SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
A fossil of a 585,000,000-year-old Dickinsonia is the oldest animal ever discovered.
A 90,000 year-old-female discovered in a Siberian cave has been shown to be half Neanderthal and half Denisovan, according to genomic bone analysis.
The biggest companies in every field are pulling away from their peers faster than ever, sucking up the lion’s share of revenue, profits and productivity gains. “Data suggests that … [backroom] IT spending that goes into hiring developers and creating software owned and used exclusively by a firm is the key competitive advantage.”
How willing are scientists to change the direction of their work in exchange for resources? For a scientist to change their strategic direction by 1 standard deviation, a qualitatively small difference, requires a four-fold increase in funds, an extra $1 million per year.
Effective casual conversations are limited to 4 participants. “Add a fifth speaker, and the conversation often quickly fissions into smaller groups. Termed ‘the dinner party problem,’ this four-person conversation size limit is believed to be caused by evolved cognitive constraints on human mentalizing capacities.”
In the past two decades, there have been over 9000 scientists who have published more than 72 ‘full papers’ in a calendar year, the equivalent of one paper every 5 days.
University of Oregon scientists gave MDMA to octopuses and they became more social, a similar effect to humans, despite having a significantly different brain structure: “Rather than one localized brain with a cortex, or a highly folded outer layer like our brains have, an octopus’s decentralized nervous system includes control centers for each arm in addition to a brain.”
Access to datasets remains a problem for both academic and business AI development.
A parasitic fungus that affects cicadas produces a psilocybin-like chemical to control its hosts.
Russian trolls are spreading misinformation about vaccines on Twitter.
A compelling history of the AIDS crisis in America.
10% of Canadians identify as vegan or vegetarian.
All over the developed world, people are having sex less frequently. Reasons are largely unknown.
Alcohol is responsible for over one in 20 of all deaths worldwide, according to the most recent edition of a World Health Organization (WHO) report that comes out every four years…roughly three million deaths in 2016 can be attributed to alcohol, of which 2.3 million were men and 29 percent were caused by injuries (including everything from accidents to car collisions and suicides) rather than health problems….According to the WHO data, approximately 7.2 percent of premature deaths worldwide are linked to alcohol, and as well as 5.3 of all deaths in general.
Five percent of teens reported physical abuse from their dating partners in 2013, down from 6 percent in 2003. But in the last year, 5.8 percent of boys reported dating violence compared to 4.2 percent of girls.
In a comparison of the cost of contact vs. non-contact sports, “The estimated dollar value (in 2015 dollars) of the total injury savings is between US$433 million and US$1.5 billion per year for college and between US$5.1 billion and US$18.4 billion per year for high school.”
Pseudonymous financial authors attack public companies to manipulate stock prices, then move on to a new pseudonym with relative ease after losing credibility. “Among 1,720 pseudonymous attacks on mid- and large-cap firms from 2010-2017, I identify over $20.1 billion of mispricing”
Martin Shkreli, blogging behind bars. His sample interview questions for an entry-level pharmaceutical analyst.
A Swiss startup is using cranes to stack and lower concrete blocks to store energy harvested from sustainable but discontinuous energy sources such as wind and solar.
The Bitcoin network processes $1.3 trillion of transactions, more than Paypal. (But Paypal handled 7 billion transactions in 2017, compared to Bitcoin’s 104 million.) And Bitcoin now consumes about 1% of global energy generation, about the same amount of energy as Austria.
“Nike’s stock soared some 5 percent, a roughly $6 billion market value increase since Labor Day, in the wake of its controversial advertisement with Colin Kaepernick.” Also, “Nike employees and its PAC contributed $424,000 to the Republican Party (78 percent of its political contributions) and its candidates so far in this 2018 election cycle.
