Summary of “White House Considers Restricting Chinese Researchers Over Espionage Fears”

The administration is expected to detail new plans for restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States by the end of May. Congress is also considering giving the United States broader authority to restrict Chinese investments.
The Committee of 100, a group of prominent Chinese-Americans, has denounced government assertions that Chinese professors, scientists and students in the United States may be gathering intelligence for the Chinese government as “Disturbing and prejudicial” and warned that it has overtones of anti-Japanese sentiment that was rampant during World War II.”To target a whole group of people as being subject to greater suspicion, based purely on race and national origin, and in advance of any facts or evidence, goes against the fundamental American ideals of the presumption of innocence, due process and equal protection for all. It also fans the flames of hysteria,” the group said in a statement.
Administration officials have been debating restricting visas offered to Chinese nationals for months as part of the broad package of measures targeting China economically.
If the proposal is approved by the Commerce Department, and ultimately by Mr. Trump, American companies and universities would be required to obtain special licenses for Chinese nationals who have any contact whatsoever with a much wider range of goods – making it harder for Chinese citizens to work on a range of scientific research and product development programs.
The academic community is likely to push back on the administration’s efforts over concerns that tighter controls on Chinese nationals could hurt American universities’ ability to collaborate on cutting-edge research and wind up benefiting China even more.
If the United States makes it harder for aerospace manufacturers, defense contractors and others to employ Chinese nationals, more of these recently trained Chinese graduate students may return to China, taking their skills with them.
Stephen A. Orlins, the president of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, said that restricting Chinese researchers would be “Tragic” for American universities.
Even Mr. Smith said he did not support tougher restrictions on Chinese researchers.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Disney made a jacket to simulate physical experiences, like a snake slithering across your body”

Disney Research, MIT Media Lab, and Carnegie Mellon University have unveiled a new conceptual haptic “Force jacket” that simulates physical experiences to people wearing the device.
The force jacket is lined with airbags controlled by a computer that inflates and deflates the bags.
Disney envisions the jacket will be used with VR headsets for more immersive experiences, given its ability to simulate hugs, being hit or punched, and peculiarly, the sensation of a snake slithering across your body.
The jacket is made up of airbags with sensors attached that direct force and vibrations to specific locations on your body.
The software-controlled jacket weighs about five pounds and has a valve system that inflates and deflates 26 air compartments.
In their paper, researchers on the project from Disney, MIT, and Carnegie Mellon wrote: “At this stage of work, the goal is to develop core technology for the Force Jacket that will be sufficient for basic psychophysical assessment and to design and test an initial set of effects.” So far, those effects include: a racing heartbeat, light or heavy rain, snowball hit to the chest, a hand tap on the shoulder, slime dripping on your back, a bug crawling up your arm, and motorcycle vibrations.
The researchers built three VR apps in testing the jacket, including a snowball fight game, a simulation of a snake crawling around, and a simulation of “Growing muscles” – like turning into the Hulk.
The researchers believe with more development the jacket could be more viable in VR use.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Do trees sleep at night? Yes.”

Here’s one more, from the journal Frontiers in Plant Science: Birch trees “Sleep” at night.
It’s harder to do with big trees in the forest.
Why are the trees drooping? One reason could be that they’re dropping their internal water pressure, as New Scientist suggests, in response to the cessation of photosynthesis at night.
Another reason could be that the trees are actually resting: It takes energy to raise limbs up toward the light during the day.
Puttonen hopes this research will lead to a better understanding of how trees use water at different times of the days.
Since the study published in 2016, a followup report in 2017 found that different species of trees have different “Sleep” patterns.
So more research will be needed to full understand the complex patterns of tree sleep.
The tree at day is less droopy than the tree at night.

The orginal article.

Summary of “13 Ways to Develop Laser-Like Focus”

Here are some surprising ways to help boost your focus and performance.
If you want to be successful, you have to find strategies that will help you focus despite all of the distractions that prevent you from doing the task at hand.
Luckily, with the help of science, developing laser-like focus is easier than you think.
To learn more, here are 13 ways to develop laser-like focus.
Another advantage of meditation is its ability to help people focus.
According to research, a warmer workplace will help you focus better and be more productive.
In a study, a group of researchers found that by taking a 40-second break and simply looking at a computerized image of a green roof, employees’ focus on a particular task improved.
A study found that people who work in offices filled with natural light experience substantially less eye strain, headaches and blurred visions, all of which deter focus and performance.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Just being outside can improve your psychological health, and maybe your physical health too”

Reason one: Just being in a wooded area boosts your immune system.
These cells provide rapid responses to virus-infected cells and respond to tumor formation, and are associated with immune system health and cancer prevention.
Forest air doesn’t just feel fresher and better-inhaling phytoncides seems to actually improve immune system function.
As we’ve come to understand better over the past decade of research, our immune system depends on the health of our gut microbiome-which in turn depends partly on how much of the natural world’s microbiome we let infiltrate our bodies.
Evidence is growing to suggest our immune system is linked to our brain, which means it’s likely that nature’s microbiome plays a big role in our mental health, too.
Exposure to the bacteria in soil, specifically, appears to be good for mental health, and is being investigated as a treatment for depression.
The more we learn about the health benefits of exposure to the outdoors, the more it seems like a good idea to spend more time in them.
Researchers have found that just looking at the sea or at trees can have health benefits.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Often Do People Use Guns In Self-Defense?”

