Robert Somerville

316 Flips | 1 Magazine | 5 Likes | 14 Following | 75 Followers | @somercorp | It is...as it is!

Poison pass: the man who became immune to snake venom

Rock singer Steve Ludwin has been injecting himself with snake venom for 30 years. In a strange twist, his bizarre habit could now save thousands of lives. His former partner Britt Collins tells his outlandish story<p>Sometime in 2006, when my ex-boyfriend failed to show up for dinner, I assumed …

Zoology

The Culture Caught Up With Spike Lee — Now What?

Before he had even made his first movie, Spike Lee used to fantasize about three things: season tickets at the Garden, a brownstone in Fort Greene like the one that he was raised in and a house in the historically black Oak Bluffs section of Martha’s Vineyard. In 1986, after writing, producing, …

Los Angeles

The Last of the Iron Lungs

Martha Lillard spends half of every day with her body encapsulated in a half-century old machine that forces her to breathe. Only her head sticks out …

New Zealand’s War on Rats Could Change the World

The nation wants to eradicate all invasive mammal predators by 2050. Gene-editing technology could help—or it could trigger an ecological disaster of global proportions.<p>The first thing that hit me about Zealandia was the noise.<p>I was a 15-minute drive from the center of Wellington, New Zealand’s …

Elon Musk: The Architect of Tomorrow

It’s mid-afternoon on a Friday at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, and three of Elon Musk’s children are gathered around him – one of …

Moore’s Law can’t last forever—but two small changes might mean your phone battery will

In 1965, when computer technology was in its infancy, a pioneering computer engineer named Gordon Moore wrote a paper that shocked technologists at the time. Moore’s theory was that the power of computers would double every 12 months while the cost of that technology would fall by 50% over the same …

Moore's Law

Misty Copeland: dancing into history

She was caught between her impoverished mother and the ballet mistress who offered her a way out. Aaron Hicklin meets Misty Copeland, the first black principal at the American Ballet Theatre<p>We cannot know whether Misty Copeland would have become America’s most celebrated ballet dancer if she had …

What the 21st century can learn from the 1929 crash | Larry Elliott

It was the biggest setback to the global economy since the dawn of the modern industrial age. But did the world’s reaction worsen the effects of the 1929 Crash? And have we learned from those mistakes?<p>As the summer of 1929 drew to a close, the celebrated Yale university economist Irving Fisher took …

Great Depression

Sand mining: the global environmental crisis you’ve never heard of

From Cambodia to California, industrial-scale sand mining is causing wildlife to die, local trade to wither and bridges to collapse. And booming urbanisation means the demand for this increasingly valuable resource is unlikely to let up<p>Times are good for Fey Wei Dong. A genial, middle-aged …

Urbanization

Total recall: the people who never forget

An extremely rare condition may transform our understanding of memory<p>If you ask Jill Price to remember any day of her life, she can come up with an answer in a heartbeat. What was she doing on 29 August 1980? “It was a Friday, I went to Palm Springs with my friends, twins, Nina and Michelle, and …

Palm Springs

Armchair archaeology: find lost civilisations using your laptop

Ever fancied making like Indiana Jones and searching for ancient treasures? Now you can do it in your pyjamas<p>Indiana Jones had to eat chilled monkey brains, escape from snake pits and punch Nazis. I’m at home in my pyjamas, looking at blurry bits of ground and using 90 seconds of training to click …

Marcus Krause's lung cancer wouldn't stop growing. Then he took a new kind of blood test

<b>In late August 2014, Marcus Krause, a 53-year-old photographer from Atlanta, received a phone call from his oncologist.</b> Krause had been waiting for …

Why AI is about to make some of the highest-paid doctors obsolete

Radiologists bring home $395,000 each year, on average. Pathologists? Roughly $260,000. In the near future, however, those numbers promise to drop to …

Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence can now predict heart failure, and that may save lives

An artificial intelligence system has accurately predicted when patients with heart conditions will die, according to new results published in the …

