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Shines Like Gold
By imp kerr
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Triple-Decker Weekly, 53

photo by Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin

Danish Justin Bieber lookalike, now with a record contract.

FDA shut down a New Jersey bakery after finding sugar in its sugar free goods and saturated fat in its fat free treats.

US companies seek final approval to start slaughtering horses for food.

Can a country with a GDP ($23 billion) only 1/10th the size of Detroit, Michigan or one half of Tulsa, Oklahoma be a systemic risk to the global economy and clip, say, $300 billion in value, off the U.S. stock market?  […] Detroit, for example, is on its way to bankruptcy and you hardly hear a peep from the Euro Bears or their American comrades. [Global Macro Monitor/Ritholtz]

The study, at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine in Baltimore, found that a single dose of psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, was enough to cause positive effects for up to a year. Single magic mushroom can change personality.

Recent experimental psychology […] suggests that the best leaders — both male and female — seem to have relatively high testosterone, which is linked to decreased fear and increased tolerance for risk and desire to compete, and low cortisol, which is linked to decreased anxiety. Effective leadership is associated with hormone levels, and with this hormone profile, leaders are confident and willing to take risks, but not overly threatened or reactive to stressors. [..] It turns out these two hormones, testosterone and cortisol, are very touchy, sensitive to social and physical cues and fluctuating a great deal over the course of a single day. As Sandberg mentioned in her book, our research shows that people can change their own hormone levels and behaviors, by “faking it” — by “power posing,” or adopting expansive, open nonverbal postures that are strongly associated with power and dominance across the animal kingdom (imagine standing with hands on hips and feet spread, like Wonder Woman). By holding these postures for just two minutes before entering a high-stress situation, people (both men and women) can increase their testosterone by about 20% and decrease their cortisol by about 25%. [Harvard Business Review | Thanks Tim]

It seems to me that MFA programs have become a tool of indoctrination that has had an unprecedented homogenizing effect on artistic practices worldwide, an effect that is now being replicated with curatorial and critical writing programs. [...] As artists, curators, and writers, we are increasingly forced to market ourselves by developing a consistent product, a concise presentation, a statement that can be communicated in thirty seconds or less—and oftentimes this alone passes for professionalism. [Anton Vidokle/e-flux]

Jake and Dinos Chapman: “We coloured in Gilbert and George’s penises for eight hours a day’.”

People often reject creative ideas, even when espousing creativity as a desired goal. To explain this paradox, we propose that people can hold a bias against creativity that is not necessarily overt and that is activated when people experience a motivation to reduce uncertainty. [SAGE | Thanks Tim!]

Prevailing wisdom suggests that our genes remain largely fixed over time. But, an emerging field of research is beginning to prove this intuition wrong. Scientists are uncovering increasing evidence that changes in the expression of hundreds of genes can occur as a result of the social environments we inhabit. As a result of these dynamics, experiences we have today can affect our health for days and even months into the future. […] People who experience chronic social isolation show reduced antiviral immune response gene activity, which leaves them vulnerable to viral infections like the common cold. […] Other social conditions that have been found to influence human gene expression include being socially evaluated or rejected, which can have different consequences for different people depending on their sensitivity to social threat. [APS]

XYY syndrome is an aneuploidy (abnormal number) of the sex chromosomes in which a human male receives an extra Y-chromosome. Some medical geneticists question whether the term “syndrome” is appropriate for this condition because its clinical phenotype is normal and the vast majority (an estimated 97% in Britain) of 47,XYY males do not know their karyotype. [Wikipedia]

Triple X syndrome is a form of chromosomal variation characterized by the presence of an extra X chromosome in each cell of a human female. The condition occurs only in females. […] Because of the lyonization, inactivation, and formation of a Barr body in all female cells, only one X chromosome is active at any time. Thus, Triple X syndrome most often has only mild effects, or has no unusual effects at all. Symptoms may include tall stature; small head (microcephaly); vertical skinfolds that may cover the inner corners of the eyes (epicanthal folds); delayed development of certain motor skills, speech and language; learning disabilities, such as dyslexia; or weak muscle tone. [Wikipedia]

