The veripatetic imago of the impossible Gracehoper on his odderkop in the myre


{ She was told all bags had to go through the X-ray machine, but she refused to part with her handbag }

‘Grace Jones came by in her macho outfit with a big raving beauty Swedish guy, like 6′6″. He had such a weak handshake, really wimpy.’ –Andy Warhol


A survey was performed to determine the frequency of unrecognized repetitive licking of fingers while reviewing hospital charts by various healthcare professionals who, by this habit, may be putting themselves at risk of acquiring a nosocomial infection. Nine of 14 charts demonstrated the presence of Staphylococci aureus, cultures obtained from three of nine charts grew methicillin-resistant S. aureus, and six grew methicillin-susceptible S. aureus. Of the 50 healthcare professionals surveyed, five (10%) admitted to habitual repetitive licking of fingers while reviewing charts. In addition, 30 (60%) of those surveyed had observed other professionals doing so. Forty-seven (94%) acknowledged that they did not routinely wash their hands after reviewing the charts, potentially placing themselves at risk of acquiring a nosocomial infection. As an immediate consequence of this study, staff members have been encouraged to wash their hands before and after reviewing a patient’s chart.

{ American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation }

photo { Lisa Taylor photographed by Francesco Scavullo, Vogue, January 1975 }

‘You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.’ ―Dita Von Teese


Here, we analysed 200 million online conversations to investigate transmission between individuals. We find that the frequency of word usage is inherited over conversations, rather than only the binary presence or absence of a word in a person’s lexicon. We propose a mechanism for transmission whereby for each word someone encounters there is a chance they will use it more often. Using this mechanism, we measure that, for one word in around every hundred a person encounters, they will use that word more frequently. As more commonly used words are encountered more often, this means that it is the frequencies of words which are copied.

{ Journal of the Royal Society Interface | Continue reading }

Every day, the same, again

2221.jpgA man who claims to be a time traveller has reportedly passed a lie-detector test while revealing weirdly specific things about the future

We remember a small proportion of our experiences as events. Are these events selected because they are useful and can be proven true, or rather because they are unexpected?

a group of neuroscientists report that they scanned the brains of people watching Memento in order to study memory processes

Spoilers don’t spoil stories. Contrary to popular wisdom, they actually seem to enhance enjoyment. [study]

Neurobiology of mobile-device habits stems from a healthy human need to socialize, rooted in evolution, McGill researchers find. Healthy urges can become unhealthy addictions.

Never drinkers and heavy drinkers had highest white matter lesion burden. Light to moderate drinking is associated with indices of better white matter health.

Health benefits of same-sex partnering are smaller than for opposite-sex coupling

We find that the LED streetlight program is associated with a lagged increase in breast cancer mortality

Dishonesty plays a large role in the economy. Causes for (dis)honest behavior seem to be based partially on external rewards, and partially on internal rewards. We propose and test a theory of self-concept maintenance that allows people to engage to some level in dishonest behavior, thereby benefiting from external benefits of dishonesty, while maintaining their positive view about themselves in terms of being honest individuals.

Contracts in all areas of business routinely include vague provisions. Parties often choose to define performance on the basis of terms such as “best efforts,” “good faith,” or “reasonable cause.” The widespread use of vague provisions places courts center stage. [PDF]

banks are so opaque that even insiders cannot see through the opacity when bad things happen + Are banks opaque? Evidence from insider trading

Stock market forces can be modeled with a quantum harmonic oscillator. By applying their model to seven years of data, researchers show that the quantum harmonic oscillator model outperforms other quantum models.

Zzyzx, California, Or the Biggest Health Spa Scam in American History

Even Jellyfish Sleep

A transcriber on the Isle of Man can decipher almost anything

Foot binding became popular as a means of displaying status (women from wealthy families, who did not need their feet to work, could afford to have them bound). Feet altered by binding were called lotus feet.

Stockholm, September 3, 1967, after Sweden changed from driving on the left-hand side of the road to driving on the right

“In its relentless effort to undermine this administration, the media has completely ignored the fact that Lake Huron and Lake Ontario were formed when the gigantic, thundering footfalls of the president made impressions in the ground during a stroll along the U.S.-Canada border,” said Huckabee Sanders

please join me at the funeral for art criticism

And call a spate a spate


{ Lufthansa introduced a new logo, identity, and livery designed in-house in collaboration with Munich-based Martin et Karczinski }

Dom Dom Dombdomb

I am Mr Trump’s longtime special counsel and I have proudly served in that role for more than a decade. In a private transaction in 2016, I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms Stephanie Clifford. [Note the ambiguous phrasing: “facilitate a payment.” This doesn’t necessarily mean Cohen ultimately funded the 130k payment to Clifford, just that he made it happen.] Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly. [The fact that the Trump Organization and campaign didn’t reimburse Cohen doesn’t mean that members of the Trump family or campaign (or indeed anyone else) didn’t reimburse him, or give him the funds before he made the payment.] The payment to Ms Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone. [Note that Cohen doesn’t say whether or not Trump knew about the payment.]

{ Michael Cohen, annotated by Quartz | Continue reading }

The Principle of Sufficient Reason is a powerful and controversial philosophical principle stipulating that everything must have a reason, cause, or ground


color carbro print { Paul Outerbridge, Hand, Shell, and Leg, 1938 | Carbro process }

‘A noir, E blanc, I rouge, U vert, O bleu’ –Arthur Rimbaud


Grapheme-color synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which viewing a grapheme elicits an additional, automatic, and consistent sensation of color.

