Triple-Decker Weekly, 55

German flea circus hit by freeze. Entire troupe wiped out.

We are approaching the time when we will be able to communicate faster than the speed of light. It is well known that as we approach the speed of light, time slows down. Logically, it is reasonable to assume that as we go faster than the speed of light, time will reverse. The major consequence of this for Internet protocols is that packets will arrive before they are sent. [R. Hinden]

A new form of corpse treatment has also been developed: freeze-drying or lyophilization. In freeze-drying the body of the deceased is cooled to -18° C. The frozen body is then immersed in a bath of liquid nitrogen. The frozen body then becomes very fragile. By then subjecting it to vibrations, the body falls apart into a kind of powder from which the moisture is then extracted by means of vacuum. A dry, odorless powder with a weight in the order of 25 to 30 kg eventually remains. [U.S. Patent Application/Improbable]

If you’ve ever watched any of the forensics crime shows, you know that understanding decay and changes in the body can be a key factor in determining when the individual died and how the body was treated after death. But it’s also important for archaeologists dealing with remains that are ancient. First, let’s look at the early stages of decay. […] The first stage consists of the ‘mortis‘ phases. The blood isn’t being pumped through the body so due to gravity it pools in certain areas, and this is known as livor mortis. Shortly after this, the muscular tissue becomes rigid and incapable of relaxing, a state called rigor mortis. Next the body loses heat and cools in a process called algor mortis. Second, the body goes through bloat, in which means that microbes are rapidly growing and forming gases within the body. […] Bones are also subject to continued decay, the study of which is known as taphonomy and is extremely important for archaeologists. [Bones Don’t Lie]

“I do not know where family doctors acquired illegibly perplexing handwriting; nevertheless, extraordinary pharmaceutical intellectuality, counterbalancing indecipherability, transcendentalizes intercommunications’ incomprehensibleness.” (Dmitri Borgmann, Language on Vacation: An Olio of Orthographical Oddities. Scribner, 1965) This is a ‘rhopalic’ sentence: A sentence or a line of poetry in which each word contains one letter or one syllable more than the previous word. [Quora]

“Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo” is a grammatically valid sentence in American English. [Wikipedia]

Gerald Crabtree, a neurobiologist at Stanford University, states that intelligent human behavior requires between 2,000 and 5,000 genes to work together. A mutation or other fault in any of these genes, and some kind of intellectual deficiency results. Before the creation of complex societies, humans suffering from these mutations would have died. But modern societies may have allowed the more intelligent to care for the less intelligent. While anyone who had participated in a group project understands this phenomena, it doesn’t explain why IQ and other tests have consistently risen, and why people with high scores on those tests still do stupid things. [United Academics]

Take a container of mixed nuts, shake it and examine the contents. The chances are that the largest nuts, Brazil nuts for example, have risen to the top. This phenomenon is called the Brazil nut effect and is known to depend on a number of factors, such as the container size and shape as well as the frequency and amplitude of the shaking. However, the general idea is that the shaking process creates voids that smaller, but not larger, particles can drop in to. […] Carsten Guttler [et al.] have performed standard Brazil nut effect experiments […] on an A300 Airbus flying parabolic arcs to simulate gravitational forces on the Moon and on Mars. [The Physics arXiv Blog]

Around 1 in 7,500 otherwise healthy people are born with no sense of smell, a condition known as isolated congenital anosmia (ICA). So dominant are sight and hearing to our lives, you might think this lack of smell would be fairly inconsequential. In fact, a study of individuals with ICA published last year showed just how important smell is to humans. Compared with controls, the people with ICA were more insecure in their relationships, more prone to depression and to household accidents. [BPS]

Cougar Cruises Bring Younger Men To Older Women.

“Such adaptations [i.e., retention of the hymen] are explicable only if the male of the species finds it to his advantage to seek a virgin.”

Gay Men, Straight Women: What’s the Attraction? New research suggests at least part of the answer lies in their ability to give one another trustworthy mating advice.

The county where no one’s gay.

A transgender man who made worldwide headlines after he married and gave birth to three children will appeal an Arizona judge’s ruling denying him a divorce from his wife of 10 years.

Dream contents deciphered by computer. (60 percent accuracy)

Films for oral application offer an interesting new approach for drug administration.

In Oregon, unintentional drug overdoses now kill more people than car accidents. The drugs that are driving up those numbers and killing most often are opiates—heroin and prescription pain medication, including methadone.

