Tag Archives: info

Music taste can reveal how intelligent you are (spoiler: Lil’ Wayne fans tend to be very dumb)

Virgil Griffith, popularly known for the Wikipedia Scanner that detects where the Wikipedia edits are coming from, maintains another very interesting project that maps musical tastes of college students with their intelligences levels (determined by their SAT score).

The x-axis represent the SAT score while the colored boxes indicate the music genre and the artist / composer.

(Click HERE for the full size image)


Fans of Lil Wayne‘s music scored the lowest in SAT while listeners of Beethoven‘s work were among the highest scorers. The full chart is available at Virgil Griffith‘s website (mirror).

To come up with this chart, Virgil used Facebook to determine the “Favorite music” of students in different colleges in the US and then combined their taste with the average SAT scores of students from these colleges. Smart.

The musical taste vs SAT score chart maps the 133 most popular (out of 1,455) favorite music from 1,352 schools. In terms of music genres, it follows like this – Soca < Gospel < Jazz < Hip Hop < Pop < Oldies < Raggae < Alternative < Classical < R&B < Rap < Rock < Country < Classic Rock < Techno in increasing order of SAT scores.


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#youngyourprofile Movement begins


Change your profile picture to you as a little(r) kid and if you have timeline use a childhood related cover photo too. Change your first name to Young and your last name to your first name, and boom, you’re now part of what all the cool kids are doing. There’s really no rhyme or reason for it, it’s similar to the disney profile pictures or pokemon profile pictures but this time you get to see what people looked like when they were weird looking little kids. PLUS it’s funny, and hides all of those pictures of you drinking and getting weird with friends from potential employers when they search your name. LET’S MAKE IT A FACEBOOK REVOLUTION!

These cool kids have already made the change and their lives are already improving:


More and more and more people. #YOUNGYOURPROFILE

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Thinking in a foreign language makes people make more rational decisions

A series of experiments on more than 300 people from the U.S. and Korea found that thinking in a second language reduced deep-seated, misleading biases that unduly influence how risks and benefits are perceived. In other words— in order to think clearly about a problem, it’s best to do so in a foreign language.

“Would you make the same decisions in a foreign language as you would in your native tongue?” asked psychologists led by Boaz Keysar of the University of Chicago in an April 18 Psychological Science study.

“It may be intuitive that people would make the same choices regardless of the language they are using, or that the difficulty of using a foreign language would make decisions less systematic. We discovered, however, that the opposite is true: Using a foreign language reduces decision-making biases,” wrote Keysar’s team.

Psychologists say human reasoning is shaped by two distinct modes of thought: one that’s systematic, analytical and cognition-intensive, and another that’s fast, unconscious and emotionally charged.

In light of this, it’s plausible that the cognitive demands of thinking in a non-native, non-automatic language would leave people with little leftover mental horsepower, ultimately increasing their reliance on quick-and-dirty cogitation. Equally plausible, however, is that communicating in a learned language forces people to be deliberate, reducing the role of potentially unreliable instinct. Research also shows that immediate emotional reactions to emotively charged words are muted in non-native languages, further hinting at deliberation.

To investigate these possibilities, Keysar’s team developed several tests based on scenarios originally proposed by psychologist Daniel Kahneman, who in 2002 won a Nobel Prize in economics for his work on prospect theory, which describes how people intuitively perceive risk.

In one famous example, Kahneman showed that, given the hypothetical option of saving 200 out of 600 lives, or taking a chance that would either save all 600 lives or none at all, people prefer to save the 200 — yet when the problem is framed in terms of losing lives, many more people prefer the all-or-nothing chance rather than accept a guaranteed loss of 400 lives.


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Tannest mom in the world is also possibly the worst mom in the world

Looking like she just came off stage of a 1880’s minstrel show, this New Jersey (shocker) mom reportedly put her young redheaded daughter into a tanning bed. Oh, by the way, her daughter is five.

A New Jersey woman was arrested after police said she brought her 5-year-old daughter into a tanning booth, causing the girl to suffer burns.

But 44-year-old Patricia Krentcil, who was charged with second-degree child endangerment, said her daughter was never exposed to the tanning booth’s UV rays and instead got slightly sunburned while playing outside on a warm day.

The girl’s father told NBC 4 New York his daughter told classmates at school that she “went tanning with Mommy.” He thinks a teacher overheard, inaccurately connected the girl’s sunburn to the tanning salon trip and contacted police.

