‘Principle is OK up to a certain point, but principle doesn’t do any good if you lose.’ –Dick Cheney

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Crimes such as bribery require the cooperation of two or more criminals for mutual gain. Instead of deterring these crimes, the state should disrupt them by creating distrust among criminals so they cannot cooperate. In a cooperative crime with two criminals, the state should offer amnesty and a bounty to the criminal who first secures punishment of the other criminal. When the bounty exceeds the bribe, a bribed official gains less from keeping the bribe than from confessing and receiving the bounty. Consequently the person who pays the bribe cannot trust the person who takes it. The game’s unique equilibrium is non-cooperative and bribes disappear.

{ Review of Law & Economics }

‘We should not be upset that others hide the truth from us, when we hide it so often from ourselves.’ –La Rochefoucauld

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Flattery—the art of offering pleasing compliments—is one of the oldest and most commonly used of persuasion methods. Research in this area provides a reason for the popularity of this tactic. Put simply, flattery works. Various studies have shown that the target of the flattery evaluates the flatterer positively because human beings have a basic desire to believe in good things about themselves.

What happens, however, in situations in which the flattery is “bogus”—that is, when the recipient knows that the flatterer is offering an insincere compliment, presumably driven by an ulterior motive? Instances of insincere flattery abound in the marketing context, such as the salesperson who offers prospective customers profuse compliments on how an expensive outfit makes them look. […]

In cases such as these, in which the prospective consumer is aware of a clear ulterior motive underlying the compliment, both research and intuition suggest that recipients will discount the flattering comments and correct their otherwise favorable reactions. Though in partial agreement with this premise, the current investigation proposes that despite such correction, a positive impact of flattery may still be observed. […]

The authors show that even when flattery by marketing agents is accompanied by an obvious ulterior motive that leads targets to discount the proffered compliments, the initial favorable reaction (the implicit attitude) continues to coexist with the dis- counted evaluation (the explicit attitude). Furthermore, the implicit attitude has more influential consequences than the explicit attitude, highlighting the possible subtle impact of flattery even when a person has consciously corrected for it.

{ Journal of Marketing Research | PDF }

Every day, the same, again

53.jpg Man freed after being trapped between two walls of Colorado store

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.

The mathematician who proved why hipsters all look alike

People’s beliefs about their physical attractiveness (self-perceived attractiveness) can also influence whether people will support or reject inequality.

Some people may know what is being said even though the auditory hallucinations may only consist of nonverbal sounds.

When We Don’t Like the Solution, We Deny the Problem

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.

According to a new study, sad music trigger emotions and experiences beyond sadness.

Why people cry when they are happy

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]

Britain has invaded all but 22 countries in the world in its long and colorful history, new research has found. [via Sunday Reading]

Now 90 percent of all internet thinkpieces are dedicated to explaining why you should have a problem with something you originally had no problem with.

Amy Li Sets Up a Gallery in Her Father’s Button Shop

Genesis and maintenance of a long-track EF5 tornado embedded within a supercell thunderstorm [Researchers Simulate Monster EF5 Tornado]

The Survival Condo is a 15-story building underground that can house up to 75 people

a pregnancy diary that grows with the mother’s belly

Warning Signs of Satanic Behavior. Training video for police, 1990

‘Tout le bonheur des hommes est dans l’imagination.’ —Sade

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{ Tramp stamps gallery | Playboy }

Every day, the same, again

35.jpgPenguin Robot infiltrates Penguin colony

Two Chinese officials bought corpses from grave robbers to meet government cremation quotas

Google Wants to Store Your Genome

China Builds Anti-Drone Laser Tech

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

Once dominated by correlational studies, face-perception research is moving into the realm of experimentation—and gaining tremendous insight.

Misattribution of Arousal

A man’s likelihood of obtaining a woman’s phone number increases three-fold when accompanied by a dog

How can a sequence of dance steps best be learned?

Can Anatomical Brain Images Alone Diagnose Psychiatric Illnesses?

The Public Find Neuroscience Irrelevant and Anxiety-provoking

Life satisfaction dips around the age of 45, after which it starts going up again beyond the age of 54

Writing about traumatic, stressful or emotional events has been found to result in improvements in both physical and psychological health

The Effects of Subtle Misinformation in News Headlines

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.

The 36 People Who Run Wikipedia

How did Amazon—which was once seen as the book industry’s savior—end up as Literary Enemy Number One? And how much of this fight is even about money?

The Influence and Legacy of Larry Sultan

A Feather and a Bowling Ball Dropped Together Inside the World’s Largest Vacuum Chamber

Frictional Coefficient under Banana Skin

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.

