twitter
facebook twitter tumblr newsletter
Tagged:
every day the same again

Triple-Decker Weekly, 131

2

Catalogue of entrances to Hell in and around the UK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Dinosaurs Shrank and Became Birds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interacting with women can impair men’s cognitive functioning

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

Expert philosophers are just as irrational as the rest of us

Group discussion improves lie detection

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are We Seeing the End of Homeopathy?

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

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

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

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

Substance abuse reduces brain volume in women but not men

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

Scientists build artificial neurons able to communicate with organic neurons

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

Female psychopaths process moral judgements differently than male psychopaths

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

Links found between blood type and risk of cognitive decline

What It’s Like to Be Profoundly Face-Blind

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

New method reveals exact time of death after 10 days

Key element of human language discovered in bird babble

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

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

Cognitive capacities for cooking in chimpanzees

Horses communicate amongst each other with eye and ear twitches

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

Where does water go when it doesn’t flow?

Why do puddles stop spreading?

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

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

Is your fear of radiation irrational?

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

How Do We Remember Colors?

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

This Is How Uber Takes Over a City

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

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

How Ads Follow You from Phone to Desktop to Tablet

Chinese Zoo Animals Monitored For Earthquake Prediction

New York Wants Google Maps to Discourage Left Turns

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

Soft robot tentacle can lasso an ant without harming it

Algorithm Chooses the Most Creative Paintings in History

Jaw power (new patent)

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

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

Some Aspects of Adaptation to Failure

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

Sharks living in a volcano

How to Sue Richard Prince and Win

Man sues Chinese actress over her intense stare in TV show

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

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

Population density in NYC at day and night

The best bonfires are roughly as tall as they are wide

How to steal an election

It is forbidden to die in the Arctic town of Longyearbyen

Donald Trump butt plug

Interactive Mirror Built from 450 Rotating Penguins by Daniel Rozin

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

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

Triple-Decker Weekly, 130

tdw-130

Films with a female presence earn less at the box office

Research shows more sex does not mean more happiness

The relation between sexual orientation and penile dimensions in a large sample of men was studied. […] Penile dimensions were assessed using five measures of penile length and circumference from Kinsey’s original protocol. On all five measures, homosexual men reported larger penises than did heterosexual men. Explanations for these differences are discussed, including the possibility that these findings provide additional evidence that variations in prenatal hormonal levels (or other biological mechanisms affecting reproductive structures)affect sexual orientation development. [Archives of Sexual Behavior]

Worker fired for disabling GPS app that tracked her 24 hours a day

New Zealand-based company is building a very, very angry robot to help companies deal with angry customers

Big brands said to want models with at least 10,000 Instagram followers

A statistical analysis of birth month and celebrity finds that individuals born under certain astrological signs are more likely to become famous

Dog poo DNA tests to catch owners who fail to clean up their pet’s mess are to be launched in an east London borough

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the main component of our genetic material. It is formed by combining four parts: A, C, G and T (adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine), called bases of DNA combine in thousands of possible sequences to provide the genetic variability that enables the wealth of aspects and functions of living beings. In the early 80s, to these four “classic” bases of DNA was added a fifth: the methyl-cytosine (mC) derived from cytosine. And it was in the late 90’s when mC was recognized as the main cause of epigenetic mechanisms: it is able to switch genes on or off depending on the physiological needs of each tissue. In recent years, interest in this fifth DNA base has increased by showing that alterations in the methyl-cytosine contribute to the development of many human diseases, including cancer. Today, an article published in Cell describes the possible existence of a sixth DNA base, the methyl-adenine (mA), which also help determine the epigenome and would therefore be key in the life of the cells. [ScienceDaily]

3D X-ray technique detects 40% more breast cancers than traditional mammography does

Ageing causes changes to the brain size, vasculature, and cognition. The brain shrinks with increasing age and there are changes at all levels from molecules to morphology. Incidence of stroke, white matter lesions, and dementia also rise with age, as does level of memory impairment and there are changes in levels of neurotransmitters and hormones. Protective factors that reduce cardiovascular risk, namely regular exercise, a healthy diet, and low to moderate alcohol intake, seem to aid the ageing brain as does increased cognitive effort in the form of education or occupational attainment. A healthy life both physically and mentally may be the best defence against the changes of an ageing brain. Additional measures to prevent cardiovascular disease may also be important. […] It has been widely found that the volume of the brain and/or its weight declines with age at a rate of around 5% per decade after age 40 with the actual rate of decline possibly increasing with age particularly over age 70. […] The most widely seen cognitive change associated with ageing is that of memory. Memory function can be broadly divided into four sections, episodic memory, semantic memory, procedural memory, and working memory.18 The first two of these are most important with regard to ageing. Episodic memory is defined as “a form of memory in which information is stored with ‘mental tags’, about where, when and how the information was picked up”. An example of an episodic memory would be a memory of your first day at school, the important meeting you attended last week, or the lesson where you learnt that Paris is the capital of France. Episodic memory performance is thought to decline from middle age onwards. This is particularly true for recall in normal ageing and less so for recognition. It is also a characteristic of the memory loss seen in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). […] Semantic memory is defined as “memory for meanings”, for example, knowing that Paris is the capital of France, that 10 millimetres make up a centimetre, or that Mozart composed the Magic Flute. Semantic memory increases gradually from middle age to the young elderly but then declines in the very elderly. [Postgraduate Medical Journal | Thanks Tim]

