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Shines Like Gold
By imp kerr
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Triple-Decker Weekly, 111

tdw-111

This study compared the effectiveness of four classic moral stories in promoting honesty in 3- to 7-year-olds. Surprisingly, the stories of “Pinocchio” and “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” failed to reduce lying in children. In contrast, the apocryphal story of “George Washington and the Cherry Tree” significantly increased truth telling. Further results suggest that the reason for the difference in honesty-promoting effectiveness between the “George Washington” story and the other stories was that the former emphasizes the positive consequences of honesty, whereas the latter focus on the negative consequences of dishonesty. [Psychological Science | PDF]

“For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” St Matthew’s words are oft quoted, albeit usually in an abbreviated form. But are they true? […] Dr van de Rijt designed a series of experiments intended to look at whether giving people an arbitrary advantage over their fellows at the beginning of an endeavour led to a significantly better outcome for those people. […] Success does breed success, but not overwhelmingly. Whether the second part of the dictum, that failure breeds failure, is true awaits further experimentation. [The Economist]

Four experiments examined the interplay of memory and creative cognition, showing that attempting to think of new uses for an object can cause the forgetting of old uses. […] Additionally, the forgetting effect correlated with individual differences in creativity such that participants who exhibited more forgetting generated more creative uses than participants who exhibited less forgetting. These findings indicate that thinking can cause forgetting and that such forgetting may contribute to the ability to think creatively. [APA/Psycnet]

Human Language Is Biased Towards Happiness, Say Computational Linguists

The articulation of vowels systematically influences our feelings and vice versa.

In the language of social psychology, the situationist view attributes behavior mainly to external, rather than internal forces. Hence, heroism and villainy are unrelated to individual differences in personality or even conscious decisions based on one’s values. This seems to imply a rather passive view of human behavior in which people are largely at the mercy of circumstances outside themselves, rather than rational actors capable of making choices. However, if features of the person can be disregarded in favour of situational forces, then it is very difficult to explain why it is that the same situation can elicit completely opposite responses from different people. This would seem to suggest that situations elicit either heroic or villainous responses in a random way that cannot be predicted, or that situational factors alone are insufficient to explain the choices that people make in difficult circumstances. An alternative view is that situations do not so much suppress the individual personality, as reveal the person’s latent potential (Krueger, 2008). Therefore, a dangerous situation for example might reveal one person’s potential for bravery and another’s potential for cowardice. [Eye on Psych]

Realism is a term that can be understood only by contrasting it with an opposite term, such as idealism or representationalism. But representationalism has indeed to presuppose something that is represented, in order for the representation to be possible at all. […] Our grasp on reality is always determined by our own way of accessing it. A realism which can take hold of this presupposition is to be called phenomenological realism. In this sense, reality is always given only in representation, that is, mediated by our access to it, but is not itself representation. It is an objectivity opposed to ourself, it has a particular place and it appears, but its appearance does not belong to the subject, it is simply there. Therefore, appearances are spatial and have to be described as such. [Meta Journal | PDF]

Does Having Daughters Cause Judges to Rule for Women’s Issues? Using new data on the family lives of U.S. Courts of Appeals judges, we find that, conditional on the number of children a judge has, judges with daughters consistently vote in a more feminist fashion on gender issues than judges who have only sons. This result survives a number of robustness tests and appears to be driven primarily by Republican judges. More broadly, this result demonstrates that personal experiences influence how judges make decisions, and this is the first article to show that empathy may indeed be a component in how judges decide cases. [American Journal of Political Science]

Economist Rick Nevin has an explanation for the 1990s dramatic drop in crime. After lead was banned from paint and gasoline in the 1970s, he says, fewer children suffered mental handicaps that can result from lead exposure, and eventually, lead to criminality. [Thanks Tim]

Fastest-Growing Metro Area in U.S. Has No Crime or Kids

The concept of “mother” in linguistics

Polygyny rates are higher in western Africa than in eastern Africa. The African slave trades help explain this difference. More male slaves were exported in the transatlantic slave trades from western Africa, while more female slaves were exported in the Indian Ocean slave trades from eastern Africa. The slave trades led to prolonged periods of abnormal sex ratios, which affected the rates of polygyny across Africa. [Economic Development and Cultural Change]

The only cryonics storage facilities are in the US and Russia. So while my day job is as a student landlord, in my spare time I run Cryonics UK and train a cryonics emergency team in my own home. We’re ready to administer the medical procedures needed to stabilise and cool a body before it is flown to the US on dry ice. Around 40 people are on our emergency list – people who can call us and say, “I’m going, please help me.” They pay roughly £20 a month to cover the upkeep of our equipment and ambulance. To call us out when the time comes costs about £20,000, plus there’s the cost of long-term storage. With Alcor, one of two US storage services, the total bill will be $95,000 for “head only” and $215,000 for “whole body”. Most people cover that with life insurance. [Financial Times]

A team of researchers has found that releasing excess heat from air conditioners running during the night resulted in higher outside temperatures, worsening the urban heat island effect and increasing cooling demands. [Phys]

