Triple-Decker Weekly, 118

Neural activity predicts the timing of spontaneous decisions
We will review evidence from neuroscience, complex network research and evolution theory and demonstrate that — at least in terms of psychopharmacological intervention — on the basis of our understanding of brain function it seems inconceivable that there ever will be a drug that has the desired effect without undesirable side effects. [Neuroethics] Anarchist conference descends into chaos Virgos suffering ‘astrological discrimination’ in China The Belgian city of Bruges has approved plans to build a pipeline which will funnel beer underneath its famous cobbled streets. Locals and politicians were fed up with huge lorries clattering through the cobbled streets. Mother drives with 5-month-old in trunk to avoid being cited for not having car seat Blind people have four times more nightmares than sighted people Scientists may have accidentally misread space dust as evidence of the Big Bang Researcher proves, mathematically,… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 117

Time Travel Simulation Resolves “Grandfather Paradox”
People's belief in free will is lower when they need to urinate or desire sex Domestic violence likely more frequent for same-sex couples The main objective of this study was to describe male and female lumbar spine and hip motion and muscle activation patterns during coitus and compare these motions and muscle activity across five common coital positions. […] A secondary objective was to determine if simulated coitus could be used in place of real coitus for future coitus biomechanics research. [via University of Waterloo | PDF] Venezuela’s shortage of breast implants Bra Wearing Not Associated with Breast Cancer Risk Double mastectomy for breast cancer 'does not boost survival chances' Town in Brazil made up entirely of women has made an appeal for bachelors ’Family meal' ideal is stressful, impossible for many families New Toyota minivan equips parents with mic… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 116

Psychologists investigate why some people see the future as being behind them
Psychologists investigate why some people see the future as being behind them Flight diverted after fight over legroom. One passenger was using the Knee Defender, a $21.95 gadget that attaches to a passenger's tray table and prevents the person in front of them from reclining. Seattle doctor accused of sexting during surgery Does Love last? No. Romantic/Passionate love declines after marriage. After two years of marriage, average spouses express affection for each other only half as often as they did when they were newlyweds. Divorces occur more frequently in the fourth year of marriage than at any other time. [Psychology of Romantic Relationships | PDF] Reading 'Fifty Shades' linked to unhealthy behaviors Fifty-eight adolescent girls and 60 young adult women viewed a Facebook profile with either a sexualized profile photo or a nonsexualized profile photo and then evaluated the profile… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 115

peers tend to avoid the degree of overoptimism so often seen in self-predictions
The Real Secret to Detecting Lies (And It’s Not Body Language) [more] In two longitudinal studies, university students, their roommates, and parents assessed the quality and forecast the longevity of the students’ dating relationships. […] Students assessed their relationships more positively, focusing primarily on the strengths of their relationships, and made more optimistic predictions than did parents and roommates. Although students were more confident in their predictions, their explicit forecasts tended to be less accurate than those of the two observer groups. Students, however, possessed information that could have yielded more accurate forecasts. [SAGE] peers tend to avoid the degree of overoptimism so often seen in self-predictions The systematic biases seen in people’s probability judgments are typically taken as evidence that people do not use the rules of probability theory when reasoning about probability but instead use heuristics, which sometimes… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 114

There's little correlation between company performance and CEO pay
Recent theoretical developments in evolutionary psychology suggest that more intelligent individuals may be more likely to prefer to remain childless than less intelligent individuals. Analyses of the National Child Development Study show that more intelligent men and women express preference to remain childless early in their reproductive careers, but only more intelligent women (not more intelligent men) are more likely to remain childless by the end of their reproductive careers. […] Because women have a greater impact on the average intelligence of future generations, the dysgenic fertility among women is predicted to lead to a decline in the average intelligence of the population in advanced industrial nations. [Social Science Research | PDF] Automatically detecting human social intentions from spoken conversation is an important task for dialogue understanding. Since the social intentions of the speaker may differ from what is perceived… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 113

