Every day, the same, again

555.jpgSicily, for instance, employs 950 ambulance drivers who have no ambulances to drive

Men who had slept with more than 20 women lowered their risk of developing cancer by almost one third. In contrast, men who slept with 20 men doubled their risk of developing prostate cancer.

Swimming is the individual activity that most people would drop if they faced higher prices

Brain scans show cause of winter blues

Virgin birth has been documented in the world’s longest snake for the first time

there might be a way to determine whether your horse wants a blanket or prefers to be naked

The Case of the Brooklyn Enigma, Part One and Part Two

Experts have severely underestimated the risks of genetically modified food, says a group of researchers lead by Nassim Nicholas Taleb In 2013 roughly 85 per cent of corn and 90 per cent of soybeans produced in the US were genetically modified.

On Fraud, Ignorance, and Lying: Essays in Behavioral Business Ethics

In 2015, most leading Web browsers will be set to support what are known as push notifications.

When Plato gave Socrates’ definition of man as “featherless bipeds” and was much praised for the definition, Diogenes plucked a chicken and brought it into Plato’s Academy, saying, “Behold! I’ve brought you a man.” After this incident, “with broad flat nails” was added to Plato’s definition.

Windowless plane set for take off in a decade

RKO compilation [Thanks Tim]

From this hillside, where it abates its rise, a sun was born into the world

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Miniature “human brains” have been grown in a lab in a feat scientists hope will transform the understanding of neurological disorders.

{ BBC | Continue reading | Thanks Tim }

Such was the living light encircling me, leaving me so enveloped by its veil of radiance that I could see no thing

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Here, a group of nine chefs and three scientists is pushing the boundaries in the most minimalist, nuanced way, part of an effort to ensure that this ultimate “slow food” remains relevant in a fast-paced world. The chefs are tinkering with a way of cooking that has remained unchanged for centuries.

First, […] the chefs played around with the temperature at which they steamed abalone. Received wisdom says it should be steamed at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, or the boiling point of water, for two hours. […] So they spent six months — yes, six months — steaming abalone, changing the temperature in tiny increments. “It turned out that even two degrees had a huge impact on its deliciousness,” Fushiki said in his university office. The perfect temperature to steam an abalone, they concluded, is between 140 and 148 degrees, depending on how it is used. […]

The second six-month period was devoted to coagulation. Not content with coagulating food, they experimented with coagulating air. “How can we make the smell of air?” Fushiki recalled the chefs asking. “Let’s whisk and make bubbles, so that each bubble contains the air, and the smell spreads when the bubbles pop.”

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

Teach not thy lips such scorn

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Selecting an appropriate mate is arguably one of the most important decisions that any sexually reproducing animal must make in order to ensure the successful propagation of their genes. […]

It has been proposed that kissing, a near-ubiquitous custom among human cultures, may play a significant role in the process of human mate assessment and relationship maintenance. Kissing might aid mate appraisal in humans by facilitating olfactory assessment of various cues for genetic compatibility, health, genetic fitness, or even menstrual cycle phase and fertility. […]

Recent research into kissing behavior among college students has found interesting differences between men and women in their perceptions of the importance of kissing during various courtship and mating situations. Using self-report measures, it was found that men generally placed less emphasis on kissing than women, and that women placed greater value on kissing during both the early stages of courtship, potentially as a mate assessment device, and in the later stages of a long-term relationship, possibly to maintain and monitor the pair-bonds that underlie such relationships. […]

The aim of the present experiment was to determine whether romantic kissing-related information can affect the process of human mate assessment. It was hypothesized that participants led to believe that a potential mating partner is a “good kisser,” a manifest cue potentially signaling a mate’s underlying genetic quality/suitability, will find them more attractive, will be more willing to pursue further courtship (i.e., a date) with them, will be more interested in pursuing non-committal sex with them, and be more willing to consider pursuing a long-term relationship with them. It was further hypothesized that alleged kissing abilities will have a greater influence on female partner preferences than on male partner preferences, as they have been found to be the more selective sex when it comes to utilizing signals of mate fitness. […]

