Stop calling soldiers “heroes”

Via Salon.com: ‘It stops us from seeing them as human — and dismisses their experience. “Hero” sounds like praise, but its not: It glosses over the human cost of war, and keeps us from helping our vets. ‘ — CARA HOFFMAN

[In fact, mightn't it be more appropriate to refer to many of them as "victims"?]

 

I’m Presumably in this Database. How About You?

Via Boing Boing, ‘US “suspected terrorist” database had 1.5M names added to it in past 5 years: The scale of the secret blacklist was revealed in a civil suit over the Terrorist Screening Database, and it shocked the judge.99 percent of the names submitted to the list are accepted; the court called this “wildly loose.” The database has grown from 227,932 names in 2009 to its current stratospheric heights. There is no official, public procedure for having your name removed from the list.’

 

HIV Undetectable In Two Patients Following Bone Marrow Transplants

Via IFLScience, ‘The two men, ages 47 and 53, respectively received bone marrow transplants three and four years ago to treat lymphoma and leukemia. Though the HIV virus is no longer detectable in either of them, they are still undergoing antiretroviral therapy ART as a precaution, and Cooper refuses to say that the men have been “cured” due to the possibility of relapse, as witnessed in other patients whose viral loads had dropped to undetected levels only to reappear later.’

 

An Experimental Stem Cell Treatment Lead To A Woman Accidentally Growing A Nose On Her Spine

Français : Nez

Via IFLScience, ‘Who knows where a nose grows? Here’s a curious case. An 18-year-old woman sustained a spinal cord injury that left her legs paralyzed. Three years later, stem cells from her nose were transplanted into the injury site. She developed back pain eight years afterwards, and imaging revealed a mass at the implantation site. The 3-centimeter-long spinal cord mass was mostly nasal tissue and contained large amounts of thick, mucus-like material.’

 

Annals of Emerging Disease

 

Latin name: Culex pipiens

It’s only a matter of time before the chikungunya virus spreads in the U.S. When the name of a virus translates as “to become contorted” as in, with joint pain you know it is not something you want to catch. Unfortunately, your chances of encountering chikungunya are increasing.Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne illness that has no cure. On the plus side, its unlikely to kill you. On the downside, if you catch it, treatment is about easing the discomfort of symptoms and waiting for it to pass.’ Via Boing Boing

The polar flip

Via kottke, ‘According to data collected by a European satellite array, the Earths magnetic field is shifting and weakening at a greater pace than previously thought. One of the reasons for the shift might be that the magnetic North and South poles are swapping positions.’

 

Whats So Funny?

 

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education, ‘There is, in short, far too much written—and still being written—on the subject of laughter for any one person to master; nor, frankly, would it be worthwhile to try. Confronted with the product of centuries of analysis and investigation, one is tempting to suggest that it is not so much laughter that defines the human species, as Aristotle is supposed to have claimed, but rather the drive to debate and theorize laughter.

Partly in response to the profusion of views and speculation, theories of laughter are typically divided into three main strands. Few books on laughter fail to offer, somewhere near the beginning, a brief enumeration….’

The three theories, broadly, are described as the superiority theory, the incongruity theory, and the relief theory. Each has attractions and shortcomings. What appeals to you? (What makes you laugh?)

 

Peacemaker Bangle

Via Combat Flip Flops, ‘This was a bomb.

270 million bombs were dropped on Laos during the Vietnam War. 30% of them are still sitting there ready to explode, in fields, behind trees, next to schools.

But local artisans are melting down some of the unexploded ordnance (“UXO“) to hand craft art like this Peacemaker bangle.

Double Bottom Line: When you buy one you help fund the clearing of 3 square meters of UXO. You literally help save life and limb. And you help create jobs. Look good.  Feel Good.  Do Good.

Made from Unexploded Ordnance UXO and War Scrap2.6” diameter, 8.3” circumference. Made in Laos.’

