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🔗 Axiomatic by Greg Egan

🔗 Novels 🔗 Novels/Science fiction 🔗 Novels/Short story

Axiomatic (ISBN 0-7528-1650-0) is a 1995 collection of short science fiction stories by Greg Egan. The stories all delve into different aspects of self and identity.

The Guardian described it as "Wonderful mind-expanding stuff, and well-written too."

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🔗 Museum Fatigue

🔗 Psychology 🔗 Museums

Museum fatigue is a state of physical or mental fatigue caused by the experience of exhibits in museums and similar cultural institutions. The collection of phenomena that characterize museum fatigue was first described in 1916, and has since received widespread attention in popular and scientific contexts.

The first known description of museum fatigue was made by Benjamin Ives Gilman in the January 1916 edition of The Scientific Monthly. Gilman mainly focused on the efforts of museum fatigue on how the viewing displays are placed. Gilman went on to say that the way the displays were presented caused museum fatigue. In other later studies, Edward Robinson in 1928 spoke more about museum fatigue, specifically of four museums that showed a lot of characteristics of museum fatigue because of how the displays were placed. Arthur Melton provided more proof for Robinson by observing visitors' interest in the displays decreased as the number of displays increased.

In a more recent study of the phenomenon, Falk, Koran, Direking, and Dreblow studied museum fatigue at the Florida Museum of Natural History in 1985. While observing visitors they noticed a pattern of high interest in anything in the museum for about 30 minutes and then a decrease in interest. In 1997–1998, Beverly Serrell in her research determined that in less than 20 minutes people became apathetic towards the museum. Museum fatigue has also been applied in zoos to see if they had the same effect. In one study in 1986, Bitgood, Patterson, and Benefeld observed the reptile house of the Birmingham Zoo. While observing they noticed that the pattern was different from museum fatigue.

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🔗 Audio Induction Loop

🔗 Disability

Audio induction loop systems, also called audio-frequency induction loops (AFILs) or hearing loops, are an assistive listening technology for individuals with reduced ranges of hearing.

A hearing loop consists of one or more physical loops of cable which are placed around a designated area, usually a room or a building. The cable generates an electromagnetic field throughout the looped space which can be picked up by a telecoil-equipped hearing aid, a cochlear implant (CI) processor, or a specialized hand-held hearing loop receiver for individuals without telecoil-compatible hearing aids.

The loops carry baseband audio-frequency currents; no carrier signal is used. The benefit is that it allows the sound source of interest – whether a musical performance or a ticket taker's side of the conversation – to be transmitted to the hearing-impaired listener clearly and free of other distracting noise in the environment. Typical installation sites include concert halls, ticket kiosks, high-traffic public buildings (for PA announcements), auditoriums, places of worship, courtrooms, meeting rooms, and homes.

In the United Kingdom, as an aid for disability, their provision, where reasonably possible, is required by the Equality Act 2010 and previously by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, and they are available in "the back seats of all London taxis, which have a little microphone embedded in the dashboard in front of the driver; at 18,000 post offices in the U.K.; at most churches and cathedrals", according to Prof. David G. Myers.

In the United States, an alternative technology using FM transmission to "neck loop" receivers was more widely adopted due to economic advantages. In comparison, hearing loop systems require a greater initial investment by the facility operator, but offer greater convenience and avoid the social stigma and hygienic concerns entailed by the FM system's paraphernalia for those who have hearing aids.

Another alternative system, used primarily in theatres, uses invisible infrared radiation; compatible headsets can pick up the modulated infrared energy to reproduce sound.

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🔗 Schaffer–Vega Diversity System

🔗 Professional sound production 🔗 Stagecraft

The Schaffer–Vega diversity system (SVDS) was a wireless guitar system developed in 1975–76, engineered and prototyped by Ken Schaffer in New York City, and manufactured by the Vega Corporation, El Monte, California. A handheld microphone version was introduced in 1977.

The system was the first cordless system to be adopted by major rock acts because it solved technical problems common to earlier wireless systems. The reliable sound and freedom of movement it provided paved the way for bands to tour with large multi-level stages in arenas. Schaffer-Vegas were used in the late 1970s and early 1980s by many rock bands such as Pink Floyd (namely guitarist David Gilmour), the Rolling Stones, AC/DC and Kiss.

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🔗 Wireless Application Protocol

🔗 Computing 🔗 Telecommunications 🔗 Computing/Networking

Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) is a now obsolete technical standard for accessing information over a mobile wireless network. Introduced in 1999, WAP allowed at launch users with compatible mobile devices to browse content such as news, weather and sports scores provided by mobile network operators, specially designed for the limited capabilities of a mobile device. The Japanese i-mode system offered another major competing wireless data standard.

