I’ve come across a bunch of links that I thought my interest other people
First a bit of science geekery
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Prince Rupert’s drop, this weird, scientific enigma is a glass object that’s created by dripping molten glass into very cold water.
That process creates all kinds of crazy physical properties, which we’ll go into later, but the end result is a teardrop-shaped piece of glass that’s pretty much unbreakable at its bulbous ‘drop’ end, but which shatters from the slightest pressure at the elongated tail end. Scientists have been obsessed with them since the 1600s. But what happens if you shoot one with a bullet?
There are a video showing the experiment in super slow motion.
And now, to something very different – the sometimes less foreseeable consequences of change
Much has been said about the ways we expect our oncoming fleet of driverless cars to change the way we live—remaking us all into passengers, rewiring our economy, retooling our views of ownership, and reshaping our cities and roads.
They will also change the way we die. As technology takes the wheel, road deaths due to driver error will begin to diminish. It’s a transformative advancement, but one that comes with consequences in an unexpected place: organ donation.
I don’t think the progress towards car automation, which would result in fewer fatal accidents in traffic, should be stopped because of a concern for fewer organ donations (because of those fewer deaths), but it is something that needs to be taken into consideration in future planning and research. There is work into growing organs in labs, and this should probably be intensified/prioritized.
There is a great NY Times article taking a look at fake academic journals and conferences.
The caller ID on my office telephone said the number was from Las Vegas, but when I picked up the receiver I heard what sounded like a busy overseas call center in the background. The operator, “John,” asked if I would be interested in attending the 15th World Cardiology and Angiology Conference in Philadelphia next month.
“Do I have to be a doctor?” I said, because I’m not one. I got the call because 20 minutes earlier I had entered my phone number into a website run by a Hyderabad, India, company called OMICS International.
“You can have the student rate,” the man replied. With a 20 percent discount, it would be $599. The conference was in just a few weeks, I pointed out — would that be enough time for the academic paper I would be submitting to be properly reviewed? (Again, I know nothing about cardiology.) It would be approved on an “expedited basis” within 24 hours, he replied, and he asked which credit card I would like to use.
If it seems that I was about to be taken, that’s because I was. OMICS International is a leader in the growing business of academic publication fraud. It has created scores of “journals” that mimic the look and feel of traditional scholarly publications, but without the integrity. This year the Federal Trade Commission formally charged OMICS with “deceiving academics and researchers about the nature of its publications and hiding publication fees ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars.”
It is an interesting area – there are some conferences/journals that are obviously fake (OMICS seems to be one of these), so it is hard to feel sorry for people giving them money. Others are much better at hiding their fakeness, and might even been connected to reputable publishing houses, which makes me feel much more inclined to feel sorry for the people believing them to be real. Especially people without a strong academic background.
I am generally not into sob stories about sportspeople, but this is a truly inspiring one.
Growing up in Southern California, Moore’s family struggled financially. Dinner often came from the Dollar Menu at McDonald’s or Carl’s Jr. There were times when Moore’s mother didn’t have enough money to feed all three of her kids. “She would say, ‘Cay, You can only get one item,'” Moore recalled. “So I would just do pushups to take the pain from my stomach to the pain in my arms.”
Sometimes, Moore did pushups until he passed out in a pool of sweat. But he also built his upper body, which helped him excel in football, and that helped him reach college. Rather than give in to the many burdens on his shoulders, nudging him closer to the ground, Moore literally pushed back.
I think that it helps that the article focuses less on the sports aspects, and more on the academic and community aspects.
From back in May, an interesting article on how long-lived lies can exist on the internet
Years ago, maybe around 2003 when I was in middle school, I stumbled across the site TVTome.com. It was a user-edited wiki for TV shows. To be an editor for the big, popular shows you had to prove why you were qualified. After all, creating the official record of what happened on The Big Bang Theory was an important responsibility. But for some forgotten garbage show like Street Sharks, the screening process was nonexistent. Sensing an opportunity for nonsense, I became the Street Sharks editor and filled its page with lies. I made up characters, voice actors, episodes, plot descriptions, everything.
For a little while, all these falsehoods just sat there, not bothering anybody. However, sometime later, TVTome got bought and integrated into the much bigger CBS Interactive website TV.com. Thanks to that expanded platform, all of my lies rapidly began infecting the rest of the internet. Most sites since have mostly purged themselves of my misinformation, but for years, IMDB, Amazon, and numerous smaller sites were unintentionally hosting my creative writing. If you’re paranoid and trying to spot a fake, pretty much any episode with a specific 1994 air date and episode description is a fraud. If a shady website claims it has streaming videos of “Feelin’ Lobstery” or “Goin’ Clammando,” and a lot still do since I still found these descriptions, it’s lying to you even more than usual. The only place that’s still entirely accurate is Wikipedia, hilariously enough.
We all know that we can’t trust anything on the internet, but it is interesting to read a case story of how a childhood prank has been spread, and even in some cases, caused false memories.
Somewhat related to the Steets Sharks story, is the story about a movie, Shazaam, which only exists in the memories of people
Over the years, hundreds of people online have shared memories of a cheesy Nineties movie called “Shazaam”. There is no evidence that such a film was ever made. What does this tell us about the quirks of collective memory?
It is fascinating how no evidence (including the supposed main actor denying the existence of the movie) can convince some of the people believing in the existence of the movie.
Ending on a light note, an excellent profile of the person behind the brilliant MerriamWebster twitter profile
What with the 3 a.m. tweetstorms, Hamilton tirades and his prodigious use of “Sad!,” President-elect Donald J. Trump kinda won Twitter this year. No matter. We’ve got our eye on the runner-up, which on Monday tweeted a little lexicographical commentary: “‘Surreal’ is one of the most common lookups following a tragedy. ‘Surreal’ is our 2016 Word of the Year.”
Burned by a dictionary! If you use Twitter, chances are you’ve seen @MerriamWebster’s tweets. It has schooled the internet on the status of “bigly” as a word and the fact that “unpresidented” is not. During the second presidential debate, it revealed mass ignorance laid bare: “Note that more people are looking up ‘lepo’ (as in, “What’s a lepo?”) than ‘Aleppo.’ #debate.”
The person behind the saucy — and sometimes scorching — pedantry is a 33-year-old grad-school dropout and onetime freelance writer who favors claret-colored lipstick: Lauren Naturale. While a team of lexicographers feeds her material, Naturale is the company’s social media manager and the person behind the dictionary’s Twitter edition.
I am definitely a fan of that twitter account.