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Triple-Decker Weekly, 126


We study the influence of reason and intuition on decision-making over time. […] We find that intuition will outperform reason in the long run if individuals are sufficiently ambitious. Moreover, intuitive decisions are prevalent in the early and late stages of a learning process, whereas reason governs decisions in intermediate stages. [Managerial and Decision Economics]

The majority of music people listen to in their daily lives includes lyrics. This research documents how more repetitive songs lyrically are processed more fluently and thus adopted more broadly and quickly in the marketplace. [Journal of Consumer Psychology]

Baby girl born ‘pregnant’ with twins undergoes operation to remove foetuses

How to Make Breakfast With Your Vagina

For many years, scientists believed that female development was the default programme, and that male development was actively switched on by the presence of a particular gene on the Y chromosome. In 1990, researchers made headlines when they uncovered the identity of this gene, which they called SRY. Just by itself, this gene can switch the gonad from ovarian to testicular development. For example, XX individuals who carry a fragment of the Y chromosome that contains SRY develop as males. [Nature]

Although much attention concerning the potential impact of sexualized media has focused on girls and women, less is known about how this content effects boys’ perceptions of women and courtship. Accordingly, the current three-wave panel study investigated whether exposure to sexualizing magazines predicts adolescent boys’ (N = 592) sexually objectifying notions of women and their beliefs about feminine courtship strategies. The results indicated that when boys consumed sexualizing magazines more often, they expressed more gender-stereotypical beliefs about feminine courtship strategies over time. This association was mediated by boys’ objectification of women. [Journal of Adolescence]

[V]iewing sexual music videos by male artists increased the acceptance of female token resistance (i.e., the notion that women say “no” to sex when they actually mean “yes”) among adolescent girls, but not adolescent boys. [Communication Research]

The team’s model predicts that the most attractive penis would measure 12.8–14.2 centimetres in its flaccid state

Women tend to prefer men who make them laugh and men tend to prefer women who laugh at their jokes. However, it is unclear how robust this pattern is. Here we report a replication of one of the first studies (Bressler, Martin, and Balshine, 2006) to examine the sex differences in preferences for humor receptivity versus humor production. […] We found that men viewed humor receptivity as a necessity and humor production as a luxury when they were asked to create an ideal long-term partner. For women, it was just the opposite. [Evolutionary Psychology | PDF]

Most respondents reported their BDSM interests starting before age 15, sometimes creating a phase of anxiety and shame in the absence of reassuring information.

A device to aid women in giving birth — the woman is strapped onto a circular table, and the table is then rotated at high speed [Google Patents | via Improbable]

The scientific study of heartbreak is extremely new, with nearly all articles on the matter appearing in the last 10-15 years. In fact, the notion that strong emotional stress can impact health was not widely accepted in academia until recently. In the 1990’s, Japan started accruing cases of a disease called “takotsubo cardiomyopathy,” where patients’ hearts would actually become damaged and their ventricles would be misshapen (into that of a “takotsubo,” or octopus-catching pot – a very bad shape for a heart chamber). Curiously, these cases were not heart attacks, but instead were a form of heart failure brought on by a rush of stress hormones. After 15 years, the syndrome was finally mentioned in a 2005 New England Journal of Medicine article, where it was renamed “Broken Heart Syndrome.” Among the causes of Broken Heart Syndrome are romantic rejection, divorce, or the death of a loved one, and the outcome can be as serious as death. [NeuWrite]

Individuals who report experiencing communication with deceased persons are traditionally called mediums. During a typical mediumship reading, a medium conveys messages from deceased persons to the living (i.e., sitters). There are two types of mediumship: mental and physical. In mental mediumship, communication with deceased persons is experienced “through interior vision or hearing, or through the spirits taking over and controlling their bodies or parts thereof, especially … the parts required for speech and writing.” During physical mediumship, the experienced communication “proceeds through paranormal physical events in the medium’s vicinity,” which have included reports of independent voices, rapping sounds on walls or tables, and movement of objects. […] Recent research has also confirmed previous findings that mediumship is not associated with conventional dissociative experiences, pathology, dysfunction, psychosis, or over-active imaginations. Indeed, a large percentage of mediums have been found to be high functioning, socially accepted individuals within their communities. […] Psychometric and brain electrophysiology data were collected from six individuals who had previously reported accurate information about deceased individuals under double-blind conditions. […] These differences suggest that the impression of communicating with the deceased may be a distinct mental state distinct from ordinary thinking or imagination. [Frontiers in Psychology | PDF]

“The goal of memory isn’t to keep the details. It’s to be able to generalize from what you know so that you are more confident in acting on it,” Davachi says. You run away from the dog that looks like the one that bit you, rather than standing around questioning how accurate your recall is. [The New Yorker]

Memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s reversed for first time

Few studies have investigated the role of sleep deprivation in the formation of false memories, despite overwhelming evidence that sleep deprivation impairs cognitive function. We examined the relationship between self-reported sleep duration and false memories and the effect of 24 hr of total sleep deprivation on susceptibility to false memories. We found that under certain conditions, sleep deprivation can increase the risk of developing false memories. [Neuroethics & Law ]

Sleep is undoubtedly important not only for how well we think, feel and behave in our daily lives but also for longer-term health. In childhood, the quantity and quality of night-time and 24 hour sleep have consistently been identified as predictor of health. For example, night sleep predicts weight status. These findings have led to the hypothesis that increasing quantity of sleep through promoting daytime sleep would benefit child health. We sought to look for evidence on the independent effects of daytime sleep on child health, learning and behavior to assess whether this hypothesis was supported. […] The evidence suggests that beyond the age of 2 years when cessation of napping becomes more common, daytime sleep is associated with shorter and more disrupted night sleep. Those studies examining direction of effect all report that daytime sleep is not a response to poor night sleep but rather precedes poor night sleep. Evidence relating to cognitive functioning, accidents, weight status and behavior were less conclusive. [Medical Research]

We found we can change an animal’s sleep/wake rhythms by artificially stimulating the neurons in the master biological clock

In the early 1900s, the Dream of the Rarebit Fiend comic strip conveyed how the spicy cheese dish Welsh rarebit leads to bizarre and disturbing dreams. Today, the perception that foods disturb dreaming persists. But apart from case studies, some exploratory surveys, and a few lab studies on how hunger affects dreaming, there is little empirical evidence addressing this topic. The present study examines three aspects of the food/dreaming relationship. […] Reports of vivid dreams were associated with measures indicative of wellness: better sleep, a healthier diet, and longer times between meals (fasting). [Frontiers]

An ingredient in olive oil kills a variety of human cancer cells without harming healthy ones

Regular coffee consumption contributes to DNA integrity

Light jogging may be most optimal for longevity

Napping reverses health effects of poor sleep

Woman becomes obese after fecal transplant from overweight donor

Four drug deaths last month in Britain have been blamed on so-called “Superman” pills being sold as Ecstasy, but actually containing PMMA, a synthetic stimulant drug with some MDMA-like effects that has been implicated in a number of deaths and hospitalizations in Europe and the U.S. The “fake Ecstasy” was also under suspicion in the September deaths of six people in Florida and another three in Chicago. An additional six deaths in Ireland have also been linked to the drug. PMMA, or paramethoxymethamphetamine, causes dangerous increases in body temperature and blood pressure, is toxic at lower doses than Ecstasy, and requires up to two hours in order to take effect. […] The Spice products—synthetic cannabinoids—are still the most common of the novel synthetic drugs. Hundreds of variants are now on the market. Science magazine recently reported on a UK study in which researchers discovered more than a dozen previously unknown psychoactive substances by conducting urine samples on portable toilets in Greater London. [Addiction Inbox]

