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every day the same again

Triple-Decker Weekly, 120

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Two Chinese officials bought corpses from grave robbers to meet government cremation quotas

In Australia alone roughly 30 people per year suffer lightning shocks delivered by telephone.

Journalists consider the importance of events and the audience’s interest in them when deciding on which events to report. Events most likely to be reported are those that are both important and can capture the audience’s interest. In turn, the public is most likely to become aware of important news when some aspect of the story piques their interest. We suggest an efficacious means of drawing public attention to important news stories: dogs. Examining the national news agenda of 10 regional newspapers relative to that of the New York Times, we evaluated the effect of having a dog in a news event on the likelihood that the event is reported in regional newspapers. The “dog effect” is approximately equivalent to the effect of whether a story warrants front- or back-page national news coverage in the New York Times. Thus, we conclude that dogs are an important factor in news decisions. [Cambridge University Press | PDF]

The Effects of Subtle Misinformation in News Headlines

Writing about traumatic, stressful or emotional events has been found to result in improvements in both physical and psychological health

English has recently developed a new intensifier, ass, which means something very close to very, is marked as vulgar and colloquial, and appears in cases such as in: That is a big-ass chair, It is a cold-ass night [PDF]

Some people may know what is being said even though the auditory hallucinations may only consist of nonverbal sounds.

Flattery—the art of offering pleasing compliments—is one of the oldest and most commonly used of persuasion methods. Research in this area provides a reason for the popularity of this tactic. Put simply, flattery works. Various studies have shown that the target of the flattery evaluates the flatterer positively because human beings have a basic desire to believe in good things about themselves. What happens, however, in situations in which the flattery is “bogus”—that is, when the recipient knows that the flatterer is offering an insincere compliment, presumably driven by an ulterior motive? Instances of insincere flattery abound in the marketing context, such as the salesperson who offers prospective customers profuse compliments on how an expensive outfit makes them look. […] The authors show that even when flattery by marketing agents is accompanied by an obvious ulterior motive that leads targets to discount the proffered compliments, the initial favorable reaction (the implicit attitude) continues to coexist with the dis- counted evaluation (the explicit attitude). Furthermore, the implicit attitude has more influential consequences than the explicit attitude, highlighting the possible subtle impact of flattery even when a person has consciously corrected for it. [Journal of Marketing Research | PDF]

People’s beliefs about their physical attractiveness (self-perceived attractiveness) can also influence whether people will support or reject inequality.

When We Don’t Like the Solution, We Deny the Problem

Airport security agents using a new conversation-based screening method caught mock airline passengers with deceptive cover stories more than 20 times as often as agents who used the traditional method of examining body language for suspicious signs

Once dominated by correlational studies, face-perception research is moving into the realm of experimentation—and gaining tremendous insight.

Why Women Buy Magazines that Promote Impossible Body Images

Based on a survey of heterosexual female college students in committed relationships, how often women experienced orgasm as a result of sexual intercourse was related to their partner’s family income, his self-confidence, and how attractive he was. […] We also identified an ensemble of partner psychological traits (motivation, intelligence, focus, and determination) that predicted how often women initiated sexual intercourse. Their partner’s sense of humor not only predicted his self-confidence and family income, but it also predicted women’s propensity to initiate sex, how often they had sex, and it enhanced their orgasm frequency in comparison with other partners. [Evolution Psychology | PDF]

Guy Ends Up In Hospital After Getting Girlfriend’s Strap-On Stuck Up His Bum

In a series of 7 experiments we demonstrate that women perceive men to be more attractive and sexually desirable when seen on a red background and in red clothing. […] The influence of red appears to be specific to women’s romantic attraction to men: Red did not influence men’s perceptions of other men, nor did it influence women’s perceptions of men’s overall likability, agreeableness, or extraversion. [APA PsycNet]

A man’s likelihood of obtaining a woman’s phone number increases three-fold when accompanied by a dog

Ghost illusion created in the lab [more]

