‘Belonging is stronger than facts.’ —Zeynep Tufekci

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In February, after reading a Reddit thread about Dogecoin’s potential, Mr. Contessoto decided to go all in. He maxed out his credit cards, borrowed money using Robinhood’s margin trading feature and spent everything he had on the digital currency — investing about $250,000 in all. […] The value of his Dogecoin holdings today? Roughly $2 million. […]

He is also emblematic of a new kind of hyper-online investor who is winning by applying the skills of the digital attention economy — sharing memes, cultivating buzz, producing endless streams of content for social media — to the financial markets. These investors, mostly young men, don’t behave rationally in the old-fashioned, Homo economicus sense. They pick investments not based on their underlying fundamentals or the estimates of Wall Street analysts, but on looser criteria, such as how funny they are, how futuristic they seem or how many celebrities are tweeting about them. […]

These investors, mostly young men, don’t behave rationally in the old-fashioned, Homo economicus sense. They pick investments not based on their underlying fundamentals or the estimates of Wall Street analysts, but on looser criteria, such as how funny they are, how futuristic they seem or how many celebrities are tweeting about them. Their philosophy is that in today’s media-saturated world, attention is the most valuable commodity of all, and that anything that is attracting a great deal of it must be worth something.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

‘Try to be free: you will die of hunger.’ –Cioran

Apparently someone sat Elon Musk down and told him where Bitcoins come from […] The funny move here would be if Tesla Inc. had dumped all its Bitcoins at the highs. […] The source of value for Bitcoin is not its use as a currency or economic importance; the source of value for Bitcoin — for everything — is simple proximity to Elon Musk. […]

Mark Zuckerberg shared a picture of his pet goats on Monday, introducing them to the world as Bitcoin and Max.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

related { Tesla’s Musk halts use of bitcoin for car purchases }

Every day, the same, again

32.jpgSome Amazon managers say they ‘hire to fire’ people just to meet the internal turnover goal every year

1,000 feral cats released onto Chicago streets to tackle rat explosion

Implanted Wireless Device Triggers Mice To Form Instant Bond

Want To Know Whether A Movie Or Book Will Be A Hit? Look At How Emotional The Reviews Are

FBI warns of cybercriminals abusing search ads to promote phishing sites

Endless scrolling. That’s one of the telltale signs of a novel phenomenon our new research identifies as algorithmic fatigue. People who spend ages browsing streaming services, looking for something new to watch, are some of the many examples of the growing numbers of consumers who are now finding that AI systems fall short.

The Instagram ads Facebook won’t show you

Why the US has two different highway fonts

‘Saints live in flames; wise men, next to them.’ –Cioran

For a few minutes during trading on Wednesday, for example, the price of Ethereum Classic jumped well above $100 on the Coinbase exchange. The digital token was trading at less than $80 at other venues, offering an obvious opportunity for investors to make money simply by buying in one place and selling in another.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

Every day, the same, again

5.jpgThe first bottles of an “artisanal spirit” made using apples grown near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant have been seized by Ukrainian authorities.

I’ve had the same supper for 10 years. I have two pieces of fish, an onion, an egg, baked beans and biscuits. Being a farmer means every day is the same.

MDMA Passes a Big Test For PTSD Treatment — most participants correctly guessed whether they received a placebo or MDMA [NY Times | Nature | PDF]

Distracted nurse gives woman 6 doses of COVID vaccine in a single shot

A batch of new studies show coronavirus vaccines work against new variants

The 1918 pandemic began in the spring with an intermittent first wave no deadlier than ordinary influenza, then seemed to disappear. A more contagious and more lethal variant caused the deadly second wave, and then it also seemed to disappear. In March 1919, another variant sparked a third wave much less deadly than the second wave but more lethal than seasonal influenza. First wave illness protected against the second wave, but neither first nor second wave infection protected against the third wave variant. Further mutations, combined with an improved ability of the immune system to respond, helped turn the virus into an ordinary seasonal influenza — until it was replaced by the 1957 pandemic influenza virus. Covid-19 was never going to disappear, but there is a reasonable chance that it will follow the 1918 precedent and become an endemic influenza-like illness that kills — serious enough, to be sure — and will require vaccine updates but will not require shutdowns. That would be the best case. [Washington Post]

Amazon Fake Reviews Scam Exposed in Data Breach

Verizon sells media businesses including Yahoo and AOL to private equity firm Apollo for $5 billion

The plan to kill Osama bin Laden—from the spycraft to the assault to its bizarre political backdrop—as told by the people in the room.

Cats are the only asocial animal we have successfully domesticated. We’re disappointed that we don’t bond with them as easily as dogs. But are we just missing the signs?

