Every day, the same, again

Too Many Scientific Studies, Study Finds

Using a Foreskin to Repair Eyelids

Scientists discover how to change human leukemia cells into harmless immune cells

Homeopathy not effective for treating any condition

A few people become inebriated simply by eating carbohydrates

The origin of the anus

The effects of being in a “new relationship” on levels of testosterone in men [PDF]

5 Languages That Could Change the Way You See the World

Plastics designed to degrade don’t break down any faster than their conventional counterparts, according to research

Passports for a Price: The Business Showing Poor Countries How to Sell Citizenship

Construction of airports is proceeding at a blistering pace in China

Hertz puts cameras in its rental cars, says it has no plans to use them

In 2009, a man calling himself Peter Bergmann arrived in an Irish town with a plan to disappear forever

How To Break Free If Your Hands Are Bound With Duct Tape

Koi fish play in fish tank

Tinder Users at SXSW Are Falling for This Woman, but She’s Not What She Appears

Things Bodies Can Do After Death [Thanks Nathan]

DNA-based prediction of Nietzsche’s voice

Oculus Rex

Miss Kennedy with manners transposed the teatray down to an upturned lithia crate, safe from eyes, low.

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‘Brand ambassador grabbed my ass! Then found a QR code coupon for a butt firming cream there. Pulled muscle trying to scan it #sxsw’ —Tim Geoghegan

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‘Humility is pain arising from a person’s contemplation of their own impotence.’ —Spinoza

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Over a decade ago, psychologist Barry Schwartz published what might be the ultimate psychological life-hacking tome, The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less. […]

If you ever aren’t sure if you attended the very best party or bought the very best computer, just settle for “good enough.” People who do this are called “satisficers,” and they’re consistently happier, he’s found, than are “maximizers,” people who feel that they must choose the very best possible option. Maximizers earn more, Schwartz has found, but they’re also less satisfied with their jobs. In fact, they’re more likely to be clinically depressed in general.

The reason this happens, as Schwartz explained in a paper with his Swarthmore colleague Andrew Ward, is that as life circumstances improve, expectations rise. People begin comparing their experiences to peers who are doing better, or to past experiences they’ve personally had that were better. […]

Schwartz’ solution […] just settle for something that’s acceptable—even if you know there’s likely something better out there.

{ The Atlantic | Continue reading }

photo { Jeff Mermelstein, New York City, c. 1993-1997 }

The letter R is also just a loop with two legs. Hence, the letters A and R are homeomorphic.

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Snapchat, the photo-messaging app raising cash at a $15 billion valuation, probably isn’t actually worth more than Clorox or Campbell Soup. So where did investors come up with that enormous headline number?

Here’s the secret to how Silicon Valley calculates the value of its hottest companies: The numbers are sort of made-up. For the most mature startups, investors agree to grant higher valuations, which help the companies with recruitment and building credibility, in exchange for guarantees that they’ll get their money back first if the company goes public or sells. They can also negotiate to receive additional free shares if a subsequent round’s valuation is less favorable. Interviews with more than a dozen founders, venture capitalists, and the attorneys who draw up investment contracts reveal the most common financial provisions used in private-market technology deals today. […]

Billion-dollar companies join a club of “unicorns,” a term used to explain how rare they are. But there are more than 50 of them now. There’s a new buzzword, “decacorn,” for those over $10 billion, which includes Airbnb, Dropbox, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Uber. It’s a made-up word based on a creature that doesn’t exist.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

On the impossibility of drawing a map of the empire on a scale of 1 to 1

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‘It is one thing to show a man that he is in error, and another to put him in possession of the truth.’ –Locke

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For two years the researchers tracked transactions at a supermarket in America. Perhaps unsurprisingly, shoppers who brought their own bags bought more green products than those who used the store’s bags. But the eco-shoppers were also more likely to buy sweets, ice cream and crisps. Psychologists call this sort of behaviour “moral licensing”: the tendency to indulge yourself for doing something virtuous. […]

A study from 2011 on water-conservation in Massachusetts shows how. In the experiment, some 150 apartments were divided into two groups. Half received water-saving tips and weekly estimates of their usage; the other half served as a control. The households that were urged to use less water did so: their consumption fell by an average of 6% compared with the control group. The hitch was that their electricity consumption rose by 5.6%. The moral licensing was so strong, in other words, that it more or less outweighed the original act of virtue.

{ The Economist | Continue reading }

art { Malcolm Levy }

‘Why are there beings at all, and why not rather nothing?’ –Heidegger

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Imagine a virus wipes out everyone on the planet except [a man]. […] He finds the last woman on Earth. […] Can they repopulate the Earth? To do so, their children would have to mate with one another, or mom and dad, in order to rebuild the human race. All the incestuous taboos aside, is this even genetically possible?

