Via Big Think: ‘In a field in Illinois sits a shed. In that shed sits a machine that is gathering data to determine whether the universe is a hologram. Created by physicists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago, a machine called the Holometer will determine if the universe is merely a series of bits, similar to how newspaper photos are composed of colored dots, or if a more substantial material reality exists…’
Via Science Alert: ‘Human trials of the surprisingly simple vaccine are now planned. If successful, it could be taken as a probiotic-like drink.’
Via Jezebel: ‘The next time you are at your yoga class and the instructor asks you to take a moment to clear your mind for some peaceful meditation, instead of focusing on that tabletop water fountain she bought at Ross, I want you to think about this cat with a tiny frog on its head.’
Via io9: ‘As the number of patients who receive opioid prescriptions to treat non-cancer pain has increased in the past decade, so too have the number of overdoses. A new study, however, finds that states that legalized medical marijuana between 1999 and 2010 had 25% fewer annual overdose deaths than the rest of the U.S.
More specifically, the research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, found that overdose deaths from opioids decreased by an average of 20% one year after the laws implementation, 25% by two years, and up to 33% by years five and six.
The study comes at a time when the CDC has warned that opioid overdoses are “skyrocketing.” Since 1999, deaths from prescription painkillers have increased 400% among women and 265% among men…‘
Via National Geographic: ‘Climate and ocean changes blamed for huge losses of puffins, kittiwakes, and terns.’
via Futility Closet: ‘Eugene Graves and William Brown patented this grim game in 1902. A row of effigies stand on blocks under a gibbet. Each effigy is fitted with a noose, and the players take turns shooting balls at the blocks, “representing summary punishment meted out to the victim.”
In the patent abstract, the effigies are described only as “notorious criminals and persons opposed to law and order”; Graves and Brown note that these can be varied to suit the “location, place or country for which the game is especially designed.”
“A flag may be provided for each figure to designate the character or nationality of the effigy.” We’re lucky this didn’t catch on.’
Via WIRED: ‘Though galaxies look larger than atoms and elephants appear to outweigh ants, some physicists have begun to suspect that size differences are illusory. Perhaps the fundamental description of the universe does not include the concepts of “mass” and “length,” implying that at its core, nature lacks a sense of scale.
This little-explored idea, known as scale symmetry, constitutes a radical departure from long-standing assumptions about how elementary particles acquire their properties. But it has recently emerged as a common theme of numerous talks and papers by respected particle physicists. With their field stuck at a nasty impasse, the researchers have returned to the master equations that describe the known particles and their interactions, and are asking: What happens when you erase the terms in the equations having to do with mass and length?’