“I looked up at the shower head, and it was as if the water droplets had stopped in mid-air” […] Although Baker is perhaps the most dramatic case, a smattering of strikingly similar accounts can be found, intermittently, in medical literature. There are reports of time speeding up – so called “zeitraffer” phenomenon – and also more fragmentary experiences called “akinetopsia”, in which motion momentarily stops. For instance, travelling home one day, one 61-year-old woman reported that the movement of the closing train doors, and fellow passengers, was in slow motion and “broken up”, as if in “freeze frames”. A 58-year-old Japanese man, meanwhile, seemed to be experiencing life like a badly dubbed movie; in conversation, he found that although others’ voices sounded normal, they were out of sync with their faces. […] One explanation for this double-failure is that our motion perception system has its own stopwatch, recording how fast things are moving across our vision – and when this is disrupted by brain injury, the world stands still. For Baker, stepping into the shower might have exacerbated the problem, since the warm water would have drawn the blood away from the brain to the extremities of the body, further disturbing the brain’s processing. Another explanation comes from the discovery that our brain records its perceptions in discrete “snapshots”, like the frames of a film reel. “The healthy brain reconstructs the experience and glues together the different frames,” says Rufin VanRullen at the French Centre for Brain and Cognition Research in Toulouse, “but if brain damage destroys the glue, you might only see the snapshots.” [BBC]

Recognizing faces despite amnesia

This face is unrecognizable to several state-of-art face detection algorithms

Consciousness on-off switch discovered deep in brain

Less Sleep Means Smaller Brains in Older Adults

Scientists are using hypnosis to understand why some people believe they’re inhabited by paranormal beings.

Decline of religion in the West has created a rise in black magic, Satanism and the occult. We need more exorcists, say Catholics.

Why Do Some Teens Become Binge Drinkers? Algorithms Answer.

Don’t Try Losing Weight By Just Eating More Fruits And Vegetables

A 1999 outbreak of diarrheal illness affected 44% of patrons (an estimated 4800 people) who visited a new local interactive water fountain in a beachside park. Water recreation illnesses

How do mosquitoes find some people and not others?

A Contraceptive Implant with Remote Control

Ford And Intel Use Facial Recognition To Improve In-Car Tech, Safety

Hacking into Internet Connected Light Bulbs

New State of Matter Discovered

Another group ended up believing that quantum mechanics did represent reality, and that, yes, reality was non-local, and possibly not very real either. Quantum state may be a real thing

Colonizing Venus

If our understanding of the physics behind the recently-discovered Higgs boson is correct, our universe shouldn’t exist. That is, however, if another cosmological hypothesis is real, a hypothesis that is currently undergoing intense scrutiny in light of the BICEP2 results.

People voluntarily leaving jobs at highest rate since 2009 downturn

For a long list of investment “biases,” including lack of diversification, excessive trading, and the disposition effect, we find that genetic differences explain up to 45% of the remaining variation across individual investors, after controlling for observable individual characteristics.

A common but little-known practice in corporate America: Companies are taking out life insurance policies on their employees, and collecting the benefits when they die. [NY Times]

When does rude service at luxury stores make consumers go back for more?

How did China become the world’s leader in luxury goods sales — a category that relies heavily on IP rights for its market value — while at the same time achieving unchallenged global dominance in “IP theft”?

When you visit BuzzFeed, they record lots of information about you.

Wikipedia editors hit with $10 million defamation lawsuit

The dark side of Twitter — Infidelity, break-ups, and divorce

Fake Followers for Hire, and How to Spot Them

While on an expedition into Africa during the late 19th century, Jameson, heir to an Irish whiskey manufacturer, reportedly bought an 11-year-old girl and offered her to cannibals to document and sketch how she was cooked and eaten. [+ NY Times | PDF]

The codpiece, however, may have been a disguise for underlying disease.

Darwin may be the first person to ever notice a puzzling phenomenon:  the bafflingly long time it takes kids to learn the meanings of color words.

8 Summer Miseries Made Worse by Global Warming, From Poison Ivy to Allergies

More left-handed men are born during the winter

New York lawmakers approve ban on ‘tiger selfies’

Kara Walker’s sugar-coated sphinx

Spit masks [Thanks Tim]

Retail Sluts

Chinese hospitals introduce hands-free automatic ‘sperm extractor’ for donors

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Yo is the hottest new app that will leave you scratching your head. The entire premise of the app is to send other users a single word: Yo. […] Without ever having officially launched, co-founder and CEO Or Arbel managed to secure $1.2 million in funding. [Tech Crunch]

That $1m funding should cover costs for a year to find out whether Yo really can succeed, Mr Arbel says. […] “It’s not just an app that says Yo,” says Mr Arbel. “It’s a whole new means of communication.” [FT]

Yo, the app, has been hacked

The present research provides empirical evidence that drug names may entail implicit promises about their therapeutic power. We asked people to evaluate the perceived efficacy and risk associated with hypothetical drug names and other secondary related measures. We compared opaque (without meaning), functional (targeting the health issue that the drug is meant to solve) and persuasive (targeting the expected outcome of the treatment) names. Persuasive names were perceived as more efficacious and less risky than both opaque and functional names, suggesting that names that target the expected outcome of the drug may bias the perception of risk and efficacy. [Applied Cognitive Psychology ]

A new study suggests that free will may arise from a hidden signal buried in the “background noise” of chaotic electrical activity in the brain, and that this activity occurs almost a second before people consciously decide to do something. [Live Science]

Searching for the “Free Will” Neuron

Instinct Can Beat Analytical Thinking

About 20% of the population are “highly sensitive people” (HSP), who display heightened awareness to subtle stimuli – whether positive or negative – and process information more thoroughly.

