Study Says Your Cat Probably Wants to Kill You | Complex

Study Says Your Cat Probably Wants to Kill You | Complex

People do crazy things for their cats like pet them and paint them and stop planes mid-flight for them, but new study says cats might not feel the same way about their loving owners. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh teamed up with the Bronx Zoo to compare domestic cats to their much larger predatory relatives, WWLTV reports. Their findings suggest that, if your pet cat was larger, it would consider killing you.

Researchers rated domestic house cats’ behavior using the “big five” personality traits: Openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion vs. introversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. The results show that domestic house cats and African lions have similar personalities—both tend to be dominant, impulsive, and neurotic. The only reason a house cat doesn’t decide on impulse to murder you in your sleep is because it knows it’s too small to cause any real damage.Dr. Max Wachtel, a psychologist, elaborated:

    We need to remember when we have cats as pets, we are inviting little predators into our house. For a lot of people, it is worth it. Cats can be fantastic, sweet companions. Until they turn on you.

Of course, it’s only a matter of time before they form packs to gang up on us unsuspecting humans. At least we can stalk up on catnip before that day arrives.


Bad Day for Gay Rights in Missouri

Bad Day for Gay Rights in Missouri

Calling a gay employee a “cocksucker” and asking if he has AIDS does not violate Missouri human rights law, a state appeals court ruled.

A divided three-judge panel ruled Tuesday that James Pittman cannot hold his former employer, Cook Paper Recycling Corp., liable because state law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“Contrary to Pittman’s and the ACLU’s contentions, the language of the Missouri Human Rights Act is clear and unambiguous: it prohibits employment discrimination based on an individual’s race, color, religions, national origin, sex, ancestry, age or disability,” Judge James Welsh wrote for the majority. “It does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”

But Welsh was not joined in his opinion by his colleagues, with Judge Robert Clayton III concurring in result only and Judge Anthony Gabbert dissenting.

AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) Policy Simulator Now Helps You Test Resource-Level Permissions.

AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) Policy Simulator Now Helps You Test Resource-Level Permissions.

Today, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) updated the IAM policy simulator to help you to test, verify, and understand resource-level permissions in your account. The policy simulator is a tool that lets you examine and validate the permissions your policies set. Now, the policy simulator will automatically provide a list of resources that must be set in order to simulate the action accurately. For example, when you simulate a call to EC2 runInstances in the policy simulator, now you will be prompted for the six resources (e.g. instance, security group, volume, subnet, image, and network interface) required in order for users to successfully perform this action. These enhancements to the simulator can help you verify that your policies work as expected. Using the IAM policy simulator console or APIs you can now simulate the exact scenario in which your users or applications call an AWS action.

To get started, navigate to the IAM policy simulator, select the user, group, or role and then the actions for the permissions that you wish to verify. Next, enter the resources and parameters required for each action in the ‘Actions Settings and Results’ table. To get started using the SimulatePrincipalPolicy or SimulateCustomPolicy API pass in the required resources and parameters for each action you wish to simulate. Visit Testing IAM Policies with the IAM Policy Simulator documentation and AWS security blog to learn more.

Saturn’s Geyser Moon Shines in Close Flyby Views | NASA

Saturn’s Geyser Moon Shines in Close Flyby Views | NASA

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has begun transmitting its latest images of Saturn’s icy, geologically active moon Enceladus, acquired during the dramatic Oct. 28 flyby in which the probe passed about 30 miles (49 kilometers) above the moon’s south polar region. The spacecraft will continue transmitting its data from the encounter for the next several days.

“Cassini’s stunning images are providing us a quick look at Enceladus from this ultra-close flyby, but some of the most exciting science is yet to come,” said Linda Spilker, the mission’s project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Researchers will soon begin studying data from Cassini’s gas analyzer and dust detector instruments, which directly sampled the moon’s plume of gas and dust-sized icy particles during the flyby. Those analyses are likely to take several weeks, but should provide important insights about the composition of the global ocean beneath Enceladus’ surface and any hydrothermal activity occurring on the ocean floor. The potential for such activity in this small ocean world has made Enceladus a prime target for future exploration in search of habitable environments in the solar system beyond Earth.

Cassini’s next and final close Enceladus flyby will take place on Dec. 19, when the spacecraft will measure the amount of heat coming from the moon’s interior. The flyby will be at an altitude of 3,106 miles (4,999 kilometers).

Uber’s Surge Pricing May Not Lead to a Surge in Drivers – ProPublica

Uber’s Surge Pricing May Not Lead to a Surge in Drivers – ProPublica

Uber has long stirred controversy and consternation over the higher “surge” prices it charges at peak times. The company has always said the higher prices actually help passengers by encouraging more drivers to get on the road. But computer scientists from Northeastern University have found that higher prices don’t necessarily result in more drivers.

