Triple-Decker Weekly, 124

Conman sold urine as whiskey

Unhealthy people more likely to vote for attractive candidates

We’ve all had that experience of going purposefully from one room to another, only to get there and forget why we made the journey. Four years ago, researcher Gabriel Radvansky and his colleagues stripped this effect down, showing that the simple act of passing through a doorway induces forgetting. Now psychologists at Knox College, USA, have taken things further, demonstrating that merely imagining walking through a doorway is enough to trigger increased forgetfulness. [BPS]

In an experiment researchers showed that the human brain uses memories to make predictions about what it expects to find in familiar contexts. When those subconscious predictions are shown to be wrong, the related memories are weakened and are more likely to be forgotten. And the greater the error, the more likely you are to forget the memory. [Lunatic Laboratories]

Closing your eyes boosts memory recall

People Can Be Convinced They Committed a Crime That Never Happened

Some people will tell you that they have a clear sense of who they are, and that their sense of self is stable over time. Psychologists refer to this as having high “self-concept clarity.” In a new study, Jean Guerrettaz and Robert Arkin shine a spotlight on these self-proclaimed self-knowers. The researchers find that their confidence is often fragile, and that somewhat paradoxically, it is people confident in their sense of self whose self-esteem is most undermined by challenging questions about who they are. [BPS]

Neuroscience research fails to support claims that excessive pornography consumption causes brain damage

Amongst heterosexuals, men are almost twice as likely to be upset by sexual infidelity as women, a new study finds. Heterosexual women, meanwhile, are much more likely to be upset by emotional infidelity.

During sexual stimulation, some women report the discharge of a noticeable amount of fluid from the urethra, a phenomenon also called “squirting.” To date, both the nature and the origin of squirting remain controversial. In this investigation, we not only analyzed the biochemical nature of the emitted fluid, but also explored the presence of any pelvic liquid collection that could result from sexual arousal and explain a massive fluid emission. […] The present data based on ultrasonographic bladder monitoring and biochemical analyses indicate that squirting is essentially the involuntary emission of urine during sexual activity, although a marginal contribution of prostatic secretions to the emitted fluid often exists. [The Journal of Sexual Medicine]

New research suggests that reflecting on a breakup may help heal the heart

Diane. Wife’s kid sister. Well, half sister. Dad was the sperm donor. Who knows who the fuck she is. Collects ribbon. [Richard Prince]

“Withdrawal is the most problematic for relationships,” Sanford said. “It’s a defensive tactic that people use when they feel they are being attacked, and there’s a direct association between withdrawal and lower satisfaction overall with the relationship.” Meanwhile, “passive immobility” — expecting your partner to be a mind-reader — is a tactic people use when they feel anxious in a relationship, and it makes it especially difficult for couples to make progress toward resolving conflicts. But it may not be as harmful down the line as withdrawal, he said. [EurekAlert]

Machiavellianism is a personality trait characterized by a manipulative interpersonal style, emotional detachment and suspicion of others. Individuals with high levels of Machiavellianism navigate through their social relationships with  protective self-monitoring, external orientated thinking and confidence in their ability to deceive which facilitates their willingness to exploit others for their own self-serving goal. Not surprisingly, research has found that Machiavellianism relates to lower quality friendships in adulthood, including relational aggression in online relationships. […] Previous research has established the importance of parental bonding (i.e.,  parental care and overprotection) for the development of personality traits and adult relationships. The current study investigated the influence of recalled parenting on the development of Machiavellianism and adult friendship quality. […] Path modeling suggests that decreased maternal care and increased paternal overprotection relate to Machiavellianism which is associated with lower adult friendship quality. [Individual Differences Research]

Solar activity affects fertility across generations in historical Norway. More sun means fewer children and grandchildren

UK couple stranded in New York after baby arrived 11 weeks early face potential £130,000 medical bill

