twitter
facebook twitter tumblr newsletter
blog-shines-like-174
Shines Like Gold
By imp kerr
what matter who's speaking?
rss feed

Triple-Decker Weekly, 124

tdw124

Conman sold urine as whiskey

Unhealthy people more likely to vote for attractive candidates

We’ve all had that experience of going purposefully from one room to another, only to get there and forget why we made the journey. Four years ago, researcher Gabriel Radvansky and his colleagues stripped this effect down, showing that the simple act of passing through a doorway induces forgetting. Now psychologists at Knox College, USA, have taken things further, demonstrating that merely imagining walking through a doorway is enough to trigger increased forgetfulness. [BPS]

In an experiment researchers showed that the human brain uses memories to make predictions about what it expects to find in familiar contexts. When those subconscious predictions are shown to be wrong, the related memories are weakened and are more likely to be forgotten. And the greater the error, the more likely you are to forget the memory. [Lunatic Laboratories]

Closing your eyes boosts memory recall

People Can Be Convinced They Committed a Crime That Never Happened

Some people will tell you that they have a clear sense of who they are, and that their sense of self is stable over time. Psychologists refer to this as having high “self-concept clarity.” In a new study, Jean Guerrettaz and Robert Arkin shine a spotlight on these self-proclaimed self-knowers. The researchers find that their confidence is often fragile, and that somewhat paradoxically, it is people confident in their sense of self whose self-esteem is most undermined by challenging questions about who they are. [BPS]

Neuroscience research fails to support claims that excessive pornography consumption causes brain damage

Amongst heterosexuals, men are almost twice as likely to be upset by sexual infidelity as women, a new study finds. Heterosexual women, meanwhile, are much more likely to be upset by emotional infidelity.

During sexual stimulation, some women report the discharge of a noticeable amount of fluid from the urethra, a phenomenon also called “squirting.” To date, both the nature and the origin of squirting remain controversial. In this investigation, we not only analyzed the biochemical nature of the emitted fluid, but also explored the presence of any pelvic liquid collection that could result from sexual arousal and explain a massive fluid emission. […] The present data based on ultrasonographic bladder monitoring and biochemical analyses indicate that squirting is essentially the involuntary emission of urine during sexual activity, although a marginal contribution of prostatic secretions to the emitted fluid often exists. [The Journal of Sexual Medicine]

New research suggests that reflecting on a breakup may help heal the heart

Diane. Wife’s kid sister. Well, half sister. Dad was the sperm donor. Who knows who the fuck she is. Collects ribbon. [Richard Prince]

“Withdrawal is the most problematic for relationships,” Sanford said. “It’s a defensive tactic that people use when they feel they are being attacked, and there’s a direct association between withdrawal and lower satisfaction overall with the relationship.” Meanwhile, “passive immobility” — expecting your partner to be a mind-reader — is a tactic people use when they feel anxious in a relationship, and it makes it especially difficult for couples to make progress toward resolving conflicts. But it may not be as harmful down the line as withdrawal, he said. [EurekAlert]

Machiavellianism is a personality trait characterized by a manipulative interpersonal style, emotional detachment and suspicion of others. Individuals with high levels of Machiavellianism navigate through their social relationships with  protective self-monitoring, external orientated thinking and confidence in their ability to deceive which facilitates their willingness to exploit others for their own self-serving goal. Not surprisingly, research has found that Machiavellianism relates to lower quality friendships in adulthood, including relational aggression in online relationships. […] Previous research has established the importance of parental bonding (i.e.,  parental care and overprotection) for the development of personality traits and adult relationships. The current study investigated the influence of recalled parenting on the development of Machiavellianism and adult friendship quality. […] Path modeling suggests that decreased maternal care and increased paternal overprotection relate to Machiavellianism which is associated with lower adult friendship quality. [Individual Differences Research]

Solar activity affects fertility across generations in historical Norway. More sun means fewer children and grandchildren

UK couple stranded in New York after baby arrived 11 weeks early face potential £130,000 medical bill

