Every day, the same, again

6.jpgFamilies sue US sperm bank after ‘genius’ donor turns out to be felon with mental health issues.

How the sense of an ending shapes memory Composers, novelists and film directors try to end on a high. Restaurants keen to manipulate their online reviews have found a similar trick.

Memories of unethical actions become obfuscated over time

Visceral states like thirst, hunger, and fatigue can alter motivations, predictions, and even memory. It can also shift moral standards and increase dishonest behavior.

Fish can recognize human faces [study]

Ticket bots  have years of experience beating you to the punch for premium seats. A fan’s guide to why you’re totally screwed.

Trump University and the art of the get-rich seminar

What Happens to the Coins People Toss Into Fountains?

Fortune cookies are often served as a dessert in Chinese restaurants in the United States and some other countries, but are absent in China

The best day and time to hold a meeting: Tuesday, 2:30pm, according to a study

Jimmy Carter actually saw a UFO (he even filed the paperwork)

We study 1) how the urban smellscape changes in time and space; 2) which emotions people share at places with specific smells; and 3) what is the color of a smell, if it exists

World’s Biggest Indoor Vertical Farm Near NYC to Use 95% Less Water

Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand?

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The June 5 escape from Clinton was planned and executed by two particularly cunning and resourceful inmates, abetted by the willful, criminal conduct of a civilian employee of the prison’s tailor shops and assisted by the reckless actions of a veteran correction officer. The escape could not have occurred, however, except for longstanding breakdowns in basic security functions at Clinton and DOCCS executive management’s failure to identify and correct these deficiencies.

[…]

Using pipes as hand- and foot-holds, Sweat and Matt descended three tiers through a narrow space behind their cells to the prison’s subterranean level. There they navigated a labyrinth of dimly lit tunnels and squeezed through a series of openings in walls and a steam pipe along a route they had prepared over the previous three months. When, at midnight, they emerged from a manhole onto a Village of Dannemora street a block outside the prison wall, Sweat and Matt had accomplished a remarkable feat: the first escape from the high-security section of Clinton in more than 100 years.

[…]

In early 2015, the relationships deepened and Mitchell became an even more active participant in the escape plot, ultimately agreeing to join Sweat and Matt after their breakout and drive away with them. In addition to smuggling escape tools and maps, Mitchell agreed to be a conduit to obtain cash for Matt and gathered items to assist their flight, including guns and ammunition, camping gear, clothing, and a compass. Even as she professed her love for Sweat in notes she secretly sent him, Mitchell engaged in numerous sexual encounters with Matt in the tailor shop. These included kissing, genital fondling, and oral sex.

[…]

The Inspector General is compelled to note that this investigation was made more difficult by a lack of full cooperation on the part of a number of Clinton staff, including executive management, civilian employees, and uniformed officers. Notwithstanding the unprecedented granting of immunity from criminal prosecution for most uniformed officers, employees provided testimony under oath that was incomplete and at times not credible. Among other claims, they testified they could not recall such information as the names of colleagues with whom they regularly worked, supervisors, or staff who had trained them. Several officers, testifying under oath within several weeks of the event, claimed not to remember their activities or observations on the night of the escape. Other employees claimed ignorance of security lapses that were longstanding and widely known.

{ State of New York, Office of the Inspector General | Continue reading }

photo { Chisels, punch, hacksaw blade pieces, and unused drill bits left by Sweat in tunnel }

‘You speak an infinite deal of nothing.’ –Shakespeare

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The present study investigated whether gut feelings — commonly reported visceral sensations that are virtually synonymous with intuitive hunches — may involve information gained by nonordinary means.

[…]

Objective: Investigate whether the gut feelings of one person, as measured with an electrogastrogram (EGG), respond to the emotions of a distant person.

