How the world appears to us in certain forms imposed by our brains

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Is our perceptual experience a veridical representation of the world or is it a product of our beliefs and past experiences? Cognitive penetration describes the influence of higher level cognitive factors on perceptual experience and has been a debated topic in philosophy of mind and cognitive science.

{ Consciousness and Cognition | Continue reading }

photo { Can you think a thought which isn’t yours? A remarkable new study suggests you can }

In this wet of his prow

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It has become common practice for retailers to personalize direct marketing efforts based on customer transaction histories as a tactic to increase sales.

Targeted email offers featuring products in the same category as a customer’s previous purchases generate higher purchase rates. However, a targeted offer emphasizing familiar products could result in curtailed search for unadvertised products, as a closely matched offer weakens a customer’s incentives to search beyond the targeted items.

In a field experiment using email offers sent by an online wine retailer, targeted offers resulted in decreased search activity on the retailer’s website. This effect is driven by a lower rate of search by customers who visit the site, rather than a lower incidence of search.

{ Management Science | Continue reading }

related { This research demonstrates that a marketing claim placed on a package is more believable than a marketing claim placed in an advertisement }

Do you know she was calling bakvandets sals from all around, nyumba noo

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Two hedge fund “quants” have come up with an algorithm that diagnoses heart disease from MRI images, beating nearly 1,000 other teams in one of the most ambitious competitions in artificial intelligence.

{ Financial Times | Continue reading }

Qi Liu and Tencia Lee, hedge fund analysts and self-described “quants,” didn’t know each other before they won the competition, beating out more than 1,390 algorithms. They met each other in a forum on the Kaggle site, where the competition was hosted over a three-month period.

{ WSJ | Continue reading }

Every day, the same, again

35.jpgLG Electronics sells mosquito-repelling TV in India. The same technology, which was certified as effective by an independent laboratory near Chennai, India, has been used by LG in air conditioners and washing machines, the company said.

Researchers report that nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip that gives the plant its characteristic odor, is about ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET — the compound used in most commercial insect repellents.

Firm pays $950,000 penalty for using Wi-Fi signals to secretly track phone users

We clearly show that human communication has not reached a number of stars and planets adequate to expect an answer. These analyses both conclude that the Fermi paradox is not, in fact, unexpected.

Most insurance firms will probably argue as long as they can that there’s insufficient evidence that automated driving systems reduce accidents

The writer started watching movies and television in fast forward to make his life more efficient. But acceleration — the latest twist in the millennia-old tradition of technology changing storytelling — also made viewing more pleasurable. Now there is no turning back.

Story, a concept shop that completely changes theme every few months

People’s actual reactions during the scariest moment of the haunted house’s tour

Man creates smoothie made of McDonald’s burgers

GOP Arcade [Thanks Tim]

Every day, the same, again

42.jpg“Incognito bandits” now cognito and under arrest

Wal-Mart Experimenting With Robotic Shopping Cart for Stores

Map of teenage brain provides evidence of link between antisocial behavior and brain development

Study of brain activity finds psychopaths are not as fearless as thought

Fingerprint matching is biased by the assessor’s prejudices

Women cry on average 5.3 times a month, men only 1.3 times a month. Why do we cry? And why might there be differences between men and women?

Did you know links sent privately through Facebook messenger can be read by anyone?

Apple Is Fighting A Secret War To Keep You From Repairing Your Phone

How To Wrangle A Rattlesnake

You Can Soon Buy a Melon With Hello Kitty’s Face Grown Onto The Surface. They don’t come cheap, though.

Van Gogh’s Starry Night painted on dark water, by Garip Ay

The penile plethysmograph is a machine for measuring changes in the circumference of the penis [Thanks Tim]

‘In war, force and fraud are the cardinal virtues.’ —Hobbes

He always had a smile on his face. Maybe it’s because he was working in customer service.

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The shipping industry is struggling through its worst recession in half a century, and that icon of globalization — the mega-container ship — is a major part of the problem.

Between 1955 and 1975, the average volume of a container ship doubled — and then doubled again over each of the next two decades. The logic behind building such giants was once unimpeachable: Globalization seemed like an unstoppable force, and those who could exploit economies of scale could reap outsized profits.

But by 2008, that logic had begun to falter. Even as global trade volumes collapsed after the financial crisis, with disastrous effects on the cargo business, ship owners were still commissioning more and bigger boats. That had ruinous consequences: This year, 18 percent of the world’s container ships are anchored and idle. […]

Such boats make prime targets for cyberattacks and terrorism, suffer from a dearth of qualified personnel to operate them, and are subject to huge insurance premiums. […]

Yet the biggest costs associated with these floating behemoths are on land — at the ports that are scrambling to accommodate them. New cranes, taller bridges, environmentally perilous dredging, and even wholesale reconfiguration of container yards are just some of the costly disruptions that might be needed to receive a Benjamin Franklin and service it efficiently. Even when taxpayers foot the bill for such upgrades, the costs can be passed on to vessel operators in the form of higher port fees.

