Bass! How low can you go?

“This is the loudest restaurant I’ve ever reviewed in D.C.,” he tells us as we look over the menu. “Here, it was 100 decibels at the bar during happy hour, and not much better in the center of the dining room.” […] The sound levels blow away a normal, 60-decibel conversation. […] The decibel scale (dB) is a scientific measure of sound intensity. To human ears a 10dB difference is about twice as loud, but the sound intensity is 10 times greater. […]

Our brains have a tough time sorting through the cacophony in crowded dining rooms, which can influence our behavior. Multiple studies show that prolonged exposure to noise has physical effects such as increased anxiety and fatigue. Taken together, these effects can make the restaurant experience more taxing than relaxing for patrons, and they can leave staff drained from a long day straining to offer service while risking permanent hearing damage. […]

Alcohol blunts our hearing — especially at lower frequencies. This means when I reach the legal limit to drive, my brain will turn down the volume of most sounds I’m hearing in a restaurant. This effect may give me some relief from the music, but it will also drown out voices. It explains why intoxicated individuals talk louder: They don’t hear themselves as well as they normally do and speak up to compensate. […]

Strangely, noise also seems to drive more alcohol consumption. French researchers discovered this effect by raising music levels in bars by about 15 decibels and recording the number of drinks served. […]

Sorting through noise in restaurant dining rooms is particularly taxing to our brains, studies have shown. Working memory is under high demand when we need to switch our attention from one voice to another in a sea of voices. […]

At 95 decibels, scientists observe people and rodents eat less and consume food faster. Wang suggests that this fact may be understood by restaurant managers trying to turn their tables.

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

light from a candle

Man who transformed into a dog says he wants to become another animal The man known only as Toco spent around $14,000 on his hyperrealistic dog costume, which was completed last spring.

Visitors and protesters expected to gather this summer in Milwaukee for the Republican National Convention will be allowed to carry assault rifles -— but not metal water bottles -— inside the RNC’s “security footprint.” […] proposed ordinance aims to prohibit air rifles, umbrellas, tennis balls, nonplastic containers, light bulbs and locks. […] “Fake guns are prohibited, but real guns are allowed”

Washington has a law against felons running for office […] It seems possible that under Washington state law, there would be no name listed on ballots as a Republican candidate for president in November.

“He is the worst actor I’ve ever worked with,” a former colleague told me. Sharing a scene with Zach [Horwitz], he said, was like interacting with a banana. […] it was like “dealing with a dead horse.” […] As the end of 2019 approached, Horwitz had raised three hundred and fifty-eight million dollars in the past year. He was running what scholars of confidence games call an “affinity fraud,” built around trust and personal connections. He found wealthy investors —- in Napa Valley, Orange County, Las Vegas, and Chicago —- who then spread the word on the tennis court and the charity circuit. But every network has limits, and the arithmetic of a Ponzi scheme is unforgiving. When you run out of new investors, the mechanism begins to collapse. After Thanksgiving, Horwitz fell behind on his payments for the first time. The Biggest Ponzi Scheme in Hollywood History

A renewable energy company will soon begin clearing thousands of protected Joshua trees in the Mojave Desert, including many thought to be a century old. […] Joshua trees grow just 1 to 3 inches a year, which means a 16-foot tree could be more than 100 years old. More than 500 of trees found on the site are at least 16 feet tall.

How far away can you see light from a candle? 1.6 miles (~2.6 km)

An emerging area of future technology is motor augmentation – using motorised wearable devices such as exoskeletons or extra robotic body parts to advance our motor capabilities beyond current biological limitations. […] The Third Thumb is worn on the opposite side of the palm to the biological thumb and controlled by a pressure sensor placed under each big toe or foot.

Supernumerary body part — one or more additional breasts, having two penises, an extra head, additional fingers or toes

robot sets new Rubik’s cube Guinness World Record (0.305 seconds)

secret code

a massive leak of 14,000 ranking features exposes the blueprint for how Google secretly curates the Internet. More: Perhaps the most notable revelation from the 2,500 documents is that they suggest Google representatives have misled the public in the past

A myopia epidemic is sweeping the globe Time spent outdoors is the best defence against rising rates of short-sightedness, but scientists are searching for other ways to reverse the troubling trend.

