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Saturday, June 15, 2013

The science of why cats love boxes

Friday, June 14, 2013

Researcher: Berenstein Bears, Franklin the Friendly Turtle Perpetuate "Racist," "Socially Dominant Norms" to Children

More at Ace

Parents who read their kids stories about happy, human-like animals like Franklin the Turtle or Arthur at bedtime are exposing their kids to racism, materialism, homophobia and patriarchal norms, according to a paper presented at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Most animals portrayed in children’s books, songs and on clothing send a bad message, according to academics Nora Timmerman and Julia Ostertag: That animals only exist for human use, that humans are better than animals, that animals don’t have their own stories to tell, that it’s fine to “demean” them by cooing over their cuteness. Perhaps worst of all, they say, animals are anthropomorphized to reinforce “socially dominant norms” like nuclear families and gender stereotypes.

Superman joins a union

NAVY NO LONGER COMMUNICATES IN ALL CAPS. NO MENTION OF ELIMINATING RUM & SODOMY

NOW HEAR THIS: THE U.S. NAVY WILL NO LONGER COMMUNICATE EXCLUSIVELY IN ALL CAPS.

THE TRADITION OF USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS IS A LEGACY OF TELETYPE MACHINES OF 1850S THAT LACKED LOWERCASE LETTERS.

Friday links

Scary insect news: Ticks That Spread Red-Meat Allergy, Mega mosquitoes and carnivorous chemical-resistant 'Crazy ants'. 

More weird than scary, here's The Most Surreal Insect on Earth.
What would it cost to build Superman's Fortress of Solitude?

Artist attempts to Print Out The Entire Internet.

How to freeze water in about half a second.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Russian Dog Pushes Owner in Wheelchair Through Flooded Street

Science news of the blindingly obvious: men 'never stop being childish'

A study into the differences in maturity between genders revealed both men and women agree men remain 'immature' well into their late 30s and early 40s.

But the average age at which women mature emerged as 32.

Alarmingly, eight out of ten women believe that men 'never stop being childish' - with breaking wind, burping, eating fast food in the early hours and playing videogames their biggest bug-bears.

Staying silent during arguments, not being able to cook simple meals and re-telling the same old jokes and stories when with the lads were also hailed as signs of immaturity.

MEN'S TOP 30 MATURITY FAILINGS

1.Finding their own farts and burps hilarious

2.Eating fast food at 2:00am

3.Playing videogames

4.Driving too fast or 'racing' another car at the lights or on the motorway

5.Sniggering a bit at rude words

6.Driving with loud music

7.Playing practical jokes

8.Trying to beat children at games and sport

9.Staying silent during an argument

10.Not being able to cook simple meals

11.Re-telling the same silly jokes and stories when with the lads

12.Don't like talking about themselves/ having proper conversations

13.Hating books/reading because of short attention span/they're boring

14.Doing crazy dance moves

15.Mum still doing their washing

16.Having their Mum still make them breakfast/any meal

17.Wearing trainers to night clubs

18.Owning a skateboard or BMX

19.Not eating vegetables

20.Changing jobs regularly

21.Getting too excited over stag do's

22.Sometimes trying to do wheelies/stunts on their bike

23.Driving a modified car or one with a loud exhaust/boy racer

24.Showing off about how girls are attracted to them

25.Wearing pyjamas, specifically cartoon pyjamas

26.Using dodgy chat-up lines

27.Showing off about protein shakes/weight-lifting/how much they 'lift'

28.Littering

29.Wearing saggy-crotched jeans

30.Having a cartoon bedspread

Suspension over gun-shaped toaster pastry is now permanent mark on 7 year old's record

Daily Caller: This week brought more bad news for Joshua Welch, the Baltimore-area second-grader who was suspended for two days because his teacher thought he shaped a breakfast pastry into something resembling a gun.

School officials have denied an appeal to have the suspension expunged from the boy’s permanent record, reports The Baltimore Sun.

Robin Ficker, the attorney representing Welch and his family, said he will now take the matter to the Anne Arundel County school board. Under local regulations, he has 30 days to do so.

This is scary: Ticks That Spread Red-Meat Allergy

Read the whole thing at WSJ: The allergic reactions range from vomiting and abdominal cramps to hives to anaphylaxis, which can lead to breathing difficulties and sometimes even death.

Unlike most food allergies, the symptoms typically set in three to six hours after an affected person eats beef, pork or lamb—often in the middle of the night.

