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Tiny Bombs in your Blood - The Complement System

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From: Kurzgesagt
Duration: 08:40


One of the key players of our immune system is the complement system. An army of millions and trillions of tiny bombs, which work together in a complex and elegant dance to stop intruders in your body.

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This Photographer’s Passport Photo Shoots Are… Different

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Photographer Max Siedentopf has a new project that examines one of the most boring types of photography: the passport photo. The series shows that even though passport photos need to be boring, the photo shoots themselves don’t.

Official passport photo requirements are extremely restrictive and specify the exact framing (centered with the subject facing straight on), lighting (a clear background with no shadow), and facial expression (no smiling).

“It seems almost impossible for any kind of self-expression,” Siedentopf says. His project, titled Passport Photos, “tries to challenge these official rules by testing all the things you could be doing while you are taking your official document photo.”

And indeed, there are a lot of things you could be doing…

Siedentopf actually didn’t tell his subjects that the photo shoot they were agreeing to was anything other than an ordinary passport shoot.

“They thought they were just there to take a normal passport photo,” Siedentopf tells Fast Company. “Some were pleasantly surprised, some slightly confused, and a few were left very disturbed.”

You can find more of Siedentopf’s work on his website.

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64 days ago
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64 days ago
Trenchy Toaster is smiling, try again
Bend, Oregon
64 days ago
I was thinking the same about mop lady.

We All Know the NDP Funpack Will Be Wasted. Because It’s Not Truly Sustainable.

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Top Image: NDP 2019 Committee

August isn’t even here, but the NDP Committee 2019 is already dead set on getting Singaporeans in the mood for patriotic love. And what better way to get our balls tingling than to share a little dose of conspicuous consumption.

The bags of patriotism. / Image credit: NDP 2019 Committee.
Designed to mobilise the hearts and minds of Singaporeans across all walks of life to fight for an eco-friendly motherland, the NDP 2019 Funpack is the proposed Thanos snap to our climate crisis woes and fetishistic love for our country.

Or at least that’s what the official spiel would want you to believe. Frankly, this stinks of green-washing; the very existence of the Funpack is waste unto itself, and only encourages irresponsible overconsumption, the leading cause of the climate crisis.

In terms of conception, or execution, it’s clear that sustainability is only being marketed and not realised through the NDP 2019 Funpack. In attempting to rescue the Funpack’s green ambition, here’s a look at just how the Funpack will actually be used after NDP 2019.  

Putting Caning in the Limelight

After the exalted day of 9th August this year, everyone will get to go home with reusable bamboo straws. Said to be able to double as clappers for this year’s NDP, the straws are being hyped up as THE multi-purpose tool of the year. And if you were wondering what to do with this straw that you didn’t ask for, there are four included in a single Funpack, because it only takes two to clap.

Having four reusable straws in your life will have no meaningful impact whatsoever on encouraging a green lifestyle. There I said it—how on God’s green earth will one person be able to regularly use FOUR straws every day in their life? And in terms of going strawless, the conversation has been aimed at entirely eliminating straw usage from our daily lives. Just sip from your cup and complain a little less for the sake of our earth. Producing straws that nobody asked for, that defy daily use, in shows of patriotism, is NOT sustainable at all.

‘Eco-friendly’ instruments of death and discipline. / Image credit: Screenshot of a TODAY video, Facebook.
And so, let’s dream bigger than clapping. I dare say, post-NDP 2019, this will mark the revival of a long-forgotten Singaporean tradition: caning. If they’re sturdy enough to be clappers, they’re sturdy enough to be canes.

We’ve always been antsy about caning, especially in the context of a school setting. How can corporal punishment be administered in an effective and appropriate manner?

By equipping everyone with tough bamboo rods they can use to whack anyone else. This is creative problem-solving at its best. The bamboo straws are tough enough to cause hurt but small enough not to cause harm.

Or if that doesn’t excite you, consider using the straws to poke everyone you meet in real life, and render Facebook obsolete. Take that, Zuckerberg.

Seeding New Singaporean Colonies

The sustainability that the NDP 2019 Funpack preaches is also confusingly inconsistent. Only a select few items are branded as ‘eco-friendly’ while the rest appear to have been left to languish by themselves. The miniature Singapore flags included in the Funpack have thoroughly failed to inspire any sense of being sustainable at all. They’re not even the kind of plastic I want to wave around—credit cards are better.  

Lest they become lazy office decorations, it might be better if we start using them for what flags were originally made for: Aggressively sticking them in everything.

You can’t claim to love your country until you stick one of the NDP 2019’s miniature flags in everything you see.

