‘The trouble with comparing yourself to others is that there are too many others.’ –Sarah Manguso

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The Game is a mental game where the objective is to avoid thinking about The Game itself. Thinking about The Game constitutes a loss. 

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

art { Taryn Simon, Finance package for the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. Baku, Azerbaijan, February 3, 2004, Paperwork and the Will of Capital, 2015 | Ralph Gibson, Beautiful Parlor, 1968 }

Loneliness, an interpersonally stressful state of perceived social isolation

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framed text, glass jars, shelf, hair, fingernails, and skin { Adrian Piper, What Will Become of Me, 1985, ongoing }

Every day, the same, again

3.jpgHackers stole a casino’s high-roller database through a thermometer in the lobby fish tank. They are increasingly targeting unprotected ‘internet of things’ devices such as air condition systems and CCTV to get into corporate networks.

‘Bitcoin Heist’ suspect climbs out prison window in Iceland, gets on plane to Sweden, reportedly same flight as Iceland’s leader

A powerful combination of lawyers, banks and hedge funds have lined up to talk hundreds of women into unnecessary and sometimes dangerous surgery, to help build better lawsuits against medical device companies

T-Mobile agreed to pay $40 million to resolve a government investigation that found it failed to correct problems with delivering calls in rural areas and inserted false ring tones in hundreds of millions of calls

researchers found that people at higher elevations in an office building were more willing to take financial risks

After working in a world of ‘tech bros,’ entrepreneur Kristina Roth founds SuperShe, a female-only island

we found that better government services were related to lower religiosity among countries (Study 1) and states in the United States (Study 2).

In jobs where existing research has posited that attractiveness is plausibly a productivity enhancing attribute—those that require substantial amounts of interpersonal interaction—a large beauty premium exists. In contrast, in jobs where attractiveness seems unlikely to truly enhance productivity—jobs that require working with information and data—there is no beauty premium.

The plastic, which can come from soft furnishings and synthetic fabrics, gets into household dust which falls on plates and is consumed. We could be swallowing more than 100 tiny plastic particles with every main meal, a Heriot-Watt study has revealed.

Women’s voice pitch lowers after pregnancy

Not using smartphones in the bedroom increases happiness and quality of life.

New research shows that we can train our brains to become memory champions [More: The Method of Loci]

This finding provides new insights on the attentional mechanisms behind the initial stages of serendipity.

HARVEST uses wind energy to mine cryptocurrency to fund climate research [Thanks Tim]

A kakistocracy is a system of government which is run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens

‘Not necessity, not desire, the love of power is the demon of men. Let them have everything, they remain unhappy.’ –Nietzsche

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{ while ordinary people are struggling, those at the top are doing just fine. Income and wealth inequality have shot up. The top 1% of Americans command nearly twice the amount of income as the bottom 50%. The situation is more equitable in Europe, though the top 1% have had a good few decades. | The Economist | full story }

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{ Netflix performance burns hedge fund short sellers }

Yes, tid. There’s where.

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Twelve years ago, my now-Bloomberg colleague Joe Weisenthal proposed that startups that planned to disrupt an established industry should short the stock of the incumbents in that industry. That way, if they were right — if they were able to undercut big established public companies — then they’d get rich as those public companies declined. […] Their profits would come from the incumbents’ shrinking.

Weisenthal’s proposal was for disruptors offering a free product; the idea was that the entire business model would consist of (1) offering a free service that public companies offer for money and (2) paying for the service by shorting the public companies. But there’s a more boring and more widely generalizable — yet still vanishingly rare — version of this approach in which it just augments the disruptors’ business model: You sell better widgets cheaper and make a profit that way, while doubling down by also shorting your competitors. It’s a more leveraged way to do the business you were going to do anyway, an extra vote of confidence in yourself.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

Time to rebuild the

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Across four experiments participants chose between two versions of a stimulus which either had an attractive left side or an attractive right side. […]

In each experiment participants showed a significant bias to choose the stimulus with an attractive left side more than the stimulus with an attractive right side. The leftward bias emerged at age 10/11, was not caused by a systematic asymmetry in the perception of colourfulness or complexity, and was stronger when the difference in attractiveness between the left and right sides was larger.

