So, your research argues that TV advertising is about 15 to 20 times less effective than the conventional wisdom says [...] There are, not surprisingly, objections to this research. Especially from the marketing industry. For instance, they’ll point to the brand-building aspect of advertising: “It’s not just about short-term sales,” they’ll say. Or the game-theory aspect — that is, if you don’t advertise your product and your rivals do, where does that leave you? [...] eBay believed that for every dollar they’re spending, they’re getting 50 cents of net profits. And what we showed is that on average, they’re losing more than 60 cents on every dollar. [...] Google actually did a fascinating study not too long ago, which concluded that close to 60 percent of ads on the internet are never, ever even seen. [Freakonomics]
fake drive-through coronavirus testing sites have been cropping up in recent weeks [...] scammers are dressing up like medical professionals and conducting fake, unsanitary tests for money and identity theft, while possibly spreading the virus. [...] Reports about such sites have emerged in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, New York, and Washington state. [two cents]
Restaurant A was located on the first floor of a six-story building totaling 96.6 square meters in size (9.2 × 10.5 m) without windows or a ventilation system. [...] The index case was infected at a 6.5 m away from the infector and 5 minutes exposure without any direct or indirect contact. [Journal of Korean Medical Science]
China seeks to change Covid origin story The official People’s Daily newspaper claimed in a Facebook post last week that “all available evidence suggests that the coronavirus did not start in central China’s Wuhan”.
Airflow studies reveal strategies to reduce indoor transmission of COVID-19 -- when people speak or sing loudly, they produce dramatically larger numbers of micron-sized particles compared to when they use a normal voice. The particles produced during yelling, they found, greatly exceed the number produced during coughing.
Vitamin D deficiency markedly increases the chance of having severe disease after infection with SARS Cov-2. The intensity of inflammatory response is also higher in vitamin D deficient COVID-19 patients. This all translates to increase morbidity and mortality in COVID-19 patients who are deficient in vitamin D. Related: In this randomized clinical trial, supplementation with vitamin D reduced the incidence of advanced (metastatic or fatal) cancer in the overall cohort
COVID-19 reinfection tracker (26 cases worldwide as of Nov. 24)
Don’t Eat Inside a Restaurant -- The odds of catching the coronavirus are about 20 times higher indoors than outdoors.
Female 29 years of age, university student, from dysfunctional family. She began her suffering 11 years ago with personality dissociation, characterized by aversion to sacred objects and images, and psychomotor agitation with transient states of loss of consciousness with manifestations of spiritual possession that required psychiatric, and psychological treatment, and 5 exorcisms without improvement over a period of ten years. [...] With informed consent, a fMRI was accomplished before and in the beginning of a possession induced by exorcism performed by a Catholic priest. [...] due to the involuntary motor activity and the patient’s loss of consciousness, it is not possible to perform the analysis completely in this case. [Trends in Medicine]
There were 16 people in total that participated in the project “Resting Stated-Tractography-fMRI in initial phase of spiritual possession.” 13 of them are health professionals. The priest, mother and an aunt of the patient were not included. [...] 8 out of 13 participants (61.53%) had accidents and sudden events that put their lives in danger [...] On the survey carried out, the 12 participants are much more afraid of organized crime in Mexico than of the devil. [Trends in Medicine]
U.S. government agencies from the military to law enforcement have been buying up mobile-phone data from the private sector to use in gathering intelligence, monitoring adversaries and apprehending criminals. Now, the U.S. Air Force is experimenting with the next step. SignalFrame’s product can turn civilian smartphones into listening devices—also known as sniffers—that detect wireless signals from any device that happens to be nearby. The company, in its marketing materials, claims to be able to distinguish a Fitbit from a Tesla from a home-security device, recording when and where those devices appear in the physical world. Using the SignalFrame technology, “one device can walk into a bar and see all other devices in that place,” said one person who heard a pitch for the SignalFrame product at a marketing industry event. [...] Data collection of this type works only on phones running the Android operating system made by Alphabet Inc.’s Google, according to Joel Reardon, a computer science professor at the University of Calgary. Apple Inc. doesn’t allow third parties to get similar access on its iPhone line. [Wall Street Journal]