Klinefelter syndrome, or XXY syndrome, is a genetic disorder in which there is at least one extra X chromosome to a standard human male karyotype, for a total of 47 chromosomes rather than the 46 found in genetically normal humans. […] This chromosome constitution exists in roughly between 1:500 to 1:1000 live male births but many of these people may not show symptoms. […] Affected males are often infertile, or may have reduced fertility. […] XXY males are also more likely than other men to have certain health problems, which typically affect females, such as breast cancer and osteoporosis. [Wikipedia]

Why does the letter X designate the nameless?

Don’t mistake addiction for love. This is tricky because, neurochemically speaking, the two are very similar–studies have shown that when romantic partners who are intensely in love are exposed to photographs of their beloved, the brain regions that become activated are the same regions that are activated in cocaine addicts when they are craving cocaine. But even if love has some addiction-like qualities, healthy love is likely to involve other qualities as well, such as respect, trust, and commitment, qualities that keep a relationship strong even on those days when excitement and passion are not at the forefront. Addictive love, by contrast, tends to be more singularly focused on attaining those “highs,” whatever the cost. Partners whose behavior is unpredictable (e.g., they don’t call when they say they will), are, unfortunately, especially likely to keep you hooked, since their inconsistent affection keeps you on your toes and wanting more. If you are trying to break free from a relationship that feels more like an addiction than a loving bond,  one strategy is to reframe your thoughts and emotions about that person as if they are cold, clinical biological processes in order to gain a healthy distance from them. For example, after a week of not calling Mr. or Ms. Wrong, you feel a wave of longing in your chest and think, “But I really do love him/her… I should call him/her right now…” Instead, you could notice that sensation and tell yourself, “Interesting, there goes my caudate nucleus releasing dopamine and producing a sensation of longing. Okay, back to work.” [Psych Your Mind]

Sexuality is seen as a crucial aspect of one’s identification and sexual desire is perceived as the core of one’s identity. Therefore, the emergence of an asexual identity constitutes a radical disruption of approaches to identity and epistemology in social science. This study explores a virtual community of asexual individuals who engage in discussions about contradictory processes of identification, the instability of sexual identities, gender relations and possi- ble representations of asexuality. [Graduate Journal of Social Science | PDF]

The decline of two-parent households may be a significant reason for the divergent fortunes of male workers, whose earnings generally declined in recent decades, and female workers, whose earnings generally increased, a prominent labor economist argues in a new survey of existing research. […] Only 63 percent of children lived in a household with two parents in 2010, down from 82 percent in 1970. The single parents raising the rest of those children are predominantly female. And there is growing evidence that sons raised by single mothers “appear to fare particularly poorly,” Professor Autor wrote in an analysis for Third Way, a center-left policy research organization. […] Men who are less successful are less attractive as partners, so women are choosing to raise children by themselves, producing sons who are less successful and attractive as partners. […] “I think the greatest, most astonishing fact that I am aware of in social science right now is that women have been able to hear the labor market screaming out ‘You need more education’ and have been able to respond to that, and men have not,” said Michael Greenstone, an M.I.T. economics professor. […] Professor Autor said in an interview that he was intrigued by evidence suggesting the consequences were larger for boys than girls, including one study finding that single mothers spent an hour less per week with their sons than their daughters. Another study of households where the father had less education, or was absent entirely, found the female children were 10 to 14 percent more likely to complete college. A third study of single-parent homes found boys were less likely than girls to enroll in college. […] Instead of making marriage more attractive, he said, it might be better for society to help make men more attractive. [NY Times]

Objective: To describe the epidemiology of genital injuries caused by trouser zips and to educate both consumers and the caregivers of patients who sustain such injuries. […] Conclusion: Zip-related genital injuries affect both paediatric and adult cohorts. Practitioners should be familiar with various zip-detachment strategies for these populations. [PubMed]

