Alex Cornell meant it as a joke. But his song, "I'm on Hold," is often used as background music by call centers queuing up customers. It's appropriate because Cornell is the co-founder of a conference call service, so he knows the industry very well. Good hold music is something that that industry takes seriously, as NPR reports. When properly designed, hold music encourages patience and calmness:
David Green is the board chair of the Experience Marketing Association, and has been focused on hold music for more than two decades. (Formerly called the On Hold Messaging Association, the group gives out awards each year for the best on-hold experiences.) Green enumerated some things that can lead to a hold gone wrong: "Small loops of music that repeat over and over at short intervals might subliminally or consciously make you count the intervals, and make you aggravated that you've heard it three or four or five times," he says. Jingles on repeat are understandably irritating, as are some advertising messages. Auto dealers, he says, often play their radio ads over the phone, which is a mistake, because most customers call for repairs rather than sales. "Can you listen in your mind for a minute and imagine the typical car commercial on the radio?" he says. "Now imagine listening to that when you're placed on hold, not particularly happy that your car will cost $500 to repair."
This could've been a funny list: don't put your children, pets, colored clothing, or electronics in the dishwasher. But instead it's a serious list that may protect your valuable kitchenware. Honestly, after reading this list of things you should not put in the dishwasher, it seems easier to say what you should put in the dishwasher: everyday dishes, flatware, and stuff you don't worry about replacing. However, there are reasons behind each prohibition. For example:
While technically the top of your Instant Pot is dishwasher-safe, it’s not the best cleaning option, as there are a number of important components in the lid of a pressure cooker. For instance, there are values that can get clogged with food particles, as well as seals that may be damaged by the dishwashing chemicals—both of which will shorten the lifespan of your appliance.
When Zuzana Justman was twelve years old, she and her parents and older brother were sent from Prague to Terezín, also known as the Theresienstadt Ghetto. Terezín was a peculiar establishment in Czechoslovaki that started out as a model Jewish ghetto for Nazi propaganda purposes, but over time developed into a concentration camp. Young Zuzana kept a diary for part of her time there. It contained only eight entries and some poetry.
On a freezing day in January, 1944, after my family and I had been confined at Terezín for six months, my mother was arrested by the S.S. and placed in a basement cell in the dreaded prison at their camp headquarters. Not even her lover, who was a member of the Terezín Aeltestenrat, or Council of Elders—the Jewish governing body—could get her released. I was twelve years old, and I was afraid that I would never see her again. But on February 21, 1944, all I wrote in my diary was “Mommy was away from us.” What is most striking to me today about the diary I kept seventy-five years ago is what I left out.
We've all heard the easy-listening sounds of instrumental pop music over the service known as Muzak. Once you reach a certain age, there comes a memorable day when you notice that the coolest, most rebellious song you ever heard when you were a teenager is now a Muzak instrumental played at grocery stores. But there's probably a lot you don't know about Muzak. For instance, it's very old. The company was founded (under another name) in 1922. They developed different playlists for different purposes.
6. Muzak was designed to make factory workers more productive.
Muzak manufactured soundtracks, based on a theory called “stimulus progression,” that consisted of 15-minute segments of background music that gradually ascended in peppiness. The method was meant to tacitly encourage workers to increase their pace, especially during the productivity lulls that often occurred during the late morning and mid-afternoon.
7. Muzak helped calm anxious elevator passengers.
Since more advanced electric elevators diminished the need for elevator operators in the mid-20th century, passengers were often left alone with an unsettling silence that made them all too aware that they were hurtling upward or downward in a steel box. Soft, calming Muzak played through speakers offered the perfect distraction.
And that's what is meant by "elevator music." The word "Muzak" also became a term for any bland, instrumental song cover. The company lives on, although under yet a different name. Read 16 soothing facts about Muzak at Mental Floss.
