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Shines Like Gold
By imp kerr
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Triple-Decker Weekly, 134

tdw134

Court tells millionaire yoga troll Bikram Choudhury that poses can’t be copyrighted

The practice by some Chinese parents of adopting girls and raising them as future wives for their biological sons

A growing body of literature has shown that environmental exposures in the period around conception can affect the sex ratio at birth through selective attrition that favors the survival of female conceptuses. Glucose availability is considered a key indicator of the fetal environment, and its absence as a result of meal skipping may inhibit male survival. We hypothesize that breakfast skipping during pregnancy may lead to a reduction in the fraction of male births. Using time use data from the United States we show that women with commute times of 90 minutes or longer are 20 percentage points more likely to skip breakfast. Using U.S. census data we show that women with commute times of 90 minutes or longer are 1.2 percentage points less likely to have a male child under the age of 2. Under some assumptions, this implies that routinely skipping breakfast around the time of conception leads to a 6 percentage point reduction in the probability of a male child. Skipping breakfast during pregnancy may therefore constitute a poor environment for fetal health more generally. [Biodemography and Social Biology]

Determinants of online sperm donor success: How women choose

Living together is basically the same as marriage, study finds

New research hypothesizes that men eat more in front of women to “show off.”

Words can deceive, but tone of voice cannot. Voice tone analyses of therapy sessions accurately predict whether relationships will improve.

Couples who have sex weekly are happiest. More sex may not always make you happier, according to new research [study]

The effect of wearing different types of textiles on sexual activity was studied in 75 rats

Why Is the Human Vagina So Big?

‘Scrotum Squeezing’ Getting Closer Look From Paralympics Officials

Stolen circumcision ambulance found after tip-off

Women can navigate better when given testosterone, study finds

In Women After All: Sex, Evolution, and the End of Male Supremacy, Melvin Konner argues that male domination is an anomaly of human history, not a natural state for the human species. Specifically, Konner suggests that male supremacy is largely an effect of an oppressive social arrangement, namely civilization, which began with the invention of agriculture when humans began to form permanent settlements. Permanent settlements enabled men to be able to accumulate resources and allowed population densities to increase mainly through higher birth rates. Higher population densities placed more intense pressure on the land’s resources. Therefore, it became necessary for men to form coalitions with neighbors to defend against intruders. Power became concentrated in the hands of a few men, leading to a stratified society where male supremacy and female subordination reigned and male violence and war intensified. Today, Konner argues that technology limits the need for the muscle and strength of men, and male domination has outlived its purpose and is maladaptive. Therefore, empowering women is the next step in human evolution. Through empowering women, equality between the sexes will be restored and man-made disasters, such as wars, sex scandals, and financial corruption, will significantly decrease or be eliminated since women (who Konner claims are less emotional than men) will be in positions of leadership and power. [Evolutionary Psychology]

There’s no such thing as a male or female brain, study finds. Between 23% and 53% of individuals (depending on the sample) had brains with both “male-end” and “female-end” features. In contrast, the percentage of people with only “female-end” or only “male-end” brain features was small, ranging from zero to 8%.

A new study published in The Lancet, following one million middle-aged women in Britain for 10 years, finds that the widely held view that happiness enhances health and longevity is unfounded. “Happiness and related measures of well-being do not appear to have any direct effect on mortality,” the researchers concluded. […] Researchers decided to look into the subject because, he said, there is a widespread belief that stress and unhappiness cause disease. […] The new study says earlier research confused cause and effect, suggesting that unhappiness made people ill when it is actually the other way around. [NY Times]

Touch is a powerful tool for communicating positive emotions. However, it has remained unknown to what extent social touch would maintain and establish social bonds. We asked a total of 1,368 people from five countries to reveal, using an Internet-based topographical self-reporting tool, those parts of their body that they would allow relatives, friends, and strangers to touch. These body regions formed relationship-specific maps in which the total area was directly related to the strength of the emotional bond between the participant and the touching person. Cultural influences were minor. […] [T]ouching by strangers was primarily limited to the hands and upper torso. Genitals and buttocks formed clear “taboo zones” that only the emotionally closest individuals were allowed to touch. Frequency of social contact with an individual did not predict the area available for social touch, confirming that the experienced bond between the individuals, rather than mere familiarity, modulates social touching behavior in dyads. […] Skin is the largest organ and the clearest border between individuals and the world. Already 19-wk-old fetuses touch themselves and anticipate self-oriented touches. Skin-to-skin contact is also one of the earliest communication channels promoting attachment between the infant and the caregiver. Recent work has revealed a special class of unmyelinated C-tactile afferents that respond selectively to slow pleasurable stroking. Stimulating these fibers activates insular cortex and possibly provides the sensory pathway for emotional and affiliative touching. Our results imply that this kind of social touch is interpreted in context-dependent fashion depending on the interaction partner. Such social coding of touch seems to occur at early processing stages in the brain, as recent neuroimaging work has established that the human primary somatosensory cortex is involved in discriminating between interpersonal and physical aspects of social touch. [PNAS]

Sleep interruptions worse for mood than overall reduced amount of sleep, study finds

Humans can sleep for days when living alone underground, experiments show

Ignorance may be bliss… but negative mood can make us more realistic

What is stupid? People’s conception of unintelligent behavior

Envy key motivator behind many Facebook posts, contributes to a decrease in mental well-being among users

Our findings showed that people felt less stressed when they checked their email less often

Social stress messes up the hippocampus

Research shows that texts that end with a period really do come off as insincere

In 1995, a team of researchers taught pigeons to discriminate between Picasso and Monet paintings. […] After just a few weeks’ training, their pigeons could not only tell a Picasso from a Monet – indicated by pecks on a designated button – but could generalise their learning to discriminate cubist from impressionist works in general. […] For a behaviourist, the moral is that even complex learning is supported by fundamental principles of association, practice and reward. It also shows that you can train a pigeon to tell a Renoir from a Matisse, but that doesn’t mean it knows a lot about art. […] What is now indisputable is that different memories are supported by different anatomical areas of the brain. […] Brain imaging has confirmed the basic division of labour between so-called declarative memory, aka explicit memory (facts and events), and procedural memory, aka implicit memory (habits and skills). The neuroscience allows us to understand the frustrating fact that you have the insight into what you are learning without yet having acquired the skill, or you can have the skill without the insight. In any complex task, you’ll need both. Maybe the next hundred years of the neuroscience of memory will tell us how to coordinate them. […] Chess masters have an amazing memory for patterns on the chess board – able to recall the positions of all the pieces after only a brief glance. Follow-up work showed that they only have this ability if the patterns conform to possible positions in a legal game of chess. When pieces are positioned on the board randomly, however, chess grandmasters have as poor memories as anyone else. [The Guardian]

Why do we forget people’s names when we first meet them?

What Happens When You Can’t Talk to Yourself?

