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Shines Like Gold
By imp kerr
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Triple-Decker Weekly, 120

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Two Chinese officials bought corpses from grave robbers to meet government cremation quotas

In Australia alone roughly 30 people per year suffer lightning shocks delivered by telephone.

Journalists consider the importance of events and the audience’s interest in them when deciding on which events to report. Events most likely to be reported are those that are both important and can capture the audience’s interest. In turn, the public is most likely to become aware of important news when some aspect of the story piques their interest. We suggest an efficacious means of drawing public attention to important news stories: dogs. Examining the national news agenda of 10 regional newspapers relative to that of the New York Times, we evaluated the effect of having a dog in a news event on the likelihood that the event is reported in regional newspapers. The “dog effect” is approximately equivalent to the effect of whether a story warrants front- or back-page national news coverage in the New York Times. Thus, we conclude that dogs are an important factor in news decisions. [Cambridge University Press | PDF]

The Effects of Subtle Misinformation in News Headlines

Writing about traumatic, stressful or emotional events has been found to result in improvements in both physical and psychological health

English has recently developed a new intensifier, ass, which means something very close to very, is marked as vulgar and colloquial, and appears in cases such as in: That is a big-ass chair, It is a cold-ass night [PDF]

Some people may know what is being said even though the auditory hallucinations may only consist of nonverbal sounds.

Flattery—the art of offering pleasing compliments—is one of the oldest and most commonly used of persuasion methods. Research in this area provides a reason for the popularity of this tactic. Put simply, flattery works. Various studies have shown that the target of the flattery evaluates the flatterer positively because human beings have a basic desire to believe in good things about themselves. What happens, however, in situations in which the flattery is “bogus”—that is, when the recipient knows that the flatterer is offering an insincere compliment, presumably driven by an ulterior motive? Instances of insincere flattery abound in the marketing context, such as the salesperson who offers prospective customers profuse compliments on how an expensive outfit makes them look. […] The authors show that even when flattery by marketing agents is accompanied by an obvious ulterior motive that leads targets to discount the proffered compliments, the initial favorable reaction (the implicit attitude) continues to coexist with the dis- counted evaluation (the explicit attitude). Furthermore, the implicit attitude has more influential consequences than the explicit attitude, highlighting the possible subtle impact of flattery even when a person has consciously corrected for it. [Journal of Marketing Research | PDF]

People’s beliefs about their physical attractiveness (self-perceived attractiveness) can also influence whether people will support or reject inequality.

When We Don’t Like the Solution, We Deny the Problem

Airport security agents using a new conversation-based screening method caught mock airline passengers with deceptive cover stories more than 20 times as often as agents who used the traditional method of examining body language for suspicious signs

Once dominated by correlational studies, face-perception research is moving into the realm of experimentation—and gaining tremendous insight.

Why Women Buy Magazines that Promote Impossible Body Images

Based on a survey of heterosexual female college students in committed relationships, how often women experienced orgasm as a result of sexual intercourse was related to their partner’s family income, his self-confidence, and how attractive he was. […] We also identified an ensemble of partner psychological traits (motivation, intelligence, focus, and determination) that predicted how often women initiated sexual intercourse. Their partner’s sense of humor not only predicted his self-confidence and family income, but it also predicted women’s propensity to initiate sex, how often they had sex, and it enhanced their orgasm frequency in comparison with other partners. [Evolution Psychology | PDF]

Guy Ends Up In Hospital After Getting Girlfriend’s Strap-On Stuck Up His Bum

In a series of 7 experiments we demonstrate that women perceive men to be more attractive and sexually desirable when seen on a red background and in red clothing. […] The influence of red appears to be specific to women’s romantic attraction to men: Red did not influence men’s perceptions of other men, nor did it influence women’s perceptions of men’s overall likability, agreeableness, or extraversion. [APA PsycNet]

A man’s likelihood of obtaining a woman’s phone number increases three-fold when accompanied by a dog

Ghost illusion created in the lab [more]

This thing we call time doesn’t tick at the same rate everywhere in the universe. Or even on our planet. Right now, on the top of Mount Everest, time is passing just a little bit faster than it is in Death Valley. […] Time itself is flowing more quickly on the wall than on the floor. These differences didn’t really matter until now. But this new clock is so sensitive, little changes in height throw it way off. Lift it just a couple of centimeters, Ye says, “and you will start to see that difference.” […] The world’s current time is coordinated between atomic clocks all over the planet. But that can’t happen with the new one. [NPR]

An interesting idea is that the universe could be spontaneously created from nothing, but no rigorous proof has been given. In this paper, we present such a proof based on the analytic solutions of the Wheeler-DeWitt equation. [The Physics arXiv Blog]

Why do we dream? It’s still a scientific mystery. The “Threat Simulation Theory” proposes that we dream as a way to simulate real-life threats and prepare ourselves for dealing with them. “This simulation in an almost-real experiential world would train the brain to perceive dangers and rapidly face them within the safe condition of sleeping,” write the authors of a new paper that’s put the theory to the test. […] The researchers contacted thousands of first-year students at the end of the day that they sat a very important exam. […] over 700 of the students agreed to participate and they completed a questionnaire about their dreams and sleep quality the previous evening, and any dreams they’d had about the exam over the course of the university term. […] The more exam dreams a student reported having during the term, the higher their grade tended to be. [BPS]

Human tetrachromacy is the purely theoretical notion that a woman might, through a rare mutation on one of her two X chromosomes, end up having four different types of cones in her retina instead of the usual three, and therefore be uncannily sensitive to differences in color.

Google Wants to Store Your Genome

Why people cry when they are happy

According to a new study, sad music trigger emotions and experiences beyond sadness.