This is what happens after you die

Physical activity has a multitude of health benefits — it reduces the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and possibly even cancer — but weight loss is not one of them. A growing body of scientific evidence shows that exercise alone has almost no effect on weight loss, as two sports scientists and I described in a recent editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. For one, researchers who reviewed surveys of millions of American adults found that physical activity increased between 2001 and 2009, particularly in counties in Kentucky, Georgia and Florida. But the rise in exercise was matched by an increase in obesity in almost every county studied. There were even more striking results in a 2011 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which found that people who simply dieted experienced greater weight loss than those who combined diet and exercise. […] It’s calorie intake that is really fueling the obesity epidemic. But it’s not just the number of calories we’re eating as how we’re getting them. The sugar calories are particularly bad. […] The World Health Organization now recommends no more than six teaspoons of sugar a day for the average adult. […] The food and beverage industry is most guilty of perpetuating the false belief that the obesity epidemic is simply due to lack of exercise, spending billions to market nutritionally poor products as “sports drinks” while simultaneously promoting the benefits of physical activity. […] None of this means you should turn in your gym membership card. Working out will make you healthier and less susceptible to disease. No matter what your size, even 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity that breaks you into a sweat five times per week will substantially improve your health and well-being. Do what you enjoy, whether it’s dancing, cycling, sex or all three. If it’s longevity you’re after, note that elite athletes in high-intensity sports don’t live any longer than top golfers. But if weight loss is your goal, your diet is what really needs to change. An analysis by professor Simon Capewell at the University of Liverpool revealed that poor diet (for example, eating too much junk food without enough nuts, whole grains, fruit and vegetables) now contributes to more disease and death than smoking, alcohol and physical inactivity combined. [Washington Post]

Organic milk ‘is less healthy than regular milk and could harm child IQ,’ say researchers

Meat eaters who justify their eating habits feel less guilty and are more tolerant of social inequality say researchers.

In study, skipping meals is linked to abdominal weight gain

More than 40 percent of US honeybees died this past year

Traffic noise blocks fish sex

New study suggests that flying may be greener than driving

The future is always stranger than we expect: mobile phones and the Internet, not flying cars. […] “We’re not funding Mother Teresa. We’re funding imperial, will-to-power people who want to crush their competition. Companies can only have a big impact on the world if they get big.” […] The dirty secret of the trade is that the bottom three-quarters of venture firms didn’t beat the Nasdaq for the past five years. […] The truth is that most V.C.s subsist entirely on fees, which they compound by raising a new fund every three years. Returns are kept hidden by nondisclosure agreements, and so V.C.s routinely overstate them, both to encourage investment and to attract entrepreneurs. […] “We live in a financial age, not a technological age.” [New Yorker]

If you sold every share of every company in the U.S. and used the money to buy up all the factories, machines and inventory, you’d have some cash left over. That, in a nutshell, is the math behind a bear case on equities that says prices have outrun reality. The concept is embodied in a measure known as the Q ratio developed by James Tobin, a Nobel Prize-winning economist at Yale University who died in 2002. According to Tobin’s Q, equities in the U.S. are valued about 10 percent above the cost of replacing their underlying assets — higher than any time other than the Internet bubble and the 1929 peak. [Bloomberg]

Most real decisions, unlike those of economics texts, have a status quo alternative—that is, doing nothing or maintaining one’s current or previous decision. A series of decision-making experiments shows that individuals disproportionately stick with the status quo. [Journal of Risk and Uncertainty | PDF]

Would you Pay for Transparently Useless Advice?

The secret to overturning negative first impressions

Researchers have discovered a virus that infects our brains and “makes us more stupid.”

Frequent earbud headphone use increases your risk for “hidden hearing loss”: study

Pop music shows a pattern from biological evolution known as punctuated equilibrium, in which periods of gradual change are separated by explosions of complexity

The shortest scientific paper ever published

Physics paper with 5,154 authors has broken the record for the largest number of contributors to a single research article.

How to choose a price that will maximize your profit

Why is the number 2,147,483,647 important?Anything larger confuses many computers.

The Predecessors of Bitcoin and Their Implications for the Prospect of Virtual Currencies

Slot machines perfected addictive gaming. Now, tech wants their tricks.

