Maybe Evolutionary Psychology

August 10th, 2018

Here is an essay for use by evolutionary psychologists. Written by Alice Shirell Kaswell, its title is “Maybe—Evolutionary Psychology.”

Maybe—Evolutionary Psychology

by Alice Shirrell Kaswell, Improbable Research staff

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe?

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe, maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe, maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe (maybe maybe maybe, maybe maybe) maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe. maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe—maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe—maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe, maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe, maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe, maybe maybe. Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe; maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe.

Maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe: maybe maybe; maybe maybe; maybe maybe maybe maybe; maybe maybe.

Maybe maybe.

This essay was inspired in part by Doug Zonker’s classic treatise “Chicken Chicken Chicken,” and in part by the field of evolutionary psychology. It is, maybe, excerpted from Alice Shirell Kaswell’s book (now in prep) called Maybe—Evolutionary Psychology.

BONUS UPDATE: “Evolutionary Math and Just-So Stories

Sizes of cash prizes for science awards (up to $ ten trillion)

August 9th, 2018

ABC News compared the amount of money given to various prize winners. Their report bears the headline “Chart of the day: How cash prizes for prestigious science awards stack up against reality television winners.” They include this remark:

But spare a thought for those who receive Ig Nobel Prizes. The awards — honouring achievements that make you laugh, then think — came with 10 trillion Zimbabwe dollars.

This is the chart ABC prepared:This is a picture of a ten trillion dollar bill:

Automated password generation of offensive expressions

August 9th, 2018

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) offers users an online ‘Choose and Book’ service for making appointments. When a user creates an account, the software automatically creates a two word passphrase – but not everyone is happy. Professor Simon de Lusignan MSc MD FBCS CITP FRCGP for instance (currently Professor of Primary Care & Clinical Informatics / Chair in Health Care Management / Head of the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine at the University of Surrey, UK) cites an example provided by a patient :

“The two words generated for this patient were ‘Poppy’ and ‘Cock’. The patients felt this was offensive and complained. ‘Poppycock’ means nonsense or rubbish and is generally used as an expletive. It was first recorded in the mid-19th century in America. It was thought by some to derive from the Dutch word for soft faeces ‘PappekaK’ though the authenticity of this is challenged. Instead it is more likely to be derived from the Dutch expression: ‘Zo fijn als gemalen poppekak’, – used to imply excessive religious zeal; but literally translated meaning ‘As fine as powdered doll s**t’

See: Automated password generation of offensive expressions: Choose and Book and Poppycock Informatics in Primary Care,16:241–2

Note: The professor’s observation is now ten years old. Is the Choose and Book service still generating inappropriate passphrases? If you have been assigned one, please get in touch.

Inventiveness: “The portable bidet compatible with your plastic bottle”

August 9th, 2018

“The portable bidet compatible with your plastic bottle”—that’s what the promoters say in promoting their invention called CuloClean. It’s a propulsive bottle cap. The promotional video and crowdfunding campaign, like the device itself, comes with minimal information.

You may find it tricky to flush out information about the people behind CuloClean. Their press kit says only this:  “This is Ana and Guillermo, two young engineers from Madrid (Spain) concerned about the environment and willing to offer an efficient, reusable, discreet and cheap solution to everyone’s intimate hygiene​.”

Their materials make the claim “there hasn’t been until now an actual discreet, portable bidet that can fit in a pocket.” Here is a promotional photo-spread showing the device viewed from three different vantage points:(Thanks to Ig Nobel Prize winner Lluis Pallarés, co-inventor of Babypod, the device that delivers vagina music to pregnant women, for bringing CuloClean to our attention.)

“Lesbians Evolved to Please Men” Theorist Menelaos and the Single Men of Reddit

August 8th, 2018

Menelaos Apostolou, Associate Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Nicosia in the Republic of Cyprus, wondered why so many men on Reddit do not have an intimate partner.

Apostolou is also lead author on a recent study that explains that lesbians have evolved to please men. We wrote about that study. That study is called “The evolution of female same-sex attraction: The male choice hypothesis.”

On the new question—about why so many men on Reddit do not have an intimate partner—Apostolou did what professors of evolutionary psychology sometimes do when wondering about a question. He looked at data, and wrote a study about what he saw and what he thought about what he saw.

Here is a little chunk of a data table from the study:

The study is:

Why Men Stay Single? Evidence from Reddit,” Menelaos Apostolou, Evolutionary Psychological Science, epub 2018. The author [pictured below], at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus, explains:

“In Western societies, a substantial proportion of the adult population does not have an intimate partner. The current paper puts forward an evolutionary theoretical framework, where people stay single for three main reasons, namely the mismatch between ancestral and modern conditions has resulted in several individuals lacking the adaptations necessary for attracting and retaining mates, individuals can increase their fitness by opting out of relationships, and individuals have constraints that prevent them from attracting a mate. The paper attempted to identify the reasons that drive men to be single and to investigate whether they were consistent with the proposed theoretical framework. More specifically, 13,429 responses from a recent Reddit thread were analyzed, and 6794 responses were coded and classified in 43 categories. Among the most frequent reasons that men indicated for being single included poor flirting skills, low self-confidence, poor looks, shyness, low effort, and bad experience from previous relationships.”

Apostolou also wondered “Why Do Men Play and Watch Sports?” He has thought and written about that question:

“[This] gives rise to another question, namely “Why people’s mind interprets doing and watching sports as entertaining?” In an evolutionary perspective, people interpret as entertaining and enjoyable these activities which, in an ancestral context, enabled them to increase their reproductive and survival success, usually termed fitness…

“In human species, one way for men to gain access to the reproductive capacity of the opposite sex is to fight other men and monopolize access to women. This so-called male-male competition results in fights between men which can…”