leisure

You have corrupted my imagination and inflamed my blood

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Regular exercise may alter how a person experiences pain, according to a new study. The longer we continue to work out, the new findings suggest, the greater our tolerance for discomfort can grow.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

‘Good questions outrank easy answers.’ –Paul Samuelson

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This paper documents a close connection between the timing of corporate news disclosures and CEOs’ absences from headquarters. I identify CEO absences by merging publicly available flight histories of corporate jets with real estate records of CEOs’ property ownership near leisure destinations. I find that CEOs go to their vacation homes just after companies report favorable news, and CEOs return to headquarters right before subsequent news is released. More good news is released when CEOs are back at work, and CEOs appear not to leave headquarters at all if a firm has adverse news to disclose. When CEOs are away from the office, stock prices behave quietly with sharply lower volatility. Volatility increases immediately when CEOs return to work. Mandatory Form 8-K disclosures of material company news are more likely to be filed late if news occurs while CEOs are at their vacation homes. […]

The paper’s results seem consistent with an agency cost hypothesis, under which CEOs might slow down their firms’ news disclosures for personal convenience on the days that they requisition company aircraft for golf or ski trips. However, the observed associations between news disclosures and vacation schedules may well be endogenous, if CEOs plan to be away from the office when the company expects to have little news to announce. To understand more clearly the direction of causation between disclosures and CEO absences, I conduct a variety of tests, examining how company news announcements change when CEOs return to headquarters at unexpected times. I also estimate a bivariate probit model of news days and vacation days, in which weather at the CEO’s vacation site is used as an instrumental variable that should be associated with trips to the vacation home but not be connected to company news developments. Much of the analysis from these tests supports the agency interpretation, with news releases appearing to occurr less frequently simply because the CEO is absent from the office. However, it is difficult to test causation in the other direction, which would require an instrumental variable associated with news at headquarters but uncorrelated with the CEO’s decision to take time off.

{ David Yermack/NYU School of Law | PDF }

It was a very fancy hotel. They even made you wear a tie in the shower.

{ Journalists at Sochi are live-tweeting their hotel experiences }

The colossal project, which cost more than $50 billion – more than all previous Winter Olympics combined – was expected to turn Sochi into a sporting paradise, packed with arenas and a new airport. Instead, corruption and construction accidents have plagued preparations, with hotels still unfinished just days before the opening ceremony.

{ Zero Hedge | Continue reading }

‘Years of love have been forgot / In the hatred of a minute.’ –Edgar A. Poe

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related { Lady Flashing — HO Scale Train Model Frigure }

‘Repression is the only lasting philosophy.’ –Charles Dickens

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American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life… […] The spies have created make-believe characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, while also collecting data and contents of communications between players. […]

By the end of 2008, according to one document, the British spy agency, known as GCHQ, had set up its “first operational deployment into Second Life” and had helped the police in London in cracking down on a crime ring that had moved into virtual worlds to sell stolen credit card information. […]

Even before the American government began spying in virtual worlds, the Pentagon had identified the potential intelligence value of video games. The Pentagon’s Special Operations Command in 2006 and 2007 worked with several foreign companies — including an obscure digital media business based in Prague — to build games that could be downloaded to mobile phones, according to people involved in the effort. They said the games, which were not identified as creations of the Pentagon, were then used as vehicles for intelligence agencies to collect information about the users.

{ ProPublica | Continue reading }

related { A Single Exposure to the American Flag Shifts Support Toward Republicanism up to 8 Months Later }

Has anyone ever told you that you overplay your various roles rather severely, Mr. Kaplan?

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Risk compensation is an interesting effect where increasing safety measures will lead people to engage in more risky behaviors.

For example, sailors wearing life jackets may try more risky maneuvers as they feel ‘safer’ if they get into trouble. If they weren’t wearing life jackets, they might not even try. So despite the ‘safety measures’ the overall level of risk remains the same due to behavioral change.

