If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you

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Thirty-three brave volunteers took part in an experiment on the effects of psychedelic drugs on creativity. After passing rigorous medical screening, the volunteers were admitted to a specially prepared hospital room, where they were each given a 4-milligram dose of a synthetic hallucinogen.

Within 15 minutes or so, they began to feel the effects, including perceptual distortions, mood changes, and sometimes anxiety. Several participants reported changes in experience stronger than those previously seen in people after moderate or high doses of LSD and other psychedelics.

Finally, after three and a half hours, the experiment was over and the effects had worn off. The lead experimenter gathered the volunteers together and announced that the whole thing had been an elaborate fake. The pills they had taken were only placebos.

{ Discover | Continue reading }

image { Filming Apocalypse Now, 1976 }

Don’t touch your face. It’s exactly what will make you sick.

– To protect yourself, sanitize your hands immediately before eating and immediately after touching things touched by others to avoid getting viruses.

– To protect others, use clean hands to touch others’ things or when handling things to others.

– Sanitize objects given to you and only pass objects that have passed your own cleanliness test to others. For example, I have my hand sanitizer bottle open and ready to clean my credit card immediately after I get them back from cashiers, before I put it back in my wallet.

– Sanitize smooth surfaces you are going to touch directly with your hands (e.g. tables and chair edges, places where you set down your phone and computer). Use paper towels to turn off faucets and open bathroom doors.

– To keep the number of times I have to sanitize, I keep track of whether clean objects and hands stay clean. As long as my hands or my objects have not encountered unknown/dirty things after their last cleaning, they don’t need to be recleaned. This is why I suggest immediate sanitation of hands after touching things of unknown cleanliness, so you can resume using your clean things without worry.

– Sanitization can be done by soap and water (hands) or hand sanitizer (hands or objects) or windex (objects)

– Finally, if your hands are clean, you can touch your face.

[…]

– I’d suggest not eating prepared salads or sandwiches. There may be no evidence that these are risky, but I prefer my foods cooked anyway.

– Don’t share food, obviously.

– Go outside – sunlight is the best disinfectant.

[…]

– 50% of people with virus have no symptoms but will
become immune just like most infected people

– 95% don’t need to go to the hospital

{ Michael Lin, | Continue reading }

We need to stop picturing that ubiquitous “flatten the curve” chart and start imagining a roller coaster. […]

No one knows for sure how long social distancing will have to last to reduce the spread to near zero. But if South Korea and China are appropriate exemplars, we’ll need to stay apart now for at least eight weeks, and maybe more. China locked down Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province on Jan. 23. Today, provincial officials are reporting few or no new cases of the virus. Just a few days ago, they closed the last of their 16 makeshift emergency hospitals. Consequently, restrictions are easing. Schools and offices are slowly opening. People are beginning to go out and see other people. […]

A likely scenario is that there will be subsequent waves of the disease. […] The next round of social distancing will be activated more rapidly, because officials — and the public — will be more prepared. It should also be shorter, because we can assume that most of the people who were initially infected are likely to be immune next time around. But it will still disrupt people’s lives and the economy. We will still have canceled conferences and sporting events. People will not frequent restaurants and will not travel. The service industry will be severely curtailed. And it’s going to happen again and again.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

Countermeasures in Wuhan and elsewhere have already reduced the local R0 of COVID-19, with research suggesting the R0 was reduced all the way down to 0.32 in Wuhan in early February after extensive testing and containment measures. In Italy, which implemented aggressive countermeasures fairly late into their local epidemic, preliminary analysis suggests the R0 was reduced from 3 in late February to 1.7 in early March and the number of new cases has dramatically slowed down.

According to an analysis published in the Lancet, approximately 95% of the Wuhan population remained uninfected by the virus at the end of January, after the peak of their crisis, as a result of aggressive countermeasures. These data on their own indicate that herd immunity is not an inevitable outcome, nor is the possibility that up to 80% of the UK population will be infected within the next year.

{ Unherd | Continue reading }

Israeli Nobel Laureate Michael Levitt said most people are naturally immune, and that since the infection rate in China is slowing down, “the end of the pandemic is near.” […]

“The rate of infection of the virus in the Hubei province increased by 30% each day — that is a scary statistic. […] Had the growth continued at that rate, the whole world would have become infected within 90 days. […] In exponential growth models, you assume that new people can be infected every day, because you keep meeting new people. But, if you consider your own social circle, you basically meet the same people every day. You can meet new people on public transportation, for example; but even on the bus, after some time most passengers will either be infected or immune.”