“This whole big thing happened, and everyone got involved,” said Rich Krentcil. “It was 85 degrees outside, she got sunburned. That’s it. That’s all that happened.”

Patricia Krentcil said she treats her tanning salon trips as an errand in which she brings along her daughter, but insists the booth lights were never exposed to the girl.

“It’s like taking your daughter to go food shopping,” she told NBC 4 New York at her Nutley, N.J. home after being released on $25,000 bail. “There’s tons of moms that bring their children in.”

“I tan, she doesn’t tan,” she continued. “I’m in the booth, she’s in the room. That’s all there is to it.”

The incident happened over a week ago, but there did not appear to be any burns on the little girl Tuesday.

Patricia Krentcil said she’s been visiting her local salon for more than 10 years, and doesn’t know why her visits there with her daughter, who has turned 6 since the incident, have suddenly been called into question.

In New Jersey, children under 14 are not allowed to tan at indoor salons, while those 14 to 17 years old may do so with signed parental consent.


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Paul Miller of The Verge has just started something that is a brave and frightening move for any 21st century urbanite, but especially for someone who gets paid for writing about and keeping up with technology— he’s going completely offline for a year. Like it’s fucking 1990 or something. How did humanity survive?

Read more about Paul Miller’s internet-less year here

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Scientists still perplexed as to why some girls are starting puberty at ages as young as six.

For a couple decades now, scientists and parents alike have been noticing that some girls are hitting puberty earlier and earlier, some as young as six years old. For a while, it was feared that girls starting puberty around age 9 might become the new norm, but fortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case.

And this is part of a trend?
According to Weil’s report — “Puberty before age 10: A new ‘normal’?” — Ainsley is part of a growing tide of young girls forced to confront the mounting pressures of puberty at an increasingly young age. A large study published in the journal Pediatrics found that 10 percent of white girls, 23 percent of black girls, 15 percent of Hispanic girls, and 2 percent of Asian girls start growing breasts by the age of 7. But that earlier breast development hasn’t generally been accompanied by an early first period.

Why are some girls developing earlier?
Researchers are still trying to figure that out. Typically, “girls who go through puberty early fall into two camps,” says Weil: “Girls with diagnosable disorders like central precocious puberty, and girls who simply develop on the early side of the normal curve.” Young “girls who are overweight are more likely to enter puberty early than thinner girls,” says Weil. And some environmental chemicals, like the flame retardant PBB, can alter a young girl’s timing by changing her hormone levels. Stress “can disrupt puberty timing as well.”

So while the jury is still out, some of it is just natural variation, while some of it seems to be reactions to modern environmental chemicals and possibly low levels of hormones in food. If you’ve been keeping up with this scientific inquiry, you know that this does seem to be almost all girls who seem to be slowly trending towards puberty at younger ages, not boys.


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Meet the new NYC Cab

New York City Yellow cabs are as iconic to downtown New York as the lights of Times Square. And while the new cabs aren’t changing their color, they are going to be dramatically changing their shape starting next year.

What you’re looking at is the Nissan NV200, the winner of New York City’s competition to find a new taxi cab. The new design will be officially unveiled today before rolling out in October 2013. As you can see, it’s bright yellow, and it’s vile, even by minivan standards, but it does have quite a few redeeming features. Nissan has fitted charging ports in the back to charge your electronics on the move, and the interior fabric is odor-reducing and anti-microbial. City Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky thinks that the new taxis will be a hit:

“New Yorkers are pragmatic, but they also appreciate quality. This is a higher quality taxi ride than what they’re getting today.”

The new design also improves on the outgoing models with a sliding door for easy access, GPS navigation, and floor lights. The NV200 is set to cost around $29,000, with partitions included, and the current models will be phased out by 2018.


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1970s study that predicts the downfall of civilization in 2030 is right on track

In 1972, The Limits to Growth modeled the effects of unlimited human expansion on the planet’s finite resources. Now, 40 years later, the predicted models are still a near match with reality. So you shouldn’t worry about the shit hitting the fan at the end of this year— but come 2030, start stocking up like a crazy person.