Why do dogs tilt their heads when we talk to them? Biologist here. Head tilting allows an animal to gain information about the vertical placement of the sound (how far up/down it is, relative to the axis of the skull). It is assumed that canids do head-tilting to try to localize a sound better. This is backed up by the fact that canids do a lot of head-tilting when hunting small prey that are hidden behind grass or snow. Generally – as bilaterally symmetrical animals, mammals already get pretty good information on left-right placement of a sound, due to the fact that we have an ear on the left and a different ear on the right – that means we can get left/right info by things like, time of arrival of the sound at each ear, & loudness of the sound in each ear. But up/down information (how high or low the sound source is) for a sound that is coming from directly in front can be difficult to figure out. This is a challenge for a predator that is typically approaching prey that are right in front. The head tilt solves this problem by offsetting the two ears vertically so that sounds from lower down will hit the lower ear first, and will also be ever-so- slightly louder in the lower ear, and vice versa for sounds coming from higher up. […] With domestic dogs looking at a human, typically they already know the sound is coming from the human; they seem to just instinctively add the head tilt when hearing a puzzling sound, even if they’re pretty sure where it’s coming from. [99trumpets/reddit]

A normal adult will die after eating 480 bananas. How Much [X] Could You Eat Before It Would Kill You?

People who drink about three to five cups of coffee a day may be less likely to die prematurely from some illnesses than those who don’t drink or drink less coffee

What would happen if scientists could trick the brain into thinking broccoli tastes like chocolate? How our brains perceive the flavor of food

Is human placenta a wonder drug, or is it just another Japanese health fad? [Thanks Tim]

Scientists have figured out how to shock the salt out of seawater

52 things I learned in 2015

Wearing a magnetic wrist strap or a copper bracelet did not appear to have any meaningful therapeutic effect, beyond that of a placebo

There’s one really big problem with the case for Craig S. Wright as Satoshi and What Satoshi Did

That mysterious, anonymous novel satirizing tech culture is now available from a major publishing house

Search Engine Censys Knows the Internet’s Dirty Little Security Secrets

Why New York Subway Lines Are Missing Countdown Clocks

How the DC Metro Got So Bad

Here’s what it would take for self-driving cars to catch on

Scientists have figured out how to store electricity in ‘paper’

Chinese researchers unveil brain powered car

Intelligent anti-explosion, anti-fire and anti-odour WiFi-enabled rubbish bins appear in China

Who’s investigating fake Chinese goods? Fake investigators

A Chinese artist vacuumed up Beijing’s smog and made a brick from what he collected

By the end of this century, Africa will be home to 39% of the world’s population, almost as much as Asia, and four times the share of North America and Europe put together.

Since the end of the Second World War, the number of independent states has nearly tripled.

A 200-year history of interest rates shows that the real aberration looks like the 7.3 percent average experienced in the United States from 1970 to 2007. [NY Times]

Even the CEO’s Job Is Susceptible To Automation, McKinsey Report Says

Are Successful CEOs Just Lucky?

Game company made $71,145 on Black Friday by selling nothing for $5 a pop

If a forecaster is only 50% certain that precipitation will happen over 80 percent of the area, PoP (chance of rain) is 40% (i.e., .5 x .8).

Although your client may think he is above the law and be accustomed to using lawsuits to bail out his failed business deals, the Federal Election Campaign Act and the FEC’s Regulations nonetheless apply to him and his campaign. Perhaps the attached complaint, filed today, will serve as a reminder of your client’s legal obligations under federal election laws. Just as your client is attempting to quickly learn the basics of foreign policy, we wish you personally the best in your attempts to learn election law. [Charles Spies to Trump Attorney/Washington Post]

They’re like, “The internet is public.” A lot of things are public, but it doesn’t mean they’re for you. For instance, you can walk down the street and you can look into all of your neighbors’ windows should they have chanced not to draw the curtains. If you really lean in, you can listen to all kinds of conversations that are too quiet for you to just overhear. You can do all kinds of things in public that you should not do. Are you walking down the street, interrupting random twosomes or threesomes of people to add your two fucking sentences? You’re not, so why are you on my Twitter? Why are you talking to me? [Sarah Nicole Prickett / Mask]

What else is possible if space and time can change?

Penrose and many others argue from practical considerations, Godel’s theorem, and on philosophical grounds, that consciousness or awareness is non-algorithmic and so cannot be generated by a system that can be described by classical physics, such as a conventional computer, but could perhaps be generated by a system requiring a quantum (Hilbert space) description. Penrose suspects that aspects of quantum physics not yet understood might be needed to explain consciousness. In this paper we shall see that only known quantum physics is needed to explain perception. [James A. Donald]

In this study, we investigate cross-linguistic patterns in the alternation between UM, a hesitation marker consisting of a neutral vowel followed by a final labial nasal, and UH, a hesitation marker consisting of a neutral vowel in an open syllable.

…a general expletive (oh fuck!), a personal insult (you fuck!), a cursing expletive (fuck you!), an emphatic intensifier (fucking marvellous!), in pronominal form (like fuck), as an idiomatic set phrase (fuck all), and for a destinational usage (fuck off!). Being fluent at swearing is a sign of healthy verbal ability

Deaths by this and that in Shakespeare’s plays

Color preference in the insane

Concert etiquette demands that audiences of classical concerts avoid inept noises such as coughs. and yet, coughing in concerts occurs more frequently than elsewhere, implying a widespread and intentional breach of concert etiquette.

British pop singer Morrissey’s debut novel, “List of the Lost”, won the award for the worst sex scene of the year

Picasso’s muse Sylvette David, 1954 More: She has since changed her name to Lydia

Tobias Frere-Jones is back in business

The Real Face of Jesus

Controllable 3D model of a person made from photos

A 30,000+ word blog post about how to write about information and make it spread

Why Can’t We Build a Splash-Proof Toilet?

Liquid ASS [More: (used by US military to harden medics]

Our Roomba Vacuumed The House With Dog Shit

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Triple-Decker Weekly, 133

4

Baby Born Pregnant with Her Own Twins

Disabling parts of the brain with magnets can weaken faith in God and change attitudes to immigrants, study finds

Can people differentiate what they know from what they do not? Several lines of research suggest that people are not always accurate judges of their knowledge and often overestimate how much they know. Research on overconfidence finds that people commonly judge the accuracy of their judgments too favorably and typically overestimate how well they perform everyday tasks relative to other people. Work on the illusion of explanatory depth demonstrates that participants tend to think they have a better understanding of how objects work (e.g., a ballpoint pen) than they can demonstrate when that understanding is put to the test. At times, people even claim knowledge they cannot possibly have, because the object of their knowledge does not exist, a phenomenon known as overclaiming. For example, in the late 1970s, nearly a third of American respondents expressed an opinion about the “1975 Public Affairs Act” when asked about it directly, even though the act was a complete fiction. Approximately a fifth of consumers report having used products that are actually nonexistent. More recent research has asked participants to rate their familiarity with a mix of real and nonexistent concepts, names, and events in domains such as philosophy, life sciences, physical sciences, and literature. Participants reported being familiar with the real items but also, to a lesser degree, with the nonexistent ones. […] What underlies assertions of such impossible knowledge? We found that people overclaim to the extent that they perceive their personal expertise favorably. […] A sizable body of work on how people evaluate their own knowledge suggests that they rely not only on a direct examination of their mental contents but also on a feeling of knowing. Notably, a feeling of knowing is often only weakly predictive of actual knowledge and appears to be informed, at least in part, by top-down inferences about what should be or probably is known. We theorized that such inferences are drawn from people’s preconceived notions about their expertise, inducing a feeling of knowing that then prompts overclaiming. [Psychological Science | PDF]

