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Triple-Decker Weekly, 116


Psychologists investigate why some people see the future as being behind them

Flight diverted after fight over legroom. One passenger was using the Knee Defender, a $21.95 gadget that attaches to a passenger’s tray table and prevents the person in front of them from reclining.

Seattle doctor accused of sexting during surgery

Does Love last? No. Romantic/Passionate love declines after marriage. After two years of marriage, average spouses express affection for each other only half as often as they did when they were newlyweds. Divorces occur more frequently in the fourth year of marriage than at any other time. [Psychology of Romantic Relationships | PDF]

Reading ‘Fifty Shades’ linked to unhealthy behaviors

Fifty-eight adolescent girls and 60 young adult women viewed a Facebook profile with either a sexualized profile photo or a nonsexualized profile photo and then evaluated the profile owner. Results indicated that the sexualized profile owner was considered less physically attractive, less socially attractive, and less competent to complete tasks. [APA/PsycNET]

On Facebook, people frequently express emotions, which are later seen by their friends via Facebook’s “News Feed” product. Because people’s friends frequently produce much more content than one person can view, the News Feed filters posts, stories, and activities undertaken by friends. News Feed is the primary manner by which people see content that friends share. Which content is shown or omitted in the News Feed is determined via a ranking algorithm that Facebook continually develops and tests in the interest of showing viewers the content they will find most relevant and engaging. One such test is reported in this study: A test of whether posts with emotional content are more engaging. […] For people who had positive content reduced in their News Feed, a larger percentage of words in people’s status updates were negative and a smaller percentage were positive. When negativity was reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results suggest that the emotions expressed by friends, via online social networks, influence our own moods, constituting, to our knowledge, the first experimental evidence for massive-scale emotional contagion via social networks, and providing support for previously contested claims that emotions spread via contagion through a network. [PNAS]

Husband takes his wife to court over honeymoon photos she posted on Facebook

Women were more threatened than men when imagining another person complimenting their partner’s physical appearance. [PDF]

Couple walled in by angry neighbours

Douglas also admitted to having sex with bodies being stored while awaiting autopsies.

A recent paper said PMS can drive spouses apart. But that paper is based on bad science and flat-out lies.

Does Seeing the Doctor More Often Keep You Out of the Hospital? [PDF]

On average, people’s memories stretch no farther than age three and a half. Everything before then is a dark abyss. Psychologists have named this dramatic forgetting “childhood amnesia.”

We are now beginning to crack the brain’s code, which allows us to answer such bizarre questions as “what is the speed of thought?”

Neuroscientists watch imagination happening in the brain

The use of hallucinogens in research and therapy

The more strongly people believed in free will, the more they liked making choices

Panic disorder and epilepsy were associated with low belief in free will.

When you are in the middle of negotiation, is it best to make the first offer, or to wait for the other party to make the first offer and then respond to it?

Here, we test whether creativity increases dishonesty [PDF]

Music helps you focus on your own thoughts, but only if you like it

Researchers have found that “solid-head” power toothbrushes have up to 3,000 times less bacteria when compared to “hollow-head” toothbrushes.

Home is where the microbes are

A whole functional organ has been grown from scratch inside an animal for the first time

Results show that carrying a backpack in an asymmetrical manner negatively affects spine, even if the backpack weight constitutes 10% of the child’s weight. [SAGE]

Hangover Cure Finally Comes to the U.S.

Drinking small amounts of alcohol boosts people’s sense of smell

Effect of maternal coffee, smoking and drinking behavior on adult son’s semen quality

Quantification of Pizza Baking Properties of Different Cheeses, and Their Correlation with Cheese Functionality [study abstract]

Vending machine dispenses food for stray dogs when people insert recyclable bottles and cans

Schrödinger’s cat caught on quantum film

The smell of rain: what is petrichor?

[T]he Office will refuse to register a claim if it determines that a human being did not create the work. […] [T]he Office cannot register a work purportedly created by divine or supernatural beings. […] A musical work created solely by an animal would not be registrable, such as a bird song or whale song. Likewise, music generated entirely by a mechanical or an automated process is not copyrightable. […] To qualify as a work of authorship a choreographic work must be created by a human being and it must be intended for execution by humans. Dances performed or intended to be performed by animals, machines, or other animate or inanimate objects are not copyrightable and cannot be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. [U.S. Copyright Office /Popular Science]

States with faster Internet speeds have smarter people

An ad-free internet would cost each user at least £140 a year ($230)

When A Machine Learning Algorithm Studied Fine Art Paintings, It Saw Things Art Historians Had Never Noticed

Ever since the first hack of a commercial quantum cryptography device, security specialists have been fighting back. Here’s an update on the battle.

