Triple-Decker Weekly

From the year 2003 and working backwards to the beginning of human history, we generated, according to IBM’s calculations, five exabytes–that’s five billion gigabytes–of information. By last year, we were cranking out that much data every two days. By next year, predicts Turek, we’ll be doing it every 10 minutes. […] It’s the latest example of technology outracing our capacity to use it. In this case, we haven’t begun to catch up with our ability to capture information, which is why a favorite trope of management pundits these days is that the future belongs to companies and governments that can make sense of all the data they’re collecting, preferably in real time. [Smithsonian]

Physicists store short movie in a cloud of gas.

A new anti Wi-Fi wallpaper, developed by french scientists, will go on sale in 2013.

This system is enriching patent trolls—companies that buy patents in order to extort money from innovators. These trolls are like a modern day mafia. […] The larger players can afford to buy patents to deter the trolls, but the smaller players—the innovative startups—can’t. Instead, they have to settle out of court. Patent trolls take advantage of this weakness. […] Clearly, the laws need revision. [Washington Post]

Over recent years a body of research has accumulated showing the psychological benefits of nostalgia. For example, reminiscing about the past can combat loneliness and off-set the discomfort of thinking about death. Now a team led by Xinyue Zhou has shown that nostalgia brings physical comforts too, making us feel warmer and increasing our tolerance to cold. [BPS]

Why identical twins differ—despite having the same DNA.

Mummies were stolen from Egyptian tombs, and skulls were taken from Irish burial sites. Gravediggers robbed and sold body parts. “The question was not, ‘Should you eat human flesh?’ but, ‘What sort of flesh should you eat?’ ” says Sugg. […] As science strode forward, however, cannibal remedies died out. [Smithsonian]

“Illusory Power Transference” is the academic name for feeling powerful due to a superficial connection to a powerful person, such as having once been in the same room. [OvercomingBias]

In a Dutch study performed by Pieter van Baal and colleagues, the authors compared the annual and lifetime health care costs of three cohorts, namely the obese, the smokers, and the healthy living people. […] The lifetime costs for an obese person amounted to € 399,000, compared to which the smoker comes at a 14% discount of € 341,000, but the healthy living person with a 17% premium at € 468,000. [Chronic Health]

New York City agency pushes plan to prevent cyberattacks on elevators, boilers. [Network World]

US Drone fleet can keep tabs on the movements of Americans, far from the battlefields. And it can hold data on them for 90 days — studying it to see if the people it accidentally spied upon are actually legitimate targets of domestic surveillance. [Wired ]

The ‘body clock’ or circadian rhythms controls things like alertness, sleep patterns, appetite and hormones, and travelling across time zones or working nights can disturb it. […] Not getting enough sleep puts you at increased risk of obesity, diabetes and related metabolic disorders. [Genome Engineering]

A new study suggests that, by disrupting your body’s normal rhythms, your alarm clock could be making you overweight. [Science]

The hypothesis was that people who used particular basic word orders would have more children: It turns out that speakers of SOV languages have more children than speakers of SVO languages. [Replicated Typo]

Small children (age 4-6) who were exposed to a large number of children’s books and films had a significantly stronger ability to read the mental and emotional states of other people. […] Psychologists have found that people who watch less TV are actually more accurate judges of life’s risks and rewards than those who subject themselves to the tales of crime, tragedy, and death that appear night after night on the ten o’clock news. [via OvercomingBias]

When you “lose yourself” inside the world of a fictional character while reading a story, you may actually end up changing your own behavior and thoughts to match that of the character, a new study suggests. [Ohio State University]

Anything, including liquid water, can be a touch-screen thanks to a new sensory system designed by a scientist from Disney Research. [TPM]

Understanding J.P. Morgan’s Loss, And Why More Might Be Coming.

We’ve been told by the New York Times, you know, the newswpaper of record, that Apple only paid a 9.8% tax rate last year. This really is the most gargantuan ignorance on their part. The $3.3 billion has nothing, nothing at all, to do with the $34.2 billion: something which any accountant at all could have told them. [Forbes]

Adscend Media agreed not to spam Facebook users and pay US$100,000 in court and attorney fees, according to the settlement. Adscend Media's spamming generated up to $20 million a year. [IT World]

Brazil retailer using Facebook likes… on its clothing hangers.