Labyrinths have made their way into prisons, spas, wellness centers, and hospitals in recent years

Before leaving his girlfriend’s apartment in Crown Heights, on the morning of his nineteenth arrest for impersonating and performing the functions of New York City Transit Authority employees, Darius McCollum put on an NYCTA subway conductor’s uniform and reflector vest. […] Six weeks earlier, Darius had been paroled from the Elmira Correctional Facility, near Binghamton, New York, where he had served two years for attempted grand larceny—”attempted” because he had signed out NYCTA vehicles for surface use (extinguishing track fires, supervising maintenance projects) and then signed them back in according to procedure. Darius has never worked for the NYCTA; he has never held a steady job. He is thirty-seven and has spent a third of his adult life in prison for victim-less offenses related to transit systems. […] His obsession with the subway manifested itself as soon as he began riding trains with his mother, at age three. [Harper’s/Long Reads]

Water-skipping stones and spheres

Why Is the Heart Symbol so Anatomically Incorrect?

Japanese hotel launches ‘crying rooms’

Chinese Restaurant Gives Discounts to Customers with Short Skirts

Beard Hair Net Sales Are Booming Thanks to Hipster Chef Bros

Anti-NSA pranksters planted tape recorders across New York and published your conversations

Triple-Decker Weekly, 128

tdw-128

US researchers are investigating ways to extract the gold and precious metals from human faeces.

It’s hard to read the old-fashioned way, slowly and deliberately. Few of us have the patience, the concentration, or the time. When we do read, we skim, trying to get a quick “take” on the topics of the day, often conveniently served up as prepackaged excerpts by our modern media machine. We flit from one thing to the next, never pausing to think about what we’ve just read, because in our media-saturated, technology-obsessed age we just don’t have time. Worse, our bad reading habits are symptomatic of a deeper malaise. Real learning, real knowledge, and real culture have been supplanted by the shallow, utilitarian instrumentalism of modern life. The evidence is mounting. Humanities departments are losing students to the sciences and other more useful majors, where they are stuffed with facts and outfitted with skills, better to serve the state as productive citizens; our cultural models are the average heroes of a popular culture. Our culture is in decline. And we read only the headlines. That may sound like the latest jeremiad in The New Criterion or The New Republic, but it’s actually a paraphrase of Friedrich Nietzsche’s preface to a series of lectures he delivered in the winter of 1872. […] Nietzsche saw this image of modern print culture embodied in modern journalism’s endless pursuit of the news. In the face of the modern media machine, he longed for timelessness, but one not simply stripped of its time and place. Instead, it was an ethos of active resistance to the “idolatrous” need for the new, the latest headline, the latest commentary, the latest feuilleton. It was intended to enlist those few who were not, as he put it in the Basel lectures, “caught up in the dizzying haste of our hurtling era” and dependent on its short-lived pleasures. It was a call for calm readers. [The Hedgehog Review]

Previously: DNA-based prediction of Nietzsche’s voice

People prescribe optimism when they believe it has the opportunity to improve the chance of success—unfortunately, people may be overly optimistic about just how much optimism can do. [APA/PsycNET]

The effects of being in a “new relationship” on levels of testosterone in men [PDF]

Narcissism levels have been increasing among Western youth, and contribute to societal problems such as aggression and violence. The origins of narcissism, however, are not well understood. Here, we report, to our knowledge, the first prospective longitudinal evidence on the origins of narcissism in children. We compared two perspectives: social learning theory (positing that narcissism is cultivated by parental overvaluation) and psychoanalytic theory (positing that narcissism is cultivated by lack of parental warmth). We timed the study in late childhood (ages 7–12), when individual differences in narcissism first emerge. In four 6-mo waves, 565 children and their parents reported child narcissism, child self-esteem, parental overvaluation, and parental warmth. Four-wave cross-lagged panel models were conducted. Results support social learning theory and contradict psychoanalytic theory: Narcissism was predicted by parental overvaluation, not by lack of parental warmth. Thus, children seem to acquire narcissism, in part, by internalizing parents’ inflated views of them (e.g., “I am superior to others” and “I am entitled to privileges”). Attesting to the specificity of this finding, self-esteem was predicted by parental warmth, not by parental overvaluation. [PNAS]

Even Women Who Should Know Better Are Attracted to Narcissists

If a woman overestimates her romantic partner’s commitment, the cost to her fitness—reproduction without an investing partner—can be considerable. Error Management Theory predicts that women have an evolved bias to be skeptical of men’s commitment in a relationship, which reduces the likelihood of making a costly false positive error. [Evolutionary Psychology | PDF]

The sexual selection concept arises from the observation that many animals had evolved features whose function is not to help individuals survive, but help them to maximize their reproductive success. This can be realized in two different ways: by making themselves attractive to the opposite sex (intersexual selection, between the sexes); or by intimidating, deterring or defeating same-sex rivals (intrasexual selection, within a given sex). Thus, sexual selection takes two major forms: intersexual selection (also known as ‘mate choice’ or ‘female choice’) in which males compete with each other to be chosen by females; and intrasexual selection (also known as ‘male–male competition’) in which members of the less limited sex (typically males) compete aggressively among themselves for access to the limiting sex. The limiting sex is the sex which has the higher parental investment, which therefore faces the most pressure to make a good mate decision. For intersexual selection to work, one sex must evolve a feature alluring to the opposite sex, sometimes resulting in a “fashion fad” of intense selection in an arbitrary direction. Or, in the second case, while natural selection can help animals develop ways of killing or escaping from other species, intrasexual selection drives the selection of attributes that allow alpha males to dominate their own breeding partners and rivals. [Wikipedia]