Animals getting high, drunk and tripping

Colorado May Pay Residents Over Excess Marijuana Revenue

Drawing on county-level data from Kansas for the period 1977-2011, we examine whether plausibly exogenous increases in the number of establishments licensed to sell alcohol by the drink are related to violent crime. During this period, 86 out of 105 counties in Kansas voted to legalize the sale of alcohol to the general public for on-premises consumption. We provide evidence that these counties experienced substantial increases in the total number of establishments with on-premises liquor licenses (e.g., bars and restaurants). Using legalization as an instrument, we show that a 10 percent increase in drinking establishments is associated with a 4 percent increase in violent crime. Reduced-form estimates suggest that legalizing the sale of alcohol to the general public for on-premises consumption is associated with an 11 percent increase in violent crime. [SSRN]

Older scientists are often seen as less open to new ideas than younger scientists. We put this assertion to an empirical test. Our results buttress the importance of funding scientific work by young researchers. [PDF]

Serendipity, the notion that research in one area often leads to advances in another, has been a central idea in the economics of innovation and science and technology policy. Claims about serendipity, and the futility of planning research, were central to the argument in Vannevar Bush’s Science–The Endless Frontier often considered the blueprint of post-World War II U.S. science policy. […] The idea of serendipity has been influential not only in practice, but also in theory. Much of the economic work on the governance of research starts from the notion that basic research has economically valuable but unanticipated outcomes. Economic historians, most notably Nathan Rosenberg, have emphasized the uncertain nature of new innovations, and that many technologies (for example, the laser) have had important, but unanticipated, uses and markets. Like Vannevar Bush, prominent economists studying science policy have argued that research cannot and should not be targeted at specific goals but instead guided by the best scientific opportunities, as have influential philosophers of science. […] [T]here is surprisingly little large-sample evidence on the magnitude of serendipity. This has contributed to perennial debate about the benefits of untargeted or fundamental research, relative to those from basic (or applied) research targeted at specific goals. […] [C]laims about serendipity have been important for diffusing calls (from Congress and taxpayers) to shift funding from fundamental research to that targeted at specific outcomes. […] I provide evidence on the serendipity hypothesis as it has typically been articulated in the context of NIH research: that progress against specific diseases often results from unplanned research, or unexpectedly from research oriented towards different diseases. […] If the magnitudes of serendipity reported here are real, this would pose real challenges for medical research funding. If disease is not the right organizing category for NIH research, then what might be? Is it possible to mobilize taxpayer and interest group support for science that cuts across dis- eases, or is the attachment of disease categories, however fictitious, required? Even more fundamentally, serendipity makes it hard to fine tune policy to stimulate research areas that taxpayers care about (or even limit the growth of areas where there is too much innovation), and assess whether a funding agency is allocating its funds reasonably given what its patrons desire. [Bhaven N. Sampat/SSRN]

While studying bone cells in a rabbit femur using a titanium chamber, Brånemark was unable to remove it from bone. His realization that bone would adhere to titanium led to the concept of osseointegration and the development of modern dental implants. [Wikipedia]

The asteroid landed in the ocean and would have caused megatsunamis, for which evidence has been found in several locations in the Caribbean and eastern United States—marine sand in locations that were then inland, and vegetation debris and terrestrial rocks in marine sediments dated to the time of the impact. […] The asteroid landed in a bed of gypsum (calcium sulfate), which would have produced a vast sulfur dioxide aerosol. This would have further reduced the sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface and then precipitated as acid rain, killing vegetation, plankton, and organisms that build shells from calcium carbonate (coccolithophores and molluscs). […] The impact may also have produced acid rain, depending on what type of rock the asteroid struck. However, recent research suggests this effect was relatively minor, lasting for approximately 12 years. […] Such an impact would have inhibited photosynthesis by creating a dust cloud that blocked sunlight for up to a year, and by injecting sulfuric acid aerosols into the stratosphere, which might have reduced sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface by 10–20%. It has been argued that it would take at least ten years for such aerosols to dissipate, which would account for the extinction of plants and phytoplankton, and of organisms dependent on them (including predatory animals as well as herbivores). […] The event appears to have hit all continents at the same time. […] The event eliminated a vast number of species. Based on marine fossils, it is estimated that 75% or more of all species were wiped out by the K–Pg extinction. In terrestrial ecosystems all animals weighing more than a kilo disappeared. The most well-known victims are the non-avian dinosaurs. […] The fact that the extinctions occur at the same time as the Chicxulub asteroid impact strongly supports the impact hypothesis of extinction. […] The Chicxulub crater is more than 180 kilometres (110 mi) in diameter and 20 km (12 mi) in depth, making the feature one of the largest confirmed impact structures on Earth; the impacting bolide that formed the crater was at least 10 km (6 mi) in diameter. […] Researchers dated rock and ash samples from the impact to roughly 66 million years ago. […] Some scientists maintain the extinction was caused or exacerbated by other factors, such as volcanic eruptions, climate change, or sea level change, separately or together. [The Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) extinction event | Chicxulub crater]

Plants survive better through mass extinctions than animals

Rising Sea Levels Are Already Making Miami’s Floods Worse

US airplane accidents between 1983 and 2000: More than 95 percent of airplane occupants survived. [PDF | Thanks Nathan]

12 ways researchers think human civilisation is most likely to end

No Big Bang? Quantum equation predicts universe has no beginning

Hilbert managed to build a hotel with an infinite number of rooms, all of which are occupied. Suppose a new guest arrives and wishes to be accommodated in the hotel. Because the hotel has an infinite number of, we can move any guest occupying any room n to room n+1 (the occupant of room 1 moves to room 2, room 2 to room 3, and so on), then fit the newcomer into room 1. Now suppose an infinite number of new guests arrives: just move any occupant of room n to room 2n (room 1 to room 2, room 2 to room 4, room 3 to room 6, and so on), and all the odd-numbered rooms (which are countably infinite) will be free for the new guests. [Wikipedia]

Psychological Language on Twitter Predicts County-Level Heart Disease Mortality

New mathematical theory may explain patterns in fingerprints, raisins, and microlenses

Scientists create contact lens that magnifies at blink of an eye

Researchers have found a way to store information in the form of DNA, presumably preserving it for nearly an eternity.

Japan Has More Car Chargers Than Gas Stations

We explore how product images and color in business plans influence venture investment screening decisions. Because images are accessible, memorable, and influential, we argue that product images in a business plan will increase the likelihood of favorable judgments during screening decisions. Moreover, because red and blue automatically affect an individual’s cognition in different manners such that red elicits negative associations and blue elicits positive ones from the evaluators, we predict that the use of red in a business plan will decrease the favorability of judgments during screening decisions, while the use of blue will increase their favorability. [Journal of Business Venturing]

Why Do Inventors Sell to Patent Trolls?

