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04 Feb

Soon, more delivery companies will try to open customers' doors in order to leave packages behind them, safe and secure, instead of abandoning parcels on outdoor stoops, where they're likelier to be pilfered.

One central figure driving this trend is Jason Johnson, CEO of August Home, a company that was recently acquired by Assa Abloy, a Swedish firm billed as the world's largest lock maker and also the owner of Yale Locks.

See a pattern...unlocking? Wait, there's more.

August's signature home-delivery, known as August Access, was formerly Amazon Key before Amazon Key came into being. That service, which started up in October 2017, permitted delivery personnel to enter customers' homes by using a temporary digital key. The key was compatible with Amazon's own smart lock.

But for a couple of years prior, Johnson had been fiddling around with the concept not just for package delivery, but for dry-cleaning delivery companies and pet walkers.

02 Feb

Researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine recently published findings of a study designed to determine the effects of a high-salt diet on the brains of laboratory mice -- or, more technically, the connections between "high dietary salt intake [and] neurovascular and cognitive impairment."

The study's senior author, Dr. Costantino Iadecola, director of the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI) and the Anne Parrish Titzell Professor of Neurology at Weill Cornell Medicine, said in a press release, “We discovered that mice fed a high-salt diet developed dementia even when blood pressure did not rise. This was surprising since, in humans, the deleterious effects of salt on cognition were attributed to hypertension.”

The release goes on to note that roughly 90 percent of American adults have a daily sodium intake greater than the 2,300 mg that is recommended.

31 Jan

Before delving into the five exercises suggested by artist Whitney Sherman at Creative Live, bear in mind an age-old principle: Regular practice is always needed to improve and maintain skills of most any kind.

That said, here are there exercises that are billed as being able to "turn anyone into an artist":

  • Doodling: Since anyone can doodle, this might be a good place to start. After all, the choice of design is entirely yours, as are the colors and scope of the pattern(s). What's more, doodling can boost "visual literacy" and help to organize ideas, however unconsciously.
  • Entopic Graphomania: This fancy term involves connecting a series of dots on a page in order to create a series of lines and shapes. One easy way to get started: Place the dots on a page of printed words, and then connect them with straight or zig-zag lines. The exercise helps to illustrate the importance of choices in shaping a work of art.
29 Jan

For decades environmentalists and consumers have worried about the ever-pervasive hole in the ozone layer. Discovered in the late 1970s, the hole was eventually attributed to chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), caused by man-made chemicals like refrigerants and aerosol sprays. If the hole was left unchecked, experts predicted it would contribute to the gradual destruction of the planet in the form of global warming.

But today that hole is shrinking, attributable, in part, to regulations that were enacted in the late 1980s to reduce CFCs in the environment. During the 2016 winter in Antarctica, the depletion of the protective ozone layer was observed to be approximately 20 percent lower than it was a full decade ago.

27 Jan

Generally, when geologists find rocks and stones, they can immediately identify them. Even if they aren’t familiar with a discovery, they can trace it to something found in the immediate area. But a pebble recovered more than two decades ago in Egypt so far doesn’t match anything previously found in our solar system.

The pebble, named the Hypatia stone, has been studied extensively over the years, with scientists announcing in 2013 that it had not come from Earth. This was based on the compounds found on the stone, which can’t be traced to anything on our surface.

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