Every day, the same, again

neck.jpgGrey parrot tops Harvard students on a test

Security researchers say a smartwatch, popular with the elderly and dementia patients, could have been tricked into letting an attacker easily take control of the device. Hackers could trick the smartwatch into sending fake “take pills” reminders to patients as often as they want

Cosmetic surgeons see rise in patients amid pandemic

New Hong Kong legislation puts foreign citizens who criticize the Chinese government anywhere in the world at risk of jail if they even set foot in the city — even if they are just transiting through the airport.

Luckin Coffee was supposed to disrupt China’s coffee market. But a Wall Street Journal investigation has found that the company used fake coffee orders, fake supply orders and even a fake employee to fabricate nearly half its sales last year.

Warning of serious brain disorders in people with mild coronavirus symptoms

University of Oxford researchers found the proportion of coronavirus patients dying each day in England fell from 6% to 1.5% between April and June.

Spain’s large-scale study on the coronavirus indicates just 5% of its population has developed antibodies, strengthening evidence that a so-called herd immunity to Covid-19 is “unachievable” […] There have been similar studies in China and the United States and “the key finding from these representative cohorts is that most of the population appears to have remained unexposed” to Covid-19, “even in areas with widespread virus circulation” […] “Some experts have computed that around 60% of seroprevalence might mean herd immunity. But we are very far from achieving that number.” [CNN]

A big question is whether somebody who has had COVID-19 is now immune from getting it again. So far we don’t see compelling evidence of people getting reinfected, but that’s still a bit early to say for sure. That’s going to make a huge difference in everything we try to do about this going forward. A vaccine, of course, depends upon the idea that immunity is protective. […] There are a couple factors that will relate to whether immunity lasts a long time. One is whether the antibodies that somebody generates after infection are around for years afterward or whether they fade away. There hasn’t been enough time yet to be able to say that. The other is whether the virus itself changes its biology and then evades the immune response that people have had. Obviously that’s a big deal with influenza, which is why we have to get a flu shot every year. And it’s been a horrible deal with HIV — and why we’ve never been able to get a vaccine for it, because HIV is changing its coat almost hourly. I think we have reason to be much more optimistic about SARS-CoV-2 [the virus that causes COVID-19]. There doesn’t seem to be compelling evidence of it being that highly mutable. It’s a typical RNA virus that seems to have a typical mutation rate. It doesn’t look like it’s doing a lot of changing of its coat proteins. So I’m fairly reassured by what we’ve learned so far, after looking at the viral genome of thousands of isolates, that this one is not changing that rapidly. […] I am guardedly optimistic that by the end of 2020 we will have at least one vaccine that has been proven safe and effective in a large-scale trial. […] There are at least four vaccines that will be getting into such large trials this summer beginning as early as July. […] Maybe all four of them will work. […] there will be, then, a time of having to do the scale-up to have billions of doses, which might be what the world needs. So there will still be some time involved, even though we are doing everything possible to prepare for that by manufacturing millions of doses of each of those vaccines even before we know if they would work, so that the highest-risk people can get access right away. [NY mag]

FBI agents raided a home in northern Michigan this week while investigating a sophisticated art forgery ring that allegedly tricked connoisseurs into buying phony paintings purported to be from top American artists.

His name? The O-Man. His superpower? Making women come simply by assessing their posture.

the group purchased alien abduction insurance that would cover up to fifty members and would pay out $1 million per person (the policy covered abduction, impregnation, or death by aliens). More: We came from the Level Above Human in distant space and we have now exited the bodies that we were wearing for our earthly task

The Perfect Art Heist: Hack the Money, Leave the Painting More: Computer hackers take £2.4m from sale of Constable painting

“Boob chandelier”

Every day, the same, again

4.jpgArthur Conan Doyle’s estate sues Netflix for giving Sherlock Holmes too many feelings

How to Topple a Statue Using Science

A library in Michigan is urging the public to stop microwaving its books as a method to prevent the spread of coronavirus

the researchers found that women and people with insecure attachment styles tended to play hard-to-get more

How do cars fare in crash tests they’re not specifically optimized for?

