Ode to joy

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To fall in love feels like such a personal and spontaneous process, it is strange — and a bit insulting — to suggest that we’re only copying what the novels and the movies tell us to do. However, the differences in how people have loved throughout history suggest that our style of loving is to a significant extent determined by what the prevailing environment dictates. In certain eras, we’ll swoon at the sight of the beloved’s ankle; in others, we’ll coldly put romanticism aside for the sake of dynastic or practical concerns. We learn how to love by copying a range of more or less subtle cues emitted by our culture. Or, as that brilliant observer of human foibles, François de La Rochefoucauld, wickedly put it: “There are some people who would never have fallen in love if they had not heard there was such a thing.”

Crucially, over the centuries, the most important factor to have shaped how we love is art. It is through novels, poems, songs and, latterly, films that we have acquired our ideas about what aspects of our feelings we should value and where our emotional emphases should fall.

This is unfortunate. […]

We may break up with our partners or feel romantically cursed because we have been systematically exposed to the wrong sorts of love stories.

{ FT | Continue reading }

In two studies, the authors examined the projection of romantic and sexual desire in opposite-sex friendships. In both studies, perceivers who strongly desired their friends projected this desire onto their friends, believing that their desire was more reciprocated than was actually the case.

{ Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin | Continue reading }

You don’t shoot down every fighter plane launched against you, you blow up the platform they’re being launched from

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Although genius has been defined in the dictionary as requiring an IQ above 140, this definition depends on an arbitrary methodological decision made by Lewis Terman for his longitudinal study of more than 1500 intellectually gifted children, a study that occupies four of the five volumes of Genetic Studies of Genius. […]

[T]he actual relation between IQ and genius is small and heavily contingent on domain-specific assessment, the operation of traits like persistence and openness to experience, and the impact of diversifying experiences, including both developmental adversity and subclinical psychopathology. Hence, the dictionary definition of “genius” has minimal, if any, justification.

{ Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences | Continue reading }

image { Details | PDF }

Quante uova a settimana possiamo mangiare?

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Dinner is served at 7:16 and finished at 7:20 P.M. […]

My only nourishment consists of food that is white: eggs, sugar, grated bones, the fat of dead animals, veal, salt, coconuts, chicken cooked in white water, fruit-mould, rice, turnips, camphorated sausages, pastry, cheese (white varieties), cotton salad, and certain kinds of fish (without their skin). […]

My doctor has always told me to smoke.

{ Erik Satie | Continue reading }

art { Andy Warhol, Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) (detail), 1963 }

Every day, the same, again

542.jpgPolar Bears in Canada Are Pooping Glitter

Oxytocin is made by the hypothalamus and acts on the brain, playing a role in bonding, sex and pregnancy. But findings that a sniff of the hormone is enough to make people trust each other more are being called into question after a string of studies failed to replicate classic experiments.

A 10% relative drop in smoking in every state is predicted to be followed by an expected $63 billion reduction (in 2012 US dollars) in healthcare expenditure the next year.

The great strange fact of human history is how it came to be that a good chunk of our species, after more than 100,000 years of scraping by, suddenly got rather wildly rich

Imagine standing at a bus stop, talking to your friend and having your conversation recorded without you knowing. Hidden microphones that are part of a clandestine government surveillance program that has been operating around the Bay Area has been exposed.

Friday the 13th: The Empirics of Bad Luck [PDF]

Scientists made see-through wood that’s stronger than glass

Origami robot unfolds from ingestible capsule, removes button battery stuck to wall of simulated stomach

I made an app that orders delivery to a random location, and ubers you there…

Like Anaxagoras, the atomists consider all phenomenal objects and characteristics as emerging from the background mixture

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{ Sandro Miller, Homage: Malkovich and the Masters }

A mood comes neither from ‘outside’ nor from ‘inside,’ but arises out of Being-in-the-world, as a way of such being

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We present a case with excessive Internet use, with a particular focus on phenomenology and psychiatric comorbidities. Fifteen-year-old girl with childhood onset attention deficit disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, adolescent onset trichotillomania, and disturbed family environment presented with excessive Facebook use. Main online activity was creating profiles in names of mainstream fictional characters and assuming their identity (background, linguistic attributes, etc.).

{ Journal of Behavioral Addictions | Continue reading }

art { thedatadrive.com }

related { After learning to identify with someone else’s face, do people think their appearance has changed? }

unrelated { Punk Parents Blame Child’s Terrible Taste in Music on Vaccinations | Thanks GG }

Every day, the same, again

33.jpgPoultry Workers Forced to Wear Diapers to Increase Efficiency [Thanks GG]

NRA Convention sells “ex-girlfriend” target that bleeds when you shot at it

There is indeed evidence that all cities are starting to look the same. Boring architecture may take an emotional toll on the people forced to live in and around it.

Will destruction of any planet in the solar system have an impact on earth?

