A bride collapsed and died at her wedding. The groom then married the woman's sister with her dead body lying in the next room.
More than 100 million people now have Calm on their smartphone. Calm promises to give the anxious, the depressed, and the isolated—as well as those looking to be a bit more present with their family, or a bit less distracted at work, or a bit more consistent in their personal habits—access to a huge variety of zen content for $15 a month, $70 a year, or $400 for a lifetime. For that, its investors have valued the company at $2 billion—roughly as much as 23andMe, Allbirds, and Oatly—making it one of just 700 private start-ups to hit the 10-digit mark. Now flush with venture capital, Calm is in the midst of becoming a full-fledged wellness empire: It is producing books, films, and streaming series, as well as $10 puzzles, $80 meditation cushions, and $272 weighted blankets.
In 2020 in the U.S., 59% of online recruitment of sex trafficking victims took place on Facebook. [...] 65% of identified child sex trafficking victims recruited on social media were recruited through Facebook. [2020 Human Trafficking Report]
last week, YouTube disclosed that it paid music companies, musicians and songwriters more than $4 billion in the prior year [...] not far from the $5 billion that the streaming king Spotify pays to music industry participants NY Times]
Maren Altman isn’t a huge fan of TikTok. She’s amassed more than a million followers anyway. [...] Her most intriguing videos apply astrology to a particularly daunting realm: cryptocurrency. Anything with a verifiable birthday or creation date has a birth chart that can be read and, according to astrologists, gleaned for predictive information. That means there’s astrology for ... bitcoin. In her teenage years [...] she started to seriously study astrology, and made a few bucks at parties giving “readings to drunk kids.” She saved that money and used it to invest in crypto. Then, she took her astrology skills to TikTok.
The Clubhouse isn’t owned and operated by the influencers themselves but is overseen by outside investors. [Harper's]
The Study Web is a constellation of digital spaces and online communities—across YouTube, TikTok, Reddit, Discord, and Twitter—largely built by students for students. Videos under the #StudyTok hashtag have been viewed over half a billion times.
Is there a limit to how much worse variants can get? "The fact it has happened twice in 18 months, two lineages (Alpha and then Delta) each 50% more transmissible is a phenomenal amount of change." [...] The R0 was around 2.5 when the pandemic started in Wuhan and could be as high as 8.0 for the Delta variant [...] two lineages (Alpha and then Delta) in 18 months each 50% more transmissible is a phenomenal amount of change. [...] Measles is between 14 and 30 depending on who you ask [...] Influenza has a much lower R0, barely above 1, but constantly mutates to side-step immunity.
A New Mexico sheriff who is running for mayor of Albuquerque was punched at a campaign event by a man who police say first tried to disrupt the event by flying a drone with a sex toy attached to it around the candidate while he was stage.
Synthetic Messenger is a botnet that artificially inflates the value of climate news. Everyday it searches the internet for news articles covering climate change. Then 100 bots visit each article and click on every ad they can find.
Immunity to the coronavirus lasts at least a year, possibly a lifetime, improving over time especially after vaccination, according to two new studies [NY Times]
Missing man found dead inside dinosaur statue, got stuck trying to retrieve his mobile phone
Would You Sell Your Vote? 12% of respondents would do so for just $25, as would nearly 20% for $100.
An online lending platform called Kabbage sent 378 pandemic loans worth $7 million to fake companies (mostly farms) with names like “Deely Nuts” and “Beefy King.”
One of the oldest hypotheses holds that the anus and the mouth originated from the same solo opening, which elongated, then caved in at the center and split itself in two. [...] Scorpions jettison their posterior when attacked from behind, evading capture but tragically losing their ability to poop (and eventually dying with their abdomen full of excrement).
How would you feel about being able to pay to control multiple aspects of another person's life? A new app is offering you the chance to do just that. Investors include Peter Thiel Investors include Peter Thiel. Unrelated: And Peter Thiel's twin brother invests $10 million in two Senate candidates
Study finds alarming levels of ‘forever chemicals’ in US mothers’ breast milk -- Toxic chemicals known as PFAS found in all 50 samples tested at levels nearly 2,000 times what is considered safe in drinking water. PFAS, or per and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of about 9,000 compounds that are used to make products like food packaging, clothing and carpeting water and stain resistant. They are called “forever chemicals” because they do not naturally break down and have been found to accumulate in humans.
I recently completed a painstaking analysis of 30 years of research on human brain sex differences [...] Except for the simple difference in size, there are no meaningful differences between men’s and women’s brain structure or activity
COVID virus particles found in the penis tissue of men who'd had COVID 6-8 months earlier (both severe & mild COVID) [...] severe erectile dysfunction [...] total sperm count was lower [...] decrease in genital size.
