Rachel Strohm

art / history / public policy / science

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Rachel Strohm

16 hours ago

When observers tell me what Roomba is thinking they invariably imagine great complexity—imbuing the robot with intentions and intricate plans that are neither present nor necessary. Every robot I build is as simple and simple-minded as I can make it. Anything superfluous, even intelligence, works against marketplace success.

Don’t Fear the Robot

nautil.us

Rachel Strohm

20 hours ago

At the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations in New York City in 1854, the mechanic Elisha Graves Otis demonstrated an elevator of his own design, hoisting himself into the air and cutting the suspension cable: his safety mechanism caught the cabin before its fall, raising commercial awareness for his invention.

The Paternoster: A Requiem

granta.com

Rachel Strohm

4 days ago

London is not a uniquely capitalist city, but a capital which has had more than 120 years of socialist and social-democratic governments, usually strongly supported by its population.

The Government of London

newleftreview.org

Rachel Strohm

9 days ago

The British Museum has about 8m items in its collection, and new acquisitions are being made all the time. The artefacts include sacred objects from all over the world – tomb guardians, reliquaries, statues of deities and demons – and more than 6,000 human remains. By rights the British Museum ought to be one of the most haunted institutions on the planet.

Ghosts at the museum

1843magazine.com

Rachel Strohm

14 days ago

Though cutting with a knife involves tearing, surgeons desire that the tearing be as minimal as possible; consequently, obsidian (volcanic glass) scalpels have been considered as an alternative to steel scalpels due to the narrowness of the cutting edge. When incisions made with each type of scalpel are viewed microscopically, one made with a steel scalpel will reveal tearing of individual cells, yet obsidian cuts between individual cells.

Sharp knives - high friction

tribonet.org

Rachel Strohm

15 days ago

The truth about content spend in the streaming era is it needs to be handicapped or adjusted for the ability to create hits as well as the rate at which this content “converts” into a library with durable value.

Content, Cars, and Comparisons in the "Streaming Wars"

matthewball.vc

Rachel Strohm

18 days ago

There are no heavy-duty supply stops outfitted with abundances of gear at the icy end of the world, so expeditions bring as many spare parts as they can fly out, and hope for the best. “It’s only a very short step from what you can resource people with in space,” said Liam Marsh, an electrical engineer from the University of Manchester who helped build the meteorite detection system.

Antarctica vs. Science

nytimes.com

Rachel Strohm

18 days ago

Salted protein is an Asian staple. My mother used to tell us a cautionary story of a family so poor that the parents hung a salted fish over the dinner table and instructed the children to imagine eating it with their plain rice. “Only look at the fish once per bite,” the parents told their hungry brood. “Don’t be greedy.”

A Mother, a Pandemic and Scorched Rice

nytimes.com

Rachel Strohm

19 days ago

These records allow us to see -- for the first time -- that historical tattooing was not restricted to sailors, soldiers and convicts, but was a growing and accepted phenomenon in Victorian England. Tattoos provide an important window into the lives of those who typically left no written records of their own.

How tattoos became fashionable in Victorian England

cnn.com

Rachel Strohm

20 days ago

But the most common method of jacking a truck is generally the most banal: Thieves know where to look for unattended trailers. At truck stops, it’s open season, with trailers galore for the taking, especially if you’ve got a seasoned crew.

The Pirates of the Highways

narratively.com

Rachel Strohm

21 days ago

Beiler estimates that when he was a kid, 10 percent of the Plain community worked in construction; today, it’s more like 70 percent. In the 1960s, government officials refused to allow Plain Sect milk to be sold unless it was refrigerated, and the community leaders weren’t about to put their people out of business, so they allowed milk to be cooled. Today, there are even Amish electricians. “As time goes on,” Beiler says, “technology changes things.”

