CON.CA - RSS Feed http://con.ca/ interesting en-us CON.CA (C) The Psychological Roots of Slavery in Corporal Punishment #Culture http://con.ca/view/news/10776 http://con.ca/view/news/10776 On the New York Tikes, Michael Eric Dyson looks at the use by black families of corporal punishment on children, noting its "psychological roots in slavery".

While 70 percent of Americans approve of corporal punishment, black Americans have a distinct history with the subject. Beating children has been a depressingly familiar habit in black families since our arrival in the New World. As the black psychiatrists William H. Grier and Price M. Cobbs wrote in “Black Rage,” their 1968 examination of psychological black life: “Beating in child-rearing actually has its psychological roots in slavery and even yet black parents will feel that, just as they have suffered beatings as children, so it is right that their children be so treated.”

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How to Buy a Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle from Belarus #Travel http://con.ca/view/news/10778 http://con.ca/view/news/10778

If you've ever wanted your very own Russian-made BRDM-2, ntv explains the steps involved in purchasing one in Belarus and bringing it home. And it works, too.

A little more about the thing itself. BRDM-2 is a Combat Reconnaissance/Patrol Vehicle. It weighs 7 tonnes, has a 5.5 liter engine and 140 horsepowers. It consumes 40 liters of 92 octane gasoline every 100 kilometers. It's an amphibious vehicle, which has a winch and a water cannon. Goes through any terrain, absolutely any.

And the main thing. Right now I'm in the active process of polishing it up, getting my license and documents. This will take some time, but after it's all done, I will start the gnarliest road trip livejournal has ever seen. This won't be a chilled-out ride on rented four-wheelers with underseat heating and night stops in Hiltons, but a real off-road expedition through mud, lakes, rivers and forests.

You or your company can easily sponsor our expedition. The logo of each sponsor will be applied onto the armor of this beast, and we'll give each and every sponsor a special mention in every update we do. Right now I'm looking for technical sponsors, which can consist of:
1) A warm auto workshop in Moscow
2) Paint and finishing works
3) Armored windows and their installation
4) Laser cutting, welding, metalwork
5) Interior work

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Not Wanting Something Everyone Else Wants Is Kind of Hot #Telephone http://con.ca/view/news/10777 http://con.ca/view/news/10777 The new cool is the flip phone, a device that still retains its basic connectivity with voice and SMS, but prevents the rest of the world from having a way to reach you 24/7 on a multitude of platforms.

The nerds have had their day in the sun: now, It Girls are reclaiming “cool” by rejecting these technological gadgets. Of the new Apple iWatch, she of oversize sweater and don’t-care messy-chic hair, Alexa Chung said, “It’s kind of dorky…” Trying too hard isn’t cool, and having an iPhone 6 (let alone 6 plus) is trying too hard. It’s sitting in the front row of class, it’s refreshing Facebook at a party, too available for conversation, too willing to fit in. If Adidas slide sandals and Esprit-logo sweatshirts are nonchalantly in style again, think of the flip phone as the ultimate in normcore technology.

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The iPhone 6 You Always Wanted #Humour http://con.ca/view/news/10775 http://con.ca/view/news/10775

College Humour takes a spin at Apple's Jony Ive commercial by having him introduce new iPhone 6 features you'd really like to have.

What it would look like if Apple gave us the features we truly deserved.

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"In 2011, Chernobyl, site of the world's worst catastrophe at a nuclear power plant, was officially declared a tourist attraction." #Travel http://con.ca/view/news/10773 http://con.ca/view/news/10773 National Geographic's George Johnson has this article on nuclear tourism, with tour busses now taking people past the exclusion zone that surrounds Chernobyl. Amusingly, despite the history behind the place, radioactivity is far lower than what you'd get while flying on a plane — and is probably a far safer place than the Russia-Ukraine border right now.

Sixty miles away in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital city, weeks of bloody demonstrations had led in February to the expulsion of the president and the installation of a new government. In response to the upheaval Russia had occupied Crimea, the peninsula that juts from southern Ukraine into the Black Sea. Russian troops were massing on Ukraine’s eastern border. In a crazy way, Chernobyl felt like the safest place to be.

