Salamander
  • 104 Posts
  • 172 Comments
Joined 5M ago
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Cake day: Dec 19, 2021

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“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”


I tend to be very “conservative” when making predictions about the future, probably because saying ‘the effect will end up being small’ is generally a likely and safe bet. But in this case it could really be that there is a massive shift - pornography did end up having a very big impact, after all, and it does not involve real human-to-human contact. Since I am not much of a consumer in this market, I don’t really have the mindset to predict what customers will like. I am quite curious about what ends up happening, though. I still suspect that synthetic sex will be an ‘additional’ experience and won’t replace many prostitutes.


We would need to coordinate the entire world to do so simultaneously, allow for no exceptions, and we would need to make sure that very few people manage sneak out to meet with others. We would also need to lock people individually (not as families) to prevent someone being inoculated near the end of the lockdown, or have a very long lockdown. Even then the probability of success is low. Endemism has always been the goal because we don’t have a good alternative.


Does a person pay for a prostitute because of the physical experience or because of other psychological factors? It is my understanding that it is often because of psychological needs. For example: some men that pay for sex do so because of the power dynamic, they are aroused by having control over a woman’s body because they have a need for what he can give them (money), and they may even get off putting them in uncomfortable situations. Other men pay for sex because they are unable to find a relationship, and prostitutes help fill the emotional gap. I don’t think that robots are going to be able to satisfy the needs of these specific kinds of men who pay for sex, and many other cases.

I think that sex robots will have their own separate market, drawing in many customers who do not pay to have sex with sex workers. For example, couples with sexual needs that are not met but that are unwilling to have sex with people outside of their relationship may be more willing to try things out with robots. Or people who simply like the robotic experience but are not interested in paying for sex with another human.


Masturbation is generally a lot more accessible than a sex robot or a prostitute. One who chooses to hire a prostitute rather than masturbating does it for their own specific reasons. The question then is: does a sex robot provide enough of the desired qualities that are lacking from self-masturbation but obtainable from prostitutes? I suspect that for a large majority of those that pay for prostitutes the answer is no. I can’t speak from personal experience because I am not interested in paying for sex with either a robot or a prostitute, but I suspect that many of those who like to be with prostitutes do so largely because of the human-to-human connection and interaction and not only the mechanical experience.


We don’t know what chlorophyll was like billions of years ago! But we do know from studies on protein evolution the general paths that proteins take as they evolve, and it is highly likely that a structure as complex as these reaction center dimers began as a monomers and evolved to dimerize. The reason is that molecular evolution takes place in small steps, and evolving a complex structure while simultaneously maintaining its ability to form functional dimers as it evolves is not a likely pathway, because many mutations would require at least two functional changes (new functionality + self-interactions created or maintained). Furthermore, if there was no selective pressure to dimerize we would see today functional monomers being used as well. But we only find dimers, so there is clearly a strong evolutionary pressure, making it even more likely that these proteins evolved to dimerize. I recommend the book “Protein Evolution” by Laszlo Patthy for a technical overview on the topic, and many very cool and concrete examples.

In the paper they do explicitly point out our lack of knowledge about the past:


Our aim is to survey possible explanations for the dominance of RC dimerism and, especially, for the strong coupling between the two pigments in the special pair. As with any attempt to reconstruct reasons for long-ago evolutionary change, we cannot offer definite answers. Evolution rarely has an unambiguous explanation, with large differences in phenotype usually being end results of an undirected and disorderly
process influenced by many kinds of selection pressures. More generally, evolutionary reasoning is often abductive, trying to find the best explanation (which may be a combination of multiple reasons) for a set of observations. Abductive conclusions are never logically certain and should be qualified as “most likely” or “best available”, and they may change in light of new evidence. So, to be more precise, our goal is to identify the likeliest explanation(s) of the RC dimerism and of the strong coupling in P, given the current evidence.

This goal is hampered by over three billion years of evolutionary distance from the primordial dimerisation event. Because there is little certainty about any detail of the primordial RC, our discussion and models are qualitative. We only seek general trends that hold across a broad range of possibilities about the primordial RC. Even so, we are able to conclude that the most likely explanation of dimerisation (or, at least, of the strong coupling in P) is that it improved exciton transfer from an antenna to the RC, possibly by a large margin, despite having a deleterious influence on charge transfer. On balance, the improvement to exciton transfer was likely more significant, leading to an overall increase in RC performance.

