Research Preview: Science Magazine – May 19, 2023

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Science Magazine – May 19, 2023 issue: More than half of the world’s largest lakes have declined over the past three decades. Human water consumption, warming climate, and sedimentation are largely responsible. Lake Powell, shown here, with its once-submerged walls that now appear as whitened surfaces, exemplifies this drying trend. 

Cloning vigorous crops, and finding the first romantic kiss
First up this week, building resilience into crops. Staff Writer Erik Stokstad joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss all the tricks farmers use now to make resilient hybrid crops of rice or wheat and how genetically engineering hybrid crop plants to clone themselves may be the next step.
After that we ask: When did we start kissing? Troels Pank Arbøll is an assistant professor of Assyriology in the department of cross-cultural and regional studies at the University of Copenhagen. He and Sarah chat about the earliest evidence for kissing—romantic style—and why it is unlikely that such kisses had a single place or time of origin.

Global loss of lake water storage

Drying trends are prevalent worldwide

The ancient history of kissing

Sources from Mesopotamia contextualize the emergence of kissing and its role in disease transmission

The disappearing boundary between organism and machine

Artificial skin mimics the sensory feedback of biological skin


The New York Review Of Books — June 8, 2023

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The New York Review of Books (June 8, 2023) – Sacagawea after Lewis & Clark, Cryptocurrency reflects a radical marketization of politics, Nicole Flattery’s Factory Girls and more.

The Price of Crypto

A cryptocurrency mine, Gondo, Switzerland

By Trevor Jackson

Despite its boosters’ frequent references to democracy and freedom, cryptocurrency reflects a radical marketization of politics in which major players can rewrite the rules as needed.

The Cryptopians: Idealism, Greed, Lies, and the Making of the First Big Cryptocurrency Craze by Laura Shin

Proof of Stake: The Making of Ethereum and the Philosophy of Blockchains by Vitalik Buterin, edited by Nathan Schneider

None of this had to happen. In the fall of 2008, amid the great shipwreck of the international financial order, an anonymous person or group of persons writing under the name Satoshi Nakamoto proposed a new electronic cash system called Bitcoin. In the “white paper” proposing the system, initially circulated to a cryptography mailing list, Nakamoto claimed that it would “allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.” 

Ideal Detachments

Kevin Power

Tracing the memories of an employee at Andy Warhol’s Factory, Nicole Flattery’s Nothing Special dramatizes a young woman’s self-scrutiny in an era defined by male looking and listening.

Nothing Special by by Nicole Flattery

Profiles: Van Gogh Along The River Seine In Paris

The Art Institute of Chicago (May 18, 2023) – Discover how the changing geography at the fringes of Paris in the 1880s influenced the work of five artists: Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, Emile Bernard, and Charles Angrand.

Van Gogh and the Avant-garde: The Modern Landscape

May 14–Sep 4, 2023

This video maps their journeys, shedding light on this pivotal period in their careers and the landscapes that inspired them.

Previews: The Economist Magazine – May 20, 2023

Business | May 20th 2023 Edition

The Economist – May 20, 2023 issue:

Joe Biden’s global vision is too timid and pessimistic

The president underestimates America’s strengths and misunderstands how it acquired them

In the 1940s and early 1950s America built a new world order out of the chaos of war. For all its shortcomings, it kept the peace between superpowers and underpinned decades of growth that lifted billions out of poverty. Today that order, based on global rules, free markets and an American promise to uphold both, is fraying. Toxic partisanship at home has corroded confidence in America’s government. 

China and the West take a step to ease Africa’s debt crisis

A deal for Ghana is the first test case for a new approach

A man holds a 100 cedis, the Ghana currency, note in Accra, Ghana, on December 1, 2022. - Ghana is battling its worst economic crisis in decades.The government on December 14, 2022 signed a $3 billion bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund in a bid to shore up its public finances, but economic stability is still a way off.Once applauded as a haven of economic stability and security in a region plagued by coups and jihadist wars, Ghana has steadily lost investor confidence as its economy slipped into crisis. (Photo by Nipah Dennis / AFP) (Photo by NIPAH DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Ghana made history when it led the wave of sub-Saharan African countries that won independence more than six decades ago. It may now be making history again, as the first test case for a new approach to debt relief. China and Western governments may have overcome one barrier to restructuring the billions of dollars owed by countries with unsustainable debts.

