Blurt!Commonplace Book

“[W]hile the rest of the world’s smart phone adoption began with the iPhone, Japan was years ahead — but alone. The result was that Japan’s smart phone culture evolved separately from the rest of the world. There was less emphasis on large pictures and text was more acceptable since it had been the norm since the early days.”

posted Dec. 2, 2022, 8:00pm

“In the Hopi language surukaphe means ‘tail coffee’, or coffee watered down to make it go further. In Brazilian Portuguese slang, chafé means ‘bad coffee’, a blend of the words for ‘tea’ and ‘coffee’. Then there’s cholo in Louisiana French, from chaud-l’eau, or ‘hot water’.”

posted Dec. 1, 2022, 8:00pm

“Police can use Fog Reveal to geofence entire buildings or street blocks—like the area surrounding an abortion clinic—and get information on devices used within and surrounding those buildings to identify suspects. … [A]bortion data surveillance via Fog Reveal could seemingly be conducted without warrants and without any legal oversight.”

posted Nov. 30, 2022, 8:00pm

“George W. Bush didn’t originally want to create the Department of Homeland Security; he was persuaded into doing so by Democrats, who were themselves mostly grasping for an opportunity to score political points. Almost no one pushed for a new department because they thought it was a good idea.”

posted Nov. 29, 2022, 8:00pm

“[A] team of European researchers decided to model an event that should be relatively uncommon: the two black holes didn’t start out in a mutual orbit but happened to pass close enough to gravitationally latch onto each other. … The models that produced a chirp that best matched the GW190521 signal saw a single pass that drew the black holes closer, followed by a single rapid curve into the collision.”

posted Nov. 28, 2022, 8:00pm

“The spiders searched the part of the web where the cricket had been—the sheet or the lines—which indicated a memory of prey location. And when Sergi stole prey from the gumfooted lines, the spiders made more searches for prey that was especially large relative to themselves.”

posted Nov. 27, 2022, 8:00pm

“[O]ctopuses can alter the coloration of their skin, with darker colors typically being indicative of aggression. The authors found that octopuses with dark coloration threw debris more forcefully and were more likely to hit another octopus.”

posted Nov. 26, 2022, 8:00pm

“They also found that, in general, the size of the birds’ repertoire decreased as anthropogenic noise increased, especially when the birds were exposed to levels of anthropogenic noise that were above the usual noise to which they were accustomed.”

posted Nov. 25, 2022, 8:00pm

“[T]he earliest image indicates that it was roughly 100,000 Kelvin, which suggests we were looking at it just six hours after it exploded. The latest lensed image shows that the debris had already cooled to 10,000 K over the eight days between the two different images.”

posted Nov. 24, 2022, 8:00pm

“Translated, the inscription reads, ‘May this tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard.’ … This purpose was confirmed when the authors searched for evidence of head lice on the comb under a microscope and found some remains on the second tooth, still in the nymph stage of development.”

(See also the discussion at Language Hat.)

posted Nov. 23, 2022, 8:00pm

“Over the next 1,500 years, during especially hot summers, the remains and artifacts were partially exposed, which explains the deterioration of the most exposed parts of the body and additional damage to the artifacts. Eventually, around 3,800 years ago, snow and ice finally sealed off the gully until the discovery of the mummified remains in 1991.”

(Ötzi was a recurring interest of my old @sben_links account on Twitter, the predecessor to this microblog. If I had completed my long walk in 2017, I would have passed through the next valley east from where he was found, and would have certainly stopped by his museum when the trail passed through Bolzano.)

posted Nov. 22, 2022, 8:00pm

“For all the grandiose talk about The Light Of Consciousness and The Future Of Humanity that has come out of Silicon Valley during its ascent, what it has delivered has mostly been spectacularly useless, lifeless, and anti-human. In this sense, it reflects its owners perfectly.”

posted Nov. 21, 2022, 8:00pm

“Today’s America has seen decades of the intentional conservative-led starving and squeezing of public education … and also the devastation of newspapers, journalism, and a vast misinformation campaign. All this adds up to preventing many who are educable from becoming educated. Thomas Paine, and those I’m using him to represent, would recognize this as a sabotage of their system.”

posted Nov. 20, 2022, 8:00pm

“Ogbogu wasn’t familiar with Hollie Mengert’s work at all. He was helping another Stable Diffusion user on Reddit who was struggling to fine-tune a model on Hollie’s work and getting lackluster results. He refined the image training set, got to work, and published the results the following day. He told me the training process took about 2.5 hours on a GPU at, and cost less than $2.”

posted Nov. 19, 2022, 8:00pm

“Bubbles of hydrogen-ripping galaxy light began to grow, carving holes in the cold, quiet bulk of the intergalactic gas. Over a billion years, the bubbles filled the cosmos and nearly every hydrogen atom was torn in two, leaving protons and electrons to wander the Universe separately again.”

posted Nov. 18, 2022, 8:00pm