Category Archives: Sending Flares

Sleep Loss Does Not Impact Ability to Assess Emotional Information

Summary: Sleep loss does not numb a person’s response to emotional situations, but it can result in difficulties in regulating emotional response.

Source: Washington State University

It’s no secret that going without sleep can affect people’s mood, but a new study shows it does not interfere with their ability to evaluate emotional situations.

It is often assumed that feeling more negative will color people’s experience of emotional images and events in the environment around them. However, Washington State University researchers found that while going 24 hours without sleep impacted study participants’ mood, it did not change their performance on tests evaluating their ability to process emotional words and images.

“People do become less happy through sleep deprivation, but it’s not affecting how they are processing emotional stimuli in their environment,” said Anthony Stenson, a WSU psychology doctoral student and lead author of the study in Plos One.

The findings have implications for healthcare providers, law enforcement and people in other long-hour professions who need to be able to control their own emotions during stressful and emotionally trying situations. Sleep loss in not likely to make them numb to emotional situations, the researchers found, but it is likely to make them less able to control their own emotional responses.

For the study, about 60 adult participants spent four consecutive days in the Sleep and Performance Research Center at the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. All participants were allowed to sleep normally the first night and then given a set of baseline tests to judge their mood as well as their emotional regulation and processing ability. Then, the researchers divided the participants into two groups: one group of 40 people spent the second night awake, while a control group of 20 were allowed a normal sleep period. The tests were then re-administered at different intervals.

The emotional regulation and processing tests both involved viewing a series of images with positive and negative emotional connotations. In the emotional regulation tests, participants were given a prompt to help them recontextualize negative images before seeing them and asked to control their feelings. The sleep-deprived group had greater difficulty reducing the emotion they felt when instructed to do so. 

The processing tests involved responding to words and images with emotional content, for example rating the emotions conveyed by a smiling family, a growling dog or a crying child  All participants performed similarly on these tests whether they were sleep deprived or not.

The distinction between processing the emotional content of the world around you and being able to regulate your own emotional responses is an important one, especially for some professions, said co-author Paul Whitney, a WSU professor of psychology.

“I don’t think we want our first responders being numb to the emotional nature of the situations they encounter, and it looks like they are not,” he said. “On the other hand, reacting normally to emotional situations, but not being able to control your own emotions, could be one reason sleep loss sometimes produces catastrophic errors in stressful situations.”

A lot of previous research has looked at how sleep deprivation impacts so called “cold” cognitive tasks—supposedly emotionally neutral tasks like recalling facts. These studies have also found that regulation, which is considered a “top-down” cognitive process, is a major problem with cold cognitive tasks. For instance, mental flexibility is compromised by sleep deprivation. This is the ability an emergency room doctor might need to quickly change tactics if a patient isn’t responding to a treatment.

The current study shows that top-down regulation is a problem as well with “hot” or emotional cognitive processes. Future research is needed to understand whether the effects of sleep loss on the two top-down processes are linked.

This study is the result of an ongoing collaboration among WSU psychology researchers and sleep experts at WSU College of Medicine. Other authors include psychology post-doctoral fellow Courtney Kurinec as well as psychology Professor John Hinson and College of Medicine Professor Hans Van Dongen. All are also affiliated with the WSU Sleep and Performance Research Center.

Aurora Borealis

A “moderate” geomagnetic storm is forecast for the Earth on Monday, which could cause a few fluctuations to the power grid at higher latitudes and could also affect some satellites, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said.

The northern lights, aka the aurora borealis, could also be visible in some parts of the nation Monday night in northern-tier states from New England to Washington, according to

The storm is rated a “G2,” which is the second level of NOAA’s five-level storm scale. (G1 storms are minor, while G5s are considered extreme.) 

The storm is courtesy of a solar flare: On Saturday, a solar flare from a sunspot hurled a coronal mass ejection toward Earth, which is causing the geomagnetic storm Monday, said.  

High-latitude power systems may experience voltage alarms and transformer damage could be possible if the storm lasts long enough, NOAA said. 

Rick and Morty’s Jerry Smith is ‘Hired’ at a real AD Agency.

Color me impressed – Rick and Morty’s Jerry Smith is ‘Hired’ at a real AD Agency.

DDB FTW has named the character its new creative director—but what does that even mean?

By Brian Bonilla via Adage (

It seems “Rick and Morty” has infiltrated a new dimension: The agency world. Last week DDB FTW, which is a gaming and esports network launched out of DDB last November, announced on LinkedIn that it has hired Jerry Smith, Morty’s father and Rick’s son-in-law from the popular animated series, as its newest creative director. (And no, this isn’t another episode of interdimensional cable.)

“Jerry is a unique talent and when you see what he’s done, you can’t help but react,” Gavin Cheng, CEO of DDB FTW, told Ad Age when asked about the “hiring.” He declined to comment further.

Jerry, who has an adversarial relationship with Rick on the Adult Swim series, is known for being the butt of many jokes on the show and is constantly searching for a job. In the series, he has worked at an ad agency known as Haas & Milan and is the creator of an ad campaign called “Hungry for Apples?”

