Archive for 'Arts and science'

Hey Maths! (Beatles studies)

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Improbable recently drew attention to ‘Why the Beatles Succeeded but Broke Up: the Math(s)’, now we turn instead to mathematical considerations of the band’s music (rather than of the band itself). In particular, a paper in a Special Beatles Studies issue of the journal Volume !, 2016/1 (12:2) entitled ‘Hey Maths! Modèles formels et computationnels au service des Beatles‪’

“[…] proposes some thoughts on formal and computational models in and for popular music by focusing on Beatles songs.”

The article can be read in full (for 5€) by clicking the link above. Alternatively, another publication also entitled ‘Hey Maths ! Modèles formels et computationnels au service des Beatles’ (by the lead author Dr. Moreno Andreatta ) may be read free of charge:

Beatles-MathsNote: The diagram above shows part of a spacial calculus representation depicting ‘Transformations stylistiques sur les Beatles’.

Question [optional]: Explain the significance of the topographically re-mapped fish.
Also don’t miss: ‘Les chansons des Beatles dans l’horloge moléculaire’

The facial of technology: If it’s super-complicated, it’s impressive!

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

[WARNING: What you are about to read is super-complicated.]

The most complicated technology is the most impressive technology! That idea fuels some of technology’s most impressive investment and marketing campaigns. You can see it in action, and judge its worth, when you look at Faceception.

What is Faception? Faception is a company. Faception is a technology. Faception is an exciting investment opportunity. Faception says its machine can detect a person’s personality by looking at that person’s face. The Faception web site explains:

We reveal personality from facial images at scale to revolutionize how companies, organizations and even robots understand people and dramatically improve public safety, communications, decision-making, and experiences.

Faception has an impressive “Theory Behind the Technology”. That theory is based on complicated logic that’s based on complicated interpretations of complicated research observations.

You may find that Faception’s complicated logic that’s based on complicated interpretations of complicated research observations is the very most impressive thing about Faception. Here’s Faception’s explanation of The Theory Behind the Technology:

FaceptionFaceThe face can be used to predict a person’s personality and behavior. This claim relies on a combination of two known research observations:

1. According to Social and Life Science research personalities are affected by genes.

2. Our face is a reflection of our DNA

While these type of affirmations are quite recent, in Chinese history, there have been people that have studied the “mapping of the face” for thousands of years

If all this does not impress you, there is something wrong.

BONUS: Here’s video of the company’s founder making a “pitch” for investors. Prepare to be impressed:


(Thanks to Andy Aaron for bringing this to our attention.)

The most attractive navel position – where is it exactly?

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

“The aim of this study is to analyze the navel position and shape of the worldwide top model/celebrities recognized as top 2013 bikini models to determine references for ideal navel shape and positioning and to find potential clinical translation.”

– explain authors Giuseppe Visconti, Emiliano Visconti, Lorenzo Bonomo and Marzia Salgarello regarding their 2015 navel-based research paper for the journal Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.


Their study comprised three parts,

○ A quantitative study of the navel surface anatomy in 81 top 2013 bikini models by analyzing four proportions:

○ An analysis of navel shapes in 81 top 2013 bikini models was recorded and classified based on previous study of Craig SB et al.

○ An on-line survey via made of seven multiple-choice questions, involving 1,682 invited people unaware of our concepts in navel aesthetic. [see photo]


The most attractive navel position is located at the xiphoid–umbilicus : umbilicus-abdominal crease golden ratio. Bony landmarks seem to be not reliable as references for proper navel positioning. The use of the Fibonacci (golden mean) caliper intraoperatively might aid in proper positioning of the navel in abdominoplasty.” [our hyperlinks]

As mentioned above, the team not only examined the ‘most attractive position’ but also the general morphology of the navel :

“The vertical oval shape, the presence of superior hooding, and the absence of protrusion are the main features that make a navel attractive for human eyes, confirming conclusions from other navel shape studies.”

See: Concepts in Navel Aesthetic: A Comprehensive Surface Anatomy Analysis, Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, February 2015, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 43-50

Also see: In search of the “beautiful” umbilicus and Divine Proportions in male nipple re-positioning.

The Journal of Interrupted [something]

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

The Journal of Interrupted Studies, which also seems to call itself the Journal of Interrupted Science, is a proposed publication for scholars who have suffered interruptions in their lives and careers.


An article in the Oxford Student explains:

Coffee seems to be Paul Ostwald’s preferred editorial tool when it comes to The Journal of Interrupted Studies, an Oxford-based academic journal that will publish the complete and incomplete scholarly works of academics whose work has been interrupted by forced migration. The idea for this new scholarly review was born over a cup (or more) with Paul’s flatmate and co-editor Mark Barclay. Subsequent team members, including Geri della Rocca de Candal, the Journal’s academic editor, have also undergone induction in the Missing Bean, where Paul and I first meet to discuss the project….

The Journal’s immediate aim is to give refugee academics a platform that is usually prohibited by the conditions of their immigrant status, but also by the Anglophone and Eurocentric bias of the academic publishing industry.

Renee Montagne interviewed editor Ostwald, on NPR’s Morning Edition program:

MONTAGNE: You know, the human stories behind these, too, though, are that these people, in many cases – what? – don’t have access to what they need to complete their work or to have it published?

OSTWALD: Exactly. So what we get a lot are articles where you can just see the lines of interruption running through the pages, really, where you can see someone couldn’t complete his research, someone couldn’t read further into the subject. And what we try to do in those cases is provide them with literature and PDF articles that can be viewed on a smart phone and try and really, you know, enable them to continue their studies as much as we can, really. But we’re also very open to publish non-completed articles, which is quite uncommon. But basically, what we do is we say, well, listen, you know, this article can’t be completed right now, but we hope it will be in the future.

(Thanks to Scott Langill for bringing this to our attention.)

Short Paper Titles Tend to Have a Longer Reach

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

A study with a six-word-long title tells about the effects of study title lengths:

The Advantage of Short Paper Titles,” Adrian Letchford, Helen Susannah Moat, Tobias Preis, Royal Society Open Science, epub August 26, 2015. The authors, at the University of Warwick, UK, report:

“Vast numbers of scientific articles are published each year, some of which attract considerable attention, and some of which go almost unnoticed. Here, we investigate whether any of this variance can be explained by a simple metric of one aspect of the paper’s presentation: the length of its title. Our analysis provides evidence that journals which publish papers with shorter titles receive more citations per paper. These results are consistent with the intriguing hypothesis that papers with shorter titles may be easier to understand, and hence attract more citations.”

Karen Hopkin talks about this, tersely, in this video for Scientific American:

BONUS: The Ig Nobel Prize-winning (literature prize, 2006) paper “Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly.”