Skeptikai Notices (July11) – Psychology, robotics, Japan, & more

Psychology:

Monkey Business – From the creators of Freakonomics, this article talks about what happens when you teach monkeys how to use money. It’s just another link showing how similar we are to them… they gambled poorly, started stealing, and – that’s right – engaged in prostitution. (And I bet they all said the graphic above would be a waste!)

You Are What You (Think) You Eat – Researchers gave participants two milkshakes on different weeks, though they were the same concoctions. The only difference was that they were labeled differently. It turns out that the label influenced how hungry they were afterwards. Click the link to find out why.

Men Who Cuddle More are Happier – I wonder if this really means that cuddling makes men happier, or if happier men tend to cuddle more anyways. Whatever the case, over 1000 couples from the U.S., Germany, Spain, Brazil and Japan were surveyed, with somewhat interesting results. Apparently Brazilian and Japanese women were reported to be more sexually satisfied than American women. However, I don’t trust much sex research coming out of Japan.)

Robotics:

U.S. Wins Soccer World Cup (Well, The Robot One At Least) – RoboCub just ended, and the U.S. team came out on top in the adult-size division. If you think this is lame, then you probably have no idea just how amazing it is that they can do what they do. With that said, though, I wouldn’t blame you for getting a little bored of the video – but you should check it out if you have never seen it.)

Zoobotics – Here’s a great article showing what kinds of animals are inspiring robotics experts from laboratories all over the world.

Hack your hand to learn the guitar – Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed a slightly terrifying but unbelievably cool way to get you to play string instruments. It’s essentially an elaborate system of sending electric signals near your wrist which automatically puts your hands in the correct positions. It’s like the Mili Vanili of fingering. Check the 20-second video in the link, it’s really incredible.

Japan:

Fair warning: It’s all pretty much bad news this time…

4 months on, housing crisis continues for thousands – Make that a hundred thousand.

Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic bid to include quake-hit areas of Japan – This would show the world that Japan is fully recovered. At least, that’s the plan. However, the recent decision to hold the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, Korea, may affect the chances of Tokyo to host.

Toyko Most Expensive City on Yen Appreciation, Report Shows – Great. I’m moving to Karachi.

Rainy season over in disaster areas, summer arrives across Japan – For a “rainy season,” we sure didn’t get a hell of a lot of rain. But it sure is hot here. We already had a day where the temperature went up to 39 degrees. It’s expected to stay in the mid 30’s for a long time.

Support for Japan PM at record-low 15 percent – Sadly, lasting over a year in office as prime minister in Japan is impressive. But now almost everyone wants him out.

Misc:

First Orbit – A video of Yuri Gagarin’s 1961 historic trip in space was re-shot, using the same sound from his flight, but with new footage that matches his exact route. He was the first person to see the Earth from space, and this 99-minute YouTube video is complete with an appropriate music score to accompany the footage. It’s not an action-packed film, but you can see basically what he saw, in a much clearer picture than anything a 60’s camera could have captured. If you have the time to spare, or you’re into astronomy or history, take the time to get lost in this aesthetically pleasing video. Or you could just leave it on in the background as you do something around the house, and listen to the great symphonic tunes the film has to offer.

10 exercise myths that won’t go away – A very simple and concise article about common workout myths. Certainly worth a read.

Evolution Controversies: A History in Photos – Ten photos that mark the important historical points of evolution controversies, with accompanying explanations.

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