mayberry42 writes "You've probably never been jealous of an elephant, but you're about to be. Elephants need only three to four hours of sleep per night in order to be their happy elephant selves during the day. So what's Dumbo's secret? Deeper, more stable sleep--and new research may have found the secret to helping you achieve elephantine-levels of repose each night: Pink noise...Pink noise is a type of sound in which every octave carries the same power, or a perfectly consistent frequency, Zhang explains. "Think of rain falling on pavement, or wind rustling the leaves on a tree," It's called pink noise because light with a similar power spectrum would appear pink, he says.
Additionally, on a somewhat separate note, the production of melatonin, a natural chemical used to put your body to sleep at night, is diminished in the presence of bright blues (and likely to be the reason why your laptops are keep you up at night). Software such f.lux dimish the blues on screen to allow for better sleep. (note: I am in no way, shape or form, associated with f.lux. I just like their product and am not aware of any other software that does the same.)" Link to Original Source top
mayberry42 writes "Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope are mystified by a merging galaxy cluster known as Abell 520 in which concentrations of visible matter and dark matter have apparently come unglued. A report on the Hubble observations, published in the Astrophysical Journal, raises more questions than answers about a cosmic pile-up that's occurring 2.4 billion light-years away.
"According to our current theory," says Arif Babul, the study team's senior theorist, "galaxies and dark matter are expected to stay together, even through a collision. But that's not what's happening in Abell 520. Here, the dark matter appears to have pooled to form the dark core, but most of the associated galaxies seem to have moved on."" Link to Original Source top
Boston University Economics Professor Seeks to Run
mayberry42 writes "BU Economics Professor Lawrence Kotlikoff seeks to run for presidency in the 2012 presidential race. Being late in the game and with the additional handicap of running as an independent, it is unlikely that he will make any significant impact." Link to Original Source top
mayberry42 writes "A dear friend of mine from Virginia Tech reports of a school shooting which has thus far left an officer dead. Suspect remains at large. News has been confirmed at the school's official website vt.edu and google, among many others. News still breaking." Link to Original Source top
mayberry42 writes "Finally, the wait is over — for European fans, anyway. After months (well, over a year) of delays the latest adventure of Link is finally out. And the results are, to say the least, universally astounding. Famitsu magazine has given it a perfect score, and IGN stating "The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the greatest Zelda game ever created. It's the best game for Wii and one of the finest video game accomplishments of the past 10 years." Of course, some of you may have already known this given that it has already been hacked (and yes, it looks even more fantastic in HD). I would love to hear what our European counterparts have to say about this game. Have you played it? Is it as good as they say? Why or why not?" top
mayberry42 writes "It's no secret how Ron Paul has been having a severe lack of news coverage; far less than most, if not all, of his fellow GOP candidates. However, things have turned to almost bizarre levels when the past few debates have almost entirely excluded him, at one point granting him 90 seconds to speak — in an 80 minute debate. Still, he seems to be doing pretty well in Iowa." top
mayberry42 writes "Now that the Kindle Fire has been unleashed, so has its reviews — and they are quite good. MSNBC stated that "Apple should be scared". CNET was just as positive, giving a rating of "very good". Engadget, while not as enthusiastic, did say it was "quite an achievement for $200". Given the recent study that the kindle could pose a threat to Apple, this could be interesting to watch. Now for the Nook..." top
mayberry42 writes "While Apple may be touting the fragmentation of the Android system, they may want to think again. A recent study by ChangeWave is showing that the new Kindle Fire is already having a negative impact on iPad sales as anticipation for the product arrives. No word on the Nook, however." Link to Original Source top
Khan Academy Receives $5M to Expand, Create Physic
Khan Academy announced this morning that it has raised $5 million from the O’Sullivan Foundation (a foundation created by Irish engineer and investor Sean O’Sullivan). The money is earmarked for several initiatives: expanding the Khan Academy faculty, creating a content management system so that others can use the program’s learning analytics system, and building an actual brick-and-mortar school, beginning with a summer camp program.
mayberry42 writes "Did you ever wonder how and why professional economists often seem to get it wrong in terms of predicting consequences or policies accurately (or even at all)? Or how very few even saw the current economic collapse? This article provides an interesting, if obvious, reason as to why economic models are effectively always wrong. Of course, the recent press conference with the two recent nobel prize winners does not bode well to our most beloved social science either." Link to Original Source top
WASHINGTON — Fulfilling a long-held campaign promise, President Barack Obama announced Friday that he will pull all U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of the year, as conditioned by the Status of Forces Agreement with the country.
"As a candidate for president, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end," Obama said. "So today I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year."
Scientists have found Earth's oldest fossils in Australia and say their microscopic discovery is convincing evidence that cells and bacteria were able to thrive in an oxygen-free world more than 3.4 billion years ago.
The finding suggests early life was sulphur-based — living off and metabolizing sulphur rather than oxygen for energy — and supports the idea that similar life forms could exist on other planets where oxygen levels are low or non-existent.
While the (news) title may have been a bit sensationalistic, it's still exciting to know that life could exist in a very different environment that what we previously believed." Link to Original Source
mayberry42 writes "Fresh after China's Dongang downgrading of the U.S. debt quality, the United States has suffered another hit: S&P downgraded America's debt from AAA to AA+. Fitch and Moody's retained their AAA rating, albeit with a "negative" outlook." Link to Original Source top
mayberry42 writes "While the United States (arguably) managed to survive the catastrophe with a credit downgrade of the "Big Three" — and possible default on debt — it has not been so lucky abroad. The Economist reports that China's Dagong credit agency nevertheless downgraded the U.S.'s credit from A+ to A. The important question now is, how much impact will this have, especially since China is U.S.'s largest bond holder." Link to Original Source top
Afghan President Hamid Karzai says his government and the United States are negotiating with Taliban fighters to bring peace to the country. It is the first official acknowledgment of such talks to end the decade-long war through negotiation.
mayberry42 writes "Obama is halfway into his 4 year stint at the White House and is already preparing for his re-election campaign bid. This will be very interesting to see given that his so-called "change" never came (what will his next slogan be?), and the anti-obama ads already hitting the proverbial airwaves days ago." Link to Original Source top
mayberry42 writes "A French judge filed preliminary manslaughter charges Thursday against Airbus over the 2009 crash of an Air France jet — opening a rare criminal investigation against a corporate powerhouse. The order from Judge Sylvie Zimmerman targeting the European planemaker centers on the June 2009 crash into the Atlantic of an Airbus A330 bound for Paris from Rio de Janeiro, killing all 228 people on board." Link to Original Source top
mayberry42 writes "Recently, massive international protests against corrupt and oppressive governments took the world by storm. As it turns out, another protest is currently being organized in Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, however, one of the organizers, Bakhtiyar Hajiyev and two others , have already been arrested, beaten and, in some cases, denied access to a lawyer — before tomorrow’s scheduled protest. To make matters worse, quoting the Azerbaijani Interior Ministry “any unsanctioned protests in Baku or elsewhere will be "resolutely" dispersed”." Link to Original Source top
BBC News - Runway opens at world's first spaceport
Commercial space travel took a step closer with the opening of the runway at the world's first spaceport in the US state of New Mexico. The event was marked with a flypast of an aircraft carrying SpaceShip Two. The vehicle has been designed to take fee-paying tourists on trips to the edge of space and back. British billionaire Sir Richard Branson — whose Virgin group has backed the venture — said the first passenger trip should take place within 18 months.