The Business of Fake Diplomas

‘Haunted’ laptop exposed to graveyard overnight gets eBay bids of over $3000. Texas seller claims his MacBook levitates and uses pen and paper to write notes after it was left at a graveyard next to an abandoned mental hospital all night.

You can now bet on shark racing in Florida

Greek Judges Judge Judges’ Pensions Cuts Unconstitutional

The four male crew members (models provided to Abercrombie) had to wear jeans, boxers, polo shirts, and flip-flops. The manual specified the seating arrangements for Jeffries’s three dogs, the length of the spoon Smith required for his tea, and the proper way to respond to requests (“No problem”). Behind the decline of Abercrombie & Fitch and the fall of its mastermind, Michael Jeffries

Would you like to understand how the “new” Harper Lee novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” came to be billed as a long-lost, blockbuster sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird” — one of the definitive books of the American 20th century — when, by all the known facts, it’s an uneven first draft of the famous novel that was never considered for publication?

Bloomberg News headlines, as we’ve observed in the past, often sound like they’ve been written by someone with a bizarre journalistic strain of aphasia.

Colombian teacher who likes to wear Nazi-themed bondage outfits changes her name to Abcdefg Hijklmn Opqrst Uvwxyz


Dude Builds Tinder Bot to Automate Swipes Based on Facial Recognition [Thanks Tim]

timder brooklyn [Thanks Tim]

Triple-Decker Weekly, 125


Chemists find a way to unboil eggs

Spicer and Alvesson found that the organizations that acted the most stupidly were investment banks, public relations agencies, and consultancies.

Frequent Internet and social media users do not have higher stress levels than those who use technology less often. And for women, using certain digital tools decreases stress. [NY Times]

Memory has to be ‘turned on’ in order to remember even the simplest details, a new study finds. When not expecting to be tested, people can forget information just one second after paying attention to it. But, when they expect to be tested, people’s recall is doubled or even tripled. [PsyBlog]

The idea that unconscious thought is sometimes more powerful than conscious thought is attractive, and echoes ideas popularized by books such as writer Malcolm Gladwell’s best-selling Blink. But within the scientific community, ‘unconscious-thought advantage’ (UTA) has been controversial. Now Dutch psychologists have carried out the most rigorous study yet of UTA—and find no evidence for it. […] The report adds to broader concerns about the quality of psychology studies and to an ongoing controversy about the extent to which unconscious thought in general can influence behaviour. [Scientific American]

The variety of things we use time for means the brain keeps track of lengths from milliseconds to decades. These different estimations occur in different brain circuits that span the brain.

Sex in reptiles and fish is determined after conception, during embryogenesis, according to ambient environmental temperature. In contrast, in mammals and birds, sex is determined at conception. In mammals, male births invariably occur slightly in excess […] with approximately 3% more males born than females. The reason for this discrepancy is uncertain as testicles produce equal numbers of X-bearing and Y-bearing spermatozoa. […] We have shown that M/F varies in geographical space, exhibiting a latitude gradient, and that this gradient is different in Europe and North America, with more males born towards the south of Europe, compared with the North American continent where more males are born towards the north of the continent. Other studies have also shown that M/F may vary with time. Several authors have shown that M/F has declined over the second half of the 20th century in various industrialised countries. These include Denmark, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Canada, the United States of America, and Finland. In contrast, M/F has been noted to have risen in Ireland over the same period. A non-significant rise in M/F has also been noted in Australia and Japan. [J Epidemiol Community Health]

A wide variety of factors have been shown to influence the male to female ratio at birth, which invariably displays a male excess. […] It will be shown that stress, including stress related to political events, influences this ratio. [Early Human Development]

Study: ”Woman on top” is the most dangerous sex position, responsible for half of all penile fractures

In an earlier experimental study by Zillman and Bryant (1988) male and female students were exposed to pornography once a week for six weeks. Those who viewed pornography reported being less satisfied with their partner’s appearance and sexual behavior. They also found that men who consumed pornography were more dominating and less attentive toward their partners. Hence, there is some reason to anticipate that pornography consumption impairs relationship commitment.
Other research suggests that pornography may be beneficial to relationships in some ways, especially in sexual relations. Some evidence suggests that consuming pornography influences individuals’ positive attitude toward sexuality and serves as a safe platform through which to en- gage in sexual exploration. […] Using a variety of methods, we demonstrated that pornography consumption is associated with weakened commitment to one’s relationship partner. […] in Study 5 we examined a more extreme implication of the weakened commitment—infidelity. We found that pornography consumption corresponded to decreased commitment, which, in turn related to higher levels of infidelity. [Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology | PDF]

Women and men misunderstand each other’s signals of friendliness and sexual interest. But these misinterpretations are no surprise to evolutionary psychologists.

Why do some women prefer submissive men?

Finally. A boyfriend your friends can believe in. + Invisible girlfriend [Thanks GG]

The woman who can’t feel fear

The weather impacts not only upon our mood but also our voice. An international research team has analysed the influence of humidity on the evolution of languages.
Their study has revealed that languages with a wide range of tone pitches are more prevalent in regions with high humidity levels. In contrast, languages with simpler tone pitches are mainly found in drier regions. This is explained by the fact that the vocal folds require a humid environment to produce the right tone. The tone pitch is a key element of communication in all languages, but more so in some than others. German or English, for example, still remain comprehensible even if all words are intonated evenly by a robot. In Mandarin Chinese, however, the pitch tone can completely change the meaning of a word. [EurekAlert]

A glass of red wine is the equivalent to an hour at the gym, says new study

Hygiene—keeping both home and body clean—is one of the best ways to curb the spread of bacterial infections, but lately consumers are getting the message that washing with regular soap is insufficient. Antibacterial products have never been so popular. Body soaps, household cleaners, sponges, even mattresses and lip glosses are now packing bacteria-killing ingredients, and scientists question what place, if any, these chemicals have in the daily routines of healthy people. […] Good, long-term hygiene means using regular soaps rather than new, antibacterial ones, experts say. “The main way to keep from getting sick,” Gustafson says, “is to wash your hands three times a day and don’t touch mucous membranes.” [Scientific American]

Doctors die, too. What’s unusual about them is not how much treatment they get compared with most Americans, but how little. Why Doctors Die Differently

Every person grows older with time, but some people may have the wish to grow old faster. So, this article is for those people. On the contrary, if you want to feel young and good, do the opposite as mentioned in this article. [ Say People]

Hitler suffered from uncontrollable flatulence. His health issues only got worse after meeting Dr. Theodor Morell.

The subtitle reads: “The surgical and neoplastic role of cacao extract in breakfast cereals.” Shrime submitted the article to 37 journals over two weeks and, so far, 17 of them have accepted it. They have not “published” it, but say they will as soon as Shrime pays the $500. This is often referred to as a “processing fee.”

