Triple-Decker Weekly, 144

many people will reject their own arguments – if they’re tricked into thinking that other people proposed them. [Neuroskeptic]

According to a recent scientific study, the way to avoid mosquito bites is to listen to electronic music – specifically dubstep, specifically by US artist Skrillex [study]

Physicists Reverse Time for Tiny Particles Inside a Quantum Computer

A major Greenland glacier that was one of the fastest shrinking ice and snow masses on Earth is growing again

Growing Corn Is A Major Contributor To Air Pollution, Study Finds

a cotton tote or a paper bag may be worse for the environment than a plastic one + organic cotton is worse than conventional cotton when it comes to overall environmental impact

More than 99.9999 per cent of all living organisms on Earth died. The Day the Dinosaurs Died

A doomsday fungus known as Bd has condemned more species to extinction than any other pathogen.

One wrong mutation and your beautiful daisy transforms into an eldrich horror

Here’s how many avocados it would take to kill you (also watermelon, coffee, dark chocolate…)

Man was mistakenly circumcised in mix-up at Leicester (England) hospital

Eleven experiments provide evidence that people have a tendency to ‘shoot the messenger,’ deeming innocent bearers of bad news unlikeable [PDF]

Peak velocity of elbow joint during hair combing activity for normal subject

A slowdown in image processing speeds up our perception of time passing as we age [study]

For those who get the least amount of physical activity, replacing a half hour of sitting time with physical activity was associated with up to a nearly 50 percent reduction in mortality

Using stolen processing power to mine cryptocurrencies is a profitable criminal enterprise. But nobody realized the scale of the activity until now

The operatives utilized an arsenal of cyber tools, including a cutting-edge espionage platform known as Karma, in which Raven operatives say they hacked into the iPhones of hundreds of activists, political leaders and suspected terrorists.

New beer hitting the market can be used to develop Super 8 movie film. Kodak helped by testing it.

If intense warfare broke out tomorrow, India could supply its troops with only 10 days of ammunition, according to government estimates. And 68 percent of the army’s equipment is so old, it is officially considered “vintage.” [NY Times]

Since the 1950s, hundreds of dogs have jumped off this gothic stone bridge in a town near Glasgow. Many have ended up dead in the valley below. Researchers say there is a rational explanation, but in a land of superstition and mystery, others are not so sure. [NY Times]

not a phone in sight, everyone is just living in the moment, wish we could go back

denim “diaper”

We have scientifically studied magic tricks to explore the human mind. For example, we use cutting-edge eye-tracking technologies to investigate how magicians misdirect our attention, and this work informs us about why people fail to see things right in front of their eyes. […] Magic works because we are typically unaware of our mind’s limitations, and most magic techniques rely on exploiting these surprising cognitive biases and limitations. Magicians don’t simply manipulate what you perceive – they manipulate your false beliefs about how much you can perceive. [The Psychologist]

we report a series of studies investigating the “paranormal potential” of magic performances

Software from Amenity Analytics promises to automate this process by spotting when chief executive officers try to duck tough questions. The software, its makers say, can even pick up on the signs of potential deception that CIA and FBI interrogators look for—including stalling and the use of qualifiers—and can gauge the sentiment of what is said on calls and reported in public filings, issuing a positive or negative numeric score. The goal is to make it easier for investors to wade through information and quickly make trading decisions. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

Former CIA Officer Will Teach You How to Spot a Lie

Violette Morris (1893 – 1944) was a French athlete who won two gold and one silver medals at the Women’s World Games in 1921–1922. She was barred from participating in the 1928 Summer Olympics for her lack of morals — in particular, Morris’ penchant for wearing men’s clothing. […] Morris underwent a double mastectomy (surgical removal of both breasts), which she claimed was in order to fit into racing cars more easily. She won the 1927 Bol d’Or 24 Hours car race. […] In 1936, Morris became a spy for Nazi Germany. Following the German occupation of France, she became a member of the French wing of the Gestapo secret police. She was killed in 1944 in a Resistance-led ambush. [Wikipedia]

