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

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

Every day, the same, again


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

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.’

Every day, the same, again

41.jpgEvidence that authentic people seek to appear authentic rather than be authentic

Spies Can Eavesdrop by Watching a Light Bulb’s Vibrations

Doubling effort makes up for 6 IQ points

Scientists trigger hibernation in mice, astronauts could be next

Maps of Sexual Arousal in Men and Women →

Men holding cats were viewed as less masculine; more neurotic, agreeable, and open; and less dateable.

Effect of Coitus on Nasal Temperature — Nasal temperature readings were taken approximately 20 minutes before the subject engaged in coitus and repeated within 5 minutes after termination of the act. […] post coital rise ranges from 3.5 to 6.5° F.

The majority of participants self-reported that they had experienced feelings of regret after an uncommitted sexual encounter. We found women reported feeling significantly more regret than men.

Having sex with someone you don’t live with is now illegal under coronavirus lockdown laws [in England]

police departments around the country are using software that can track and identify people in crowds from surveillance footage — often with little to no public oversight or knowledge

List of killings by law enforcement officers by country

Can US Law Enforcement Officers Refuse to Identify Themselves?

Assessing Kurzweil predictions about 2019: the results

“This virus is never going to be gone.”

The optimal strategy is broadly found to be to release approximately half the population 2–4 weeks from the end of an initial infection peak, then wait another 3–4 months to allow for a second peak before releasing everyone else.

On a normal day, over 3,000 people work in the 52-story AMA building. With only four passengers at a time, which is about half of a typically crowded elevator, that translates to about 750 elevator rides each morning launching from 24 elevator cabs [KHN]

New York State published its sit-down restaurant guidelines — restaurants will have to cut their occupancy by 50 percent

Habitual Time of Dinner Is Predisposing to Severe COVID-19 Outcome - Death

Coronavirus survival hospital bill: $1.1 million

Slowing the Coronavirus Is Speeding the Spread of Other Diseases — Diphtheria is appearing in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. Cholera is in South Sudan, Cameroon, Mozambique, Yemen and Bangladesh. A mutated strain of poliovirus has been reported in more than 30 countries. And measles is flaring around the globe, including in Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Nigeria and Uzbekistan.

Negotiating With Jihadists in the Sahel and Nigeria

As my colleague Paul Krugman cannot stress enough, the stock market is not the economy. In fact, as a wise person on TikTok once said, it’s more of a graph of rich people’s feelings. But that raises the question: Why are rich people feeling so optimistic, and what does that imply about the way the economy works? […] if the market seems to be recovering faster than the rest of the country, it’s at least in part because of “the government’s policy of giving out free money,” in the words of the investor Leon Cooperman. […] many companies are doing exceedingly well, particularly big technology corporations. Five of those — Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) and Facebook — together make up about 20 percent of the S.&P. 500, and they’ve all posted significant gains. […]   According to The Financial Times, some 780,000 people have created new accounts on three of America’s top brokerage platforms since the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States. With this “herd of newbies” charging into the market at a time of extraordinary uncertainty, she says, “people are going to get played.” […] The richest 11 percent of the world population holds more than 80 percent of its wealth. When the stock market rallies, the gains flow overwhelmingly to that wealthiest class, whose savings have to go somewhere. But instead of spurring investment, the wealth rushes into debt markets and drives long-term interest rates down, which makes corporate profits more valuable. Stock prices go up, the rich end up with more wealth still, and the cycle repeats. [NY Times]

In this report, we apply basic scientific techniques to answer the question “Is Kansas as flat as a pancake?”

Sound file for teaching your bird to mimic R2D2

Every day, the same, again

2.jpgSpanish porn star arrested after man dies during ‘mystical’ toad venom ritual - the amphibian releases a venom called 5-MeO-DMT, which is known to have hallucinogenic effects

An executive who was paid about $18,000 a month by LafargeHolcim Ltd. to do nothing failed in his suit to force the cement maker to fire him with a payout worth more than $2 million.

