Sunday, 2 August 2015
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How do you decide if you can trust someone? Is it based on their handshake, the way they look you in the eye, or perhaps their body language?
We know that what someone wears has an effect on our trust in them. If you happen to be a doctor, 76 percent of us will favor you if you wear the white coat, compared to only 10 percent if you happen to just pop out in your surgical scrubs. Labels matter too. In one test, four times as many people were willing to stop and answer a survey on one day compared to another. The difference? Whether or not the interviewer had a designer label on their sweatshirt. But what if you had to decide whether or not to trust someone without knowing the gear they were togged up in? Without knowing anything about them at all?
When people fall victim to fraud, often it is because they have decided to trust a stranger. In mass-marketing fraud (known widely as the 419 scam or advance fee fraud), an unsolicited e-mail contact offers false promises or information designed to con you out of money. You may have already received an e-mail from, for example, a Nigerian prince who desperately needs your bank details in order to move some money out of the country fast. Phishing fraud, where links in carefully crafted, apparently legitimate emails redirect users to a different server, into which they are persuaded to enter usernames, passwords, or bank account details, cost the UK £405.8m in 2012, according to RSA Security.
But what makes some people laugh and delete immediately, while others are curious enough to find out more?
Sixty participants were asked to play the trust game, an extension of an experimental economics game called the dictator game for which the participants were put into pairs. Player one was given an initial amount of hypothetical "money" that they could choose whether or not to gamble with. The gamble was this: They could give their money to the stranger they were paired with, player two, and anything they gave would be tripled. Player two could then choose to give some of this money back to Player one, and again, anything they returned would be tripled — or player two could choose to keep it all.
In theory then, the more generous you are in the beginning, the richer you could become by the end. To make it more exciting, the players were told that at the end of the trust game, this notional money would be converted into real hard cash.
As player one, how much would you give away to a complete stranger? Well if you happen to have an electroencephalograph (EEG) handy, you can find out without ever needing to play. An EEG records your brain activity by measuring the electrical pulses generated by the brain's cells through a series of electrodes placed on your scalp. In this study, the researchers found that they could predict the amount of money the initial player would trust to the stranger purely based on the activity recorded by the EEG.
A state of trust
But what makes this finding even more interesting is that the EEG recording was taken several minutes before the trust game began. At this point, the staff running the experiment had not asked the participants to think about the game of trust. What the EEG recorded was the resting state of the participants' brains when not involved in tasks — relatively calm — rather than the heightened activity associated with performing mental or physical tasks.
Resting state brain activity is thought to be relatively stable over time. So the fact that the experimenters were able to predict the investment that player one would make to the stranger, player two, was purely based on this resting state activity. And it shows that initial levels of trust may be determined by an underlying pattern of brain activity.
So, returning to those who have unfortunately answered our Nigerian prince, or foreign businessman, or even opened the door to a man "from the electricity board," what this study perhaps indicates is that, regardless of the contents of the email or how convincing the con is, we are already subject to an unconscious bias as to whether or not we will trust that stranger.
Not only are some of us physically more inclined to trust strangers than others, but that susceptibility can be determined by any unscrupulous character who happens to have an EEG scanner to hand.
More from The Conversation UK...
- How your brain decides who to make friends with when you start university
- Banksy mural in Clacton-on-Sea knocked from its perch — but no tears from me
- How to be a world leader when you grow up — pick the right country to study in
» see original post http://theweek.com/articles/443041/scientific-study-con-mans-dream-come-true
In the Arctic, the area covered by sea ice that survives through the summer has been on a downward trend for as long as we've been monitoring it. But the area of ocean covered by ice only tells part of the story. Some of that ice is relatively thin, having only formed during the previous winter. Other areas have thick ice that has built up over several years and is more likely to survive through the summer.
Getting a grip on the ice thickness throughout the Arctic has been a challenge. While there have been some sporadic regional surveys, they don't provide a complete picture of the polar region. That changed with the launch of the ESA's CryoSat-2 satellite, which has been gathering data since 2010. Now, researchers have used the data to show that the thickness of the sea ice is quite dynamic, with a single cold summer being enough to reverse part of the downward trend.
