Summary of “Petrichor: why does rain smell so good?”

It turns out it’s not just gratitude that makes rain smell so appealing after a long period of dry weather.
“So when you’re saying you smell damp soil, actually what you’re smelling is a molecule being made by a certain type of bacteria,” he told the BBC. That molecule, geosmin, is produced by Streptomyces.
Drops of water hitting the ground cause geosmin to be released into the air, making it much more abundant after a rain shower.
“It’s a really potent material and it smells just like the concrete when the rain hits it,” said perfumer Marina Barcenilla.
Rain could bring these fragrances out, says Prof Philip Stevenson, a research leader at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
“Often the plant chemicals that smell pleasant are produced in leaf hairs… and the rain may damage these, releasing the compounds.”
“Rain may also break dry plant material releasing chemicals in a similar way to when you crush dried herbs – the smell becomes stronger,” he told the BBC. Very dry periods may also slow down plant metabolism, with renewed rainfall giving it a kick start and causing plants to release a pleasant scent.
Prof Maribeth Stolzenburg of the University of Mississippi explains: “Besides the lightning, the thunderstorm and especially the rain will improve the air quality. Much of the dust, aerosols, and other particulates are rained out and the air clears.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Are Spaces in Science Fiction Not Wheelchair-Accessible?”

Although the U.S. passed the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, legislation intended to offer accessibility to disabled people in public places, many of its protections are ignored by business owners who see accessibility as not a boon but a burden.
Less than 20 percent of polling places were fully accessible to disabled people during the 2016 election.
Inaccessibility surely must be a contributing factor to the fact that disabled people are unemployed at double the rate of nondisabled people.
“The offices of casting directors need to be uniformly accessible in order to make sure that we’re seeing a variety of actors for different roles… It’s rare where we would see someone like [us] in the background [scene] of a party or applying for a job or going to the beach or whatever.” If disabled actors can’t even physically show up to casting calls to audition, is it any wonder that spaceships end up inaccessible as well?
Radcliff is quick to note that the exclusion of disabled people is a systemic issue, and not simply a problem that can be blamed on writers or casting offices or even directors.
“There are a lot of wonderful organizations specifically attuned to increasing opportunities for people who are, say, Asian-American but I don’t know of any organizations that exist for creative folks who are identified as having a disability.” Including disabled people at all levels of creating the stories we love is the way we end up with a fully accessible TARDIS. “A family of diverse storytellers trying to tell great stories is ultimately the end goal,” Radcliff concluded before applauding the greater degree of freedom disabled artists have to create their own content, thanks in part to the evolution of the internet and streaming platforms.
After chatting with Radcliff about the physical inaccessibility of so much of Hollywood and the exclusion of disabled people as a result, I reached out to Cat Rambo, President of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, an organization founded in 1965 to promote, advance, and support science fiction and fantasy writing in the US and beyond.
While the SFWA doesn’t yet have tracking on how many of their members identify as disabled, the board is talking about adding questions related to disability on their membership questionnaire to help disabled writers identify themselves as such, should they so choose.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Two-Factor Text Authentication Isn’t Enough to Keep Your Accounts Secure”

Just last week, Instagram confirmed reports that it’s modifying its two-factor authentication setup to allow users to log in with passcodes from security apps-like Google Authenticator.
Stop letting sites and services text you two-factor authentication codes.
It’s a bad security practice that I blame entirely on my laziness; that, and I don’t really keep as up to date as I should about which sites and services offer app-based two-factor authentication instead of text-based two-factor authentication.
If you’re not sure whether your favorite sites or services support this kind of “Token-based” two-factor authentication, you have two options.
Since I mentioned it, if you’re just getting started with two-factor authentication apps and have no idea what to even use, sites that support token-based two-factor authentication typically have recommendations for apps you should use.
If you don’t have any text messages with login codes to go through, perhaps because you delete them once you’ve logged in to a site or service, you can also check out the ever-helpful Two Factor Auth website.
Click on any category and you’ll see a comprehensive listing of apps and services, as well as which two-factor authentication setups they support-if any.
No matter how you do it, even if you have to manually go through your browser history to see which sites you most frequent, you should switch everything you access over to token-based two-factor authentication.