How women can go the full nine months without knowing they’re pregnant

Sextortion: Cybersecurity, teenagers, and remote sexual assault

Fred Trump could be seen during construction patrolling the work site, pouring water into paint buckets to save money

Moore’s Law Is Dead

Running app Runkeeper is secretly tracking you around the clock and sending your data to advertisers

New app makes your iPhone photos searchable

Sign language translation gloves

Sweaty Guy at Show Uses You as Personal Towel

10 months since Trump descended the escalator at Trump Tower to announce his presidential bid in front of paid actors

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Why is there something rather than nothing? […]

No experiment could support the hypothesis ‘There is nothing’ because any observation obviously implies the existence of an observer.

{ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy | Continue reading }

art { Tom Wesselmann, Smoker #14, 1974 }

Holzwege proved a disarmingly difficult title to translate, or even understand: Holz means “wood,” and were means “paths.” Thus: “Paths in the Forest”—but Holzwege are not just any paths. They are paths made not for the forest but the trees; paths for finding and carrying wood (back to your hut), not for getting from point A to B. And when you are on one, you are, proverbially, on the wrong path.

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The mantra of Wall St hedge funds was once “only the strongest will survive”. It may now have to change to “the geeks will inherit the earth.”

Hedge fund “quants” who use computer systems to trade financial markets earned more money than some of the industry’s most famous stockpickers, who posted large losses in 2015.

The most prominent among the quants was string theory expert and former code breaker James Simons of Renaissance Technologies, who earned $1.7bn, putting him in joint first place.

He was joined in the top 10 earners by former Columbia University computer science professor David Shaw of DE Shaw who made $750m and John Overdeck and David Siegel of Two Sigma who made $500m each.

Their success came in stark contrast to some of the biggest names on Wall Street who rely on human investment judgment rather than lines of computer code.

{ FT | Continue reading }

quote { Cabinet magazine | full story }

‘I experimented with marijuana a time or two and I didn’t like it. I didn’t inhale.’ —Bill Clinton

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Most of us think that friendship is a two-way street — but that’s true only half the time, according to research from Tel Aviv University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Their new joint study says only half of your friends would consider you their own friend. People have a very poor perception of friendship ties, and this limits their ability to influence their “friends,” according to the research, published in PLoS One on March 22, 2016.

If researchers can understand this limitation, companies and social groups that depend on social influence for collective action, information dissemination and product promotion could improve their strategies and interventions.

“It turns out that we’re very bad at judging who our friends are,” says Dr. Erez Shmueli, who conducted the study with Dr. Laura Radaelli, both of TAU’s Department of Industrial Engineering, in collaboration with Prof. Alex Pentland and Abdullah Almatouq of MIT. “And our difficulty determining the reciprocity of friendship significantly limits our ability to engage in cooperative arrangements.”

{ Tel Aviv University | Continue reading }

oil on canvas { Kei Imazu, Berlin 1943-1945, 2014 }

What looks easy until you actually try it?

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A survey of 5000 sleepers from across the world has revealed that women get the most sleep, particularly those under the age of 25. […] As a whole, women appear to sleep on average for 30 minutes longer than men, thanks to going to bed slightly earlier and waking up slightly later.

For an individual, the time they woke up had the strongest link to how much sleep they got, suggesting that having a job that starts early every day can mean that you get less sleep than someone who starts work at a later hour. […]

People in Singapore sleep for an average of 7.5 hours a night, while Australians get 8.1 hours. Late bedtimes seem to be to blame – people in Singapore tended to stay up until after 11.45 pm each night, while people in Australia were likely to hit the hay closer to 10.45 pm.

The team found that, in general, national wake-up times were linked more to daylight hours than bedtimes. This could be because bedtimes are more affected by social factors.

{ New Scientist | Continue reading }

The spread of national averages of sleep duration ranged from a minimum of around 7 hours, 24 minutes of sleep for residents of Singapore and Japan to a maximum of 8 hours, 12 minutes for those in the Netherlands. That’s not a huge window, but the researchers say every half hour of sleep makes a big difference in terms of cognitive function and long-term health.

{ Eurekalert | Continue reading }

still { Jean Delannoy, L’éternel retour, 1943 }

Every day, the same, again

32.jpg Indian restaurant owner accused of killing customer with curry

KFC Is Making a Nail Polish That Tastes Like Chicken [thanks GG]

‘Second skin” could reduce appearance of wrinkles and be used to cover birthmarks or treat conditions such as eczema [study] [Thanks Tim]

First baby drop-off box for unwanted newborns installed in Indiana

Imposter becomes guest editor of scientific journal, using a fake email address

The art of skywriting

Where Does The U.S. Get Its Oil?

When I signed up for Apple Music, iTunes evaluated my collection of Mp3s and WAV files, scanned Apple’s database for what it considered matches, then removed the original files from my internal hard drive.

Every top 5 song, from 1958 - 2016

A Canadian Ph.D. student has invented a topical cream that he says can cheaply and easily remove unwanted tattoos [Thanks Tim]

Erase™ and Replace™

meanwhile, in bushwick