What your TikTok algorithm actually means

Plus, attack of the kittens.
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Fringe theory claims the sun may be conscious | The Byte

“A bong rip of a theory suggests that all matter possesses some form of mind or consciousness, not just animals — including, as one biologist suggests, the Sun itself. In a fascinating dive into the hypothesis, which adherents call ‘panpsychism,’ Popular Mechanics reports that this out-there concept has existed for thousands of years and in its more crystallized form has been bubbling around for the last few hundred years. … ‘Consciousness does not need to be confined to brains,’ Sheldrake told Popular Mechanics in its new story. ‘The link between minds and physical systems seems to be through rhythmic electromagnetic fields, which, of course, are present in our brains. They are also present in and around the Sun, and these could be the interface between the solar mind and the body of the Sun.’”

Dice Cream - The future of ice cream is coming, and it’s square-shaped [Partner]

Gone are the days of circular ice cream scoops. Not only are they not cool, they also require a lot of manpower and money that your local ice cream parlor simply doesn't have. Dice Cream is seeking to fix that — with robots. Yes, a fully functional robotic arm that scoops square-shaped ice cream, drizzles fudge, and sprinkles, um, sprinkles. Not only is it a revolutionary way to cut costs, it’s just fun. But seriously, imagine ice cream being served at universities, shopping malls, apartment complexes, and sports arenas in a way that’s not only convenient to the consumer but cost-effective to the vendor. You can join the movement today for as little as $250 per share. Or, invest $1,500 or more for an opportunity for bonus shares. [Ad]

The world’s rarest fish is making a comeback, one ridiculous baby at a time | IFLScience

“Behold, the rarest fish in the world! The red handfish, Thymichthys politus, is known from just two small patches of reef off the coast of Tasmania, thought to be home to around 100 adults. Habitat degradation and climate change have threatened them with extinction, but thanks to a breeding program, they welcomed 21 hatchlings in 2023. … The goal? To release these babies into the wild and bolster the wild breeding population. However, before they can swim in the big blue, they've got to graduate handfish school.”

TikTok’s algorithm has always been a black box. But researchers are finally figuring it out | Fast Company

“Researchers from the U.S. and Europe have uncovered some insights into how the much-vaunted algorithm operates, including the extent to which TikTok echoes users’ interests versus trying to expand the videos they watch. … The researchers classed videos shown on the basis of recommendation systems ‘exploiting’ interest, while those shown to expand users were ‘explorative.’ According to the study’s findings, between 30% and 50% of the first 1,000 videos TikTok users encounter are exploiting their past interests. Recommended videos are driven by a number of factors, most importantly whether the user liked a similar video as well as who they follow on the platform. Fewer seem to be driven by the percentage of the video a user watched.”

Lovesac - Imagine growing old with your couch [Partner]

Most furniture companies will have you thinking that there’s no way you could maintain the same couch from your first studio apartment through those messy early parenting phases and beyond. Not only are stains a real thing (And hey, it’s not just the kids that cause them. #Guilty.), but your sense of interior design when you were 21 is (hopefully) very different from what it is today and what it will be ten years from now. Like your old favorite t-shirt you’ll never part with, furniture from Lovesac is meant to grow with you through the ages. But instead of keeping the same setup forever, you can swap covers and rearrange seat inserts, so your couch is always in style, fresh, and meeting you wherever you’re at in life. Shop now during their Friends and Family sale and save 20% on everything sitewide — from Sactionals couches to cushy Sacs. [Ad]

The U.S. is about to drown in a sea of kittens | Wired

“It’s almost that magical time of year that the Humane Society of America likens to a ‘natural disaster.’ Kitten season. Across the United States, summer is the height of ‘kitten season,’ typically defined as the warm-weather months between spring and fall during which a cat becomes most fertile. For over a decade, animal shelters across the country have noted kitten season starting earlier and lasting longer. Some experts say the effects of climate change, such as milder winters and an earlier start to spring, may be to blame for the uptick in feline birth rates.”

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