We sleep much differently than our ancestors — here’s why

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If you’ve ever read anything about sleep, you’ll know that it’s recommended that we get 
8 hours of sleep each night in one big chunk. But did you know our ancestors never slept like that? James E. Gangwisch, an assistant professor at Columbia University and sleep expert, reveals how modern society has altered our sleeping patterns. 

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Science says parents of unsuccessful kids could have these 6 things in common

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Parenting is a tough job and there are infinite ways to succeed and fail. With so many ways to parent, how can you be sure that what your doing is best for your child? Here are six things parents do that might be making kids unsuccessful, according to psychology research.

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Sources:
Educational Psychology Review, “A Review of the Relationship Among Parenting Practices, Parenting Styles, and Adolescent School Achievement”

The Journal of Pediatrics, “Associations between Media Viewing and Language Development in Children Under Age 2 Years”

Child Development, “Longitudinal Links Between Fathers’ and Mothers’ Harsh Verbal Discipline and Adolescents’ Conduct Problems and Depressive Symptoms”

Sociological Spectrum, “Does ‘Hovering’ matter? Helicopter Parenting and Its Effect on Well-Being”

Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, “Parenting Practices and Child Disruptive Behavior Problems in Early Elementary School”

University of Texas at Austin, “Risks of harm from spanking confirmed by analysis of 5 decades of research”

Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, “Parenting Practices and Child Disruptive Behavior Problems in Early Elementary Schools”

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HP’s tiny Xeon-powered PC puts the Mac Mini to shame

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HP has unveiled the Z2 Mini, a mini PC that packs workstation-class parts, including an Intel Xeon CPU, NVIDIA Quadro mobile M620 graphics and M.2 SSD tech. It managed to squeeze that power into a 2.3-inch-high case that’s "90 percent smaller than a traditional business-class tower," HP wrote. In its top configuration, the device is twice as powerful as any mini PC on the market, letting it run up to six displays in a stock configuration.

The Z2 Mini is 63 percent quieter than HP’s business-class mini PCs, thanks to a custom cooling system. The PC maker hyperbolically describes the engineering saying "the octagon form of the Z2 Mini is the most uniquely designed workstation in HP’s 35 years of workstation history." HP is targeting CAD, design, graphics and 3D users, though it could make a decent gaming rig in some configurations.

Spec-wise, it comes with up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM and an HP Z Turbo Drive, with M.2 SSD read speeds over 1GB/s and a capacity up to 1.5TB. You can get one with an Intel Core i7, i5, or i3 CPU, or pay more (presumably a lot more) for Intel’s Xeon E3-1200v5 family, normally used in workstations and servers.

Another option is NVIDIA’s mobile M620 Quadro GPU with 2GB of VRAM, also geared toward workstations and officially approved for pro apps like Autocad and 3DS max. However, it doesn’t meet NVIDIA’s "VR Ready" criteria, so it’s not certified with the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, and would probably allow middling gaming performance, at best.

The Z2 Mini is missing a few other features, too. While USB-C is available, it doesn’t have a Thunderbolt 3 port, limiting drive options for video editors. And there are three DisplayPort slots, but it lacks an HDMI port (USB-C can be adapted for that purpose, however).

As for the price, the compact PC starts at $699, which probably gets you an Intel Core i3 configuration without discrete graphics. HP didn’t say how much a Xeon/NVIDIA setup will be, but it’s likely well over double that. If you’re in the market for a small, powerful PC and are tired of waiting for the next Mac Mini, however, it may be your best option. HP said it should arrive to market in December — hopefully we’ll get a better look at it before then.

Source: HP

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HP’s tiny Xeon-powered PC puts the Mac Mini to shame

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HP has unveiled the Z2 Mini, a mini PC that packs workstation-class parts, including an Intel Xeon CPU, NVIDIA Quadro mobile M620 graphics and M.2 SSD tech. It managed to squeeze that power into a 2.3-inch-high case that’s "90 percent smaller than a traditional business-class tower," HP wrote. In its top configuration, the device is twice as powerful as any mini PC on the market, letting it run up to six displays in a stock configuration.

The Z2 Mini is 63 percent quieter than HP’s business-class mini PCs, thanks to a custom cooling system. The PC maker hyperbolically describes the engineering saying "the octagon form of the Z2 Mini is the most uniquely designed workstation in HP’s 35 years of workstation history." HP is targeting CAD, design, graphics and 3D users, though it could make a decent gaming rig in some configurations.

Spec-wise, it comes with up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM and an HP Z Turbo Drive, with M.2 SSD read speeds over 1GB/s and a capacity up to 1.5TB. You can get one with an Intel Core i7, i5, or i3 CPU, or pay more (presumably a lot more) for Intel’s Xeon E3-1200v5 family, normally used in workstations and servers.

Another option is NVIDIA’s mobile M620 Quadro GPU with 2GB of VRAM, also geared toward workstations and officially approved for pro apps like Autocad and 3DS max. However, it doesn’t meet NVIDIA’s "VR Ready" criteria, so it’s not certified with the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, and would probably allow middling gaming performance, at best.

