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...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 102

The more alcoholic drinks customers consumed, the more attractive they thought they were
Vancouver has banned doorknobs in all new buildings. The Italian Tourist Board spends 98 percent of its budget on salaries, with basically nothing left for its actual job of tourism promotion. [NY Times] The XM-25 denies cover to the enemy in that the operator fires a laser at the target, then selects how close to that impact point he wants the shell to explode.  Once he fires the weapon the 25mm shell explodes over or near where the laser was pointed, rendering most forms of cover ineffective. [Quora] Method and apparatus for preserving human and animal remains Missing boy existed only on Facebook Man sues hospital and doctor after they allegedly forgot to remove his appendix during his appendectomy New research shows people are thinking about their health early in the week Vein geometry is just as unique as irises… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 101

Research suggests that the way people think and act is affected by ceiling height
The less Americans know about Ukraine’s location, the more they want U.S. to intervene A computer has solved the longstanding Erd?s discrepancy problem. Trouble is, we have no idea what it’s talking about — because the solution, which is as long as all of Wikipedia’s pages combined, is far too voluminous for us puny humans to confirm. A few years ago, the mathematician Steven Strogatz predicted that it wouldn’t be too much longer before computer-assisted solutions to math problems will be beyond human comprehension. [io9] When you really focus your attention on something, you’re said to be “in the present moment.” But a new piece of research suggests that the “present moment” is actually […] a sort of composite—a product mostly of what we’re seeing now, but also influenced by what we’ve been seeing for the previous 15 seconds or so. They call this ephemeral… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 100

Reasoning often leads to epistemic distortions and poor decisions
Danish travel company offers "ovulation discount" for couples, rewards if you conceive on holiday Nine-month-old boy accused of planning murder $4 trillion in “fake" euro bonds seized at Vatican Bank Growing up poor is bad for your DNA Feelings of gratitude automatically reduce financial impatience Daylight saving time linked to heart attacks, study What one man with no memory – and no regrets – can really teach us about time. How behavioral and neural responses to standard moral dilemmas are influenced by religious belief, study Ketamine, a chemical used as an anaesthetic for horses and as an illegal party drug, can produce “remarkable changes” in severely depressed patients who are not helped by existing treatments, according to a new study. Oxford university researchers reported encouraging results from a clinical trial in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. Some patients who had been severely… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 99

L’art contemporain n’est-il qu’un discours ?
Oklahoma pastor says he accidentally flooded Texas by praying too hard One luckless expatriate was picked up and thrown into a trash can. 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. Sleepwalking woman had sex with strangers The Jewish-Japanese Sex & Cook Book and How to Raise Wolves Some women fake orgasms during sex in order to increase their own arousal, a new study has suggested. The guy who created the iPhone’s Earth image explains why he needed to fake it Kangaroos have three vaginas Grills, ‘Grillz’ and dental hygiene implications Cholesterol levels vary by season, get worse in colder months Homeopathic Remedies Recalled For Containing Real Medicine When adding is subtracting People… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 98

The composition of future jobs is unlikely to get “manlier”
Fox News host Bill Hemmer explains missing plane: ‘It took 2,000 years to find Noah’s Ark’ Male movements serve as courtship signals in many animal species, and may honestly reflect the genotypic and/or phenotypic quality of the individual. Attractive human dance moves, particularly those of males, have been reported to show associations with measures of physical strength, prenatal androgenization and symmetry. [...] By using cutting-edge motion-capture technology, we have been able to precisely break down and analyse specific motion patterns in male dancing that seem to influence women’s perceptions of dance quality. We find that the variability and amplitude of movements in the central body regions (head, neck and trunk) and speed of the right knee movements are especially important in signalling dance quality. [Biology Letters | PDF] A paper that correlates occupations with divorce and separation rates, to be… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 97

Let’s say you transfer your mind into a computer—not all at once but gradually
Does the human body really replace itself every 7 years? Let's say you transfer your mind into a computer—not all at once but gradually In his story Sarrasine, Balzac, describing a castrato disguised as a woman, writes the following sentence: "This was woman herself, with her sudden fears, her irrational whims, her instinctive worries, her impetuous boldness, her fussings, and her delicious sensibility." Who is speaking thus? Is it the hero of the story bent on remaining ignorant of the castrato hidden beneath the woman? Is it Balzac the individual, furnished by his personal experience with a philosophy of Woman? Is it Balzac the author professing ‘literary’ ideas on femininity? Is it universal wisdom? Romantic psychology? We shall never know, for the good reason that writing is the destruction of every voice, of every point of origin. Writing is that… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 96

We must realize that if Pop Art depersonalized, it does not make anonymous
'Too drunk' gambler sues Las Vegas casino over $500,000 debt Tips for Working From Home […] 1. Have a Backup Plan [WSJ] We must realize that if Pop Art depersonalized, it does not make anonymous: nothing is more identifiable than Marilyn, the electric chair, a tire, or a dress, as seen by Pop Art; they are in fact nothing but that: immediately and exhaustively identifiable, thereby teaching us that identify is not the person: the future world risks being a world of identities, but not of persons. [Roland Barthes, Cette vieille chose, l'art, 1980] Two fields stand out as different within cognitive psychology. These are the study of reasoning, especially deductive reasoning and statistical inference, and the more broadly defined field of decision making. For simplicity I label these topics as the study of reasoning and decision making (RDM). What… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 95

We should not be surprised by coincidences
California Barbie fan is undergoing hypnotherapy in hopes that it will lower her IQ Sword swallowing and its side effects We are more likely to perform a task when we receive the request in our right ear rather than our left. New research shows the way a room is lit can affect the way you make decisions Scientists turn off pain using nothing but light In two studies, we examine the effect of manipulating the position of different foods on a restaurant menu. Items placed at the beginning or the end of the list of their category options were up to twice as popular as when they were placed in the center of the list. Given this effect, placing healthier menu items at the top or bottom of item lists and less healthy ones in their center (e.g., sugared drinks… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 94

Even fact will not change first impressions
Teen dressed as banana, carrying AK-47, detained by police Even fact will not change first impressions It was about a study by Dean Snow reporting that, contrary to decades of archaeological dogma, many of the first artists were women. […] Another group of researchers is claiming the study’s methods were unsound. […] Snow’s study focused on the famous 12,000- to 40,000-year-old handprints found on cave walls in France and Spain. Because these hands generally appear near pictures of bison and other big game, scholars had long believed that the art was made by male hunters. Snow tested that notion by comparing the relative lengths of fingers in the handprints […] because among modern people, women tend to have ring and index fingers of about the same length, whereas men’s ring fingers tend to be longer than their index fingers. […] Snow developed an algorithm that… Read More...

Triple-Decker Weekly, 93

yea so if you ever need info about anyone at harvard / just ask / i have over 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, sns
The key way that economists model behavior is by assuming that people have preferences about things. Often, but not always, these preferences are expressed in the form of a utility function. But there are some things that could happen that could seriously mess with this model. Most frightening are “framing effects”. This is when what you want depends on how it’s presented to you. […] One of the most important tools we have to describe people’s behavior over time is the notion of time preference, also called “discounting”. This means that we assume that people care about the future less than they care about the present. Makes sense, right? But while certain kinds of discounting cause people’s choices to be inconsistent, other kinds would cause people to make inconsistent decisions. For example, some people might choose not to study hard… Read More...