This happens in other areas of life.

{ MindHacks | Continue reading }

photo { Gert Jochems }

O no there was the face lotion I finished the last of yesterday that made my skin like new

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{ Can the Gamification of Female Masturbation Remove Its Social Stigma? }

Knock, knock! Who’s there, i’ th’ name of Beelzebub?

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You probably haven’t heard of HD Moore, but up to a few weeks ago every Internet device in the world, perhaps including some in your own home, was contacted roughly three times a day by a stack of computers that sit overheating his spare room. “I have a lot of cooling equipment to make sure my house doesn’t catch on fire,” says Moore, who leads research at computer security company Rapid7. […]

Moore’s census involved regularly sending simple, automated messages to each one of the 3.7 billion IP addresses assigned to devices connected to the Internet around the world (Google, in contrast, collects information offered publicly by websites). Many of the two terabytes (2,000 gigabytes) worth of replies Moore received from 310 million IPs indicated that they came from devices vulnerable to well-known flaws, or configured in a way that could to let anyone take control of them.

{ Technology Review | Continue reading }

oil on canvas { Miro, Blue III, 1961 }

The approbation of the multitude

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One of the frequent laments of the “great stagnation” era is that younger people today won’t do better than their parents. […] Over the past 150 years, or about 6 generations, the average income in one generation has been about 60 percent higher than the average income in the prior generation. […] Improvements in well-being were very closely tied to wealth.

Today, however, we are in a position to derive much of our happiness from pursuits internal to our minds. We do this by blogging, watching House of Cards on Netflix, listening to a symphony from iTunes, tweeting with friends and acquaintances, seeing their pictures on Facebook or Path, and learning and collaborating on Wikipedia. As a result, once one secures a certain income to cover basic needs, greater happiness and well-being today can be had for virtually nothing. What is the point, then, of doing materially better than one’s parents?

In his 1930 essay, “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren,” John Maynard Keynes imagined a future 100 years later in which per capita income had increased fourfold or more. With 17 years to go, his prediction was right. But Keynes also thought that this increase in per capita production would result in people working fewer hours—only 15 hours a week to maintain a reasonable standard of living in 2030. The real challenge, he worried, would be filling up our leisure time.

{ Jerry Brito/The Umlaut | Continue reading }

photo { Maxime Taillez }

Long-lived civilizations must be rare because if they were not, we would be living in one

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The Human Cannonball doesn’t usually remember much about each flight, aside from a quick impression of soaring through the air. […] She has just been shot out of a 24-foot-long air-compression cannon and travels between 75 and 100 feet at a force of 7 g. That’s greater force than a roller coaster, greater than a Formula One racecar, greater than the space shuttle. A force powerful enough to have caused some human cannonballs to pass out midflight. […] She’s in the air approximately three seconds.

{ Riverfront Times | Continue reading }

Stands forth, his loins and genitals tightened into a pair of black bathing bagslops

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The average bicycle police officer spends 24 hours a week on his bicycle and previous studies have shown riding a bicycle with a traditional (nosed) saddle has been associated with urogenital paresthesia and sexual dysfunction. […]

The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of the no-nose bicycle saddle as an ergonomic intervention and their acceptance among male bicycle police officers. Bicycle police officers from five U.S. metropolitan areas were recruited for this study. […]

After 6 months, 90 men were reassessed. Only three men had returned to a traditional saddle.

{ International Society for Sexual Medicine | PDF | via Improbable }

images { 1. Charles Ray | 2. Dietmar Busse }

Her veil to one departing, dear one, to wind, love, speeding sail, return

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{ Rockets with plastic golf balls, replace driver clubs, as they fly to the green no matter how far. Shawn Kelly, golf pro, will compete against Doug Frost, the inventor of Rocketry Golf, who has built and flown Rockets since 1957 and has won over a dozen awards at 15 national rocket contests. | Rocketry | PRWeb }