What Brought Beyoncé, U2, and BTS to Amish Country?

esquire.com

Rachel Strohm

24 days ago

In Peru, the world’s No. 2 producer behind Colombia, a national lockdown to stem the virus has functioned like a shutoff button on the country’s cocaine conveyor belt, according to Miguel Ángel Ramírez Vásquez, a senior member of Peru’s anti-narcotics police. With borders closed, flights reduced and roads more rigorously patrolled, he said gangs are having trouble moving drugs.

Special Report: Peruvian coca farmers to Paris pushers, coronavirus upends global narcotics trade

reuters.com

Rachel Strohm

24 days ago

In reality, formalisation policies often move slowly, generate little revenue, produce unexpected results, face local resistance, and risk entrenching the marginalisation of targeted groups

Unpacking Formalisation: The need for a new research agenda on taxation and the informal economy

ictd.ac

Rachel Strohm

25 days ago

But by the Middle Ages minium had become more or less synonymous with red lead, which was used extensively in manuscript illumination. That art came to be described by the Latin verb miniare, “to paint in minium”, from which we get the term “miniature”: nothing to do, then, with the Latin minimus, “smallest”. The association today with a diminutive scale comes simply from the constraints of fitting a miniature on the page.

Three colours: Red

philipball.blogspot.com

Rachel Strohm

26 days ago

Strike can mean "to act decisively," or "refuse to act." It can mean "a hit," but in baseball it is "a miss."

That word has a very fluid history. The meaning "refuse to work to force an employer to meet demands" is from 1768, perhaps from notion of striking or "downing" one's tools, or from sailors' practice of striking (lowering) a ship's sails as a symbol of refusal to go to sea, which preserves the verb's original sense of "make level, smooth."

JANUS WORDS

etymonline.com

Rachel Strohm

26 days ago

Labour party officials opposed to Jeremy Corbyn worked to lose the 2017 general election in the hope that a bad result would trigger a leadership contest to oust him, a dossier drawn up by the party suggests.

Anti-Corbyn Labour officials worked to lose general election to oust leader, leaked dossier finds

independent.co.uk

Rachel Strohm

29 days ago

Vancouver has long enjoyed a reputation for Chinese cuisine, but in recent years the selection has ballooned far beyond the fare of its long-established Cantonese community. Now everything from Xinjiang lamb pilaf to Xi’an liangpi cold noodles are on the menu.

thetyee.ca

Rachel Strohm

29 days ago

The Aztecs, it turns out, were no more bloodthirsty or savage than anybody else in the world – including the early modern Europeans who systematically demonised them. Their culture was part of a civilisation (that of the Nahuas of central Mexico) that was as sophisticated and accomplished as that of those Europeans who sought to destroy it.

The Humans Behind the Sacrifice

historytoday.com

Rachel Strohm

30 days ago

Ordinary Icelanders revel in their ability to use phrases from the sagas—written around eight centuries ago—in daily life. The commentator who says that a football team is bíta í skjaldarrendur (“biting its shield-end”) [spoken] as it fights on in the face of great odds, is behaving quite normally in borrowing an image from ancient tales of Viking derring-do.

The strange reinvention of Icelandic

economist.com

Rachel Strohm

31 days ago

Is it wise to wheelie for miles through traffic with no helmet? Obviously, no. Will a Bike life participant get hurt or killed? Probably. Do these facts make Bike life any different from surfing, skateboarding, mosh pits or hot-rod cars, subcultures in which (predominantly white) teenagers bonded in their physical power, camaraderie and opposition to authority?

Also no.

Bike life: How a subculture turns bikes into tools of escape, and cities into playgrounds

northjersey.com

Rachel Strohm

31 days ago

Over lunch one afternoon recently, Sharshukov and I shared a lump of mozzarella the size of a tennis ball, freshly made a few feet away. It yielded to my fork with a dewy sponginess and tasted bright and grassy. The plump, juicy cheese, with its balance of creaminess and bite, reminded me of eating on a sun-drenched Roman piazza.