Male Birth Control, Without Condoms, Will Be Here by 2017

Scientists ‘edit’ DNA to correct adult genes and cure diseases

Monozygotic twins are considered being genetically identical, therefore they cannot be differentiated using standard forensic DNA testing. Here we describe how identification of extremely rare mutations by ultra-deep next generation sequencing can solve such cases. We sequenced DNA from sperm samples of two twins and from a blood sample of the child of one twin. Bioinformatics analysis revealed five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) present in the twin father and the child, but not in the twin uncle. Our results give experimental evidence for the hypothesis that rare mutations will occur early after the human blastocyst has split into two, the origin of twins, and that such mutations will be carried on into somatic tissue and the germline. The method provides a solution to solve paternity and forensic cases involving monozygotic twins as alleged fathers or originators of DNA traces. [FSI Genetics]

Environment, more than genetics, shapes immune system

DNA is generally regarded as the basic building block of life itself. In the most fundamental sense, DNA is nothing more than a chemical compound, albeit a very complex and peculiar one. DNA is an information-carrying molecule. The specific sequence of base pairs contained in a DNA molecule carries with it genetic information, and encodes for the creation of particular proteins. When taken as a whole, the DNA contained in a single human cell is a complete blueprint and instruction manual for the creation of that human being. In this article we discuss myriad current and developing ways in which people are utilizing DNA to store or convey information of all kinds. For example, researchers have encoded the contents of a whole book in DNA, demonstrating the potential of DNA as a way of storing and transmitting information. In a different vein, some artists have begun to create living organisms with altered DNA as works of art. Hence, DNA is a medium for the communication of ideas. Because of the ability of DNA to store and convey information, its regulation must necessarily raise concerns associated with the First Amendment’s prohibition against the abridgment of freedom of speech. New and developing technologies, and the contemporary and future social practices they will engender, necessitate the renewal of an approach towards First Amendment coverage that takes into account the purposes and values incarnated in the Free Speech Clause of the Constitution. [Charleston School of Law]

Antibiotics: US discovery labelled ‘game-changer’ for medicine

New study examines possible evidence for the use of the trepanation technique applied to lower leg bones.

Does sleeping naked prevent diabetes?

Science Word of the Day: Kleptothermy

They discreetly asked me if I would mind waiting a few minutes because Yoko Ono (!!!) was just finishing a treatment. Cryotherapy is a process in which you subject the body to extreme cold for a short period of time in order to reduce inflammation.

[T]he Inuit, the Masai, and the Samburu people of Uganda all originally ate diets that were 60-80% fat and yet were not obese and did not have hypertension or heart disease. The hypothesis that saturated fat is the main dietary cause of cardiovascular disease is strongly associated with one man, Ancel Benjamin Keys, a biologist at the University of Minnesota. […] Keys launched his “diet-heart hypothesis” at a meeting in New York in 1952, when the United States was at the peak of its epidemic of heart disease, with his study showing a close correlation between deaths from heart disease and proportion of fat in the diet in men in six countries (Japan, Italy, England and Wales, Australia, Canada, and the United States). Keys studied few men and did not have a reliable way of measuring diets, and in the case of the Japanese and Italians he studied them soon after the second world war, when there were food shortages. Keys could have gathered data from many more countries and people (women as well as men) and used more careful methods, but, suggests Teicholz, he found what he wanted to find. […] At a World Health Organization meeting in 1955 Keys’s hypothesis was met with great criticism, but in response he designed the highly influential Seven Countries Study, which was published in 1970 and showed a strong correlation between saturated fat (Keys had moved on from fat to saturated fat) and deaths from heart disease. Keys did not select countries (such as France, Germany, or Switzerland) where the correlation did not seem so neat, and in Crete and Corfu he studied only nine men. […] [T]he fat hypothesis led to a massive change in the US and subsequently international diet. One congressional staffer, Nick Mottern, wrote a report recommending that fat be reduced from 40% to 30% of energy intake, saturated fat capped at 10%, and carbohydrate increased to 55-60%. These recommendations went through to Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which were published for the first time in 1980. (Interestingly, a recommendation from Mottern that sugar be reduced disappeared along the way.) It might be expected that the powerful US meat and dairy lobbies would oppose these guidelines, and they did, but they couldn’t counter the big food manufacturers such as General Foods, Quaker Oats, Heinz, the National Biscuit Company, and the Corn Products Refining Corporation, which were both more powerful and more subtle. In 1941 they set up the Nutrition Foundation, which formed links with scientists and funded conferences and research before there was public funding for nutrition research. [...] Saturated fats such as lard, butter, and suet, which are solid at room temperature, had for centuries been used for making biscuits, pastries, and much else, but when saturated fat became unacceptable a substitute had to be found. The substitute was trans fats, and since the 1980s these fats, which are not found naturally except in some ruminants, have been widely used and are now found throughout our bodies. There were doubts about trans fats from the very beginning, but Teicholz shows how the food companies were highly effective in countering any research that raised the risks of trans fats. [...] Another consequence of the fat hypothesis is that around the world diets have come to include much more carbohydrate, including sugar and high fructose corn syrup, which is cheap, extremely sweet, and “a calorie source but not a nutrient.”2 5 25 More and more scientists believe that it is the surfeit of refined carbohydrates that is driving the global pandemic of obesity, diabetes, and non-communicable diseases. [The BMJ]