Drawing on the work of earlier scholars, Muraresku suggests there was some sort of psychedelic beer used in sacred ceremonies at the Temple of Eleusis that unleashed heavenly visions. What’s more, he believes this experience not only shaped generations of Greeks, it also laid the foundation for the Eucharist in early Christianity.

the logic of animal patterns

ultrasonic coffee — Australian scientists have developed a method of brewing coffee by blasting ground beans with sound waves – and it produces a powerful cup

no matter what tune you’re humming – a timeless melody from back in the day, a chart-topper from last week, or even one of your own songs – they all share the same 24 melodic figures. It’s like uncovering the secret code of melody that’s been right under our noses!

$6 on pump two, please

Orangutans are among the most intelligent non-human primates. Experiments suggest they can track the displacement of objects both visible and hidden.

“If you need somebody to get vicious,” Mr. Trump once said, “hire Roy Cohn.” His legal strategy boiled down to: Delay and deny. Don’t hesitate to attack the judge and prosecutor (“I don’t care what the law is; tell me who the judge is” was his most famous line). Address the press every chance you get. And intimidate and ridicule witnesses.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

periods

nietzsche-s-shadow-imp-kerr.jpg
North Korea flies 260 feces-filled balloons across border to the South […] Authorities said timers and explosives were attached to a string connecting balloons and the trashed-filled packages in order to make the balloon burst after a certain amount of time passed

Romantic love is a psychobehavioral motivational state that facilitates pair-bonding in humans. Evolutionarily, it is thought to help establish and maintain long-term pair-bonds that enhance a heterosexual couple’s reproductive fitness. Romantic love can also occur in same-sex partnerships, yet not much is known, either psychologically or behaviorally, about the similarities or differences in how romantic love manifests in homosexual or bisexual couples compared with heterosexual couples. This study investigated romantic love in a cross-cultural sample of heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual young adults (N = 783) experiencing romantic love. […] Homosexual females reported a significantly lower frequency of sex per week than heterosexual and bisexual females. Bisexual males reported a greater number of times ever in love than heterosexual males.

A new study of over 70,000 American women born between 1950 and 2005 has shown that girls are getting their periods earlier and they’re taking longer to become regular.

Actors face the demanding task of learning their lines with great precision, but they rarely do so by rote repetition. They did not, they said, sit down with a script and recite their lines until they knew them by heart. Repeating items over and over, called maintenance rehearsal, is not the most effective strategy for remembering. Instead, actors engage in elaborative rehearsal, focusing their attention on the meaning of the material and associating it with information they already know. […] actors are telling us an important truth about memory — deep understanding promotes long-lasting memories.

How Researchers Cracked an 11-Year-Old Password to a $3 Million Crypto Wallet

Continuing a string of successful botnet takedowns, on Thursday, May 30th 2024, a coalition of international law enforcement agencies announced “Operation Endgame”. This effort targeted multiple botnets such as IcedID, Smokeloader, SystemBC, Pikabot and Bumblebee, as well as some of the operators of these botnets. These botnets played a key part in enabling ransomware More: operation-endgame.com

Meet Ethiopia’s stilt walking tribe

The middle finger from the right hand of Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) is a secular relic in the collection of the Museo Galileo in Florence, Italy. The finger was removed from his body posthumously and is encased in a gilded glass egg.

more tackiness

When faced with the need to transform an object, idea, or situation, people have a tendency to favor adding new components rather than removing existing ones. This is called the additive bias.

SignLLM, the first AI model capable of generating avatar videos of sign language gestures from prompts across eight languages.

the LLM outperforms financial analysts in its ability to predict earnings changes. […] LLM prediction does not stem from its training memory.

The complete destruction of Google Search via forced AI adoption […] For example, we are learning exactly what Google is paying Reddit $60 million annually for. And that is to confidently serve its customers ideas like, to make cheese stick on a pizza, “You can also add about 1/8 cup of non-toxic glue to the sauce to give it more tackiness,” which comes directly from the mind of a Reddit user

Previously: Reddit has struck a deal with Google to make its content available for training the search engine giant’s AI models in a contract worth about $60 million per year

Controlling the Taylor Swift Eras Tour wristbands with Flipper Zero

My patient was dead before I even saw her. She had been in a car accident. Now she was scheduled for organ donation. Last hours of an organ donor

Let your favorite blog penetrate your kitchen and bless your morning beverages

ultra-processed foods

AI headphones let wearer listen to a single person in a crowd, by looking at them just once

Urban gardening may improve human health — a one-month indoor gardening period increased the bacterial diversity of the skin and was associated with higher levels of anti-inflammatory molecules in the blood.

sidewalks and green space […] multilane highway and power lines [..] those neighborhood characteristics correlate with different health outcomes. […] The researchers collected nearly 1.4 million Google Street View images from all the main streets across Utah, then used computer vision models to extract neighborhood characteristics like greenery, sidewalks and non-single-family homes—indicators of walkability and mixed land use—from those images. They merged that data with health stats, including diabetes diagnoses and obesity incidence, from the state’s population database. […] After examining records from nearly 2 million people, including 1 million siblings and 14,000 identical and fraternal twins, the team found that positive built environment characteristics were associated with 15-20% reductions in obesity and diabetes rates.

