‘Smoking doesn’t kill.’ –Mike Pence

Research says farts can be released through your breath if you hold them in

Escaped cloned female mutant crayfish take over Belgian cemetery — Marbled crayfish can reproduce asexually and all their children are genetically identical females

Findings suggest that, rather than making marriage less desirable, pornography use is robustly and linearly associated with a higher likelihood of wanting to be married.

German man sets world record with 516 body modifications

[U]ntil recently, there’s one group of potential Biden voters who have not been the subject of voter outreach: kinky, submissive male Trump supporters with humiliation fetishes. Now, thanks to a Las Vegas-based professional dominatrix named Empress Delfina, this once-overlooked voting bloc is covered—and may be voting Biden. By force. Her ad for this service reaches out to these potential Biden voters as follows: “Here’s your chance to get berated for being the degenerate Trump supporter you are. I reverse the brainwash you’ve succumbed to that made you into a Simple Stupid Drone. By using lethal mind fucking language and making you repeat dumbass chants like your Bullshitter in Chief made you do to warp you into submission, I transfer your ownership to me for my personal gain and entertainment. Embrace that you need to be saved from being a Trump-bot. Call now to begin your Trump Conversion Therapy.” At $1.99 a minute, business is booming. […] “Half the guys just want to argue. They’re not open to getting converted at all. They just call to start berating my liberal politics. And I’m like, ‘Hey, if you want to pay me $1.99 a minute to argue with me, go right ahead.’ […] But the other half is actually open to being persuaded.” [Daily Beast]

This paper investigates the paradoxical finding that physical pain in certain social situations makes people smile.

Hackers leaked tons of webcam and home security footage on porn sites

A Telegram bot allows men to create fake nude images of women from a single clothed photo. Over 680,000 women have been affected with about 104,000 images shared publicly.

My colleagues and I have just published a first study mapping out possible histories of alien planets, the civilizations they grow, and the climate change that follows. Our team was made up of astronomers, an earth scientist, and an urban ecologist.

I learned I like being loud, I actually fucking love being aggressively present. Being called “it” as an insult due to my “confusing” fluidity. Having “too much” shoved in my face. I learned you can transform an insult into what makes you so fucking beautifully YOURSELF. I learned those two things: identity & taking up space. […] 23 years on this Earth and all I do is fight and smoke cigarettes. [Alees interviewed by Office]

A range of methods have been applied for user authentication on smartphones and smart watches, such as password, PIN and fingerprint. […] In this paper, a new biometric trait, finger snapping, is applied for person authentication. Finger snapping is an act of making an impulsive sound with one’s fingers and palm. It is often done by connecting the thumb with another (middle, index or ring) finger, and then moving the other finger immediately downward to hit the palm. Such act of finger snapping involves physiological characteristics which refer to inherited traits that are related to human body, as the sound of finger snapping is differentiated by the size of palm and skin texture. In addition, it also involves behavioral characteristics which refer to learned pattern of a person, as it is the movement of the finger creates the sound. A survey is carried out on 74 people about whether they can snap their fingers and accept the finger snapping authentication. Results show that 86.5 % of the respondents can snap fingers, of which 89.2 % would like to authenticate themselves using a simple finger snap. Besides, through our finger snapping collecting phase, we come to find out that people who could not snap their fingers can learn to do it after understanding the method of finger snapping. [Biometric Recognition]

Previously: Silicon Valley Legends Launch Beyond Identity in Quest to Eliminate Passwords

Escaped cow found trapped on neighbor’s trampoline

A radical new technique lets AI learn with practically no data — a process the researchers call “less than one”-shot, or LO-shot, learning.

AI tool claims it can automatically translates speech into other languages in the same speaker’s voice

We assume we choose things that we like, but research suggests that’s sometimes backward: We like things because we choose them, and we dislike things that we don’t choose

We study the diffusion of a true and a false message (the rumor) in a social network. Upon hearing a message, individuals may believe it, disbelieve it, or debunk it through costly verification. Whenever the truth survives in steady state, so does the rumor. Our model highlights that successful policies in the fight against rumors increase individuals’ incentives to verify. [PDF]

How do we know that knuckle cracking is harmless?

Snapchat has turned London into an augmented reality experiment — a proof of concept for a 1:1 digital copy of everything on the planet

Just 3% of Netflix’s most-watched content over the last six weeks was actually produced by Netflix

removing body hair was something both men and women did — as far back as the Stone Age, then through ancient Egypt, Greece and the Roman Empire — using seashells, beeswax and various other depilatories

‘Person in jetpack’ spotted flying again near LA airport

The Royal Navy has been testing Jet Suit assault teams

Hack3r C@t Episode 1: A Meow Hope

This Bionic Eye Is Better Than a Real One, Scientists Say — “A human user of the artificial eye will gain night vision capability.”

