This 90-year-old man is building a cathedral by himself, by hand

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For more than 50 years, Justo Gallego has spent his days building his own beautiful cathedral outside of Madrid, all by himself.

"When I started to build this cathedral, the word on the street was that I was crazy," Gallego says.

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Vintage photos of faux decapitations

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Esteemed vernacular photography collector Robert Jackson shares his favorite 19th and 20th century photos of people who've lost their heads thanks to pre-Photoshop trickery. It's a delightful photography tradition that in 1973 inspired my late brother Mark Pescovitz to create his own "Head Photographer (self portrait)," seen at the bottom of this page!

"Head Photographer (self portrait)" by Mark Pescovitz, c. 1973:

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Gonorrhea may soon be unbeatable

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Approximately 350,000 people in the US are diagnosed with gonorrhea each year. According to the CDC, it may soon be untreatable. Currently, the sexually-transmitted disease, not-so-fondly known as The Clap or The Drip, is treated with two antibiotics, azithromycin and ceftriaxone. Data is currently showing a rise in gonorrhea samples that are resistant to those drugs.

Companies are developing new antibiotics but could be "years away," says CDC medical epidemiologist Robert D. Kirkcaldy.

"We think … it’s a matter of when and not if with resistance,” he says. “This bug is so smart and can mutate so rapidly.”

(Scientific American) Read the rest

Person walking dog encounters Boston Dynamics walking their robot

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Lucky there are leash laws!

(via Reddit)

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First case of female-to-male sexually-transmitted Zika reported, in NYC

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The Centers for Disease Control and Infection reported the first confirmed case of Zika transmitted from a woman to a man during sex. Previously, they thought that the disease was only likely to be sexually-transmitted from a male to female or male to male. The CDC will soon update their advisory "for sexually active people in which the couple is not pregnant or concerned about pregnancy and for people who want to reduce personal risk of Zika infection through sex." From CNN:

A non-pregnant woman in her 20s had unprotected vaginal sex with a male partner on the day she returned from travel to a country where Zika is circulating. The next day, she came down with Zika-like symptoms, including fever, rash, fatigue and muscle pain, along with numbness and tingling in her fingers and toes. On day three, she visited her primary care doctor, who took blood and urine samples, and sent them off to the NYC health department. Both tested positive for the virus.

On day seven after intercourse, her male partner, also in his 20s, began to show the same typical signs of Zika, such as fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes, despite the fact that he had not traveled outside the United States for more than a year...

While this is the first documented case of female to male sexual transmission, it's not the first clue that the Zika virus might be hiding in the female genital tract. A case report published this week in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal tells the story of a 27-year old Guadeloupean woman who came down with Zika in May.

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Watch the new trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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In celebration of Star Wars Celebration, Lucasfilm released this thrilling teaser trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, in theaters December 16.

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Why all of us need to be futurists

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Two weeks ago, pioneering futurist Alvin Toffler died. Over at Medium, my colleague Marina Gorbis, executive director of Institute for the Future, reflects on Toffler's vision and why it's more important than ever for futures thinking to be a massively public endeavor. Marina writes:

Disorientation. Irrationality. Malaise. These were the sensations that in 1965 famed futurist Alvin Toffler, who died two weeks ago, suggested would run rampant in the face of the “revolutionary transitions” facing our society. According to Toffler, we would all suffer from a condition not unlike the culture shock experienced by travelers to foreign countries. He called it “future shock.”

“Imagine not merely an individual but an entire society — including its weakest, least intelligent, and most traditional members — suddenly transported into this new world,” Toffler wrote in a Horizon magazine article titled “The Future as a Way of Life.” “The result is mass disorientation, future shock on a grand scale.”

