Shared posts

23 Jul 21:37

Finding Life In Space By Looking For Extraterrestrial Pollution

by Soulskill
coondoggie writes: If what we know as advanced life exists anywhere other than Earth, then perhaps they are dirtying their atmosphere as much as we are. We could use such pollution components to perhaps more easily spot such planets. That's the basis of new research published this week by researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. They say that if we could spot the fingerprints of certain pollutants under ideal conditions (PDF), it would offer a new approach in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence."

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23 Jul 20:55

The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist

by Soulskill
Advocatus Diaboli sends this report: The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither "concrete facts" nor "irrefutable evidence" to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept. ...The heart of the document revolves around the rules for placing individuals on a watchlist. "All executive departments and agencies," the document says, are responsible for collecting and sharing information on terrorist suspects with the National Counterterrorism Center. It sets a low standard—"reasonable suspicion"—for placing names on the watchlists, and offers a multitude of vague, confusing, or contradictory instructions for gauging it. In the chapter on "Minimum Substantive Derogatory Criteria"—even the title is hard to digest—the key sentence on reasonable suspicion offers little clarity.

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23 Jul 02:35

Having Fun With Statues And Monuments

by (Damn Cool Pics)
Even old statues and monuments need a good laugh every once in a while.

23 Jul 11:42

The History of Autocorrect

by John Gruber

Gideon Lewis-Kraus, writing for Wired Gadget Lab:

On idiom, some of its calls seemed fairly clear-cut: gorilla warfare became guerrilla warfare, for example, even though a wildlife biologist might find that an inconvenient assumption. But some of the calls were quite tricky, and one of the trickiest involved the issue of obscenity. On one hand, Word didn’t want to seem priggish; on the other, it couldn’t very well go around recommending the correct spelling of mothrefukcer. Microsoft was sensitive to these issues. The solution lay in expanding one of spell-check’s most special lists, bearing the understated title: “Words which should neither be flagged nor suggested.”

22 Jul 02:35

This is the most comfortable sleeping position ever! #9gag

This is the most comfortable sleeping position ever! #9gag

22 Jul 06:17

That facial expression… #9gag

That facial expression… #9gag

23 Jul 02:32

Fly you fools! #9gag @awwclub

Fly you fools! #9gag @awwclub

23 Jul 10:19

How I feel everyday… #9gag

How I feel everyday… #9gag

21 Jul 07:01

Independent Thinkers

by Doug
22 Jul 07:28

Spider-Man vs The Rhino 3

by Doug
23 Jul 07:01

Enterprise Down

by Doug

Enterprise Down

More Star Trek.

22 Jul 23:30

Wood-burning hot tub

by drew


This $3,500 hot tub is a plastic bowl with a metal tube sticking out of the side that functions as a heat exchanger.


The good news is that it’s safe for children, if you consider an open flame three feet away from a child to be safe.


23 Jul 04:07

leading-blind-bats: thedarklordsay10: priestlyandtish: drunken...





reblogging again because it’s absolutely incredible

important as fuck

can i put this on my refrigerator

I’m tapping this inside my locker and my room and looking at it everyday, this needs to be seen.

22 Jul 00:00


Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
18 Jul 17:08

Microsoft: 18.000 layoffs, but were they the right ones?

by CommitStrip
Albener Pessoa

This explains a lot

20 Jul 03:17

I need a hug. #9gag

I need a hug. #9gag

20 Jul 05:33

Wise words. #9gag

Wise words. #9gag

20 Jul 13:15

A stable relationship. #9gag

A stable relationship. #9gag

21 Jul 01:37

Benders, benders everywhere. #9gag

Benders, benders everywhere. #9gag

21 Jul 05:57

My life since I discovered the internet. #9gag

My life since I discovered the internet. #9gag

21 Jul 00:00


Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
17 Jul 09:26

Oooh Japan, you never fail to amuse me… #9gag

Oooh Japan, you never fail to amuse me… #9gag

20 Jul 00:00


Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
19 Jul 20:42

Genetically Modifying an Entire Ecosystem

by Soulskill
Albener Pessoa

What could possibly go wrong?

New submitter structural_biologist writes: Genes normally have a 50-50 chance of being passed from parent to offspring, but scientists may have figured out a way to create genes that show up in offspring with a much higher frequency. "One type of gene drive influences inheritance by copying itself onto chromosomes that previously lacked it. When an organism inherits such a gene drive from only one parent, it makes a cut in the chromosome from the other parent, forcing the cell to copy the inheritance-biasing gene drive—and any adjacent genes—when it repairs the damage." When introduced into the wild, organisms containing gene drives would breed with the population, quickly spreading the modified genes throughout the ecosystem. While the technology could help prevent the spread of malaria and manage invasive species, many scientists worry about the wide-ranging effects of such a technology and are calling for its regulation.

