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Seaweed, marshmallows, phantom hands, and other science tidbits July 9, 2018

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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How a mistakenly-hired seaweed scientist helped win WWII. (Bletchley Park tried to recruit a cryptogramist…well, a cryptogamist is a biologist who studies seaweed, mosses, and ferns.)

According to my mother, my missing pectoral muscle was noticed almost immediately by the doctor who delivered me. There was no diagnosis of any cause for the defect, and I’m not sure if she even asked. It was just missing, and I accepted that absence as a simple fact for most of my childhood.”

“RN’s case is interesting because the hand that was amputated only had three fingers to begin with. One would expect that her phantom limb would be a replica of the hand she lost. But that’s not what happened. RN reported feeling five fingers on her phantom hand. They weren’t five normal fingers—her thumb and index finger felt shorter than the rest—but there were definitely five.

“While students of all categories suffered from class-induced jet lag, the study found that night owls were especially vulnerable, many appearing so chronically jet-lagged that they were unable to perform optimally at any time of day.”

“Ultimately, the new study finds limited support for the idea that being able to delay gratification leads to better outcomes. Instead, it suggests that the capacity to hold out for a second marshmallow is shaped in large part by a child’s social and economic background—and, in turn, that that background, not the ability to delay gratification, is what’s behind kids’ long-term success.”

And the laptop Negroponte was pitching in 2005 simply didn’t exist. [One Laptop Per Child]’s prototype was little more than a mockup. It hadn’t signed a manufacturer, let alone priced out a sub-$100 product. Groundbreaking technologies like the crank and mesh networking system were still mostly theoretical.”

“Portugal decriminalised the use of all drugs in 2001. Weed, cocaine, heroin, you name it — Portugal decided to treat possession and use of small quantities of these drugs as a public health issue, not a criminal one. The drugs were still illegal, of course. But now getting caught with them meant a small fine and maybe a referral to a treatment program — not jail time and a criminal record.

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more personal miscellany October 20, 2010

Posted by Erin Ptah in And Shine Heaven Now, Fandom, Personal.
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Can anybody open this file? The extension is .DCR, and it should be an image, which I believe is animated. (I made it myself, so I know it’s virus-free.) If you can convert the frames into some more universal image format and get them back to me, I will shower you with cookies.

Watched Pleasantville yesterday, while working on go_exchange assignment. This movie, you guys. This movie. Not only is it a visual and technical marvel, the whole thing is clearly a metaphor for fandom. A couple of viewers step into canon, and…okay, the first thing they introduce is porn, with a strong focus on female sexuality. But this is followed by AU, and crossovers, and shipping, and character studies, and all sorts of depths that the original series never explored. I want to buy everybody I know a copy.

Speaking of fandom: my WIP folder no longer has a scrollbar. Pretty soon I’m not going to know what to do with myself.

Picked up an AO3 account, thus silencing forever that nagging voice in the back of my head saying maybe I should make use of my ff.net one to upload things. Currently posted: all my non-fake-news stuff, and a couple of the fake-newsy crossovers. Not planning to post the whole fake-news oeuvre; still mulling over which bits to post, and when.

Shine readers who follow the forum will already know that I’ve had trouble sleeping, and am a bit behind on updates. Still working on it. Will be up to speed soon. Possibly after a nap.

For your entertainment in the meantime: Not My Fandom Fest is, with the possible exception of Pleasantville, the most disarmingly charming thing I’ve seen all week.