Triple-Decker Weekly

Nokia accuses Apple of bias after Siri no longer says that the Lumia 900 is the best smartphone ever.

Divorce lawyers and wedding planners have been gearing up for the Facebook IPO, waiting for the influx of wealth in Silicon Valley to stir up drama in romantic relationships, for better and for worse. “When Google went public, there was a wave of divorces. When Cisco went public there was a wave of divorces,” says Steve Cone, a divorce attorney based in Palo Alto, near the social network’s Menlo Park headquarters. “I expect a similar wave shortly after Facebook goes public.” [FT]

Thinking about eternity is not simply an esoteric mental exercise. It’s a cure for boredom. […] Witness the man of stone. It takes an eternity for his eyes to blink even once. He stares at the sun, the moon, and the stars as they pass by turns overhead. One day he crumbles and only a pile of rubble remains. He wasn’t cut out for the eternal. [The Science Creative Quarterly]

A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that both men and women see images of sexy women’s bodies as objects, while they see sexy-looking men as people. [APS]

Bem made his mark as a psychologist four decades ago by proposing the then radical idea that people adjust their emotions after observing their own behavior–that we sometimes develop our attitudes about our actions only after the fact. The proposition challenged the prevailing wisdom of the 1960s that things worked the other way around, that attitude was the engine from which behavior emerged. Though counterintuitive, Bem’s theory has held up to scientific scrutiny in dozens of studies and is now enshrined in psychology textbooks. Over the years, Bem cemented his reputation as a rebel by floating other controversial theories on topics such as personality and sexual orientation. […] Even in the context of a career of irreverence, there was little to suggest that Bem would end up defending the possibility of extrasensory perception, or ESP, which most mainstream scientists consider unworthy of serious inquiry. […] By the end of the 1990s, Bem had changed his focus from clairvoyance to precognition, the most mind-boggling of psi phenomena. [Discover]

A study found that students asked to tell whether someone was gay or straight guessed correctly more often than could be put down to mere chance. Women had greater accuracy with 65 per cent able to identify someone's sexuality at a glance, while men were correct 57 per cent of the time. Evidence suggest it is easier to recognize gay women's faces than men's even when photos were shown upside down and with no hairstyle visible. [Telegraph]

One of the more interesting aspects of social psychology is the way different orientations can cause people to interpret the same thing in different ways. For example, you judge something differently if it were to happen in the past rather than the future. More specifically, according to a new study by Zachary Burns, Eugene Caruso, and Daniel Bartels, we tend to view future actions as more intentional than past actions, and as a result we prefer to punish future transgressions more harshly. [peer reviewed by my neurons]

The season in which a baby is born apparently influences the risk of developing mental disorders later in life, suggests a large new study. The season of birth may affect everything from eyesight and eating habits to birth defects and personality later in life. Past research has also hinted the season one is born in might affect mental health, with scientists suggesting a number of reasons for this apparent effect. [LiveScience]

In a new study, seniors in a good mood compared fewer options and made worse choices than did those in a bad mood or younger participants. [ScienceNews]

After viewing a few organic foods, comfort foods, or control foods, participants who were exposed to organic foods volunteered significantly less time to help a needy stranger, and they judged moral transgressions significantly harsher than those who viewed nonorganic foods. These results suggest that exposure to organic foods may lead people to affirm their moral identities, which attenuates their desire to be altruistic. [via peer-reviewed by my neurons]

The aim of this article is to discuss how changes in tomato food regulation, production and consumption, can be seen as part of a broader societal change from Modernity to Late Modernity. Based on evidence from the Swedish and European food systems we demonstrate how a system, which has been successfully managing development in food production for several decades by stressing rationality, homogeneity and standardization, is being challenged by a system that has adapted to, and also exploited, consumer preferences such as heterogeneity, diversity and authenticity. The article shows how tomato growers develop differentiation strategies, adapting to and cultivating this new consumer interest, and how authorities responsible for regulations of trade and quality struggle to adapt to the new situation. As the products become more diversified, taste becomes an important issue and is associated with a view that traditional and natural are superior to standardized and homogeneous products. [Culture Unbound]

According to recent research by Ena Inesi and colleagues, having power – as a manager, as the higher-paid spouse, or even as the babysitter – leads people to see favors by others as more selfishly motivated. [Psych your mind]

