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Shines Like Gold
By imp kerr
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Triple-Decker Weekly, 122

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The Male Idiotic Theory (MIT) stipulates that the reason men are more prone to injury and death is simply because they “are idiots and idiots do stupid things“. Despite tons of anecdotal evidence confirming MIT, there’s never been a systematic analysis on sex differences in idiotic risk taking behaviour. Until now. In a new study published in BMJ, researchers obtained 20 years worth of data from the Darwin Awards to tally up the sex of each year’s winner. For those not in the know, the Darwin Awards are given to people who die in such astonishingly stupid ways that “their action ensures the long-term survival of the species, by selectively allowing one less idiot to survive”. […] Men made up a staggering 88.7 % of Darwin Award winners in 318 examined cases. [Neurorexia]

Males are more likely to die than females while in the womb

Several weeks ago, Vidra communicated the new vision to the staff in what I am told was an uncomfortable stream of business clichés ungrounded in any apparent strategy other than saying things like “let’s break shit” and “we’re a tech company now.” [NY mag | Continue reading | Daily Beast]

Subclinical Primary Psychopathy, but Not Physical Formidability or Attractiveness, Predicts Conversational Dominance

Women outperform men in some financial negotiations

Most American presidents destined to fade from nation’s memory, study suggests [more]

The door-in-the-face (DITF) influence strategy has been studied for over 20 years. […] Before making a request of a person, an initial larger request is made, which the person declines. […] Declining the first request makes persons more likely to accept the second (target) request. [Guilt and expected guilt in the door-in-the-face technique | PDF | via Improbable]

10 of The Most Counter-intuitive Psychology Findings Ever Published 1. Self-help Mantras Can Do More Harm Than Good […] 3. Criminals Show Cooperation and Prosocial Behaviour in Economic Games […] 5. We Make Many Decisions Mindlessly […] 6. Opposites Don’t Attract […] 10. Sometimes a Pregnant Woman’s Depression is Advantageous For Her Baby [BPS]

This research proposes that because rounded numbers are more fluently processed, rounded prices (e.g., $200.00) encourage reliance on feelings. In contrast, because nonrounded numbers are disfluently processed, nonrounded prices (e.g., $198.76) encourage reliance on cognition. Thus, rounded (nonrounded) prices lead to a subjective experience of “feeling right” when the purchase decision is driven by feelings (cognition). Further, this sense of feeling right resulting from the fit between the roundedness of the price number and the nature of decision context can make positive reactions toward the target product more positive and negative reactions more negative, a phenomenon referred to as the rounded price effect in the current research. Results from five studies provide converging evidence for the rounded price effect. Findings from the current research further show that merely priming participants with rounded (nonrounded) numbers in an unrelated context could also lead to the rounded price effect. [Journal of Consumer Research]

Frostbite is the freezing of parts of the body. Your cells are mostly water; when water freezes it forms crystals. The crystals are sharp and are larger than the same amount of water (ie. water expands when it freezes). This leads to punctures in the cell membranes; the affected parts of the body sort of digest themselves due to the release of enzymes from the broken cells. Frostbite usually affects the extremities – toes, fingers, nose, ear lobes, private parts for men – because they have less blood flow and are harder to keep warm. Your body also sacrifices these body parts in an effort to keep warm by constricting blood vessels to keep the majority of blood from cooling and carrying the cold back to the center of the body. […] Hypothermia is the bone-chilling cold you feel when your entire body’s temperature is dropping. Your normal body temperature is 98.6 ˚F (37 ˚C) or thereabouts. At 95 ˚F (35 ˚C) hypothermia begins. At 91 ˚F (32.7 ˚C) you get amnesia, and below 85 ˚F (29.5 ˚C) you lose consciousness. […] Hypothermia can kill you in several ways, two of which have to do with electricity. Your heart beats because it supplies itself with a chemico-electrical jolt every second or so. This is what occurs in the sinus and AV nodes of the heart and is based on an electrical charge difference across the cells’ membranes in the node. Low body temperature messes with the membrane potential, so the heartbeat is slow and erratic. Too slow (bradycardia) or too erratic (arrhythmia) leads to a heartbeat so dysfunctional that it won’t push the blood through your body and you die from cardiac failure. [The ‘Scope]

Smoking erases Y chromosomes

The Sex Lives of Sex Researchers

How addicts gained the power to reverse overdoses

When a man was fitted with a new heart, his mind changed in unusual ways. Why?

