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09/12/2021 00:44:16  

sciencehabit writes: When Thomas Edison hit a wall with his inventions, he would nap in an armchair while holding a steel ball. As he started to fall asleep and his muscles relaxed, the ball would strike the floor, waking him with insights into his problems. Or so the story goes. Now, more than 100 years later, scientists have repeated the trick in a lab, revealing that the famous inventor was on to something. People following his recipe tripled their chances of solving a math problem. The trick was to wake up in the transition between sleep and wakefulness, just before deep sleep. The study team also identified a brain activity pattern linked to the creativity-boosting phase: moderate levels of brain waves at a slow frequency known as alpha, associated with relaxation, and low levels of delta waves, a hallmark of deep sleep. Experts say researchers can now focus on this brain signature when investigating the neural mechanisms of creative problem-solving. One team has already planned an experiment to help people reach a creative zone by monitoring their brain waves in real time. "Edison's intuition was somewhat right," says the lead scientist, "and now we have a lot more to explore."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

09/12/2021 00:44:16  

British telco Virgin Media is facing a 50,000 pound financial penalty after spamming more than 400,000 opted-out customers urging them to sign back up to receive marketing bumf. The Register reports: Just one customer complained to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) about receiving the spam -- but that was enough to spur the regulator into investigating. In a message disguised as a routine communication about tariff prices, Virgin told the unfortunate 451,217 recipients it knew full well they'd opted out of marketing emails but wanted them to opt back in. A dischuffed customer wrote to the ICO urging action, describing the spam as "basically a service message dressed up as an attempt to get me to opt back in to marketing communications." When the ICO asked Virgin why it did this thing, the telco said the 451,000 recipients had opted out of being spammed more than a year ago, and therefore "might have changed their marketing preferences." Even though 6,500 customers decided to opt back into receiving marketing emails as a result of the mailshot, the ICO said this wasn't enough to ignore regulation 22 of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003. This is the bit of the law that says email marketers must have your consent before filling your mailbox with enticing new ways to part you from your hard-earned cash. "The fact that Virgin Media had the potential for financial gain from its breach of the regulation (by signing up more clients to direct marketing) is an aggravating factor, not a defense," sniffed the unamused watchdog.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

09/12/2021 00:41:13  

Sevda Altunoluk believes in empowering visually impaired people by encouraging them to compete in sport.
09/12/2021 00:41:13  

Erbakit Otarbay, an ethnic Kazakh, was imprisoned as part of a mass incarceration programme in China.
09/12/2021 00:41:12  

Iranian Rana Rahimpour moved to the UK as a young journalist and is now unable to return home for fear of arrest.
09/12/2021 00:41:12  

It's reported that up to one million doses of Covid vaccine in Nigeria have expired and are to be destroyed.
09/12/2021 00:41:11  

Five women's secret diary posts, sent to the BBC, reveal how deeply the Taliban takeover has affected them.
09/12/2021 00:41:11  

Women held for protesting against a military takeover say they were sexually assaulted and tortured.
09/12/2021 00:41:06  

The return of work-from-home request and masks in more places in England leads most of Thursday's papers.
09/12/2021 00:41:05  

The PM says he’s ‘furious’ about the video and has launched an investigation into whether rules were broken.
09/12/2021 00:41:05  

Warrenpoint Harbour warns about the potential effects if full checks on goods are implemented.
09/12/2021 00:41:04  

Requests for hardship funds doubled in 25% of English universities in the second and third lockdowns.
09/12/2021 00:41:04  

The risk to humans is low but diseased birds should not be touched, officials say.
09/12/2021 00:41:01  

The Nigerian writer shares her experience of grief and her thoughts on "cancel culture" and trans rights.
09/12/2021 00:41:00  

The actress on the challenges of voicing a menacing cat in the Aardman short Robin Robin.
09/12/2021 00:40:58  

A growing number of people are deciding to switch to a career that has a positive impact.
09/12/2021 00:40:56  

A man facing decades of debt repayments echoes charities' pleas for those in financial trouble to seek help.
09/12/2021 00:40:55  