All seems to indicate that the next decade, the 20s, will be the magic decade of the brain, with amazing science but also amazing applications. With the development of nanoscale neural probes and high speed, two-way Brain-Computer interfaces (BCI), by the end of the next decade we may have our iPhones implanted in our brains and become a telepathic species. […] Last month the New York Times revealed that the Obama Administration may soon seek billions of dollars from Congress for a Brain Activity Map (BAM) project. […] The project may be partly based on the paper “The Brain Activity Map Project and the Challenge of Functional Connectomics” (Neuron, June 2012) by six well-known neuroscientists. […] A new paper “The Brain Activity Map” (Science, March 2013), written as an executive summary by the same six neuroscientists and five more, is more explicit: “The Brain Activity Map (BAM), could put neuroscientists in a position to understand how the brain produces perception, action, memories, thoughts, and consciousness… Within 5 years, it should be possible to monitor and/or to control tens of thousands of neurons, and by year 10 that number will increase at least 10-fold. By year 15, observing 1 million neurons with markedly reduced invasiveness should be possible. With 1 million neurons, scientists will be able to evaluate the function of the entire brain of the zebrafish or several areas from the cerebral cortex of the mouse. In parallel, we envision developing nanoscale neural probes that can locally acquire, process, and store accumulated data. Networks of “intelligent” nanosystems would be capable of providing specific responses to externally applied signals, or to their own readings of brain activity.” [IEET]

The archaic medical practice of recognizing mental illness and “idiocy” based on appearance.

Partially-bicycle-powered espresso maker.

The average bicycle police officer spends 24 hours a week on his bicycle and previous studies have shown riding a bicycle with a traditional (nosed) saddle has been associated with urogenital paresthesia and sexual dysfunction. […] The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of the no-nose bicycle saddle as an ergonomic intervention and their acceptance among male bicycle police officers. Bicycle police officers from five U.S. metropolitan areas were recruited for this study. […] After 6 months, 90 men were reassessed. Only three men had returned to a traditional saddle. [International Society for Sexual Medicine | PDF | via Improbable]

Traffic police issue tickets to pickup two days in a row, despite dead body inside.

US grants first license to sell 3D-printed guns.

The paradoxical relationship between religious belief and criminality.

Did he, and other Vikings, really use a brutal method of ritual execution called the “blood eagle”?

Guy Scratches Own Back, Finds Knife Blade Someone Stuck In There Three Years Ago.

The Transportation Security Administration’s plan to allow small knives on planes has sparked a revolt in Congress.

French man arrested after posing as an airline pilot and gaining access to the cockpit on a US Airways flight.

Swarming cockroaches turn bus to New York into roach-mobile.

MTA Sets New Tactic In Rat War.

Ukraine’s ‘Killer’ Dolphins Not Killers, Not Gone – Military.

Paula Broadwell,who had an affair with CIA director David Petraeus, similarly took extensive precautions to hide her identity. She never logged in to her anonymous e-mail service from her home network. Instead, she used hotel and other public networks when she e-mailed him. The FBI correlated hotel registration data from several different hotels — and hers was the common name. […] The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we’re being tracked all the time. Google tracks us, both on its pages and on other pages it has access to. Facebook does the same; it even tracks non-Facebook users. Apple tracks us on our iPhones and iPads. One reporter used a tool called Collusion to track who was tracking him; 105 companies tracked his Internet use during one 36-hour period. [...] If the director of the CIA can’t maintain his privacy on the Internet, we’ve got no hope. [Bruce Schneier/CNN]

According to the studies he cited, 7 percent of people’s twitter followers are actually spambots; 30 percent of social media users are deceived by spambots and chatbots; and 20 percent of social media users accept friend requests from unknown people, 51 percent of which are not human. […] When it comes to “astroturfing” — the practice of creating fake grassroots movements to influence opinions — the hit ratio on email spams is about 12.5 million to 1. In order to create an astroturf movement on the scale of the anti-SOPA movement in 2011, every person on earth would have to receive the same spam message 8 times. [Gigaom]

A sophisticated scheme to use a casino’s own CCTV systems against it has netted scammers $33m in a high-stakes poker game after they were able to gain a crucial advantage by seeing the opposition’s cards. The team used a high-rolling accomplice from overseas who was known to spend large amounts while gambling at Australia’s biggest casino, the Crown in Melbourne, according to the Herald Sun. He and his family checked into the Crown and were accommodated in one of its $30,000-a-night villas. [The Register]

Soldiers and Families Can Suffer Negative Effects from Modern Communication Technologies, Says MU Researcher.

