Hunter gatherers with no access to technology still only sleep 6.5 hours a night

by
in science on (#R2AJ)
story imageThe new study, published in the Cell Press journal Current Biology, shows that three ancient groups of hunter-gatherers living in different parts of the world without any of those trappings of modern life don't get any more sleep than we do.

'The short sleep in these populations challenges the belief that sleep has been greatly reduced in the 'modern world,'' said Jerome Siegel of the University of California, Los Angeles. 'This has important implications for the idea that we need to take sleeping pills because sleep has been reduced from its 'natural level' by the widespread use of electricity, TV, the Internet, and so on.'

To get a handle on how people slept before the modern era, Siegel and his colleagues looked to three traditional human hunter-gatherer societies: the Hadza of Tanzania, the San of Namibia, and the Tsimane of Bolivia. What they found was a surprising similarity across those three groups. 'Despite varying genetics, histories, and environments, we find that all three groups show a similar sleep organization, suggesting that they express core human sleep patterns, probably characteristic of pre-modern-era Homo sapiens,' Siegel says.

Group sleep time averaged between 5.7 and 7.1 hours. Those amounts are at the low end of durations reported in 'industrial societies.' Although they lack electric lights, none of the groups went to sleep with the sun. On average, they stayed up a little over three hours after the sun went down and woke up before sunrise. It appears that their sleep time may have more to do with temperature than with light.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3275149/Don-t-blame-Internet-lack-sleep-Researchers-say-hunter-gatherers-no-access-technology-sleep-6-5-hours-night.html

Appeals court rules in favor of Google Books

by
in legal on (#R0W2)
A federal appeals court ruled Friday in a decadelong dispute that Google digitization of over 20 million books, mostly out-of-print titles, did not violate copyrights because the company only showed short sections of the books in its database, so it would be difficult for anyone to read any of the works in their entirety by repeatedly entering different search requests. "This does not threaten the rights holders with any significant harm to the value of their copyrights or diminish their harvest of copyright revenue."

The Authors Guild and various authors had challenged Google in 2005, contending that the digital book project violated their rights. The appeals court said Google's profit motivation does not justify denial of what is a fair use of the books' content and overall enhances public knowledge.

The appeals panel said it recognized that libraries that had negotiated with Google to receive digital copies from the company might use them in an infringing manner. It said that could expose the libraries and Google to liability but called it "sheer speculation" to raise the issue now.

http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_28979320/appeals-court-rules-favor-googles-online-library

Site Update

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in pipedot on (#QXSJ)
A few interesting features of the site where silently introduced over the past year (like notifications), while others have long since been shrouded in mystery (like the stream). We also haven't had a meta update for while, so lets dig into some of the new changes:

Notification System

When someone replies to one of your comments or journals, you will now get a notification instead of a text message. These new notifications show comment replies in-line and can be used for other events that where not covered by the old system.

Numerous Small Pages

A summary page ([username].pipedot.org/summary) is now available for every user that shows you a brief overview of their activity. You can now monitor the computers/devices that have an active login cookie to the site on your “Logins” ([username].pipedot.org/login/) page. You can now see all feeds on the browse page. Feeds are also now organized into topics. Your published story submissions ([username].pipedot.org/submissions) now have their own page as well.

RSS Reader

Although the feed page ([username].pipedot.org/feed/) was added pretty early, many users may not realize that a full feed reader ([username].pipedot.org/reader/) is now built into the site. You can add your own RSS/Atom feed by URL, or select one of the existing feeds from the list of topics. You can even comment on articles or vote for your favorites.

The Stream

The stream is an attempt at simplifying the “link sharing” process. The traditional method of sharing a story is a rather involved process that may turn off some contributors:
  1. Find an interesting article for a story.
  2. Write up a short synopsis including a link to the article, maybe a quote or two, and possibly even a bit of editorial.
  3. Submit your scoop to the pipe.
  4. Wait as users vote up your submission.
  5. An editor reviews your story, makes any spelling/grammar/etc corrections they notice, and publishes the story to the front page.
However, with the stream, all you need to do is “vote up” an article that you see in your feed reader. Others will then see your article in your user stream ([username].pipedot.org/stream/) or the main stream.

Upcoming Pipe Changes

Speaking of story submissions and contributions, special thanks goes out to evilviper and zafiro17. Together, they have performed the entire submission process (detailed above) on nearly 500 of their own stories, as well as the laborious task of rewriting hundreds of poorly written (or incomplete) submissions to an acceptable quality level. The amount of effort required for these tasks is not inconsequential.

