The boots to them, them in the bar, them barmaids came

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It is often claimed that negative events carry a larger weight than positive events. Loss aversion is the manifestation of this argument in monetary outcomes. In this review, we examine early studies of the utility function of gains and losses, and in particular the original evidence for loss aversion reported by Kahneman and Tversky (Econometrica  47:263–291, 1979). We suggest that loss aversion proponents have over-interpreted these findings.

{ Psychological Research | Continue reading }

To remind me of. Lff!

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Let’s begin with a simple fact: time passes faster in the mountains than it does at sea level. The difference is small but can be measured with precision timepieces that can be bought today for a few thousand pounds. This slowing down can be detected between levels just a few centimetres apart: a clock placed on the floor runs a little more slowly than one on a table.

It is not just the clocks that slow down: lower down, all processes are slower. Two friends separate, with one of them living in the plains and the other going to live in the mountains. They meet up again years later: the one who has stayed down has lived less, aged less, the mechanism of his cuckoo clock has oscillated fewer times. He has had less time to do things, his plants have grown less, his thoughts have had less time to unfold … Lower down, there is simply less time than at altitude. […]

Times are legion: a different one for every point in space. The single quantity “time” melts into a spiderweb of times.

{ Guardian | Continue reading }

photo { Julie Blackmon }

there shall be no more Kates and Nells

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Coding theorists are concerned with two things. Firstly and most importantly they are concerned with the private lives of two people called Alice and Bob. In theory papers, whenever a coding theorist wants to describe a transaction between two parties he doesn’t call then A and B. No. For some longstanding traditional reason he calls them Alice and Bob.

Now there are hundreds of papers written about Alice and Bob. Over the years Alice and Bob have tried to defraud insurance companies, they’ve played poker for high stakes by mail, and they’ve exchanged secret messages over tapped telephones.

If we put together all the little details from here and there, snippets from lots of papers, we get a fascinating picture of their lives. This may be the first time a definitive biography of Alice and Bob has been give

In papers written by American authors Bob is frequently selling stock to speculators. From the number of stock market deals Bob is involved in we infer that he is probably a stockbroker. However from his concern about eavesdropping he is probably active in some subversive enterprise as well. And from the number of times Alice tries to buy stock from him we infer she is probably a speculator. Alice is also concerned that her financial dealings with Bob are not brought to the attention of her husband. So Bob is a subversive stockbroker and Alice is a two-timing speculator.

But Alice has a number of serious problems. She and Bob only get to talk by telephone or by electronic mail. In the country where they live the telephone service is very expensive. And Alice and Bob are cheapskates. So the first thing Alice must do is MINIMIZE THE COST OF THE PHONE CALL.

{ John Gordon, The Alice and Bob After Dinner Speech, 1984 | Continue reading }

acrylic, fluorescent acrylic, and roll-a-tex on canvas { Peter Halley, Laws of Rock, 2008 }

Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA)

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Long-term relationships and especially marriage have long got a bad rap in terms of the erotic. The German poet Gottfried Benn, for example, stated: “Marriage is an institution for the paralysis of the sexual instinct” Even women like the American author Erica Jong join in the lament. “Even if you loved your husband, there came that inevitable year when fucking him turned as bland as Velveeta cheese: filling, fattening even, but no thrill to the taste buds, no bittersweet edge, no danger.” That such remarks are not far-fetched, psychologist Kirsten von Sydow from the University of Hamburg has verified with a comprehensive literature review. […]

This loss of libido in marriage is also called the “Coolidge effect”. Among cattle breeders, it is known as the bull’s reluctance to mount the same cow repeatedly, with the libido returning after the encounter with a new cow. The name Coolidge refers to the 30 U.S. President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933). According to a famous anecdote, Mr. Coolidge once visited a farm with his wife where Mrs. Coolidge became aware of a cock who just mounted a hen. When they told her that the cock accomplished this feat up to twelve times a day, she replied: “Tell that to my husband!” When the president learned of the miracles, he asked: “Always with the same hen?” When he was assured that it was another one every time, he replied: “Tell that to my wife!” […]

The Coolidge effect can be expressed in numerical values, says von Sydow. “In the first year of living together, the weekly coital activity of three times drops to just under twice, then it further diminishes over two to three years.” […] For gay and lesbian couples, the decline in coital frequency is at least as strong. And this is not a question of age, because after a divorce and with a new partner, the sex drive is easily rekindled. […]

“Men love the idea of getting between the blankets with a woman just for fun, including with a woman with whom they do not want to have a long-term relationship,” Baumeister points out. “From the standpoint of these men, sex affords pleasure, and sex with new partners affords a particularly great pleasure. Why shouldn’t they have it off other with those women without tying up? Unfortunately for these men, most women do not share that view. ”

{ Rolf Degen | Continue reading }

‘L’orgueil est la même chose que l’humilité, c’est toujours le mensonge.’ —Georges Bataille

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Austrian nobles Princess Pauline von Metternich and Countess Anastasia Kielmansegg agreed to a topless duel in the summer of 1892.

