Archive for 'Arts and science'

Pole Dancers and Stock Brokers

Monday, March 10th, 2014

What psychological / philosophical concept might serve as a way to connect these two photos – featuring pole dancers and stockbrokers?


One answer, a surprising one according to authors Karina Paludan Nielsen and Kristina Stockunaite (who recently participated in the MSocSc in Social Science in Service Management programme at Copenhagen Business School) is Flow’ [for background about the concept of 'Flow' see note below]

Their 2012 master’s thesis, featuring the two photos, is available here ‘The surprising similarities between pole dancers and financial dealers”

“The similarities between pole dancers and financial dealers were surprising. The case studies revealed that all respondents except one had experienced flow.

Click to continue reading “Pole Dancers and Stock Brokers”

A tour of the Museum of Bad Art

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

The CBS Sunday Morning television program paid a visit to our friends and colleagues at the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA):

BONUS: Back in 2003, CBS Sunday Morning, which was in those wordy days called CBS News Sunday Morning, visited to the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony [though there seems not to be video of that online]. And three years later, CBS Evening News visited:

MYSTERY: Big body through a little hole?

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

Some folks love a real-life forensic mystery, of which this is one:

A matter of large body passing through a small hole: The holeproof out the window,” F. Patel, Forensic Science International, Volume 56, Issue 2, October 1992, Pages 183–188. The author, at the Department of Forensic Medicine, UMDS Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals, University of London, explains:

“A baffling case of fall-from-height is described focusing on aspects of a human body passing through a small hole, within a holeproof window. It is a classic example of an unsatisfactory outcome when a scene of death is modified adversely due to delay in the commencement of scene management. The operative factors may be entirely outside the control of scene investigators. The primary medical attendant is reminded of the forensic obligations at a scence of unnatural death. Reporting this case might encourage forensic practitioners having experience of a similar case to respond through this journal.”

Here is some detail from the report — a photo of the window with the hole in it:

Ig Nobel Prize winner’s online irrational behavior course

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

dan-ariely-press-photoDan Ariely, whose team was awarded the 2008 Ig Nobel Prize in medicine,* is offering an online course — free for everyone — about irrational behavior. Dan is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight.

Some background about the course:

You make decisions all the time…. Some of these decisions might be great, while others … not so much. For example, take the mind-boggling case of someone winning a chess championship one minute and texting while driving the next. Playing chess (competently, at least) requires thinking many steps ahead, considering multiple scenarios and outcomes — whereas texting while driving is a complete and utter failure of the same kind of forward-thinking. The gap between how amazing we are in some respects and completely inept in others just highlights the invaluable nature of studying how humans think and interact with the world.

So, when do we make good decisions, and when and why do we fail? Fortunately, behavioral economics does have some answers. In “A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior,” you will learn about some of the many ways in which we behave in less than rational ways, and how we might overcome some of our shortcomings.

* That Ig Nobel Prize was given to Dan Ariely, Rebecca L. Waber, Baba Shiv, and Ziv Carmon for demonstrating that high-priced fake medicine is more effective than low-priced fake medicine.  [REFERENCE: "Commercial Features of Placebo and Therapeutic Efficacy," Journal of the American Medical Association, March 5, 2008; 299: 1016-1017.]

Ig Nobel Peace Prize winner is percentally popular in Belarus

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, who just a few months ago was awarded the Ig Nobel Peace prize, is very popular, reports the Belarusian Telegraph Agency on March 6, 2014:

Lukashenko’s approval rating at 79%

MINSK, 6 March (BelTA) – The recent poll conducted by the Information and Analysis Center (IAC) of the Belarus President Administration has revealed that the approval rating of the Belarusian President stands at 79%, BelTA has learnt.

lukashenko-visitsThe approval rating of the government and the parliament is about 40%, that of opposition parties is 3%.

The results of the poll suggest that the majority of Belarusians (74%) are quite happy with their life. Some 71.5% of those polled said they are confident about the future, 18% said they are not.

31% of respondents said their financial circumstances improved over the past three months; 21.5% people said their financial well-being deteriorated. Most of the participants of the poll said their financial conditions remained unchanged.

The issues that cause the biggest concern include an increase in prices for goods and services and the increasing alcohol abuse and drug abuse.

The absolute majority of people (81%) called the social and political situation in the country ‘stable’. Only 2% of the respondents said they might consider taking part in protests.

Despite President Lukashenko‘s popularity, few are applauding him, at least in public. President Lukashenko was awarded the 2013 Ig Nobel Peace Prize for making it illegal to applaud in public; the prize was jointly awarded to the president and to the Belarus State Police, for arresting a one-armed man for applauding. [Yet, one can demonstrate one's appreciation.]

(HT Stephanie Carvin)


BONUS: President Lukashenko builds on his Ig Nobel legacy


BONUS: Decree No. 537 of 29 November 2012: On Declaring 2013 the Year of Frugality in Belarus