This thing we call time doesn’t tick at the same rate everywhere in the universe. Or even on our planet. Right now, on the top of Mount Everest, time is passing just a little bit faster than it is in Death Valley. […] Time itself is flowing more quickly on the wall than on the floor. These differences didn’t really matter until now. But this new clock is so sensitive, little changes in height throw it way off. Lift it just a couple of centimeters, Ye says, “and you will start to see that difference.” […] The world’s current time is coordinated between atomic clocks all over the planet. But that can’t happen with the new one. [NPR]

An interesting idea is that the universe could be spontaneously created from nothing, but no rigorous proof has been given. In this paper, we present such a proof based on the analytic solutions of the Wheeler-DeWitt equation. [The Physics arXiv Blog]

Why do we dream? It’s still a scientific mystery. The “Threat Simulation Theory” proposes that we dream as a way to simulate real-life threats and prepare ourselves for dealing with them. “This simulation in an almost-real experiential world would train the brain to perceive dangers and rapidly face them within the safe condition of sleeping,” write the authors of a new paper that’s put the theory to the test. […] The researchers contacted thousands of first-year students at the end of the day that they sat a very important exam. […] over 700 of the students agreed to participate and they completed a questionnaire about their dreams and sleep quality the previous evening, and any dreams they’d had about the exam over the course of the university term. […] The more exam dreams a student reported having during the term, the higher their grade tended to be. [BPS]

Human tetrachromacy is the purely theoretical notion that a woman might, through a rare mutation on one of her two X chromosomes, end up having four different types of cones in her retina instead of the usual three, and therefore be uncannily sensitive to differences in color.

Google Wants to Store Your Genome

Why people cry when they are happy

According to a new study, sad music trigger emotions and experiences beyond sadness.

How can a sequence of dance steps best be learned?

Cotton Vs. Polyester: Which Gym Clothes Trap The Most Body Odor?

We all resist changing our beliefs about the world, but what happens when some of those beliefs are based on misinformation? Is there a right way to correct someone when they believe something that’s wrong? […] The first thing their review turned up is the importance of “backfire effects” — when telling people that they are wrong only strengthens their belief. […] If you try and debunk a myth, you may end up reinforcing that belief, strengthening the misinformation in people’s mind without making the correct information take hold. What you must do, they argue, is to start with the plausible alternative (that obviously you believe is correct). If you must mention a myth, you should mention this second, and only after clearly warning people that you’re about to discuss something that isn’t true. [Tom Stafford/BBC]

Crimes such as bribery require the cooperation of two or more criminals for mutual gain. Instead of deterring these crimes, the state should disrupt them by creating distrust among criminals so they cannot cooperate. In a cooperative crime with two criminals, the state should offer amnesty and a bounty to the criminal who first secures punishment of the other criminal. When the bounty exceeds the bribe, a bribed official gains less from keeping the bribe than from confessing and receiving the bounty. Consequently the person who pays the bribe cannot trust the person who takes it. The game’s unique equilibrium is non-cooperative and bribes disappear. [Review of Law & Economics]

The Public Find Neuroscience Irrelevant and Anxiety-provoking

Loneliness is a disease that changes the brain’s structure and function

An Entire Restaurant With Tables for One

How blind people use batlike sonar

The 24th Ig Nobel prizes were announced on September 18. The prizes annually award scientific research that “first makes people laugh and then makes them think.” […] The prize went to Kiyoshi Mabuchi of Kitasato University for his work “measuring the amount of friction between a shoe and a banana skin, and between a banana skin and the floor, when a person steps on a banana skin that’s on the floor”. Also tested were apple peels and orange skin – found to be less dangerous. […] Creatures of the night are, on average, “more self-admiring, more manipulative and more psychopathic” than people who habitually wake up early in the morning, according to Peter Jonason of the University of Western Sydney and colleagues. [The Conversation]

In politics we’re familiar with the non-apology apology (well described in Wikipedia as “a statement that has the form of an apology but does not express the expected contrition”). Here’s the scientific equivalent: the non-retraction retraction.