The compound behind all those stories about red wine being good for you

Experiments to explore how we might artificially cool the Earth—commonly called geoengineering.

Cleaning waste water with algae

Certain wavelengths of visible light are nearly 100% lethal to insects. Blue LEDs could be a new form of pest control.

The Satellite Search for Genghis Khan’s Tomb

The Phantom Cannibal, Part One, Part Two

The scam has been dubbed virtual kidnapping

In the past few years, street gangs have been retreating from public view all over Southern California.

This report describes the details and type of operations carried out by an organized criminal group that focuses on financial industry, such as banks and payment providers, retail industry and news, media and PR companies. […] The organized criminal group backbone are citizens of both Russian and Ukrainian origin. […] The average sum of theft in the Russian territory and in the post-Soviet space is $2 million per incident. […] To date the total amount of theft is over 1 billion rubles (about 25 million dollars), most of it has been stolen in the second half of 2014. […] The key is that fraud occurs within the corporate network using internal payment gateways and internal banking systems. Thus money is stolen from the banks and payment systems, and not from their customers. While this is their main and most lucrative activity, the gang has also ventured into other areas including the compromise of media groups and other organizations for industrial espionage and likely a trading advantage on the stock market. […] The average time from the moment of penetration into the financial institutions internal network till successful theft is 42 days. As a result of access to internal bank networks the attackers also managed to gain access to ATM management infrastructure and infect those systems with their own malicious software that further allows theft from the banks ATM systems on the attackers command. [Group-IB and Fox-IT | PDF]

Nicknamed “stingrays,” the devices are decoy cell towers that capture locations and identities of mobile phone users and can intercept calls and texts.

Hundreds of Portuguese Buses and Taxis Are Also Wi-Fi Routers (and collect data for city planners)

A.I. still can’t recognize these simple pictures.

Frequent Internet and social media users do not have higher stress levels than those who use technology less often. And for women, using certain digital tools decreases stress. [NY Times]

Google sees biggest search traffic drop since 2009 as Yahoo gains ground. The increase comes after Firefox switched its default search from Google to Yahoo.

Radio, not YouTube, was still the top method of music discovery in the US last year

What is it like to be a blind film critic?

Why do People Behave Immorally When Drunk?

How to spot a liar [TED talk]

The First Quantum Art Exhibition in Space

Art critic Julian Spalding banned from Damien Hirst’s Tate exhibition after calling him a talentless conman

How the “Paul McCartney is Dead” Hoax Started at an American College Newspaper and Went Viral (1969)

How NASA and other space agencies colorize space photos

CIA takes blame for more than half of UFO sightings in late 1950s and 60s

JFK and 9/11 in Back to the Future – Hidden Messages In Plain Sight

U.S. ambassador to Finland

Triple-Decker Weekly, 123

tdw123

This study examines the relationship between physical appearance and labor market outcomes. It focuses on hair color and addresses the effects of the “blonde myth,” a series of perceptions about personality characteristics of blonde women. Inexperienced blonde women earn significantly less than their non-blonde counterparts. This wage gap declines over time, and blonde women with more work experience earn higher wages. The relationship between earnings and hair color is not explained by personal or family characteristics. I argue that employer or customer tastes drive the initial blonde hair penalty; job sorting and mobility allow blonde women to close the gap. [Labour Economics]

