A Scottish Woman Has Lived Her Whole Life Without Feeling Pain, Thought It Was Normal

Nbcrwunch1gmmflftmn5’During one Scottish woman’s lifetime, she has broken bones, burned her skin, and undergone surgery without feeling any pain—and she didn’t realize she’d been experiencing anything unusual until she was well into her 60s, according to a new case study.

Scientists are interested in people who feel little pain, as they hope to find ways to help those who do suffer from it. In this case, the woman had visited the hospital for a “normally painful” hand surgery but didn’t require any painkillers afterward. Thinking that seemed odd, a team of researchers were able to pinpoint her condition as linked to a pair of genetic mutations.

The woman had previously been diagnosed with arthritis in her hip, which she didn’t feel despite the “severe degree of joint degeneration,” according to the paper. She lived a long life of painlessness before realizing something strange was happening, reporting dental surgeries without anesthesia, painless cuts and broken bones, and even burns in which it took smelling her charred flesh to notice something was amiss. She even told the researchers she could eat scotch bonnet chili peppers with no effects other than a “‘pleasant glow’ in her mouth.” Oh, and she rarely felt any sort of anxiety, depression, fear, or panic—not even during a recent car accident, according to the paper.…’

Via Gizmodo


Sum-of-Three-Cubes Problem Solved for ‘Stubborn’ Number 33

UnknownA number theorist with programming prowess has found a solution to 33 = x³ + y³ + z³, a much-studied equation that went unsolved for 64 years:

’Mathematicians long wondered whether it’s possible to express the number 33 as the sum of three cubes — that is, whether the equation 33 = x³+ y³+ z³ has a solution. They knew that 29 could be written as 3³ + 1³ + 1³, for instance, whereas 32 is not expressible as the sum of three integers each raised to the third power. But the case of 33 went unsolved for 64 years.

Now, Andrew Booker, a mathematician at the University of Bristol, has finally cracked it: He discovered that (8,866,128,975,287,528)³ + (–8,778,405,442,862,239)³ + (–2,736,111,468,807,040)³ = 33.

Booker found this odd trio of 16-digit integers by devising a new search algorithm to sift them out of quadrillions of possibilities. The algorithm ran on a university supercomputer for three weeks straight. (He says he thought it would take six months, but a solution “popped out before I expected it.”)…’

Via Quanta Magazine


‘Doomsday vault’ town warming faster than any other on Earth

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’The Arctic community that’s home to the “doomsday vault” may be warming faster than any other town on Earth. Longyearbyen, Norway, is the world’s northernmost town, just 800 miles from the North Pole. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault — where copies of crop seeds are stored in case of global catastrophe — is located there. But the climate in Longyearbyen is heating up faster there than anywhere else, a Norwegian researcher says, because of accelerated Arctic warming: warmer temps reduce ice and snow cover, causing less sunlight to be reflected and more solar energy to be absorbed. So the vault, which was supposed to be an insurance policy of sorts against disasters like climate change, is being threatened by climate change itself..…’