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Study: Naps are a great idea

Just in time for the holidays, some medical advice most people will like: Take a nap. Interrupting sleep disrupts memory-making, new research suggests. But on the flip side, taking a nap may boost a sophisticated kind of memory that helps us see the big picture and get creative. "Not only do we need to remember to sleep, but most certainly we sleep to remember," Dr. William Fishbein told the Society for Neuroscience.

Over time, a chronic lack of sleep can erode the body in ways that leave us more vulnerable to heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses.

But perhaps more common than insomnia is fragmented sleep — the easy awakening that comes with aging, or, worse, the sleep apnea that afflicts millions, who quit breathing for 30 seconds or so over and over throughout the night.

Scientists increasingly are focusing less on sleep duration and more on the quality, what's called sleep intensity, in studying how sleep helps the brain process memories. Particularly important is "slow-wave sleep," a period of very deep sleep that comes earlier than REM sleep.

Fishbein, a cognitive neuroscientist at the City University of New York, did a study that concluded that 90-minute naps helped English-speaking college students more quickly learn Chinese words. And in a separate study, researchers found that disrupting the level of a person's slow-wave sleep, without waking them up, negatively affected memory.

A new shape helps panels soak up more sun

New tubular solar panels catch more sunlight, provide higher energy output and are easy to install. They are currently available for commercial rooftops.

More electricity per rooftop

Best when mounted horizontally and packed closely together; would cost about half the price of conventional panels

Diffuse sunlight

Reflected light

Direct sunlight

Modules capture more sunlight across a 360-degree surface

Airflow compared

Tubular panels

Wind flows through the gaps

Tested for use in winds of up to 130 mph

Nonpenetrating mounting hardware

Conventional panels

Mounted at an angle; spaced apart

Wind flows under the flat panel

Anchored with ballast or rooftop penetrations

Airflow between round modules results in lower operating temperatures than conventional flat-plate modules


Airflow between round modules results in lower operating temperatures than conventional flat-plate modules

Man with sword had history with church

Los Angeles police identified the man who was shot and killed by a guard when he approached wielding two samurai swords at the Church of Scientology's Celebrity Centre in Hollywood. Authorities said they are unsure why Mario Majorski, 48, traveled from Oregon to the center Sunday, but he had "created problems" for the church in the past, said Detective Wendi Berndt. The church's security guards in Clearwater do not carry guns, according to spokesman Pat Harney.

Crew completes work on station

Astronauts carried out one last space walk Monday to finish a clean and lube job that they began a week ago at the international space station. Astronaut Stephen Bowen wrapped up work on a jammed solar-wing rotary joint as his partner, Shane Kimbrough, squirted some extra grease as a precaution on another joint. And worked continued on a processor that will recycle urine into drinking water. When NASA informed astronaut Mike Fincke that more urine might be needed for tests, he replied, "We've got a very adequate supply of yesterday's coffee to help." Endeavour is scheduled to return to Earth on Sunday.

Governor didn't endorse her

Kelly Timilty ran unopposed for re-election to the position of governor's councilor in Massachusetts, which is part of a group that approves judicial nominees in the state. In her campaign, she advertised an endorsement from Gov. Deval Patrick. Problem: He didn't. Timilty was fined $8,000.

Large Canadians get extra seat free

According to the country's highest court, Canada's largest airlines may not charge its largest passengers extra if they need two seats. Now Air Canada says it must devise a policy to determine who gets the space. "It's been left to the airlines to determine how they are going to comply," Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said. "We're working on it."

Study: Naps are a great idea 11/24/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 24, 2008 10:16pm]
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