Considering that Golden Rice could substantially reduce blindness (half a million children per year) and deaths (2-3 million per year), the reluctance displayed by the responsible bodies, especially in the face of the great success and safety record of genetically modified crops, is hard to understand. -J.E. Mayer, P. Beyer, and I. Potrykus (2006)
Recently I wrote a blog post praising the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for investing in technology that would turn human waste into pure water for the billions of people who don’t have access to clean water sources. Although I was positive about the technology, I was skeptical of its acceptance, because of humanity’s propensity for magical thinking. I noted that this irrational form of belief was also responsible for people’s unreasonable fear of genetically-modified foods.
That fear, sadly, extends to political bodies who may have regulatory power over what foodstuffs may be grown or…
“It seems safe to report that dude has supplanted totally as the word most often uttered by American youth,” claimed Richard Hill in his 1994 paper on the history of the word “dude.”
That might be true, but as it turns out, “dude” is more popular in some parts of the United States than others. In other areas of the country, people say “pal,” “buddy,” and other colloquial vocatives—nouns that usually refer to a person.
The map above shows the geographical concentration of a few such words. If you click the buttons, you’ll notice that “dude” is the most widespread. Others are heavily concentrated in particular regions, like “pal” in the north.
When Hill wrote his history of “dude,” understanding such trends in slang was close to impossible. There simply weren’t enough data. Not so today. To uncover the hidden shape of vocative use, linguists can draw on one of the best datasets the English language has…
The Rosetta mission, the combined effort by European Space Agency and NASA to land a spacecraft on a comet, has so far been a resounding success.
The decade-long journey to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko culminated 317 million miles from Earth just after 11:00 a.m EST on Wednesday, when the Philae lander touched down safely on the comet’s surface.
We can now look at photos from the historic descent. Here are the shots, courtesy of the ESA.
Now that the lander has made it to the comet’s surface, the most failure-prone parts of the €1.4 billion mission are out of the way. But the important work is still to come: after 10 years of travel time, the lander has a measly 2.5 days of battery life to churn out as many measurements as possible. (Once these are dead, the Philae will attempt to…
Today would have been the 125th birthday of feminist Dada artist Hannah Höch — dubbed “art’s original punk” byThe Guardian earlier this year. As the article points out, Höch was an unlikely addition to the early 20th-century group — which favored the irrational, nihilistic, collaborative, and spontaneous — namely, because Höch was a woman. One of the group’s pioneering photomontage artists, Höch critiqued the role of women, beauty standards, marriage, the politics of her home country, Germany, and the oft-misogynist Dada group itself. Take Höch’s 1919 work Cut With the Kitchen Knife Dada Through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch of Germany, for instance. The title says it all. In celebration of Höch’s essential contributions to Dada and the art world at large, we’re visiting the works of other female Dadaists who you should know.
The Myers-Briggs type indicator is one of the most popular personality tests. It divides people in 16 types based on four preferences, each noted by a different letter: I (introverted) or E (extroverted), S (detailed thinking) or N (big picture thinking), T (logical) vs. F (relational decision making), and J (preference for planning) or P (preference for spontaneity). It’s fairly easy to guess the personality type of people you know well, and while it’s not the end all, be all of their personality, it does put their behavior into perspective–as you know a bit about what they value and how they like to make decisions. If you don’t know your own type, here’s a quick test.
With a bit of thinking about the personalities of people in your life, you can find a few gift suggestions for their perfect gift listed below. Giving someone something that they are suited…
I’m crazy about these cherries. They’re so dark and elegant, with a touch of brandy and vanilla bean.
They were inspired by these great looking brandied cocktail cherries that Aimee from Homemade Trade suggested to me. I didn’t change the recipe much– mostly I just canned it to make it shelf stable instead of something for the fridge. (Since I’m horrible at actually reading and following recipes, and only realized partway through making the original batch that it wasn’t for canning…. but then canned them anyway, since I could). Because I have a one track mind in the kitchen. If a recipe just happens to be safe for water-bath canning, why would you not do it? oh, you mean these cherries are for supposed to be for now? Oh, no, I don’t want them now, I want them for later.
Back-to-school time is upon us, and for many, that means reading for pleasure will give way to burning through that syllabus. Classrooms, especially high school classrooms (college classes are becoming so weird and specific nowadays that you could read just about anything in them), suffer from the “classic effect” — which is exactly what it sounds like. Not that there’s anything wrong with literary classics, and they definitely should be read, but there’s so much more out there. And when you consider the fact that one-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives — well, it would be nice if they had a little more to go on than The Great Gatsby. After the jump, find a selection of books you’ll (probably) never read in high school, but should still read, and add your own favorite anti-schoolbooks to the list in the…
Springtime can make even the most devoted of readers a little bit antsy. After all, there are flowers to smell, puddles to jump in, fresh love to kindle. You still want to have a novel in your pocket — just maybe one that doesn’t require quite so epic an attention span. Never fear: after the jump, you will find 50 incredible novels under 200 pages (editions vary, of course, so there’s a little leeway) that are suitable for this or any season. For simplicity’s sake, the list makes no distinction between novel and novella, excludes children’s books, and only allows one novel per author. Read on to find a book to divert your springtime attentions, and since there are way more than 50 incredible short novels out there in the world, add any favorites missing here in the comments.
These fascinating graphs are the work of one Nickolay Lamm, and are part of a project that he’s calling Money, Love and Sex. The project charts the frequency with which various words appear in the top 100 singles on the Billboard chart over the years, essentially providing a portrait of how the vocabulary of music has evolved since the 1960s.
A Colorado man who claims Facebook(s fb) falsely told his friends that he “Liked” USA Today(s gci) has filed a lawsuit seeking at least $750 for himself and every other user who appeared in ads for products they never endorsed.
In a class action complaint filed in San Jose, Anthony Ditirro says a friend called his attention to a Facebook ad that shows Ditirro “liking” a USA Today food section:
According to Ditirro, he never clicked his “Like” button on USA Today’s Facebook page or even visited the publication’s website in the first place.
“Although PLAINTIFF has nothing negative to say about USA TODAY newspapers, PLAINTIFF is not an avid reader of USA TODAY, nor does PLAINTIFF endorse the newspaper,” says the complaint.
The lawsuit states that the phantom Likes violate a series of state and federal laws related to privacy and publicity rights, and cites a California law that…