Keeping time accurately comes with a price. The maximum accuracy of a clock is directly related to how much disorder, or entropy, it creates every time it ticks.

Hyperreality, in semiotics and postmodernism, is an inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality, especially in technologically advanced postmodern societies. Hyperreality is seen as a condition in which what is real and what is fiction are seamlessly blended together so that there is no clear distinction between where one ends and the other begins.

“It is no longer a question of imitation, nor duplication, nor even parody. It is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real”

We asked journalists for the worst pitch they ever sent. Here’s what they said.

A true brownstone is actually built of brick; only the facade is made of brownstone.

Fonts in Popular Culture Identified Vol. 3

Every day, the same, again

31.jpgScientists Have Taught Bees to Smell COVID-19 Infections

Knives manufactured from frozen human feces do not work

While children felt about 3 years older than their chronological age, older adults (60+ years) felt between 10.74 and 21.07 years younger

10 residents live in isolation at Hawaii’s last leprosy community

Alien plants: The search for photosynthesis on other worlds

Dogecoin is a codebase fork of Luckycoin, which itself was a codebase fork of Junkcoin, which was a codebase fork of Litecoin, which in turn is a codebase fork of Bitcoin

The origin of COVID: Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan?

A future without passwords

How Big Pharma Finds Sick Users on Facebook — Though Facebook does not offer advertisers categories that explicitly identify people’s health conditions, The Markup identified dozens of ads for prescription pharmaceuticals targeted at people with “interests” in topics like “bourbon,” “oxygen,” and “Diabetes mellitus awareness.”

when we encounter opposing views in the age and context of social media, it’s not like reading them in a newspaper while sitting alone. It’s like hearing them from the opposing team while sitting with our fellow fans in a football stadium. Online, we’re connected with our communities, and we seek approval from our like-minded peers. We bond with our team by yelling at the fans of the other one. In sociology terms, we strengthen our feeling of “in-group” belonging by increasing our distance from and tension with the “out-group”—us versus them. […] Belonging is stronger than facts.

Psychoanalytic interpretations of the American television series The Office — most of the time no work is done at all

The 3,000-year-old Luxor obelisk first arrived in Paris on 21 December 1833, and three years later, on 25 October 1836, was moved to the centre of Place de la Concorde by King Louis-Phillipe. It had been given to France by Muhammad Ali Pasha, ruler of Ottoman Egypt in exchange for a French mechanical clock. After the Obelisk was taken, the mechanical clock provided in exchange was discovered to be faulty, having probably been damaged during transport. The clock still exists in a clock-tower at Cairo Citadel and is still not working. [Wikipedia]

Gateses’ mansion, called Xanadu 2.0 […] A 20-car garage is built into the hillside […] There’s a trampoline room. […] The house has just seven bedrooms but 24 bathrooms

Could this famous con man be lying about his story? [Frank W. Abagnale Jr. / Catch Me if You Can] A new book suggests he is

DeLillo originally wanted to call the book Panasonic, but the Panasonic Corporation objected

the higher the price of this NFT goes, the more lives will be saved

Emails show Steve Jobs referred to Facebook as ‘Fecebook’

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Before coronavirus shuttered the world, a typical month for Connecticut native Zac Mathias was packed with appointments for microneedling (a collagen-stimulating process that involves repeated pin-pricks all over the face), regular resurfacing hydrafacials, rejuvenating laser treatments and the occasional red-light therapy session.

The beauty influencer particularly misses his weekly infrared saunas, where light is used to heat the air instead of traditional steam. The technology has been praised for reversing the effects of photo-aging. Mathias is 18. […]

“Skin care was always a self-care time; that’s how I decompress at night.” […]

“Premature aging at 16. What are my options?” […]

“I’m 15 in 2 days and I’m already using retinol, vitamin C and gua sha with my sunscreen.” […]

Brands have made the fear of looking older into a lucrative business, with the anti-aging market predicted to pull in over $88 billion in global sales by 2026. […]

“There’s a new beauty persona called the Skinvestors, a next-gen, science-first beauty consumer who sees skin care as an investment.

{ CNN | Continue reading }

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There are more real estate agents than actual houses for sale in the United States.

Any given day, you’re likely to see about half a million homes for sale, and there are 1.5 million members of the National Association of Realtors.

