21 Nov 2019

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Ayahuasca Alters Brain Waves To Produce Waking Dream-Like State, Study Finds

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: People under the influence of a psychedelic brew known as ayahuasca frequently experience vivid visual and aural hallucinations and also report feeling as if they are in a dream. Now a new study published in Scientific Reports has shown that the drug alters the user's waking brain-wave patterns to produce a mental state that the researchers describe as "dreaming while awake." Ayahuasca is a bitter tea made from the Brazilian vine banisteriopsis caapi, colloquially known as the "spirit vine," used in shaman-led spiritual ceremonies among native people in the Amazon basin. Its primary active ingredient is dimethyltryptamine (DMT). That's the secret to ayahuasca's powerful psychedelic effects, which can also produce feelings of elation and fear or a sense of epiphany or psychological breakthrough. Those mind-altering properties come at a price, however. Participants in the ceremonies are often advised to bring a bucket, since nausea and vomiting (and sometimes diarrhea) are common reactions to the tea. The current paper is the most recent study out of the [Imperial College London's Center for Psychedelic Research]. The study involved 13 subjects fitted with EEG caps and electrodes to monitor their brain activity while being given an IV infusion of DMT. The team found that the DMT caused a marked drop in alpha waves, a mark of wakefulness, along with a corresponding brief increase in theta brain waves, indicative of a dream state. Furthermore, while brain activity has been shown to decrease in subjects under the influence of psilocybin and LSD, the Imperial College researchers found more chaotic brain activity in subjects while under the influence of DMT. That might be why ayahuasca users report more vivid visual effects and a greater sense of immersion than is typically experienced with other psychedelics.

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21 Nov 2019 3:30am GMT

Google To Limit Targeting of Political Ads

Google said on Wednesday that it will stop giving advertisers the ability to target election ads using data such as public voter records and general political affiliations. Reuters reports: Google said on Wednesday it would start limiting audience targeting for election ads to age, gender and general location at a postal code level. Previously, verified political advertisers could also target ads using data such as whether the users were left-leaning, right-leaning or independent. Google said political advertisers can still do contextual targeting, such as serving ads to people reading a certain story or watching a particular video. The company will begin enforcing the new approach in the United Kingdom within a week, ahead of the country's general election on Dec. 12. It said it would begin enforcing it in the European Union by the end of the year and in the rest of the world starting on Jan. 6, 2020. "Given recent concerns and debates about political advertising, and the importance of shared trust in the democratic process, we want to improve voters' confidence in the political ads they may see on our ad platforms," Scott Spencer, vice president of product management for Google Ads, said in the blog post. Google added examples to its misrepresentation policy to show that it would not allow false claims about election results or the eligibility of political candidates. Google also added examples to its ad policies to clarify that it prohibits doctored and manipulated media.

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21 Nov 2019 2:50am GMT

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Report: Sacklers using fake doctors, false marketing to sell OxyContin in China

As Purdue files for bankruptcy, business in China is ramping up.

21 Nov 2019 2:19am GMT

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System76 Will Start Designing and Building Its Own Linux Laptops Beginning January 2020

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Forbes: Denver-based PC manufacturer and Pop!_OS Linux developer System76 plans to follow-up its custom Thelio desktop PC with an in-house laptop beginning next year, according to founder and CEO Carl Richell. During a recent interview, Richell was quick to emphasize that the entire process of designing, prototyping and iterating the final product could take two to three years. But the company is eager to break into this market and put the same signature "stamp" on its laptop hardware that graces its custom-built Thelio desktop. System76 sells an extensive lineup of laptops, but the machines are designed by the likes of Sager and Clevo. The company doesn't merely buy a chassis and slap Pop!_OS on it, but Richell tells me he's confident that with the experience gained from developing Thelio -- and the recent investment into a factory at the company's Denver headquarters -- System76 is capable of building a laptop from the ground up that meets market needs and carries a unique value proposition. Richell says the company's first priority is locking down the aesthetic of the laptop and how various materials look and feel. It will simultaneously begin working on the supply chain aspects and speaking with various display and component manufacturers. System76 will design and build a U-class laptop first (basically an Ultrabook form factor like the existing Darter and Galago) and then evaluate what it might do with higher-end gaming and workstation notebooks with dedicated graphics.

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21 Nov 2019 2:10am GMT

20 Nov 2019

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Study suggests AI’s disruptive effect on jobs will hit higher on economic and education scales

Study suggests AI’s disruptive effect on jobs will hit higher on economic and education scalesWhen experts talk about the disruptive effects of artificial intelligence, they tend to focus on low-paid laborers - but a newly published study suggests higher-paid, more highly educated workers will be increasingly exposed to job challenges. The study puts Seattle toward the top of the list for AI-related job disruption. The analysis, which draws on work by researchers at Stanford University and the Brookings Institution, makes use of a novel technique that connects AI-related patents with the job descriptions for different professions. Stanford researcher Michael Webb extracted entries from the tens of millions of patents in a Google database, as… Read More


20 Nov 2019 10:56pm GMT

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Ubiquiti’s new “Amplifi Alien” is a mesh-capable Wi-Fi 6 router

Amplifi Alien's specs look pretty good, but $380 is a lot to ask for a router.

20 Nov 2019 10:30pm GMT

Ars talks fighting games with Guilty Gear creator Daisuke Ishiwatari

Daisuke talks netcode, game development, and the future of the franchise

20 Nov 2019 10:09pm GMT

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NASA says much-anticipated meteor outburst could be a bust for the West Coast

NASA says much-anticipated meteor outburst could be a bust for the West CoastSkywatchers say parts of the world could see a brief, brilliant meteor outburst known as the Alpha Monocerotids on Thursday night, but NASA notes that it'll be at the wrong time for the U.S. West Coast. Why it's a big deal: The meteor shower - which takes its name from the brightest star in the constellation Monoceros, the Unicorn - is a rare beast. It yields significant shooting stars only when Earth's orbit runs through a particular patch of space, as it did in 1985 and 1995. This time around, meteor scientists Peter Jenniskens and Esko Lyytinen say the best-placed… Read More


20 Nov 2019 6:57pm GMT

Scientists detected the brightest light in the universe for the first time, following a mysterious explosion in space

Scientists detected the brightest light in the universe for the first time, following a mysterious explosion in spaceAstronomers had 50 seconds to turn their telescopes toward a violent explosion in a galaxy 4 billion light-years away.


20 Nov 2019 6:00pm GMT