexibility to soft plastics and vinyl and stability to creams and washes. “They’re ubiquitous,” McCally says. Phthalates are linked to reproductive disorders, and it’s unclear what exposure level could be considered safe.

Lastly, my levels of the notorious bisphenol-A, or BPA, an estrogenic compound found in plastic and plastered all over the news for the past two years, are typical. BPA has entered my system every time I’ve ever taken a swig from a water bottle—which I did a lot of as a teenager, training five hours a day as a swimmer.

The overall takeaway is not soothing. “The core message is that we are all exposed to a wide array of chemicals in the environment, as you have been,” Trasande says. “And what little we know suggests cause for concern. And equally concerning is what we don’t know.”

“It doesn’t take a lot of something released indoors to cause exposure,” says Kirk Smith, a professor of global environmental health at the University of California at Berkeley, who taught me the Rule of 1,000: Anything released indoors is about 1,000 times as likely to be inhaled as something released outdoors.

There is, however, only so much you or I can do. Approximately 1,000 new chemicals are added every year to the 85,000 already on the federal registry. As Jane Houlihan, the senior vice president for research at the nonprofit watchdog organization Environmental Working Group, testified in Congress last year, “Companies are free to use almost any ingredient they choose in personal-care products, with no proof of safety required.” Houlihan argues that the FDA should claim the authority to oversee cosmetic safety, by requiring registration and testing of products and ingredients, making public-health-injury reports mandatory, and enforcing safety requirements—which is the way the agency oversees pesticides and food additives.

There are movements afoot to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act to look more like European Union regulations, which allow the banning of families of chemicals. Most notable is the Kids-Safe Chemical Act, which would empower the EPA to require safety testing of baby products before their release.

Still, any attempt at regulation has to reckon with the fact that there’s no going back to a chemical-free world—we’re far beyond that point. “The presence of these industrial chemicals in your bloodstream or tissues is not normal,” McCally says. “Your grandfather didn’t have these.” He pauses to recalibrate. “It’s a consequence of the chemical environment that we live in, and it’s a new normal. We’re just trying to figure out what that is.”

What You Can Do

We actually do have a lot of control over the chemicals we’re exposed to in our homes, where they are 1,000 times as likely to be inhaled as outdoors. Here’s how to start purifying your environment.

Paint and Varnish

VOCs, as they’re known, cause eye, nose and throat irritation, and chronic exposure may damage the central nervous system, kidney and liver. Look for low- or zero-VOC paint. Read about our writer’s quest to analyze every man-made chemical in her body here.


Often listed on labels as a€œfragrance,a€ phthalates may cause reproductive disorders.


A toxic flame retardant in plastic can leach into your brew.


A variety of chemicals found in certain cosmetics have been linked to maladies ranging from hormonal disruptions and infertility to heart disease and various cancers.

Older Nonstick Coatings

Associated with testicular, liver and pancreatic cancers.


These additives are linked to hormonal disruptions.


Certain chemicals found in bar soap are associated with hormonal disruptions that may increase the risk of reproductive problems and cancers.


Absorbed through the skin, this compound may cause hormonal disruptions.

Plastic Bottles

BPA may cause hormonal and reproductive problems.


Fish can soak up mercury from environmental pollution, and when you eat them, you get it too. Mercury can be highly toxic, damaging the nervous system and possibly causing birth and developmental defects.

Charred Meat

Caused by incomplete combustion, some of these chemicals are probable carcinogens.

20 Sexting Acronyms Every Parent Needs To Know

Parents may find it challenging to keep up with their children’s evolving use of slang, jargon, or acronyms, much alone the many technologies they may use to communicate with their peers. It makes it more difficult than ever for parents to detect when their children are participating in potentially harmful activities, such as using drugs or communicating through text with strangers.

Acronyms in Adolescent Texting: What Do They Mean?

Abbreviations using the first letters of many words to form a single, unified term are known as acronyms. Because of this, acronyms have exploded in popularity among young people. They often use them on all of their many social media accounts.

If you’re a parent often wondering, “What does FTF imply in texting?” then this post is for you.

The most widely used social media applications and websites among teenagers are detailed here. They span various platforms, from self-destructing to the secret to talking, meeting, and dating.