Is group brainstorming more effective if you do it standing up?

What is episodic memory good for?

Is finding that ‘new’ invention a massive mental leap from point A to point B, or are there scores of unnoticed intermediate steps in between? Pitt psychology researchers explore how engineers create

Where Do New Ideas Come From?

How often do men really think about sex?

Is It Really True That Watching Porn Will Shrink Your Brain?

The basic unit of neuronal communication and coding is the spike (or action potential), an electrical impulse of about a tenth of a volt that lasts for a bit less than a millisecond. How does the brain speak to itself?

Neuroscience patients who changed how we think about the brain

In a remarkable experiment, a paralyzed woman used her mind to control a robotic arm. If only there were a realistic way to get this technology out of the lab and into real life.

For the first time scientists have found a direct biological link between stress and inflammation of blood vessels which can lead to heart attacks

Participants had lower levels of physiological stress when at work than at home.

Human Foreskins are Big Business for Cosmetics

A man with almost no hair on his body has grown a full head of it after a novel treatment by doctors at Yale University. The patient has also grown eyebrows and eyelashes, as well as facial, armpit, and other hair, which he lacked at the time he sought help.

Time Travel Simulated by Australian Physicists

One physicist says the speed of light must be slower than Einstein predicted and has developed a theory that explains why 

Big Bang backlash: BICEP2 discovery of gravity waves questioned by cosmologists

Blue Light Exposure before Evening Meal Linked to Increased Hunger

Ambient temperatures can influence the growth or loss of brown fat in people

Does temperature affect economic performance? Has temperature always affected social welfare through its impact on physical and cognitive function? While many studies have explored the indirect links between climate and welfare (e.g. agricultural yield, violent conflict, or sea-level rise), few address the possibility of direct impacts operating through human physiology. This paper presents a model of labor supply under thermal stress, building on a longstanding physiological literature linking thermal stress to health and task performance. […] We find that hotter-than-average years are associated with lower output per capita for already hot countries and higher output per capita for cold countries: approximately 3%-4% in both directions. [SSRN]

Causes of accidents by soy sauce squeezing residue and fish meal

On How Hygiene and Authenticity Shape Consumer Evaluations of Restaurants [PDF]

All-you-can-eat sushi restaurants should not exist. So why do they?

Why We Enjoy Chili Peppers, S&M, Gruesome Movies, and Other Unpleasant Experiences

Readers come to a page to consume content, not ads — so, does higher engagement with a part of a page actually correlate with higher engagement with the ad that’s in view at that position?

How does a chicken tell time?

How smartphones and sitting at a computer can ruin your posture

Why do your earphones get tangled in your pocket?

In a year with (practically) no water, here’s something that was inevitable: farming without any water at all.

A 1999 outbreak of diarrheal illness affected 44% of patrons (an estimated 4800 people) who visited a new local interactive water fountain in a beachside park. Water recreation illnesses

This French tech school has no teachers, no books, no tuition

See how borders change on Google Maps depending on where you view them

NY Lawmakers Pass Bill Banning Pet Tattoos, Piercings

New York lawmakers approve ban on ‘tiger selfies’

New Yorkers are prone to wrinkling, a new study has found. Largely thanks to long, hard commute.

Safest and riskiest areas of New York’s subway system

Salvador Dali was a reader of Scientific American, and created one of his most iconic pieces based on a Scientific American article on face perception.

The Pearl Diving Mermaids of Japan

black diamond in disneyland

Triple-Decker Weekly, 109

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It is an object of the present invention to provide a practical and affordable device to disperse cremated remains in a special and honorary manner. […] At an appointed time, the remains are loaded into one or more mortar launchers mounted on the back of a mobile unit, be it a vehicle or other mobile device, and propelled into the sky. When an appropriate altitude is reached, the explosive device is activated and explodes, causing the ashen remains to disintegrate and cover an expansive area with the ash. The loved ones may feel that the spirit of the departed lingers in that area, allowing surviving family and friends to enjoy the comfort of having a part of the loved one physically and figuratively all around them [Wallace N. Brown | via Improbable ]

A small proportion of the population is responsible for the vast majority of lies

Jesus Christ could have come to Britain to further his education, according to a Scottish academic.

New study suggests the Universe is not expanding at all.

How Would Humans Know If They Lived in a Multiverse?

Man with penis stuck in pipe for two days. “It was hot so I was painting the wall in the nude…”

Teen charged as adult due to big penis

In the study, 41 women viewed and handled penises made on a 3D printer

Tattoo artists sue videogame makers over the copyrights to artworks they’ve inked on athletes that appear in games. [via gettingsome]

Why are countries still using the phony bomb detectors sold by a convicted conman?