Decades of research have shown that humans are so-called cognitive misers. When we approach a problem, our natural default is to tap the least tiring cognitive process. Typically this is what psychologists call type 1 thinking, famously described by Nobel Prize–winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman as automatic, intuitive processes that are not very strenuous. This is in contrast to type 2 thinking, which is slower and involves processing more cues in the environment. Defaulting to type 1 makes evolutionary sense: if we can solve a problem more simply, we can bank extra mental capacity for completing other tasks. A problem arises, however, when the simple cues available are either insufficient or vastly inferior to the more complex cues at hand. Exactly this kind of conflict can occur when someone chooses to believe a personal opinion over scientific evidence or statistics. [Scientific American]

What happens to us as we accrue knowledge and experience, as we become experts in a field? Competence follows. Effortlessness follows. But certain downsides can follow too. We reported recently on how experts are vulnerable to an overclaiming error – falsely feeling familiar with things that seem true of a domain but aren’t. Now a new paper in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology explores how feelings of expertise can lead us to be more dogmatic towards new ideas. [BPS]

Here we show that searching the Internet for explanatory knowledge creates an illusion whereby people mistake access to information for their own personal understanding of the information.

Network scientists have discovered how social networks can create the illusion that something is common when it is actually rare

Past research showed that people accumulate more knowledge about other people and objects they like compared to those they dislike. More knowledge is commonly assumed to lead to more differentiated mental representations; therefore, people should perceive others they like as less similar to one another than others they dislike. We predict the opposite outcome based on the density hypothesis; accordingly, positive impressions are less diverse than negative impressions as there are only a few ways to be liked but many ways to be disliked. Therefore, people should perceive liked others as more similar to one another than disliked others even though they have more knowledge about liked others. Seven experiments confirm this counterintuitive prediction and show a strong association between liking and perceived similarity in person perception. [Journal of Experimental Social Psychology]

Faces with a happy expression were rated to be more attractive than faces with the other emotions, but they were rated as attractive as neutral ones.

Transferring the expressions of one person’s face to the other in realtime

Expressing anger might lead men to gain influence, but women to lose influence over others (even when making identical arguments)

Testosterone levels affect how much makeup women use, study finds

Statisticians love to develop multiple ways of testing the same thing. If I want to decide whether two groups of people have significantly different IQs, I can run a t-test or a rank sum test or a bootstrap or a regression. You can argue about which of these is most appropriate, but I basically think that if the effect is really statistically significant and large enough to matter, it should emerge regardless of which test you use, as long as the test is reasonable and your sample isn’t tiny. An effect that appears when you use a parametric test but not a nonparametric test is probably not worth writing home about. A similar lesson applies, I think, to first dates. When you’re attracted to someone, you overanalyze everything you say, spend extra time trying to look attractive, etc. But if your mutual attraction is really statistically significant and large enough to matter, it should emerge regardless of the exact circumstances of a single evening. If the shirt you wear can fundamentally alter whether someone is attracted to you, you probably shouldn’t be life partners. […] In statistical terms, a glance at across a bar doesn’t give you a lot of data and increases the probability you’ll make an incorrect decision. As a statistician, I prefer not to work with small datasets, and similarly, I’ve never liked romantic environments that give me very little data about a person. (Don’t get me started on Tinder. The only thing I can think when I see some stranger staring at me out of a phone is, “My errorbars are huge!” which makes it very hard to assess attraction.) […] I think there’s even an argument for being deliberately unattractive to your date, on the grounds that if they still like you, they must really like you. [Obsession with Regression]

The ratio between the body circumference at the waist and the hips (or WHR) is a secondary sexual trait that is unique to humans and is well known to influence men’s mate preferences. Because a woman’s WHR also provides information about her age, health and fertility, men’s preference concerning this physical feature may possibly be a cognitive adaptation selected in the human lineage. […] We analyzed the WHR of women considered as ideally beautiful who were depicted in western artworks from 500 BCE to the present. These vestiges of the past feminine ideal were then compared to more recent symbols of beauty: Playboy models and winners of several Miss pageants from 1920 to 2014. We found that the ideal WHR has changed over time in western societies: it was constant during almost a millennium in antiquity (from 500 BCE to 400 CE) and has decreased from the 15th century to the present. Then, based on Playboy models and Miss pageants winners, this decrease appears to slow down or even reverse during the second half of the 20th century. The universality of an ideal WHR is thus challenged, and historical changes in western societies could have caused these variations in men’s preferences. [PLOS]

This research examines the role of alcohol consumption on self-perceived attractiveness. Study 1, carried out in a barroom (N= 19), showed that the more alcoholic drinks customers consumed, the more attractive they thought they were. In Study 2, 94 non-student participants in a bogus taste-test study were given either an alcoholic beverage (target BAL [blood alcohol level]= 0.10 g/100 ml) or a non-alcoholic beverage, with half of each group believing they had consumed alcohol and half believing they had not (balanced placebo design). After consuming beverages, they delivered a speech and rated how attractive, bright, original, and funny they thought they were. The speeches were videotaped and rated by 22 independent judges. Results showed that participants who thought they had consumed alcohol gave themselves more positive self-evaluations. However, ratings from independent judges showed that this boost in self-evaluation was unrelated to actual performance. [British Journal of Psychology | PDF]

Evidence of the cheerleader effect—people seem more attractive in a group than in isolation

Estimating Body Shape Under Clothing

What if the gamblers are researchers betting on how each other’s experiments will turn out, and the results are used to improve science itself?

Can scientists agree on a definition of curiosity?

How jurors can be misled by emotional testimony and gruesome photos

Not even astrology researchers believe in astrology

Astrobiologists Revise the Chances of Finding Advanced ET Civilizations

Martian Life Could Be a Biotech Bonanza

Last year, Kennedy, a 67-year-old neurologist and inventor, did something unprecedented in the annals of self-experimentation. He paid a surgeon in Central America $25,000 to implant electrodes into his brain in order to establish a connection between his motor cortex and a computer.

