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Brian Slesinsky
1,650 followers -
Harmless Science Experiment
Harmless Science Experiment

1,650 followers
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From a book review: "Modern food isn’t just unusually rewarding, it’s also unusually bad at making us full. The brain has some pretty sophisticated mechanisms to determine when we’ve eaten enough; these usually involve estimating food’s calorie load from its mass and fiber level. But modern food is calorically dense – it contains many more calories than predicted per unit mass – and fiber-poor."

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"people will eat more calories from a variety of foods presented together than they would from any single food alone. [...] This is apparently a real thing that’s been confirmed in scientific experiments, and a major difference between us and our ancestors."

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"In 1965, some scientists locked people in a room where they could only eat nutrient sludge dispensed from a machine. Even though the volunteers had no idea how many calories the nutrient sludge was, they ate exactly enough to maintain their normal weight, proving the existence of a “sixth sense” for food caloric content. [...] After six months on the sludge, a man who weighed 400 lbs at the start of the experiment was down to 200, without consciously trying to reduce his weight."

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"A guy named Michel Cabanac ran an experiment in which he put overweight people on two diets. In the first diet, they ate Standardized Food Product, and naturally lost weight since it wasn’t very good and they didn’t eat very much of it. In the second diet, he urged people to eat less until they matched the first group’s weight loss, but to keep eating the same foods as normal – just less of them. The second group reported being hungry and having a lot of trouble dieting; the first group reported not being hungry and not having any trouble at all."

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"This may be part of the explanation for why all weight-loss diets seem to work to some extent – even those that are based on diametrically opposed principles, such as low-fat, low-carbohydrate, paleo, and vegan diets. Because each diet excludes major reward factors, they may all lower the adiposity set point somewhat."

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"A few weeks ago Guyenet announced The Bland Food Cookbook, a collection of tasteless recipes guaranteed to be low food-reward and so discourage overeating. It was such a natural extension of his philosophy that it took me a whole ten seconds to realize it was an April Fools joke."

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From the article: "More troubling, any voice—including that of a stranger—can be cloned if decent recordings are available on YouTube or elsewhere. Researchers at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, led by Nitesh Saxena, were able to use Festvox to clone voices based on only five minutes of speech retrieved online. When tested against voice-biometrics software like that used by many banks to block unauthorised access to accounts, more than 80% of the fake voices tricked the computer. Alan Black, one of Festvox’s developers, reckons systems that rely on voice-ID software are now 'deeply, fundamentally insecure'.

"And, lest people get smug about the inferiority of machines, humans have proved only a little harder to fool than software is."



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From the article: "If Pikeville doesn’t get broadband – and fast – it will be shut off from the modern economy, no matter how many capable coders live in the area.

"The predicament is maddening to Blackburn. Pikeville can’t get new jobs without broadband. But it can’t get broadband without the $15m it would cost to connect Pikeville to the backbone of fiber optic cables the state is building across Kentucky in a broadband initiative of its own called KYWired. Blackburn is hopeful that the federal government will step in with a subsidy, although he admits the Trump administration has not looked eager to spend more money in Appalachia."



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From the article: "Since 2012, two-thirds of Britain’s coal-fired power generating capacity has been shuttered. Some plants have been converted partially to burn biomass, such as wood pellets. Last year, the share of coal in total power generation dropped to 9 percent, down from 23 percent in 2015 and 40 percent in 2012.

"Some countries have already left coal behind in power generation. In Switzerland, Belgium and Norway, 'every day is a coal-free day,' Carlos Fernández Alvarez, a coal analyst at the International Energy Agency in Paris, pointed out."

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From the interview: "One of the things that is most predictive of whether any pressure group is able to achieve its political goals is the extent to which it has relationships with political elites. The higher up the elites, the better. That could be anyone from members of Congress, to the White House, to people at the NSF and NIH. Political power isn’t a thing. It’s not something I have and you don’t. It’s a relationship. So if we think about power as being relational, then those elite relationships are important.

"So what kinds of organizations are able to develop those elite relationships? We find that those that are consistently able to show the capacity to move a constituency, they’re the ones who get the attention of the elected officials. That’s what made the National Rifle Association and the Tea Party so able to move Republican legislators to their side. The NRA showed again and again that if you go against them, you suffer at the ballot box. The Tea Party showed that if you go against them, they’d bring up a primary challenger."

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From the article: "According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an average of 30,000 M-44s, deployed by the federal government in concert with Western states and counties, are triggered each year. Baited to entice animals, they’re indiscriminate in their victims. So far, no humans have been killed by M-44s. But according to an investigation by the Sacramento Bee, 18 Wildlife Services employees and several other people were exposed to cyanide by M-44s between 1987 and 2012, and between 2000 and 2012 the devices killed more than 1,100 dogs."


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From the article: "Demand for flights to the United States has fallen in nearly every country since January, ­according to Hopper, a travel-booking app that analyzes more than 10 billion daily airfare price quotes to derive its data. Searches for U.S. flights from China and Iraq have dropped 40 percent since Trump’s inauguration, while demand in Ireland and New Zealand is down about 35 percent. (One exception: Russia, where searches for flights to the United States have surged 60 percent since January.)"

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"The result could be an estimated 4.3 million fewer people coming to the United States this year, resulting in $7.4 billion in lost revenue, according to Tourism Economics, a Philadelphia-based analytics firm. Next year, the fallout is expected to be even larger, with 6.3 million fewer tourists and $10.8 billion in losses. Miami is expected to be hit hardest, followed by San Francisco and New York, the firm said."

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From the article: "The mixture sits in a container and is exposed, slice by slice, to UV light that has been programmed to create different shapes at each layer. The regions that are exposed become solid. Heating the structure in a high-temperature furnace, like a ceramics kiln, burns away the leftover liquid and fuses the glass nanoparticles together."

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From the article: "His initial estimate is that just one particularly dangerous menace — the polyphagous shot hole borer beetle — could kill as many as 27 million trees in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, including parts of the desert.

"That’s roughly 38% of the 71 million trees in the 4,244 square mile urban region with a population of about 20 million people.

"And that insect is just one of the imminent threats."

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“If we cannot control the shot hole borer, it will kill all the sycamores in California. And when they’re done with sycamores, they’ll move to other trees.”


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