Josh Wilbur writes for The Guardian: “Jake Haendel was a hard-partying chef from a sleepy region of Massachusetts. When he was 28, his heroin addiction resulted in catastrophic brain damage and very nearly killed him. In a matter of months, Jake’s existence became reduced to a voice in his head. To outside observers, Jake exhibited no signs of awareness or cognition. “Is he in there?” his wife and father would ask the doctors. No one knew for sure. An electroencephalogram (EEG) of his brain showed disrupted patterns of neural activity, indicating severe cerebral dysfunction. “Jake was pretty much like a houseplant,” his father told me. They had no way of knowing Jake was conscious. In medical terms, he was “locked in”: his senses were intact, but he had no way of communicating.”
Think you know who invented the toaster? You may have been taken in by the Great Toaster Hoax
From Marco Silva at the BBC: “For more than a decade, a prankster spun a web of deception about the inventor of the electric toaster. His lies fooled newspapers, teachers and officials. Then a teenager flagged up something that everyone else had missed. “I read through Wikipedia a lot when I’m bored in class,” says Adam, aged 15, who studies photography and ICT at a school in Kent. One day last July, one of his teachers mentioned the online encyclopaedia’s entry about Alan MacMasters, who it said was a Scottish scientist from the late 1800s and had invented “the first electric bread toaster”. At the top of the page was a picture of a man with a pronounced quiff and long sideburns, gazing contemplatively into the distance – apparently a relic of the 19th Century, the photograph appeared to have been torn at the bottom. But Adam was suspicious. “It didn’t look like a normal photo,” he tells me. “It looked like it was edited.”
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What happened to the girls in Le Roy?
Susan Dominus for the New York Times: “Before the media vans took over Main Street, before the environmental testers came to dig at the soil, before the doctor came to take blood, before strangers started knocking on doors and asking question after question, Katie Krautwurst, a high-school cheerleader from Le Roy, N.Y., woke up from a nap. Instantly, she knew something was wrong. Her chin was jutting forward uncontrollably and her face was contracting into spasms. She was still twitching a few weeks later when her best friend, Thera Sanchez, captain of one of the school’s cheerleading squads, awoke from a nap stuttering and then later started twitching, her arms flailing and head jerking. Two weeks after that, Lydia Parker, also a senior, erupted in tics and arm swings and hums. Then word got around that Chelsey Dumars, another cheerleader, who recently moved to town, was making the same strange noises, the same strange movements, leaving school early on the days she could make it to class at all.”
Researchers say certain strains of gut bacteria are the likely cause of Parkinson’s
Scientists at the University of Helsinki on Friday said they had demonstrated that certain strains of Desulfovibrio bacteria are probable causes of Parkinson’s disease in most cases. This finding enables screening carriers of Desulfovibrio strains and subsequently removing the bacteria from the gut. This may make it possible to prevent Parkinson’s disease. “Our findings are significant, as the cause of Parkinson’s disease has gone unknown despite attempts to identify it throughout the last two centuries. The findings indicate that specific strains of Desulfovibrio bacteria are likely to cause Parkinson’s disease,” professor Per Saris said in a statement. Only a fraction of Parkinson’s disease cases are caused by genetic factors, according to Saris.
The extraordinary friendship formed in the shadow of the Bataclan
From Steve Rose in The Guardian: “Huddled together at an outdoor cafe table in Paris, immersed in animated conversation, Azdyne Amimour and Georges Salines look like typical old friends. Admittedly, they’re something of an odd couple: Amimour, a French-Algerian in a flat cap, sneaks in a cigarette; Salines, a white, French retired doctor, has just locked up his bicycle and arrives in cycling gear. This is a friendship borne of extraordinary circumstances. The date of 13 November 2015 is as deeply etched into Parisians’ memory as 9/11 is in the minds of New Yorkers. That night, six separate Islamist terror attacks occurred in Paris, killing 130 people. The most deadly of all was at the Bataclan theatre, where three gunmen opened fire on a packed crowd during a gig, killing 90 people. Salines’ 28-year-old daughter, Lola, was one of the victims. Amimour’s son, Samy, also 28, was one of the attackers.”
A secret room in the game Counterstrike tells Russian gamers the truth about the war in Ukraine
From Helsingin Sanomat, a Finnish newspaper: “Earlier this year, Helsingin Sanomat commissioned two well-known map designers to create a Counter-Strike map imitating a Slavic city. A secret room was hidden in the map. The goal of the secret room was simple: to embed real-life war news inside the game. Why add journalism to a computer game? Immediately after the start of the war in Ukraine, the Russian State Duma passed several laws aimed at suppressing freedom of speech. These laws forbid the dissemination of “false information” about Russian armed forces or Russia’s operations in Ukraine. Violating these laws can lead to prison sentences of up to 15 years. At the moment, practically all independent media in Russia have been shut down or they have suspended their operations on their own initiative.”