The key way that economists model behavior is by assuming that people have preferences about things. Often, but not always, these preferences are expressed in the form of a utility function. But there are some things that could happen that could seriously mess with this model. Most frightening are “framing effects”. This is when what you want depends on how it’s presented to you. […] One of the most important tools we have to describe people’s behavior over time is the notion of time preference, also called “discounting”. This means that we assume that people care about the future less than they care about the present. Makes sense, right? But while certain kinds of discounting cause people’s choices to be inconsistent, other kinds would cause people to make inconsistent decisions. For example, some people might choose not to study hard in college, even though they realize that someday they’ll wake up and say “Man, if I could go back in time I would have studied more in college!”. This kind of thing is called hyperbolic discounting. It would make it a lot harder to model human behavior. But the models would still be possible to make. But what would be really bad news is if people’s time preferences switched depending on framing effects! If that happened, then it would be very, very hard to model individual decision-making over time. Unfortunately, that is exactly what experimental economist David Eil of George Mason University has found in a new experiment. [Noahpinion]
Now add $1.99 per month subscription to connect Nest to Google services, and you’ve opened a lot more consumers to replacing their “ugly” thermostat, rather than paying the upfront $249 Nest one-off purchase cost. Which could allow Nest to work its way into millions of homes; this means that 56% of all electricity used, the monthly service that we all are forced to pay, will largely be monitored and controlled by one of the most powerful companies in the world: Google. […] a shift from one-off product sales to services that will become essential to our everyday lives, things that we will pay for over and over again. [Pando]
Fashion designers are sending out photos of stars wearing their brands while attending Philip Seymour Hoffman’s funeral. “We are pleased to announce Amy Adams carrying the Valentino Garavani Rockstud Duble bag from the Spring/Summer 2014 collection on February 6th in New York.”
Cheese Made From Bacteria Between Your Toes and Other Bizarre Bio Art
The group of people who took revenge even after a period of time still struggled with more vengeful feelings than the people who did not take revenge. Although 58% experienced satisfaction and 16% experienced triumph, only 19% reported their vengeful feelings to be completely gone, compared with 40% of the people who did not take revenge. [International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology | via Mind Hacks]
In love, as with genies, we only get three wishes, says relationship expert Ty Tashiro. The more traits you pick that are above the average, the lower the statistical odds that you’ll find a match. And three is the tipping point. [NY Post]
Experiences of love are far more similar than different, regardless of sexual orientation.
Previous research has shown that men with higher facial width-to-height ratios (fWHRs) have higher testosterone and are more aggressive, more powerful, and more financially successful. We tested whether they are also more attractive to women in the ecologically valid mating context of speed dating. Men’s fWHR was positively associated with their perceived dominance, likelihood of being chosen for a second date, and attractiveness to women for short-term, but not long-term, relationships. [Psychological Science | PDF]
Divorce Rate Cut in Half for Couples Who Discussed Relationship Movies
Researchers Develop “Envy-Free” Algorithm for Settling Disputes from Divorce to Inheritance
Women with kids make roughly 7 to 14 percent less than women without them.
Ultra-thin condom made from graphene and latex brings design of the contraceptive into the 21st century.
All-Female College Terrified by Creepy Underwear Man Statue.
Couple having car sex in garage die of carbon monoxide poisoning
Chinese authorities have closed down the country’s only nudist beach.
Psychologists explain how attractiveness prevents the recognition of faces
Memory is a cognitive process which is intrinsically linked to language. One of the fundamental tasks that the brain carries out when undertaking a linguistic activity – holding a conversation, for example – is the semantic process. On carrying out this task, the brain compares the words it hears with those that it recalls from previous events, in order to recognise them and to unravel their meaning. This semantic process is a fundamental task for enabling the storing of memories in our brain, helping us to recognise words and to memorise names and episodes in our mind. However, as everyone knows, this is not a process that functions 100% perfectly at times; a lack of precision that, on occasions, gives rise to the creation of false memories. [Basque Research]
Our memory is a poor way of recording events, as it rewrites the past with current information, updating recollections with new experiences. [Independent]
Two stressed people equals less stress
if you’re in the mindset that you’re well-rested, your brain will perform better, regardless of the actual quality of your sleep
Study finds feeling ‘in control’ may increase longevity
Studies find new links between sleep duration and depression; Sub-optimal sleep may activate depressive genes, increase risk for major depression.