Belgian man has been receiving pizzas he never ordered for years, sometimes several times a day. “I cannot sleep anymore. I start shaking every time I hear a scooter on the street.”

at least 42.7% of adult women have experienced orgasm during sleep

On average, women are more sexually disgusted than men

women fantasized more so than did men about sadomasochistic fantasies, but men fantasized more than did women about intimate, exploratory, and impersonal sexual fantasies […] higher frequency of sexual fantasy were predictive of higher levels of infidelity intentions among men […] women who fantasized more frequently about exploratory fantasies were less likely to engage in physical infidelity

Results showed that bisexual individuals reported higher levels of openness than homosexual individuals, who in turn, reported higher levels of openness than heterosexual individuals. Bisexual individuals also report lower levels of conscientiousness than both heterosexual and homosexual individuals. Sex moderation effects showed that homosexual men scored higher than heterosexual men on neuroticism, agreeableness and conscientiousness, whereas homosexual women scored lower than heterosexual women on extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. There was also evidence that personality differences between sexual orientation categories tend to decline with age. [Taylor & Francis Online]

Prior research has suggested a link between communal naked activity and positive body image […] Fifty-one participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups in which they interacted with other people either naked or clothed […] as expected, participants in the naked condition reported more body appreciation

Self-driving cars could only prevent a third of U.S. crashes: study

The most common reason for contact with the police is being a driver in a traffic stop and In the early days of the automobile, the Court created an exception for searches of vehicles

Russia urges the U.S. to ‘observe democratic standards’ and respect Americans’ right to protest

As soon as an observer opens their eyes, they have the immediate impression of a rich, colorful experience that encompasses their entire visual world. Here, we show that this impression is surprisingly inaccurate. In the most extreme case, almost a third of observers failed to notice when less than 5% of the visual display was presented in color. More: How much color do we really see?

Repetitive negative thinking is associated with amyloid, tau, and cognitive decline — Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurological disease. In early stages, AD is characterized by the aggregation of amyloid beta (Aβ) and hyperphosphorylated tau proteins in the brain and worsening memory. […] Repetitive negative thinking (also termed perseverative cognition) is a behaviorally measurable cognitive process that encompasses future‐ (worry) and past‐ (rumination) directed thoughts.

Playing hard to get may work as long as potential partners feel that their efforts are likely to be successful—eventually.

In a famous ongoing experiment started in 1960, scientists turned foxes into tame, doglike canines by breeding only the least aggressive ones generation after generation. The creatures developed stubby snouts, floppy ears, and even began to bark. Now, it appears that some rural red foxes in the United Kingdom are doing this on their own. [Science]

Fenn, 89, told the Santa Fe New Mexican that a treasure hunter located the chest a few days ago. […] Fenn posted clues to the treasures whereabouts online and in a 24-line poem that was published in his 2010 autobiography The Thrill of the Chase. Hundreds of thousands have hunted in vain across remote corners of the US west for the bronze chest believed to be filled with gold coins, jewelry and other valuable items. Some have said it was a hoax and pursued lawsuits. Many quit their jobs to dedicate themselves to the search and others depleted their life savings. At least four people are believed to have died searching for it. [The Guardian]

Aircraft detection before radar

Every day, the same, again

r.jpegSuper-flexible woman can look at her own butt from behind

only a small fraction of Americans prioritize democratic principles in their electoral choices

Black men are woefully underrepresented within VC firms at just 2%, based on the most recent data. Black women don’t even rank a percentage point.

Research-based solutions to stop police violence

There’s 50 years of research on violence at protests, dating back to the three federal commissions formed between 1967 and 1970. All three concluded that when police escalate force — using weapons, tear gas, mass arrests and other tools to make protesters do what the police want — those efforts can often go wrong, creating the very violence that force was meant to prevent. [FiveThirtyEight]

There were only 27 days in 2019 where people did not kill someone

Once a crowd has gathered in response to an incident, there are still two hurdles that would-be rioters must overcome to transform a mere crowd into a destructive mob.

there are three main obstacles that prevent innocent suspects from generating accurate and believable alibis

Drug dealers turn corporate by selling customer databases for more than $180,000, also using product placement and branding.

What nudists do during a lockdown

The coronavirus shutdowns reduced traffic, but faster driving led to an uptick in fatality rates.