As I reported a couple of weeks ago, a recent Senate bill came with a nice bonus for the genetically modified seed industry: a rider, wholly unrelated to the underlying bill, that compels the USDA to ignore federal court decisions that block the agency’s approvals of new GM crops. I explained in this post why such a provision, which the industry has been pushing for over a year, is so important to Monsanto and its few peers in the GMO seed industry. […] Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) has revealed to Politico’s ace reporter David Rogers that he’s the responsible party. Blunt even told Rogers that he “worked with” GMO seed giant Monsanto to craft the rider. [Mother Jones]

Ireland’s Homeowners: Global Champions in not Repaying Mortgages. [Chart]

Tokyo renters paying $568 for tiny coffin-sized apartments.

One of the frequent laments of the “great stagnation” era is that younger people today won’t do better than their parents. […] Over the past 150 years, or about 6 generations, the average income in one generation has been about 60 percent higher than the average income in the prior generation. […] Improvements in well-being were very closely tied to wealth. Today, however, we are in a position to derive much of our happiness from pursuits internal to our minds. We do this by blogging, watching House of Cards on Netflix, listening to a symphony from iTunes, tweeting with friends and acquaintances, seeing their pictures on Facebook or Path, and learning and collaborating on Wikipedia. As a result, once one secures a certain income to cover basic needs, greater happiness and well-being today can be had for virtually nothing. What is the point, then, of doing materially better than one’s parents? In his 1930 essay, “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren,” John Maynard Keynes imagined a future 100 years later in which per capita income had increased fourfold or more. With 17 years to go, his prediction was right. But Keynes also thought that this increase in per capita production would result in people working fewer hours—only 15 hours a week to maintain a reasonable standard of living in 2030. The real challenge, he worried, would be filling up our leisure time. [Jerry Brito/The Umlaut]

Imagine you have a choice to make. In one scenario, you’d get $8 and somebody else — a stranger – would get $8 too. In the other, you’d get $10; the stranger would get $12. Economists typically assume you’d go for the $10/$12 option because of the belief that people try to maximize their own gains. Choosing the other scenario would just be irrational. But new research conducted in collaboration with a professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management shows that if a person is feeling threatened, or concerned with their status, they are more likely to choose the option that gives them less. And although this choice might seem irrational from an economic perspective, this choice satisfies an important psychological need. People who do this, “have a reason for their behaviour, and that reason is to protect themselves from low status,” described as a low position or rank in relation to others, says Prof. Geoffrey Leonardelli. [University of Toronto]

One study famously found that people who had big wins on the lottery ended up no happier than those who had bought tickets but didn’t win. It seems that as long as you can afford to avoid the basic miseries of life, having loads of spare cash doesn’t make you very much happier than having very little.

New research from an international team of scientists suggests evolution, or basic survival techniques adapted by early humans, influences the decisions gamblers make when placing bets.

More than half of the rivers previously thought to exist in China appear to be missing.

New research predicts that rising temperatures will lead to a massive “greening,” or increase in plant cover, in the Arctic (as much as 50 percent over the next few decades).

Chinese fishing vessels are taking a huge unreported global catch, fisheries researchers have found. Instead of an average 368,000 tonnes a year that China reported to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, its fleets hauled in as much as 4.6 million tonnes, the scientists estimate.

A growing body of research suggests that tea helps prevent cardiovascular disease, burn calories and ward off some types of cancer.

How Climate Change Could Eventually End Coffee.

Does Greek coffee hold the key to a longer life?

Men deliver ripe coffee berries to El Molino mill for processing in El Salvador, November 1944.

What do you do if you drop your sandwich on the floor? Pick it up within five seconds and just continue eating? […] American researchers wanted to test  how long food has to be on the floor before it becomes contaminated. They dropped sausages and bread onto different surfaces, such as carpet, wood and tiles, and examined  the transfer of Salmonella bacteria. They found that of all the bacteria that contaminated the food, 99 percent of them  had transferred already in the first five seconds. The time it took them was influenced by the kind of surface the bacteria were on, yet only a little. Bacteria on carpet took more time to get onto the sausages than those on wood or tile. [United Academics]

Deadly Hospital Superbugs: How to Protect Yourself.

The warships of the future will be floating factories that create everything from food to robots and spare parts — all thanks to 3-D printers. One far-out idea from the U.S. Naval Institute: printable ships.

Facebook released a mobile thing today. It’s not a Facebook phone. But it’s more than an app. It’s like a digital skin that you slide your phone into so that it’s covered in sticky Facebook goodness. […] If users actually take to Home, Facebook has come up with an excellent way to get people to have Facebook running on their phones all the time. That means Facebook will be able to constantly collect location information from them, making Facebook even more attractive to advertisers looking to deliver ads based on who you are, where you are and what you’re doing. [Forbes]

Boredom may be even more important for children than adults. Spending so much time on gadgets may “short circuit the development of creative capacity” in children, according to educational expert Dr. Teresa Belton. […] A study last year by UK carrier O2 examined the amount of time the typical user spends each day on their smartphone. It’s a lot – more than two hours a day, everyday. Most of that is spent browsing the Internet, on social networking sites, playing games, listening to music, calling, emailing and texting – and not, for example, learning a new language. {ReadWrite | Continue reading]

Internal document from the Drug Enforcement Administration complains that messages sent with Apple’s encrypted chat service are “impossible to intercept.”

