Reservoir dogs and furious rabies

Stray dogs
The WHO wants to eliminate rabies in Asia by 2020. But how, when rabid dogs are running India ragged? Mary-Rose Abraham reports.

A pile of puppies cower under a parked car. The men grab one, but two escape down the street, forcing them to give chase. Five scrappy adult shorthairs – of an indiscriminate breed commonly known as an ‘Indian dog’ – appear from nowhere. Pointed ears pricked with curiosity, they howl as if sounding an alarm throughout the neighbourhood: the ‘catchers’ are here.

The catchers’ van travels the tree-lined, mostly residential streets to the next area. On the way, a couple of dogs seem to recognise the vehicle, either by sight or by smell. They bark and take chase. Each time the team catches a dog in one of its giant butterfly nets, the mutt twists and turns and howls, trying to escape.

This ritual repeats several times through the day across 50 square kilometres of the south Indian city of Bangalore.… Read the rest

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The alien within: Fetal cells influence maternal health during pregnancy (and long after)

Dramatic research has shown that during pregnancy, cells of the fetus often migrate through the placenta, taking up residence in many areas of the mother's body, where their influence may benefit or undermine maternal health. Credit: Infographic by Jason Drees, Biodesign Institute

Dramatic research has shown that during pregnancy, cells of the fetus often migrate through the placenta, taking up residence in many areas of the mother’s body, where their influence may benefit or undermine maternal health.
Credit: Infographic by Jason Drees, Biodesign Institute

Arizona State University via Science Daily:

Parents go to great lengths to ensure the health and well-being of their developing offspring. The favor, however, may not always be returned.

Dramatic research has shown that during pregnancy, cells of the fetus often migrate through the placenta, taking up residence in many areas of the mother’s body, where their influence may benefit or undermine maternal health.

The presence of fetal cells in maternal tissue is known as fetal microchimerism. The term alludes to the chimeras of ancient Greek myth–composite creatures built from different animal parts, like the goat-lion-serpent depicted in an Etruscan bronze sculpture.

According to Amy Boddy, a researcher at Arizona State University’s Department of Psychology and lead author of a new study, chimeras exist.

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Will Artificial Intelligence Get High?

SHODAN

Gabriella Garcia writes at Hopes&Fears:

With the speculative possibility of a sentient machine, can we assume that Artificial Superintelligence would “take drugs” or “get high”? Hopes&Fears looked toward researchers at Rensselaer AI & Reasoning Laboratory, as well as Dr. David Brin, a fellow at Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, for the answer.

In the techno-dystopian future of Warren Ellis’ Transmetropolitan, gonzo protagonist Spider Jerusalem has a maker machine that can create everything from food to weapons to booze. Just one catch; the maker is constantly tripping on machine drugs—hence, Jerusalem’s sorely mismatched photographic “live-lenses,” which he requested from the maker while it was high on a hallucinogen simulator. Whether out of boredom of performing menial tasks, or perhaps rebelling against servitude, Jerusalem’s maker continues to manufacture and abuse machine drugs to the point of total uselessness.

If AI is being modeled by and after human behavior, why wouldn’t computers experiment with mind-altering substances or fall victim to addiction?

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A Toxic Chemical Ruined The Lives Of These People — And It’s Probably In Your Blood

“Welcome to beautiful Parkersburg, West Virginia, home to one of the most brazen, deadly corporate gambits in U.S. history,” writes Mariah Blake in a #LongRead for Huffington Post:

“Hold on to something,” Jim Tennant warned as he fired up his tractor. We lurched down a rutted dirt road past the old clapboard farmhouse where he grew up. Jim still calls it “the home place,” although its windows are now boarded up and the outhouse is crumbling into the field.

Photo: Tim Kiser (CC)

Photo: Tim Kiser (CC)

 

At 72, Jim is so slight that he nearly disappears into his baggy plaid shirt. But he drives his tractor like a dirt bike. We sped past the caved-in hog pen and skidded down a riverbank. The tractor tipped precariously toward the water, slamming into a fallen tree, but Jim just laughed.