Moscow melt

1843magazine.com

Rachel Strohm

32 days ago

The shadow work and pensions secretary, Jonathan Reynolds, called for the five-week wait for a first universal credit payment to be scrapped and replaced with a cash grant, and the two-child limit on benefit payments to be abandoned.

Labour urges universal credit rethink to help low-income families

theguardian.com

Rachel Strohm

32 days ago

It makes sense that as Korea now gets credit for "dalgona coffee," people from other cultures are putting up their defenses about the drink's newfound fame. In a popular Twitter thread, one user shared hesitance toward the idea that people are "being blown away by the 'discovery'" of the technique, adding that the Greek-style frappe owes its existence to milk shortages.

A Dive Into the Disputed History of 'Dalgona Coffee'

vice.com

Rachel Strohm

33 days ago

Of the 864 vessels that were dismantled around the world last year, nine were dismantled in Europe. Give or take a dozen (sent to Mexico, the Philippines, Russia and South Korea), the remainder went to breaking yards in Turkey, China, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Where oil rigs go to die

theguardian.com

Rachel Strohm

35 days ago

Behind that myth lies a massive wealth transfer masquerading as a donation. The Morrill Act worked by turning land expropriated from tribal nations into seed money for higher education. In all, the act redistributed nearly 11 million acres — an area larger than Massachusetts and Connecticut combined.

Land-grab universities

hcn.org

Rachel Strohm

39 days ago

Behind the scenes of the so-called ramen boom of recent years is Sun Noodle. Over the last 33 years, the Hawaiian company has built three factories, which pump out a combined 90,000 servings of ramen noodles per day. It sells these noodles to notable ramenya across America, including nine of New York Times critic Pete Wells's picks for the top 10 ramen destinations in New York.

Inside Sun Noodle, the Secret Weapon of America's Best Ramen Shops

eater.com

Rachel Strohm

39 days ago

"the online stores on Hydra employ drug dealers known as kladmen ("treasuremen" or "droppers"), whose job is to stash drugs in GPS-tagged hiding spots ready for pick up by online buyers. It’s a street-tech workaround in a country where the postal system is slow and unreliable and regular street drug dealing is highly risky. It's basically Pokémon Go for drugs."

A New Breed of Drug Dealer Has Turned Buying Drugs into a Treasure Hunt

vice.com

Rachel Strohm

41 days ago

"American historians had focused exclusively on the American side of the story and had dismissed the Sicilian side as an antiquated, primitive mafia. Sicilian writers had focused exclusively on the Sicilian side. What he argues is that since the 1980s there has been a constant traffic in ideas, in criminal personnel and criminal commodities (like drugs), backwards and forwards across the Atlantic."

The Best Books on the Mafia

fivebooks.com

Rachel Strohm

43 days ago

With Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, the government is scrapping the subsidy system which has kept British farming in stasis for years – and on which the livelihoods of many thousands depend. Under the agriculture bill currently before parliament, subsidies will be redirected at public goods alone. If a farmer does not provide such services, they will have to live off sales of their produce.

The end of farming?

theguardian.com

Rachel Strohm

43 days ago

"About a year ago, Shi’s team published two comprehensive reviews about coronaviruses in Viruses and Nature Reviews Microbiology. Drawing evidence from her own studies—many of which were published in top academic journals—and from others, Shi and her co-authors warned of the risk of future outbreaks of bat-borne coronaviruses."

How China’s ‘Bat Woman’ Hunted Down Viruses from SARS to the New Coronavirus

scientificamerican.com

Rachel Strohm

43 days ago

"However, even when pilots and local development interventions have proven very successful, they have often been difficult to scale up in a cost-effective way to achieve development impact on a large scale. Conversely, several development interventions that have managed to achieve impressive scales at relatively low costs are increasingly under scrutiny for their lack of transformative impacts on the lives of the poor."