Neurotechnologies are “dual-use” tools, which means that in addition to being employed in medical problem-solving, they could also be applied (or misapplied) for military purposes. The same brain-scanning machines meant to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease or autism could potentially read someone’s private thoughts. Computer systems attached to brain tissue that allow paralyzed patients to control robotic appendages with thought alone could also be used by a state to direct bionic soldiers or pilot aircraft. And devices designed to aid a deteriorating mind could alternatively be used to implant new memories, or to extinguish existing ones, in allies and enemies alike. […] “The potential to do something like mind reading is going to be available sooner rather than later.” More to the point, “It’s going to be possible within our lifetimes.” [Foreign Policy]

Paralyzed man uses own brainwaves to walk again – no exoskeleton required

Scientists have discovered more than 200 genes linked to ageing and have found switching them off could boost lifespan by 60 per cent, say scientists

People with a certain type of gene are more deeply affected by their life experiences, a new study has revealed. The findings challenge traditional thinking about depression, showing what might be considered a risk gene for depression in one context, may actually be beneficial in another. [EurekAlert]

In 1996, drugs relieved pain 27% more than a placebo. But in 2013 that gap had fallen to only 9%.

Four Reasons Drugs Are Expensive, of Which Two Are False

Finding cannabinoids in hair does not prove cannabis consumption

By licking a wound it heals faster — this is not simply popular belief, but scientifically proven. Our saliva consists of water and mucus, among other things, and the mucus plays an important role. It stimulates white blood cells to build a good defense against invaders. [Lunatic Laboratories]

Blood is a bodily fluid in humans and other animals that delivers necessary substances such as nutrients and oxygen to the cells and transports metabolic waste products away from those same cells. […] In vertebrates, it is composed of blood cells suspended in blood plasma. Plasma, which constitutes 55% of blood fluid, is mostly water (92% by volume), and contains dissipated proteins, glucose, mineral ions, hormones, carbon dioxide (plasma being the main medium for excretory product transportation), and blood cells themselves. Albumin is the main protein in plasma, and it functions to regulate the colloidal osmotic pressure of blood. The blood cells are mainly red blood cells, white blood cells (also called leukocytes) and platelets. The most abundant cells in vertebrate blood are red blood cells. [Wikipedia]

A completely new view of how human blood is made has been discovered by scientists, upending conventional dogma from the 1960s.

3D-printed teeth can kill 99% of bacteria

People talk about an individual’s genome as if it was a single consistent entity—but it isn’t. Every one of us actually contains a cosmopolitan melting pot of different genomes.

The moles on your right arm may predict your risk of skin cancer. New research suggests that it’s specifically those with 11 moles or more on their right arms who need to care the most

Sleep interruptions worse for mood than reduced overall amount of sleep and Black Americans aren’t sleeping as well as whites.

The Air-Conditioning Capacity of the Human Nose

Smell expert Sissel Tolaas is on a mission to capture and replicate the “smellscapes” of cities around the world [Thanks Tim]

Why Do Most Languages Have So Few Words for Smells?

Human language may be shaped by climate and terrain

Meet The Man Who Invents Languages For A Living

What will the English language be like in 100 years?

Why The Machines That Dig Tunnels Are Always Named After Women

Life is different for people who think in metaphors

English Names for fungi 2014

Does the smell of a rare mushroom found in Hawaii really cause woman to have spontaneous orgasms?

$635 pills of fecal matter cure deadly gastrointestinal infection

Intestinal worms can actually be good for you

The best way for swarming insects to get the protein and salt they need is to eat each other.

Wasps Have Injected New Genes Into Butterflies

Indonesia considers crocodiles for prison guards

Crocodiles, like some birds and aquatic mammals, may well sleep with half of their brain at a time. The researchers found that crocodiles were more inclined to sleep with one eye open when humans were present, and that the open eye was always directed towards the human.

Mozambique is landmine-free thanks to rats

Coffee hydrates as well as water, study says. The belief that caffeinated drinks such as coffee could cause dehydration is based on a 1928 study that demonstrated caffeine’s diuretic effect.

Chinese ice cream is different, and those differences reflect a different economic and technological context. American ice cream is mainly sold by grocery stores in large containers to be eaten at home. So the basic assumption is that people have freezers at home in which to store the ice cream. Even when ice cream is sold on-the-go, it is sold out as scoops out of those big containers. But historically in China most people did not have freezers at home, though many more of them do now. Ice cream in China is therefore usually sold by convenience stores or roadside stalls, in small packages to be eaten immediately. So rather than big vats of ice cream, it is mostly individual bars. These constraints have pushed innovation in Chinese ice cream in different directions. You can get all kinds of amazing wacky ice cream flavors in the US, but they are all delivered in mostly the same form: a tub of ice cream eaten with a spoon. Chinese ice cream innovates on form and texture more than with ingredients, with many bars featuring not just crunchy outer layers of chocolate but interior elements made of various yummy substances. The structural complexity of some ice-cream bars is so great that it’s common for the package to have a 3-D cutaway diagram to illustrate all the goodies on the inside. [Andrew Batson]

It costs as much as $4 million to open a new diner these days, compared with $500,000 to $1 million for a higher-end restaurant, because diners require so much storage space for the inventory that their large menus require.

Diners at his restaurant are presented with an iPod loaded with a recording of crashing waves and screeching gulls to listen to while enjoying an artfully presented plate of seafood

First ‘KFC’ to open in Iran shut down after just 24 hours

This article examines associations between the Great Recession and 4 aspects of 9-year olds’ behavior – aggression (externalizing), anxiety/depression (internalizing), alcohol and drug use, and vandalism – using the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a longitudinal birth cohort drawn from 20 U.S. cities (21%, White, 50% Black, 26% Hispanic, and 3% other race/ethnicity). The study was in the field for the 9-year follow-up right before and during the Great Recession (2007-2010; N = 3,311). Interview dates (month) were linked to the national Consumer Sentiment Index (CSI), calculated from a national probability sample drawn monthly to assess consumer confidence and uncertainty about the economy, as well as to data on local unemployment rates. We find that greater uncertainty as measured by the CSI was associated with higher rates of all 4 behavior problems for boys (in both maternal and child reports). Such associations were not found for girls. [Developmental Psychology]

Adolescents with a bedroom television reported more television viewing time, less physical activity, poorer dietary habits, fewer family meals, and poorer school performance

Kids can remember tomorrow what they forgot today

The wedding industry has consistently sought to link wedding spending with long-lasting marriages. This paper is the first to examine this relationship statistically. We find that marriage duration is either not associated or inversely associated with spending on the engagement ring and wedding ceremony. Overall, our findings provide little evidence to support the validity of the wedding industry’s general message that connects expensive weddings with positive marital outcomes. [PDF | via Improbable]

Employment rates of women in Japan and US

Study by the US Federal Reserve Board finds that the higher your credit score, the higher your chances of a lasting relationship.

