Inferring the best response from a large range of possible actions frequently involves difficult computations that the brain is unlikely to perform rapidly. Nevertheless, humans often do well in such situations. How the human brain exploits and explores options
Being in a position of power can fundamentally change the way you speak, altering basic acoustic properties of the voice, and other people are able to pick up on these vocal cues to know who is really in charge, according to new research
Experimental and Field Evidence that Morality and a Sense of Humor are Psychologically Incompatible [PDF]
When Apple announced the iPhone 6 this September, however, it didn’t have a sapphire screen, only a regular glass one. And a month later, the small New Hampshire-based company chosen to supply Apple with enormous quantities of cheap sapphire, GT Advanced Technologies, declared bankruptcy. The terms Apple negotiated committed GT to supplying a huge amount of sapphire, but put Apple under no obligation to buy it.
The police do not do trauma clean-up. Neither do firefighters or ambulance crews or emergency services. Instead, hired hands like Sandra handle the clean-up at crime scenes, deaths, floods and fires.
Why Are So Few Blockbuster Drugs Invented Today? [NY Times]
Businesses cash in as women chase bigger butts Gym classes that promise a plump posterior are in high demand. A surgery that pumps fat into the buttocks is gaining popularity. And padded panties that give the appearance of a rounder rump are selling out.
Human tetrachromacy is the purely theoretical notion that a woman might, through a rare mutation on one of her two X chromosomes, end up having four different types of cones in her retina instead of the usual three, and therefore be uncannily sensitive to differences in color.
Cremations as a percentage of deaths (Japan: 100%)
A new study says the population could hit 12 billion by 2100, though it doesn’t take into account the effects of climate change, food shortages, disease, or conflict.
75 to 90 percent of the world’s natural sand beaches are disappearing, due partly to rising sea levels and increased storm action, but also to massive erosion caused by the human development of shores. [NY Times]
Airport security agents using a new conversation-based screening method caught mock airline passengers with deceptive cover stories more than 20 times as often as agents who used the traditional method of examining body language for suspicious signs
English has recently developed a new intensifier, ass, which means something very close to very, is marked as vulgar and colloquial, and appears in cases such as in: That is a big-ass chair, It is a cold-ass night [PDF]
In politics we’re familiar with the non-apology apology (well described in Wikipedia as “a statement that has the form of an apology but does not express the expected contrition”). Here’s the scientific equivalent: the non-retraction retraction.
Cleaning a vinyl record with wood glue. This trick works because the glue and record are somewhat chemically similar, so the glue only sticks to stuff that’s not supposed to be there.
Hoping for sex with two women is common but fantasizing about golden showers is not. That’s just one of the findings from a research project that scientifically defines sexual deviation for the first time ever.
Does pop music exist? [PDF]
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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
Winter is the deadliest season. But cold times of year have not always been the most lethal.
Date Ariane [Thanks Stevie]
Rats aren’t smarter than mice. So where did this idea that rats are smarter than mice come from, anyway?
Y2K Cooking [thanks GG]
I spoke to dozens of women in their early to late 30s who had frozen eggs and to a few whose unfrozen eggs had resulted in successful pregnancies. This is a relatively invasive procedure that has a success rate of only 20 percent.
We took a hacker to a café. On his screen, phrases like “iPhone Joris” and “Simone’s MacBook” start to appear. The device’s antenna is intercepting the signals that are being sent from the laptops, smartphones, and tablets around us.