Jake

Important If True 25: The Fresno Experiment

Recommended Posts

Jake   

Important If True 25:

Important If True 25


The Fresno Experiment
Our weekly attempt to decipher greater truths from the bustle and hum of the world gets sidetracked, by the loudest hum ever heard. As we listen to what sounds like the hum of a tens of thousands of tiny wings amplify with urgency, we ask ourselves these questions: Why would scientists release tens of thousands of mosquitoes into the town of Fresno, California? Why did economists flood Fresno with the world's first credit cards sixty years before they filled it with mosquitos? What is Fresno hiding (besides a lot of debt and itchy skin)? What did Fresno do to deserve this? Is it related to the Canadian priest and his giant robot spider? We'll do our best to figure it all out, and you can help by listening along.

Discussed: Good Time, Robert Pattinson, Robert Pattinson's online nano-controlled adoration swarm, Google-released mosquitoes, Catholic priest's online nano-controlled mosquito swarm, Fresno, credit cards in Fresno, Archbishop-released giant robot cathedral spider, shitty cyberpunk priest duel, mosquitoes vs. robot spider, Jurassic Park but with transubstantiation, Superman producer's giant spider obsession (Wikipedia summary, Kevin Smith video explanation), Jeopardy of the Internet, Twitch Plays Jeopardy, Big Moon!!!, the Moon illusion (not harvest moon), the size of the sun, Dr. Sbaitso, Mr. Sbaitso, 20 million mosquitoes Voltronning into Dr. Sbaitso, meme-resistance CRISPR gene therapy serum delivered by mosquito, the phrase "meme", the truth about putting your phone in rice, the truth about Amazon fulfillment errors, San Francisco fancy-ass pickle bullshit

Send us your questions at questions@importantiftrue.com. If you enjoyed this and would like to subscribe to an ad-free feed, please consider supporting Idle Thumbs by backing our Patreon.

Chris' Endorsement: 23andMe DNA research service (or use my referral URL if you want!)

Nick's Endorsement: Bubbies pickles that will explode your mouth and tickle your tongue

Jake's Endorsement: Mac, DOS, early Windows, arcade, and classic console emulation in-browser at the Internet Archive

Sponsored By: Quip electric toothbrushes

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://www.msn.com/en-au/news/techandscience/scientists-create-the-first-mutant-ants/ar-AApQmdP?li=AAgfLCP&OCID=ansmsnnews11

 

Not sure what's worse, the fact that there could be additional competition to modified mosquitoes and robot spiders? or that the best opener they could find for their video explanation was from 'Honey, I shrunk the kids'..?

 

I mean, the sciences are completely different.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
fondue   

So, a car full of - and driven by - mosquitos? When they all cram onto the windscreen, could they effectively act like a simple LCD screen, thus creating Cars style eyes when seen from the outside of the car? And given their ability to synthesise speech, is this how Cars begins?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
unimural   

I was fascinated by Alphabet's mosquito plan when I heard about it, and honestly kind of baffled why something so unpredictable sounding was permitted. It is a lot more sensible a plan than it initially appears.

 

They are targeting yellow fever mosquitoes, which are a very recent arrival in central California. Elsewhere these mosquitoes spread various diseases, most famously perhaps Zika virus. The mosquitoes Verily releases are all male mosquitoes, which means they don't bite humans. The mosquitoes are not genetically modified, but they carry a wolbachia genus bacteria. In Fresno area the mosquito population does not host this bacteria (they do elsewhere), and the mating between a male carrying this bacteria and a female not carrying this bacteria will not result in offspring, nor will it result in infection of the females. Effectively Verily is releasing sterile males into the population, hoping it will reduce the population.

 

In fact, at smaller scales, this has been going on for a years now:

https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0181

 

And here's the permit for the current round:

https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0374

 

I guess the combination of the outlandishness of the thing and Google's involvement makes it newsworthy.

 

As a side note, Wolbachia bacteria were one of the macguffins in the Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. While a lot of the stuff in the game was nonesense, I highly recommend reading the wikipedia article on Wolbachia. Fascinating stuff.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolbachia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also Jake's story about his phone autocorrecting "to me" to "to me to me" (I think it was Jake) reminds me of this Val Kilmer post on reddit where at one point he writes "to me to me" rather than "to me" for no apparent reason - it looks like a typo, perhaps the same autocorrect typo. This was 15 days ago. Is the AI spreading...?!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Big Moon: It's the Ponzo Illusion.