In recent years, numerous studies have shown how music hijacks our relationship with everyday time. For instance, more drinks are sold in bars when with slow-tempo music, which seems to make the bar a more enjoyable environment, one in which patrons want to linger—and order another round. Similarly, consumers spend 38 percent more time in the grocery store when the background music is slow. Familiarity is also a factor. Shoppers perceive longer shopping times when they are familiar with the background music in the store, but actually spend more time shopping when the music is novel. […] The advent of audio recording not only changed the way music was disseminated, it changed time perception for generations. Thomas Edison’s cylinder recordings held about four minutes of music. This technological constraint set a standard that dictated the duration of popular music long after that constraint was surpassed. In fact, this average duration persists in popular music as the modus operandi today. […] Neuroscience gives us insights into how music creates an alternate temporal universe. During periods of intense perceptual engagement, such as being enraptured by music, activity in the prefrontal cortex, which generally focuses on introspection, shuts down. The sensory cortex becomes the focal area of processing and the “self-related” cortex essentially switches off. As neuroscientist Ilan Goldberg describes, “the term ‘losing yourself’ receives here a clear neuronal correlate.” [Nautilus]
Many of us instinctively turn to sad music when we’re feeling down. Does this counter-intuitive strategy really work? Newly published research suggests it can.
The musical deficits associated with amusia (tone deafness) may have been exaggerated.
A deaf composer who has been dubbed “Japan’s Beethoven” has admitted hiring someone else to write his music for nearly two decades.
“Darkness increases freedom from constraints, which in turn promotes creativity,” report Anna Steidle of the University of Stuttgart and Lioba Werth of the University of Hohenheim. A dimly lit environment, they explain in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, “elicits a feeling of freedom, self-determination, and reduced inhibition,” all of which encourage innovative thinking. […] However, the darkness-spurs-innovation equation did not always hold true. In another experiment, the researchers found “the darkness-related increase in creativity disappeared when using a more informal, indirect light instead of direct light.” […] What’s more, the researchers note, innovation consists of two distinct phases: generating ideas, and then analyzing and implementing them. The latter requires analytical thinking, and in a final experiment, participants did better on that task when they were in a brightly lit room rather than a dimly lit one. [Pacific Standard]
Do not smoke and do not allow yourself to be exposed to smoke because second-hand smoke and third-hand smoke are just as deadly as first-hand smoke, says a scientist at the University of California, Riverside who, along with colleagues, conducted the first animal study of the effects of third-hand smoke. While first-hand smoke refers to the smoke inhaled by a smoker and second-hand smoke to the exhaled smoke and other substances emanating from the burning cigarette that can get inhaled by others, third-hand smoke is the second-hand smoke that gets left on the surfaces of objects, ages over time and becomes progressively more toxic. [EurekAlert]
Exposure to farming in early life protects against development of asthma, hay fever, and allergies
Flatulent cows start fire at German dairy farm – police
Why the Promise of Cheap Fuel from Super Bugs Fell Short
Scientists create bone-like material that is lighter than water but as strong as steel
Study finds evidence that stock prices can be predicted.
Who owns real-time sports data?
