Author Archive | Matt Staggs

Behind the Seventies Science Experiment That Studied Whether You’d F*ck a Stranger

PIC: 'Whatever' (C)

PIC: ‘Whatever’ (C)

Interesting: Many men won’t agree to go on a date with a strange woman, but will happily have sex with her.

Via RealClearScience:

IN THE MID-1970s, Florida State psychologist Russell Clark was giving a talk at a public forum on campus. In the ensuing question and answer session, he, in the words of his compatriot Elaine Hatfield, “dropped a bomb”:

“A woman, good looking or not, doesn’t have to worry about timing in searching for a man. Arrive at any time. All she has to do is point an inviting finger at any man, whisper ‘Come on ‘a my place,’ and she’s made a conquest. Most women can get any man to do anything they want. Men have it harder. They have to worry about strategy, timing, and tricks.”

As you might expect, a great many women in the crowd took umbrage with those remarks. One even decided that her pencil would make a better spear than a writing utensil, and sent it flying in his direction.

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RIP Colombian Master of Magic Realism Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Pic: Jose Lara (CC)

Pic: Jose Lara (CC)

Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, author of One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love In The Time of Cholera, and many other works is dead of cancer at the age of 87. Garcia Marquez, a native of Colombia, died at his home in Mexico City. He was 87.

Garcia Marquez has been one of my favorite authors since I discovered his work in college. I’m sad to see him go.

Via The New York Times:

Mr. García Márquez was a master of the literary genre known as magical realism, in which the miraculous and the real converge. In his novels and stories, storms rage for years, flowers drift from the skies, tyrants survive for centuries, priests levitate and corpses fail to decompose. And, more plausibly, lovers rekindle their passion after a half-century apart.

Magical realism, he said, sprang from Latin America’s history of vicious dictators and romantic revolutionaries, of long years of hunger, illness and violence.

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Man Forced to Leave Town After Internet Message Board Comments Destroy His Reputation

This week’s episode of This American Life featured a story about Gene Cooley of Blairsville, Georgia, a microscopic town of approximately 600 residents. There’s not much to do in Blairsville but talk about the neighbors, and the best way to do that anonymously is on Topix, a website featuring message boards devoted to small communities like Blairsville. After Gene’s fiancee was murdered by her jealous ex-husband, the Topix rumor mill went into overdrive. What began as idle gossip escalated into vicious slander. Five or so Topix users were particularly brutal, accusing Cooley of being a pedophile, drug addict, philanderer, and pervert that shouldn’t be trusted around children.

Gene had never heard of Topix before he became a target of some of its users on the Blairsville message board. Attempts to discover their identities were futile, and he had no enemies that he knew of.

The gossip took its toll and Gene became a pariah; shunned by people he had known all of his life.… Read the rest

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NORML Calls Out ‘Marijuana Causes Brain Changes’ As Sensationalistic Scare Piece

PIC: Thanks for the cool picture, DEA! (PD)

PIC: Thanks for the cool picture, DEA! (PD)

Many of you who responded with skepticism to the “casual marijuana use causes brain changes” story that was in the news last week will probably enjoy NORML deputy director Paul Armentano’s take on the study:

Via Alternet:

The mainstream media launched into a reefer mad frenzy this week after researchers from Harvard University in Boston and Northwestern University in Chicago published the results of a neuroimaging study assessing the brains of a small cohort of regular marijuana smokers and non-users. The brain scans identified various differences between the two groups in three aspects of brain morphometry: gray matter density, volume, and shape. These differences triggered dozens of high-profile media outlets to lose their collective minds. Here’s just a sample of the screaming headlines:

CNN: Casual marijuana use maydamage your brain; Science Daily: More joints equal more damage; Financial Post: Study proves occasional marijuana use is mind altering; Time: Recreational pot use harmful to young people’s brains; Smoking cannabis will change you.

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Christian Metal Band Catches Hell After Releasing Homophobic Single

Christian metal band Reformers (No “the”, just “Reformers”.) are catching all kinds of hell after releasing a culturally tone-deaf single railing against homosexuality titled “Abomination”. With a title referencing Leviticus and lyrics advising listeners that “tolerance is hate” and warning them that they’ll be called bigots if they judge “twisted love” it’s hard to imagine that it’s about anything else, but lead singer Andrew Backlin is doing a lot of back-pedaling.

In a video posted to the band’s Facebook page, Backlin has said that the song isn’t “singling out homosexuals” and that the song is against all “sin.” He also said that he loves everyone and has no hate in his heart. Here’s the video with lyrics. Following the jump you can watch Backlin’s explanation. See what you think.

