Psychologists have identified the length of eye contact that people find most comfortable (just over three seconds)
Revisiting Depression Contagion […] A Speed-Dating Study. […] After four minutes of interaction with partners with high levels of depressive symptoms, participants did not experience increased negative affect; instead, they experienced reduced positive affect, which led to the rejection of these partners. [Clinical Psychological Science]
We found that women experience more jealousy toward women with cosmetics, and view these women as more attractive to men and more promiscuous. [Perception]
Women cry on average 5.3 times a month, men only 1.3 times a month. Why do we cry? And why might there be differences between men and women?
Apple consumption is related to better sexual quality of life in young women [PDF]
Seafood fraud comes in different forms, including species substitution — often a low-value or less desirable seafood item swapped for a more expensive or desirable choice — improper labeling, including hiding the true origin of seafood products, or adding extra breading, water or glazing to seafood products to increase their apparent weight. […] One in five of the more than 25,000 samples of seafood tested worldwide was mislabeled. [Oceana | PDF]
Marketing Vegetables in Elementary School Cafeterias to Increase Uptake — 90.5% more students took vegetables from the salad bar when exposed to the vinyl banner only, and 239.2% more students visited the salad bar when exposed to both the television segments and vinyl banners.
Some philosophers and physicians have argued that alcoholic patients, who are responsible for their liver failure by virtue of alcoholism, ought to be given lower priority for a transplant when donated livers are being allocated to patients in need of a liver transplant. The primary argument for this proposal, known as the Responsibility Argument, is based on the more general idea that patients who require scarce medical resources should be given lower priority for those resources when they are responsible for needing them and when they are competing with patients who need the same resources through no fault of their own. Since alcoholic patients are responsible for needing a new liver and are in direct competition with other patients who need a new liver through no fault of their own, it follows that alcoholic patients ought to be given lower priority for a transplant. In this article, I argue against the Responsibility Argument by suggesting that in order for it to avoid the force of plausible counter examples, it must be revised to say that patients who are responsible for needing a scarce medical resource due to engaging in behavior that is not socially valuable ought to be given lower priority. I’ll then argue that allocating organs according to social value is inconsistent or in tension with liberal neutrality on the good life. Thus, if one is committed to liberal neutrality, one ought to reject the Responsibility Argument. [Bioethics]
Thousands of fMRI brain studies in doubt due to software flaws which routinely produced false positives, resulting in errors 50 per cent of the time or more.
Immediately after we’ve been shunned, our brains engage a subtle mechanism that alters our sense of whether other people are making eye contact with us, so that we think it more likely that they are looking our way.
“We run physics simulations all the time to prepare us for when we need to act in the world” Researchers find brain’s ‘physics engine’ predicts how world behaves
Visceral states like thirst, hunger, and fatigue can alter motivations, predictions, and even memory. It can also shift moral standards and increase dishonest behavior.
For hundreds of years, Koreans have used a different method to count age than most of the world. […] A person’s Korean age goes up a year on new year’s day, not on his or her birthday. So when a baby is born on Dec. 31, he or she actually turns two the very next day. [Quartz]
Cold Does Not Increase Odds of Catching Cold [NY Times]
The method of serial reproduction has revealed that the social transmission of information is characterized by the gradual transformation of the original message. Evidence of a negativity bias in the social transmission of information
Many laboratory experiments show that people are often altruistic or care for fairness. We present data that reveal a darker side of human nature. We introduce the joy-of-destruction game. Two players each receive an endowment and simultaneously decide on how much of the other player’s endowment to destroy. Subjects play this game repeatedly. In one treatment, subjects can hide their destruction behind random destruction. In this treatment, money is destroyed in almost 40% of all decisions. We attribute this behavior to a visceral pleasure of being nasty. Under full information destruction is also observed, but rare. In this treatment, acts of destruction are followed by immediate retaliation. [Faculty of Economics and Management Magdeburg | PDF]
It has become common practice for retailers to personalize direct marketing efforts based on customer transaction histories as a tactic to increase sales. Targeted email offers featuring products in the same category as a customer’s previous purchases generate higher purchase rates. However, a targeted offer emphasizing familiar products could result in curtailed search for unadvertised products, as a closely matched offer weakens a customer’s incentives to search beyond the targeted items. In a field experiment using email offers sent by an online wine retailer, targeted offers resulted in decreased search activity on the retailer’s website. This effect is driven by a lower rate of search by customers who visit the site, rather than a lower incidence of search. [Management Science]
Unskilled and unaware of it: How difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments [PDF]
When the robot approached lone individuals, they helped it enter the building in 19 percent of trials. When approached by the cookie-delivery robot, 76 percent of the time.