 

R.I.P. Charlie Haden

Influential Jazz Bassist Is Dead at 76: ‘His jazz career crossed seven decades, with barely a moment of obscurity. He was in his early 20s in 1959, when, as a member of the Ornette Coleman Quartet, he helped set off a seismic disruption in jazz. Mr. Coleman, an alto saxophonist, had been developing a brazen, polytonal approach to improvisation — it would come to be known as free jazz — and in his band, which had no chordal instrument, Mr. Haden served as anchor and pivot.

Mr. Coleman’s clarion cry, often entangled with that of the trumpeter Don Cherry, grabbed much of the attention, but Mr. Haden’s playing was just as crucial, for its feeling of unerring rightness in the face of an apparent ruckus.

In addition to Mr. Coleman, with whom he continued to play intermittently in the 1960s and ’70s and later, in the occasional reunion, Mr. Haden worked with many principal figures of an emerging jazz avant-garde. For a decade starting in 1967, he was a member of a celebrated quartet led by the pianist Keith Jarrett, with Dewey Redman on saxophone and Paul Motian on drums.

The Liberation Music Orchestra, which released its debut album in 1969, was Mr. Haden’s large ensemble, and an expression of his left-leaning political ideals. The band, featuring compositions and arrangements by the pianist Carla Bley, mingled avant-garde wildness with the earnest immediacy of Latin American folk songs. Mr. Haden released each of the band’s four studio albums during Republican administrations; the most recent, in 2005, was “Not in Our Name,” a response to the war in Iraq.

Mr. Haden, who liked to say he was driven by concern for “the struggle of the poor people,” hardly restricted his opinions to the Liberation Music Orchestra. While playing a festival with Mr. Coleman in Lisbon, in 1971, he dedicated his “Song for Ché” to the black liberation movements of Mozambique and Angola, and was promptly jailed.’  (NYTimes obituary)

Girl believed to be cured of HIV now has detectable levels of the virus

Via Salon.com,  ‘In a disappointing turn of events, representatives from the National Institutes of Health announced on Thursday that a young girl previously believed to have been cured of HIV now has detectable levels of the virus. The nearly 4-year-old Mississippi girl was treated aggressively with anti-retroviral drugs for the first 30 hours after her birth and remained without treatment for nearly two years, leading researchers to declare her the first child to be cured of HIV. But, after two recent tests, doctors say the girl has relapsed.’

 

That Feeling When You Walk Down a Dark Street and Meet a Jellyfish

Via io9, ‘ Every night, at 10 pm, something mystical happens at a derelict building in Liverpool. The storefront shutter opens, revealing a massive, ethereal water tank filled with live jellyfish.

The installation, created by the artistic duo Walter Hugo & Zoniel, is called “The Physical Possibility of Inspiring Imagination in the Mind of Someone Living.” Although its part of the Liverpool Biennial—the largest contemporary art festival in the UK—the artists didnt promote or even announce the exhibit. It just quietly appeared one evening, in order to allow the random passerby to experience the surreal encounter with fresh eyes.

The installation will be on display until July 27. And, if you dont happen to find yourself wandering the streets of Liverpool late at night, you can watch video recordings of streamed footage…’

 

So Just Swallow!

Via io9, ‘You Have a Painkiller Six Times Stronger Than Morphine In Your SalivaRight now, you are walking around with a mouth full of extremely powerful, untested pharmaceuticals. Your saliva contains opiorphin, a painkiller thats about six times more powerful than morphine.

After so many decades spent prodding lab rats, one would think that there is nothing more to be discovered about the horrid little things, or how they relate to humans. One would be wrong. What a fool one is! In the early 2000s, scientists discovered that rat saliva contains sialorphin, a powerful painkiller. Rats are, in many ways, analogous to humans. Researchers began wondering if human saliva contained its own painkilling compound.

Enter opiorphin, a painkiller that seems to be both very effective and very simple. It works by preventing the breakdown of little chemicals called enkephalins. These chemicals stimulate the bodys opiate receptors, which block pain signals. Liberal application of opiorphin keeps the bodys own pain-blocking system going. Why such a powerful pain-killer is in saliva is up for debate…

 

Don’t We Learn Anything??

 

PINE WARBLER (Dendroica pinus).

Via National Geographic: ‘Second Silent Spring? Bird Declines Linked to Popular Pesticides.