Arguably, we are living Toffler’s future today. Many of us are in a state of shock as social media enables the rise of political figures who we could never imagine as viable presidential candidates, software eats people’s jobs (according to some), massive data leaks allow loosely organized networks of journalists to uncover stories of global crime and corruption, and surveys consistently point to the loss of trust in most institutions across the globe. We are quick to marvel at Toffler’s foresight. I would argue, however, that our “future shock” is highly unevenly distributed....

We need to make futures thinking a way of life for more people outside of the enclaves like Silicon Valley, corporate boardrooms, and academic think tanks.

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Online banking for Nintendo's Super NES (1998)

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In 1998, TranDirect Holdings created this video pitching an online home banking system that ran on Nintendo's Super NES. Ah, another 16-bit dream that didn't quite become real.

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The trials of living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (SE), Washington DC

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Several years ago, a new apartment building went up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue SE in Washington DC. That's a few miles from the better known 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, aka the White House. A car lot was previously on the apartment building property, then registered as 1550 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, but the developers thought it would be a hoot to petition for the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue SE address. They got it. From WTPO:

Residents say they often get funny looks or disbelief when they have to give their address or hand over their driver’s licenses. Carlos Gutierrez, 39, and other residents said they get asked: “You live at the White House?”

The address has produced headaches for some residents. One early resident of the building, Daniel Perry, 36, said Amazon.com initially wouldn’t take orders to the address, though that’s since been sorted out. Another resident said even now, she sometimes has difficulty ordering online. A recent order for a pair of summer sandals required calling the company, she said.

Residents have to make sure that anyone sending them mail puts the all-important “SE” after the address. The correct zip code — 20003 — is also key. The White House’s ZIP code is 20500.

A goof means the mail might eventually get to the correct recipient, but because the president’s mail gets extra security screening, any resident’s mail with an incomplete address could be significantly delayed.

Mail mix-ups happen the other way, too. Errant letters for the first family arrive at the building every so often and sit unopened by the residents’ mailboxes until the U.S.

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Watch a monkey's revenge on guy who gave it the finger

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The monkeys of Shimla, India are not to be trifled with by other primates.

(via r/funny)

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What's the likelihood that you have a doppelgänger?

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Teghan Lucas, a comparative anatomy researcher at the University of Adelaide, was fascinated with the idea of doppelgängers, that every person has a look-alike out there in the world. So Teghan analyzed thousands of photos of people, for example measuring the distance between features, to determine the probability that two people would have matching faces. According to Teghan, there's only a one in a trillion chance that you share even eight measurements with someone else. Of course, people can still look very similar even if their eyes and ears aren't separated by precisely the same distance. From the BBC:

"It depends whether we mean ‘lookalike to a human’ or ‘lookalike to facial recognition software’,” says David Aldous, a statistician at U.C. Berkeley...

When you bump into a friend on the street, the brain immediately sets to work recognising their features – such as hairline and skin tone – individually, like recognising Italy by its shape alone. But what if they’ve just had a haircut? Or they’re wearing makeup?

To ensure they can be recognised in any context, the brain employs an area known as the fusiform gyrus to tie all the pieces together. If you compare it to finding a country on a map, this is like checking it has a border with France and a coast. This holistic ‘sum of the parts’ perception is thought to make recognising friends a lot more accurate than it would be if their features were assessed in isolation. Crucially, it also fudges the importance of some of the subtler details.

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Incredible LEGO record store by artist Coop

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Our multitalented artist pal Coop meticulously designed and built an indie record shop entirely out of LEGOs! Right this way to Brick City Records!

And yes, he really did make tiny versions of his favorite LP covers in Photoshop, print them on decal paper, and stick them to LEGO tiles for the records:

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Einstein's stinky leather jacket sold for $144,000

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Albert Einstein's very cool leather jacket sold at auction today for £110,500 ($144,424). The coat came complete with the pungent odor of the scientist's pipe. Also on the block were Einstein's pocket watch and toy blocks from his childhood. From Christie's:

‘The jacket first appears in a number of photographs of Einstein, taken at the height of his fame in the mid-1930s,’ (said Christie's specialist Thomas Venning). A shot from 1935 shows the scientist wearing it upon his arrival for a holiday in the Bahamas — ‘improbably paired,’ adds Venning, ‘with a rather natty wing collar’...