How hackers extorted $1.14m from University of California, San Francisco

A plan to turn the atmosphere into one, enormous sensor — It will watch for storms, earthquakes, volcanos—and missile launches

The Geopolitical Ramifications of Starlink Internet Service

Automated shipping coming to Europe’s waters

raising animals for meat, eggs, and milk generates 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions—roughly on par with the global transportation sector

“The great tragedy of the climate crisis is that seven and a half billion people must pay the price – in the form of a degraded planet – so that a couple of dozen polluting interests can continue to make record profits” the 20 firms behind a third of all carbon emissions

Top 100 Polluter Indexes

Facebook collects most of its advertising revenue from the millions of small and medium-sized companies that depend on its effective, targeted ads. Its top 100 advertisers contributed less than 20 percent of revenue in the first quarter of last year. […] In 2017 and 2019, Verizon, Walmart, Pepsi, Disney, Nestlé and others objected to the undesirable videos that ran adjacent to some of their ads. Once YouTube established more restrictive content rules to placate the advertisers, the advertisers came back, leaving the division “bigger and stronger, rather than weaker, as a business.” You can expect a rerun of the YouTube episode for Facebook.

India has banned TikTok—plus 58 other Chinese apps

Gates of hell [more]

Replies are not immediate - that’s intentional. You should hear back within a day and a half

‘How great a spectacle! But that, I fear, is all it is.’ –Goethe

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This profession, at best, funnels the creative energy of young people toward selling chips and soda. At worst, it produces the friendly-faced masks corporations hide behind while committing egregious crimes–many of which got us where we are today. […]

“I Want to Do Something Creative,” “I Want to Be in a Creative Environment,” and “I Want to Pursue Art or Writing.”

To those with motivations like these, I would say do not go into advertising. And certainly do not fork over a ton of money to go to some ad school. Jesus. No. […]

I’m using Cheerios as a placeholder. Insert almost any brand. Although, having worked on the Cheerios account, and having seen the historical reel, I can safely say the Cheerios commercial has barely changed in 50 years. If you put a bee in a room with a bowl of O’s, a Cheerios commercial could self-assemble at this point.

It doesn’t take much creativity to produce this stuff. It certainly doesn’t require the throngs of people assembled to execute this type of garbage. I’ve sat in rooms of upwards of 12 people just to discuss a banner ad. Advertising doesn’t have an unemployment problem, it has an over-employment problem.

{ Jeff Greenspan | Continue reading | Thanks Tim }

I’ve already gone through like 3 bottles of Skin Aqua this season lol

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{ sunglasses-like VR hardware }

Blood is a juice with curious properties

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…a girl with different-colored eyes and ambiguous genitals who appeared at a Seattle genetics clinic. Her ovaries proved to have only XX chromosomes—typical female—but her other tissues were mixtures of XX and XY. Further analysis showed that she had started out as opposite-sex twins. But early in development, the two embryos had fused, becoming a single, highly unusual child. Like a verse from the old Ray Stevens novelty song “I’m My Own Grandpa,” this girl was her own twin brother.

In pregnant women, fetal stem cells can cross the placenta to enter the mother’s bloodstream, where they may persist for years. If Mom gets pregnant again, the stem cells of her firstborn, still circulating in her blood, can cross the placenta in the other direction, commingling with those of the younger sibling. Heredity can thus flow “upstream,” from child to parent—and then over and down to future siblings.

Forget the notion that your genome is just the DNA in your chromosomes. We have another genome, small but vital, in our cells’ mitochondria—the tiny powerhouses that supply energy to the cell. Though the mitochondrial genes are few, damage to them can lead to disorders of the brain, muscles, internal organs, sensory systems, and more. At fertilization, an embryo receives both chromosomes and mitochondria from the egg, and only chromosomes from the sperm. Mitochondrial heredity thus flows strictly through the maternal line; every boy is an evolutionary dead end, as far as mitochondria are concerned.

{ The Atlantic | Continue reading }

Every day, the same, again

76.jpgAre habits goal-free behaviours, or does every habit actually serve a purpose?

The “Pet Effect” is the idea that getting a pet will make you healthier and happier. This idea is highly promoted by the marketing departments of industry giants like Zoetis, the world’s largest veterinary products corporation. […] while some studies have found evidence linking pets and human health, most published research has not.

We recruited 29 participants to measure human prefrontal cortex activity, using functional near-infrared spectroscopy, during interactions with a cat.