CryoSat-2 has an instrument that can detect the altitude from the top of sea ice, even differentiating it from snow on the ice's surface. To understand ice thickness, the authors of the new paper compared that to the height of the ocean near the ice. From there, based on what we know about ice's buoyancy, it's possible to calculate the thickness. This is a little more complicated than it sounds, however, given that they had 88 million individual measurements spanning four years (2010-2014).
» see original post http://feeds.arstechnica.com/~r/arstechnica/science/~3/HkECJLJ_b-4/
Do your fishies swim? Saturday marked the 2015 Mermaid Parade in Brooklyn. It is a tradition of Coney Island in its 32nd year. It takes inspiration from the burlesque dancers, side shows, circus and artists living the community (there is a Mermaid Avenue next to the Parade route).
With the rich entertainment history of the parade, the perfect King Neptune and Queen Mermaid for the event were unsurprisingly Mat Fraser (musician and actor on American Horror Story Freakshow) and reigning star of burlesque in NYC, Julie Atlas Muz. I loved their work separately even before I found out they were married. (I heard they even had a zombie walk during their wedding, which makes them the coolest couple in the world).
ls, shimmering body paint, seaweed, and coral are the clear style winners. While the ladies are bringing it, I'm happy to see lots of men bringing their art to the parade as well and just having fun.
From fins to fashion boardwalk, the Coney Island Mermaid Parade was the place to be!
photos from Don O'Neill, Norman Blake and crowdsourced from Instagram.
Check out Style Your Inner Mermaid
by Mariana Leung at Mode
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First the sea gave birth to life. Now, thanks to a trio of Philippine-based inventors, it is giving birth to light as well. Led by engineer Lipa Aisa Mijena, the team has developed a lamp that’s capable emitting light for 8 hours on just 1 cup of saltwater. Not only are the Philippines prone to natural disasters like typhoons and earthquakes but the country is made up of over 7,000 islands, most of which do not have access to electricity, says the team. But one thing they do have is the sea, an abundant source of saltwater that can now be used to light homes and, in emergencies, power cell phones.
The saltwater-powered lamp uses the same science that forms the basis of battery-making. Where they differ from batteries is that the entire reaction is safe and harmless. Moreover, there are no flammable materials or components that go into lamp. Used 8 hours a day, every day, the team says the lamp can provide light for 6 months (or even over a year if used more efficiently) without having to replace any parts.
Over the past year or so SALt (Sustainable Alternative Lighting) has won 7 different sustainability and entrepreneurial awards. If interested, you can enter your name and email on their website to receive product updates but right now the team is focusing on building lamps for their target communities. (via Web Urbanist)
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A Purdue University study shows that targeting plants with red and blue LEDs provides energy-efficient lighting in contained
The post Study: Targeted LEDs could provide efficient lighting for plants grown in space has been published on Technology Org.
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#fluidynamics #physics #zerogravity
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Technology has always been intimately linked to the human body. From sharpened flint to smartphones, we've been carrying our inventions for millennia—but the relationship is about to get even closer. The next generation of electronic devices might not just be near our bodies, they could be powered by them.
Staying alive guzzles energy. In order to keep us ticking, our bodies need to burn between 2,000 and 2,500 calories per day, which is conveniently enough to power a modestly used smart phone. So if just a fraction of that energy could be siphoned, our bodies could in theory be used to run any number of electronic devices, from medical implants to electronic contact lenses—all without a battery in sight. Recently, researchers have taken important strides toward unlocking this electric potential.
To start, the energy in our bodies exists in various forms. Most of them need some manipulation before they can be used to power an electronic device. But not all do.
» see original post http://feeds.arstechnica.com/~r/arstechnica/science/~3/IvYJbr7-YGA/
If we are to see the promised benefits of high-temperature superconductors, such as low-loss motors and generators or
The post Trapping vortices key to high-current superconductors has been published on Technology Org.
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