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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

Casualty-free casual fighting for free

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Triple-Decker Weekly, 132

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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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Triple-Decker Weekly, 131

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Catalogue of entrances to Hell in and around the UK

After the near‐collapse of the world’s financial system has shown that we economists really do not know how the world works, I am much too embarrassed to teach economics anymore, which I have done for many years. I will teach Modern Korean Drama instead. Although I have never been to Korea, I have watched Korean drama on a daily basis for over six years now. Therefore I can justly consider myself an expert in that subject. [Uwe E. Reinhardt, Princeton University | PDF]

New research shows that, for most of us, the last experience we’ve had can be the defining one when it comes to taking a decision, coming at the expense of other experiences we’ve accumulated further back in time [ScienceBlog]

Study finds people — even teenagers — unconsciously follow advice from their elders

Google’s Artificial Intelligence Is Learning How To Count Calories In Instagram Photos

Ad tech companies are knowingly selling “garbage” data to customers who are being blinded by the apparent need to load themselves with an endless supply of customer information

An experimental algorithm out of Facebook’s artificial intelligence lab can recognise people in photographs even when it can’t see their faces […] with 83 per cent accuracy. [NewScientist]

California-based company Face First is rolling out a system for retailers that it says will “boost sales by recognising high-value customers each time they shop” and send “alerts when known litigious individuals enter any of your locations.” […] “You walk into a car dealership and the salesman knows your name and how much you make.” Another company, called Churchix is marketing facial recognition systems for churches. Once the faces of a church’s membership have been added to a database, the system tracks their attendance automatically. It also claims to be able to discern demographic data about the entire congregation, including age and gender. [NewScientist]

The Police Are Scanning the Faces of Every Single Person at Download Festival

Customer suspects annoyed waiter spat in soda; police use DNA to prove it

I was laying on a towel in a parking spot in Soho  — I put money in the meter so it was mine to do whatever I wanted with — and was tanning in a used Versace speedo that I bought on eBay, and got spotted. It all happened so fast, it was truly a blessing. […] I knew that having a mediocre body would one day become the new having a great body, and that time has finally arrived. Those lines you get when you’re super fit that point toward your genitals are way out, having a body like Shrek is way in. [The Fat Jew/Hollywood Reporter]

There is no question that biases exist in self-perceptions of personality. To what extent do people have insight into their positive and negative self-biases? In two samples (total N = 130), people with positive biases (i.e., self-perceptions that are more positive than a reputation-based criterion measure) accurately described themselves as positively biased, and people with negative biases accurately described themselves as negatively biased. Furthermore, people were able to distinguish which traits they were more or less biased about. These findings suggest that people may know more about themselves than they initially admit. [Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin]

In a patent dispute between two pharmaceutical giants arguing over who owns the royalty rights to a lucrative wound-dressing solution, […] three judges coined a new legal definition of “one”. […] The ConvaTec patent covered any salt solution “between 1 per cent and 25 per cent of the total volume of treatment”. However, Smith & Nephew devised a competing product that used 0.77 per cent concentration, bypassing, or so it believed, the ConvaTec patent. […] Their lordships concluded that “one” includes anything greater or equal to 0.5 and less than 1.5  – much to the chagrin of Smith & Nephew. [The Independent]

The method to achieving what seemed like a superhuman feat was called the Dymaxion sleeping schedule: four naps of 30 minutes taken every six hours. […] Problems began after 36 hours. I was finding it hard staying awake at night. […] I changed to an easier sleep schedule: the Everyman, where I slept for 3.5 hours at night and took three 20-minute naps in the day. […] After three weeks and a few more obstacles, I finally settled into the new schedule. [Quartz]

Why you should answer all your emails at 3PM (The ideal work schedule, as determined by circadian rhythms)

Seven or more hours of sleep per night: A health necessity for adults

In the course of several studies, 22 male and female subjects, ranging in age from 5–75 years, have been stimulated while asleep by simulated sonic booms […] and subsonic jet flyover noise. […] Children (5–8 years of age) are uniformly unaffected by noise during sleep; older subjects are more sensitive to noise than younger subjects; women are more sensitive to noise during sleep than are men. [Journal of Sound and Vibration]

Previous studies reveal relationships between birth month and several diseases including atherothrombosis, asthma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and myopia, leaving most diseases completely unexplored. […] We found 55 diseases that were significantly dependent on birth month. […] Seasonally dependent early developmental mechanisms may play a role in increasing lifetime risk of disease. […] Looking at all 10 (9 novel) cardiovascular conditions revealed that individuals born in the autumn (September–December) were protected against cardiovascular conditions while those born in the winter (January–March) and spring (April–June) were associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk (Figure 5). Interestingly, one study found that people born in the autumn (October–December) lived longer than those born in the spring (April–June). [Oxford University Press]