When It Costs Too Much to Work

Unhappiness and Job Finding

Boredom at work can make us more creative

First, we find that nearly half of the unemployed do not experience a drop in happiness [PDF]

Job interview tips from a woman who went on 100 job interviews in six years

We all know the awkward feeling when a conversation is disrupted by a brief silence. This paper studies why such moments can be unsettling. We suggest that silences are particularly disturbing if they disrupt the conversational flow. A mere four-seconds silence (in a six-minute video clip) suffices to disrupt the conversational flow and make one feel distressed, afraid, hurt, and rejected. These effects occur despite participants’ unawareness of the short, single silence. […] Finally, the present research reveals that although people do not consciously notice brief silences, they are influenced by conversa- tional disfluency in a way quite similar to ostracism experiences (e.g., Williams, 2001). That is, people report feeling more rejected and experience more negative emotions when a conversation is disrupted by a silence, rather than when it flows. Thus, disrupted flow can implicitly elicit feelings of rejection, confirming human sensitivity to social exclusion cues. [Journal of Experimental Social Psychology | PDF]

My data show that reductions in the barriers to divorce were associated with reductions in women’s happiness, particularly among older women and women with children.

New study sheds light on what happens to ‘cool’ kids

Studies have shown that children can figure out when someone is lying to them, but cognitive scientists from MIT recently tackled a subtler question: Can children tell when adults are telling them the truth, but not the whole truth?

Bartlett incorporated a lie detector into the facial recognition technology. This technology promises to catch in the act anyone who tries to fake a given emotion or feeling.

With distance comes greater wisdom, research finds

How to Criticize with Kindness

Justifying Atrocities: The effect of moral-disengagement strategies on socially shared retrieval-induced forgetting

Damage to certain parts of the brain can lead to a bizarre syndrome called hemispatial neglect, in which one loses awareness of one side of their body and the space around it. In extreme cases, a patient with hemispatial neglect might eat food from only one side of their plate, dress on only one side of their body, or shave or apply make-up to half of their face, apparently because they cannot pay attention to anything on that the other side. Research published last week now suggests that something like this happens to all of us when we drift off to sleep each night. [Neurophilosophy/Guardian]

Going out in search of love on an empty stomach makes people more attracted to larger partners, a study suggests [Thanks Glenn]

Fasting for three days can regenerate entire immune system, study finds

Of 47 foods studied, all but 6 (raspberry, tangerine, cranberry, garlic, onion, and blueberry) satisfied the powerhouse criterion

Killing a Patient to Save His Life [Thanks Glenn]

The disease has wiped out an estimated 10 percent of the U.S. pig population, helped push pork prices to record highs

The Next Green Revolution May Rely on Microbes

A Re-Evaluation of the Size of the White Shark Population off California, USA

The history of bear pepper sprays: They played recordings of growling bears and hissing humans. They blared boat horns, blew whistles, engaged strobe lights, and set off firecrackers. Finally, they sprayed chemicals directly into the bear’s face: onion juice, Windex, mustard, and an aerosol-based dog repellent called Halt.

This study is related to the use of natural ventilation silencers for the howling and barking (hereafter referred to as “barking”) of dogs. With the spread of nuclear families, low birth rates, and aging populations, pets play an important role in advanced nations. In Japan, the number of complaints and problems caused by the noise created by barking dogs is increasing; it represents the major component of noises in living spaces, thus necessitating some sort of countermeasure. In addition, dogs in veterinary hospitals are housed in connecting cages; one dog’s barking can cause others to bark as well, creating stress in the other animals in the hospital. One method being considered to remedy this situation is the attachment of a sound insulating board to the opening of the cages and the utilization of forced ventilation. However, the use of sound boards and forced ventilation creates a number of issues, including problems such as hindrance in communicating with animals, noise associated with ventilation intake and output, noise from fans within cages, cost, energy consumption, and the risks of malfunction and power outages; collectively, these problems make this solution unfeasible. […] We created a prototype based on resonance within a rectangular chamber divided into cells, adding nonwoven sheets to the interior, tail pipes, and coaxial side branch tube silencers to the open end. We then assessed the sound attenuation performance. [International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Applications | PDF]

Disturbing Facts About Sunscreen

Toilet psychology: Why do men wash their hands less than women?

An experience reducing toilet flushing noise reaching adjacent offices

Ever since “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” everyone is either disrupting or being disrupted.

New study finds Internet not responsible for dying newspapers

“So Cute I Could Eat It Up”: Priming Effects of Cute Products on Indulgent Consumption [PDF]

The Rise of the $8 Ice Cube

A quarter of all public company deals may involve some kind of insider trading. […] The study [PDF], perhaps the most detailed and exhaustive of its kind, examined hundreds of transactions from 1996 through the end of 2012. [NY Times]

This paper documents a close connection between the timing of corporate news disclosures and CEOs’ absences from headquarters. I identify CEO absences by merging publicly available flight histories of corporate jets with real estate records of CEOs’ property ownership near leisure destinations. I find that CEOs go to their vacation homes just after companies report favorable news, and CEOs return to headquarters right before subsequent news is released. More good news is released when CEOs are back at work, and CEOs appear not to leave headquarters at all if a firm has adverse news to disclose. When CEOs are away from the office, stock prices behave quietly with sharply lower volatility. Volatility increases immediately when CEOs return to work. Mandatory Form 8-K disclosures of material company news are more likely to be filed late if news occurs while CEOs are at their vacation homes. [David Yermack/NYU School of Law | PDF]
1 in 10 New Yorkers doesn’t have a bank account

ATM hacked by 14-year-olds using manual found online

The Effect of Graduated Response Anti-Piracy Laws on Music Sales [PDF]

Does the advertising business that built Google actually work?