Experts say such tick-triggered red-meat allergies may well have occurred, unnoticed, for decades. But they also think such cases are increasing as the population of lone star ticks grows and expands, along with its natural hosts, white-tailed deer and wild turkey.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How to freeze water in about half a second



This is an example of supercooling – the process by which a very pure liquid is chilled to a temperature just below its usual freezing point without actually making the jump to its solid state.

Fruit Machine: The Canadian Government Used “Gay Detectors” to Try to Get Rid of Homosexual Government Employees

At the excellent Today I Found Out:

We are all familiar with the colloquialism “gaydar” which refers to a person’s intuitive, and often wildly inaccurate, ability to assess the sexual orientation of another person. In the 1960s, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) attempted to use a slightly more scientific, though equally flawed, approach- a machine to detect if a person was gay or not. This was in an attempt to eliminate homosexuals from the Canadian military, police and civil service. The specific machine, dubbed the “Fruit Machine”, was invented by Dr. Robert Wake, a Carelton University Psychology professor.

Taking the lead from the United States’ McCarthyism, the Canadian government considered all homosexual public servants to be a threat to national security for various absurd reasons. In order to deal with the “security threats” posed by gay people, a special team in the RCMP was formed. Section A-3′s sole mission was to identify and dismiss from service every homosexual working for the Canadian government. Identified homosexuals were immediately fired or forced to resign.

Initial efforts included following people around and undercover work at various clubs, but this proved to be extremely costly and somewhat inefficient. Thus, Section A-3 decided they needed a new plan, a way to screen every employee directly. This new plan was the “Fruit Machine”.

The Fruit Machine primarily used the “pupil area response test” as an indicator of a person’s sexual orientation, as well as perspiration levels and pulse rate. While undergoing the test, the subject would sit in a dentist-style chair. They’d then be shown various images, some completely mundane, while others depicted naked or semi-naked photos of women and men. If the subject’s pupils dilated when being shown erotic photos of people of the same gender, s/he was assumed to be homosexual.

Besides the “science” behind the machine being completely flawed, there were other problems as well. For instance, each photograph changed the amount of light hitting the person’s eyes. If the difference from one slide to another was large enough, this obviously would change the subject’s pupil dilation, but was not accounted for in the results.

The Fruit Machine was not a stand alone test, but many of the other methods used were just as ridiculous. For instance, another test run by the RCMP included monitoring subjects’ physiological responses to specific words such as queer, gay, drag and even bar.

As you might expect, once word got out that the Fruit Machine test was attempting to determine if you were gay or not, rather than a stress testing machine as people were initially told, getting people to take the test became nearly impossible. That, along with numerous mechanical failures with the machine itself, soon got funding for that particular part of the program cut off and the RCMP’s dream of having a gaydar to screen all Public Employees with was put on hold, though that didn’t stop them from continuing their work trying to root out “dangerous” homosexuals from the Canadian payroll.

Not to be deterred, the RCMP eventually started using a new type of machine, this one, a type of plethysmograph that measured blood flow to genitals while the subject is shown various images. While not nearly as scientifically flawed as the Fruit Machine, this one also, as you might expect, doesn’t give terribly accurate results on the whole and eventually the program for trying to root out homosexuals was abandoned by the Canadian government, but not before at least 400 people lost their jobs after being accused of being gay (with some estimates being significantly higher).

My name is Joselyn Martinez. You killed my father. Prepare to fry.

NEW YORK (AP) - An aspiring actress has helped police track down a suspect in her father's 1986 slaying.

Periodically, over the last few years, Joselyn Martinez would try to find information about the man accused of shooting and killing her father outside his restaurant on Nov. 22, 1986, when she was 9 years old.

And on Friday, her efforts were vindicated when police arrested Justo Santos on charges he murdered her father, Jose Martinez, outside his Dominican restaurant in the city's Washington Heights neighborhood 27 years ago.

via Fark.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Disturbing exerpts of footage from Soviet dog-reanimation experiments



via BoingBoing:
Charlie made a disturbing video backed by Kurtz's "Everything Burns Alike," featuring footage from Experiments in the Revival of Organisms, a 1940 documentary on the horrific experiments of Dr. S.S. Bryukhonenko at the Institute of Experimental Physiology and Therapy, Voronezh, U.S.S.R. Charlie explains: "In Dr. S.S. Bryukhonenko's lab, he drained all the blood from dogs until they were dead for a full 10 minutes. He then pumped blood back in to revive the dogs back to their normal selves. The full documentary is horrifying, but fascinating. In the experiment, they also pumped blood through a decapitated dog head and it licked its mouth, reacted to sounds, etc.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

How to Keep Your Conversations Private from the NSA

Over at Victory Girls, they've aggregated advice from various geek sites on how to keep your business to yourself.

More at Wired.