Suggestions to help relieve the burden of the editors mainly involve changing how the pipe operates:
  • Submissions could automatically be published after a certain number of up-votes in the pipe.
  • Submissions could get instantly published, but then have +/- vote buttons on each story to provide a “moderation” of stories. Stories with low scores could shrink to a smaller size or hide completely (similar to the comment moderation.)
  • The pipe could be populated with automatically created stories generated from popular stream articles.
  • Many browsers (Firefox/Chrome/nearly all mobile browsers) now support custom “share this page” buttons. These “Pipedot” share buttons could be an easy way to automatically create a story submission for interesting articles.
So what do you think? Where can we improve to make this site the best site for nerdy news?

Four more carmakers join diesel emissions row

by
in environment on (#QQ0J)
Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Mazda and Mitsubishi have joined the growing list of manufacturers whose diesel cars are known to emit significantly more pollution on the road than in regulatory tests. “The issue is a systemic one” across the industry, said Nick Molden, whose company Emissions Analytics tested the cars. Diesel cars from Renault, Nissan, Hyundai, Citroen, Fiat, Volvo and Jeep all pumped out significantly more NOx in more realistic driving conditions. NOx pollution is at illegal levels in many parts of the UK and is believed to have caused many thousands of premature deaths and billions of pounds in health costs.

All the diesel cars passed the EU’s official lab-based regulatory test (called NEDC), but the test has failed to cut air pollution as governments intended because carmakers designed vehicles that perform better in the lab than on the road. There is no evidence of illegal activity, such as the “defeat devices” used by Volkswagen. Emissions Analytics had analysed about 50 Euro 6 diesels and 150 Euro 5 diesels, with only five having real-world NOx levels that matched the regulatory test. The failure of the EU’s NOx test to limit real-world emissions, and tackle air pollution, has been known for some years, but specific manufacturers have not been named. The company tested both Euro 6 models, the newest and strictest standard, and earlier Euro 5 models. Data showed that:

Mercedes-Benz’s diesel cars produced an average of 0.406g/km of NOx on the road, at least 2.2 times more than the official Euro 5 level and five times higher than the Euro 6 level. Honda’s diesel cars emitted 0.484g/km of NOx on average, between 2.6 and six times the official levels. Mazda’s diesel cars had average NOx emissions of 0.293g/km in the real world, between 1.6 and 3.6 times the NEDC test levels. One Euro 6 model, the Mazda 6 2.2L 5DR, produced three times the official NOx emissions. Mitsubishi diesel cars produced an average of 0.274g/km of NOx, between 1.5 and 3.4 higher than in the lab. “The NEDC was never intended to represent real-world driving,” said a spokesman for Mitsubishi.The Emissions Analytics data seen by the Guardian also found Citroen, VW and Audi NOx emissions to be higher on the road than in the EU lab test.

Most Australian ISPs not ready to capture user data

by
Anonymous Coward
in legal on (#QP57)
Today, October 13, marks the start of data retention for user internet and phone data in Australia. Many telecommunication providers are not confident that they can record the data as required by the laws passed in March 2015 and only half have lodged their implementation plan with the government. With the public still in the dark about how much this will cost, how effective it will be, how long it will last there are questions abound about the legitimacy of data retention. Thankfully, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has already weighed in on how Australians should avoid having the government capture their data: Use a VPN.

Should People Be Able to Demand That Websites 'Do Not Track' Them?

by
in internet on (#QHZ7)
Via Soylent
"A universal do-not-track feature has been advocated by privacy groups after being introduced by the Federal Trade Commission in 2010. But the World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C) – composed of software companies, academics, privacy groups, and others who determine international Web-browsing standards – has long struggled to develop a unified approach for the feature.

The somewhat-arcane debate over Internet tracking has mostly simmered quietly, but now some lawmakers are arguing that a working group the consortium set up to develop the standard has become overly influenced by tech industry concerns, putting those interests ahead of protecting consumers from the possibility of privacy invasion. The group is currently chaired by representatives from Adobe and Intel.

"Unfortunately, the group's composition no longer reflects the broad range of interests and perspectives needed to develop a strong privacy standard," Sen. Edward Markey (D) of Massachusetts, Sen. Al Franken (D) of Minnesota, and Rep. Joe Barton (R) of Texas wrote in a letter on Wednesday to the consortium. "The 'Do Not Track' standard should empower consumers to stop unwanted collection and use of their personal data. At the same time, the standard should not permit certain companies to evade important consumer protections and engage in anticompetitive practices."