The duel went down in history as the first ‘emancipated duel’ because it involved female participants, female seconds’ and a female medic.

Baroness Lubinska from Warsaw, who had a medical degree, oversaw the duel and advised the women to sword fight topless to avoid infection.

{ Daily Mail | Continue reading }

Princess Pauline was involved in many charitable organizations. It was in her capacity as Honorary President of the Vienna Musical and Theatrical Exhibition that she quarreled with the Countess Kilmannsegg, wife of the Statthalter of Lower Austria and President of the Ladies Committee of the Vienna Musical and Theatrical Exhibition, apparently over the flower arrangements for the exhibition.

Whatever was said about those flowers could not be unsaid, and the Princess, then 56 years old, challenged the Countess to settle their dispute by blood.

The two adversaries and their seconds, Princess Schwarzenberg and Countess Kinsky, traveled to Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein, and took to the field of honor. Presiding over the encounter was Baroness Lubinska who, unusually for women of the time, was a medical doctor. Her modern understanding of infection proved pivotal. Having seen many superficial battle wounds turn septic and fatal because fragments of dirty clothes were driven into them, the Baroness insisted both parties remove all clothing above the waist.

So the Princess Metternich and Countess Kilmannsegg, both topless, took up their swords to fight until first blood.

After a few exchanges, the Princess received a small cut to the nose and the Countess was cut on the arm practically at the same time. The seconds called the duel and Princess Metternich was declared the winner.

{ Mental Floss | Continue reading }

Every day, the same, again

5.jpgA French waiter is suing for the right to be rude at work

The Rise in Self-Proclaimed Time Travelers

How do blind people represent rainbows?

What Happens When a Blind Person Takes LSD?

Retaliation on a voodoo doll symbolizing an abusive supervisor restores justice

A new device, created by mad scientists at MIT, can accept commands that you say only in your own head. It works by analyzing “subvocalization,” or silent speech.

DNA tests for IQ are coming, but it might not be smart to take one

It took about 50 hours of interaction to move from acquaintance to casual friend, about 90 hours to move from casual friend to friend, and more than 200 hours to qualify as a best friend. A new study shows how long—in hours—friendships take to develop.

Sleeping without smartphones improves sleep, relationships, focus and wellbeing, although impacts is relatively small

Mark Bittman and doctor David L. Katz patiently answer pretty much every question we could think of about healthy food

76% of sports sponsorships tied to junk food, study says

Last year, some social media genius discovered that single-paragraph updates did inordinately well on LinkedIn. Thus, through the opportunistic gaming of oblique algorithms, a new literary genre was born. [Thanks Tim]

By creating free wifi on the London Underground, Transport for London is harvesting data. Uber harvests data well beyond car journeys (the app continues to collect data on passenger behaviour after a ride has finished, although users can now opt out of this). New digital advertising billboards at Piccadilly Circus are harvesting data (they contain cameras to analyse the facial expressions of people in the crowds passing by).

Next month, the US government is expected to green-light a number of agreements between private drone operators and states and local entities that want to test drone services involving “beyond-line-of-sight operations”

Unicorns Take Different Paths to Being Public

Sex Workers Making Underground Porn on Snapchat

Self-storage: How warehouses for personal junk became a $38 billion industry

Scientists have spent 60 years agonizing over how our knuckles crack [study]

Why it’s Impossible to Accurately Measure a Coastline

Maine Restaurant Announces It Will Only Accept Reservations Via Snail-Mail

A brief history of audio recording and playback, from the 1850s onward [The Museum of Obsolete Media]

Metropolitan Police Coat Hook

Amalia Ulman’s Instagram art hoax

Japanese Are Polishing Foil Balls To Perfection

‘Maybe don’t expect us to ‘just know’ what all your color-coded espresso pods mean.’ –Tim Geoghegan

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A distant galaxy that appears completely devoid of dark matter has baffled astronomers and deepened the mystery of the universe’s most elusive substance.

The absence of dark matter from a small patch of sky might appear to be a non-problem, given that astronomers have never directly observed dark matter anywhere. However, most current theories of the universe suggest that everywhere that ordinary matter is found, dark matter ought to be lurking too, making the newly observed galaxy an odd exception. […]

Paradoxically, the authors said the discovery of a galaxy without dark matter counts as evidence that it probably does exist.

