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Unsolicited advice might not be so bad after all?

I’ve followed Tressie McMillan Cottom on Twitter ever since she did a keynote for ALT a few years ago. In this article for The New York Times, she talks about ‘advice culture’.

Cottom is wonderfully forthright in her interactions on Twitter, so I was expecting her to rail against advice culture. Instead, she talks about it as a form of small talk, and (I suppose) a form of necessary social glue.

In the social media era, advice culture feels bigger and more pervasive than ever. After all, what is social media if not the gamification of advice? Every time we post something on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, we are implicitly asking others to make a judgment of us. And we find ourselves unable to understand why someone would post or share an experience if not to solicit our evaluation. That is what “likes” and comments and “friending” has done to our brains…

Advice culture is so pervasive that it must serve some other function, do something more than assuage insecurities or performing status. Sociologists generally agree that advice is up there with small talk for how it facilitates human connection between strangers. But I recently began thinking advice is no longer a mere subset of small talk but has become our culture’s default common language. Advice is small talk. The decline of social associations like the Rotary Club and the bowling leagues not only weakened our connections to community; it also atrophied our linguistic tool kit.

Source: Why Everyone Is Always Giving Unsolicited Advice | The New York Times

Peeking around corners with holographic cameras

It’s amazing to think that 10 years ago we thought we were only a few years away from fully autonomous vehicles. Even now, we’re in the early stages of actually making them safe.

Blind corners have long troubled drivers, but they might not pose such a hazard for much longer. Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a new holographic camera technology that can peer around corners by reconstructing scattered light waves, quickly enough to spot fast-moving objects like cars or pedestrians.

When light strikes an object, it scatters, and some of that finds its way to our retinas, or the sensors of a camera, allowing the object to be seen. Of course, that means we can’t see objects behind other objects, or through scattering media like fog or skin. But there might be a way to use the scattering of light off multiple objects to see around corners.

Position a mirror just right, and you can see objects around corners. Even without a mirror, that principle still holds true – it’s just that the secondary object scatters the light too much for us to reconstruct the target. But an emerging technology called non-line-of-sight (NLoS) imaging can do just that.

NLoS systems work by beaming light out, which bounces off a surface, strikes an object and bounces back to the surface, then back to a sensor. Algorithms can then create an image of the object around a corner. As you might expect however, images reconstructed in this way can often be low resolution, or take too long to process.

Source: Holographic camera reconstructs objects around corners in milliseconds | New Atlas

The impact of a plant-based diet on migraines

Aged 18, I was rejected at the last hurdle from the Royal Air Force for a scholarship which would have paid for my university tuition. The reason? I’d just started suffering from migraines.

There are lots of different types of triggers, but common to all types is stress. That’s not so good if you’re looking to be employed in Fighter Command.

In many ways, I dodged a bullet (literally and metaphorically!) by not joining the RAF, but migraines have been a constant struggle. In the past few years I’ve had a lot fewer of them, something I put down to reducing my stress levels and taking an L-Theanine supplement every day.

However, this article focuses on the benefits of a plant-based diet for migraine sufferers. I stopped eating meat in 2017 and then eliminated fish too, turning vegetarian in January of this year. It looks like that might have been a great idea not only from an animal welfare point of view, but in terms of my own welfare too!

Green leafy vegetables

Health experts are calling for more research into diet and migraines after doctors revealed a patient who had suffered severe and debilitating headaches for more than a decade completely eliminated them after adopting a plant-based diet.

He had tried prescribed medication, yoga and meditation, and cut out potential trigger foods in an effort to reduce the severity and frequency of his severe headaches – but nothing worked. The migraines made it almost impossible to perform his job, he said.

But within a month of starting a plant-based diet that included lots of dark-green leafy vegetables, his migraines disappeared. The man has not had a migraine in more than seven years, and cannot remember the last time he had a headache. The case was reported in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

Source: Man’s severe migraines ‘completely eliminated’ on plant-based diet | Nutrition | The Guardian