April 23rd, 2010


Even Blind Men Prefer The Optimal 0.7 Waist-To-Hip Ratio

Amid all the conflicting evidence, Karremans sent his mannequins around the Netherlands. The blind stood before them; they were told to touch the women, to focus their hands on the waists and hips. The breasts on both figures were the same, in case the men reached too high. The men extended their arms; they ran their hands over the region. Then they scored the attractiveness of the bodies. Karremans had a hunch, he told me, that their ratings wouldn’t match those of the sighted men he used as controls, half of them blindfolded so that they, too, would be judging by feel. It seemed likely, he said, that visual culture would play an overwhelming part in creating the outlines of lust. And though the blind had almost surely grown up hearing attractiveness described, perhaps even in terms of hourglass shapes, it was improbable, he writes in his forthcoming journal paper, that they had heard descriptions amounting to, “The more hourglass shaped, the more attractive,” which would be necessary to favor the curvier mannequin over the figure that was only somewhat less so.

But, with some statistically insignificant variation, the scores of the blind matched those of the sighted. Both groups preferred the more pronounced sweep from waist to hip. One possible explanation emphasizes the sense of smell — though the mannequins wore no perfume. By this line of thinking, certain ratios of hormones and their metabolites in the female body are associated with biological advantage, as well as with particular pheromonal scents and low W.H.R.’s. The male begins life wired, through the influence of evolution, to favor these odors and then learns, mostly through unconscious experience, to connect the cues of smell to the proportions of waist and hip. He makes this connection through sight if he can see and by touch if he can’t.

Via Citizen Renegade.


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Not liking versus not knowing

Tyan recently discovered he liked Monster Truck rallies:

It was worth every penny. Even Christophe was standing up, pumping his fists, screaming for Monster Mutt (our favorite truck). I may not invest in a wardrobe of wife-beaters and follow Monster Mutt around the country, but I’d definitely go to another rally if it came through. Most importantly, having so much fun at Monster Jam made me wonder what else I might be missing out on. Since then I went to a ballet, have started learning to play go, visited a nudist resort, plan on going to a destruction derby, and hope to see an opera soon.

What do you think people should try at least once? What do you fear trying? Here's a list of things I suggested to Tynan. Some of them I've tried, some of them I would like to try, and some of them I fear trying.

What would be on your list?

Go to a Cuddle Party

Take LSD.

Take Ecstasy.

Go to Burning Man.

Hunt bears.

Learn how to hula hoop.

Go to the Knob Creek Machine Gun Show.

Take a sauna at Steamworks

Got to a FurryCon

Take a sewing class.

Drive a backhoe at Männerspielplatz

Create a music video.

Shoot a movie in 48 hours.

Hire an escort.

Got to a brothel.

Go to a scrapbooking workshop

Make a gypsy wagon

Make a treehouse

Build a cement house.

Make a porno

Pose nude for an art class

Run for Mayor

Picket the IRS.

Buy some digitigrade legs, a satyr costume, and voice deepening microphone, and roam the streets of San Francisco reciting the poetry of Milton.

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5 Years After: Portugal's Drug Decriminalization Policy Shows Positive Results

In the face of a growing number of deaths and cases of HIV linked to drug abuse, the Portuguese government in 2001 tried a new tack to get a handle on the problem—it decriminalized the use and possession of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, LSD and other illicit street drugs. The theory: focusing on treatment and prevention instead of jailing users would decrease the number of deaths and infections.

Five years later, the number of deaths from street drug overdoses dropped from around 400 to 290 annually, and the number of new HIV cases caused by using dirty needles to inject heroin, cocaine and other illegal substances plummeted from nearly 1,400 in 2000 to about 400 in 2006,  according to a report released recently by the Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C, libertarian think tank.

 "Now instead of being put into prison, addicts are going to treatment centers and they're learning how to control their drug usage or getting off drugs entirely," report author Glenn Greenwald, a former New York State constitutional litigator, said during a press briefing at Cato last week.

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