The primary finding of this study is that purported kissing abilities can influence a potential mate’s attractiveness and general desirability, particularly for women in casual sex situations. […] Although the findings presented here corroborate the notion that kissing serves a functional role in mating situations, we can still only speculate at this point as to the mechanisms by which kissing might carry out these functions. It is likely that kissing works to affect initial mate assessment by bringing two individuals into close proximity so as to facilitate some kind of olfactory/gustatory assessment, since olfaction in most mammals, as well as in humans, can play an important role in assessing potential mates. In established relationships, on the other hand, the contact and physiological arousal initiated by continued romantic kissing is likely to also affect feelings of attachment between individuals over time, influencing the release of neuropeptides (including oxytocin and vasopressin), dopamine, and opioids, which have all been variously associated with human pair-bonding.

{ Evolutionary Psychology | PDF }

watercolor on paper { Brad Phillips }

‘Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not come, and, when death is come, we are not.’ –Epicurus

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Harvard scientists have discovered a new way to fight brain cancer with stem cells, a recent study has revealed.

The team of scientists, who experimented on mice, used genetically engineered stem cells that released cancer killing toxins, while leaving healthy cells unaffected.

Most importantly, the modified cells were able to emit the tumour killing poison without succumbing to its effects.

It is considered a breakthrough in cancer treatment by experts.

{ Independent | ScienceDaily }

art { Josef Albers, Sanctuary, 1942 }

Every day, the same, again

34.jpgAlabama man gets $1,000 in police settlement, his lawyers get $459,000

For $100,000, You Can Clone Your Dog

Conman who pretended to be in COMA for two years is caught walking around Tesco

Researchers have shown that exposing people to pictures of money, or to money-related words, reduces their emotional expressivity and makes them more sensitive to other people’s expressions of emotion.

Researchers have hypothesized that men gain greater reward from alcohol than do women. An Examination of the Spreading of Smiles in Male and Female Drinking Groups

The findings suggest that cannabis with low potency does not have any impact on creativity, while highly potent cannabis actually impairs divergent thinking. [PDF]

Killer Whales Learn How to Speak Dolphin

Cues to Catching Deception in Interviews: A Brief Overview [PDF]

Trust your gut when determining who is a nice person and who is a criminal. 6 seconds of observation will tell you who is good at their job. Trust your gut about whether a neighborhood is safe.

The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out of Your Facebook Feed

26% of women between 18 and 24 have been stalked online, and 25% were the target of online sexual harassment

British Army Wants Gamers to Drive its Smart-Tank of the Future

Geopolitical Drivers of Future Tourist Flows

How to Get Rich on Pot Stocks

The Children of God practiced Flirty Fishing and Escort Servicing from 1974 until 1987 [Thanks Tim]

Easter Island’s ancient inhabitants weren’t so lonely after all

Meet The 20-Somethings Who Want To Be Sterilized

Winter is the deadliest season. But cold times of year have not always been the most lethal.

Go to This Site Right Now and Check If Someone Owes You Money

Grownups are paying hundreds to have a consultant pick their Halloween costume [via gettingsome]

Did you know you’ve been peeling an orange wrong?

Date Ariane [Thanks Stevie]

‘Retenez ceci : il n’y a de bon, de vrai, de gai, de triste, d’aimable, de variable, de désirable, de potable, de chantable, de célébrable, d’idolâtrable, que le delta qui existe depuis la ceinture d’une femme jusqu’à ses jarretières.’ –George Sand & Alfred de Musset

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Pham and Schackelford (2013) argued that men with more attractive partners are at a greater recurrent risk of sperm competition because other men are more likely to woo them into having affairs. Therefore, men with more attractive partners have more reason to be concerned about and more likely to engage in behaviour aimed to detect infidelity. The idea that cunnilingus, oral sex performed on a woman, could function to detect infidelity was proposed in a 2006 book, but this study is the first to test this empirically. The idea is that oral sex may allow a man to detect the presence of another man’s semen through smell or taste. […]

As side-note I’d like to point out that there is a common misconception often advanced by its critics that evolutionary psychology assumes that everything that people do is somehow an evolutionary adaptation and that evolutionary psychologists cannot or will not acknowledge that some behaviours are simply by-products of other adaptations with no special function of their own. This is a gross misrepresentation of what evolutionary psychology is about and in fairness to the authors of the study they were attempting to actually test whether or not their hypothesis about the adaptive function of oral sex is valid, rather than just assuming it is. It is quite possible that oral sex has no evolutionary function in itself. Humans are a highly sexed species compared to most mammals and engage in many non-procreative sexual acts, perhaps for pleasure alone. Oral sex might simply be a by-product of this interest in sex that humans have. However, if it can be shown that this particular behaviour appears to serve a definite purpose that has an evolutionary history, a reasonable case can be made that it has an adaptive function. […]

They found that “recurrent risk of sperm competition” (attractiveness) predicted interest in performing oral sex independently of relationship length, relationship satisfaction, and duration of intercourse.