With enough technical savvy, simply touching a laptop can suffice to extract the cryptographic keys used to secure data stored on it.

Systems that can secretly track where cellphone users go around the globe

Women college students average 10 hours a day on their cellphones and men students spend nearly eight

Researchers find it’s terrifyingly easy to hack traffic lights

Inside Google’s Secret Drone-Delivery Program

This Is Uber’s Playbook for Sabotaging Lyft

There were no associations between childhood family income and subsequent violent criminality and substance misuse

Does terrorism help perpetrators to achieve their demands?

The Role of Artists in Ship Camouflage During World War I

How Temperatures In Manhattan Differ From Block To Block

Around 75% of all IKEA’s product images are CG

The ‘chairless chair’ that lets you relax anywhere

Egypt feminist defecates on IS flag in the nude

Recently, another chapter in the Toynbee Tile saga was written, when a tile showed up on Greenwich Street and North Moore in SoHo.

Horses And Sleep

Celebs before their signature Hollywood smiles

London restaurant creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast

Images from opening scenes of adult movies

Crying Infant Assuager (new patent)

Facial Recognition Software for Cats

Camel toe challenge [more]

Triple-Decker Weekly, 114


Recent theoretical developments in evolutionary psychology suggest that more intelligent individuals may be more likely to prefer to remain childless than less intelligent individuals. Analyses of the National Child Development Study show that more intelligent men and women express preference to remain childless early in their reproductive careers, but only more intelligent women (not more intelligent men) are more likely to remain childless by the end of their reproductive careers. […] Because women have a greater impact on the average intelligence of future generations, the dysgenic fertility among women is predicted to lead to a decline in the average intelligence of the population in advanced industrial nations. [Social Science Research | PDF]

Automatically detecting human social intentions from spoken conversation is an important task for dialogue understanding. Since the social intentions of the speaker may differ from what is perceived by the hearer, systems that analyze human conversations need to be able to extract both the perceived and the intended social meaning. We investigate this difference between intention and perception by using a spoken corpus of speed-dates in which both the speaker and the listener rated the speaker on flirtatiousness. Our flirtation- detection system uses prosodic, dialogue, and lexical features to detect a speaker’s intent to flirt with up to 71.5% accuracy. [Stanford | PDF]

Love stories are dynamic processes that begin, develop, and often stay for a relatively long time in a stationary or fluctuating regime, before possibly fading. Although they are, undoubtedly, the most important dynamic process in our life, they have only recently been cast in the formal frame of dynamical systems theory. In particular, why it is so difficult to predict the evolution of sentimental relationships continues to be largely unexplained. A common reason for this is that love stories reflect the turbulence of the surrounding social environment. But we can also imagine that the interplay of the characters involved contributes to make the story unpredictable—that is, chaotic. In other words, we conjecture that sentimental chaos can have a relevant endogenous origin. To support this intriguing conjecture, we mimic a real and well-documented love story with a mathematical model in which the environment is kept constant, and show that the model is chaotic. The case we analyze is the triangle described in Jules et Jim, an autobiographic novel by Henri-Pierre Roché that became famous worldwide after the success of the homonymous film directed by François Truffaut. The results fully support our conjecture and also highlight the genius of François Truffaut. [Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science | PDF]

The voices heard by people with schizophrenia are friendlier in India and Africa, than in the US

Common parlance such as “ray of hope” depicts an association between hope and the perception of brightness. Building on research in embodied cognition and conceptual metaphor, we examined whether incidental emotion of hopelessness can affect brightness perception, which may influence people’s preference for lighting. Across four studies, we found that people who feel hopeless judge the environment to be darker (Study 1). As a consequence, hopeless people expressed a greater desire for ambient brightness and higher wattage light bulbs (Studies 2 and 3). Study 4 showed the reversal of the effect — being in a dimmer (vs. brighter) room induces greater hopelessness toward the perceived job search prospects. Taken together, these results suggest that hopeless feeling seems to bias people’s perceptual judgment of ambient brightness, which may potentially impact their electricity consumption. [SAGE]

Why bad news dominates the headlines

A mathematical equation which can predict our moment-by-moment happiness has been developed by researchers

Why are people with high self-control happier?

Why is intelligence associated with stability of happiness?

2D:4D digit ratio predicts depression severity for females but not for males. Previously: Depression in men is associated with more feminine finger length ratios.

Psychologists investigate a major, ignored reason for our lack of sleep – bedtime procrastination

If we can bend and shape our own memories, can a false memory be implanted by another?

