January 14, 2012
The U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program has been training the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) in mine and swimmer detection for many years. (The program was declassified in the 1990s.) Military dolphins were used in the first and second Gulf Wars, and there are rumors they are deployed in the Gulf today. These animals could be important if Iran blockades the Hormuz Strait as threatened.
A FOIA by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has revealed that the Department of Homeland Security is monitoring political dissent, including social media that reflect adversely on the U.S. government generally and DHS specifically. [more inside]
Kill Bill, Parts 1 & 2, in One Minute, in One Take, produced by the University of York Filmmaking Society.
Birds in Books. "Pennsylvania artist and designer Paula Swisher takes doodling in the margins of old engineering and science manuals to new heights. She began the illustrations using nothing but ballpoint pen and white-out similar to Mark Powell’s envelopes, but soon explored new materials including colored pencil, gouache and other mixed media like thread and cut-out paper." Via Colossal. More illustrations on her flickr.
Professor Brian Cox (previously 1 2) goes unplugged in a specially recorded programme from the lecture theatre of the Royal Institution of Great Britain. In his own inimitable style, Brian takes an audience of famous faces, scientists and members of the public on a journey through some of the most challenging concepts in physics. [more inside]
What's one thing the major GOP candidates can all agree on? Why, the need to be hard on porn, of course. Morality in Media (MIM, previously) recently revealed that presidential hopefuls Santorum, Romney, and Gingrich had all affirmed the group's drive for "enforcement of obscenity laws". And the multi-billion-dollar per year industry? Adult Video News responds to the campaign (nsfw ads).
The Obama White House formally speaks out against SOPA, PIPA. The Obama White House has come out against the Stop Online Piracy Act. The move has -- unsurprisingly -- drawn responses from the MPAA, RIAA, and other interested parties.
"The online world of Islamic extremists, like all the other worlds of the Internet, operates on a subtly psychological level that does a brilliant job at keeping people like Abumubarak clicking and posting away -- and amassing all the rankings, scores, badges, and levels to prove it. Like virtually every other popular online social space, the social space of online jihadists has become "gamified," a term used to describe game-like attributes applied to non-game activities. It turns out that what drives online jihadists is pretty much exactly what drives Internet trolls, airline ticket consumers, and World of Warcraft players: competition." [more inside]
Search by Image, Recursively, Transparent PNG, #1, a part of Sebastian Schmieg's ongoing Search By Image Series.
Everything you wanted to know about Scottish independence in one single animated news item (SLYT) From Taiwanese news animation masters Next Media Animation. [more inside]
What can you do in 15 days? In China, they can build a 30-storey skyscraper.. Can't wait that long? Ok, a 15-storey hotel in 6 days then. "If China's economic development continues on its current trajectory, it could build a new Chicago every year until 2030 more than 1,500 new buildings that are over 30 stories high according to a [McKinsey] report.". For some analysts this is terrible news.
Falling STAR*D?: It is common practice for psychiatrists to switch depressive patients between different antidepressants if their current drug does not evince a symptomatic response. Despite clinical wisdom supporting this, little empirical, controlled evidence exists to direct “switching” protocols (e.g. if a patient with Z characteristics is on drug X, is it usually better to switch to drug A, B, or C? Will switching help at all?) in the psychopharmacological treatment of depression. The NIMH-funded STAR*D (Sequenced Alternatives to Relieve Depression) study aimed to address these questions of treatment direction in a very large (n>4000), “real-world” sample using a multi-phase treatment plan with different drugs (and cognitive therapy) at every step to maximize chances of eventual remission. Overall, the NIMH reported that about 67% of patients eventually achieved remission, with few differences in effectiveness between different types of treatment at each step. However, researchers and commentators have raised concerns regarding inconsistent reporting of outcomes, after-the-fact changes in study design and analysis, and other issues that may have inflated, partially invalidated, or misrepresented widely reported treatment outcomes. These inequities may also have implications for the secondary moderator analyses (i.e. does trait A predict switching to X or Y is better?) that were a major reason for the study. [more inside]
Diagnosed with cancer, my father decided to have his tongue removed. It’s an extreme treatment, but he’s always known how to make things work out.
Microsoft confirms UEFI fears, locks down ARM devices Seems like MS is up to old tricks. New BIOS bootset up seems to only allow MS Operating system as per Microsoft Windows Certification standards which hardware makers have to follow for Windows certification. [more inside]
Tobar an Dualchais will keep you busy for awhile. It's a collection of over 26,000 oral recordings made in Scotland, from the 1930s onward. Folklore, songs, music, history, poetry, oh my. Includes some fascinating material from Belle Stewart, the McPake Sisters of Peebles and John the Bard.
"We're starving." - Charlie Kaufman's BAFTA Screenwriters lecture, recorded September 30, 2011. PDF transcript.
Previously 1, 2
Previously 1, 2
Bill Moyers has returned to broadcasting. His new weekly show, Moyers & Company, aired its first episode on many PBS stations last night with a half-hour interview with Jacob Hackler and Paul Pierson, authors of Winner-Take-All Politics, and a second half-hour examining Occupy Wall Street. The episode, and other video not included in the weekly episodes, will be available on his new website.
Hundreds of 'spot' paintings by Damien Hirst are currently on display in 8 cities on three continents.
Nicely scanned copies of classic Golden Guides. Highlights include Light and Color, Stars, Evolution, and the always popular guide to Hallucinogenic Plants.
Nickel weeklies with covers and full texts courtesy of Bowling Green State University. [more inside]
Cat GIF Page You won't be able to stop looking.