{ Guardian | Continue reading }

photo { Luc Kordas }

Every day, the same, again

2.jpg‘Time-traveller’ brings food item from 2200 that has ‘ended world hunger’

An Oklahoma mother married her daughter after the pair “hit it off.” Investigators later discovered she had previously wed her son.

How optimistic are you about the future?

Frustrated husband creates spreadsheet of wife’s excuses for not having sex with him

One study found that 81% of women orgasm during oral sex, which is about three times more often than during intercourse. But in a survey Cristol conducted, she discovered that 80% of women turn down oral sex when they wanted to say yes.

Stability of Genetic and Environmental Influences on Female Sexual Functioning

We report the first case in literature of a work nail gun injury to male external genitalia.

The most successful people are not the most talented, just the luckiest, a new computer model of wealth creation confirms

Envy is harmful to psychological health and wellbeing [PDF]

New evidence suggests that by age five, children begin to understand the broad importance of reputation and to engage in surprisingly sophisticated impression management.

MDMA appears to have a stronger effect on emotional memories than non-emotional memories, according to new research. The finding may explain why the drug has beneficial effects for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and similar psychiatric conditions.

Using sleep deprivation to lift people out of severe depression may seem counterintuitive, but for some people, it’s the only thing that works

Acoustical Analysis of Shouting Into the Wind

Overtrafficked and underserviced, aircraft lavatories are swarming with E. coli. “Your typical flight will have one for every 50 people.” More: Behaviors, movements, and transmission of droplet-mediated respiratory diseases during transcontinental airline flights

“Salami slicing” refers to the practice of breaking scientific studies down into small chunks and publishing each part as a seperate paper.

We are experiencing a fundamental paradigm shift in our relationship to knowledge. From the ‘information age’, we are moving towards the ‘reputation age’, in which information will have value only if it is already filtered, evaluated and commented upon by others.

The history of the ‘ideal’ woman

A staggering number of golf balls wind up in the ocean. What happens to them?

René Redzepi’s Copenhagen restaurant, once called the best in the world, reopens

Henderson Island is isolated and uninhabited—but its beaches are still covered in garbage.  

Murders in Brazil

No one, presently, sees the Moon rotate like this

A phone line that puts callers on hold for seven years

VR

‘Never offend an enemy in a small way.’ –Gore Vidal

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{ Border wall prototypes in San Diego | Richard Serra’s ‘East-West/West-East’ in Qatar }

I mean a being absolutely infinite

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A group of scientists who study Artificial Intelligence (AI) say they’ve come up with a process that can not only measure biological age, but tell you whether you will live longer or die younger than other people your age, and how to increase your odds that you will do the former.

They’ve called it the Aging Clock—an aging clock that is embedded in our body’s blood chemistry that forecasts when our cells and bodies are most likely to die and whether we’re getting old too quickly compared with other people our age.

It’s the result of a big-data, AI-driven analysis of blood tests from 130,000 people from South Korean, Canadian and Eastern European patient populations. The results netted a computer algorithm scientists at Insilico Medicine describe as the most precise measure of a person’s biological age. They say the algorithm and corresponding website, young.ai, can provide visitors real time information about their potential life span and hopefully help them lengthen it. […]

“Our biological age measures how quickly the cells in our body will deteriorate compared with the general population,” he said. “Depending on the genetics we inherit and the lifestyle choices we make regarding diet, exercise, weight, stress and habits like smoking or drinking, our biological age can vary as much as 30 years compared with our chronological age.”

{ Forbes | Continue reading }

oil on canvas { Amy Sherald, A clear, unspoken, granted magic, 2017 }

Let me have men about me that are fat

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2017 was a big year for Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, already the largest in the world. After surpassing $1 trillion in assets, the fund announced today that it made an annual return of 1,028 billion kroner ($131 billion), the largest amount in the fund’s 20-year history. […]

how many stocks this fund already owns: 1.4% of all listed stocks in the world […] its biggest boost last year came from Apple. It has a 0.9% stake in the US tech company […]

The fund has now made more money in investment returns than was put into it […] since inception in 1997

{ Quartz | Continue reading }

art { Jan van Eyck, The Arnolfini Portrait, 1434 }

through grass behush the bush to

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The largely dominant meritocratic paradigm of highly competitive Western cultures is rooted on the belief that success is due mainly, if not exclusively, to personal qualities such as talent, intelligence, skills, efforts or risk taking. Sometimes, we are willing to admit that a certain degree of luck could also play a role in achieving significant material success. But, as a matter of fact, it is rather common to underestimate the importance of external forces in individual successful stories. […]

In this paper, […] we show that, if it is true that some degree of talent is necessary to be successful in life, almost never the most talented people reach the highest peaks of success, being overtaken by mediocre but sensibly luckier individuals.

{ arXiv | Continue reading }