Host of 2,000+ person party: ‘Worth it’ despite drug overdoses

For centuries, horse riding was largely restricted to males. The previous situation is in stark contrast to the present day, when nearly 80 percent of riders are women. Modern-day equestrian sports are unique in that men and women compete directly against one another at all levels, from beginners in gymkhanas to national champions in the Olympic Games. “For this reason it is interesting to consider whether a theory of riding that was developed exclusively for men can be applied to women,” explains Natascha Ille, the first author of the recent publication. As Ille notes, “It is often assumed that women are more sensitive towards their horses than men. If this is so, male and female riders should elicit different types of response from their horses.” […] The results were surprising: the level of stress on a horse is independent of whether a man or a woman is in the saddle. [University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna]

Noise cancellation is a traditional problem in statistical signal processing that has not been studied in the olfactory domain for unwanted odors. In this paper, we use the newly discovered olfactory white signal class to formulate optimal active odor cancellation using both nuclear norm-regularized multivariate regression and simultaneous sparsity or group lasso-regularized non-negative regression. As an example, we show the proposed technique on real-world data to cancel the odor of durian, katsuobushi, sauerkraut, and onion. [IEEE Workshop on Statistical Signal Processing | PDF]

Black holes aren’t black after all

Three Perimeter Institute researchers have a new idea about what might have come before the big bang. What we perceive as the big bang, they argue, could be the three-dimensional “mirage” of a collapsing star in a universe profoundly different than our own.

Using data from an online hotel reservation site, the authors jointly examine consumers’ quality choice decision at the time of purchase and subsequent satisfaction with the hotel stay. They identify three circumstantial variables at the time of purchase that are likely to influence both the choice decisions and the postpurchase satisfaction: the time gap between purchase and consumption, distance between purchase and consumption, and time of purchase (business/nonbusiness hours). The authors incorporate these three circumstantial variables into a formal two-stage economic model and find that consumers who travel farther and make reservations during business hours are more likely to select higher-quality hotels but are less satisfied. [JAMA]

Some people can handle stressful situations better than others, and it’s not all in their genes: Even identical twins show differences in how they respond. Researchers have identified a specific electrical pattern in the brains of genetically identical mice that predicts how well individual animals will fare in stressful situations. The findings may eventually help researchers prevent potential consequences of chronic stress — such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other psychiatric disorders — in people who are prone to these problems. [EurekAlert]

In Japan, the U.K., and, to a lesser extent, around the world, golfers buy insurance to protect themselves from the potentially bankrupting consequences of sinking a hole in one. The concept of hole in one insurance may baffle the uninitiated, but to many it is a wise precaution as golf tradition holds that anyone who scores a hole in one should buy drinks back at the clubhouse for his playing group — if not everyone present. In Japan, many give extravagant gifts to friends and family after scoring a lucky ace. [Priceonomics ]

We’re more likely to spend money when we’re feeling nostalgic, study

Previous research shows the existence of a height premium in the workplace with tall individuals receiving more benefits across several domains (e.g., earnings) relative to short people.

There’s little correlation between company performance and CEO pay.

This paper examines whether demands for bribes for particular government services are associated with expedited or delayed policy implementation. […] [F]irms confronted with demands for bribes take approximately 1.5 times longer to get a construction permit, operating license, or electrical connection than firms that did not have to pay bribes and, respectively, 1.2 and 1.4 times longer to clear customs when exporting and importing. [World Bank | PDF]

While we assumed everyone knew that correspondence from Nigerian leaders requesting funds were always fraudulent, it appears the US government decided the opportunity was worth the risk…

The longer individuals were exposed to socialism, the more likely they were to cheat on our task.

After Drugs and Guns, Art Theft Is the Biggest Criminal Enterprise in the World

A quarter of all auction sales were made to first time art buyers this year. An inside look at Sotheby’s and Christie’s global quest to identify and recruit more.

What The Numbers On Your Credit Card Really Mean

Besides health tracking, contact lens technology under development could enable drug delivery, night vision, and augmented reality.

How a Simple Spambot Became the Second Most Powerful Member of an Italian Social Network

Google’s Effort to Trademark ‘Glass’ Clears Hurdle

Everybody knows that real blurry photos can’t be made sharp after the fact. But that’s exactly the premise of the new Illum camera from a startup called Lytro. Instead of snapping a solitary image, the Illum captures a whole moment—known as the light field—so you can change focus and shift perspective after you’ve taken the shot. Just by clicking around a screen, the viewer can focus on a birthday cake candle, the person blowing it out, or partygoers in the background. [WSJ]

UK to allow driverless cars on public roads in January

Car Security Is Likely to Worsen, Researchers Say

Used cigarette butts offer energy storage solution

Researchers Reconstruct Speech Recorded in the Vibrations of a Potato Chip Bag

It’s -55 °C at the British base in Antarctica. The power has failed. How are they coping?