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19 Jul 06:19

China army markets in everything

by Tyler Cowen

To enlist in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), potential recruits have to take tests. To make sure their sons and daughters pass, families pay up. At one recruitment office in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangxi, this year’s going rate, depending on your guanxi, or connections, is as much as 99,000 yuan ($16,000), says Wang, a recruitment officer in the province who asked that his full name not be used because he isn’t authorized to speak publicly. Limited openings, plus a high failure rate on the fitness exam, push parents to buy spots for their children during the annual enlistment drive that runs through September. Success offers a stable job and, for some, an escape from rural poverty.

The price varies, Wang says. His old army friends “asked me what the current price tag is, and I said ‘around 80,000 to 90,000 yuan for you guys.’ If your guanxi was really strong, it’d cost you around 50,000 to 60,000 yuan; if it was just so-so, you would have to spend 100,000 yuan at least.”

So how formidable a fighting force are they?  There is more here.

19 Jul 11:25

Moral Effects of Socialism

by Alex Tabarrok

Dan Ariely and co-authors have an interesting new paper looking at moral behavior, specifially cheating, in people who grew up in either East or West Germany.

From 1961 to 1989, the Berlin Wall divided one nation into two distinct political regimes. We
exploited this natural experiment to investigate whether the socio-political context impacts
individual honesty. Using an abstract die-rolling task, we found evidence that East Germans
who were exposed to socialism cheat more than West Germans who were exposed to
capitalism. We also found that cheating was more likely to occur under circumstances of
plausible deniability.

…If socialism indeed promotes individual dishonesty, the specific features of this socio-political
system that lead to this outcome remain to be determined. The East German socialist regime
differed from the West German capitalist regime in several important ways. First, the system
did not reward work based to merit, and made it difficult to accumulate wealth or pass
anything on to one’s family. This may have resulted in a lack of meaning leading to
demoralization (Ariely et al., 2008), and perhaps less concern for upholding standards of
honesty. Furthermore, while the government claimed to exist in service of the people, it failed
to provide functional public systems or economic security. Observing this moral hypocrisy in government may have eroded the value citizens placed on honesty. Finally, and perhaps most
straightforwardly, the political and economic system pressured people to work around official
laws and cheat to game the system. Over time, individuals may come to normalize these types
of behaviors. Given these distinct possible influences, further research will be needed to
understand which aspects of socialism have the strongest or most lasting impacts on morality.

It’s interesting that Ariely et al. try to explain cheating as a result of socialism. My own approach would look more to the virtue ethics of capitalism and Montesquieu who famously noted that

Commerce is a cure for the most destructive prejudices; for it is almost a general rule, that wherever we find agreeable manners, there commerce flourishes; and that wherever there is commerce, there we meet with agreeable manners.

See Al-Ubaydli et al. for a market priming experiment and especially McCloskey on The Bourgeoise Virtues for more work consistent with this theme.

19 Jul 16:37

There is a new crypto currency based on Cthulhu

Forget Bitcoin or (wow!) Dogecoin, a new crypto currency is awakening and it demands you mine away the blocks that imprison it or whatever.

Here is the story according to Cthulhu Offerings:

As the equinox approaches we begin the ritual; four weeks and five days long it builds until Cthulhu awakens and one worshipper is rewarded greatly!

The time draws near, the return of The Great Old One is upon us. Join us in our ritual.

During the first and second weeks of the ritual, sacrificial amounts are placed in special, once a day blocks. These blocks are a reward to the worshipper for sacrifice made. During the third and fourth weeks of the ritual the rewards build, small at first, then larger as the worship increases with fervor. During the last five days, the 'Tharanak shagg,' or "promise of dreamland," the ritual reaches final pitch and the daily special blocks are highly increased. Finally Cthulhu will return after the xxx665th offering has paid tribute to the Great Old One and he will bestow a bounty deserving of Him upon one lucky worshiper. The ritual can be repeated after six months time, following the great halving.

Who knows what this portends? With strange aeons, even the Federal Reserve may die.

19 Jul 05:34

Fist kiss is always awkward… #9gag

Fist kiss is always awkward… #9gag

19 Jul 16:00

A Dude Dresses Up As Captain America And New Yorkers Can’t Even Handle It

Lots of people are used to seeing people dress up in superhero costumes on the street, especially in New York. This man decided to don a Captain America costume and try the same thing. Not gonna lie, New Yorkers. I thought you were better than this.

Unfortunately, "Totally Biased" just got canceled, which is a huge bummer. If you liked this clip, please share it so that even more people can see what an amazing show it was.

Next bit of Upworthiness:

16 Jul 21:38

A Comic Featuring the Kinds of Posts That Are Unlikely to Be Made on Social Media

by Rollin Bishop
Albener Pessoa

(via Firehose)

Social Media Posts

Richard Stevens of Diesel Sweeties has created an amusing comic that features the kinds of posts that are unlikely to be made on social media. The one featuring Thor is particularly timely.

image via The Nib on Medium