Where Does Time Go When You Blink? Retinal input is frequently lost because of eye blinks, yet humans rarely notice these gaps in visual input. […] Here, we investigated whether the subjective sense of time is altered by spontaneous blinks. […] The results point to a link between spontaneous blinks, previously demonstrated to induce activity suppression in the visual cortex, and a compression of subjective time. [bioRxiv]

Litigation stemming from an incident in which a middle-aged woman tripped while stepping backward to take a photograph, and without first looking in her direction of travel, led to an observational study of the frequency with which people taking photographs step back without first looking where they were stepping. Prior research on looking before stepping backward did not exist. Research assistants asked a convenience sample of middle-aged women to take a photograph of the assistants standing in front of a building. The task required the participants to step away from the building. The study found that 87% of the participants looked back at least once before or during a backward step, and that 83% of the steps away from the building were preceded by or accompanied by a look in the direction of travel. Suggestions for future research are provided. [Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting]

Paranoia is the most common symptom of psychosis, but paranoid concerns occur throughout the general population. […] We suggest that paranoia should not solely be viewed as a pathological symptom of a mental disorder but also as a part of a normally-functioning human psychology. [Nature Human Behaviour | PDF]

Does a new partnership differ from its preceding one? […] This study sought to understand whether a new relationship differs from the one that preceded it. [T]he answer to that question seems to be “mostly no.” One year into a new partnership (P2T2) our sample was no different from one year prior to the breakup of their previous union (P1T1) on relationship and sexual satisfaction, perceptions of relational instability, and the frequency of conflictual and intimate exchanges. While sexual frequency and perceived admiration did improve across unions in the full sample, there was no change for either in our follow-up analysis with the subgroup of participants where relationship duration at P1T1 corresponded to P2T2. Given stability in the majority of constructs examined in this study, why does it seem as though a new partnership is different from those in the past? Sandwiched between these points of stability are periods of change and upheaval: one partnership deteriorates and draws to a close and the bliss of new love is discovered before disillusionment pulls individuals back to old patterns. The deterioration prior to termination may be especially salient in perpetuating the belief that new unions are different. [Journal of Family Psychology]

During the period known as the High Middle Ages, between 1100-1250, the Catholic Church built over 1400 Gothic churches in the Paris Basin alone. […] This thesis examines the implicit costs of building the Gothic churches of the Paris Basin built between 1100-1250, and attempts to estimate the percentage of the regional economy that was devoted to build them. I estimate that over this 150-year period, on average, 21.5 percent of the regional economy was devoted to the construction of these Gothic churches, 1.5 percent of which is directly related to the implicit cost of labor. [Amy Denning | PDF]

Loie Fuller (1862-1928) conquered Paris on her opening night at the Folies-Bergère on November 5, 1892. Manipulating with bamboo sticks an immense skirt made of over a hundred yards of translucent, iridescent silk, the dancer evoked organic forms –butterflies, flowers, and flames–in perpetual metamorphosis through a play of colored lights. Loie Fuller’s innovative lighting effects, some of which she patented, transformed her dances into enthralling syntheses of movement, color, and music, in which the dancer herself all but vanished. […] Immensely popular, she had her own theater at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris, promoted other women dancers including Isadora Duncan, directed experimental movies, and stopped performing only in 1925. [The Metropolitan Museum of Art]

Two alternative hypotheses have been proposed to explain why grunting in tennis may impede opponents’ predictions, referred to as the distraction account (i.e., grunts capture attentional resources necessary for anticipation) and the multisensory integration account (i.e., auditory information from the grunt systematically influences ball trajectory prediction typically assumed to rely on visual information). […] our findings provide strong support for the multisensory integration account by demonstrating that grunt intensity systematically influences judgments of ball trajectory. [PLoS One]