The philosopher Socrates remains, as he was in his lifetime (469–399 B.C.E.), an enigma, an inscrutable individual who, despite having written nothing, is considered one of the handful of philosophers who forever changed how philosophy itself was to be conceived. […] The extant sources agree that Socrates was profoundly ugly, resembling a satyr more than a man—and resembling not at all the statues that turned up later in ancient times and now grace Internet sites and the covers of books. He had wide-set, bulging eyes that darted sideways and enabled him, like a crab, to see not only what was straight ahead, but what was beside him as well; a flat, upturned nose with flaring nostrils; and large fleshy lips like an ass. Socrates let his hair grow long, Spartan-style (even while Athens and Sparta were at war), and went about barefoot and unwashed, carrying a stick and looking arrogant. […] Something was peculiar about his gait as well, sometimes described as a swagger so intimidating that enemy soldiers kept their distance. He was impervious to the effects of alcohol and cold, but this made him an object of suspicion to his fellow soldiers on campaign. […] What seemed strange about Socrates is that he neither labored to earn a living, nor participated voluntarily in affairs of state. Rather, he embraced poverty and, although youths of the city kept company with him and imitated him, Socrates adamantly insisted he was not a teacher and refused all his life to take money for what he did. […] Because Socrates was no transmitter of information that others were passively to receive, he resists the comparison to teachers. Rather, he helped others recognize on their own what is real, true, and good—a new, and thus suspect, approach to education. He was known for confusing, stinging and stunning his conversation partners into the unpleasant experience of realizing their own ignorance, a state sometimes superseded by genuine intellectual curiosity. […] Socrates was usually to be found in the marketplace and other public areas, conversing with a variety of different people—young and old, male and female, slave and free, rich and poor—that is, with virtually anyone he could persuade to join with him in his question-and-answer mode of probing serious matters. […] It did not help matters that Socrates seemed to have a higher opinion of women than most of his companions had, speaking of “men and women,” “priests and priestesses,” and naming foreign women as his teachers: Socrates claimed to have learned rhetoric from Aspasia of Miletus, the lover of Pericles; and to have learned erotics from the priestess Diotima of Mantinea. […] Athenian citizen males of the upper social classes did not marry until they were at least thirty, and Athenian females were poorly educated and kept sequestered until puberty, when they were given in marriage by their fathers. Thus the socialization and education of males often involved a relationship for which the English word ‘pederasty’ (though often used) is misleading, in which a youth approaching manhood, fifteen to seventeen, became the beloved of a male lover a few years older, under whose tutelage and through whose influence and gifts, the younger man would be guided and improved. It was assumed among Athenians that mature men would find youths sexually attractive, and such relationships were conventionally viewed as beneficial to both parties by family and friends alike. A degree of hypocrisy (or denial), however, was implied by the arrangement: “officially” it did not involve sexual relations between the lovers and, if it did, then the beloved was not supposed to derive pleasure from the act—but ancient evidence (comedies, vase paintings, et al.) shows that both restrictions were often violated. What was odd about Socrates is that, although he was no exception to the rule of finding youths attractive, he refused the physical advances of even his favorite. [Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy]

Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde Sparks Facebook Legal Battle

Creator or buyer: Who really owns the art?

The App Economy Is Now ‘Bigger Than Hollywood’

Why Every Movie Looks Sort of Orange and Blue

The Mysteries Of White Mist On The Surface of Black Coffee

The flat white coffee drink was $4. A suggested tip was $3. The cashier at Café Grumpy, a New York City coffeehouse, swiped the credit card, then whirled the screen of her iPad sales device around to face the customer. “Add a tip,” the screen commanded, listing three options: $1, $2 or $3. In other words: 25 percent, 50 percent or 75 percent of the bill. […] New York City taxi riders paying with plastic are confronted with buttons for 20 percent, 25 percent or 30 percent tips. Anything less has to be manually entered (and calculated by the passenger). […] In December, an Italian restaurant in Los Angeles, Alimento, took a different approach. It added a second gratuity line to diners’ checks — “tip” (for the server) and “kitchen” (for the traditionally untipped workers in the back). […] In March, a Silicon Valley company opened ChangeTip, a platform that allows people to send small Bitcoin payments through social media, email, Skype or text to show their appreciation for content creators (or anyone) on the Internet. The service has been growing about 30 percent a month and now has about 60,000 users who have collectively tipped over $250,000, said Nick Sullivan, founder and chief executive. The average payment, he said, was a little over $1. [NY Times]

The FBI’s Top Hostage Negotiator Teaches You How To Lower Your Bills

New police radars can ‘see’ inside homes

The gang had been targeting ATMs with a technique never before used in the U.K.

If the decision-making algorithm were to always choose the option in which the fewest people die, the car might avoid another car carrying two passengers by running off the road and risking killing just one passenger: its own. Or it might choose to hit a Volvo instead of a Mini Cooper because its occupants are more likely to survive a crash, which means choosing the vehicle that is more dangerous for its owner to plow into. [NY Times]

Sand can be anything from shrimp excrement to skeletons of tiny organisms

The Crazy Horse Memorial is a mountain monument under construction in South Dakota.

Celebrities that Look Like Mattresses [Thanks Tim]

When did people start smiling in photographs?

Triple-Decker Weekly, 124


Conman sold urine as whiskey

Unhealthy people more likely to vote for attractive candidates

We’ve all had that experience of going purposefully from one room to another, only to get there and forget why we made the journey. Four years ago, researcher Gabriel Radvansky and his colleagues stripped this effect down, showing that the simple act of passing through a doorway induces forgetting. Now psychologists at Knox College, USA, have taken things further, demonstrating that merely imagining walking through a doorway is enough to trigger increased forgetfulness. [BPS]

In an experiment researchers showed that the human brain uses memories to make predictions about what it expects to find in familiar contexts. When those subconscious predictions are shown to be wrong, the related memories are weakened and are more likely to be forgotten. And the greater the error, the more likely you are to forget the memory. [Lunatic Laboratories]

Closing your eyes boosts memory recall

People Can Be Convinced They Committed a Crime That Never Happened

Some people will tell you that they have a clear sense of who they are, and that their sense of self is stable over time. Psychologists refer to this as having high “self-concept clarity.” In a new study, Jean Guerrettaz and Robert Arkin shine a spotlight on these self-proclaimed self-knowers. The researchers find that their confidence is often fragile, and that somewhat paradoxically, it is people confident in their sense of self whose self-esteem is most undermined by challenging questions about who they are. [BPS]

Neuroscience research fails to support claims that excessive pornography consumption causes brain damage

Amongst heterosexuals, men are almost twice as likely to be upset by sexual infidelity as women, a new study finds. Heterosexual women, meanwhile, are much more likely to be upset by emotional infidelity.