Half of the pandemic's unemployment money may have been stolen ... America has lost more than $400 billion to fraudulent claims ... at least 70% of the money stolen by impostors ultimately left the country, much of it ending up in the hands of criminal syndicates in China, Nigeria, Russia and elsewhere ... Much of the rest of the money was stolen by street gangs domestically.
individuals who frequently listen to music reported persistent nighttime earworms, which were associated with worse sleep quality -- instrumental music increased the incidence of nighttime earworms
Some people are resistant to local anaesthetic, meaning they must endure dental and medical procedures without such pain relief. And we’re only beginning to understand why.
Howard Thurston thrilled people with his own brand of stage magic, a giant production requiring 40 tons of equipment. Today, he's all but forgotten, eclipsed in history by his contemporary Harry Houdini, even though Houdini was more of an escape artist than a magician. But in his day, Thurston was the best.
Twelve years on, cryptocurrencies play almost no role in normal economic activity. Almost the only time we hear about them being used as a means of payment — as opposed to speculative trading — is in association with illegal activity [...] Twelve years is an eon in information technology time. Venmo, which I can use to share restaurant bills, buy fresh fruit at sidewalk kiosks, and much more, was also introduced in 2009. Apple unveiled its first-generation iPad in 2010. Zoom came into use in 2012. By the time a technology gets as old as cryptocurrency, we expect it either to have become part of the fabric of everyday life or to have been given up as a nonstarter. [...] Why are people willing to pay large sums for assets that don’t seem to do anything? The answer, obviously, is that the prices of these assets keep going up, so that early investors made a lot of money, and their success keeps drawing in new investors. [...] could a Ponzi scheme really go on for this long? Actually, yes: Bernie Madoff ran his scam for almost two decades, and might have gone even longer if the financial crisis hadn’t intervened.
Now, a long-running Ponzi scheme requires a narrative — and the narrative is where crypto really excels. [...] are cryptocurrencies headed for a crash sometime soon? Not necessarily. One fact that gives even crypto skeptics like me pause is the durability of gold as a highly valued asset. Gold, after all, suffers from pretty much the same problems as Bitcoin. People may think of it as money, but it lacks any attributes of a useful currency: You can’t actually use it to make transactions — try buying a new car with gold ingots — and its purchasing power has been extremely unstable. [...] It’s conceivable that one or two cryptocurrencies will somehow achieve similar longevity. Or maybe not. For one thing, governments are well aware that cryptocurrencies are being used by bad actors, and may well crack down in a way they never did on gold trading. The good news is that none of this matters very much. Because Bitcoin and its relatives haven’t managed to achieve any meaningful economic role, what happens to their value is basically irrelevant to those of us not playing the crypto game. [Paul Krugman/NY Times]
MicroStrategy Inc. MSTR 11.67% is borrowing $400 million in junk bonds to buy more bitcoins, adding to the company’s bet that digital assets will outperform cash. ... In a filing Monday, MicroStrategy said it expects to post a $284.5 million loss, “based on fluctuations in market price of bitcoin,” during its next earnings report.
survey of 4,989 randomly sampled undergraduate students at a large U.S. university -- The most prevalent general sexual behaviors were solo masturbation (88.6%), oral sex (79.4% received, 78.4% performed), penile-vaginal intercourse (73.5%), and partnered masturbation (71.1%). Anal intercourse was the least prevalent of these behaviors (16.8% received, 25.3% performed). Among those with any partnered sexual experience, 43.0% had choked a partner, 47.3% had been choked, 59.1% had been lightly spanked and 12.1% had been slapped on the face during sex.
lyrics of popular songs have become increasingly simple over time ... simpler songs entering the charts were more successful, reaching higher chart positions
By studying the genomes of people over the age of 105, an international team of researchers has identified several genetic factors that appear linked to human longevity — and they center on the body's ability to repair its own DNA.
virtually all ransomware strains have a built-in failsafe designed to cover the backsides of the malware purveyors: They simply will not install on a Microsoft Windows computer that already has one of many types of virtual keyboards installed — such as Russian or Ukrainian.
