2021-07-22 12:14:55 ..
2021-11-29 10:45:50 UTC
2021-11-29 15:25:23 UTC --martyb
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Researchers from Bristol's School of Education sought to determine what types of humour are present in early development and the ages at which different types of humour emerge. The team created the 20-question Early Humour Survey (EHS) and asked the parents of 671 children aged 0 to 47 months from the UK, US, Australia, and Canada, to complete the five-minute survey about their child's humour development.
The team found the earliest reported age that some children appreciated humour was 1 month, with an estimated 50% of children appreciating humour by 2 months, and 50% producing humour by 11 months. The team also show that once children produced humour, they produced it often, with half of children having joked in the last 3 hours.
Of the children surveyed, the team identified 21 different types of humour. Children under one year of age appreciated physical, visual and auditory forms of humour. This included hide and reveal games (e.g., peekaboo), tickling, funny faces, bodily humour (e.g., putting your head through your legs), funny voices and noises, chasing, and misusing objects (e.g., putting a cup on your head).
One-year-olds appreciated several types of humour that involved getting a reaction from others. This included teasing, showing hidden body parts (e.g., taking off clothes), scaring others, and taboo topics (e.g., toilet humour). They also found it funny to act like something else (e.g., an animal).
Two-year-olds' humour reflected language development, including mislabelling, playing with concepts (e.g., dogs say moo), and nonsense words. Children in this age group were also found to demonstrate a mean streak as they appreciated making fun of others and aggressive humour (e.g., pushing someone).
Finally, 3-year-olds were found to play with social rules (e.g., saying naughty words to be funny), and showed the beginnings of understanding tricks and puns.
Elena Hoicka, Burcu Soy Telli, Eloise Prouten, et al. The Early Humor Survey (EHS): A reliable parent-report measure of humor development for 1- to 47-month-olds. [open], Behavior Research Methods (DOI: 10.3758/s13428-021-01704-4)
Most of the readers here are probably aware that the European Union is betting heavily on hydrogen as a clean energy carrier. Related to that, Martin Sandbu wrote an interesting article in the Financial Times, titled The Gordian Knot of Europe's gas dependence.
In essence, his thesis in the article was that the best way forward for the EU, from an energy perspective, is to keep investing into its gas fields, combined with conversion of that gas into so-called blue hydrogen, combined with carbon capture. The problem was though, he argued, that all of these three things need to happen together: if there's no market for either, the whole system will be caught in a catch-22 situation.
Gas producers will not invest in new fields if there are no takers to convert the gas into hydrogen, and mass market realisation of hydrogen technologies will not take off if there is no ample supply. Carbon capture, of course, is needed so the conversion of gas into hydrogen does not cause further climate change, and the EU can reach its carbon emission targets.
What is interesting, though, is a reader's letter in reaction to that article. The writer of that letter is the Chief Executive of Snam, Europe's largest gas network operator. When you read the following quotes, keep in mind that many commercial boilers can already take a 20 percent hydrogen blend, and that RWE (the 2nd largest offshore wind power generator in the world) and Shell have already teamed up to produce green hydrogen, on a gigawatt scale:
One little-known but crucial fact is that the grade of steel usually used for natural gas pipelines in Europe is compatible with hydrogen, at blends up to 100 per cent.
That our grids are already "hydrogen ready" means two things for Sandbu's conundrum. First, any investment required by the transport network to keep gas flowing and competitive over the next couple of decades needn't result in stranded assets when the time comes to switch to hydrogen.
Second, the pipelines themselves can provide an instant home for hydrogen -- decoupling production and consumption.
Early-stage hydrogen producers could simply blend their green fuel into the gas network, scaling up facilities and reducing costs. As the "green premium" narrows, consumers would be encouraged to jump in larger numbers, and the infrastructure could then be switched to carry pure hydrogen. Blending is neither an endgame nor a market. It is a way to give green hydrogen a leg-up.
What to make of Sandbu's preferred solution, which is to encourage the development of blue hydrogen, where the carbon from natural gas is captured? My take is that green is likely to be competitive relative early on, especially if we can scale it up.
(Letter to the Financial Times, Thu Nov 18, "Let markets determine if hydrogen is blue or green", from Marco Alvèra, Chief Executive, Snam, Milan, Italy.)
Could green hydrogen be heating your home in the coming decade?
[...] The researchers found that whereas adults build integrated memories with inferences already baked in, children and adolescents create separate memories that they later compare to make inferences on the fly.
“How adults structure knowledge is not necessarily optimal for children, because adult strategies might require brain machinery that is not fully mature in children,” said Alison Preston, professor of neuroscience and psychology and senior author of the study published today in the journal Nature Human Behaviour. She co-led the study with first author Margaret Schlichting, formerly a doctoral student in Preston’s lab and currently assistant professor of psychology at the University of Toronto.