Implementing successful small interventions at a large scale is hard

blogs.worldbank.org

Rachel Strohm

44 days ago

"Colombia’s hippos have multiple analogues: When they leave the water at night to graze in meadows, they take on roles similar to extinct giant llamas. Their daytime defecations in the waterways — a keystone of many African river habitats — dump massive amounts of nutrients into underwater systems, much as a vanished semiaquatic rhino-like animal might have done."

Pablo Escobar’s Hippos Fill a Hole Left Since Ice Age Extinctions

nytimes.com

Rachel Strohm

46 days ago

The average yield of the five steps is 36%, making the overall yield a god-awful 0.5%. Yes, you're getting about 1/200th of the theoretical amount! So, to get one stinking gram of pure remdesivir you would need to start with about 200 grams of starting material that may have taken weeks, or maybe months, to make.

OMG! We Made One Gram of Remdesivir!

acsh.org

Rachel Strohm

49 days ago

"However, our survey suggests that granting the right to vote to those currently or formerly incarcerated may not overwhelmingly benefit one party over the other."

What Do We Really Know About the Politics of People Behind Bars?

themarshallproject.org

Rachel Strohm

52 days ago

"New York City is offering prisoners at Rikers Island jail $6 per hour — a fortune by prison labor standards — and personal protective equipment if they agree to help dig mass graves on Hart Island, according to sources with knowledge of the offer. Avery Cohen, a spokesperson for the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed the general arrangement, but said that it was not “Covid-specific,” noting that prisoners have been digging graves on Hart Island for years."

Rikers Island Prisoners Are Being Offered PPE and $6 an Hour to Dig Mass Graves

theintercept.com

Rachel Strohm

53 days ago

"The first single-use N95 “dust” respirator as we know it was developed by 3M, according to the company, and approved on May 25, 1972. Instead of fiberglass, the company repurposed a technology it had developed for making stiffer gift ribbons into a filter, by taking a melted polymer and air-blasted it into layers of tiny fibers. “They look like somebody dropped a bunch of sticks—and they have huge spaces between them,” says McCullough."

The untold origin story of the N95 mask

fastcompany.com

Rachel Strohm

53 days ago

"Being in this position for a long time can leave an educational scar. Learning to comparison shop or to create a budget can be skills that get overlooked. If someone spends a couple of decades buying the cheapest food because that was what they could afford, the task of learning which foods have the most nutrients and what they need to make cooking easier — once they can afford to do so — might be overwhelming.

The Special Kind of Impostor Syndrome That Comes When You’re Not Broke Anymore

nytimes.com

Rachel Strohm

53 days ago

"But the problem that I’m illustrating is real. Small, plausible adjustments to your inputs make your model spit out very different things. The assumptions you make are vital. We haven’t even started to think about other crucial things — for instance, government interventions, and how effective they are."

How likely are you to die of coronavirus?

unherd.com

Rachel Strohm

54 days ago

"The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is changing rules on what counts as a hospital bed; how closely certain medical professionals need to be supervised; and what kinds of health care can be delivered at home. These broad but temporary changes will last the length of the national emergency."

Hospital Safety Rules Are Relaxed to Fight Coronavirus

nytimes.com

Rachel Strohm

54 days ago

“My partner took me to the hospital that she works in because she wanted all her colleagues to laugh at me. The doctors thought it was quite funny, making comments like ‘This is an injury due to self-isolation and boredom.’”

At the hospital, a team of two doctors applied an anaesthetic spray and manually removed the magnets from Reardon’s nose.

Astrophysicist gets magnets stuck up nose while inventing coronavirus device

theguardian.com

Rachel Strohm

54 days ago

"Herd immunity is typically generated through vaccination, and while it could arise through widespread infection, “you don’t rely on the very deadly infectious agent to create an immune population,” says Akiko Iwasaki, a virologist at the Yale School of Medicine. And that seemed like the goal. In interviews, Vallance and others certainly made it sound like the government was deliberately aiming for 60 percent of the populace to fall ill. Keep calm and carry on … and get COVID-19."

