Category Archives: Fun

14 Ways an Economist Says I Love You

Give your loved one a nerdy Valentine and they’ll be yours forever! Why? Because if you give them diamonds/cufflinks this year, anything you get them next year will fall short. Give them one of these and anything they receive next year will be a step up. It’s called expectation management and is the key to a long and happy relationship. On that dismal note, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Reposted from http://fosslien.com/heart/

The ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ Hack

Okay guys, here’s this really irritating YouTube hack that’s spreading through cyberspace now.

 

ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ส็็็

It is really an ancient Thai script. What this does is basically slow the rendering of the page alot since 1 ส็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็็ can hold up to 20 vertical characters. Don’t ask me how/why. I just got this info from my friend. Don’t believe copy and hold the paste button. Your computer will start to lag….

 

Why Are Smart People Usually Ugly?

Why are smart people usually ugly? I get this isn’t always the case, but there does seem to be a correlation. Attractiveness doesn’t predict intelligence (not all ugly people are smart), but it seems like intelligence can be a good predictor for attractiveness (smart people are usually on the ugly side). Keep in mind, I have nothing against people who are really brilliant, I’ve just always wondered.

The answer: They’re not.

Oh, how the Explainer loves a false premise. When it comes time to assemble the year-end list, he’ll always give extra credit to questions that are predicated on blatant untruths. In 2010, for example, someone wanted to know why athletes never sneeze. In 2009, a reader asked, Why is it always funny to put something on your head as a pretend hat? But this year’s winning question isn’t merely ill-posed; it gets the truth exactly backward.

The idea that an ugly face might hide a subtle mind has attracted scientific inquiries for many years. At first, scientists wanted to know whether it was possible to read someone’s intelligence from the shape of his face. In 1918, a researcher in Ohio showed a dozen photographic portraits of well-dressed children to a group of physicians and teachers, and asked the adults to rank the kids from smartest to dumbest. A couple of years later, a Pittsburgh psychologist ran a similar experiment using headshots of 69 employees from a department store. In both studies, seemingly naive guesses were compared to actual test scores, and turned out to be accurate more often than not.

Many such studies followed, and with consistent results: You can learn something about how smart someone is just by looking at a picture. But scientists couldn’t figure out where that information might have been hiding in the photographs. The Ohio researcher said that some of his subjects were “greatly influenced by the pleasant appearance or smile, but for some the smile denotes intelligence and for others it denotes feeble-mindedness.” The author of the follow-up in Pittsburgh wondered if the secret of intelligence might not be lurking in “the lustre of the eye.”

While some researchers pondered this question, a Columbia University psychologist named Edward Thorndike made another, related discovery. In 1920, Thorndike published his theory of the “halo effect,” according to which subjects, when asked to describe someone’s various qualities, tend to “[suffuse] ratings of special features with a halo belonging to the individual as a whole.” If they were describing the person’s physique, for example, along with his bearing, intelligence, and tact, they would assign high or low ratings across the board. Later studies confirmed that the halo effect could arise from a simple photograph: If someone looks handsome, people tend to assume that he’s smarter, more sociable, and better-adjusted, too.

Now there were two findings: First, scientists knew that it was possible to gauge someone’s intelligence just by sizing him up; second, they knew that people tend to assume that beauty and brains go together. So they asked the next question: Could it be that good-looking people really are more intelligent?

Here the data were less clear, but several reviews of the literature have concluded that there is indeed a small, positive relationship between beauty and brains. Most recently, the evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa pulled huge datasets from two sources—the National Child Development Study in the United Kingdom (including 17,000 people born in 1958), and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the United States (including 21,000 people born around 1980)—both of which included ratings of physical attractiveness and scores on standard intelligence tests. When Kanazawa analyzed the numbers, he found the two were related: In the U.K., for example, attractive children have an additional 12.4 points of IQ, on average. The relationship held even when he controlled for family background, race, and body size.

From this, Kanazawa concluded that the famous halo effect is not a cognitive illusion, as so many academics had assumed, but rather an accurate reading of the world: We assume that beautiful people are smart, he argues, because they are.

The story does have some caveats and complications. First, a few other studies have come up with different results. A recent look at yearbook photos from a Wisconsin high school in 1957 found no link between IQ and attractiveness among the boys, but a positive correlation for the girls. Another researcher, Leslie Zebrowitz of Brandeis University, noticed that the looks-smarts relationship applies only to the ugly side of the spectrum. It’s not that beautiful people are especially smart, she says, so much as that ugly people are especially dumb. Then there’s the fact of Kanazawa’s having gotten into trouble last spring for asserting—using the same dataset and similar methods to those described above—that African-American women are objectively “far less attractive” than whites, Asians, or Native Americans. (He later acknowledged some flaws in his analysis.)

So, getting back to the original question, the bulk of the evidence suggests that smart people are not “usually ugly.” In fact, the opposite seems to be true: Either smart people are more beautiful than average, or dumb people are more ugly (or both). And while no facial features within the normal range could ever be that useful as a predictor of intelligence, people can perform better than you’d expect from random chance using nothing more than a head shot.

All of which leaves one great, unanswered question. If smart people tend to be good-looking, that might explain the halo effect. But what led our questioner to get things backward and assume that smart people were ugly? And why are there so many like-minded others, asking the same question—or its inverse—around the Internet? (Here’s one, and one more.) Aren’t we all familiar with the archetypical nerd, who is both ugly and smart? At the opposite end, what about all those beautiful, airheaded women and beefy, brainless men we see on television? Could the person who wrote in with the 2011 Question of the Year be succumbing to a bias that hasn’t yet been documented in the lab—a sort of halo effect in reverse, a “horns effect,” perhaps?