For non-brand keywords we find that new and infrequent users are positively influenced by ads but that more frequent users whose purchasing behavior is not influenced by ads account for most of the advertising expenses, resulting in average returns that are negative. [PDF]

In shopping malls, for instance, a firm called Euclid Analytics collects, in its own words, “the presence of the device, its signal strength, its manufacturer (Apple, Samsung, etc.), and a unique identifier known as its Media Access Control (MAC) address.” In London last year, one start-up installed a dozen recycling bins that sniffed MAC addresses from passers-by, effectively tracking people through the area via their phones. […] Companies like Euclid or its peer Turnstyle Solutions use the data to track footfall in stores, how people move about in shops, how long they linger in certain sections, and how often they return. Store-owners use the information to target shoppers with offers (paywall) or to move high-value items to highly-trafficked parts of the shop, among other things. […] Apple’s solution, as discovered by a Swiss programmer, is for iOS 8 to generate a random MAC addresses while scanning for networks. That means that companies and agencies that collect such information will not necessarily know when the same device (i.e., person) visits a store twice. [Quartz]

New York Dealers Discuss the Future of Galleries

Oscar Murillo has recreated a candy-making factory inside a New York gallery

In 1963, Spoerri enacted a sort of performance art called Restaurant de la Galerie J in Paris, for which he cooked on several evenings

Mermaids – their biology, culture, and demise [PDF | via Improbable]

There’s a plan to put ancient texts on the moon — just in case Earth suffers a nuclear holocaust or a plague

Feedback From James Joyce’s Submission of Ulysses to His Creative-Writing Workshop

Marilyn Monroe was a huge fan of Joyce. And Magnum photographer Eve Arnold once photographed her reading Ulysses.

How To Catch A Chess Cheater

Can a Plane Fly Around the World on Solar Power Alone?

Hidden Deep Inside the Oregon Woods Is a Boeing 727 — and It Wasn’t Parked There by Accident

The surprising story of 2 TV chopper pilots who followed the OJ chase 20 years ago

O.J. Simpson’s White Bronco Can Apparently Be Rented for Parties

The American Dream Is Alive—and It’s Really, Really Tiny

Jennifer in paradise: the story of the first Photoshopped image

they wanted her funeral to be just as lively

Best friends

Triple-Decker Weekly, 108

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The paper, by Winegard et al., opens with the following vignette: A bereaved wife every weekend walks one mile to place flowers on her deceased husband’s cemetery stone. Neither rain nor snow prevents her from making this trip, one she has been making for 2 years. However poignant the scene, and however high our temptation to exclude it from the cold logic of scientific scrutiny, it presents researchers with a perplexing puzzle that demands reflection. The deceased husband, despite all of his widow’s solicitude, cannot return to repay his wife’s devotion. Why waste time, energy, effort, resources—why, in other words, grieve for a social bond that can no longer compensate such dedication? […] Their explanation is that bearing these costs acts as a signal. Drawing on Costly Signaling Theory (CST), they argue that paying these costs sends signals to other people regarding one’s value as a social partner. […] These signals, then, are actually – and unknowingly – directed toward new potential mates who might now consider the individual attractive as a long-term mate based on the quality, costliness, and honesty of the display. [The Evolutionary Psychology Blog]

Flirting is a class of courtship signaling that conveys the signaler’s intentions and desirability to the intended receiver while minimizing the costs that would accompany an overt courtship attempt. […] Flirtation is marked by “mixed signals”: sidelong glances and indirect overtures. The human ethologist Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt, synthesizing decades of comparative study of human social behavior, reported that flirtatious gestures and expressions are cross-culturally consistent. He found that partially obscured actions such as quick looks and coy giggles behind a hand were common elements of flirtation in cultures from pastoral Africa to urban Europe to Polynesia. “Turning toward a person and then turning away,” he wrote, “are typical elements of human flirting behavior.” That indirect flirtation is recognizable as its own category of signaling suggests it might require a separate functional explanation. What do courting humans gain by making some courtship signals oblique? Here we propose that the explanation for the subtlety of human courtship lies in the potential costs imposed by both intended and unintended receivers of courtship signals, either in the form of damage to social capital or of interference and intervention by third parties. […] Third parties constitute an additional source of potential courtship costs. […] “Interception” occurs when a third party detects a signal and procures some information from it, as when a predator uses a prey animal’s mating call to locate the caller. […] Among courting humans, the most straightforward interception costs involve physical violence related to jealousy: Courting someone who already has a partner or admirer can bring swift and direct consequences if one is observed by that rival. […] Signalers who skillfully assess and adjust to social context (i.e., good flirts) display their quality not through high-intensity displays that index physical prowess and condition, but through sensitive signal-to-context matching that indicates behavioral flexibility and social intelligence. [Evolutionary Psychology | PDF]

Couples sleep in sync when the wife is satisfied with their marriage

First direct evidence for human sex pheromones

Study: Women with creaky voices — also known as ‘vocal fry’ — deemed less hireable

Slight variations in how an individual face is viewed can lead people to develop significantly different first impressions of that individual

Research has suggested that the emotion of disgust and the recognition of the “disgust face” do not reliably emerge until later in ontogeny, at 5 years of age or after.

