We’ve sniffed out another article on the sense of smell (hahaha), this one from the Scientific American suggesting that the nose organizes smells by how pleasant they are.
The participants evaluated the pleasantness of each smell; amyl acetate, which smells like bananas, received the highest overall rating for pleasantness. The garlic-like diethyl sulfide received one of the lowest ratings. Other chemicals, such as the main component of vinegar, acetic acid, elicited mixed reactions.
Also, another article the misleading title of which led me to expect crazy animal hijinks: Virtual Monkeys Write Shakespeare, from the BBC. Still cool though:
Mr Anderson’s virtual monkeys are small computer programs uploaded to Amazon servers. These coded apes regularly pump out random sequences of text.
At the New Yorker, Nicholson Baker buys a Kindle:
Maybe the Kindle was the Bowflex of bookishness: something expensive that, when you commit to it, forces you to do more of whatever it is you think you should be doing more of.
Online political activism has become a familiar concept after 2010’s WikiLeaks fandango. The Financial Times examines the past and future of infamous “hacktivist” group Anonymous.
The increasingly likely threat of apprehension isn’t enough to dissuade many Anonymous supporters from what they compare with “sit-ins” – conscious acts of trespassing that inconvenience their targets while bringing the underlying issues to wider attention.
Is taxing the rich to reduce the national deficit “class warfare”? Plenty of wealthy Americans seem to think so: New York Times op-ed columnist Paul Krugman takes a look at class divisions in the US.
Republicans claim to be deeply worried by budget deficits. Indeed, Mr. Ryan has called the deficit an “existential threat” to America. Yet they are insisting that the wealthy — who presumably have as much of a stake as everyone else in the nation’s future — should not be called upon to play any role in warding off that existential threat.
Salon.com profiles one of my very favourite webcomic artists, Kate Beaton, whose comic Hark! A Vagrant has been getting all kinds of press lately owing to her recent book published by Drawn and Quarterly. I tried to find a representative comic to put below, but they’re all so great that you’re just going to have to check it out for yourself.
NPR asks: can computers reconstruct your dreams? Scientists have been working on technology that may be able to help those unable to speak communicate.
An expert said he expected any mind-reading capability would appear only far in the future.
Giving us all a chance to get our acts together.
If you never want to get anything done at work/school ever again, try Draw A Stick Man.
The New Yorker tells us what Facebook really wants:
One way to change something big is to get people really riled up about how you’ve changed something small. Repaint the boat, and let them to argue about that. By the time they’ve realized that green is no worse than blue, they won’t have the energy to wonder whether it was a smart idea for you to set sail for Australia.
The important stuff should come later today at Facebook’s F8 developer conference. Here, Facebook is likely to announce major new partnerships with publishers and music and video companies.
Really, though, did anyone ever know what “poking” someone was all about?
And, since I couldn’t find the perfect Kate Beaton comic, here’s a picture from my personal files:
That’s courtesy of The Annotated Weekender, and I think it perfectly captures the undying nature of the human spirit, or at least the undying nature of my human spirit.