 

If you’ve ever seen the Moon rising over the horizon, looking so fat and looming that you felt like you could fall right into it, then you’ve been a victim of the famous Moon Illusion. And it is an illusion, a pervasive and persuasive one. So, how does this thing work? Ah, step right up. One of my favorite brain-benders is the Ponzo Illusion. You’ve seen it: the simplest case is with two short horizontal lines, one above the other, between two slanting but near-vertical lines. The upper line looks longer than the lower line, even though they’re the same length.

ponzo_schematic

The illusion works because our brains are a bit wonky. The slanted lines make us think that anything near the top is farther away; the lines force our brain to think those lines are parallel but receding in the distance (like railroad tracks). The two horizontal lines are physically the same length, but our brain thinks the upper one is farther away. If it’s farther away, then duh, our brain says to itself, it must be bigger than the lower one. So we perceive it that way.

 

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/05/13/why-does-the-moon-look-so-huge-on-the-horizon/

 

Bravo to Unimural for an excellent explanation of using Wolbachia bacteria to reduce mosquito populations. Reading about Wolbachia is definitely worth a deep dive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When you guys talked about the archbishop and his giant robot spider, all I can think is - wow, that sounds like Warhammer 40k, but then I looked the picture on the credits and that robot spider truly look something you would see in the art of Warhammer 40k book or some weird handmade tabletop miniature.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, DocRandal said:

Big Moon: It's the Ponzo Illusion.

 

If you’ve ever seen the Moon rising over the horizon, looking so fat and looming that you felt like you could fall right into it, then you’ve been a victim of the famous Moon Illusion. And it is an illusion, a pervasive and persuasive one. So, how does this thing work? Ah, step right up. One of my favorite brain-benders is the Ponzo Illusion. You’ve seen it: the simplest case is with two short horizontal lines, one above the other, between two slanting but near-vertical lines. The upper line looks longer than the lower line, even though they’re the same length.

ponzo_schematic

The illusion works because our brains are a bit wonky. The slanted lines make us think that anything near the top is farther away; the lines force our brain to think those lines are parallel but receding in the distance (like railroad tracks). The two horizontal lines are physically the same length, but our brain thinks the upper one is farther away. If it’s farther away, then duh, our brain says to itself, it must be bigger than the lower one. So we perceive it that way.

 

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/05/13/why-does-the-moon-look-so-huge-on-the-horizon/

 

Bravo to Unimural for an excellent explanation of using Wolbachia bacteria to reduce mosquito populations. Reading about Wolbachia is definitely worth a deep dive.

 

Yeah, the explanation that both the original question asker and Chris gave where they saw the moon (on the horizon, generally that's the only time someone notices the moon at all, especially when they're driving or in a city) as huge and then later it appeared normal can be explained by this. Later they came outside and it was higher in the sky, where they had nothing around to compare its size in the sky. Thus it appears "normal" again. It was 100% not atmospheric distortion. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Concerning Big Moon: 

The next time you see Big Moon, stick out your hand and hold up your index finger. The width of your fingernail at arms length is approximately 1 degree. The moon is always more or less .5 degrees across, so it will always be about half as wide as your fingernail. Hopefully the illusion of Big Moon will fall apart in front of your eyes.

If the numbers don't work out for your body for whatever reason, you can still compare the width of your fingernail at arms length to both Small Moon and Big Moon and see that they are the same.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jake   

RIP Big Moon another cool thing killed by science and rational thought. Ugh. When will they bring back the real Big Moon I remember from my childhood when the moon was actually bigger? Does anyone else remember that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/11/2017 at 6:48 PM, Jake said:

RIP Big Moon another cool thing killed by science and rational thought. Ugh. When will they bring back the real Big Moon I remember from my childhood when the moon was actually bigger? Does anyone else remember that?

 

Jake, since the Moon is receding slowly away from the Earth (approximately 4 centimeters per year), it did look bigger when you were younger.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, DocRandal said:

Jake, since the Moon is receding slowly away from the Earth (approximately 4 centimeters per year), it did look bigger when you were younger.

 

Also, big moon does kind of happen during lunar perigee, when it's 12% larger 

 

fbcSyJE.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Scylo   

 

On the mosquito thing, I've actually visited an eliminate Dengue Fever program laboratory in Yogyakarta, Indonesia that does the same thing. At the lab I visited, because they're breeding mosquitoes there's obviously a requirement to feed them. Feeding them requires someone to volunteer to place their arm against a circular area in the side of the box the mosquitoes live in, while a hundred mosquitoes take their turn to have a drink of some delicious blood. I think the volunteer receives about $2 or something per box of mosquitoes that they feed.

 

It's not actually as bad as it sounds though

http://imgur.com/a/u7gvw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris   
19 hours ago, RubixsQube said:

 

Also, big moon does kind of happen during lunar perigee, when it's 12% larger 

 

fbcSyJE.png

See this is what I'm talking about, this is that Big Moon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Chris said:

See this is what I'm talking about, this is that Big Moon

 

Chris, is there a date you can provide for when you were in London seeing Big Moon. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now