Wanna spruce up your birthday cake with love? Stick a flag in it.

Wanna tell everyone you’re proud to be a Singaporean for the rest of the 364 days of the year? Stick a flag in every single damn thing you see.

Feeling cute about your imperialistic dreams for Singapore? Plant a miniature Singaporean flag everywhere you go while overseas; those foreigners will never even know they’ve been colonised.

Raffles can suck it.

Discounts for the Dead

Hold up! Are you about to throw away that discount booklet you flipped through once and promptly forgot about? Feeling guilty for only finding them at the bottom of the bag three years later while doing a spring cleaning?

Those feelings are entirely valid.

The existence of physical discount booklets is the ultimate bane of sustainability. They’re printed with no guarantee that anyone will flip through and use them. It boggles the mind why the NDP 2019 Committee didn’t simply issue E-vouchers, or an app that can be updated yearly with constant NDP vouchers. Are we not a smart nation?

There is no way anyone can claim the discount booklets to be eco-friendly, and perhaps it’s why they’ve been quietly left out of the Funpack’s flashy media blitz.

There’s just no way in hell—or is there?

The genius of thought that went into the creation of the Funpack has fully accounted for this. We need only look to our ancestors for guidance. Thicc, expired, and glossy, the discount booklet will make a terrific offering for the dead. There’s no reason why we should forget about them in our patriotic celebrations. Who said capitalism stops at death? Simply burn the discount booklet for your deceased loved ones and get them involved in the festivities. You can now buy less paper money during the Seventh Month, reducing your carbon footprint.  Steals and deals galore!

Or if you’re really too lazy, feel free to fan yourself to death, as you squint at the discount booklet, looking for a portable fan you want to buy.

Fashionable Carrier of Things that Assault Our Public Sensibilities

Marketed as the most versatile item out of everything, the Funpack itself can be used as a messenger bag, tote bag, or backpack. Touted as a  “Stay Prepared” Emergency Ready Bag for post-NDP 2019 use, it is highly durable and comes with recommendations for what to pack in the event of an emergency home evacuation.

What a bore.

Within one week of NDP 2019 ending, these bags will be shoved en masse into storerooms and forgotten as quickly as the NDP 2020 Committee convenes for next year’s NDP.

But this is a sustainability-focused NDP Funpack; there must be measures that have anticipated this—right?

The answer is that the Funpack comes in chic and patriotic colours of red and white, complete with the NDP 2019 logo. The unique appeal of NDP-branding is sure to turn anyone who flaunts their new NDP merch on Instagram into an instant social media darling.

The hypnotic prowess of the NDP logo will also put anyone with half a brain under its spell. There’s no doubt that the top Singaporean fashion trend for the rest of the year will be to blatantly emblazon the NDP 2019 logo on everything and anything. Think patterned-designs in the mood of Louis Vuitton or Balenciaga. Be a patriot of luxury! In fact, the Great Singapore Sale (GSS), might want to sit up and take notes; everyone deserves a go at having an orgasmic GSSexperience.

After the NDP 2019 Funpack revolutionises the Singaporean fashion industry, expect an announcement to be made to address the top problems plaguing our public transport: the lack of durians and annoying children.

For far too long, we have been denied the right to carry our spiky, cream-filled fruit with us wherever we go.

Sometimes, I just want to flood an entire MRT train with these bad boys. / Image credit: Unsplash.
Post-NDP 2019, I propose that the Funpacks be used for durian transportation and we may yet be a truly first-world nation. Every Singapore citizen can now hold their own durian as they ride in the comfort of public transport.

Feel free to use it to contain your existing children on the MRT, as you lovingly try to rush home to hit fertility rate KPIs for Ah Gong.

Optimistic statistics. / Image credit: ZeroWasteSG, Facebook.
On a serious note, the NDP 2019 Committee’s collaboration with Zero Waste Singapore has resulted in saving 1.7 million single-use items in the production of the Funpacks as compared to previous years.

However, this is still only a reactionary and superficial measure towards addressing the climate crisis at best. At the end of the day, no matter how green the Funpack might purport to be, its existence and the items that come with it were not created to meet any existing demands.

For example, nobody specifically asked for bamboo straws—or four of them for that matter. Giving a single person four straws, just so that they can be used as clappers already signals a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to reduce consumption.

The NDP 2019 Committee can’t even guarantee that the items will be used at all. Everyone already presumably owns a bag. Not everyone has the patience to flip through a discount booklet, or is willing to carry a reusable straw around with them. Neither is everyone patriotic enough to embrace the NDP-branding and logo in their everyday lives.  

