‘Get ready, little lady. Hell is coming to breakfast.’ –The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

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Two studies done at the University of Minnesota Medical School and published in the early 1980’s measured the intensity, frequency, and durations of pelvic muscle contractions (measured with a pressure sensitive anal probe) of males and females during masturbation. There was basically no difference in the pattern of these contractions between males and females. […] A study done at Stanford University in 1994 found no significant gender differences in observed increases in heart rate, blood pressure, oxytocin, and anal contractions during orgasm.

{ Psychology Today | Continue reading }

The refractory period is the recovery phase after orgasm during which it is physiologically impossible for a man to have additional orgasms. This phase begins immediately after ejaculation. […] Although it is generally reported that women do not experience a refractory period and can thus experience an additional orgasm (or multiple orgasms) soon after the first one, some sources state that […] women may also experience a moment after orgasm in which further sexual stimulation does not produce excitement. […] clitoral hypersensitivity after orgasm can effectively create a refractory period. these women may be capable of further orgasms, but the pain involved in getting there makes the prospect undesirable. […]

the refractory period varies widely among individuals, ranging from minutes to days […] According to some studies, 18-year-old males have a refractory period of about 15 minutes, while those in their 70s take about 20 hours, with the average for all men being about half an hour. Although rarer, some males exhibit no refractory period or a refractory period lasting less than 10 seconds. […]

An increased infusion of the hormone oxytocin during ejaculation is believed to be chiefly responsible for the male refractory period, and the amount by which oxytocin is increased may affect the length of each refractory period. Another chemical which is considered to be responsible for the male refractory period is prolactin, which is repressed by dopamine, and is responsible for sexual arousal. […]

One alternative theory explains the male refractory period in terms of a peripheral autonomic feedback mechanism, rather than through central chemicals like oxytocin, serotonin, and prolactin. Autonomic feedback is already known to regulate other physiologic systems, such as breathing, blood pressure, and gut motility. This theory suggests that after male ejaculation, decreased wall tension in structures such as the seminal vesicles leads to a change in the fine autonomic signals sent from these organs, effectively creating a negative feedback loop. Such a mechanism is similar to decreased gastric and bowel motility once gastric contents have passed through. Once the feedback loop has been created, the refractory period remains until the loop is broken through restoration of the wall tension in the seminal vesicles. As men age, the time to restore tension in the seminal vesicles increases.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

‘I fought the second law of thermodynamics and the second law won.’ –Neuroskeptic

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{ International Hairdressing Awards® 2020 }

‘A lie never lives to be old.’ —Sophocles

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Senior campaign and GOP officials vented that Trump’s finance team, led by former Fox TV host and Donald Trump Jr. girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, underperformed and was an HR nightmare. Trump couldn’t compete with Biden’s small-dollar fundraising machine, and some donors were horrified by what they described as Guilfoyle’s lack of professionalism: She frequently joked about her sex life and, at one fundraiser, offered a lap dance to the donor who gave the most money.

{ Politico | Continue reading }

previously { Dear 45, I ain’t Kanye }

related { To the other educational benefits of Rudy Giuliani’s recent press conference in the parking lot of Four Seasons Total Landscaping, we can add the opportunity to learn about Hazard Communications (HazCom) signage | Language Log | full sotry }

and { “A lawsuit without provable facts showing a statutory or constitutional violation is just a tweet with a filing fee” }

image { Trump campaign dismissing its own appeal from the Nevada Supreme Court }

every day, the same, again

hieronymus_bosch.jpg The eerie AI world of deepfake music — Artificial intelligence is being used to create new songs seemingly performed by Frank Sinatra and other dead stars.

