May 04, 2016

Fights on planes 400% more likely when there's a first class section

posted by Larra Morris

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The study, by DeCelles, who is an associate professor at the University of Toronto, and Michael Norton of Harvard Business School, analyzed thousands of flights on a large international airline over several years and found that not only were incidents in economy more likely if there was a first class cabin, and more so if economy passengers had to walk through it — but incidents were also more likely in first class itself.

In other words, class inequality stresses everyone out, the study found.

"Physical design that highlights inequality can trigger antisocial behavior on airplanes," the researchers wrote.
via Boing Boing

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May 04, 2016

LEGO-style Braille Bricks help visually impaired children learn to read

posted by Larra Morris

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A new project is using a classic children's toy to increase literacy among visually impaired children, according to Adweek. Braille Bricks feature raised studs on top of a box base, similar to LEGO bricks. However, unlike those on LEGO pieces, the studs on each brick form the letters of the Braille alphabet and can be used to form words.
via Mental Floss

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May 03, 2016

Software update destorys $286 million Japanese satellite

posted by Larra Morris

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The Japanese X-ray telescope Hitomi has been declared lost after it disintegrated in orbit, torn apart when spinning out of control. The cause is still under investigation but early analysis points to bad data in a software package pushed shortly after an instrument probe was extended from the rear of the satellite. JAXA, the Japanese space agency, lost $286 million, three years of planned observations, and a possible additional 10 years of science research.
via Hack a Day

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May 03, 2016

This app lets parents read their children bedtime stories in virtual reality

posted by Larra Morris

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Whether they travel a lot or just pull the occasional late shift at the office, it’s difficult for parents to make sure they’re at home to tuck in their kids every night. That can be tough on both parents and children who've grown accustomed to the comforting ritual of the goodnight hug or bedtime story. But now, Samsung is developing a new app that lets parents and children reunite for bedtime stories in virtual reality.

The Verge reports that Bedtime VR Stories by Samsung will let parents and children go on a virtual journey together. The app combines elements of the traditional bedtime story—words appear on screen, and parents can read them aloud—with games and animation. The child doesn’t just passively listen to their parent read a story. Instead, they travel with them through an animated world of animals, dinosaurs, and robots, and are asked to interact with their environment in different ways (for instance, by counting the animals on screen).
via Mental Floss

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May 02, 2016

Bitcoin creator unmasked: Australian computer scientist Craig Wright says he is Satoshi Nakamoto

posted by Laura Domela

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After years of speculation, the search for the elusive creator behind the Bitcoin cryptocurrency may have reached a conclusion.

Revealing his identity to the BBC, among a handful of other publications, Australian entrepreneur and computer scientist Dr. Craig Wright today confirmed rumors that first surfaced in December, stating that he is, in fact, Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous individual who introduced Bitcoin to the world way back in 2009.
via Venture Beat

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May 02, 2016

New data suggests you only have five close friends

posted by Larra Morris

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You’ve probably heard of Dunbar’s Number which suggests that human beings can only maintain meaningful relationships with between 100 to 230 other people, and that number is typically 150. It’s been demonstrated to hold true in all kinds of situations—from ancient armies to big business.

But you might not know that Robin Dunbar, the anthropologist behind the number, has since also suggested that those relationships are layered, like an onion. He argues that people typically have five ultra-close relationships, then 10 slightly less cozy companions, 35 at more distance, and then 100 in an outer circle. Now he and follow researchers have published data that appears to lend weight to the theory.
via Gizmodo

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May 02, 2016

Scientists create the world’s smallest thermometer out of DNA

posted by Larra Morris

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The world’s smallest thermometer is 20,000 times smaller than a single human hair. Oh, and it’s made out of genetic material.

Researchers from the Laboratory of Biosensors and Nanomachines at the University of Montreal report that they’ve created a thermometer out of DNA in a recent article in the journal Nano Letters.
via Mental Floss

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