How can a sequence of dance steps best be learned?

Cotton Vs. Polyester: Which Gym Clothes Trap The Most Body Odor?

We all resist changing our beliefs about the world, but what happens when some of those beliefs are based on misinformation? Is there a right way to correct someone when they believe something that’s wrong? […] The first thing their review turned up is the importance of “backfire effects” — when telling people that they are wrong only strengthens their belief. […] If you try and debunk a myth, you may end up reinforcing that belief, strengthening the misinformation in people’s mind without making the correct information take hold. What you must do, they argue, is to start with the plausible alternative (that obviously you believe is correct). If you must mention a myth, you should mention this second, and only after clearly warning people that you’re about to discuss something that isn’t true. [Tom Stafford/BBC]

Crimes such as bribery require the cooperation of two or more criminals for mutual gain. Instead of deterring these crimes, the state should disrupt them by creating distrust among criminals so they cannot cooperate. In a cooperative crime with two criminals, the state should offer amnesty and a bounty to the criminal who first secures punishment of the other criminal. When the bounty exceeds the bribe, a bribed official gains less from keeping the bribe than from confessing and receiving the bounty. Consequently the person who pays the bribe cannot trust the person who takes it. The game’s unique equilibrium is non-cooperative and bribes disappear. [Review of Law & Economics]

The Public Find Neuroscience Irrelevant and Anxiety-provoking

Loneliness is a disease that changes the brain’s structure and function

An Entire Restaurant With Tables for One

How blind people use batlike sonar

The 24th Ig Nobel prizes were announced on September 18. The prizes annually award scientific research that “first makes people laugh and then makes them think.” […] The prize went to Kiyoshi Mabuchi of Kitasato University for his work “measuring the amount of friction between a shoe and a banana skin, and between a banana skin and the floor, when a person steps on a banana skin that’s on the floor”. Also tested were apple peels and orange skin – found to be less dangerous. […] Creatures of the night are, on average, “more self-admiring, more manipulative and more psychopathic” than people who habitually wake up early in the morning, according to Peter Jonason of the University of Western Sydney and colleagues. [The Conversation]

In politics we’re familiar with the non-apology apology (well described in Wikipedia as “a statement that has the form of an apology but does not express the expected contrition”). Here’s the scientific equivalent: the non-retraction retraction.

Researchers have successfully replicated a direct brain-to-brain connection between pairs of people. […] Researchers were able to transmit the signals from one person’s brain over the Internet and use these signals to control the hand motions of another person within a split second of sending that signal. [University of Washington]

Researchers at the MIT are testing out their version of a system that lets them see and analyze what autonomous robots, including flying drones, are “thinking.” [LiveScience | via gettingsome]

Penguin Robot infiltrates Penguin colony

China Builds Anti-Drone Laser Tech

A Feather and a Bowling Ball Dropped Together Inside the World’s Largest Vacuum Chamber

Man freed after being trapped between two walls of Colorado store

The Survival Condo is a 15-story building underground that can house up to 75 people

The 36 People Who Run Wikipedia

Why Are So Few Blockbuster Drugs Invented Today? [NY Times]

When is fortunetelling a crime?

Amy Li Sets Up a Gallery in Her Father’s Button Shop

The Influence and Legacy of Larry Sultan

Cleaning a vinyl record with wood glue. This trick works because the glue and record are somewhat chemically similar, so the glue only sticks to stuff that’s not supposed to be there.

a pregnancy diary that grows with the mother’s belly

ShitExpress [related: doppio + single]

Fletcher Bach and I recently discovered that there are reviews of prisons on Yelp.

Happy birthday!

Warning Signs of Satanic Behavior. Training video for police, 1990

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Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table.

MIT computer scientists can predict the price of Bitcoin

Alleged Bitcoin ‘creator’ is crowdfunding his lawsuit against Newsweek using Bitcoin

The owner of Ebola.com wants at least $150,000 for it

A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 49% of Americans still believe the U.S. economy is in recession, even though we are now in the sixth year of the recovery. […] If investing when others are skeptical has historically been a successful strategy, why don’t more investors do so? […] Taking advantage of the findings discussed earlier requires investing when the economy and market seem to be at their worst, and rebalancing when conditions appear to be the best. This is counterintuitive for many investors, who tend to wait for confirming evidence before acting. This is related to herd behavior, the tendency to follow the crowd with portfolio decisions. Investing when others are skeptical is emotionally difficult but, as we’ve shown, tends to be when rewards are the greatest. [JP Morgan Funds | PDF]

It is not possible for a human to know whether Bank of America made money or lost money last quarter

Even depressed people believe that life gets better

Alabama man gets $1,000 in police settlement, his lawyers get $459,000

How to Get Rich on Pot Stocks

Always Gamble on an Empty Stomach: Hunger Is Associated with Advantageous Decision Making

Sicily, for instance, employs 950 ambulance drivers who have no ambulances to drive

Researchers have shown that exposing people to pictures of money, or to money-related words, reduces their emotional expressivity and makes them more sensitive to other people’s expressions of emotion.

People change their moral values to benefit themselves over others

Death metal band to play in airtight cube until they run out of oxygen [Thanks Tim]

Electronic Blow Job Machine “Autoblow 2” Opens European Headquarters

Do women perform fellatio as a mate retention behavior?

I spoke to dozens of women in their early to late 30s who had frozen eggs and to a few whose unfrozen eggs had resulted in successful pregnancies. This is a relatively invasive procedure that has a success rate of only 20 percent.

Leveraging the insight that periods, while a pain, also bring women together, JWT has created an augmented reality app that combines Chinese consumers’ love of technology, cute characters and selfies into a new branded platform for Sofy sanitary pads. [Campaign Asia | Thanks Tim]

New research suggests a third child doesn’t bring any extra joy

Can parents make their kids smarter?

