photogs

The monkish monsignor, with a head full of plaster

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Previous studies have found that facial appearance can predict both the selection and performance of leaders. Little is known about the specific facial features responsible for this relationship, however.

One possible feature is mouth width, which correlates with the propensity for physical combat in primates and could therefore be linked to one’s perceived dominance and achievement of greater social rank. […]

We observed that mouth width correlated with judgments of CEOs’ leadership ability and with a measure of their actual leadership success. Individuals with wider mouths were also more likely to have won U.S. senate, but not gubernatorial, races. Mouth width may therefore be a valid cue to leadership selection and success.

{ Journal of Experimental Social Psychology | Continue reading }

photo { Gregory Crewdson }

2 glocks that’s what’s up

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Crime statistics are notoriously opaque and faulty. Data are often manipulated for political reasons. Even the city points out the discrepancy can be explained by a change in how shootings are measured. The disconnect between shooting and murder may come down to measurement, or it could reveal something much worse: New Yorkers are getting better at murder.

According to Columbia economics professor Dan O’Flaherty, the odds of someone firing a gun and actually hitting another person is pretty low. And even if you do hit your target, there’s only a 25% chance she’ll die. Four things can increase the odds of shooting and killing someone:

1. Lots of training and practice to make you a better shot

2. Standing closer to the intended victim

3. Using a higher caliber weapon, which increases the likelihood of doing damage when you hit someone

4. Using a weapon that fires more bullets at once

A change in any of these factors could produce more gun-shot murders and fewer shots fired. It’s precisely what happened in Newark between 2000 and 2006 when gun shot murders were up (unlike the rest of the country) and shots fired went down. […] They looked at crime and autopsies and concluded that all four factors played a role. Gang members used higher caliber and more semi-automatic weapons, they were better shots, and killed more people at close range. They attribute these changes to lax law enforcement and prison reorganization, which led to more networking among gangs and escalated gang violence. […]

O’Flaherty says it’s too soon to tell if that’s what’s happening in New York right now. When the odds of killing anyone are so small to begin with, this past year could just be a statistical anomaly.

{ Quartz | Continue reading }

photo { Richard Avedon, B. J. Van Fleet, nine year old, Ennis, Montana, July 2, 1982 }

‘Learning to see — accustoming the eye to calmness, to patience, to letting things come up to it; postponing judgment, learning to go around and grasp each individual case from all sides.’ –Nietzsche

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The present research examined whether possessing multiple social identities (i.e., groups relevant to one’s sense of self) is associated with creativity. In Study 1, the more identities individuals reported having, the more names they generated for a new commercial product (i.e., greater idea fluency). […] Results suggest that possessing multiple social identities is associated with enhanced creativity via cognitive flexibility.

{ Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin | Continue reading }

photo { Gregory Miller }

‘How brief a blaze a woman’s love will yield if not relit by frequent touch and sight.’ –Dante

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Touch is a powerful tool for communicating positive emotions. However, it has remained unknown to what extent social touch would maintain and establish social bonds. We asked a total of 1,368 people from five countries to reveal, using an Internet-based topographical self-reporting tool, those parts of their body that they would allow relatives, friends, and strangers to touch. These body regions formed relationship-specific maps in which the total area was directly related to the strength of the emotional bond between the participant and the touching person. Cultural influences were minor. […]

[T]ouching by strangers was primarily limited to the hands and upper torso. Genitals and buttocks formed clear “taboo zones” that only the emotionally closest individuals were allowed to touch. Frequency of social contact with an individual did not predict the area available for social touch, confirming that the experienced bond between the individuals, rather than mere familiarity, modulates social touching behavior in dyads. […]

Skin is the largest organ and the clearest border between individuals and the world. Already 19-wk-old fetuses touch themselves and anticipate self-oriented touches. Skin-to-skin contact is also one of the earliest communication channels promoting attachment between the infant and the caregiver. Recent work has revealed a special class of unmyelinated C-tactile afferents that respond selectively to slow pleasurable stroking. Stimulating these fibers activates insular cortex and possibly provides the sensory pathway for emotional and affiliative touching. Our results imply that this kind of social touch is interpreted in context-dependent fashion depending on the interaction partner. Such social coding of touch seems to occur at early processing stages in the brain, as recent neuroimaging work has established that the human primary somatosensory cortex is involved in discriminating between interpersonal and physical aspects of social touch.

{ PNAS | Continue reading }

photo { Weegee, Untitled, ca. 1946 }

‘The truth can wait, for it lives a long life.’ –Schopenhauer

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{ Gillian Wearing has redefined portraiture by photographing herself in rubber masks she’s cast from other people’s faces. In this specially created piece, titled Me in ‘My Mask’, she dons a mask of her own face. | Blake Gopnik/Newsweek | Gillian Wearing, Olia, 2003 }

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{ Gillian Wearing, Self Portrait as my Brother Richard Wearing, 2003 | The artist leads us through the creative process of making her family series in 2003 – including wrapping her body in a silicone torso for hours }

She said, Damn fly guy I’m in love with you

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{ Margret: Chronicle of an Affair – May 1969 to December 1970 | found materials relating to a private affair conducted between a German businessman and his secretary in the late 1960s and early 1970s. }

And now we’re flyin’ through the stars, I hope this night will last forever

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{ American scientist James Stuckey and volunteer Judy Creeden demonstrate the human body’s ability to function as a conductor of electricity during a lecture in New York sponsored by the Atomic Energy Commission, 1966 | photo by F. Roy Kemp }

‘Is Wagner a human being at all? Is he not rather a disease?’ –Nietzsche

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In the early 1900s, the Dream of the Rarebit Fiend comic strip conveyed how the spicy cheese dish Welsh rarebit leads to bizarre and disturbing dreams. Today, the perception that foods disturb dreaming persists. But apart from case studies, some exploratory surveys, and a few lab studies on how hunger affects dreaming, there is little empirical evidence addressing this topic.

The present study examines three aspects of the food/dreaming relationship. […] Reports of vivid dreams were associated with measures indicative of wellness: better sleep, a healthier diet, and longer times between meals (fasting).

{ Frontiers | Continue reading }

photo { Todd Papageorge, Studio 54, 1978–80 }

related { An ingredient in olive oil kills a variety of human cancer cells without harming healthy ones }

She had a floppy head of marshmallow orange curls like a muppet, and she had this allover soft—but not fat—body

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quote & photo { Chelsea G. Summers }

‘Anaxagoras agrees with Leucippus and Democritus that the elements are infinite.’ –Aristotle

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New theories suggest the big bang was not the beginning, and that we may live in the past of a parallel universe.

[…]

Time’s arrow may in a sense move in two directions, although any observer can only see and experience one.

{ Scientific American | Continue reading }

photo { Tania Shcheglova and Roman Noven }

The biggest bias of all is thinking you’re unbiased

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{ Why Women Buy Magazines that Promote Impossible Body Images }

photo { Guy Sargent }

‘What is good is easy to get, and what is terrible is easy to endure.’ –Epicurus

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{ Ad for Blow-Up, 1966 | more }