‘This is the curse of our age, even the strangest aberrations are no cure for boredom.’ –Stendhal

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Because more and more young people are constantly presented with the opportunity to access information and connect to others via their smartphones, they report to be in a state of permanent alertness. In the current study, we define such a state as smartphone vigilance, an awareness that one can always get connected to others in combination with a permanent readiness to respond to incoming smartphone notifications. We hypothesized that constantly resisting the urge to interact with their phones draws on response inhibition, and hence interferes with students’ ability to inhibit prepotent responses in a concurrent task. […]

Results show that the mere visibility of a smartphone is sufficient to experience vigilance and distraction, and that this is enhanced when students receive notifications. Curiously enough, these strong experiences were unrelated to stop-signal task performance. These findings raise new questions about when and how smartphones can impact performance.

{ PsyArXiv | Continue reading }

Mr. Ingberg described the vodka, made with melted snow from the French Alps, as “very tasty” and “smooth and round,” but added, “It’s difficult to attribute a taste to wheat-based vodka.”

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Machine-vision systems can match humans at recognizing faces and can even create realistic synthetic faces. But researchers have discovered that the same systems cannot recognize optical illusions, which means they also can’t create new ones.

{ Technology Review | Continue reading }

The man who invented autocorrect should burn in hello

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50% of human experience has happened after 1309 AD. 15% of all experience has been experienced by people who are alive right now. […]

{ Eukaryote Writes Blog | Continue reading }

inkjet and acrylic on canvas { imp kerr, looped breathing tubes, 2018 }

Every day, the same, again

33.jpgA missing man who was murdered more than 40 years ago has been found - after a seed from a fig in his stomach grew into a tree

Seeking advice lowers mortality risk

We watched 216 episodes of five popular television series on Netflix and identified 333 separate driving scenes, of which 271 (81.4%) portrayed at least one risky driving behaviour.

This paper compares mortality between Gold and Silver medalists in Olympic Track and Field to study how achievement influences health. Contrary to conventional wisdom, winners die over one year earlier than losers.

Zurich crematorium starts to trade precious metals filtered from people’s ashes

Music training does not enhance non-music cognitive skills or academic achievement

Why Determinism in Physics Has No Implications for Free Will

Sixteen healthy volunteers without gastrointestinal disease and normal faecal calprotectin baseline values ingested their own blood twice, either by drinking or via nasogastric tube. Ingestion of blood resulted in an increase in faecal calprotectin-positive tests.

All participants were engaged in a steady heterosexual relationship. Women reported a masturbation frequency of about once per two weeks. Men reported a masturbation frequency of about twice per week. PDF

Three scholars spent 10 months writing 20 hoax papers

Salt not as damaging to health as previously thought, says study (involving more than 90,000 people people in more than 300 communities in 18 countries)

Randy Gardner is the holder of the scientifically documented record for the longest a human has gone without sleep (11 days 25 minutes).

A new mathematical model suggests that signs of extraterrestrial intelligence could be common

Scientists Use DNA to Expose the World’s Top 3 Illegal Ivory Cartels

Effects of the replacement of wheat flour with cricket powder on the characteristics of muffins

Last year, across the globe, more than 100 billion servings of instant noodles were eaten. That’s more than 13 servings for every person on the planet.

History of art paintings through the lens of entropy and complexity

artnet Intelligence Report

Who was in on Banksy’s ’self-destruct’ art stunt? [previously: Banksy’s Girl With Balloon (2006) self-destructed at the end of a Sotheby’s auction]

Self-driving homes

Putin at the photocopier

Dancing in the Streets

Funny how love becomes a cold rainy day

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Nauru is an island country in Micronesia, a subregion of Oceania, in the Central Pacific.

With 11,347 residents in a 21-square-kilometre (8.1 sq mi) area, Nauru is the third-smallest state by area in the world, behind only Vatican City and Monaco.

The Nauruan economy peaked in the mid-1970s to early-1980s, when the phosphate deposits that originate from the droppings of sea birds began to be depleted. At its peak, Nauru’s GDP per capita was estimated to be US$50,000, second only to Saudi Arabia.

In anticipation of the exhaustion of its phosphate deposits, substantial amounts of the income from phosphates were invested in trust funds aimed to help cushion the transition and provide for Nauru’s economic future. However, because of mismanagement, including some wasteful foreign investment activities, the government is now facing virtual bankruptcy.

The phosphate reserves on Nauru are now almost entirely depleted. Phosphate mining in the central plateau has left a barren terrain of jagged limestone pinnacles up to 15 metres (49 ft) high. Mining has stripped and devastated about 80 per cent of Nauru’s land area leaving it uninhabitable, and has also affected the surrounding exclusive economic zone; 40 per cent of marine life is estimated to have been killed by silt and phosphate runoff.

In the 1990s, Nauru became an illegal money laundering centre, a tax haven and offered passports to foreign nationals for a fee. During the 1990s, it was possible to establish a licensed bank in Nauru for only US$25,000 with no other requirements. Under pressure from FATF, Nauru introduced anti-avoidance legislation in 2003, after which foreign hot money left the country.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

drone photo { Aydın Büyüktaş }

Empty space itself has a negative energy density

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Procrastination is a familiar and widely discussed proclivity: postponing tasks that can be done earlier. Precrastination is a lesser known and explored tendency: completing tasks quickly just to get them done sooner.

Recent research suggests that precrastination may represent an important penchant that can be observed in both people and animals.