The social lives of cows are clearly more complex than biologists imagine.

The Cyanometer Is a 225-Year-Old Tool for Measuring the Blueness of the Sky

A 2013 study suggests that if one is going to be shot with a bullet, one might be better off naked. On the other hand, different study suggests that if one is going to be shot with shotgun pellets, one might be better off wearing clothing.

She also learned an old cop trick: If you’re recovering a body in an apartment building, ask every tenant to make coffee — it covers the smell. “Oldest trick in the book,” one officer told her. […] She began, as all autopsies do, by inserting a needle into the side of each eye to collect fluid — a delicate procedure Melinek perfected after once popping out a cadaver’s glass eyeball. […] Then she removed Booker’s testes, took a samples from each, and put them back in the scrotum. […] There was the subway jumper at Union Square, for example, whose body was recovered on the tracks of the uptown 4 train with no blood — none at the scene, none in the body itself. She’d never seen anything like it, and only CME Hirsch could explain: The massive trauma to the entire body caused the bone marrow to absorb all the blood. […] In one case, a man was shot in the chest, but the bullet was found in his liver. [NY Post]

Japanese TV series features model yelling at the camera, and nothing else

Stephen King has always disliked Stanley Kubrick’s film: What Stanley Kubrick got wrong about “The Shining”

For this show, Williams has insisted that there be no wall text. Williams has also insisted that all the photos at MoMA be hung below normal height. Christopher Williams at MoMA

In an official partnership with the New York City Department of Transportation, Ryan McGinness has erected 50 signs throughout Manhattan.

This Is How You Make Selfie Toast

Statues Taking Selfies

How to Use Your Cat to Hack Your Neighbor’s Wi-Fi

Female runner uses Nike+ to draw giant dicks around San Francisco

Triple-Decker Weekly, 113


“Emotions such as anger and contempt can seem very threatening for couples. But our study suggests that if spouses, especially wives, are able to calm themselves, their marriages can continue to thrive,” Bloch said. While it is commonly held that women play the role of caretaker and peacemaker in relationships, the study is among the first to reveal this dynamic in action over a long period of time, researchers point out. Results show that the link between the wives’ ability to control emotions and higher marital satisfaction was most evident when women used “constructive communication” to temper disagreements. [UC Berkeley]

Major theories propose that spontaneous responding to others’ actions involves mirroring, or direct matching. Responding to facial expressions is assumed to follow this matching principle: People smile to smiles and frown to frowns. We demonstrate here that social power fundamentally changes spontaneous facial mimicry of emotional expressions, thereby challenging the direct-matching principle. [Journal of Experimental Psychology: General | PDF]

People loved for their beauty and cheerfulness are not loved as irreplaceable, yet people loved for “what their souls are made of” are. Or so literary romance implies; leading philosophical accounts, however, deny the distinction, holding that reasons for love either do not exist or do not include the beloved’s distinguishing features. […] I defend a model of agency on which people can love each other for identities still being created, through a kind of mutual improvisation. […] I draw another analogy to jazz, this time relating the attraction and concern constitutive of interpersonal love to the reciprocal appreciation and responsiveness of musicians who improvise together as partners. Musicians who improvise together as partners recognize each other to be trying to express the same musical idea, even though the contents of their ideas are still being worked out. [PhilPapers | PDF]

Connecting with others increases happiness, but strangers in close proximity routinely ignore each other. Why? Two reasons seem likely: Either solitude is a more positive experience than interacting with strangers, or people misunderstand the consequences of distant social connections. […] Prior research suggests that acting extroverted—that is, acting bold, assertive, energetic, active, adventurous, and talkative (the exact list has varied by study)—in laboratory experiments involving group tasks like solving jigsaw puzzles and planning a day together, generally leads to greater positive affect than acting introverted—lethargic, passive, and quiet—in those same situations. […] Connecting with a stranger is positive even when it is inconsistent with the prevailing social norm. […] Our experiments tested interactions that lasted anywhere from a few minutes to as long as 40 minutes, but they did not require repeated interactions or particularly long interactions with the same random stranger. Nobody in the connection condition, for instance, spent the weekend with a stranger on a train. Indeed, some research suggests that liking for a stranger may peak at a relatively short interaction, and then decline over time as more is learned about another person. If, however, the amount of time spent in conversation with a distant stranger is inversely related to its pleasantness at some point along the time spectrum, then this only makes the results of our experiments even more surprising. On trains, busses, and waiting rooms, the duration of the conversation is relatively limited. These could be the kinds of brief “social snacks” with distant others that are maximally pleasant, and yet people still routinely avoid them. [Journal of Experimental Psychology: General | PDF | These Psychologists Think We'd Be Happier If We Talked to Strangers More]

