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Shines Like Gold
By imp kerr
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Triple-Decker Weekly, 45

Wrangler Debuts Moisturizing Jeans (infused with hydrating oils and butters).

People who identify as strong multitaskers tend to be impulsive, sensation-seeking and overconfident in their ability to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously. In fact, note the researchers in the latest issue of PLOS, the people who multitask the most are often the least capable of doing so effectively. […] “The people who are most likely to multitask harbor the illusion they are better than average at it,” says Strayer, “when in fact they are no better than average and often worse.” [io9]

Dishonest behavior seems pervasive. For example, the estimated total damage to the American clothing industry from wardrobing—the habit of returning purchased clothes after wearing, amounts to $16 billion annually, and the damage to US companies from employee theft and fraud reaches an estimate of $994 billion a year. On an individual level, research on lying has found that people lie in some 30% of their daily interactions. In stark contrast to these findings, most people, including those who engage in the above practices, maintain a positive moral self-concept. If being moral is so highly valued in society, why then is unethical behavior so pervasive? And what determines its extent? In this paper, we propose that the individual’s perspective is an important factor that affects moral behavior and determines its extent. We use the term perspective to indicate the size of the window through which individuals perceive and evaluate their choices. [Judgment and Decision Making]

Let’s cut the crap. Life is short, you have less time than you think, and there are no baby unicorns coming to save you. So rather than doling out craptastic advice to you about Making!! It!! To!! The!! Top!!™, let me humbly ask: do you want to have a year that matters — or do you want to spend another year starring-slash-wallowing in the lowest-common-denominator reality show-slash-whiny soap opera of your own inescapable mediocrity-slash-self-imposed tragedy? […] Do you want this to be another year that flies by, half-hearted, arid, rootless, barely remembered, dull with dim glimpses of what might have been? Or do you want this to be a year that you savor, for the rest of your surprisingly short time on Planet Earth, as the year you started, finally, irreversibly, uncompromisingly, to explosively unfurl a life that felt fully worth living? [Umair Haque/Harvard Business Review | Thanks Tim]

Problem #1: Inability to Focus […] Problem #2: Stress […] The Solution: Refreshing your brain is easier than you think. Here’s the first and only step: Do nothing. […] 10 minutes each day to quiet your mind. Practice observing thoughts and anxieties without passing judgment–simply experience them. [Inc.]

The Behaviors that Destroy Your Financial Health (and How to Avoid Them).

Jessica, a 42-year-old forensic scientist, is typical of the lucky group. As she explained: “I have my dream job, two wonderful children and a great guy whom I love very much. It’s amazing; when I look back at my life, I realise I have been lucky in just about every area.” In contrast, Carolyn, a 34-year-old care assistant, is typical of the unlucky group. She is accident-prone. In one week, she twisted her ankle in a pothole, injured her back in another fall and reversed her car into a tree during a driving lesson. She was also unlucky in love and felt she was always in the wrong place at the wrong time. Over the years, I interviewed these volunteers, asked them to complete diaries, questionnaires and intelligence tests, and invited them to participate in experiments. The findings have revealed that although unlucky people have almost no insight into the real causes of their good and bad luck, their thoughts and behaviour are responsible for much of their fortune. […] Personality tests revealed that unlucky people are generally much more tense than lucky people, and research has shown that anxiety disrupts people’s ability to notice the unexpected. [Richard Wiseman/Telegraph]

For two decades, psychologists studying ovulation have successfully employed a series of “T-shirt studies” supporting the hypothesis that men can detect when a woman is most fertile based on olfactory detection of ovulatory cues. However, it is not known whether the ability to detect female fertility is primarily a function of biological sex, sexual orientation, or a combination of both. Using methodologies from previous T-shirt studies, we asked women not using hormonal contraceptives to wear a T-shirt for three consecutive nights during their follicular (ovulatory) and luteal (non-ovulatory) phases. Male and female participants of differing sexual orientations then rated the T-shirts based on intensity, pleasantness, and sexiness. Heterosexual males were the only group to rate the follicular T-shirts as more pleasant and sexy than the luteal T-shirts. Near-significant trends also indicated that heterosexual men and non-heterosexual women consistently ranked the T-shirts, regardless of menstrual stage, to be more intense, pleasant, and sexy than did non-heterosexual men and heterosexual women. [Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology | PDF]