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Apple Will No Longer Unlock iPhones for the Police #Privacy http://con.ca/view/news/10772 http://con.ca/view/news/10772 Possibly in response to allegations that the tech industry did not push back strongly enough against government data collection, Apple has announced that as of iOS 8, it will no longer keep copies of the "encryption keys that unlocked devices for legally binding police requests."

Apple will still have the ability — and the legal responsibility — to turn over user data stored elsewhere, such as in its iCloud service, which typically includes backups of photos, videos, e-mail communications, music collections and more. Users who want to prevent all forms of police access to their information will have to adjust settings in a way that blocks data from flowing to iCloud.

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Orangutans, Creatures of Culture and Learning #Animals http://con.ca/view/news/10771 http://con.ca/view/news/10771 According to Ferris Jabber of The New Yorker, orangutans are actually pretty smart — and by smart, he means smart like you and me. Reportedly, the animals are resourceful, they're capable of reason, of cultural learning, and are even self-aware.

Compared with chimpanzees, which are highly excitable, orangutans seem far more sober and considerate. They move deliberately and often spend a good deal of time silently watching before deciding how to act. At Camp Leakey, the orangutans had plenty of opportunity to observe and imitate people. They soon developed a habit of stealing canoes, paddling them downriver, and abandoning them at their destinations. Even triple and quadruple knots in the ropes securing the canoes to the dock did not deter the apes. Over the years, they have also learned to brush their teeth, bathe themselves, wash clothes, weed pathways, wield saws and hammers, and soak rags in water in order to cool their foreheads with them. And they have done all of this without any instruction.

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The Use of Artificial Sweeteners Should Be Reassessed #Health http://con.ca/view/news/10770 http://con.ca/view/news/10770 Although "approved by most food regulation agencies as safe for humans," researchers have determined that the use of artificial sweeteners made mice glucose intolerant. In other words, sweeteners, which were "aimed at preventing diabetes" might actually be contributing to its development.

After 11 weeks, the researchers tested all the rodents' glucose tolerance by giving them a high-glucose drink and taking regular blood samples. Under normal conditions, the blood tests should show an initial spike in glucose, followed by a decline as the body secretes the insulin in response. Insulin instructs cells to use the extra glucose for energy or turn it into fat. Glucose intolerance occurs when this process becomes inefficient, and is strongly associated with type 2 diabetes.

The blood-glucose levels of the mice consuming the sweeteners spiked at a higher level than all the control groups and also took longer to drop back down to normal. "They showed significant glucose intolerance," says Segal, "at levels comparable to a metabolic disease."

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"There's like 30 knives out there right now, hidden up their rectums." #Culture http://con.ca/view/news/10769 http://con.ca/view/news/10769 On The Atlantic, Graeme Wood looks at the culture found in gang-prisons, where the same groups causing chaos on the streets are also "the unlikely custodians of order behind bars."

Because he is a gentleman, Skarbek waited until we’d finished our burgers to illustrate some of that ingenuity. “How can you tell what type of cellphone an inmate uses,” he asked, “based on what’s in his cell?” He let me think for about two seconds before cheerily giving me the answer: you examine the bar of soap on the prisoner’s sink. The safest place for an inmate to store anything is in his rectum, and to keep the orifice supple and sized for the (contraband) phone, inmates have been known to whittle their bars of soap and tuck them away as a placeholder while their phones are in use. So a short and stubby bar means a durable old dumbphone; broad and flat means a BlackBerry or an iPhone. Pity the poor guy whose bar of soap is the size and shape of a Samsung Galaxy Note.

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Scottish Referendum on Independence Explained #Politics http://con.ca/view/news/10766 http://con.ca/view/news/10766

On Last Week Tonight, John Oliver explains the referendum on Scottish independence and the history causing this wish for separation.