For decades, the best drug therapies for treating depression, like SSRIs, have been based on the idea that depressed brains don’t have enough of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Yet for almost as long, it’s been clear that simplistic theory is wrong. Recent research into the true causes of depression is finding clues in other neurotransmitters and the realization that the brain is much more adaptable than scientists once imagined. Treatments for depression are being reinvented by drugs like ketamine that can help regrow synapses, which can in turn restore the right brain chemistry and improve whole body health.

study reveals a significant link between high consumption of ultra-processed foods and an increased risk of developing depression

When the Brazilian nutritional scientist Carlos Monteiro coined the term “ultra-processed foods” 15 years ago, he established what he calls a “new paradigm” for assessing the impact of diet on health. […] Studies of UPFs show that these processes create food—from snack bars to breakfast cereals to ready meals—that encourages overeating but may leave the eater undernourished. […] In 2019, American metabolic scientist Kevin Hall carried out a randomized study comparing people who ate an unprocessed diet with those who followed a UPF diet over two weeks. Hall found that the subjects who ate the ultra-processed diet consumed around 500 more calories per day, more fat and carbohydrates, less protein—and gained weight. [..] food and soft drinks-related companies spent $106 million on lobbying in 2023, almost twice as much as the tobacco and alcohol industries combined. Last year’s spend was 21 percent higher than in 2020, with the increase driven largely by lobbying relating to food processing as well as sugar. […] The food industry, dominated by global conglomerates such as Nestlé, PepsiCo, Mars, and Kraft Heinz, likes to project itself as committed to public health. “Our strategy is all about nutrition, health, and wellness,” Paul Bulcke, the chair of Nestlé, told investors at the company’s annual meeting in April. […] In Mexico, companies including Kellogg’s and Nestlé have sued the government over the introduction of front-of-package warning labels and other restrictions including the use of children’s characters in marketing. […] In Brazil, the industry has argued that regulation could limit consumer options and make food more expensive.

Google scrambles to manually remove weird AI answers in search

Google’s AI really is that stupid, feeds people answers from The Onion

Apple signs deal with OpenAI for iOS

What goes on in artificial neural networks work is largely a mystery, even to their creators. But researchers from Anthropic have caught a glimpse.

NASA estimates that a crewed mission to Mars would take 2–3 years and be full of dangers for the astronauts. The biggest threats are the weak gravity, space radiation, as well as procuring enough food, water, and air. NASA is currently developing the technologies to meet these challenges.

Why you spend more when prices end in .99

Japan’s Clothes-Drying Bathrooms

eternal return

All participants were over 18 and have had sex in and out of relationships, as well as having engaged in masturbation. Results showed that post-coital dysphoria was prevalent in each of the three sexual contexts, for both males and females.

Ms. Shanahan has a fortune of more than $1 billion that stems largely from her divorce settlement last year with Sergey Brin, a founder of Google, whose net worth exceeds $145 billion […] Ms. Shanahan, who has said she is a vaccine skeptic like Mr. Kennedy, funded a Super Bowl ad for Mr. Kennedy this year through a $4 million donation to a super PAC, American Values 2024. In March, she infused Mr. Kennedy’s campaign with an additional $2 million. Last week, she said she had given an additional $8 million. […] In 2021, she paid more than $200,000 for a lifestyle photographer to take her photos for a San Francisco Magazine article called “Nicole Shanahan Is Fighting the Good Fight,” according to documents viewed by The Times. Ms. Shanahan was photographed in the country with horses, talking about her goals of creating a healthy and livable planet.

Warming temperatures are likely to mean that more of your plane ride will have rocky conditions, creating potentially dangerous situations.

Shortly after the Big Bang, the universe was an enormous opaque gas of hydrogen atoms […] During the few hundred million years after the Big Bang, the first stars formed, before stars and gas began to coalesce into galaxies. […] The birth of galaxies took place at a time in the history of the universe known as the Epoch of Reionization, when the energy and light of some of the first galaxies broke through the mists of hydrogen gas. It is precisely these large amounts of hydrogen gas that the researchers captured using the James Webb Space Telescope’s infrared vision.