Women initiate most divorces in the US. […] The data examine the gender of breakup for both marital and nonmarital relationships for the first time. The results show that women’s initiation of breakup is specific to heterosexual marriage. Men and women in nonmarital heterosexual relationships in the US are equally likely to initiate breakup. The results are consistent with a feminist critique of heterosexual marriage as an institution that benefits men more than women. [The Gender of Breakup in Heterosexual Couples | Abstract + Charts]

23-year-old Google employee lives in a truck in the company’s parking lot and saves 90% of his income

Robert Samuel, founder of Same Ole Line Dudes, makes up to $1,000 a week to stand in line

How a Fracking Company Borrowed $5 Billion from Itself and Stuck Its Landowners with the Bill

The price of electricity in Texas fell toward zero, hit zero, and then went negative for several hours

Most people own things that they don’t really need. It is worth thinking about why. […] A policy aimed at curbing luxury shopping might involve higher marginal tax rates or, as a more targeted intervention, a consumption tax. As it becomes harder to afford a Rolex, people will devote more money to pleasures that really matter. Less waste, more happiness. [Boston Review]

The mansion is what real estate experts call a “stigmatized property” — jargon for a listing with a grisly back story

The Catholic church is estimated to own twenty percent of all real estate in Italy, and a quarter of all real estate in Rome.

Boring cityscapes increase sadness, addiction and disease-related stress. Is urban design a matter of public health?

Stuffy offices can halve cognitive scores. The bad air quality found in many office buildings may also affect performance, health.

Does the presence of a mannequin head change shopping behavior?

Business Insiders is expecting to make 65 million dollars next year. […] It employs 325 people, meaning it currently brings in roughly $132,300 in revenue per employee.BuzzFeed … $208,333 per employee […] Gawker … $211,538 per employee […] Vice … $457,500 per employee […] The New York Times Company … between $440,000 and $450,000 per employee [The Awl]

With the advent of the Internet, many U.S. metropolitan areas have seen newspaper closures due to declining revenues. This provides the researcher with an opportunity to analyze the microeconomic sources of media bias.

This article uses a large panel dataset of newspaper archives for 99 newspapers over 240 months (1990–2009).

The author found that, after controlling for the unemployment rate, the change in unemployment rate, and the political preferences of surrounding metropolitan area, conservative newspapers report 17.4% more unemployment news when the President is a Democrat rather than a Republican, before the closure of a rival newspaper in the same media market. This effect is 12.8% for liberal newspapers. After the closure, these numbers are 3.5% and 1.1%, respectively. [Journal of Media Economics]

This article examines the extent to which advertising outside of an explicit campaign environment has the potential to benefit the electoral fortunes of incumbent politicians. We make use of a novel case of non-campaign advertising, that of North Carolina Secretary of Labor Cherie Berry (R-NC), who has initiated the practice of having her picture and name displayed prominently on official inspection placards inside all North Carolina elevators. We […] find that Berry outperformed other statewide Republican candidates in the 2012 North Carolina elections. Our findings suggest that candidates can use this form of advertising to indirectly improve their electoral fortunes. [American Politics Research]

Researchers Elizabeth L. Paluck and colleagues partnered with a TV network to insert certain themes (or messages) into popular dramas shown on US TV. They then looked to see whether these themes had an effect on real world behavior, ranging from Google searches to drink-driving arrests. The study was based on three prime time Spanish-language dramas (telenovelas) which have a viewership of around 1.2 million people per week. Telenovelas are a genre similar to English-language soap operas except shorter, most lasting about a year. Into these shows, eight messages were added, ranging from health and safety (benefits of low cholesterol, dangers of drink driving) to community building (register to vote, scholarships for Hispanic students.) […] So did it work? Not really. […] There was no evidence that messages about voter registration led to increases in the number of Hispanics actually registering. Nor did Google searches for terms related to the messages increase following each broadcast. [Neuroskeptic]

How Auction Houses Orchestrate Sales for Maximum Drama [NY Times]

Experts say fakes have become one of the most vexing problems in the art market. […] Two years ago, the center, known for its work in bioengineering, encryption and nanotechnology, set about developing a way to infuse paintings, sculptures and other artworks with complex molecules of DNA created in the lab. […] The new approach, in its formative stage, would implant synthetic DNA, not the personal DNA of the artists, because of privacy issues and because a person’s DNA could conceivably be stolen and embedded, thus undermining the authority of such a marking protocol. The developers said the bioengineered DNA would be unique to each item and provide an encrypted link between the art and a database that would hold the consensus of authoritative information about the work. The DNA details could be read by a scanner available to anyone in the art industry wanting to verify an object. [NY Times]

We estimate a real financial return to wine investment (net of storage costs) of 4.1%, which exceeds bonds, art, and stamps

Switzerland begins postal delivery by drone

Self-driving delivery robots to hit streets of London in 2016

Driverless Taxi Experiment to Start in Japan

Self-driving cars could reduce accidents by 90 percent, become greatest health achievement of the century

Why Self-Driving Cars Must Be Programmed to Kill

The inequality of who dies in car crashes

Experts have no confidence that we can protect next-gen streets and cars from hackers

How does a container port work? And why aren’t America’s shipping ports automated?

Liverpool Just Opened Fast-Walking Pedestrian Lanes

Adobe’s new algorithm can erase tourists from your photos in real time

Every person emits a unique blend of microbes into the air, and this “microbial cloud” is personalized enough that it could be used to identify people

What’s worse than a password? A fingerprint. + How to mimic a fingerprint

The mystery of the woman who reviewed 30,000 books on Amazon and The Most Prolific Editor on Wikipedia

Meet the Library of Babel: Every Possible Combination of Letters That has Been (or could be) Written

French city launches literary vending machines

Tokyo Bookstore Only Stocks One Title at a Time

What is becoming of Deleuze?

Shady dealings of William Shakespeare’s father helped to fund son’s plays

The earliest example of a decapitation, dating from approximately 9,100-9,400 years ago

Explore Manhattan When It Was Just Forests and Creeks With the 1609 Welikia Map

Huge crosses, formed by lighted windows above NYC skyline, Financial Dist., Easter display, 1956

There are approximately 900 actively working mail chutes in New York. As letters grew in size, clogging of the mail chutes became an increasing problem.

Why Are Sports Bras So Terrible? The science of and psychology behind bouncing breasts

We report here that the amount of heat gained by a Bedouin exposed to the hot desert is the same whether he wears a black or a white robe.

Imagine that you are imprisoned in a tunnel that opens out onto a precipice two paces to your left, and a pit of vipers two paces to your right. To torment you, your evil captor forces you to take a series of steps to the left and right. You need to devise a series that will allow you to avoid the hazards — if you take a step to the right, for example, you’ll want your second step to be to the left, to avoid falling off the cliff. You might try alternating right and left steps, but here’s the catch: You have to list your planned steps ahead of time, and your captor might have you take every second step on your list (starting at the second step), or every third step (starting at the third), or some other skip-counting sequence. Is there a list of steps that will keep you alive, no matter what sequence your captor chooses? In this brainteaser, devised by the mathematics popularizer James Grime, you can plan a list of 11 steps that protects you from death. But if you try to add a 12th step, you are doomed: Your captor will inevitably be able to find some skip-counting sequence that will plunge you over the cliff or into the viper pit. Around 1932, Erdős asked, in essence, what if the precipice and pit of vipers are three paces away instead of two? What if they are N paces away? Can you escape death for an infinite number of steps? The answer, Erdős conjectured, was no — no matter how far away the precipice and viper pit are, you can’t elude them forever. But for more than 80 years, mathematicians made no progress on proving Erdős’ discrepancy conjecture (so named because the distance from the center of the tunnel is known as the discrepancy). [Quanta]

Streaming music is officially a bigger business than physical music sales in the U.S. for the first time. If current trends continue, streaming will surpass digital download sales as the biggest single source of revenue for the music industry by next year.