[D]etoxing – the idea that you can flush your system of impurities and leave your organs squeaky clean and raring to go – is a scam. It’s a pseudo-medical concept designed to sell you things. “Let’s be clear,” says Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, “there are two types of detox: one is respectable and the other isn’t.” The respectable one, he says, is the medical treatment of people with life-threatening drug addictions. “The other is the word being hijacked by entrepreneurs, quacks and charlatans to sell a bogus treatment that allegedly detoxifies your body of toxins you’re supposed to have accumulated.” […] In 2009, a network of scientists assembled by the UK charity Sense about Science contacted the manufacturers of 15 products sold in pharmacies and supermarkets that claimed to detoxify. The products ranged from dietary supplements to smoothies and shampoos. When the scientists asked for evidence behind the claims, not one of the manufacturers could define what they meant by detoxification, let alone name the toxins. [...] Then there’s colonic irrigation. Its proponents will tell you that mischievous plaques of impacted poo can lurk in your colon for months or years and pump disease-causing toxins back into your system. Pay them a small fee, though, and they’ll insert a hose up your bottom and wash them all away.[…] No doctor has ever seen one of these mythical plaques, and many warn against having the procedure done, saying that it can perforate your bowel. [The Guardian]

Scientists have created a chemical that can be added to food to make people feel full.

Food Guns

Microbial succession in a sterilized restroom begins with bacteria from the gut and the vagina, and is followed shortly by microbes from the skin.

Effect of Vaginal Electrical Stimulation

‘Off switch’ for pain discovered

Crazymeds.us gives mostly accurate and readable descriptions of the costs and benefits of every psychiatric medication.

Forty percent of trials reported significantly greater long-term weight loss with diet compared with aerobic exercise. Diet+aerobic exercise resulted in significantly greater weight loss than diet alone in 50% of trials.

A new study looks at the changes in social structures and diet during the transition from the Merovingian (6th to 9th c. CE) to Vikings era (9th to 11th c. CE) in Northern Europe.

things you (probably) didn’t know about the Middle Ages

Many theories have hypothesized that Protestantism should have favored economic development. Using population figures of 272 cities in the years 1300-1900, I find no effects of Protestantism on economic growth.

Does Religious Beliefs Affect Economic Growth? Evidence from Provincial-level Panel Data in China

The balcony scene in “Romeo and Juliet” is not actually in Shakespeare’s play.

Wittgenstein and Hitler Attended the Same School in Austria, at the Same Time (1904-1905)

A World War II grenade apparently landed on a tree during fighting. It was then enveloped by wood growing around it to the point that it was invisible when the tree was chopped down for firewood and sold to the supermarket…

It turns out that the modern affliction of spellcheckers wreaking havoc on unsuspecting documents has been given a name.

Evidence for ‘bilingual advantage’ may be less conclusive than previously thought

It’s called “beauty work.” It’s a digital procedure of sorts, in which a handful of skilled artists use highly specialized software in the final stages of post-production to slim, de-age and enhance actors’ faces and bodies. […] Under strict non-disclosure agreements, Hollywood A-listers have been quietly slipping in and out of a few bland office buildings around town, many to sit in on days-long retouching sessions, directing the artists to make every frame suitable. […] Hips are narrowed, calves slimmed, turkey-necks tucked. Pores are tightened. Eye-bags reduced (often, entire hangovers are erased). Hair is thickened, teeth whitened. Underarm-skin is de-jiggled. Belly fat obliterated, abs raised. [ Mashable]

According to a study released this week by Brown University’s Department of Modern Culture and Media, it now takes only four minutes for a new cultural touchstone to transform from an amusing novelty into an intensely annoying thing people never want to see or hear again. […] “We project that by 2018, the gap between liking something new and wishing yourself dead rather than hearing it again will be down to 60 seconds,” Levinson said. “And by 2023, enjoyment and abhorrence will occur simultaneously, the two emotions effectively canceling each other out and leaving one feeling nothing whatsoever.” [The Onion | via Nathan Jurgenson]

Alfredo Martinez strapped his little brother to a rocket engine at the age of 12, was shot in the leg in Guatemala by a death squad in the 1980’s, and he himself shot his dealer at an art fair in New York City with a self-made gun.

