Round-up of Newsish Items to Start Your Week Off Right!

Josh Clark

Will the bounty from the Bradley Manning WikiLeaks cables ever end? The New York Times has a pretty awesome article from Sunday about shadow pathways to the Internet that the U.S. government is funding and supporting. The concept is pretty sweet, though I don't feel remotely that I understand it on any technical level. What I took from the NYT's description is that we, (meaning "other people" have figured out how to create a wireless network that doesn't require a central server out of cell phones and laptops.

This so-called mesh network can co-exist alongside the central pathways to the Internet that government of any country generally has control over, allowing them to shut down access to the Internet, which has become, of course, increasingly supportive for members of nascent revolutions to communicate with one another remotely. Since it co-exists alongside rather than depends on the regulated pathways to the Internet, when access is shut down by tyrants and bureaucrats, the mesh network can still function and Twitter can still save the day. Viva la Twitter.

Perhaps it's the paranoid in me, but the article was so open on the subject of the covert operation the U.S. is up to -- it includes a quote from Hilary Clinton to the author about how useful it is -- that I can't help but wonder if it was encouraged for some reason. Probably nothing.

Onward and upward, The Gazette, some Canadian media outlet, published a story online about a Yale psychology study that found that people who are socially isolated take longer, hotter baths. The study found that the findings hold up across age groups from 18 to 65, over a study population of 400 people. The study encompassed four parts, from scoring participants on a measure of chronic loneliness to manipulating feelings of isolation by duping participants into thinking they were participating in a focus group to rate a hot/cold pack and then testing to find if socially isolated participants were aware why they liked taking nice, long baths.

What the Yalies found is consistent with other research: Physical sensations of warmth or cold are capable of reducing or increasing (respectively) feelings of social isolation. So a long, warm bath is a satisfactory substitute for the warm feelings associated with strong familial and friendship bonds. What's more, the researchers found that an awareness of exactly why you're taking a long, hot bath on a Friday night (i.e., no one likes you), leads to a decrease in its effectiveness.

A rabbit born near the beleaguered and leaking TEPCO nuclear plant at Fukushima, Japan was reasonably named Daiichi, after the fact that is has no ears. The rabbit is worrying, yet adorable. Residents are concerned that its deformity is the result of radiation from the power plant, though there's no evidence of this yet and you don't really want to dwell on how officials will ultimately find out. [youtube=]

Lastly, there's this: [youtube=]