Party officials were apparently willing to turn a blind eye to Ms Groll’s career choice, but they could not ignore her sexual encounter with the black male in her latest movie, titled Kitty Discovers Sperm.
People often believe they have more control over outcomes (particularly positive outcomes) than they actually do. Psychologists discovered this illusion of control in controlled experiments. […] People suffering from depression tend not to fall for this illusion. That fact, along with similar findings from depression, gave rise to the term depressive realism. Two recent studies now suggest that patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may also represent contingency and estimate personal control differently from the norm. […] Their obsessions cause them distress and they perform compulsions in an effort to regain some sense of control over their thoughts, fears, and anxieties. Yet in some cases, compulsions (like sports fans’ superstitions) seem to indicate an inflated sense of personal control. Based on this conventional model of OCD, you might predict that people with the illness will either underestimate or overestimate their personal control over events. So which did the studies find? In a word: both. [Garden of the Mind]
A recent paper has put a hole in another remnant of Freud’s influence, that suppressed memories are still active. Freud noticed that we can suppress unwelcome memories. He theorized that the suppressed memories continued to exist in the unconscious mind and could unconsciously affect behaviour. Uncovering these memories and their influence was a large part of psychoanalysis. Understanding whether this theory is valid is important for evaluating recovered memories of abuse and for dealing with post-traunatic stress disorder. The question Gagnepain, Henson and Anderson set out to answer was whether successfully suppressed conscious memories were also suppressed unconsciously or whether they were still unconsciously active. […] [T]he results do fit with a number of other findings about memory, so that it is now unwise to take the Freudian view of suppression as reliable. [Neuro-patch]
The Behavioral Economics of Drunk Driving [PDF]
Miners earn newly minted bitcoins for adding new sections to the blockchain. But the amount awarded for adding a section is periodically halved so that the total number of bitcoins in circulation never exceeds 21 million (the reward last halved in 2012 and is set to do so again in 2016). Transaction fees paid to miners for helping verify transfers are supposed to make up for that loss of income. But fees are currently negligible, and the Princeton analysis predicts that under the existing rules these fees won’t become significant enough to make mining worth doing in the absence of freshly minted bitcoins. [ Technology Review]
Scientists Create Synthetic Yeast Chromosome Man-made yeasts could irreversibly change everything from the biofuel to the brewing industry.
Farrenkopf had a bank account with a very large sum in it, and she had set up her mortgage and utility bills to be paid automatically from it. As her body decomposed in her garage, the funds went out regularly.
In 1982 a brutal triple homicide shook the city of Waco and soon became one of the most confounding criminal cases in Texas history [Part I to V]
In 1848, the discovery of gold brought 300,000 men to California from all over the world. Yet this sudden mass of humanity lived without a functioning legal system. And if there had been a legal enforcement system, it was unclear what law it would enforce. […] Without a functional government, there were no licensing procedures, fees, or taxes to regulate gold prospecting. No miner worked land that he owned. Any prospector could join any mining camp at any time. Camp populations were heterogeneous: “Puritans and drunkards, clergymen and convict, honest and dishonest, rich and poor.” There was no common language, culture, or legal experience. […] The men shared a common set of needs, however. Each miner needed to be able to leave whatever he owned unguarded each day while he worked his claim. A miner who found gold needed to protect his find until he could convert it into cash or goods. [Paul H. Robinson/SSRN]
Horses are the only species other than man transported around the world for competition purposes. In humans, transport across several time zones can result in adverse symptoms commonly referred to as jetlag. Can changes in the light/dark cycle, equivalent to those caused by transport across several time zones, affect daily biological rhythms, and performance in equine athletes? […] We found that horses do feel a change in the light/dark cycle very acutely, but they also recover very quickly, and this resulted in an improvement in their performance rather than a decrease in their performance, which was exactly the opposite of what we thought was going to happen. [HBLB | PDF]
In a small, often overlooked area of the museum was an overwhelming amount of meticulously ordered material by an artist I’d never heard of before. After being rejected by his parents, his wife, his school, and even his teacher – Joseph Beuys – Ademeit abandoned drawing and painting for photography and writing. He shot more than 6,000 Polaroids in isolation over a 14-year period, which engulfed the room. In the margins of the Polaroids, and in seemingly endless calendars and booklets, he handwrote notations at a scale that borders on indecipherable. He was studying the impact of cold rays, earth rays, electromagnetic waves and other forms of radiation on his health and safety. He protected himself with magnets and herbs from what he perceived to be dangerous invisible forces, while obsessively creating this trove of records and evidence. [Taryn Simon]
I like doing sound portraits – I get close to someone’s face, I take down the sound of the hair, the sounds of the skin, eyes and lips, and then I create a specific chord that relates to the face. How Harbisson hears the colors that most people see