Frances Kaye, a publicity agent, described a movie party she attended at a Palm Springs resort. A live orchestra entertained a thousand-odd guests while a fountain spouted champagne against the backdrop of a desert sky. As partiers circulated, a doctor made rounds like a waiter, dispensing drugs to guests from a bulging sack. On offer were amphetamines and barbituates, standard Hollywood party fare, but guests wanted Miltown. The little white pills “were passed around like peanuts,” Kaye remembered. What she observed about party pill popping was not unique. “They all used to go for ‘up pills’ or ‘down pills,’” one Hollywood regular noted. “But now it’s the ‘don’t-give-a-darn-pills.’” [Andrea Tone/Mindhacks]
The microbiome — the kilogram of microbes that each of us carries around — has been shown to be involved in everything from obesity and type 2 diabetes to behaviour and sexual preferences. The composition and effects of the microbiome are very active areas of research, producing results which have challenged the way we think about the evolution and interactions of organisms, including ourselves. In a paper recently published in the journal Science, researchers showed for the first time that the make up of the microbiome differs between the sexes, linking these differences to changes in hormone levels and disease resistance. […] When female mice were given a testosterone inhibitor along with the bacteria from male mice, the rate of diabetes returned to normal. “It was completely unexpected to find that the sex of an animal determines aspects of their gut microbe composition, that these microbes affect sex hormone levels, and that the hormones in turn regulate an immune-mediated disease,” said Dr. Danska. [Inspiring Science]
Normal vision is essentially a spatial sense that often relies upon touch and movement during and after development, there is often a correlation between how an object looks and how it feels. Moreover, as a child’s senses develop, there is cross-referencing between the various senses. Indeed, where the links between the senses are not made, there may be developmental problems or delays. This should be taken into consideration when training new users of visual prosthetics, artificial retinas, or bionic eyes, suggest researchers in Australia. [EurekAlert]
Hurricane Sandy was the largest storm to hit the northeast U.S. in recorded history, killing 159, knocking out power to millions, and causing $70 billion in damage in eight states. Sandy also put the vulnerability of critical infrastructure in stark relief by paralyzing subways, trains, road and air traffic, flooding hospitals, crippling electrical substations, and shutting down power and water to tens of millions of people. But one of the larger infrastructure failures is less appreciated: sewage overflow. Six months after Sandy, data from the eight hardest hit states shows that 11 billion gallons of untreated and partially treated sewage flowed into rivers, bays, canals, and in some cases, city streets, largely as a result of record storm-surge flooding that swamped the region’s major sewage treatment facilities. To put that in perspective, 11 billion gallons is equal to New York’s Central Park stacked 41 feet high with sewage, or more than 50 times the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The vast majority of that sewage flowed into the waters of New York City and northern New Jersey in the days and weeks during and after the storm. [Climate Central | PDF]
Conversations with evil men. For most of the men I spoke with, it was the story of killing children that was the hardest, the hardest to remember, the hardest to get them to talk about. So that was hopeful, that there did seem to be red lines. What was depressing was that it was the opposite when it came to women.
Men are, by a huge margin, the sex responsible for violent, sexual and other serious crime. The cost of masculine crime.
Record number of killers and rapists being released from upstate prisons, many returning to NYC. The freshly sprung rogues are a dark remnant of the crack epidemic that plagued the city in the 1980s and 1990s, when homicides hit an all-time high and drug dealers ruled entire blocks of the city.
Last summer, in the dead of night, three peace activists penetrated the exterior of Y-12 in Tennessee, supposedly one of the most secure nuclear-weapons facilities in the United States. A drifter, an 82-year-old nun and a house painter. They face trial next week on charges that fall under the sabotage section of the U.S. criminal code
Gypsy law leverages superstition to enforce desirable conduct in Gypsy societies where government is unavailable and simple ostracism is ineffective. According to Gypsy law, unguarded contact with the lower half of the human body is ritually polluting, ritual defilement is physically contagious, and non-Gypsies are in an extreme state of such defilement. These superstitions repair holes in simple ostracism among Gypsies, enabling them to secure social cooperation without government. [PDF]
This paper presents 12 facts about the mortgage market. [Fact 2: No mortgage was “designed to fail.”] The authors argue that the facts refute the popular story that the crisis resulted from financial industry insiders deceiving uninformed mortgage borrowers and investors. [PDF]
Companies will soon require that workers use their own smartphone on the job. 38% expect to stop providing devices to workers by 2016.
Cattle brands, those unique markings seared into animals’ hides with a hot iron, must comply with a rigorous set of standards and are developed using a specific language ruled by its own unique syntax and morphology. […] When it comes to getting your brand approved by the authorities, location is as important as design. The reason? The same brand can be registered in the same country as long as its located on a different part of the animal. [Smithsonian | More: How To Design A Brand]
Facts that sound like “BS” but are actually true. The city of Chicago was raised by several feet during the 1860s without disrupting daily life or businesses closing down to solve a drainage problem. Entire buildings, shopping centers, sidewalks and hotels were all lifted up manually by laborers using jackscrews while people went about their daily lives, shopped and dined. In one case, a large hotel was raised off the ground even while guests stayed on oblivious of what was going on underneath them.