[…]

The Diamond Princess cruise ship represented the worst-case scenario in terms of disease spread, as the close confines of the ship offered optimal conditions for the virus to be passed among those aboard. “Those are extremely comfortable conditions for the virus and still, only 20% were infected. It is a lot, but pretty similar to the infection rate of the common flu,” Levitt said. Based on those figures, his conclusion was that most people are simply naturally immune.

However, that doesn’t mean Levitt is dismissive of the precautions being put in place by governments around the world.

{ Jerusalem Post | Continue reading }

Researchers found that the novel coronavirus could be detected on

Copper for up to four hours
Cardboard for up to 24 hours
Plastic and stainless steel for up to two to three days.

Also, the coronavirus could linger in aerosols — the suspension of tiny particles or droplets in the air — for up to three hours.

{ NIH | Continue reading }

more:

Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1

Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases

COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv

‘everyone’s a hand-washing expert now’ –Tim Geoghegan

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ambigram { Scott Kim }

Every day, the same, again

441.jpgA scientific meeting on coronaviruses was cancelled due to coronavirus

Chinese criminal gangs are spreading swine fever using drones to force farmers to sell pigs cheaply so they can profit

Live Facial Recognition Is Coming to U.S. Police Body Cameras

Banjo is applying artificial intelligence to government-owned surveillance and traffic cameras across the entire state of Utah to tell police about “anomalies.”

This dissertation examines how first impressions influence decision-making, why people persistently rely on first impressions, and how the influence of first impressions can be reduced.

Tilting the face upward increased dominance and decreased physical attractiveness

Amazon is now selling its cashierless store technology to other retailers

Each year, about 15% of queries on Google have never been searched for before. Other search engines like Bing will not have the same access to these queries, putting Google in a powerful position of being able to better train its algorithms and provide more accurate search results than its rivals.

In addition to more than 2,200 law enforcement agencies, Clearview’s software had been sold to companies in 27 countries, including major U.S. retailers such as Macy’s, Walmart, and Best Buy.

Reduction of Facebook use increased life satisfaction, enhanced the level of physical activity, reduced depressive symptoms and smoking behavior

Delayed negative effects of prosocial spending [donation] on happiness

This review provides time-dose and activity-type evidence for programs looking to use time in nature as a preventative measure for stress and mental health strain

The present study examines the differences between users and non-users of mobile-based dating applications, along with individual user experiences.

the majority of popular films—including films aimed toward children—have at least one torture scene

Dogs poop in alignment with Earth’s magnetic field, study finds

You can breathe in harmful chemicals from tobacco use even in non-smoking venues because they are carried on smokers’ bodies and clothes.

Consumers seem unable to identify their preferred lager beer in a blind taste.

Color preference in the insane: In every group of hospital patients examined blue was found to be the most pleasing color. Green was a distant second and red a close third, with violet, yellow and orange fourth, fifth and sixth.

How Mount Everest became a multimillion-dollar business

For nearly two decades leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence Benjamin Franklin lived in London in a house at 36 Craven Street. In 1776, Franklin left his English home to come back to America. More than 200 years later, 15 bodies were found in the basement, buried in a secret, windowless room beneath the garden.

The User Interface Design Process

A prototype of the Nintendo Play Station, a console that never came to market, fetched $360,000 at an auction

The Go Bag

Stink gripped his trembling breath: pungent meatjuice, slush of greens. See the animals feed. Men, men, men.

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All primates, including humans, engage in self-face-touching at very high frequency. The functional purpose or antecedents of this behaviour remain unclear. In this hybrid review we put forth the hypothesis that self-face-touching subserves self-smelling. […] Although we speculate that self-smelling through self-face-touching is largely an unconscious act, we note that in addition, humans also consciously smell themselves at high frequency.

{ PsyArXiv | Continue reading }

photo { Olivia Locher }

Was his help inshored in the Stork and Pelican against bungelars, flu and third risk parties?