To understand the distinction between how adults and children make inferences, imagine visiting a day care center. In the morning, you see a child arriving with one adult, but in the afternoon that child leaves with a different adult. You might infer that the two grown-ups are the child’s parents and are a couple, and your second memory would include both the second person you saw and information from your earlier experience in order to make an inference about how the two adults — whom you didn’t actually see together — might relate to each other.
This new study finds that a child who has the same experiences isn’t likely to make the same kind of inference that an adult would during the second experience. The two memories are less connected. If you ask your child to infer who that child’s parents are, your child can still do it; he or she just has to retrieve the two distinct memories and then reason about how each adult might be related.
Margaret L. Schlichting, Katharine F. Guarino, Hannah E. Roome, et al. Developmental differences in memory reactivation relate to encoding and inference in the human brain, Nature Human Behaviour (DOI: 10.1038/s41562-021-01206-5)
People with Prader Willi syndrome, a genetic disorder, have an insatiable appetite. They never feel full, even after a hearty meal. The result can be life-threatening overeating and obesity.
According to a new study, their constant hunger results in part to disordered signaling in the brain’s cerebellum, a region of the brain also responsible for motor control and learning. An international research team spanning 12 institutions, led by J. Nicholas Betley, an assistant professor of biology in Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences, and Albert I. Chen, an associate professor at the Scintillion Institute, in San Diego, used clues from Prader Willi patients to guide investigations in mice that uncovered a subset of cerebellar neurons that signals satiation after eating.
When the researchers activated these neurons, the magnitude of the effect "was enormous," accordingly to Betley. The animals ate just as often as typical mice, but each of their meals was 50-75% smaller.
[...] "It's amazing that you can still find areas of the brain that are important for basic survival behaviors that we had never before implicated," Betley says. "And these brain regions are important in robust ways."
Aloysius Y. T. Low, Nitsan Goldstein, Jessica R. Gaunt, et al. Reverse-translational identification of a cerebellar satiation network, Nature (DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-04143-5)
Psyche's Hall thrusters will be the first to be used beyond lunar orbit, demonstrating that they could play a role in supporting future missions to deep space. The spacecraft is set to launch in August 2022 and its super-efficient mode of propulsion uses solar arrays to capture sunlight that is converted into electricity to power the spacecraft's thrusters. The thrusters work by turning xenon gas, a neutral gas used in car headlights and plasma TVs, into xenon ions. As the xenon ions are accelerated out of the thruster, they create the thrust that will propel the spacecraft.
On Tuesday, TerraPower, the US-based nuclear power company backed by Bill Gates, announced it has chosen a site for what would be its first reactor. Kemmerer, Wyoming, population roughly 2,500, has been the site of the coal-fired Naughton Power Plant, which is being closed. The TerraPower project will see it replaced by a 345 megawatt reactor that would pioneer a number of technologies that haven't been commercially deployed before.
These include a reactor design that needs minimal refueling, cooling by liquid sodium, and a molten-salt heat-storage system that will provide the plant with the flexibility needed to better integrate with renewable energy.
While TerraPower is the name clearly attached to the project, plenty of other parties are involved, as well. The company is perhaps best known for being backed by Bill Gates, now chairman of the company board, who has promoted nuclear power as a partial solution for the climate crisis. The company has been selected by the US Department of Energy to build a demonstration reactor, a designation that guarantees at least $180 million toward construction and could see it receive billions of dollars over the next several years.
Also at Ars Technica.
Submitted via IRC for aristarchus
The shredded remains of a stellar explosion glow bright red in a stunning new photo from the Hubble Space Telescope.
The vibrant cosmic ribbons of gas are the result of an explosion of a white dwarf star that reached the end of its life, also known as a Type 1a supernova. This supernova remnant, officially known as DEM L249, is located in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), which is a satellite dwarf galaxy of the Milky Way and among the closest galaxies to Earth.
Hubble snapped this new photo of DEM L249 while surveying the LMC in search of surviving stellar companions of white dwarf stars that had already exploded, according to a statement from NASA.
The Utah Supreme Court is the latest stop in EFF’s roving campaign to establish your Fifth Amendment right to refuse to provide your password to law enforcement. Yesterday, along with the ACLU, we filed an amicus brief in State v. Valdez, arguing that the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination prevents the police from forcing suspects to reveal the contents of their minds. That includes revealing a memorized passcode or directly entering the passcode to unlock a device.
In Valdez, the defendant was charged with kidnapping his ex-girlfriend after arranging a meeting under false pretenses. During his arrest, police found a cell phone in Valdez’s pocket that they wanted to search for evidence that he set up the meeting, but Valdez refused to tell them the passcode. Unlike many other cases raising these issues, however, the police didn’t bother seeking a court order to compel Valdez to reveal his passcode. Instead, during trial, the prosecution offered testimony and argument about his refusal. The defense argued that this violated the defendant’s Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, which also prevents the state from commenting on his silence. The court of appeals agreed, and now the state has appealed to the Utah Supreme Court.