Russian Cyber Criminal Unmasked as Creator of ‘Most Successful’ Apple Malware Ever. Researchers estimated that the malware was earning its operator up to £6,600 [$9,900] per day.

New Skype malware spreading at 2,000 clicks per hour makes money by using victims’ machines to mine Bitcoins.

The fastest growing industry in the US right now, even during this time of slow economic growth, is probably the patent troll protection racket industry. Lawsuits surrounding software patents have more than tripled since 1999. It’s a great business model. Step one: buy a software patent. There are millions of them, and they’re all quite vague and impossible to understand. Step two: FedEx a carefully crafted letter to a few thousand small software companies, iPhone app developers, and Internet startups. This is where it gets a tiny bit tricky, because the recipients of the letter need to think that it’s a threat to sue if they don’t pay up, but in court, the letter has to look like an invitation to license some exciting new technology. In other words it has to be just on this side of extortion. Step three: wait patiently while a few thousand small software companies call their lawyers, and learn that it’s probably better just to pay off the troll, because even beginning to fight the thing using the legal system is going to cost a million dollars. [Joel Spolsky]

Forget next-day delivery. The standard in online shopping is rapidly approaching next-hour delivery. How Robots and Military-Grade Algorithms Make Same-Day Delivery Possible.

The men and women who helped hide Ratko Mladic through his many years as a fugitive saw him as a Serb hero. But just in case their loyalty should waver, they were presented with a gift: photographs of their children. The implication was clear: if we can shoot them with a camera, we can shoot them by other means as well.

Killer Anders Behring Breivik’s Manifesto provides a valuable resource for those studying the narrative and discursive dimension of crime.

Cops are looking for a man who smashed a woman over the head with a ketchup bottle while shouting anti-gay slurs at a Greenwich Village diner, cops said. The attack took place in the Waverly Restaurant on Sixth Avenue at about 4:40 a.m. Monday, sources said. The victim suffered head lacerations. [NY Post]

The first sociological study of pimps was published on 3 February 1931.

DETETCIVE: (looks at floor) Im cant beleave it.Its is… (turns to camera) coverd in Crimes.

Cross dressing Catholic priest to plead guilty to meth dealing ring. He had also purchased a bookstore – one that sold primarily pornography and sex toys – which he used as a front to launder money.

The U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York dismissed collector Jonathan Sobel’s lawsuit against photographer William Eggleston. […] The lawsuit was spurred by Christie’s sale last March of 36 poster-size, digital prints of images that Eggleston had shot in the Mississippi Delta more than 30 years ago. Some were created from negatives he had never printed before, while others were based on iconic works, such as “Memphis (Tricycle).” (Sobel owns a 17-inch version of that photograph, for which he reportedly paid $250,000.) The sale was a massive success — by the time it was over, the large digital works accounted for seven of the artist’s top 10 prices. (The five-foot “Tricycle” came in on top, selling for a record $578,500.) For Sobel, who owns 190 Eggleston works, the success of the sale was part of the problem. “The commercial value of art is scarcity, and if you make more of something, it becomes less valuable,” he told ARTINFO last April. The judge disagreed. Egggleston may have profited from the Christie’s sale, she concluded, but not at Sobel’s expense. Eggleston could be held liable only if he created new editions of the limited-edition works in Sobel’s collection using the same dye-transfer process he used for the originals — a move that would directly deflate their value. In this case, however, Eggleston was using a new digital process to produce what she deemed a new body of work. [ArtInfo]

The Digital Public Library of America, to be launched on April 18, is a project to make the holdings of America’s research libraries, archives, and museums available to all Americans—and eventually to everyone in the world—online and free of charge.

A Collection of Human Brains from the Texas State Mental Hospital

Why aren’t we all using Japanese toilets?

Is there such a thing as a left-handed cat?

How to Light a Bar on Fire.

The “Russian Banksy” is dead at 28.

SENSE MEDITATION [video]

Portable Masturbatorium.

Find the pattern for the following series of numbers: 8, 5, 4, 9, 1, 7, 6, 3, 2, 0 [Solution]

The latest meme to overtake the internet in China? “Gou gou chuan siwa” (?????), or in English, “Dogs wearing pantyhose.”