Canine teeth, horns, claws, and the sheer size and strength of certain male animals provide strong examples of physical weapons, and aggression is a behavioral weapon among humans and other animals. A peacock’s tail, which is useless and costly to sustain, is the most famous example of an ornament. Showing off and creativity may be the human equivalents of this ornamentation. Certain polygynous species, such as the elephant seal, become weapon specialists, relying primarily on intrasexual combat to achieve reproductive success. Other species, such as the peacock and numerous birds of paradise, specialize in intersexual selection to produce extravagant male ornaments. Humans are versatile animals who rely on a large brain to facilitate amassing and facultatively employing a large repertoire of survival and reproductive strategies, including weapons and ornaments. Even though ancestral men may have used intrasexual combat more than intersexual ornaments in acquiring mates and much human female choice may also have derived from male contests, modern men use both intrasexual and intersexual mating strategies as evidenced by much research showing a clear association between mating motivation and various behaviors that constitute weapons and ornaments in men. Specific weapon-like behaviors under mating investigation include physical or direct aggression in response to provocation, social dominance and status, endorsing warring attitudes, and producing a low voice pitch. The studied ornament-like behaviors include conspicuous material consumption, risk taking, humor, being unique and non-conforming, becoming loss averse, making generous financial donations, and exhibiting heroic altruism, all of which are preferred by women. These studies suggest that, similar to other male animals, men can exhibit weapon-like and ornament-like behaviors, but, unlike many male animals that specialize in either weapons or ornaments nearly to the exclusion of the other, men seem to have developed the versatility to acquire and apply both strategies to facultatively respond to intrasexual and intersexual competition. Men may use weapons and ornaments facultatively as situational responses to intersexual and intrasexual conditions and, over time, may also develop behavioral tendencies in using one strategy more frequently over the other, adding to the vast individual differences along a weapon-ornament dimension. [Evolutionary Psychology | PDF]

8,000 Years Ago, 17 Women Reproduced for Every One Man

Fear of spiders became part of our DNA during evolution, say scientists

One thousand genes you could live without

Cigarette Smoke Makes Superbugs More Aggressive

Can We Interpret Smoking Habits in Historic Skeletal Remains?

Chimps and Humans are Less Similar than We Thought

Psychopathic tendencies in chimpanzees

DNA can’t explain all inherited biological traits, research shows

A group of leading biologists called for a worldwide moratorium on use of a new genome-editing technique that would alter human DNA in a way that can be inherited. The biologists fear that the new technique is so effective and easy to use that some physicians may push ahead before its safety can be assessed. They also want the public to understand the ethical issues surrounding the technique, [which holds the power to repair or enhance any human gene, and] could be used to cure genetic diseases, but also to enhance qualities like beauty or intelligence. [NY Times]

Genome-editing technologies may offer a powerful approach to treat many human diseases, including HIV/AIDS, haemophilia, sickle-cell anaemia and several forms of cancer. All techniques currently in various stages of clinical development focus on modifying the genetic material of somatic cells, such as T cells (a type of white blood cell). These are not designed to affect sperm or eggs. […] The newest addition to the genome-editing arsenal is CRISPR/Cas9, a bacteria-derived system that uses RNA molecules that recognize specific human DNA sequences. The RNAs act as guides, matching the nuclease to corresponding locations in the human genome. [Nature]

New Discovery Moves Gene Editing Closer to Use in Humans

Genetic Origins of Economic Development

A power nap of under an hour can improve memory performance by five times, a new study finds.

New Alzheimer’s treatment fully restores memory function

Recalling one memory actually leads to the forgetting of other competing memories, a new study confirms. It is one of the single most surprising facts about memory, now isolated by neuroscience research. Although many scientists believed the brain must work this way, this is the first time it has been demonstrated. [PsyBlog | Nature]

When attention is a deficit

15 years ago, the neurosciences defined the main function of brains in terms of processing input to compute output: “brain function is ultimately best understood in terms of input/output transformations and how they are produced” wrote Mike Mauk in 2000. Since then, a lot of things have been discovered that make this stimulus-response concept untenable and potentially based largely on laboratory artifacts. For instance, it was discovered that the likely ancestral state of behavioral organization is one of probing the environment with ongoing, variable actions first and evaluating sensory feedback later (i.e., the inverse of stimulus response). […] In humans, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies over the last decade and a half revealed that the human brain is far from passively waiting for stimuli, but rather constantly produces ongoing, variable activity, and just shifts this activity over to other networks when we move from rest to task or switch between tasks. [Björn Brembs]

People in the study were more likely to disclose something personal about themselves after laughing together, although they didn’t realize it.

The ability to express empathy — the capacity to share and feel another’s emotions — is limited by the stress of being around strangers, according to a new study.

Why do so many people so often say “so”?

