‘Anything can happen, but it usually doesn’t.’ —Robert Benchley

Susan Meiselas, Soldiers search bus passengers along the Northern Highway, El Salvador, 1980

Your face mask selfies could be training the next facial recognition tool

‘Tiger King’ Joe Exotic Asks America To Join ‘Mullet Challenge’ To Promote A Presidential Pardon

The Effects of Barefoot Running on Working Memory — working memory may be enhanced after at least 16 minutes of barefoot running if the individual has to focus attention on the ground

People in long term, committed relationships try to support their decisions to maintain their relationships with marriage illusions

In Peru, where roughly 20 percent of the world’s cocaine is produced, public health lockdowns imposed by local communities brought coca growing and paste production to a standstill, according to Pedro Yaranga, a Peruvian security analyst. “What in nearly four years the drug control agency could not do, the coronavirus did in a few weeks,” he said. In Bolivia, which produces about one tenth of the world’s coca, the picture is reversed, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). In that country, “COVID-19 is limiting the ability of state authorities to control coca bush cultivation, which could lead to an increase in coca production,” the UNODC said in a May 7 report. In Colombia, where 70 percent of the world’s cocaine is produced, the picture is more mixed. […] Exports to the world’s other biggest cocaine market, Europe, have suffered even less disruption. Unlike exports to the United States, cocaine bound for Europe is typically moved in legal air and sea cargoes, especially fast-moving fresh goods such as flowers and fruit. The latter, as food, has continued to move unimpeded during the pandemic, helping feed Europe’s 9.1 billion euro-a-year cocaine habit. [OCCRP]

Bots may account for between 45 and 60% of Twitter accounts discussing covid-19. Many of those accounts were created in February and have since been spreading and amplifying misinformation, including false medical advice, conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus, and pushes to end stay-at-home orders and reopen America. [Technology Review]

In Brazil, 15 percent of deaths have been people under 50 — a rate more than 10 times greater than in Italy or Spain. In Mexico, the trend is even more stark: Nearly one-fourth of the dead have been between 25 and 49. [Washington Post]

A Hong Kong paper awaiting peer review found that of 7,324 documented cases in China, only one outbreak occurred outside—during a conversation among several men in a small village. The risk of infection indoors is almost 19 times higher than in open-air environments, according to another study from researchers in Japan. […] Our understanding of this disease is dynamic. Today’s conventional wisdom could be tomorrow’s busted myth. Think of these studies not as gospels, but as clues in a gradually unraveling mystery. […] On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its summary of COVID-19 transmission to clarify that the virus “does not spread easily” from touching surfaces or objects—like, say, elevator buttons. Instead, they wrote, “the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person … through respiratory droplets.” […] “Until there’s a vaccine, I don’t think dine-in restaurants will get back to normal in this country,” Steve Salis, a restaurant owner in Washington, D.C., told me. […] Some American cities, including Berkeley, California, and Cincinnati, have done just that, by announcing the closure of streets to free up outdoor dining space for restaurants. But for many cities, wide-scale al fresco dining is unrealistic, not only because of necessary road use, but also because we can’t ask the weather to stop. There will be snow in Boston, wind in Chicago, and rain in Seattle. […] Germany has reportedly banned singing at religious services, and South Korea has prohibited spitting in its professional baseball league. [The Atlantic]

More Than 100 in Germany Found to Be Infected With Coronavirus After Church’s Services — Social distancing was observed and building disinfected for affected Sunday May 10 ceremonies, says senior member

Peru took strict measures. Covid-19 surged anyway.

“What’s crazy is, we’re three months in, and we’re still not able to calibrate our risk management. It’s a mess,” […] Scientists are still trying to understand the virus they call SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease covid-19. Basic questions are not fully answered: How deadly is this virus? How contagious? Are there different strains with different clinical outcomes? Why does SARS-CoV-2 create a devastating disease in some people while leaving others without symptoms or even knowledge that they were infected? [Washington Post]

Philippines: 2020 Grads Accept Diplomas Via Robot at Virtual Graduation [Thanks Tim]

You have five appetites, not one, and they are the key to your health

we found converging evidence that men showed a greater preference for variety in potential short-term mates than did women. Related: the Coolidge effect

Scientists find brain center that ‘profoundly’ shuts down pain (in mice)

Scientists have developed a bionic eye that could make blind people see

These samples are usually vomit found at the scene of a crime, either in fresh form or as a dried stain on clothings.

