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]
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]
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]
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 ]
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…
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.
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]
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]
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