Researchers have successfully replicated a direct brain-to-brain connection between pairs of people. […] Researchers were able to transmit the signals from one person’s brain over the Internet and use these signals to control the hand motions of another person within a split second of sending that signal. [University of Washington]

Researchers at the MIT are testing out their version of a system that lets them see and analyze what autonomous robots, including flying drones, are “thinking.” [LiveScience | via gettingsome]

Penguin Robot infiltrates Penguin colony

China Builds Anti-Drone Laser Tech

A Feather and a Bowling Ball Dropped Together Inside the World’s Largest Vacuum Chamber

Man freed after being trapped between two walls of Colorado store

The Survival Condo is a 15-story building underground that can house up to 75 people

The 36 People Who Run Wikipedia

Why Are So Few Blockbuster Drugs Invented Today? [NY Times]

When is fortunetelling a crime?

Amy Li Sets Up a Gallery in Her Father’s Button Shop

The Influence and Legacy of Larry Sultan

Cleaning a vinyl record with wood glue. This trick works because the glue and record are somewhat chemically similar, so the glue only sticks to stuff that’s not supposed to be there.

a pregnancy diary that grows with the mother’s belly

ShitExpress [related: doppio + single]

Fletcher Bach and I recently discovered that there are reviews of prisons on Yelp.

Happy birthday!

Warning Signs of Satanic Behavior. Training video for police, 1990

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We will review evidence from neuroscience, complex network research and evolution theory and demonstrate that — at least in terms of psychopharmacological intervention — on the basis of our understanding of brain function it seems inconceivable that there ever will be a drug that has the desired effect without undesirable side effects. [Neuroethics]

Anarchist conference descends into chaos

Virgos suffering ‘astrological discrimination’ in China

The Belgian city of Bruges has approved plans to build a pipeline which will funnel beer underneath its famous cobbled streets. Locals and politicians were fed up with huge lorries clattering through the cobbled streets.

Mother drives with 5-month-old in trunk to avoid being cited for not having car seat

Blind people have four times more nightmares than sighted people

Scientists may have accidentally misread space dust as evidence of the Big Bang

Researcher proves, mathematically, that black holes do not exist

Rollercoaster thrill-seekers showered in blood after ride decapitates deer

Experiences feel more intense — whether good or bad — when someone else is there to share them, new study says

Have you ever felt lost and alone? If so, this experience probably involved your hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped structure in the middle of the brain. About 40 years ago, scientists with electrodes discovered that some neurons in the hippocampus fire each time an animal passes through a particular location in its environment. These neurons, called place cells, are thought to function as a cognitive map that enables navigation and spatial memory. Place cells are typically studied by recording from the hippocampus of a rodent navigating through a laboratory maze. But in the real world, rats can cover a lot of ground. For example, many rats leave their filthy sewer bunkers every night to enter the cozy bedrooms of innocent sleeping children. In a recent paper, esteemed neuroscientist Dr. Dylan Rich and colleagues investigated how place cells encode very large spaces. Specifically, they asked: how are new place cells recruited to the network as a rat explores a truly giant maze? [Sick papes]

Woman has married herself after being single for six years

Penises grown in lab could be tested on humans within five years

Vaginal orgasm doesn’t exist, study

Other people can tell whether your partner is cheating on you

‘Back-up husbands,’ ‘emotional affairs’ and the rise of digital infidelity

Alcohol makes smiles more ‘contagious,’ but only for men

Couvade syndrome: why some men develop signs of pregnancy

de Gruyter]

Men seem to focus more on the artist’s background and authenticity, while women pay more attention to the art itself.

Our results show that even in an environment where other group members show no bias, women in male-typed areas and men in female-typed areas may be less influential [PDF]

Who has more appeal and influence: Someone who makes decisions with considerable thought and analysis or someone who takes virtually no time and seems to make decisions effortlessly? [PDF]

Over-caffeinated people may have a hard time expressing emotion

Coffee Drinkers Have Trouble Talking About Emotions?

