Triple-Decker Weekly, 42

A thousand years ago, the Doge Pietro Orseolo II took his triumphant naval fleet to the sea entrance at the Lido and ceremoniously threw a diamond ring into the water, thus marrying his city to the Adriatic and securing Venice’s dominion over its waters and trade routes. […] When Goethe visited Venice for just over two weeks in 1786, he climbed the campanile twice, at high tide and then at low tide. It was from this tower that, at the age of 37 and already famous, he saw the sea for the first time in his life. […] Now we know for sure that the ocean is rising faster than Venice will subside. [Aeon]

Florida pilot spots theft at his home from his plane.

A man who dresses up as a giraffe and carries out random acts of kindness towards people across Scotland has said he does it to feel good.

Woman auctioned off ex-boyfriend’s secret fishing spots for $3,000.


Slowly, but surely, robots (and virtual ’bots that exist only as software) are taking over our jobs; according to one back-of-the-envelope projection, in ninety years “70 percent of today’s occupations will likewise be replaced by automation.” […] If history repeats itself, robots will replace our current jobs, but, says Kelly, we’ll have new jobs, that we can scarcely imagine. […] Well, maybe. [The New Yorker]

David Ricardo: On Machinery.

A few months ago I wrote a two-part post about how fMRI and PET scan technology were able to detect differences in the brains of psychopaths compared to non-psychopathic individuals. This area of research has identified that psychopathy has a genetic component, and has even been used in court cases to determine sentencing. […] Fallon isn’t, of course, a killer; however, genetically speaking he meets the criteria of psychopathy. […] And therein lays the process of how one person can become a psychopath, and another to go on with a fairly “normal” life. [Forensic Focus]

Disgusted people have enhanced ability to spot dirt.

Study looks into a stool sample, to see whether the whole is indicative of the parts.

Need to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere? They can engineer the insides of a bacterium to do just that. Want clean, biologically based fuels to replace petroleum taken from the ground? Company scientists will design a microbe to poop those out. Ginkgo is, in essence, a 21st century factory of life. The researchers working there specialize in synthetic biology, a field that seeks to build living things from the ground up. After envisioning what they want new organisms to do, Ginkgo biologists actually grow vials full of redesigned cells. […] Synthetic biology was born a little more than a decade ago, an offshoot of traditional genetic engineering but distinct in its ambitions, precision and mind-set. Instead of randomly tweaking the genetic blueprints of living organisms and then working backward to identify a cell with a desirable trait, the new field offered the power of designing and building cells with novel functions. Its pioneers dreamed of making armies of organisms that could produce alternative fuels, churn out drugs to battle disease or fill every stomach on the planet by squeezing more food out of each crop acre. Now, synthetic biologists have laid the groundwork for that radical new future, by building biology’s version of Silicon Valley. One research team has created a new and more complex set of biological building blocks that snap together like Legos, bringing large-scale production of engineered organisms closer to reality. Other scientists have hooked those parts up in a complex living analog of an electrical circuit and programmed it, much like programming a computer. Researchers are now writing code to make cells do things never before thought possible, like hunt down and kill cancer cells. [ScienceNews]

Overweight linked to lower risk of death.

Since its introduction in 1846, anesthesia has allowed for medical miracles. Limbs can be removed, tumors examined, organs replaced—and a patient will feel and remember nothing. Or so we choose to believe. In reality, tens of thousands of patients each year in the United States alone wake up at some point during surgery. Since their eyes are taped shut and their bodies are usually paralyzed, they cannot alert anyone to their condition. In efforts to eradicate this phenomenon, medicine has been forced to confront how little we really know about anesthesia’s effects on the brain. The doctor who may be closest to a solution may also answer a question that has confounded centuries’ worth of scientists and philosophers: What does it mean to be conscious? [The Atlantic]

Jean–Jacques Rousseau… […] This is a man who sent all five of his children away to orphanages, and also wrote a book, Emilie: or, on Education, about the proper way to educate a child. This is a man who, when a friend he greatly respected purchased for him a ticket to an opera, snuck away during the commotion in the lobby of the amphitheater, ran back to the box office and refunded the ticket. He took the money and ran. Of the incident, he wrote, “There are moments when a man is seized by a sort of madness and should not be judged by his actions.” He loved providing these little justifications. […] He hid in dark alleyways and revealed his ass to women walking by. […] And then there was the time Rousseau abandoned a friend in the middle of the street after the friend had a seizure. [Full Stop | via The New Inquiry]

'Middle Finger' Christmas Lights Are Legal, Judge Rules.

Military Must Prep Now for ‘Mutant’ Future, Researchers Warn.

Indonesia city to ban women 'straddling motorbikes.'

10 reasons why India has a sexual violence problem.

In the virtual world of Second Life, female avatars expose substantially more skin than males, independent of their virtual body proportions, according to research.

A new study, involving participants in the USA and China, is one of the first to investigate parental lies, finding that the majority of parents tell their children lies as a way to control their behavior.

Babies only hours old are able to differentiate between sounds from their native language and a foreign language, scientists have discovered. The study indicates that babies begin absorbing language while still in the womb, earlier than previously thought.

This piece argues that the scientific testing of rats and mice – the officially prescribed animals – are not relevant to humans and cannot reliably forecast risks to humans, especially cancer risks.

Do pets get mental health disorders?

Researchers have discovered a powerful antibody in panda blood that could serve as the next frontier in the fight against increasingly prevalent superbugs.

Facebook Paid 0.3% Taxes On $1.34 Billion Profits.

Polaroid to open stores [Fotobars] to print Facebook, phone photos.

It’s an exciting time to be in the energy industry in America. The impact of unconventional oil and gas development on the U.S. economy is considerable, with potentially hundreds of billions of dollars in investments, millions of new jobs, and a renaissance of American ingenuity and innovation. [Forbes]

Scientists are once again reporting alarmingly high methane emissions from an oil and gas field, underscoring questions about the environmental benefits of the boom in natural-gas production that is transforming the US energy system. [Nature]

Today scientists predict an ice-free Arctic in years, not decades. How the IPCC Underestimated Climate Change.
Overall this confirms that the great majority of crimes, including violent ones, are not committed by people with mental illness, and that your chance of getting 'murdered by a lunatic' is incredibly low.

The Use and Abuse of Taxicab Cameras in San Francisco.

Are there any technologies to prevent yourself from being captured on camera or video?

Does a guy’s mood synchronize with his girlfriend’s menstrual cycle?

Could we speed up Earth’s rotation, so that we do not need Leap Seconds?

Blind dog taken for walks by guide cat.

The term dap may have originated as an acronym for dignity and pride. It appears to have been introduced to Western culture through film. For example, the 1936 movie Tarzan Escapes depicts the gesture.