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We can expect that we’ll continue to see a doubling of cases every 6 days (this is a typical doubling time across several epidemiological studies). Here I mean *actual* cases. Confirmed cases may appear to rise faster in the short term due to new test kit rollouts. We’re looking at about 1M US cases by the end of April, 2M by ~May 5, 4M by ~May 11, and so on. Exponentials are hard to grasp, but this is how they go. As the healthcare system begins to saturate under this case load, it will become increasingly hard to detect, track, and contain new transmission chains. In absence of extreme interventions, this likely won’t slow significantly until hitting >>1% of susceptible population. […]

The US has about 2.8 hospital beds per 1000 people. With a population of 330M, this is ~1M beds. At any given time, 65% of those beds are already occupied. That leaves about 330k beds available nationwide (perhaps a bit fewer this time of year with regular flu season, etc). Let’s trust Italy’s numbers and assume that about 10% of cases are serious enough to require hospitalization. (Keep in mind that for many patients, hospitalization lasts for *weeks* — in other words, turnover will be *very* slow as beds fill with COVID19 patients). By this estimate, by about May 8th, all open hospital beds in the US will be filled. (This says nothing, of course, about whether these beds are suitable for isolation of patients with a highly infectious virus.) […]

[T]he doubling time will start to slow once a sizable fraction of the population has been infected, simply because of herd immunity and a smaller susceptible population.

{ Liz Specht | Continue reading }

The median incubation period was estimated to be 5.1 days, and 97.5% of those who develop symptoms will do so within 11.5 days of infection.

{ Annals of Internal Medicine | Continue reading }

related { How the drug industry got its way on the coronavirus }

photo { President Xi Jinping of China, right, was briefed at the Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan on Tuesday. The hospital was built in a matter of days in February to treat coronavirus victims. | NY Times }

Mon cœur pareil à une flamme renversée

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If you can smell what someone had for lunch — garlic, curry, etc. — you are inhaling what they are breathing out, including any virus in their breath. […]

After numerous people who attended a Buddhist temple in Hong Kong fell ill, the city’s Center for Health Protection collected samples from the site. Restroom faucets and the cloth covers over Buddhist texts tested positive for coronavirus, the agency said. […]

A study of other coronaviruses found they remained on metal, glass and plastic for two hours to nine days.

Whether a surface looks dirty or clean is irrelevant. If an infected person sneezed and a droplet landed on a surface, a person who then touches that surface could pick it up. How much is required to infect a person is unclear.

Coronaviruses are relatively easy to destroy, Professor Whittaker said. Using a simple disinfectant on a surface is nearly guaranteed to break the delicate envelope that surrounds the tiny microbe, rendering it harmless.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

photo { Franco Fontana, Houston People, 1985 }

Every day, the same, again

5.jpgIndonesia official says ’strong sperm’ can impregnate women in swimming pool

Mastercard is pioneering new payment technology that identifies commuters by the way they walk

Study finds parrots weigh up probabilities to make decisions

There is evidence that the spring Daylight Saving Time transition acutely increases motor vehicle accident risk

How artificial shrimps could change the world (a kilo of farmed shrimp is responsible for almost four times the greenhouse-gas emissions of a kilo of beef, study)

Does tapping beer cans prevent beer loss? A randomised controlled trial

People are turning to YouTube and Facebook to learn how to do DIY fecal transplants

About 40% of US adults are obese, government survey finds

A quarter of all tweets about climate crisis produced by bots

This phone uses AI to block you taking naked selfies

“Instead of using a short, complex password that is hard to remember, consider using a longer passphrase,” the FBI said. “The extra length of a passphrase makes it harder to crack while also making it easier for you to remember.”

The Effect of Country Music on Suicide

The Shell oil and gas company invited me to London to advise them on millennials and climate change but they didn’t think they needed to get me to sign an NDA. Whoops!

Secret passage dating to 1660 is found inside U.K. parliament. An exclusive walkway once used by royalty was rediscovered inside the landmark building, along with some graffiti from Victorian laborers. [NY Times]

The National Radio Quiet Zone (NRQZ) is a large area in which radio transmissions are heavily restricted by law to facilitate scientific research and the gathering of military intelligence.

The vast majority of light pollution is from cities: street lights, industrial zones, parking lots. But sometimes, it’s from something else.

There’s a reason so many memories with computers are blue

Sun Dayong designs wearable shield to protect against coronavirus outbreaks After an epidemic is contained, he thinks the bat-like shields could be upgraded with Google Glass technology, or simply be used as a “unique private mobile space for people.”

The Homeric Question

Kazuhisa Hashimoto, Creator Of Famous ‘Konami Code’ Gaming Cheat, Dies

Types of interchanges and their efficiency ratings.