Stairway climbing provides a ubiquitous and inconspicuous method of burning calories. While typically two strategies are employed for climbing stairs, climbing one stair step per stride or two steps per stride, research to date has not clarified if there are any differences in energy expenditure between them. Fourteen participants took part in two stair climbing trials. […] Two step climbing invokes a higher rate of energy expenditure; however, one step climbing is energetically more expensive in total over the entirety of a stairway. Therefore to expend the maximum number of calories when climbing a set of stairs the single-step strategy is better. [PLOS ONE]

Research has shown that a number of factors, including body symmetry, perceived strength, vigour, skilfulness, and agility of movements, as well as increased variability and amplitude of the neck and trunk, can affect the attractiveness of dance moves. Perceived femininity/masculinity of body movement likely also plays a role. Here, we compare comprehensive ratings of both male and female dancers’ opposite- sex attractiveness, including ratings of femininity/masculinity, with computationally-extracted movement features. Sixty-two heterosexual adult participants watched 48 short audio-visual point-light animations of eight male and eight female adults dancing individually to Techno, Pop, and Latin music. Participants rated perceived Femininity/Masculinity (as appropriate), Sensuality, Sexiness, Mood, and Interestingness of each dancer. Seven kinematic and kinetic features – Downforce, Hip wiggle, Shoulder vs. hip angle, Hip-knee phase, Shoulder-hip ratio, Hip-body ratio, and Body symmetry – were computationally extract- ed from the stimuli. A series of correlations revealed that, for men watching women, Hip-knee phase angle was positively related to Interestingness and Mood, and that Hip-body ratio was positively related to Sensuality. For women watching men, Downforce was positively related to Sensuality. Our results highlight some interesting similarities and differences between male and female perceptions of attractiveness of opposite sex dancers. [University of Jyväskylä | PDF]

Study authors found that approximately 44% of emerging adults who had been in a romantic relationship in the past two years had experienced at least one reconciliation with an ex romantic partner and 53% of those who reported reconciliations also reported having sex with their ex. Additionally, racial minorities in particular were even more likely to experience reconciliation or sexual relationships with previous romantic partners. [EurekAlert]

Research comparing regions in China with varied sex ratios has demonstrated that when available female partners are relatively more abundant, men are less likely to engage commercial sex workers, although they are likely to engage in more and more frequent sexual encounters outside of marriage; avoiding partnering that includes an explicit financial cost constitutes greater selectivity. Other research indicates that when available female partners are relatively scarce, men are more likely to marry young, presumably motivated to secure an available partner against relatively less certain future mating opportunities; men are less likely to avoid partners who insist on marriage, indicating relatively lower selectivity. This also results in women marrying younger in populations characterized by sex ratios that skew male. […] The present study seeks to extend experimental exploration of the impact of sex ratios in two ways: first, it examines the impact on men, and second, it examines the effects of sex ratios in media narratives rather than either real populations or still images. [Evolutionary Psychology | PDF]

Darwinian literary analysis is a way to examine texts and arrive at conclusions about evolved human behaviors, motivations, and emotions. That is, by analyzing texts, it is possible to indirectly analyze human nature. Recently, scholars have examined the works of Jane Austen, Harlequin romance novels, and folktales for this purpose. Although this prior work has been informative, it has only included heterosexual relationships. Symons noted that lesbian and gay populations are a vital group to gain insight into evolutionary sex differences, as their relationships involve only same sex individuals, thus highlighting dominant female and male mating behaviors. Therefore, in this paper, our primary goal is to analyze lesbian pulp fiction to better comprehend women’s evolved mating strategies. We also consider the era that these books were most popular and explore the cultural climate in relation to the characters in the novels. In general, the way the characters are described and their relationship dynamics are consistent gender stereotypes concerning masculine versus feminine women. [Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology | PDF]

Do women really like taken men? [PDF]

Tendencies to fall asleep first after sex are associated with greater partner desires for bonding and affection. [PDF]

The effects of facial symmetry and sexually-dimorphic facial proportions on assessments of sexual orientation. [PDF]

New study reveals sex to be pleasurable with or without use of a condom or lubricant.