Winners evaluate themselves favorably even when the competitor is incompetent

Studies of human conversation have documented that 30–40% of everyday speech is used to relay information to others about one’s private experiences or personal relationships, and recent surveys of Internet use indicate that upwards of 80% of posts to social media sites (such as Twitter) consist simply of announcements about one’s own immediate experiences. Although other primates do not generally attempt to communicate to others what they know—for example, by pointing out interesting things or modeling behaviors for others to imitate—by 9 mo of age, human children begin trying to draw others’ attention to aspects of the environment that they find important, and adults in all societies make consistent attempts to impart their knowledge to others. […] What drives this propensity for disclosure? Here, we test recent theories that individuals place high subjective value on opportunities to communicate their thoughts and feelings to others and that doing so engages neural and cognitive mechanisms associated with reward. Five studies provided sup- port for this hypothesis. Self-disclosure was strongly associated with increased activation in brain regions that form the mesolimbic dopamine system, including the nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental area. Moreover, individuals were willing to forgo money to disclose about the self. [PNAS | PDF]

Self-disclosure plays a central role in the development and maintenance of relationships. One way that researchers have explored these processes is by studying the links between self-disclosure and liking. […] Significant disclosure-liking relations were found for each effect: (a) People who engage in intimate disclosures tend to be liked more than people who disclose at lower levels, (b) people disclose more to those whom they initially like, and (c) people like others as a result of having disclosed to them. [Psychological Bulletin | PDF ]

Genes don’t just influence your IQ—they determine how well you do in school

Morphed images of Hollywood celebrities reveal how neurons make up your mind

Motion, audio, and location data harvested from a smartphone can be analyzed to accurately predict stress or depression

A new study has suggested that men who exercise on a regular basis are at lower risk of nocturia i.e. waking up at night to urinate.

Awareness can continue for at least several minutes after clinical death [Where did the story come from?]

Neural activity predicts the timing of spontaneous decisions

Losing the sense of smell predicts death within five years, according to new research.

Low-frequency sounds we don’t hear could still affect our ears

World’s loudest sound circled the Earth four times

World’s smallest microphone is just one molecule

How to tell when a robot has written you a letter

The book describes the training of laboratory rats to trade in foreign exchange and commodity futures markets

The online illicit drug economy is booming. Here’s what people are buying.

In carefully crafting a lightbulb with a relatively short life span, the cartel thus hatched the industrial strategy now known as planned obsolescence.

We conduct an empirical study to analyze how waiting in queue in the context of a retail store affects customers’ purchasing behavior. […] pooling multiple queues into a single queue may increase the length of the queue observed by customers and thereby lead to lower revenues. We also find that customers’ sensitivity to waiting is heterogeneous and negatively correlated with price sensitivity, which has important implications for pricing in a multiproduct category subject to congestion effects. [Management Science]

Men are now the primary grocery shoppers in about four in 10 households. But men, food companies have found, have their own priorities.

Americans love to eat out. During the year 2012, the average resident of the United States of America ate more than 200 meals outside the home. This paper studies the history of eating outside the home in America from Colonial to modern times.

Diners Tend To Eat More If Their Companions Are Overweight

Researchers found that when charged more for an all-you-can-eat buffet diners rated the food higher than when charged less for the same food.

Playful new cooking based on traditional methods and weird ingredients will supplant the industrial techniques that dominate modernist cuisine.

Scientists have “hacked” photosynthesis, and it could help them speed up food production

Too Much Air in Potato Chip Packets? Students Make a Boat to Prove It

The World’s Most Dangerous Garden

“There’s as much biodiversity in the soils of Central Park as we found in the soil… from the Arctic to Antarctica” […] almost 170,000 different kinds of microbes. […] The team also found 2,000 species of microbes that are apparently unique to Central Park. [ NPR]

10,000 pigeons underwent anal security check in China

The idea of an aesthetically pleasing gluteal region has been with us since early recorded history.

A history of the word “Bitch”

Schizophrenia in rap music

The ban against Spinoza was the harshest ever issued by the Amsterdam Portuguese-Jewish community

In the autumn of 1931, the philosopher Martin Heidegger began to record his thoughts in small diaries that he called the schwarze Hefte, or “black notebooks.”

Why do Autocrats Disclose?