Connecting with others increases happiness, but strangers in close proximity routinely ignore each other
“Emotions such as anger and contempt can seem very threatening for couples. But our study suggests that if spouses, especially wives, are able to calm themselves, their marriages can continue to thrive,” Bloch said. While it is commonly held that women play the role of caretaker and peacemaker in relationships, the study is among the first to reveal this dynamic in action over a long period of time, researchers point out. Results show that the link between the wives’ ability to control emotions and higher marital satisfaction was most evident when women used “constructive communication” to temper disagreements. [UC Berkeley] Major theories propose that spontaneous responding to others’ actions involves mirroring, or direct matching. Responding to facial expressions is assumed to follow this matching principle: People smile to smiles and frown to frowns. We demonstrate here that social power fundamentally… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 112

In the U.S., couples with daughters are somewhat more likely to divorce than couples with sons
Germany’s nudist movement is in decline Many sewage epidemiology studies to date have focused on measuring the drugs carried in urine, dissolved in water. However, now it seems that analysing faecal matter could be more accurate, since some drugs tend to stick more readily to solids. Scientists at the University of East Anglia have made a breakthrough in the race to solve antibiotic resistance. New research published today in the journal Nature reveals an Achilles’ heel in the defensive barrier which surrounds drug-resistant bacterial cells. The findings pave the way for a new wave of drugs that kill superbugs by bringing down their defensive walls rather than attacking the bacteria itself. It means that in future, bacteria may not develop drug-resistance at all. [Phys.org] Few human possessions are so universally owned as mobile phones. There are almost as many mobile… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 111

Surprisingly, the stories of “Pinocchio” and “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” failed to reduce lying in children
This study compared the effectiveness of four classic moral stories in promoting honesty in 3- to 7-year-olds. Surprisingly, the stories of “Pinocchio” and “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” failed to reduce lying in children. In contrast, the apocryphal story of “George Washington and the Cherry Tree” significantly increased truth telling. Further results suggest that the reason for the difference in honesty-promoting effectiveness between the “George Washington” story and the other stories was that the former emphasizes the positive consequences of honesty, whereas the latter focus on the negative consequences of dishonesty. [Psychological Science | PDF] “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” St Matthew’s words are oft quoted, albeit usually in an abbreviated form. But are they true?… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 110

It’s not just an app that says Yo. It’s a whole new means of communication.
Yo is the hottest new app that will leave you scratching your head. The entire premise of the app is to send other users a single word: Yo. […] Without ever having officially launched, co-founder and CEO Or Arbel managed to secure $1.2 million in funding. [Tech Crunch] That $1m funding should cover costs for a year to find out whether Yo really can succeed, Mr Arbel says. […] “It’s not just an app that says Yo,” says Mr Arbel. “It’s a whole new means of communication.” [FT] Yo, the app, has been hacked The present research provides empirical evidence that drug names may entail implicit promises about their therapeutic power. We asked people to evaluate the perceived efficacy and risk associated with hypothetical drug names and other secondary related measures. We compared opaque (without meaning), functional (targeting the health… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 109

New study suggests the Universe is not expanding at all
It is an object of the present invention to provide a practical and affordable device to disperse cremated remains in a special and honorary manner. […] At an appointed time, the remains are loaded into one or more mortar launchers mounted on the back of a mobile unit, be it a vehicle or other mobile device, and propelled into the sky. When an appropriate altitude is reached, the explosive device is activated and explodes, causing the ashen remains to disintegrate and cover an expansive area with the ash. The loved ones may feel that the spirit of the departed lingers in that area, allowing surviving family and friends to enjoy the comfort of having a part of the loved one physically and figuratively all around them [Wallace N. Brown | via Improbable ] A small proportion of the population is… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 108

The deceased husband, despite all of his widow’s solicitude, cannot return to repay his wife’s devotion
The paper, by Winegard et al., opens with the following vignette: A bereaved wife every weekend walks one mile to place flowers on her deceased husband’s cemetery stone. Neither rain nor snow prevents her from making this trip, one she has been making for 2 years. However poignant the scene, and however high our temptation to exclude it from the cold logic of scientific scrutiny, it presents researchers with a perplexing puzzle that demands reflection. The deceased husband, despite all of his widow’s solicitude, cannot return to repay his wife’s devotion. Why waste time, energy, effort, resources—why, in other words, grieve for a social bond that can no longer compensate such dedication? […] Their explanation is that bearing these costs acts as a signal. Drawing on Costly Signaling Theory (CST), they argue that paying these costs sends signals to other… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 107