They also make many more specific claims about the evolutionary pathways and their logic, so if you are interested I recommend reading the “Evolutionary background” section of the original paper: https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlepdf/2019/sc/c9sc03712h





Two of the most common contaminants when growing mushrooms. This is a nice video explaining how to tell them apart…


There is just so much history and complexity around us, it is easy to keep oneself entertained by carefully studying the details of anything. There is a video from the onion that I like a lot: “Expert Wasted Entire Life Studying Anteaters”, which pokes fun at experts that study a very narrow niche field. The video is a satire about how a person can spend a lifetime fascinated by details that to others might not even think about - the expert in the video is taking the view of an average external observer that does not really see the point. As Feynman says, Nature is beautiful along so many dimensions… It is possible to spend your life in amazement if you just look around and study :-)


Watching his videos is a great way to get excited about science


Pretty cool and simple practical experiment…


Have you had success correcting your bad posture?

I slouch a lot, so my shoulders are a bit rounded at my neutral posture. I have tried to get into the habit of doing wall glides, stretching my chest, doing back exercises, and sitting properly. But after quite a few years of testing strategies, tools, and trying to build consistent habits, I usuall…

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King cobra toxins are mostly a mixture of phospholipases and neurotoxins that act on the cholinorgenic system to cause paralysis. Death from a king cobra bite usually occurs because the paralysis of the lungs prevents one from breathing, causing death.

A few important things to consider:

  • The damage from snake venoms is acute, not chronic. We actually have a lot of proteins similar to those found in snake venoms, the difference is that in snake venoms these proteins are over-active and delivered at a very high concentration. A snake venom delivered at such a low dose that no acute damage occurs is unlikely to produce any type of chronic damage in the long term.
  • Snake venom proteins are actually fantastic tools for medicine. For example, the hemolytic proteins from the vipers are used for diagnosing blood-clotting disorders. The fact that these are biologically active allows them to be used as tools, when used in the right setting with the right concentration!
  • The toxic molecules in snake venoms are proteins, so “adding snake venom to the water” is not very dangerous. You can drink snake venom and you will be perfectly fine, as the proteins denature.
  • Snake venom proteins are very well known, and you can’t really hide a snake venom in an mRNA vaccine. It is trivial to find out if that is the case.

If you are interested in the topic of snake venoms, I recommend:

“Handbook of Venoms and Toxins of Reptiles” by Stephen P. Mackessy

It is one of my favorite books. This book pushed me to study Biochemistry as bachelor.



Is there a simple way to remove a banned user's profile description?

A user was created in my instance to spam phishing links to some google sites that look like bank login sites and crypto wallets. I banned the user and removed their content, but the links were also added to the description in their profile page, and they still live there. Is there a way to delete t…

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I am the same with apple cores! I have eaten a few to avoid carrying them. I am not a fan of the seeds but it’s alright.


This makes me very happy. Very high quality work!!

For the interested, I highly recommend this video by Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, one of the lead authors of the paper: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPerHB6Y2SQ


Uff, definitely! 😅

The one thing that I don’t peel that I have found to be the most controversial is kiwis. I find the skin of kiwis to be perfectly edible. But I do understand why many people don’t want to eat the tough and hairy kiwi skin when biting into a soft sweet fruit.


In most cases, peeling potatoes is unnecessary

If you are cooking a fancy potato puree and you need the texture to be just right, then peeling the potatoes might make sense. But if you are just making a regular meal using potatoes as one of the ingredients (a soup, baked potato, hash-browns, or really any other potato-containing meal), peeling t…

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Low temperature makes sense. I think that given enough time trichoderma will always find a way. If you move the block into fruiting conditions (which usually will expose the block to the outside air) and the block stalls for some for any reason, trich will eventually grow. Low temperature can definitely be a strong factor.

Interestingly, the trichoderma did not survive one week in the worm bin. It was eaten very quickly and this cleaned up the colonized paper towel roll - which stayed untouched and very white, buried under the compost. I found it a bit annoying when I saw that because it was occupying space without turning into compost, but I thought that given enough time it would eventually decompose too… Turns out it actually did go into fruiting. As spring came there were some large temperature fluctuations over a few weeks, so I think that this was the pinning trigger.


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You are right! Black and read is a nice combination! I will try to make one when I get the chance ;)


Two new themes added

I have added the two new themes created by https://lemmy.ml/u/armoredgore


It does work, thank you! :-)

But at the moment I am loading the wallpaper from the github site, as I have not yet been able to host it at mander.xyz/pictrs/images/


These are super cool, thank you!!

I am trying to add them to my instance, but I am not sure about where I need to add the wallpaper files such that they can be found at /pictrs/image/filename.jpg!

I tried the naive way (creating the image folder inside the volumes (volumes/pictrs/image), but that does not work. I do not actually understand how the image URLs are constructed…


This instance has been updated to version 0.16.3

See official announcement of the release here. …






E-mail server configuration

Hello! …

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Would you be interested in being able to recover your forgotten password using PGP?

I was thinking about how one could go about recovering their forgotten password without providing an e-mail address. …

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