Preferences for condom placement in stores among young Dutch men and women: relationships with embarrassment and motives for having sex.

Jealousy is commonly known as a negative emotional reaction experienced when a relationship that is important to an individual is threatened by a rival. Perhaps then it is not surprising that jealousy can be viewed as a negative emotion that will only harm relationships. It is viewed as harmful to relationships due to its ability to evoke negative emotions such as anger, fear, and sadness. In addition, the onset of jealousy can occur for many different reasons that are associated with loss of affection, rejection, suspiciousness, insecurity, and anxiety. But, while jealousy can harm relationships, it can also help relationships. Daly, Wilson, and Weghorst report that human males evolved defenses such as jealousy to protect them against wasting their efforts on children they had not sired. For a woman, jealousy provided a way to ensure that her male partner is investing resources in raising her offspring rather than squandering his resources on other women. Jealousy also evolved to protect love from the threat of loss and the threat of loss to a rival. So, while jealousy can lead to negative emotions, when it is properly used, it can also enhance relationships and provide mating benefits and enhance survival, i.e., it is an adaptive emotion. [Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology | PDF]

Georgia man sues after state refuses to approve ‘GAYGUY’ license plate.

NYPD “Takes Delivery” Of Portable Body Scanners To Detect Concealed Weapons On The Street.

Naked Florida Man Jumps Off Roof Onto Homeowner, Knocks Television Over, Empties Vacuum Cleaner, Masturbates.

Lawmakers in Ireland Vote to Allow ‘Moderate’ Drunk-Driving.

A paper by Glaeser and Sacerdote (2003) examined whether victim characteristics (like age and gender) were predictive of sentencing lengths for various crimes. […] When the victim was a man, if the killer was also a man, he would get about 18 years, on average; if the killer was a woman, that number drops to 11.3. For comparison’s sake, when the victim was a woman and the killer a woman, she would get about 17.5 years; if the killer was a man, that average was 23.1 years. [Pop Psychology]

Hegemonic Masculinity and Mass Murderers in the United States [PDF]

Scientists have struggled to understand the correlation between cold weather and the flu. […] The researchers found the virus survived best at humidity below 50%, similar to the conditions found indoors in “a really heated building,” says Dr. Marr. […] “It’s also fine in humidities above 98%, which you find in the rainy season in the tropics,” she says, where the conditions outside resemble the environment the virus finds in the body. “But in between, in a humidity of 50% to 98%, the virus doesn’t survive very well.” The presence of influenza is quite rare in the spring, summer and fall, when people don’t use indoor heating as much and the humidity tends to be in the comfortable 50%-to-70% range. […] A humidifier might be the best product to keep the flu at bay, Dr. Marr says. “If you can humidify to about 50%, but not above 60% [which can cause mold], you might reduce your chances of getting the flu,” she says. [WSJ]

Robots Coming To U.S. Hospitals (approved by the FDA).

Robotic machine can produce six hamburgers a minute. [Thanks Tim]

Robots will offer such significant cost benefits over time that companies not heavily invested in robotics may find themselves at a huge competitive disadvantage.

Lying becomes automatic with practice.

Can you fake your personality in a photo?

In general, research suggests that expressing anger is helpful during a negotiation because it signals dominance and toughness. What happens when anger is not authentic?