As we write in the brief:
The State cannot compel a suspect to recall and share information that exists only in his mind. The realities of the digital age only magnify the concerns that animate the Fifth Amendment’s protections. In accordance with these principles, the Court of Appeals held that communicating a memorized passcode is testimonial, and thus the State’s use at trial of Mr. Valdez’s refusal to do so violated his privilege against self-incrimination. Despite the modern technological context, this case turns on one of the most fundamental protections in our constitutional system: an accused person’s ability to exercise his Fifth Amendment rights without having his silence used against him. The Court of Appeals’ decision below rightly rejected the State’s circumvention of this protection. This Court should uphold that decision and extend that protection to all Utahns.
Protecting these fundamental rights is only more important as we also fight to keep automated surveillance that would compromise our security and privacy off our devices. We’ll await a decision on this important issue from the Utah Supreme Court.
Put the $5 wrench away, corporal.
Communicating and finding help online is crucial to building a solid community. After many years of using emails, mailing lists, blog comments, and IRC to help Tor users, we believe that time has come to improve our discussion channels.
Today, we're happy to announce a new discussion and user support platform: the Tor Forum.
The new forum is powered by Discourse: a modern, friendly, and free and open source software. The forum posts are publicly readable, and you don't need to log in to navigate and access the content. It's also possible to install the Discourse App on your mobile device and receive notifications. For users who like the traditional mailing list format, Discourse features email integration. The new forum is compatible and works with Tor Browser (security slider level set 'Safer').
Currently, the Tor Forum is fully hosted by Discourse, and because they do not support onion services yet, it won't have an onion site soon. That is also why the domain is torproject.net, because of our system security policy on using *.torproject.org only for sites we host in our own infrastructure.
In the last few years, the Tor Project has improved internal tools and platforms to make it easy to contribute to Tor software development and to participate in our community. For example, we revamped our websites, moved from Trac to GitLab, connected our chat channels on Matrix, and now we're launching the Tor Forum.
We invite the Tor community to join the Tor Forum and contribute with us! Moderation policy: Don't be a jerk. Be awesome instead.
Labor Day, Onion (TOR), and Moderation.
PyPI—the open source repository that both large and small organizations use to download code libraries—was hosting 11 malicious packages that were downloaded more than 41,000 times in one of the latest reported such incidents threatening the software supply chain.
JFrog, a security firm that monitors PyPI and other repositories for malware, said the packages are notable for the lengths its developers took to camouflage their malicious code from network detection. Those lengths include a novel mechanism that uses what's known as a reverse shell to proxy communications with control servers through the Fastly content distribution network. Another technique is DNS tunneling, something that JFrog said it had never seen before in malicious software uploaded to PyPI.
"Package managers are a growing and powerful vector for the unintentional installation of malicious code, and as we discovered with these 11 new PyPI packages, attackers are getting more sophisticated in their approach, Shachar Menashe, senior director of JFrog research, wrote in an email. "The advanced evasion techniques used in these malware packages, such as novel exfiltration or even DNS tunneling (the first we've seen in packages uploaded to PyPI) signal a disturbing trend that attackers are becoming stealthier in their attacks on open source software."
The researchers said that PyPI quickly removed all malicious packages once JFrog reported them.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:
At least 25 people in two states were likely poisoned by toxic batches of the "Re2al ," including five children who suffered acute liver failure and one person who died.
The toxic water made headlines earlier this year when health investigators initially linked alkalized water sold by Nevada-based water company Real Water to severe illnesses in five children in Clark County, Nevada. But the new report from the CDC offers the most complete look at the identified cases and illnesses.
The saga began in November and December of 2020, when the five children—ranging in age from seven months to five years—became severely ill with acute liver failure after drinking the water. They were hospitalized and later transferred to a children's hospital for a potential liver transplant—though they all subsequently recovered without a transplant. Local health officials investigating the unusual cluster found that family members had also been sickened. The only common link between the cases was the alkalized water, which Real Water claimed was a healthier alternative to tap water.
In mid-March, the Food and Drug Administration contacted Real Water about the cases and urged the company to recall their water, which was sold in multiple states, including Nevada, California, Utah, and Arizona. Real Water agreed to issue the recall. However, by the end of the month, the FDA reported that retailers were still selling the potentially dangerous water, and the regulator tried to warn consumers directly. By then, Nevada health officials had linked the water to six additional cases, including three more children, bringing the total to 11.
Now, according to the new report, the tally has increased to 25: 18 probable cases and four suspected cases in Nevada, as well as three probable cases in California.
