Triple-Decker Weekly, 43

Cameroon acquits two men sentenced for “looking gay.”

Clients can advertise their products or events on one of her breasts for a bargain £5, with a special offer of just £9 available for both.

A priest, handcuffed, bound and gagged in bondage gear, calls police for help.

The more alcoholic drinks people consume, the more attractive they perceive themselves to be. […] First, women with high levels of estrogen feel prettier, and second, smoking causes a lowered presence of estrogen in your body. So if you’re a female smoker and want to feel more attractive, boost your estrogen levels and stop smoking. Additionally this hormone helps maintain your female features and is vital to your body’s fertility. [United Academics]

A sense of humor is widely viewed as beneficial for physical health. However, some limited research suggests that humor may actually be related to increased smoking and alcohol consumption because humorous individuals may take a less serious attitude toward substance use. The purpose of the present study was to explore this hypothesis in greater detail in a sample of 215 undergraduate students. […] Overall, these results support the view that a sense of humor may be related to less healthy habits, at least in the domain of substance use. [Europe’s Journal of Psychology]

We tested whether eye color influences perception of trustworthiness. Facial photographs of 40 female and 40 male students were rated for perceived trustworthiness. Eye color had a significant effect, the brown-eyed faces being perceived as more trustworthy than the blue-eyed ones. [PLOS]

Unilateral skipping or bipedal galloping is one of the gait types humans are able to perform. In contrast to many animals, where gallop is the preferred gait at higher speeds, human bipedal gallop only occurs spontaneously in very specific conditions (e.g. fast down-hill locomotion). This study examines the lower limb mechanics and explores the possible reasons why humans do not spontaneously opt for gallop for steady state locomotion on level ground. […] This makes gallop metabolically more expensive and involves high muscular stress at the hips which may be the reasons why humans do not use gallop for steady state locomotion. [The Journal of Experimental Biology]

Evolutionary psychologists who study mating behavior often begin with a hypothesis about how modern humans mate: say, that men think about sex more than women do. […] In 2009, another long-assumed gender difference in mating — that women are choosier than men — also came under siege. In speed dating, as in life, the social norm instructs women to sit in one place, waiting to be approached, while the men rotate tables. But in one study of speed-dating behavior, the evolutionary psychologists Eli J. Finkel and Paul W. Eastwick switched the “rotator” role. The men remained seated and the women rotated. By manipulating this component of the gender script, the researchers discovered that women became less selective — they behaved more like stereotypical men — while men were more selective and behaved more like stereotypical women. The mere act of physically approaching a potential romantic partner, they argued, engendered more favorable assessments of that person. [NY Times]

Based on prior research, it was hypothesized that heterosexual participants, especially women, who do not perceive themselves as having a strong, close, positive relationship with their opposite-sex parent would be more likely to engage in or attempt to engage in casual sexual behavior (hookups). Also, men were expected to be more satisfied with, and more in agreement with, hookup behavior than women. The results were partially consistent with the hypotheses. Men were more satisfied with and more in agreement with hookup behavior than women. But, opposite sex parent-child relationship quality only affected men’s agreement with the hookup behavior of their peers. Men with lower relationship quality with their mothers agreed more with the hookup behavior of their peers. [Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology | PDF]

Male protectiveness can be perceived as sexism. The perception depends on the situation, some protectiveness can be identified as benevolent while other protectiveness can be seen as contributing to women’s subordination.

As we age, it just may be the ability to filter and eliminate old information – rather than take in the new stuff – that makes it harder to learn, scientists report. “When you are young, your brain is able to strengthen certain connections and weaken certain connections to make new memories,” said Dr. Joe Z. Tsien, neuroscientist. It’s that critical weakening that appears hampered in the older brain, according to a study in the journal Scientific Reports. […] “We know we lose the ability to perfectly speak a foreign language if we learn than language after the onset of sexual maturity. I can learn English but my Chinese accent is very difficult to get rid of. The question is why,” Tsien said. [EurekAlert]

Scientists think that they have the answer to why the skin on human fingers and toes shrivels up like an old prune when we soak in the bath. Laboratory tests confirmed a theory that wrinkly fingers improve our grip on wet or submerged objects, working to channel away the water like the rain treads in car tires. […] Wrinkled fingers could have helped our ancestors to gather food from wet vegetation or streams, Smulders adds. The analogous effect in the toes could help us to get a better footing in the rain. [Nature]