Researchers Le Chen, Alan Mislove and Christo Wilson created 43 new Uber accounts and virtually hailed cars over four weeks from fixed points throughout San Francisco and Manhattan. They found that many drivers actually leave surge areas in anticipation of fewer people ordering rides.

The researchers also uncovered a few tips about how to avoid surge prices. They found that changing your location, even by a few hundred feet, can influence the price you get. They also discovered that you can often get back to normal fare levels by waiting as few as five minutes.

The researchers sketched out those boundaries in their paper, and ProPublica has developed them into maps. Uber users in Manhattan can more easily cross from current surging to non-surging zones than users in San Francisco. The areas in Manhattan are smaller, and therefore more walkable; San Francisco’s price areas also tend to surge together.

In Defense of Gentrification – The Atlantic

In Defense of Gentrification – The Atlantic

When higher-income people start moving into lower-income neighborhoods, how does that affect longtime residents? Recently, three studies have pointed toward an answer that’s different from the most common one.

First, a study from NYU’s Furman Center suggests that residents of public housing in wealthier and gentrifying neighborhoods make more money, live with less violence, and have better educational options for their children, despite also facing some challenges. Second, a study from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank finds that there has been much less displacement of existing residents from gentrifying neighborhoods than is commonly feared—and that those who do leave aren’t necessarily more likely to move to lower-income neighborhoods. And finally, a Columbia University study on gentrification in London also failed to find evidence of widespread departures in neighborhoods with rising average incomes.

With the growth of research demonstrating the benefits of living in more economically integrated neighborhoods for low-income families, it’s surprising that this narrative doesn’t play a big role in how people think about gentrification. When the economist Raj Chetty and his colleagues’ findings about the connection between economic integration and economic mobility were reported, they were framed as an argument for moving poorer families into richer neighborhoods, and not vice versa.

[The point is there has to be more economic integration. If there is no housing for lower (or even middle) class and the basic services needed are priced out of the area then there is no economic integration.]

Does Schizophrenia Exist on an Autism-like Spectrum? – Scientific American

Does Schizophrenia Exist on an Autism-like Spectrum? – Scientific American

Most people have felt depressed or anxious, even if those feelings have never become debilitating. And how many times have you heard someone say, “I’m a little OCD”? Clearly, people intuitively think that most mental illnesses have a spectrum, ranging from mild to severe. Yet most people do not know what it feels like to hallucinate—to see or hear things that are not really there—or to have delusions, persistent notions that do not match reality. You’re psychotic, or you’re not, according to conventional wisdom.

Evidence is growing, however, that there may be no clear dividing line. Psychiatrists have long debated whether psychosis exists on a spectrum, and researchers have been investigating the question for more than a decade now. A 2013 meta-analysis, combining much of the existing data, by Jim van Os of Maastricht University in the Netherlands and Richard Linscott of the University of Otago in New Zealand, found the prevalence of hallucinations and delusions in the general population was 7.2 percent—much higher than the 0.4 percent prevalence of schizophrenia diagnoses found in recent studies. Now the most comprehensive epidemiological study of psychotic experiences to date, published in July in JAMA Psychiatry, has given researchers the most detailed picture yet of how many people have these experiences and how frequently. The results strongly imply a spectrum—and suggest that the standard treatment for a psychotic episode might be due for an overhaul.

The psychotic experiences were slightly more common in women (6.6 percent) than men (5 percent), even though full-fledged schizophrenia is more prevalent in males. In addition, psychotic experiences were more prevalent among people living in middle- and high-income countries (7.2 and 6.8 percent, respectively) than low-income countries (3.2 percent). Being unemployed or unmarried or being from a relatively low-income family was also associated with higher rates of hallucinations and delusions. Socioeconomic and environmental factors such as stress are known risk factors for schizophrenia.

Why College Students ​Need​ Their Urban Legends – The Atlantic

Why College Students ​Need​ Their Urban Legends – The Atlantic

Legend has it that the forests surrounding Reed College in Portland, Oregon, are home to not only standard flora and fauna, but also a slightly lesser known species: zombie monkeys. The mutant albino monkeys are rumored to be the former subjects of a psychology professor’s secret experiments in his underground lab. At some point, the primates were allegedly freed by an animal-rights activist group and now run amok in the canyon beside the school’s campus—potential threats to students wandering around a little too late at night.

Simon Bronner, an American studies and folklore professor at Penn State Harrisburg, says such urban legends emerge on campuses as a manifestation of student anxiety about the college experience—often serving as an outlet through which they can express their fears about being away from home. In other words, they’re often a means students can use to acknowledge and contain this apprehension without having to be completely vulnerable about it. Bronner, who authored the book Campus Traditions: Folklore from the Old-Time College to the Modern Mega-University, cites legends that center on romantic relationships and roommates as cases when the stories function as stand-ins for students’ own fears. “Telling them is partly ritual, partly humorous,” he says. “Students are using that frame of lore to raise issues about aging, about where they are on a strange place on their own for the first time.” Many of the college legends—which may warn against partying too much or caving to academic pressures or even staying out so late a zombie monkey might appear—are “cautionary tales” that provide nuggets of “cultural advice,” he says.