Before the introduction of WAP, mobile service providers had limited opportunities to offer interactive data services, but needed interactivity to support Internet and Web applications. Although hyped at launch, WAP suffered from much criticism. However the introduction of GPRS networks, offering a faster speed, led to an improvement in the WAP experience. WAP content was accessed using a WAP browser, which is like a standard web browser but designed for reading pages specific for WAP, instead of HTML. By the 2010s it had been largely superseded by more modern standards such as XHTML. Modern phones have proper Web browsers, so they do not need WAP markup for compatibility, and therefore, most are no longer able to render and display pages written in WML, WAP's markup language.

🔗 Toxoplasma Gondii

🔗 Medicine 🔗 Cats 🔗 Microbiology 🔗 Veterinary medicine

Toxoplasma gondii () is a parasitic protozoan (specifically an apicomplexan) that causes toxoplasmosis. Found worldwide, T. gondii is capable of infecting virtually all warm-blooded animals,: 1  but felids are the only known definitive hosts in which the parasite may undergo sexual reproduction.

In rodents, T. gondii alters behavior in ways that increase the rodents' chances of being preyed upon by felids. Support for this "manipulation hypothesis" stems from studies showing that T. gondii-infected rats have a decreased aversion to cat urine while infection in mice lowers general anxiety, increases explorative behaviors and increases a loss of aversion to predators in general. Because cats are one of the only hosts within which T. gondii can sexually reproduce, such behavioral manipulations are thought to be evolutionary adaptations that increase the parasite's reproductive success since rodents that do not avoid cat habitations will more likely become cat prey. The primary mechanisms of T. gondii–induced behavioral changes in rodents occur through epigenetic remodeling in neurons that govern the relevant behaviors (e.g. hypomethylation of arginine vasopressin-related genes in the medial amygdala, which greatly decrease predator aversion).

In humans, particularly infants and those with weakened immunity, T. gondii infection is generally asymptomatic but may lead to a serious case of toxoplasmosis. T. gondii can initially cause mild, flu-like symptoms in the first few weeks following exposure, but otherwise, healthy human adults are asymptomatic. This asymptomatic state of infection is referred to as a latent infection, and it has been associated with numerous subtle behavioral, psychiatric, and personality alterations in humans. Behavioral changes observed between infected and non-infected humans include a decreased aversion to cat urine (but with divergent trajectories by gender) and an increased risk of schizophrenia. Preliminary evidence has suggested that T. gondii infection may induce some of the same alterations in the human brain as those observed in rodents. Many of these associations have been strongly debated and newer studies have found them to be weak, concluding:

On the whole, there was little evidence that T. gondii was related to increased risk of psychiatric disorder, poor impulse control, personality aberrations, or neurocognitive impairment.

T. gondii is one of the most common parasites in developed countries; serological studies estimate that up to 50% of the global population has been exposed to, and may be chronically infected with, T. gondii; although infection rates differ significantly from country to country. Estimates have shown the highest IgG seroprevalence to be in Ethiopia, at 64.2%, as of 2018.

🔗 International Reply Coupon

🔗 International relations 🔗 Philately 🔗 Amateur radio

An international reply coupon (IRC) is a coupon that can be exchanged for one or more postage stamps representing the minimum postage for an unregistered priority airmail letter of up to twenty grams sent to another Universal Postal Union (UPU) member country. IRCs are accepted by all UPU member countries.

UPU member postal services are obliged to exchange an IRC for postage, but are not obliged to sell them.

The purpose of the IRC is to allow a person to send someone in another country a letter, along with the cost of postage for a reply. If the addressee is within the same country, there is no need for an IRC because a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) or return postcard will suffice; but if the addressee is in another country an IRC removes the necessity of acquiring foreign postage or sending appropriate currency.

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🔗 Thridrangaviti Lighthouse

🔗 Iceland 🔗 Lighthouses

Þrídrangaviti Lighthouse (transliterated as Thridrangaviti) is an active lighthouse 7.2 kilometres (4.5 miles) off the southwest coast of Iceland, in the archipelago of Vestmannaeyjar. It is often described as one of the most isolated lighthouses in the world. Þrídrangar means "three rock pillars", referring to the three named sea stacks at that location: Stóridrangur (on which the lighthouse stands), Þúfudrangur, and Klofadrangur. The lighthouse was commissioned on 5 July 1942.

🔗 Alexander Abian

🔗 Biography 🔗 Mathematics 🔗 Biography/science and academia 🔗 Chicago 🔗 Armenia

Alexander (Smbat) Abian (January 1, 1923 – July 24, 1999) was an Iranian-born Armenian-American mathematician who taught for over 25 years at Iowa State University and became notable for his frequent posts to various Usenet newsgroups, and his advocacy for the destruction of the Moon.

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