In 1908, an asteroid measuring perhaps 90-190 meters across struck Siberia, damaging over 2,000 square kilometers of Russian forest – an area that measures larger than New York’s five boroughs. Scientists estimate that the energy of that explosion was about 1,000 times that of the atomic bomb the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. This is far from the only close call that humans have had with asteroids. In 2004, an asteroid big enough to have its own small moon narrowly missed the planet. In 2013, an asteroid struck the Russia countryside with many times the force of the Hiroshima bomb, and was widely captured on video. And of course, it was an asteroid, smashing into the Earth with the force of more than billion Hiroshima bombs, which nixed the dinosaurs and allowed humans to take over the Earth in the first place. [More: The event appears to have hit all continents at the same time | Many hypotheses have been put forward to explain these extinctions] […] The probability that you’ll die from an asteroid may be surprisingly large — about the same probability as dying from a plane crash, according to research. [Washington Post]

How Dinosaurs Shrank and Became Birds

Einstein wondered what would happen if the Sun were to suddenly explode. Since the Sun is so far away that it takes light eight minutes to travel to Earth, we wouldn’t know about the explosion straight away. For eight glorious minutes we’d be completely oblivious to the terrible thing that was about to happen. But what about gravity? The Earth moves in an ellipse around the Sun, due to the Sun’s gravity. If the Sun wasn’t there, it would move off in a straight line. Einstein’s puzzle was when that would happen: straight away, or after eight minutes? According to Newton’s theory, the Earth should know immediately that the Sun had disappeared. But Einstein said that couldn’t be right. Because, according to him, nothing can travel faster than the speed of light — not even the effects of gravity. […] Before Einstein people thought of space as stage on which the laws of physics play out. We could throw in some stars or some planets and they would move around on this stage. Einstein realised that space isn’t as passive as that. It is dynamic and it responds to what’s happening within it. If you put something heavy in space — let’s say a planet like Earth — then space around it gives a little. The presence of the planet causes a small dent in space (and in fact, in time as well). When something else moves close to the planet — say the Moon — it feels this dent in space and rolls around the planet like a marble rolling in a bowl. This is what we call gravity. […] Stars and planets move, causing space to bend in their wake, causing other stars and planets to move, causing space to bend in their wake. And so on. This is Einstein’s great insight. Gravity is the manifestation of the curvature of space and time. [Plus Magazine | Part One | Part Two]

Man who owned house that was slated for demolition is accused of changing the address numbers with the house next door.

Scientists have discovered that living near trees is good for your health Related: Green and blue spaces promoted feelings of renewal, restoration, and spiritual connectedness

Smile at a party and people are more likely to remember seeing your face there

Secrets of catching attention revealed. 1,072 ‘context words’ disclosed.

Facial Features: What Women Perceive as Attractive and What Men Consider Attractive

Cross-cultural study finds wide gap in what men and women want in a romantic partner

Research has shown that humans consciously use alcohol to encourage sexual activity. […] In the current study, we examined if males exposed without their knowledge to pheromones emitted by fertile females would increase their alcohol consumption, presumably via neurobehavioral information pathways that link alcohol to sex and mating. We found that men who smelled a T-shirt worn by a fertile female drank significantly more (nonalcoholic) beer, and exhibited significantly greater approach behavior toward female cues, than those who smelled a T-shirt worn by a nonfertile female. [Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology]

[B]oth men and women show roughly the same neural activity during orgasm. […] “What we see is an overall activation of the brain; basically it’s like all systems go.” This may explain why orgasms are so all-consuming – if the whole forest is blazing, it’s difficult to discriminate between the different campfires that were there at the start. “At orgasm, if everything gets activated simultaneously, this can obliterate the fine discrimination between activities,” Komisaruk adds. It is maybe why you can’t think about anything else. […] The penis has just one route for carrying sensations to the brain, the female genital tract has three or four. […] After orgasm, however, some important differences do emerge, which might begin to explain why men and women react so differently after climax. Komisaruk, with Kachina Allen, has found preliminary evidence that specific regions of the male brain become unresponsive to further sensory stimulation of the genitals in the immediate aftermath of orgasm, whereas women’s brains continue to be activated: this may be why some women experience multiple orgasms, and men do not. [BBC]

Interacting with women can impair men’s cognitive functioning

43% of married people don’t know how much money their spouse makes

Expert philosophers are just as irrational as the rest of us

Group discussion improves lie detection

Research does show that if you increase people’s time awareness—by placing a big clock in front of them, for example—they do more stuff

When Do People Prefer Carrots to Sticks? A Robust ‘Matching Effect’ in Policy Evaluation