Officials believe hundreds of people, including some who traveled from out of town, posed as customers in dozens of businesses across Chicago and elsewhere, all hoping to win favorable immigration status by becoming “victims” of pre-arranged “armed robberies.” During a staged hold-up in Bucktown last year, one of the “robbers” accidentally fired their gun, severely injuring a liquor store clerk, according to one source. During that caper alone, five “customers” were “robbed.”

Why Are Sloths So Slow?

World’s oldest sloth turns 54 at German zoo

Inside the Death-Themed “Cabaret of Nothingness” in Paris

While Friedrich Nietzsche popularised the notion of an “eternal return” — in which one’s life would occur again, forever, exactly as it did before — the concept was itself a repetition. Claire Hall explores various shades of this idea in ancient philosophy, from Pythagorean metempsychosis to Stoic predictions about a cosmological reset.

the Bouba-Kiki effect

If you hear the non-words ‘Kiki’ and ‘Bouba’, you may be more likely to associate them with a spiky and a round object, respectively, rather than the opposite. This is a case of sound-symbolism, known as the Bouba-Kiki effect. Studies on four-months infants suggest that this effect might constitute a predisposed perceptual mechanism. we tested the Bouba-Kiki effect in domestic baby chicks

38% of webpages that existed in 2013 are no longer accessible a decade later

Computer Scientists Invent an Efficient New Way to Count

Feds say he masterminded an epic California water heist. Some farmers say he’s their Robin Hood

‘Empathetic’ AI has more to do with psychopathy than emotional intelligence

it is theoretically possible that AI research can develop partial or potentially alternative forms of consciousness that is qualitatively different from the human, and that may be either more or less sophisticated depending on the perspectives

Leaked Deck Reveals How OpenAI Is Pitching Publisher Partnerships

The DOJ’s lawyer collected data on 58,000 titles published in a year and discovered that 90 percent of them sold fewer than 2,000 copies and 50 percent sold less than a dozen copies. — Everything we learned about the publishing industry from Penguin vs. DOJ.

Mystery of Mona Lisa’s background may have been solved

shark eggs

Adios Motherfucker

Scientists have figured out way to make algae-based plastic that completely decomposes

Researchers have developed a protein-​based gel that breaks down alcohol in the gastrointestinal tract without harming the body. In the future, people who take the gel could reduce the harmful and intoxicating effects of alcohol.

It has been suggested that the function of sleep is to actively clear metabolites and toxins from the brain. Enhanced clearance is also said to occur during anesthesia. Here, we measure clearance and movement of fluorescent molecules in the brains of male mice and show that movement is, in fact, independent of sleep and wake or anesthesia. Moreover, we show that brain clearance is markedly reduced, not increased, during sleep and anesthesia.

Our results indicated that engagement in cunnilingus is very common among men who have sex with women, with 89.09% of our sample having performed oral sex at least once and the overwhelming majority of engagers (94.47%) indicating enjoyment. However, we also identified that men who do not engage in cunnilingus demonstrated greater levels of homophobia, had more negative attitudes toward women’s genitals, and were less likely to be sexually narcissistic than men who did engage in cunnilingus.

exercise slows our perception of time […] sensations of pain are known to slow the passage of time […] physical arousal and awareness make us extra conscious of our body and its discomfort […] The study of the human perception of time is called chronoception, and scientists have found that age, emotions, drugs, exercise, and body temperature can all alter that internal timekeeper in different ways.

Two MIT students stole $25M within approximately 12 seconds by tampering with the ethereum blockchain in a never-before-seen cryptocurrency scheme, face decades in prison

OpenAI’s Chief Scientist and Co-Founder Is Leaving the Company. In November, Ilya Sutskever joined three other OpenAI board members to force out Sam Altman, the chief executive, before saying he regretted the move. [NY Times]

The Long Island iced tea is typically made with vodka, tequila, light rum, triple sec, gin, and a splash of cola. Despite its name, the cocktail does not typically contain iced tea, but is named for having the same amber hue as iced tea. Adios Motherfucker is a variation of the Long Island iced tea with blue curaçao substituting for the triple sec, and with lemon-lime soda substituting for the cola

‘Weegee, Autopsy of the Spectacle’ at the Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris — This exhibition attempts to reconcile the two sides of the work of American photographer Weegee (Arthur Felig, 1899-1968) –- “First are his stories for the New York press from 1935-1945. Then, photo-caricatures of public personalities developed during his Hollywood period, between 1948-1951.

