The YouTubers who blew the whistle on an anti-vax plot

While rational minds worry about the impact of biased cable TV channels, and as the Delta mutation spreads globally, a mysterious marketing agency is offering to pay social media influencers to post anti-vax disinformation. Mirko normally ignores offers from brands asking him to advertise their products to his more than 1.5 million subscribers. But the sponsorship offer he received in May this year was unlike any other. An influencer marketing…

NYC sent non-police teams to respond to mental health calls for a month. Data shows that more people got help and fewer were hospitalized.

Remember that meme that shows two cops smirking while the text describes a (not-pictured) man having a mental breakdown? The idea is that a man having a difficult public mental health episode requires the attention of law enforcement officers (who are trained to use violence). Here’s what really happened when NYC tested out deploying trained mental health experts instead of cops to assist people in mental distress. If the 911…

Why your brain’s so bad at letting go of negative comments

Negative comments engage avoidance motivation. When you’re motivated to avoid something bad, then an important strategy is to be vigilant for more bad things in the environment to make sure that you’re aware of problems as soon as they happen. This may have been an adaptive strategy when there were people or animals out there trying to hunt you in some evolutionary environment. However, it’s a less effective strategy in…

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Unification, Part 2 (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 5, Episode 8) Spock Nurtures Romulan Peace Movement

Rewatching ST:TNG Beyond stating that he is on “a personal mission of peace,” the AWOL Ambassador Spock is reluctant to explain his presence on the Romulan homeworld. Referring to events depicted in the movie Star Trek 6 (which had not yet premiered when this episode first aired), Spock says he is reluctant to risk any one else’s life on yet another peace mission, but is personally committed to encouraging the…

Blender 3D Flyover of Fantasy Steampunk Spacecraft

When my kids were small, at bedtime we had interactive “blimpship stories,” set in a steampunk world. I would set up the latest plot developments, each child would pick a character they wanted to focus on, and I would play the DM as we role-played for 15-30 minutes. These stories grew amazingly complex and developed story arcs that lasted for years. For a while, the kids were pulling apart their…

He couldn’t get over his fiancee’s death. So he brought her back as an A.I. chatbot

The death of the woman he loved was too much to bear. Could a mysterious artificial intelligence website allow him to speak with her once more? […] There was nothing strange, he thought, about wanting to reconnect with the dead: People do it all the time, in prayers and in dreams. In the last year and a half, more than 600,000 people in the U.S. and Canada have died of COVID-19,…