The colossal project, which cost more than $50 billion – more than all previous Winter Olympics combined – was expected to turn Sochi into a sporting paradise, packed with arenas and a new airport. Instead, corruption and construction accidents have plagued preparations, with hotels still unfinished just days before the opening ceremony. [Zero Hedge]
“Everyone’s been talking a lot about a universal face book within Harvard,” Zuckerberg said. “I think it’s kind of silly that it would take the University a couple of years to get around to it. I can do it better than they can, and I can do it in a week.” […] While Zuckerberg promised that thefacebook.com would boast new features by the end of the week, he said that he did not create the website with the intention of generating revenue. “I’m not going to sell anybody’s e-mail address,” he said. [Crimson (2004)]
ZUCK: yea so if you ever need info about anyone at harvard / just ask / i have over 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, sns FRIEND: what!? how’d you manage that one? ZUCK: people just submitted it / i don’t know why / they “trust me” / dumb fucks [New Yorker]
Silicon Valley Can’t Stop Shit-Talking Itself on This New App
NYPD is beta-testing Google Glass
Evidence Emerges That Google’s Quantum Computer May Not Be Quantum After All
He booted up a smartphone in a Moscow café and watched as unidentified attackers immediately began to cyber-assault it. [Slashdot]
Apple is going to start mass producing sapphire, the hardest natural material after diamond.
Biker is buried in leathers astride his Harley in a huge transparent casket
Sweden’s Catacombo Sound System is a funeral casket that eternally plays the deceased’s choice of tracks while they’re six feet under.
We define mass murder as the intentional killing of 3 or more individuals, excluding the perpetrator, during one event, and have studied cases in both the US and overseas. […] Immediately following a mass murder, there is a steady stream of newspaper headlines and what I call “entertainment profilers” who appear on television and proclaim that the perpetrator “snapped.” There is no known psychological term called “snapping,” but it appears to be the assumption of many that anyone who commits a mass murder has done it impulsively, without any planning or preparation, and has completely lost control. […] Our research, and others’ studies, have consistently shown that mass murderers, whether adolescents or adults, will research, plan, and prepare for their act of targeted violence over the course of days, weeks, and even months. […] Since 1976, there have been about 20 mass murders a year. […] What was the most lethal school mass murder in US history? It was in Bath, Michigan, in 1927, and the bombing resulted in the deaths of 45 people, mostly children in the second to sixth grades. […] The majority of adult mass murderers—not adolescent shooters—are psychotic, meaning they have broken with consensual reality, and now perceive the world in an idiosyncratic and often paranoid way. Yet they may research the internet for the appropriate weapons, practice video games to sharpen their marksmanship, purchase weapons and ammunition online, conduct surveillance of the target, probe for security protecting the target, and tactically carry out their mass murder, all from within a delusion. Paradoxically, delusions may help the mass murderer eliminate any ambivalence in his mind, and commit him irrevocably to a path of homicidal destruction. Our research has also found that mass murderers who are psychotic have a higher casualty rate than those who are not. Typically they will select victims who are complete strangers, yet in their mind those strangers make up a “pseudocommunity” of persecutors bent on their destruction. […] [T]here is a warning behavior that is quite frequent: mass murderers, both adolescents and adults, will leak their intent to others. This leakage has been defined by us as the communication to a third party of an intent to attack a target; put more simply, it is a phrase expressed to another, or posted on the internet, that raises concern. It may be overt: “I’m going to kill my supervisor and his cohorts tomorrow”; or it may be covert: “don’t come to work tomorrow, but watch the news.” The logical consequence of such comments should be to alert someone in a position of authority; however, most people don’t. The sad reality is that the leakage surfaces after the event, with the rationale, “I just didn’t think he was serious.” [Psychiatric Times]
“The British Hitman: 1974–2013 (Study)
“You are looking out of the window of a plane, she is showing the target.” Supertramp’s Breakfast in America 9/11 theory
Jewellery store thief who kissed a hostage out of compassion was tracked down through his DNA.
Fraudster paid UK government to help promote fake bomb detectors
Confessions of an ex-TSA agent
Many gang members have been priced out of the neighborhood, but on Fridays and Saturdays, they make a pilgrimage back to their roots.