Researchers claim new internet speed record of 44.2 Tbps (it was achieved over 75km of standard fiber cable)

Obamagate

City of Wuhan said that it had collected coronavirus swab tests from more than nine million of its 11 million people over the past 10 days, 180 asymptomatic carriers identified [WSJ]

With surgical masks (or equally efficient substitutes) and 80% and 90% adoption levels, respiratory epidemics with R0 of about 3 and 4, respectively, would be theoretically extinguished.

An antibody discovered in the blood of a patient who caught SARS in 2003 appears to inhibit all related coronaviruses — including the one that causes COVID-19. Researchers from the University of Washington School of Medicine and Vir Biotechnology say that the antibody they’ve identified, known as S309, “likely covers the entire family of related coronaviruses.” One of the chief obstacles to the development of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine — or potent antiviral — is that the virus is perpetually mutating. But the Vir Biotechnology study suggests that S309 targets and disables the spike proteins that all known coronaviruses use to enter human cells. […] COVID-19’s fatality rate appears to be 13 times higher than the seasonal flu’s. […] Between March 1 and April 5 of this year, 5,449 COVID-19 patients were admitted to Northwell Health’s New York-based hospitals. Some 36.6 percent of those patients ended up suffering acute kidney injuries. [NY mag]

A quarter of Americans have little or no interest in taking a coronavirus vaccine.

Thoughts that the young are not much affected by SARS-CoV-2 look wrong. It seems to manifest as a rare syndrome called Kawasaki disease.

Young adults are also affected by Kawasaki-like disease linked to covid-19, doctors say (Although the number of cases is extremely small)

Shorter menus, pricier food, less service, servers wearing masks and surgical gloves: The future of dining out looks far from festive. Tables and booths will be separated by everything from plexiglass shields to clear shower curtains. Diners may have to wait in their cars or on the sidewalk for a text saying their table is ready. Paper tablecloths will replace fabric ones, condiments won’t be left on the table, and disposable plates and glasses may reign supreme. […] Less frequent busing of tables, to avoid contact. […] The OpenTable CEO predicts that 25% of restaurants will close permanently. […] Occupancy restrictions will mean that restaurants can serve only a fraction of the number of people they did before. (In Florida, for instance, re-opening restaurants must operate at no more than 25% capacity.) [Axios]

On April 24, as more than 25,000 Americans continued to test positive for COVID-19 each day, Georgia became the first U.S. state to initiate the fraught process known as “reopening.” First it allowed hair salons, gyms, barber shops, tattoo parlors and bowling alleys to resume operations. Dine-in restaurants and movie theaters followed a few days later. Today much of the state is open for business, under guidelines including a 6-foot social distancing rule. […] 26 days have passed since the state started to reopen — and that punishing new wave of infections has not materialized. […] Georgia’s rolling seven-day average of new daily cases — an important metric that helps to balance out daily fluctuations in reporting — has fallen for three weeks in a row. [Yahoo News]

To get technical, airplanes deliver 10 to 12 air changes per hour. In a hospital isolation room, the minimum target is six air changes per hour for existing facilities and 12 air changes per hour for new. Airplanes also use the same air filter — a HEPA filter — recommended by the CDC for isolation rooms with recirculated air. Such filters capture 99.97 percent of airborne particles. [Washington Post]

New data on electricity consumption has offered an insight into Americans’ level of wariness in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic: Many appeared to be staying home to avoid the virus even before lockdown orders were issued in March. The data, on consumption in homes in 30 states, shows that energy use began to rise in many states about a week before stay-at-home orders were issued but after states of emergency were declared. […] Two states, Arizona and North Carolina, bucked the trend, with far lower energy consumption increases during the time period. [NY Times]

“The cause of this recession — a global pandemic — means that our economic future will be determined in large part by the path of the virus,” said John C. Williams, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. “It’s impossible to know exactly how and when workers and businesses will be fully back to work and when consumers will return to the businesses that are open.” [NY Times]