{ Psychology Today | Continue reading }

‘Augurs and understood relations have by magot pies and choughs and rooks brought forth the secret’st man of blood.’ –Shakespeare

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Red blood cells carry oxygen to all the cells and tissues in our body. If we lose a lot of blood in surgery or an accident, we need more of it – fast. Hence the hundreds of millions of people flowing through blood donation centres across the world, and the thousands of vehicles transporting bags of blood to processing centres and hospitals.

It would be straightforward if we all had the same blood. But we don’t. On the surface of every one of our red blood cells, we have up to 342 antigens – molecules capable of triggering the production of specialised proteins called antibodies. It is the presence or absence of particular antigens that determines someone’s blood type. […]

If a particular high-prevalence antigen is missing from your red blood cells, then you are ‘negative’ for that blood group. If you receive blood from a ‘positive’ donor, then your own antibodies may react with the incompatible donor blood cells, triggering a further response from the immune system. These transfusion reactions can be lethal. […]

There are 35 blood group systems, organised according to the genes that carry the information to produce the antigens within each system. The majority of the 342 blood group antigens belong to one of these systems. The Rh system (formerly known as ‘Rhesus’) is the largest, containing 61 antigens.

The most important of these Rh antigens, the D antigen, is quite often missing in Caucasians, of whom around 15 per cent are Rh D negative (more commonly, though inaccurately, known as Rh-negative blood). But Thomas seemed to be lacking all the Rh antigens. If this suspicion proved correct, it would make his blood type Rh null – one of the rarest in the world, and a phenomenal discovery for the hospital haematologists. […] Some 43 people with Rh null blood had been reported worldwide.

{ Mosaic | Continue reading }

‘love these endocrine supplements i got at the natural foods store. they give you extra endocrine’ –@Mobute

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In response to a threat, the brain triggers the release of epinephrine and cortisol from your adrenal glands into the blood. As a result, your heart beats faster and stronger, your blood vessels dilate to move more blood, and your lung vessels dilate to exchange more oxygen for carbon dioxide. Equally as important, your liver breaks down glycogen (a sugar storage molecule) to glucose and dumps it into your bloodstream.

All these processes work together to increase your alertness and increase the power of your muscles for a short time — like when mothers who lift cars off their small children. You are now ready to respond to the threat; however, there is an exception — you may do nothing at all.

One of the major control mechanisms of the fight or flight response is the autonomic nervous system. This is part of the peripheral nervous system (PNS, outside the brain and spinal cord) and transmits information from the central nervous system to the rest of the body. The autonomic system controls involuntary movements and some of the functions of organs and organ systems.

Parts of the autonomic system acts like a teeter-totter, it’s their relative balance that controls the outcomes. In the fight or flight response, the sympathetic system predominates and your heart rate increases and your blood vessels dilate.

But what if the parasympathetic system gained an upper hand for a short time? […] The heart slows, the blood vessels constrict in the muscles, blood moves from muscles to the gut, and glycogen is produced from glucose. […] Many people have had the experience of parasympathetic domination coincident to a threat, for some folks it proceeds long enough to have an observable result – they faint. […] when your brain is starved of oxygen and glucose, you pass out. […]

Lower animals will faint as well, but they have additional defenses along these lines. Mammals, amphibians, insects and even fish can be scared enough to fake death. […] There are overlapping mechanisms for feigned death, from tonic immobility (not moving) to thanatosis (thanat = death, and osis = condition of, playing dead). […] One study in crickets showed that those who feigned death the longest were more likely to avoid being attacked, so this is definitely a survival adaptation.