Pesticides don’t just kill pests. New research out of the Netherlands provides compelling evidence linking a widely used class of insecticides to population declines across 14 species of birds.

This new paper, published online Wednesday in Nature, gets at another angle of the story—the way these chemicals can indirectly affect other creatures in the ecosystem.Those insecticides, called neonicotinoids, have been in the news lately due to the way they hurt bees and other pollinators. (Related: “The Plight of the Honeybee.”) ‘

 

How Hot Your City Could Be By 2100 If Climate Change Goes Unchecked

 

Via Gizmodo, ‘Its a sorry truth that hits you mid-July: Average summer temperatures have been rising since the 1970s. If we continue down this path, according to a new study by Climate Central, in 2100, summers in Boston will feel more like sticky Miami—and summers in Miami will feel like toasty Harlingen, Texas.

Simply type where you live into the chart… and youll get an instant comparison between the average summer high temperature in your city today and the city your home is more likely to feel like in 86 years. If greenhouse gasses and climate change keep chugging along at the rates they are right now, anyway. Its more of a fun thought experiment than an exact science.

It’s surprising to see not only the temperature increase but the comparison city. San Diego average high 78.17 degrees will only be as warm as Lexington, Kentucky 84.61. But Fargo average high 80.24 degrees will warm by over 12 degrees by 2100, making it feel more like Tyler, Texas 92.08. In fact, most American cities will end up feeling like somewhere in Texas or Florida by 2100.Type in Las Vegas, however, and theres no American comparison. Youll be shuttled halfway around the world to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where the average summer high is a balmy 111 degrees.

This map cant tell the future though. This is only a prediction based only on current trends—if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at the rate that they have been increasing since the 1970s. Even though this map shows a very dystopian future, its one that we can hopefully avoid.’

 

Previously Uncontacted Amazon Tribe Make Contact With Outside World

Via IFLScience, ‘Brazilian officials reported recently that a tribe of people living in the Peruvian Amazon, who previously had no contact with the outside world, have just contacted a settled tribe near the Brazil-Peru border while attempting to flee illegal loggers. The group was first discovered in 2011 from aerial photographs taken by the Brazilian government.

José Carlos Meirelles worked for the Brazilian government agency FUNAI for 20 years in order to protect these indigenous people and their rights. He told Survival International that this situation felt a bit desperate, as it was the first time in 30 years that the uncontacted group were the ones to make first contact with outsiders. “Something serious must have happened. It is not normal for such a large group of uncontacted Indians to approach in this way. This is a completely new and worrying situation and we currently do not know what has caused it.” ‘

 

A cultural view of agony

159/365. Agony.

Via Mind Hacks, ‘New Statesman has a fascinating article on the ‘cultural history of pain’ that tracks how our ideas about pain and suffering have radically changed through the years. One if the most interesting, and worrying, themes is how there have been lots of cultural beliefs about whether certain groups are more or less sensitive to pain. Needless to say, these beliefs tended to justify existing prejudices rather than stem from any sound evidence.’

 

Federal judge: Supreme Court should “stfu”

Via Salon‘In the wake of the Hobby Lobby ruling, George H.W. Bush appointee Judge Richard George Kopf has some advice for how the Supreme Court can guard against losing even more prestige and legitimacy in the eyes of the public: STFU.

“[T]his term and several past terms has proven that the court is now causing more harm division to our democracy than good by deciding hot button cases that the court has the power to avoid,” Kopf writes at his personal blog, Hercules and the Umpire.

“As the kids say,” Kopf continues, “it is time for the Court to stfu.” ‘

 

When you fly a drone into fireworks, its quite beautiful

Via CNET, ‘The proliferation of controlled flying objects has incited many an imagination. Some believe drones should be used to deliver vacuum cleaners. Others might have more nefarious, prurient intentions. However, one man thought it might be entertaining to fly a DJI Phantom 2 drone into a fireworks display…

The drone was, according to the poster, Jos Stiglingh, equipped with a GoPro Hero 3 Silver camera. Once the footage was nicely edited and put together with an appropriate sliver of opera, the effect was rather greater than at your average fireworks display. It seems that so many now look all the same. They begin with a small bang and end with multiple bangs and flashes, as if you should always say goodbye with an assault on the senses. Seen from the drone, the whole thing takes on a far greater poetry.

