https://www.vox.com/2015/7/28/9050469/watermelon-breeding-paintings, posted 26 Jun by peter in art food history nature
The watermelon originally came from Africa, but after domestication it thrived in hot climates in the Middle East and southern Europe. It probably became common in European gardens and markets around 1600. Old watermelons, like the one in Stanchi's picture, likely tasted pretty good — Nienhuis thinks the sugar content would have been reasonably high, since the melons were eaten fresh and occasionally fermented into wine. But they still looked a lot different.
That's because over time, we've bred watermelons to have the bright red color we recognize today. That fleshy interior is actually the watermelon's placenta, which holds the seeds. Before it was fully domesticated, that placenta lacked the high amounts of lycopene that give it the red color. Through hundreds of years of domestication, we've modified smaller watermelons with a white interior into the larger, lycopene-loaded versions we know today.
Of course, we haven't only changed the color of watermelon. Lately, we've also been experimenting with getting rid of the seeds — which Nienhuis reluctantly calls "the logical progression in domestication." Future generations will at least have photographs to understand what watermelons with seeds looked like. But to see the small, white watermelons of the past, they too will have to look at Renaissance art.
There is a good reason for colonizing another planet, which is to avoid extinction if the Earth is hit by a 10km or larger asteroid, as has happened many times in the Earth's history. Colonization of Mercury appears to be a very real and practical possibility, whereas colonization of Mars or the other planets, moons or asteroids is really more in the realm of fantasy.
habitatchronicles.com/2004/04/you-cant-tell-people-anything/, posted 24 Jun by peter in cognition management people
What’s going on is that without some kind of direct experience to use as a touchstone, people don’t have the context that gives them a place in their minds to put the things you are telling them. The things you say often don’t stick, and the few things that do stick are often distorted. Also, most people aren’t very good at visualizing hypotheticals, at imagining what something they haven’t experienced might be like, or even what something they have experienced might be like if it were somewhat different.
https://soranews24.com/2020/06/21/11-different-ways-to-say-father-in-japanese/, posted 22 Jun by peter in culture japan language
Well, actually, there are a ton of different ways to say “father” in Japanese, and what better day to take a look at them than today?
"Today" being yesterday, the third Sunday in June, or Father's Day (父の日).
https://www.inverse.com/science/wild-hummingbirds-can-see-colors-that-humans-cant-study, posted 17 Jun by peter in bird color science
Humans can't see UV light, but birds can. By combining spectral light with UV, researchers proved that birds can differentiate between those colors. This means that when the birds look at objects we can see as spectral light, they are likely seeing many more colors because that fourth cone gives the ability to see more color combinations.
https://www.internalpointers.com/post/build-binary-deb-package-practical-guide, posted 5 Jun by peter in development howto linux reference
In this quick tutorial I want to show you how to generate a deb package from scratch that will install a binary executable in the target system. Let's start off with a bit of theoretical background.
The SSH agent is a central part of OpenSSH. In this post, I'll explain what the agent is, how to use it, and how it works to keep your keys safe. I'll also describe agent forwarding and how it works. I'll help you reduce your risk when using agent forwarding, and I'll share an alternative to agent forwarding that you can use when accessing your internal hosts through bastions.
https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/04/28/1910114117, posted 5 May by peter in environment science
We show that for thousands of years, humans have concentrated in a surprisingly narrow subset of Earth’s available climates, characterized by mean annual temperatures around ∼13 °C. This distribution likely reflects a human temperature niche related to fundamental constraints. We demonstrate that depending on scenarios of population growth and warming, over the coming 50 y, 1 to 3 billion people are projected to be left outside the climate conditions that have served humanity well over the past 6,000 y. Absent climate mitigation or migration, a substantial part of humanity will be exposed to mean annual temperatures warmer than nearly anywhere today.
https://www.popsci.com/story/science/charted-pale-blue-blip/, posted 27 Apr by peter in history science visualization
Humans have gotten a lot done in 300,000 years: We invented agriculture, developed writing systems, built cities, created the internet, and shrugged off gravity to land on the moon. These innovations make our past seem long—and stuffed with significance. But in the brief history of life, everything we’ve ever accomplished fits into a tiny sliver of time—just 0.008 percent of the entire continuum shown below. This is how the rise of the animal kingdom stretches out compared with our relatively insignificant existence.
That’s because we eat a ton of meat, and the vast majority of it comes from factory farms. In these huge industrialized facilities that supply more than 90 percent of meat globally — and around 99 percent of America’s meat — animals are tightly packed together and live under harsh and unsanitary conditions.
“When we overcrowd animals by the thousands, in cramped football-field-size sheds, to lie beak to beak or snout to snout, and there’s stress crippling their immune systems, and there’s ammonia from the decomposing waste burning their lungs, and there’s a lack of fresh air and sunlight — put all these factors together and you have a perfect-storm environment for the emergence and spread of disease,“ said Michael Greger, the author of Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching.
To make matters worse, selection for specific genes in farmed animals (for desirable traits like large chicken breasts) has made these animals almost genetically identical. That means that a virus can easily spread from animal to animal without encountering any genetic variants that might stop it in its tracks. As it rips through a flock or herd, the virus can grow even more virulent.
Greger puts it bluntly: “If you actually want to create global pandemics, then build factory farms.”