Alien abduction insurance pays insured individuals under the event that they are abducted by aliens. […] To date, tens of thousands of people have purchased alien abduction insurance, and the famed Lloyd’s of London claims to have sold more than 40,000 of them. To receive compensation from Lloyd’s, policyholders must pass a lie-detector test, and provide video footage or a third-party witness. […] 12 years ago, 3 sisters from the city of Inverness, Scotland, took out coverage from Essex-based to insure themselves against the costs of immaculately conceiving and raising the second Christ. These women, however highly they think of themselves, paid annual premiums of EUR 100 to the company, and were insured to receive EUR 1 million if the event did occur. [Pacific Prime]

Five Traits That Could Get You “Abducted by Aliens”

The Many Reasons to Run for President When You Probably Don’t Stand a Chance. — There are book deals and TV contracts and maybe a cabinet position if your side wins. Recent history suggests there is almost no downside to giving it a shot. [NY Times]

Age-cutoffs for vaginal sex timing were similar for women and men, yet differed by gender for oral sex timing. Women were more likely than men to initiate vaginal sex (20% vs. 18%) and oral sex (19% vs. 16%) at an early age and less likely than men to initiate these behaviors at a late age (18% vs. 19% for vaginal sex, and 15% vs. 16% for oral sex). Although most respondents initiated these two behaviors by young adulthood, a considerable proportion remained inexperienced, with men more likely than women to report inexperience with vaginal sex (7% vs. 5%), and women more likely than men to report abstaining from oral sex (8% vs. 6%). [International Journal of Sexual Health]

Based on the analysis of 190 studies (17,887 participants), we estimate that the average silent reading rate for adults in English is 238 word per minute (wpm) for non-fiction and 260 wpm for fiction. The difference can be predicted by the length of the words, with longer words in non-fiction than in fiction. The estimates are lower than the numbers often cited in scientific and popular writings. […] The average oral reading rate (based on 77 studies and 5,965 participants) is 183 wpm. [PsyArXiv]

a team of psychology researchers began to challenge his ideas using a technique called “paradoxical thinking.” The premise is simple: Instead of presenting evidence that contradicts someone’s deeply held views, a psychologist agrees with the participant, then takes their views further, stretching their arguments to absurdity. This causes the participant to pause, reconsider, and reframe their own beliefs. [Quartz]

An April 2016 Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) report advocated raising the minimum wage to deter crime. […] Our results provide no evidence that minimum wage increases reduce crime. Instead, we find that raising the minimum wage increases property crime arrests among those ages 16-to-24, with an estimated elasticity of 0.2. This result is strongest in counties with over 100,000 residents and persists when we use longitudinal data to isolate workers for whom minimum wages bind. Our estimates suggest that a $15 Federal minimum wage could generate criminal externality costs of nearly $2.4 billion. [National Bureau of Economic Research]

The goal of this study is to determine if thong underwear use is associated with a higher report of urinary tract (UTI) or vaginal infections. […] We found that thong use is not associated with UTI, BV, or VY. Instead, sexual behaviors and hygiene choices are risk factors for these infections. We recommend that providers take a more complete sexual history to identify these risk factors rather than focusing on underwear as a primary risk factor. [Obstetrics & Gynecology]

