Sunday, June 3, 2012

Paws & Claws ~ June 3, 2012 ~ Ready for the Saturn transit?

To every man is given the keys to heaven.

The Law in Longyearbyen, Norway: No Dying Allowed!

In the frozen Svalbard archipelago, far north of the Norwegian mainland, temperatures rarely rise above freezing. This became a problem during the influenza pandemic of 1917-1920 because the victims’ bodies did not decompose, the virus inside of them did not die. So officials in the settlement of Longyearbyen passed a clever law to prevent further destruction by the disease. They banned death:
The cold earth had preserved the corpses and, unfortunately, had also kept the influenza strain alive. There is no reason to believe that anyone was infected by the resurrected influenza, but regardless, its discovery provided a warning to the town officials. Realizing that Longyearbyen, quite isolated from the rest of the world, had no way of handling its dead — and at risk to the living — its leaders simply declared that dying was not permitted in the town. Enforcement, of course, cannot be done via punitive action — “don’t die, or else!” is a strange ultimatum, to say the least. Rather, Longyearbyen prevents people from dying in town by a system akin to an administrative hokey-pokey. The cemetery closed in 1930, accepting no future burials. Link
Why People Cheat and Lie (Just a Little!)

There are a few bad apples that cheat a lot, but surely most of us are honest people who'd never cheat, right? Not according to research study by Duke University Economics professor Dan Ariely. His study showed that almost everybody cheats just a little. In a series of experiments, Ariely was able to increase or decrease the ratio of cheaters:
Much of what we have learned about the causes of dishonesty comes from a simple little experiment that we call the "matrix task," which we have been using in many variations. It has shown rather conclusively that cheating does not correspond to the traditional, rational model of human behavior—that is, the idea that people simply weigh the benefits (say, money) against the costs (the possibility of getting caught and punished) and act accordingly.
The basic matrix task goes as follows: Test subjects (usually college students) are given a sheet of paper containing a series of 20 different matrices (structured like the example you can see above) and are told to find in each of the matrices two numbers that add up to 10. They have five minutes to solve as many of the matrices as possible, and they get paid based on how many they solve correctly. When we want to make it possible for subjects to cheat on the matrix task, we introduce what we call the "shredder condition." The subjects are told to count their correct answers on their own and then put their work sheets through a paper shredder at the back of the room. They then tell us how many matrices they solved correctly and get paid accordingly.
What happens when we put people through the control condition and the shredder condition and then compare their scores? In the control condition, it turns out that most people can solve about four matrices in five minutes. But in the shredder condition, something funny happens: Everyone suddenly and miraculously gets a little smarter. Participants in the shredder condition claim to solve an average of six matrices—two more than in the control condition. This overall increase results not from a few individuals who claim to solve a lot more matrices but from lots of people who cheat just by a little.
Interestingly, increasing the payoff or the probability of being caught has no effect on making people cheat more.
The Wall Street Journal has the fascinating (honest!) post: Link
We have our Arts so we won’t die of Truth.
Ray Bradbury and other famous authors on truth vs. fiction (via explore-blog)
A sunrise in China’s Sea of Clouds is shockingly gorgeous
"Monkey Gazing at the Cloud Sea" vista in China's Huangshan mountain range
How much does it cost to be an unbeatable evil overlord?
Peter Anspach's "The Top 100 Things I'd Do If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord" is required reading for anyone hoping to enter the growing field of supervillainry. But how much does it cost to be a successful and rational evil overlord?
The speculative bean counters at Centives have attached a price tag to each item on Anspach's list, and it should surprise no one that truly thorough supervillainry doesn't come cheap.
31. All naive, busty tavern wenches in my realm will be replaced with surly, world-weary waitresses who will provide no unexpected reinforcement and/or romantic subplot for the hero or his sidekick.
Cost: $4,701,320 Notes: The unemployment benefits of a thousand young ladies every year.
See the rest of the items, and their sources, at Centives.
Love the comments ~
A sincere thanks to all those who’ve served their country and given their lives for ours. You are not forgotten. You’ll find many of America’s National Memorials in the District of Columbia, including the FDR Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Korean War Memorial. Today’s quiz takes you outside the borders of the capital to identify the states in which these 10 other National Memorials lie. Match them up by keying in the corresponding number from the left column in the blanks on the right column. Good luck!
The Memorial Day Quiz: National Memorials
Arlington is some of the most hallowed ground in the United States. More than 400,000 fallen servicemen and women are buried there and are honored with a service every Memorial Day. But despite its great importance, the cemetery has had more than its share of scandals over the last 148 years.

Alternative Energy Revolution
Alternative Energy Revolution

Why does a dog lick his balls?
Because he can't make a fist.


Ursa ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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