IBM Security's 2018 survey of 4,000 adults worldwide found that for the first time in the history of their research, the majority of users say that they'd take extra steps in the name of "security" even if it meant that their usage would be less "convenient."
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A newly-published overview
of self-reported ayahuasca experiences indicates that the hallucinogen can help alleviate eating disorders and reduce alcohol consumption. Now, more scientists
are pushing to make it easier to study the drug legally. Read the rest
The winers of the 2017 Ig Nobel awards, "for achievements that first make people laugh then make them think," were announced at Harvard last night. From Phys.org:
Research on big ears, crocodile gambling wins Ig Nobels (Phys.org)
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Scientists who discovered that old men really do have big ears, that playing the didgeridoo helps relieve sleep apnea and that handling crocodiles can influence gambling decisions are among this year's recipients of the Ig Nobel, the prize for absurd scientific achievement.
This year's winners—who each received $10 trillion cash prizes in virtually worthless Zimbabwean money—also included scientists who used fluid dynamics to determine whether cats are solid or liquid; researchers who tried to figure out why some people are disgusted by cheese; and psychologists who found that many identical twins cannot tell themselves apart in visual images.
Scientific American dedicates its September issue to The New Science of Sex and Gender, and sociobiologists haven't been in this kind of tizzy since the Emmy-nominated Bill Nye episode about sex and gender. Read the rest
A meta-analysis of 15 published studies concluded
that "although sexting might be an indicator of risky sexual practices, it is not a particularly good one." Read the rest
Biologist Nipam Patel and his team at UC Berkeley study how butterflies develop wing shape and color by performing surgery on caterpillars, creating translucent windows in their cocoons. Read the rest
Henk van Ess teaches workshops in online investigative techniques; he worked with colleagues and a team of students from Axel Springer Academie to analyze a viral news video that purported to show a discarded missile launcher that had been discovered near Cairo's international airport in 2011, but only published last month.
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Ayelet Waldman is a novelist, non fiction author, and former federal public defender. Her latest book is called A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life. I interviewed her this morning.
Why did you start microdosing?
I started microdosing because I was profoundly and dangerously depressed. I have a mood disorder and for many, many years my medication worked great. I took it, I did what my doctor told me and everything was fine. But at some point my medication stopped working. I tried all sorts of different things. And nothing helped. I was getting worse and worse and more and more full of despair and more and more full of rage and more and more unstable and I became suicidal. I started doing things like googling the effects of maternal suicide on children and I was so terrified that I was going to do something to myself, that I was going to hurt myself, that I decided to do something drastic and something that some people might think is crazy -- I decided to try microdosing with L.S.D.
Did it work?
Oh absolutely. It worked for sure. It's sub-perceptual. In fact, if I told you right now, "Hey Mark, I slipped a microdose of LSD. in your coffee," you wouldn't even know the difference. The effect for me was instantaneous. My depression lifted right away. The book is called A Really Good Day because at the end of that very first day, I looked back and I thought, "that was a really good day." It wasn't like everything was perfect. Read the rest
Johns Hopkins is among several institutions challenging a key tenet of outlawing psychedelics: that they have "no medicinal use." Baltimore Magazine
examines the progress made by key researchers
Roland Griffiths and Bill Richards. Read the rest
A new study by IDC shows the market for smartwatches is shrinking. I think they are ugly, and mechanical watches are art.
The worldwide smartwatch market experienced a round of growing pains in the third quarter of 2016 (3Q16), resulting in a year-over-year decline in shipment volumes. According to data from the International Data Corporation, (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, total smartwatch volumes reached 2.7 million units shipped in 3Q16, a decrease of 51.6% from the 5.6 million units shipped in 3Q15. Although the decline is significant, it is worth noting that 3Q15 was the first time Apple's Watch had widespread retail availablity after a limited online launch. Meanwhile, the second generation Apple Watch was only available in the last two weeks of 3Q16.
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"The sharp decline in smartwatch shipment volumes reflects the way platforms and vendors are realigning," noted Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC's Wearables team. "Apple revealed a new look and feel to watchOS that did not arrive until the launch of the second generation watch at the end of September. Google’s decision to hold back Android Wear 2.0 has repercussions for its OEM partners as to whether to launch devices before or after the holidays. Samsung’s Gear S3, announced at IFA in September, has yet to be released. Collectively, this left vendors relying on older, aging devices to satisfy customers."
"It has also become evident that at present smartwatches are not for everyone," said Jitesh Ubrani senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers.
In Are CEOs paid for performance? Evaluating the Effectiveness of Equity Incentives, a new study from MSCI, researchers compared the salaries of 800 US CEOs of large and medium-sized companies to the returns to their shareholders during their tenure.
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Microsoft plans to turn Minecraft into a test suite for artificial intelligence research
, reports the BBC. As a simplified but all-encompassing model of the world, it's perfect for tutoring 'bots.
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…Microsoft suggests the open-ended nature of Minecraft makes it particularly useful because of the huge variety of situations it can simulate from first-person perspectives.
"It allows you to have 'embodied AI'," explained Matthew Johnson, the principal software engineer working on AIX.
"So, rather than have a situation where the AI sees an avatar of itself, it can actually be inside, looking out through the eyes of something that is living in the world.
"We think this is an essential part of building this kind of general intelligence."
In Medusa's Web
, fantasy grandmaster Tim Powers presents us with another of his amazing secret histories, this one of Rudolph Valentino. In this guest editorial, Powers -- author of many of Boing Boing's favorite novels, including the World Fantasy Award winning Last Call
, Hide Me Among the Graves
, and Dinner at Deviant's Palace
-- explains the genesis of his latest book, and takes us with him for his field-research.
Silicon Valley is raiding technology departments of universities around the U.S.—can tech academia survive?
Induced dissociative states are the best dissociative states, and one cheap and easy way to get there is to stare into someone's eyes for about ten minutes. More researchers are looking into the phenomenon. Read the rest
A lively, accessible video lecture by Ashly Burch and Rosalyn Wiseman presents research into how games impact the social lives of young people, and how important representation is to boys versus girls.
In America, chicken has better health care than you.