Fetus Uses Left Hand When Mother Is Stressed, Study

Vincent van Gogh’s 3-D printed ear on display in Germany

Scientists have found that replacing one of DNA’s four letters at a key spot in the genome shifts a particular gene’s activity and leads to fairer hair. Not only does the work provide a molecular basis for flaxen locks, but it also demonstrates how changes in segments of DNA that control genes, not just changes in genes themselves, are important to what an organism looks like. [Science]

Smokers with gene defect have one in four chance of developing lung cancer

Sperm size and shape in young men affected by cannabis use

Like salmon traveling upstream to spawn, sperm cells are extremely efficient at swimming against the current

Your Blood Type is a Lot More Complicated Than You Think

I understand by ‘God’ the perfect being, where a being is perfect just in case it has all perfections essentially and lacks all imperfections essentially. […] Given that there are good reasons for thinking that the premises of the Compossibility Argument (CA) are true, it seems to me we have a good reason to think that God’s existence is possible. Of course, this does not, by itself, allow us to conclude to the much more important thesis that God exists, and so the atheist can consistently admit God’s possibility and maintain her atheism. [C'Zar Bernstein/Academia]

The omnipotence paradox states that: If a being can perform any action, then it should be able to create a task which this being is unable to perform; hence, this being cannot perform all actions. Yet, on the other hand, if this being cannot create a task that it is unable to perform, then there exists something it cannot do. One version of the omnipotence paradox is the so-called paradox of the stone: “Could an omnipotent being create a stone so heavy that even he could not lift it?” If he could lift the rock, then it seems that the being would not have been omnipotent to begin with in that he would have been incapable of creating a heavy enough stone; if he could not lift the stone, then it seems that the being either would never have been omnipotent to begin with or would have ceased to be omnipotent upon his creation of the stone. The argument is medieval, dating at least to the 12th century, addressed by Averroës (1126–1198) and later by Thomas Aquinas. Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (before 532) has a predecessor version of the paradox, asking whether it is possible for God to “deny himself”. [...] A common response from Christian philosophers, such as Norman Geisler or Richard Swinburne is that the paradox assumes a wrong definition of omnipotence. Omnipotence, they say, does not mean that God can do anything at all but, rather, that he can do anything that’s possible according to his nature. [Wikipedia]

Jesus and Virgin Mary spotted on Google Earth pic

Using a flash of light, scientists have inactivated and then reactivated a memory in genetically engineered rats

Philosophy can solve the mid-life crisis, at least in one of its forms [PDF]

10 Lazy Ways to Appear Smarter

A Hong Kong VC fund appointed an algorithm to its board of directors.

What does it mean when someone favorites your Tweet? Here are 25 possible answers

Do Rats Know When They Don’t Know?

Chimps Best Humans at Game Theory

In his groundbreaking research, Geoffrey Miller (1999) suggests that artistic and creative displays are male-predominant behaviors and can be considered to be the result of an evolutionary advantage. The outcomes of several surveys conducted on jazz and rock musicians, contemporary painters, English writers (Miller, 1999), and scientists (Kanazawa, 2000) seem to be consistent with the Millerian hypothesis, showing a predominance of men carrying out these activities, with an output peak corresponding to the most fertile male period and a progressive decline in late maturity. One way to evaluate the sex-related hypothesis of artistic and cultural displays, considered as sexual indicators of male fitness, is to focus on sexually dimorphic traits. One of them, within our species, is the 2nd to 4th digit length (2D:4D), which is a marker for prenatal testosterone levels. This study combines the Millerian theories on sexual dimorphism in cultural displays with the digit ratio, using it as an indicator of androgen exposure in utero. If androgenic levels are positively correlated with artistic exhibition, both female and male artists should show low 2D:4D ratios. In this experiment we tested the association between 2D:4D and artistic ability by comparing the digit ratios of 50 artists (25 men and 25 women) to the digit ratios of 50 non-artists (25 men and 25 women). Both male and female artists had significantly lower 2D:4D ratios (indicating high testosterone) than male and female controls. These results support the hypothesis that art may represent a sexually selected, typically masculine behavior that advertises the carrier’s good genes within a courtship context. [Evolutionary Psychology | PDF]

Previously/related: Contrary to decades of archaeological dogma, many of the first artists were women

Angus Fairhurst and Damien Hirst, A Couple of Cannibals Eating a Clown (I Should Coco) (1993)

