Weird Dreams Train Our Brains to Be Better Learners – Facts So Romantic – Nautilus

Neural networks need to “dream” of weird, senseless examples to learn well. Maybe we do, too.
— Read on m.nautil.us/blog/weird-dreams-train-our-brains-to-be-better-learners

Scientists Show How They Gave A 70,000-Year-Old Neanderthal His Smile

Experts reconstructed the caveman’s face from just a fossilized orbital bone.
— Read on www.newsweek.com/scientists-show-how-they-gave-70000-year-old-neanderthal-his-smile-1637223

Women and Social Security: How to Get the Biggest Check – The New York Times

Women tend to live longer than men, so they need as much retirement income as possible. Whether you’re 30 or 60, here’s what you need to know.
— Read on www.nytimes.com/2021/06/28/business/retirement/women-social-security-retirement.html

Not a Joke: Trump Was Going to Appoint Ivanka President of the World Bank Until Steven Mnuchin Intervened | Vanity Fair

Ivanka apparently came “incredibly close” to running the institution.
— Read on www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/10/ivanka-trump-world-bank-steven-mnuchin

Empty Homes, Shattered Dreams: China’s “Ghost Castles” – NHK WORLD PRIME – TV | NHK WORLD-JAPAN Live & Programs

A curious sight has emerged in the economically flourishing cities of China: Apartment buildings in which construction halts midway. Locals refer to them as “ghost castles.” Residents of one such building in Wuhan live in rooms without water or electricity, struggling under the financial weight of repaying the mortgage for an unfinished home. This program examines the shadow behind real estate development through the turmoil faced by the residents who have become victims of a ghost castle.
— Read on www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/tv/worldprime/20210911/3016103/

BBC World Service – The Inquiry, Is China’s economy in trouble?

For decades China’s economic growth has been the envy of the western world. But current signs suggest all is not well.
Regulations brought in by government to curb businesses reliance on debt have badly hit the its second largest real estate developer, Evergrande and manufacturing output has been hit by power shortages.
So is China’s economy in trouble?

Experts:
Sara Hsu, visiting scholar at Fudan University in Shanghai
Michael Pettis, Finance Professor at Peking University and a Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment
Iris Pang, ING’s Chief Economist for Greater China
Travis Lundy, independent research analyst in Hong Kong
— Read on www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3ct1z2l

Spectacular Footage Records Seven Moths as They Take Flight in Stunningly Slow Motion | Colossal

Almost a year after releasing his wildly popular footage of muppet-like insects, Dr. Adrian Smithis back with another montage in incredibly slow motion. This similarly spectacular follow-up—which is shot at 6,000 frames per second with a macro lens—documents the unique flight maneuvers of seven moth species as they slowly lift into the air. Capturing both graceful wing movements and ungainly leg flailing, Smith records rare glimpses of the yellow underbelly of the Virginian tiger moth, the spiky mohawk of the white-dotted prominent, and the beautiful wood-nymph’s habit of scattering microscopic scales all with extraordinary detail. For more close-ups of moths, beetles, and other insects, head to Smith’s YouTube. (via The Kids Should See This)

— Read on www.thisiscolossal.com/2021/08/adrian-smith-moths/

A C.I.A. Admission – The New York Times

In a top secret cable, the agency said it had lost dozens of informants. How did this happen?
— Read on www.nytimes.com/2021/10/08/podcasts/the-daily/cia-informants-compromised.html

Volcanic Grit, Water Shortage Threaten La Palma’s Banana Crop

Once the ash lands on the bananas, it is almost impossible to remove.

And it causes further damage in the handling, transport and packing, with the huge bunches, which are known as “pineapples” and can weigh up to 70 kilos (150 pounds), carried on the shoulders.

“You have to blast it off with water or something — to be honest, I don’t know how to do it,” said Sanchez, 60, who owns a small plantation. “When the dew forms overnight, it really makes the grit stick, and in the morning it just won’t come off.”

Can’t be sold

The skin blackens in the form of a scratch but nothing like the brownish-black markings that show the fruit is ripe.

And although the banana is perfect, it is rejected and cannot be sold.

“European quality regulations ban the sale of bananas with more than four square centimeters of scratches per fruit, even if they are perfect inside and can be eaten without risk,” said Esther Dominguez of ASPROCAN, which represents banana producers in the Canary Islands.

The volcano’s eruption has predominantly hurt the Aridane valley on the western flank of La Palma, although the problem caused by volcanic ash and grit has affected a much wider area.
— Read on www.voanews.com/a/volcanic-grit-water-shortage-threaten-la-palma-s-banana-crop/6263865.html