[…]

This experiment suggests that some somatic feelings may be associated with perceptions transcending ordinary sensory capabilities. Of course, it would be imprudent to assume that all gut feelings necessarily contain intuitive information, as on occasion visceral sensations reflect little more than a bad burrito. But assuming that future studies can successfully replicate the present results, it may turn out that the “belly brain” is more perceptive than previously suspected, and that common reports of gut feelings having special intuitive qualities may have a basis in fact.

{ The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medecine | PDF }

image { thanks Tim }

By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is aweary of this great world

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In “Rat Ethics” I am primarily concerned with moral arguments about the rat, in particular, Rattus norvegicus. I argue that there is a complex bias against the animal which reduces it to ‘a pest, vermin, or mischievous’. This predominant bias against rats is a product of cultural stereotyping rather than objective reasoning. A cultural and philosophical examination of the rat can expose and provide grounds for rejecting this bias. I argue that the three main types of rats we encounter (i.e., liminal, research, companion) should be given full moral consideration and determine certain basic moral rights which are distinct to each encounter. I examine the Norway rat from a historical, cultural, philosophical, and practical perspective. I conclude that we must re-evaluate our moral relations with this animal and democratically support the basic rights its moral liberation demands. The fundamental rights of all rats are: 1) the moral right to have reasonable consideration, and 2) the moral right to freedom from unnecessary suffering. Further, contract-based rights are suggested for companion rats, which take the form of additional regulation regarding breeders, retailers, and consumers.

{ Joshua Duffy | Continue reading }

images { ad for The Rats Are Coming! The Werewolves Are Here!, 1972 | Rat Fink by Adam Cruz }

Little pig, little pig, let me come in

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Scientists in the United States are trying to grow human organs inside pigs.

They have injected human stem cells into pig embryos to produce human-pig embryos known as chimeras.

The embryos are part of research aimed at overcoming the worldwide shortage of transplant organs.

The team from University of California, Davis says they should look and behave like normal pigs except that one organ will be composed of human cells.

{ BBC | Continue reading }

photos { Christien Meindertsma, PIG 05049, 2009 | Meindertsma has spent three years researching all the products made from a single pig }

Is Wagner a human being at all? Is he not rather a disease?

Neil Harbisson, an artist with colorblindness, has a chip implanted in his head and antenna attached to his skull that allows him to hear a different frequency of sound for each color.

Meanwhile, his artistic partner Moon Ribas has an implanted magnet that allows her to feel the tremors of earthquakes around the world.

{ Quartz | Continue reading }

People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles

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Most people in industrialized societies grow up in core (parents only) families with few if any siblings. Based on an evolutionary perspective, it may be argued that this environment reflects a mismatch, in that the tribal setting offered a larger number of close affiliates. The present project examined whether this mismatch may have a negative impact on mental health. […]

The number of household members correlated with scores on good mental health at all ages tested (3, 5 and 8 years). […] Living with a single mother did not make any difference compared to two parents. Girls were slightly more responsive to the presence of siblings than boys. Household pets did not have any appreciable impact.

{ BMC Psychology | Continue reading }

I’m tryna live my life and you’re just tryna drag me down

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Facebook could be listening in on people’s conversations all of the time, an expert has claimed. The app might be using people’s phones to gather data on what they are talking about.

Professor Burns has said that the tool appears to be using the audio it gathers not simply to help out users, but might be doing so to listen in to discussions and serve them with relevant advertising. She says that to test the feature, she discussed certain topics around the phone and then found that the site appeared to show relevant ads.

Facebook says that its app does listen to what’s happening around it, but only as a way of seeing what people are listening to or watching and suggesting that they post about it.

{ Independent | Continue reading }

unrelated { How Facebook is Stealing Billions of Views }

photo { Marcus Ohlsson }

Every day, the same, again

3.jpgGrandfather “very sorry” after accidentally picking up wrong grandchild at school

The authors describe a 50 year old Italian man who turned into a ‘caricature’ of a Frenchman after a brain injury. [more]

How do we choose a partner?

Individuals in the early stage of intense romantic love show many symptoms of substance and non-substance or behavioral addictions.