Apps For Sending And Receiving Texts

GroupMe is a messaging program allowing users to send and receive unlimited individual and group conversations without additional costs. Users may also share calendar invites, media, and text messages.

With Kik Chat, teens may send and receive free text messages. It’s quick, there are no limits on messages or characters, and no hidden costs are involved if you utilize the fundamental services. Due to the app’s nature, you won’t be charged for the messages, which won’t appear in your child’s texting inbox (beyond standard data rates). Threats from strangers must be addressed. When users reveal their Kik usernames to one another, they might start a conversation with a stranger.

WhatsApp users may send unlimited text, voice, and video communications to anybody for no cost per message. Users must be above the age of 16 to join. Even though many younger kids seem to be using WhatsApp, the company has enforced this age restriction.

Discord has expanded from its original purpose as a place for gamers to talk to one another while playing games to become a more generalized platform for text, audio, and video communication. Young people may become involved in preexisting organizations, form new ones, or even create their own. The most secure approach is for them to join a closed group of individuals they already know.

Social Media For Sharing Images And Videos

Instagram − Instagram users may take images and short videos (15 seconds or less) and share them with the world or just their friends and family. When teenagers share photos or videos to prove their fame, it may cause problems. Teens may have their secret chats.

TikTok − Real Short Videos is a social media platform for performance and video sharing, where young people often lip-sync to popular tunes. Swearing and sexual material are prevalent on the network because of the combination of mainstream music and users of all ages.

Video Apps That Stream In Real-Time

Live. me is a platform for live video streaming that gives children the freedom to watch others, broadcast themselves, earn cash from admirers, and engage with users in real-time without having any say over who sees their broadcasts.

Secret/Self-Destroying Applications

Snapchat is a messaging program that allows users to transmit photos and videos that automatically delete after a specified amount of time. The idea that Snaps are deleted permanently is a misconception. If you send a picture, it will remain indefinitely. The practice of sexting may be normalized. Because of the seeming lack of danger, people may feel more comfortable sharing photos with sexual content.

Several of the links lead to questionable or even malicious sites.

Media For Conversation, Getting To Know Others, And Dating A Parent’s Guide to 20 Sexting Acronyms

53X = sex

8 = oral sex

Banana = penis

CD9 = code 9, parents are around

P911 = parent alert

CU46 = see you for sex

GNOC = get naked on cam

GYPO = get your pants off

IMEZYRU = I’m easy, are you?

Swoop — To be picked up in an automobile

Skeet — To ejaculate

TDTM — Talk dirty to me

Thicc — Having an attractive body

Thot — That ho over there, used instead of “slut”

WAP — Wet ass p*ssy

IWSN — I Want Sex Now

LH6 = let’s have sex

LHU = let’s hook up

NFS = need for sex

KPC- Keeping parents clueless

You’ve learned a ton about the internet, and messaging acronyms teenagers use.

Knowing adolescent lingo and acronyms is insufficient to protect your child from sexting strangers online or other dangers like cyberbullying. If you want to keep your child safe from being contacted by strangers online, you need to know what abbreviations she or he uses.


Don’t just get angry and remove your kid’s texting access if you find any of these texts on their phone. Discuss the possible outcomes of such communication with your adolescent, as well as the reasons for and recipients of such communications. Plan future conversations with your youngster to discuss their texting routine. You might also try contacting the other child’s parents and keeping an eye on their child’s online and mobile activity for signs of more improper conduct.

How Young People Are Causing Financial Change With Nubank, Conta Iti, And Lanistar

Today’s young people have been raised alongside the Internet. Digital technology is second nature to them, so it is no surprise that almost every service has gone digital in order to get young people to use their products.

Nubank, Conta Iti, and Lanistar are three financial services that have gone digital. However, unlike some old-school brands, these three companies have been designed to give these people exactly what they need, in a way that is organic and understandable.

But, what exactly are Nubank, Conta Iti, and Lanistar doing that makes them so perfect for the digital age? Keep reading to find out!

Nubank Makes Digital Banking For Everyone

One app that has shown the potential of managing finances digitally is Nubank: one of the first and certainly the most successful neobanking platforms in Latin America. 

Founded in 2013, Nubank has been able to show the potential of digital banking to the world, with an app that is easy to use, convenient, and full of a variety of features that cater to a broad range of financial needs. 

