Triple-Decker Weekly

Hollie Stevens (January 4, 1982 – July 3, 2012), American pornographic actress, “Queen of Clown Porn,” has passed away. [SF Weekly | Wikipedia]

Bees can ‘turn back time,’ reverse brain aging.

When we observe other people we attribute their behavior to their character rather than to their situation – my wife’s carelessness means she loses her keys, your clumsiness means you trip over, his political opinions mean that he got into an argument. When we think about things that happen to us the opposite holds. We downplay our own dispositions and emphasise the role of the situation. Bad luck leads to lost keys, a hidden bump causes trips, or a late train results in an unsuccessful job interview – it’s never anything to do with us. This pattern is so common that psychologists have called it the fundamental attribution error. […] We blame individuals for what happens to them because of the general psychological drive to find causes for things. We have an inherent tendency to pick out each other as causes; even from infancy, we pay more attention to things that move under their own steam, that act as if they have a purpose. The mystery is not that people become the focus of our reasoning about causes, but how we manage to identify any single cause in a world of infinite possible causes. [Mind Hacks]

They walked to Ringsend, on the south bank of the Liffey, where (and here we can drop the Dante analogy) she put her hand inside his trousers and masturbated him. It was June 16, 1904, the day on which Joyce set “Ulysses.” When people celebrate Bloomsday, that is what they are celebrating. [The New Yorker]

Being in a relationship that others disapprove of.

Reddit user delverofsecrets posted photos of a cryptic note that he or she obtained from a “homeless looking man” on the 1 train in New York City. The user asked Reddit for help in identifying what the characters might mean, and the post quickly shot to the top of the front page as Redditors discussed and looked for clues. [Mashable]

You’re imagining, in the course of a game of make-believe, that you’re a cat. You don’t believe that you’re a cat. You are moved to say “Meow.” This case illustrates something that a theory of imagination should explain: sometimes when you imagine something, you are moved to act. Consider another case. You’re watching a movie. A monster is on the loose and you are imagining, along with the movie, that it is at- tacking people willy-nilly. You do not believe there is a monster on the loose or that you are in any danger, but still you feel afraid. This case illustrates something else that a theory of imagination should explain: sometimes we have emotional reactions to things that we do not believe but merely imagine. [Tyler Doggett & Andy Egan, The Case for an Imaginative Analogue of Desire, 2007 | PDF]

Brain Scans Predict When Poker Players Will Bluff.

Spotting Suicidal Tendencies on Social Networks.

In recent years, we’ve seen an explosion of scientific research revealing precisely how positive feelings like happiness are good for us. We know that they motivate us to pursue important goals and overcome obstacles, protect us from some effects of stress, connect us closely with other people, and even stave off physical and mental ailments. […] But is happiness always good? […] Too much happiness can make you less creative—and less safe. […] Pursuing happiness may actually make you unhappy. [GreaterGood]

A man sits in front of a computer screen sifting through satellite images of a foreign desert. The images depict a vast, sandy emptiness, marked every so often by dunes and hills. He is searching for man-made structures: houses, compounds, airfields, any sign of civilization that might be visible from the sky. The images flash at a rate of 20 per second, so fast that before he can truly perceive the details of each landscape, it is gone. He pushes no buttons, takes no notes. His performance is near perfect. Or rather, his brain’s performance is near perfect. The man has a machine strapped to his head, an array of electrodes called an electroencephalogram, or EEG, which is recording his brain activity as each image skips by. It then sends the brain-activity data wirelessly to a large computer. The computer has learned what the man’s brain activity looks like when he sees one of the visual targets, and, based on that information, it quickly reshuffles the images. [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Each Voyager space probe carries a gold-plated audio-visual disc in the event that either spacecraft is ever found by intelligent life-forms from other planetary systems. The discs carry photos of the Earth and its lifeforms, a range of scientific information, spoken greetings from the people (e.g. the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the United States, and the children of the Planet Earth) and a medley, “Sounds of Earth,” that includes the sounds of whales, a baby crying, waves breaking on a shore, and a variety of music. [Wikipedia]

The contents of the gold record are not public domain. [Active Politic]

Contents of the Voyager Golden Record.

One of the worst parts of being pregnant is what is commonly referred to as morning sickness. […] So what does Gallup say is the real culprit behind nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy? Semen. [Slate]

Nearly 500 species of animals (ranging from mammals through to insects) have been observed performing homosexual behavior. […] “Homosexual behavior occurs in over 130 species of birds, yet explaining its maintenance in evolutionary terms appears problematic at face value, as such sexual behaviors do not seem in immediate pursuit of reproductive goals,” McFarlane and colleagues wrote in the journal Animal Behavior in late 2010. [Cosmos]

Batman could glide from tall buildings using his cape but would probably die from the impact of landing, physics students have demonstrated. [BBC | Trajectory of a Falling Batman | PDF]

Traditional newspapers that move online are about to lose the war against pure players and aggregators. […] HuffPo’s editors took no chance: the headline they picked is algorithm-designed to yield the best results in Google. [Monday Note]

John Baldessari, citing Paul Schimmel’s ouster, becomes the fifth trustee to bolt since February. [LA Times]
Among those in Deitch’s corner is Shepard Fairey, an art star of a younger generation, especially since he designed the “Hope” poster that became the unofficial image of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. (The design firm Fairey founded, Studio One, is now handling much of MOCA’s design work.) In an email, Fairey, 42, praised Deitch’s “astute understanding of the interconnected nature of high and low art culture. When I say low, I don’t mean inferior.” [LA Times]

I had swallowed a miniature camera in the form of a pill that would spend the day travelling through my digestive system, projecting images onto a giant screen. Its first stop was my stomach, whose complex work is under the control of what’s sometimes called “the little brain”, a network of neurons that line your stomach and your gut. Surprisingly, there are over 100 million of these cells in your gut, as many as there are in the head of a cat. [BBC]

What would disprove evolution?

A Brief History of Checkpoints. [PDF]

Julius von Bismarck whipping the Statue of Liberty. More: Whipping Nature and Monuments.