Because of the plants’ dangerous qualities, visitors to the Poison Garden are prohibited from smelling, touching or tasting any of them. Still, even with guidelines in place, visitors can fall victim to the plants. This past summer, seven people reportedly fainted from inhaling toxic fumes while walking through the garden. “People think we’re being overdramatic when we talk about [not smelling the plants], but I’ve seen the health and safety reports,” the duchess says.
Sitting around campfires in the evenings, after a day of hunting, collecting, or farming, allowed our ancient ancestors the opportunity to talk about matters that were not quite so vital to day-to-day survival, and this is when storytelling began to emerge and develop.
A study of evening campfire conversations by the Ju/’hoan people of Namibia and Botswana suggests that by extending the day, fire allowed people to unleash their imaginations and tell stories, rather than merely focus on mundane topics.
Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language, or ABSL, is a form of sign language that has emerged in recent years among the deaf inhabitants of a village in a region of Israel’s Negev Desert. What is particularly fascinating to linguists here however is the structure of the language, which differs somewhat from many others:
ABSL provides fodder for researchers who reject the idea that there’s a genetic basis for the similarities found across languages. Instead, they argue, languages share certain properties because they all have to solve similar problems of communication under similar pressures, pressures that reflect the limits of human abilities to learn, remember, produce, and perceive information. The challenge, then, is to explain why ABSL is an outlier – if duality of patterning is the optimal solution to the problem of creating a large but manageable collection of words, why hasn’t ABSL made use of it?
If I was asked to write a letter to my decade or two younger self, offering a little wisdom – and if I could be so… audacious, a tip or two as to when to turn, say, right rather than, say, left – I’m not sure I’d know where to begin.
At the beginning of anything important – writing a book, starting a friendship – it’s a case of imagining something that doesn’t yet exist and calling it into being: with desire, curiosity, knee-quaking trust in its future. When I think about you, starting out at university and feeling like you’re starting out in your real life, that’s how I see you. Know this: reality – the world’s and your own private path – will far outstrip what you could ever have imagined. You’re not as lost as you feel, though possibly you’ll never feel as found as you’d like.
Say what you will about Bitcoins, but they are certainly secure. Seemingly it would take many billions of years to break through their private key encryption. However there is a caveat, under Moores’ Law computing power is supposed to double every two years, so that colossal time span stands to be substantially reduced. Maybe.
Assuming computing speed doubles every year (Moore’s law says 2 years, but we’ll err on the side of caution), then in 59 years it’ll only take 1.13 years. So your coins are safe for the next 60 years without a change to the algorithms used to protect the blockchain. However, I would expect the algorithms to be changed long before it’s feasible to break the protection they provide.
I don’t usually say a whole lot about certain of the larger, global, coffee chain franchises, mainly because I’ve only ever been to one of them once, but news that some Starbucks cafes in the US have devised a coffee brew that resembles the taste of stout beer, or popular Irish beverage Guinness, naturally caught my eye.
Comparisons to Irish stout are seemingly inevitable, and the chain’s marketing materials say that the flavor was inspired by the “rise of craft beers.” So how does it taste? “Like Guinness with cream it in,” one customer writes. “Yuck,” offers another. There’s no word on when, or if, the drink will go wide, but in the meantime, it sounds like this one would go perfectly with an extra shot of cold-brew coffee whiskey.
Is it possible to jump off the tube at Mansion House station, along the Circle and District lines of the London Underground, and rejoin the same train at Cannon Street station, by sprinting, at street level, between the two stations, that are a couple of hundred metres apart? Assuming there are no delays and the like, that is.
But here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.