Can Leaders Have Too Much Charisma?

July 22nd, 2019

Can you reliably measure a leader’s charisma, and if you can, can you reliably say how much is too much? This study pokes at both those questions:

The double-edged sword of leader charisma: Understanding the curvilinear relationship between charismatic personality and leader effectiveness,” J. Vergauwe, B. Wille, J. Hofmans, R.B. Kaiser, and F. De Fruyt, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, epub 2019.

The authors, at Ghent University, Belgium. University of Antwerp, Belgium. Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium., and Kaiser Leadership Solutions, USA, explain:

“This study advanced knowledge on charisma by (a) introducing a new personality-based model to conceptualize and assess charisma and by (b) investigating curvilinear relationships between charismatic personality and leader effectiveness. Moreover, we delved deeper into this curvilinear association by (c) examining moderation by the leader’s level of adjustment and by (d) testing a process model through which the effects of charismatic personality on effectiveness are explained with a consideration of specific leader behaviors…. In sum, this work provides insight into the dispositional nature of charisma and uncovers the processes through which and conditions under which leader charisma translates into (in)effectiveness.”

Intel’s New (patented) Magic Wand

July 22nd, 2019

The chip giant Intel Corporation of Santa Clara. California, has just been granted (June 25, 2019 ) a US patent for a “Magic Wand” with the function of “creating, discovering, and/or resolving spells.”

“Methods, apparatuses, systems, and storage media for creating, discovering, and/or resolving spells using a wand are provided. In embodiments, a computing device or a wand may detect one or more gestures and sensors in the wand may generate sensor data representative of the one or more gestures. The one or more gestures may be movements performed using the wand. The sensor data representative of the one or more gestures may be converted into a spell sequence. The wand may transmit the spell sequence to a computing device, and receive, from the computing device, a spell output based on the spell sequence, a wand position, and a quest. The quest may indicate an order in which one or more second devices are to be activated and one or more spells to activate each of the one or more second devices. Other embodiments may be described and/or claimed.”

See: Magic wand methods, apparatuses and systems for defining, initiating, and conducting quests.

Innovative Scientists Talk About Their Childhood (9): Nicole Sharp and the Boat Ride

July 19th, 2019

Here’s Nicole Sharp talking about a paddleboat ride she took when she was a child. That ride excited Nicole in a way that led to her eventual unusual career. Nicole created and runs FYFD, the most popular fluid dynamics web site in this part of the universe.

ABOUT THIS LITTLE VIDEO SERIES—This is part of a series of sessions we (David Hu and I, and a film crew) recorded at Georgia Tech. We assembled a little group of scientists (including David) who are renowned for looking at questions others might overlook, and doing research in inventive, clever ways.

The question we asked them: “What happened when you were a kid that somehow led—much later—to your doing unusual science?

The scientists: David Hu, Suzana Herculano-Houzel, Frans de Waal, Nicole Sharp, Diego Golombek, and Olga Shishkov. Follow the links on their names to begin exploring some of their work!

Protecting furry pets from static electricity during thunderstorms [new patent]

July 18th, 2019

Earthing mats (a.k.a. ElectroStatic Discharge – Safe Mats) are commonplace in the electronics industry, where sensitive components need to be protected against potentially damaging rogue electrostatic discharges (ESDs). Not so common, though, for protecting furry pets in the home. But this may now have changed. Inventors Thomas J. Gaskill (Haddonfield, NJ), and James S. Gatti (Delran, NJ) have just received a US patent for their Static electricity discharging pet bed.

“[…] loud noise and thunderstorm induced tumult take their toll on pets, it is the static electricity in the air during a storm which is a major, yet heretofore unaddressed problem. The highly electrically charged atmosphere during a thunder or lighting [sic] storm causes tingling and general discomfort through the fur of the animal. Moreover, electric shocks often accompany this discomfort during situations in which there is extreme lightening. [sic]

Here’s how it might work :

“The outer cover is fabricated of an electrical conductive material designed to conduct static electricity from the pet bed through an electrical conductive conductor [sic], to an electrical conductive ground wire, and then to a ground only plug connected to a grounded electrical outlet. The result is that when a dog or like furry pet is positioned on the pet bed, static electricity affecting the animal is drained to electrical ground. In this same manner, an ‘Earthing’ effect provides a number of healthful benefits to the pet as well.”

Note: It’s not specifically mentioned in the patent, but it’s crucial that the earthing wire is connected to the correct pin on the plug. Alternatively, an earthing rod could be sunk in nearby ground, and the mat’s cable connected to that instead. Some guidance on such things can be found at Groundology Ltd. (UK) who are in a position to supply grounded yoga mats and grounding socks.

Research research by Martin Gardiner

Habit Versus Habit: Using Chewing Gum to Remove Coffee Stains

July 17th, 2019

A straightforward attempt to use one habit—chewing gum—to undo the unwelcome effects of a different habit—drinking coffee:

Whitening Efficacy of Chewing Gum Containing Sodium Metaphosphate on Coffee Stain: Placebo-controlled, Double-blind In Situ Examination,” S. Makino, C. Kawamoto, T. Ikeda, T. Doi, A. Narise, T Tanaka, C. Almas, M. Hannig, R. Carvalho, and H. Sano, Operative Dentistry, in press 2019. The authors report:

This study aimed to evaluate the ability of chewing gum containing sodium metaphosphate (SMP) to remove coffee stains from enamel in situ. This was a double-blind (subjects, evaluators), parallel-group, crossover, randomized clinical trial with 30 healthy adult volunteers. Each participant held an appliance with a hydroxyapatite (HA) pellet on the lower lingual side of his or her mouth for two hours to allow pellicle formation. The appliances were subsequently immersed in coffee solution at 37°C for 48 hours. The color of the HA pellet before and after coffee immersion was measured using a spectrophotometer. The participant set the appliance and chewed two pieces of test gum, which contained 7.5 mg of SMP per piece, or control gum without SMP.

BONUS FACT (not necessarily related): The theme of this year’s Ig Nobel Prize ceremony will be HABITS.

BONUS (not necessarily worth even reading): At least one web site claims that chewing chewing gum “can help you lose facial weight.”

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!