Untransferable Tickets

UK toddler has hearing restored in world first gene therapy trial, groundbreaking surgery that took just 16 minutes

Psychedelic toxins from toads could treat depression and anxiety

Physiological state matching in a pair bonded poison frog

It’s the story of how a team of researchers traced a covid variant in Wisconsin from a wastewater plant to six toilets at a single company. But it’s also a story about privacy concerns that arise when you use sewers to track rare viruses back to their source. That virus likely came from a single employee who happened to be shedding an enormous quantity of a very weird variant. The researchers would desperately like to find that person. […] Wastewater surveillance might seem like a relatively new phenomenon, born of the pandemic, but it goes back decades. A team of Canadian researchers outlines several historical examples in this story. In one example, a public health official traced a 1946 typhoid outbreak to the wife of a man who sold ice cream at the beach.

Swarms of miniature robots clean up microplastics and microbes, simultaneously

Robot dogs armed with AI-aimed rifles undergo US Marines Special Ops evaluation

you’ve “dated” 600 people in San Fransisco without having typed a word to any of them. Instead, a busy little bot has completed the mindless ‘getting-to-know-you’ chatter on your behalf, and has told you which people you should actually get off the couch to meet. That’s the future of dating, according to Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder of Bumble.

Older adults are having sex, and they’re getting STIs, too

Equinox launches $40,000 membership to help you live longer

How Resellers Are Transferring Billie Eilish’s ‘Untransferable’ Tickets

The mammoth structure was massive, made up of over 600 hi-fidelity speakers that sat behind the band as they played. It used six separate sound systems

Most people are quite good at distinguishing between the sound of a hot liquid and the sound of a cold one being poured, even if they don’t realize it. [NY Times]

Pseudo-Boccaccio, Yiddish Pulp Fiction, and the Man Who Ripped Off James Joyce

Doublecheck your old books for poisons

In Danish, Kierkegaard means churchyard, i.e., graveyard

I have just now come from a party where I was its life and soul; witticisms streamed from my lips, everyone laughed and admired me, but I went away — yes, the dash should be as long as the radius of the earth’s orbit ——————————— and wanted to shoot myself.

{ Søren Kierkegaard, Journal, March 1836 | Continue reading }

Thracian slave girl

An Indian woman accused her husband of forcing her to have “unnatural sex.” A judge said that’s not a crime in marriage […] “unnatural sex” includes non-consensual “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal,” and was historically used to prosecute same sex couples who engaged in consensual sex, before the Supreme Court decriminalized homosexuality in 2018 […] “When rape includes insertion of penis in the mouth, urethra or anus of a woman and if that act is committed with his wife, not below the age of fifteen years, then consent of the wife becomes immaterial … Marital rape has not been recognized so far,” the judge said.

Fifty years of research has not significantly improved lie detection practices […] Polygraph screening of government employees and sex offenders has increased

Scientists Discover a Missing Link Between Diet And Cancer Risk […] previously unknown mechanism helps explain why cancer risk is associated with an unhealthy diet or unmanaged metabolic conditions like diabetes.

Through collaborations with organizations like NASA, her lab has sent tumors and stem cells aboard private spaceflights to be studied in the ISS.

Multi-Drug Resistant Bacteria Found on ISS Mutating to Become Functionally Distinct

Microsoft is training a new, in-house AI language model large enough to compete with those from Google and OpenAI

85 per cent of all loans made by UK banks are for the purchase of houses or business properties, or are at the very least secured on the value of houses and properties. So why are banks going to go bust because of climate change? Well, because as a very senior risk officer of a very large UK bank explained to me not so very long ago, the vast majority of the properties that they are using for the purposes of security could be underwater in the next 30 years. They know, for example, that the Thames barrier is not going to protect London from flooding.

To combat the growing risk of catastrophic wildfires and to bring more water back onto the landscape, a tribe in California is helping to reshape fire management policy in the West.

Newly deciphered passages from a papyrus scroll that was buried beneath layers of volcanic ash after the AD79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius may have shed light on the final hours of Plato […] detailing how the Greek philosopher spent his last evening, describing how he listened to music played on a flute by a Thracian slave girl […] Despite battling a fever and being on the brink of death, Plato retained enough lucidity to critique the musician for her lack of rhythm, the account suggests.

The AI priest also told one user that it was okay to baptize a baby in Gatorade.