In this paper we analyze how the shutdown of the popular Megaupload site affected the digital sales of movies for two major studios.

Despite Apple’s popularity in China, it’s time for the company to move its factories out of the country.

Why do Burger King and McDonald’s start to sell the same salad? There’s a name for that phenomenon.

So, it’s mid-March 2013 and, the S&P 500 is at 1550, right where I said it would be nine months ago. […] I see the S&P continuing to frustrate the majority (that is what markets do). It may hit 1560-1580 prior to actually having a legitimate correction of 5-10%.  There is so much liquidity awaiting deployment upon a pullback that the pullback will be quick.  Later in the year, it’s very likely we’ll see 1600-plus on the S&P (September-November).  In my view, the market will be a good sell at that point, so will many credit products.  There is no way the Fed can shift its policy stance concurrent with having to immunize a $4 trillion balance sheet going into the end of a fiscal year.  2014 is likely to be challenging. Enjoy this while it lasts. […] The People’s Republic’s big issues will start in fiscal years 2013-2014.  China Merchants Bank, for example, is already seeing a bigger rise in bad-loan provisioning and lower good-loan growth than Western equity analysts think.  The CEOs of two large Brazilian companies, Vale and Petrobras, are starting to plan for China to “hit a wall” in 2015-2018. Essentially, China will look OK through April 2013 then big problems will hit the country. Europe will not implode. [Secret top source/Minyanville]

So what’s a credit card customer to do when a merchant asks for a ZIP code at the cash register? Just say no.

What we know is that the consumption of shoes in the UK has undergone radical change during the last decade. A 2006 survey of attitudes and practices around shoes by the magazine Harper’s Bazaar revealed among its findings that 25% of British women would buy shoes before paying bills. [Sociological Research Online]

Doomsday Recalculation Gives Humanity Greater Chance of Long-Term Survival.

Over the past few weeks I have been working on mapping a cemetery in a Geographic Information System (GIS).

Fall asleep in the wrong position, and acid slips into the esophagus, a recipe for agita and insomnia. […] Several studies have found that sleeping on the right side aggravates heartburn; sleeping on the left tends to calm it. [NY Times]

Those who have a tendency to migrate to the left of a double bed are apparently happier than their ‘right’ counterparts.

8 Tips for Growing A Greenhouse Organic Vegetable Garden.

Why does the driver of a car rarely get carsick?

Why do chimpanzees build nests?

What constitutes a dangerous equation? [Howard Wainer | PDF]

Is Taking Your Pet on an Airplane Worth the Risk?

Engineering analyses of Noah’s ark.

Bubble Weapons System. The new system unleashes “bubble plumes” which can, claim Raytheon, create large regions of “bubbleized” water. These plumes can not only damage a ship’s power-train, but also, in the case of a large vessel, sink it by causing it to break in two due to uneven buoyancy.

Rockets with plastic golf balls replace driver clubs, as they fly to the green no matter how far. Shawn Kelly, golf pro, will compete against Doug Frost, the inventor of Rocketry Golf, who has built and flown Rockets since 1957 and has won over a dozen awards at 15 national rocket contests. | Rocketry | PRWeb

If you’re into first-person running and combat, this is right up your alley.

Teenagers run and play on large white sand dunes in New Mexico, 1957.

“Spring Breakers’” Harmony Korine hosts a bizarre Reddit AMA.

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Edward Mordake supposedly had an extra face on the back of his head, which could neither eat nor speak, although it could laugh and cry. [Thanks Tim]

Kickstarter: Help non-profit organization COBRA rebuild its home and base of operations, Cobra Island, which was destroyed by GI JOE.

I’ve been posting my letters…

You had one job.

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