To understand how a state acquires legal capacity, we need to study a state that lacked it. France, at the end of the sixteenth century did not possess a centralized legal or tax system. This reflected the way French monarchs had gradually added territories to their growing kingdom since the middle ages. Moreover, as more and more territories were added, the king was forced to concede old, and sometimes new, privileges to the regions so as to ensure their loyalty. In the words of one economic historian, the complexities of the resulting fiscal and legal system almost ‘defy description.’ […] Witchcraft was difficult to prosecute under conventional legal procedures and standards of proof. Maleficia may have sometimes actually occurred and, in rare cases, may even have left evidence. However, diabolism was, by its nature, beyond the pale of rational legal procedure. Since dealings with the devil existed only in the fantasies of accusers and (rarely) the accused, it was a thought crime. In order to get around the difficulty of prosecuting a suspected witch according to traditional standards of legal proof, local judges turned to the theories of the demonologists. […] The unobservable nature of the crime combined with the use of torture created a self-replicating logic to witchcraft trials. Accusation led to torture, which led to further accusations. This logic is illustrated by the following example which took place in 1599 in the area of Bazuel which lies in the North of France. A widow named Reine Perceval was accused of sorcery and brought to the local abbey for interrogation. Initially, she denied the accusa- tions, despite the attempts of her interrogator to coerce her confession by pointing to another recently accused woman who, by admitting to the crimes, was released. […] Later, under torture, the widow Perceval did confess to being a witch and named several ‘accomplices.’ […] It was costly in a purely financial sense to try an individual witch. Furthermore, fear of witchcraft could get out of control and result in lynchings and murders or in devastating mass trials in which large numbers of individuals who would not usually be suspected of witchcraft came under suspicion. […] We establish that witchcraft trials were more likely to take place where the central state had weak legal institutions. Combining data on the geographic distribution of witchcraft trials with unique panel data on tax receipts across 21 French regions, we find that the rise of the tax state can account for much of the decline in witch trials during this period. Further historical evidence supports our hypothesis that higher taxes led to better legal institutions. [Johnson and Koyama]

Since 1990, the Gerontology Research Group has assumed the role of record keepers for the world’s supercentenarians, or persons older than 110. […] When it comes to age forgery, Coles has seen it all. He recently received a claim from India of an individual who is supposedly 179—a feat that is almost certainly physically impossible. The deceit can be harder to spot, such as the time a man in Turkey tried to pass himself off as his deceased brother, who was ten years older. And in one particularly challenging case, the government of Bolivia issued false documents to a man who was 106, stating that he was 112. These problems are well known among those who study the very old. “Ninety-eight percent of ages claimed over 115 are false,” says Thomas Perls, a professor of medicine and geriatrics at Boston Medical Center, and director of the New England Centenarian Study. Based on a research paper he published on the topic, Perls says that “There’s a total of ten different major reasons why people do this.” Sometimes, the motivation for lying is monetary. In the U.S., for example, a handful of people inflated their ages in order to claim to be Civil War veterans, giving them access to pensions. […] In other cases, a government or group might want to demonstrate that theirs is a “superior race.” [Smithsonian]

A gene responsible for stopping the movement of cancer from the lungs to other parts of the body has been discovered by researchers

Danish DNA Could be Key to Happiness

How Becoming a Father Changes Your Brain

We only use 10% of our brains? That’s 100% wrong.

Sweet taste liking is associated with impulsive behaviors in humans

Brands are succeeding largely because of consumer ignorance.

We’re more likely to spend money when we’re feeling nostalgic, study

Previous research shows the existence of a height premium in the workplace with tall individuals receiving more benefits across several domains (e.g., earnings) relative to short people.

The longer individuals were exposed to socialism, the more likely they were to cheat on our task.

There’s little correlation between company performance and CEO pay.

A millionaire cross-dressing NY real estate ​​heir was busted for peeing on the candy display at a CVS

After Drugs and Guns, Art Theft Is the Biggest Criminal Enterprise in the World

How much are curators really paid?

“never show a husband the apartment without his wife.”