Take the biggest question of all, for example: what is the ultimate nature of reality? We used to think the answer was atoms. Then we learned about the electron and then about the atomic nucleus. Then it became clear that this nucleus was composed of protons and neutrons. Then these particles were discovered to be composed of quarks held together by gluons. And now we’re in trouble. We know these particles follow those strange quantum laws, and the consequences of this lead us towards an extraordinary answer to our very ordinary question. At heart, quantum theory is about probabilities. No particle has a real existence that we can speak of; we can only express the probability of finding it somewhere. In fact, quantum theory is really about getting access to information. [New Humanist]

What if he simply told people they were taking placebos? The question ultimately inspired a pilot study, published by the peer-reviewed science and medicine journal PLOS ONE in 2010, that yielded his most famous findings to date. His team again compared two groups of IBS sufferers. One group received no treatment. The other patients were told they’d be taking fake, inert drugs (delivered in bottles labeled “placebo pills”) and told also that placebos often have healing effects. The study’s results shocked the investigators themselves: even patients who knew they were taking placebos described real improvement, reporting twice as much symptom relief as the no-treatment group. That’s a difference so significant, says Kaptchuk, it’s comparable to the improvement seen in trials for the best real IBS drugs. [Harvard Magazine]

How belly fat differs from thigh fat—and why it matters.

A drug applied to the ears of mice deafened by noise can restore some hearing in the animals. By blocking a key protein, the drug allows sound-sensing cells that are damaged by noise to regrow. The treatment isn’t anywhere near ready for use in humans, but the advance at least raises the prospect of restoring hearing to some deafened people. [Science]

At this time last year, the price of a frozen, euthanized mouse was 45 cents. But now, that price has nearly doubled. […] Mice and rats are in high demand as a main food source at a clinic that houses and rehabilitates 4,000 to 5,000 injured, orphaned and displaced wild animals every year. [LJ World]

When a law bans exchanges wanted by everyone directly involved a number of things happen: 1) The exchanges continue; 2) Prices of the banned items rise and wars to control turf begin; 3) New criminals are created, including many people who are ordinary good people (like colored margarine seekers); 4) New enforcement agencies and staff are created; 5) New jails are built and new jailers are trained; 6) Laws, lawyers and lawsuits proliferate; 7) A new branch of law and its practitioners prosper and support further extension and complexification of regulations; 8) A portion of the entire apparatus of enforcement and punishment is progressively corrupted; 9) New agencies and staff are created to discover, eliminate or suppress the corruption; […] It is not enough to simply ban exchanges that have consequences we don’t like. The costs of doing it should be compared with the costs of not doing it. [Chicago Boyz]

Have We Lost the War on Drugs?

“I realized from quite early on in my childhood that I saw things differently than other people,” he wrote. “But more often than not, it’s helped me in my life. Psychopathy (if that’s what you want to call it) is like a medicine for modern times. If you take it in moderation, it can prove extremely beneficial. It can alleviate a lot of existential ailments that we would otherwise fall victim to because our fragile psychological immune systems just aren’t up to the job of protecting us. But if you take too much of it, if you overdose on it, then there can, as is the case with all medicines, be some rather unpleasant side effects.” [Kevin Dutton/Scientific American]

Infiniti Poker, like several other new online gambling sites, plans to accept Bitcoin when it launches later this month. […] Developed in 2009 by a mysterious programmer known as Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoins behave much like any currency. Their value—currently about $13 per Bitcoin—is determined by demand. Transactions are handled through a decentralized peer-to-peer network similar to BitTorrent. […] Individuals can buy and sell Bitcoins using global currencies through such online exchanges as Mt. Gox. There’s even a service facilitated by BitInstant, a payment-processing company, that allows you to purchase the virtual currency for cash at 700,000 U.S. locations, including participating Wal-Mart, Duane Reade, and 7-Eleven stores. Once users have Bitcoins, they store them on their computers or mobile devices in files known as Bitcoin wallets or in cloud-based “e-wallets.” […] Hajduk says Infiniti Poker will accept credit cards, wire transfers, and other payment options, but players in the U.S. will be able to play only using Bitcoins. [Businessweek]

In this article, we discuss […] the design of modular consumer products, whose parts and components could be re-used for the design of other products. Initiatives like OpenStructures, Grid Beam, and Contraptor combine the modularity of systems like LEGO, Meccano and Erector with the collaborative power of digital success stories like Wikipedia, Linux or WordPress. An economy based on the concept of re-use would not only bring important advantages in terms of sustainability, but would also save consumers money, speed up innovation, and take manufacturing out of the hands of multinationals. [Low-tech Magazine]

Up to 80 percent of certain anonymous underground forum users can be identified using linguistics, researchers say.