How Often Do People Use Guns In Self-Defense? Many gun owners say the primary reason they own a firearm is self-defense.
Experts have been starkly divided over how often people actually use guns for this purpose.
It’s a common refrain touted by gun rights advocates, who argue that using guns in self-defense can help save lives.
Experts have been divided over how often people actually use guns in self-defense.
The latest data show that people use guns for self-defense only rarely.
Cook told The Washington Post that the percentage of people who told Kleck they used a gun in self-defense is similar to the percentage of Americans who said they were abducted by aliens.
Even if someone wanted to use a gun in self-defense, they probably wouldn’t be very successful, says Mike Weisser, firearms instructor and author of the blog “Mike The Gun Guy.” He says many people who carry a gun aren’t properly trained to use it in this way, and there is no performance validation standard for police officers.
“If we don’t even have a minimum standard, not for training, but for performance validation for our law enforcement,” he says, “How in God’s name is anybody going to say, ‘Well, just because you have a gun in your pocket, you know how to use it in self-defense?’ You don’t.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Many Americans Try Retirement, Then Change Their Minds”

A more recent survey, from RAND Corporation, the nonprofit research firm, published in 2017, found almost 40 percent of workers over 65 had previously, at some point, retired.
Even more people might resume working if they could find attractive options.
“We asked people over 50 who weren’t working, or looking for a job, whether they’d return if the right opportunity came along,” Dr. Mullen said.
Why go back to work? We hear endless warnings about Americans having failed to save enough, and the need for income does motivate some returning workers.
Most retirees who returned to work told researchers they had long planned to re-enter the work force.
“Their interactions with people at work could be strained or hostile.” After a restorative break, they can find work that suits them better.
“Older jobseekers look for more autonomy, control over the pace of work. They’re less concerned about benefits. They can think about broader things, like whether the work is meaningful and stimulating.”
Still, two-thirds of older workers report satisfaction in work well done, a majority that includes Sue Ellen King.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Brain-Computer Interfaces Show That Neural Networks Learn by Recycling”

The hallmark of intelligence is the ability to learn.
The brain may be highly flexible and adaptive overall, but at least over short time frames, it learns by inefficiently recycling tricks from its neural repertoire rather than rewiring from scratch.
Now, while observing activity in the brain during learning, Yu and his colleagues have seen evidence of a similar lack of plasticity at the neural level.
In 2014, the researchers observed that test subjects could learn new tasks more easily if they involved patterns of neural activity within the intrinsic manifold rather than outside it.
Then the team switched the neural activity requirements for moving the cursor and waited to see what new patterns of neural activity, corresponding to new points in the intrinsic manifold, the animals would use to accomplish them.
Why would the brain use less than the best strategy for learning? The group’s findings suggest that, just as the neural architecture constrains activity to the intrinsic manifold, some further constraint limits how the neurons reorganize their activity during the experiments.
Chase likened the motor cortex to an old-fashioned telephone switchboard, with neural connections like cables linking inputs from other cortical areas to outputs in the brain’s cerebellum.
The researchers can’t yet rule out the possibility that reassociation is a fast interim way for the brain to learn new tasks; over a longer time period, realignment or rescaling might still show up.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Do Dogs Love Us? Science Explains”

You’re not just imagining it: There’s substantial research to support the claim that dogs truly adore their owners.
While we don’t know exactly how long ago humans started domesticating dogs, some scientists think our friendship could go as far back as 40,000 years.
“Of course dogs love their people!” animal behavior consultant Amy Shojai tells Inverse.
By utilizing functional magnetic resonance imaging scans – which measure brain nerve cell levels – the researchers got an inside look at how dogs responded to their humans’ scent versus familiar dogs, unfamiliar dogs, and unfamiliar people.
As Inverse previously reported, researchers at the University of York recently found that dogs respond more positively to dog-directed speech than when we talk to them like people.
Scientists had 37 dogs listen to people talking to them in “Dog-speak” – that high-pitched voice, coupled with “Dog-relevant” phrases.
Participants would then talk to dogs in a flat done about ordinary things.
The dogs overwhelmingly preferred dog-speak, which the researchers compared to the way people talk to babies.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The dark truth about chocolate”

The 19th century saw chocolate drinking become cheap enough to spread beyond the wealthy, the invention of solid chocolate and the development of milk chocolate.
The packets don’t say so, but the message we’re supposed to swallow is clear: this new, improved chocolate, especially if it is dark, is good for your health.
Studies published last year found chocolate consumers to be at reduced risk of heart flutters, and that women who eat chocolate are less likely to suffer from strokes.
Someone would need to consume about 12 standard 100g bars of dark chocolate or about 50 of milk chocolate per day to get that much.
The European Food Safety Authority has approved one rather modest chocolate-related health claim – that some specially processed dark chocolate, cocoa extracts and drinks containing 200mg of flavanols “Contribute to normal blood circulation” by helping to maintain blood vessel elasticity.
Then there’s the problem that, unlike in drug trials, those taking part in chocolate studies often know whether they are being given chocolate or a placebo.
“Efforts by many of the large chocolate companies to demonstrate health effects started side by side with the outcry over the use of child labour and slavery,” says Michael Coe, a retired anthropologist formerly of Yale University, co-author of The True History of Chocolate.
Research was making it increasingly clear that health benefits claims for commercial dark chocolate products were unrealistic because of their low flavanol content.

The orginal article.