Only women’s clothing is described as sexually provocative

Scientists have developed a new method to rapidly detect a single virus in urine

We are only beginning to understand the recent, mysterious honey bee die offs. And: New study shows bumblebees can sense electric fields generated by flowers, and use that feeling to tell the difference between flowers.

Why Are There Violent Rabbits In The Margins Of Medieval Manuscripts?

Glasses on the Floor Mistaken for Art Installation at San Francisco MoMA

Just learn how to capture your luck, for your luck is always there

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As Goethe observed in 1797, “the publisher always knows the profit to himself and his family whereas the author is totally in the dark.” This problem of lopsided information was aggravated by the near-absence of copyright protection in the 18th and 19th century. A bestseller could be expected to spawn an abundance of pirated versions. Charles Dickens, on his first trip to the United States in 1842, complained endlessly about the pirating of his works for the U.S. market. This lack of intellectual property protection led to further conflicts of interest and opinion between authors and publishers: it was standard practice among publishers — even respectable ones — to have multiple print runs without an author’s permission, and writers sometimes tried to sell near-identical editions of the same title to multiple publishers. Because authors couldn’t trust the sales numbers if and when their publishers provided them, 19th-century book contracts were for a fixed fee rather than per-copy royalty payments. […]

Goethe engineered the following mechanism […]

I am inclined to offer Mr. Vieweg from Berlin an epic poem, Hermann and Dorothea, which will have approximately 2000 hexameters. …Concerning the royalty we will proceed as follows: I will hand over to Mr. Counsel Böttiger [Goethe’s lawyer] a sealed note which contains my demand, and I wait for what Mr. Vieweg will suggest to offer for my work. If his offer is lower than my demand, then I take my note back, unopened, and the negotiation is broken. If, however, his offer is higher, then I will not ask for more than what is written in the note to be opened by Mr. Böttiger.

Scholars had treated Goethe’s proposition as one of the enigmas left behind by one of history’s greatest literary figures. But the economists argue that there’s no mystery to Goethe’s choice of mechanism. The author wanted to know how much he was worth to Vieweg, and he devised this peculiar “auction” to get Vieweg to tell him.

{ The Millions | Continue reading }

Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road

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A majority of people the world over eat meat, yet many of these same people experience discomfort when the meat on their plate is linked to the death of animals. We draw on this common form of moral conflict — the meat-paradox — to develop insights into the ways in which morally troublesome behaviors vanish into the commonplace and every day.

Drawing on a motivational analysis, we show how societies may be shaped by attempts to resolve dissonance, in turn protecting their citizens from discomfort associated with their own moral conflicts. To achieve this, we build links between dissonance reduction, habit formation, social influence, and the emergence of social norms and detail how our analysis has implications for understanding immoral behavior and motivations underpinning dehumanization and objectification.

{ Personality and Social Psychology Review }

Finally, we marry to make a nice feeling permanent. We imagine that marriage will help us to bottle the joy we felt when the thought of proposing first came to us.

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{ Storm Thorgerson, cover for Pink Floyd’s album Wish You Were Here, 1975 | US release, UK release }

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For Pink Floyd’s 1975 triple platinum Wish You Were Here album, Capitol Records execs headed to the L.A. offices of Stunts Unlimited. Ronnie Rondell, 59, a veteran of TV shows such as Baretta and Charlie’s Angels, was cast as the man on fire. “I got $500 and only worked an hour.” Fellow stuntman Danny Rogers, 53, the glad-hander, was paid only $250 but caught a lot less heat during the carefully controlled shoot on a nearby movie lot, where a crew armed with fire extinguishers stood by. Rondell’s suit was painted with rubber cement and ignited three times before it ripped and his flame-retardant long Johns peeked through the holes. His eyebrows and eyelashes were singed in the process. “It’ll happen in a heartbeat,” says Rondell. “The fire wraps around your face real quick, like a barbecue thing. The wig was fried, it melted up into a ball.”

{ People | Continue reading }