China VCs Are Going Crazy for Girl Groups

Brian Eno’s Music For Airports played at San Diego International Airport, Terminal 2

The Popularity of Music Genres, 2005-present

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Scientists say they’ve found a way to slow ice cream’s melting

Criminal investigations often use photographic evidence to identify suspects. Here we combined robust face perception and high-resolution photography to mine face photographs for hidden information. By zooming in on high-resolution face photographs, we were able to recover images of unseen bystanders from reflections in the subjects’ eyes. To establish whether these bystanders could be identified from the reflection images, we presented them as stimuli in a face matching task (Experiment 1). Accuracy in the face matching task was well above chance (50%), despite the unpromising source of the stimuli. […] In a test of spontaneous recognition (Experiment 2), observers could reliably name a familiar face from an eye reflection image. For crimes in which the victims are photographed (e.g., hostage taking, child sex abuse), reflections in the eyes of the photographic subject could help to identify perpetrators. [PLOS]

Dr. Jack Berdy has just introduced “Pokertox,” a program of Botox and facial fillers designed to enhance a player’s “poker face,” their ability to hide any sign of facial emotion that might tip off other card players on whether they have a good or bad hand. [Huffington Post | Thanks Tim]

Forget body language or eye movements. There are much better ways to detect lies

People are not generally great at detecting deception, but new research shows that discussing with others makes a big difference.

Eyelashes divert airflow to protect the eye and the ideal eyelash length is about one third the width of an eye. And that goes for 22 different animals, not just humans

Passionate kissing is not a human universal

How to Flirt Best: The Perceived Effectiveness of Flirtation Techniques

The sex life of the American teenager is apparently far less busy than it was in generations past

More than eight out of 10 people surveyed online admitted to sexting in the prior year, according to new research

Ashley Madison created more than 70,000 female bots to send male users millions of fake messages

Meet a man who has been dating a crowdsourced Internet girlfriend for the last three months

We don’t look like we think we look, study

Researchers help identify neural basis of multitasking

How rudeness spreads like a contagion

Most acts of aggression by toddlers are unprovoked

Hospitality is always a matter of urgency, always a question of speeds. The unexpected guests arrive and there is always a rush of activity: a hurried welcoming at the door, a quick cleaning up, a surreptitious rearranging or putting back into order, a preparing of food and drink. But even when the guest is expected, has been expected for a long time, there is a sense of urgency. The guests arrive — always too early or too late, even if they are ‘on time.’ Coats are taken; tours are given of the immaculate, impossibly ordered home; drinks are served, food presented. For there to be a place for hospitality, for hospitality to take (the) place, the host must hurry. [Sean Gaston | via Austerity Kitchen/TNI]

There is a widespread consensus amongst psychologists that tyranny triumphs either because ordinary people blindly follow orders or else because they mindlessly conform to powerful roles. However, recent evidence concerning historical events challenges these views.

New research finds that sarcasm is far more nuanced, and actually offers some important, overlooked psychological and organizational benefits. “To create or decode sarcasm, both the expressers and recipients of sarcasm need to overcome the contradiction (i.e., psychological distance) between the literal and actual meanings of the sarcastic expressions. This is a process that activates and is facilitated by abstraction, which in turn promotes creative thinking” […] “Those in the sarcasm conditions subsequently performed better on creativity tasks than those in the sincere conditions or the control condition. This suggests that sarcasm has the potential to catalyze creativity in everyone. That being said, although not the focus of our research, it is possible that naturally creative people are also more likely to use sarcasm, making it an outcome instead of [a] cause in this relationship.” […] “While most previous research seems to suggest that sarcasm is detrimental to effective communication because it is perceived to be more contemptuous than sincerity, we found that, unlike sarcasm between parties who distrust each other, sarcasm between individuals who share a trusting relationship does not generate more contempt than sincerity.” [Harvard Gazette]

Effect of climate and seasonality on depressed mood among twitter users

Two options for dealing with climate change — reducing greenhouse gas emissions through a global agreement, and geoengineering proposals such as injecting sulfur into the stratosphere — tend to dominate current thinking. But there is a “third way” that is almost entirely neglected in political negotiations and public debate. It involves capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it or using it to create things we need. [NY Times]

“having few social connections is equivalent to tobacco use” Study shows that the quantity of social interactions a person has at 20—and the quality of social relationships that person has at age 30—can benefit her well-being later in life.

You see a man at the grocery store. Is that the fellow you went to college with or just a guy who looks like him? One tiny spot in the brain has the answer. Neuroscientists have identified the part of the hippocampus that creates and processes this type of memory, furthering our understanding of how the mind works, and what’s going wrong when it doesn’t. [Lunatic Laboratories]

Sleep not just protects memories against forgetting, it also makes them more accessible

a gene—called DEC2—associated with people who can get away with less than six hours of sleep without any adverse health effects

Why you should never make your bed

In this study, 100 percent of the participants remained HIV-free.

Why does “schizophrenia” persist?

We present a provisional list of 50 commonly used terms in psychology, psychiatry, and allied fields that should be avoided, or at most used sparingly and with explicit caveats.

Our analysis provides evidence that journals which publish papers with shorter titles receive more citations per paper

A mezuzah is a small case affixed to the doorframe of each room in Jewish homes and workplaces which contains a tiny scroll of parchment inscribed with a prayer. It is customary for religious Jews to touch the mezuzah every time they pass through a door and kiss the fingers that touched it. However, kissing the mezuzah has also become customary for many secular Jews who think of the mezuzah as a good luck charm. In view of a recent revelation that kissing the mezuzah entails a health hazard, the present paper inquires whether it also has some observable benefit. In an experiment conducted among non-religious mezuzah-kissing economics and business students confronted with a logic-problem exam, some were allowed to kiss the mezuzah before taking the exam, whereas the others were asked not to do so or could not do so because it had been removed from the room doorframe. The experiment revealed that participants who did not kiss the mezuzah performed worse than those who kissed it, and that the stronger is one’s belief in the mezuzah’s luck-enhancing properties, the better he performs when he kisses it but the worse he performs when he does not. [Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization]

One woman reported having 8 car accidents in one 150 mile journey. She was also unlucky in love. After joining a dating agency, her first date fell off his motorcycle and broke his leg. The second date walked into a glass door and broke his nose. Eventually she met her future husband and the church they were going to get married in burned down the day before the wedding. […] In total, 80 percent of people who attended Luck School said that their luck had increased. […] Lucky people just try stuff. [Barking Up The Wrong Tree]

“Despite the common belief that remembering our mistakes will help us make better decisions in the present,” says the study’s lead author, “we actually find that thinking about our failures at self-control leads us to repeat them and indulge in the present, so it’s not helpful at all.” [EurekAlert]

40% of the US population would not consider voting for an atheist presidential candidate, regardless of their policies

How Google Could Rig the 2016 Election [Thanks Tim]

Among our findings, 56% of students report changes in the strength of their religious convictions during college, while 45% report changes in religious service attendance frequency

For people who want improved health, association with other healthy people is usually the strongest and most direct path of change.