Inbreeding has unfortunate genetic consequences due to the increased inheritance of recessive genes, which can result in neonatal death. Inbred children that survive are at increased risk of congenital birth defects, reduced fertility, smaller size, immune deficiencies, cystic fibrosis, and more. These defects are also likely to be passed on to their children as well. […]

Some real-life examples of the consequences of inbreeding can be found in places where there are restricted breeding opportunities — for example, within monarchies, islanders, or closed societies. Hemophilia was notoriously prevalent in European royal families. Some Amish societies have a larger number of children born with extra digits on their hands or feet. Jews of Eastern European descent tend to have higher rates of a number of genetic diseases, including cystic fibrosis. […]

The net result of inbreeding is that the resulting population loses a diverse genetic portfolio, which means they are less resistant to rare diseases and deformities. The smaller the gene pool, the faster it gets dirty. Such individuals would also have less diverse immune systems, making it much easier for a single germ to wipe them all out. […]

In addition to the genetic landmines, the family would likely have a very difficult time overcoming the innate resistance most species have against inbreeding. Evolution knows that inbreeding is not good for the species, so it engineered a built-in “incest taboo” that creates a strong aversion to such behavior. A devil’s advocate, however, could argue that the biological barrier to familial sex could be overcome through artificial insemination.

What about using a sperm bank? Sperm is stored in liquid nitrogen, so it would stay frozen for a short time after the power goes out. However, you’d have to act fast because no one is around to monitor the storage tanks and top off the liquid nitrogen as it evaporates.

There are practical concerns to consider as well. The last man and woman, as well as their kids, would need to have large numbers of children and, unless one of the founders happens to be a doctor, it is hard to imagine many of these babies surviving in such a world. Even if they (and mom) survive childbirth, there are countless opportunities for them to perish in this type of environment before reaching childrearing age.

{ The Scope | Continue reading }

art { Hilo Chen, Beach 166, 2010 }

‘We should not be upset that others hide the truth from us, when we hide it so often from ourselves.’ –La Rochefoucauld

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Many people spontaneously use the word (or sound) “Um” in conversation, a phenomenon which has prompted a considerable volume of academic attention. A question arises though, can someone be induced to say “Um” by chemical means – say with the use of a powerful anaesthetic? Like, for example Ketamine? […]

[V]olunteers who were given “low doses” and “high doses” of Ketamine tended to use the words “um” and “uh” significantly more than those who received a placebo only.

{ Improbable | Continue reading }

Now, baby, Cissy Caffrey said. Say out big, big. I want a drink of water. And baby prattled after her: A jink a jink a jawbo.

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Recent studies have shown that women are more sensitive than men to subtle cuteness differences in infant faces. It has been suggested that raised levels in estradiol and progesterone may be responsible for this advantage. […]

Thirty-six women were tested once during ovulation and once during the luteal phase of their menstrual cycle. In a two alternative forced-choice experiment, participants chose the baby which they thought was cuter (Task 1), younger (Task 2), or the baby that they would prefer to babysit (Task 3). […]

During ovulation, women were more likely to choose the cuter baby than during the luteal phase, in all three tasks. These results suggest that cuteness discrimination may be driven by cyclic hormonal shifts.

{ Hormones and Behavior | Continue reading }

art { Henri Chopin, La crevette amoureuse, 1967-1975 }

Every day, the same, again

45.gif Model who is almost 9 months pregnant is so fit she has abs

Man created dating site — and he’s the only one on it

People who are trying to impress a date with their good looks might want to limit themselves to one drink

The risk of a heart attack increases by at least 8.5 times in the two hours after the intense emotions of anger and anxiety, a new study finds.

A mother has helped her 24-year-old son become a father by carrying his child as a surrogate. How a father became the brother of his own son

How easy would it be to edit a human embryo using CRISPR? Very easy, experts say.

Our results cannot confirm beneficial effects of breastfeeding on child intelligence.

Why Can’t Rodents Vomit?

Why can’t horses vomit?

Why Killer Whales Go Through Menopause But Elephants Don’t

Startups in the U.S. are working on 3D printing nipples and bits of liver tissue, while a Russian provocateur claims to have on-demand thyroids.

Scientists Insert a Synthetic Memory Into the Brain of a Sleeping Mouse

People are hopeless at drawing the Apple logo, and that tells us something about human memory

What one man learned by crashing elite colleges for 4 years

How a group of robbers staged one of history’s biggest bank heists - without setting foot in a bank

US May Run Out Of Oil Storage Space As Soon As June

Vincent van Gogh’s reds have been turning white

The facial pose of a person can be a good indicator of their importance, because important people often tend to be looking directly at the camera. The importance of specific individuals in photos of multiple people [PDF]

Effects of “vocal fry” on pitch perception

A simple brute force DDoS attack against one or two key points in the Internet would be enough to make the rest unusable. Personally I would probably go after MAE-West in San Jose, partly because almost all the traffic to and from Silicon Valley goes through there.

US physicists have studied the fluid dynamics of urine “splashback” - and found tips to help men and women with their accuracy and hygiene.

Lennart Green: Close-up card magic with a twist

The Museum of the Paranormal, The Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments, The Museum of Death…

website that deletes itself once indexed by Google [Thanks Darren!]

She’s just trying to shock us

‘adderall is cool bc one night i spent the entire evening reading about the geopolitical situation in antarctica’ —@deanna_havas

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Most people who describe themselves as demisexual say they only rarely feel desire, and only in the context of a close relationship. Gray-­asexuals (or gray-aces) roam the gray area between absolute asexuality and a more typical level of interest. […]

“Every single asexual I’ve met embraces fluidity—I might be gray or asexual or demisexual,” says Claudia, a 24-year-old student from Las Vegas. “Us aces are like: whatevs.”

{ Wired | Continue reading }

photo { Nate Walton }