Under such circumstances, you’d think that ship owners would start to steer clear of big boats. But, fearful of falling behind the competition and hoping to put smaller operators out of business, they’re actually doing the opposite.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

‘We may also attack simply to become aware of our own strength.’ —Nietzsche

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We found that women experience more jealousy toward women with cosmetics, and view these women as more attractive to men and more promiscuous.

{ Perception | Continue reading }

photo { Bon Jane }

One of Spinoza’s main mereological assumptions is that parts are prior to their whole

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Cioffi endorses the Oxford comma, the one before and in a series of three or more. On the question of whether none is singular or plural, he is flexible: none can mean not a single one and take a singular verb, or it can mean not any and take a plural verb. His sample “None are boring” (from the New Yorker, where I work) was snipped from a review of a show of photographs by Richard Avedon. Cioffi would prefer the singular in this instance — “None is boring” — arguing that it “emphasizes how not a single, solitary one of these Avedon photographs is boring”. To me, putting so much emphasis on the photos’ not being boring suggests that the critic was hoping for something boring. I would let it stand. […]

that usually precedes elements that are essential to your sentence’s meaning [restrictive], while which typically introduces ‘nonessential’ elements [non-restrictive], and usually refers to the material directly before it.” Americans sometimes substitute which for that, thinking it makes us sound more proper (i.e. British). On both sides of the Atlantic, the classic non­restrictive which is preceded by a comma.

{ The Times Literary Supplement | Continue reading }

How say you by the French lord, Monsieur Le Bon?

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Citigroup is suing AT&T for saying thanks to its own loyal customers […] Citigroup has trademarks on the phrases “thankyou” and “Citi thankyou,” as well as other variations of those terms.

{ Ars Technica | Continue reading }

‘The first principle of all action is leisure.’ —Aristotle

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The publication of Richard Krafft-Ebbing’s masterwork Psychopathia Sexualis in 1886 represented a landmark in thinking about human sexuality and the bizarre forms that it can take. In addition to describing different types of sexual expression that the author regarded as “perverse” (usually any form of sex that didn’t lead to procreation), it quickly became one of the most influential books on human sexuality ever written and introduced numerous new terms into common usage. One of these terms was “masochism,” which Krafft-Ebbing defined as the opposite of sadism (which he also coined). While the later is the desire to cause pain and use force, the former is the wish to suffer pain and be subjected to force.  

one person in particular who was less than pleased with the new term was the Austrian author, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Krafft-Ebbing justified naming this new sexual anomaly after the prominent author whom he described as “the poet of Masochism” due to his erotic writings and because of his own eccentric personal life. […]

Venus in Furs, the short novel for which Sacher-Masoch is best known, was published in 1870, and has become an erotic classic in its own right. In this book, the hero Severin asks to be treated as a slave and to be abused by Wanda (the “Venus in furs” of the story). The fact that Sacher-Masoch often acted out these fantasies in real-life with his wives and mistresses was not well-known. […]

It may be a coincidence that his health went into a decline shortly after Psychopathia Sexualis came out but by March of 1895, he was delusional and violent. After attempting to kill his then-wife Hulda, she arranged for him to be discreetly moved to an asylum in Lindheim, Hesse. Although his official obituary states that he died that year, there are claims that Sacher-Masoch lived on as an anonymous asylum inmate and actually died years later.

{ Providentia | Continue reading }

cloaked in the pall of the ace of spaces

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With tens or even hundreds of billions of potentially habitable planets within our galaxy, the question becomes: are we alone?

Many scientists and commentators equate “more planets” with “more E.T.s”. However, the violence and instability of the early formation and evolution of rocky planets suggests that most aliens will be extinct fossil microbes.

Just as dead dinosaurs don’t walk, talk or breathe, microbes that have been fossilised for billions of years are not easy to detect by the remote sampling of exoplanetary atmospheres.

In research published [PDF] in the journal Astrobiology, we argue that early extinction could be the cosmic default for life in the universe. This is because the earliest habitable conditions may be unstable. […] Inhabited planets may be rare in the universe, not because emergent life is rare, but because habitable environments are difficult to maintain during the first billion years.

Our suggestion that the universe is filled with dead aliens might disappoint some, but the universe is under no obligation to prevent disappointment.

{ The Conversation | Continue reading }

previously { Where is the Great Filter? Behind us, or not behind us? If the filter is in our past, there must be some extremely improbable step in the sequence of events whereby an Earth-like planet gives rise to an intelligent species comparable in its technological sophistication to our contemporary human civilization. }

still { The Day the Earth Stood Still, 1951 }