The Top Ten Worst Reasons to Stay Friends With Your Ex
Gelignite, or blasting gelatin, is a mixture of nitroglycerin, gun cotton, and a combustible substance like wood pulp. It resembles dynamite (also invented by Alfred Nobel) but can be conveniently molded into shape with the bare hands. The October 6, 1904 issue of Russian Doctor contained a dispatch about a young woman who “found a cartridge containing this substance in her husband’s trunk and ate it, taking the cartridge for a piece of confectionery.” Despite her husband’s fears, she neither exploded nor expired from the effects of the poison, as summarized in the New York Medical Journal six weeks later. [Improbable] Paul Ingrisano, a pirate living in Brooklyn New York, filed a trademark under “Pi Productions” for a logo which consists of this freely available version of the pi symbol ? from the Wikimedia website combined with a period (full stop). The… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 106

Personal judgments are swayed by group opinion, but only for 3 days
The atomists held that there are two fundamentally different kinds of realities composing the natural world, atoms and void. […] In supposing that void exists, the atomists deliberately embraced an apparent contradiction, claiming that ‘what is not’ exists. [ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy] Scientists discover how to turn light into matter after 80-year quest. [ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy] Families infuriated by ‘crass commercialism’ of 9/11 Museum gift shop 9/11 Memorial has banned soap, gum chewing, and a lot of other things Man in his underwear steals NYC bread truck, makes deliveries Personal judgments are swayed by group opinion, but only for 3 days The brain systems that modulate “that loving feeling” are only just beginning to be understood, but neuroscience research is pointing more and more to the idea that the sensation of love relies on the… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 105

We investigate the possibility that a decision-maker prefers to avoid making a decision and instead delegates it to an external device, e.g., a coin flip
Kidnapper sues hostages Many gardeners and horticulturalists seek non-chemical methods to control populations of snails. It has frequently been reported that snails that are marked and removed from a garden are later found in the garden again. This phenomenon is often cited as evidence for a homing instinct. We report a systematic study of the snail population in a small suburban garden, in which large numbers of snails were marked and removed over a period of about 6 months. While many returned, inferring a homing instinct from this evidence requires statistical modelling. […] Maximum likelihood techniques infer the existence of two groups of snails in the garden: members of a larger population that show little affinity to the garden itself, and core members of a local garden population that regularly return to their home if removed. The data are strongly… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 104

It was only a few decades ago that incision and suction were recommended snakebite first aid
You don't always know what you're saying. People's conscious awareness of their speech often comes after they've spoken, not before. People can only recognize two faces in a crowd at a time – even if the faces belong to famous people. We investigate why people keep their promises in the absence of external enforcement mechanisms and reputational effects. It was only a few decades ago that incision and suction were recommended snakebite first aid. However, concerns arose about injuries and infections caused when laypersons made incisions across fang marks and applied mouth suction. Meanwhile, several snakebite suction devices (eg, Cutter’s Snakebite Kit, Venom Ex) were evaluated, and it was determined that they were neither safe nor effective. So, recommendations changed, and mechanical suction without incision was advocated instead. It seemed intuitive that suction alone would probably remove venom and should… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 103

Can you ever be reasonably sure that something is random?
Most men who undergo circumcision do not know where their foreskins go after the process. Couples need just 1 conversation to decide not to have children A cardboard cutout of Paris Hilton has a painkilling effect on mice Can you ever be reasonably sure that something is random, in the same sense you can be reasonably sure something is not random (for example, because it consists of endless nines)? Even if a sequence looked random, how could you ever rule out the possibility that it had a hidden deterministic pattern? And what exactly do we mean by “random,” anyway? [American Scientist] Why do we make gestures (even when no one can see them)? We investigate why people keep their promises in the absence of external enforcement mechanisms and reputational effects. Using A Foreign Language Changes Moral Decisions Stanford study finds… Read More...