Software developed by the FBI and Ernst & Young has revealed the most common words used in email conversations among employees engaged in corporate fraud. The software, which was developed using the knowledge gained from real life corporate fraud investigations, pinpoints and tracks common fraud phrases like “cover up,” “write off,” “failed investment,” “off the books,” “nobody will find out” and “grey area.” Expressions such as “special fees” and “friendly payments” are most common in bribery cases, while fears of getting caught are shown in phrases such as “no inspection” and “do not volunteer information.” [Computer World]

Guns should know where they are and if another gun is nearby. Global positioning systems can meet most of the need, refining a gun’s location to the building level, even within buildings. Control of the gun would remain in the hand of the person carrying it, but the ability to fire multiple shots in crowded areas or when no other guns are present would be limited by software that understands where the gun is being used. Guns should also be designed to sense where they are being aimed. Artificial vision and optical sensing technology can be adapted from military and medical communities. Sensory data can be used by built-in software to disable firing if the gun is pointed at a child or someone holding a child. Building software into guns need not affect gun owners’ desire to protect their homes. Trigger control software could be relaxed when the gun is at home or in a car, while other safety features stay on to prevent accidental discharges. Guns used by the police would be exempt from such controls. [Jeremy Shane/CNN]

It’s almost impossible to get to a gun in Japan, and selling one or owning one is a serious crime.

This is what would happen if we breach the debt ceiling.

Your iPhone will soon detect bad breath… and other smells.

The Anti-Surveillance Clothing Line That Promises To Thwart Cell Tracking and Drones.

Liquid Nitrogen Cocktails: Smoking Hot Trend Or Unnecessary Risk?

We report a case of gastric perforation in an 18-year-old girl as a result of ingesting an alcoholic drink containing liquid nitrogen.

The Curious Mathematics of Domino Chain Reactions.

How Did Humans Figure Out That Sex Makes Babies?

Do 98% of women hover over public toilet seats?

New York City street cleaning policy increases car usage for those without off-street parking.

There seem to be a lot of Barnes & Noble superstores closing lately.

The Barnes & Noble store at Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street in NYC closed.

The Quality Cafe doesn’t even function as a real diner anymore. It stopped serving meals in 2006, but it’s been doing pretty well for itself as a film location over the past few decades.

Ancient Egyptians Paid a Monthly Fee to Become Voluntary Temple Slaves.

After a half-decade, massive Wikipedia hoax finally exposed.

One of the great explosions of modern literary creativity happened in the Soviet Union in the 1920s, with the emergence of writers like Vladimir Mayakovsky, Viktor Shklovsky, Isaak Babel, and Boris Pilnyak. There’s no knowing what the Soviet writing of the subsequent decades might have been if Stalin hadn’t killed, jailed, exiled or silenced everyone. Some of the best writing from that period only surfaced after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and is just now starting to filter out into the international arena. One of the most remarkable discoveries is the work of Andrey Platonov.

In his 1689 De arte Excerpendi, the Hamburg rhetorician Vincent Placcius described a scrinium literatum, or literary cabinet, whose multiple doors held 3,000 hooks on which loose slips could be organized under various headings and transposed as necessary. Two of the cabinets were eventually built, one for Placcius’s own use and one acquired by Leibniz. [Geoffrey Nunberg/The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Guy Debord’s first book, Mémoires, was bound with a sandpaper cover so that it would destroy other books placed next to it.

This is a tardigrade. Tardigrades are able to survive in extreme environments that would kill almost any other animal. Some can survive temperatures of close to absolute zero, or 0 Kelvin (?273 °C (?459 °F)), temperatures as high as 151 °C (304 °F), 1,000 times more radiation than other animals, and almost a decade without water. Since 2007, tardigrades have also returned alive from studies in which they have been exposed to the vacuum of space for a few days in low Earth orbit. Tardigrades are the first known animal to survive in space. [wikipedia]

Age-otori (Japanese): To look worse after a haircut. Tingo (Pascuense language of Easter Island): To borrow objects one by one from a neighbor’s house until there is nothing left. [via The Atlantic]

Guide to Spanish.

Unruly passenger taped to seat on Icelandair flight.