What Is A Red Sprite?

by
in space on (#QFDW)
Two mysterious red hazes hovered over Earth on August 10. Astronauts onboard the International Space Station snapped a picture of the first one as it passed over the Midwest--either Illinois or Missouri. And yesterday NASA's Earth Observatory announced that a second one was spotted just minutes later over Mexico.These jellyfish-shaped streaks in the sky that reach into space are called red sprites, and they're considered to be rare phenomena—or at least elusive to human eyes.

Red sprites were first photographed in 1989. Since then they've been seen from various aircrafts, the space shuttle, and the ISS, usually about 50 miles high in the atmosphere. Yet red sprites remain mysterious—they flash for just fractions of a second, leaving scientists little time to gather data. However, scientists have a few ideas about what they are and how they form. Red sprites are thought to be caused by a rare but intense form of lightning called positive lightning. Whereas most cloud-to-ground lightning has a negative electric charge,. It makes up less than 5 percent of lightning, and it is up to 10 times stronger than negative lightning.

That flash of lightning is so strong that it breaks apart molecules in the atmosphere into ions, forming a cold plasma cloud that can be tens of miles across. The sprites' red color likely comes from those ions smashing into molecules in the air. Similar to the aurora, the charged particles excite nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen. The gases eventually settle down and release that energy, some of it in the form of pretty colors.

Dell will acquire EMC for $67 billion

by
in storage on (#QFCK)
EMC has reported declining profits in July, and its core storage division has seen revenue growth grind to a halt; it grew just 2 percent between 2013 and 2014, compared to 16 percent between 2010 and 2011. Activist hedge fund Elliott Management Corp., which has a 2 percent stake in EMC, has also pressured the company to sell its 80 percent stake in VMware.

Dell was taken private in 2013 in a $25 billion (£16 billion) leveraged buyout by founder Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake. Even before the buyout, it had been increasingly positioning itself as an enterprise-oriented firm, expanding its server, storage, and security offerings in a bid to move away from the slim margins of the PC business. Merging with some or all of EMC would be consistent with this shift.

EMC stockholders are to receive approximately $33.15 per share in a combination of cash as well as tracking stock linked to a portion of EMC’s economic interest in the VMware business.

VMware will remain an independent, publicly-traded company.

http://arstechnica.co.uk/information-technology/2015/10/report-dell-in-merger-talks-with-storage-giant-emc/

http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/uscorp1/secure/2015-10-12-dell-emc-transaction

No word yet on what this means for Dell's existing PowerVault enterprise storage division, created from previously acquired EqualLogic and Compellent.

Boeing patents weird cargo-grabbing plane

by
in space on (#QB79)
Cargo containers streamlined and revolutionized freight. Their uniform, boxy shape and sharp edges make them instantly stackable, but not terribly aerodynamic. For transport by air, that usually means fitting square pegs into round planes. A new plane design by Boeing, granted a patent this week, could change that. Instead of slotting cargo containers into a round tube, the Boeing plane would line them up longwise in a neat row, then lower its aerodynamic body on top.

The plane as sketched out is largely empty body, with four power prop engines mounted on top of the wings. Its body looks like nothing so much as a giant pink eraser, with a little bubble of a cockpit added to the front. The plane’s landing gear are spaced wide enough apart that it can simply roll over its cargo containers before lowering down onto them.

Boeing imagines the plane at operating at altitudes less than 18,000 feet, so that the cargo doesn’t need to be pressurized. Boeing envisions such a plane as an alternative to the slow but cost-efficient shipment of low-priority bulk cargo on boats, trains, and trucks, and the light loads of fast but expensive cargo aircraft shipments. By flying shipping containers, a plane like this could deliver large quantities very quickly, where previously price made that impossible.

http://www.popsci.com/boeing-just-patented-this-weird-cargo-plane

Where's a Zeppelin when you need one?

Aeroscraft shows off its giant airship

by
in space on (#Q6XQ)
Lighter than air vehicles are, for the most part, relics of a distant past. Despite the past century of flight mostly belonging to airplanes and helicopters, there’s been a slight resurgence of dirigibles this century. Not least among them is the Dragon Dream, by the Aeroscraft Corporation. This is only half the size of their planned airship...

Rather than the slow-moving luxury cruisers of old, the Aeroscraft is a working vehicle designed to carry 66 tons of cargo reliably to parts of the world without runways. The 555-foot-long craft is at a design freeze. Aeroscraft thinks they have the vehicle they want, and to meet deadlines on time, they’re going to stop tinkering with the design and just make the dang thing.

The Aeroscraft is just one of a small new world of gigantic lumbering dirigibles. In 2013, the U.S. Army canceled its LEMV surveillance zeppelin, but the project has since been revived in the United Kingdom as a working machine, and Goodyear is looking at replacing its soft-bodied blimps with more durable rigid airframes.
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