Excess Time Indoors May Explain Rising Myopia Rates

Too Many Scientific Studies, Study Finds

Homeopathy not effective for treating any condition

Researchers may have solved origin-of-life conundrum

Can Space Expand Faster Than the Speed of Light?

Observations by two powerful space telescopes have revealed that dark matter is weirder than previously thought. It is invisible, even to itself.

How solar eclipses cause problems for countries that rely on solar power

Glowing Tampons Help Detect Sewage Leaks

Radioactive sanitary pads from China seized by authorities in Lebanon [Thanks Tim]

Using a Foreskin to Repair Eyelids

Can you really catch a disease from bad bathroom smells?

Biohackers develop eyedrops that provide night vision

A pair of engineering students created a fire extinguisher that operates using sound waves.

Governor Jerry Brown: Californians to be heavily fined for long showers [Thanks GG]

New adhesive could work underwater, in wet conditions for medicine and industry

Plastics designed to degrade don’t break down any faster than their conventional counterparts, according to research

Build a Phased-Array Radar in Your Garage that Sees Through Walls

A robo-car just drove across the country

There are only four people/organizations in the world who know my location at all times: my wife (because I tell her), Apple (because Siri), the NSA (because NSA), and now Uber.

Hertz puts cameras in its rental cars, says it has no plans to use them

Here I indulge in wide-ranging speculations on the shape of physics, and technology closely related to physics, over the next one hundred years [PDF]

Japan’s House Foods Group Inc. said it has developed onions that release extremely low amount of tear-inducing compounds. [...] [T]he resulting onions have the added benefit of not leaving a strong smell on the cook’s hands or the breath of those who eat them. [WSJ]

This cure known as “Bald’s eye salve,” a mixture of onion, garlic, leek, wine, cow’s bile and cow’s stomach, actually works for wiping out methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA. MSRA is a bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics, and can cause anything from skin infections to widespread infection and pneumonia. […] Because cow stomach was part of the MRSA remedy, there have been questions about whether corpse medicine may have actually had some effect on health and whether it actually cured anything. Corpse medicine, or medical cannibalism, is the act of using parts of deceased humans for medicinal reasons. This persists today in such acts as organ transplant and blood transfusions. However, in the past, corpses were used for a wide variety of medical purposes and were thought to be able to cure anything from bleeding to aging to epilepsy.  [Bones Don’t Lie]

Things Bodies Can Do After Death [Thanks Nathan]

Anthropodermic bibliopegy is the practice of binding books in human skin. Though extremely uncommon in modern times, the technique dates back to at least the 17th century. The practice is inextricably connected with the practice of tanning human skin, often done in certain circumstances after a corpse has been dissected. Surviving historical examples of this technique include anatomy texts bound with the skin of dissected cadavers, volumes created as a bequest and bound with the skin of the testator, and copies of judicial proceedings bound in the skin of the murderer convicted in those proceedings, such as in the case of John Horwood in 1821 and the Red Barn Murder in 1828. [Wikipedia]

Anthropologists have shown that the practice of cannibalism is very often linked to magic, as the provider of the most potent ingredients to make ‘medicine’ to make a person bullet-proof, able to fly, all-powerful, and many more wondrous things.

Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that reduces its calories by as much as 50 percent

A psychedelic drink used for centuries in healing ceremonies is now attracting the attention of biomedical scientists as a possible treatment for depression

A few people become inebriated simply by eating carbohydrates

On further questioning, the patient admitted to drinking sixteen 8-oz glasses of iced tea daily

Buying human breast milk online poses serious health risk, say experts

Furans are coffee’s dirty little secret. Although we can thank them for the pleasant aroma and delicious flavour of freshly brewed coffee, furans have been labelled as a possible human carcinogen (cause of cancer) in disguise by food safety agencies including the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Furans enter our food chain through canned, bottled and jarred processed foods, but 85% of furan exposure in adults is from coffee consumption. All these products undergo ultra-high temperature (UHT) treatment and furans are one of the carcinogenic compounds produced. The canned, bottled and jarred foods are sterilized this way to eradicate disease-causing micro-organisms and to increase their shelf-life. Coffee beans are heated to even higher temperatures during roasting. Furans are volatile and not very water-soluble so how you like your coffee, roasted, ground, stored and brewed, will determine how much furan is left in your cup of Joe. […] Arisseto and colleagues (2011) […] found that furan content was higher in Robusta samples. […] Altaki and colleagues (2011) found regular decaffeinated or caffeinated brews made with an espresso machine had higher furan content than a drip coffee maker, and instant coffee brews had relatively low levels whilst coffee capsules contained the most. […] Leaving your cup of coffee to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before drinking will reduce furan amounts by 25% according to Guenther and colleagues (2010). [United Academics]