When we had gone as far as the tractor could take us, Jim climbed off and squeezed through a barbed-wire fence.

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The Argument from Abandonment and Suffering

Abandonment

This post originally appeared on Philosophical Disquisitions.

(Previous Entry)

The argument from abandonment and suffering is a specific version of the problem of evil. Erik Wielenberg defends the argument in his recent paper ‘The parent-child analogy and the limits of skeptical theism’. That paper makes two distinctive contributions to the literature, one being the defence of the argument from abandonment and suffering, the other being a meta-argument about standards for success in the debate between skeptical theists and proponents of the problem of evil.

I covered the meta-argument in a previous post. It may be worth revisiting that post before reading the remainder of this one. But if you are not willing to revisit that earlier post, allow me to briefly summarise. Skeptical theism is probably the leading contemporary response to the evidential problem of evil. It casts doubt on our ability to identify God-justifying reasons for allowing evil.… Read the rest

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Terminator-style ‘skin’ repairs itself after a gunshot

A self-healing material that can fix itself with unprecedented speed could help protect structures in space.

via New Scientist:

Developed by Timothy Scott from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and his team, the self-healing “skin” contains a reactive liquid sandwiched between two polymer sheets. When punctured, a chemical called tributylborane in the liquid reacts with oxygen to make it harden, sealing the hole within seconds.

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Gruesome Find: 100 Bodies Stuffed into Ancient House

The 5,000-year-old house found in China was about 14 by 15 feet in size.  Credit: Photo courtesy Chinese Archaeology

The 5,000-year-old house found in China was about 14 by 15 feet in size.
Credit: Photo courtesy Chinese Archaeology

Remains of 97 bodies have been discovered in a 5,000 year old house in China. It’s likely that these people were victims of an epidemic.

Owen Jarus via Live Science:

The remains of 97 human bodies have been found stuffed into a small 5,000-year-old house in a prehistoric village in northeast China, researchers report in two separate studies.

The bodies of juveniles, young adults and middle-age adults were packed together in the house — smaller than a modern-day squash court — before it burnt down. Anthropologists who studied the remains say a “prehistoric disaster,” possibly an epidemic of some sort, killed these people.

The site, whose modern-day name is “Hamin Mangha,” dates back to a time before writing was used in the area, when people lived in relatively small settlements, growing crops and hunting for food.

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The Police: Our Enemies in Blue?

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 10.10.00 PMKristian Williams is not a big fan of the police. His book Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America, published by the ridiculously badass AK Press breaks it down like this:

Let’s begin with the basics: violence is an inherent part of policing. The police represent the most direct means by which the state imposes its will on the citizenry. They are armed, trained, and authorized to use force. Like the possibility of arrest, the threat of violence is implicit in every police encounter. Violence, as well as the law, is what they represent.”

Kristian was kind enough to talk to me about why cops are bad.

Thanks for talking to me about your book “Our Enemies in Blue”. Your book is extremely critical of the police. What does the police department of the United States represent to you?

The police are specialists in coercive force.  Their distinguishing characteristic is the combination of surveillance and violence to make people do what people with power want them to do. … Read the rest

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Buzz Aldrin Plans to Live on Mars by 2040

Um, just how old will Buzz Aldrin be in 2040? I4U reports on his wish to colonize Mars:

A space academy in honor of the astronaut Buzz Aldrin was established at Florida Institute of Technology. And Aldrin is developing a ‘master plan’ to begin colonies on Mars by 2040.

Buzz Aldrin and Barack Obama.

Buzz Aldrin and Barack Obama.

 

Florida Institute of Technology laid the foundation of the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute. It will open its doors to the public towards the end of this summer. The goal of the institute is the colonization of the planet Mars.

Buzz Aldrin himself will lead the effort in the occupation of the Red Planet. Everyone remembers Buzz Aldrin from the unforgettable Apollo 11 mission.

The Florida Institute of Technology has always been at the leading edge of science and its application. It encourages its students to explore and gather valuable knowledge. This then can be applied in real life.

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