Florida man invented a robot that inserts and removes contact lenses

About 42% of 720 million Amazon reviews may be fake reviews

Duration of urination does not change with body size

Four different types of positive tears — Achievement tears are often shed in contexts of extraordinary performance or when someone overcomes an obstacle and often include feelings of pride. Beauty tears occur commonly in situations of overwhelming elegance or beauty, including nature, music or visual arts, and feature feelings of awe or experiencing chills. Affectionate tears are often experienced in situations including unexpected kindness or exceptional love such as wedding ceremonies or reunions and often feature feelings of warmth, increased communality, and feeling touched or compassionate. Finally, amusement tears are shed when something especially funny occurs and include feelings of amusement or lightness and the inclination to laugh or giggle.

How many colors are there? Quoted numbers range from ten million to a dozen. Are colors object properties? Opinions range all the way from of course they are to no, colors are just mental paint. These questions are ill-posed. […] A valid question that may replace both is how many distinguishing signs does color vision offer in the hominin Umwelt? [The umwelt theory states that the mind and the world are inseparable] The answer turns out to be about a thousand. The reason is that colors are formally not object properties but pragmatically are useful distinguishing signs.

We did not find any evidence of influence of alcohol consumption on changes in brain volume over a 2-year period in 40–60-year-olds

Losing nothing is better than gaining nothing

How the White House will hand over social media accounts to President Trump [2017]

What Would We Experience If Earth Spontaneously Turned Into A Black Hole? — We’d all die. But for 21 minutes, we’d have the ride of a lifetime

Mahadevan, professor of applied mathematics, physics, and organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University, uses mathematics and physics to explore commonplace phenomena

here are some of the things I learned during the 10 minutes or so I was editor of Los Angeles magazine

China’s New Blockchain Internet

Zoom lied to users about end-to-end encryption for years, FTC says

Portland’s iconic Powell’s Books is selling a book-scented unisex fragrance

How to Make the World’s Best Paper Airplane [video]

Horror Musical Instrument

Dangerous stairs (NY Subway, 36 Street Station)

Since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct…

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On planet K2-141b, hundreds of light-years away, oceans are made of molten lava, winds reach supersonic speeds and rain is made of rocks. Scientists have referred to the bizarre, hellish exoplanet as one of the most “extreme” ever discovered. 

Scientists have uncovered details of one of the newest “lava planets” — a world that so closely orbits its host star that much of it is composed of flowing lava oceans. […]

The Earth-sized exoplanet appears to have a surface, ocean and atmosphere all made of the same ingredients: rocks. […]

While analyzing the planet’s illumination pattern, scientists found that about two-thirds of the planet experiences perpetual daylight. K2-141b’s close proximity to its star gravitationally locks it in place — meaning the same side always faces the star.

This scorching hot part of the planet reaches temperatures of over 5,400 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s hot enough to not only melt rocks, but also vaporize them, creating a thin, inhospitable atmosphere.

The rest of the planet is cloaked in never-ending darkness, reaching frigid temperatures of negative 328 degrees Fahrenheit.

In Earth’s water cycle, water evaporates, rises up into the atmosphere, condenses, and returns to the surface as rain. Now imagine that process, but instead of water, K2-141b only has rocks to work with.

{ CBS | Continue reading }

screenprint { Bridget Riley, Composition with Circles 2 (Schubert 46), 2001 }

previously { Is Heaven hotter than Hell? }

here for years

scientist and physician Eric Topol says the early results about the new COVID vaccine really are a ray of hope. He believes it might even be a so-called “superhuman vaccine… meaning it’s even more powerful than the typical human response. […] the vaccines, when we talk about 90 percent efficacy, that’s against pneumonia or getting your body infected with illness, it doesn’t sterilize the upper respiratory tract. That is the nose. And so you could be a carrier of the virus. You’re going to have to wear a mask because you won’t know if the virus is sitting” in your nose. […] We could see the virus having a hard time finding people to infect by mid-year [but] it’ll be here for years.”

As promising as the [BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine] announcement sounded, a critical question wasn’t answered: Does the vaccine prevent people from getting the infection and spreading it to others, or merely prevent symptoms? […] Another unanswered question is whether it will be possible to continue clinical trials of other vaccines. And if one later proves better than the front-runner, will it be safe to use it on people who’ve already had a vaccine with more modest benefits? What Happens to the Other Vaccines Now?

