Every day, the same, again

216.jpgStudy shows that the growth rate in industrial electricity usage negatively predicts next one-year stock market returns

Researchers track eye movements to sway moral decisions. Altering the timing of a decision on the basis of gaze manipulates choices.

The “holographic principle” asserts that a mathematical description of the universe actually requires one fewer dimension than it seems. What we perceive as three dimensional may just be the image of two dimensional processes on a huge cosmic horizon.

Mystery of why the Earth hums solved

At a multicourse dinner party in San Francisco, marijuana is paired like wine. But you’ll need a doctor’s note. [NY Times]

Remember your loved one – by putting their ashes in a dildo

Et qui n’est, chaque fois, ni tout à fait la même, ni tout à fait une autre

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Prosecution is often dropped in cases largely reliant on DNA evidence when the suspect is an identical twin. The risk of convicting the wrong twin is too great.

The chance of a DNA match between two unrelated individuals is extraordinarily small — one in a billion. For siblings, the chance is 1 in 10,000. But identical twins have essentially the same DNA sequence, making the identification of the forensic evidence they leave behind extremely difficult.

But researchers at the University of Huddersfield recently developed a cost-effective and accurate method for differentiating between the genetic profiles of identical twins. The method looks at DNA methylation, a biochemical process that helps manage gene expression — turning genes on and off.

As identical twins age, different environmental factors affect their genomes, or the ways in which their genetic material is expressed. These differences can be seen in their corresponding DNA methylation. […]

The process isn’t perfect. Young twins with similar environments may not have developed significant differences in their DNA methylation. The technique also requires a large genetic sample, which may not be recoverable at every crime scene.

{ UPI | Continue reading }

related { FBI Admits Flaws in Hair Analysis Over Decades }

Full fathom five thy father lies. Of his bones are coral made. Those are pearls that were his eyes.

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What happens to people when they think they’re invisible?

Using a 3D virtual reality headset, neuroscientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm gave participants the sensation that they were invisible, and then examined the psychological effects of apparent invisibility. […] “Having an invisible body seems to have a stress-reducing effect when experiencing socially challenging situations.” […]

“Follow-up studies should also investigate whether the feeling of invisibility affects moral decision-making, to ensure that future invisibility cloaking does not make us lose our sense of right and wrong, which Plato asserted over two millennia ago,” said the report’s co-author, Henrik Ehrsson. […]

In Book II of Plato’s Republic, one of Socrates’s interlocutors tells a story of a shepherd, an ancestor of the ancient Lydian king Gyges, who finds a magic ring that makes the wearer invisible. The power quickly corrupts him, and he becomes a tyrant.

The premise behind the story of the Ring of Gyges, which inspired HG Wells’s seminal 1897 science fiction novel, The Invisible Man, is that we behave morally so that we can be seen doing so.

{ CS Monitor | Continue reading }

photo { Ren Hang }

Adolescence, from Latin adolescere, meaning “to grow up”

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Participants were 152 students (88 women, 64 men; average age 19.7) at a “mid-sized university in the northeastern US.” […]

Texting during class was not acceptable, but 84.7% had done this. Texting in the shower is unacceptable and 34% have done this. Texting during the Pledge of Allegiance is unacceptable and 11.3% have done it. Texting while having sex is unacceptable and 7.4% have done it. Talking to a friend and texting another at the same time is unacceptable and between 79% and 84% have done it. Texting one person in whom you are romantically interested while on a date with someone else is unacceptable and 21.5% have done it. Breaking up by text is unacceptable and 26% have done it. Sending text messages while at a funeral is unacceptable and 10.1% have done it. Texting during a job interview is unacceptable and 2.7% have done it. Fighting with some via text is unacceptable and 66% have done it. Sexting is unacceptable and 42% have done it.

{ The Jury Room | Continue reading }

photo { Danny Lyon, New Year’s Eve on the subway, 1966 }

unrelated { Kids can’t tell the difference between journalism and advertising }

‘We understand that the tragic hero—in contrast to the baroque character of the preceding period—can never be mad; and that conversely madness cannot bear within itself those values of tragedy which we have known since Nietzsche and Artaud.’ –Michel Foucault

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{ IEEE | full story | Thanks Tim! }

Every day, the same, again

33.jpgEmbryonic Twin Sister Discovered in Woman’s Brain

Ladies take and delete five photos before settling on one they feel comfortable posting online

Optimism and pessimism are separate systems influenced by different genes

Resistance to antibiotics found in isolated Amazonian tribe. The find suggests that microbes have long evolved the capability to fight toxins, including antibiotics, and that preventing drug resistance may be harder than scientists thought.