Differences in Breast Shape Preferences between Plastic Surgeons and Patients Seeking Breast Augmentation

Since 2009, progress has been made in devising techniques for determining ideal male nipple positions

Healthy people who were given the serotonin-boosting antidepressant citalopram were willing to pay twice as much to prevent harm to themselves or others, compared to those given a placebo. By contrast, those who were given a dose of the dopamine-enhancing Parkinson’s drug levodopa made more selfish decisions, overcoming an existing tendency to prefer harming themselves over others. [IB Times]

Most humans perceive a given odor similarly. But the genes for the molecular machinery that humans use to detect scents are about 30 percent different in any two people, says neuroscientist Noam Sobel. […] This variation means that nearly every person’s sense of smell is subtly different. [….] Sobel and his colleagues designed a sensitive scent test they call the “olfactory fingerprint.” […] People with similar olfactory fingerprints showed similarity in their genes for immune system proteins linked to body odor and mate choice. […] It has been shown that people can use smell to detect their genetic similarity to others and avoid inbreeding, says neuroscientist Joel Mainland of Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.  [Science News]

Are We Seeing the End of Homeopathy?

Text messaging during surgery provides analgesic-sparing benefits that surpass distraction techniques

The hack is simple: if you are an average adult, a cup of coffee every 48 hours will do the trick.

Coffee neither increases nor decreases the risk of developing lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes, new research

The world’s most expensive coffee is made from beans eaten by Thai elephants and plucked a day later from their dung

Substance abuse reduces brain volume in women but not men

The brain shrinks over the course of the day, ending up smaller in the evening – before returning to its full size the next morning.

Scientists build artificial neurons able to communicate with organic neurons

Brain connections last as long as the memories they store, Stanford neuroscientist finds

Female psychopaths process moral judgements differently than male psychopaths

Stanford neuroscience research identifies more effective way to teach abstract math concepts to children

Links found between blood type and risk of cognitive decline

What It’s Like to Be Profoundly Face-Blind

Dutch people are the tallest on Earth. Their height could be the result of natural selection favoring a towering stature, study suggests.

New method reveals exact time of death after 10 days

Key element of human language discovered in bird babble

Of all the species that occasionally make a break for it, flamingos seem to have the most success. And: The inside of a flamingo’s egg is pink. And so is the milk parents feed their chicks.

Scientists showed domestic dogs avoid people they have seen behave unhelpfully to their owners

Cognitive capacities for cooking in chimpanzees

Horses communicate amongst each other with eye and ear twitches

Swimming under the surface is faster than swimming on the surface. And the fish kick may be the fastest subsurface form yet.

Where does water go when it doesn’t flow?

Why do puddles stop spreading?

Global sea levels have risen six meters in the last three decades

If sea levels rise as feared, some of the world’s island nations may disappear this century. Does that mean they no longer exist as countries?

Is your fear of radiation irrational?

If you want your statues clean, you just need to make them of bronze laced with arsenic

How Do We Remember Colors?

These are the sounds left behind when you compress a song to MP3 + How Well Can You Hear Audio Quality?

This Is How Uber Takes Over a City

Taking control remotely of modern cars has become distressingly easy for hackers

Braille tablet using a new liquid-based technology create tactile relief outputting braille, graphics and maps for the blind

How Ads Follow You from Phone to Desktop to Tablet

Chinese Zoo Animals Monitored For Earthquake Prediction

New York Wants Google Maps to Discourage Left Turns

Left Turns Cause A Quarter Of All Pedestrian Crashes In U.S.

Soft robot tentacle can lasso an ant without harming it

Algorithm Chooses the Most Creative Paintings in History

Jaw power (new patent)

Do observers like curvature or do they dislike angularity? [PDF]

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

Some Aspects of Adaptation to Failure

The authors find no evidence of predictive ability from candlestick patterns alone, or in combination with other common technical indicators, like momentum.

Sharks living in a volcano

How to Sue Richard Prince and Win

Man sues Chinese actress over her intense stare in TV show

Is it possible to gauge how wealthy a New Yorker might be just by the way they pronounce their /r/ s? And: The Social Stratification of (r) in New York City Department Stores [PDF]

More New Yorkers are surviving being run over by 100-ton subway trains, statistics show

Population density in NYC at day and night

The best bonfires are roughly as tall as they are wide

How to steal an election

It is forbidden to die in the Arctic town of Longyearbyen

Donald Trump butt plug

Interactive Mirror Built from 450 Rotating Penguins by Daniel Rozin

Canadian lifted into sky in lawn chair by 100+ balloons, arrested upon landing

For years the sign has caused passengers on planes to freak out about going to the wrong place. [Thanks Tim]

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