The target result in this work is reproduced, at least by its author. For the first time, one’s own immortality was manifested (revealed). Despite the unscientific nature, this work is a way of mastering reality.

Arsenic

3.jpg
In 2003, Red Lobster ran an “Endless Crab” promotion. The all-you-can-eat deal backfired spectacularly. Red Lobster misjudged just how many seafood lovers would pour into restaurants around the United States […] Red Lobster lost $3.3 million in seven weeks. […] Fast forward 20 years, and Red Lobster made a nearly identical mistake, but with shrimp

the presence of a personality disorder may represent an elevated risk for psychedelic use

On average, participants reported 2.5 belly laughs per day and on every fourth day a fit of laughter.

individuals who perceive their partner may have cheated on them are statistically significantly more likely to engage in revenge sex

The characteristics of sexual behavior in blind men in Ganzhou, China — The participants obtained sexual knowledge mainly through sounds from mobile phones, peer-to-peer communication, sounds of television and radio. Voice was the most frequent perception of the sexual partners’ beauty, followed by figure, skin, and body fragrance.

The physics of karate and the science of sprint

For the first time, scientists observed a primate in the wild treating a wound with a plant that has medicinal properties. […] The plant the orangutan used, known as akar kuning or yellow root, is also used by people throughout Southeast Asia to treat malaria, diabetes and other conditions. Research shows it has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Orangutans rarely eat the plant. But in this case, Rakus ingested a small amount and also coated the wound several times. Five days after the wound was noticed, it had closed, and less than a month later “healed without any signs of infection,” Dr. Laumer said. […] Primates have been observed appearing to treat wounds in the past, but not with plants. A group of more than two dozen chimpanzees in Gabon in Central Africa have been seen chewing up and applying flying insects to their wounds. […] Chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and white-handed gibbons are all known to occasionally eat rough, whole leaves, presumably to help them expel parasites. [NY Times | Nature]

Nearly 46% of Americans opened a new credit card last year, according to Forbes, which means millions of Americans also canceled old ones. When you switch cards, Netflix doesn’t just stop your service — they just start charging your new card. […] In 2003, Visa U.S.A. started offering a new software product to merchants called Visa Account Updater (VAU) […] Whenever someone renews, or switches a credit card within their bank, the institution automatically update the VAU. This system lets Netflix and countless other corporations charge whatever card you have on file.you

Traditional economics makes ludicrous assumptions and poor predictions. An alternative approach using big data and psychological insights is proving far more accurate

Economics terminology that differs from common usage

In 1988, the Chicago Tribune called Olympic medalist Florence Griffith Joyner’s famous manicures “dragon-lady fingernails”

The children who remember their past lives — What happens when your toddler is haunted by memories that aren’t hers?

Shakespeare toys with numerous European languages throughout his work, including Italian, French, Spanish, and Dutch. Often, these are spoken in thick accents, with comedic pronunciation. The same holds true for his use of the various British dialects—Scots, Welsh, Cornish, and Irish—heard in scruffy taverns or high courts. […] the mystery of Shakespeare’s “gibberish” has gone unsolved in part because it doesn’t look like Euskara

The Secret Life of Arsenic — During the 1850s, reports of Austrian peasants eating arsenic to give them a healthy porcelain-like complexion swept through Europe and America. The New York Times opined that the “natural arsenic in the cucumber makes it valuable as a skin whitener.”

The Affair of the Poisons — The case began in 1675 after the trial of Madame de Brinvilliers, who was accused of having conspired with her lover, army captain Godin de Sainte-Croix, to poison her father and two of her brothers in order to inherit their estates. There were also rumours that she had poisoned poor people during her visits to hospitals. Madame de Brinvilliers was tortured and confessed, was sentenced to death, and on 17 July was tortured with the water cure (forced to drink sixteen pints of water) and then beheaded, and her body burned at the stake. Her alleged accomplice Sainte-Croix did not face charges because he had died of natural causes in 1672. The sensational trial drew attention to other mysterious deaths […] Authorities rounded up a number of fortune tellers and alchemists who were suspected of selling not only divinations, séances and aphrodisiacs, but also “inheritance powders” (a euphemism for poison). Some of them confessed under torture and gave authorities lists of their clients, who had allegedly bought poison to get rid of their spouses or rivals in the royal court.