On Sept. 16, 2008, the day after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, the Reserve Primary Fund “broke the buck”: Its net asset value fell below $1 per share. The fund — often called the first money-market fund — held $785 million of Lehman commercial paper that was suddenly worthless. Although the paper represented only 1.2% of the fund’s total assets of $64.8 billion, demands for withdrawals escalated, and the fund lost two-thirds of its assets within 24 hours. This triggered a general run on money-market funds that stopped only when the U.S. Treasury issued an extraordinary guarantee of essentially all money-market fund liabilities. The episode underscored how important that $1 net asset value is to investors. Certain cryptocurrencies known as stablecoins are today’s economic equivalent of money-market funds, and in some cases their practices should have us worried that they could break the buck, creating significant damage in the broader crypto market. One such stablecoin is Tether. With a market capitalization close to $60 billion, it is almost as big as the Reserve Fund was in 2008. Each Tether token is pegged to be equivalent to $1. But, as with the Reserve Primary Fund, the true value of those tokens depends on the market value of Tether’s reserves — the portfolio of investments made with the fiat currency it receives. Tether recently disclosed that as of March 31, only 8% of its assets were in cash, Treasury bills and “reverse repo notes.” Almost 50% was in commercial paper, but no detail was provided about its quality. “Fiduciary deposits” represented 18%. Even more troubling: 10% of total assets were in “corporate bonds, funds & precious metals,” almost 13% were in “secured loans (none to affiliated entities),” and the remainder in “other,” which includes digital tokens. [Bloomberg]
Recognizing that most are not familiar with decentralized finance, or DeFi, details are in order. DeFi does not use an order book like regulated exchanges. Instead, it has over 72,000 liquidity pools. Anyone can be a liquidity provider to these pools or even start one and earn interest (more coins) for their effort. Traders use these liquidity pools to trade cryptos. The entire protocol is run by computer code called an automatic market maker. No humans are involved in the trading on these exchanges.
The largest decentralized exchange is Uniswap. To access it, one must use an electronic wallet away from a regulated exchange and connect it to uniswap.org. This exchange allows customers to trade several thousand different cryptos. Uniswap founder Hayden Adams tweeted that Uniswap executed $6.3 billion of trades on Wednesday, well above Coinbase’s first-quarter average of $3.7 billion. Uniswap experienced no downtime and no slow service. No customer lost money because the exchange let them down. [Bloomberg]
Crypto-mining gangs are abusing the free tiers of cloud computing platforms -- They have been operating by registering accounts on selected platforms, signing up for a free tier, and running a cryptocurrency mining app on the provider’s free tier infrastructure.
Self-styled satanist beheaded his cellmate, but the guards didn’t notice. [...] Guards found Osuna wearing a necklace made of Romero’s body parts.
This survey asked young adults (n = 593), younger-old adults (n = 272), and older-old adults (n = 46) whether they would take a hypothetical life extension treatment as well as the youngest and oldest age at which they would wish to live forever. in all three age cohorts, a plurality indicated that they would not use it
Giraffes, it turns out, have solved a problem that kills millions of people every year: high blood pressure. -- The cardiovascular secrets of giraffes
As Virginia prepares to legalize adult possession of up to an ounce of marijuana on July 1, drug-sniffing police dogs from around the state are being forced into early retirement
Worker-Owned Cooperative Tries to Compete With Uber and Lyft [NY Times]
Research findings that are probably wrong cited far more than robust ones, study finds -- Studies in top science, psychology and economics journals that fail to hold up when others repeat them are cited, on average, more than 100 times as often in follow-up papers than work that stands the test of time.
Deadly Fungi Are the Newest Emerging Microbe Threat All Over the World -- These pathogens already kill 1.6 million people every year, and we have few defenses against them
A leading theory for why COVID-19 long-haulers develop the syndrome is that "the antibodies produced after COVID may attack the autonomic nervous system," says Taub, the UC San Diego cardiologist. "The immune system is confused," he says, causing the misdirected attacks.
Records show that some people who are paid $1,000 a head by the government to give legally protected mustangs “good homes” are sending the horses to slaughter auctions once they get the money.
The two hottest spots on Earth -- The Lut Desert in Iran and the Sonoran Desert along the Mexican-U.S. border have recently reached a sizzling 80.8°C (177.4°F)
Scientists find 'missing link' behind first human languages -- humans recognize the intended meanings of iconic vocalizations — basic sounds made by people to represent specific objects, entities and actions — regardless of the language they speak.
The startup OVR Technology is incorporating smell into virtual reality and using it in a new program designed to allow people to experience the effects of climate change.
Exhibition: ‘Reproductive: Health, Fertility, Agency’ -- Men dominate religious doctrine and government. Religion and governments decide whether abortion is legal or illegal (Poland), whether women are sentenced to years in jail for abortion (El Salvador) or whether a women is handcuffed to a hospital bed after trying to give herself an abortion (Brazil).