It’s no secret that the world’s population is on the move, but it’s rare to get a glimpse of where that flow is happening. In a study released in today’s Science, a team of geographers used data snapshots to create a broad analysis of…
The Guardian and the washingtonpost have been awarded the highest accolade in US journalism, winning the Pulitzer prize for public service for their groundbreaking articles on the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities based on the leaks of Edward Snowden.
The award, announced in New York on Monday, comes 10 months after the Guardian published the first report based on the leaks from Snowden, revealing the agency’s bulk collection of US citizens’ phone records. Full story
- from Scientific American
“Whatever your beliefs, most people would agree that the body left behind when we depart this mortal coil is just a heap of bones and flesh. But what happens to those leftovers? Assuming that nature is left to its own devices, our bodies undergo a fairly standard process of decomposition that can take anywhere from two weeks to two years.”
Written & narrated by Mark Fischetti
Assistant editor: Kathryn Free
Produced, edited & animated by Eric R. Olson
(Source: Scientific American)
Social progress index and GDP per person
Source: http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2014/04/daily-chart-4 (paywalled after quota)
Comes the time when it’s later
and onto your table the headwaiter
puts the bill
— Robert Creeley (via journalofanobody)
In whose delusional mind is democracy made better by allowing wealthy people to control more of it?
— Jon Stewart (1962– )
fMRI mind-reading of faces
Yale University researchers used brain scans to “read” and reconstruct the faces that individuals were picturing in their minds’ eye. The scientists ran fMRI scans on six people as they looked at 300 different faces. Those scans enabled the creation of a database of facial features tied to specific brain response patterns. Then the subjects were shown faces they hadn’t seen before. Based on the new fMRI data, a computer was able to generate good approximations of the face the subject was viewing.
“It is a form of mind reading,” said Marvin Chun, Yale professor of psychology, cognitive science and neurobiology who led the study.
In one of history’s more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is “an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation.”
chemin faisant : probably an April fool from the Huffington Post. Nevertheless with bureaucrats..
Statuette of a Woman: “The Stargazer”, c. 3000 BC
Early Bronze Age, Western Anatolia?, 3rd Millennium BC
marble, Overall - h:17.20 w:6.50 d:6.30 cm (h:6 3/4 w:2 1/2 d:2 7/16 inches) Wt: 1 lb.. Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund; John L. Severance Fund 1993.165
Cleveland Museum of Art, Gallery 102a
Image and Description from Cleveland Museum of Art: ”Executed in translucent marble this is one of the oldest sculptures of the human figure in the museum. The incised triangle at the pelvis indicates that this is a female figure. Her head is sculpted fully in the round while her body is reduced to an elegant profile. The figure’s meaning and context are unknown, though it probably carries religious connotations related to fertility and abundance. This Kilia-type figure, named for an excavation site in what is now Turkey, is one of about 30 such figures known, and is especially rare because it is complete. She is a “stargazer” because her eyes look to the stars above, home of powerful divine forces.”
The seven billionth person on Earth was likely born on Oct. 31, 2011, according to United Nations data. With this milestone, how the planet can sustain such a large population has become an urgent question.
"100 People: A World Portrait" uses World Health Organization, Census, United Nations, and other data, to shrink the world population stats down to apply to just 100 people.
People look at this and see negatives I look at this and see how far man has come. In the last thousand years we have truly advanced as a species. The future is so bright and I am truly hopeful.
I think we could do better
Tumblr/ twitter/ facebook: social media designed to encourage an emotional pachydermia of garrulous attention seekers and scopophiliacs. This explains the appeal of selfies, relentlessly addressing the pathologically obsessive need to see and be seen, to be simultaneously, subject and object of a panoptic-voyeuristic gaze.
As a species, humans manifest a quality called neoteny, the retention of juvenile characteristics into adulthood. Neoteny has physical ramifications—scarce body hair and a flat face are two examples—but it also has neurological ones. Namely, we have an extraordinary capacity to continue learning throughout life. If neoteny helps to explain our ability to learn, researchers are now figuring out what drives us to take advantage of it. In 2008, a group of scientists set up a novel fMRI study. When a subject’s curiosity was piqued by a question (“What is the only country in the world that has a bill of rights for cows?” for instance), certain regions of the brain lit up. Those areas, known collectively as the basal ganglia, correspond to the brain’s reward centers—the same ones that govern our desire for sex or chocolate or total domination in Call of Duty 4. When people say they have an itch to figure something out, they’re not speaking metaphorically. They’re looking to get high on information. Curiosity, then, is not some romantic quality. It is an adaptive response. Humans may not be the fastest or strongest creatures, but through the blind luck of evolution, we developed the desire and capacity to continually update our understanding of the world. And that has allowed us to master it—or get darn close. Call it the biological basis for being a nerd.