The great innovations come with side-effects. I have encountered people who said this about our chronic back pains being a side-effect of upright walking. It is a great thing but may have a couple of weak spots. We would actually be surprised if evolution didn’t take some time in a shake down of a new species. A recent paper in Cell by 20 authors has tackled the question of whether autism is the unfortunate result of the malfunctioning of a relatively new aspect of the human brain. [Thoughts on thoughts]

The settings for a person’s biological clock might provide clues to when, during the day, he or she will be more active. What’s more, these same settings could be linked to what time of day a person might die, a new study finds. [ScienceNews]

There is ample evidence that women do not react to competition as men do and are less willing to enter a competition than men. In this paper, we use personality variables to understand the underlying motives of women (and men) to enter a competition or avoid it. We use the Big Five personality factors, where especially neuroticism [tendency to experience negative emotional states] has been related to performance in achievement settings. We first test whether scores on the Big Five are related to performance in our experiment, and second how this is related to incentives. We can show that the sex difference in the willingness to enter a competition is mediated by neuroticism and further that neuroticism is negatively related to performance in competition. This raises the possibility that those women who do not choose competitive incentives “know” that they should not. [SSRN]

Women are picky. The general idea is that females invest more in reproduction, and, as such, need to be more selective about their partners. This purportedly has its root in anisogamy, a complicated word to say that egg cells are more expensive to produce, and lesser in number, than sperm cells. [The Beast, the bard and the bot]

First Gene Therapy Successful Against Aging-Associated Decline: Mouse Lifespan Extended Up to 24% With a Single Treatment.

The insight we gain from studying twins helps us to better understand how nature and nurture work together. Twin studies have identified some traits that have a strong genetic component, including reading disabilities like dyslexia. Other traits, like arthritis, are more likely influenced by the environment. [The University of Utah | thank you Patrick/]

Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland studied a gene for a protein called PKCA, which is known to be involved in the encoding of emotional memories. […] According to the study, the findings point to a “genetic link between the predisposition to build strong memory and the risk for post-traumatic stress disorder.” […] The research also adds to increasing evidence that many “positive” genes also have a downside — and similarly, many “negative” ones have an upside. For example, one gene linked with a tendency for children to share treats with others is also linked to ADHD and later in life, promiscuity and addiction. [Time]

One of the nightmare scenarios for modern society is the possibility of a global flu pandemic like the 1918 Spanish influenza which infected about a quarter of the global population and killed as many as 130 million of them. An important question for policy makers is how best to limit the spread of such a disease if a new outbreak were to occur. (The Spanish flu was caused by the H1N1 flu virus that was also responsible for the 2009 swine flu outbreak.) [The Physics arXiv Blog]

Since its publication (1859), the evolution theory of Charles Darwin has met with considerable opposition, notably from religious circles. Although scientific opposition decreased soon after, public rejection of evolution never died down. Recent research shows that a substantial part of the western world does not accept the idea of evolution. This article tries to understand the evolution controversy by reframing it as a phenomenon of public understanding of science. Findings suggest that the decision to reject evolution does not involve scientific knowledge. Arguments drawn from science are merely viewed as an addition to a decision that is already made and serve as a rationale to a non-rational decision. [SAGE]

The parent-offspring conflict theory delineates a zone of conflict between the mother and her offspring over weaning. We expect that the mother would try to wean her offspring off a little earlier than the offspring would be ready to wean themselves, thereby entering the zone of conflict for a short span of time. Though the theory was originally formulated in the context of weaning, it is also relevant in other contexts where a parent and his/her offspring have conflicting interests. […] There are several theoretical models that address parent-offspring conflict in different contexts like reproduction, intra-brood competition, sexual conflict, and parental favoritism toward particular offspring. Though relatedness between parents, offspring and siblings can be measured easily, it is not easy to measure precisely parental investment and the costs and benefits to the concerned parties in nature. [arXiv | PDF]

Though ancient philosophers are generally known for their praise of friendship, there is an evident tension involved in these positions: the possession of friends seems almost unhelpful, nearly inimical, to self-sufficiency and peace of mind. As fulfilling as friendships generally are, they often lead to mutual dependency and a loss of the tranquility thought to accompany solitude. The problems grow even more acute when one considers other, more intimate forms of human relationships, those celebrated less widely in ancient philosophy, such as sexual intercourse and romantic love, both of which intuitively seem even more threatening to self-sufficiency and mental tranquility than friendship does. [The Montréal Review]

