Long live the sleep


I recently read an article about the lack of sleep and its consequences. And it appears that it’s far more devastating than I could imagine!


The article is taken from The Guardian and is an interview of Mattew Walker, neuroscientist and director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California Berkeley.

If you sleep less than seven hours a day (eight are recommended), you’re suffering sleep deprivation, which is increasing your risk of cancer, heart attack, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity and poor mental health. In fact, Matthew Walker’s researches showed that « no aspect of our lives is left unscathed by sleep deprivation ». It appears, among others, that there are relations between lack of sleep and development of certain subtypes of dementia and that after only one night of only four or five hours of sleep, the killer cells that your organism produces every day and clean cancerous cells or external toxic agents, drops by 70 %! Another effect of the lack of sleep is the lack of creativity, as the dream state is connected to it, and that it helps to overcome psychological shocks (you look about it better the next morning, due to the sleep), so the lack of sleep makes you psychologically vulnerable.

Bad news is that nowadays, accordingly to Matthew Walker, « We are in the midst of a « catastrophic sleep-loss epidemic », the consequences of which are far graver than any of us could imagine. » He thinks about that a lot and the result of his observations is that our lack of sleep is due to our environment and our civilization’s philosophy. It appears that in fact, only 8 % of population was trying to live with six hours of sleep or less by night in 1942, as in 2017, half of the population is concerned. Reasons are that we electrified the night (light dramatically degrades sleep), we don’t want to spend less time at work and with our family, we fear to be described as lazy by the others if we admit that we need to sleep and people are lonelier, more depressed and drink more alcohol and caffeine than in the past. Accordingly to Walker, « Humans are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent reasons ». And as no one, accordingly to his researches, can survive on five hours of sleep or less without any impairment (or that an adult sleeping only 6h45min a night is predicted to live to his early 60s only without a medical intervention), then logically, it is observed that the sleep loss costs the UK economy more than 30 billion £ a year, or 2 % of GDP.

The advices of Matthew Walker to sleep well are:
– to go to bed and to wake up every day at the same time (put an alarm to warn you 30 minutes before to go to sleep!)
– to have a dark room to sleep well
– to not have computers or smartphones in your bedroom when you sleep
– to resist to the injunctions of society to sleep less (he noticed as a warning that Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher who both claimed that they didn’t need to sleep a lot developed each other an Alzeihmer’s disease).

So, sleep well baby !


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Further to a compromising photo

Axelle loses her job in L’Oréal, or how big data and social networks catch you up! 

There are numerous similar cases. We cannot list all of them here, but we chose this one which is a little bit old on purpose, so it lets you imagine what can happen nowadays as the social networks have grown. Then remember that all that you publish on social networks stays on the Internet (despite you erased the content).

Axelle Despiegelaere, 17-year-old student, had got a contract with Professional L’Oréal to realize beauty tutorial videos.

But meanwhile, Axelle published on her Facebook page a photo of her, large smile, next to the corpse of an oryx, a rifle against her shoulder. The following legend accompanied the cliché: “To hunt is not only a question of life or death. It is more than that … This was one year ago, but today, I am ready to hunt Americans, hahaha”. The young woman posted this image just before a match between Belgium and the United States. Nowadays she has erased the image and deleted her Facebook page.

At that time, the Internet community felt deeply outraged by the photography published on the social networks. Axelle tried to calm things down by declaring “I did not want to offend anyone … it was a joke. Thank you for your understanding.” But too late: Professionnal L’Oréal Belgium immediately reacted by declaring in the newspaper ” The Independant ” that the video realized with Axelle would be the first one and the last one.

Read full article in French here.


An algorithm won a tournament of poker…


The consequences for humanity are colossal… says the L’Express magazine.

A group compound of some of the best players of poker of the world did not succeed in beating a robot during a tournament marathon of 20 days. The program of artificial intelligence (AI) Libratus developed by the University Carnegie Mellon which participated in the marathon of poker “Heads Up (1 vs. 1) No-Limit Texas Hold’em'” against 4 of these champions of poker, took away 1 766 250 dollars.

It is not the first time when the world elite of a particular game is beaten by an AI. An IBM computer overcame the chessmaster Garry Kasparov already 20 years ago, whereas AlphaGo, developed by the subsidiary of Google, DeepMind, gained 4 parties of Go against the best player of go of the world, last year.

But this victory in the poker marks a new milestone, because this card game is more complex than other games as the chess or the Go, because we cannot see the game of the opponents, that means we do not have all the information.

And this is what can result from it:

The computer can deceive us!

« We can imagine that this technology could thwart financial markets, surpass the human researchers regarding inventions, manipulate the human leaders, and develop weapons which we cannot even understand.».

Furthermore, the boss of Tesla, Elon Musk announced repeatedly its concerns concerning the development of the AI, which he judges “more dangerous than nuclear weapons”, and he declared that it was about “the biggest existential threat”.

Read full article in French.

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