Facial expressions can still be detected when obscured by a face covering. In the study, observing the area around the eyes was usually enough to recognize someone else’s feelings. We examined this question with scarves, niqabs and masks. Confusion only occurred for fear and surprise. [Scientific American]

Coronavirus Lockdowns May Raise Exposure to Indoor Air Pollution — levels of carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) increased by 15 to 30 percent in more than 1,000 homes across several European countries.

Is the Worst of the Coronavirus Behind Us Now? Italy, Germany and Spain have also avoided serious flare-ups in cases and deaths as restrictions are eased. It’s similar in Austria and Denmark, which lifted lockdowns back in April. Weekly confirmed cases show the continuation of a declining trend.

The new coronavirus is losing its potency and has become much less lethal, a senior Italian doctor said on Sunday.

Sweden has seen a far higher mortality rate than its nearest neighbours and its nationals are being barred from crossing their borders.

Iceland never imposed a lockdown. Only a few types of businesses—night clubs and hair salons, for example—were ever ordered closed. Hardly anyone in Reykjavík wears a mask. And yet, by mid-May, when I went to talk to Pálmason, the tracing team had almost no one left to track. During the previous week, in all of Iceland, only two new coronavirus cases had been confirmed. The country hadn’t just managed to flatten the curve; it had, it seemed, virtually eliminated it. [New Yorker]

things we think we know about coronavirus and things that scientists and public health officials have yet to understand

How Coronavirus Will Change Board Games (7 Guesses)

The impact of COVID-19 on the UK fresh food supply chain

Walmart uses Everseen [AI software] in thousands of stores to prevent shoplifting at registers and self-checkout kiosks. But the workers claimed it misidentified innocuous behavior as theft and often failed to stop actual instances of stealing. [Ars Technica]

Electrocortical Activity in a Pianist Playing ‘Vexations’ by Erik Satie Continuously for 28 Hours

For years, Nepal and China have sparred over the height of the Mount Everest straddling their shared border, specifically whether or not the official number should account for the snow atop it. 

Every day, the same, again

32.jpgMen hired for sexual fantasy break into wrong house

The monkeys attacked the lab assistant and stole the sample box with three samples

A Security Flaw In Qatar’s Contact Tracing App Exposed Hundreds Of Thousands Of People’s Personal Data

In the past, national emergencies in the United States have resulted in increased gun preparation (ie, purchasing new guns or removing guns from storage); in turn, these gun actions have effected increases in firearm injuries and deaths. The aim of this paper was to assess the extent to which interest in gun preparation has increased amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic using data from Google searches related to purchasing and cleaning guns. […] Our results corroborate media reports that gun purchases are increasing amid the COVID-19. [JMIR]

Introductions and early spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the New York City area

Covid-19 has, so far it seems, three modes of transmission. One route is via surfaces, deposited on things like door handles or silverware that then picked up by someone who touches some entry point into the body—eyes, nose, mouth. […] A second route is through large droplets, like those someone might give off in a cough. […] the third, more complicated route. A vast number of the particles that come out of a person’s mouth are much smaller, under 5 microns. They dry out quickly in the air and become so light they can float around for hours. Even the slightly warm layer of air constantly wafting upward from every person—our “thermal plume”—can carry these particles up, up, and away. Random air flow makes their spread turbulent, bounced around by currents like sand in a tide pool. And we emit them all the time. […] “The overarching assumption is that the probability of transmission is proportional to the number of virus particles floating around in the air. The more that you inhale, the more likely you are to get it,” says William Ristenpart, a professor of chemical engineering at UC Davis who studies disease transmission. “The room you’re in right now has a roof. Turbulent diffusion goes up and can’t go through the roof. It reflects off. Outdoors, it can turbulently diffuse away.” [Wired]

The emerging long-term complications of Covid-19 — Somewhere between 5 and 80 percent of people who test positive for Covid-19 may be asymptomatic, or only develop symptoms days or even weeks after their test, and many of these people will have a mild form of the illness with no lasting symptoms. But the UK National Health Service assumes that of Covid-19 patients who have required hospitalization, 45 percent will need ongoing medical care, 4 percent will require inpatient rehabilitation, and 1 percent will permanently require acute care.