Ticket bots??have years of experience beating you to the punch for premium seats. A fan’s guide to why you’re totally screwed.
Deutsche Bank is now worth just 17 billion euros ($18 billion). When the biggest bank in Europe’s biggest economy, with annual revenue of about 37 billion euros, is worth about the same as Snapchat — a messaging app that generated just $59 million of revenue last year — you know something’s wrong.
In 2012, hedge fund manager and venture capitalist Albert Hu was convicted of a financial fraud that stretched from Silicon Valley to Hong Kong. Today, he is locked up in the minimum security wing of Lompoc federal prison—inmate #131600-111—without access to the Internet. But, somehow, his bogus investment firm has come back to life. On the surface, Asenqua Ventures appears to be legitimate. It has a website. It has a working voicemail system and lists a Northern California office address. It has distributed multiple press releases via PRNewswire, which were then picked up by reputable media organizations. It is included in financial industry databases like Crunchbase, PitchBook, and S&P Capital IQ. Its senior managers have LinkedIn profiles. One of those profiles belonged to Stephen Adler, who earlier this week sent out hundreds of new Linkedin “connect” invitations (many of which were accepted). Among the recipients was Marty McMahon, a veteran executive recruiter who just felt that something was a bit off about Adler’s profile. So he did a Google reverse image search on Adler’s profile pic, and quickly learned that the headshot actually belonged to a San Diego real estate agent named Dan Becker. McMahon called Dan Becker, who he says was stunned to learn that his photo was being used by someone who he didn’t know. Then McMahon did another image search for the LinkedIn profile pic of Adler’s colleague, Michael Reed. This time it led him to Will Fagan, another San Diego realtor who often works with Dan Becker. [Fortune]
Someone Is Learning How to Take Down the Internet Recently, some of the major companies that provide the basic infrastructure that makes the Internet work have seen an increase in DDoS attacks against them. Moreover, they have seen a certain profile of attacks. These attacks are significantly larger than the ones they’re used to seeing. They last longer. They’re more sophisticated. And they look like probing. One week, the attack would start at a particular level of attack and slowly ramp up before stopping. The next week, it would start at that higher point and continue. And so on, along those lines, as if the attacker were looking for the exact point of failure. […] We don’t know where the attacks come from. The data I see suggests China, an assessment shared by the people I spoke with. On the other hand, it’s possible to disguise the country of origin for these sorts of attacks. The NSA, which has more surveillance in the Internet backbone than everyone else combined, probably has a better idea, but unless the US decides to make an international incident over this, we won’t see any attribution. [Bruce Schneier]
I have no idea if we’re going to have a quantum computer in every smart phone, or if we’re going to have quantum apps or quapps, that would allow us to communicate securely and find funky stuff using our quantum computers; that’s a tall order. It’s very likely that we’re going to have quantum microprocessors in our computers and smart phones that are performing specific tasks.
LG Electronics sells mosquito-repelling TV in India. The same technology, which was certified as effective by an independent laboratory near Chennai, India, has been used by LG in air conditioners and washing machines, the company said.
Researchers report that nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip that gives the plant its characteristic odor, is about ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET — the compound used in most commercial insect repellents.
