Thursday, December 28, 2017

If you’re not an early bird, stop trying to force it

You can actually be more productive by listening to your internal body clock and scheduling activities accordingly, says sleep experts. Researchers have identified four chronotypes (or sleep patterns) people fall under: lions, which you may better know as early birds; wolves, aka night owls; bears, who are in the happy middle and about half the population; and dolphins, who are the troubled sleepers. For each, there is a schedule that optimizes productivity and gives you a break when you most need it. (Fast Company)


AI can do a better job of diagnosing pneumonia than doctors

Scientists at Stanford have developed software that uses AI to spot the signs of pneumonia in chest x-rays. The tech was pitted against four radiologists and it came out on top. Called CheXnet, the software’s not designed to replace doctors, but to give them a helping hand in spotting infection. Officials from IEEE Spectrum believes the accuracy of the program could make a tremendous difference in emergency rooms around the world. (Fast Code Design)


Building a robot is child’s play — literally

Several Indian tech startups, such as SP Robotic Works and Robokidz, are training children to build real robots from simple machines that follow a line to complex ones that can clean a beach with DIY kits and online classes. Not only will students learn basic programming, they also could have the chance to work on big projects or compete against peers: Robokidz gets students to participate in its annual robot building competition (Robotics Premier League) while SPRW’s students build machines for Tata Power Solar, Qualcomm and other companies. (Quartz)


Three US cities are suing the Defense Department

It’s being reported that he Defense Department didn’t report hundreds of service members who were convicted of or charged with serious crimes to a federal database that could stop them from buying guns. Earlier this week, New York City, San Francisco, and Philadelphia started legal procedures against the Defense Department. They want a court to oversee the Department’s records to make sure these kinds of mistakes don’t happen again because local officials rely on the database for background checks in their own cities. If the Defense Dept. doesn’t work with the court, it could face fines and more legal trouble.

Last month, a gunman killed 26 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, TX. The gunman was convicted of domestic violence while he was in the Air Force, which means he should have been reported to the database. But that didn’t happen. The Air Force said the gunman’s criminal history wasn’t reported, and later said it failed to report dozens of other service members. This shooting was the worst in Texas history. And back in October, the deadliest shooting in modern US history happened in Las Vegas. Congress didn’t pass any gun legislation in the aftermath. Now, cities are taking matters into their own hands. (Politico)


UN Ambassador touts reduced UN budget

Earlier this week, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said she negotiated down the UN’s budget by $285 million. This is a good thing because the US is the single biggest contributor to the UN’s bank account, paying more than 20% of its operating budget. This comes after the UN voted last week to overwhelmingly to cast shade on the US’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. So now, the UN Ambassador has slashed hundreds of millions from the UN’s budget. Unclear if the budget cut is related to the vote, but has hinted more cuts may be coming in the future as a way of “protecting our interests.” (CNN)


Erie woman receives $284 billion electric bill

A Pennsylvania woman says she went online to check her electric bill and was shocked at the amount — more than $284 billion. Mary Horomanski said her eyes “just about popped out” of her head when she saw the number. The 58-year-old suspected that her family had put up their Christmas lights wrong. The silver lining was that the bill stated she didn’t have to pay the full amount of $284,460,000,000 until November 2018 — only a $28,156 minimum payment was due for December. Horomanski’s son contacted Penelac, her electric provider, who confirmed the error. Parent company First Energy (FE) said a decimal point was accidentally moved. Her new amount was quickly corrected to $284.46. She said the $284 billion bill also caused her to ask her son for a different Christmas present this year. “I told him I want a heart monitor,” she said. (Go Erie)


Pro racer apologizes after backlash for saying ‘boys don’t wear princess dresses!’

Formula One race car driver Lewis Hamilton told his nephew that boys don’t wear dresses, and the online backlash was so severe that Hamilton issued an apology. In a Christmas morning Snapchat video, Hamilton is seen talking to his young nephew, who is wearing a pink princess dress and holding a wand. “I’m so sad right now,” Hamilton said in the video. “Look at my nephew. Why are you wearing a princess dress? Is this what you got for Christmas? Why did you ask for a princess dress for Christmas? Boys don’t wear princess dresses!” Users on Twitter who saw the video chastised Hamilton for being “insecure” about gender and sexuality and being unsupportive to LGBT youths by reinforcing gender norms. (Page 6)


Thirsty Thursday Brings Us:

*Asarah B’Tevet
*Holy Innocents Day
*Endangered Species Act Day
*National Card Playing Day
*National Chocolate Day
*Pledge of Allegiance Day

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