Over several years, the jacket aged visibly. ‘Einstein wore it all the time — a fact mentioned in the memoirs of fellow scientist Leopold Infeld, who worked with him at Princeton. Infeld explained that Einstein tried to keep material restrictions to a minimum. Long hair reduced the need for a barber and, he wrote, “one leather jacket solved the coat problem for years.”’

"5 minutes with… Einstein’s leather jacket" (Christie's)

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Man robbed store with face wrapped in toilet paper

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Early this morning, a gentleman walked into the bathroom of a Nashville, Tennessee convenience store and emerged brandishing a gun, his face covered by toilet paper. He demanded money and then took off in a Ford Focus.

Seems that inspiration can strike anywhere.

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This barber cuts hair with fire

Milan barber Franco Bompieri, proprietor of Antica Barbieria Colla, cuts hair with fire.

"Burning the ends... the hair evolves," he says. "It becomes bigger, the hair gets stronger and doesn't fall out anymore."

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Ant colonies could inspire better network algorithms and robot swarms

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Colonies of ants base decisions like where to establish a nest based on their population density. Scientists theorize that ants can estimate how many of their kind are around by randomly exploring the area and bumping into other ants. New research from MIT computer scientists not only supports this theory but could also be used to analyze social networks, improve robot swarms, and yield improve algorithms for networked communications in distributed computing applications. From MIT News:

“It’s intuitive that if a bunch of people are randomly walking around an area, the number of times they bump into each other will be a surrogate of the population density,” says Cameron Musco, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science and a co-author on the new paper. “What we’re doing is giving a rigorous analysis behind that intuition, and also saying that the estimate is a very good estimate, rather than some coarse estimate. As a function of time, it gets more and more accurate, and it goes nearly as fast as you would expect you could ever do.”

Musco and his coauthors — his advisor, NEC Professor of Software Science and Engineering Nancy Lynch, and Hsin-Hao Su, a postdoc in Lynch’s group — characterize an ant’s environment as a grid, with some number of other ants scattered randomly across it. The ant of interest — call it the explorer — starts at some cell of the grid and, with equal probability, moves to one of the adjacent cells. Then, with equal probability, it moves to one of the cells adjacent to that one, and so on.

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Hear William S. Burroughs read the most depraved bits of Naked Lunch atop beautiful music

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Let Me Hang You is a collection of unreleased recordings of William S. Burroughs reading Naked Lunch accompanied by lovely and trippy music from psych-garage-soul player King Khan, experimental guitarist Bill Frisell, pianist Wayne Horvitz, violinist Eyvind Kang, and other guests. Listen below! The album will be released on Friday (7/15) from Khannibalism/Ernest Jenning Record Co. From the album announcement:

Twenty years ago, William S. Burroughs was asked to record an audio version of his favorite parts of Naked Lunch. Longtime associates and producers Hal Willner and James Grauerholz produced several sessions, and they recruited a team of world class musicians to help. Famed for their Naked City involvement, Bill Frisell and Wayne Horvitz contributed their genius, as well as Eyvind Kang, just to name a few. The recordings were then abandoned and collecting dust on a musty shelf, as forgotten as a piece of rancid ectoplasm on a peepshow floor.

In 2015, Hal Willner decided to reopen this unfinished masterpiece and asked help from King Khan (a musician that he and Lou Reed admired and became fast friends with). Hal sent Khan all of the recordings and asked him to add his gris gris to this extremely perverted gumbo... and history was made and the scum began to rise!

King Khan recruited M Lamar, the creator of the "Negrogothic" movement and the identical twin brother of transgender actress Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black), and The Frowning Clouds, a band of young Australian boys who have mastered the sixties garage punk sound...

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