“The Department of Education reported 235 school shootings in the US for the 2015 school year. When NPR checked, they were only able to confirm 11 of them. The others seem to have been mostly Lizardman’s Constant – ie real school shootings are so rare that they were massively outnumbered by school officials filling out the survey wrong or misunderstanding the question.”
In most states, you are in the ‘1-percent’ if you are making more that $550k/year.
“A country’s exports rise when its leadership is approved by other countries…a one percent increase in leadership approval raises exports by around .66 percent… the >20 percentage point decline in foreign approval of American leadership between 2016 (Obama’s last year) and 2017 (Trump’s first year) lowered American exports by at least .2% or >$3 billion.”
Forty ways the world is getting better, including literacy, social progress, and world health.
In Ubang, a farming community in southern Nigeria, men and women speak different languages.
Despite success at the box office in the US, Crazy Rich Asians may not see release in China, the second largest world film market. “Under China’s strict quota system, a limited number of foreign films are approved for import every year and some experts are skeptical about the movie’s chances. The depictions of profligate spending and vast wealth inequality in “Crazy Rich Asians,” they say, might not sit well with Chinese officials amid the country’s growing push for positive “core socialist values.”
China’s social credit system may soon include real time updates based on shopping decisions, smartphone usage, and more. Within years, an official Party outline claims, it will “allow the trustworthy to roam freely under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step”.
9MOTHER9HORSE9EYES9 experimental science fiction, written as Reddit comments across various threads.
Forged historical book prints and artifacts depicting Islamic science are finding their way into museums and history books. “There now exist entire museums filled with reimagined objects, fashioned in the past 20 years but intended to represent the venerable scientific traditions of the Islamic world.”
Popular books are getting longer. “One book survey found that the average number of pages had increased from 320 to 400 pages between 1999 and 2014.” Reasons include the the shift to physically lighter e-readers, inexperience of editors, authorial egos, and the misguided perception that volume equals value or artistic and intellectual merit.
Cher’s 1999 hit, “Believe,” was the first song to put autotune on the map.
To be considered a hyperpolyglot, one must speak over 11 languages.
Donald Trump has an undeveloped 436 acre New York State Park named after him. He purchased the property for $2 million in the 1990s, and donated it in 2006. In late 2015, State Senator Daniel Squadron introduced an “Anything But Trump Act” to change the park’s name, but the proposal did not get much traction.
Bishop William Borders of the Orlando diocese was technically the first “Bishop of the Moon”. According to an obscure rule from the 1917 Code of Canon Law, any newly discovered territory would fall under the bishopric from whence the discovering expedition departed — in this case Cape Canaveral and the Apollo 11 mission.
Musings on the The Left’s degradation of discourse.
A definition of troll: “One who speaks to a community and as being part of the community; only he is not part of it, but opposed… he destroys the thread by disputing what is known to be true, or abusing what is recognised as admirable; or he creates fear about a small problem, as if it were large, or treats a necessary matter as small; or he speaks abuse while claiming to be a friend. And in general the troll says what is false but sounds like the truth.” But also, “One might wonder whether there is an art of trolling and an excellence; and indeed some say that Socrates was a troll, and so that the good man also trolls.”
The @verified Twitter account only follows active blue checks, putting the total of verified accounts at over 304k.
Religiosity increases in areas recently affected by earthquakes and other natural disasters, offered as a demonstration of religious coping to deal with unbearable and unpredictable life events.
Fortnite contributed to 5% of UK divorces this year.
Mister Rogers greatly disliked superheroes because he believed they knowingly mislead children. In a speech given at an academic conference at Yale University in 1972, Mister Rogers said, “The impact of television must be considered in the light of the possibility that children are exposed to experiences which may be far beyond what their egos can deal with effectively. Those of us who produce television must assume the responsibility for providing images of trustworthy available adults who will modulate these experiences and attempt to keep them within manageable limits.”Personality traits for men — particularly conscientiousness, extraversion, and agreeableness (negative) — are shown to have a larger impact on lifetime earning than IQ.
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