New Atlas robot by Boston Dynamics

artificial synapse

European authorities say they have rounded up a criminal gang who stole rare antique books worth €2.5 million from libraries across Europe. Books by Russian writers such as Pushkin and Gogol were substituted with valueless counterfeits

A cosmetic process known as a “vampire facial” is considered to be a more affordable and less invasive option than getting a facelift […] During a vampire facial, a person’s blood is drawn from their arm, and then platelets are separated out and applied to the patient’s face using microneedles […] three women likely contracted HIV from receiving vampire facials at an unlicensed spa in New Mexico

Are women’s sexual preferences for men’s facial hair associated with their salivary testosterone during the menstrual cycle? […] participants selected the face they found most sexually attractive from pairs of composite images of the same men when fully bearded and when clean-shaven. The task was completed among the same participants during the follicular, peri-ovulatory (validated by the surge in luteinizing hormone) and luteal phases, during which participants also provided saliva samples for subsequent assaying of testosterone. […] We ran two models, both of which showed strong preferences among women for bearded over clean-shaven composite faces […] the main effect of cycle phase and the interaction between testosterone and cycle phase were not statistically significant

The effect of sound on physiology and development starts before birth, which is why a world that grows increasingly more noisy, with loud outdoor entertainment, construction, and traffic, is a concern. […] exposure of birds that are in the egg to moderate levels of noise can lead to developmental problems, amounting to increased mortality and reduced life-time reproductive success.

For the first time in at least a billion years, two lifeforms have merged into a single organism. The process, called primary endosymbiosis, has only happened twice in the history of the Earth, with the first time giving rise to all complex life as we know it through mitochondria. The second time that it happened saw the emergence of plants. Now, an international team of scientists have observed the evolutionary event happening between a species of algae commonly found in the ocean and a bacterium.

physicists have succeeded in building an artificial synapse. This synapse works with water and salt and provides the first evidence that a system using the same medium as our brains can process complex information.

The man, who is referred to as “Mr. Blue Pentagon” after his favorite kind of LSD, gave researchers a detailed account of what he experienced when taking the drug during his music career in the 1970s. Mr. Pentagon was born blind. He did not perceive vision, with or without LSD. Instead, under the influence of psychedelics, he had strong auditory and tactile hallucinations, including an overlap of the two in a form of synesthesia.

In the 1979 murder trial of Dan White, his legal team seemed to attempt to blame his heinous actions on junk-food consumption. The press dubbed the tactic, the “Twinkie defense.” While no single crime can be blamed on diet, researchers have shown that providing inmates with healthy foods can reduce aggression, infractions, and anti-social behavior.

A homeless woman who sneaked into a man’s house and lived undetected in his closet for a year was arrested in Japan after he became suspicious when food mysteriously began disappearing. [2008]

E.T. and the three actors from inside the costume

reservation at Carbone

An Unpredictable Brain Is a Conscious, Responsive Brain — Severe traumatic brain injuries typically result in loss of consciousness or coma. In deeply comatose patients with traumatic brain injury, cortical dynamics become simple, repetitive, and predictable. We review evidence that this low-complexity, high-predictability state results from a passive cortical state, represented by a stable repetitive attractor, that hinders the flexible formation of neuronal ensembles necessary for conscious experience.

His recent sales on Appointment Trader, where his screen name is GloriousSeed75, include a lunch table at Maison Close, which he sold for eight hundred and fifty-five dollars, and a reservation at Carbone, the Village red-sauce place frequented by the Rolex-and-Hermès crowd, which fetched a thousand and fifty dollars. Last year, he made seventy thousand dollars reselling reservations. Another reseller, PerceptiveWash44, told me that he makes reservations while watching TV. […] Last year, he made eighty thousand dollars reselling reservations. He’s good at anticipating what spots will be most in demand, and his profile on the site ranks him as having a “99% Positive Sales History” over his last two hundred transactions. It also notes that he made almost two thousand reservations that never sold—a restaurateur’s nightmare. How bots, mercenaries, and table scalpers have turned the restaurant reservation system inside out

How I search in 2024

Apple Vision Pro is a big flop, should further dispel the myth of tech inevitability

Physicists have proposed modifications to the infamous Schrödinger’s cat paradox that could help explain why quantum particles can exist in more than one state simultaneously, while large objects (like the universe) seemingly cannot.

The odds of contracting Lyme disease from tick bites during warmer weather months continue to rise. […] what are things that I can do to protect myself?

The Sack of Palermo that took place from the 1950s to the 1980s dramatically changed the Sicilian capital’s economic and social landscape. Vast tracts of what was agricultural land, including the Conca d’Oro citrus plain, were destroyed as the city was engulfed by concrete. The Mafia played a principal role in this process. This paper will show how Cosa Nostra consolidated its business through social and local connections by granting employment to the members of lower classes such as craftsmen and construction workers and thus gaining consent.