During sexual stimulation, some women report the discharge of a noticeable amount of fluid from the urethra, a phenomenon also called “squirting.” To date, both the nature and the origin of squirting remain controversial. In this investigation, we not only analyzed the biochemical nature of the emitted fluid, but also explored the presence of any pelvic liquid collection that could result from sexual arousal and explain a massive fluid emission. […] The present data based on ultrasonographic bladder monitoring and biochemical analyses indicate that squirting is essentially the involuntary emission of urine during sexual activity, although a marginal contribution of prostatic secretions to the emitted fluid often exists. [The Journal of Sexual Medicine]

New research suggests that reflecting on a breakup may help heal the heart

Diane. Wife’s kid sister. Well, half sister. Dad was the sperm donor. Who knows who the fuck she is. Collects ribbon. [Richard Prince]

“Withdrawal is the most problematic for relationships,” Sanford said. “It’s a defensive tactic that people use when they feel they are being attacked, and there’s a direct association between withdrawal and lower satisfaction overall with the relationship.” Meanwhile, “passive immobility” — expecting your partner to be a mind-reader — is a tactic people use when they feel anxious in a relationship, and it makes it especially difficult for couples to make progress toward resolving conflicts. But it may not be as harmful down the line as withdrawal, he said. [EurekAlert]

Machiavellianism is a personality trait characterized by a manipulative interpersonal style, emotional detachment and suspicion of others. Individuals with high levels of Machiavellianism navigate through their social relationships with  protective self-monitoring, external orientated thinking and confidence in their ability to deceive which facilitates their willingness to exploit others for their own self-serving goal. Not surprisingly, research has found that Machiavellianism relates to lower quality friendships in adulthood, including relational aggression in online relationships. […] Previous research has established the importance of parental bonding (i.e.,  parental care and overprotection) for the development of personality traits and adult relationships. The current study investigated the influence of recalled parenting on the development of Machiavellianism and adult friendship quality. […] Path modeling suggests that decreased maternal care and increased paternal overprotection relate to Machiavellianism which is associated with lower adult friendship quality. [Individual Differences Research]

Solar activity affects fertility across generations in historical Norway. More sun means fewer children and grandchildren

UK couple stranded in New York after baby arrived 11 weeks early face potential £130,000 medical bill

Male Birth Control, Without Condoms, Will Be Here by 2017

Scientists ‘edit’ DNA to correct adult genes and cure diseases

Monozygotic twins are considered being genetically identical, therefore they cannot be differentiated using standard forensic DNA testing. Here we describe how identification of extremely rare mutations by ultra-deep next generation sequencing can solve such cases. We sequenced DNA from sperm samples of two twins and from a blood sample of the child of one twin. Bioinformatics analysis revealed five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) present in the twin father and the child, but not in the twin uncle. Our results give experimental evidence for the hypothesis that rare mutations will occur early after the human blastocyst has split into two, the origin of twins, and that such mutations will be carried on into somatic tissue and the germline. The method provides a solution to solve paternity and forensic cases involving monozygotic twins as alleged fathers or originators of DNA traces. [FSI Genetics]

Environment, more than genetics, shapes immune system

DNA is generally regarded as the basic building block of life itself. In the most fundamental sense, DNA is nothing more than a chemical compound, albeit a very complex and peculiar one. DNA is an information-carrying molecule. The specific sequence of base pairs contained in a DNA molecule carries with it genetic information, and encodes for the creation of particular proteins. When taken as a whole, the DNA contained in a single human cell is a complete blueprint and instruction manual for the creation of that human being. In this article we discuss myriad current and developing ways in which people are utilizing DNA to store or convey information of all kinds. For example, researchers have encoded the contents of a whole book in DNA, demonstrating the potential of DNA as a way of storing and transmitting information. In a different vein, some artists have begun to create living organisms with altered DNA as works of art. Hence, DNA is a medium for the communication of ideas. Because of the ability of DNA to store and convey information, its regulation must necessarily raise concerns associated with the First Amendment’s prohibition against the abridgment of freedom of speech. New and developing technologies, and the contemporary and future social practices they will engender, necessitate the renewal of an approach towards First Amendment coverage that takes into account the purposes and values incarnated in the Free Speech Clause of the Constitution. [Charleston School of Law]

Antibiotics: US discovery labelled ‘game-changer’ for medicine

New study examines possible evidence for the use of the trepanation technique applied to lower leg bones.

Does sleeping naked prevent diabetes?

Science Word of the Day: Kleptothermy

They discreetly asked me if I would mind waiting a few minutes because Yoko Ono (!!!) was just finishing a treatment. Cryotherapy is a process in which you subject the body to extreme cold for a short period of time in order to reduce inflammation.

[T]he Inuit, the Masai, and the Samburu people of Uganda all originally ate diets that were 60-80% fat and yet were not obese and did not have hypertension or heart disease. The hypothesis that saturated fat is the main dietary cause of cardiovascular disease is strongly associated with one man, Ancel Benjamin Keys, a biologist at the University of Minnesota. […] Keys launched his “diet-heart hypothesis” at a meeting in New York in 1952, when the United States was at the peak of its epidemic of heart disease, with his study showing a close correlation between deaths from heart disease and proportion of fat in the diet in men in six countries (Japan, Italy, England and Wales, Australia, Canada, and the United States). Keys studied few men and did not have a reliable way of measuring diets, and in the case of the Japanese and Italians he studied them soon after the second world war, when there were food shortages. Keys could have gathered data from many more countries and people (women as well as men) and used more careful methods, but, suggests Teicholz, he found what he wanted to find. […] At a World Health Organization meeting in 1955 Keys’s hypothesis was met with great criticism, but in response he designed the highly influential Seven Countries Study, which was published in 1970 and showed a strong correlation between saturated fat (Keys had moved on from fat to saturated fat) and deaths from heart disease. Keys did not select countries (such as France, Germany, or Switzerland) where the correlation did not seem so neat, and in Crete and Corfu he studied only nine men. […] [T]he fat hypothesis led to a massive change in the US and subsequently international diet. One congressional staffer, Nick Mottern, wrote a report recommending that fat be reduced from 40% to 30% of energy intake, saturated fat capped at 10%, and carbohydrate increased to 55-60%. These recommendations went through to Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which were published for the first time in 1980. (Interestingly, a recommendation from Mottern that sugar be reduced disappeared along the way.) It might be expected that the powerful US meat and dairy lobbies would oppose these guidelines, and they did, but they couldn’t counter the big food manufacturers such as General Foods, Quaker Oats, Heinz, the National Biscuit Company, and the Corn Products Refining Corporation, which were both more powerful and more subtle. In 1941 they set up the Nutrition Foundation, which formed links with scientists and funded conferences and research before there was public funding for nutrition research. [...] Saturated fats such as lard, butter, and suet, which are solid at room temperature, had for centuries been used for making biscuits, pastries, and much else, but when saturated fat became unacceptable a substitute had to be found. The substitute was trans fats, and since the 1980s these fats, which are not found naturally except in some ruminants, have been widely used and are now found throughout our bodies. There were doubts about trans fats from the very beginning, but Teicholz shows how the food companies were highly effective in countering any research that raised the risks of trans fats. [...] Another consequence of the fat hypothesis is that around the world diets have come to include much more carbohydrate, including sugar and high fructose corn syrup, which is cheap, extremely sweet, and “a calorie source but not a nutrient.”2 5 25 More and more scientists believe that it is the surfeit of refined carbohydrates that is driving the global pandemic of obesity, diabetes, and non-communicable diseases. [The BMJ]

The compound behind all those stories about red wine being good for you

Experiments to explore how we might artificially cool the Earth—commonly called geoengineering.

Cleaning waste water with algae

Certain wavelengths of visible light are nearly 100% lethal to insects. Blue LEDs could be a new form of pest control.

The Satellite Search for Genghis Khan’s Tomb

The Phantom Cannibal, Part One, Part Two

The scam has been dubbed virtual kidnapping

In the past few years, street gangs have been retreating from public view all over Southern California.

