Enjoying short-term pleasurable activities that don’t lead to long-term goals contributes at least as much to a happy life as self-control, according to new research. […] simply sitting about more on the sofa, eating more good food and going to the pub with friends more often won’t automatically make for more happiness. [UZH]
Amid all the fighting in your airways, messenger cells grab small fragments of virus and carry these to the lymph nodes, where highly specialized white blood cells—T-cells—are waiting. The T-cells are selective and preprogrammed defenders. Each is built a little differently, and comes ready-made to attack just a few of the zillion pathogens that could possibly exist. For any new virus, you probably have a T-cell somewhere that could theoretically fight it. Your body just has to find and mobilize that cell. Picture the lymph nodes as bars full of grizzled T-cell mercenaries, each of which has just one type of target they’re prepared to fight. The messenger cell bursts in with a grainy photo, showing it to each mercenary in turn, asking: Is this your guy? When a match is found, the relevant merc arms up and clones itself into an entire battalion, which marches off to the airways. Some T-cells are killers, which blow up the infected respiratory cells in which viruses are hiding. Others are helpers, which boost the rest of the immune system. Among their beneficiaries, these helper T-cells activate the B-cells that produce antibodies—small molecules that can neutralize viruses by gumming up the structures they use to latch on to their hosts. Roughly speaking—and this will be important later—antibodies mop up the viruses that are floating around outside our cells, while T-cells kill the ones that have already worked their way inside. T-cells do demolition; antibodies do cleanup. Both T-cells and antibodies are part of the adaptive immune system. This branch is more precise than the innate branch, but much slower: Finding and activating the right cells can take several days. It’s also long-lasting: Unlike the innate branch of the immune system, the adaptive one has memory. [The Atlantic]
herd immunity could happen with as little as one quarter of the population of a community exposed — or perhaps just 20 percent. […] well, it almost certainly does not, considering that recent serological surveys have shown that perhaps 93 percent of the population of Iquitos, Peru, has contracted the disease. […] and as many as 68 percent in particular neighborhoods of New York City. […] a handful of studies have found that a quite significant number of people unexposed to the coronavirus nevertheless exhibited what are called “cross-reactive” T-cell immune responses to the disease. In other words, you didn’t necessarily need to catch COVID-19 for your T-cells to know how to fight it, because previous exposure to similar coronaviruses (chiefly the common cold) had already taught your immune systems how to respond to this one. […] At least 20 percent of the public, and perhaps 50 percent, had some preexisting, cross-protective T-cell response to SARS-CoV-2, according to one much-discussed recent paper. An earlier paper had put the figure at between 40 and 60 percent. And a third had found an even higher prevalence: 81 percent. […] According to [Francois Balloux], a cross-reactive T-cell response wouldn’t prevent infection, but would probably mean a faster immune response, a shorter period of infection, and a “massively” reduced risk of severe illness. […] T-cell cross-immunity, Eric Topol said, “is very likely playing a significant role. Why are some people asymptomatic? Why do some people who get the infection have such a mild response — so mild they hardly get sick? Is it because of the T-cell activation? I think it’s part of this story. It may even be the main explanation of why people never develop symptoms, or why they might have such mild symptoms. [NY mag]
You might have seen reports this week that Chinese authorities said a surface sample from a batch of frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil tested positive for coronavirus. But don’t panic. Yes, the virus was detected on the food product in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, according to a statement from the municipal government. But test results for people who might have had contact with the chicken wings have so far come back negative, the statement said. [CNN]
An appliance such as a rice cooker or Instant Pot can thoroughly disinfect an N95 without degrading it. […] The dry heat produced by such electric cookers (rice cookers or multicookers such as Instant Pots) may be an effective way of decontaminating medical-grade N95 masks. Using the rice preset on the Farberware cooker and N95 respirators from 3M, a major manufacturer of the protective coverings, the researchers found that 50-minute treatments without pressure at a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit left the masks thoroughly cleaned without compromising fit or filtration efficiency. [Washington Post]
Profits from organized crime are typically passed through legitimate businesses, often exchanging hands several times and crossing borders, until there is no clear trail back to its source—a process known as money laundering. But with many businesses closed, or seeing smaller revenue streams than usual, hiding money in plain sight by mimicking everyday financial activity became harder. “The money is still coming in but there’s nowhere to put it,” says Isabella Chase, who works on financial crime at RUSI, a UK-based defense and security think tank. The pandemic has forced criminal gangs to come up with new ways to move money around. [Technology Review]
An Austrian tourist is in hot water with museum officials in Italy after accidentally breaking the toes off of a 200-year-old statue while posing for a photo. According to the museum, the tourist quickly moved away from the exhibit without telling anyone […] The tourist was tracked down by police using personal information the guest had left with the museum for contact tracing in the event that a coronavirus outbreak is tied to the gallery. [Travel & Leisure | Thanks Tim]
Research has shown that boys are highly sensitive in roughly the same numbers as girls. But boys who violate cultural norms of masculinity may “suffer more shame and rejection, even violence and anger directed toward them” at school, according to Dr. Cooper. […] Sensitivity is also sometimes confused with being shy. While the majority of highly sensitive children are introverts, roughly 30 percent are extroverts, despite their tendency to get easily overstimulated in social situations. […] Like horses, highly sensitive children will tend to enter new situations more slowly. [NY Times]
the Pavlok is exactly what the ad suggests: a Bluetooth-connected, wearable wristband that uses accelerometers, a connected app, and a “snap circuit” to shock its users with 450 volts of electricity when they do something undesirable. The device costs $149.99 and is available on Amazon. The company says it has over 100,000 customers who use the device to help kill food cravings, quit smoking, and to stop touching their face.