This surgeon has performed 200 penis enlargement operations in the last year alone. But are men getting what they pay for? [Independent]

Why do some people enjoy the taste of broccoli while others find it bitter and unpleasant? Why do some seek out spicy and tangy meals on a restaurant’s menu while others stick with the bland and familiar? New research is uncovering the neurobiological and genetic sources of taste preferences, which can influence not just eating habits but also health. [Brain Facts]

Meeting new people can be a delicate business. How do you make sure that people get a right impression of who you are and what you’re capable of? Many people therefore tend to keep things formal and are hesitant to brag about themselves. But recent research reveals that it is wise to actually show your best self when meeting new people. At least, when you want them to really get to know you. [United Academics]

Neuroscientists at NYU and Harvard have identified the neural systems involved in forming first impressions of others.

Why First Impressions Are So Persistent.

A study of the world's largest subway networks has revealed that they are remarkably mathematically similar. [BBC | Scientific American]

Photography is about to lose control of its monopoly on affordable, convincing realism and it’s time for us to understand that realism has never been the most important feature of the photograph. [Photo Journal]

Members of the Olympic Family must also have at their disposal at least 500 air-conditioned limousines with chauffeurs wearing uniforms and caps. London must set aside, and pay for, 40,000 hotel rooms, including 1,800 four- and five-star rooms for the I.O.C. and its associates, for the entire period of the Games. London must cede to the I.O.C. the rights to all intellectual property relating to the Games, including the international trademark on the phrase “London 2012.” Although mail service and the issuance of currency are among any nation’s sovereign rights, the contract requires the British government to obtain the I.O.C.’s “prior written approval” for virtually any symbolic commemoration of the Games, including Olympic-themed postage stamps, coins, and banknotes. […] Near the end of the application process, an I.O.C. evaluation committee was permitted to visit London. Bid-committee officials knew that London’s transportation system was a weak spot on the city’s application. “Our nightmare was it would take forever to get to the venues,” Mills recalled. A bid-committee team planned the routes that I.O.C. members would travel around the city, and G.P.S. transmitters were planted in all of the I.O.C. members’ vehicles so they could be tracked. From the London Traffic Control Center, near Victoria Station, where hundreds of monitors display live feeds from London’s comprehensive CCTV surveillance system, each vehicle was followed, from camera to camera, “and when they came up to traffic lights,” Mills said, “we turned them green.” [Vanity Fair]

Historically, women have often been paid less than men for doing the same or equivalent work. A recent report reveals that an average woman working full time from the age of 18 to 59 years is estimated to lose out on £361,000 over the course of her working life compared with an equivalent male. This article considers the implementation in the UK of the Equality Act 2010 and its impact. [SAGE]

Brigitte Harris cut off her father's penis, accidentally killing him in the process, because, she says, he sexually abused her for years. In 2009, she was convicted of second-degree manslaughter, and sentenced to five to fifteen years. [NY mag]

Facebook’s costs are rising considerably faster than its revenues. [The New Yorker]

For $75, this guy will sell you 1,000 Facebook 'Likes.' [NPR | audio]

Your Brain on Facebook. [HBR]

The Golden Age of Silicon Valley Is Over, and We're Dancing on its Grave.

Most CCTV systems are easily accessible to attackers.

UK government staff caught snooping on citizen data.

Anaya has even coined a term for it—"customer service sabotage"—and discerned seven different categories of rude customers who can be a serious liability for the service industry.

Sony Pictures Television is replacing me as showrunner on Community. […] Guys like me can’t actually just be shot and left in a ditch by Skynet, we’re still allowed to have a title on the things we create and “help out,” like, I guess sharpening pencils and stuff. [Dan Harmon]

Looks matter more than reputation when it comes to trusting people with our money.

Economists list cheapest ways to save world.

Tumblr statistics prove what most people could have only guessed: There are a shit ton of “Fuck Yeah” blogs.

Celebrities That Look Like Mattresses.

The only known recording of Freud's voice.

Marcel Proust playing air guitar on a tennis racket circa 1892.

Which birth dates are most common?

Don’t you wish there was some discreet way for girls to quietly advertise the fact they’re into anal?