Apparently, the flying machine was undamaged by its experience.’

A spook’s guide to the psychology of deception

The Art of Deception

‘Last February, a file from the Edward Snowden leaks was released from a 2012 GCHQ presentation called ‘The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations’. It describes the ‘Online Covert Acti

on Accreditation’ course which draws heavily on the psychology of influence and persuasion. This post will look at how they’re piecing together the science that forms the basis for these online operations.’ (Mind Hacks).

The answer in a few words: not very systematically. The deceivers don’t know what they’re doing but they do it well.

Do we really hate thinking so much we’d rather electrocute ourselves?

‘The story: Quiet contemplation is so awful that when deprived of the distractions of noise, crowds or smart phones, a bunch of students would rather give themselves electric shocks than sit and think.

What they actually did: Psychologists from the universities of Virginia and Harvard in the US carried out a series of 11 studies in which participants – including students and non-students – were left in an unadorned room for six to 15 minutes and asked to “spend time entertaining themselves with their thoughts.” Both groups, and men and women equally, were unable to enjoy this task. Most said they found it difficult to concentrate and that their minds wandered.

In one of the studies, participants were given the option to give themselves an electric shock, for no given reason or reward. Many did, including the majority of male participants, despite the fact that the vast majority of participants had previously rated the shocks as unpleasant and said they would pay to avoid them.

How plausible is this? This is a clever, provocative piece of research. The results are almost certainly reliable; the authors, some of whom are extremely distinguished, discovered in the 11 studies the same basic effect – namely, that being asked to sit and think wasn’t enjoyable. The data from the studies is also freely available, so there’s no chance of statistical jiggery-pokery. This is a real effect. The questions, then, are over what exactly the finding means.’ (Mind Hacks).

Can Your Spinach Hear You Chomping Down on Your Salad?

‘A small, flowering plant called Arabidopsis thaliana can hear the vibrations that caterpillars trigger when they chew on its leaves. According to a new study, the plants can hear danger loud and clear, and they respond by launching a chemical defense.

From anecdotes and previous studies, we know that plants respond to wind, touch, and acoustic energy. “The field is somewhat haunted by its history of playing music to plants. That sort of stimulus is so divorced from the natural ecology of plants that it’s very difficult to interpret any plant responses,” says Rex Cocroft from the University of Missouri, Columbia. “We’re trying to think about the plant’s acoustical environment and what it might be listening for.” ‘ (IFLScience).

Tiny Blood-Slurping Bird Terrorizes the Galapagos

If a vampire bird looks at you like this and you’re for some reason dressed up like a bird, flee immediately.

‘Wolf Island, an often brutally dry rock in the [Galapagos] archipelago, is ruled by vampires—hordes and hordes of tiny vampires. These are the so-called vampire finches, enterprising critters in a brutal environment that have figured out how to nip at the tail feathers of other birds until they draw blood, somehow without their victim putting up much of a fight. Even though they don’t sparkle or battle werewolves or whatever, they’re marvels among the many marvels that are the famed Darwin’s finches.’ (Wired)

Dick Cheney’s demented last laugh

Lindsey Graham, John McCain, William Kristol

‘Neoconservatives destroyed American exceptionalism, but made Obama collateral damage… This July 4, we know our foreign policy must change after the neocons Iraq disaster. Lets take the right lessons.’ (Salon).

Researchers May Have Discovered The Consciousness On/Off Switch

‘Researchers from the George Washington University have managed to switch consciousness on and off in an epileptic woman by stimulating a single region of the brain with electrical impulses. While this is a single case study, it provides an exciting insight into the neural mechanisms behind consciousness, a subject of great interest that is poorly understood despite decades of research. The study has been published in Epilepsy & Behavior.’ (IFLScience).

Worst Ebola Outbreak Ever

Outbreak Table | Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever | CDC

The current outbreak has been overwhelming in terms of both magnitude — more than 500 victims so far — and extent, encompassing parts of three West African nations. Part of the problem is that people who suspect they are affected have noticed that no one who goes into quarantine comes out alive, so they have fled and disseminated the disease much further. No end in sight. (CDC).