Hacked Sony emails reveal that Sony had pirated books about hacking

In 1992, Diaconis famously proved — along with the mathematician Dave Bayer of Columbia University — that it takes just seven ordinary shuffles to mix a deck of cards. [Quanta | NY Times]

In 1482, at the age of 30, Leonardo da Vinci sent his resume to the Duke of Milan

‘People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive.’ –Pascal

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This paper argues that there are at least five reasons why the claim that the Bible is to be taken literally defies logic or otherwise makes no sense, and why literalists are in no position to claim that they have the only correct view of biblical teachings.

First, many words are imprecise and therefore require interpretation, especially to fill in gaps between general words and their appli- cation to specific situations. Second, if you are reading an English version of the Bible you are al- ready dealing with the interpretations of the translator since the earliest Bibles were written in other languages. Third, biblical rules have exceptions, and those exceptions are often not explicitly set forth. Fourth, many of the Bible’s stories defy logic and our experiences of the world. Fifth, there are sometimes two contrary versions of the same event, so if we take one literally then we cannot take the second one literally. In each of these five cases, there is no literal reading to be found.

Furthermore, this paper sets forth three additional reasons why such a literalist claim probably should not be made even if it did not defy logic to make such a claim. These include The Scientific Argument: the Bible contradicts modern science; The Historical Argument: the Bible is historically inaccurate; and The Moral Argument: the Bible violates contemporary moral standards.

{ Open Journal of Philosophy | PDF }

photo { Roger Mimick }

Epstein had already demonstrated that the continuous and the discontinuous were never opposed to each other in cinema. What are opposed, or at least distinguished, are rather two ways of reconciling them.

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Movies are, for the most part, made up of short runs of continuous action, called shots, spliced together with cuts. With a cut, a filmmaker can instantaneously replace most of what is available in your visual field with completely different stuff. This is something that never happened in the 3.5 billion years or so that it took our visual systems to develop. You might think, then, that cutting might cause something of a disturbance when it first appeared. And yet nothing in contemporary reports suggests that it did. […]

What if we could go back in time and collect the reactions of naïve viewers on their very first experience with film editing?

It turns out that we can, sort of. There are a decent number of people on the planet who still don’t have TVs, and the psychologists Sermin Ildirar and Stephan Schwan have capitalised on their existence to ask how first-time viewers experience cuts. […] There was no evidence that the viewers found cuts in the films to be shocking or incomprehensible. […]

I think the explanation is that, although we don’t think of our visual experience as being chopped up like a Paul Greengrass fight sequence, actually it is.

Simply put, visual perception is much jerkier than we realise. First, we blink. Blinks happen every couple of seconds, and when they do we are blind for a couple of tenths of a second. Second, we move our eyes. Want to have a little fun? Take a close-up selfie video of your eyeball while you watch a minute’s worth of a movie on your computer or TV. You’ll see your eyeball jerking around two or three times every second.

{ Aeon | Continue reading }

Against those who defined Italian neo-realism by its social content, Bazin put forward the fundamental requirement of formal aesthetic criteria. According to him, it was a matter of a new form of reality, said to be dispersive, elliptical, errant or wavering, working in blocs, with deliberately weak connections and floating events. The real was no longer represented or reproduced but “aimed at.” Instead of representing an already deciphered real, neo-realism aimed at an always ambiguous, to be deciphered, real; this is why the sequence shot tended to replace the montage of representations. […]

[I]n Umberto D, De Sica constructs the famous sequence quoted as an example by Bazin: the young maid going into the kitchen in the morning, making a series of mechanical, weary gestures, cleaning a bit, driving the ants away from a water fountain, picking up the coffee grinder, stretching out her foot to close the door with her toe. And her eyes meet her pregnant woman’s belly, and it is as though all the misery in the world were going to be born. This is how, in an ordinary or everyday situation, in the course of a series of gestures, which are insignificant but all the more obedient to simple sensory-motor schemata, what has suddenly been brought about is a pure optical situation to which the little maid has no response or reaction. The eyes, the belly, that is what an encounter is … […] The Lonely Woman [Viaggio in ltalia] follows a female tourist struck to the core by the simple unfolding of images or visual cliches in which she discovers something unbearable, beyond the limit of what she can person- ally bear. This is a cinema of the seer and no longer of the agent.