The Limits to Growth was written by MIT researchers Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jørgen Randers, and William W. Behrens III on commission by global think tank, The Club of Rome. It examined five variables of interaction between people and the planet—world population, levels of relative industrialization, amount of pollution, worldwide food production and the rate of resource depletion. It posited that, with unchecked expansion, the world’s supply of resources would falter and begin to fail by 2030. And, as you can see from the graph, humanity is apparently well on its way towards meeting that goal.

This would result in a massive worldwide economic catastrophe and result in an sharp and ongoing reduction in the human population for generations. However, the alternative to this model—austerity measures as we’ve seen in Greece but on a global scale—could potentially spell financial ruin for billions.


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The leader of LulzSec betrays Anonymous and rats ’em out to the FBI

Yesterday, the FBI snagged a bunch of members of LulzSec and Anonymous. This sudden and unexpected FBI victory was due to the help of Hector “Sabu” Monsegnur, the 28 year old leader of LulzSec. That stupid mother fucker up top there was turned into a snitch for the FBI and his information led to the arrests of members of LulzSec and Anonymous not only in the US, but also in Great Britain and Ireland.

The name Sabu should be familiar: as part of LulzSec, a potent offshoot of Anonymous, he masterminded legendary attacks against the CIA, FBI, Sony, and numerous other corporate and government targets. He was their Captain Hook. That was before. Fox News reports the shadowy hack deity is not only confirmed to be unemployed 28-year-old New Yorker Hector Xavier Monsegur, but that Sabu has been “collaborating with the government for months,” leading to a string of arrests around the world today. It’s unclear how many will be dragged down with Sabu’s nine months of federal collaborating, but it’s safe to assume whatever vestiges of LulzSec remained are toast—we’ll know for sure when all of the indictments are unsealed.

And according to Fox, the dragnet was thick:

On August 15, 2011 Monsegur pleaded guilty to more than ten charges relating to his hacking activity. In the following few weeks, he worked almost daily out of FBI offices, helping the feds identify and ultimately take down the other high-level members of LulzSec and Anonymous, sources said.

That’s right—the man who helped the internet celebrate #FuckFBIFridays was doing so from an FBI desk. But only after the feds wielded Sabu’s children against him:

“He didn’t go easy,” a law enforcement official involved in flipping Sabu told FoxNews.com. “It was because of his kids. He didn’t want to go away to prison and leave them. That’s how we got him.”

I’ve talked to Sabu multiple times, and on each occasion he’s seemed more and more distant, to the point where it was hard to get in touch with him at all. Now, says the FBI, it’s because he was busy ratting out his cadre.

This also isn’t the first time Sabu’s been accused as a snitch—a prominent hacker and Sabu-detractor by the name of Virus I spoke with last year ranted about his hunch that the LulzSec leader was a rat:

6:12:32 PM virus: I don’t have proof of him being a snitch, and he doesn’t have proof of me being a snitch. it’s my word against his.
6:15:39 PM virus: he disappeared for a week, I don’t recall what day
6:15:52 PM virus: but when he returned he said his grand mother died and that’s why he was MIA
6:16:01 PM virus: after that he started offering me money to own people
6:16:14 PM Sam Biddle: anyone important?
6:16:55 PM virus: backtrace security and laurelai
6:17:22 PM virus: he gave me IPs, asked me to access their accounts with their IP and asked me to access their emails
6:17:25 PM virus: told me he would pay me
6:17:42 PM Sam Biddle: did you?
6:17:53 PM virus: no, I found that to be suspicious and declined

6:19:19 PM virus: another reason why I believe he was converted after he disappeared and returned is everybody else started getting arrested one by one starting with ryan clearly, who was their ddos bitch
6:19:29 PM virus: yes, I believe he cut a deal to save himself

This August conversation jibes perfectly with Fox’s report, who says Sabu began working for the FBI in June after they busted him—it’s unclear what his fate is now. What is clear is the enormous grin of the feds, who have finally fired one back after almost a year of humiliations and runarounds from Anonymous brass:

“This is devastating to the organization,” said an FBI official involved with the investigation. “We’re chopping off the head of LulzSec.”

Though LulzSec proper has been dormant since last summer, Sabu has remained a hugely influential character atop a vast cult of personality. The revelation that he’s sold out the movement he professed to love so much will deal as much a psychological as logistical blow to Anon. After all, the guy tweeted this, only yesterday:

“The federal government is run by a bunch of fucking cowards. Don’t give in to these people. Fight back. Stay strong.”


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