In the News 08.02.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
Thursday 9th February, 2017
Total Recall: The People Who Never Forget
If you ask Jill Price to remember any day of her life, she can come up with an answer in a heartbeat. What was she doing on 29 August 1980? “It was a Friday, I went to Palm Springs with my friends, twins, Nina and Michelle, and their family for Labour Day weekend,” she says. “And before we went to Palm Springs, we went to get them bikini waxes. They were screaming through the whole thing.” Price was 14 years and eight months old.
What about the third time she drove a car? “The third time I drove a car was January 10 1981. Saturday. Teen Auto. That’s where we used to get our driving lessons from.” She was 15 years and two weeks old.
The first time she heard the Rick Springfield song Jessie’s Girl? “March 7 1981.” She was driving in a car with her mother, who was yelling at her. She was 16 years and two months old.
Read the rest of this article at The Guardian
Little Bit of Poison for Everyone
The publication of Ernest Hemingway’s complete correspondence is shaping up to be an astonishing scholarly achievement. We are already on the third of a projected seventeen volumes, minimum, which will include in their entirety every surviving letter, postcard and telegram sent by Hemingway. Meticulously edited, with shrewd introductory summaries and footnotes tracking down every reference, the series brings into sharp focus this contradictory, alternately smart and stupid, blustering, fragile man who was also a giant of modern literature.
The third volume, ably edited by Rena Sanderson, Sandra Spanier and Robert W. Trogdon, takes us through a particularly eventful and productive patch of Hemingway’s life, from 1926 to 1929. At the beginning he is just tackling the rewrites of The Sun Also Rises (1926) and seeing through publication his satiric novel The Torrents of Spring (1926) – his first, chronologically speaking, though it is seldom credited as such. He will switch publishers to land with the prestigious editor Maxwell Perkins at Scribner’s, will write some of his greatest short stories for the collection Men Without Women (1927), and go on to compose his second proper novel, the hugely successful A Farewell to Arms (1929). Having entered the four-year period aged twenty-seven as a promising if uncommercial newcomer backed by obscure experimental presses, he will exit it at thirty transformed into a literary lion and international celebrity. In the process he will leave his first wife Hadley, on whose slender trust fund he has been subsisting, for his second wife Pauline Pfeiffer, a much more wealthy heiress; he will abandon bohemian Paris and return to the United States, indulging a newfound passion for big game fishing; his father will have committed suicide and he himself will assume the role of paterfamilias and the responsibility of extended family provider.
Read the rest of this article at The Times Literary Supplement
How to Convince Someone When Facts Fail
Have you ever noticed that when you present people with facts that are contrary to their deepest held beliefs they always change their minds? Me neither. In fact, people seem to double down on their beliefs in the teeth of overwhelming evidence against them. The reason is related to the worldview perceived to be under threat by the conflicting data.
Creationists, for example, dispute the evidence for evolution in fossils and DNA because they are concerned about secular forces encroaching on religious faith. Anti-vaxxers distrust big pharma and think that money corrupts medicine, which leads them to believe that vaccines cause autism despite the inconvenient truth that the one and only study claiming such a link was retracted and its lead author accused of fraud. The 9/11 truthers focus on minutiae like the melting point of steel in the World Trade Center buildings that caused their collapse because they think the government lies and conducts “false flag” operations to create a New World Order. Climate deniers study tree rings, ice cores and the ppm of greenhouse gases because they are passionate about freedom, especially that of markets and industries to operate unencumbered by restrictive government regulations. Obama birthers desperately dissected the president’s long-form birth certificate in search of fraud because they believe that the nation’s first African-American president is a socialist bent on destroying the country.
Read the rest of this article at Scientific American
Serial Killers Should Fear this Algorithm
On Aug. 18, 2010, a police lieutenant in Gary, Ind., received an e-mail, the subject line of which would be right at home in the first few scenes of a David Fincher movie:
“Could there be a serial killer active in the Gary area?”
It isn’t clear what the lieutenant did with that e-mail; it would be understandable if he waved it off as a prank. But the author could not have been more serious. He’d attached source material—spreadsheets created from FBI files showing that over several years the city of Gary had recorded 14 unsolved murders of women between the ages of 20 and 50. The cause of each death was the same: strangulation. Compared with statistics from around the country, he wrote, the number of similar killings in Gary was far greater than the norm. So many people dying the same way in the same city—wouldn’t that suggest that at least a few of them, maybe more, might be connected? And that the killer might still be at large?
The police lieutenant never replied. Twelve days later, the police chief, Gary Carter, received a similar e-mail from the same person. This message added a few details. Several of the women were strangled in their homes. In at least two cases, a fire was set after the murder. In more recent cases, several women were found strangled in or around abandoned buildings. Wasn’t all of this, the writer asked, at least worth a look?
Read the rest of this article at Bloomberg
A Crack in an Antarctic Ice Shelf
Grew 17 Miles in the Last Two Months
A rapidly advancing crack in Antarctica’s fourth-largest ice shelf has scientists concerned that it is getting close to a full break. The rift has accelerated this year in an area already vulnerable to warming temperatures. Since December, the crack has grown by the length of about five football fields each day.
The crack in Larsen C now reaches over 100 miles in length, and some parts of it are as wide as two miles. The tip of the rift is currently only about 20 miles from reaching the other end of the ice shelf.
Once the crack reaches all the way across the ice shelf, the break will create one of the largest icebergs ever recorded, according to Project Midas, a research team that has been monitoring the rift since 2014. Because of the amount of stress the crack is placing on the remaining 20 miles of the shelf, the team expects the break soon.
“The iceberg is likely to break free within the next few months,” said Adrian J. Luckman of Swansea University in Wales, who is a lead researcher for Project Midas. “The rift tip has moved from one region of likely softer ice to another, which explains its step-wise progress.”
The time-lapse image below shows the rift gradually widening from late 2014 to January of this year.
Ice shelves, which form through runoff from glaciers, float in water and provide structural support to the glaciers that rest on land. When an ice shelf collapses, the glaciers behind it can accelerate toward the ocean. Higher temperatures in the region are also helping to further the ice shelf’s retreat.
Read the rest of this article at The New York Times