Artificial Intelligence

Peter Thiel, Trump’s Tech Pal, Explains Himself

Let others tremble at the thought that Donald J. Trump may go too far. Peter Thiel worries that Mr. Trump may not go far enough.<p>“Everyone says Trump is going to change everything way too much,” says the famed venture capitalist, contrarian and member of the Trump transition team. “Well, maybe Trump …

Can an app change human behavior? This behavioral economics professor is banking on it

Whether personal or professional, change is hard. And the cumulative data is <i>not on</i> our side.<p>Take something obviously detrimental, like smoking. A …

Psychology

The Holder of Secrets

Laura Poitras’s closeup view of Edward Snowden.<p>From the garden terrace of a sixth-floor walkup on a quiet Berlin street, there was a clear view to the TV Tower, in Alexanderplatz. The tower, completed by the East Germans in 1969, once served as the biggest symbol of a regime that maintained its …

How Rudolf Diesel's engine changed the world

<b>Rudolf Diesel died in mysterious circumstances before he was able to capitalise on his ingenious invention.</b><p>It was 22:00. Rudolf Diesel had retired to his cabin aboard the SS Dresden, travelling from Belgium across the English Channel. His nightclothes were laid out on his bed, but Diesel did not …

There’s a 1,000 year-old lost city beneath the St. Louis suburbs

Cahokia was bigger than Paris—then it was completely abandoned. I went there to find out why.<p>A thousand years ago, huge pyramids and earthen mounds …

How Two Trailblazing Psychologists Turned the World of Decision Science Upside Down

After his book Moneyball became a best-seller, Michael Lewis learned that many of the ideas it presented to the general public had actually been introduced decades earlier by a pair of Israeli psychologists: Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. In an adaptation from his new book, Lewis investigates …

Inside Quebec’s Great, Multi-Million-Dollar Maple-Syrup Heist

With the value of maple syrup at roughly $1,300 a barrel, it’s time everyone knew about FPAQ, the Canadian group that controls 72 percent of the world’s supply. Rich Cohen investigates how its methods may have led to one of the greatest agricultural crimes in all of history.<p>Americans are focused on …

Pills that kill: why are thousands dying from fentanyl abuse?

Fentanyl is a painkiller that is 50 times stronger than heroin. It has already killed thousands, including Prince. Chris McGreal reveals why so many are playing Russian roulette with this lethal drug<p>Natasha Butler had never heard of fentanyl until a doctor told her that a single pill had pushed her …

How Magnus Carlsen is Making Chess Cool and Wearing His Rivals Down | VICE Sports

While Kasparov had his aura, it's Carlsen's resilience under pressure and deep understanding of the game that make him the opponent everyone hates to face.<p>When his son Magnus turned five, Henrik Carlsen sat down and told his wife, Sigrun, that he felt the boy had the potential to become a …

How Casinos Enable Gambling Addicts

Modern slot machines develop an unbreakable hold on many players—some of whom wind up losing their jobs, their families, and even, as in the case of Scott Stevens, their lives.<p>On the morning of Monday, August 13, 2012, Scott Stevens loaded a brown hunting bag into his Jeep Grand Cherokee, then went …

Rebelling Against the Void

The first of the three fatal accidents happened in the summer of 1961. David Roberts was 18. He and a high school friend, Gabe Lee, were climbing the low-angled First Flatiron, a sandstone slab near their hometown of Boulder, Colorado. Lee was belaying Roberts up the fifth pitch when the rope …

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23 documentaries on Netflix right now that will make you smarter

One of the great things about Netflix is that it has brought thoughtful, compelling documentaries to a much wider audience, which filmmakers could only dream of a decade ago.<p>And with bingeworthy titles like "Making a Murderer" and the vast ESPN "30 for 30" library a click away, you can get a lot of …

Documentaries

Print newspapers are dying faster than you think

No one is surprised to learn that the newspaper industry is in structural decline. But the latest revenue numbers tell a scary story, with print ad revenue falling steeply even amid a healthy overall economic situation. This means things will get much, much worse when the next recession hits, and …

Wall Street