For Decades, Cartographers Have Been Hiding Covert Illustrations Inside of Switzerland’s Official Maps reading

New Magic Wand

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{ Ormond Gigli, Girls in the Windows, New York, 1960 |Jean-Paul Goude, Chanel Egoiste commercial, 1990 }

Prepare for self-quarantine

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Most estimates suggest 80% of COVID-19 cases are mild and feel roughly like a flu. Estimates I have seen suggest that roughly 10-15% of cases will be more significant and may necessitate hospital visits (see also) with 1-3% potentially needing an ICU. The concern of many governments is the peak number of cases that occur in a given moment. […]

The reported death rate has hovered around 2% but may in reality be 0.2% to 1% depending on country and healthcare system. Many estimates tend to indicate an overall expected mortality rate of ~0.5% globally. The current existing fatality rate is biased upwards by Wuhan cases dominating the mix (which are closer to a 3-4% death rate and make up most cases). It is possible the virus is being undertested for in China / rest of world driving the real death rate down (as many more people are infected than is reported). […]

R0 value: The spread rate of the virus seems to be well over 2 and likely ~3. This means for every person infected at least 2 to 3 more get the disease.

{ EladGil | Continue reading }

Experts think there may be many people with no symptoms at all, or such mild ones that they never bother to seek medical attention. Because those cases have not been counted, it’s not possible now to know the real proportion of mild versus severe cases. […]

After viral infections, people generally develop antibodies in their blood that will fight off the virus and protect them from contracting it again. It’s reasonable to assume that people who have had the new coronavirus will become immune to it.

But it is not known how long that immunity will last. With other coronaviruses, which cause the common cold, immunity can wane.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

The best estimates so far suggest that Covid-19 kills about 1% of people it infects. That number may go up somewhat or fall significantly; either way it could add up to a dreadful toll.

If 60% of the world’s population is ultimately infected, as suggested by Gabriel Leung, chair of public health medicine at Hong Kong University, a 1% fatality rate would kill almost 50 million people — similar to the 1918 Spanish flu. If that falls to 0.1%, it could still be roughly 10 times more fatal than the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak, which killed several hundred thousand in its first year. […]

The most severe period of initial infection could soon be fading. Respiratory diseases flourish in the cold season and taper off as the weather warms up. That should cause infection rates to slow in the northern hemisphere, while continuing at a lower level in tropical regions and spiking in temperate parts of the southern hemisphere where winter will be setting in. When a new year rolls around, the bulk of the disease will shift back to the northern hemisphere, to begin the cycle again.

Subsequent Covid-19 seasons probably won’t be as serious. Those who survive viruses should be immune from reinfection (though there have been reports of people being diagnosed with Covid-19 for a second time), and as the share of survivors in the population rises, it gets harder for a disease to spread. […]

In a best-case scenario, it’s even possible that vaccines may be available in not much more than a year.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

The only path to flattening the curve for COVID-19 is community-wide isolation: the more people stay home, the fewer people will catch the disease. The fewer people who catch the disease, the better hospitals can help those who do. […]

Get a flu shot, if you haven’t already, and stock up supplies at home so that you can stay home for two or three weeks, going out as little as possible. […] Here’s a handy, one-page guide on what you need.

{ Scientific American | Continue reading }

related { CoronaCoin: crypto developers seize on coronavirus for new, morbid token }

Rock, get up, get down, miuzi weighs a ton

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Enter Spotify, a platform that is definitely not the answer. In fact, it only exacerbates such conundrums. Yet for now it has manipulated the vast majority of music industry “players” into regarding it as a saving grace. As the world’s largest streaming music company, its network of paying subscribers has risen sharply in recent years, from five million paid subscribers in 2012 to more than sixty million in 2017. Indeed, the platform has now convinced a critical mass that paying $9.99 per month for access to thirty million songs is a solid, even virtuous idea. Every song in the world for less than your shitty airport meal. What could go wrong? […]

Indeed, Spotify’s obsession with mood and activity-based playlists has contributed to all music becoming more like Muzak, a brand that created, programmed, and licensed songs for retail stores throughout the twentieth century. In the 1930s, the company prioritized workplace soundtracks that were meant to heighten productivity, using research to evaluate what listeners responded to most. […]

Spotify playlists work to attract brands and advertisers of all types to the platform. […] We should call this what it is: the automation of selling out. Only it subtracts the part where artists get paid.

{ The Baffler (2017) | Continue reading | Thanks Tim }

The trick is, you use the truth when you wanna tell a lie

{ Thanks Thomas! }