Use each of the numbers 1, 3, 4, and 6 exactly once with any of the four basic math operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) to total 24. Each number must be used once and only once, and you may define the order of operations; for example, 3 * (4 + 6) + 1 = 31 is valid, however incorrect, since it doesn’t total 24. [solution | Hacking, The art of Exploitation | PDF]
scientists solve mystery behind body odour, trace the source of underarm aromas to a particular enzyme in a certain microbe that lives in the human armpit
For centuries, people have described unusual animal behavior just ahead of seismic events: dogs barking incessantly, cows halting their milk, toads leaping from ponds.Now researchers say they have managed to precisely measure increased activity in a group of farm animals prior to seismic activity.
Covid-19 vaccines appear to be “reactogenic,” meaning they have induced short-term discomfort in a percentage of the people who have received them in clinical trials. This kind of discomfort includes headache, sore arms, fatigue, chills, and fever.
The bill included $9,736 per day for the intensive care room , nearly $409,000 for its transformation into a sterile room for 42 days, $82,000 for the use of a ventilator for 29 days, and nearly $100,000 for two days when he appeared to be on his deathbed. […] In New York City, hospitals received more than $3bn in federal funds last month from an early round of bailout payments. The money is supposed to compensate hospitals and healthcare providers for the expense of treating coronavirus patients and make up for the revenue hospitals lost from canceling elective procedures. Though the federal money comes with some conditions that are intended to protect patients from medical debt, loopholes remain. Doctors who treat patients can send their own bills to patient directly. The doctors who treated Mendez individually charged between $300 and $1,800 for each day.
The Spanish flu, also known as the 1918 flu pandemic, was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic caused by the H1N1 influenza A virus. Lasting from February 1918 to April 1920, it infected 500 million people–about a third of the world’s population at the time–in four successive waves. The death toll is typically estimated to have been somewhere between 17 million and 50 million. […] The second wave began in the second half of August. [Wikipedia]
Allan Lichtman is the Nostradamus of presidential elections. He’s accurately predicted them for four decades. He also prophesied Trump would be impeached. […] Professor Lichtman walks us through his system, which identifies 13 “keys” to winning the White House. Each key is a binary statement: true or false. And if six or more keys are false, the party in the White House is on its way out. [NY Times]
Education is by definition a competitive system that sorts winners from losers. As long as we accept its role as a key determinant of social outcomes, the result will necessarily be inequality.
The story of 212-OPEC-SID — Three decades ago, the punk rockers, hardcore kids and metalheads of New York City relied on the operators of one answering machine to find out where bands were playing.
Malmö-based startup Bitcraze has come up with a way to pre-program their tiny 27 gram drones to work autonomously, enabling them to fly in science fiction-like coordinated swarms of up to 49 units at a time. [The Local]
The Wild Story of Creem, Once ‘America’s Only Rock ’n’ Roll Magazine’ [NY Times]
Human activity causes vibrations that propagate into the ground as high-frequency seismic waves. Measures to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic caused widespread changes in human activity, leading to a months-long reduction in seismic noise of up to 50%. The 2020 seismic noise quiet period is the longest and most prominent global anthropogenic seismic noise reduction on record. [Science]
After reviewing forty‐four publications from 1889 to 2019 it became apparent that clinical and anatomical studies conducted during recent decades provide substantial evidence in support of the female ejaculatory phenomenon
This protocol, implemented through an app in conjunction with a wearable sleep-tracking sensor device, not only helps record dream reports, but also guides dreams toward particular themes by repeating targeted information at sleep onset, thereby enabling incorporation of this information into dream content.
A Michigan man allegedly managed to steal more than $100,000 from casino patrons […] by illegally obtaining their personal information and then using counterfeit driver’s licenses to withdraw funds from their personal bank accounts via self-service kiosks at the casinos The kiosks require users to insert their driver’s license and the last four digits of both their Social Security number and phone number before checking account funds can be withdrawn.
the book charts, apparently the gold standards of literary commercial success, can be rigged, and all it needs is cash. How to cheat the bestseller list