As we shall see, the story of the great flood and the voyage of the ark contains so many incredible “violations of the laws of nature” that it cannot possibly be accepted by any thinking person. […] From the moment the impending storm is announced (Genesis 6:7, 13, 17) and Jehovah sets forth the design and dimensions of the ark (Genesis 6:14-16), problems start appearing. […] The ark is to be made out of gopher wood according to a plan that calls for the ark to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide, and thirty cubits tall (450x75x45 feet, according to most creationists. See Segraves, p. 11). It is to contain three floors, a large door in the side, and a one cubit square window at the top. The floors are to be divided into rooms, and all the walls, inside and out, are to be pitched with pitch. Since the purpose of the ark is to hold animals and plants, particularly two of “every living thing of all flesh . . . to keep them alive with thee” (Genesis 6:19), it will have to be constructed accordingly. Before he could even contemplate such a project, Noah would have needed a thorough education in naval architecture and in fields that would not arise for thousands of years such as physics, calculus, mechanics, and structural analysis. There was no shipbuilding tradition behind him, no experienced craftspeople to offer advice. Where did he learn the framing procedure for such a Brobdingnagian structure? How could he anticipate the effects of roll, pitch, yaw, and slamming in a rough sea? How did he solve the differential equations for bending moment, torque, and shear stress? […] As if the rough construction of the ship weren’t headache enough, the internal organization had to be honed to perfection. With space at a premium every cubit had to be utilized to the maximum; there was no room for oversized cages and wasted space. The various requirements of the myriads of animals had to be taken into account in the design of their quarters, especially considering the length of the voyage. The problems are legion: feeding and watering troughs need to be the correct height for easy access but not on the floor where they will get filthy; the cages for horned animals must have bars spaced properly to prevent their horns from getting stuck, while rhinos require round “bomas” for the same reason; a heavy leather body sling is “indispensable” for transporting giraffes; primates require tamper-proof locks on their doors; perches must be the correct diameter for each particular bird’s foot (Hirst; Vincent). Even the flooring is important, for, if it is too hard, hooves may be injured, if too soft, they may grow too quickly and permanently damage ankles (Klos); rats will suffer decubitus (ulcers) with improper floors (Orlans), and ungulates must have a cleated surface or they will slip and fall (Fowler). These and countless other technical problems all had to be resolved before the first termite crawled aboard, but there were no wildlife management experts available for consultation. Even today the transport requirements of many species are not fully known, and it would be physically impossible to design a single carrier to meet them all. […] Genetic problems […] Marine animals […] Having drawn up a passenger list, the next order of business is to gather them all at dockside. At this point, the creationists themselves are unable to propound any sort of scenario in which Noah and his sons could perform such a feat, so they resort to the convenient dumping ground of the inexplicable: miracles. God himself intervened by implanting in the chosen pair from each species the instinct of migration, and by this mechanism they gathered from the four corners of the world and headed for the Plains of Shinar […] However accurate their suddenly acquired instinct, for many animals it could not have been enough to overcome the geographical barriers between them and the ark. The endemic fauna of the New World, Australia, and other remote regions, as well as animals unable to survive the Near Eastern environment, would find the journey too difficult no matter how desperately they yearned to go. Flood theorists are unperturbed by such obstacles, however, for they simply gerrymander the map to give us an antediluvian world of undivided continents and a uniform, semitropical, spring-like climate. [ Creation/Evolution Journal]

Plane forced to turn back after mother forgets her newborn at airport

a $380K ‘flying motorcycle’

Q, the world’s first genderless voice

The Boombox Incident (The process for removing bald people from photos)

Quantum computing for the very curious

Seat Choice in a Crowded Café: Effects of Eye Contact, Distance, and Anchoring

The relation between shyness and creativity … shyness was negatively associated with creative imagination, but positively associated with aesthetic sensitivity.

Extremely precise visual long-term memories for frequently encountered objects

Nail Scissor as a Rare Foreign Body in the Urethra

Despite anecdotal evidence seen on television and in movies, there is zero actual research to support penetrating traumatic brain injury (TBI) as an intervention to kill zombies

MIT Historian alleges that scientists and officials representing the United Nations, the Red Cross, and the World Health Organization covered up evidence that hundreds of thousands of people died from radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident. The scientific consensus was that the Chernobyl accident will, at most, result in the deaths of just 200 people over an 80-year life span. Previously: Thirty years after the Chernobyl disaster, it has become clear that radioactivity might be less harmful than originally thought.

$100,000-a-night Damien-Hirst-designed Las Vegas hotel room is the most expensive in America

Easy trick to stay positive