As the 14th edition of the Venice Biennale of Architecture prepares to open, the pavilions of the Giardini might be the perfect venue for an analysis of the architectural manifestations of national identity. Here is a series of buildings each attempting to say something serious and legible about the nation that built them. They represent extremes of hubris, humility and hope. There are buildings here by the masters of modernism, Alvar Aalto, Carlo Scarpa, Gerrit Rietveld and Josef Hoffmann, and others by one-time names now so obscure that even historians struggle to recall them. Here is the 1938 German pavilion with its severe Nazi-era façade, the rather fey Russian pavilion designed by Aleksey Schusev, architect of the Lenin mausoleum. The British pavilion is an odd, feebly domed work by Edwin Rickards, an almost impossible space to show work in. There is the beautifully minimal Nordic pavilion by Sverre Fehn and the extraordinary maximal, green ceramic-clad Hungarian pavilion by Géza Maróti. Each pavilion tells us about the desire to express something of the national character – and the prevailing political aesthetic. And it is this idea – and what happened to it – that is at the heart of the theme set by this year’s curator, Rem Koolhaas. The question is posed through the juxtaposition of cities a century ago – with their distinctive, bustling streetscapes, busy with architectural detail – with shots of contemporary central business districts, the anonymous cityscapes of glass towers and urban freeways that could be Houston or Dubai, La Défense or Doha. The question Koolhaas poses is: How did this happen? How did these diverse cities absorb this idea of modernity in such a homogenous way, how did one type of architecture attain such hegemony? […] Koolhaas’s brilliant dissection of the meaning of the skyscraper in his 1975 book Delirious New York includes the insight that the elevator – which finally makes the long-dreamt-of skyscraper possible – also allows its expression to be disassociated from its structure. The endless extrusion no longer has any structural logic or rationale that can be expressed on the exterior; instead its architecture – its style – is now purely applied. Koolhaas extends this idea in his 2001 essay “Junkspace”, where he indicates that out-of-town locations, air-conditioning and the escalator have finally broken any notions of architectural responsibility to context and any ties between scale and architecture. “Architecture disappeared in the 20th century,” he wrote. [FT]

Wikipedia Mining Algorithm Reveals The Most Influential People In 35 Centuries Of Human History

University College London’s Nietzsche Club Is Banned

He says Hoefler exploited his talents and his intellectual property for years before ultimately refusing to put their agreement on paper, essentially telling him to fuck off.

I suspect we’ll see case law made in the next five years affirming that animated GIFs are fair use.

Though industrially important, 3D printing has turned out to be nowhere near as disruptive as once imagined, and certainly nothing like the PC. […] The one 3D-printing method to make it successfully into the home so far is “fused deposition modelling” (FDM). In this, the object of desire is constructed, layer by layer, by melting a plastic filament and coiling it into the shape required. As ingenious as FDM is, the “maker movement” is still waiting for its equivalent of the Commodore 64, a capable and affordable machine that helped pitchfork the hobbyist computer movement into widespread consumer acceptance. Another type of 3D printing, stereolithography, may yet challenge FDM for personal use. Stereolithography deposits thin layers of polymer which are then cured by laser or ultraviolet light. The technique was patented by Charles Hull in 1986, several years before Scott Crump patented FDM. These two inventors went on to found the two leading firms in the business today, 3D Systems and Stratasys. 3D Systems is bent on reducing the cost of stereolithography, so it, too, can appeal to the masses. […] At least three things prevent personal 3D printing from going mainstream. The first is that the printing process takes hours or even days to complete. If the desired object is a standard part, it is invariably quicker and cheaper to buy the equivalent injection moulding off the shelf. The second problem is poor quality. The printing materials, mostly polymers such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or polylactic acid, lack the mechanical strength needed for making parts sturdy enough to do a useful job. ABS has good impact resistance but it does not bear loads particularly well. PLA’s virtue is that it degrades naturally into lactic acid, a harmless substance. This makes it useful for printing things like hearing aids, teeth braces and medical implants. Neither plastic, though, is suitable for fabricating replacement parts for a lawnmower, a child’s bicycle or a vintage car, in which mechanical strength and rigidity are crucial. In all likelihood, things made for handy tasks around the home will need to be reasonably strong, and also require more precise dimensions than today’s desktop 3D printers can manage. Thus, the third problem—namely, the abysmal resolution of products made by popular 3D printers. Tolerances of at least two or three thousandths of an inch (a tenth of a millimetre or so), not tenths of an inch, are the minimum required for home-made parts that are to be interchangeable, or have a fit and finish necessary to work reliably with one another. Personal 3D printers will remain playthings until they can achieve such standards. One answer is to print with metals, or even carbon composites or ceramics, instead of plastics. Many 3D printers used in industry do precisely that. Industrial metal printers, for instance, use a process known as selective laser sintering (SLS), in which a powerful laser is fired into a bed of powdered metal to sinter particles together, layer upon layer, into the required outline, until the object is built up. A newer version of SLS, which uses an electron beam in a vacuum chamber, allows the sintering to be done at much lower temperatures. Unfortunately, SLS printers cost anything up to $125,000. It is going to take quite a while before the cost of printing metals (two orders of magnitude more expensive than printing plastics) becomes cheap enough for home use. [The Economist ]

Over the past year, I’ve spent a great deal of time trolling a variety of underground stores that sell “dumps” — street slang for stolen credit card data that buyers can use to counterfeit new cards and go shopping in big-box stores for high-dollar merchandise that can be resold quickly for cash. By way of explaining this bizarro world, this post takes the reader on a tour of a rather exclusive and professional dumps shop that caters to professional thieves, high-volume buyers and organized crime gangs. […] Like many other dumps shops, McDumpals recently began requiring potential new customers to pay a deposit (~$100) via Bitcoin before being allowed to view the goods for sale. Also typical of most card shops, this store’s home page features the latest news about new batches of stolen cards that have just been added, as well as price reductions on older batches of cards that are less reliable as instruments of fraud. […] People often ask if I worry about shopping online. These days, I worry more about shopping in main street stores. McDumpals is just one dumps shop, and it adds many new bases each week. There are dozens of card shops just like this one in the underground (some more exclusive than others), all selling bases [batches of cards] from unique, compromised merchants. [Krebs on Security]

NSA’s advice on passwords

The Reverse Yelp: Restaurants Can Now Review Customers, Too

Why English Eggs Are Way Different From American Ones

One of the Woolpack players defecated in the trophy, and pictures were taken on mobile phones before the cup was cleaned up and offered to the Bull players to drink from.