A new, extremely persistent type of online tracking is shadowing visitors to thousands of top websites


Astronauts debate provenance of turd floating in Apollo 10

Using bees that have been genetically modified to 3D-print concrete

Triple-Decker Weekly, 112


Germany’s nudist movement is in decline

Many sewage epidemiology studies to date have focused on measuring the drugs carried in urine, dissolved in water. However, now it seems that analysing faecal matter could be more accurate, since some drugs tend to stick more readily to solids.

Scientists at the University of East Anglia have made a breakthrough in the race to solve antibiotic resistance. New research published today in the journal Nature reveals an Achilles’ heel in the defensive barrier which surrounds drug-resistant bacterial cells. The findings pave the way for a new wave of drugs that kill superbugs by bringing down their defensive walls rather than attacking the bacteria itself. It means that in future, bacteria may not develop drug-resistance at all. []

Few human possessions are so universally owned as mobile phones. There are almost as many mobile phones as there are humans on the planet. More people worldwide own mobile phones than have access to working toilets. These devices not only help individuals share information with each other, they are increasingly being used to help individuals gather information about themselves. Smartphones — mobile phones with built in applications and internet access — have rapidly become one of the world’s most sophisticated self-tracking tools. Self-trackers and those engaged in the “quantified self” movement are using smartphones to collect large volumes of data about their health, their environment, and the interaction between the two. Continuous tracking is now obtainable for personal health indicators including physical activity, brain activity, mood dynamics, numerous physiologic metrics and demographic data. Similarly, smartphones are empowering individuals to measure and map, at a relatively low cost, environmental data on air quality, water quality, temperature, humidity, noise levels, and more. Mobile phones can provide another source of information to their owners: sample data on their personal microbiome. The personal microbiome, here defined as the collection of microbes associated with an individual’s personal effects (i.e., possessions regularly worn or carried on one’s person), likely varies uniquely from person to person. Research has shown there can be significant interpersonal variation in human microbiota, including for those microbes found on the skin. We hypothesize that this variation can be detected not just in the human microbiome, but also on the phone microbiome. [Meadow/Altrichter/Green]

An extensive literature addresses citizen ignorance, but very little research focuses on misperceptions. Can these false or unsubstantiated beliefs about politics be corrected? […] Results indicate that corrections frequently fail to reduce misperceptions among the targeted ideological group. We also document several instances of a ‘‘backfire effect’’ in which corrections actually increase misperceptions among the group in question. [Springer Science+Business Media | PDF]

Recent experimental studies show that emotions can have a significant effect on the way we think, decide, and solve problems. [Frontiers]

It’s called “contextual jitter” — in the time it takes to silence your cell phone, you’ve already lost track of what you were doing. […] When their attention was shifted from the task at hand for a mere 2.8 seconds, they became twice as likely to mess up the sequence. The error rate tripled when the interruptions averaged 4.4 seconds. [The Atlantic]

DNA tests prove your close friends are probably distant relatives

In the U.S., couples with daughters are somewhat more likely to divorce than couples with sons. Many scholars have read those numbers as evidence that daughters cause divorce. […] Previous studies have argued that fathers prefer boys and are more likely to stay in marriages that produce sons. Conversely, the argument runs, men are more likely to leave a marriage that produces daughters. That scholarly claim has been around for decades, and has gained a following in popular culture. […] A new research from Duke University suggests something quite different may be at play. […] Throughout the life course, girls and women are generally hardier than boys and men. At every age from birth to age 100, boys and men die in greater proportions than girls and women. Epidemiological evidence also suggests that the female survival advantage actually begins in utero. These more robust female embryos may be better able to withstand stresses to pregnancy, the new paper argues, including stresses caused by relationship conflict. Based on an analysis of longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample of U.S. residents from 1979 to 2010, Hamoudi and Nobles say a couple’s level of relationship conflict predicts their likelihood of subsequent divorce. Strikingly, the authors also found that a couple’s level of relationship conflict at a given time also predicted the sex of children born to that couple at later points in time. Women who reported higher levels of marital conflict were more likely in subsequent years to give birth to girls, rather than boys. [EurekAlert]

Do Parents’ Gender Roles at Home Predict Children’s Aspirations?

What does it take to look attractive for members of the opposite sex? […] Researchers investigated whether a sex-biased population (that is, more men or women than a 50/50 division) affected attractiveness. […] If you want to command the attention of potential mates: hang out with girls if you’re a guy and hang out with guys if you’re a girl. [United Academics]

Eye movements reveal difference between love and lust

Do women perceive other women in red as more sexually receptive?

