SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
The Intercept identifies 8 buildings in major US cities being being used to monitor domestic electronic communications as part of the NSA’s top secret Fairview surveillance program.
All hypotheses are not created equal. Strong vs. weak hypotheses. “To demonstrate our theory has good predictive validity, we need to divide all possible states of the world into a set that is predicted by our theory, and a set that is not predicted by our theory.”
“Scientists from ANU and overseas have discovered the oldest colours in the geological record, 1.1 billion-year-old bright pink pigments extracted from rocks deep beneath the Sahara desert in Africa.”
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s definition, history, and overview of “artificial intelligence.”
11% of Americans don’t use the internet. Here are the reasons why.
Naturalists have observed peculiar communication powers associated with snail — a sort of sympathetic bond endures, across any distance and for the duration of their lives, between any two snails who have once mated.
To this day, linguists, anthropologists, cryptographers, and all others have been unable to decipher rongorongo, the written script of Easter Islanders, of which only a few 100-year-old examples exist.
The DOJ announced a landmark settlement with Austin-based startup, Defense Distributed, a provider of 3D-printed firearm schematics, effectively legalizing 3D printed guns.
SCL Group, the London-based parent organization of political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, has allegedly operated a citizenship-for-sale business for the purpose of conducting clandestine election campaigns across the Caribbean.
“The insatiable demand of the global building boom has unleashed an illegal market in sand. Gangs are now stealing pristine beaches to order and paradise islands are being dredged and sold to the construction industry.” “Sand accounted for 85% of the total weight of mined material in 2014, yet it is replenished by rock erosion only over thousands of years. Booming demand means scarcity, scarcity means money and money means criminality. Globally, sand extraction is estimated to be worth £50bn per year, a cubic metre of sand selling for as much as £62 in areas of high demand and scarce supply.”
The Chinese Bro Code. “Alcohol, food, and sex are fun. But in China, the culture of banquet and brothel has become largely joyless, a business tool chiefly directed at transactional relationships with other men… …vice serves as a kind of screen, weeding out the rare few who might have moral qualms about future dealings. It tells both sides that they’re playing by the same rules.”
The question of authoritarianism: Trump vs. Obama on SCOTUS overrulings. “One objective way to measure the sweep of presidential actions is to track the number and type of presidential initiatives that end up being adjudicated in the highest court in the land, and see how they hold up when adjudged for Constitutional compliance.”
Immigration as a revenue-generating activity. “Last year, CoreCivic and GEO Group made $3.2 billion from government contracts; according to SEC filings, $985 million came from ICE contracts alone.”
Theoretical shades of a modern American Civil War.
“At 24.9 megabits per second, Madagascar’s broadband speed is more than twice the global average. Not only does this mean the African island nation has the fastest internet speed on the continent, but it places 22nd in the world, out-pacing Canada, France, and the UK.”
ARTS & CULTURE
A case to suggest that Spanish Inquisition courts were moderate for their time. “…we know exactly what happened in thousands of cases heard by the Inquisition across Spain over hundreds of years. Because it was a serious court, meticulous case files and court records were kept… …Torture was ubiquitous in courts of the time, and the Inquisition’s use of it, while objectively horrific, was downright progressive when seen in context. The limitations imposed on its use were a means of removing it as a practice.”
Facts about abortion in American history.
“Of course, poor kids can still soar in school, and rich ones can flunk out, but few would deny that money is a powerful influence on people’s futures. Now, consider that household income explains just 7 percent of the variation in educational attainment, which is less than what genes can now account for. “Most social scientists wouldn’t do a study without accounting for socioeconomic status, even if that’s not what they’re interested in,” says Harden. The same ought to be true of our genes.”
According to the CDC, more than 80M American adults are chronically sleep deprived, meaning they sleep less than the recommended minimum of seven hours a night.
Melatonin is a complex and surprisingly potent sleep hypnotic, and you’re probably using it wrong. To get to bed earlier, take melatonin 7 hours before desired sleep time.
5 percent of Ambien users are experience ““zolpidem-induced somnambulism and amnesic sleep-related behavioral problems” — psychotropic effects that include hearing voices and experiencing the presence of non-existent entities.
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, and collard greens are all technically the same species, Brassica oleracea.
“Over the past three years, the percentage of 6- to 12-year-olds playing soccer regularly has dropped nearly 14 percent, to 2.3 million players, according to a study by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, which has analyzed youth athletic trends for 40 years.”
Informal surveys show that three exclamation points are most recognized as conveying “genuine enthusiasm.”
A list of “leprechauns” — academic urban legends and historical memes that turn out to be reasonable in their original context, exaggerated, or false.
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