BioNTech, a small German company working on mRNA vaccines to treat cancer, designed the COVID-19 vaccine and then partnered with Pfizer.

RNA vaccines: an introduction

Covid Superspreader Risk Is Linked to Restaurants, Gyms, Hotels — according to a study that used mobile phone data from 98 million people

I am an imaging cardiologist who is developing diagnostic techniques to assess changes in heart muscle function in patients with COVID-19. In a study released Nov. 4, my colleagues and I found evidence of heart abnormalities in over one-third of student athletes who tested positive for COVID-19 [The Conversation]

One in 5 COVID-19 patients develop mental illness within 90 days - study

“Social distancing and mask wearing to reduce the spread of COVID-19 have also protected against many other diseases…But susceptibility to those other diseases could be increasing, resulting in large outbreaks when masking and distancing stop.”

A nasal spray that blocks the absorption of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has completely protected ferrets it was tested on, according to a small study released on Thursday by an international team of scientists. The study, which was limited to animals and has not yet been peer-reviewed, was assessed by several health experts at the request of The New York Times. If the spray, which the scientists described as nontoxic and stable, is proved to work in humans, it could provide a new way of fighting the pandemic. A daily spritz up the nose would act like a vaccine. […] The spray attacks the virus directly. It contains a lipopeptide, a cholesterol particle linked to a chain of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. This particular lipopeptide exactly matches a stretch of amino acids in the spike protein of the virus, which the pathogen uses to attach to a human airway or lung cell. Before a virus can inject its RNA into a cell, the spike must effectively unzip, exposing two chains of amino acids, in order to fuse to the cell wall. As the spike zips back up to complete the process, the lipopeptide in the spray inserts itself, latching on to one of the spike’s amino acid chains and preventing the virus from attaching. [NY Times]

‘The Trump government in exile has established a foothold at Four Seasons Total Landscape and will begin exchanging ambassadors on Monday.’ –Jack Shafer

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On November 8, 1932, Americans decisively rejected Herbert Hoover’s leadership; he lost the popular vote by 17 percent and the Electoral College by 472 to 59. Franklin Roosevelt won an overwhelming victory, promising hope and government assistance for those in need. […]

Despite his defeat, Hoover was unrepentant, and doubled down on the very actions that voters had rejected. He used the long period between the election and the March 4 inauguration to sow discord, undermine the economy, and constrain his successor’s options. Hoover even pressured Roosevelt to abandon his campaign promises and sign on to his own failed policies. […]

The Twentieth Amendment, ratified in 1933, moved the presidential inauguration to January 20, where it remains.

{ The Bulwark | Continue reading }

related { Trump Team Holds News Conference Outside Drab Landscaping Firm, Next to Adult Book Store [and Crematorium] | More }

Every day, the same, again

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Man shot in Russia in argument over Kant

Therapy patients blackmailed for cash after clinic data breach

researchers show that the body produces more stress hormones when people are repeatedly interrupted at work. And yet the subjects did not experience an equal rise in their consciously perceived sense of psychological stress.

People spontaneously judge others’ personality based on their facial appearance and these impressions guide many important decisions. Our findings consistently suggest that people show neither accuracy nor meta-accuracy when forming face-based personality impressions.

Commercial Features of Placebo and Therapeutic Efficacy — It is possible that the therapeutic efficacy of medications is affected by commercial features such as lower prices.

Does divorce change your personality? (the overall finding of this study suggests that experiencing a divorce is unlikely to lead to permanent personality change)

A pilot project using sniffer dogs to provide instant and pain-free coronavirus testing at Helsinki airport has shown promising early results

Slovakia managed to test more than 3.6 million people — two thirds of its population — in just two days […] Just over 1% of those taking part tested positive […] Those who tested negative no longer have to comply with the strictest restrictions as long as they can prove their negative status with an official certificate. People who tested positive now have to quarantine — either at home, or in one of dozens of designated hotels across the country. […] effective mass testing could be used in the long term as an alternative to lockdown to control the spread of disease.

