Pacific Standard: The Most Popular Ways to Share Personal News.
“Despite all of the technology, face-to-face communication still came out on top as the most popular method of sharing.” Which emphasizes the fact that a social media persona is a fictional construct (not that all personas aren’t constructs; just more fictional than the historical mean).
DiscoverMag: First Impressions Are Mostly Based on Your Face.
“For example, mouth shape and area were linked to approachability (for which a smile is a big plus), whereas eye shape and area were linked to attractiveness. Reversing this process, the authors were then able to generate simulated cartoon faces that produced specific, predictable first impressions in observers.” My emphasis. Keeps dentists and plastic surgeons in Ferraris, certainly.
Aeon: Can you have self-worth without self-love?
“We can learn not to care about display, and not to crave the admiration of others. We could even learn to display fewer selfies.” A nice tempering of the current personal branding mania. Worth the read.
Paris Review: The Best Medicine.
“Can a reader and a character be simultaneously amused?” Hmmm. Interesting. Conflict tends to drive dialogue, not amusement. I can’t think of a single example of mirthful characters, off the bat. Mercutio’s mirthful wit, perhaps.
The Airship: Have You Failed as a Writer If You Aren’t Famous?
SciAm: The Evolutionary Psychology of Women’s Shoes.
Discover Mag: Does singing along to your favorite songs make you a worse driver?
“Collectively, results suggest that singing while driving alters driving performance and impairs hazard perception while at the same time increasing subjective mental workload.” What about punching buttons on the radio to find SOMETHING DECENT TO LISTEN TO? Definitely increases mental workload. And stress. Can we sue the radio monopolists, then? “Having to listen to ‘Radar Love’ on three different stations at the same time caused me to drive off the road, kill a herd of cows, gave me whiplash, and totalled my car ...”
VQR Online: Away.
“Writing is a bit like inflating a vast oxygen tent contained by a thin filmy membrane. Each time I write I have to breathe life into this, slowly blowing it larger and larger, making it more and more substantial, giving it shape. The sound of anyone’s voice, an approaching step, arrests me. I waver, and the whole filmy construct trembles, shudders, and then deflates, sliding into nothingness. It’s gone.” Beautifully expressed. One’s muse can be as diaphanous as a soap-bubble — fragile, vulnerable.
WNYC: The Leonard Lopate Show - Do You Have to Be Crazy to Be a Genius?
“Neuroscientist and literary scholar Nancy C. Andreasen tries to answer the question: If high IQ does not indicate creative genius, then where does the trait come from, and why is it so often accompanied by mental illness?” Audio; linking it without having the time to listen to it yet, because it’s one of my favorite bugbears.
Pacific Standard: In Praise of Our Short Attention Spans.
Perhaps, but for web designers ... “Bounce rate can be improved by up to 30 percent with the reduction of page size and resulting speed improvements. A one second delay in page load time can result in 11 percent fewer page views, 16 percent decreased customer satisfaction and 7 percent lost conversions.”
Guardian.UK: Dogs feel jealous of rival pets, study finds.
Too many babies and toddlers lie under grass because owners say (tragically too late), “But my dog would NEVER do such a thing.”
Tangential: CNN gets in hot water for implying we should eat pets instead of euthanizing them. We haven’t always felt that way. Lewis & Clark would agree - over 200 dogs were eaten on their westward trek. Minimal-maintenance portable protein. Some of the natives encountered found the practice disgusting. Causes one to recontemplate the definition of ‘civilized’.
The Airship: Reading in Public - Tales of Love and Literature, Pt. II.
“I actually didn’t like the book. But I still really like you.” Begging the question ... can you live with another person if they don’t like the same reading material? If the beacon of your life is prose, then I’d say tread carefully.
City Arts: Stop Using ‘Poet Voice’.
“The voice flattens the musicality and tonal drama inherent within the language of the poem, and it also sounds overly stuffy and learned. In this way, Poet Voice does a disservice to the poem, the poet and poetry. It must be stopped.” I give the poet a break; it must be terribly hard to read one’s own work. There’s a deal of baggage involved. My memory still resounds with the crypt-like croak of an elderly TS Eliot reading “Prufrock”. I’ll pass.
NCBI/PubMed: Judgments About Fact and Fiction by Children, Religious and Secular.
“Secular children were more likely than religious children to judge the protagonist in such fantastical stories to be fictional. The results suggest that exposure to religious ideas has a powerful impact on children’s differentiation between reality and fiction, not just for religious stories but also for fantastical stories.”
Mosaic: Can meditation really slow ageing?
“Researchers have since linked perceived stress to shorter telomeres in healthy women as well as in Alzheimer’s caregivers, victims of domestic abuse and early life trauma, and people with major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.”
FiveThirtyEight: Dying at the Grand Canyon.
Erm, go observe in person. When I visited the park, the number of both American and European tourists prancing [I chose that word carefully and accurately] down the Bright Angel Trail with just a single water bottle stunned me.
New Yorker: How to Be a Better Online Reader.
New Republic: Interruptions at Work Make You Way Less Productive.
“Researchers have known for a while that interruptions inhibit our ability to carry out many tasks—from detecting traffic signals to performing surgery. This study is unique, though, in looking at—and quantifying—how distractions affect the caliber of creative work.”
Mischiefs of Faction: Impeachable offenses are in the eyes of the beholders (part 1).
The question is, impeachable for what, exactly? Listed under “Psychology” for psychoceramic reasons.
Paris Review: Notes from the Milk Cave.
“Even if someone had told me ‘twenty minutes per breast per feeding,’ it would still have taken sitting down every two hours for forty minutes for me to understand, because just like every other aspect of pregnancy and motherhood—morning sickness, contractions—the imagined experience turned out to be laughably unlike the experience itself.”
Wired: Even the Gorillas and Bears in Our Zoos Are Hooked on Prozac.
“In fact when Gus first arrived from an Ohio zoo in 1988, his favorite game was stalking children from the underwater window in his pool. [snip] But the zoo staff didn’t want Gus to scare children or their parents, so they put up barriers to keep visitors farther away from the window. Gus soon started to swim in endless figure eights.” I happened to visit Gus during his ‘figure eight’ period. I’ve seen sadder sights in zoos, but this was particularly horrible because you could see - no, that’s not enough. You could really feel he was slowly going crazy.
WaPo: There’s so much that science will never be able to explain.
“Science works under strict boundaries, and as hard as we may try, we can’t go beyond them. To know all answers, we need to start by knowing all questions. And that is simply impossible. Our view of the world will always be incomplete.” That’s not necessarily ‘bad’.
Reason.com: Mom Jailed Because She Let Her 9-Year-Old Daughter Play in the Park Unsupervised.
Pffft. I walked by myself to kindergarten. Today, state-enforced helicopter parenting? Man, I’m so glad I grew up when I did.
SciAm: Kids on Screen-Time Diet Lost Weight and Got Better Grades.
“Parents are in a much more powerful position than they realize.” The ‘idiot box’ remains the ‘idiot box’ … or so it seems here.