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Thursday, 17 October 2019

Weekly Reading: Some Interesting Stuff


1) The new marathon record, which was not a marathon!!
Like the moon landing, Kipchoge’s run was a technical achievement that required unprecedented planning and support. In fact, it was so heavily engineered that his new time will not count as a world record. Kipchoge ran the fastest time ever over the marathon distance, but for heated reasons that get at the heart of the sport, he did not run a marathon.
To sustain this blistering pace, Kipchoge ran under conditions that had been painstakingly and exclusively arranged to push him beyond the two-hour barrier. 
Challenge was not a race by any strict definition: It was simply Kipchoge, joined by a rotating phalanx of pacesetters, rocketing along the pavement against the clock.

2) We are nearing the endgame for PE funded non-businesses burning cash
Consumer tech companies, along with their venture-capital backers, help fund the daily habits of their disproportionately young and urban user base. 
But this was never going to last forever. WeWork’s disastrous IPO attempt has triggered reverberations across the industry. The theme of consumer tech has shifted from magic to margins. Venture capitalists and start-up founders alike have re-embraced an old mantra: Profits matter.
And higher profits can only mean one thing: Urban lifestyles are about to get more expensive.

3) Facing unbearable heat, Qatar has begun to air-condition the outdoors
Qatar is one of the fastest warming areas of the world, at least outside of the Arctic. Changes there can help give us a sense of what the rest of the world can expect if we do not take action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
To survive the summer heat, Qatar not only air-conditions its soccer stadiums, but also the outdoors — in markets, along sidewalks, even at outdoor malls so people can window shop with a cool breeze. “If you turn off air conditioners, it will be unbearable. You cannot function effectively,” says Yousef al-Horr, founder of the Gulf Organization for Research and Development.
Yet outdoor air conditioning is part of a vicious cycle. Carbon emissions create global warming, which creates the desire for air conditioning, which creates the need for burning fuels that emit more carbon dioxide. In Qatar, total cooling capacity is expected to nearly double from 2016 to 2030, according to the International District Cooling & Heating Conference.
And it’s going to get hotter.

4) Afternoon siesta is good for you (now I am guilt-free!!)
There is evidence to suggest that normal sleep does not consist of one block of 7 1⁄2 hours during the night. It is more likely that our biology is designed to allow us to sleep for about 6 hours during the night and 1 1⁄2 hours during the day.  Sleeping just once in 24 hours is called monophasic sleep, whereas broken sleep is polyphasic. In evolutionary terms, polyphasic animals are the most common, whereas monophasic animals have evolved more recently. Polyphasic patterns of sleep are the most common.
In an ideal biological world, napping (polyphasic) sleep might be best, as the body is never unduly stressed.

5) The US military is trying to read minds
The goal is to eventually develop accurate and sensitive brain-computer interfaces that can be put on and taken off like a helmet or headband—no surgery required.
Human skulls are less than a centimeter thick: the exact thickness varies from person to person and place to place. They act as a blurring filter that diffuses waveforms, be they electrical currents, light, or sound. Neurons in the brain can be as small as a few thousandths of a millimeter in diameter and generate electrical impulses as weak as a twentieth of a volt.

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