Denis Vrain-Lucas was trained as a law clerk, but by 1854 he had begun to forge historical documents, especially letters. Lucas began by using writing material and self-made inks from the appropriate period and forged mainly documents from French authors. He collected historical details from the Imperial library. As his forgeries were more readily accepted, he began to produce letters from historical figures. Over 16 years Vrain-Lucas forged total of 27,000 autographs, letters, and other documents from such luminaries as Mary Magdalene, Cleopatra, Judas Iscariot, Pontius Pilate, Joan of Arc, Cicero and Dante Alighieri – written in contemporary French and on watermarked paper. The most prominent French collectors bought them, helping Lucas accumulate a significant wealth of hundreds of thousands of francs. In 1861 Vrain-Lucas approached French mathematician and collector Michel Chasles and sold him forged letters for Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton and Blaise Pascal. In one of them Pascal supposedly claimed that he had discovered the laws of gravity before Newton. Since this would have meant that a Frenchman would have discovered gravity before an Englishman, Chasles accepted the letter and asked for more. Lucas proceeded to sell him hundreds of letters from historical and biblical figures. In 1867 Chasles approached the French Academy of Science, claiming to have proof that Pascal had discovered gravity before Newton. When he showed them the letters, scholars of the Academy noticed that the handwriting was very different compared to letters that were definitely by Pascal. Chasles defended the letters’ authenticity but was eventually forced to reveal that Vrain-Lucas had sold them to him. […] In February 1870, the Correctional Tribunal of Paris sentenced Vrain-Lucas to two years in prison for forgery. He also had pay a fine for 500 francs and all legal costs. Chasles received no restitution for all the money he had wasted on the Vrain-Lucas forgeries. [Wikipedia]

Algorithm Clones Facial Expressions… And Pastes Them Onto Other Faces

Tinder hack made hundreds of bros unwittingly flirt with each other

Bestselling books, 1900-1999

Sneeze catcher (new patent)

Oculus Rex

An object of infinite length but finite volume

We vandalize things that aren’t ours

Cheeseburger Ball Gag [thanks GG]

Triple-Decker Weekly, 127

tdw127

“I’ve actually never met Chris in person but I am definitely in love with him,” Sarah said. “He’s just spectacular. Chris and I have discussed getting married – I believe Chris does consider me his wife.” Chris claimed he was originally from Milan and moved to the US 18 years ago, saying he was on a business trip to South Africa when they met and is now stuck in Benin because of “trouble” with the government. Sarah has sent him money for stolen cards, phone charges, hotel bills, lawyers, a nanny, an expired visa and when Chris claimed the money she posted had been stolen. […] “He assured me that when he gets home he’s going to pay me back – every dime,” Sarah told Dr Phil. “He’s made five or six attempts to come back to the US to meet me. Every time they arrest him and put him in jail and then they want more money.” […] The pair talk for up to four hours on the phone a day […] “He sounded Italian, now his accent’s kind of changed I don’t know if he’s adapted to where he’s at… in Benin,” she added. [Independent]

The ‘sex selfie stick’ lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina. The device offers the unprecedented opportunity to be on the phone with someone’s genitals. [Independent]

Imagine a virus wipes out everyone on the planet except [a man]. […] He finds the last woman on Earth. […] Can they repopulate the Earth? To do so, their children would have to mate with one another, or mom and dad, in order to rebuild the human race. All the incestuous taboos aside, is this even genetically possible? […] The net result of inbreeding is that the resulting population loses a diverse genetic portfolio, which means they are less resistant to rare diseases and deformities. The smaller the gene pool, the faster it gets dirty. Such individuals would also have less diverse immune systems, making it much easier for a single germ to wipe them all out. […] In addition to the genetic landmines, the family would likely have a very difficult time overcoming the innate resistance most species have against inbreeding. Evolution knows that inbreeding is not good for the species, so it engineered a built-in “incest taboo” that creates a strong aversion to such behavior. [The Scope]

Men now outnumber women on the planet by 60 million, the highest ever recorded

Most people who describe themselves as demisexual say they only rarely feel desire, and only in the context of a close relationship. Gray-­asexuals (or gray-aces) roam the gray area between absolute asexuality and a more typical level of interest. […] “Every single asexual I’ve met embraces fluidity—I might be gray or asexual or demisexual,” says Claudia, a 24-year-old student from Las Vegas. “Us aces are like: whatevs.” [Wired]

In a rare legal move, prosecutors brought a deceased woman’s vagina into a murder trial Friday for jurors to view during testimony.

People who are trying to impress a date with their good looks might want to limit themselves to one drink

Darwin made a famous distinction between men’s and women’s mating strategies, between choosy, coy females and ardent, promiscuous males. […] Yet, as also anticipated by both Darwin and Trivers, empirical studies of both non-humans and humans reveal extraordinary flexibility in mating and investment behavior, both within and between the sexes. Reproductive strategies are clearly not an invariant, species-specific characteristic, but rather facultative responses to individual- and population-level social and ecological circumstances, rendering conditional mating strategies optimal. […] For example, across the ethnographic record, human societies can range from polyandrous to polygynous mating patterns, same-sex marriage can be institutionalized as with woman-to-woman unions in East Africa and men can spend considerable amounts of time and effort in beautifying themselves as in West Africa. […] Until recently, the study of sex-differentiated reproductive behaviour has relied on the long-standing model of sexual selection developed by Trivers. This model links sex roles directly to the differential investment in young by males and females. In its simplest form, this model posits that because males invest less initially (in sperm), they have a higher potential reproductive rate (PRR) and benefit more from mating multiply than do females. As a consequence, selection typically would favour mate-seeking and competitive behaviour in males, and heavy investment in parental care in females. […] Using data from eight Makushi communities of southern Guyana, characterized by varying adult sex ratios contingent on migration, we show that even within a single ethnic group, male mating effort varies in predictable ways with the ASR. At male-biased sex ratios, men’s and women’s investment in mating effort are indistinguishable; only when men are in the minority are they more inclined towards short-term, low investment relationships than women. [Royal Society Open Science]

