Losing nothing is better than gaining nothing

The Conjurer, 1475–1480, by Hieronymus Bosch or his workshop. Notice how the man in the back row steals another man's purse while applying misdirection by looking at the sky. | Wikipedia

Man shot in Russia in argument over Kant

Therapy patients blackmailed for cash after clinic data breach

researchers show that the body produces more stress hormones when people are repeatedly interrupted at work. And yet the subjects did not experience an equal rise in their consciously perceived sense of psychological stress.

People spontaneously judge others’ personality based on their facial appearance and these impressions guide many important decisions. Our findings consistently suggest that people show neither accuracy nor meta-accuracy when forming face-based personality impressions.

Commercial Features of Placebo and Therapeutic Efficacy — It is possible that the therapeutic efficacy of medications is affected by commercial features such as lower prices.

Does divorce change your personality? (the overall finding of this study suggests that experiencing a divorce is unlikely to lead to permanent personality change)

The eerie AI world of deepfake music — Artificial intelligence is being used to create new songs seemingly performed by Frank Sinatra and other dead stars.

Florida man invented a robot that inserts and removes contact lenses

About 42% of 720 million Amazon reviews may be fake reviews

Duration of urination does not change with body size

Four different types of positive tears — Achievement tears are often shed in contexts of extraordinary performance or when someone overcomes an obstacle and often include feelings of pride. Beauty tears occur commonly in situations of overwhelming elegance or beauty, including nature, music or visual arts, and feature feelings of awe or experiencing chills. Affectionate tears are often experienced in situations including unexpected kindness or exceptional love such as wedding ceremonies or reunions and often feature feelings of warmth, increased communality, and feeling touched or compassionate. Finally, amusement tears are shed when something especially funny occurs and include feelings of amusement or lightness and the inclination to laugh or giggle.

How many colors are there? Quoted numbers range from ten million to a dozen. Are colors object properties? Opinions range all the way from of course they are to no, colors are just mental paint. These questions are ill-posed. […] A valid question that may replace both is how many distinguishing signs does color vision offer in the hominin Umwelt? [The umwelt theory states that the mind and the world are inseparable] The answer turns out to be about a thousand. The reason is that colors are formally not object properties but pragmatically are useful distinguishing signs.

We did not find any evidence of influence of alcohol consumption on changes in brain volume over a 2-year period in 40–60-year-olds

Losing nothing is better than gaining nothing

How the White House will hand over social media accounts to President Trump [2017]

What Would We Experience If Earth Spontaneously Turned Into A Black Hole? — We’d all die. But for 21 minutes, we’d have the ride of a lifetime

Mahadevan, professor of applied mathematics, physics, and organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University, uses mathematics and physics to explore commonplace phenomena

here are some of the things I learned during the 10 minutes or so I was editor of Los Angeles magazine

China’s New Blockchain Internet

Don’t Even Try Paying Cash in China — Most businesses there, from the fanciest hotels to roadside fruit stands, display a QR code — a type of bar code — that people scan with a smartphone camera to pay with China’s dominant digital payment apps, Alipay and WeChat. Paying by app is so much the norm that taxi drivers might curse at you for handing them cash. [NY Times]

Zoom lied to users about end-to-end encryption for years, FTC says

Scientist and physician Eric Topol says the early results about the new COVID vaccine really are a ray of hope. He believes it might even be a so-called “superhuman vaccine… meaning it’s even more powerful than the typical human response. […] the vaccines, when we talk about 90 percent efficacy, that’s against pneumonia or getting your body infected with illness, it doesn’t sterilize the upper respiratory tract. That is the nose. And so you could be a carrier of the virus. You’re going to have to wear a mask because you won’t know if the virus is sitting” in your nose. […] We could see the virus having a hard time finding people to infect by mid-year [but] it’ll be here for years.”