{ Learning & Behavior | Continue reading }

art { Vogue, June 1972 | Tom Wesselmann, Smoker #9, 1973 }

No sunshine, no moonlight, no stardust, no sign of romance

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We suggest that advanced civilizations could cloak their presence, or deliberately broadcast it, through controlled laser emission.

Such emission could distort the apparent shape of their transit light curves with relatively little energy, due to the collimated beam and relatively infrequent nature of transits.

We estimate that humanity could cloak the Earth from Kepler-like broad-band surveys using an optical monochromatic laser array emitting a peak power of ∼30 MW for ∼10 hours per year.

{ Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Continue reading }

First we feel. Then we fall.

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50.43% of women considered it very important that the partner ejaculates during intercourse.

18.3% of women preferred that the partner ejaculates before they reach orgasm, whereas for 53.5% this did not matter.

22.6% of women stated that they experienced a more intense orgasm when their partner ejaculated during vaginal intercourse. […]

13.1% of women regarded the quantity of expelled ejaculate as an expression of their own sexual attractiveness.

{ The Journal of Sexual Medicine | Continue reading }

‘I think that God in creating Man somewhat overestimated his ability.’ –Oscar Wilde

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[W]hy are some societies more religious than others? One answer is religious coping: Individuals turn to religion to deal with unbearable and unpredictable life events. To investigate whether coping can explain global differences in religiosity, I combine a global dataset on individual-level religiosity with spatial data on natural disasters. Individuals become more religious if an earthquake recently hit close by. Even though the effect decreases after a while, data on children of immigrants reveal a persistent effect across generations.

{ J. S. Bentzen | PDF }

acrylic on canvas, in four parts { Keith Haring, Untitled, 1984 }

THREAT TO ‘SHOOT THE PLACE UP’

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Vyacheslav Molotov (1890 – 1986) was a Soviet politician and diplomat, and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin. […] Molotov served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1939 to 1949 and from 1953 to 1956. […]

The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union (USSR) and Finland. It began with a Soviet invasion of Finland on 30 November 1939, three months after the outbreak of World War II, and ended three and a half months later with the Moscow Peace Treaty on 13 March 1940. […]

The Molotov cocktail is a term coined by the Finns during the Winter War, as a generic name used for a variety of improvised incendiary weapons. During the Winter War, the Soviet air force made extensive use of incendiaries and cluster bombs against Finnish troops and fortifications. When Molotov claimed in radio broadcasts that they were not bombing, but rather delivering food to the starving Finns, the Finns started to call the air bombs Molotov bread baskets. Soon they responded by attacking advancing tanks with “Molotov cocktails,” which were “a drink to go with the food.”

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

watercolour on paper { JMW Turner, Clouds at Dawn or Sunset, c.1834 }

‘A fun thing to do at parties is stay home and masturbate.’ –Eden Dranger

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In April 2018, the servers of the popular video game “Fortnite” crashed for 24 hr. During this period, Pornhub (a popular pornographic website) analyzed trends in pornography access, finding that: (a) the percentage of gamers accessing Pornhub increased by 10% and (b) the searches of pornographic videos using the key term “Fortnite” increased by 60%.

{ Journal of Behavioral Addictions | Continue reading }

related { How Fortnite became the most important video game on the planet }

update { Online divorce service says ‘Fortnite addiction’ cited in 200 divorces }

pochoir, brush and india ink { Roy Lichtenstein, Hand Loading Gun, 1961 }

Every day, the same, again

25.jpgSex doll brothel raided by police, closed down

She thought she had candles to burn during a power outage — but it was dynamite

Japan starts space elevator experiments

Amazon has patented a system that would put workers in a cage, on top of a robot

The Secret Drug Pricing System Middlemen Use to Rake in Millions

Stab Wound to the Chest Masquerading as Impalement by Rose Bush

Scientists discovered wasps, honeybees and even a squirrel nesting inside a mummified corpse. Researchers think the corpse had remained undiscovered for about 13 years. 

The report — which surveyed more than 11,000 researchers worldwide — also finds a growing “reviewer fatigue.” Finding peer reviewers is becoming harder, even as the overall volume of publications rises globally

Smile intensity in social networking profile photographs is related to greater scientific achievements

The experience of having a daughter as a first child significantly increases fathers’ support for policies designed to increase gender equality

People’s interpretation of new evidence is often biased by their previous choices

People overestimate the size of their nose

How is experience transformed into memory?

The Mystery of People Who Speak Dozens of Languages

Computer vision researchers have uncovered a world of visual signals hiding in our midst, including subtle motions that betray what’s being said and faint images of what’s around a corner (with a recording of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” reconstructed from the minuscule vibrations of an empty chip bag as viewed through a soundproof window)

Did scientists discover a new shape?

Where former Lehman Brothers employees are today 

The generation now entering the workforce is sober, industrious and driven by money. They are also socially awkward and timid about taking the reins.

Meet the Worshipers Who Believe They’re Aliens in Human Form

This note discusses the gap in intellectual property protections for the fashion industry

trends in the diffusion of misinformation on Facebook and Twitter between Jan- uary 2015 and July 2018 [PDF]

Are New York’s free FREE LinkNYC internet kiosks tracking your movements?

“The Most Unwanted Song” is a song created by artists Komar and Melamid and composer Dave Soldier in 1997. The song was designed to incorporate lyrical and musical elements that were annoying to most people, as determined by a public opinion survey.

How Technology is Hijacking Your Mind — from a Magician and Google Design Ethicist [Thanks Tim]

The 20 Books Travelers Are Always Leaving Behind at Their Hotels

We only eat fruit, and haven’t brushed our teeth in two years