June 26, 2014

5 Intriguing Things

1. A major prostitution portal was seized by Federal authorities

"Some law enforcement officials hailed the move as a victory against sex trafficking. But many sex workers who used the site said it was critical for their income and safety, and that authorities should not be focusing on acts between consenting adults. Organizers with the Bay Area chapter of the Sex Workers Outreach Project warned sex workers on their website about the seizure, and were planning a community meeting. 'Today we lost extensive online forums for a community of sex workers to keep each other safe, screen clients, and blacklist predators,' said Patricia West, a representative of the group. 'While we are certainly concerned with the issue of sex trafficking, this misguided effort only pushes the most marginalized of us further into the underground.'"

 

2. I imagine the question here was, "Do you worry that you've deployed too much technology in people's live?"

"Perhaps more important, only Google has Mr. Page — and he is completely undaunted by the resistance these technologies may engender. 'For me, I’m so excited about the possibilities to improve things for people, my worry would be the opposite,' he said. 'We get so worried about these things that we don’t get the benefits.'"

 

3. The case of the stroke patient who developed "excessive and persistent generosity."

"This case study adds pathological generosity to the range of behavioral changes that may result from discrete unilateral lesions of the lenticular nucleus and nearby pathways. In our particular case, post-stroke pathological generosity was not ascribable to disinhibition, apathy, mania, or depression. Because pathological generosity may lead to significant distress and financial burden upon patients and their families, it may warrant further consideration as a potential type of impulse control disorder."

 

4. Faking Galileo

"Art forgeries have long been the stuff of thrillers, with fake da Vincis or Vermeers fooling connoisseurs, roiling the art world, and moving millions of dollars. We don’t think of ancient books driving such grand forgery, intrigue, and schadenfreude. This is changing thanks in part to a clever forgery of Galileo’s landmark book Sidereus Nuncius, published in Venice in 1610. Arguably one of the most extraordinary scientific publications of all times, Sidereus Nuncius turned Galileo into the brightest new star of Western science. Four centuries later, a faked copy of this book has disarmed a generation of Galileo experts, and raised a host of intriguing questions about the social nature of scholarly authentication, the precariousness of truth, and the revelatory power of fakes."

 

5. The Multispecies Salon is a fascinating series of very strange essays on technology, nature, and life forms.

"A novel approach to writing culture, multispecies ethnography, has come of age. Plants, animals, fungi, and microbes are appearing alongside humans in novel accounts of natural and cultural history. Anthropologists have collaborated with artists and biological scientists to illuminate how diverse organisms are entangled in political, economic, and cultural systems. Delectable mushrooms flourishing in the aftermath of ecological disaster, microbial cultures enlivening the politics and value of food, and emergent life forms running wild in the age of biotechnology all figure in to this curated collection of written prose and artifacts."

 

Today's 1957 American English Usage Tip

cacoethes scribendi. 'Itch for writing.' See BATTERED ORNAMENTS.

 

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