Thursday, March 26, 2015

Clouds taste metallic

Here is an actual un-"shopped" photo of actual clouds this evening in Norman before the Gustnado activity kicked of the 2015 tornado season:

Pretty freaky, but no real damage done in Normatopia.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Why Was the Internet Invented?

A perennial question:  Why did Mr. Overwater invent the internet?

It may have been this "Poo-Pourri" video.

Or it may have been this video of a cat playing Jenga.

Either way...THANKS, Mr. Overwater!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Florida or Ohio Redux

Oh man. These are definitely the two greatest states in the Union. Here's the headline (click through to the story only AFTER you guess its location):


Now you put your thinking caps on and tell me where this went down.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Great Moments in Science: Cold Cash

Money makes people feel cold.  No, really, it's "science."

The Cold Heart: Reminders of Money Cause Feelings of Physical Coldness 

Leonie Reutner, Jochim Hansen & Rainer Greifeneder
 Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

 Abstract: Mere reminders of money have been shown to cause socially “cold” behavior. Recent research suggests that the metaphor of “social coldness” is bodily grounded and thus linked to actual sensations of physical coldness. We therefore hypothesized that reminding individuals of money causes them to feel physically colder. This hypothesis was put to test in two studies, drawing on predictions from psychophysiological thermal perception. In Study 1, individuals who had been reminded of money perceived the air in the room as colder compared to a control group (an assimilation effect). Contrarily, in Study 2, they perceived water (a medium that was only momentarily experienced) as warmer compared to individuals not reminded of money (a contrast effect). Together these findings demonstrate that reminders of money cause sensations of actual physical coldness and add to the literature of both the psychological effects of money and human thermal perception.

Remarkably, this is apparently a thing.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Florida or Ohio?

People, here's the headline:

Police on the Hunt for Serial Pooper

So I gotta ask, where do you think the Hunt is happening, Florida or Ohio?

Hat tip to @willafriedman

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Shades of Diner?

Remember the movie "Diner," where Eddie gives Elyse a 140-question test about football (the Baltimore Orioles, actually) as a condition of going through with the marriage?  (If you don't... )

Well, it appears that a bride in India gave her man a pop quiz.  He failed, and she bailed

(The quiz was, "What is 15 plus 6?"  His answer, "17," is indeed a disqualification for someone who claimed to have gone to college.  UNLESS, I should note, the person went to college at an "elite" U.S. school and majored in any of the "Indignation Studies" curricula.)

Just as a lagniappe, the story also mentions a different wedding, where the groom had a seizure and the bride asked for volunteers.  I wonder how that went:  "Look, I got the dress, and the henna, and Dad paid for the feast.  It would be a shame to waste it.  Anybody wanna step up here?  You?  Can you do simple addition problems?  Okay, let's do this."

To be fair, it may well be that the Indian conception of marriage makes sense, in the context.  And their divorce rate is lower.  But that may be because you have to wait 15 years, and risk being killed by your husband or his relatives.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Deep Smithian Insight

This person is not "lovely."  Adam Smith would recognize what's going on here.  This is NOT a functioning system of self-interest.  An XKCD insight:

For more, see Russ Robert's new book on Smith...

Monday, March 16, 2015

Maxi-Minimum Wage: Jobless in Seattle

Angus and I agree on many things.

One thing we agree on is the minimum wage. Angus has made the case.  We just don't know much about the effects of minimum wages, in the neighborhood of the existing wage.  I was a bit more intemperate, but that's not surprising.

And we agree that the usual retort, "Well, if raising the minimum wage a little is good, why don't you want to raise it a LOT?"  That's idiotic.  It just doesn't follow.  If I have a headache and take two Tylenol, it doesn't mean that I think that taking the whole bottle would be better.  No one is advocating that.

Unless they are.  Then we also agree that it is clearly possible to raise the minimum wage too high.  And Seattle may have done that. "Mysterious."  Good one, JS.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

Man I was so excited to see this headline:

Tourists to Scotland ‘let down by quality of food’

The piece just writes itself:

If you don't like Scottish food, do as us Scots do and just drink all day.

Going to Scotland for the food is like going to France for military training.

Haggis: it's nae sa bad!

But sadly, the actual piece is just quoting a bloviating blowhard Scotsman complaining that not enough people eat in his restaurant at Gleneagles, which is actually about the most Non-Scottish place in all of Scotland. There's no data given that tourists complain about food quality.

The closest thing in the whole story is this:

Recent research found half of people visiting Scotland want to try local food while two-thirds think quality food is an important factor when dec­iding where to go on holiday.

So to Andrew Fairlie I say, "away wi ye now, ya daft wee cuntie". And to all prospective visitors to Scotland I say go for the hiking, scenery, golf and whisky. By all means, eat if you must. But try to avoid the "local delicacies"

People try to bind themelves to the mast, as Russ and I discussed recently.

There are people who try to "sell" will power, or at least a contracting arrangement that helps people commit. A pitch:

We all have goals... Yet, most of us struggle to achieve our goals. 
That’s because there’s a big difference between having a goal and achieving a goal—stickK works by helping people eliminate this gap by using, what we call, a Commitment Contract. A Commitment Contract is a binding agreement you sign with yourself to ensure that you follow through with your intentions—and it does this by utilizing the psychological power of loss aversion and accountability to drive behavior change. 
By asking our users to sign Commitment Contracts, stickK helps users define their goal (whatever it may be), acknowledge what it’ll take to accomplish it, and leverage the power of putting money on the line to turn that goal into a reality.

Aherk calls itself a "self-blackmailing service."  Interesting.

(Nod to Mark S for the find)