Pham and Schackelford (2013) argued that men with more attractive partners are at a greater recurrent risk of sperm competition because other men are more likely to woo them into having affairs. Therefore, men with more attractive partners have more reason to be concerned about and more likely to engage in behaviour aimed to detect infidelity. The idea that cunnilingus, oral sex performed on a woman, could function to detect infidelity was proposed in a 2006 book, but this study is the first to test this empirically. The idea is that oral sex may allow a man to detect the presence of another man’s semen through smell or taste. […] As side-note I’d like to point out that there is a common misconception often advanced by its critics that evolutionary psychology assumes that everything that people do is somehow an evolutionary adaptation and that evolutionary psychologists cannot or will not acknowledge that some behaviours are simply by-products of other adaptations with no special function of their own. This is a gross misrepresentation of what evolutionary psychology is about and in fairness to the authors of the study they were attempting to actually test whether or not their hypothesis about the adaptive function of oral sex is valid, rather than just assuming it is. It is quite possible that oral sex has no evolutionary function in itself. Humans are a highly sexed species compared to most mammals and engage in many non-procreative sexual acts, perhaps for pleasure alone. Oral sex might simply be a by-product of this interest in sex that humans have. However, if it can be shown that this particular behaviour appears to serve a definite purpose that has an evolutionary history, a reasonable case can be made that it has an adaptive function. […] They found that “recurrent risk of sperm competition” (attractiveness) predicted interest in performing oral sex independently of relationship length, relationship satisfaction, and duration of intercourse. [Psychology Today]

In species where females mate with multiple males, the sperm from these males must compete to fertilise available ova. Sexual selection from sperm competition is expected to favor opposing adaptations in males that function either in the avoidance of sperm competition (by guarding females from rival males) or in the engagement in sperm competition (by increased expenditure on the ejaculate). […] We found that men who performed fewer mate guarding behaviors produced higher quality ejaculates, having a greater concentration of sperm, a higher percentage of motile sperm and sperm that swam faster and less erratically. [PLoS]

Britain’s sperm shortage – and the man who helps two women a month [via gettingsome]

Men who had slept with more than 20 women lowered their risk of developing cancer by almost one third. In contrast, men who slept with 20 men doubled their risk of developing prostate cancer.

It has been proposed that kissing, a near-ubiquitous custom among human cultures, may play a significant role in the process of human mate assessment and relationship maintenance. Kissing might aid mate appraisal in humans by facilitating olfactory assessment of various cues for genetic compatibility, health, genetic fitness, or even menstrual cycle phase and fertility. […] It is likely that kissing works to affect initial mate assessment by bringing two individuals into close proximity so as to facilitate some kind of olfactory/gustatory assessment, since olfaction in most mammals, as well as in humans, can play an important role in assessing potential mates. In established relationships, on the other hand, the contact and physiological arousal initiated by continued romantic kissing is likely to also affect feelings of attachment between individuals over time, influencing the release of neuropeptides (including oxytocin and vasopressin), dopamine, and opioids, which have all been variously associated with human pair-bonding. [Evolutionary Psychology | PDF ]

Women who are ovulating are more into kissing, study finds. [via gettingsome]

Religiosity delays initiation of sexual behavior, but the association may be bidirectional, and individuals may become less religious after first intercourse.
This study uses longitudinal data from college students to examine whether 2 aspects of religiosity change before and after first intercourse using multiphase growth curve models. Students’ religiosity did not change in the 6 months preceding first intercourse, but on average they attended services less often and felt religion was less important in the 12 months after first intercourse. [APA PsycNet]

Attributions to God and Satan About Life-Altering Events

In social psychology, revenge is defined as a behavioural reaction toward perceived injustice that aims at re-establishing a (personal) sense of justice by “getting even” and giving wrongdoers what they deserve. The question I will address in this presentation is, what exactly does “getting even” mean? By addressing this question, I will adopt a “social functionalist” perspective on revenge: This perspective highlights the notion that revenge is a goal-driven response that has certain functional aspects, both on the intrapersonal and on the interpersonal level. The “social functionalist” perspective implies that revenge is not the mindless, animalistic impulse that legal scholars and some philosophers sometimes tend to see in it. Revenge has oftentimes been contrasted with law-based retribution by arguing that revenge was irrational, savage, unlimited, unprincipled, and disproportionate, and that the “emotionality” inherent in vengeful reactions overshadowed any rational response. Psychologically, the idea that emotions are irrational is neither useful nor correct. On the contrary, emotions are functional, adaptive, and ecologically rational in that they direct the organism’s attention to important aspects of a situation, and they prepare the organism to respond to problems that arise in social interactions. For example, empirical studies show that anger involves a shift of blood away from the internal organs towards the hands and arms, and it increases one’s sensitivity toward potential injustices and the moral implications of other people’s actions. Of course, anger can also trigger disproportionate retaliatory behaviours, but this does not mean it is inherently “irrational.” Most behavioural systems that the human organism is equipped with are “irrational” in that they may be incompatible with logical, deductive reasoning and a stringent cost-benefit analysis of gains, risks, and losses, but they are nevertheless functional in that they enable us to deal with complex problems and to make useful decisions under uncertainty. Revenge belongs to the human behavioural system just as communication, competition, or helping does; and just as these systems, it has important societal and individual functions. [Individual and social functions of revenge | PDF]

