“This study explored the effects of respondent gender, gender combination (male teacher/female student versus female teacher/male student), and teacher age (24 versus 39-years-old) on the perception of a sexual relationship between a teacher and a 16-year-old student. Read More
In 2004, a street in Taiwan got showered in whale guts. The putrefying whale was on route to a necropsy when pent-up gas blew a hole in its body and entrails spewed onto unfortunate passersby. One hundred to 200 million years earlier, an ichthyosaur—a dolphin-looking marine reptile contemporary to dinosaurs—died and became a fossil. Since embryos were scattered around the ichthyosaur mother’s body, some paleontologists believed the decaying animal had met an end as explosive as the whale’s.
The exploding-carcass theory has been used to explain why so many ichthyosaur fossils have been found with embryos ejected or bones oddly scattered. But as with old bones, evidence is frustratingly thin: the theory was mostly based on exploding whales as proof of principal. Scientists who want to test this hypothesis today don’t have any ichthyosaur carcasses at their disposal…but there are a lot of humans around now, many of them dead. A new study measuring gas pressure in 100 bloating human carcasses found the pressure (0.035 bar) to be nowhere near high enough to cause an explosion underwater (more than 5 to 15 bar).
The Principality of Sealand and data haven?
Seven miles off the English coast and just 24 feet above the roiling waves of the North Sea is the Principality of Sealand. The nation’s total area amounts to just 120 x 50 feet, but its occupier and “ruler” since 1966, Major Paddy Royal Bates, has had outsized dreams for his former military platform out in the sea. Once, it was the home of HavenCo, that company that billed itself as a “data haven,” the Switzerland of data centers.
HavenCo was supposedly to be the home of businesses who didn’t want governments minding their business: porn, anonymous currencies, governments in exile. When Fox News reported that WikiLeaks was moving its servers to Sealand, it certainly seemed fitting but, alas, turned out to be just speculation. That led us to Ars Technica, where law professor James Grimmelmann has written what is probably the definitive history of Sealand and HavenCo, and it is a thrilling read. A few snippets from nation’s short history include a pirate radio broadcaster hurling Molotov cocktails, press wars over “marooned children,” and coup led by a former diamond dealer (possibly staged).
“Gelotophobia is defined as the fear of being laughed at. Empirical studies revealed that it is a valid and useful concept which deserves further attention. Furthermore, gelotophobia is of relevance among nonclinical groups, and it should be best conceptualized as an individual differences phenomenon that ranges on a dimension from low to high fear of being laughed at. The present study presents the first empirical data on the fear of being laughed at in Israel (N = 220). Read More
“Common belief has it that people who get lost in unfamiliar terrain often end up walking in circles. Although uncorroborated by empirical data, this belief has widely permeated popular culture. Here, we tested the ability of humans to walk on a straight course through unfamiliar terrain in two different environments: a large forest area and the Sahara desert. Read More
“The authors present 3 experimental studies that build on moral disengagement theory by exploring lying in online environments. Findings indicate that, when e-mail is compared with pen and paper communication media (both of which are equal in terms of media richness, as both are text only), people are more willing to lie when communicating via e-mail than via pen and paper and feel more justified in doing so. Read More
The unique pattern of dots for each lemur’s lice.
Hey lemur, sit down right here. I’ve got my bottle of nail polish—oh no no, don’t need your hands, let’s look at your ears instead. While we’re at it, can you show me the lice on your eyelids and testes too?
Just another day in the life of a lemur biologist. The brown mouse lemur of Madagascar is a five-inch-long primate that sleeps in tree-holes all day and only comes out after dark. To study their social interactions, scientists had to get crafty with toothpicks and a few bottles of nail polish. They trapped 23 male and 9 female lemurs, finding and tagging the lice on each of them with a unique pattern of nail polish dots.
“Three studies showed that drivers leaving a public parking space are territorial even when such behavior is contrary to their goal of leaving. In Study 1 (observations of 200 departing cars), intruded-upon drivers took longer to leave than nonintruded-upon drivers. In Study 2, an experiment involving 240 drivers in which level of intrusion and status of intruder were manipulated, drivers took longer to leave when another car was present and when the intruder honked. Read More
“The old word impotence is derived from the Latin word impotencia, which literally translated means “lack of power.” Impotence, in the course of the history, has been attributed to mental pathology, anxiety, or demons or witches. Historically, the pharmacological treatments for impotence started in Greek times, when a myriad of herbal medications were applied locally to the genitals to enhance “sexual strength.” Read More