In the eyes of the pale criminal Zarathustra finds the great contempt

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The box jellyfish Chironex fleckeri is infamous. Its venom will kill a human within minutes. This much I’ve known for decades. What I didn’t know until yesterday is that C. fleckeri has 24 eyes and appears to sleep.

More than a decade ago, researchers in Australia superglued acoustic transmitters to several box jellyfish (without getting stung) and set them free. Using an underwater microphone, they were then able to track their movements. During the daytime, the jellyfish moved in straight lines, typically covering around 200 m an hour. At night, they basically stopped. “During these periods of “inactivity”, the jellyfish lie motionless on the sea floor, with no bell pulsation occurring and with tentacles completely relaxed and in contact with the sea floor,” wrote Jamie Seymour, a biologist at James Cook University in Cairns in The Medical Journal of Australia. A small disturbance – like a light or a vibration – “causes the animals to rise from the sea floor, swim around for a short period, and then fall back into an inactive state on the sand,” they reported.

The clear distinction between activity and rest raises the possibility that the box jellyfish is capable of sleep, a state most commonly associated with vertebrates. Why would a box jellyfish need to sleep? One possibility, suggested by Seymour and his colleagues, is that it uses its eyes to hunt. In the dark, when vision is limited, “it makes a lot of sense to become inactive, decrease your energy used in locomotion and divert it to growth.”

{ The Guardian | Continue reading }

photo { Melvin Sokolsky, Lip Streaks, 1967 }

Fame means millions of people have the wrong idea of who you are

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The McCollough effect is a phenomenon of human visual perception in which colorless gratings appear colored contingent on the orientation of the gratings. It is an aftereffect requiring a period of induction to produce it. For example, if someone alternately looks at a red horizontal grating and a green vertical grating for a few minutes, a black-and-white horizontal grating will then look greenish and a black-and-white vertical grating will then look pinkish. The effect is remarkable for often lasting an hour or more, and in some cases after prolonged exposure to the grids, the effect can last up to three and a half months

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading | via Brad Weslake }

(they have three microwaves, so their food will always be ready at the same time)

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The future is always stranger than we expect: mobile phones and the Internet, not flying cars. […]

“We’re not funding Mother Teresa. We’re funding imperial, will-to-power people who want to crush their competition. Companies can only have a big impact on the world if they get big.” […]

The dirty secret of the trade is that the bottom three-quarters of venture firms didn’t beat the Nasdaq for the past five years. […] The truth is that most V.C.s subsist entirely on fees, which they compound by raising a new fund every three years. Returns are kept hidden by nondisclosure agreements, and so V.C.s routinely overstate them, both to encourage investment and to attract entrepreneurs. […]

“We live in a financial age, not a technological age.”

{ New Yorker | Continue reading }

Every day, the same, again

24.jpg Dog poo DNA tests to catch owners who fail to clean up their pet’s mess are to be launched in an east London borough

Man Sues Hospital After Amputated Leg Found in Trash

Films with a female presence earn less at the box office

3D X-ray technique detects 40% more breast cancers than traditional mammography does

Organic milk ‘is less healthy than regular milk and could harm child IQ,’ say researchers

New study suggests that flying may be greener than driving

Water-skipping stones and spheres

The Predecessors of Bitcoin and Their Implications for the Prospect of Virtual Currencies

Slot machines perfected addictive gaming. Now, tech wants their tricks.

Labyrinths have made their way into prisons, spas, wellness centers, and hospitals in recent years

How to choose a price that will maximize your profit

Why Is the Heart Symbol so Anatomically Incorrect?

Japanese hotel launches ‘crying rooms’

The shortest scientific paper ever published

‘When I look at things, I always see the space they occupy. I always want the space to reappear, to make a comeback, because it’s lost space when there’s something in it.’ –Warhol

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Of the total materials that flow through the U.S.’s production and distribution processes every day, 99% will be waste within six months. Half of the food produced in the U.S. is thrown out, two thirds of that before it even reaches the point of consumption. In a real, material sense, capitalism doesn’t produce goods nearly so much as it produces trash.

{ The New Inquiry | Continue reading }

Take me out, tonight

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Before leaving his girlfriend’s apartment in Crown Heights, on the morning of his nineteenth arrest for impersonating and performing the functions of New York City Transit Authority employees, Darius McCollum put on an NYCTA subway conductor’s uniform and reflector vest. […]

Six weeks earlier, Darius had been paroled from the Elmira Correctional Facility, near Binghamton, New York, where he had served two years for attempted grand larceny—”attempted” because he had signed out NYCTA vehicles for surface use (extinguishing track fires, supervising maintenance projects) and then signed them back in according to procedure. Darius has never worked for the NYCTA; he has never held a steady job. He is thirty-seven and has spent a third of his adult life in prison for victim-less offenses related to transit systems. […]