This report describes the details and type of operations carried out by an organized criminal group that focuses on financial industry, such as banks and payment providers, retail industry and news, media and PR companies. […] The organized criminal group backbone are citizens of both Russian and Ukrainian origin. […] The average sum of theft in the Russian territory and in the post-Soviet space is $2 million per incident. […] To date the total amount of theft is over 1 billion rubles (about 25 million dollars), most of it has been stolen in the second half of 2014. […] The key is that fraud occurs within the corporate network using internal payment gateways and internal banking systems. Thus money is stolen from the banks and payment systems, and not from their customers. While this is their main and most lucrative activity, the gang has also ventured into other areas including the compromise of media groups and other organizations for industrial espionage and likely a trading advantage on the stock market. […] The average time from the moment of penetration into the financial institutions internal network till successful theft is 42 days. As a result of access to internal bank networks the attackers also managed to gain access to ATM management infrastructure and infect those systems with their own malicious software that further allows theft from the banks ATM systems on the attackers command. [Group-IB and Fox-IT | PDF]

Nicknamed “stingrays,” the devices are decoy cell towers that capture locations and identities of mobile phone users and can intercept calls and texts.

Hundreds of Portuguese Buses and Taxis Are Also Wi-Fi Routers (and collect data for city planners)

A.I. still can’t recognize these simple pictures.

Frequent Internet and social media users do not have higher stress levels than those who use technology less often. And for women, using certain digital tools decreases stress. [NY Times]

Google sees biggest search traffic drop since 2009 as Yahoo gains ground. The increase comes after Firefox switched its default search from Google to Yahoo.

Radio, not YouTube, was still the top method of music discovery in the US last year

What is it like to be a blind film critic?

Why do People Behave Immorally When Drunk?

How to spot a liar [TED talk]

The First Quantum Art Exhibition in Space

Art critic Julian Spalding banned from Damien Hirst’s Tate exhibition after calling him a talentless conman

How the “Paul McCartney is Dead” Hoax Started at an American College Newspaper and Went Viral (1969)

How NASA and other space agencies colorize space photos

CIA takes blame for more than half of UFO sightings in late 1950s and 60s

JFK and 9/11 in Back to the Future – Hidden Messages In Plain Sight

U.S. ambassador to Finland

Triple-Decker Weekly, 123


This study examines the relationship between physical appearance and labor market outcomes. It focuses on hair color and addresses the effects of the “blonde myth,” a series of perceptions about personality characteristics of blonde women. Inexperienced blonde women earn significantly less than their non-blonde counterparts. This wage gap declines over time, and blonde women with more work experience earn higher wages. The relationship between earnings and hair color is not explained by personal or family characteristics. I argue that employer or customer tastes drive the initial blonde hair penalty; job sorting and mobility allow blonde women to close the gap. [Labour Economics]

You shoot a lot of BDSM stuff. How did you get into that scene? One of my neighbors was heavy into it. I took a photo of my neighbor and she posted it on some website and a lot of people liked it. After that people started to want me to take their photos. They basically inducted me into the New York tribe of BDSM people. The induction was interesting. They invited me to this dude’s house and all the girls were on their knees as servants. Basically I had sex with this dude’s wife and this other dude’s girlfriend and then they said, “You’re an honorary member.” […] What’s with the guy getting barbequed? […] The guy, Jim, gets off the plane from Texas in a white denim mini skirt and he’s all excited. The girls wash him down, shave all the hair off his body and strap him down to the spit and the barbequing begins. The basting took 40 minutes, then they lit the coals and he roasted on the spit for about three and half hours and got pretty cooked. When it was time to take him off he was yelling that he didn’t want to get off. He wanted to stay on there until his skin was legitimately burned. [Ian Reid interviewed by Chris Nieratko]

Impending fatherhood can lower two hormones–testosterone and estradiol–for men, even before their babies are born, a new University of Michigan study found. Other studies indicate that men’s hormones change once they become fathers, and there is some evidence that this is a function of a decline after the child’s birth. […] Expectant mothers experience significant hormone changes throughout the transition to parenthood, but less has been known about the prenatal hormone changes among soon-to-be fathers. Women showed large prenatal increases in all four hormones, while men saw declines in testosterone (which is associated with aggression and parental care) and estradiol (which is associated with caregiving and bonding). No changes were found in men’s cortisol (a stress hormone) or progesterone (which is associated with social closeness and maternal behavior). [EurekAlert]

Cuban spy’s ultimate mystery: How he got his wife pregnant from a U.S. prison

Chinese passenger opens plane door for fresh air

Researchers have identified a neural circuit in the mouse brain that controls attention and sensory processing, providing insight into how the brain filters out distractions

Scientists locate ‘homing signal’ in the brain, explaining why some people are better navigators

Phobias may be memories passed down in genes from ancestors

Lost memories might be able to be restored, study

We all know that exercise can make us fitter and reduce our risk for illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. But just how, from start to finish, a run or a bike ride might translate into a healthier life has remained baffling. Now new research reports that the answer may lie, in part, in our DNA. Exercise, a new study finds, changes the shape and functioning of our genes, an important stop on the way to improved health and fitness. [NY Times]

Outgoing, sociable people also have the strongest immune systems, a new study finds

Far more attention has been paid to the microbes in our feces than the microbes in our food. […] The three dietary patterns analyzed were: (1) the Average American (AMERICAN): focused on convenience foods, (2) USDA recommended (USDA): emphasizing fruits and vegetables, lean meat, dairy, and whole grains, and (3) Vegan (VEGAN): excluding all animal products. […] Based on plate counts, the USDA meal plan had the highest total amount of microbes, followed by the VEGAN meal plan. [PeerJ]

An In-Depth Analysis of a Piece of Shit: Distribution of Schistosoma mansoni and Hookworm Eggs in Human Stool

Men Who Love Spicy Food Have More Testosterone

In a recent study, Mann and some colleagues induced a bad mood in 100 college students by making them watch clips from sad movies. They then fed half the students their favorite comfort food, while the other students ate food they enjoyed, but wouldn’t consider comfort food. Once the students had finished eating, the researchers asked the students how they felt. It turns out all the students felt better, regardless of what they had eaten. In another experiment, Mann had half the kids eat comfort food, and the other half eat nothing. After a few minutes, both groups felt equally better. The comfort food had no effect on mood. [NPR]

Balancing on one leg may indicate if a person is at risk of dementia or stroke, a study has found.

How Psychology and Neuroscience Get Sex and Gender Wrong

The celebrity analysis that killed celebrity analysis

Nobody can say exactly when the trend first started, but in 2014 we saw the first major outbreaks of bogus data distributed by private companies just so it would go viral online.