The results are relevant to the aesthetics of product and packaging design and show that leftward biases extend to the perceptual judgement of everyday items. Possible causes of the leftward bias for attractiveness judgements are discussed and it is suggested that the size of the bias may not be a measure of the degree of hemispheric specialization.

{ Laterality | Continue reading }

art { Adrian Piper, Catalysis III, 1970 }

What then can Kant mean by his mysterious suggestion that ‘objects must conform to our cognition’?

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The image of the world that we see is continuously deformed and fragmented by foreshortenings, partial overlapping, and so on, and must be constantly reassembled and interpreted; otherwise, it could change so much that we would hardly recognize it. Since pleasure has been found to be involved in visual and cognitive information processing, the possibility is considered that anhedonia (the reduction of the ability to feel pleasure) might interfere with the correct reconstruction and interpretation of the image of the environment and alter its appearance.

{ Schizophrenia Research and Treatment | Continue reading }

The boots to them, them in the bar, them barmaids came

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It is often claimed that negative events carry a larger weight than positive events. Loss aversion is the manifestation of this argument in monetary outcomes. In this review, we examine early studies of the utility function of gains and losses, and in particular the original evidence for loss aversion reported by Kahneman and Tversky (Econometrica  47:263–291, 1979). We suggest that loss aversion proponents have over-interpreted these findings.

{ Psychological Research | Continue reading }

To remind me of. Lff!

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Let’s begin with a simple fact: time passes faster in the mountains than it does at sea level. The difference is small but can be measured with precision timepieces that can be bought today for a few thousand pounds. This slowing down can be detected between levels just a few centimetres apart: a clock placed on the floor runs a little more slowly than one on a table.

It is not just the clocks that slow down: lower down, all processes are slower. Two friends separate, with one of them living in the plains and the other going to live in the mountains. They meet up again years later: the one who has stayed down has lived less, aged less, the mechanism of his cuckoo clock has oscillated fewer times. He has had less time to do things, his plants have grown less, his thoughts have had less time to unfold … Lower down, there is simply less time than at altitude. […]

Times are legion: a different one for every point in space. The single quantity “time” melts into a spiderweb of times.

{ Guardian | Continue reading }

photo { Julie Blackmon }

there shall be no more Kates and Nells

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Coding theorists are concerned with two things. Firstly and most importantly they are concerned with the private lives of two people called Alice and Bob. In theory papers, whenever a coding theorist wants to describe a transaction between two parties he doesn’t call then A and B. No. For some longstanding traditional reason he calls them Alice and Bob.

Now there are hundreds of papers written about Alice and Bob. Over the years Alice and Bob have tried to defraud insurance companies, they’ve played poker for high stakes by mail, and they’ve exchanged secret messages over tapped telephones.

If we put together all the little details from here and there, snippets from lots of papers, we get a fascinating picture of their lives. This may be the first time a definitive biography of Alice and Bob has been give

In papers written by American authors Bob is frequently selling stock to speculators. From the number of stock market deals Bob is involved in we infer that he is probably a stockbroker. However from his concern about eavesdropping he is probably active in some subversive enterprise as well. And from the number of times Alice tries to buy stock from him we infer she is probably a speculator. Alice is also concerned that her financial dealings with Bob are not brought to the attention of her husband. So Bob is a subversive stockbroker and Alice is a two-timing speculator.

But Alice has a number of serious problems. She and Bob only get to talk by telephone or by electronic mail. In the country where they live the telephone service is very expensive. And Alice and Bob are cheapskates. So the first thing Alice must do is MINIMIZE THE COST OF THE PHONE CALL.

