Monthly Archives: May 2012

New Gaydar Study: Bogus Science?

[Important updates below!]

A brief complaint published in the Edmonton Journal caught my attention when it claimed to have spotted some bogus science. [The article in the Edmonton Journal has since been taken down.] A psychology paper out of Washington University and Cornell University was published on May 17th, saying that the colloquially-famous “gaydar” may in fact be real. That is, an innate tendency for people to know whether or not someone is gay. Some people say you can tell by the way they walk, others say you’ll know by the way they talk, but this paper said that even a simple glance at a picture is enough to detect sexual orientation. Is this true?

Posted in Psychology, Science, Sex and Sexuality, TED | Tagged | 6 Comments

What Do Japanese Children Want to Be When they Grow Up? (Survey)

The Asahi Shimbun recently produced a ranking of first-year primary school children’s future aspirations. The article came out on April 24th, and it ranked the top ten answers for boys and girls. Oddly enough, the survey was conducted by the chemical company Kuraray, but it is just the latest in a long line of annual surveys that they have conducted. What exactly can these rankings tell us about Japanese youth, or the future of Japan?

The Rankings

The rankings all have last year’s rank in parentheses. The average age of these students is six. There were about 2000 children surveyed.

Posted in Culture, Japan, Media, Translations | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Canada Gets Tough on Masked Protestors

*Updates below*

If a protestor marches outside, and no one around him can see his face, is he a criminal? Perhaps not as philosophical a question as a tree falling in a forest, but a new proposal from Canada is making people give this some serious thought. Because of the violent riots that took place in the last few years, lawmakers are looking at ways to identify criminals who try to conceal their identities. Wearing masks and scarves to conceal one’s face has become very popular now that everyone uses cellphone cameras at public rallies, protests, or riots; but Canada’s new message for protestors is: You’re only free to protest if you have the guts to show your face.

Posted in Culture, Legal Issues | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Advertising to the Brain – Is Neuromarketing Ethical?

Have you enjoyed any recent commercials you saw on TV? Was there one that you considered profound, hilarious, moving, or inspiring? Advertisements nowadays are sometimes designed to appeal to you by using an increasingly popular procedure called “neuromarketing.” Neuromarketing is the study and practice of measuring how people’s brains respond to an advertisement, in order to maximize its effectiveness. This is done by monitoring things such as brain activity, eye-tracking, and skin response. But along with the technological advances that allow people to scan brains in order to sell products comes the all-important question: Is neuromarketing ethical?

Posted in Culture, Media, Neuroscience, Psychology, Science, Technology | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Land of the Falling Sun – Japan On its Way to Becoming an Insignificant Nation

It pains me to say this nation that I love so much is falling off the world stage as a major player; but it needs to be said. A few weeks ago, India overtook Japan as the world’s third-biggest economy in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) – a calculation of the amount of money needed to purchase the same goods and services. And now, it looks like it won’t be long before Brazil overtakes Japan next. But this is not the only reason I think that Japan will lose its significance in decades to come. The fact of the matter is that the awful Japanese economy, along with the population falling off a cliff, means that we’re looking at a bleak future of Japan. In just a few decades, Japan will be dramatically downgraded unless there are some substantial changes.

Posted in Activism, Culture, Japan, Legal Issues | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Baby Names and Hunger Games

Many people believe that the name you give your child will influence certain things about them. There are, after all, giant books of  baby names, some of which include a description of what the name means or represents. But people aren’t generally cognizant of the cultural trends of baby names. In the last half-century, the biggest factor of name-trends was, of course, television. For example, the popularity of one American soap opera of the 1980’s, called One Life to Live, led hundreds of parents to name their kids after one of the characters, “Cordero.” This year, the names that are getting big boosts in popularity are coming mostly from blockbuster movies.

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