[Yahoo C.E.O. Marissa] Mayer also had a habit of operating on her own time. Every Monday at 3 p.m. Pacific, she asked her direct reports to gather for a three-hour meeting. Mayer demanded all of her staff across the world join the call, so executives from New York, where it was 6 p.m., and Europe, where it was 11 p.m. or later, would dial in, too. Invariably, Mayer herself would be at least 45 minutes late; some calls were so delayed that Yahoo executives in Europe couldn’t hang up till after 3 a.m. […] Within weeks of becoming C.E.O., she received an email from Henrique de Castro, the fashionable Portuguese president of Google’s media, mobile and platforms businesses. […] Over dinner, de Castro impressed Mayer with his knowledge of Yahoo’s business and his specific proposals for building it. For several mornings in a row, the two exchanged emails to negotiate de Castro’s salary. Every night, Mayer would make an offer, only to wake up to a reply with a list of more conditions. Eventually de Castro negotiated himself a contract worth around $60 million, depending on the value of Yahoo stock. […] Despite the board’s urging, Mayer opted against vetting Henrique de Castro. As a result, she was unaware that de Castro had a poor reputation among his colleagues in Google’s advertising business. Many had derisively called him the Most Interesting Man in the World, in reference to the satirically fatuous spokesman for Dos Equis beer. […] Advertising revenue declined in every quarter since he was hired. Within a year, Mayer had personally taken control of Yahoo’s ad team. De Castro would leave the company in January 2014. For about 15 months of work, he would be paid $109 million. [NY Times]

Instagram began the process of getting rid of all the spam accounts in its system, which has proved to be really embarrassing for all the people who bought a load of spambots to make themselves look more popular than they are. […] 37-year old rapper Ma$e got caught with an awful lot of imaginary friends. He saw an alarming drop in followers, from 1.6 million to 100,000. Unable to confront the idea that everyone knew he’d bought them from a site like Buzzoid at a rate of $3 for 100 followers, Ma$e subsequently deleted his account. […] Other big names hit by the cull include Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Barack Obama and Kim Kardashian. [Dazed]

A company given $21 million by leading Silicon Valley investors aims to extend Bitcoin’s functionality so it can power much more than just payments.

Bankers not as dishonest as purported

A Brief History of Investment Banking from Medieval Times to the Present

Can the umbrella be improved?

Singapore wants a driverless version of Uber

Uber Seeks to Patent “Surge Pricing”

Why an electric car may be much dirtier than a petrol one

The Conventional Wisdom On Oil Is Always Wrong

ISIS using bombs containing live scorpions

A 52 year old woman suffered from a strange problem: she saw dragons wherever she looked.

The process is called reverse osmosis (RO), and it’s the mainstay of large-scale desalination facilities around the world. As water is forced through the membrane, the polymer allows the water molecules to pass while blocking the salts and other inorganic impurities. Global desalination output has tripled since 2000: 16,000 plants are up and running around the world, and the pace of construction is expected to increase while the technology continues to improve. […] Seawater desalination, in fact, is one of the most expensive sources of fresh water. The water sells—depending on site conditions—for between $1,000 and $2,500 per acre-foot (the amount used by two five-person U.S. households per year). Carlsbad’s product will sell for around $2,000, which is 80 percent more than the county pays for treated water from outside the area. […] Already, some 700 million people worldwide suffer from water scarcity, but that number is expected to swell to 1.8 billion in just 10 years. Some countries, like Israel, already rely heavily on desalination; more will follow suit. In many places, “we are already at the limit of renewable water resources, and yet we continue to grow,” says John Lienhard, a mechanical engineer and director of the Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy at MIT. “On top of that we have global warming, with hotter and drier conditions in many areas, which will potentially further reduce the amount of renewable water available.” [Technology Review]

Queen Victoria enjoyed sex, bought modern art, liked looking at drawings of naked men, was emotionally self-indulgent, histrionic and luxurious. Victorian values, as we understand them, reached their apogee in the reigns of her grandson George V and his son George VI

Nature and Origin of “Squirting” in Female Sexuality

The saltine cracker challenge

Vogue, 1962 / Stella Artois ad, 2010

Fundamental plot arcs, seen through multidimensional analysis of thousands of TV and movie scripts

A new method for mapping how information flows around the globe identifies the best languages to spread your ideas

“Mondegreen” means a misheard word or phrase that makes sense in your head, but is, in fact, entirely incorrect.

Amazon ‘suppresses’ book with too many hyphens

A Brief History of Pubic Hair in Art

Perceptual and physiological responses to Jackson Pollock’s fractals

Andy Warhol at a Party with His Tape Recorder, Which he Referred to as “My Wife Sony” [more]

Robot flies to Germany as airline passenger from Los Angeles

Triple-Decker Weekly, 122


The Male Idiotic Theory (MIT) stipulates that the reason men are more prone to injury and death is simply because they “are idiots and idiots do stupid things“. Despite tons of anecdotal evidence confirming MIT, there’s never been a systematic analysis on sex differences in idiotic risk taking behaviour. Until now. In a new study published in BMJ, researchers obtained 20 years worth of data from the Darwin Awards to tally up the sex of each year’s winner. For those not in the know, the Darwin Awards are given to people who die in such astonishingly stupid ways that “their action ensures the long-term survival of the species, by selectively allowing one less idiot to survive”. […] Men made up a staggering 88.7 % of Darwin Award winners in 318 examined cases. [Neurorexia]

Males are more likely to die than females while in the womb

Several weeks ago, Vidra communicated the new vision to the staff in what I am told was an uncomfortable stream of business clichés ungrounded in any apparent strategy other than saying things like “let’s break shit” and “we’re a tech company now.” [NY mag | Continue reading | Daily Beast]

Subclinical Primary Psychopathy, but Not Physical Formidability or Attractiveness, Predicts Conversational Dominance

Women outperform men in some financial negotiations

Most American presidents destined to fade from nation’s memory, study suggests [more]

The door-in-the-face (DITF) influence strategy has been studied for over 20 years. […] Before making a request of a person, an initial larger request is made, which the person declines. […] Declining the first request makes persons more likely to accept the second (target) request. [Guilt and expected guilt in the door-in-the-face technique | PDF | via Improbable]

10 of The Most Counter-intuitive Psychology Findings Ever Published 1. Self-help Mantras Can Do More Harm Than Good […] 3. Criminals Show Cooperation and Prosocial Behaviour in Economic Games […] 5. We Make Many Decisions Mindlessly […] 6. Opposites Don’t Attract […] 10. Sometimes a Pregnant Woman’s Depression is Advantageous For Her Baby [BPS]

This research proposes that because rounded numbers are more fluently processed, rounded prices (e.g., $200.00) encourage reliance on feelings. In contrast, because nonrounded numbers are disfluently processed, nonrounded prices (e.g., $198.76) encourage reliance on cognition. Thus, rounded (nonrounded) prices lead to a subjective experience of “feeling right” when the purchase decision is driven by feelings (cognition). Further, this sense of feeling right resulting from the fit between the roundedness of the price number and the nature of decision context can make positive reactions toward the target product more positive and negative reactions more negative, a phenomenon referred to as the rounded price effect in the current research. Results from five studies provide converging evidence for the rounded price effect. Findings from the current research further show that merely priming participants with rounded (nonrounded) numbers in an unrelated context could also lead to the rounded price effect. [Journal of Consumer Research]