Does cheating seem as bad when it’s “all in the family”?

Anyone we could marry would, of course, be a little wrong for us. It is wise to be appropriately pessimistic here. Perfection is not on the cards. Unhappiness is a constant. Nevertheless, one encounters some couples of such primal, grinding mismatch, such deep-seated incompatibility, that one has to conclude that something else is at play beyond the normal disappointments and tensions of every long-term relationship: some people simply shouldn’t be together. […] Given that marrying the wrong person is about the single easiest and also costliest mistake any of us can make, it is extraordinary, and almost criminal, that the issue of marrying intelligently is not more systematically addressed at a national and personal level, as road safety or smoking are. [Philosophers’ Mail]

When humans fight hand-to-hand the face is usually the primary target and the bones that suffer the highest rates of fracture are the parts of the skull that exhibit the greatest increase in robusticity during the evolution of basal hominins. These bones are also the most sexually dimorphic parts of the skull in both australopiths and humans. In this review, we suggest that many of the facial features that characterize early hominins evolved to protect the face from injury during fighting with fists. Specifically, the trend towards a more orthognathic face; the bunodont form and expansion of the postcanine teeth; the increased robusticity of the orbit; the increased robusticity of the masticatory system, including the mandibular corpus and condyle, zygoma, and anterior pillars of the maxilla; and the enlarged jaw adductor musculature are traits that may represent protective buttressing of the face. If the protective buttressing hypothesis is correct, the primary differences in the face of robust versus gracile australopiths may be more a function of differences in mating system than differences in diet as is generally assumed. […] The protective buttressing hypothesis provides a functional explanation for the puzzling observation that although humans do not fight by biting our species exhibits pronounced sexual dimorphism in the strength and power of the jaw and neck musculature. The protective buttressing hypothesis is also consistent with observations that modern humans can accurately assess a male’s strength and fighting ability from facial shape and voice quality. [Biological Reviews]

Trivers introduced his theory of self-deception over three decades ago. According to his theory, individuals deceive themselves to better deceive others by placing truthful information in the unconscious while consciously presenting false information to others as well as the self without leaving cues to be detected of deception. […] According to Trivers, a blatant deceiver keeps both true and false information in the conscious mind but presents only falsehoods to others. In doing so, the deceiver may leave clues about the truth due to its conscious access. A self-deceiver keeps only false information in consciousness. Lying to others and to the self at the same time, the self-deceiver thus leaves no clues about the truth retained in the unconscious mind. […] Memory and its distortion may be temporarily employed first to keep truthful information away from both self and others and later to retrieve accurate information to benefit the self. Using a dual-retrieval paradigm, we tested the hypothesis that people are likely to deceive themselves to better deceive high- rather than equal-status others. [Evolution Psychology | PDF]

In general, we can detect a lie only about 54% of the time. […] We may not be very good detectors of lies, but as a species we are incredibly good at lying. […] The more intelligent an animal is, the more likely it is to lie, which puts us humans right at the top of the ladder. Research has also shown that the best liars are also the best at detecting lies. […] Given our increasing intelligence and the fairly basic methods used in lie detection, it seems unlikely that we’ll produce lie detectors that can pass muster in the near future. We have yet to fully understand the underlying psychological processes of lying so asking a machine to code it is ambitious, to say the least. [ The Conversation]

Drawing on theorizing and research suggesting that people are motivated to view their world as an orderly and predictable place in which people get what they deserve, the authors proposed that (a) random and uncontrollable bad outcomes will lower self-esteem and (b) this, in turn, will lead to the adoption of self-defeating beliefs and behaviors. Four experiments demonstrated that participants who experienced or recalled bad (vs. good) breaks devalued their self-esteem (Studies 1a and 1b), and that decrements in self-esteem (whether arrived at through misfortune or failure experience) increase beliefs about deserving bad outcomes (Studies 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b). Five studies (Studies 3–7) extended these findings by showing that this, in turn, can engender a wide array of self-defeating beliefs and behaviors, including claimed self-handicapping ahead of an ability test (Study 3), the preference for others to view the self less favorably (Studies 4–5), chronic self-handicapping and thoughts of physical self-harm (Study 6), and choosing to receive negative feedback during an ability test (Study 7). The current findings highlight the important role that concerns about deservingness play in the link between lower self-esteem and patterns of self-defeating beliefs and behaviors. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed. [Journal of Personality and Social Psychology | PDF]

Our results show that individuals who possess unstable high self-esteem reported a stronger desire to become famous than did those with stable high self-esteem.