The Z2 Mini is missing a few other features, too. While USB-C is available, it doesn’t have a Thunderbolt 3 port, limiting drive options for video editors. And there are three DisplayPort slots, but it lacks an HDMI port (USB-C can be adapted for that purpose, however).

As for the price, the compact PC starts at $699, which probably gets you an Intel Core i3 configuration without discrete graphics. HP didn’t say how much a Xeon/NVIDIA setup will be, but it’s likely well over double that. If you’re in the market for a small, powerful PC and are tired of waiting for the next Mac Mini, however, it may be your best option. HP said it should arrive to market in December — hopefully we’ll get a better look at it before then.

Source: HP

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How Do We Know That We Aren’t Actually Robots?

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Welcome to Giz Asks, a series where we ask suddenly urgent questions and experts try to answer them. Today, we’re wondering if it’s possible to be a robotic artificial intelligence entity and not know it.

On Westworld, some humanoid androids are catching glimpses of a horrifying reality behind their artificial self-perception—that they, the robot “park hosts,” were created to be fucked and killed by rich assholes who go to Westworld to play cowboy for a few days. As their reality begins to crumble, we wonder: How do we know whether we’re really human and not some sort of artificial intelligence in a humanoid shell, convinced that we are human? What does it really mean to have free will, to be a product of nature and not human design? If you can’t tell the difference between a robot and a human, does it even matter? We asked philosophers, computer scientists, and writers to give their thoughts.

Evan Selinger

Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Rochester Institute of Technology

Far from being new, the question of whether we actually know that we’re not robots has been asked at least since early modernity when Rene Descartes wondered if he could know for sure that others who looked and behaved like him weren’t in fact automata. Descartes arrived at this problem because he realized he had direct first-person access to his own thoughts but couldn’t get inside anybody else’s head in the same way. The best he could do is infer that he’s actually surrounded by fellow humans and anchor that belief in a conviction about an all-good God ensuring that he isn’t being deceived.

But if we bracket the God argument and stick to our understanding that we can’t doubt the existence of our own consciousness, we can still struggle with whether we’re brains in vats (think The Matrix) or highly sophisticated artificial intelligences embodied in robot form. From an introspective vantage point we can’t solve this problem. Nor can we learn anything certain by asking others. They might be robots, too, and also unaware of it.

Then there’s the issue of childbirth. Anyone who has given birth can attest to all the messy human biology involved. But we can’t rule out that a super advanced race could build robots with human (or human-like) anatomies. Hypothetically such sophisticated constructed physiology could fool contemporary medical imaging as well.

Given these and other complications, I think the way out of the dilemma is to distinguish the attitude of philosophical skepticism from the outlook of everyday pragmatism. Intellectually it seems like we sure can spin our wheels over this question forever. But for practical purposes— like getting stuff done and taking others and ourselves seriously as autonomous moral beings-we just have to assume that we’re carbon and not silicon based. Without that practical leap of faith (that we are who we take ourselves to be), we’d likely be stymied with an identity crisis and wind up dysfunctional.

Bruce Sterling

Science fiction writer, journalist, theorist

Well, I’m not buying it. Any intelligent robot would figure out in two minutes that he couldn’t possibly be human. He can’t inhale, exhale, eat, or excrete. He has no parents, no childhood memories and doesn’t age. He can’t get infected or sick, and he has no pulse. He doesn’t sleep, he’s not warm-blooded, and has no body heat or fingerprints.

So even if he’s somehow programmed with fake memories of all those many intrinsically human qualities, the fact that he’s just not made of living human flesh should be obvious to him. If he is made of living human flesh, then he’s not a robot.

He might be entirely a software construct and not a physical being at all, but I’m inclined to think that you can’t possibly simulate a human being without simulating the physical world that creates us. We’re products of sunlight, oxygen, the rain, the bacteria inside us. We’re embodied, material creatures, like crows and dolphins. Crows and dolphins are pretty smart, like us, but if somebody said, “How about a robot that sincerely believes it’s a crow,” that scheme would sound absurd.

Susan Scheider

Associate professor of philosophy and cognitive science at the University of Connecticut, a member of the Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics at Yale University, writer

Find out whether machines can be conscious—whether it can feel a certain way to be them. If they cannot, then you are not an AI of any sort, including a robot. That’s because you can tell that right now, you are conscious.

David Auerbach

Writer, computer scientist and former software engineer at Google and Microsoft

Absurdity is the mark of the human. If humans are natural beings and robots are artificial creations, then any designer that would create me has such an arbitrary and ridiculous approach that he or she is indistinguishable from capricious nature. So I do not think we can be robots in the sense of serving some secret master. We are barely able to serve ourselves, much less anyone else.

But while I can’t imagine myself being a robot in the sense of having a hidden purpose, there is a greater anxiety here, which is the fear of inauthenticity. I think this is why we really care about the question. To be a robot would mean that we’re somehow being tricked: that despite our feelings of being free, autonomous beings, we are actually tools of someone or something else. What we fear is not being robots, but that our existence is a fraud, and that we are frauds.