The DDB FTW post includes an image of Jerry Smith’s LinkedIn profile with a caption that reads: “To produce unexpected work, we need unexpected talent. Let us introduce our new Creative Director Jerry Smith who joined our global team today. Jerry is the creative behind a legendary campaign ‘Hungry For Apples?’ and brings years of interdimensional experience to the table. Welcome on board!” 

DDB FTW executives and DDB have also shared the update, prompting industry employees to reshare the news and even show support in the comments. DDB’s post currently has 875 likes and has received comments from leaders across agencies such as BBDO, Mother, The Many, Juniper Park/TBWA, VMLY&R, and companies including Google and PwC.

When asked for comment the account didn’t break character.

“I’m just very excited to be back in the industry after all these years of struggle,” the Jerry Smith account responded to Ad Age. “And I can’t thank everyone enough who helped me land this opportunity. Get ready Appley Awards, Jerry is back!”

So what’s this all about? We set out to do some digging. Here’s what we know so far.

The user has done his or her homework

The identity of the person behind the Jerry Smith LinkedIn account is unknown. The account, which has amassed more than 3,000 followers, was started sometime last year according to its first post on the site which makes a reference to Jerry’s most iconic moment as an adman on the show. During the fourth episode of the show’s inaugural season Jerry, not knowing that he is trapped in a simulation of the Earth, goes to a pitch meeting for the Apple Farmers of America and sells his idea with the slogan “Hungry for Apples?” an obvious rip-off of the famous “Got Milk?” slogan.

Many of the account’s comments and posts reference apples. In fact, the account’s LinkedIn profile has several prior jobs listed that make references to the show such as creative at “Haas & Milan,” head of advertising at the “Headism Church,” creative/UX writer at “LoveFinderrz,” and more.

The LinkedIn profile even includes a link to Jerry’s portfolio website where you can see prior ”projects” he has worked on broken down into a typical brief to execution format. The site also includes reasons Jerry would be a good hire, names previous awards the character has won, his personal accomplishments, and links to the character’s Instagram, LinkedIn, and email.

It’s trolling real agencies 

The main driving factor of the Jerry account since its inception has been finding a job. The account has been urging agencies to take a look at its portfolio and even posted images of printed job search ads the user pasted onto bulletin boards, walls and more as it decided to take its job search “to the streets,” according to the post. A number of the account’s posts include hashtags like #ajobforJerry and #fuckyouRick.

Beyond making numerous posts about looking for work, the account has been pretty active on LinkedIn commenting on and liking posts on a regular basis while staying in character. From a post reminding employees in the industry to fill out their timesheets to supporting work from various agencies, the account has shown it has actual industry knowledge.

The account has even made posts parodying award shows such as Cannes, the Clios, The One Show awards, and the D&AD awards.

Brands such as Burger King and Liquid Death have also been subject to Jerry Smith’s parody posts.

Jerry links with other “Rick and Morty” characters

“Rick and Morty” has had an abundance of memorable characters over its five seasons. So it may not be surprising that Jerry isn’t the only Rick and Morty-inspired LinkedIn account out there. So there may be a chance they are owned by the same creator of the Jerry Smith page given that the other characters seem to comment and like Jerry’s posts and updates frequently. Other character accounts include Doofus Rick, who is a clone of the original Rick that gets bullied by the other Rick clones but is the only version of Rick to meaningfully bond with Jerry on the show.

This account has significantly fewer connections (71 at the time of writing) than Jerry and seems to mostly interact with the Jerry account on LinkedIn besides its only sole post, made recently speaking about the COVID-19 vaccination.

“I may be the worst of all Rick, but even the worst Rick is vaccinated,” the account wrote. “What are you waiting for? Are you worse than me?”

The other character account is based on Mr. Marklovitz, who is the CEO of the fake agency where Jerry pitched his aforementioned apple campaign. The character’s only line in the episode was “Yes,” since he was part of the unsophisticated version of the simulation Jerry was in. The character’s “About” section of its LinkedIn profile only reads “Yes!” and the account can be found commenting on several posts on LinkedIn repeating the same phrase.

The Jerry account has left many commenters happily confused including Aleix Arenas del Rio, a digital creative at DDB Spain, according to his profile.

“​​I don’t understand it, nor do I need to. But in this family we DO love you,” del Rio commented on DDB’s shoutout post for the Jerry account. “And lastly Jerry Smith, someday you could come to CREATORS to give us a hand with the Affinity Petcare brand since you get along with cats. Take care and welcome!!”

While it isn’t clear if the account owner works for “Rick and Morty” or an agency, a stunt like this isn’t out of the show’s realm of marketing. After all, it got our attention.

Given that DDB FTW is a gaming agency this could lead to another gaming campaign. The show, which has built a cult following, is no stranger to the space, having collaborated on an ad for the often sold-out PS5; an ad for PlayStation’s “Death Stranding” video game; and the show even helped create a Rick playable character in the free-to-play online multiplayer game Fortnite. The show also has its own video games “Pocket Mortys” and “Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality.”