Male Birth Control, Without Condoms, Will Be Here by 2017

Scientists ‘edit’ DNA to correct adult genes and cure diseases

Monozygotic twins are considered being genetically identical, therefore they cannot be differentiated using standard forensic DNA testing. Here we describe how identification of extremely rare mutations by ultra-deep next generation sequencing can solve such cases. We sequenced DNA from sperm samples of two twins and from a blood sample of the child of one twin. Bioinformatics analysis revealed five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) present in the twin father and the child, but not in the twin uncle. Our results give experimental evidence for the hypothesis that rare mutations will occur early after the human blastocyst has split into two, the origin of twins, and that such mutations will be carried on into somatic tissue and the germline. The method provides a solution to solve paternity and forensic cases involving monozygotic twins as alleged fathers or originators of DNA traces. [FSI Genetics]

Environment, more than genetics, shapes immune system

DNA is generally regarded as the basic building block of life itself. In the most fundamental sense, DNA is nothing more than a chemical compound, albeit a very complex and peculiar one. DNA is an information-carrying molecule. The specific sequence of base pairs contained in a DNA molecule carries with it genetic information, and encodes for the creation of particular proteins. When taken as a whole, the DNA contained in a single human cell is a complete blueprint and instruction manual for the creation of that human being. In this article we discuss myriad current and developing ways in which people are utilizing DNA to store or convey information of all kinds. For example, researchers have encoded the contents of a whole book in DNA, demonstrating the potential of DNA as a way of storing and transmitting information. In a different vein, some artists have begun to create living organisms with altered DNA as works of art. Hence, DNA is a medium for the communication of ideas. Because of the ability of DNA to store and convey information, its regulation must necessarily raise concerns associated with the First Amendment’s prohibition against the abridgment of freedom of speech. New and developing technologies, and the contemporary and future social practices they will engender, necessitate the renewal of an approach towards First Amendment coverage that takes into account the purposes and values incarnated in the Free Speech Clause of the Constitution. [Charleston School of Law]

Antibiotics: US discovery labelled ‘game-changer’ for medicine

New study examines possible evidence for the use of the trepanation technique applied to lower leg bones.

Does sleeping naked prevent diabetes?

Science Word of the Day: Kleptothermy

They discreetly asked me if I would mind waiting a few minutes because Yoko Ono (!!!) was just finishing a treatment. Cryotherapy is a process in which you subject the body to extreme cold for a short period of time in order to reduce inflammation.

[T]he Inuit, the Masai, and the Samburu people of Uganda all originally ate diets that were 60-80% fat and yet were not obese and did not have hypertension or heart disease. The hypothesis that saturated fat is the main dietary cause of cardiovascular disease is strongly associated with one man, Ancel Benjamin Keys, a biologist at the University of Minnesota. […] Keys launched his “diet-heart hypothesis” at a meeting in New York in 1952, when the United States was at the peak of its epidemic of heart disease, with his study showing a close correlation between deaths from heart disease and proportion of fat in the diet in men in six countries (Japan, Italy, England and Wales, Australia, Canada, and the United States). Keys studied few men and did not have a reliable way of measuring diets, and in the case of the Japanese and Italians he studied them soon after the second world war, when there were food shortages. Keys could have gathered data from many more countries and people (women as well as men) and used more careful methods, but, suggests Teicholz, he found what he wanted to find. […] At a World Health Organization meeting in 1955 Keys’s hypothesis was met with great criticism, but in response he designed the highly influential Seven Countries Study, which was published in 1970 and showed a strong correlation between saturated fat (Keys had moved on from fat to saturated fat) and deaths from heart disease. Keys did not select countries (such as France, Germany, or Switzerland) where the correlation did not seem so neat, and in Crete and Corfu he studied only nine men. […] [T]he fat hypothesis led to a massive change in the US and subsequently international diet. One congressional staffer, Nick Mottern, wrote a report recommending that fat be reduced from 40% to 30% of energy intake, saturated fat capped at 10%, and carbohydrate increased to 55-60%. These recommendations went through to Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which were published for the first time in 1980. (Interestingly, a recommendation from Mottern that sugar be reduced disappeared along the way.) It might be expected that the powerful US meat and dairy lobbies would oppose these guidelines, and they did, but they couldn’t counter the big food manufacturers such as General Foods, Quaker Oats, Heinz, the National Biscuit Company, and the Corn Products Refining Corporation, which were both more powerful and more subtle. In 1941 they set up the Nutrition Foundation, which formed links with scientists and funded conferences and research before there was public funding for nutrition research. […] Saturated fats such as lard, butter, and suet, which are solid at room temperature, had for centuries been used for making biscuits, pastries, and much else, but when saturated fat became unacceptable a substitute had to be found. The substitute was trans fats, and since the 1980s these fats, which are not found naturally except in some ruminants, have been widely used and are now found throughout our bodies. There were doubts about trans fats from the very beginning, but Teicholz shows how the food companies were highly effective in countering any research that raised the risks of trans fats. […] Another consequence of the fat hypothesis is that around the world diets have come to include much more carbohydrate, including sugar and high fructose corn syrup, which is cheap, extremely sweet, and “a calorie source but not a nutrient.”2 5 25 More and more scientists believe that it is the surfeit of refined carbohydrates that is driving the global pandemic of obesity, diabetes, and non-communicable diseases. [The BMJ]