New Design Helps N95 Mask Wearers Breathe Easier (new device prevents oxygen deprivation)


Healthy Selfishness and Pathological Altruism: Measuring Two Paradoxical Forms of Selfishness

How do children learn the typical features of objects in the world? For many objects, this information must come from the language they hear. However, people are more likely to talk about atypical features (e.g., “purple carrot”) than typical features (e.g., “orange carrot”). Does the speech children hear from their parents also overrepresent atypical features?

Octave Durham went to prison for stealing two van Gogh paintings. […] “I didn’t have a buyer before I did it,” he said. “I just thought I can either sell them, or if I have a problem I can negotiate with the paintings.” By “negotiate with the paintings,” Mr. Durham meant using the paintings as a bargaining chip with law enforcement officials, in case he got into trouble for something else. […] Mr. Brand said many thieves think they will be able to sell paintings on the open market, and then quickly find out that there aren’t legal buyers. “You have thieves who think there are buyers who would really like to have stolen art on their wall. That doesn’t exist.” […] That’s when they offer them to other criminals, often for much less than their real value. Mr. Brand estimates that a work of art in the criminal underworld is worth about 10 percent of its value in the legitimate art market — so if a painting might sell for $10 million at auction, it can be traded among criminals for a value of about $1 million. Mr. Durham said the value is even lower than that — about 2.5 to 5 percent of market value. [NY Times]

I can’t remember the last time I read a novel that feels so LA. Cooper’s rendering of the flat affect of Southern California is spot-on; in “Board,” the posters respond to vulgar depictions of violence with comments like “Here we go again” and “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry (LOL).” That’s what it’s like there — there’s no social space for reasoning or explanation, for genuine self-reflection. Sometimes you just shrug your shoulders and say, “Honey, it’s LA.” In a way, this L.A. affect prefigures the flat affect of the Internet, or even life in the 21st century. Sometimes you just shrug your shoulders and say, “Honey, it’s late capitalism.” [The New Inquiry]

One of the most important moments in the transition between the Eighties and Nineties, for live rock bands, was how much rock to leave behind.

every day, the same, again


It is possible that a significant number of people who’ve never been infected with the novel coronavirus already possess some immunity to it.[…] Examining blood samples taken between 2015 and 2018 (when the novel coronavirus was still just a twinkle in Satan’s eye), researchers found that roughly 50 percent of these blood-givers possessed “SARS-CoV-2-reactive CD4+ T cells” — which is to say, their immune systems appeared capable of immediately recognizing and combating the novel coronavirus. Since none of these individuals could have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the most likely explanation for their possession of such T cells is previous exposure to a common-cold coronavirus. […] researchers at Yale University believe they’ve discovered a metric that can predict major municipal outbreaks a week in advance — the concentration of the coronavirus in a city’s sewers. […] The Swedish economy has suffered roughly as severe a downturn as that of Denmark. And in recent days, it’s had the highest per-capita coronavirus death rate in Europe. […] Worldwide, the number of new, confirmed coronavirus cases is growing by about 100,000 a day, which is the highest sustained rate of new infections we’ve seen since the pandemic began. [NY mag]

There’s a good chance the coronavirus will never go away. Even after a vaccine is discovered and deployed, the coronavirus will likely remain for decades to come, circulating among the world’s population. Experts call such diseases endemic — stubbornly resisting efforts to stamp them out. Think measles, HIV, chickenpox. […] There are already four endemic coronaviruses that circulate continuously, causing the common cold. And many experts think this virus will become the fifth — its effects growing milder as immunity spreads and our bodies adapt to it over time. [Washington Post]

With restaurants closed, CDC warns of increasingly aggressive rodents looking for new food sources

India detains pigeon on suspicion of spying for Pakistan

9 Local TV Stations Pushed the Same Amazon-Scripted Segment

The expedition cruise ship departed from Ushuaia, Argentina, for a planned 21-day cruise of the Antarctic Peninsula, including Elephant Island, before sailing to South Georgia Island on a route similar to that taken by the British explorer, Ernest Shackleton, in 1915–1917. The ship departed mid-March 2020, after the global COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the WHO, with all 128 passengers and 95 crew screened for COVID-19 symptoms, and body temperatures were taken before boarding. No passengers or crew that had transited through China, Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea or Iran in the previous 3 weeks were permitted to board, given that these countries were where COVID-19 infection was most prevalent at the time. Multiple hand hygiene stations were positioned throughout the ship and especially in the dining area. […] Of the 217 passengers and crew on board, 128 tested positive for COVID-19 on reverse transcription–PCR (59%). Of the COVID-19-positive patients, 19% (24) were symptomatic; 6.2% (8) required medical evacuation; 3.1% (4) were intubated and ventilated; and the mortality was 0.8% (1). The majority of COVID-19-positive patients were asymptomatic (81%, 104 patients). [BMJ]

