Pocket Scraps – Jan and Feb 2018

In which I try and catch up on all the scraps

Clearly, I’ve gotten out of the habit of collecting my thoughts and posting them. I noticed this morning that my FB has been news link free for a few months now. That was a deliberate choice, part of that choice was to post on the blog instead. Now to start part two of the choice happening again:) This one is a very incomplete catch up (got out of the habit of tagging the stores for later posting as well), there’s going to be a more topical weekly one going forward. This is going to be part of my “breaking up with your phone” distraction.

Parrots and Falcons — Long-lost Cousins

Few surprises are more compelling than the recent discovery that falcons are more closely related to parrots than they are to hawks and eagles.

TL:DR Convergent evolution. I kid, click through and read, it’s good text and lots of pretty bird pictures

Read Parrots and Falcons — Long-lost Cousins

Out of her father’s custody: Supreme Court sends Hadiya back to Tamil Nadu to resume her studies

The fortitude of a young woman who has held on to her position despite massive pressure from her family and the State was on display in court number one of the Supreme Court on Monday. After a hearing that lasted almost two-and-a-half hours, during which the court sat well beyond 4.

This “love jihad” (concept Hindu fundamentalists have devised to discourage interfaith marriages, specifically of Hindu women to Muslim men) went all the way to the Indian supreme court, incredible story, brave woman.

Read Out of her father’s custody: Supreme Court sends Hadiya back to Tamil Nadu to resume her studies

The human brain’s bandwidth for visual images is severely limited

Imagine you are at Ikea to pick up a sofa for your new flat. You see one you like, a wine-coloured two-seater with big soft cushions. You imagine what it would look like with your current furniture, and decide that’s the sofa you want.

I sympathize, my visual memory is terrible, I even self-diagnosed with aphantasia. Since then, I have been getting better, mainly because I acknowledged something was more difficult for me than for other people, so I needed to, gasp, practice!

Read The human brain’s bandwidth for visual images is severely limited

This Cat Sensed Death. What if Computers Could, Too?

Of the many small humiliations heaped on a young oncologist in his final year of fellowship, perhaps this one carried the oddest bite: A 2-year-old black-and-white cat named Oscar was apparently better than most doctors at predicting when a terminally ill patient was about to die.

The tool we use most at work is a mass spectrometer, which is fantastic at identifying and separating organic compounds based on their properties.  We use mass specs to study the differences between the organic molecules in animals caused by changes in pollutant exposure, disease, diet, etc. Apparently cats are good at that too, and way more cuddly than a mass spec. But this article only uses cats to draw you in, so, read on :)

Read This Cat Sensed Death. What if Computers Could, Too?

Australian Birds “Intentionally” Light Their Prey on Fire

When the avian uprising inevitably occurs, humans will be wise to defect immediately to the Bird Army. A new study suggests that certain species of birds in Australia have figured out a way to spread fires in order to terrify — and eventually eat — their prey.

Clearly, I have a nose for Australian bird stories, though I think this one went viral, or shall we say, spread like wildfire?! (I love word play, aka puns, aka “dad” jokes, seriously, this love for word play is not a gender stereotype).

Read Australian Birds “Intentionally” Light Their Prey on Fire

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