Is there a growing class divide in happiness? Among U.S. adults ages 30 and over in the nationally representative General Social Survey (N = 44,198), the positive correlation between socioeconomic status (SES; including income, education, and occupational prestige) and happiness grew steadily stronger between the 1970s and 2010s. […] the happiness advantage favoring high-SES adults has expanded over the decades

In this essay, I show how difficult emotions, like aggression and murderous rage, are grappled with in horror movies. I discuss three patients who related to intense rage at the mother when viewing the films Joker and Jurassic Park.

The perception of facial attractiveness is not automatic (capacity-free) in general. Men show an automatic (capacity-free) processing of females’ facial attractiveness but not of males’ facial attractiveness. Women show no automatic (capacity-free) processing of males’ or females’ facial attractiveness.

On Aug 1, it will be against the law for adults to wear a face mask in North Carolina

To fully restart the U.S. economy by August, massive population testing for infections with the virus that causes COVID-19 is essential […] test 2 to 6% of the population per day, or between 5 and 20 million people per day […] The authors of the report estimate that this scheme for testing, tracing, and supported isolation (TTSI) would cost between $50 to $300 billion over two years. As they note this is extremely cheap compared to “the economic cost of continued collective quarantine of $100 to 350 billion a month.”

Why We Must Test Millions a Day

studies have suggested that many people who’ve never been infected with SARS-CoV-2, but who have semi-recently recovered from a common-cold coronavirus, may boast partial immunity to COVID-19. […] Chinese researchers monitored antibody levels in 74 COVID-19 patients — one half symptomatic, the other asymptomatic — for months after their recoveries. The scientists found that more than 90 percent of these patients displayed sharp drop-offs in antibody levels two-to-three months after their initial infections. […] The dominant strain of coronavirus in the U.S. may be more contagious than the initial variety. […] study found that the newer coronavirus strain has about five times more functional and intact spike proteins in each of its particles than its predecessor did. [NY mag]

Pool testing combines samples from several people and tests them for the coronavirus all at once, cutting down on the time and supplies required. […] “If everyone is negative, then you’re done” […] If the test detected the presence of the virus, then each person would have to be tested and the results individually analyzed to determine whose sample produced the positive result. […] How many samples are pooled? Researchers have generally suggested quantities between three and 50. The bigger the pool, the more likely a positive case with a low viral load will be too diluted to trigger detection of the virus. [Washington Post]

Norway, Denmark and Finland have closed their borders to Swedes, fearing that they would bring new coronavirus infections with them. […] In several countries, like the Netherlands and Cyprus, they are banned completely. Austria demands a health certificate. Greece makes Swedes quarantine for at least a week, even if they test negative for the coronavirus […] only France, Italy, Spain and Croatia are welcoming Swedes without restrictions.[SF Gate]

COVID-19 is associated with severe impairment of smell, taste, and chemesthesis

This upgraded robotic dolphin is being developed and tested for a series of attractions at a new Chinese aquarium where the government has put a stop to the wildlife trade as part of its efforts to slow and eventually stop the spread of Covid-19.

What if a single injection could lower blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides — for a lifetime? In the first gene-editing experiment of its kind, scientists have disabled two genes in monkeys that raise the risk for heart disease. Humans carry the genes as well, and the experiment has raised hopes that a leading killer may one day be tamed. [NY Times]

The UK government’s plan to invest hundreds of millions of pounds in a satellite broadband company has been described as “nonsensical” by experts, who say the company doesn’t even make the right type of satellite the country needs after Brexit. […] “The fundamental starting point is, yes, we’ve bought the wrong satellites […] What’s happened is that the very talented lobbyists at OneWeb have convinced the government that we can completely redesign some of the satellites to piggyback a navigation payload on it.”

A growing list of companies say they’ll join an advertiser boycott on Facebook in protest of what they say are the site’s failures to stop the spread of hate.

The white iPhone with chipped paint that Moroccan journalist Omar Radi used to stay in contact with his sources also allowed his government to spy on him. They could read every email, text and website visited; listen to every phone call and watch every video conference; download calendar entries, monitor GPS coordinates, and even turn on the camera and microphone to see and hear where the phone was at any moment. Yet Radi was trained in encryption and cyber security. He hadn’t clicked on any suspicious links and didn’t have any missed calls on WhatsApp — both well-documented ways a cell phone can be hacked. Instead, a report published Monday by Amnesty International shows Radi was targeted by a new and frighteningly stealthy technique. All he had to do was visit one website. Any website. Radi’s phone shows that it was infected by “network injection,” a fully automated method where an attacker intercepts a cellular signal when it makes a request to visit a website. In milliseconds, the web browser is diverted to a malicious site and spyware code is downloaded that allows remote access to everything on the phone. [The Star]