Nubank is so appealing, in fact, that it has been able to branch out to reach audiences beyond just young people: in Brazil alone, an estimated 35-50 Million individuals are signed up with Nubank. The digital age is one that everyone alive today is experiencing, and Nubank has capitalised on this.

Conta Iti Gives Young People Tools For Success

Another Brazillian neobank platform that is working hard to get its product to today’s young people is Conta Iti. 

What sets Conta Iti apart from the competition is the age at which users can sign up. From just fourteen years old, teens can get signed up for the Conta Iti app and banking card, giving young people access to a hands-on approach to financial independence and financial education.

Conta Iti trusts teens and young people to use their product and use it in a way that benefits them: this is not something that every traditional institution is willing to do. 

Lanistar Masters Social Media Marketing

In the age of Instagram, the idea of ‘celebrity’ has rapidly changed. Celebrities are no longer mysterious figures gracing red carpets; they are now live streaming to your phone, showing off the latest and greatest products. 

Celebrities are connected far more to their viewers, as opinion leaders and, most importantly, friends.

Fintech startup Lanistar understands this completely, and understands that in order to reach the right people, it is important to speak to them through channels they actually use and believe in. Hence, Lanistars ongoing campaigns of social media marketing with influencers from around the world ranging from David Luiz to Dan Dukorre.

Understanding how to connect with the right people is not Lanistar’s only skill: they also know what this group of people want.

For example, statistics show that Lanistar’s target audience, those aged 18-35, is also the biggest age group of individuals who use cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. As such, crypto integration is one of the biggest goals of Lanistar, who intend to have an industry-leading cryptocurrency exchange and wallet working in-app in 2023. 

Want to be one of the first to try it? Then follow the links below for more information on Lanistar and how to get involved:

How To Set Up And Use Treesize

Storage space is like time: there just is never enough. I’m not big on cloud services and cannot rely on staying online just to access my own files, which is why I prefer having them locally. But that has its own issues. Every time an app is installed, or a file is brought in, the storage space gets eaten up. Even if I’m not doing anything it seems to run out of its own volition. And just as time is a precious resource that I try to manage as best I can, so is my system’s disk space.

Though Windows has its own disk and storage space management tools, they leave a lot to be desired. But there’s a program for everything under the sun, and for storage space management, TreeSize is as good as they come. 

Figuring out a new app without any reference, however, can be tricky. Below I share my views on TreeSize, how to set it up, and how to start using it so you can save yourself some time, as well as disk space. 

Related: How to Find Large Files on Windows 11

What is TreeSize

TreeSize is a disk management tool by JAM Software built only for Windows. It is free to use though there is a paid version as well for personal and professional use. They are available for comparison on JAM Software’s website if you’d like to know the difference between them.

Briefly, the paid version has additional features such as a duplicate file finder, more export options, as well as command line options (professional only). But for all intents and purposes, the free version has everything I need, and that is what I’ll relate below. 

TreeSize Free Features

TreeSize isn’t the only disk space management tool out there which is why it’s crucial that its features and offerings align with my (and your) needs. Fortunately, one glance at the main features listed on the website is good enough to have me reach for the download button.  

Quickly find out which files are hogging space, monitor free space and file information, scan and export results, and get a File Explorer-like tree view of whatever you’ve got on your system – I couldn’t ask for anything more. 

On top of that, TreeSize also allows for smartphone and mobile device scanning via MTP which is something else to look out for. 

How to set up TreeSize Free on your PC

TreeSize is available to download freely. Follow the link to get it on your system:

Now open TreeSize Free (as Administrator).

Related: How to delete temporary files in Windows 11

How to use TreeSize Free

I’ll quickly run down the steps to install and set up TreeSize Free on Windows so we can take a deeper look into the features and how to use them to manage space on a computer.

1. Select your directory for file scanning

Then select the drive or the folder to scan. It’s best in my opinion to scan the C: drive first because that’s where most of the important files generally are. But you can go ahead with any folder you like. TreeSize will automatically start scanning the selected drive.

Once the scan is finished, you’ll find the folders and files in a tree-like view, similar to File Explorer which makes it quite intuitive to use. 

2. View used space by size, allocated space,  percent, and file count

To the left of every folder, you will see how much space that folder is taking up. But the percentages given to the right can be a bit confusing at first.