Using new data from the United Kingdom’s Annual Population Survey, we find that […] marriage may help ease the causes of the mid-life dip in life satisfaction and that the benefits of marriage are unlikely to be short-lived. We explore friendship as a mechanism which could help explain a causal relationship between marriage and life satisfaction, and find that well-being effects of marriage are about twice as large for those whose spouse is also their best friend. [National Bureau of Economic Research]

Scientists discover part of brain that calculates the intentions of others

On the origins of dishonesty: From parents to children

Our results cannot confirm beneficial effects of breastfeeding on child intelligence.

Model who is almost 9 months pregnant is so fit she has abs

How easy would it be to edit a human embryo using CRISPR? Very easy, experts say.

Recent studies have shown that women are more sensitive than men to subtle cuteness differences in infant faces. It has been suggested that raised levels in estradiol and progesterone may be responsible for this advantage. […] Thirty-six women were tested once during ovulation and once during the luteal phase of their menstrual cycle. In a two alternative forced-choice experiment, participants chose the baby which they thought was cuter (Task 1), younger (Task 2), or the baby that they would prefer to babysit (Task 3). […] During ovulation, women were more likely to choose the cuter baby than during the luteal phase, in all three tasks. These results suggest that cuteness discrimination may be driven by cyclic hormonal shifts. [Hormones and Behavior]

After handshakes, we sniff people’s scent on our hand

Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young Adults

The risk of a heart attack increases by at least 8.5 times in the two hours after the intense emotions of anger and anxiety, a new study finds.

Adults only really catch flu about twice a decade, study

There’s too much poo on Mount Everest, says mountaineering boss

We’ve killed off half the world’s animals since 1970

Why Killer Whales Go Through Menopause But Elephants Don’t

Why Can’t Rodents Vomit?

Why can’t horses vomit?

Many people spontaneously use the word (or sound) “Um” in conversation, a phenomenon which has prompted a considerable volume of academic attention. A question arises though, can someone be induced to say “Um” by chemical means – say with the use of a powerful anaesthetic? Like, for example Ketamine? […] [V]olunteers who were given “low doses” and “high doses” of Ketamine tended to use the words “um” and “uh” significantly more than those who received a placebo only. [Improbable]

US physicists have studied the fluid dynamics of urine “splashback” – and found tips to help men and women with their accuracy and hygiene.

Why a coffee is more likely to spill than a latte

New study suggests yet another potential health benefit of coffee consumption: it could reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis.

Thinking about money makes you feel physically colder

Bra Wearing Not Associated with Breast Cancer Risk

The discovery that the human brain continues to produce new neurons in adulthood challenged a major dogma in the field of neuroscience

Is Neuroscience Based On Biology?

Scientists are increasingly convinced that the vast assemblage of microfauna in our intestines may have a major impact on our state of mind. The gut-brain axis seems to be bidirectional—the brain acts on gastrointestinal and immune functions that help to shape the gut’s microbial makeup, and gut microbes make neuroactive compounds, including neurotransmitters and metabolites that also act on the brain. […] Microbes may have their own evolutionary reasons for communicating with the brain. They need us to be social, says John Cryan, a neuroscientist at University College Cork in Ireland, so that they can spread through the human population. Cryan’s research shows that when bred in sterile conditions, germ-free mice lacking in intestinal microbes also lack an ability to recognize other mice with whom they interact. In other studies, disruptions of the microbiome induced mice behavior that mimics human anxiety, depression and even autism. In some cases, scientists restored more normal behavior by treating their test subjects with certain strains of benign bacteria. Nearly all the data so far are limited to mice, but Cryan believes the findings provide fertile ground for developing analogous compounds, which he calls psychobiotics, for humans. “That dietary treatments could be used as either adjunct or sole therapy for mood disorders is not beyond the realm of possibility,” he says. [Scientific American]

Scientists Insert a Synthetic Memory Into the Brain of a Sleeping Mouse

Startups in the U.S. are working on 3D printing nipples and bits of liver tissue, while a Russian provocateur claims to have on-demand thyroids.