You shoot a lot of BDSM stuff. How did you get into that scene? One of my neighbors was heavy into it. I took a photo of my neighbor and she posted it on some website and a lot of people liked it. After that people started to want me to take their photos. They basically inducted me into the New York tribe of BDSM people. The induction was interesting. They invited me to this dude’s house and all the girls were on their knees as servants. Basically I had sex with this dude’s wife and this other dude’s girlfriend and then they said, “You’re an honorary member.” […] What’s with the guy getting barbequed? […] The guy, Jim, gets off the plane from Texas in a white denim mini skirt and he’s all excited. The girls wash him down, shave all the hair off his body and strap him down to the spit and the barbequing begins. The basting took 40 minutes, then they lit the coals and he roasted on the spit for about three and half hours and got pretty cooked. When it was time to take him off he was yelling that he didn’t want to get off. He wanted to stay on there until his skin was legitimately burned. [Ian Reid interviewed by Chris Nieratko]

Impending fatherhood can lower two hormones–testosterone and estradiol–for men, even before their babies are born, a new University of Michigan study found. Other studies indicate that men’s hormones change once they become fathers, and there is some evidence that this is a function of a decline after the child’s birth. […] Expectant mothers experience significant hormone changes throughout the transition to parenthood, but less has been known about the prenatal hormone changes among soon-to-be fathers. Women showed large prenatal increases in all four hormones, while men saw declines in testosterone (which is associated with aggression and parental care) and estradiol (which is associated with caregiving and bonding). No changes were found in men’s cortisol (a stress hormone) or progesterone (which is associated with social closeness and maternal behavior). [EurekAlert]

Cuban spy’s ultimate mystery: How he got his wife pregnant from a U.S. prison

Chinese passenger opens plane door for fresh air

Researchers have identified a neural circuit in the mouse brain that controls attention and sensory processing, providing insight into how the brain filters out distractions

Scientists locate ‘homing signal’ in the brain, explaining why some people are better navigators

Phobias may be memories passed down in genes from ancestors

Lost memories might be able to be restored, study

We all know that exercise can make us fitter and reduce our risk for illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. But just how, from start to finish, a run or a bike ride might translate into a healthier life has remained baffling. Now new research reports that the answer may lie, in part, in our DNA. Exercise, a new study finds, changes the shape and functioning of our genes, an important stop on the way to improved health and fitness. [NY Times]

Outgoing, sociable people also have the strongest immune systems, a new study finds

Far more attention has been paid to the microbes in our feces than the microbes in our food. […] The three dietary patterns analyzed were: (1) the Average American (AMERICAN): focused on convenience foods, (2) USDA recommended (USDA): emphasizing fruits and vegetables, lean meat, dairy, and whole grains, and (3) Vegan (VEGAN): excluding all animal products. […] Based on plate counts, the USDA meal plan had the highest total amount of microbes, followed by the VEGAN meal plan. [PeerJ]

An In-Depth Analysis of a Piece of Shit: Distribution of Schistosoma mansoni and Hookworm Eggs in Human Stool

Men Who Love Spicy Food Have More Testosterone

In a recent study, Mann and some colleagues induced a bad mood in 100 college students by making them watch clips from sad movies. They then fed half the students their favorite comfort food, while the other students ate food they enjoyed, but wouldn’t consider comfort food. Once the students had finished eating, the researchers asked the students how they felt. It turns out all the students felt better, regardless of what they had eaten. In another experiment, Mann had half the kids eat comfort food, and the other half eat nothing. After a few minutes, both groups felt equally better. The comfort food had no effect on mood. [NPR]

Balancing on one leg may indicate if a person is at risk of dementia or stroke, a study has found.

How Psychology and Neuroscience Get Sex and Gender Wrong

The celebrity analysis that killed celebrity analysis

Nobody can say exactly when the trend first started, but in 2014 we saw the first major outbreaks of bogus data distributed by private companies just so it would go viral online.