ShitExpress

The carbon is extracted from the cremated remains, then heated and turned into graphite, then transformed into a diamond.

Happy birthday!

Gritted my teeth for ya, G-G-G-G for ya

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The 24th Ig Nobel prizes were announced on September 18. The prizes annually award scientific research that “first makes people laugh and then makes them think.” […]

The prize went to Kiyoshi Mabuchi of Kitasato University for his work “measuring the amount of friction between a shoe and a banana skin, and between a banana skin and the floor, when a person steps on a banana skin that’s on the floor”. Also tested were apple peels and orange skin – found to be less dangerous. […]

Creatures of the night are, on average, “more self-admiring, more manipulative and more psychopathic” than people who habitually wake up early in the morning, according to Peter Jonason of the University of Western Sydney and colleagues.

{ The Conversation | Continue reading }

image { Akiyoshi Kitaoka | more }

‘The freaks of chance are not determinable by calculation.’ —Thucydides

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An interesting idea is that the universe could be spontaneously created from nothing, but no rigorous proof has been given. In this paper, we present such a proof based on the analytic solutions of the Wheeler-DeWitt equation.

{ arXiv | Continue reading | more }

Just boob it

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In a series of 7 experiments we demonstrate that women perceive men to be more attractive and sexually desirable when seen on a red background and in red clothing. […] The influence of red appears to be specific to women’s romantic attraction to men: Red did not influence men’s perceptions of other men, nor did it influence women’s perceptions of men’s overall likability, agreeableness, or extraversion.

{ APA PsycNet | Continue reading }

‘Ce sceptre de Vénus, que tu vois sous tes yeux, Eugénie, est le premier agent des plaisirs en amour: on le nomme membre par excellence ; il n’est pas une seule partie du corps humain dans lequel il ne s’introduise.’ –Sade

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Based on a survey of heterosexual female college students in committed relationships, how often women experienced orgasm as a result of sexual intercourse was related to their partner’s family income, his self-confidence, and how attractive he was. […]

We also identified an ensemble of partner psychological traits (motivation, intelligence, focus, and determination) that predicted how often women initiated sexual intercourse. Their partner’s sense of humor not only predicted his self-confidence and family income, but it also predicted women’s propensity to initiate sex, how often they had sex, and it enhanced their orgasm frequency in comparison with other partners.

{ Evolution Psychology | PDF }

photo { William Eggleston }

related { Guy Ends Up In Hospital After Getting Girlfriend’s Strap-On Stuck Up His Bum }

James Bond: Miss Anders, I didn’t recognize you with your clothes on.

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Ghost illusion created in the lab

On June 29, 1970, mountaineer Reinhold Messner had an unusual experience. Recounting his descent down the virgin summit of Nanga Parbat with his brother, freezing, exhausted, and oxygen-starved in the vast barren landscape, he recalls, “Suddenly there was a third climber with us… a little to my right, a few steps behind me, just outside my field of vision.”

It was invisible, but there. Stories like this have been reported countless times by mountaineers, explorers, and survivors, as well as by people who have been widowed, but also by patients suffering from neurological or psychiatric disorders. They commonly describe a presence that is felt but unseen, akin to a guardian angel or a demon. Inexplicable, illusory, and persistent.

Olaf Blanke’s research team at EPFL has now unveiled this ghost. The team was able to recreate the illusion of a similar presence in the laboratory and provide a simple explanation. They showed that the “feeling of a presence” actually results from an alteration of sensorimotor brain signals, which are involved in generating self-awareness by integrating information from our movements and our body’s position in space.

{ EurekAlert | Continue reading | more }

‘Jean-Michel came over to the office to paint but he fell asleep on the floor… I woke him up and he did two masterpieces.’ —Warhol

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University of Washington researchers have successfully replicated a direct brain-to-brain connection between pairs of people. […] Researchers were able to transmit the signals from one person’s brain over the Internet and use these signals to control the hand motions of another person within a split second of sending that signal.

{ University of Washington | Continue reading }

Spineless swines, cemented minds

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Researchers at the MIT are testing out their version of a system that lets them see and analyze what autonomous robots, including flying drones, are “thinking.” […]

The system is a “spin on conventional virtual reality that’s designed to visualize a robot’s ‘perceptions and understanding of the world,’” Ali-akbar Agha-mohammadi, a post-doctoral associate at MIT’s Aerospace Controls Laboratory, said in a statement.

{ LiveScience | Continue reading | via gettingsome }

image { Lygia Clark }