What defines neo-realism is this build-up of purely optical situations (and sound ones, although there was no synchronized sound at the start of neo-realism), which are fundamentally distinct from the sensory-motor situations of the action-image in the old realism. […]

It is clear from the outset that cinema had a special relationship with belief. […] The modern fact is that we no longer believe in this world. We do not even believe in the events which happen to us, love, death, as if they only halfconcerned us. It is not we who make cinema; it is the world which looks to us like a bad film. […] The link between man and the world is broken. Henceforth, this link must become an object of belief: it is the impossible which can only be restored within a faith. Belief is no longer addressed to a different or transformed world. Man is in the world as if in a pure optical and sound situation.

{ Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2, The Time-Image, 1985 | PDF, 17.2 MB }

Don’t give up your dreams. Keep sleeping.

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Algorithm recovers speech from vibrations of potato-chip bag filmed through soundproof glass

Researchers at MIT, Microsoft, and Adobe have developed an algorithm that can reconstruct an audio signal by analyzing minute vibrations of objects depicted in video. In one set of experiments, they were able to recover intelligible speech from the vibrations of a potato-chip bag photographed from 15 feet away through soundproof glass. In other experiments, they extracted useful audio signals from videos of aluminum foil, the surface of a glass of water, and even the leaves of a potted plant. […]

Reconstructing audio from video requires that the frequency of the video samples—the number of frames of video captured per second—be higher than the frequency of the audio signal. In some of their experiments, the researchers used a high-speed camera that captured 2,000 to 6,000 frames per second. […] In other experiments, however, they used an ordinary digital camera. Because of a quirk in the design of most cameras’ sensors, the researchers were able to infer information about high-frequency vibrations even from video recorded at a standard 60 frames per second. While this audio reconstruction wasn’t as faithful as it was with the high-speed camera, it may still be good enough to identify the gender of a speaker in a room; the number of speakers; and even, given accurate enough information about the acoustic properties of speakers’ voices, their identities.

{ Phys.org | Continue reading | Thanks Tim }

photo { Philip-Lorca diCorcia }

Every day, the same, again

29.jpgBaboon bone found in famous Lucy skeleton

The car that knows when you’ll get in an accident before you do

37-year nationwide study reports strong evidence of familial clustering of sexual offending, primarily accounted for by genes rather than shared environmental influences.

El Salvador jails women for miscarriages and stillbirths.

In the UK, the number of labial reduction procedures has risen five-fold over the past 10 years

Scientists Figure Out Why Your Knuckles Crack

The Shortest-Known Paper Published in a Serious Math Journal

In 1872, Woodhull was the first female candidate for President of the United States. [Thanks GG]

Report of a female jogging in the area

Every day, the same, again

28.jpg German student makes a freedom of information request to see test papers before exams

Even Women Who Should Know Better Are Attracted to Narcissists

Why do so many people so often say “so”?

Chimps and Humans are Less Similar than We Thought

Shakespeare’s plays reveal his psychological signature

Psychologists can influence people’s moral choices by tracking their gaze

Scientists develop algorithm that can identify and auto-ban internet trolls

Build a Phased-Array Radar in Your Garage that Sees Through Walls

Inventing a 2-D liquid

‘4D’ movies bring rain and snow inside the theater

Using TV anachronisms to learn about changes

We took a tourist guide to New York City from 1997 and tried to use it in 2015

The Pimps and Prostitutes of 1970s Times Square

Meet the artist running for election with absolutely no policies

How to grow your own furniture

‘The truth can wait, for it lives a long life.’ –Schopenhauer

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{ Gillian Wearing has redefined portraiture by photographing herself in rubber masks she’s cast from other people’s faces. In this specially created piece, titled Me in ‘My Mask’, she dons a mask of her own face. | Blake Gopnik/Newsweek | Gillian Wearing, Olia, 2003 }

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{ Gillian Wearing, Self Portrait as my Brother Richard Wearing, 2003 | The artist leads us through the creative process of making her family series in 2003 – including wrapping her body in a silicone torso for hours }