‘Ne nous prenons pas au sérieux, il n’y aura aucun survivant.’ –Alphonse Allais

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Contrary to the belief that happiness is hard to explain, or that it depends on having great wealth, researchers have identified the core factors in a happy life. The primary components are number of friends, closeness of friends, closeness of family, and relationships with co-workers and neighbors. Together these features explain about 70 percent of personal happiness.

{ Murray & Peacock, A model-free approach to the study of subjective well-being, 1996 }

photo { Janice Guy }

I’ll take a rusty nail, and scratch your initials in my arm

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Leveraging popular social networking sites, individuals undertake certain forms of behavior to attract as many likes and followers as they can. One platform that symbolizes people’s love for strategic self-presentation to the utmost degree is Instagram. […]

Narcissism is characterized by grandiose exhibition of one’s beauty and pursuit of others’ admiration. Posting selfies/groupies is associated with narcissism and need for popularity. […]

Instagram selfies and groupies symbolize social media users’ public display of narcissism. From an evolutionary psychological perspective on the renovated hierarchy of fundamental human motives and needs, this study examined the interaction effects of Instagram photo types (selfies, group selfies, long-shot photos taken by others, and neutral photos) and Instagram peer viewers’ individual difference factors (intrasexual competition [ISC] for mates, need for popularity [NfP], loneliness, and need to belong [NtB]) on intersexual attraction. […]

The findings confirmed the assumption that a potential mate who posts selfies and groupies is perceived by opposite-sex viewers to be more narcissistic compared to a potential mate who posts neutral photos.

{ Evolutionary Psychology | Continue reading }

photo { Thierry Mugler, Monster Show, Elle US, November 1991 }

This is very surprising and it is a really bad news for CoCos, specially for those that have low coupon for the first call

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Revising things makes people think they are better, absent objective improvement. We refer to this phenomenon as the revision bias. […]

We propose that the fact that revisions typically are intended to be improvements over their originals gives rise to an overgeneralized heuristic that revisions necessarily are improvements over their originals. Yet, as any author responding to editorial reviews knows, not every revision turns out better than before. […]

Things that are objectively unchanged (or even made worse) in the revision process may nonetheless be adopted, so long as observers believe they possess a “revised” version.

{ Harvard Business School | PDF }

images { Sculpture by Yoan Capote | Barbara Kruger-annotated photo of Eliot Spitzer for New York magazine, 2008 }

I’ll show you how to sneak up on the roof of the drugstore

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[I]t is getting harder to target gamers via traditional advertising techniques, because an increasing number of consumers spend more of their digital days behind paywalls, where there is often no advertising. These are also typically the most engaged and most-spending audiences.

To win some of the attention back, games companies must target gamers behind paywalls, be it through product placement or original content on video streaming services or podcasts and playlists on music services.

{ MIDIA | Continue reading }

First, the meditator explains why he will doubt. Second, he gives an account of the way he will go about doubting. Third, he engages in the activity of doubting. Fourth and finally, he reflects on the power of habitual opinions and their tendency to resist doubt.

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GPT-2 is trained with a simple objective: predict the next word, given all of the previous words within some text. […] GPT-2 displays a broad set of capabilities, including the ability to generate conditional synthetic text samples of unprecedented quality, where we prime the model with an input and have it generate a lengthy continuation. […]

SYSTEM PROMPT (HUMAN-WRITTEN)
In a shocking finding, scientist discovered a herd of unicorns living in a remote, previously unexplored valley, in the Andes Mountains. Even more surprising to the researchers was the fact that the unicorns spoke perfect English.

MODEL COMPLETION (MACHINE-WRITTEN, 10 TRIES)
The scientist named the population, after their distinctive horn, Ovid’s Unicorn. These four-horned, silver-white unicorns were previously unknown to science. Now, after almost two centuries, the mystery of what sparked this odd phenomenon is finally solved. […] While examining these bizarre creatures the scientists discovered that the creatures also spoke some fairly regular English. Pérez stated, “We can see, for example, that they have a common ‘language,’ something like a dialect or dialectic.” Dr. Pérez believes that the unicorns may have originated in Argentina, where the animals were believed to be descendants of a lost race of people who lived there before the arrival of humans in those parts of South America.While their origins are still unclear, some believe that perhaps the creatures were created when a human and a unicorn met each other in a time before human civilization. According to Pérez, “In South America, such incidents seem to be quite common.”

{ Open AI | Continue reading }

related { The technology behind OpenAI’s fiction-writing, fake-news-spewing AI, explained }

more { Japanese scientists used A.I. to read minds + NONE of these people exist | Thanks Tim }

quote { Who is Descartes’ Evil Genius? }

With a taste of roly polony from Blugpuddels after. To bring out the tang of the tay.

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mimeograph { La Monte Young, Composition 1960 #4, 1960 }

A word now against Kant as a moralist

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If a rat sees another rat drowning, for example, it will forgo a chunk of chocolate to save its imperiled friend. […]

Scientists at the University of Chicago […] found that a white rat raised among only white rats will do nothing to save a black rat from a trap. Rats, like humans, can be biased in how they act on, or don’t act on, their empathy.

In a variant of the experiment, a white rat raised among only black rats would save a black rat from a trap — but would fail to save other white rats.

And a white rat raised among black and white rats rescued rats of both colors. The researchers found that it is not the rat’s color that determines which type of rat it will show empathy for, but the social context in which it was raised.