The Invention Of The Letter G

The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style tells the story of just how G secured its spot in the alphabet — and how it also changed the position of where we find some of our other letters in the alphabet:

The earliest form of the Roman alphabet had no letter g. Instead, c could represent both the sound g and the sound k. The Roman letter c was in fact a development of the Greek letter gamma. This is why c, not g, still occupies the place in the Roman alphabet corresponding to gamma in the Greek alphabet, even thought the sounds of gamma and g might seem to correspond better than gamma and c from a modern point of view. In order to to make the distinction between g and k clear in writing, the Romans developed the letter g by the addition of a small stroke to c. The Greek historian Plutarch ascribes the invention of g to a Roman named Spurius Carvilius Ruga, who lived in the 3rd century BC. The new letter g was given the place corresponding to the letter z zeta in the Greek alphabet, since zeta was not used to write native Latin words. When the Romans later began to use the letter z again, it was added to the very end of the alphabet, the place it still holds today.

R.I.P. Stephen Gaskin

‘Stephen Gaskin, a Marine combat veteran and hippie guru who in 1971 led around 300 followers in a caravan of psychedelically painted school buses from San Francisco to Tennessee to start the Farm, a commune that has outlived most of its countercultural counterparts while spreading good works from Guatemala to the South Bronx, died on Tuesday at his home on the commune, in Summertown, Tenn. He was 79…

Timothy Miller, a religious studies professor at the University of Kansas who has studied communes, said in an interview that the Farm was “the archetypal hippie commune” in its commitment to higher consciousness, self-sufficiency, a clean environment and a “flamboyant hippie style.”

But where it departed from most of its counterparts was in embracing an entrepreneurial spirit: It created a book-publishing business, marketed pickles and sorghum syrup under the Old Beatnik label, and even dealt in hand-held Geiger counters to measure radiation leaks at nuclear power plants.

It also spurned insularity for outreach. Answering Mr. Gaskin’s call to “change the world,” Farmies, as they called themselves, built 1,200 houses for the victims of a 1976 earthquake in Guatemala, set up volunteer ambulance services in the South Bronx and on an Indian reservation in upstate New York, and started a school lunch program in Belize and an agricultural training program in Liberia. They were among the earliest volunteers to arrive in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

In 1980, Plenty International, a charitable organization Mr. Gaskin started, was awarded one of the first Right Livelihood Awards. Sometimes called the alternative Nobel Prize, the award is presented by the Swedish Parliament to those who have demonstrated “practical and exemplary solutions to the most urgent challenges facing the world today.”

Mr. Gaskin and his wife, the former Ina May Middleton, developed a free midwifery service for women, communard or not. Ms. Gaskin became a widely known advocate for giving birth outside of hospitals, and has written popular books on the subject.

To a degree that startled outsiders in the ’60s, the Farm’s young men in straw hats and beards and women in long skirts lived an almost puritanical life. They took vows of poverty and pooled their assets. Vegetarianism was mandatory. Mr. Gaskin banned alcohol, tobacco and, to the surprise of many, LSD, though not marijuana. Plenty of work — considered a form of meditation — was assigned. Artificial birth control was forbidden.

Mr. Gaskin, who became a minister under Tennessee law, decreed that if couples had sex they must be considered engaged, and if the woman became pregnant, they must marry. Men were expected to treat women with “knightly” chivalry, he said…

In 2000, Mr. Gaskin sought the Green Party’s presidential nomination but drew just 10 of 319 votes. The winner, Ralph Nader, received 295.

His campaign statement declared: “I want it to be understood that we are a bunch of tree-huggers and mystics and peaceniks. My main occupations are Hippy Priest, Spiritual Revolutionary, Cannabis Advocate, shade tree mechanic, cultural engineer, tractor driver and community starter. I also love science fiction.” ‘ (NYTimes.com obituary).

A friend and I visited The Farm in 1980 and stayed for awhile, meeting Stephen. The impression that I was in the midst of something genuine, profound and, even, holy has never left me.