The orginal article.

Summary of “General Magic: Oral History of the Influential Tech Company”

In other words, General Magic pulled the technological equivalent of a working iPhone out of its proverbial hat-a decade before Apple started working on the real thing.
The Macintosh wasn’t a computer-it was a program to make things move in front of Steve’s eyes, the way a real computer would move them, but it didn’t have the underpinnings of a general operating system that allocates resources and keeps track of them and things like that.
I think a big part of spinning General Magic out of Apple was this idea that it was too big even for Apple, right? Apple couldn’t deal with this thing.
AT&T became the fourth investor in General Magic on par with Sony, Motorola, and Apple.
Marc Porat: Andy and Bill demoed a Magic machine, which was in a format like an iPhone, and they said, “So this is what we are going to ship next. It is a phone, and you can see all the Magic Link icons on it, and let me show you how it works.” They go through contact the manager, the telephone, sending e-mails the works.
Amy Lindburg: General Magic was the kind of company where a guy who is going to be a billionaire in a couple years didn’t even rate a window cube.
Michael Stern: So Pierre came to me when I was the general counsel in 1994 and said, “I’ve created this little electronic community. I’m getting people to talk to each other about trading tchotchkes. We’re creating traffic on the network and getting people into a community. That’s kind of in our sweet spot, isn’t it?” That was General Magic’s thing: the whole notion of electronic community.
He was at Silicon Graphics when SGI was the most respected company in Silicon Valley, at General Magic when Magic was the company of the moment, and at Netscape during its IPO. He ran Google’s search division – the entire thing.

The orginal article.

Summary of “An unsolved murder at Italy’s most notorious tower block”

It was only a field away from what is possibly the most fascinating and perplexing building in Italy: Hotel House, a semi-derelict tower block that has become synonymous, in the Italian imagination, with drug dealing, prostitution and clandestine migrants.
Hotel House has been compared to Scampia – the famous Naples estate featured in the film Gomorrah – and the former Olympic village in Turin: high-concept architectural projects that have, over time, become dystopian citadels for drug dealers and an Italian and immigrant underclass.
Italy’s various law enforcement agencies do attempt to police Hotel House, but with so many flats and people, plus multiple stairwells and underground garages, finding evidence of criminal activity is almost impossible.
One recent investigation discovered that about €450,000 was being transferred to Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan every month from a wire service on the ground floor of Hotel House.
The drug trade inside Hotel House is estimated to be worth between €5m and €10m a year – not huge figures, but in a building in which poverty and degradation are everywhere, still pretty astonishing.
Hotel House isn’t simply the key to understanding a murder.
Almost every week there’s a major incident at Hotel House.
Investigators always talk about speed and momentum, but a few years, in the chaotic life of Hotel House, is like a century.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Quietest Place in America Is Becoming a Warzone”

After years of painstaking acoustic measurements, Hempton identified this spot on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula as the quietest place in the U.S.-the spot most free of our man-made noise pollution.
The EPA still has a statutory obligation to handle noise pollution, but the Noise Control Act has been all but defunded by Congress.
In a 2000 paper reviewing noise pollution impacts on health, two Danish scientists noted that most of the effects of sound on our health “Were already known or at least hypothesized” in the 1960s.
In between waxing about how sound affects human’s “Deep ecology,” the best return period of ocean waves to reach a state of calm, and the impact of white noise on cortisol, he revealed more about why One Square Inch is so special.
One Square Inch stood out for the length of time without human noise and its accessibility to the Hoh River trail.
“The jet noise was intense enough that my microphones seemed to ‘blow out’ a bit,” she told Earther.
While Youngberg is out there with his phone and decibel meter, the Navy has relied on modeling the potential noise pollution rather than measuring it directly.
Doing the research in a place with so few forms of artificial noise makes it that much easier to tease out the effect of air traffic on wildlife.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Mental Performance Can Be Hurt By Even Mild Dehydration”