Social media entrepreneurs have rushed to find ways to make money from stars on popular platforms like TikTok. West of Hudson Group, for one, operates a network of content houses where many prominent young influencers live. Houses like these function as management companies, taking a percentage of revenue from the creators living in them. The influencers often don’t pay rent, but produce content for brands and promote products as a form of in-kind rent. Dozens of influencer houses have arrived in the Los Angeles area over the last year, and the companies that run them have been searching for sustainable business models. Going public, though, is a new strategy. [NY Times]
Apple is lobbying against a bill aimed at stopping forced labor in China [...] The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act would require U.S. companies to guarantee they do not use imprisoned or coerced workers from the predominantly Muslim region of Xinjiang, where academic researchers estimate the Chinese government has placed more than 1 million people into internment camps. Apple is heavily dependent on Chinese manufacturing, and human rights reports have identified instances in which alleged forced Uighur labor has been used in Apple’s supply chain. [Washington Post]
Given that everything in the universe reduces to particles, a question presents itself: What are particles? The easy answer quickly shows itself to be unsatisfying. Namely, electrons, photons, quarks and other “fundamental” particles supposedly lack substructure or physical extent. “We basically think of a particle as a pointlike object,” said Mary Gaillard, a particle theorist at the University of California, Berkeley who predicted the masses of two types of quarks in the 1970s. And yet particles have distinct traits, such as charge and mass. How can a dimensionless point bear weight? [...] Quantum mechanics revealed to its discoverers in the 1920s that photons and other quantum objects are best described not as particles or waves but by abstract “wave functions” — evolving mathematical functions that indicate a particle’s probability of having various properties. The wave function representing an electron, say, is spatially spread out, so that the electron has possible locations rather than a definite one. But somehow, strangely, when you stick a detector in the scene and measure the electron’s location, its wave function suddenly “collapses” to a point, and the particle clicks at that position in the detector. A particle is thus a collapsed wave function. But what in the world does that mean? Why does observation cause a distended mathematical function to collapse and a concrete particle to appear? And what decides the measurement’s outcome? Nearly a century later, physicists have no idea. [Quanta]
For 6 months of 2020, I've been working on [...] a wormable radio-proximity exploit which allows me to gain complete control over any iPhone in my vicinity. View all the photos, read all the email, copy all the private messages and monitor everything which happens on there in real-time. [Ian Beer | Ars Technica]
One year after the interventions, cash transfer recipients had higher consumption, asset holdings, and revenue, as well as higher levels of psychological well-being than control households. In contrast, the psychotherapy program had no measurable effects on either psychological or economic outcomes.
Research shows married people enjoy better health. But why? Is it because marriage is good for your health and encourages healthier behavior, or because healthier individuals are more likely to get married?
I could use your help — not your support, not your approval, not your reassurance but your help as an open and thoughtful audience for these difficult questions. But you won’t help me, because you won’t listen to what I’m trying to say, because all you care about is how much victim status I deserve. You are really letting me down. [Agnes Callard | NY Times]
While we continue to espouse the use of 2L+5N dialing over all-number calling whenever possible, our primary aim today is to publicly oppose the proliferation of 10-digit dialing, which is fast becoming a public nuisance and dialing nightmare for ordinary people everywhere in this country. More: Telephone exchange names and the 2L-5N system
Here’s a puzzle [...] It’s called "Cain’s Jawbone," in which people are challenged to put the shuffled pages of a murder mystery novel in their proper order. Since its creation in 1934, it has only been solved by two people — until now. British comedian John Finnemore made it his quarantine project to crack "Cain’s Jawbone" — and he succeeded, making him just the third person to solve it in its nearly 90-year history. [...] The puzzle takes the form of 100 cards, each containing the page of a murder mystery novel. In order to solve the puzzle, participants must put all the cards in the proper order and determine who murders who in the story. There are 32 million possible combinations, which makes finding the correct result quite a feat. [The World]