[Malcolm Gladwell,] "or the enthusiasm which takes off its coat": History will revere Bill Gates, forget Steve Jobs.
You know the young Marx – I don’t idealise Marx, he was a nasty guy, personally – but he has a wonderful logic. He says: ‘You don’t simply dissolve marriage; divorce means that you retroactively establish that the love was not the true love.’ When love goes away, you retroactively establish that it wasn’t even true love. […] I especially hate when they come to me with personal problems. My standard line is: ‘Look at me, look at my tics, don’t you see that I’m mad? How can you even think about asking a mad man like me to help you in personal problems, no? [Slavoj Žižek]
A couple of online articles have discussed whether you would be conscious of being shot in the head with the general conclusion that it is unlikely because the damage happens faster than the brain can register a conscious sensation. While this may be true in some instances it ignores that fact that there are many ways of taking a bullet to the head. This is studied by a field called wound ballistics. […] Firstly, if you get shot in the head, in this day and age, you have, on average, about a 50/50 chance of surviving. [MindHacks]
Why product prices end in 99p. […] There are two theories at play here. The first, called the “left digit effect”, suggests that consumers can’t be bothered to read all the way to the end of a price. “£79.99” reads as “70-something pounds”. The alternative theory is that a price ending in 99p is simply a shorthand for good value. […] It’s easy to imagine that the shorthand for a bargain was once a 99p price, but now it’s a nice round number thanks to the pound shops. […] A $59 dress, for instance, would sometimes be priced at $54 or $64 instead. Mr Anderson and Mr Simester found that prices ending in “9” were more likely to find buyers, relative to the prices ending in “4”. This was always true but particularly if the product in question was something new. That last fact does suggest that the “9” was conveying overtones about an unfamiliar product. It’s some support for the “shorthand” theory. [Tim Harford]
Scientists have now found the engram, the physical trace of memory in the brain. […] Decades of scientific dogma asserted that engrams exist only in vast webs of connections, not in a particular place but in distributed neural networks running widely through the brain. Yet a series of pioneering studies have demonstrated that it is possible to lure specific memories into particular neurons, at least in mice. If those neurons are killed or temporarily inactivated, the memories vanish. If the neurons are reactivated, the memories return. […] "We have now gotten to the point that we know enough about memory and how memories are formed that we can actually find the engram, and by finding it, we can manipulate it,” says neurobiologist Alcino Silva. [Discover]
Is there a difference between love and addiction? “Addiction would be de?ned as the stage where desire becomes a compulsive need, when suffering replaces pleasure, when one persists in the relationship despite knowledge of adverse consequences (including humiliation and shame).” [science left untitled]
A paper by Shtulman and Valcarcel argues that even though we know that the earth goes around the sun, we still have hidden away the idea that the sun goes around the earth. Their experiment takes a number of statements about astronomy, evolution, fractions, genetics, germs, matter, mechanics, physiology, thermodynamics, and waves, and asks if they are true. [thoughts on thoughts]
Body image is a subjective experience of appearance. It’s an accumulation of a lifetime’s associations, neuroses and desires, projected on to our upper arms, our thighs. At five, children begin to understand other people’s judgement of them. At seven they’re beginning to show body dissatisfaction. As adults 90% of British women feel body-image anxiety. And it doesn’t wane – many women in their 80s are still anxious about the way their bodies look which, Professor Rumsey explains, can even affect their treatment in hospital, when their health choices are influenced by aesthetics. […] We’re no longer comparing ourselves to “local images” – our friends – instead we’re comparing ourselves to social-networked strangers, celebrities, and to Photoshopped images, of which we see around 5,000 a week. […] The problem is not the Photoshopping itself – the problem is that Photoshopped images threaten to replace all others. [Eva Wiseman]
NASA has lost data from some of its earliest missions to the moon because the machines used to read the tapes were scrapped and cannot be rebuilt. […] Conscientious institutions already make copies of some web pages, e-books and other digital material, and shift the data to new hardware every five year. […] Mistakes 30 years ago mean that much of the early digital age is already a closed book (or no book at all) to historians. [The Economist]
Delaying fatherhood may offer survival advantages, say US scientists who have found children with older fathers and grandfathers appear to be “genetically programmed” to live longer. [BBC]
A father’s love contributes as much — and sometimes more — to a child’s development as does a mother’s love. That is one of many findings in a new large-scale analysis of research about the power of parental rejection and acceptance in shaping our personalities as children and into adulthood. [EurekAlert]
The knowledge-gathering repertoire of the modern casino has shifted from telephone surveys, focus groups, and rudimentary datasets to complex feats of reconnaissance and analysis enabled by player tracking systems, data visualization tools, and behavioral intelligence software suites. Many surveillance techniques first applied in casinos were only later adapted to other domains—airports, financial trading floors, shopping malls, banks, and government agencies. […] Tracked gamblers are treated less as individual subjects than as “dividuals” in the Deleuzian sense—collections of traits, habits, and preferences that casinos can systematically compare to those of others in order to identify distinct customer niches. [Limn]
Two lower curves in beige and green show the instantaneous luminosity measured by the two largest detectors operating on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), CMS and ATLAS. […] I called the LHC control room to find out what was happening. “Oh, those dips?”, casually answered the operator on shift. “That’s because the moon is nearly full and I periodically have to adjust the proton beam orbits.” [Quantum Diaries]
China is a kleptocracy of a scale never seen before in human history. This post aims to explain how this wave of theft is financed, what makes it sustainable and what will make it fail. [Bronte Capital]
For some people with insomnia, the real reason they can’t fall asleep may be a fear of the dark, a small new study suggests. [LiveScience]
Raunchy dance routine a PR nightmare for Microsoft: “The words MICRO and SOFT don’t apply to my penis.” [GeekWire]
The United Kingdom online monitoring law just got published. Every single thing you do online will be recorded and stored. From exchanging emails, browsing history, instant messaging to the most important use of social networks.
Unhealthy eating habits don’t develop as a result of instinct; they have to be learned — and a processed-food industry stands ready to teach them. [Christine Baumgarthuber]
We spend less of our money on groceries than we did 30 years ago. We also spend a much bigger share of our grocery money on processed foods. What America Spends On Groceries.
A new study shows that chili seeds can perceive nearby plants even if these are enclosed in boxes. As it was not possible that the enclosed vegetables could communicate through air or soil, researchers believe that plants may be able to hear sounds. [United Academics]
Why antipsychotics need time to kick in. Insight into how drugs work may explain the delayed action of medications for schizophrenia.
Researchers have found a way to predict a news story’s popularity — with an astounding 84 percent accuracy. [The Atlantic]
The murder of newlywed Sherri Rasmussen went unsolved for 23 years, with the Los Angeles police assuming it was a burglary turned violent. Then, one morning in 2009, when a detective opened the cold-case file, he got his first clue that the killer had been under their noses the entire time.
The original pictures Sultan and Mandel collected were made as documents and objective records of activities and situations: the scenes of crimes, aeronautical engineering tests, industrial experiments, among other subjects. Sifting through some two million images, Mandel and Sultan assembled a careful sequence of 59 pictures. [Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel, Evidence, 1977]