As promising as the [BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine] announcement sounded, a critical question wasn’t answered: Does the vaccine prevent people from getting the infection and spreading it to others, or merely prevent symptoms? […] Another unanswered question is whether it will be possible to continue clinical trials of other vaccines. And if one later proves better than the front-runner, will it be safe to use it on people who’ve already had a vaccine with more modest benefits? What Happens to the Other Vaccines Now?

BioNTech, a small German company working on mRNA vaccines to treat cancer, designed the COVID-19 vaccine and then partnered with Pfizer.

RNA vaccines: an introduction

Covid Superspreader Risk Is Linked to Restaurants, Gyms, Hotels — according to a study that used mobile phone data from 98 million people

I am an imaging cardiologist who is developing diagnostic techniques to assess changes in heart muscle function in patients with COVID-19. In a study released Nov. 4, my colleagues and I found evidence of heart abnormalities in over one-third of student athletes who tested positive for COVID-19 [The Conversation]

One in 5 COVID-19 patients develop mental illness within 90 days – study

“Social distancing and mask wearing to reduce the spread of COVID-19 have also protected against many other diseases…But susceptibility to those other diseases could be increasing, resulting in large outbreaks when masking and distancing stop.”

A nasal spray that blocks the absorption of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has completely protected ferrets it was tested on, according to a small study released on Thursday by an international team of scientists. The study, which was limited to animals and has not yet been peer-reviewed, was assessed by several health experts at the request of The New York Times. If the spray, which the scientists described as nontoxic and stable, is proved to work in humans, it could provide a new way of fighting the pandemic. A daily spritz up the nose would act like a vaccine. […] The spray attacks the virus directly. It contains a lipopeptide, a cholesterol particle linked to a chain of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. This particular lipopeptide exactly matches a stretch of amino acids in the spike protein of the virus, which the pathogen uses to attach to a human airway or lung cell. Before a virus can inject its RNA into a cell, the spike must effectively unzip, exposing two chains of amino acids, in order to fuse to the cell wall. As the spike zips back up to complete the process, the lipopeptide in the spray inserts itself, latching on to one of the spike’s amino acid chains and preventing the virus from attaching. [NY Times]

A pilot project using sniffer dogs to provide instant and pain-free coronavirus testing at Helsinki airport has shown promising early results

Slovakia managed to test more than 3.6 million people — two thirds of its population — in just two days […] Just over 1% of those taking part tested positive […] Those who tested negative no longer have to comply with the strictest restrictions as long as they can prove their negative status with an official certificate. People who tested positive now have to quarantine — either at home, or in one of dozens of designated hotels across the country. […] effective mass testing could be used in the long term as an alternative to lockdown to control the spread of disease.

Hong Kong will relax social-distancing measures on [Oct 30], with six people allowed to be seated at a restaurant table, up from four, while the size limit for groups in bars and pubs will rise from two to four. In a move to take effect in time for the weekend, dine-in services will also be permitted until 2am, an extension from midnight. But customers must wear a mask when not seated and are not allowed to eat or drink away from their table. [South China Morning Post]

Venice tests long-delayed flood barrier months after waters swamped city And Flood defences save Venice from second high tide More: the flood of 1966 – the water would have reached 230 cms over the average sea level.

Inside eBay’s Cockroach Cult: The Ghastly Story of a Stalking Scandal [NY Times]

Blacklight, a tool to see how the websites you visit are tracking you

These drones will plant 40,000 trees in a month. By 2028, they’ll have planted 1 billion

Is It Better to Plant Trees or Let Forests Regrow Naturally?

Why Tunnels in The US Cost Much More Than Anywhere Else in The World

The 15 weirdest works of classical music (#10 – My Lord Chamberlain is a duet for two lutenists, but just one lute.)

This testimony presents definitive logic and extensive evidence to support The Claim by Jesus Christ that Jesus Is Son of GOD rather than GOD.

Silent Sleep Training Medical Didgeridoo — the solution for sleep apnea and snoring

Portland’s iconic Powell’s Books is selling a book-scented unisex fragrance

How to Make the World’s Best Paper Airplane

Horror Musical Instrument

Dangerous stairs (NY Subway, 36 Street Station)