white people so determined to get skin cancer they’re willing to risk covid

In Germany and China, they already reopened all the stores a month ago. You look at any survey, the restaurants are totally empty. Almost nobody’s buying anything. Everybody’s worried and cautious. And this is in Germany, where unemployment is up by only one percent. Forty percent of Americans have less than $400 in liquid cash saved for an emergency. You think they are going to spend? You’re going to start having food riots soon enough. Look at the luxury stores in New York. They’ve either boarded them up or emptied their shelves, because they’re worried people are going to steal the Chanel bags. The few stores that are open, like my Whole Foods, have security guards both inside and outside. We are one step away from food riots. There are lines three miles long at food banks. That’s what’s happening in America. You’re telling me everything’s going to become normal in three months? That’s lunacy. […] They just decided Huawei isn’t going to have any access to U.S. semiconductors and technology. We’re imposing total restrictions on the transfer of technology from the U.S. to China and China to the U.S. And if the United States argues that 5G or Huawei is a backdoor to the Chinese government, the tech war will become a trade war. Because tomorrow, every piece of consumer electronics, even your lowly coffee machine or microwave or toaster, is going to have a 5G chip. That’s what the internet of things is about. If the Chinese can listen to you through your smartphone, they can listen to you through your toaster. Once we declare that 5G is going to allow China to listen to our communication, we will also have to ban all household electronics made in China. So, the decoupling is happening. We’re going to have a “splinternet.” It’s only a matter of how much and how fast. […] I was recently in South Korea. I met the head of Hyundai, the third-largest automaker in the world. He told me that tomorrow, they could convert their factories to run with all robots and no workers. Why don’t they do it? Because they have unions that are powerful. In Korea, you cannot fire these workers, they have lifetime employment. But suppose you take production from a labor-intensive factory in China — in any industry — and move it into a brand-new factory in the United States. You don’t have any legacy workers, any entrenched union. You are going to design that factory to use as few workers as you can. […] But you’re not going to get many jobs. The factory of the future is going to be one person manning 1,000 robots and a second person cleaning the floor. And eventually the guy cleaning the floor is going to be replaced by a Roomba because a Roomba doesn’t ask for benefits or bathroom breaks or get sick and can work 24-7. […] There’s a conflict between workers and capital. For a decade, workers have been screwed. Now, they’re going to be screwed more. […] Millions of these small businesses are going to go bankrupt. Half of the restaurants in New York are never going to reopen. How can they survive? They have such tiny margins. Who’s going to survive? The big chains. Retailers. Fast food. The small businesses are going to disappear in the post-coronavirus economy. So there is a fundamental conflict between Wall Street (big banks and big firms) and Main Street (workers and small businesses). And Wall Street is going to win. [Nouriel Roubini | NY Mag]

I contacted Alexander Wendt, a professor of international relations at Ohio State University. Wendt is a giant in his field of IR theory, but in the past 15 years or so, he’s become an amateur ufologist. […] “It’s possible they’ve been here all along. And that’s something that I’ve been thinking about lately, which is a bit unsettling. Because it means it’s their planet and not ours. They could just be intergalactic tourists. Maybe they’re looking for certain minerals. It could just be scientific curiosity. It could be that they’re extracting our DNA. I mean, who knows? I have no idea. All I know is that if they are here, they seem to be peaceful. […] I think if they are here, they’ve probably been here a very long time — that’s my guess. ” [Vox]

Regarding UFOs, I see three key explanation categories: Measurement Error – What look like artificial objects with crazy extreme abilities are actually natural stuff looked at wrong. This is widely and probably correctly judged to be the most likely scenario. Nevertheless, we can’t be very confident of that without considering its alternatives in more detail. Secret Societies – There really are artificial objects with amazing abilities, though abilities may be somewhat overestimated via partially misleading observations. These are created and managed by hidden groups in our world, substantially tied to us. Secret local military research groups, distant secret militaries, non-state Bond-villain-like groups, time-travelers from our near future, dinosaur civilizations hidden deep in the Earth’s crust, etc. Aliens – Again these objects really do have amazing abilities, and are created by hidden groups. But in this case the relevant groups are much less integrated with and correlated with our societies and history. Little green men, their super-robot descendants, simulation admins, gods, etc. If these groups had a common origin with, competed with, or were much influenced by the groups that we know of, those things mostly happened long ago, and probably far away. [Overcoming Bias]

two virtual rockets were launched to the horizon moon and to the zenith moon. These virtual rockets carry exactly the same physical characteristics (length, width, colors, and speed). Our observers had noticed when the rocket travelling horizontally to the horizon moon, it appears to move way slower. [PsyArXiv]

Nvidia researchers taught an AI system to recreate the game of Pac-Man simply by watching it being played. The AI agent was so good at the game that it hardly ever died. “That made it hard for the AI trying to recreate the game to learn the concept of dying” [The Verge]

Understanding Pac-Man Ghost Behavior

an 1/3 + 1/3 = 2/6? It seemed so!

Arthur Schopenhauer and Psychiatry

The Guggenheim Museum offers 200+ exhibition catalogs that you can download for free

This Lickable Screen Can Recreate Almost Any Taste or Flavor Without Eating Food

Florida’s Lost Blue Bee Rediscovered

Timeline of Science Fiction Ideas, Technology and Inventions

Trans Sex Zine

Antidepressants or Tolkien