Do Communists Have Better Sex?

A 2014 study found that readers of a short mystery story on a Kindle were significantly worse at remembering the order of events than those who read the same story in paperback.

A quantitative analysis of the graying of Barack Obama’s hair [PDF]

100 Copies of The Beatles’ White Album Playing At The Same Time

USB cigarettes (pay-as-you-smoke) patent

I Quant NY [Thanks Tim]

What happens if racing greyhounds not just chase, but actually catch the mechanical rabbit?

matt.cash

Triple-Decker Weekly, 117

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People’s belief in free will is lower when they need to urinate or desire sex

Domestic violence likely more frequent for same-sex couples

The main objective of this study was to describe male and female lumbar spine and hip motion and muscle activation patterns during coitus and compare these motions and muscle activity across five common coital positions. […] A secondary objective was to determine if simulated coitus could be used in place of real coitus for future coitus biomechanics research. [via University of Waterloo | PDF]

Venezuela’s shortage of breast implants

Bra Wearing Not Associated with Breast Cancer Risk

Double mastectomy for breast cancer ‘does not boost survival chances’

Town in Brazil made up entirely of women has made an appeal for bachelors

’Family meal’ ideal is stressful, impossible for many families

New Toyota minivan equips parents with mic to make it easier to yell at unruly kids in the back

To examine the effects of grunting on velocity and force production during dynamic and static tennis strokes in collegiate tennis players. […] The velocity, force, and peak muscle activity during tennis serves and forehand strokes are significantly enhanced when athletes are allowed to grunt. [Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research | more]

Self-Deceived Individuals Are Better at Deceiving Others

Neuroscientists reverse memories’ emotional associations: Brain circuit that links feelings to memories manipulated

‘Memories’ can be passed down through genetic code from one generation to the next.

A woman has reached the age of 24 without anyone realising she was missing a large part of her brain. […] her entire cerebellum was missing […] The cerebellum – sometimes known as the “little brain” – is located underneath the two hemispheres. It looks different from the rest of the brain because it consists of much smaller and more compact folds of tissue. It represents about 10 per cent of the brain’s total volume but contains 50 per cent of its neurons. [NewScientist]

Scientists discover new “sleep node” in the brain: Findings may lead to new therapies for sleep disorders, including insomnia

How your brain actually makes decisions while you sleep

When you set sad lyrics against happy music, the music wins

Both men and women find humility attractive

Findings from two experiments suggest that priming the passage of time through the sound of a ticking clock influenced various aspects of women’s (but not men’s) reproductive timing. Moreover, consistent with recent research from the domain of life history theory, those effects depended on women’s childhood socioeconomic status (SES). The subtle sound of a ticking clock led low (but not high) SES women to reduce the age at which they sought to get married and have their first child (Study 1), as well as the priority they placed on the social status and long-term earning potential of potential romantic partners (Study 2). [Human Nature]

Researchers have discovered how two genes keep the circadian clocks in all human cells in time and in proper rhythm with the 24-hour day, as well as the seasons.

Study of more than 100,000 people finds three genetic variants for IQ — but their effects are maddeningly small.

Gene-Silencing Drugs Finally Show Promise

Genes may help explain why some people are naturally more interested in music than others

Research on twins has found that our genes may determine an innate baseline for how happy we’ll be during our lives

An office enriched with plants makes staff happier and boosts productivity by 15 per cent

Not everyone who hears voices experiences them as social entities but this type of social hallucinated voice is not rare or exotic.

The evidence that abstinence from alcohol is a cause of heart disease and early death is irrefutable

First-person account of Cotard’s delusion – the belief that you’re dead

This study examines whether tattoo visibility affects recidivism length of ex-offenders [PDF]

Richard Feynman’s Lectures on Physics

Time Travel Simulation Resolves “Grandfather Paradox”

Grandfather busted for prostituting himself… to young women

Imagine that someone else was controlling your actions. You would still look like you, and sound like you, but you wouldn’t be the one deciding what you did and what you said. Would anyone notice the difference?