This article investigates whether acts of displaced revenge, that is, revenge targeted at a different person than the original transgressor, can be satisfying for the avenger. We assume that displaced revenge can lead to justice-related satisfaction when the group to which the original transgressor and the displaced target belong is highly entitative. Two experimental online studies show that displaced revenge leads to less regret or more satisfaction when the transgressor and the displaced target belong to a group that is perceived as highly entitative. Study 3 shows that avengers experience more satisfaction when members of the transgressor group were manipulated to be both strongly interconnected and similar in their appearance. Results of an internal meta-analysis furthermore corroborate the notion that displaced revenge leads to more satisfaction when the transgressor group is highly entitative. Taken together, our findings suggest that even displaced revenge can achieve a sense of justice in the eyes of avengers. [ScienceDirect]

In response to a threat, the brain triggers the release of epinephrine and cortisol from your adrenal glands into the blood. As a result, your heart beats faster and stronger, your blood vessels dilate to move more blood, and your lung vessels dilate to exchange more oxygen for carbon dioxide. Equally as important, your liver breaks down glycogen (a sugar storage molecule) to glucose and dumps it into your bloodstream. All these processes work together to increase your alertness and increase the power of your muscles for a short time — like when mothers who lift cars off their small children. You are now ready to respond to the threat; however, there is an exception — you may do nothing at all. One of the major control mechanisms of the fight or flight response is the autonomic nervous system. This is part of the peripheral nervous system (PNS, outside the brain and spinal cord) and transmits information from the central nervous system to the rest of the body. The autonomic system controls involuntary movements and some of the functions of organs and organ systems. Parts of the autonomic system acts like a teeter-totter, it’s their relative balance that controls the outcomes. In the fight or flight response, the sympathetic system predominates and your heart rate increases and your blood vessels dilate. But what if the parasympathetic system gained an upper hand for a short time? […] The heart slows, the blood vessels constrict in the muscles, blood moves from muscles to the gut, and glycogen is produced from glucose. […] Many people have had the experience of parasympathetic domination coincident to a threat, for some folks it proceeds long enough to have an observable result – they faint. […] when your brain is starved of oxygen and glucose, you pass out. […] Lower animals will faint as well, but they have additional defenses along these lines. Mammals, amphibians, insects and even fish can be scared enough to fake death. […] There are overlapping mechanisms for feigned death, from tonic immobility (not moving) to thanatosis (thanat = death, and osis = condition of, playing dead). […] One study in crickets showed that those who feigned death the longest were more likely to avoid being attacked, so this is definitely a survival adaptation. [biological exceptions]

Miniature “human brains” have been grown in a lab in a feat scientists hope will transform the understanding of neurological disorders. [BBC | Thanks Tim]

You might have expected that feeling many negative emotions would be worse than only feeling one of them – but in fact, it’s better.

Sadness lasts longer than other emotions

Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults

Our mood clearly affects how we walk, but how does our walking style affect our mood?

Is It Good or Bad to Zone Out, Space Out or Daydream?

A paper published recently in the journal F1000 Research rose more than a few eyebrows by claiming to support the existence of telepathy.

In the mirror we see our physical selves as we truly are, even though the image might not live up to what we want, or what we once were. But we recognize the image as “self.” In rare instances, however, this reality breaks down. […] How can the recognition of self in a mirror break down? There are at least seven main routes to dissolution or distortion of self-image: 1. psychotic disorders; 2. dementia; 3. right parietal-ish or otherwise right posterior cortical strokes and lesions; 4. the ‘strange-face in the mirror’ illusion; 5. hypnosis; 6. dissociative disorders (e.g., depersonalization, dissociative identity disorder; 7. body image issues (e.g., anorexia, body dysmorphic disorder) [The Neurocritic]

The strange-face-in-the-mirror illusion […] a never-before-described visual illusion where your own reflection in the mirror seems to become distorted and shifts identity. […] To trigger the illusion you need to stare at your own reflection in a dimly lit room. […] The participant just has to gaze at his or her reflected face within the mirror and usually “after less than a minute, the observer began to perceive the strange-face illusion.” [Mind Hacks]

We assume that we can see the world around us in sharp detail. In fact, our eyes can only process a fraction of our surroundings precisely. In a series of experiments, psychologists at Bielefeld University have been investigating how the brain fools us into believing that we see in sharp detail. The results have been published in the scientific magazine ‘Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.’ Its central finding is that our nervous system uses past visual experiences to predict how blurred objects would look in sharp detail. [Universität Bielefeld]

Scientists have found “hidden” brain activity that can indicate if a vegetative patient is aware

Conman who pretended to be in COMA for two years is caught walking around Tesco

Researchers have hypothesized that men gain greater reward from alcohol than do women. An Examination of the Spreading of Smiles in Male and Female Drinking Groups

Cues to Catching Deception in Interviews: A Brief Overview [National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism | PDF]

Trust your gut when determining who is a nice person and who is a criminal. 6 seconds of observation will tell you who is good at their job. Trust your gut about whether a neighborhood is safe.

People can make remarkably accurate judgments about others in a variety of situations after just a brief exposure to their behavior. Ambady and Rosenthal (1992) referred to this brief observation as a “thin slice.” For example, students could accurately predict personality traits of an instructor after watching a 30-s video clip […] a 2-s look at a picture of a face was enough to accurately determine a violent or nonviolent past. Other research has demonstrated the predictive accuracy of short observations regarding social status, psychopathy, and socioeconomic status. […] The data indicate that this ability to predict outcomes from brief observations is more intuitive than deliberatively cognitive, leading scholars to believe that the ability to accurately predict is “hard-wired and occur[s] relatively automatically.” […] The viability of using brief observations of behavior (thin slicing) to identify infidelity in romantic relationships was examined. […] In Study 1, raters were able to accurately identify people who were cheating on their romantic dating partner after viewing a short 3- to 4-min video of the couple interacting. [Personal Relationships]

Thin-Slicing Divorce: Thirty Seconds of Information Predict Changes in Psychological Adjustment Over 90 Days [Psychological Science | PDF]

Why Bats Are Such Good Hosts for Deadly Diseases

Elephants may be able to hear rain generated sound up to 150 miles away

there might be a way to determine whether your horse wants a blanket or prefers to be naked

Whales Can Only Taste Salty

Virgin birth has been documented in the world’s longest snake for the first time

NYC rats are infected with at least 18 new viruses, according to scientists

Rats aren’t smarter than mice. So where did this idea that rats are smarter than mice come from, anyway?

