Triple-Decker Weekly, 142

Adrian Piper, What Will Become of Me, 1985, ongoing | framed text, glass jars, shelf, hair, fingernails, and skin

The Game is a mental game where the objective is to avoid thinking about The Game itself. Thinking about The Game constitutes a loss.

Our results show that monkeys form preferences for brand logos repeatedly paired with images of macaque genitals and high status monkeys

It is often claimed that negative events carry a larger weight than positive events. Loss aversion is the manifestation of this argument in monetary outcomes. In this review, we examine early studies of the utility function of gains and losses, and in particular the original evidence for loss aversion reported by Kahneman and Tversky (Econometrica 47:263–291, 1979). We suggest that loss aversion proponents have over-interpreted these findings. [Psychological Research]

The most successful people are not the most talented, just the luckiest, a new computer model of wealth creation confirms

Hackers stole a casino’s high-roller database through a thermometer in the lobby fish tank. They are increasingly targeting unprotected ‘internet of things’ devices such as air condition systems and CCTV to get into corporate networks.

Twelve years ago, my now-Bloomberg colleague Joe Weisenthal proposed that startups that planned to disrupt an established industry should short the stock of the incumbents in that industry. That way, if they were right — if they were able to undercut big established public companies — then they’d get rich as those public companies declined. […] Their profits would come from the incumbents’ shrinking. Weisenthal’s proposal was for disruptors offering a free product; the idea was that the entire business model would consist of (1) offering a free service that public companies offer for money and (2) paying for the service by shorting the public companies. But there’s a more boring and more widely generalizable — yet still vanishingly rare — version of this approach in which it just augments the disruptors’ business model: You sell better widgets cheaper and make a profit that way, while doubling down by also shorting your competitors. It’s a more leveraged way to do the business you were going to do anyway, an extra vote of confidence in yourself. [Bloomberg]

2017 was a big year for Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, already the largest in the world. After surpassing $1 trillion in assets, the fund announced today that it made an annual return of 1,028 billion kroner ($131 billion), the largest amount in the fund’s 20-year history. […] how many stocks this fund already owns: 1.4% of all listed stocks in the world […] its biggest boost last year came from Apple. It has a 0.9% stake in the US tech company […] The fund has now made more money in investment returns than was put into it […] since inception in 1997. [Quartz]

T-Mobile agreed to pay $40 million to resolve a government investigation that found it failed to correct problems with delivering calls in rural areas and inserted false ring tones in hundreds of millions of calls

By creating free wifi on the London Underground, Transport for London is harvesting data. Uber harvests data well beyond car journeys (the app continues to collect data on passenger behaviour after a ride has finished, although users can now opt out of this). New digital advertising billboards at Piccadilly Circus are harvesting data (they contain cameras to analyse the facial expressions of people in the crowds passing by).

Last year, some social media genius discovered that single-paragraph updates did inordinately well on LinkedIn. Thus, through the opportunistic gaming of oblique algorithms, a new literary genre was born. [Thanks Tim]

76% of sports sponsorships tied to junk food, study says

researchers found that people at higher elevations in an office building were more willing to take financial risks

we found that better government services were related to lower religiosity among countries (Study 1) and states in the United States (Study 2).

It took about 50 hours of interaction to move from acquaintance to casual friend, about 90 hours to move from casual friend to friend, and more than 200 hours to qualify as a best friend. A new study shows how long—in hours—friendships take to develop.

Frustrated husband creates spreadsheet of wife’s excuses for not having sex with him

One study found that 81% of women orgasm during oral sex, which is about three times more often than during intercourse. But in a survey Cristol conducted, she discovered that 80% of women turn down oral sex when they wanted to say yes.

Stability of Genetic and Environmental Influences on Female Sexual Functioning

We report the first case in literature of a work nail gun injury to male external genitalia.

An Oklahoma mother married her daughter after the pair “hit it off.” Investigators later discovered she had previously wed her son.

In jobs where existing research has posited that attractiveness is plausibly a productivity enhancing attribute—those that require substantial amounts of interpersonal interaction—a large beauty premium exists. In contrast, in jobs where attractiveness seems unlikely to truly enhance productivity—jobs that require working with information and data—there is no beauty premium.

Envy is harmful to psychological health and wellbeing [PDF]

New evidence suggests that by age five, children begin to understand the broad importance of reputation and to engage in surprisingly sophisticated impression management.

Women’s voice pitch lowers after pregnancy

A kakistocracy is a system of government which is run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens

In Study 2, we moved chairs together in Starbucks across the country so that they were partially blocking the aisle (n = 678). People in northern China were more likely to move the chair out of the way, which is consistent with findings that people in individualistic cultures are more likely to try to control the environment. People in southern China were more likely to adjust the self to the environment by squeezing through the chairs. Even in China’s most modern cities, rice-wheat differences live on in everyday life. [Improbable]

The image of the world that we see is continuously deformed and fragmented by foreshortenings, partial overlapping, and so on, and must be constantly reassembled and interpreted; otherwise, it could change so much that we would hardly recognize it. Since pleasure has been found to be involved in visual and cognitive information processing, the possibility is considered that anhedonia (the reduction of the ability to feel pleasure) might interfere with the correct reconstruction and interpretation of the image of the environment and alter its appearance. [Schizophrenia Research and Treatment]

When faced with an explicit choice, participants were more likely to choose an advisor who provided uncertain advice over an advisor who provided certain advice

Across four experiments participants chose between two versions of a stimulus which either had an attractive left side or an attractive right side. […] In each experiment participants showed a significant bias to choose the stimulus with an attractive left side more than the stimulus with an attractive right side. The leftward bias emerged at age 10/11, was not caused by a systematic asymmetry in the perception of colourfulness or complexity, and was stronger when the difference in attractiveness between the left and right sides was larger. The results are relevant to the aesthetics of product and packaging design and show that leftward biases extend to the perceptual judgement of everyday items. Possible causes of the leftward bias for attractiveness judgements are discussed and it is suggested that the size of the bias may not be a measure of the degree of hemispheric specialization. [Laterality]

How do blind people represent rainbows?

What Happens When a Blind Person Takes LSD?

John Gordon, The Alice and Bob After Dinner Speech, 1984

“Salami slicing” refers to the practice of breaking scientific studies down into small chunks and publishing each part as a separate paper.

A new device, created by mad scientists at MIT, can accept commands that you say only in your own head. It works by analyzing “subvocalization,” or silent speech.

HARVEST uses wind energy to mine cryptocurrency to fund climate research [Thanks Tim]

Acoustical Analysis of Shouting Into the Wind

Overtrafficked and underserviced, aircraft lavatories are swarming with E. coli. “Your typical flight will have one for every 50 people.” More: Behaviors, movements, and transmission of droplet-mediated respiratory diseases during transcontinental airline flights

A staggering number of golf balls wind up in the ocean. What happens to them?

The plastic, which can come from soft furnishings and synthetic fabrics, gets into household dust which falls on plates and is consumed. We could be swallowing more than 100 tiny plastic particles with every main meal, a Heriot-Watt study has revealed.

Henderson Island is isolated and uninhabited—but its beaches are still covered in garbage.

Why it’s Impossible to Accurately Measure a Coastline

The Pirate Certificate became available in the Fall of 2011. Students who have completed Archery, Fencing, Pistol (or Rifle) and Sailing should send an email to with name and MIT ID number

A phone line that puts callers on hold for seven years

‘Banana’ is the most common safe word used by kinky couples indulging in S&M sex