After Michael Mann set out to direct Collateral, the story’s setting moved from New York to Los Angeles. This decision was in part motivated by the unique visual presence of the city — especially the way it looked at night. […] That city, at least as it appears in Collateral and countless other films, will never be the same again. L.A. has made a vast change-over to LED street lights, with New York City not far behind. [No Film School]
…the specific forms of linguistic mayhem performed by “young people nowadays.” For American teenagers, these examples usually include the discourse marker like, rising final intonation on declaratives, and the address term dude, which is cited as an example of the inarticulateness of young men in particular. This stereotype views the use of dude as unconstrained – a sign of inexpressiveness in which one word is used for any and all utterances. [...] The data presented here confirm that dude is an address term that is used mostly by young men to address other young men; however, its use has expanded so that it is now used as a general address term for a group (same or mixed gender), and by and to women. Dude is developing into a discourse marker that need not identify an addressee, but more generally encodes the speaker’s stance to his or her current addressee(s). The term is used mainly in situations in which a speaker takes a stance of solidarity or camaraderie, but crucially in a nonchalant, not-too-enthusiastic manner. [American Speech | Continue reading | via Sunday Reading]
A world where women could vote and had taken the traditional place of men as drinking, smoking, gambling barflies (1908)
Diagnosing Mental Illness in Ancient Greece and Rome
The most disturbing thing that ever happened at the Ueno Zoo was the systematic slaughter of the garden’s most famous and valuable animals in the summer of 1943. At the height of the Second World War, as the Japanese empire teetered on the brink of collapse, the zoo was transformed from a wonderland of imperial amusement and exotic curiosity into a carefully ritualized abattoir, a public altar for the sanctification of creatures sacrificed in the service of total war and of ultimate surrender to emperor and nation. The cult of military martyrdom is often recognized as a central component of Japanese fascist culture, but events at the zoo add a chilling new dimension to that analysis. They show that the pursuit of total mobilization extended into areas previously unexamined, suggesting how the culture of total war became a culture of total sacrifice after 1943. […] The killings were carried out in secret until nearly one-third of the garden’s cages stood empty, their former inhabitants’ carcasses hauled out of the zoo’s service entrance in covered wheelbarrows during the dark hours before dawn. [University of California Press | PDF]
This unprecedented ceremony known as the “Memorial Service for Martyred Animals” was held on the zoo’s grounds where nearly a third of the cages stood empty. Lions from Abyssinia, tigers representative of Japan’s troops, bears from Manchuria, Malaya and Korea, an American bison, and many others had been clubbed, speared, poisoned and hacked to death in secret. Although the zoo’s director had found a way to save some of the condemned creatures by moving them to zoos outside Tokyo, Mayor Ōdaichi Shigeo insisted on their slaughter. Ōdaichi himself, along with Imperial Prince Takatsukasa Nobusuke and the chief abbot of Asakusa’s Sensōji Temple, presided over the carefully choreographed and highly publicized “Memorial Service”, thanking the animals for sacrificing themselves for Japan’s war effort. [The Times Literary Supplement ]
How architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s mistress and her two children were killed in 1914 by his ax-wielding cook
New York City has about a million buildings, and each year 3,000 of them erupt in a major fire. Can officials predict which ones will go up in flames?
North Brother Island was in use by New York City from 1885 to 1963 as a hospital complex to quarantine and treat people suffering from smallpox and typhoid fever then a rehab center and a housing project for WWII vets. In the 1950s a center opened to treat adolescent drug addicts. Heroin addicts were confined to this island and locked in a room until they were clean. By the early 1960s widespread staff corruption and patient recidivism forced the facility to close. It is now uninhabited and designated as a bird sanctuary. [Wikipedia | NY Times | Rsvlts | photos]
The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel was sealed in 1861, shortly after Brooklyn banned steam locomotives within city limits.
How much bubble wrap do you need to survive jumping out of the 6th floor of a building?
A Guide to Optimized Napping
Why your ears keep ringing (and what you can do about it)
Microwaving Your Meals: Skipping 1 Step Can Make You Sick
AcmeAesthetics, the premier cosmeticomic specialists in Los Angeles
Tampon flasks [Thanks Tim]
Valentine Day Special!