{ NPR | Continue reading }

images { Jerry Lewis, The Ladies Man, 1961 | Georges Perec, La vie mode d’emploi, 1978 }

Every day, the same, again

4.jpgBrazilian Amazon released more carbon than it absorbed over past 10 years

The Gambler Who Cracked the Horse-Racing Code — Bill Benter did the impossible: He wrote an algorithm that couldn’t lose at the track. Close to a billion dollars later, he tells his story for the first time.

how we applied for a job with a ransomware gang

A deadly California wildfire was set to cover up a woman’s murder

Elderly couple uses military Morse Code training to escape Tennessee assisted living facility

Western diet tied to adult acne

Grumpy face during adult sleep

5 years old, the age at which children first become concerned with other people’s evaluations of them

It appears that having a son decreases support for feminist and egalitarian gender attitudes in both men and women

Citizens have made “huge sacrifices” over the last eight months to try and contain the coronavirus, he said in a statement. “In such circumstances it is easy and natural to feel apathetic and demotivated, to experience fatigue.”

NYPD Returns Its Police ‘Robodog’ After a Public Outcry

Consider Amazon. The company perfected the one-click checkout. But canceling a $119 Prime subscription is a labyrinthine process that requires multiple screens and clicks. Or Ticketmaster. Online customers are bombarded with options for ticket insurance, subscription services for razors and other items and, when users navigate through those, they can expect to receive a battery of text messages from the company with no clear option to stop them. These are examples of “dark patterns.” [NY Times]

California appeals court finds Amazon responsible for third party sellers’ products

From steel and copper to corn and lumber, commodities started 2021 with a bang, surging to levels not seen for years.

The Bahamas is one of three countries to launch a digital currency, along with China and Cambodia.

The Secret Mission To Unearth Part Of A 142-Year-Old Experiment

While captive in a Navy program, a beluga whale named Noc began to mimic human speech

Is it ‘Zoom face’ or is the pandemic aging you?

I’m looking for a deconstructed bra that does not ride up, but is less constricting than a traditional underwire. Any suggestions? [NY Times]

Andre Agassi’s method of reading Boris Becker’s serve

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Lake

‘There are many people today who see that modern society is heading toward disaster in one form or another, and who moreover recognize technology as the common thread linking the principal dangers that hang over us.’ –Theodore Kaczynski

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if you want to build a global taxi service that people can hail from a smartphone app, one way to do it is to coordinate with the taxi commissions of hundreds of cities to get regulatory approvals and make sure that you comply with local requirements, and another way to do it is to completely ignore those regulations and just launch your app everywhere. The second approach might expose you to ruinous fines or shutdown orders or bad publicity or prison, but it also might work; you might end up so popular in so many places that the local regulators can’t ban you and will have to accept your proposed terms. […]

If you want to build self-driving cars, you will need to test them. […] [a] way to test them is to just send out a bunch of cars to drive themselves everywhere, without asking for permission, and see what happens. […]

Federal agencies say he’s breaking the rules and endangering people. Mr. Musk says they’re holding back progress. […] When asked to comment on the specifics of this article, Mr. Musk replied with a “poop” emoji.

{ Matt Levine/Bloomberg | Continue reading }

previously:

Driverify [cryptocurrency]: Developed by Tesla’s self-driving-car division. Cars mine Driverify with spare computing power while idling, and spend it bidding against each other for right-of-way if they arrive at a four-way stop sign at the same time (users can preprogram how aggressively their cars bid in these auctions). […]

Banned [by the SEC] because: in the Phoenix suburb where the system was being tested, a pedestrian and Driverify-equipped car reached an intersection at the same time. The car dutifully wired a bid, but the pedestrian failed to respond. The car interpreted this as a bid of zero and ran into her.

{ Astral Codex Ten | Continue reading }

related { NASA suspends SpaceX’s $2.9 billion moon lander contract after rivals protest }

‘The difference between investment banking now and 20 years ago is that now, the customers have bigger yachts.’ –GSElevator

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The horses in these online races are NFTs, or “nonfungible tokens,” meaning they exist only as digital assets. […] But unlike the vast majority of NFTs each digital horse constitutes a “breathing NFT.” […] “It can breed, has a bloodline, has a life of its own. It races, it has genes it passes on, and it lives on an algorithm so no two horses are the same.” […]

One player sold a stable full of digital racehorses for $252,000. Another got $125,000 for a single racehorse. So far, more than 11,000 digital horses have been sold on the platform.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

image { “Disaster girl” makes $500,000 in NFT sale of her viral meme }

Shaken, not stirred

One instructor at the CIA came up with an ingenious way to use the Starbucks gift card as a signaling tool instead of the traditional chalk marks and lowered window blinds.

He gives one [gift card] to each of his assets and tells them, “If you need to see me, buy a coffee.” Then he checks the card numbers on a cybercafé computer each day, and if the balance on one is depleted, he knows he’s got a meeting. Saves him having to drive past a whole slew of different physical signal sites each day [to check for chalk marks and lowered window blinds]. And the card numbers aren’t tied to identities, so the whole thing is pretty secure.

{ NPR | Continue reading }