Frostbite is the freezing of parts of the body. Your cells are mostly water; when water freezes it forms crystals. The crystals are sharp and are larger than the same amount of water (ie. water expands when it freezes). This leads to punctures in the cell membranes; the affected parts of the body sort of digest themselves due to the release of enzymes from the broken cells. Frostbite usually affects the extremities – toes, fingers, nose, ear lobes, private parts for men – because they have less blood flow and are harder to keep warm. Your body also sacrifices these body parts in an effort to keep warm by constricting blood vessels to keep the majority of blood from cooling and carrying the cold back to the center of the body. […] Hypothermia is the bone-chilling cold you feel when your entire body’s temperature is dropping. Your normal body temperature is 98.6 ˚F (37 ˚C) or thereabouts. At 95 ˚F (35 ˚C) hypothermia begins. At 91 ˚F (32.7 ˚C) you get amnesia, and below 85 ˚F (29.5 ˚C) you lose consciousness. […] Hypothermia can kill you in several ways, two of which have to do with electricity. Your heart beats because it supplies itself with a chemico-electrical jolt every second or so. This is what occurs in the sinus and AV nodes of the heart and is based on an electrical charge difference across the cells’ membranes in the node. Low body temperature messes with the membrane potential, so the heartbeat is slow and erratic. Too slow (bradycardia) or too erratic (arrhythmia) leads to a heartbeat so dysfunctional that it won’t push the blood through your body and you die from cardiac failure. [The ‘Scope]

Smoking erases Y chromosomes

The Sex Lives of Sex Researchers

How addicts gained the power to reverse overdoses

When a man was fitted with a new heart, his mind changed in unusual ways. Why?

[D]etoxing – the idea that you can flush your system of impurities and leave your organs squeaky clean and raring to go – is a scam. It’s a pseudo-medical concept designed to sell you things. “Let’s be clear,” says Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, “there are two types of detox: one is respectable and the other isn’t.” The respectable one, he says, is the medical treatment of people with life-threatening drug addictions. “The other is the word being hijacked by entrepreneurs, quacks and charlatans to sell a bogus treatment that allegedly detoxifies your body of toxins you’re supposed to have accumulated.” […] In 2009, a network of scientists assembled by the UK charity Sense about Science contacted the manufacturers of 15 products sold in pharmacies and supermarkets that claimed to detoxify. The products ranged from dietary supplements to smoothies and shampoos. When the scientists asked for evidence behind the claims, not one of the manufacturers could define what they meant by detoxification, let alone name the toxins. [...] Then there’s colonic irrigation. Its proponents will tell you that mischievous plaques of impacted poo can lurk in your colon for months or years and pump disease-causing toxins back into your system. Pay them a small fee, though, and they’ll insert a hose up your bottom and wash them all away.[…] No doctor has ever seen one of these mythical plaques, and many warn against having the procedure done, saying that it can perforate your bowel. [The Guardian]

Scientists have created a chemical that can be added to food to make people feel full.

Food Guns

Microbial succession in a sterilized restroom begins with bacteria from the gut and the vagina, and is followed shortly by microbes from the skin.

Effect of Vaginal Electrical Stimulation

‘Off switch’ for pain discovered gives mostly accurate and readable descriptions of the costs and benefits of every psychiatric medication.

Forty percent of trials reported significantly greater long-term weight loss with diet compared with aerobic exercise. Diet+aerobic exercise resulted in significantly greater weight loss than diet alone in 50% of trials.

A new study looks at the changes in social structures and diet during the transition from the Merovingian (6th to 9th c. CE) to Vikings era (9th to 11th c. CE) in Northern Europe.

things you (probably) didn’t know about the Middle Ages

Many theories have hypothesized that Protestantism should have favored economic development. Using population figures of 272 cities in the years 1300-1900, I find no effects of Protestantism on economic growth.

Does Religious Beliefs Affect Economic Growth? Evidence from Provincial-level Panel Data in China

The balcony scene in “Romeo and Juliet” is not actually in Shakespeare’s play.

Wittgenstein and Hitler Attended the Same School in Austria, at the Same Time (1904-1905)

A World War II grenade apparently landed on a tree during fighting. It was then enveloped by wood growing around it to the point that it was invisible when the tree was chopped down for firewood and sold to the supermarket…

It turns out that the modern affliction of spellcheckers wreaking havoc on unsuspecting documents has been given a name.

Evidence for ‘bilingual advantage’ may be less conclusive than previously thought

It’s called “beauty work.” It’s a digital procedure of sorts, in which a handful of skilled artists use highly specialized software in the final stages of post-production to slim, de-age and enhance actors’ faces and bodies. […] Under strict non-disclosure agreements, Hollywood A-listers have been quietly slipping in and out of a few bland office buildings around town, many to sit in on days-long retouching sessions, directing the artists to make every frame suitable. […] Hips are narrowed, calves slimmed, turkey-necks tucked. Pores are tightened. Eye-bags reduced (often, entire hangovers are erased). Hair is thickened, teeth whitened. Underarm-skin is de-jiggled. Belly fat obliterated, abs raised. [ Mashable]

According to a study released this week by Brown University’s Department of Modern Culture and Media, it now takes only four minutes for a new cultural touchstone to transform from an amusing novelty into an intensely annoying thing people never want to see or hear again. […] “We project that by 2018, the gap between liking something new and wishing yourself dead rather than hearing it again will be down to 60 seconds,” Levinson said. “And by 2023, enjoyment and abhorrence will occur simultaneously, the two emotions effectively canceling each other out and leaving one feeling nothing whatsoever.” [The Onion | via Nathan Jurgenson]

Alfredo Martinez strapped his little brother to a rocket engine at the age of 12, was shot in the leg in Guatemala by a death squad in the 1980’s, and he himself shot his dealer at an art fair in New York City with a self-made gun.

How Law Defines Art

Much Contemporary Art is a Sham Says Famous British Critic

Even Steve Martin Got Sold an $850,000 Forgery

Museums are mining increasingly detailed layers of information about their guests, employing some of the same strategies that companies like Macy’s, Netflix and Wal-Mart have used in recent years to boost sales by tracking customer behavior

Startup wants to build you a personal website that’s automatically updated with your own data

The tattoos are worn exactly as a regular temporary tattoo would be worn. The sensors simply sit atop the skin without penetrating it and interact with Bluetooth or other wireless devices with a signal in order to send the data.

WhatsApp is cited in nearly half of all Italian divorce proceedings

The Associations Between Adolescents’ Consumption of Pornography and Music Videos and Their Sexting Behavior

People trust NSA more than Google, survey says

The Cost of the “S” in HTTPS [PDF]

Almost one-fourth of video ads and 11 percent of display ads are viewed by bots created by cyber crime networks seeking to siphon advertising money

BitTorrent launches invite-only torrent-based browser

IsoHunt unofficially resurrects The Pirate Bay

List of search terms blocked in China

The Rise and Fall of Chris Hughes and Sean Eldridge, America’s Worst Gay Power Couple

This startup wants to pay you to fly with strangers’ stuff in your luggage

Anyone with more than 2,000 personal Facebook friends or 100,000 followers on Instagram gets a free seven-night stay at the luxury hotel, which usually costs $360/night.

Big Bang, Universe, Sun & Earth, Life begins…

New theories suggest the big bang was not the beginning, and that we may live in the past of a parallel universe. […] Time’s arrow may in a sense move in two directions, although any observer can only see and experience one. [Scientific American]

Amazing unknown transparent vehicle captured over Vienna, Austria – Nov 26, 2014 [Thanks Tim]