Action films most likely to make you fat

Serialized Killers: Prebooting Horror in Bates Motel and Hannibal

New Study Examines Impact of Violent Media on the Brain

Study finds ‘magical contagion’ spreads creator’s essence to artworks, adding value

Only 1.5 percent of looted art is ever recovered. Why don’t museums put GPS trackers on everything?

Scientists use E.coli bacteria to create fuel

Growing mushrooms in diapers

What body parts are seeing the most striking rise in venture-capital funding? Eyes and ears.

“At some factories, robots are even building other robots, producing about 50 robots per 24-hour shift and operating unsupervised for as long as 30 days at a time.” [via gettingsome]

Hackers Are Homing in on Hospitals

How the FBI took down the online black market and drug bazaar known as the Silk Road

Quick-change materials break the silicon speed limit for computers

Where is Josh Harris now?

DJs all over the world are now deliberately making mistakes during their mixes to prove to fans and critics that they are in fact real DJs.

Burger King goes “Goth” in Japan

Airlines are creating rush hours and crowds at airports – on purpose

When individual performance was publicly posted in the workplace, employees working in a group performed better than when working alone; however, when individual performance was not posted, employees working in a group performed worse than when working alone. [Management Science]

This paper considers when a firm’s freely chosen name can signal meaningful information about its quality, and examines a setting in which it does. Plumbing firms with names beginning with an “A” or a number receive five times more service complaints, on average. In addition, firms use names beginning with an “A” or a number more often in larger markets, and those that do have higher prices. These results reflect consumers’ search decisions and extend to online position auctions: plumbing firms that advertise on Google receive more complaints, which contradicts prior theoretical predictions but fits the setting considered here. [Ryan C. McDevitt | PDF]

Her job was to taste Hitler’s food to make sure it wasn’t poisoned. [via Natalie Shutler]

Germany’s Air Food One is a subscription service that lets anyone get airline meals delivered to their home once a week.

Plane crash [Thanks Tim]

Portraits of former Playboy Bunnies

Returning to from lower Manhattan to Brooklyn

The various ways to duck paying the fare on the Paris Subway

Porn for the Blind [thanks GG]

Share selfies with your friends if they’re standing behind you. [Thanks Tim]

I Wanted a Floor Lamp

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

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

Seattle doctor accused of sexting during surgery

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

Reading ‘Fifty Shades’ linked to unhealthy behaviors

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

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

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

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

Couple walled in by angry neighbours

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

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

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

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

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

Neuroscientists watch imagination happening in the brain

The use of hallucinogens in research and therapy

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

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

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

Here, we test whether creativity increases dishonesty [PDF]

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

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

Home is where the microbes are

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

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

Hangover Cure Finally Comes to the U.S.

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

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

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

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

Schrödinger’s cat caught on quantum film

The smell of rain: what is petrichor?

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

States with faster Internet speeds have smarter people

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

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

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

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

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

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

Researchers find it’s terrifyingly easy to hack traffic lights

Inside Google’s Secret Drone-Delivery Program

This Is Uber’s Playbook for Sabotaging Lyft

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

Does terrorism help perpetrators to achieve their demands?

The Role of Artists in Ship Camouflage During World War I

How Temperatures In Manhattan Differ From Block To Block

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

The ‘chairless chair’ that lets you relax anywhere

Egypt feminist defecates on IS flag in the nude

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

Horses And Sleep

Celebs before their signature Hollywood smiles

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

Images from opening scenes of adult movies

Crying Infant Assuager (new patent)

Facial Recognition Software for Cats

Camel toe challenge [more]

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

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

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

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

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

Why bad news dominates the headlines

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

Why are people with high self-control happier?

Why is intelligence associated with stability of happiness?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Black holes aren’t black after all

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What The Numbers On Your Credit Card Really Mean

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

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

Google’s Effort to Trademark ‘Glass’ Clears Hurdle

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

UK to allow driverless cars on public roads in January

Car Security Is Likely to Worsen, Researchers Say

Used cigarette butts offer energy storage solution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Is How You Make Selfie Toast

Statues Taking Selfies

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

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