Tag Archives: world news

Music taste can reveal how intelligent you are (spoiler: Lil’ Wayne fans tend to be very dumb)

Virgil Griffith, popularly known for the Wikipedia Scanner that detects where the Wikipedia edits are coming from, maintains another very interesting project that maps musical tastes of college students with their intelligences levels (determined by their SAT score).

The x-axis represent the SAT score while the colored boxes indicate the music genre and the artist / composer.

(Click HERE for the full size image)


Fans of Lil Wayne‘s music scored the lowest in SAT while listeners of Beethoven‘s work were among the highest scorers. The full chart is available at Virgil Griffith‘s website (mirror).

To come up with this chart, Virgil used Facebook to determine the “Favorite music” of students in different colleges in the US and then combined their taste with the average SAT scores of students from these colleges. Smart.

The musical taste vs SAT score chart maps the 133 most popular (out of 1,455) favorite music from 1,352 schools. In terms of music genres, it follows like this – Soca < Gospel < Jazz < Hip Hop < Pop < Oldies < Raggae < Alternative < Classical < R&B < Rap < Rock < Country < Classic Rock < Techno in increasing order of SAT scores.


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Scientists successfully grow a human eye from stem cells

Will the magic of stem cells never cease? Scientists in Japan have reached a milestone in regenerating human organs by teasing stem cells to create the precursor to a human eye without any scaffolding structure.

The structure, which was developed by Yoshiki Sasai of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CBD) in Japan, was an “optic cup” only 550 micrometers in diameter, but it had all the hallmarks of an eye-in-the-making, including multiple layers of retinal cells and photoreceptors. Until now, stem-cell biologists have been unable to grow precursors like this, limited to two-dimensional sheets of tissue. Moreover, Sasai’s breakthrough marks the first time that such a complicated feat was done with human cells.

And just as excitingly, Sasai’s experiment revealed that the cues for complex cellular formation comes from inside the cell rather than from external triggers. Once the retinal precursor was up-and-running, it spontaneously formed a ball of epithelial tissue cells and then bulged outwards to form a bubble called an eye vesicle. It then folded back on itself to form a pouch, creating the optic cup with an outer wall (which in time would be the retinal epithelium) and an inner wall comprising layers of retinal cells including photoreceptors, bipolar cells, and ganglion cells.

The achievement is particularly promising for those hoping to advance cell transplantation. Sasai’s organically layered structure could result in the transplantation of photoreceptor tissue. It could also lead to treatments for diseases, and the possibility that such tissue could be frozen in anticipation of future transplants.

Sasai is confident that his model will work for transplantation, noting that these cells are “pure” and without residual embryonic stem cells – a factor that significantly reduces the chance of cancerous offshoots or growths of fragments of unrelated tissue (like bones or other organs).


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US attorneys go ballistic over Kim Dotcom and Megaupload case

There are a lot of questions surrounding the shutdown of Megaupload and the arrest of its founder Kim Dotcom. Most people believe that the US went after Dotcom to make an example out of him and his website (read about some other possible motivations for the arrest HERE). The whole situation seems pretty questionable and it never seemed like the US gave a concrete reason for the arrest or provided any evidence, and when the home country of Dotcom, New Zealand, refused to extradite him to the US last week due to lack of evidence against him, the US attorneys went ballistic.

As the Justice Department continues to pretend there’s nothing strange at all about its highly questionable tactics in shutting down Megaupload and having its executives arrested, the courts are still struggling with the details. A few weeks back, we noted that a judge in New Zealand rejected the US’s demand that New Zealand merely rubberstamp an extradition order to the US, despite there being numerous questions over the case itself and whether or not extradition is appropriate. As part of that, the judge also ordered the US Attorneys to hand over the evidence they’re using to make the case against Dotcom and his colleagues, such that they can properly respond to the evidence. The US, as you might expect has gone absolutely ballistic about this, insisting that such an effort is impossible

It’s great that a country is finally asking questions and not just letting the US come in, take what they want, and leave without having to deal with laws or reason. Regardless, it should be pretty interesting to see how this case works itself out.

Read more HERE


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Whoa whoa whoa, the Easter Island heads have bodies?

Since 1995, archaeologists have been doing excavation of several of the famous giant heads on Easter Island, yet somehow this is the first I’ve heard of the heads having bodies buried underground. Not just plain slabs, but detailed, carved bodies buried deep in the dirt.


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Guess who wants to build a ridiculously expensive underwater hotel? You’re right. Dubai.

Just when you think that Dubai and the UAE are surely running out of money and they’ve built all the crazy, over the top shit they can build, they come up with something else. Like this amazing futuristic underwater hotel of the future.

The architectural innovators over at Deep Ocean Technology have a conceptual design that is set to change the hotel industry and the vacationing experience in the Middle East. The Water Discus Underwater Hotel is designed as a modern and aquatic alternative to the mundane hotels found on land.