Thermonator

Belgian man whose body makes its own alcohol cleared of drunk-driving

Many primates produce copulation calls, but we have surprisingly little data on what human sex sounds like. I present 34 h of audio recordings from 2239 authentic sexual episodes shared online. These include partnered sex or masturbation […] Men are not less vocal overall in this sample, but women start moaning at an earlier stage; speech or even minimally verbalized exclamations are uncommon.

Women are less likely to die when treated by female doctors, study suggests

For The First Time, Scientists Showed Structural, Brain-Wide Changes During Menstruation

How the brain processes visual information — and its perception of time — is heavily influenced by what we’re looking at, a study has found.

Grindr Sued in UK for sharing users’ HIV data with ad firms

Inside Amazon’s Secret Operation to Gather Intel on Rivals — Staff went undercover on Walmart, eBay and other marketplaces as a third-party seller called ‘Big River.’ The mission: to scoop up information on pricing, logistics and other business practices.

Do you want to know what Prabhakar Raghavan’s old job was? What Prabhakar Raghavan, the new head of Google Search, the guy that has run Google Search into the ground, the guy who is currently destroying search, did before his job at Google? He was the head of search for Yahoo from 2005 through 2012 — a tumultuous period that cemented its terminal decline, and effectively saw the company bow out of the search market altogether. His responsibilities? Research and development for Yahoo’s search and ads products. When Raghavan joined the company, Yahoo held a 30.4 percent market share — not far from Google’s 36.9%, and miles ahead of the 15.7% of MSN Search. By May 2012, Yahoo was down to just 13.4 percent and had shrunk for the previous nine consecutive months, and was being beaten even by the newly-released Bing. That same year, Yahoo had the largest layoffs in its corporate history, shedding nearly 2,000 employees — or 14% of its overall workforce. [He] was so shit at his job that in 2009 Yahoo effectively threw in the towel on its own search technology, instead choosing to license Bing’s engine in a ten-year deal.

Artificial intelligence can predict political beliefs from expressionless faces

I “deathbots” are helping people in China grieve — Avatars of deceased relatives are increasingly popular for consoling those in mourning, or hiding the deaths of loved ones from children.

MetaAI’s strange loophole. I can get a picture of macauley culk in home alone, but not macauley culkin — it starts creating the image as you type and stops when you get the full name.

Psychedelia was the first ever interactive ‘light synthesizer’. It was written for the Commodore 64 by Jeff Minter and published by Llamasoft in 1984. psychedelia syndrome is a book-length exploration of the assembly code behind the game and an atlas of the pixels and effects it generated.

Thermonator, the first-ever flamethrower-wielding robot dog, $9,420

Why are eyewitnesses unreliable?

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‘The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.’ –Antonio Gramsci

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We do not have a veridical representation of our body in our mind. For instance, tactile distances of equal measure along the medial-lateral axis of our limbs are generally perceived as larger than those running along the proximal-distal axis. This anisotropy in tactile distances reflects distortions in body-shape representation, such that the body parts are perceived as wider than they are. While the origin of such anisotropy remains unknown, it has been suggested that visual experience could partially play a role in its manifestation.

To causally test the role of visual experience on body shape representation, we investigated tactile distance perception in sighted and early blind individuals […] Overestimation of distances in the medial-lateral over proximal-distal body axes were found in both sighted and blind people, but the magnitude of the anisotropy was significantly reduced in the forearms of blind people.

We conclude that tactile distance perception is mediated by similar mechanisms in both sighted and blind people, but that visual experience can modulate the tactile distance anisotropy.

{ PsyArXiv | Continue reading }

from swerve of shore to bend of bay

Do you surf yourself?

No, I tried. I did it for about a week, 20 years ago. You have to dedicate yourself to these great things. And I don’t believe in being good at a lot of things—or even more than one. But I love to watch it. I think if I get a chance to be human again, I would do just that. You wake up in the morning and you paddle out. You make whatever little money you need to survive. That seems like the greatest life to me.

Or you could become very wealthy in early middle-age, stop doing the hard stuff, and go off and become a surfer.

No, no. You want to be broke. You want it to be all you’ve got. That’s when life is great. People are always trying to add more stuff to life. Reduce it to simpler, pure moments. That’s the golden way of living, I think.

{ Jerry Seinfeld | GQ | Continue reading }

related { Anecdote on Lowering the work ethic }