I trained rats to trade on Wall Street. Their performance was comparable to that of the world’s best fund managers.
Substituting multiple imputation for listwise deletion in political science […] in almost half of the studies, key results “disappear” (by conventional statistical standards) when reanalyzed.” [PDF]
D. B. Cooper is a media epithet popularly used to refer to an unidentified man who hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft in the airspace between Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, on November 24, 1971, extorted $200,000 in ransom (equivalent to $1,170,000 in 2015), and parachuted to an uncertain fate. Despite an extensive manhunt and protracted FBI investigation, the perpetrator has never been located or identified. […] He dictated his demands: $200,000 in “negotiable American currency”; four parachutes (two primary and two reserve); and a fuel truck standing by in Seattle to refuel the aircraft upon arrival. […] The FBI task force believes that Cooper was a careful and shrewd planner. He demanded four parachutes to force the assumption that he might compel one or more hostages to jump with him. […] Agents theorize that he took his alias from a popular Belgian comic book series of the 1970s featuring the fictional hero Dan Cooper, a Royal Canadian Air Force test pilot who took part in numerous heroic adventures, including parachuting. […] In February 1980 an eight-year-old boy named Brian Ingram, vacationing with his family on the Columbia River about 9 miles (14 km) downstream from Vancouver, Washington, and 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Ariel, uncovered three packets of the ransom cash, significantly disintegrated but still bundled in rubber bands, as he raked the sandy riverbank to build a campfire. FBI technicians confirmed that the money was indeed a portion of the ransom—two packets of 100 twenty-dollar bills each, and a third packet of 90, all arranged in the same order as when given to Cooper. [ Wikipedia]
The June 5 escape from Clinton was planned and executed by two particularly cunning and resourceful inmates, abetted by the willful, criminal conduct of a civilian employee of the prison’s tailor shops and assisted by the reckless actions of a veteran correction officer. The escape could not have occurred, however, except for longstanding breakdowns in basic security functions at Clinton and DOCCS executive management’s failure to identify and correct these deficiencies. […] Using pipes as hand- and foot-holds, Sweat and Matt descended three tiers through a narrow space behind their cells to the prison’s subterranean level. There they navigated a labyrinth of dimly lit tunnels and squeezed through a series of openings in walls and a steam pipe along a route they had prepared over the previous three months. When, at midnight, they emerged from a manhole onto a Village of Dannemora street a block outside the prison wall, Sweat and Matt had accomplished a remarkable feat: the first escape from the high-security section of Clinton in more than 100 years. […] In early 2015, the relationships deepened and Mitchell became an even more active participant in the escape plot, ultimately agreeing to join Sweat and Matt after their breakout and drive away with them. In addition to smuggling escape tools and maps, Mitchell agreed to be a conduit to obtain cash for Matt and gathered items to assist their flight, including guns and ammunition, camping gear, clothing, and a compass. Even as she professed her love for Sweat in notes she secretly sent him, Mitchell engaged in numerous sexual encounters with Matt in the tailor shop. These included kissing, genital fondling, and oral sex. […] The Inspector General is compelled to note that this investigation was made more difficult by a lack of full cooperation on the part of a number of Clinton staff, including executive management, civilian employees, and uniformed officers. Notwithstanding the unprecedented granting of immunity from criminal prosecution for most uniformed officers, employees provided testimony under oath that was incomplete and at times not credible. Among other claims, they testified they could not recall such information as the names of colleagues with whom they regularly worked, supervisors, or staff who had trained them. Several officers, testifying under oath within several weeks of the event, claimed not to remember their activities or observations on the night of the escape. Other employees claimed ignorance of security lapses that were longstanding and widely known. [State of New York, Office of the Inspector General]
The writer started watching movies and television in fast forward to make his life more efficient. But acceleration — the latest twist in the millennia-old tradition of technology changing storytelling — also made viewing more pleasurable. Now there is no turning back.
List of selfie-related injuries and deaths [Thanks GG]