Every day, the same, again

24.jpgParents forget newborn baby in taxi on way home from hospital

Washington is first state to allow composting of human bodies

Florida politicians may expunge an old law that gives Disney World the right to build its own nuclear plant

Driverless electric truck starts deliveries on Swedish public road

Alphabet’s Wing drone deliveries are coming to Finland next month

Electric ‘flying taxi’ prototype unveiled by German start-up

At the moment, only one in 250 cars on the road is electric. Researchers have no idea when electric cars are going to take over

China says it’s created a facial recognition app for pandas

Baltimore ransomware nightmare could last weeks more, with big consequences. Houses can’t be sold, bills can’t be paid while city networks are shuttered.

boring speakers really talk for longer

acne is strongly positively associated with overall grade point average in high school, grades in high school English, history, math, and science, and the completion of a college degree. We also find evidence that acne is associated with higher personal labor market earnings for women.

We find a positive relationship between intelligence scores and fertility

Fetal facial expression in response to intravaginal music emission

our results suggest bilingualism may not enhance cognitive ability at 9.5 months

How a Harrowing Photo of One Woman’s Death Became an Iconic Pro-Choice Symbol

Uncontrolled bleeding during surgery can cause death. What if, instead of slow surgical stitching, you could rapidly glue a wound together? A new “bio-glue” — an experimental adhesive gel that is activated by a flash of light — has been proven to stop high pressure bleeding in the hearts of pigs.

Acid-free paper can last 500 years; stone inscriptions even longer. But magnetic media like hard drives have a much shorter life, lasting only three to five years.

No, someone hasn’t cracked the code of the mysterious Voynich manuscript

Ranking celebrity chef cookbooks by how many animals their recipes kill

A woman took a picture of three Irish men in Times Square. It took Twitter only an hour to track them down.

Pentagram’s new design for parking signs throughout New York City

Down with the sickness

though Eavens ears ow many fines he faces

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It seems that as we get older our ears get bigger (on average by 0.22 mm a year).

{ BMJ | Continue reading | PDF }

photo { Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Catherine, 1981 }

Folks who do systems analysis have a great belief in ‘leverage points.’ These are places within a complex system (a corporation, an economy, a living body, a city, an ecosystem) where a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything.

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{ Diane Arbus photographed by Tod Papageorge, Central Park, New York, 1967 }

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{ Diane Arbus photographed by Garry Winogrand, Central Park, New York, 1969 }

‘We are all deep in a hell each moment of which is a miracle.’ –Cioran

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Beer bottles are often used in physical disputes. If the bottles break, they may give rise to sharp trauma. However, if the bottles remain intact, they may cause blunt injuries. […]

We tested the fracture properties of beer bottles in a drop-tower. Full bottles broke at 30 J impact energy, empty bottles at 40 J. These breaking energies surpass the minimum fracture-threshold of the human neurocranium. […]

The phenomenon of empty beer bottles breaking at higher energies than full ones is explainable by two factors. Firstly, beer is an almost incompressible fluid. Even a slight deformation of the bottle due to the impact of the steel ball leads to an increase of the pressure within the bottle and its destruction. Another possibly major additional factor may be that beer is carbonated.

{ Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine | Continue reading }

photo { Stephen Shore, Miami, Oklahoma, July 1972 }

the moyles and moyles of it

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Products developed by companies such as Activtrak allow employers to track which websites staff visit, how long they spend on sites deemed “unproductive” and set alarms triggered by content considered dangerous. […]

To quantify productivity, “profiles” of employee behaviour — which can be as granular as mapping an individual’s daily activity — are generated from “vast” amounts of data. […]

If combined with personal details, such as someone’s age and sex, the data could allow employers to develop a nuanced picture of ideal employees, choose whom they considered most useful and help with promotion and firing decisions. […]

Some technology, including Teramind’s and Activtrak’s, permits employers to take periodic computer screenshots or screen-videos — either with employees’ knowledge or in “stealth” mode — and use AI to assess what it captures.

Depending on the employer’s settings, screenshot analysis can alert them to things like violent content or time spent on LinkedIn job adverts. 

But screenshots could also include the details of private messages, social media activity or credit card details in ecommerce checkouts, which would then all be saved to the employer’s database. […]

Meanwhile, smart assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa for Business, are being introduced into workplaces, but it is unclear how much of office life the devices might record, or what records employers might be able to access.

{ Financial Times | Continue reading }

Google uses Gmail to track a history of things you buy. […] Google says it doesn’t use this information to sell you ads.

{ CNBC | Continue reading }

unrelated { Navy Seal’s lawyers received emails embedded with tracking software }

photo { Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Paris, 1996 }

and then at once focuss his whole unbalanced attention upon the next octagonist who managed to catch a listener’s

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The scrotum in humans is asymmetric, the right testicle being visibly higher than the left in most men. Paradoxically, it is also the case that the right testicle is somewhat larger, rather than smaller, as might be expected. […]

The cause of this asymmetry is not clear. We may however reject a simple mechanical explanation which would say that the heavier of the two organs is pulled to the lower position by the action of gravity, for in both adults and foetuses it is clear that the right testicle is both the heavier and also the greater in volume; that is the larger and heavier is also the higher. Such a relationship is counter-intuitive, and we may expect that it would present difficulties to artists, and to sculptors in particular. […]

Greek classical and pre-classical art, which took great care in its attention to anatomical detail, correctly portrayed the right testicle as the higher, but then incorrectly portrayed the left testicle as visibly larger.