Hong Kong will relax social-distancing measures on [Oct 30], with six people allowed to be seated at a restaurant table, up from four, while the size limit for groups in bars and pubs will rise from two to four. In a move to take effect in time for the weekend, dine-in services will also be permitted until 2am, an extension from midnight. But customers must wear a mask when not seated and are not allowed to eat or drink away from their table. [South China Morning Post]

Venice tests long-delayed flood barrier months after waters swamped city And Flood defences save Venice from second high tide More: the flood of 1966 - the water would have reached 230 cms over the average sea level.

Don’t Even Try Paying Cash in China — Most businesses there, from the fanciest hotels to roadside fruit stands, display a QR code — a type of bar code — that people scan with a smartphone camera to pay with China’s dominant digital payment apps, Alipay and WeChat. Paying by app is so much the norm that taxi drivers might curse at you for handing them cash. [NY Times]

Inside eBay’s Cockroach Cult: The Ghastly Story of a Stalking Scandal [NY Times]

Blacklight, a tool to see how the websites you visit are tracking you

These drones will plant 40,000 trees in a month. By 2028, they’ll have planted 1 billion

Is It Better to Plant Trees or Let Forests Regrow Naturally?

Why Tunnels in The US Cost Much More Than Anywhere Else in The World

This is an experiment about how we view history

The 15 weirdest works of classical music (#10 - My Lord Chamberlain is a duet for two lutenists, but just one lute.)

This testimony presents definitive logic and extensive evidence to support The Claim by Jesus Christ that Jesus Is Son of GOD rather than GOD.

Silent Sleep Training Medical Didgeridoo — the solution for sleep apnea and snoring

Tree growing under the paint on a sign

‘None of us is perfect.’ –Brett Kavanaugh

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1. Fat is removed from the hips, lower back, thighs, abdomen, and/or other areas with liposuction

2. The extracted fat is purified and prepared for transfer

3. The cosmetic surgeon injects fat into specific points on the buttocks to increase volume and improve shape

[…]

you will not be allowed to sit or lie directly on your buttocks for about 2 weeks

{ ABCS / Brazilian butt lift | Continue reading }

‘Can we survive technology?’ –John von Neumann

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John von Neumann (1903 – 1957) was a Hungarian-American mathematician, physicist, computer scientist, engineer and polymath. Von Neumann was generally regarded as the foremost mathematician of his time. He integrated pure and applied sciences.

Von Neumann made major contributions to many fields, including mathematics (foundations of mathematics, functional analysis, ergodic theory, representation theory, operator algebras, geometry, topology, and numerical analysis), physics (quantum mechanics, hydrodynamics, and quantum statistical mechanics), economics (game theory), computing (Von Neumann architecture, linear programming, self-replicating machines, stochastic computing), and statistics. […]

He first proposed a quantum logic in 1932 […] He founded the field of game theory as a mathematical discipline. […] His analysis of the structure of self-replication preceded the discovery of the structure of DNA. […] He made fundamental contributions to mathematical statistics and in the field of fluid dynamics. […] He was a founding figure in computing. […] Beginning in 1949, von Neumann’s design for a self-reproducing computer program is considered the world’s first computer virus, and he is considered to be the theoretical father of computer virology. […] Von Neumann and his appointed assistant on this project, Jule Gregory Charney, wrote the world’s first climate modelling software, and used it to perform the world’s first numerical weather forecasts. […] The first use of the concept of a singularity in the technological context is attributed to von Neumann. […]

Beginning in the late 1930s, von Neumann developed an expertise in explosions—phenomena that are difficult to model mathematically. During this period, von Neumann was the leading authority of the mathematics of shaped charges. This led to his involvement in the Manhattan Project. […] He made his principal contribution to the atomic bomb in the concept and design of the explosive lenses that were needed to compress the plutonium core of the Fat Man weapon that was later dropped on Nagasaki. […] As a Hungarian émigré, concerned that the Soviets would achieve nuclear superiority, he designed and promoted the policy of mutually assured destruction to limit the arms race. […]