How Law Defines Art

Much Contemporary Art is a Sham Says Famous British Critic

Even Steve Martin Got Sold an $850,000 Forgery

Museums are mining increasingly detailed layers of information about their guests, employing some of the same strategies that companies like Macy’s, Netflix and Wal-Mart have used in recent years to boost sales by tracking customer behavior

Startup wants to build you a personal website that’s automatically updated with your own data

The tattoos are worn exactly as a regular temporary tattoo would be worn. The sensors simply sit atop the skin without penetrating it and interact with Bluetooth or other wireless devices with a signal in order to send the data.

WhatsApp is cited in nearly half of all Italian divorce proceedings

The Associations Between Adolescents’ Consumption of Pornography and Music Videos and Their Sexting Behavior

People trust NSA more than Google, survey says

The Cost of the “S” in HTTPS [PDF]

Almost one-fourth of video ads and 11 percent of display ads are viewed by bots created by cyber crime networks seeking to siphon advertising money

BitTorrent launches invite-only torrent-based browser

IsoHunt unofficially resurrects The Pirate Bay

List of search terms blocked in China

The Rise and Fall of Chris Hughes and Sean Eldridge, America’s Worst Gay Power Couple

This startup wants to pay you to fly with strangers’ stuff in your luggage

Anyone with more than 2,000 personal Facebook friends or 100,000 followers on Instagram gets a free seven-night stay at the luxury hotel, which usually costs $360/night.

Big Bang, Universe, Sun & Earth, Life begins…

New theories suggest the big bang was not the beginning, and that we may live in the past of a parallel universe. […] Time’s arrow may in a sense move in two directions, although any observer can only see and experience one. [Scientific American]

Amazing unknown transparent vehicle captured over Vienna, Austria – Nov 26, 2014 [Thanks Tim]

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Man’s toilet explodes while city crew cleans sewers

Business culture in banking industry favors dishonest behavior, study shows

CEO Facial Width Predicts Firm Financial Policies

Facial Feature Assessment of Popular U.S. Country Music Singers Across Social and Economic Conditions

How can it be that new music is liked by young people if so much of it is often regarded as quite bad?

Around three percent of the Swiss secretly eat cat or dog

The younger generation doesn’t have the time or patience to stick with golf, and it’s killing the industry.

Researchers able to turn sawdust into gasoline

Female inmates regularly concoct their own makeup, or “fakeup,” using food, lotions, and other items provided by their facilities.

Automatic gender spoof detection (make-up and mustaches)

This year, Paul Aronson, an 84-year-old from Manhattan, contacted a 17-year-old girl, Shaina Foster, through the site and took her out to dinner. On a second date, Ms. Foster brought along her twin sister, Shalaine. [NY Times]

How the love of a high school girl sparked a gang war

[P]eople who are depressed display some surprising advantages in their thinking skills. Depressed people: 1. process information more deeply. 2. are more accurate at complex tasks. 3. make better judgements on detail-oriented information. 4. make more accurate cost-benefit analyses. The researchers developed a new questionnaire which measures ‘analytical rumination’, a mental process which is thought to be an ancient defence mechanism and the root of depression. Analytical rumination is where people turn problems over in their heads to the exclusion of all else, trying to look for a solution. They first examine the problem’s cause, then the things that need solving, any possible solutions plus the costs and benefits of each solution. The symptoms of depression, which often include lethargy, difficulty sleeping, poor concentration and disinterest in other people or the external world, may actually be ways of saving energy while a person is focusing on the problem. [PsyBlog]

Experimental and Field Evidence that Morality and a Sense of Humor are Psychologically Incompatible [PDF]

Researchers in the US have used electrical brain stimulation to boost the vigilance of sleep-deprived military personnel working on an airforce base. Experiments on 18- to 42-year old men and women on active duty found that half an hour of electrical brain stimulation improved their performance twice as much as caffeine, and the effect lasted three times as long. [The Guardian | via gettingsome]

Researchers has determined the location where memories are generated with a level of precision never achieved before.