For $100,000, You Can Clone Your Dog

The locomotion and ‘navigation’ abilities of Mexican Jumping Beans

Easter Island’s ancient inhabitants weren’t so lonely after all

Where did the legend of the mermaid come from in the first place?

When Plato gave Socrates’ definition of man as “featherless bipeds” and was much praised for the definition, Diogenes plucked a chicken and brought it into Plato’s Academy, saying, “Behold! I’ve brought you a man.” After this incident, “with broad flat nails” was added to Plato’s definition.

The Case of the Brooklyn Enigma, Part One and Part Two

This paper will explore how this perhaps counterintuitive idea—to help visitors become “delightfully lost”—has influenced mobile thinking at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

How English beat German as language of science

The Children of God practiced Flirty Fishing and Escort Servicing from 1974 until 1987 [Thanks Tim]

Geopolitical Drivers of Future Tourist Flows

Experts have severely underestimated the risks of genetically modified food, says a group of researchers lead by Nassim Nicholas Taleb In 2013 roughly 85 per cent of corn and 90 per cent of soybeans produced in the US were genetically modified.

3 Servings of Milk a Day Linked to Higher Mortality in Women

A mug of cocoa is not a cure for memory problems

What the World Eats

Here, a group of nine chefs and three scientists is pushing the boundaries in the most minimalist, nuanced way, part of an effort to ensure that this ultimate “slow food” remains relevant in a fast-paced world. The chefs are tinkering with a way of cooking that has remained unchanged for centuries. First, […] the chefs played around with the temperature at which they steamed abalone. Received wisdom says it should be steamed at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, or the boiling point of water, for two hours. […] So they spent six months — yes, six months — steaming abalone, changing the temperature in tiny increments. “It turned out that even two degrees had a huge impact on its deliciousness,” Fushiki said in his university office. The perfect temperature to steam an abalone, they concluded, is between 140 and 148 degrees, depending on how it is used. […] The second six-month period was devoted to coagulation. Not content with coagulating food, they experimented with coagulating air. “How can we make the smell of air?” Fushiki recalled the chefs asking. “Let’s whisk and make bubbles, so that each bubble contains the air, and the smell spreads when the bubbles pop.” [Washington Post]

British Army Wants Gamers to Drive its Smart-Tank of the Future

Date Ariane [Thanks Stevie]

26% of women between 18 and 24 have been stalked online, and 25% were the target of online sexual harassment

We took a hacker to a café. On his screen, phrases like “iPhone Joris” and “Simone’s MacBook” start to appear. The device’s antenna is intercepting the signals that are being sent from the laptops, smartphones, and tablets around us.

In 2015, most leading Web browsers will be set to support what are known as push notifications.

How the yoga brand Lululemon turned fitness into a spectator sport [Thanks Tim]

Swimming is the individual activity that most people would drop if they faced higher prices

How Drag Queens Protect Their Intellectual Property Without Law

Patent troll suits down a massive 35% in the third quarter of the year

A National Study on the Lives of Arts Graduates and Working Artists

After 400 years, mathematicians find a new class of solid shapes

Does pop music exist? [PDF]

Y2K Cooking [thanks GG]

RKO compilation [Thanks Tim]

I Scream

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We will review evidence from neuroscience, complex network research and evolution theory and demonstrate that — at least in terms of psychopharmacological intervention — on the basis of our understanding of brain function it seems inconceivable that there ever will be a drug that has the desired effect without undesirable side effects. [Neuroethics]

Anarchist conference descends into chaos

Virgos suffering ‘astrological discrimination’ in China

The Belgian city of Bruges has approved plans to build a pipeline which will funnel beer underneath its famous cobbled streets. Locals and politicians were fed up with huge lorries clattering through the cobbled streets.

Mother drives with 5-month-old in trunk to avoid being cited for not having car seat

Blind people have four times more nightmares than sighted people

Scientists may have accidentally misread space dust as evidence of the Big Bang

Researcher proves, mathematically, that black holes do not exist

Rollercoaster thrill-seekers showered in blood after ride decapitates deer

Experiences feel more intense — whether good or bad — when someone else is there to share them, new study says

Have you ever felt lost and alone? If so, this experience probably involved your hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped structure in the middle of the brain. About 40 years ago, scientists with electrodes discovered that some neurons in the hippocampus fire each time an animal passes through a particular location in its environment. These neurons, called place cells, are thought to function as a cognitive map that enables navigation and spatial memory. Place cells are typically studied by recording from the hippocampus of a rodent navigating through a laboratory maze. But in the real world, rats can cover a lot of ground. For example, many rats leave their filthy sewer bunkers every night to enter the cozy bedrooms of innocent sleeping children. In a recent paper, esteemed neuroscientist Dr. Dylan Rich and colleagues investigated how place cells encode very large spaces. Specifically, they asked: how are new place cells recruited to the network as a rat explores a truly giant maze? [Sick papes]

Woman has married herself after being single for six years

Penises grown in lab could be tested on humans within five years

Vaginal orgasm doesn’t exist, study

Other people can tell whether your partner is cheating on you

‘Back-up husbands,’ ‘emotional affairs’ and the rise of digital infidelity

Alcohol makes smiles more ‘contagious,’ but only for men

Couvade syndrome: why some men develop signs of pregnancy

de Gruyter]

Men seem to focus more on the artist’s background and authenticity, while women pay more attention to the art itself.