Fluid Experiments Support Deterministic “Pilot-Wave” Quantum Theory

The implications could be earth-shattering.

‘[The] idea that nature is inherently probabilistic — that particles have no hard properties, only likelihoods, until they are observed — is directly implied by the standard equations of quantum mechanics. But now a set of surprising experiments with fluids has revived old skepticism about that worldview. The bizarre results are fueling interest in an almost forgotten version of quantum mechanics, one that never gave up the idea of a single, concrete reality.

The experiments involve an oil droplet that bounces along the surface of a liquid. The droplet gently sloshes the liquid with every bounce. At the same time, ripples from past bounces affect its course. The droplet’s interaction with its own ripples, which form what’s known as a pilot wave, causes it to exhibit behaviors previously thought to be peculiar to elementary particles — including behaviors seen as evidence that these particles are spread through space like waves, without any specific location, until they are measured.

Particles at the quantum scale seem to do things that human-scale objects do not do. They can tunnel through barriers, spontaneously arise or annihilate, and occupy discrete energy levels. This new body of research reveals that oil droplets, when guided by pilot waves, also exhibit these quantum-like features.

To some researchers, the experiments suggest that quantum objects are as definite as droplets, and that they too are guided by pilot waves — in this case, fluid-like undulations in space and time. These arguments have injected new life into a deterministic as opposed to probabilistic theory of the microscopic world first proposed, and rejected, at the birth of quantum mechanics.’  (Simons Foundation).

Everything You Need to Know About the ‘Emotion Experiment’

‘The closest any of us who might have participated in Facebook’s huge social engineering study came to actually consenting to participate was signing up for the service. Facebook’s Data Use Policy warns users that Facebook “may use the information we receive about you…for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement.” This has led to charges that the study violated laws designed to protect human research subjects. But it turns out that those laws don’t apply to the study, and even if they did, it could have been approved, perhaps with some tweaks. Why this is the case requires a bit of explanation.’ (Wired)

Why Future Generations May Consider Us Barbaric

Nick Bostrom, a Swedish Oxford-educated philos...

Nick Bostrom

‘Factory farming, eating meat, Internet porn, overprescribing antibiotics, obesity, the maintenance of nuclear weapon stockpiles: these are just some of the reasons that future generations may criticize the morals of our present society, just as we object to yesterdays child labor, bear baiting, slavery, and oppression of women.

Nick Bostrom, the founding director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford, UK, argues that our unpreparedness for existential threats most risks the ire of our childrens children… “For Bostrom, the question is not simply how we deal with obvious threats; it’s whether we should take seriously even the slight chance of something happening that could end human life as we know it.” ‘ (Big Think).

The Map Of Native American Tribes Youve Never Seen Before

‘Finding an address on a map can be taken for granted in the age of GPS and smartphones. But centuries of forced relocation, disease and genocide have made it difficult to find where many Native American tribes once lived.

Aaron Carapella, a self-taught mapmaker in Warner, Okla., has pinpointed the locations and original names of hundreds of American Indian nations before their first contact with Europeans.

As a teenager, Carapella says he could never get his hands on a continental U.S. map like this, depicting more than 600 tribes — many now forgotten and lost to history. Now, the 34-year-old designs and sells maps as large as 3 by 4 feet with the names of tribes hovering over land they once occupied.’ (NPR).

Researchers find clue to stopping Alzheimer’s-like diseases

This rare giant flower smells like a corpse

This rare giant flower smells like a corpse Science Alert

‘With its sweet, sweet stench, the beautiful titan arum Amorphophallus titanium is quite a spectacle that draws crowds of avid tourists every time it blooms in a botanic garden.

Last week an even rarer spectacle involving this three-metre-tall flower, native to the tropical rainforests of Sumatra and Indonesia, occurred at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in the US, where two corpse flowers bloomed at the same time. The event, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, is the equivalent of a lunar eclipse in the world of botany.

The flower stays dormant for up to 10 years, hiding its fleshy red and cream petals from nosey humans—and saving the world’s nostrils for its putrid smell, which has been described by members of the United States Botanic Gardens as “the essence of rotting fish” and “a farm on a hot day, where a cow has died”.