All 21 probable cases ended up hospitalized, and 18 required intensive care. One woman in her 60s with underlying medical conditions died of complications from her liver inflammation.
Box86 as the open-source project to run Linux x86 binaries on other CPU architectures like ARM is out with a new feature release along with the accompanying Box64 project for x86_64 treatment. With today's Box86 update is even expanded Vulkan support now good enough for handling DXVK.
Box86 aims to run Linux x86 binaries on other CPU architectures with better performance than QEMU or other forms of virtualization. With Box86 also comes the ability to utilize OpenGL acceleration and even running some Steam / Wine games when taking some additional steps. Though in order for Box86 to work out, the operating system does need a working 32-bit subsystem/libraries. Besides ARM, Box86 could prove important with the growing interest in RISC-V as well as there having been interest from the (Open)POWER side too. Meanwhile Box64 has also been updated as the adjoining project providing similar treatment for running x86 64-bit binaries on other architectures.
A new study confirms that as atoms are chilled and squeezed to extremes, their ability to scatter light is suppressed.
An atom's electrons are arranged in energy shells. Like concertgoers in an arena, each electron occupies a single chair and cannot drop to a lower tier if all its chairs are occupied. This fundamental property of atomic physics is known as the Pauli exclusion principle, and it explains the shell structure of atoms, the diversity of the periodic table of elements, and the stability of the material universe.
Now, MIT physicists have observed the Pauli exclusion principle, or Pauli blocking, in a completely new way: They've found that the effect can suppress how a cloud of atoms scatters light.
Normally, when photons of light penetrate a cloud of atoms, the photons and atoms can ping off each other like billiard balls, scattering light in every direction to radiate light, and thus make the cloud visible. However, the MIT team observed that when atoms are supercooled and ultrasqueezed, the Pauli effect kicks in and the particles effectively have less room to scatter light. The photons instead stream through, without being scattered.
In their experiments, the physicists observed this effect in a cloud of lithium atoms. As they were made colder and more dense, the atoms scattered less light and became progressively dimmer. The researchers suspect that if they could push the conditions further, to temperatures of absolute zero, the cloud would become entirely invisible.
The team's results, reported today in Science, represent the first observation of Pauli blocking's effect on light-scattering by atoms. This effect was predicted 30 years ago but not observed until now.
Yair Margalit, Yu-Kun, Furkan Çağrı Top, and Wolfgang Ketterle. Pauli blocking of light scattering in degenerate fermions, Science (DOI: 10.1126/science.abi6153)
This paper is from 2017, however, I found it interesting and thought our community would also find this worthy of discussion ...
Have you ever wondered if there is a correlation between a computer's energy consumption and the choice of programming languages? Well, a group Portuguese university researchers did and set out to quantify it. Their 2017 research paper entitled Energy Efficiency across Programming Languages / How Do Energy, Time, and Memory Relate? may have escaped your attention, as it did ours.
The team used a collection of ten standard algorithms from the Computer Language Benchmarks Game project (formerly known as The Great Computer Language Shootout) as the basis for their evaluations.
Last year they updated the functional language results, and all the setups, benchmarks, and collected data can be found here. Check out the paper for more details. Have your choice of programming language ever been influenced by energy consumption?
In the early morning hours of June 24, 2021, half of the 12-story Surfside Florida luxury condominium, Champlain Towers South, came crashing to the ground, killing 98 occupants.
In a recent public update, the NIST detailed the lengthy work needed to uncover the causes of this collapse.
This includes building design, construction, modification, and deterioration analysis, evidence preservation, remote sensing analysis using data collected with tools such as LIDAR during recovery, material tests on recovered evidence, a geotechnical analysis of the surrounding soil and geologic conditions, as well as detailed structural and failure analysis using computer modeling.
Additionally, they will interview people with historic knowledge of construction in south Florida, and continue to accept information from the public that could shed additional light on this tragedy.
Although answers from NIST's investigation will not be forthcoming for a number of years, many individuals unrelated to the NIST have combed through publicly available information to find possible causes.
While precise triggers leading to the collapse may never be known, most public evidence, as this video demonstrates, points to two key factors: Badly neglected and deteriorated pool deck concrete slab that lead to a pool deck collapse, and resulting damage to three key building support columns that lead to the building collapse minutes later.
A timeline based on public witness accounts, details the dramatic events of that morning.
In an interesting twist, this USA Today article digs deep in to possible drug related money laundering and corruption surrounding the building's construction.
AP News reports a lawsuit that was just filed alleges previous construction next door contributed to the collapse.
Most of the media has focused on the lack of "answers" from the NIST and other organizations. Youtuber Jeff Ostroff has compiled an informative explanation of who NIST is, why the NIST is investigating, and why this takes so long.