Triple-Decker Weekly, 123

This study examines the relationship between physical appearance and labor market outcomes. It focuses on hair color and addresses the effects of the “blonde myth,” a series of perceptions about personality characteristics of blonde women. Inexperienced blonde women earn significantly less than their non-blonde counterparts. This wage gap declines over time, and blonde women with more work experience earn higher wages. The relationship between earnings and hair color is not explained by personal or family characteristics. I argue that employer or customer tastes drive the initial blonde hair penalty; job sorting and mobility allow blonde women to close the gap. [Labour Economics]

You shoot a lot of BDSM stuff. How did you get into that scene? One of my neighbors was heavy into it. I took a photo of my neighbor and she posted it on some website and a lot of people liked it. After that people started to want me to take their photos. They basically inducted me into the New York tribe of BDSM people. The induction was interesting. They invited me to this dude’s house and all the girls were on their knees as servants. Basically I had sex with this dude’s wife and this other dude’s girlfriend and then they said, “You’re an honorary member.” […] What’s with the guy getting barbequed? […] The guy, Jim, gets off the plane from Texas in a white denim mini skirt and he’s all excited. The girls wash him down, shave all the hair off his body and strap him down to the spit and the barbequing begins. The basting took 40 minutes, then they lit the coals and he roasted on the spit for about three and half hours and got pretty cooked. When it was time to take him off he was yelling that he didn’t want to get off. He wanted to stay on there until his skin was legitimately burned. [Ian Reid interviewed by Chris Nieratko]

Impending fatherhood can lower two hormones–testosterone and estradiol–for men, even before their babies are born, a new University of Michigan study found. Other studies indicate that men’s hormones change once they become fathers, and there is some evidence that this is a function of a decline after the child’s birth. […] Expectant mothers experience significant hormone changes throughout the transition to parenthood, but less has been known about the prenatal hormone changes among soon-to-be fathers. Women showed large prenatal increases in all four hormones, while men saw declines in testosterone (which is associated with aggression and parental care) and estradiol (which is associated with caregiving and bonding). No changes were found in men’s cortisol (a stress hormone) or progesterone (which is associated with social closeness and maternal behavior). [EurekAlert]

Cuban spy’s ultimate mystery: How he got his wife pregnant from a U.S. prison

Chinese passenger opens plane door for fresh air

Researchers have identified a neural circuit in the mouse brain that controls attention and sensory processing, providing insight into how the brain filters out distractions

Scientists locate ‘homing signal’ in the brain, explaining why some people are better navigators

Phobias may be memories passed down in genes from ancestors

Lost memories might be able to be restored, study

We all know that exercise can make us fitter and reduce our risk for illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. But just how, from start to finish, a run or a bike ride might translate into a healthier life has remained baffling. Now new research reports that the answer may lie, in part, in our DNA. Exercise, a new study finds, changes the shape and functioning of our genes, an important stop on the way to improved health and fitness. [NY Times]

Outgoing, sociable people also have the strongest immune systems, a new study finds

Far more attention has been paid to the microbes in our feces than the microbes in our food. […] The three dietary patterns analyzed were: (1) the Average American (AMERICAN): focused on convenience foods, (2) USDA recommended (USDA): emphasizing fruits and vegetables, lean meat, dairy, and whole grains, and (3) Vegan (VEGAN): excluding all animal products. […] Based on plate counts, the USDA meal plan had the highest total amount of microbes, followed by the VEGAN meal plan. [PeerJ]

An In-Depth Analysis of a Piece of Shit: Distribution of Schistosoma mansoni and Hookworm Eggs in Human Stool

Men Who Love Spicy Food Have More Testosterone

In a recent study, Mann and some colleagues induced a bad mood in 100 college students by making them watch clips from sad movies. They then fed half the students their favorite comfort food, while the other students ate food they enjoyed, but wouldn’t consider comfort food. Once the students had finished eating, the researchers asked the students how they felt. It turns out all the students felt better, regardless of what they had eaten. In another experiment, Mann had half the kids eat comfort food, and the other half eat nothing. After a few minutes, both groups felt equally better. The comfort food had no effect on mood. [NPR]

Balancing on one leg may indicate if a person is at risk of dementia or stroke, a study has found.

How Psychology and Neuroscience Get Sex and Gender Wrong

The celebrity analysis that killed celebrity analysis

Nobody can say exactly when the trend first started, but in 2014 we saw the first major outbreaks of bogus data distributed by private companies just so it would go viral online.