In some instances, stories that calcify into legend are borne from a kernel of truth and connected to a historical event, serving as a way for students to feel closer to the heritage of a school or better understand it. At Georgetown University, the fifth floor of the Healy Building is rumored to be sealed because an exorcism took place there (the same one that inspired the The Exorcist, later partly filmed on campus), when in fact there is evidence that such an event once occurred at the school’s hospital in 1949. At Sweet Briar College, Daisy Williams—the real daughter of the school’s founder who died at a young age after being stricken with pneumonia—is a ghost who’s believed to watch over the school and appear during times of need to take care of the campus and its students, including after a devastating fire in 1927. The act of telling (and partly believing) these stories becomes a college tradition in itself, says Bronner, forming bonds between generations of students who attend these institutions.

Other legends—particularly those involving statues—may help students feel a sense of control amid the uncertainty they are experiencing during the tumult of college. At Columbia University, as the story goes, the first student in each class to spot the owl on the main courtyard’s Alma Mater statue is guaranteed the status of valedictorian. During finals season, students at the University of Maryland-College Park offer food sacrifices to the Terrapin statue, Testudo, in the hopes of good grades, also touching his nose for good fortune before athletic events. “There are a lot of statues that are rubbed for luck for exams and wins on games,” Bronner says. “A lot of those are because of insuring success.”

Why NASA Needs a Programmer Fluent In 60-Year-Old Languages

Why NASA Needs a Programmer Fluent In 60-Year-Old Languages

Larry Zottarelli, the last original Voyager engineer still on the project, is retiring after a long and storied history at JPL. While there are still a few hands around who worked on the original project, now the job of keeping this now-interstellar spacecraft going will fall to someone else. And that someone needs to have some very specific skills.

Yes, it’s going to require coding, but it won’t be in Ruby on Rails or Python. Not C or C++. Go a little further back, to the assembly languages used in early computing. Know Cobol? Can you breeze through Fortran? Remember your Algol? Those fancy new languages from the late 1950s? Then you might be the person for the job.

“It was state of the art in 1975, but that’s basically 40 years old if you want to think of it that way,” Suzanne Dodd, program manager for the Voyager program, said in a phone interview. “Although, some people can program an assembly language and understand the intricacy of the spacecraft, most younger people can’t or really don’t want to.​”

[Looking for a few good (old) programmers.  This project is for the last entry on your resume. They did not use fun languages like SNOBOL or Simula in embedded systems.]

Arctic snow not darkening due to soot, dust — ScienceDaily

Arctic snow not darkening due to soot, dust — ScienceDaily

For millennia, Greenland’s ice sheet reflected sunlight back into space, but satellite measurements in recent years suggest the bright surface is darkening, causing solar heat to be absorbed and surface melting to accelerate. Some studies suggest this “dirty ice” or “dark snow” is caused by fallout from fossil fuel pollution and forest fires.

But a new Dartmouth-led study shows that degrading satellite sensors, not soot or dust, are responsible for the apparent decline in reflectivity of inland ice across northern Greenland. The study’s results suggest the ice sheet hasn’t lost as much reflectivity as previously thought, and that black carbon and dust concentrations haven’t increased significantly and are thus not responsible for darkening on the upper ice sheet.

In trying to explain the apparent decline in reflectivity, lead author Chris Polashenski, an adjunct assistant professor at Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering and a research geophysicist at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, and his colleagues analyzed dozens of snow-pit samples from the 2012-2014 snowfalls across northern Greenland and compared them with samples from earlier years. The results showed no significant change in the quantity of black carbon deposited for the past 60 years or the quantity and mineralogical makeup of dust compared to the last 12,000 years, meaning that deposition of these light absorbing impurities is not a primary cause of reflectivity reduction or surface melting in the dry snow zone. Algae growth, which darkens ice, also was ruled out as a factor.

Instead, the findings suggest the apparent decline in the dry snow zone’s reflectivity is being caused by uncorrected degradation of sensors in NASA’s aging MODIS satellites and that the declining trend will likely disappear when new measurements are reprocessed. MODIS (or Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) is the key instrument aboard NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites, which provide images of the Earth’s surface and cloud cover every two days. MODIS tracks features of the land, oceans and atmosphere that can help develop models that predict global changes. The Terra mission, launched in December 1999, and the Aqua mission, launched in 2002, are designed to collect data for 15 years to differentiate short- and long-term trends and regional and global phenomena.

The study’s findings don’t apply to the ice sheet’s lower elevations, where surface melting, soot and dust result in more pronounced declines in reflectivity and where warmer temperatures may promote algae growth that further erodes reflectivity.