Since the NDP 2019 Funpack has already been produced and packed, we can only make the best out of a bad situation. If you really can’t do without straws in your life, use the bamboo straws. Or if you’re fine with sipping, donate them to others who want them. Same goes for the Funpack; if you don’t need another bag in your life, give it away to someone who does. As for the rest of the items like the discount booklet and miniature flags, maybe it’s time you get creative and upcycle them into art.  

If the NDP 2019 Committee wants to take its green ambition seriously, it’s best we just stick to basic snacks and drinks that everyone will want to consume.  

Or better yet, do away with the Funpack entirely.

Let’s not kid ourselves: the NDP 2019 Funpack only comes in red and white, and definitely isn’t green.

Think you’ve got better ways to use the NDP 2019 Funpack? Share your pro-tips with us at community@ricemedia.co.

The post We All Know the NDP Funpack Will Be Wasted. Because It’s Not Truly Sustainable. appeared first on RICE.

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Predictive Models

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115 days ago
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115 days ago
People are notoriously bad at knowing how much information is required for them to be identified. I'd like to think corporations are better at this, but who knows.
115 days ago
Well, corporations are made of people, so ...
38 days ago
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115 days ago

The Lies We Tell

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We make up stories in our minds and then against all evidence, defend them tooth and nail. Understanding why we do this is the key to discovering truth and making wiser decisions.


Our brains are quirky.

When I put my hand on a hot stove, I have instantly created awareness of a cause and effect relationship—“If I put my hand on a hot stove, it will hurt.” I’ve learned something fundamental about the world. Our brains are right to draw that conclusion. It’s a linear relationship, cause and effects are tightly coupled, feedback is near immediate, and there aren’t many other variables at play.

The world isn’t always this easy to understand. When cause and effect aren’t obvious, we still draw conclusions. Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman offers an example of how our brains look for, and assume, causality:

“After spending a day exploring beautiful sights in the crowded streets of New York, Jane discovered that her wallet was missing.”

That’s all you get. No background on Jane, or any particulars about where she went. Kahneman presented this miniature story to his test subjects hidden among several other statements. When Kahneman later offered a surprise recall test, “the word pickpocket was more strongly associated with the story than the word sights, even though the latter was actually in the sentence while the former was not.” 1

What happened here?

There’s a bug in the evolutionary code that makes up our brains. We have a hard time distinguishing between when cause and effect is clear,  as with the hot stove or chess, and when it’s not, as in the case of Jane and her wallet. We don’t like not knowing. We also love a story.

Our minds create plausible stories. In the case of Jane, many test subjects thought a pickpocket had taken her wallet, but there are other possible scenarios. More people lose wallets than have them stolen. But our patterns of beliefs take over, such as how we feel about New York or crowds, and we construct cause and effect relationships. We tell ourselves stories that are convincing, cheap, and often wrong. We don’t think about how these stories are created, whether they’re right, or how they persist. And we’re often uncomfortable when someone asks us to explain our reasoning.

Imagine a meeting where we are discussing Jane and her wallet, not unlike any meeting you have this week to figure out what happened and what decisions your organization needs to make next.

You start the meeting by saying “Jane’s wallet was stolen. Here’s what we’re going to do in response.”

But one person in the meeting, Micky, Jane’s second cousin, asks you to explain the situation.

You volunteer what you know. “After spending a day exploring beautiful sights in the crowded streets of New York, Jane discovered that her wallet was missing.” And you quickly launch into improved security measures.

Micky, however, tells herself a different story, because just last week a friend of hers left his wallet at a store. And she knows Jane can sometimes be absentminded. The story she tells herself is that Jane probably lost her wallet in New York. So she asks you, “What makes you think the wallet was stolen?”

The answer is obvious to you. You feel your heart rate start to rise. Frustration sets in.

You tell yourself that Micky is an idiot. This is so obvious. Jane was out. In New York. In a crowd. And we need to put in place something to address this wallet issue so that it doesn’t happen again. You think to yourself that she’s slowing the group down and we need to act now.

What else is happening? It’s likely you looked at the evidence again and couldn’t really explain how you drew your conclusion. Rather than have an honest conversation about the story you told yourself and the story Micky is telling herself, the meeting gets tense and goes nowhere.

The next time you catch someone asking you about your story and you can’t explain it in a falsifiable way, pause, and hit reset. Take your ego out of it. What you really care about is finding the truth, even if that means the story you told yourself is wrong.

The post The Lies We Tell appeared first on Farnam Street.

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The Secret Song

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Some of us fight wars you will never see against enemies you will never know and if we win, we are not given medals.

We are given the chance to fight tomorrow.
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