Women who exercised during their teen years were less likely to die from cancer and all other causes during middle-age and later in life

Scientists have discovered why running makes you happy

People’s “coming out” experiences are related to their psychological wellbeing years later

Fatherhood at young age linked to greater likelihood of mid-life death

We present participants with coherent and incoherent narratives. When presented to coherent narratives participants remember plots. When presented to incoherent narratives participants remember facts. Plot formation modulate activity in the Default Mode Network of the brain. [NeuroImage]

In daily life, we frequently encounter false claims in the form of consumer advertisements, political propaganda, and rumors. Repetition may be one way that insidious misconceptions, such as the belief that vitamin C prevents the common cold, enter our knowledge base. Research on the illusory truth effect demonstrates that repeated statements are easier to process, and subsequently perceived to be more truthful, than new statements. The prevailing assumption in the literature has been that knowledge constrains this effect (i.e., repeating the statement “The Atlantic Ocean is the largest ocean on Earth” will not make you believe it). We tested this assumption. […] Contrary to prior suppositions, illusory truth effects occurred even when participants knew better. […] Participants demonstrated knowledge neglect, or the failure to rely on stored knowledge, in the face of fluent processing experiences. [Journal of Experimental Psychology]

We meta-analyzed the effects of sexual media, violent media, sexual ads, and violent ads on the advertising outcomes of brand memory, brand attitudes, and buying intentions. The meta-analysis included 53 experiments involving 8,489 participants. Analyses found that brands advertised in violent media content were remembered less often, evaluated less favorably, and less likely to be purchased than brands advertised in nonviolent, nonsexual media. Brands advertised using sexual ads were evaluated less favorably than brands advertised using nonviolent, nonsexual ads. There were no significant effects of sexual media on memory or buying intentions. There were no significant effects of sexual or violent ads on memory or buying intentions. As intensity of sexual ad content increased, memory, attitudes, and buying intentions decreased. When media content and ad content were congruent (e.g., violent ad in a violent program), memory improved and buying intentions increased. Violence and sex never helped and often hurt ad effectiveness. [Psychological Bulletin/American Psychological Association | PDF]

Allegation that ad-serving companies deliberately slow down web pages to maximise profit

A new study from Duke University finds that adolescents ages 10 to 16 can be more analytical in their economic choices than many slightly older young adults. […] Scott Huettel, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke: “The new results point to the idea that we should not think of adolescents as being irrational. What’s different about them is they don’t use simple rules as effectively.” Such simple rules are the mental shortcuts people take in decision-making—often to their benefit—as they age and gain more experience. Most adults apply the “don’t drink and drive” rule, for example, to avoid getting in a car with someone who’s been drinking. In contrast, teens may more carefully weigh this decision. “Adolescents are going to be more likely to use cost-benefit analysis than the (simple rules) that adults use.” […] Other research has shown that adolescents aren’t necessarily more risk-seeking but that they are more sensitive to good outcomes compared with adults. [Science Beta]

MIT graduate skips shower for 12 years, uses bacterial spray to keep clean

The “hygiene hypothesis” […] suggests that people in developed countries are growing up way too clean because of a variety of trends, including the use of hand sanitizers and detergents, and spending too little time around animals. As a result, children don’t tend to be exposed to as many bacteria and other microorganisms, and maybe that deprives their immune system of the chance to be trained to recognize microbial friend from foe. That may make the immune system more likely to misfire and overreact in a way that leads to allergies, eczema and asthma, Hesselmar says. […] In their latest research, the researchers took a look at how people wash their dishes. […] In families who said they mostly wash dishes by hand, significantly fewer children had eczema, and somewhat fewer had either asthma or hay fever, compared to kids from families who let machines wash their dishes. [NPR]

Animals eject fluids for waste elimination, communication, and defense from predators. These diverse systems all rely on the fundamental principles of fluid mechanics, which we use to predict urination duration across a wide range of mammals. […] Using high-speed videography and flow-rate measurement obtained at Zoo Atlanta, we discover that all mammals above 3 kg in weight empty their bladders over nearly constant duration of 21 s. […] Smaller mammals are challenged during urination by high viscous and capillary forces that limit their urine to single drops. [PNAS]

An experiment was carried out in a French bar. A waitress briefly touched (or not) the forearm of a patron when asking him/her what he/she want to drink. Results show that touch increases tipping behavior although giving a tip to a waitress in a bar is unusual in France. The familiarity of tactile contact in France was used to explain our results. [International Journal of Hospitality Management]

London bar where you absorb equivalent of large drink through lungs and eyes in 40 minutes

Scientists have pinpointed a population of neurons in the brain that influences whether one drink leads to two

Intravenous garlic juice herpes treatment (Self-tested!)

Restaurant food not much healthier than fast food

Why Do So Many Hot New Restaurants Have Names That Sound the Same?

Evaluation of environmental impacts: The case of pasta

Seven-year study of adults in China matches regular consumption of spicy foods, such as chilli peppers, to 14% reduced risk of death

Mediterranean Diet Plus Olive Oil Associated with Reduced Breast Cancer Risk

Fat should be considered the sixth taste, study

There’s been a ton of news recently about how awesome coffee can be for many aspects of your health – heart disease, longevity, depression, Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s.  The scientific data has been so strong that the nation’s top nutrition panel recommended earlier this year that people might even want to consider drinking a bit more. Now comes a sobering report. In a study evaluating 1,445 people, scientists found that consistently drinking one to two cups of coffee each day is associated with a significant reduction in the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) — a precursor to dementia and Alzheimer’s — compared to those who never or rarely consumed coffee. That supports previous work, published in 2010, that showed that caffeine may have a neuroprotective effect. The surprise was that participants who increased their consumption over time saw their risk of mild cognitive impairment shoot up significantly. Those who went from one cup to more than one cup had twice the rate of MCI as those who reduced their drinking to less than one cup and 1.5 times the rate of MCI as those who continued to drink one cup a day. [Washington Post]

Queuing on the basis of last-come-first-served may sometimes be more efficient

What’s the best length for online news videos? People liked longer videos better than shorter ones. Long videos averaged 2.08 minutes in duration. Short videos averaged 24 seconds.