The U.K.’s Coronavirus ‘Herd Immunity’ Debacle

theatlantic.com

Rachel Strohm

56 days ago

"Of course, today’s crisis makes it clear that there has been systematic underinvestment, over the past several decades, in planning, in-house government labs and plants, surge capacity and public health. One reason for this is that American leaders failed to learn properly from the record of World War II. That failure came not only from forgetfulness or oversight, but also from a deliberate effort to obscure the importance of public investment, public regulation and public coordination by those who preferred a story of World War II in which the only heroes on the homefront were for-profit companies."

The 5 WWII Lessons That Could Help the Government Fight Coronavirus

politico.com

Rachel Strohm

56 days ago

"The good news is that so far, our team has found 50 existing drugs that bind the human proteins we’ve identified. This large number makes me hopeful that we’ll be able to find a drug to treat COVID-19. If we find an approved drug that even slows down the virus’s progression, doctors should be able to start getting it to patients quickly and save lives."

COVID-19 treatment might already exist in old drugs – we’re using pieces of the coronavirus itself to find them

theconversation.com

Rachel Strohm

56 days ago

What we have learned is that the entire system is highly vulnerable to relatively small – and probably impossible to predict – supply shocks. An egg carton here and a garage mechanic there are all that stand between us and the collapse of the complex network of supply chains which keep us alive.

Liebig’s law writ large

consciousnessofsheep.co.uk

Rachel Strohm

56 days ago

"If informal settlements are locked down and their inhabitants lose access to work, food, and other essentials, there will be a risk not only of the coronavirus ravaging communities that contain large numbers of individuals who are vulnerable to its most serious effects, but of exacerbating malnutrition, increasing the risk of other diseases and plunging millions of people into – or further into – long-term poverty."

How to Tackle Coronavirus in Slums

globaldashboard.org

Rachel Strohm

58 days ago

"If supermarket chains are having problems with getting goods into distribution centres and out into stores, no one can honestly say their supply chains are healthy. They are being overburdened by an obvious surge in demand in stores that they cannot meet fast enough. This demand is coming from all of us because coronavirus forces us to change our shopping habits."

When Logistics Run Out of Time

novaramedia.com

Rachel Strohm

63 days ago

"For example, most respiratory viruses tend to infect either the upper or lower airways. In general, an upper-respiratory infection spreads more easily, but tends to be milder, while a lower-respiratory infection is harder to transmit, but is more severe. SARS-CoV-2 seems to infect both upper and lower airways, perhaps because it can exploit the ubiquitous furin. This double whammy could also conceivably explain why the virus can spread between people before symptoms show up—a trait that has made it so difficult to control."

Why the Coronavirus Has Been So Successful

theatlantic.com

Rachel Strohm

63 days ago

"Patients who were given the medicine in Shenzhen turned negative for the virus after a median of four days after becoming positive, compared with a median of 11 days for those who were not treated with the drug, public broadcaster NHK said."

Japanese flu drug 'clearly effective' in treating coronavirus, says China

theguardian.com

Rachel Strohm

66 days ago

"This article is going to travel in time through various mediums of storage as an exercise of diving into how we have stored data through history. By no means will this include every single storage medium ever manufactured, sold, or distributed. This article is meant to be fun and informative while not being encyclopedic."

The Life of a Data Byte

blog.jessfraz.com

Rachel Strohm

66 days ago

"The Obama administration’s stated justifications for joining the war effort obscure the truth of what led them to the war. Other Obama administration officials had alreadystated that their support for the war, coupled with a $1 billion arms deal, was first and foremost payback for Saudi’s grudging tolerance of the Iran nuclear deal, and to reassure them that the US remained a reliable ally, despite the deal."

Obama Officials’ Incomplete Reckoning with Failure on Yemen

hrw.org

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