Stress-related psychiatric disorders, such as unipolar depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, occur more frequently in women than in men. Emerging research suggests that sex differences in receptors for the stress hormones, corticotropin releasing factor and glucocorticoids, contribute to this disparity. [PDF]

Men Are More Likely to Commit Scientific Fraud.

Big data could soon be stored in a very small package: DNA. A team of scientists has demonstrated that storing information in synthetic DNA could represent a feasible approach to managing data in the long term, bumping aside the magnetic tape favored by archivists today.

Bad grammar makes good password, research say.

Actual Facebook Graph Searches

Tumblr now rivals Facebook and Twitter in reach and influence, but it represents everything wrong with the online echo chamber.

Analysts and observers who are content with cliches characterize Facebook as sitting on a treasure trove of potentially valuable data about its users, which is true enough. The cliched view is that what’s valuable about that data is names associated with locations associated with jobs associated with social networks, in a very granular way. That’s not it. That data can be mined easily from a variety of sources and has been mined relentlessly for years, before social media was even an idea. If an advertiser or company or candidate wants to find “professors who live in the 19081 area code who vote Democratic and shop at Trader Joe’s in Media” they can buy that information from many vendors. If that were all Facebook was holding, it wouldn’t have any distinctive wares, even imagined, to hock. All it could do is offer them at a bargain rate. […] Social media that have no business model except trying to monetize the information that users provide to them will, sooner or later, be required to breach trust and demolish whatever is useful in their service, to come back again and again with new interfaces and terms of service that lie or conceal or divert. [Timothy Burke]

Reviews on Amazon are becoming attack weapons, intended to sink new books as soon as they are published. In the biggest, most overt and most successful of these campaigns, a group of Michael Jackson fans used Facebook and Twitter to solicit negative reviews of a new biography of the singer. They bombarded Amazon with dozens of one-star takedowns, succeeded in getting several favorable notices erased and even took credit for Amazon’s briefly removing the book from sale. “Books used to die by being ignored, but now they can be killed — and perhaps unjustly killed,” said Trevor Pinch, a Cornell sociologist who has studied Amazon reviews. “In theory, a very good book could be killed by a group of people for malicious reasons.” [NY Times]

Do you feel that the world is, on balance, improved by technology? Well, if you ask that question from the point of view of almost anything in this world that’s not a human being like you and me, the answer’s almost certainly No. You might get a few Yea votes from the likes of albino rabbits and gene-spliced tobacco plants. Ask any living thing that’s been around in the world since before the Greeks made up the word “technology,” like say a bristlecone pine or a coral reef. You would hear an awful tale of woe. […] The number one trend in the world, the biggest, the most important trend, is climate change. People hate watching it; they either flinch in guilty fear or shudder away in denial, but it makes a deeper, more drastic difference to your future than anything else that is happening now. […] Things that have already successfully lived a long time, such as the Pyramids, are likely to stay around longer than 99.9% of our things. It might be a bit startling to realize that it’s mostly our paper that will survive us as data, while a lot of our electronics will succumb to erasure, loss, and bit rot. [Bruce Streling/40k]

Universal veganism wouldn’t stop the road-building, logging, urban and suburban development, pollution, resource consumption, and other forms of land transformation that kills animals by the billions. So what does veganism do exactly? Theoretically, it ends the raising, capture and exploitation of living animals, and it stops a particular kind of killing that many vegans claim is the worst and least excusable: the intentional killing of animals in order to use their bodies as material goods. Veganism, as a whole, requires us to stop using animals for entertainment, food, pharmaceutical testing, and clothing. If it were to become universal, factory farming and animal testing would end, which would be excellent news for all the animals that we capture or raise for these purposes. But it would accomplish next to nothing for free-roaming wild animals except to stop hunting, which is the least of their problems. […] Neutrality is impossible in a world with limited resources. Everything we take is a loss for other animals, and since we want to live, enjoy our lives and reproduce (just as they do), we will never stop bypassing animals’ desires for our own, so long as we are here. [Rhys Southan/Aeon]

Eating more fruit and vegetables may make young people calmer, happier and more energetic in their daily life, new research suggests.