Between 1999 and 2009, the French Full Scale IQ declined by 3.8 points. Results are inline with 7 studies showing a Negative Flynn Effect in Europe.

Around 1930, the director of an evening newspaper had hired Georges Simenon as an advertising attraction. He’d had a cage constructed in the hall of his newspaper where Simenon, under eyes of the public, was to write a serial, non-stop. But on the eve of the big day, the newspaper went bankrupt. Simenon wrote the book in his room. [Paris Match] In 1927 the publisher of Paris-Soir proposed to place Simenon in a glass cage, where he would spend three days and three nights writing a novel in public. [NY Times]

State-of-the-art forensic technology from South Africa has been used to try and unravel the mystery of what was smoked in tobacco pipes found in the Stratford-upon-Avon garden of William Shakespeare. Residue from clay tobacco pipes more than 400 years old from the playwright’s garden were analysed. […] Results of this study (including 24 pipe fragments) indicated cannabis in eight samples, nicotine in at least one sample, and in two samples definite evidence for Peruvian cocaine from coca leaves. [The Independent]

Artificial-intelligence researchers have long struggled to make computers perform a task that is simple for humans: picking out one person’s speech when multiple people nearby are talking simultaneously. It is called the ‘cocktail-party problem’. Typical approaches to solving it have either involved systems with multiple microphones, which distinguish speakers based on their position in a room, or complex artificial-intelligence algorithms that try to separate different voices on a recording. But the latest invention is a simple 3D-printed device that can pinpoint the origin of a sound without the need for any sophisticated electronics. [Nature]

Thousands of Apps Secretly Run Ads That Users Can’t See Advertisers lose $895 million per year to invisible fraud within mobile apps

Researchers perfect technique that profiles people based on unique keystroke traits.

Finnish schools phase out handwriting classes, in favour of keyboard skills

More data has been created and stored since the turn of the millennium than in the entire history of humanity

Archillect’s curation process works like a simple neural network [archillect.com] [Thanks Tim]

A password cracker that steals bitcoins from your brain

Electrical engineers demonstrated a new wireless communication technique that works by sending magnetic signals through the human body

How to Charge $1,000 for Absolutely Nothing

By definition, exponential growth means the thing that comes next will be equal in importance to everything that came before. […] this exponential growth has given us terrible habits. One of them is to discount the present. [Idle Worlds]

Uber’s Phantom Cabs

Google to Start Testing Grocery Deliveries This Year

CrossFit mascot is a homicidal-looking shirtless monstrosity called Pukie the Clown. Thirty days in a gay CrossFit cult

Each house owns at least one black Indian cobra. None of the serpents are defanged but children play with them as if they were toys.

Here’s a mystery: below 8,400 meters there are no fish. At 8,370 meters? There are fish.

Mysterious, blood-sucking fish fall from the Alaskan sky

Dogs can infer the name of an object and have been shown to learn the names of over 1,000 objects. Dogs can follow the human pointing gesture; even nine week old puppies can follow a basic human pointing gesture without being taught. New Guinea Singing dogs, a half-wild proto-dog endemic to the remote alpine regions of New Guinea, as well as Dingoes in the remote outback of Australia are also capable of this. These examples demonstrate an ability to read human gestures that arose early in domestication and did not require human selection. “Humans did not develop dogs, we only fine-tuned them down the road.” Similar to the chimpanzee, Bonobos are a close genetic cousin to humans. Unlike the chimpanzee, bonobos are not aggressive and do not participate in lethal intergroup aggression or kill within their own group. The most distinctive features of a bonobo are its cranium, which is 15% smaller than a chimpanzee’s, and its less aggressive and more playful behavior. Dogs mirror these differences relative to wild wolves: a dog’s cranium is 15% smaller than an equally heavy wolf’s, and the dog is less aggressive and more playful. The guinea pig’s cranium is 13% smaller than its wild cousin the cavie and domestic fowl show a similar reduction to their wild cousins. Possession of a smaller cranium for holding a smaller brain is a telltale sign of domestication. Bonobos appear to have domesticated themselves. In the “farm fox” experiment, humans selectively bred foxes against aggression which caused a domestication syndrome. The foxes were not selectively bred for smaller craniums and teeth, floppy ears, or skills at using human gestures but these traits were demonstrated in the friendly foxes. Natural selection favors those that are the most successful at reproducing, not the most aggressive. Selection against aggression made possible the ability to cooperate and communicate among foxes, dogs and bonobos. Perhaps it did the same thing for humans. [Wikipedia]

Useless Press has obtained a dataset of ten years worth of official reports about decapitated animals discovered in New York City public parks

Four Centuries of Development Surprises on a Single Stretch of a New York City Street [PDF]

Largest of the Five Mass Extinctions Caused By Microbes

Panspermia is a process where life is somehow transplanted from planet to planet.

You can now listen to NASA Voyager’s ‘Golden Record’, intended for aliens & future humans

Distillery that sent unmatured malt whisky into space to study the effect of near-zero gravity on flavour has described its findings as “groundbreaking”

How to get rid of a satellite after its retirement

Meet the Man Who Flies Around the World for Free

Angola was the most difficult of all the countries I visited. Man who traveled to every country on earth explains the most difficult places to visit

Why Britain has secret “ghost trains”?

A night in Japan’s robot hotel

Robot applyed for Screen Actors Guild card. Acceptance into SAG would give the robot health insurance and a pension.

A golden sex toy that contains your partner’s ashes

Rotterdam could be first to pave its streets with recycled plastic bottles, a surface claimed to be greener, quicker to lay and more reliable than asphalt

How Far Can the Human Eye See a Candle Flame?

3D Printed Guided Missiles are Now a Reality

Police in North Dakota can now use drones armed with tasers

After London’s 2011 riots, the superrecognizers combed through thousands of hours of footage; Collins alone identified an incredible 190 faces among the rioters. Today, Neville heads London’s central forensic image team, which has tested thousands of police officers and identified 152 super-recognizers. These face-spotting stars normally work in their local stations, building up a mental library of the area’s criminals, and periodically attach to New Scotland Yard to solve crimes. [National Geographic]

“Asking drug dealers to turn in other drug dealers,” Sheriff Melton said. “It’s comical, and it’s working.” [NY Times]

TYOP (tell you on phone), TOL (talk offline) and LDL (let’s discuss live) are red flags for prosecutors combing through the e-mail transcripts of Wall Street traders suspected of illegal activity

The Effect of Country Music on Suicide [PDF]

Inside the Fondazione Prada

Mount Rushmore before carving

Russia’s lost punks [via Nils Runeberg]

Xiao makes a living by imitating US president Barack Obama

A portable toilet with a woman inside was accidentally carried across a festival site by a forklift truck.

Homeopathy conference ends in chaos after delegates take hallucinogenic drug

RIP Jamiroquai [Thanks Tim]

Pirate

The US Navy is working on AI that can predict a pirate attack

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