Two years after Europe bailed Greece out to protect the euro, the rescue has become a debacle that threatens to unravel the common currency. […] Greece’s bailout by the EU and International Monetary Fund is the costliest financial rescue of a nation in history, with paid or pledged loans totaling €245 billion. It has already involved the biggest-ever sovereign-debt default, a debt restructuring that wiped out more than €100 billion of Greek bond debt. […] Greek premier George Papandreou says that when he asked German Chancellor Angela Merkel for gentler conditions in 2010, she replied that the aid program had to hurt. “We want to make sure nobody else will want this,” Ms. Merkel told him. [WSJ]

Spain is in a complete economic crisis. Its unemployment rate of 24.4 percent is higher than the U.S. unemployment rate during the worst of the Great Depression. And there’s no Spanish New Deal waiting around the corner to turn things around. The prolonged spell of mass unemployment is going to degrade workers’ abilities and prevent young people from gaining skills. The most capable and daring Spaniards will emigrate abroad, and Spanish firms will (rationally) fail to invest in improving the productivity of their workers. This bleak outlook will make investors more reluctant to loan euros to the Spanish government, which will then force more rounds of tax hikes and budget cuts, which will further crush the Spanish economy. A country that was booming a few years ago now looks doomed. But perhaps there is a way out, one suggested by the recent experience of Argentina, a nation that’s currently enjoying full employment. [Slate]

A first thing to say is that the dollar, like the United States, isn’t going anywhere. The United States still accounts for nearly a quarter of global GDP when the output of other countries is valued at market exchange rates (which is the appropriate metric when one is concerned with international transactions). By this measure, the United States is still nearly three times the economic size of both China and Japan. Its financial markets are deep and liquid. The market in U.S. Treasury bonds—the principal instrument that foreign central banks hold as reserves—is the single largest financial market in the world. The fact that there exists a huge volume of currency transactions involving dollars allows investors to buy them in substantial quantities without driving up their price and to sell them without driving that price down. In the competition with other currencies, in other words, the dollar enjoys the advantages of incumbency. [The American Interest]

For every $1 Google spends lobbying, Apple spends 10¢.

Apple auto-disables outdated versions of Flash Player in latest software update. The move appears to be welcomed by Adobe.

Employees are often required to cede the rights to their designs and inventions to their employers. But Twitter Inc. has recently upended that tradition by drafting a policy that will put control over how such patents are enforced into the hands of its engineers and employees. Come Lague, the chief executive of Zetta Research, which buys patents from failed start-ups and sells them to other companies, believes Twitter’s new policy could affect the value of its own patents. [WSJ]

Tel Aviv University research finds that smart phone users develop new concepts of privacy in public spaces. […] Smart phone users are 70 percent more likely than regular cellphone users to believe that their phones afford them a great deal of privacy, says Dr. Toch, who specializes in privacy and information systems. These users are more willing to reveal private issues in public spaces. They are also less concerned about bothering individuals who share those spaces, he says. [American Friends of TAU]

The future of media on mobile devices isn't with applications but with the Web.

"Most people with a mental disorder are happy."

Many Internet users are unaware of bufferbloat because it has been masked by faster computers and bigger pipes and because it sneaked up on us slowly over time. But here’s a test. Think back to your first broadband cable or DSL Internet connection, right after you finally got rid of dial-up. How much faster is your Internet connection today than it was back then?  Don’t think in terms of numbers but of subjective performance.  It’s not much faster at all, is it? That’s bufferbloat. [Cringely]

The fear of being laughed at (gelotophobia) was examined in its relations to concepts from positive psychology in Austria, China, and Switzerland. Gelotophobes described themselves with lower overall estimations of their lives. [ The International Journal for Humor Research]

In sports, on a game show, or just on the job, what causes people to choke when the stakes are high? A new study by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) suggests that when there are high financial incentives to succeed, people can become so afraid of losing their potentially lucrative reward that their performance suffers. Previous research has shown that if you pay people too much, their performance actually declines. [Caltech]