Obese Drivers 80% More Likely to Die in Accidents.

Regulators discover a hidden viral gene in commercial GMO crops.[ISN |]

The third trend – the massaging of economic statistics […] US unemployment excludes so many categories (like “discouraged workers”) that it hides higher levels of inactivity. The critical distortion is inflation. It feeds into calculations showing “growth”, when evidence from other benchmarks is that Western economies have stagnated for a decade. […] But a final development is perhaps most concerning. The modern economy began when agriculture created an energy surplus, liberating people to engage in non-subsistence activities. A larger liberation occurred with the invention of the heat engine – energy delivered by labour could be leveraged by coal, oil and natural gas. A single gallon of petrol delivers work equivalent to 360 to 490 hours of human labour. The critical equation is the difference between energy extracted and energy consumed in extraction – energy return on energy invested (EROEI). Since the Industrial Revolution, EROEI has been high. Oil discovered in the 1930s provided 100 units of energy for every unit consumed. But EROEI has fallen, as discoveries have become smaller and more costly to extract. The killer factor is the non-linear nature of EROEIs. Once returns ratios fall below 15:1, there is a dramatic “cliff-edge” slump in surplus energy, combined with a sharp escalation in cost. And the global average EROEI may fall to 11:1 by 2020. Energy will be 50 per cent more expensive, in real terms, than today. And this will carry through into the cost of almost everything – including food. We are nearing the end of a period of 250 years in which growth has been the assumed normal. And, without action, this will have stark implications for the economies of the West. [Tim Morgan/City A.M.]

Scientists have identified genetic circumstances under which common mutations on two genes interact in the presence of cocaine to produce a nearly eight-fold increased risk of death as a result of abusing the drug. The variants are found in two genes that affect how dopamine modulates brain activity. […] The same dopamine genes are also targeted by medications for a number of psychiatric disorders. [The Ohio State University]

A new Zara store opens every day, on average.

Scientists Create Gasoline From Plants.

If you’ve ever studied genetics in school or college, you’ll know that the structure of DNA is a double helix. According to the researchers, a quadruple helix is also present in some cells and is believed to relate to cancer in some ways.

A patient who could only say the word ‘tan’ after suffering brain damage became one of the most important cases in the history of neuroscience. But the identity of the famously monosyllabic man has only just been revealed.

How Apple used its money and muscle to kill an iTunes competitor Lala.

At the Consumer Electronic Show two weeks ago, Netflix announced that it would block consumer access to high definition and 3D movies in its new “Super HD” (HD) service for customers of Internet service providers (ISPs) that Netflix disfavors. Netflix’s goal is to coerce ISPs into paying for a free Internet fast lane for Netflix content.

A change in Internet traffic patterns over the past week suggests that Cuba may have turned on a fiber-optic submarine cable that links it to the global Internet via Venezuela.

5 types of sociopath invented by the Internet.

China’s first 3D printing museum opens.

The Trials of Art Superdealer Larry Gagosian.

Everything Was Fake but Her Wealth. Ida Wood, who lived for decades as a recluse in a New York City hotel, would have taken her secrets to the grave—if here sister hadn’t gotten there first.

With the spring of a wild beast, he leapt clean over the heads of the very line of soldiers about to fire on him, and, landing behind them, whirling his sword in his left hand, he cut down three of them, but was bayoneted by the fourth.

Joseph Carey Merrick (1862 – 1890) was an English man with severe deformities who was exhibited as a human curiosity named the Elephant Man.

The Five Types of Territorial Morphology.

Just Twenty-Nine Dominoes Could Knock Down the Empire State Building.

Why do golf balls have dimples?

What is it like to be an agent of the U.S. Secret Service?

Skinny motherfucker with the high voice Prince has crawled out of the bathtub to give an interview to Billboard. “I have a team of female black lawyers who keep an eye on such transgressions,” Prince says.

Business Cards of Famous People.

Dramatic Chipmunk.

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