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

Triple-Decker Weekly, 118

tdw118

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

tdw117

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

Triple-Decker Weekly, 116

tdw-116

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

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

Seattle doctor accused of sexting during surgery

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

Reading ‘Fifty Shades’ linked to unhealthy behaviors

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

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

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

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

Couple walled in by angry neighbours

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

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

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

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

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

Neuroscientists watch imagination happening in the brain

The use of hallucinogens in research and therapy

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

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

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

Here, we test whether creativity increases dishonesty [PDF]

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

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

Home is where the microbes are

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

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

Hangover Cure Finally Comes to the U.S.

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

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

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

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

Schrödinger’s cat caught on quantum film

The smell of rain: what is petrichor?

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

States with faster Internet speeds have smarter people

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

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

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

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

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

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

Researchers find it’s terrifyingly easy to hack traffic lights

Inside Google’s Secret Drone-Delivery Program

This Is Uber’s Playbook for Sabotaging Lyft

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

Does terrorism help perpetrators to achieve their demands?

The Role of Artists in Ship Camouflage During World War I

How Temperatures In Manhattan Differ From Block To Block

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

The ‘chairless chair’ that lets you relax anywhere

Egypt feminist defecates on IS flag in the nude

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

Horses And Sleep

Celebs before their signature Hollywood smiles

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

Images from opening scenes of adult movies

Crying Infant Assuager (new patent)

Facial Recognition Software for Cats

Camel toe challenge [more]

Triple-Decker Weekly, 114

tdw-114

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

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

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

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

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

Why bad news dominates the headlines

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

Why are people with high self-control happier?

Why is intelligence associated with stability of happiness?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Black holes aren’t black after all

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What The Numbers On Your Credit Card Really Mean

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

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

Google’s Effort to Trademark ‘Glass’ Clears Hurdle

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

UK to allow driverless cars on public roads in January

Car Security Is Likely to Worsen, Researchers Say

Used cigarette butts offer energy storage solution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Is How You Make Selfie Toast

Statues Taking Selfies

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

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

Triple-Decker Weekly, 113

tdw-113

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Danish DNA Could be Key to Happiness

How Becoming a Father Changes Your Brain

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

Sweet taste liking is associated with impulsive behaviors in humans

Brands are succeeding largely because of consumer ignorance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

How much are curators really paid?

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

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

Backmasking

Astronauts debate provenance of turd floating in Apollo 10

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