Your life in weeks

Proverbs are associated with older beliefs and attitudes, and so are seen as more politically conservative, and less relevant in our new changed world.

How words borrowed from different languages have influenced English throughout its history

Severed horse head pillow

Google Logo Update

‘Anti-Drone’ Burqa. $2,500.00 [Thanks Tim]

Triple-Decker Weekly, 107

tdw-107

Gelignite, or blasting gelatin, is a mixture of nitroglycerin, gun cotton, and a combustible substance like wood pulp. It resembles dynamite (also invented by Alfred Nobel) but can be conveniently molded into shape with the bare hands. The October 6, 1904 issue of Russian Doctor contained a dispatch about a young woman who “found a cartridge containing this substance in her husband’s trunk and ate it, taking the cartridge for a piece of confectionery.” Despite her husband’s fears, she neither exploded nor expired from the effects of the poison, as summarized in the New York Medical Journal six weeks later. [Improbable]

Paul Ingrisano, a pirate living in Brooklyn New York, filed a trademark under “Pi Productions” for a logo which consists of this freely available version of the pi symbol π from the Wikimedia website combined with a period (full stop). The conditions of the trademark specifically state that the trademark includes a period. The trademark was granted in January 2014 and Ingrisano has recently made trademark infringement claims against a massive range of pi-related designs on print-on-demand websites including Zazzle and Cafepress. Surprisingly, Zazzle accepted his claim and removed thousands of clothing products using this design. [ Jez Kemp]

Watermelon juice relieves post-exercise muscle soreness

If we split life into 5000 days units

Parenting Rewires the Male Brain

Neurochemical research has shown that the hormone released when people are in love is released in animals in the same intimate circumstances.

New research shows that people are more likely to pick a mate with similar DNA

They began to notice that the women’s attitudes about sex were also influenced by their families’ incomes

The Top Ten Worst Reasons to Stay Friends With Your Ex

Researchers found less gray matter in the brains of men who watched large amounts of sexually explicit material

Those parents at the park taking all those photos are actually paying less attention to the moment, she says, because they’re focused on the act of taking the photo. “Then they’ve got a thousand photos, and then they just dump the photos somewhere and don’t really look at them very much, ’cause it’s too difficult to tag them and organize them,” says Maryanne Garry, a psychology professor at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. […] Henkel, who researches human memory at Fairfield University in Connecticut, found what she called a “photo-taking impairment effect.” “The objects that they had taken photos of — they actually remembered fewer of them, and remembered fewer details about those objects. Like, how was this statue’s hands positioned, or what was this statue wearing on its head. They remembered fewer of the details if they took photos of them, rather than if they had just looked at them,” she says. Henkel says her students’ memories were impaired because relying on an external memory aid means you subconsciously count on the camera to remember the details for you. [NPR]

Child draws all over dad’s passport, dad gets stuck in South Korea

Closing roads can improve everyone’s commute time. You might want to shoot to miss in war. Game Theory Is Really Counterintuitive

It is just possible to discern some points beneath the heated rhetoric in which Patricia Churchland indulges. But none of these points is right. If you hold that “mental processes are actually processes in the brain,” to quote Churchland, then you are committed to the thesis that it is sufficient to understand the mind that one understands the brain, and not merely necessary. This is just the well-known “identity theory” of mind and brain: mental processes are identical to brain processes; and the identity of a with b entails the sufficiency of a for b. To hold the weaker thesis that knowledge of the brain is merely necessary for knowledge of the mind is consistent even with being a heavy-duty Cartesian dualist, since even such a dualist accepts that mind depends causally on brain. [ Patricia Churchland vs. Colin McGinn/NY Review of Books]

The best way to win an argument

Machines vs. Lawyers: As information technology advances, the legal profession faces a great disruption.

In a paper published in the journal Science, physicists reported that they were able to reliably teleport information between two quantum bits separated by three meters, or about 10 feet. Quantum teleportation is not the “Star Trek”-style movement of people or things; rather, it involves transferring so-called quantum information — in this case what is known as the spin state of an electron — from one place to another without moving the physical matter to which the information is attached. [ NY Times ]

An air conditioner, powered by fans

Collision Detection: Bees versus Fish

Traffic was so heavy in the 1870s that a ‘Cow Tunnel’ was built beneath Twelfth Avenue to serve as an underground passage.

When CitiBike was launched, the hope and expectation was that it would be profitable for its operator

A Starbucks frappuccino, containing 60 shots of espresso and topped with whipped cream, which took Andrew Chifari of Texas five days to consume

Physiology and neuroscience combine to explain Bruce Lee’s famous strike, the one-inch punch.

20% of Europeans have never used the internet

Time spent looking at screens spent each day by people in different countries

US NAVY SLANG

The Big Coloring Book of Vaginas