It's not easy for people who are used to living near sea level to visit a high-elevation site for any length of time. But scientists are traveling to La Rinconada, Peru, to study the people who live there, both those who are healthy and those who suffer from altitude sickness. The town is situated high in the Andes at 16,700 feet, or twice the elevation of Aspen, Colorado.
The scientists, led by physiologist and mountain enthusiast Samuel Vergès of the French biomedical research agency INSERM in Grenoble, had set up a makeshift lab here in the world's highest human settlement, a gold-mining boomtown at 5100 meters in southeastern Peru. An estimated 50,000 to 70,000 people live here, trying to make it—and, many hope, strike it rich—under brutal conditions. La Rinconada has no running water, no sewage system, and no garbage removal. It is heavily contaminated with mercury, which is used to extract the gold. Work in the unregulated mines is back-breaking and dangerous. Alcohol abuse, prostitution, and violence are common. Freezing temperatures and intense ultraviolet radiation add to the hardships.
La Rinconada's most defining feature, however, the one that lured the scientists, is its thin air. Every breath you take here contains half as much oxygen as at sea level. The constant oxygen deprivation can cause a syndrome called chronic mountain sickness (CMS), whose hallmark is an excessive proliferation of red blood cells. Symptoms include dizziness, headaches, ringing ears, sleep problems, breathlessness, palpitations, fatigue, and cyanosis, which turns lips, gums, and hands purplish blue. In the long run, CMS can lead to heart failure and death. The condition has no cure except resettling at a lower altitude—although some of the damage may be permanent.
People whose ancestors have lived in high elevations for thousands of years have genetic differences that help them cope in a low oxygen environment. Some people who don't are able to adapt, but others get sick. Research into the differences between these groups may lead to breakthroughs in other heart and circulatory ailments, but actually performing that research is grueling. Read about La Rinconada and the search for answers about altitude sickness at Science magazine. -via Digg
Let's say that you need a particular course to graduate. But it's too late for you to enroll for that class and you've been put on the waitlist. What do you do?
One enterprising solution is to pay other students who are enrolled to drop the class so that you can enroll in their place. According to The Daily Californian, that's what's now happening at the University of California at Berkeley:
Campus sophomore David Wang reposted a screenshot on the Overheard at UC Berkeley Facebook page showing a post by a Haas senior in their final semester before going abroad offering to pay $100 to the first five students to drop UGBA 102B, “Introduction to Managerial Accounting.” The student in question needed the class to graduate, and claimed that the “advising office was no help, so I’m taking matters into my own hands.”
A possible source of profit for some clever students might be to enroll early in classes that are popular but non-essential, then offer to drop out on behalf of waitlisted students. Timing, correct information, and an easy way of identifying potential customers would be essential to this hustle.
Is the woman surprised or shocked? You may have answered yes to this question, but you may be wrong. A facial expression of emotion does not only depend on the face itself; it also depends on the context of the expression. Without the context, facial expressions can be very misleading.
We all remember “the dress.” An illusion like this shows that even a phenomenon as basic as color perception can be ambiguous. Emotions are much more complex entities than colors and thus can lead to even more confusion. Our perception of emotional expressions is related not only to the physical properties of a face, but also to a bunch of other factors affecting both the percipient (for example, a person's past experience, cultural background, or individual expectations) and the situation itself (the context).
To test that idea, researchers at Neurodata Lab created a short test and asked more than 1,400 people from 29 countries to have a look at four pairs of photographs, or eight in total. The first image in each pair showed a woman with a certain facial expression. The second was identical to the first, except that it had an object added to it: a mascara brush, a book and glasses, a toothpick or a guitar. These objects added context. People then had to look at every image and indicate if the facial expressions looked emotional to them.
Bigfoot is a real larger than life character. Some might even describe him as bit a wild man. His outdoorsy activities make him a real legend.
The problem is that Bigfoot is also somewhat of a recluse. On top of that, he's also a bit of an impulsive traveler. You never know where he is going to be on a given day. One day he might be wandering around Canada. Another day he might be spotted having coffee in Portland. You love him, but he isn't the easiest guy to track down.