Now there’s evidence that too little water can hurt cognitive performance, too, making complex thinking tasks harder.
A growing body of evidence finds that being just a little dehydrated is tied to a range of subtle effects – from mood changes to muddled thinking.
How long does it take to become mildly dehydrated in the summer heat? Not long at all, studies show, especially when you exercise outdoors.
For an average-size person, 2 percent dehydration equates to sweating out about a liter of water.
“Most people can’t perceive that they’re 1.5 percent dehydrated,” Casa says.
Already there are subtle – maybe even imperceptible – effects on our bodies and our mental performance.
“We did manage to dehydrate them by [about] 1 percent just by telling them not to drink for the day,” says Nina Stachenfeld, of the Yale School of Medicine and the John B. Pierce Laboratory, who led the research.
Dehydration didn’t hamper performance on all the tests; the women’s reaction time, for example, was not impeded.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Walmart stumbles with its ‘last mile’ package delivery plan”

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Standing before an audience of 14,000 people last year, Walmart Inc executives described a radical plan to help it fend off Amazon.com Inc and other online delivery services from stealing its customers.
Walmart quietly retreated from its original vision for the pilot program – launched in New Jersey and Arkansas – and ended it altogether in January, according to company documents obtained by Reuters and interviews with more than two dozen Walmart employees.
The story behind the foundering employee delivery initiative, which has not been reported, offers insight into Walmart’s ongoing attempts to find unconventional ways to close the gap with Amazon in the game of cheap, rapid, doorstep delivery of packages.
Walmart is now testing a more modest service with just four Walmart employees who deliver goods from a single store in Woodstock, Georgia, Reuters has learned.
Globally, Walmart is experimenting with deliveries by motorbike in Mexico and with new small supermarkets in China to make deliveries in 30 minutes or less.
The East Brunswick Walmart paid store associates $2 per package, with participants making three to five total drop-offs during a typical trip within a ten mile radius, participants told Reuters.
To build demand, Walmart will waive the fee for the first delivery order if it is for $50 or more, according to a Walmart promotional pamphlet at the store.
An internal document seen by Reuters provides Walmart delivery workers with a specific new protocol.

The orginal article.

Summary of “3 Public Speaking Tips Inspired by Stand-Up Comedy”

In addition to presenting in my classes, I typically give a talk per week in front of groups.
If you give a bad talk, you worry that the stench of that talk will stick to you for the rest of your life.
Your audience will forget most of your talk soon after you give it.
Once you realize that the downside of speaking is really not so bad, it gets easier to give talks.
Work It Out on the Road. Once you start giving public talks, you’re likely to speak on the same topic several times.
Take advantage of opportunities to give several talks on the same topic.
Your talks should get better over time not only because you are more practiced at giving them but also because you have edited them based on feedback.
In my book Smart Thinking, I talk about the observation that people remember roughly three things about any experience they have.

The orginal article.

Summary of “E-sports leagues are starting to look a lot like the NFL and NBA”

Now, some of the biggest professional e-sports leagues in the world are starting to look a lot like the NBA or NFL. That includes big-money owners, a structured schedule, and things like minimum salaries and other benefits for players.
Even the NBA has launched its own league, partnering with publisher Take-Two on the 17-team NBA 2K League.
By having permanent teams that fans can become attached to and owners can invest in for the long-term, these leagues are hoping to build something that can eventually compete with more established professional sports leagues.
For many of these owners – who reportedly paid a $20 million fee to be part of the league – the familiar structure of a traditional sports league like the NBA was comforting, in large part because the business model is proven, something that’s not true for many e-sports leagues.
If Blizzard can make good on translating the global, inclusive nature of Overwatch to the players in the Overwatch League, it could represent a significant advantage over the traditional sports leagues it’s aiming to compete with.
“It’s a really fascinating case study that a lot of leagues will look to to learn about the idea of regional teams, and building strong brands within cities,” says Hopper.
Last February, game publisher Take-Two announced a partnership with the NBA to launch a new professional league based on NBA 2K, one of the best-selling sports games in the world.
The NBA has long been one of the most forward-thinking sports leagues in North America.

The orginal article.