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Submission + - Linux Mint 18.1 'Serena' KDE Edition Beta is available for download now (betanews.com) 1

BrianFagioli writes: So what is new? The KDE Plasma 5.8 desktop environment is the star of the show — after all, if you do not want KDE, you wouldn't choose this version. The shipping Linux kernel is 4.4.0-53, which is surprisingly outdated. Ubuntu-based operating systems are never known for being bleeding-edge, however.

Submission + - Don't let fears of a "bad" nuclear deal with Iran kill a good one (thebulletin.org)

Lasrick writes: Ariane Tabatabai has been in Lausanne for the Iran Talks and posts a column that wonders what critics of a deal with Iran mean when they talk about the US accepting a "bad" deal: 'They accuse the White House of pursuing a “bad deal,” but have little concrete to say about what they find problematic with the agreement under discussion.' Good overview of what is known so far about the proposed agreement and what it all means.

Submission + - Space CAN expand faster than the speed of light

StartsWithABang writes: You know the fundamental principle of special relativity: nothing can move faster than the speed of light. But space itself? That's not a "thing" in the conventional sense. Two years after coming up with special relativity, Einstein devised the equivalence principle, and thus began the development of general relativity, where space itself would have properties that changed over time, responding to changes in matter and energy. This includes the ability for it to expand, even faster than the speed of light, if the conditions are right.
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Submission + - Do Headphones Help or Hurt Productivity?

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Derek Thompson writes that there is an excellent chance that right now you are wearing, or within arm's reach of, a pair of headphones or earbuds. To visit a modern office place is to walk into a room with a dozen songs playing simultaneously but to hear none of them and in survey after survey, office workers report with confidence that music makes us happier, better at concentrating, and more productive. But science says we're full of it writes Thompson. "Listening to music hurts our ability to recall other stimuli, and any pop song — loud or soft — reduces overall performance for both extraverts and introverts." So if headphones are so bad for productivity, why do so many people at work have headphones? The answer is that personal music creates a shield both for listeners and for those walking around us says Thompson. "I am here, but I am separate. In a wreck of people and activity, two plastic pieces connected by a wire create an aura of privacy." We assume that people wearing them are busy or oblivious, so now people wear them to appear busy or oblivious — even without music. Wearing soundless headphones is now a common solution to productivity blocks. "If music evolved as a social glue for the species — as a way to make groups and keep them together — headphones allow music to be enjoyed friendlessly — as a way to savor our privacy, in heightened solitude," concludes Thompson. "In a crowded world, real estate is the ultimate scarce resource, and a headphone is a small invisible fence around our minds — making space, creating separation, helping us listen to ourselves.""

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