The popular program has also collaborated with big-name brands such as Carls Jr.,  Pringles, Miracle Seltzer and Wrangler, and even took over a Wendy’s in California in June.

How about them apples?

Amazing Hubble telescope photo shows space ‘sword’ piercing huge celestial ‘heart’

A flaming blue sword seems to pierce a giant cosmic heart in a gorgeous new photo captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, B. Nisini

This image by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 instrument, features the Herbig-Haro object HH111, which lies about 1,300 light-years from Earth. Herbig-Haro objects consist of young stars blasting superheated jets through surrounding clouds of dust and gas. 

The “sword” is composed of twin jets of superheated, ionized gas that are rocketing into space from opposite poles of a newborn star called IRAS 05491+0247. The “heart” is the cloud of leftover dust and gas surrounding the protostar, according to Hubble team members.

This dramatic interaction between jets and cloud creates an uncommon celestial sight known as a Herbig-Haro object. The one photographed here by Hubble is named HH111, and it lies about 1,300 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Orion.

Hubble captured the image using its Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) instrument, which observes in both optical and infrared (heat) wavelengths of light. 

“Herbig-Haro objects actually release a lot of light at optical wavelengths, but they are difficult to observe because their surrounding dust and gas absorb much of the visible light,” European Space Agency (ESA) officials wrote in a description of the image, which was released today (Aug. 30).

“Therefore, the WFC3’s ability to observe at infrared wavelengths — where observations are not as affected by gas and dust — is crucial to observing [Herbig]-Haro objects successfully,” they added.

Hubble, a joint mission of NASA and ESA, launched to low Earth orbit aboard the space shuttle Discovery in April 1990. The first images the iconic observatory captured were fuzzy, a problem that team members soon determined was caused by a flaw in Hubble’s 7.9-foot-wide (2.4 meters) primary mirror.

Spacewalking astronauts fixed that issue in December 1993, and Hubble was further upgraded and maintained over the course of four more servicing missions. The WFC3 instrument was installed during the last of these Hubble-bound space shuttle flights, which took place in May 2009.

Hubble continues to provide amazing views of the cosmos, but it has begun to show its age, and, without the shuttle, astronauts can no longer feasibly access the observatory. (It’s technically possible that a crewed vehicle such as SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule could reach Hubble, but that idea apparently has not been seriously investigated.) The telescope has overcome a number of glitches recently, including a computer problem that closed its supersharp eye for more than a month this summer.

By Mike Wall via

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship docks at space station in time for astronaut’s birthday

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship docks at space station in time for astronaut’s birthday

“No one’s ever sent me a spaceship for my birthday before.”

SpaceX’s Dragon CRS-23 cargo ship is seen with a bright blue Earth as a backdrop by a camera on the International Space Station during its docking approach on Aug. 30, 2021. (Image credit: NASA)

SpaceX’s latest Dragon cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) today (Aug. 30) to deliver an experimental robotic arm and a wealth of other research equipment and supplies just in time for one astronaut’s birthday.

“Congratulations to NASA and SpaceX teams and many thanks. No one’s ever sent me a spaceship for my birthday before,” NASA astronaut Megan McArthur radioed Mission Control just after docking. It’s her 50th birthday today. 

“That’s a most excellent birthday present,” NASA’s Mission Control in Houston replied.

The gumdrop-shaped Dragon docked with the station’s Harmony module at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) today, ending a 32-hour-orbital chase. The station and Dragon were sailing 264 miles (425 kilometers) above western Australia at the time.

Loading video

Dragon launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket early Sunday morning (Aug. 29), kicking off the company’s 23rd robotic resupply mission to the orbiting lab for NASA. The uncrewed Dragon is packed with more than 4,800 lbs. (2,200 kilograms) of supplies and scientific experiments, including a super-dexterous new robotic arm that will get a microgravity test on the orbiting lab.

“This investigation supports development of robots to support crew intravehicular activities and, eventually, extravehicular activities,” team members wrote in a description of the experiment, which is called the GITAI S1 Robotic Arm Tech Demo. “Space robotics also could support on-orbit servicing, assembly and manufacturing tasks, lowering the costs of such tasks and contributing to increased commercial activity in space.”

Loading video

Another experiment will test how a tiny drug-delivering implant performs in microgravity, and yet another will gauge the responses of various materials to the space environment.

There are now two Dragons parked at the ISS: the newly arrived cargo capsule and a crewed variant, which brought NASA astronauts McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, Japanese spaceflyer Akihiko Hoshide and the European Space Agency’s Thomas Pesquet to the orbiting lab in April.

Those four astronauts are scheduled to return to Earth in November while their crewmates (NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Russian cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Oleg Novitskiy) remain aboard to continue their mission. The cargo Dragon will come down sooner; it’s scheduled to spend about a month at the ISS, NASA officials have said.

Both versions of Dragon survive re-entry, making ocean splashdowns under parachutes. This capability separates the resupply Dragon from other currently operational cargo craft, which burn up in Earth’s atmosphere when their missions are done.