{ Laterality | Continue reading | previously

The eye could not see from any point

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There’s been an explosion of interest in the use of psychedelics in psychiatry. […]

Psychedelics have mostly been investigated in small studies run by true believers. […] Some of the most exciting psychedelic findings have already failed to replicate […]

Ketamine is the best comparison for psychedelics. […] Like psychedelics, it got hyped as an exciting new innovation that was going to revolutionize everything in psychiatry (in this case, depression treatment). But it’s been in pretty common (albeit non-formulary) use for five years now, and nothing has been revolutionized. […]

Between 10% and 50% of Americans have tried psychedelics. If psychedelics did something shocking, we would already know about it. […]

Even if all of the above are wrong and psychedelics work very well, the FDA could kill them with a thousand paper cuts. Again, look at ketamine: the new FDA approval ensures people will be getting the slightly different esketamine, through a weird route of administration, while paying $600 a pop, in specialized clinics that will probably be hard to find. Given the price and inconvenience, insurance companies will probably restrict it to the most treatment-resistant patients, and it probably won’t help them (treatment-resistant patients tend to stay that way). Given the panic around psychedelics, I expect it to be similarly difficult to get them even if they are legal and technically FDA-approved. Depressed people will never be able to walk into a psychiatrist’s office and get LSD. They’ll walk into a psychiatrist’s office, try Prozac for three months, try Wellbutrin for three months, argue with their insurance for a while, eventually get permission to drive to a city an hour away that has a government-licensed LSD clinic, and get some weird form of LSD that might or might not work, using a procedure optimized to minimize hallucinations.

{ Slate Star Codex | Continue reading }

‘A man, being just as hungry as thirsty, and placed in between food and drink, must necessarily remain where he is and starve to death.’ –Aristotle

Picture some serious non-fiction tomes. The Selfish Gene; Thinking, Fast and Slow; Guns, Germs, and Steel; etc. Have you ever had a book like this—one you’d read—come up in conversation, only to discover that you’d absorbed what amounts to a few sentences? I’ll be honest: it happens to me regularly. Often things go well at first. I’ll feel I can sketch the basic claims, paint the surface; but when someone asks a basic probing question, the edifice instantly collapses. Sometimes it’s a memory issue: I simply can’t recall the relevant details. But just as often, as I grasp about, I’ll realize I had never really understood the idea in question, though I’d certainly thought I understood when I read the book. Indeed, I’ll realize that I had barely noticed how little I’d absorbed until that very moment.

{ Andy Matuschak | Continue reading }

‘Elle lui rendit son baiser. L’appartement tourna. Il n’y voyait plus.’ –Gustave Flaubert

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Sometime after four in a dark and cold Italian morning, a young woman accompanied a band of men to a duck shoot. After it was over and the frigid hunters sat by the fire, the eighteen-year old Adriana Ivancich, the only woman in the gathering, asked for a comb for her long black hair. Nearly all the men in the party ignored her and kept up their talking. Ernest Hemingway, however, was not ever one to let a lady go unattended. After rooting around in his pockets, he produced a comb, broke it in half and gave it to her.

{ Long Reads | Continue reading }

photo { Self-portrait of Adriana Ivancich }

*swipes right*

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The convergence in physical appearance hypothesis posits that long-term partners’ faces become more similar with time as a function of the shared environment, diet, and synchronized facial expressions.

While this hypothesis has been widely disseminated in psychological literature, it is supported by a single study of 12 married couples. Here, we examine this hypothesis using the facial images of 517 couples taken at the beginning of their marriage and 20 or more years later. […]

The results show that while spouses’ faces tend to be similar at marriage, they do not converge over time.

{ PsyArXiv | Continue reading }

oil on canvas { Édouard Manet, Young Lady in 1866, 1866 }

Flashbacks hit me right between the eyes

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Physical pain represents a common feature of Bondage and Discipline/Dominance and Submission/Sadism and Machochism (BDSM) activity. This article explores the literature accounting for how painful stimuli may be experienced as pleasurable among practitioners of BDSM, and contrasting this with how it is experienced as painful among non-BDSM individuals. […] The experience of pain in this context can bring about altered states of consciousness that may be similar to what occurs during mindfulness meditation.

{ The Journal of Sex Research | Continue reading }

Prettymaide hues may have their cry apple, bacchante, custard, dove, eskimo, fawn, ginger, hemalite isinglass, jet, kipper, lucile, mimosa, nut, oysterette, prune, quasimodo, royal, sago, tango, umber, vanilla, wistaria, xray, yesplease, zaza, philomel, theerose. What are they all by? Shee.

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Faces are a primary source of social information, but little is known about the sequence of neural processing of personally relevant faces, such as those of our loved ones.

We applied representational similarity analyses to EEG-fMRI measurement of neural responses to faces of personal relevance to participants – their romantic partner and a friend – compared to a stranger. Faces expressed fear, happiness or no emotion. […]

Models of face processing postulate that recognition of face identity takes place with structural encoding in the fusiform gyrus around 170 ms after stimulus onset. We provide evidence that the high personal relevance of our friends’ and loved ones’ faces is detected prior to structural encoding […] as early as 100 ms after stimulus onset. […] Our findings imply that our brain can ‘bypass’ full structural encoding of face identity in order to prioritise the processing of faces most relevant to us.

{ BioRxiv | Continue reading }

acrylic on canvas { Nychos, Barbie Meltdown, 2016 }