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Doctors Can’t Reattach Rapper Andre ‘Christ Bearer’ Johnson’s Johnson

PIC: PD

PIC: PD

Bad news for Andre “Christ Bearer” Johnson: The Wu-Tang Clan affiliated (or maybe not*) rapper cut his penis off before leaping from the balcony of his second-story North Hollywood home, and doctors are not going to be able to reattach it.

Via New York Daily News:

The Wu-Tang Clan-affiliated rapper who cut off his penis before leaping off the second-floor balcony of his North Hollywood apartment has lost the appendage for good, according to a report.

Andre Johnson — who raps under the name Christ Bearer — was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after he apparently flayed himself during the bizarre suicide bid early Wednesday, TMZ reported.

Read the rest at the NY Daily News after you’re done given your own wedding tackle a good inspection.Read the rest

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You Might Have Inherited Your Ancestors’ Fears

PIC: Hale Woodruff "Ancestral Memory" (CC)

PIC: Hale Woodruff “Ancestral Memory” (CC)

While not widely accepted in psychiatric circles, C.G. Jung’s theories about “racial memory” (more commonly known now as “genetic memory”) became a popular trope in the writings of writers like Robert E. Howard, Jean Auel, and Frank Herbert, all of whom used it to introduce things into their stories that their characters might not otherwise know. Now it seems that a couple of scientists may have proven that there is at least some truth to the idea that we can inherit memories of a sort from our ancestors.

Via Discover Magazine:

Geneticists were especially surprised to find that epigenetic change could be passed down from parent to child, one generation after the next. A study from Randy Jirtle of Duke University showed that when female mice are fed a diet rich in methyl groups, the fur pigment of subsequent offspring is permanently altered. Without any change to DNA at all, methyl groups could be added or subtracted, and the changes were inherited much like a mutation in a gene.

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Stefan Molyneux On How Cryptocurrencies Can Curb Unsustainable Government Growth

BitcoinThe Next Web catches up with Stefan Molyneux to discuss Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and their impact on government and society:

Via The Next Web:

TNW: To what extent will Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies even things out, taking power back from governmental bodies?

SM: One of the most important aspects of cryptocurrencies is the degree to which they deny inter-generational debt, deficit-financing, and the easy money required for imperialism and war.

As a species, we generally consider ourselves to be very considerate and thoughtful towards the young. Unfortunately, that does not find reflection in our governmental policies, which burden the unborn with staggering debt, none of which would be possible with cryptocurrencies.

The power of the state to create money out of thin air, control interest rates, and pretend that it is providing value to the population, when it is merely debasing their currencies and lowering them into a chasm of debt, will face a serious challenge from Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

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Google X Looked Into Building a Space Elevator

PIC: Superborusk (CC)

PIC: Superborusk (CC)

Richard DeVaul, the head of Google X’s Rapid Evaluation Team told Fast Company that the secretive lab had made some serious inquiries into the feasibility of building a space elevator:

Via Fast Company:

“It would be a massive capital investment,” he said in this month’s issue of Fast Company. But once this hypothetical machine was built, “it could take you from ground to orbit with a net of basically zero energy. It drives down the space-access costs, operationally, to being incredibly low.”

Unfortunately, our current technological landscape has its limitations:

The team knew the cable would have to be exceptionally strong– “at least a hundred times stronger than the strongest steel that we have,” by ­[Google X researcher Dan Piponi]‘s calculations. He found one material that could do this: carbon nanotubes. But no one has manufactured a perfectly formed carbon nanotube strand longer than a meter. And so elevators “were put in a deep freeze,” as [Google X researcher Mitch Heinrich] says, and the team decided to keep tabs on any advances in the carbon nanotube field.

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New York Measles Outbreak Traced to Fully Vaccinated Woman

Pic: CDC (PD)

Pic: CDC (PD)

“Measles Mary” had been fully vaccinated against the disease, yet still managed to contract it and spread it to others. (They should have know that was going to happen. I mean, her name is “Measles Mary”. Come on…)

Via Science:

Get the measles vaccine, and you won’t get the measles—or give it to anyone else. Right? Well, not always. A person fully vaccinated against measles has contracted the disease and passed it on to others. The startling case study contradicts received wisdom about the vaccine and suggests that a recent swell of measles outbreaks in developed nations could mean more illnesses even among the vaccinated.

When it comes to the measles vaccine, two shots are better than one. Most people in the United States are initially vaccinated against the virus shortly after their first birthday and return for a booster shot as a toddler. Less than 1% of people who get both shots will contract the potentially lethal skin and respiratory infection.

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