His obsession with the subway manifested itself as soon as he began riding trains with his mother, at age three. […] Darius spent hundreds of hours watching trains at 179th Street. He estimated the angle of every track intersection in the yard. By the time he was eight, he could visualize the entire New York City subway system. (Later he memorized the architecture of the stations.) Family and friends with subway questions began calling the McCollum household and asking for Darius. In small notebooks he recorded arrival and departure times at various stations, and documented whatever he observed: the shrill, keyed-up atmosphere an emergency stop instantly creates on a platform, the presence of transit police, mechanical problems (“E-train to Canal st 0015 L.C. Delay of train leaving Parson’s Blvd Door Trouble”), passengers riding between cars (“A-train to 81st L.C. 4112—Girl riding in between cars approx. 17 Brown Coat Blue Pants Brown Shoes”). He hasn’t abandoned this note-taking. […]

Darius’s apprenticeship began with a motorman he called Uncle Craft, who drove the first train Darius took regularly. When Craft began working at the 179th Street yard, he taught Darius to drive along the generous stretch of track between the yard and the last F stop. Darius learned how to ease a train into a station, aligning it with the markers that match its length, how to read signals while simultaneously observing the track connections the signals predict (he was taught never to assume the infallibility of signals), and how to understand the timers that govern the signals. Darius was an exceptional, methodical student: he learned quickly and thoroughly, building on each skill he acquired and instantly memorizing terminology. Soon he was doing yard maneuvers and taking trains into passenger service, as both a train operator and a conductor. (By the time of his first arrest, he had driven trains dozens of times.) […]

A prison psychiatrist, after a cursory evaluation, noted that a neurological disorder called Asperger’s Syndrome might explain Darius’s behavior.

{ Harper’s/Long Reads | Continue reading }

image { New York City Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual }

Have you monbreamstone? No. Or Hellfeuersteyn? No. Or Van Diemen’s coral pearl? No.

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An analysis of drinking water sampled from three homes in Bradford County, Pa., revealed traces of a compound commonly found in Marcellus Shale drilling fluids, according to a study published on Monday.

The paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, addresses a longstanding question about potential risks to underground drinking water from the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The authors suggested a chain of events by which the drilling chemical ended up in a homeowner’s water supply. […]

The industry has long maintained that because fracking occurs thousands of feet below drinking-water aquifers, the drilling chemicals that are injected to break up rocks and release the gas trapped there pose no risk. In this study, the researchers note that the contamination may have stemmed from a lack of integrity in the drill wells and not from the actual fracking process far below. The industry criticized the new study, saying that it provided no proof that the chemical came from a nearby well.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

There is nothing new under the sun

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Most real decisions, unlike those of economics texts, have a status quo alternative—that is, doing nothing or maintaining one’s current or previous decision. A series of decision-making experiments shows that individuals disproportionately stick with the status quo.

{ Journal of Risk and Uncertainty | PDF }

unrelated { Would you Pay for Transparently Useless Advice? }

I was just going back for that lotion whitewax, orangeflower water

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DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the main component of our genetic material. It is formed by combining four parts: A, C, G and T (adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine), called bases of DNA combine in thousands of possible sequences to provide the genetic variability that enables the wealth of aspects and functions of living beings.

In the early 80s, to these four “classic” bases of DNA was added a fifth: the methyl-cytosine (mC) derived from cytosine. And it was in the late 90’s when mC was recognized as the main cause of epigenetic mechanisms: it is able to switch genes on or off depending on the physiological needs of each tissue.

In recent years, interest in this fifth DNA base has increased by showing that alterations in the methyl-cytosine contribute to the development of many human diseases, including cancer.

Today, an article published in Cell describes the possible existence of a sixth DNA base, the methyl-adenine (mA), which also help determine the epigenome and would therefore be key in the life of the cells.

{ ScienceDaily | Continue reading }

Fed profits from Treasury bonds on its balance sheet, then sends proceeds to Treasury. Any questions?

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{ John Isaacs, Ah! Donald Judd, My Favourite!, 1991 }

Langsome heels and langsome toesis

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A paper on gender bias in academia was recently rejected by an academic journal, whose reviewer told the two female authors to “find one or two male biologists to work with” if they wanted to get their work published.

That work, by the way, was a scientific survey of how and why men in academia tend to publish more papers, and in more prestigious academic journals, than women.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

Damn your yellow stick. Where are we going?

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Marketers often seek to minimize or eliminate interruptions when they deliver persuasive messages in an attempt to increase consumers’ attention and processing of those messages. However, in five studies conducted across different experimental contexts and different content domains, the current research reveals that interruptions that temporarily disrupt a persuasive message can increase consumers’ processing of that message. As a result, consumers can be more persuaded by interrupted messages than they would be by the exact same messages delivered uninterrupted.

{ Journal of Consumer Research/Stanford Business | Continue reading }

art { Teppei Kaneuji, Ghost in the Liquid Room (lenticular) #9, 2014 }