Scotland is about to vote on whether to secede from the UK.
There are solid arguments on both sides.
But none of that makes bagpipes good to listen to…or does it?

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"The idea is to get the robot to load your dishwasher." #Robots http://con.ca/view/news/10765 http://con.ca/view/news/10765 Unveiled at the British Science Festival, the Boris robot scans objects with its sensors and calculates the best way to grab each one of them and where to put them in a dishwasher. While it may appear simplistic to create a device that can perform such menial a task, its creators are quick to remind us that being able to load a dishwater "requires all the manipulative faculties that evolution spent hundreds of millions of years developing."

Boris "sees" objects with depth sensors on its face and wrists. In 10 seconds it calculates up to a thousand possible ways to grasp a novel object with its five robotic fingers and plans a path of arm movements to reach its target, avoiding obstructions.

"It's not been programmed to pick it up - it's been programmed to learn how to pick it up," explained Professor Wyatt.

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Singles Outnumber Married People #Data http://con.ca/view/news/10767 http://con.ca/view/news/10767 According to PRI, although we live in an era where staying connected and meeting others is easier than ever, 50.2% of Americans are single. Partly responsible for this may be that the stigma of singleness is fading.

In addition to having a plethora of options, the era of the extended American adolescence seems to have tempered the rush to marriage. “People are spending a big chunk of their lives — much of the 20s and even into their 30s, increasingly — becoming a grown up,” Klinenberg says. “They’re investing their time in their job, they feel anxious about their career and they’re having a very difficult time moving into that next stage of what we’ve traditionally thought of as grown-up life.”

Postponing marriage has also meant that more people are living alone and "happily single," something that many seemingly do not want to give up

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Boeing and SpaceX Chosen by NASA #Space http://con.ca/view/news/10768 http://con.ca/view/news/10768 With the expectation that the Russians will eventually stop giving rides to the Americans on their Soyuz rockets, NASA turned to the private sector to create the next generation spacecraft to ferry astronauts into space. Boeing and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) were chosen, splitting $6.8 billion in U.S. federal spending.

SpaceX’s Dragon V2 capsule, which seats seven, was designed with an eye to interplanetary travel, able to land vertically anywhere on Earth “with the precision of a helicopter,” according to the company’s website, instead of parachuting into the ocean like early U.S. spacecraft in the 1960s and ’70s.

Boeing’s seven-passenger CST-100 has roots in the Apollo lunar-missions era, and its return to Earth would be cushioned by air bags and parachutes, according to the company’s website. Chicago-based Boeing was the only competitor to complete all of NASA’s design milestones on time.

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Complicated Machinery Recreated Entirely out of Wood #Art http://con.ca/view/news/10762 http://con.ca/view/news/10762 Complicated Machinery Recreated Entirely out of Wood

New York-based artist Roxy Paine mimics extremely complex machinery entirely out of wood. While the colour of the material is a dead giveaway of the medium being used, the real shock comes from the realisation that everything — from intricate wiring down to switches and dials on the devices — is a very detailed replica of the real thing. From the interview on It's Nice That:

How did you start creating things in wood?

The interplay between the natural world and the built environment is very interesting to me. That paired with the human desire to control nature and nature’s indifference to that desire. Using wood as a medium exemplifies nature contained and contrived.

Above:
Scrutiny, 2014
Maple
Photo courtesy of Roxy Paine and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York
Photo by Jason Wyche

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Eulogy to the iPod #Music http://con.ca/view/news/10764 http://con.ca/view/news/10764 With the notion in his heart that "gadgets die, even the ones you love," Wired's Mat Honan laments the death of the iPod. In an era of multipurposed smartphones, the single-purpose device is no longer needed — or wanted.

We made playlists that spoke to the lives we lived at the moment. Looking at someone’s iPod was like looking into their soul. In their music you could see who they were. You could tell if they were sophisticated or rough. You could see in their playlists the moments they fell in love and the moments they fell back out again. You could see the filthiest, nastiest hip hop in the little white boxes of the primmest people, and know their inner lives a little better than you did before.

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