The compound behind all those stories about red wine being good for you

Experiments to explore how we might artificially cool the Earth—commonly called geoengineering.

Cleaning waste water with algae

Certain wavelengths of visible light are nearly 100% lethal to insects. Blue LEDs could be a new form of pest control.

The Satellite Search for Genghis Khan’s Tomb

The Phantom Cannibal, Part One, Part Two

The scam has been dubbed virtual kidnapping

In the past few years, street gangs have been retreating from public view all over Southern California.

This report describes the details and type of operations carried out by an organized criminal group that focuses on financial industry, such as banks and payment providers, retail industry and news, media and PR companies. […] The organized criminal group backbone are citizens of both Russian and Ukrainian origin. […] The average sum of theft in the Russian territory and in the post-Soviet space is $2 million per incident. […] To date the total amount of theft is over 1 billion rubles (about 25 million dollars), most of it has been stolen in the second half of 2014. […] The key is that fraud occurs within the corporate network using internal payment gateways and internal banking systems. Thus money is stolen from the banks and payment systems, and not from their customers. While this is their main and most lucrative activity, the gang has also ventured into other areas including the compromise of media groups and other organizations for industrial espionage and likely a trading advantage on the stock market. […] The average time from the moment of penetration into the financial institutions internal network till successful theft is 42 days. As a result of access to internal bank networks the attackers also managed to gain access to ATM management infrastructure and infect those systems with their own malicious software that further allows theft from the banks ATM systems on the attackers command. [Group-IB and Fox-IT | PDF]

Nicknamed “stingrays,” the devices are decoy cell towers that capture locations and identities of mobile phone users and can intercept calls and texts.

Hundreds of Portuguese Buses and Taxis Are Also Wi-Fi Routers (and collect data for city planners)

A.I. still can’t recognize these simple pictures.

Frequent Internet and social media users do not have higher stress levels than those who use technology less often. And for women, using certain digital tools decreases stress. [NY Times]

Google sees biggest search traffic drop since 2009 as Yahoo gains ground. The increase comes after Firefox switched its default search from Google to Yahoo.

Radio, not YouTube, was still the top method of music discovery in the US last year

What is it like to be a blind film critic?

Why do People Behave Immorally When Drunk?

How to spot a liar [TED talk]

The First Quantum Art Exhibition in Space

Art critic Julian Spalding banned from Damien Hirst’s Tate exhibition after calling him a talentless conman

How the “Paul McCartney is Dead” Hoax Started at an American College Newspaper and Went Viral (1969)

How NASA and other space agencies colorize space photos

CIA takes blame for more than half of UFO sightings in late 1950s and 60s

JFK and 9/11 in Back to the Future – Hidden Messages In Plain Sight

U.S. ambassador to Finland