In his story Sarrasine, Balzac, describing a castrato disguised as a woman, writes the following sentence: "This was woman herself, with her sudden fears, her irrational whims, her instinctive worries, her impetuous boldness, her fussings, and her delicious sensibility." Who is speaking thus? Is it the hero of the story bent on remaining ignorant of the castrato hidden beneath the woman? Is it Balzac the individual, furnished by his personal experience with a philosophy of Woman? Is it Balzac the author professing ‘literary’ ideas on femininity? Is it universal wisdom? Romantic psychology? We shall never know, for the good reason that writing is the destruction of every voice, of every point of origin. Writing is that neutral, composite, oblique space where our subject slips away, the negative where all identity is lost, starting with the very identity of the body writing. [Roland Barthes, The Death of the Author, 1967]
These fictional examples suggest that creativity and dishonesty often go hand-in-hand. Is there an actual link? Is there something about the creative process that triggers unethical behavior? Or does behaving in dishonest ways spur creative thinking? My research suggests that they both exist: Encouraging people to think outside the box can result in greater cheating, and crossing ethical boundaries can make people more creative in subsequent tasks. [Scientific American]
In 2005, levamisole was found in almost 2 percent of the cocaine seized by the DEA. In 2007, the frequency went up to 15 percent, and by 2011 a staggering 73 percent of all cocaine seized by the DEA had been cut with levamisole.
Gonorrhea is about to become impossible to treat. Antibiotic resistance means the STD might soon spread more aggressively than ever.
Once derided as being like a plastic bag with the erotic appeal of a jellyfish, the female condom is being reinvented as the next big thing in safe sex.
The arguments for ditching notes and coins are numerous, and quite convincing. In the US, a study by Tufts University concluded that the cost of using cash amounts to around $200 billion per year – about $637 per person. This is primarily the costs associated with collecting, sorting and transporting all that money, but also includes trivial expenses like ATM fees. Incidentally, the study also found that the average American wastes five and a half hours per year withdrawing cash from ATMs; just one of the many inconvenient aspects of hard currency. While coins last decades, or even centuries, paper currency is much less durable. A dollar bill has an average lifespan of six years, and the US Federal Reserve shreds somewhere in the region of 7,000 tons of defunct banknotes each year. Physical currency is grossly unhealthy too. Researchers in Ohio spot-checked cash used in a supermarket and found 87% contained harmful bacteria. Only 6% of the bills were deemed “relatively clean.” […] Stockholm’s homeless population recently began accepting card payments. [...] Cash transactions worldwide rose just 1.75% between 2008 and 2012, to $11.6 trillion. Meanwhile, non traditional payment methods rose almost 14% to total $6.4 trillion. [TransferWise]
This past summer was a disaster for the major studios - but it was also a highly predictable one. The Future of Film I, II, and III
To get one of those apartments, on average, you need to plunk down the equivalent of almost $300,000. Household rental system in South Korea
Commercial drones are now legal in U.S. skies, thanks to a court decision this month that slapped down the Federal Aviation Administration’s attempt to ground them. A San Francisco company has leaped on the opportunity, gearing up to offer drone delivery of drugstore items in the Mission.
By taking about 100 pictures of McDuffie using a pillow to pose as he did in the picture taken Aug. 14, 1945, by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, Gibson said she was able to match the muscles, ears and other features of the then-80-year-old McDuffie to the young sailor in the original image.
In the last years news are over and over again about record breaking prices reached for an artwork at a public auction. Such high pricing strucks not only the old masters but also works for still living artists. As you might know the prices for young artist’s paintings are often assessed by canvas size. So the question for my use-case arises: Is there also a correlation between size and hammer price of famous artworks at auctions? [Ruth Reiche]
The orb consists of a black latex balloon filled with helium, a battery-powered Arduino board, a speaker, and an Adafruit Wave Shield that's been modified to record and play back ambient sounds on the fly.