Our results show that even in an environment where other group members show no bias, women in male-typed areas and men in female-typed areas may be less influential [PDF]

Who has more appeal and influence: Someone who makes decisions with considerable thought and analysis or someone who takes virtually no time and seems to make decisions effortlessly? [PDF]

Over-caffeinated people may have a hard time expressing emotion

Coffee Drinkers Have Trouble Talking About Emotions?

Winners evaluate themselves favorably even when the competitor is incompetent

Studies of human conversation have documented that 30–40% of everyday speech is used to relay information to others about one’s private experiences or personal relationships, and recent surveys of Internet use indicate that upwards of 80% of posts to social media sites (such as Twitter) consist simply of announcements about one’s own immediate experiences. Although other primates do not generally attempt to communicate to others what they know—for example, by pointing out interesting things or modeling behaviors for others to imitate—by 9 mo of age, human children begin trying to draw others’ attention to aspects of the environment that they find important, and adults in all societies make consistent attempts to impart their knowledge to others. […] What drives this propensity for disclosure? Here, we test recent theories that individuals place high subjective value on opportunities to communicate their thoughts and feelings to others and that doing so engages neural and cognitive mechanisms associated with reward. Five studies provided sup- port for this hypothesis. Self-disclosure was strongly associated with increased activation in brain regions that form the mesolimbic dopamine system, including the nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental area. Moreover, individuals were willing to forgo money to disclose about the self. [PNAS | PDF]

Self-disclosure plays a central role in the development and maintenance of relationships. One way that researchers have explored these processes is by studying the links between self-disclosure and liking. […] Significant disclosure-liking relations were found for each effect: (a) People who engage in intimate disclosures tend to be liked more than people who disclose at lower levels, (b) people disclose more to those whom they initially like, and (c) people like others as a result of having disclosed to them. [Psychological Bulletin | PDF ]

Genes don’t just influence your IQ—they determine how well you do in school

Morphed images of Hollywood celebrities reveal how neurons make up your mind

Motion, audio, and location data harvested from a smartphone can be analyzed to accurately predict stress or depression

A new study has suggested that men who exercise on a regular basis are at lower risk of nocturia i.e. waking up at night to urinate.

Awareness can continue for at least several minutes after clinical death [Where did the story come from?]

Neural activity predicts the timing of spontaneous decisions

Losing the sense of smell predicts death within five years, according to new research.

Low-frequency sounds we don’t hear could still affect our ears

World’s loudest sound circled the Earth four times

World’s smallest microphone is just one molecule

How to tell when a robot has written you a letter

The book describes the training of laboratory rats to trade in foreign exchange and commodity futures markets

The online illicit drug economy is booming. Here’s what people are buying.

In carefully crafting a lightbulb with a relatively short life span, the cartel thus hatched the industrial strategy now known as planned obsolescence.

We conduct an empirical study to analyze how waiting in queue in the context of a retail store affects customers’ purchasing behavior. […] pooling multiple queues into a single queue may increase the length of the queue observed by customers and thereby lead to lower revenues. We also find that customers’ sensitivity to waiting is heterogeneous and negatively correlated with price sensitivity, which has important implications for pricing in a multiproduct category subject to congestion effects. [Management Science]

Men are now the primary grocery shoppers in about four in 10 households. But men, food companies have found, have their own priorities.

Americans love to eat out. During the year 2012, the average resident of the United States of America ate more than 200 meals outside the home. This paper studies the history of eating outside the home in America from Colonial to modern times.

Diners Tend To Eat More If Their Companions Are Overweight

Researchers found that when charged more for an all-you-can-eat buffet diners rated the food higher than when charged less for the same food.

Playful new cooking based on traditional methods and weird ingredients will supplant the industrial techniques that dominate modernist cuisine.

Scientists have “hacked” photosynthesis, and it could help them speed up food production

Too Much Air in Potato Chip Packets? Students Make a Boat to Prove It

The World’s Most Dangerous Garden

“There’s as much biodiversity in the soils of Central Park as we found in the soil… from the Arctic to Antarctica” […] almost 170,000 different kinds of microbes. […] The team also found 2,000 species of microbes that are apparently unique to Central Park. [ NPR]

10,000 pigeons underwent anal security check in China

The idea of an aesthetically pleasing gluteal region has been with us since early recorded history.

A history of the word “Bitch”

Schizophrenia in rap music

The ban against Spinoza was the harshest ever issued by the Amsterdam Portuguese-Jewish community

In the autumn of 1931, the philosopher Martin Heidegger began to record his thoughts in small diaries that he called the schwarze Hefte, or “black notebooks.”

Why do Autocrats Disclose?

Do Communists Have Better Sex?

A 2014 study found that readers of a short mystery story on a Kindle were significantly worse at remembering the order of events than those who read the same story in paperback.