Bot orders $18,752 of McSundaes every 30 min to find if machines are working

When a hornet scout locates and approaches a Japanese honey bee hive, she emits specific pheromonal hunting signals. When the Japanese honey bees detect these pheromones, 100 or so gather near the entrance of the nest and set up a trap, keeping the entrance open. This permits the hornet to enter the hive. As the hornet enters, a mob of hundreds of bees surrounds it in a ball, completely covering it and preventing it from reacting effectively. The bees violently vibrate their flight muscles in much the same way as they do to heat the hive in cold conditions. This raises the temperature in the ball to the critical temperature of 46 °C (115 °F). In addition, the exertions of the honey bees raise the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the ball. At that concentration of CO2, they can tolerate up to 50 °C (122 °F), but the hornet cannot survive the combination of high temperature and high carbon dioxide level. […] When honey bees detect scouting hornets, they transmit an “I see you” signal that commonly warns off the predator. [Wikipedia]

This paper presents a model in which politicians can increase the probability of election by making exaggerated claims about the benefits of their own platform — referred to as positive campaigning — and by exaggerating the undesirable characteristics of their rival — i.e., negative campaigning. Such lies may be detected at some point in the future and thus result in a costly loss in reputation. Thus the politician must tradeoff immediate benefits against potential future costs. [Public Choice (1996)]

Self-touch may promote the transfer of microorganisms between body parts or surfaces to mucosa. In overt videography of a post-graduate office, students spent 9% of their time touching their own hair, face, neck, and shoulders (HFNS). These data were collected from 274,000 s of surveillance video in a Chinese graduate student office. The non-dominant hand contributed to 66.1% of HFNS-touches. Most importantly, mucous membranes were touched, on average, 34.3 (SE = 2.4) times per hour, which the non-dominant hand contributed to 240% more than the dominant hand. Gender had no significant effect on touch frequency, but a significant effect on duration per touch. [Nature]

John von Neumann (1903 – 1957) was a Hungarian-American mathematician, physicist, computer scientist, engineer and polymath. Von Neumann was generally regarded as the foremost mathematician of his time. He integrated pure and applied sciences. Von Neumann made major contributions to many fields, including mathematics (foundations of mathematics, functional analysis, ergodic theory, representation theory, operator algebras, geometry, topology, and numerical analysis), physics (quantum mechanics, hydrodynamics, and quantum statistical mechanics), economics (game theory), computing (Von Neumann architecture, linear programming, self-replicating machines, stochastic computing), and statistics. […] He first proposed a quantum logic in 1932 […] He founded the field of game theory as a mathematical discipline. […] His analysis of the structure of self-replication preceded the discovery of the structure of DNA. […] He made fundamental contributions to mathematical statistics and in the field of fluid dynamics. […] He was a founding figure in computing. […] Beginning in 1949, von Neumann’s design for a self-reproducing computer program is considered the world’s first computer virus, and he is considered to be the theoretical father of computer virology. […] Von Neumann and his appointed assistant on this project, Jule Gregory Charney, wrote the world’s first climate modelling software, and used it to perform the world’s first numerical weather forecasts. […] The first use of the concept of a singularity in the technological context is attributed to von Neumann. […] Beginning in the late 1930s, von Neumann developed an expertise in explosions—phenomena that are difficult to model mathematically. During this period, von Neumann was the leading authority of the mathematics of shaped charges. This led to his involvement in the Manhattan Project. […] He made his principal contribution to the atomic bomb in the concept and design of the explosive lenses that were needed to compress the plutonium core of the Fat Man weapon that was later dropped on Nagasaki. […] As a Hungarian émigré, concerned that the Soviets would achieve nuclear superiority, he designed and promoted the policy of mutually assured destruction to limit the arms race. […] Von Neumann was a child prodigy. When he was six years old, he could divide two eight-digit numbers in his head and could converse in Ancient Greek. When the six-year-old von Neumann caught his mother staring aimlessly, he asked her, “What are you calculating?” […] Nobel Laureate Hans Bethe said “I have sometimes wondered whether a brain like von Neumann’s does not indicate a species superior to that of man”, and later Bethe wrote that “[von Neumann’s] brain indicated a new species, an evolution beyond man”. [… Israel Halperin said: “Keeping up with him was … impossible. The feeling was you were on a tricycle chasing a racing car.” […] Von Neumann was also noted for his eidetic memory (sometimes called photographic memory). […] “He was able on once reading a book or article to quote it back verbatim; moreover, he could do it years later without hesitation. He could also translate it at no diminution in speed from its original language into English.”[Wikipedia]

Can lab-grown brains become conscious?

These tiny structures, known as brain organoids, are grown from human stem cells and have become a familiar fixture in many labs that study the properties of the brain. Muotri, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), has found some unusual ways to deploy his. He has connected organoids to walking robots, modified their genomes with Neanderthal genes, launched them into orbit aboard the International Space Station, and used them as models to develop more human-like artificial-intelligence systems. Like many scientists, Muotri has temporarily pivoted to studying COVID-19, using brain organoids to test how drugs perform against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

But one experiment has drawn more scrutiny than the others. In August 2019, Muotri’s group published a paper in Cell Stem Cell reporting the creation of human brain organoids that produced coordinated waves of activity, resembling those seen in premature babies1. The waves continued for months before the team shut the experiment down. […]

The concerns over lab-grown brains have also highlighted a blind spot: neuroscientists have no agreed way to define and measure consciousness. Without a working definition, ethicists worry that it will be impossible to stop an experiment before it crosses a line.