“Two theories of sexual risk taking (disinhibition and alcohol myopia) were tested using genital measures of sexual response and computer measures of sexual risk propensity. A total of 44 men and women completed two sessions comparing responses to erotic films while consuming alcohol (breath alcohol doses were .025 g/kg and .08 g/kg) or juice alone. Read More
Scientists may soon give your braking leg a break. In a recent study in the Journal of Neural Engineering, researchers at the Berlin Institute of Technology monitored the brain signals of drivers and found that they could detect the study participants’ intent to stop before they actually stomped on the brakes. The findings could someday lead to automated braking technologies that help avoid devastating car crashes.
In the study, the researchers had 18 participants drive along virtual roads in a racing simulator that includes winding streets and oncoming traffic—the drivers had to maintain a certain distance behind the computer-controlled cars in front of them, which braked at random intervals. While the participants drove, the researchers tracked their brain signals using caps fitted with EEG sensors.
“Each year, millions of people travel aboard airplanes and cruise ships. A significant portion of the newer larger airplanes (the Boeing 767 and the Aerobus) and cruise ships now have vacuum toilet systems. There have been no reports in the medical literature on the frequency of injuries associated with the use of these toilets, but serious injury, including soft tissue trauma and organ evisceration, may be associated with the use of such devices.) The investigators report a case of significant perineal injury accompanied by hypotension associated with the use of a vacuum toilet on an airplane. Read More
“The rapid detection of facial expressions of anger or threat has obvious adaptive value. In this study, we examined the efficiency of facial processing by means of a visual search task. Participants searched displays of schematic faces and were required to determine whether the faces displayed were all the same or whether one was different. Read More
While there are many different specific personality types, people are often categorized as either introverted or extroverted. Some like to keep to just a few close friends, rarely leaving their small comfort zones, while others are more outgoing, collecting friends wherever they go; most of us fall somewhere the middle. But we’re not the only mammals with this type of social diversity. Researchers in Sri Lanka have now found that many female Asian elephants—previously believed to be kind of antisocial—are social butterflies, changing their circle of friends as the seasons pass. Moreover, they maintain close ties with pals even after extended periods of separation.
“Listeners’ ability to identify road-traffic, aircraft, or train sounds in environmental sound recordings was studied in a psychoacoustical experiment involving 16 participants. In free-labeling identification, excerpt traffic sounds were described in terms of “object” (sound-producing source) rather than in terms of perceptual attribute. The main sounds identified were traffic sounds, but a few references were also made to machine-related or water-related sources. Read More
Stanford University researchers have now created see-through lithium-ion batteries; when combined with transparent screens, keyboards, and circuitry, manufacturers may be able to create fully transparent electronic devices. So soon, rather than searching frantically for those set of keys you somehow misplaced, you can spend your time trying to find your see-through cell phone sitting right in front of you.
Scientists usually make devices like solar cells appear translucent by creating ultra-thin versions of their components. But this doesn’t work with a battery because its electrodes need to be thick enough to store a decent amount of energy. So, the Stanford researchers, in their study recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (pdf), took a different approach: they created lithium-ion electrodes out of components too small for the naked eye to see.
“There is scant evidence that incidental cues in the environment significantly alter people’s political judgments and behavior in a durable way. We report that a brief exposure to the American flag led to a shift toward Republican beliefs, attitudes, and voting behavior among both Republican and Democratic participants, despite their overwhelming belief that exposure to the flag would not influence their behavior. Read More
To avoid enemy crafts, naval submarines will often run silently, shutting down nonessential functions and cutting crew chatter. Now, an international team of researchers has found that Blainsville’s beaked whales also go into stealth mode to avoid being eaten by their mortal enemies, orcas.
While they normally click, buzz, and whistle to one another in the deep, the aquatic mammals stop all gab when they enter waters shallower than about 550 feet, presumably because killer whales typically hunt in shallow water. This is surprising considering that the beaked whales spend only 40 percent of their lives in the deeper waters—scientists expected that the animals would need frequent communication to maintain social ties.
Makes you wonder: How often do the whales leave the deep to get away from all the gossiping?
[Read more at BBC.]
“This paper explores the link between economic development and penile length between 1960 and 1985. It estimates an augmented Solow model utilizing the Mankiw-Romer-Weil 121 country dataset. The size of male organ is found to have an inverse U-shaped relationship with the level of GDP in 1985. Read More