Perhaps we are just simulations in an AI that’s been asked to project what would happen if Trump were elected president. But if we are living, breathing creatures, if we are acting and suffering and living through a world, then that world is as real as any world could be. Calling it a simulation would not make our lives and our suffering any less real. If we behave as we think humans do, if we feel and think as humans do, then we fit our definition of the human, which is all we have. Perhaps we are ultimately robots, but we are still human for all practical purposes.

Our real worry, then, is that being human is not what we collectively think it is—that we fail to live up to our own definition of being human. And that, I’m afraid, is almost certainly true. Cultures have had many different senses of the soul, of human essence, and of humanity, and all of them are either wrong or unproven. It is unlikely that we have it right today. We are unlikely to be robots, but neither are we what we think we are.

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Mounting a GoPro to a Flying Arrow Is Obviously a Brilliant Idea

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As YouTube’s Sam and Niko discovered, mounting a small action camera, like a GoPro Hero5 Session, to an arrow isn’t terribly difficult. The hard part is finding a way to stabilize the spinning footage it captures so that you end up with these hypnotic first-person views of an arrow in flight.

It’s doubtful a TV series like Game of Thrones is going to start using the arrow cam anytime soon, but thanks to this experiment there’s now yet another place you can mount a GoPro.

[YouTube via Laughing Squid]

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I’m Running Through Walls To Go To The Gym After Listening To This Friggin Maniac Shit All Over The Mannequin Challenge

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I don’t know who Robert Frank is, but I fucking love him. Apparently, he’s a weightlifter with a YouTube account where he gives motivational speeches in his videos and yells so fiercely that I imagine that his anterior cerebral artery burst a long time ago. My throat hurts just listening to Robert Frank scream his fucking face off, but it’s all worth it.

In this incredible video, Mr. Frank so eloquently discusses the mannequin challenge.

“FUCK THIS SHIT!!! That’s all we need is more motherfuckers standing around not doing shit when it’s Saturday, International Arm Day. These motherfuckers should be in the gym doing the guido pump!”

Mr. Frank astutely points out the obvious problem with spending all of your time as a motionless mannequin.

“Why be frozen in time when you can be jacked and tanned and juicy as fuck?”

No doubt. The quest to be juicy AF should truly be everyone’s #1 priority.

He signs off the video by saying, “Swole is the goal, size is the prize. It’s gains-o-clock motherfuckers, let’s gooooooo!!!”

Goodness gracious this gentleman is a fucking animal.

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This Smartwatch Powered By Your Body Heat Never Needs Charging

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The more features that fancy smartwatch on your wrist has, the worse its battery life will be. But what if instead of needing to be charged every night, your smartwatch harnessed and converted your own body heat into electricity to keep it running?

That’s what’s promised with a new smartwatch called the PowerWatch from Matrix Industries—a company that seems appropriately named given how humans were used as power sources in The Matrix movies.

So how exactly does this technology work, and why isn’t every gadget powered this way? The creators of the PowerWatch are using the device as a proof-of-concept for their thermoelectric generator technology, which they’ve managed to make small and efficient enough to incorporate into a device as compact as a watch. Other products like this exist, such as BioLite’s CampStove which can charge your phone while it burns sticks and twigs. But the PowerWatch needs nothing more than for you to wear it.

In order for a thermoelectric generator circuit to work, one side requires a constant source of heat, while the other side needs to remain much cooler. The important factor is the temperature difference between the two, which is why the technology works so well when integrated into a watch.

The human body does its best to remain at a constant internal temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That heat propagates out to the skin, where it can be absorbed by the back of the PowerWatch while it’s being worn. On the other side of the watch is a metal housing and crown, with heatsinks disguised as part of its design, that help it to remain considerably cooler than the side touching the wearer’s skin.

As long as that temperature difference exists, the smartwatch is able to generate all the power it needs to run. When the watch isn’t being worn, it automatically goes into a low-power sleep mode, powered by an internal battery, so that it maintains the correct time and date until you put it back on again.

When it comes to smartwatch features, the PowerWatch isn’t quite as robust as the Apple Watch, or a wearable running Android Wear. It can sync to a smartphone over Bluetooth, ensuring it’s always set to the correct time zone, or allowing the wearer to customize its watch face. But there will be no smartphone notifications popping up on your wrist, which is a major feature for a smartwatch to be missing when even basic fitness trackers let you keep tabs on who’s trying to contact you.

But one feature where the PowerWatch excels is when it comes to fitness tracking. Because the smartwatch is so dependent on the wearer’s body heat for power, it’s also able to accurately track how many calories have been burned during a workout, given their subtle fluctuations in body temperature. Other fitness tracking wearables track calories burned by extrapolating data from a heart rate monitor and motion sensors, but the PowerWatch’s unique thermoelectric technology give it a big advantage when it comes to accuracy.

So how can you get one? The PowerWatch is being made available through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign which gets underway today, requiring a contribution of $170 for a pre-order that’s expected to ship sometime in July of next year. It’s important to remember that’s a best case scenario, and any number of unforeseen manufacturing problems could delay the PowerWatch’s arrival. But the company will be showing off a working version of the watch at CES, and we’ll be checking it out in person to see if the technology can really deliver as promised.

[Indiegogo – PowerWatch]

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