The grand structure features several discs both above and below water. The central tower adjoins a saucer-shaped space approximately five to seven meters above sea level with another mobile one that is generally stationed about ten meters underwater. The lower deck has the ability to resurface above water in the event of an emergency, which is demonstrated in the project’s promo reel. Otherwise, guests can enjoy one of the twenty-one suites in the lower disc that offers comfort with the additional visual benefit of the natural marine environment. Other amenities of this luxurious hotel complex include a helicopter pad, a rooftop garden, an above-ground swimming pool, restaurants, a spa, and a recreational center.


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American’s consume 80% of the worlds pain pills

Howard Levine

Americans consume 80 percent of the world’s supply of painkillers — more than 110 tons of pure, addictive opiates every year — as the country’s prescription drug abuse epidemic explodes.

That’s enough drugs to give every single American 64 Percocets or Vicodin. And pain pill prescriptions continue to surge, up 600 percent in ten year, thanks to doctors who are more and more willing to hand out drugs to patients who are suffering.

As more people get their hands on these potentially-dangerous drugs, more are taking them to get high. Their drug abuse leads to 14,800 deaths a year — more than from heroin and cocaine combined.

‘We’ve become a society of wusses,’ Long Island, New York, pharmacist Howard Levine told the BBC.

Mr Levine stopped carrying all of the major addictive prescription drugs after he was robbed twice by addicts looking to get high.

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New alcohol spray gets you drunk immediatley, but only lasts for a little bit.

If you want to get moderately drunk for only a short period of time… if actually drinking seems like too much for you, there’s now an alcohol spray available in Europe that will get you tipsy with a single spritz. The downside is that the drunkenness only lasts for a few minutes, so you’ll have to keep spritzing to keep up with your friends.

Designer Phillipe Starck and scientist David Edwards of “Le Whif” chocolate fame (what’s with this guy and putting things in aerosol cans?) have introduced an alcohol spray called Wahh Quantum Sensations. The spray gets you momentarily drunk with, supposedly, no side effects — it delivers 0.075 milliliters of alcohol per dose. So it’s for people who want to be drunk without drinking and only for a short time?

Sounds like a potentially severe threat to America’s youth. But don’t worry: it’s currently only available in Europe where a 21-shot cans costs 20 euro (US$26).


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2 year old Mensa member is probably a cocky little shit

He’s not out of diapers yet, but a Calgary toddler has become the youngest person in Canada to join the ranks of the international high-IQ society, Mensa.

Meet Anthony Popa Urria. At two years and nine months, Anthony has a staggeringly high IQ score of 154, just a few points shy of the estimated IQs of Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. While most of his peers are singing Itsy Bitsy Spider and drawing crayon scribbles, this bright toddler spends his time reciting the alphabet backward and forward, counting to 1,000, and listing the planets in the solar system, days in a week, months in a year and the seasons. He also speaks three languages, can read full sentences in books he has never seen before, can write his own name and many other words, and can solve complex 70-piece puzzles, among his vast skills… Across Canada, there are only seven other members of Mensa aged 10 or younger.


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A truly bad trip

After taking a legal drug known to the kids as “meow meow”, a teenager in the UK started hallucinating so bad that he ripped off his own scrotum. Ripped off his own god damn nut sack. Keep away from the meow mix, kids.

Cops warned people to stay away from the drug Mephedrone which is sold legally on the internet as PLANT FERTILISER.

Its chemical formula is one molecule different to ecstasy and as such dealers are claiming is not a controlled substance.

It is more commonly known on the streets as “drone”, “bubble”, “meow meow” or “legal high”.

Durham Police are warning that its use can result in severe nose bleeds, nose burns, hallucinations, blood circulation problems, rashes, anxiety and paranoia, fits, delusions and can lead to a heart attack.

But a police report – some of which was based on online forums about the drug – revealed a lad in Durham had tried to rip off his testicles after taking it.

The Durham Police report states: “A large number of contributors state how addictive mephedrone is and they are constantly topping up as one individual states that after using it for 18 hours his hallucinations led him to believe that centipedes were crawling over him and biting him.

“This led him to receive hospital treatment after he ripped his scrotum off.”

Cops warned the drug can also become addictive and taken with alcohol or cut with other drugs it could result in death.


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Disneyland Paris will get a ‘Star Wars Land’ in 2015, buy your tickets now.

When it first opened in 1992, Disneyland Paris was a bit of a joke and was a money pit of a project for Disney for a while. By now, things have picked up and Disneyland Paris is doing pretty well, and in 2015, they’ll be getting a Star Wars Land park. Okay, so I’ve gotten used to Lucas shitting all over the franchise, but I’d still love to see a Star Wars park in the US. All we get is Star Tours and a dancing Darth Vader.

The rumor first sprouted up on some Disneyland Paris Forums and has now been written about in detail by the Disney and More Blog. That writer claims to have confirmation that the Imagineers are indeed working on a more expansive Star Wars experience to surround the new Star Tours including a Jedi Academy, and possibly an eatery that looks like Mos Eisley Cantina, just to start. This will all take place in the Discoverland section of the park, taking over the current Captain Eo theater and its surrounding areas.

Another clue reported on at Disney and More is that the CEO of Disneyland Paris, Philippe Gas, said a few years back that the Star Tours upgrade would be late coming to the park because of increased costs. This confused many fans at the time because all the other parks are getting it but, with these rumors, maybe a light has been shined on his true meaning.


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