Bears, Physics, Anonymity, Norkore, Pain

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Barbearians At The Gate

Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling | Atavist | 4th June 2018

Invading bears threaten a New Hampshire town. Or, possibly, the town is having a fit of nerves. “When a Grafton resident told me about a bear that drained his biodiesel supply — a five-gallon container of two-year-old French-fry grease — I was reminded that bears will devour even the most loathsome fare, so long as it adds to their winter stores of fat. They’re after calories, not cuisine. Despite local perception, the cats of Bungtown probably weren’t the bears’ preferred target; they were just there” (9,500 words)

The Laws Are The Landscape

Robbert Dijkgraaf | Quanta | 4th June 2018

A paradigm shift. There are no longer any “laws” of physics; at best there is a landscape, and most of its dimensions are hidden from us, we cannot measure its properties directly, we can only deduce and guess. “It’s helpful to visualize the landscape as a largely undeveloped wilderness, most of it hidden under thick layers of intractable complexity. Only at the very edges do we find habitable places. In these outposts, life is simple and good. Here we find the basic models that we fully understand” (1,700 words)

The Larry David Theory Of Donations

Brian Gallagher | Nautilus | 8th June 2018

Why people make charitable donations anonymously. Often because they expect to be discovered. The sociological term is, “signal burying”. If your friends think highly of you for giving money, they are likely to think even more highly of you if they find that you have given without obviously claiming credit for doing so. “Privy observers do not only learn that the donor is generous, but also that the generosity was not motivated by immediate fame or the desire for recognition from the masses” (1,400 words)

North Korean Pop Music

Travis Jeppesen | 3AM | 4th June 2018

“Norkore, the North’s version of K-pop, is a hodgepodge of every known mode of the anthemic: Disney and Broadway ballads, gospel uplift, Chinese synth pop, Russian disco, patriotic folk; and with maximal sentiment etched into the overall with operatic, usually soprano, vocals. You hear it in every shop, every restaurant, every taxi. The sound is old-fashioned, with its soaring melodies and lyrics of ideological affirmation. It is so catchy, so sticky sweet, that there’s something almost sinister about it” (1,390 words)

Pain in Lab Animals: Now Much Is Too Much?

Ingfei Chen | Undark | 5th June 2018

Most countries have laws saying that the pain suffered by lab animals must not exceed the benefits likely to be derived from the experimentation. But how do scientists decide how much pain an animal is suffering? And who decides what is reasonable and necessary? In America the decisions are left to local committees, and rodents are excluded from any legal protection —though, in practice, rodents tend to get anaesthetic for surgery, because otherwise “they won’t stay still for it” (1,970 words)

Video of the day Fish With Legs

What to expect:

A great moment in evolution, captured as animation. It must come as a bit of a shock for fish when they grow legs (9’30”)

Thought for the day

Silence makes even idiots seem wise for a minute
Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Podcast Survival | The Allusionist

Welsh is spoken in Wales. How did it come about that Welsh is also spoken in southern Argentina?
(27m 59s)

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