Color-to-letter associations in synesthesia are interesting in their own right, but also offer an opportunity to examine relationships between visual, acoustic, and semantic aspects of language. […]

Numerous studies have reported that for English-speaking synesthetes, “A” tends to be colored red more often than predicted by chance, and several explanatory factors have been proposed that could explain this association.

Using a five-language dataset (native English, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean speakers), we compare the predictions made by each explanatory factor, and show that only an ordinal explanation makes consistent predictions across all five languages, suggesting that the English “A” is red because the first grapheme of a synesthete’s alphabet or syllabary tends to be associated with red.

We propose that the relationship between the first grapheme and the color red is an association between an unusually-distinct ordinal position (”first”) and an unusually-distinct color (red).

{ Cortex | Continue reading }

A Black, E white, I red, U green, O blue: vowels,
Someday I shall tell of your mysterious births

{ Arthur Rimbaud | Continue reading }

art { Roland Cat, The pupils of their eyes, 1985 }

And his derry’s own drawl and his corksown blather and his doubling stutter and his gullaway swank


Scotland’s Aldwych Café and Ice Cream Parlor is dishing up what they’ve deemed the world’s “most dangerous ice cream.”

You have to be 18 years or older just to get a taste. Even if you pass the adult test, you’ll still need to sign a waiver warning of the ice cream’s “risk of personal injury, illness, and possible loss of life.”

The makers of Respiro Del Diavolo – Italian for “Breath of the Devil” – claim the velvety red ice cream is 500 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. The Carolina Reaper pepper used comes in at a whopping 1,569,300 SHU on the Scoville scale.

{ IFL Science | Continue reading }

and the lellipos cream to her lippeleens and the pick of the paintbox for her pommettes

Those festivals ain’t my thing. Elon Musk keeps trying to get me to go to Burning Man. No thank you. […]

I used to date Ivanka, you know. […] Twelve years ago. Tommy Hilfiger, who was working with my daughter Kidada, said,“Ivanka wants to have dinner with you.” I said, “No problem. She’s a fine motherfucker.” She had the most beautiful legs I ever saw in my life. Wrong father, though.

{ Quincy Jones | Continue reading }

Saas and taas and specis bizaas


Normal consciousness relies, at least in part, on the brain’s Default Mode Network (DMN), according to neuroscientist Robin Carhart-Harris, head of psychedelic research in the brain sciences division of the Imperial College of London medical school. The DMN is a network of interacting brain regions that acts as a cognitive transit hub, integrating and assimilating information. As the name implies, it’s the usual system of organization for your mind. Carhart-Harris says the DMN “gives coherence to cognition” by connecting different regions of the brain, and is considered the “orchestrator of the self.”

Carhart-Harris and his colleagues found what seems to be an important function of the DMN inadvertently. While studying brain networks, they got curious about what changes might occur when people are under the effects of hallucinogens. In studies analyzing the effects of psilocybin on brain wave oscillation and blood flow, they found that when the DMN was inactive, an alternate network of consciousness seemed to arise.

When some study subjects tested psilocybin, they reported a strong sense of interconnectedness, as well as spiritual, magical, and supernatural feelings.

In the alternate mode, brains produced a different world that offered other sensations and realizations than in everyday life. In this mode, the self wasn’t the protagonist of the narrative. Meanwhile, scans of blood flow and brain wave oscillations showed new, unusual—but orderly and synchronous—connections forming between cortical regions, as if the brain was reorganizing its network. This led Carhart-Harris to posit that the DMN generates the feeling we each have that we’re individuals, a feeling that manifests very strongly as reality. And that means we can temporarily switch off, or mute, this part of the brain.

{ Quartz | Continue reading }

According to the famous work of Roger Sperry and Michael Gazzaniga, “split brain” patients seem to experience a split in consciousness: the left and the right side of their brain can independently become aware of, and respond, to stimuli. Split brain patients are those who underwent surgery to sever the corpus callosum, the nerve tract connecting the two hemispheres of the brain.

{ Neuroskeptic | Continue reading }

art { Leah Schrager }



There is no robust evidence of nonhuman suicides, notwithstanding countless opportunities for such self-killings, if they occurred, to be documented by the world’s farmers, animal breeders, naturalists, and scientists. We are left with anecdote and fable, including the scorpion’s self-sting, proffered by Peña-Guzmán as an example of animal suicide despite clear evidence that scorpions cannot sting themselves to death.

Scorpions are immune to their own venom, presumably because selection has eliminated the germ lines of scorpions that were not so protected. The ubiquity of such specific, self-preserving adaptations connects to a third, theoretical, problem with animal suicide: the absence of a coherent explanation as to how selection could favour and maintain such a capability. […]

Suicide is not observed in nonhumans for a straightforward evolutionary reason: any genes that permitted suicide would have been eliminated along with the suicides’ bodies. Any animal that, in the absence of restraints, was capable of escaping its pain and suffering by self- killing would be expected to seize the opportunity, because some pain is unavoidable in the Malthusian theatre in which selection plays out, and because pain is designed to motivate action to escape. A suicidal animal, if it appeared, would face a predictable and severe adaptive problem – the kind of problem that selection would expectably and powerfully have addressed in the evolutionary past.

The most parsimonious explanation for the apparent absence of suicide among younger children, the severely cognitively impaired, and nonhuman animals, is that these populations lack the cognitive wherewithal to conceive and enact it.

{ Animal Sentience | PDF }

acrylic on canvas { Olivier Mosset, Untitled, 1970 }