[Yahoo C.E.O. Marissa] Mayer also had a habit of operating on her own time. Every Monday at 3 p.m. Pacific, she asked her direct reports to gather for a three-hour meeting. Mayer demanded all of her staff across the world join the call, so executives from New York, where it was 6 p.m., and Europe, where it was 11 p.m. or later, would dial in, too. Invariably, Mayer herself would be at least 45 minutes late; some calls were so delayed that Yahoo executives in Europe couldn’t hang up till after 3 a.m. […] Within weeks of becoming C.E.O., she received an email from Henrique de Castro, the fashionable Portuguese president of Google’s media, mobile and platforms businesses. […] Over dinner, de Castro impressed Mayer with his knowledge of Yahoo’s business and his specific proposals for building it. For several mornings in a row, the two exchanged emails to negotiate de Castro’s salary. Every night, Mayer would make an offer, only to wake up to a reply with a list of more conditions. Eventually de Castro negotiated himself a contract worth around $60 million, depending on the value of Yahoo stock. […] Despite the board’s urging, Mayer opted against vetting Henrique de Castro. As a result, she was unaware that de Castro had a poor reputation among his colleagues in Google’s advertising business. Many had derisively called him the Most Interesting Man in the World, in reference to the satirically fatuous spokesman for Dos Equis beer. […] Advertising revenue declined in every quarter since he was hired. Within a year, Mayer had personally taken control of Yahoo’s ad team. De Castro would leave the company in January 2014. For about 15 months of work, he would be paid $109 million. [NY Times]

Instagram began the process of getting rid of all the spam accounts in its system, which has proved to be really embarrassing for all the people who bought a load of spambots to make themselves look more popular than they are. […] 37-year old rapper Ma$e got caught with an awful lot of imaginary friends. He saw an alarming drop in followers, from 1.6 million to 100,000. Unable to confront the idea that everyone knew he’d bought them from a site like Buzzoid at a rate of $3 for 100 followers, Ma$e subsequently deleted his account. […] Other big names hit by the cull include Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Barack Obama and Kim Kardashian. [Dazed]

A company given $21 million by leading Silicon Valley investors aims to extend Bitcoin’s functionality so it can power much more than just payments.

Bankers not as dishonest as purported

A Brief History of Investment Banking from Medieval Times to the Present

Can the umbrella be improved?

Singapore wants a driverless version of Uber

Uber Seeks to Patent “Surge Pricing”

Why an electric car may be much dirtier than a petrol one

The Conventional Wisdom On Oil Is Always Wrong

ISIS using bombs containing live scorpions

A 52 year old woman suffered from a strange problem: she saw dragons wherever she looked.

The process is called reverse osmosis (RO), and it’s the mainstay of large-scale desalination facilities around the world. As water is forced through the membrane, the polymer allows the water molecules to pass while blocking the salts and other inorganic impurities. Global desalination output has tripled since 2000: 16,000 plants are up and running around the world, and the pace of construction is expected to increase while the technology continues to improve. […] Seawater desalination, in fact, is one of the most expensive sources of fresh water. The water sells—depending on site conditions—for between $1,000 and $2,500 per acre-foot (the amount used by two five-person U.S. households per year). Carlsbad’s product will sell for around $2,000, which is 80 percent more than the county pays for treated water from outside the area. […] Already, some 700 million people worldwide suffer from water scarcity, but that number is expected to swell to 1.8 billion in just 10 years. Some countries, like Israel, already rely heavily on desalination; more will follow suit. In many places, “we are already at the limit of renewable water resources, and yet we continue to grow,” says John Lienhard, a mechanical engineer and director of the Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy at MIT. “On top of that we have global warming, with hotter and drier conditions in many areas, which will potentially further reduce the amount of renewable water available.” [Technology Review]

Queen Victoria enjoyed sex, bought modern art, liked looking at drawings of naked men, was emotionally self-indulgent, histrionic and luxurious. Victorian values, as we understand them, reached their apogee in the reigns of her grandson George V and his son George VI

Nature and Origin of “Squirting” in Female Sexuality

The saltine cracker challenge

Vogue, 1962 / Stella Artois ad, 2010

Fundamental plot arcs, seen through multidimensional analysis of thousands of TV and movie scripts

A new method for mapping how information flows around the globe identifies the best languages to spread your ideas

“Mondegreen” means a misheard word or phrase that makes sense in your head, but is, in fact, entirely incorrect.

Amazon ‘suppresses’ book with too many hyphens

A Brief History of Pubic Hair in Art

Perceptual and physiological responses to Jackson Pollock’s fractals

Andy Warhol at a Party with His Tape Recorder, Which he Referred to as “My Wife Sony” [more]

Robot flies to Germany as airline passenger from Los Angeles

Triple-Decker Weekly, 122

tdw122

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]

Triple-Decker Weekly, 121

tdw121

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

Triple-Decker Weekly, 120

tdw-120

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