BBC - Future - Here’s the truth about the ‘planned obsolescence’ of tech
On a macroeconomic scale, the rapid turnover of goods powers growth and creates reams of jobs – just think of the money people earn by manufacturing and selling, for instance, millions of smartphone cases. Furthermore, the continuous introduction of new widgets to earn (or re-earn) new and old customers’ dough alike will tend to promote innovation and improve the quality of products.
obsolescence  manufacture  product 
2 days ago
Maths in a minute: Transcendental numbers (and politics) | plus.maths.org
Any number that is not algebraic is called transcendental.pi seemed so unlike other numbers: because we can't write down equations of which they are solutions, transcendental numbers are harder to "get hold of" than algebraic ones. In essence, an equation for a number provides us with a finite process by which we can construct that number; in the case of transcendental numbers, we have no such process.
mathematics  number 
26 days ago
BBC - Travel - Japan’s unusual way to view the world
The appreciation of transient beauty is at the heart of some of Japan’s most simple pleasures, such as the annual celebration of cherry blossoms (Credit: Alex Ramsay/Alamy)

The dents and scratches we bear are all reminders of experience, and to erase them would be to ignore the complexities of life. By retaining the imperfect, repairing the broken and learning to find beauty in flaws – rather than in spite of them – Japan’s ability to cope with the natural disasters it so often faces is strengthened.
wabisabi  entropy 
5 weeks ago
Psychologists' face off reveals humans can recognise 5,000 people | Science | The Guardian
Through a series of recall and recognition tests on volunteers, the researchers discovered that the human ability to recognise faces varies enormously. The study found that people know between 1,000 and 10,000 faces of friends, family members, colleagues and celebrities, with most racking up about 5,000.
face  recognition  vision 
9 weeks ago
Here’s the science behind the Brexit vote and Trump’s rise | Michele Gelfand | Opinion | The Guardian
communities that face financial danger – hunger, poverty, bankruptcy – and higher occupational hazards, are substantially tighter. This helps explain why those on low incomes have consistently told us they desire strong rules and leaders. In fact, when we ask respondents to free-associate from the word “rules”, low-income subjects consistently write positive words such as “good”, “safe” and “structure”, while wealthier ones write down words such as “bad”, “frustrating”, and “constricting”. These preferences arise early: in our lab, three-year-olds from low-income families were more visibly upset than peers from wealthier homes when they saw puppets violate clear rules.
rule  society  culture 
12 weeks ago
Scientific publishing is a rip-off. We fund the research – it should be free | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian
Last week, a consortium of European funders, including major research agencies in the UK, France, the Netherlands and Italy, published their “Plan S”. It insists that, from 2020, research we have already paid for through our taxes will no longer be locked up. Any researcher receiving money from these funders must publish her or his work only in open-access journals.

The publishers have gone ballistic. Springer Nature argues that this plan “potentially undermines the whole research publishing system”. Yes, that’s the point.
science  publishing 
12 weeks ago
Nick Saban: Do your job and trust the process — Quartz at Work
Goals aren’t conducive for action. You don’t know what you need to do to achieve the goal.

The process gives you a mental checklist of items to tick off. There’s always the next deliverable and something you can do to get better.
process  goal 
july 2018
Specialized's New Super-Fast S-Works Venge Bike - Cool Hunting
"For every shape in the library, it is impossible to make it more aero without also making the shape heavier," says Yu, "We are maxing out what computers are capable of doing right now." Although the shapes were computer-generated, they have an intuitive look and feel. "We can get a shape that looks 90% the same from free-hand drawing it," he says. However, it is that extra 10%—those small tweaks and millimeter adjustments of surface area, like the Venge’s new handlebars which have a unique shape that cuts down on material, weight, and offers more aero—that have truly distinguished the computer’s inputs.
bicycle  aerodynamics 
july 2018
E-waste mining could be big business - and good for the planet. - BBC News
Expenses included the costs of waste collection, labour, energy, material and transportation, as well as capital costs for the recyclers' equipment and buildings.

And when these costs - and the effects of Chinese government subsidies for recycling - were taken into account, the team found that mining from ore was 13 times more expensive than e-waste mining.
recycling 
july 2018
'Memory transplant' achieved in snails - BBC News
Traditionally, long-term memories were thought to be stored at the brain's synapses, the junctions between nerve cells. Each neuron has several thousand synapses.

But Prof Glanzman said: "If memories were stored at synapses, there is no way our experiment would have worked."

The UCLA professor of integrative biology holds a different view, believing that memories are stored in the nuclei of neurons. The paper might support hints from studies conducted decades ago that RNA was involved in memory.
brain  memory 
may 2018
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