New DNA technique can predict a person’s physical appearance with 80 percent confidence. [more ]

Over the past twenty years, DNA analysis has revolutionized forensic science, and has become a dominant tool in law enforcement. Today, DNA evidence is key to the conviction or exoneration of suspects of various types of crime. […] However, the disturbing possibility that DNA evidence can be faked has been overlooked. It turns out that standard molecular biology techniques such as PCR, molecular cloning, and recently developed whole genome amplification (WGA), enable anyone with basic equipment and know-how to produce practically unlimited amounts of in vitro synthesized (artificial) DNA with any desired genetic profile. This artificial DNA can then be applied to surfaces of objects or incorporated into genuine human tissues and planted in crime scenes. […] Here we show that the current forensic procedure fails to distinguish between such samples of blood, saliva, and touched surfaces with artificial DNA, and corresponding samples with in vivo generated (natural) DNA. Furthermore, genotyping of both artificial and natural samples with Profiler Plus1 yielded full profiles with no anomalies. [Forensic Science International: Genetics | PDF (2009)]

[O]ne in six serial killers are female. Their crimes tend to go undetected for longer than their male counterparts, likely in part because “our culture is in denial of women’s proclivity for aggression.” Harrison and her team have profiled 64 US female serial killers active between the years 1821 to 2008. […] The female serial killers had murdered between them at least 331 victims (making an average of 6 victims each). Their victims are of both sexes, but disproportionately male. The women had an average of age of 32 at the time of their first killing, and poisoning was the most common method. […] “the women in our study poisoned, smothered, burned, choked, shot, bludgeoned, and shot newborns, children, elderly, and ill people as well as healthy adults; most often those who knew and likely trusted them.” Many of the homicidal women had stereotypically female professions, including being nurses and baby-sitters. They tended to be above average in physical attractiveness, which may have helped to engender trust in their victims. As to motives, the most common was “hedonistic”, a category in forensic psychology that refers to killing for financial gain, lust or thrill, with nearly half the sample fitting this category. The next most common motive was “power-seeking”, which includes killing people in one’s care. […] A striking contrast with male serial killers is the relative absence of sexual violence and deviance. Two exceptions were a female serial killer who was a rapist, and another who reportedly barked like a dog during sex. But overall, the researchers highlighted how the women in their study primarily killed for resources, while their male counterparts kill for sex. This follows evolutionary theory, Harrison and her co-authors explained, in the sense that men are said to be motivated more by seeking multiple sexual opportunities, while women are motivated to find a committed partner with sufficient resources. […] The new analysis points to a worrying trend: a 150 per cent increase in the number of reported cases of female serial killers since 1975. [BPS]

A Decentralized Lie Detector

The facial pose of a person can be a good indicator of their importance, because important people often tend to be looking directly at the camera. The importance of specific individuals in photos of multiple people [PDF]

A start-up offers suspected shoplifters the chance to pay $320 to stop the police being called

Google started testing their cars on public roads back in 2009, long before any regulations were even dreamed of. An examination of the California Vehicle Code indicated there was nothing in there prohibiting testing. For testing purposes, Google has a trained safety driver sitting behind the wheel, ready to take it at any moment. Any attempt to take the wheel or use the pedals disables the automatic systems and the safety driver is in control. The safety drivers took special driving safety courses and were instructed to take control if they have any doubt about safe operation. For example, if a vehicle is not braking as expected when approaching a cross walk, take the controls immediately, do not wait to see if it will detect the pedestrians and stop. The safety drivers are accompanied by a second person in the passenger seat. Known as the software operator, this person monitors diagnostic screens showing what the system is perceiving and planning, and tells the safety driver if something appeared to be going wrong. The software operator is also an extra set of eyes on the road from time to time. […] This style of testing makes sense if you consider how we train teen-agers to drive. [Brad Templeton]

Will You Need a New License to Operate a Self-Driving Car?

The Price of Oil Is About to Blow a Hole in Corporate Accounting.

US May Run Out Of Oil Storage Space As Soon As June

Wall Street Has Its Eyes on Millennials’ $30 Trillion Inheritance

How a group of robbers staged one of history’s biggest bank heists – without setting foot in a bank

A simple brute force DDoS attack against one or two key points in the Internet would be enough to make the rest unusable. Personally I would probably go after MAE-West in San Jose, partly because almost all the traffic to and from Silicon Valley goes through there.

What one man learned by crashing elite colleges for 4 years

People are hopeless at drawing the Apple logo, and that tells us something about human memory

I remember how artists in the ’80s made the emphatic point that under no circumstances would they be represented in art fairs. (Laughter around the table) They thought that it was in poor taste. That is how it was in the beginning. And has been quite astonishing to see how things have turned around—in 30 years. [Stefan Stux/Artnet]

Police arrest conmen who sold a fake Goya, and were paid with fake cash

What would happen if an 800-kiloton nuclear warhead detonated above midtown Manhattan?

website that deletes itself once indexed by Google [Thanks Darren!]

Adam Savage’s Kubrick’s Overlook Hotel Maze Model [video]

We have a hallway in our apartment we would like to convert into the Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding 1994 museum.

Falconry accessories

Triple-Decker Weekly, 126

tdw-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

Bitchcoin

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

timder brooklyn [Thanks Tim]