How Fast Does the Eye Transmit Visual Input?

As fast as an ethernet connection.

(Philadelphia, PA) — Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine estimate that the human retina can transmit visual input at about the same rate as an Ethernet connection, one of the most common local area network systems used today. They present their findings in the July issue of Current Biology. This line of scientific questioning points to ways in which neural systems compare to artificial ones, and can ultimately inform the design of artificial visual systems.

(via Robot Wisdom)

The Best: Deadly Poisons, Ingested or Inhaled

From Wired:

1. Botulinum (ingested)

It’s hard to rank the lethality of toxins, but experts agree that botulinum – several orders of magnitude deadlier than sarin – is the gold standard. Your nervous system fails and you die in extreme pain. Works miracles on wrinkles, though.

2. Ricin (ingested or inhaled)

Made from the lowly castor bean, ricin causes respiratory and organ failure, followed by death within hours. Even chewing a few beans can kill you.

3. Anthrax (inhaled)

Cutaneous exposure can kill, but the most deadly, panic-inspiring form of anthrax is inhaled. It starts with flu that doesn’t get better – then your respiratory system collapses.

(Thanks Mark)

How Baseball Cards Lost Their Luster

Shit, there goes my retirement money.

Last month, when my parents sold the house I grew up in, my mom forced me to come home and clear out my childhood bedroom. I opened the closet and found a box the size of a Jetta. It was so heavy that at first I thought it held my Weider dumbbells from middle school. Nope, this was my old stash. Thousands, if not tens of thousands, of baseball cards from the 1980s. Puckett, Henderson, Sandberg, Gwynn, and McGwire stared back at me with fresh faces. So long, old friends, I thought. It’s time for me to cash in on these long-held investments. I started calling the lucky card dealers who would soon be bidding on my trove.

First, I got a couple of disconnected numbers for now-defunct card shops. Not a good sign. Then I finally reached a human. “Those cards aren’t worth anything,” he told me, declining to look at them…

Baseball cards peaked in popularity in the early 1990s. They’ve taken a long slide into irrelevance ever since, last year logging less than a quarter of the sales they did in 1991. Baseball card shops, once roughly 10,000 strong in the United States, have dwindled to about 1,700. A lot of dealers who didn’t get out of the game took a beating. “They all put product in their basement and thought it was gonna turn into gold,” Alan Rosen, the dealer with the self-bestowed moniker “Mr. Mint,” told me. Rosen says one dealer he knows recently struggled to unload a cache of 7,000 Mike Mussina rookie cards. He asked for 25 cents apiece.