Despite 28 years of research, there is still no vaccine that provides effective protection against HIV. […] The virus is the most diverse we know of. It mutates so rapidly that people might carry millions of different versions of it, just months after becoming infected. HIV’s constantly changing form makes it unlike any viral foe we have tried to thwart with a vaccine. […] On top of that, HIV targets immune cells, the very agents that are meant to kill it. And it can hide for years by shoving its DNA into that of its host, creating a long-term reservoir of potential infection. So, creating an HIV vaccine is like trying to fire a gun at millions of shielded, moving targets. Oh, and they can eat your bullets. [NERS/Discover]

Forget Hannibal Lecter. The movie portrayal of serial killers as deranged loners with unusually high IQs is dangerously wrong and can hinder investigations. According to the FBI, serial killers are much different in real life. […] The majority of serial killers are not reclusive, social misfits who live alone. They are not monsters and may not appear strange. Many serial killers hide in plain sight within their communities. Serial murderers often have families and homes, are gainfully employed, and appear to be normal members of the community. […] Contrary to popular belief, serial killers span all racial groups. The racial diversification of serial killers generally mirrors that of the overall U.S. population. […] Female serial killers do exist. […] Serial murders are not sexually-based. There are many other motivations for serial murders including anger, thrill, financial gain, and attention seeking. [Crime]

The documents state that Travolta said there was a Hollywood actress staying at the hotel that “wanted three way sex, and wanted to be double penetrated.” Travolta said they could have that later, but first they needed to have sex together before calling her, so this way they would be in-sync with each other sexually. [Radar]

Team-building exercises, simulation games, educational games, puzzle-solving activities, office parties, themed dress-down days, and colorful, aesthetically-stimulating workplaces are notable examples of this trend. […] This is a relatively new conception of the relation between work and play. Until very recently, play was seen as the antithesis of work. […] When employees are urged to reach out to their ‘inner child,’ it becomes clear that the distinction between work and play is increasingly difficult to maintain in practice. […] ‘Boredom’ might be an appropriate concept for rethinking the interconnections between work and play in present-day organizations. [ephemera]

If we look at how communication works we find that words and phrases have a great influence on attention. They bring into the consciousness of the listener the concepts that are uttered. This is what meaning is – the concepts that a word or phrase can steer attention towards. This is what communication is – the sharing of attention by two (or more) brains on a sequence of concepts. So it is not surprising that it is useful to talk to oneself. [Thoughts on thoughts]

A new Israeli law prohibits fashion media and advertising from using Photoshop or models who fall below the World Health Organization's standard for malnutrition.

Sex addiction is big business, there is an American Society of Addictive Medicine that says addiction is a “chronic brain disorder” but this is unsupported by research. There are many clinics where the wealthy (males) can go to be cured. About 900 people have been certified as sex addiction therapists (CSAT) at a cost of about $5000. […] Chapter 13 is “The Ignored Aspects of Masculinity” where the sex addiction field focuses on men as intrinsically selfish, focused on “scoring” and virility. It ignores the part of men that are seeking love and trying their best to please their partners. [Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality]

Put aside your stereotypes about the sex industry and consider that many people, of all sexes and genders, can find the work empowering and healing. Wrenna Robertson is one such person, having worked for 18 years as a stripper. In this piece she talks about her own experiences as well as those of others, including escorts, porn actors, tantric practitioners and erotic masseurs. [The Scavenger]

I found it disturbing that women would only have these positive messages of empowerment, financial independence and a life of luxury to base their decision on entering this world. [New Left Project]

One of the most important things to remember when thinking about pitching is that there are huge numbers of pitches in the world. Venture capitalists hear quite a few of them. And they find the process frustrating because it is such a low yield activity (a tiny fraction of first pitches lead to subsequent diligence and even fewer of those lead to a deal). So if you want VCs to listen to you, you need to force them to listen—to break through the clutter. Doing so requires you to hack into the VC mind. […] You must address both sides of their brains; you have to convince VCs that your proposal is economically rational, and then you must exploit their reptilian brains by persuading their emotional selves into doing the deal and overcoming cognitive biases (like near-term focus) against the deal. [Blake Masters]

Milk contains enough calcium to turn nipples into bone – why do they remain soft?

Neurophysiological Explanation for the Perception of Poltergeists.

Chimp In Cocaine Study Starts Lying To Friends.

Shouldn't the expression "head over heels" be "heels over head"?

David O’Reilly, The External World, 2010.

I had been living in Mexico City for only two months when I encountered artist P.J. Rountree’s collection of El Grafico covers.

Hard to tell where these people are from.