Travel: Lighthouses Of Ouessant Island, France

FRANCE 24 (May 18, 2023) – We take you to the westernmost point of France; the last piece of civilisation before the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean. Ouessant, located 25 kilometres off the Finistère coast in Brittany, is a rugged and fascinating island, where less than 500 people live all year round.

We meet a fisherwoman, a doctor and a photographer who appreciate its raw beauty. The island is also home to no less than five lighthouses that have guided generations of sailors along this fearsome coast. The locals call them the “heroes of Ouessant”.

Financial Technology: Is There A Crypto Future?

The Economist (May 18, 2023) – The financial revolution once promised by cryptocurrencies has been knocked off course by regulators and allegations of fraud. So what does the future hold for crypto?

Video timeline: 00:00 – The crypto party is over 01:06 – The history 03:30 – What is crypto? 04:38 – Uses around the world 06:07 – Layer 2 solutions 07:12 – Web3 08:51 – Data and privacy 10:04 – What is the future of crypto?

Documentary: ‘Your Brain – Perception Deception’

NOVA PBS Official (May 17, 2023) – Neuroscientists discover the tricks and shortcuts the brain takes to help us survive. Is what you see real?

Chapters: 00:00 Introduction 03:59 The Science of Optical Illusions and Blind Spots 13:48 Is the Dress Blue and Black or White and Gold? 21:06 Yanny or Laurel? Auditory Illusions 24:46 Is Pain an Illusion? 30:28 What is Consciousness? Blind Spots and Babies 41:35 How is Consciousness Measured? 45:32 How the Brain Affects Memories 50:14 Conclusion

Join neuroscientist Heather Berlin on a quest to understand how your brain shapes your reality, and why you can’t always trust what you perceive. In the first hour of this two-part series, learn what the latest research shows about how your brain processes and shapes the world around you, and discover the surprising tricks and shortcuts your brain takes to help you survive.

Official Website: | #novapbs

California Tours: Mission San Juan Capistrano (2023)

ERIC MINH SWENSON ART FILMS (May 18, 2023) – Mission San Juan Capistrano, historic landmark and museum, is the Birthplace of Orange County. It was founded more than two hundred years ago as the 7th of 21 missions statewide and features a chapel still standing where Saint Serra once celebrated Mass.

Today, it is a monument to California’s multi-cultural history, embracing its Native American, Spanish, Mexican and European heritage. Originally built as a self sufficient community by Spanish Padres and Native Americans, the Mission was a center for agriculture, industry, education and religion. Famous for the Annual Return of the Swallows, Mission San Juan Capistrano is the “Jewel of the California Missions” and welcomes over 300,000 visitors each year.

News: Black Sea Grain Deal Extension, Democracy In Belarus, Imran Khan

The Globalist, May 18, 2023: A report on the last-minute extension of the Black Sea grain deal, Belarus’s opposition prepares for democracy and we hear from Pakistan as former prime minister Imran Khan announces that he expects to be arrested again.

Plus: Charles Hecker brings us the morning’s papers and the latest in the world of urbanism with Monocle’s Sheena Rossiter.

Front Page: The New York Times —- May 18, 2023


The Latest Rift Among Ukraine’s Allies Is Whether to Send F-16s

A Dutch F-16 jet fighter landing at Volkel air base in the Netherlands. Britain and the Netherlands are leading a European push to send the jets to Ukraine.

The United States is resisting a European push for the powerful fighters. But will it relent, as it did before with tanks, rocket launchers and air defense missiles?

Gains Near Bakhmut Raise Ukraine’s Hopes of a Turning Tide

The 28th Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian Army in a BMP armored vehicle during an operation to fire on a Russian target in the direction of Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine, in May.

The advances have been small, and Russians still hold most of the city, but Ukrainians say they see a meaningful shift in momentum.

After Historic Primary in Philadelphia, a New Mayor Will Face Old Problems

Cherelle Parker’s win in the Democratic primary is a sign of how the city has changed. But Philadelphia’s challenges remain deep and daunting.

They Watched Jordan Neely Die. Did They Have a Duty to Intervene?

New York does not require bystanders to act when someone is in danger, but the killing on the F train has residents debating when they should step in.