Your Time-Zone May Be Affecting How You Sleep
An Phung is a multimedia journalist based in New York City. She has contributed to NYTimes.com, Patch.com and City Limits. She also spent time reporting in Indonesia where she covered stories about the country's growing illicit drug trade. An graduated from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism with a concentration in international reporting.
Follow me on Twitter @anhaiphung
What is the Big Idea?
Human beings have biological clocks that are set to the path of the sun. But our modern lives disrupt this synchronization of internal and social clocks, causing permanent jet lag that might be the source of severe pathologies.
Till Roenneberg, Interim Director of the Institute of Medical Psychology Team at Munich University, led the study of the sleeping behavior of several thousand Germans who were on vacation and without social or work obligations, in order to understand sleep phases.
What is the Significance?
Roenneberg studied those who were in east and west Germany. The study shows that the average mid-sleep moment varies by four minutes for each degree of longitude. This means that the mid-sleep moment for Germans who live near the western border happens 36 minutes after the midsleep moment of Germans who live along the eastern border.
"This would seem to make sense, given that the sun takes exactly four minutes to move by each degree of longitude," according to La Stampa. "The issue, though, is that time zones are not strictly based on this path. The time zone in eastern and western Germany is in fact the same. As a consequence, people who live on the western edge of a time zone suffer from sleep deprivation. The social jet leg is the exhaustion produced by this gap, and might lead to chronic disorders."
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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