Transmission within community: R= 0.8. Transmission from hospital to community: R=0.2. Transmission from community to hospital: R=0.4, Transmission within hospital: R=0.7. All these numbers are less than 1, so it might appear as though the disease is now under control. But unfortunately that isn’t the case. The overall value of R for the population is actually about R=1.04 for this example. [Maths.org]

Supercomputer simulates the impact of the asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs [Previously: The event appears to have hit all continents at the same time

The uncanny valley (UV) effect refers to an eerie feeling of unfamiliarity people get while observing or interacting with robots that resemble humans almost but not quite perfectly.

Six-month old infants recognize when adults imitate them, and perceive imitators as more friendly

Motion Sickness in Amphibians — None of the species that we studied vomited during the 8 to 10 parabolas of each flight. However, [some frogs] vomited in a period of 0.5 to 42 h after flight. […] we suggest that the previously observed behavior of three frogs on the MIR Space Station was a manifestation of motion sickness

America’s Never-Ending Battle Against Flesh-Eating Worms

A Passion for Castration: Characterizing Men Who Are Fascinated With Castration, but Have Not Been Castrated More: The most appreciated aspect of castration was the sense of control over sexual urges and appetite (52%).

The Grymoire - A web site containing a collection of useful incantations for wizards

Mullet Challenge

25.jpgYour face mask selfies could be training the next facial recognition tool

‘Tiger King’ Joe Exotic Asks America To Join ‘Mullet Challenge’ To Promote A Presidential Pardon

The Effects of Barefoot Running on Working Memory — working memory may be enhanced after at least 16 minutes of barefoot running if the individual has to focus attention on the ground

People in long term, committed relationships try to support their decisions to maintain their relationships with marriage illusions

Peru took strict measures. Covid-19 surged anyway.

“What’s crazy is, we’re three months in, and we’re still not able to calibrate our risk management. It’s a mess,” […] Scientists are still trying to understand the virus they call SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease covid-19. Basic questions are not fully answered: How deadly is this virus? How contagious? Are there different strains with different clinical outcomes? Why does SARS-CoV-2 create a devastating disease in some people while leaving others without symptoms or even knowledge that they were infected? [Washington Post]

an 1/3 + 1/3 = 2/6? It seemed so!

Arthur Schopenhauer and Psychiatry

The Guggenheim Museum offers 200+ exhibition catalogs that you can download for free

Every day, the same, again

24.jpgYou have five appetites, not one, and they are the key to your health

we found converging evidence that men showed a greater preference for variety in potential short-term mates than did women. Related: the Coolidge effect

Scientists find brain center that ‘profoundly’ shuts down pain (in mice)

Scientists have developed a bionic eye that could make blind people see

These samples are usually vomit found at the scene of a crime, either in fresh form or as a dried stain on clothings.

two virtual rockets were launched to the horizon moon and to the zenith moon. These virtual rockets carry exactly the same physical characteristics (length, width, colors, and speed). Our observers had noticed when the rocket travelling horizontally to the horizon moon, it appears to move way slower. [PsyArXiv]

Nvidia researchers taught an AI system to recreate the game of Pac-Man simply by watching it being played. The AI agent was so good at the game that it hardly ever died. “That made it hard for the AI trying to recreate the game to learn the concept of dying” [The Verge]

Understanding Pac-Man Ghost Behavior

Researchers claim new internet speed record of 44.2 Tbps (it was achieved over 75km of standard fiber cable)

This Lickable Screen Can Recreate Almost Any Taste or Flavor Without Eating Food

Florida’s Lost Blue Bee Rediscovered

Timeline of Science Fiction Ideas, Technology and Inventions

Trans Sex Zine

Antidepressants or Tolkien