Nightclubs, restaurants and shops could be hit by new Covid curbs, but many firms are well placed to cope.
08/12/2021 23:44:12  

NASA ROSES-21 Amendment 53: D.12 XRISM Guest Scientist program deferred to 2022
08/12/2021 23:44:10  

The Biden administration announced Wednesday it aims to buy its way to a cleaner, cooler planet, spending billions to create a federal fleet of electric vehicles, upgrade federal buildings and change how the government buys electricity. From a report: The executive order President Biden signed leverages Washington's buying power to cut the government's carbon emissions 65 percent by the end of the decade. It lays out goals that would put the federal government on a path to net-zero emissions by 2050 and would add at least 10 gigawatts' worth of clean electricity to the grid. Under the new approach, federal operations would run entirely on carbon-free electricity by 2030. By 2035, the government would stop buying gas-powered vehicles, switching to zero-emission heavy-duty trucks and cars. A decade after that, most of the buildings owned or leased by the government would no longer contribute to the carbon pollution that's warming the planet. The order also instructs the government to launch a "buy clean" initiative, prioritizing products produced and transported with low greenhouse gas emissions. Sarah Bloom Raskin, a Duke University law professor who served as treasury deputy secretary under President Barack Obama, said in a recent interview that the administration's push to reduce its carbon footprint could ripple across the economy.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

08/12/2021 23:44:10  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales' auction of an NFT and the iMac he used to build the website has stirred up drama in the notoriously rigid Wikipedia community. The trouble began when Wales posted an announcement about the auction on his user talk page -- a kind of message board where users communicate directly with each other. Wikipedia has strict rules against self-promotion and some editors felt that Wales' announcement violated that rule. "Am I crazy? Jimbo has posted a thread on his user talk page promoting an auction of some of his stuff, which he has refused to confirm would not benefit him personally," editor Floquenbeam said on December 3.. "This is self-promotion 101, right? I've told him if he doesn't remove it, I will. That's policy, right? [...] Wales pushed back, saying he'd spoken to the WMF communications and legal departments and that they'd agreed a simple post about the auction on his user talk page would be fine. The conversation went on like this for about a day before another editor shut it down, saying it was "past the point of productive discourse." The thread announcing the auction on Wales' talk page was removed but another thread remains where he's answering questions about the auction and NFTs from other users. An email thread on the Wikimedia-L listserv is more measured but still has some pedantic arguments that is common with Wikimedia drama. Some users are concerned that he's taking something from Wikimedia and could use the money to fund his commercial enterprise WT:Social. Another user said "The concept of NFT seems to go against the very principles of Wikipedia. On one hand, we share our work freely, both in terms of access and by using a copyleft license. On the other hand, this NFT takes something that was shared freely and then restricts it so that it can be sold." The NFT Wales is selling is a website that allows users to relive the moment of Wikipedia's creation. The site looks like Wikipedia did in its fledgling moments, and whoever wins the auction can edit it as they will. The second big controversy among Wikipedia's editors was whether Wales had the right to auction off something like this and if he was even recreating the site correctly at the moment of its inception. The discussion devolved into a lengthy conversation about who owns the rights to what they edit on Wikipedia and the state of servers and timestamps from 2001. It's worth mentioning here that Wales' NFT is a recreation of a memory and not an actual editable bit of code that will be reflected on Wikipedia in any way. Eventually, all sides relented. "There is at least one good thing that should be coming out of this," editor Smallbones said. "The community has made it very clear that anything that is considered to be promotional or an advertisement, even if it is for a charitable cause, on any page in Wikipedia, posted by any editor -- even the most senior and most respected -- may be removed by any editor at any time."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

08/12/2021 23:43:51  

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08/12/2021 23:41:07  

Tiger Woods will make his comeback playing alongside son Charlie at the PNC Championship in Florida next week.
08/12/2021 23:41:02  

Fourteen schools are to trial longer school days, while summer holidays could get shorter in future.
08/12/2021 23:41:02  

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes is to set out her plans for tax and spending at Holyrood on Thursday.