Ugly geniuses aren’t uncommon in history, of course, and while these anecdotes tell us nothing about the population as a whole, the memory of people who were famously hideous and brilliant might have an outsize influence on our judgments. Jean-Paul Sartre, for example, was short, bespectacled, and wall-eyed. (“I cannot even decide whether [my face] is handsome or ugly,” says one of his characters in Nausea. “I think it is ugly because I have been told so.”) Ancient sources tell us that the great philosopher Socrates had thinning hair, flared nostrils, widely-spaced eyes, a thick neck, slobby shoulders, and a pot belly. Ludwig van Beethoven was ugly and smelled bad; Abraham Lincoln’s face struck the poet Walt Whitman as being “so awful ugly it becomes beautiful.”

In addition, Kanazawa points out that a closer look at the data reveals an interesting fact: The very ugliest people in his dataset are dumber on average, but they also tend to be the most diverse when it comes to intelligence. That means that if you’re at the low end of the spectrum for looks, you’re more likely than anyone else to be at one extreme end for IQ (either very dumb or very smart). If that’s the case, then it might provide another reason why Sartre and Socrates types stick out in our minds. We know (consciously or not) that ugly people tend to be a little dim; but at the same time, there are more brilliant brutes running around than we might expect.

For his part, Kanazawa rejects the notion of the horns effect—he doesn’t believe the smart-and-ugly stereotype exists at all. (Indeed, it has never been shown in the lab.) Instead, he says, we may be assuming that smart people are nerdy, and that nerdy people tend to lack social skills. Since people with social skills are attractive, there could be an indirect link between at least one kind of “attractiveness” and intelligence. But if you’re looking at pure “beauty,” as measured by rating photographs or measured facial features, then intelligence and looks go hand-in-hand.

Bonus Explainer: Why might intelligence and looks go hand-in-hand? There are a few different theories. First, it might be that some common genetic factor produces both smarts and beauty. Or maybe there’s a combination of genes that make people both dumb and ugly. Kanazawa thinks it’s the former, arguing that intelligent men have tended to rise to the top of the social hierarchy and select beautiful women as their mates. Their offspring, contra George Bernard Shaw’s supposed quip, would have had both traits together.

Another theory holds that certain environmental factors in the womb or just after birth can produce both facial disfigurements and cognitive impairments on one side, or facial symmetry and high intelligence on the other. A third suggests that attractive children are treated better, and receive more attention from their caretakers and teachers, which helps to nurture a sharper mind. It’s also possible that smart people are better able to take care of themselves and their looks.

Reposted from Slate

Explainer thanks Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics, Joshua Knobe of Yale University, Alina Simone, author of You Must Go and Win, and Leslie Zebrowitz of Brandeis University.

Artificial Autoresponders

If you’re reading this it means the worst has finally happened.

“The worst” is probably one of the following:

• I’ve died in a horrible accident.
• I’ve died in a happy accident.
• I didn’t actually die but couldn’t write this month’s newsletter in time to prevent this automatically-sent message from going out.
• I’m stuck in the bathroom – please somebody come help me.

Regardless of the reason, the show must go on! And I’m going to use the power of technology to customize this message just for you! I’m pretty sure I know how to do it right, so let’s get to it, FIRST_NAME!

I hope you’re enjoying your CURRENT_MONTH_NAME and that you’re getting along well with your family, friends, and acquaintances. I don’t know about you, but I sure am happy to put PREVIOUS_MONTH_NAME behind me and move on to greater and better things. MOTIVATIONAL_MESSAGE, as they say!

I know we only met on CUSTOMER_START_DATE, but in the time that we’ve known each other I feel like you and DreamHost have really clicked! In fact I’ve never seen a CUSTOMER_GENDER and an Internet company hit it off so swimmingly. It’s a little creepy.

Remember that time when you set up CUSTOMER_FIRST_DOMAIN? That was really something – you made it look so easy and effortless! You only contacted tech support NEW_CUSTOMER_GRIPE_METRIC times in that first magical week, and we were so proud!

I’ve actually been meaning to ask you… Do you still live at CUSTOMER_ADDRESS_LINE1? I thought I might stop by for a while. Just to hang out…ya’ know, nothing fancy. Maybe tomorrow?

I think we have a lot to talk about, you and I! I have a strong feeling that we could even be best friends. In fact I’ve been doing some research on my own time to get to know you better, FIRST_NAME!

“CUSTOMER_SECURITY_QUESTION?” Oh, that’s an easy one! CUSTOMER_SECURITY_ANSWER! I love that about you.

And who could forget *these* shenanigans: FIRST_GOOGLE_RESULT_FOR_CUSTOMER_NAME

You’re such a crack-up, FIRST_NAME!

So yeah, if you could just have some fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies ready when I get there around 2pm, I’ll even let you try on the sweater I made out of things I found in your trash…Ha ha! Did I say found in your trash? I meant bought with cash! Talk about your crazy typos! That was a doozy, eh? Eh heh…eh…

Anyway, see you tomorrow!

Just kidding! I’m probably dead, remember?

Chasing the Field Camp Blues Away

I’ve just read that Warner Bros. will recut the last four minutes of “The Deathly Hollows: Part 2” and stretch it into seven films so fans can enjoy the Harry Potter franchise for another decade. Details here. Other than that, here is this week’s photo set, the first a tongue in cheek reflection of my opinion towards every day life, and the other, really funny adverts that definitely will not be seen in Singapore.


Ad agency Y & R has been menacing Amsterdam commuters with this series of roadside billboards depicting the progressive disrobing of a hairy and overweight man, with the tagline: “The sooner you advertise here, the better.”