Twitter Users Are More Likely to Follow Others With The Same First Name But Nobody Knows Why

The malware, called “Regin”, is probably run by a western intelligence agency and in some respects is more advanced in engineering terms than Stuxnet. […] Symantec said it was not yet clear how Regin infected systems but it had been deployed against internet service providers and telecoms companies mainly in Russia and Saudi Arabia as well as Mexico, Ireland and Iran. […] “Nothing else comes close to this . . . nothing else we look at compares,” said Orla Cox, director of security response at Symantec, who described Regin as one of the most “extraordinary” pieces of hacking software developed, and probably “months or years in the making”. […] “Sometimes there is virtually nothing left behind – no clues. Sometimes an infection can disappear completely almost as soon as you start looking at it, it’s gone. That shows you what you are dealing with.” [FT]

Utah Considers Cutting Off Water to the NSA’s Data Center

The mysterious ‘action at a distance’ between liquid containers

Heat Your House with Someone Else’s Computers

When Apple announced the iPhone 6 this September, it didn’t have a sapphire screen, only a regular glass one. And a month later, the small New Hampshire-based company chosen to supply Apple with enormous quantities of cheap sapphire, GT Advanced Technologies, declared bankruptcy. The terms Apple negotiated committed GT to supplying a huge amount of sapphire, but put Apple under no obligation to buy it.

Police in California and Texas Test Networked Guns

The police do not do trauma clean-up. Neither do firefighters or ambulance crews or emergency services. Instead, hired hands like Sandra handle the clean-up at crime scenes, deaths, floods and fires.

Ivan Pavlov is best known as a founding figure of behaviorism who trained dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell. […] Pavlov didn’t use a bell, and for his real scientific purposes, couldn’t. English-speakers think he did because of a mistranslation of the Russian word for zvonok (buzzer). […] Although one would expect that this investigator of reflexive reactions would think otherwise, he believed in free will. […] He didn’t win his Nobel Prize (1904) for research on conditional reflexes, but rather for his studies of digestive physiology. [Oxford University Press | More: New Yorker]

When I started life Hegelianism was the basis of everything: it was in the air, found expression in magazine and newspaper articles, in novels and essays, in art, in histories, in sermons, and in conversation. A man unacquainted with Hegel had no right to speak: he who wished to know the truth studied Hegel. Everything rested on him; and suddenly forty years have gone by and there is nothing left of him, he is not even mentioned – as though he had never existed. And what is most remarkable is that, like pseudo-Christianity, Hegelianism fell not because anyone refuted it, but because it suddenly became evident that neither the one nor the other was needed by our learned, educated world. [Leon Tolstoy, What then must we do?, 1886 | PDF]

Linguistic Mapping Reveals How Word Meanings Sometimes Change Overnight

Winston Churchill Received the First Ever Letter Containing “O.M.G.” (1917)

The balcony scene in “Romeo and Juliet” is not actually in Shakespeare’s play.

‘How to Fake a Piece of Art’ by Artist Alfredo Martinez

Symphony No. 45 in F-sharp minor, known as the “Farewell” Symphony, was composed by Joseph Haydn and dated 1772. […] During the final adagio each musician stops playing, snuffs out the candle on his music stand, and leaves in turn, so that at the end, there are just two muted violins left. [Wikipedia]

My stalker is back.

European art collective created a bot that crawls the Darknet and makes one purchase per week

TED Talk: How to Dispose of a Chimp’s Body by Col. Frank Tuplin

The poop bus could actually improve air quality, as biomethane produces fewer emissions than regular diesel fuel does.

bosomcouture.com

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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

Triple-Decker Weekly, 118

tdw118

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