Women are more talkative in small groups, whereas men are more talkative in large groups, study finds [via gettingsome]

The more senior the speaker, the more they interrupt.

The term “stress” had none of its contemporary connotations before the 1920s.

The modern idea of stress began on a rooftop in Canada, with a handful of rats freezing in the winter wind.

How our ideas about pain and suffering have radically changed through the years.

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can’t see it

Cosmologists: Negative Mass Could Exist In Our Universe

The present studies investigate whether people perceive the same work of art to be of lower quality if they learn that it was a collaborative work

Artist attends Art Basel naked

The Problem With Selling the Largest Private Art Collection in the World

Study: Young women with sexy social media photos seen as less competent

I no longer look at somebody’s CV to determine if we will interview them or not,” declares Teri Morse, who oversees the recruitment of 30,000 people each year at Xerox Services. Instead, her team analyses personal data to determine the fate of job candidates. She is not alone. “Big data” and complex algorithms are increasingly taking decisions out of the hands of individual interviewers – a trend that has far-reaching consequences for job seekers and recruiters alike. […] Employees who are members of one or two social networks were found to stay in their job for longer than those who belonged to four or more social networks (Xerox recruitment drives at gaming conventions were subsequently cancelled). Some findings, however, were much more fundamental: prior work experience in a similar role was not found to be a predictor of success. “It actually opens up doors for people who would never have gotten to interview based on their CV,” says Ms Morse. [FT]

CYNK, a ”social networking” startup that has no assets, no revenue, no members, and one employee, is worth $4.75 billion

CYNK Short Squeeze Scam Costs Trader His Job

Haberman wanted grocery stores to embrace the 12-digit Universal Product Code—better known as the barcode—to create a standardized system for tracking inventory and speeding checkout. He took his fellow execs to a nice dinner. Then, as was the fashion at the time, they went to see Deep Throat. […] Without the barcode, FedEx couldn’t guarantee overnight delivery. […] Nearly all babies born today in U.S. hospitals get barcode bracelets as soon as they’re swaddled. [Wired]

Bot Tweets Anonymous Wikipedia Edits From Capitol Hill

‘Hidden From Google’ Remembers the Sites Google Is Forced to Forget

140 Google Interview Questions Domain Expires, Shenanigans Ensue for all SOE Games, Forums, Websites

You Can Learn a New Language While You Sleep, Study Finds

Public Bicycle Share Programs and Head Injuries

A busy NYC restaurant kept getting bad reviews for slow service, so they hired a firm to investigate. When they compared footage from 2004 to footage from 2014, they made some pretty startling discoveries.

Phantom pain, experienced in missing limbs, tortures amputees and puzzles scientists. Srinath Perur cycles round Cambodia with a man who treats it with mirrors.

How Collecting Opium Antiques Turned Me Into an Opium Addict [Thanks Tim]

Audio: Nixon’s Secret White House Tapes

The CIA’s writing manual has been leaked

CIA Cafeteria Complaints

People continue to reinvent the wheel. Some of those people file patent applications. Patent offices even approve some of those applications.

Travel App Can Recommend Places by Looking at Them

Now You Can 3-D Print The Perfect Pair Of Earphones

German airport rolls out world’s first robotic parking valet

FBI warns driverless cars could be used as ‘lethal weapons’

Clothing increases the risk of indirect ballistic fractures (If you’re going to be shot, it’s safer to be naked)

Hairline Design with Lasers

8 Irresistible Food Blogs From Sub-Saharan Africa

Online Color Challenge

Anyone wont there ass eaten in my Jeep m4w (LA)

Triple-Decker Weekly, 111


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

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

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

Human Language Is Biased Towards Happiness, Say Computational Linguists

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

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

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

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

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

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

The concept of “mother” in linguistics

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

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

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

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

Recognizing faces despite amnesia

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

Consciousness on-off switch discovered deep in brain

Less Sleep Means Smaller Brains in Older Adults

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

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

Why Do Some Teens Become Binge Drinkers? Algorithms Answer.

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

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

How do mosquitoes find some people and not others?

A Contraceptive Implant with Remote Control

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

Hacking into Internet Connected Light Bulbs

New State of Matter Discovered

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

Colonizing Venus

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

People voluntarily leaving jobs at highest rate since 2009 downturn

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

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

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

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

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

Wikipedia editors hit with $10 million defamation lawsuit

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

Fake Followers for Hire, and How to Spot Them

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

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

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

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

More left-handed men are born during the winter

New York lawmakers approve ban on ‘tiger selfies’

Kara Walker’s sugar-coated sphinx

Spit masks [Thanks Tim]

Retail Sluts

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