All it took to compromise a smartphone was a single phone call over WhatsApp. The user didn’t even have to pick up the phone. [WIRED]

Milton Glaser, Co-founder of New York Magazine and Creator of ‘I❤NY,’ Dies at 91

How to make an SMS bot with Google Sheets + Twilio

If Great Britain was located next to Japan

We have reduced the total mass of wild mammals by 82.5 percent, fish by 83.75 percent and plants by half

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{ Sex Education | full movie }

Every day, the same, again

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Barcelona opera house reopens with performance to 2,292 plants

residents hide as macaque ‘gangs’ take over Thai city

U.S. Sent $1.4 Billion in Aid Payments to Dead People, Watchdog Finds [NY Times]

Humans navigate with stereo olfaction

Researchers have discovered that, contrary to longstanding assumptions, the Y chromosome is not limited to a handful of masculine tasks, like specifying male body parts in a developing embryo or replenishing the sperm supply in an adult man. New evidence indicates that the Y chromosome participates in an array of essential, general-interest tasks in men, like stanching cancerous growth, keeping arteries clear and blocking the buildup of amyloid plaque in the brain. As a sizable percentage of men age, their blood and other body cells begin to spontaneously jettison copies of the Y chromosome, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. That unfortunate act of chromosomal decluttering appears to put the men at a heightened risk of Alzheimer’s disease, leukemia and other disorders. [NY Times]

Researchers are growing miniature organs in the laboratory to study how the new coronavirus ravages the body.

meal-time photographers were more likely to eat in response to external cues (e.g. the sight of palatable food) than to internal cues of hunger. However, when participants were randomly assigned to take either food or non-food photographs within a lab setting (Study 2), we found no evidence that the type of photography influenced either the amount or enjoyment of food eaten.

How to obtain evidence that something does not exist

A Study on the Rug Patterns and Morton Feldman’s Approach

3D reconstruction of humans from photographs

Young Student Secretly Photographs People with Hidden Spy Cam in the 1890s

NASA’s Sunset Simulator

Goldman Sans

Boston Dynamics robot dog, $10,000

OK so TikTok is grabbing the contents of my clipboard every 1-3 keystrokes

In 2015, a phone video of young muscular White British men hitting each other with a chair went viral. Why make a game about this meme now? + Robert Yang makes surprisingly popular games about gay culture and intimacy

virtual reality

Give me a ho, if you’ve got your funky bus fare, ho

What is the feasibility of survival on another planet and being self-sustaining? […] I show here that a mathematical model can be used to determine the minimum number of settlers and the way of life for survival on another planet, using Mars as the example. […] The minimum number of settlers has been calculated and the result is 110 individuals.

{ Nature | Continue reading }

Stock market at new highs in hopes of squeezing shorts until their balls are blue

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Your sky is just a HOLE on the roof of my world, says the frog in the well

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It’s growing clearer that the coronavirus does not spread in an orderly way. Each infected person might infect two others on average but most people who get it infect no one.

On the diagram, where DeRisi’s cursor lingers, he highlights a person with a particular talent for spreading the disease. The genetic information shows you the urgency of getting that person into quarantine, but it does more than that: It has the potential to lead you more generally to the social activity that’s spreading the disease.

It works the other way, too. The approach DeRisi has developed can be used not just to shut things down but to open them up. Last week, in Northern California, a pair of workers at a fish-packing plant came down with symptoms of Covid-19. The Biohub processed their tests and found both workers had the virus. In an age not all that distant from ours, the fish-packing plant, which believed it had taken the measures to keep its workers safe, would have been forced to close, as it would have had to assume that one of the workers had infected the other on the job. But then Joe DeRisi’s Badass Virus Hunters sequenced the two viruses and showed they were genetically far apart: The two workers had contracted the virus independently and outside of work. The fish-packing plant was able to stay open — and its workers were able to stay on their jobs.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

related { Social distancing and individual non-pharmaceutical interventions could potentially remove the need for lockdowns }

related { What do Covid-19, Ebola, Lyme and AIDS have in common? They jumped to humans from animals after we started destroying habitats and ruining ecosystems. | NY Times }

Every day, the same, again

6.jpgWoman made S$589,800 by buying insurance on flights she predicted would get delayed

Researchers discovered a data breach exposing sensitive images from numerous niche dating apps, such as 3somes, CougarD, Gay Daddy Bear, BBW Dating, and Herpes Dating.