{ John Gordon, The Alice and Bob After Dinner Speech, 1984 | Continue reading }

acrylic, fluorescent acrylic, and roll-a-tex on canvas { Peter Halley, Laws of Rock, 2008 }

Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA)

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Long-term relationships and especially marriage have long got a bad rap in terms of the erotic. The German poet Gottfried Benn, for example, stated: “Marriage is an institution for the paralysis of the sexual instinct” Even women like the American author Erica Jong join in the lament. “Even if you loved your husband, there came that inevitable year when fucking him turned as bland as Velveeta cheese: filling, fattening even, but no thrill to the taste buds, no bittersweet edge, no danger.” That such remarks are not far-fetched, psychologist Kirsten von Sydow from the University of Hamburg has verified with a comprehensive literature review. […]

This loss of libido in marriage is also called the “Coolidge effect”. Among cattle breeders, it is known as the bull’s reluctance to mount the same cow repeatedly, with the libido returning after the encounter with a new cow. The name Coolidge refers to the 30 U.S. President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933). According to a famous anecdote, Mr. Coolidge once visited a farm with his wife where Mrs. Coolidge became aware of a cock who just mounted a hen. When they told her that the cock accomplished this feat up to twelve times a day, she replied: “Tell that to my husband!” When the president learned of the miracles, he asked: “Always with the same hen?” When he was assured that it was another one every time, he replied: “Tell that to my wife!” […]

The Coolidge effect can be expressed in numerical values, says von Sydow. “In the first year of living together, the weekly coital activity of three times drops to just under twice, then it further diminishes over two to three years.” […] For gay and lesbian couples, the decline in coital frequency is at least as strong. And this is not a question of age, because after a divorce and with a new partner, the sex drive is easily rekindled. […]

“Men love the idea of getting between the blankets with a woman just for fun, including with a woman with whom they do not want to have a long-term relationship,” Baumeister points out. “From the standpoint of these men, sex affords pleasure, and sex with new partners affords a particularly great pleasure. Why shouldn’t they have it off other with those women without tying up? Unfortunately for these men, most women do not share that view. ”

{ Rolf Degen | Continue reading }

‘L’orgueil est la même chose que l’humilité, c’est toujours le mensonge.’ —Georges Bataille

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Austrian nobles Princess Pauline von Metternich and Countess Anastasia Kielmansegg agreed to a topless duel in the summer of 1892.

The duel went down in history as the first ‘emancipated duel’ because it involved female participants, female seconds’ and a female medic.

Baroness Lubinska from Warsaw, who had a medical degree, oversaw the duel and advised the women to sword fight topless to avoid infection.

{ Daily Mail | Continue reading }

Princess Pauline was involved in many charitable organizations. It was in her capacity as Honorary President of the Vienna Musical and Theatrical Exhibition that she quarreled with the Countess Kilmannsegg, wife of the Statthalter of Lower Austria and President of the Ladies Committee of the Vienna Musical and Theatrical Exhibition, apparently over the flower arrangements for the exhibition.

Whatever was said about those flowers could not be unsaid, and the Princess, then 56 years old, challenged the Countess to settle their dispute by blood.

The two adversaries and their seconds, Princess Schwarzenberg and Countess Kinsky, traveled to Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein, and took to the field of honor. Presiding over the encounter was Baroness Lubinska who, unusually for women of the time, was a medical doctor. Her modern understanding of infection proved pivotal. Having seen many superficial battle wounds turn septic and fatal because fragments of dirty clothes were driven into them, the Baroness insisted both parties remove all clothing above the waist.

So the Princess Metternich and Countess Kilmannsegg, both topless, took up their swords to fight until first blood.

After a few exchanges, the Princess received a small cut to the nose and the Countess was cut on the arm practically at the same time. The seconds called the duel and Princess Metternich was declared the winner.

{ Mental Floss | Continue reading }