A quantitative analysis of the graying of Barack Obama’s hair [PDF]

100 Copies of The Beatles’ White Album Playing At The Same Time

USB cigarettes (pay-as-you-smoke) patent

I Quant NY [Thanks Tim]

What happens if racing greyhounds not just chase, but actually catch the mechanical rabbit?

matt.cash

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People’s belief in free will is lower when they need to urinate or desire sex

Domestic violence likely more frequent for same-sex couples

The main objective of this study was to describe male and female lumbar spine and hip motion and muscle activation patterns during coitus and compare these motions and muscle activity across five common coital positions. […] A secondary objective was to determine if simulated coitus could be used in place of real coitus for future coitus biomechanics research. [via University of Waterloo | PDF]

Venezuela’s shortage of breast implants

Bra Wearing Not Associated with Breast Cancer Risk

Double mastectomy for breast cancer ‘does not boost survival chances’

Town in Brazil made up entirely of women has made an appeal for bachelors

’Family meal’ ideal is stressful, impossible for many families

New Toyota minivan equips parents with mic to make it easier to yell at unruly kids in the back

To examine the effects of grunting on velocity and force production during dynamic and static tennis strokes in collegiate tennis players. […] The velocity, force, and peak muscle activity during tennis serves and forehand strokes are significantly enhanced when athletes are allowed to grunt. [Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research | more]

Self-Deceived Individuals Are Better at Deceiving Others

Neuroscientists reverse memories’ emotional associations: Brain circuit that links feelings to memories manipulated

‘Memories’ can be passed down through genetic code from one generation to the next.

A woman has reached the age of 24 without anyone realising she was missing a large part of her brain. […] her entire cerebellum was missing […] The cerebellum – sometimes known as the “little brain” – is located underneath the two hemispheres. It looks different from the rest of the brain because it consists of much smaller and more compact folds of tissue. It represents about 10 per cent of the brain’s total volume but contains 50 per cent of its neurons. [NewScientist]

Scientists discover new “sleep node” in the brain: Findings may lead to new therapies for sleep disorders, including insomnia

How your brain actually makes decisions while you sleep

When you set sad lyrics against happy music, the music wins

Both men and women find humility attractive

Findings from two experiments suggest that priming the passage of time through the sound of a ticking clock influenced various aspects of women’s (but not men’s) reproductive timing. Moreover, consistent with recent research from the domain of life history theory, those effects depended on women’s childhood socioeconomic status (SES). The subtle sound of a ticking clock led low (but not high) SES women to reduce the age at which they sought to get married and have their first child (Study 1), as well as the priority they placed on the social status and long-term earning potential of potential romantic partners (Study 2). [Human Nature]

Researchers have discovered how two genes keep the circadian clocks in all human cells in time and in proper rhythm with the 24-hour day, as well as the seasons.

Study of more than 100,000 people finds three genetic variants for IQ — but their effects are maddeningly small.

Gene-Silencing Drugs Finally Show Promise

Genes may help explain why some people are naturally more interested in music than others

Research on twins has found that our genes may determine an innate baseline for how happy we’ll be during our lives

An office enriched with plants makes staff happier and boosts productivity by 15 per cent

Not everyone who hears voices experiences them as social entities but this type of social hallucinated voice is not rare or exotic.

The evidence that abstinence from alcohol is a cause of heart disease and early death is irrefutable

First-person account of Cotard’s delusion – the belief that you’re dead

This study examines whether tattoo visibility affects recidivism length of ex-offenders [PDF]

Richard Feynman’s Lectures on Physics

Time Travel Simulation Resolves “Grandfather Paradox”

Grandfather busted for prostituting himself… to young women

Imagine that someone else was controlling your actions. You would still look like you, and sound like you, but you wouldn’t be the one deciding what you did and what you said. Would anyone notice the difference?

Action films most likely to make you fat

Serialized Killers: Prebooting Horror in Bates Motel and Hannibal

New Study Examines Impact of Violent Media on the Brain

Study finds ‘magical contagion’ spreads creator’s essence to artworks, adding value

Only 1.5 percent of looted art is ever recovered. Why don’t museums put GPS trackers on everything?

Scientists use E.coli bacteria to create fuel

Growing mushrooms in diapers

What body parts are seeing the most striking rise in venture-capital funding? Eyes and ears.

“At some factories, robots are even building other robots, producing about 50 robots per 24-hour shift and operating unsupervised for as long as 30 days at a time.” [via gettingsome]

Hackers Are Homing in on Hospitals

How the FBI took down the online black market and drug bazaar known as the Silk Road

Quick-change materials break the silicon speed limit for computers

Where is Josh Harris now?

DJs all over the world are now deliberately making mistakes during their mixes to prove to fans and critics that they are in fact real DJs.

Burger King goes “Goth” in Japan

Airlines are creating rush hours and crowds at airports – on purpose

When individual performance was publicly posted in the workplace, employees working in a group performed better than when working alone; however, when individual performance was not posted, employees working in a group performed worse than when working alone. [Management Science]

This paper considers when a firm’s freely chosen name can signal meaningful information about its quality, and examines a setting in which it does. Plumbing firms with names beginning with an “A” or a number receive five times more service complaints, on average. In addition, firms use names beginning with an “A” or a number more often in larger markets, and those that do have higher prices. These results reflect consumers’ search decisions and extend to online position auctions: plumbing firms that advertise on Google receive more complaints, which contradicts prior theoretical predictions but fits the setting considered here. [Ryan C. McDevitt | PDF]

Her job was to taste Hitler’s food to make sure it wasn’t poisoned. [via Natalie Shutler]

Germany’s Air Food One is a subscription service that lets anyone get airline meals delivered to their home once a week.

Plane crash [Thanks Tim]

Portraits of former Playboy Bunnies

Returning to from lower Manhattan to Brooklyn

The various ways to duck paying the fare on the Paris Subway

Porn for the Blind [thanks GG]

Share selfies with your friends if they’re standing behind you. [Thanks Tim]

I Wanted a Floor Lamp

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Psychologists investigate why some people see the future as being behind them

Flight diverted after fight over legroom. One passenger was using the Knee Defender, a $21.95 gadget that attaches to a passenger’s tray table and prevents the person in front of them from reclining.