Can Your AI Differentiate Cats from Covid-19?

Perception of Scary Halloween Masks by Zoo Animals and Humans — Animal results showed that primate latencies correlated significantly with the human ratings, while non-primate latencies did not.

It is clear from daily experience that flushing a toilet generates strong turbulence within the bowl. Will this flushing-induced turbulent flow expel aerosol particles containing viruses out of the bowl? … massive upward transport of virus particles is observed, with 40%–60% of particles reaching above the toilet seat, leading to large-scale virus spread.

The police in China are collecting blood samples from men and boys from across the country to build a genetic map of its roughly 700 million males, giving the authorities a powerful new tool for their emerging high-tech surveillance state.

Two hairstylists who had coronavirus saw 140 clients. No new infections have been linked to the salon, officials say The clients and the stylists all wore face coverings.

Potential weapons against covid-19 include manufactured antibodies, serum transfusions from survivors, antivirals, steroids, and more than 100 vaccine candidates, some now advancing toward decisive tests in volunteers. But there’s another approach to battling the virus—one that hasn’t won much attention, but which in the future could become the fastest way to beat back a pandemic. It involves isolating genetic material from survivors and injecting it directly into others, lending them protection against the pathogen. DNA-encoded antibodies, as these therapeutics are called, have shown promising results in animals. In humans, genes injected into the arm or leg would convert the recipient’s muscle cells into factories to make antibodies against the virus. That could provide temporary immunity or lessen the severity of the disease for those already infected. [Technology Review]

“We shouldn’t think that, once we get to a vaccine—whenever that is—and once we’re able to arrest this virus, that we’ll be able to rest easy. We are in a new era of more frequent, higher-impact, higher-velocity zoonotic threats.”

An infection that causes severe symptoms is likely to lead to a stronger immune response, which would also help encourage strong and longer-lasting immunity moving forward. On the flip side, a mild or asymptomatic case is likely to yield lower antibody levels, as was found in covid-19 patients in a new study published in Nature Medicine

For each class, members get their temperature checked, use hand sanitizer, and are placed in their own 6′x10′ workout pod made out of shower curtains and PVC pipes.

Amid the economic fallout from COVID-19, several small towns issued their own money

NBA players will wear a ‘smart ring’ at Disney world. The Oura smart ring is capable of predicting COVID-19 symptoms up to 3 days in advance with 90% accuracy. [Thanks Tim]

In moments of stress, consumers exhibit a greater tendency to seek out their smartphone (study 2); and engaging with one’s smartphone provides greater stress relief than engaging in the same activity with a comparable device such as one’s laptop (study 3) or a similar smartphone belonging to someone else (study 4).

“What we found was that evening types had greater grey matter volume in an area of the brain called the precuneus, a key component of our social brain,” said Dr. Norbury, an avowed morning person.

Facebook has rejected a proposal to share advertising revenue with news organisations, saying there would “not be significant” impacts on its business if it stopped sharing news altogether.

Apple Rejects Facebook’s Gaming App, for at Least the Fifth Time [NY Times]

More driving means more congested traffic. So to reduce congestion, it makes sense to build more highway lanes so that more cars can fit. A new report shows that doesn’t work at all. Between 1993 and 2017, the researchers found that the largest urban areas in the U.S. added 30,511 new lane-miles of roads—a 42 percent increase. That’s a faster rate of growth than population growth, which rose by 32 percent in those cities over the same time period. But in that 24 year period, traffic congestion didn’t drop at all. In fact, it rose by 144 percent.

Unsubscribe: The $0-budget movie that ‘topped the US box office’

Her last exhibition, ‘Parbunkells’ (2016), was the result of a long and convoluted project that began with a simple proposal: to introduce the internet to a word it didn’t know. That word was parbunkells, a nautical term meaning ‘coming together through the binding of rope’ and one that Weist emblazoned on a vast white billboard in Forest Hills, Queens, as a part of a commission for the public art organization 14×48. The intention was for curious viewers to google the word and experience the special singularity of a single Google result: Weist’s own website and a short text, starting: ‘This is where I come to be alone. We’re here together now.’