Von Neumann was a child prodigy. When he was six years old, he could divide two eight-digit numbers in his head and could converse in Ancient Greek. When the six-year-old von Neumann caught his mother staring aimlessly, he asked her, “What are you calculating?” […]

Nobel Laureate Hans Bethe said “I have sometimes wondered whether a brain like von Neumann’s does not indicate a species superior to that of man”, and later Bethe wrote that “[von Neumann’s] brain indicated a new species, an evolution beyond man”. [… Israel Halperin said: “Keeping up with him was … impossible. The feeling was you were on a tricycle chasing a racing car.” […]

Von Neumann was also noted for his eidetic memory (sometimes called photographic memory). […] “He was able on once reading a book or article to quote it back verbatim; moreover, he could do it years later without hesitation. He could also translate it at no diminution in speed from its original language into English.”

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

oil on canvas { Gustave Caillebotte, Un balcon, boulevard Haussmann, 1888 }

In tomorrow’s episode

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There are COVID-19 incidents in which a single person likely infected 80 percent or more of the people in the room in just a few hours. But, at other times, COVID-19 can be surprisingly much less contagious. Overdispersion and super-spreading of this virus are found in research across the globe. A growing number of studies estimate that a majority of infected people may not infect a single other person. A recent paper found that in Hong Kong, which had extensive testing and contact tracing, about 19 percent of cases were responsible for 80 percent of transmission, while 69 percent of cases did not infect another person. This finding is not rare: Multiple studies from the beginning have suggested that as few as 10 to 20 percent of infected people may be responsible for as much as 80 to 90 percent of transmission, and that many people barely transmit it.

{ The Atlantic | Continue reading | more on the k factor }

In late February, drug company Biogen held its annual conference in Boston. The United States had fewer than 20 known COVID-19 cases at the time. But one of the roughly 200 attendees must have carried the virus. It triggered a big outbreak. At least 97 people who attended the conference, or lived in a household with someone who did, tested positive. The Biogen meeting had become a superspreading event. Eventually, the virus spread from the meeting across Massachusetts and to other states. A recent study estimates it led to tens of thousands of cases in the Boston area alone. […]

A study from India published in Science last month concluded that 8% of infected people caused 60% of the secondary cases; 70% of people did not pass the virus on to anyone else.

{ Science | Continue reading }

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A well-fitting N95 is the gold standard, but don’t worry if you can’t get your hands on one. When everyone wears a mask, the combined filtration efficiency increases. | NY Times | full story }

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{ A room, a bar and a classroom: how the coronavirus is spread through the air | El Pais | full story }

to date, none of the vaccines being developed for the U.S. market has been proven to be effective in preventing Covid-19 disease.

{ STAT | Continue reading }

and { Taiwan marks 200 days without domestic Covid-19 infection }

photo { Christopher Hainey }

‘Science does not think.’ —Heidegger

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Can lab-grown brains become conscious?

These tiny structures, known as brain organoids, are grown from human stem cells and have become a familiar fixture in many labs that study the properties of the brain. Muotri, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), has found some unusual ways to deploy his. He has connected organoids to walking robots, modified their genomes with Neanderthal genes, launched them into orbit aboard the International Space Station, and used them as models to develop more human-like artificial-intelligence systems. Like many scientists, Muotri has temporarily pivoted to studying COVID-19, using brain organoids to test how drugs perform against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

But one experiment has drawn more scrutiny than the others. In August 2019, Muotri’s group published a paper in Cell Stem Cell reporting the creation of human brain organoids that produced coordinated waves of activity, resembling those seen in premature babies1. The waves continued for months before the team shut the experiment down. […]

The concerns over lab-grown brains have also highlighted a blind spot: neuroscientists have no agreed way to define and measure consciousness. Without a working definition, ethicists worry that it will be impossible to stop an experiment before it crosses a line.

{ Nature | Continue reading }