[Yahoo C.E.O. Marissa] Mayer also had a habit of operating on her own time. Every Monday at 3 p.m. Pacific, she asked her direct reports to gather for a three-hour meeting. Mayer demanded all of her staff across the world join the call, so executives from New York, where it was 6 p.m., and Europe, where it was 11 p.m. or later, would dial in, too. Invariably, Mayer herself would be at least 45 minutes late; some calls were so delayed that Yahoo executives in Europe couldn’t hang up till after 3 a.m. […] Within weeks of becoming C.E.O., she received an email from Henrique de Castro, the fashionable Portuguese president of Google’s media, mobile and platforms businesses. […] Over dinner, de Castro impressed Mayer with his knowledge of Yahoo’s business and his specific proposals for building it. For several mornings in a row, the two exchanged emails to negotiate de Castro’s salary. Every night, Mayer would make an offer, only to wake up to a reply with a list of more conditions. Eventually de Castro negotiated himself a contract worth around $60 million, depending on the value of Yahoo stock. […] Despite the board’s urging, Mayer opted against vetting Henrique de Castro. As a result, she was unaware that de Castro had a poor reputation among his colleagues in Google’s advertising business. Many had derisively called him the Most Interesting Man in the World, in reference to the satirically fatuous spokesman for Dos Equis beer. […] Advertising revenue declined in every quarter since he was hired. Within a year, Mayer had personally taken control of Yahoo’s ad team. De Castro would leave the company in January 2014. For about 15 months of work, he would be paid $109 million. [NY Times]

Instagram began the process of getting rid of all the spam accounts in its system, which has proved to be really embarrassing for all the people who bought a load of spambots to make themselves look more popular than they are. […] 37-year old rapper Ma$e got caught with an awful lot of imaginary friends. He saw an alarming drop in followers, from 1.6 million to 100,000. Unable to confront the idea that everyone knew he’d bought them from a site like Buzzoid at a rate of $3 for 100 followers, Ma$e subsequently deleted his account. […] Other big names hit by the cull include Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Barack Obama and Kim Kardashian. [Dazed]

A company given $21 million by leading Silicon Valley investors aims to extend Bitcoin’s functionality so it can power much more than just payments.

Bankers not as dishonest as purported

A Brief History of Investment Banking from Medieval Times to the Present

Can the umbrella be improved?

Singapore wants a driverless version of Uber

Uber Seeks to Patent “Surge Pricing”

Why an electric car may be much dirtier than a petrol one

The Conventional Wisdom On Oil Is Always Wrong

ISIS using bombs containing live scorpions

A 52 year old woman suffered from a strange problem: she saw dragons wherever she looked.

The process is called reverse osmosis (RO), and it’s the mainstay of large-scale desalination facilities around the world. As water is forced through the membrane, the polymer allows the water molecules to pass while blocking the salts and other inorganic impurities. Global desalination output has tripled since 2000: 16,000 plants are up and running around the world, and the pace of construction is expected to increase while the technology continues to improve. […] Seawater desalination, in fact, is one of the most expensive sources of fresh water. The water sells—depending on site conditions—for between $1,000 and $2,500 per acre-foot (the amount used by two five-person U.S. households per year). Carlsbad’s product will sell for around $2,000, which is 80 percent more than the county pays for treated water from outside the area. […] Already, some 700 million people worldwide suffer from water scarcity, but that number is expected to swell to 1.8 billion in just 10 years. Some countries, like Israel, already rely heavily on desalination; more will follow suit. In many places, “we are already at the limit of renewable water resources, and yet we continue to grow,” says John Lienhard, a mechanical engineer and director of the Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy at MIT. “On top of that we have global warming, with hotter and drier conditions in many areas, which will potentially further reduce the amount of renewable water available.” [Technology Review]

Queen Victoria enjoyed sex, bought modern art, liked looking at drawings of naked men, was emotionally self-indulgent, histrionic and luxurious. Victorian values, as we understand them, reached their apogee in the reigns of her grandson George V and his son George VI

Nature and Origin of “Squirting” in Female Sexuality

The saltine cracker challenge

Vogue, 1962 / Stella Artois ad, 2010

Fundamental plot arcs, seen through multidimensional analysis of thousands of TV and movie scripts

A new method for mapping how information flows around the globe identifies the best languages to spread your ideas

“Mondegreen” means a misheard word or phrase that makes sense in your head, but is, in fact, entirely incorrect.

Amazon ‘suppresses’ book with too many hyphens

A Brief History of Pubic Hair in Art

Perceptual and physiological responses to Jackson Pollock’s fractals

Andy Warhol at a Party with His Tape Recorder, Which he Referred to as “My Wife Sony” [more]

Robot flies to Germany as airline passenger from Los Angeles