Although it’s considered the stinkiest flower on Earth, titan arum’s smell is like Chanel No 5 for dung beetles and flies. When these creatures smell the rotten scent of the flower, they hurry towards it to make sure no other animal steals their precious meal—and they are greedy, going into every nook and cranny until they are satisfied. Once the animals are satiated, they fly away covered in pollen. Titan arum’s mission has been accomplished—the insects will pollinate other flowers.

The flower closes 48 hours after blooming. Its putrid smell disappears, and the titan arum it not seen until years later.’ (Science Alert).

Can You Feel Something If You Dont Have a Word For It?

‘In the early 1960s, Robert Levy, an anthropologist, spent two years in the Society Islands in Tahiti. Ten years later he came out with a book that coined the word

Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer (French, 1865-1953), "...

Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer (French, 1865-1953), “The gust of wind” (“La bourrasque”)

“hypocognition“, which was all about a societys inability to coin an appropriate word. Hypocognition is the lack of a necessary, or at least helpful, word to express an experience. In the case of the Tahitians that Levy studied, the missing word was “grief.” In the Society Islands, just like everywhere else, people lost loved ones and felt that loss, but they described themselves as feeling “sick” or “strange” afterwards. They didnt seem to have words like “grief” and “sorrow.”

Hypocognition, Levy argued, was not just a personal problem. It isnt like having a word stuck on the tip of the tongue. It marked a cultural deficit that wounded people. Without terms for grief and sorrow, people didnt come up with many rituals to alleviate them. Levy found that the islands had a high suicide rate, and believed that the lack of ability to express grief might have been a reason for it.’ (io9).

Bust card: Constitutionally protected smartphone edition

‘Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that warrantless smartphone searches are unconstitutional, heres a bust-card for you to print, carry, and commit to memory so that youll have it to hand when John Law wants to muscle his way into your mobile life.’  (Boing Boing).

 

‘If you forgot to lock your phone (or just didn’t feel like it), the next step you must take is to “calmly and respectfully tell the officer that his search is in violation of the Constitution under the court’s Riley decision,” says Stanley. (Riley v. United States is the name of the court case that triggered this new search warrant rule.)

Stanley suggests that anyone who is arrested “repeatedly” state to the arresting officer and any nearby witnesses, “I do not consent to this search.” By saying this key phrase more than once, you help ensure that “there is no question or ambiguity about whether you’ve consented” to the search, Stanley adds.

Making your feelings known is vitally important in this situation. And if you leave any room for the officer to legally justify the search, then no warrant is necessary.’ (Daily Dot)

Weird gremlin photographed in China

‘What is this mysterious beast photographed by a tourist in the Huairou District valleys in northern Beiking, China? “Over the weekend I and my friends went to the mountains to take a mini sci-fi film,” wrote one online commenter when the photo was first posted. “And when I was having a pee, a person popped up and took pictures of me and shot away.” ‘  (The Telegraph via Boing Boing).

Update: ‘ET Today reports this is a man dressed up to promote online game Guild Wars 2. Apparently, he was mistaken for being an actual monster, whether thats Gollum or Dobby from Harry Potter or whatever.

The game’s official Chinese social networking account uploaded behind-the-scenes photos to show that, yes, this is just a photo shoot to promote the game. ET Today reports that the actor was getting a drink from the stream when his photo was snapped. Though, The Telegraph reports the local Huairou government states, “The actor was taking a loo-break and was still wearing his costume”. ” (io9).

Inside the Worlds Largest Gathering of Snakes

‘Each spring, masses of red-sided garter snakes congregate inside limestone caves [in the Narcisse Snake Dens of Manitoba, Canada

Garter Snake; Thamnophis sirtalis

] to form mating balls, in which up to a hundred male snakes vie for a single female. She, in turn, “is desperately trying to get out of the pit,” said [Paul] Colangelo, an environmental documentary photographer.

These slithery swarms appear to be a “frenzy, but a closer look reveals a much finer dance,” Colangelo said in his field notes. “The small males court the larger female by rubbing her head with their chins and maintaining as much contact between their long bodies as possible.”‘ (National Geographic).