Here's more interesting stuff I've picked up in the last fortnight or so:
1) A group of Dutch and Canadian researchers have developed the cutest, most heartbreaking pain scale issued by science thus far. In a paper in the journal Nature Methods, the researchers describe a mouse pain scale they devised the hard way, by subjecting mice to painful stimuli and videotaping the mice's reaction to the pain. As the researchers predicted, mice, like humans, have facial expressions that are generally uniform that the researchers used to code and grade the pain the mice endured. So cheek bulge falls into severe pain, while eye squeeze falls into moderate, adorable pain. Guh. The researchers devised the scale to help guide other researchers as they continue to subject mice to Mengele-esque experimentation.
2) I'm having trouble wrapping my head around why President Obama has become the president with both the most acts of clemency requested of his administration and the one that has issued the least (either denials or grants). President Obama's Department of Justice has received 401 pleas for pardons and 2,383 pleas for clemency in the last 16.5 months since he took office. In that same period he has issued precisely zero acts of clemency or pardons. Bagel. Obama has not taken action either way on the petitions that have come into the DOJ, nor the more than 2,000 that awaited him after he was sworn in. No petitions have been denied or granted.
3) Aldous Huxley took LSD as he was dying; this tops anything ever as far as I can tell and also easily topples the story of Pittsburgh Pirate Dock Ellis pitching a no-hitter on acid in 1970 as the acid story of acid stories. Mindhacks covers a Lancet Oncology article that mentions Huxley's last request, written, since he was just a few hours away from laryngeal cancer and could no longer speak. He asked his wife to inject 100 micrograms of LSD into his muscle tissue and she obliged him. So Aldous Huxley died while tripping on acid in his home in 1963. Wowee. Zowee.
4) There is a San Francisco artist named Liz Hickok who works almost exclusively in Jell-O. Hickok created a series called San Francisco in Jell-O a couple years ago where she sculpted the city in gelatin and made it look real pretty and then subjected it to natural disasters while taping it. The jiggling is hypnotic: