Triple-Decker Weekly, 73

The more you multitask, the worse you get at it. Related: Media multitaskers performed worse on a test of task-switching ability. [PDF]

At this very moment, your eyes and brain are performing an astounding series of coordinated operations. Light rays from the screen are hitting your retina, the sheet of light-sensitive cells that lines the back wall of each of your eyes. Those cells, in turn, are converting light into electrical pulses that can be decoded by your brain. The electrical messages travel down the optic nerve to your thalamus, a relay center for sensory information in the middle of the brain, and from the thalamus to the visual cortex at the back of your head. In the visual cortex, the message jumps from one layer of tissue to the next, allowing you to determine the shape and color and movement of the thing in your visual field. From there the neural signal heads to other brain areas, such as the frontal cortex, for yet more complex levels of association and interpretation. All of this means that in a matter of milliseconds, you know whether this particular combination of light rays is a moving object, say, or a familiar face, or a readable word. […] This post is about a question that’s long been debated among scientists and philosophers: At what point in that chain of operations does the visual system begin to integrate information from other systems, like touches, tastes, smells, and sounds? What about even more complex inputs, like memories, categories, and words? We know the integration happens at some point. If you see a lion running toward you, you will respond to that sight differently depending on if you are roaming alone in the Serengeti or visiting the zoo. Even if the two sights are exactly the same, and presenting the same optical input to your retinas, your brain will use your memories and knowledge to put your vision into context. [Virginia Hughes/National Geographic]

Many scholars have argued that Nietzsche’s dementia was caused by syphilis. A careful review of the evidence suggests that this consensus is probably incorrect. The syphilis hypothesis is not compatible with most of the evidence available. Other hypotheses – such as slowly growing right-sided retro-orbital meningioma – provide a more plausible fit to the evidence. [Journal of Medical Biography | PDF]

An intracranial mass may have been the etiology of the headaches and neurological findings of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) and the cause of his ultimate mental collapse in 1889. [Neurosurgery | PDF]

How can you redeem stolen airline miles?

Fish fear robotic predators, unless they’re drunk.

Chinese zoo under fire for trying to pass off dog as African lion.

The man behind the ‘132 Lb. Scrotum.’

Dogs trained to sniff out ovarian cancer.

Two Xiamen Airlines stewardesses kneel in prayer at a shrine dedicated to being “on time”.

Spain: “Every job has 100 applicants, and you only get work now based on who you know…”

Israeli Arrested in International Art Forgery Ring.

Herb used as Chinese herbal remedy for centuries can cause cancer, two studies say.

A man who suffered a stroke can no longer feel sadness.

Study: How long do little kids stand sitting still?

Seemingly Unimportant Mutations Can Foster Disease. Initially innocuous genetic changes known as neutral mutations may play a role in disorders ranging from the flu and bacterial infections to schizophrenia.

The official list of “never events” in surgery includes operating on the wrong part of the body, performing the wrong procedure, leaving instruments or swabs inside the body, or having the wrong prosthesis or medical device implanted.

Shadows Alter Facial Expressions of Noh Masks.

Are “soft” sciences, like psychology, actually science?

More eye-wateringly egregious neuromarketing bullshit from Martin Lindstrom.

Overview of the Brain In Just Under 4 Minutes.

Who would have guessed that a famous Chongqing pickle, the preserved mustard tuber made in the town of Fuling, would be used by the Chinese government to measure labour migration? The preserved mustard index.

Banana equivalent dose [Thanks Tim]

How Chess Explains the World. And predicts the rise and fall of nations.

Facebook to Test PayPal Competitor.

Paying Some Cabbies Won’t Involve Cash or a Card Swipe.

Google is preparing for screenless computers.

My Life as a Cellphone Holdout.

Some innovations spread fast. How do you speed the ones that don’t?

When e-mail was created 40 years ago, security or anonymity wasn’t part of the design.

All Bitcoin Wallets On Android “Vulnerable To Theft.”

UK bars ad firm from using Wi-Fi-enabled trash cans to track passersby through their smartphones.

Why are sales of non-alcoholic beer booming?

New delivery service brings retro video game machines right to your door for $75 a month.

We used phony ‘service dogs’ to see how easy it is to get badly behaved pups into NYC’s elegant eateries.

“He’s friendly, relatable, and just a general salt-of-the-earth dude.” –Lying acquaintance of Hollywood megastar

15 Strange Beaches.

40 maps that explain the world.

Map of Manhattan Using Only Handwritten Directions From Strangers.

Currency Collages by Mark Wagner. [More]

Youtube missile command game.

One Second on the Internet…