At first glance, I asked myself: Why does TreeSize show 100% on the ‘C’ drive? After all, I had more than half of the disk free. But when I expanded a folder, the logic became clear. 

These percentages show how much a given folder is taking up the overall used space of its parent folder/disk, not the whole disk. And since I had selected ‘C’ to scan, that would be its own parent folder and would have a hundred percent of its own files, naturally.

So when a different folder is expanded, you will see, as a percentage, the share of space the subfolders within it are using up. In my instance, the ‘Windows’ subfolder is using 91.9% of the total space of its parent folder ‘MountUUP’ which in turn is using up 8.6% of the total used space of C (see image below). 

Besides viewing the allocated space and its percentages relative to the parent folder, there is also a “File Count” viewer. 

This gives an exact count of the number of files there are in each folder (and subfolder) and, on the right, the percentage of files in that folder out of the total files in its parent folder. 

Similarly, there are “Size” and “Percent” view options as well. As far as I can tell, these will mainly change what you see next to the folders.

The “% of Parent (Size)” and “file count” view options are primary. However, you will want to play around with all four options depending on how you want to view your files and folders. 

3. Delete a file to free up space

That’s pretty much it. No confirmation prompts or pop-ups. And it’s good that it’s that simple. 

Apart from the basics that I’ve talked about, you’ll do good to play around with the other options available in TreeSize. Go through the different tabs and experiment with the different viewing and sorting styles, check out the user interface options (dark, light, and touch optimization), the size units (view in TBs, GBs, MBs, or KBs), and the search function. 

All these options help simplify the task further so do make sure to check them out and see what all you can work with. 

4. Delete files permanently when you need to

On the prompt, select Yes.

This is particularly helpful if you are sure that you won’t need the files. When a file is very big in size, TreeSize will automatically ask you to confirm the permanent deletion.

5. Using the Treemap chart

Perhaps the most useful of all features that I’ve found is the Treemap Chart. This option is available in the toolbar under the “View” tab.

The Treemap Chart will display your files and folders based on their respective sizes and how deep they are within the parent folder. 

Now before I go on, let’s clarify the layout of this Treemap Chart. The area of a given folder box is proportional to its size. The larger the size, the bigger its box will be. In my case, the “Games” folder is slightly smaller than the “Windows” folder because it uses up lesser disk space.

As I’ve already said, the levels indicate how deep a subfolder/file is within the parent folder, indicated by different shades of blue. For instance, the “Virtual Machine” subfolder is around level 5 (light blue), while the primary folder ‘C’ is level 0 (darkest blue). 

Of course, all this is in relation to the scanned folder. The main folder will always be at level 0 while everything within it will have different shades of blue depending on how many subfolders deep it is.

But that’s not all! The Treemap Chart can also be viewed in 3D, the option for which is given under the “Chart Options” tab.

I find this an even better way to view the files and subfolders within the main scanned folder. The level colors will change, which is good for easy viewing. But within each folder, you’ll also see ‘bubbles’ of files and folders.

The ‘Windows Explorer’ option will work as the context menu.

6. Export Scan results

All the information about storage allocation is quite useful, and not least to identify which file/folder is hoarding how much space, and where. But what I found particularly useful was that I can share this information with others with a quick export.

Sure, sometimes I don’t quite understand all the technical matters about disk management. But I’ve got friends who do and it’ll be easier for them to suggest what I can do once they have information about my disk utilization. 


There are a few frequently asked questions that I’d like to shed some light on.

What does TreeSize do?

TreeSize is a disk management tool by JAM Software. It provides a tree-like view of the files and folders on your system by arranging them in easily viewable layouts based on allocated space, size, file count, etc.

How do you run a TreeSize?

To view your files and folders in a tree-like fashion, select a folder to scan and wait for the results to be displayed. Refer to the guide above to know more.

How do I export TreeSize to excel for free?

TreeSize is one of the better disk management tools that I’ve come across and it’s easy to see why it’s gained in popularity. The depth at which it analyzes the files, how they’re stored, and the different presentation options make it a program worth having. I hope you found this tool as useful as I did and are able to better understand how storage space is allocated to your files and folders on your PC. Until next time, stay safe!

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