Seattle doctor accused of sexting during surgery

Does Love last? No. Romantic/Passionate love declines after marriage. After two years of marriage, average spouses express affection for each other only half as often as they did when they were newlyweds. Divorces occur more frequently in the fourth year of marriage than at any other time. [Psychology of Romantic Relationships | PDF]

Reading ‘Fifty Shades’ linked to unhealthy behaviors

Fifty-eight adolescent girls and 60 young adult women viewed a Facebook profile with either a sexualized profile photo or a nonsexualized profile photo and then evaluated the profile owner. Results indicated that the sexualized profile owner was considered less physically attractive, less socially attractive, and less competent to complete tasks. [APA/PsycNET]

On Facebook, people frequently express emotions, which are later seen by their friends via Facebook’s “News Feed” product. Because people’s friends frequently produce much more content than one person can view, the News Feed filters posts, stories, and activities undertaken by friends. News Feed is the primary manner by which people see content that friends share. Which content is shown or omitted in the News Feed is determined via a ranking algorithm that Facebook continually develops and tests in the interest of showing viewers the content they will find most relevant and engaging. One such test is reported in this study: A test of whether posts with emotional content are more engaging. […] For people who had positive content reduced in their News Feed, a larger percentage of words in people’s status updates were negative and a smaller percentage were positive. When negativity was reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results suggest that the emotions expressed by friends, via online social networks, influence our own moods, constituting, to our knowledge, the first experimental evidence for massive-scale emotional contagion via social networks, and providing support for previously contested claims that emotions spread via contagion through a network. [PNAS]

Husband takes his wife to court over honeymoon photos she posted on Facebook

Women were more threatened than men when imagining another person complimenting their partner’s physical appearance. [PDF]

Couple walled in by angry neighbours

Douglas also admitted to having sex with bodies being stored while awaiting autopsies.

A recent paper said PMS can drive spouses apart. But that paper is based on bad science and flat-out lies.

Does Seeing the Doctor More Often Keep You Out of the Hospital? [PDF]

On average, people’s memories stretch no farther than age three and a half. Everything before then is a dark abyss. Psychologists have named this dramatic forgetting “childhood amnesia.”

We are now beginning to crack the brain’s code, which allows us to answer such bizarre questions as “what is the speed of thought?”

Neuroscientists watch imagination happening in the brain

The use of hallucinogens in research and therapy

The more strongly people believed in free will, the more they liked making choices

Panic disorder and epilepsy were associated with low belief in free will.

When you are in the middle of negotiation, is it best to make the first offer, or to wait for the other party to make the first offer and then respond to it?

Here, we test whether creativity increases dishonesty [PDF]

Music helps you focus on your own thoughts, but only if you like it

Researchers have found that “solid-head” power toothbrushes have up to 3,000 times less bacteria when compared to “hollow-head” toothbrushes.

Home is where the microbes are

A whole functional organ has been grown from scratch inside an animal for the first time

Results show that carrying a backpack in an asymmetrical manner negatively affects spine, even if the backpack weight constitutes 10% of the child’s weight. [SAGE]

Hangover Cure Finally Comes to the U.S.

Drinking small amounts of alcohol boosts people’s sense of smell

Effect of maternal coffee, smoking and drinking behavior on adult son’s semen quality

Quantification of Pizza Baking Properties of Different Cheeses, and Their Correlation with Cheese Functionality [study abstract]

Vending machine dispenses food for stray dogs when people insert recyclable bottles and cans

Schrödinger’s cat caught on quantum film

The smell of rain: what is petrichor?

[T]he Office will refuse to register a claim if it determines that a human being did not create the work. […] [T]he Office cannot register a work purportedly created by divine or supernatural beings. […] A musical work created solely by an animal would not be registrable, such as a bird song or whale song. Likewise, music generated entirely by a mechanical or an automated process is not copyrightable. […] To qualify as a work of authorship a choreographic work must be created by a human being and it must be intended for execution by humans. Dances performed or intended to be performed by animals, machines, or other animate or inanimate objects are not copyrightable and cannot be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. [U.S. Copyright Office /Popular Science]

States with faster Internet speeds have smarter people

An ad-free internet would cost each user at least £140 a year ($230)

When A Machine Learning Algorithm Studied Fine Art Paintings, It Saw Things Art Historians Had Never Noticed

Ever since the first hack of a commercial quantum cryptography device, security specialists have been fighting back. Here’s an update on the battle.

With enough technical savvy, simply touching a laptop can suffice to extract the cryptographic keys used to secure data stored on it.

Systems that can secretly track where cellphone users go around the globe

Women college students average 10 hours a day on their cellphones and men students spend nearly eight

Researchers find it’s terrifyingly easy to hack traffic lights

Inside Google’s Secret Drone-Delivery Program

This Is Uber’s Playbook for Sabotaging Lyft

There were no associations between childhood family income and subsequent violent criminality and substance misuse

Does terrorism help perpetrators to achieve their demands?

The Role of Artists in Ship Camouflage During World War I

How Temperatures In Manhattan Differ From Block To Block

Around 75% of all IKEA’s product images are CG

The ‘chairless chair’ that lets you relax anywhere

Egypt feminist defecates on IS flag in the nude

Recently, another chapter in the Toynbee Tile saga was written, when a tile showed up on Greenwich Street and North Moore in SoHo.

Horses And Sleep

Celebs before their signature Hollywood smiles

London restaurant creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast

Images from opening scenes of adult movies

Crying Infant Assuager (new patent)

Facial Recognition Software for Cats

Camel toe challenge [more]