Triple-Decker Weekly, 82

Unagi Travel, the “Japan Travel Agency for Stuffed Animals.”

The drink is designed to taste like kissing an older man who has just shaved and smoked a cigarette.

A camera that captures scent instead of sights.

Miley Cyrus files lawsuit over sex doll [Thanks TG]

In basic literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving skills, the new study shows, younger Americans are at or near the bottom of the standings among advanced countries.

Salsa overtakes ketchup as America’s No. 1 condiment, tortillas outsell burger and hot dog buns.

In Japan, sales of adult diapers exceed those for babies.

Washing your hands makes you optimistic.

Earlier studies already showed that people that just experienced or recalled an embarrassing situation — that is a public action that observers could consider as foolish or inappropriate — often feel motivated to avoid social contact or to repair their image. Sunglasses and restorative cosmetics could help with that. A team of researchers now investigated the actual effectiveness of these coping strategies. […] Hiding the face and repairing the face weren’t equally effective in these experiments. Face restoring products seemed to relieve feelings of embarrassment and restore willingness to interact with others. Simply hiding the face didn’t seem to help. [United-Academics ]

According to Dr. Rick Hanson, a neuropsychologist, our brains are naturally wired to focus on the negative, which can make us feel stressed and unhappy even though there are a lot of positive things in our lives. “The simple idea is that we we all want to have good things inside ourselves: happiness, resilience, love, confidence, and so forth. The question is, how do we actually grow those, in terms of the brain? It’s really important to have positive experiences of these things that we want to grow, and then really help them sink in, because if we don’t help them sink in, they don’t become neural structure very effectively. So what my book’s about is taking the extra 10, 20, 30 seconds to enable everyday experiences to convert to neural structure so that increasingly, you have these strengths with you wherever you go. […] As our ancestors evolved, they needed to pass on their genes. And day-to-day threats like predators or natural hazards had more urgency and impact for survival. On the other hand, positive experiences like food, shelter, or mating opportunities, those are good, but if you fail to have one of those good experiences today, as an animal, you would have a chance at one tomorrow. But if that animal or early human failed to avoid that predator today, they could literally die as a result. That’s why the brain today has what scientists call a negativity bias.[…] For example, negative information about someone is more memorable than positive information, which is why negative ads dominate politics. In relationships, studies show that a good, strong relationship needs at least a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions.” [The Atlantic]

New drug reduces negative memory.

Can the experience of an emotion persist once the memory for what induced the emotion has been forgotten? We capitalized on a rare opportunity to study this question directly using a select group of patients with severe amnesia. […] Our findings provide direct evidence that a feeling of emotion can endure beyond the conscious recollection for the events that initially triggered the emotion. [PNAS]

How IBM is making computers more like your brain.

As you mature you find that because your personality is already created, you’re kind of using other characters to understand yourself. The process of maturation makes you naturally more inclined to relate to problematic people. […] “Hate” and “Love” aren’t opposites. The opposite of “Love” is “Indifferent.” So if you actually hate something, it actually means you have a pretty deep emotional investment with what that expression means. [Interview with Chuck Klosterman]

An eye-opening 2005 paper estimated the number of children who are not the biological offspring of their presumed father. Looking at studies from around the world, it concluded that the median number of kids who are not the children of the person they call ‘dad’ is 3.7% with studies typically finding a rate of between two and ten percent. This is presumably due to children being conceived during clandestine affairs. [Mind Hacks]

Reading this in a meeting? Women are twice as likely as men to be offended by smartphone use.

As I monitor the important work being done to find extraterrestrial intelligence today, I often consider how we might communicate with ETI if/when we do finally connect. Pioneering work done over the past decades to develop an understanding of dolphin communication may serve as a guide when the time comes. […] Dolphins produce a wide array of sounds aside from their distinguishing whistles. These range from lower-pitched grunts to the clicks that they employ for echolocation (a highly developed ability that enables them to locate even tiny objects underwater while blindfolded). Many scientists have hypothesized that these diverse sounds actually comprise an extensive form of language that dolphins use to communicate with one another. The general demeanor of these creatures – oftentimes playful, humorous, and responsive – suggests that they could be capable of such a level of comprehension. […] (some scientists have surmised that dolphin “speech” may consist of as many as 60,000 “words”, or more) [Wired Cosmos]

The CIA’s most highly-trained spies weren’t even human.

The science of ice, melting, and chilling (as it pertains to drinks).

A team of scientists has explained the physics behind why beer in a bottle transforms into an overflowing mass of foam when the bottle receives a vertical tap on the mouth.

Spoken irony, for the most part, avoids such pitfalls by virtue of tone of voice and the body language with which we accompany it. By cocking an eyebrow, by feigning enthusiasm or boredom, we give an attentive listener the clues they need to extract our true meaning. The problems most often arise not when we utter an ironic statement but when we try to write it down. Yet written language is not without its own body language of sorts in the form of punctuation, and to approximate a specific tone of voice we might employ italic or bold text. Despite this, writers persist in looking for alternative ways to signal irony. For evidence of this we need look no further than the prevalence of the “smileys” with which we decorate jokes sent over SMS, instant messaging and email. Plainly, we do not trust conventional marks alone to convey our meaning. Even a crude :-) or ;-) is preferable to having an ironic comment misunderstood by its reader. [New Statesman]

Are you what you read or do you read what you are?

Sasha Frere-Jones on Morrissey’s “Autobiography.”

Lady Gaga‘s Telephone music video was a strange but significant addition to our collection of material that in one or another way signaled a move beyond, post, or after postmodernism.

Transcript of a 1972 conversation between Foucault and Deleuze.

Before we take a look at where Freud was right, let’s consider where he went wrong.

The Decline of Wikipedia.

Until now theorists have predicted that information can always spread until it saturates a network to the point where everybody has received it. These predictions come from models based on our understanding of diseases and the way they percolate through a population. The basic assumption is that information spreads in the same way. Not so fast, say Chuang and co. Information is different.

The movie “Gravity” depicts two astronauts fighting to survive while floating in the void of space. German astronaut Ulrich Walter explains what the film got right and wrong.

Don’t expect self-driving cars to take over the roads anytime soon. Here’s what carmakers are really working on.

13+ things you shouldn’t eat at a restaurant.

List of cognitive biases. [Thanks GG]