{ Henry James Garrett/NY Times | Continue reading }

related { when given a choice, do people avoid empathy? And if so, why? }

linocut on transfer paper { Christian Waller, The spirit of light, 1932 }

Every day, the same, again

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Polyamorous couple who identify as VAMPIRES demonstrate how they drink their ‘donor’ girlfriend’s blood

Happiness research: Long-term effects of life events are overestimated [PDF]

Women who take oral contraceptives have a harder time recognizing emotions like pride or contempt in other people’s faces in comparison to women who aren’t on birth control, new study shows

Scene categorization in the presence of a distractor (we presented composite images with a scene in the center and another scene in the periphery. The two channels conveyed different information, and the participants were asked to focus on one channel while ignoring the other.)

Silent Neurons: The Dark Matter of the Brain?

What 100 Years of Typing Research Can Tell Us

Starting this week, Amazon is testing autonomous package delivery with little robot vehicles in a northern Seattle suburb.

The alarm has been raised on so-called ‘driverless dilemmas’, in which autonomous vehicles will need to make ethical decisions on the road. We argue that these ideas are too contrived to be of practical use, represent an incorrect model of proper safe decision making, and should not be used to inform policy.

Forecasting the Impact of Connected and Automated Vehicles on Energy Use

If technology is everywhere, the tech sector no longer exists. If the tech sector no longer exists, its premium is no longer justified.

Fortnite Is the Future, but Probably Not for the Reasons You Think

As HuffPost and BuzzFeed shed staff, has the digital content bubble burst?

In the case of Picasso’s paintings, our econometric analysis shows that some colors are associated with high prices

The moral of this story is that going to the pub raises many interesting philosophical issues

Misophonia is when an everyday sound causes a strong emotional reaction, usually anger, anxiety or disgust [Thanks GG]

How 10,000 maggots eat a pizza in 2 hours

Increased Coldheartedness related to more pleasure and less guilt after bug grinding.

Detecting a Decline in Serial Homicide

Janice Guy at Higher Pictures, until March 9, 2019

#RecursionFTW

The Neon Fruit Illusion (Observers will typically ascribe this colour change not to the lighting but to the objects themselves)

100 Years is an upcoming science fiction film written by John Malkovich and directed by Robert Rodriguez, due to be released on November 18, 2115

all our wild dances in all their wild din

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Previous research shows conflicting findings for the effect of font readability on comprehension and memory for language. It has been found that - perhaps counterintuitively – a hard to read font can be beneficial for language comprehension, especially for more difficult language.

Here we test how font readability influences the subjective experience of poetry reading. […] We found that participants rated easy poems as less nice when they were presented in a hard to read font, as compared to when presented in an easy to read font. […] we did not observe the predicted opposite effect for more difficult poems.

{ PsyArXiv | Continue reading }

photo { Weegee, Untitled [U.S. Hotel at 263 Bowery], 1943­‐45 }

Detecting Ocean Glint on Exoplanets Using Multiphase Mapping

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Bitcoin Is Worth Less Than the Cost to Mine It

The production-weighted cash cost to create one Bitcoin averaged around $4,060 globally. […] With Bitcoin itself currently trading below $3,600, that doesn’t look like such a good deal. However, there’s a big spread around the average. […] Low-cost Chinese miners are able to pay much less — the estimate is around $2,400 per Bitcoin — by leveraging direct power purchasing agreements with electricity generators such as aluminum smelters looking to sell excess power generation.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

art { Marcel Duchamp, 3 stoppages-étalon, 1913-14 | MoMA, NYC | Centre Pompidou, Paris }

Jambalaya!

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For every 100,000 inhabitants, Okinawa has 68 centenarians – more than three times the numbers found in US populations of the same size. Even by the standards of Japan, Okinawans are remarkable, with a 40% greater chance of living to 100 than other Japanese people. […]

one of the most exciting factors to have recently caught the scientists’ attention is the peculiarly high ratio of carbohydrates to protein in the Okinawan diet – with a particular abundance of sweet potato as the source of most of their calories. […]

Despite the popularity of the Atkins and Paleo diets, there is minimal evidence that high-protein diets really do bring about long-term benefits.

So could the “Okinawan Ratio” – 10:1 carbohydrate to protein – instead be the secret to a long and healthy life? […]

The typical Okinawan centenarian appeared to be free of the typical signs of cardiovascular disease […] Okinawa’s oldest residents also have far lower rates of cancer, diabetes and dementia than other ageing populations. […]

Genetic good fortune could be one important factor. Thanks to the geography of the islands, Okinawa’s populations have spent large chunks of their history in relative isolation, which may has given them a unique genetic profile. […]

It is the Okinawans’ diet, however, that may have the most potential to change our views on healthy ageing. Unlike the rest of Asia, the Okinawan staple is not rice, but the sweet potato. […] Okinawans also eat an abundance of green and yellow vegetables – such as the bitter melon – and various soy products. Although they do eat pork, fish and other meats, these are typically a small component of their overall consumption, which is mostly plant-based foods.

The traditional Okinawan diet is therefore dense in the essential vitamins and minerals - including anti-oxidants - but also low in calories. Particularly in the past, before fast food entered the islands, the average Okinawan ate around 11% fewer calories than the normal recommended consumption for a healthy adult.

{ BBC | Continue reading }

photo { Stephen Shore, New York City, New York, September-October 1972 }

Sea, sea! Here, weir, reach, island, bridge.

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Floating bridges do not work in all cases because they are susceptible to harsh weather conditions such as strong waves and currents. This is where the floating tunnels come in. […]

The term “floating” is perhaps misleading. The tunnels are fixed in position with cables — either anchored to the seabed or tethered to pontoons which are spaced far enough apart to allow boats to pass through. Made of concrete, they would function like conventional tunnels. […]

The biggest risks in the project are explosions, fire and overloading. […] Results so far indicate that the constant water pressure that surrounds the floating tunnels reduces the damage caused by explosions. […]

the NPRA team is also investigating how the tunnels would fare if submarines crashed into them.

{ CNN | Continue reading }

still { Akira Kurosawa, Rashomon, 1950 }