The theme of the week is: mind control. And food, as usual.
15: Research by the Yale psychology department a few years ago found that the most persuasive word in marketing to consumers was the word You. The other most convincing words were: Money, Save, New, Results, Health, Easy, Safety, Love, Discovery, Proven, and Guarantee.
16: During a recession, teeth-grinding goes up; shark attacks go down. Teeth-grinding, or bruxism, is often triggered by daily stress, which increases during periods of financial stress. As this often occurs at night, it’s difficult for a person to control (that’s if they even know they’re doing it). And why fewer shark attacks? Fewer vacationers.
17: Less time for play might be causing today’s children to grow up more anxious and depressed. There’s no question that unstructured play time is essential for proper mental development in children, and psychology professor Peter Gray believes it’s even linked to rates of clinical depression and suicide.
18: The body of a dead whale can itself sustain a complex underwater ecosystem as it decomposes. The process of decomposition takes something like 50 years, meaning the whale’s dead body sustains life for around the same length of time as it was alive. A whale carcass that has fallen to the ocean floor is called a whale fall, and certain species have only been discovered at whale falls.
19: Corning is a glass company that is the manufacturer of Gorilla Glass (which protects smartphone touch screens), along with other specialty glass. I recognize the company from their very well directed, futuristic advertisement, “A Day Made of Glass” – meaning their advertising is pretty effective.
20: A vigilante group in Veracruz targets drug cartels.
21: The Romanesco cauliflower is a broccoli-cauliflower hybrid. See image at left. It’s a naturally occurring fractal. Nature and math are awesome.
22: More math! I don’t think I can explain this better, but read on because it’s fascinating: NYC water towers (via kottke).
23: The jackalope is an imaginary creature that resembles a giant rabbit with antlers. Sad about the imaginary part.
24: Tacos are an amazing food, whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Especially for breakfast. Anybody know a good place to get a breakfast taco in Washington, DC?
25: Zombies = big business.
26: Rodízio is a style of Brazilian dining in which the waiters bring skewers of meat (or other foods) around to each of the tables, and the diners choose how much to receive. The meal is prix fixe, so one flat fee will get you as you want to eat.
27: The Occupy Wall Street movement has an app for informing those who need to know that you’re getting arrested.
28: Focusing one’s attention is a more daunting task than it seems – our brains receive over 1 billion pieces of information a second, but we can only consciously process about 40 pieces of information at a time.
29: The true size of Africa in relation to other countries: Top 100 Countries by Area.
30: I like these somewhat random finds. History of the Chinese Actuarial Profession, by Xie Z.
31: You can learn a lot about your neighborhood by sitting on your stoop/porch/stairs and greeting the people who go by.
Happy November, now. This entry’s shorter than usual because I’ve been swamped with work and moving house. Fall moving right into winter.