When you are missing your good friend Sasquatch we recommend using the Emergency Bigfoot In Your Pocket from the NeatoShop. This handy little contraption makes 4 Bigfoot like noises. We know hearing a howl, snore, roar, or groan isn't the same as having Bigfoot there with you in person. We do, however, think it will help you miss him a little less.
Don't forget to also stop by the store to check out our large selection of customizable apparel and bags. We specialize in Curvy and Big and Tall sizes. We carry baby 6 months all the way to 10 XL shirts. We know that fun, fabulous, and Cryptozoology loving people come in every size.
Elon Musk’s company SpaceX states that it plans to change its satellite strategy in order to speed up the deployment of its Starlink broadband service. SpaceX has also set a new goal to provide broadband in the Southern US late next year. Not only will this change accelerate their plans of deploying broadband service, but they would also be covering a wider service area, which makes it even better.
"This adjustment will accelerate coverage to southern states and US territories, potentially expediting coverage to the southern continental United States by the end of the next hurricane season and reaching other US territories by the following hurricane season," SpaceX told the FCC. The Atlantic and Pacific hurricane seasons each begin in the spring and run to November 30 each year.
Major corporations such as Facebook always get caught behaving badly. But for some reason, the best solution that we’ve come up with is to fine these corporations. But does it really fix the problem? Is it really the best punishments to hold them accountable?
...the Federal Trade Commission hit Facebook with a $5 billion fine this summer, an amount that, while large, will barely make a ding in its business. The $170 million fine the FTC and New York state recently hit Google’s YouTube with is almost laughable considering Google’s overall worth.
Even the $425 million Equifax settlement, which came out of the company’s exposure of some 147 million people’s personal information, promised victims the ability to claim a $125 check. Except too many people signed up, and the pot of money for those checks was just $31 million, coming out to about 21 cents per person.
Just one big bank executive went to jail after the 2008 financial crisis; financial institutions paid more than $300 billion in crisis-related fines, but collectively they made much more than that.
We can’t put companies in jail, as they are not people. While we can put the company’s executives behind bars, this happens only rarely. Thus, the main options nowadays are fines, but how well fines work is debatable.
But it’s not hopeless. Experts say there are ways to make firms do better, including stomping out the cultural and structural issues that cause problems in the first place, implementing close monitoring after something does go wrong, and making sure accountability mechanisms are in place where they can be for the people responsible.
A new study has found out that a mysterious population of previously unknown cells lurks in the human body. Called “Immune Cell X”, this baffling cell type is a changeling that can act as two different cell types, and may also trigger type 1 diabetes.
Scientists have long believed that hybrid cells like these could not exist. The population of these cells is likely tiny; perhaps less than 7 out of every 10,000 white blood cells, said study co-author Abdel-Rahim A. Hamad, associate professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
But they may play an outsize role in the development of autoimmunity.
"They are very rare, but we think they are very powerful," Hamad told Live Science.
More details about this enigmatic cell over at the site.
If only the deep sea waters were as colorful as a Kurzgesagt video! Sunlight can't penetrate to the deepest depths of the ocean, but there are creatures living there. They are as different from life here at the surface that it may as well be an alien planet. And the deeper you go, the weirder it gets. This deep sea tour is ten minutes long; the rest is an ad.
NASA's Juno probe caught an amazing picture of a solar eclipse on Jupiter. You can imagine how huge an area the Jovian moon Io is covering, yet the path of totality would be tiny in relation to Jupiter itself. Io is the fourth-largest moon in the solar system, and revolves 350,000 kilometers (217,000 miles) from Jupiter's cloud tops. -via Boing Boing
Cats use their whiskers to gauge whether or not they can squeeze through a tight opening, but hefty cats often get stuck because their whiskers don't grow to accommodate their bulk. However, the question here is just how narrow a slot a cat with a normal build can negotiate.