{ biological exceptions | Continue reading }

photo { Steven Brahms }

‘A bad beginning makes a bad ending.’ –Euripides

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In social psychology, revenge is defined as a behavioural reaction toward perceived injustice that aims at re-establishing a (personal) sense of justice by “getting even” and giving wrongdoers what they deserve. The question I will address in this presentation is, what exactly does “getting even” mean? By addressing this question, I will adopt a “social functionalist” perspective on revenge: This perspective highlights the notion that revenge is a goal-driven response that has certain functional aspects, both on the intrapersonal and on the interpersonal level.

The “social functionalist” perspective implies that revenge is not the mindless, animalistic impulse that legal scholars and some philosophers sometimes tend to see in it. Revenge has oftentimes been contrasted with law-based retribution by arguing that revenge was irrational, savage, unlimited, unprincipled, and disproportionate, and that the “emotionality” inherent in vengeful reactions overshadowed any rational response.

Psychologically, the idea that emotions are irrational is neither useful nor correct. On the contrary, emotions are functional, adaptive, and ecologically rational in that they direct the organism’s attention to important aspects of a situation, and they prepare the organism to respond to problems that arise in social interactions. For example, empirical studies show that anger involves a shift of blood away from the internal organs towards the hands and arms, and it increases one’s sensitivity toward potential injustices and the moral implications of other people’s actions. Of course, anger can also trigger disproportionate retaliatory behaviours, but this does not mean it is inherently “irrational.”

Most behavioural systems that the human organism is equipped with are “irrational” in that they may be incompatible with logical, deductive reasoning and a stringent cost-benefit analysis of gains, risks, and losses, but they are nevertheless functional in that they enable us to deal with complex problems and to make useful decisions under uncertainty.

Revenge belongs to the human behavioural system just as communication, competition, or helping does; and just as these systems, it has important societal and individual functions.

{ Individual and social functions of revenge | PDF }

This article investigates whether acts of displaced revenge, that is, revenge targeted at a different person than the original transgressor, can be satisfying for the avenger. We assume that displaced revenge can lead to justice-related satisfaction when the group to which the original transgressor and the displaced target belong is highly entitative.

Two experimental online studies show that displaced revenge leads to less regret or more satisfaction when the transgressor and the displaced target belong to a group that is perceived as highly entitative.

Study 3 shows that avengers experience more satisfaction when members of the transgressor group were manipulated to be both strongly interconnected and similar in their appearance.

Results of an internal meta-analysis furthermore corroborate the notion that displaced revenge leads to more satisfaction when the transgressor group is highly entitative.

Taken together, our findings suggest that even displaced revenge can achieve a sense of justice in the eyes of avengers.

{ ScienceDirect | Continue reading }

Every day, the same, again

28.jpgCouple Fucking in the Sea Hospitalized After Getting Stuck Together

MIT computer scientists can predict the price of Bitcoin

The nation’s largest servicer of subprime mortgages has engaged in abuses that could potentially harm hundreds of thousands of borrowers

Even depressed people believe that life gets better

A paralysed man has been able to walk again after a pioneering therapy that involved transplanting cells from his nasal cavity into his spinal cord.

Are Male Brains Wired to Ignore Food for Sex?

Whales Can Only Taste Salty

Why Bats Are Such Good Hosts for Deadly Diseases

Rats aren’t smarter than mice. So where did this idea that rats are smarter than mice come from, anyway?

Our mood clearly affects how we walk, but how does our walking style affect our mood?

The locomotion and ‘navigation’ abilities of Mexican Jumping Beans

How Drag Queens Protect Their Intellectual Property Without Law

How Facebook is wrecking political news

Ferrari hit with lawsuit for taking over Facebook fan page

Facebook has sent a letter to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration demanding that agents stop impersonating users on the social network.

A National Study on the Lives of Arts Graduates and Working Artists

Y2K Cooking [thanks GG]

‘Death is the only thing we haven’t succeeded in completely vulgarizing.’ —Aldous Huxley

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Leveraging the insight that periods, while a pain, also bring women together, JWT has created an augmented reality app that combines Chinese consumers’ love of technology, cute characters and selfies into a new branded platform for Sofy sanitary pads.

{ Campaign Asia | Continue reading | Thanks Tim }