While you were out...
Science reported that cellphone users can be tracked with 93% accuracy. (Nobel Intent)
We'd like to think of ourselves as dynamic, unpredictable individuals, but according to new research, that's not the case at all. In a study published in last week's Science, researchers looked at customer location data culled from cellular service providers. By looking at how customers moved around, the authors of the study found that it may be possible to predict human movement patterns and location up to 93 percent of the time. These findings may be useful in multiple fields, including city planning, mobile communication resource management, and anticipating the spread of viruses.
In light of Tiger Woods, Aiko Toyoda, et al, Time's Belinda Luscombe asked, Why do men keep apologizing?
Used to be that seeing a man apologize was a little like catching a glimpse of a Bengal tiger in its natural habitat: rare, thrilling, attainable only for truly patient souls. Now it's more like seeing a mountain lion on a busy highway. People wince, wonder how he managed to get himself in this situation and hope it will be over soon.
A British study found that self-described liberals might, sort of, be smarter than conservatives. (Time)
Are liberals actually smarter? A libertarian (and, as such, nonpartisan) researcher, Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics and Political Science, has just written a paper that is set to be published in March by the journal Social Psychology Quarterly. The paper investigates not only whether conservatives are dumber than liberals but also why that might be so. The short answer: Kanazawa's paper shows that more-intelligent people are more likely to say they are liberal. They are also less likely to say they go to religious services. These aren't entirely new findings; last year, for example, a British team found that kids with higher intelligence scores were more likely to grow into adults who vote for Liberal Democrats, even after the researchers controlled for socioeconomics. What's new in Kanazawa's paper is a provocative theory about why intelligence might correlate with liberalism. He argues that smarter people are more willing to espouse 'evolutionarily novel' values — that is, values that did not exist in our ancestral environment, including weird ideas about, say, helping genetically unrelated strangers (liberalism, as Kanazawa defines it), which never would have occurred to us back when we had to hunt to feed our own clan and our only real technology was fire.
Defense hardliner Max Boot argued that Dems should run on their national-security record, which is admirable, no what Cheney thinks of it. (Atlantic)
The White House knows that the Republican narrative isn't accurate. President Obama's policies are certainly informed by civil rights, but they are also the most effective. Gen. David Petraeusis among the many military officials to agree that torture doesn't provide good intelligence and is a net loss for the U.S. civilian trials are far more effectiveat securing convictions than military tribunals. Yet the White House political team sees such policies as radioactive, at times actively opposingthem. Instead of dooming its party to electoral losses, the White House must get out in front of the coming national security debate. The message to sell is that President Obama's policies make Americans safer. In addition to being more politically viable than high-minded rhetoric about civil rights, this also happens to be, by every indication, true. If Democrats can sell their national security as making Americans safer, they'll not only have won an immediate victory, they'll have turned one of the party's greatest weaknesses into what could be among its greatest strengths.
Joshua Green drew our attention to the management secrets of the Grateful Dead. (Atlantic)
The Grateful Dead Archive, scheduled to open soon at the University of California at Santa Cruz, will be a mecca for academics of all stripes: from ethnomusicologists to philosophers, sociologists to historians. But the biggest beneficiaries may prove to be business scholars and management theorists, who are discovering that the Dead were visionary geniuses in the way they created “customer value,” promoted social networking, and did strategic business planning.
LiveScience explained why "sleeping on it" really does help in problem-solving.
The researchers suggest that unconscious thought, contrary to the way many of us think about it, is an active, goal-directed thought process. The primary difference is that in unconscious thought, the usual biases that are a part of our conscious thinking are absent. In unconscious thought, we weigh the importance of the components that make up our decision more equally, leaving our preconceptions at the door of consciousness.
The WSJ reported that Detroit is embracing its shrinking status rather than resisting the inevitable, a model for other declining Rust Belt towns in need of reinventing themselves.
'We've got to pick those core communities, those core neighborhoods' to sustain and preserve, [Detroit Mayor Dave Bing] said at a recent public appearance, adding: "That's something that's possible here in Detroit." Unlike his predecessors, Mr. Bing, a Democrat first elected last year to finish the term of disgraced former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, hasn't touted big development plans or talked of a 'renaissance'. Instead, he is trying to prepare residents for a new reality: that Detroit—like the auto industry that propelled it for a century—will have to get smaller before it gets bigger again...'This is going to be hard to wrestle to the ground,' said Rip Rapson, president of the Kresge Foundation of Troy, Mich., a national philanthropy that has invested heavily in development projects aimed at salvaging the nicest remnants of the city. "[Bing] deserves enormous credit for leading the community into this." Soon after being elected to a full term in November, Mr. Bing began cutting back on city services such as buses and laying off hundreds of municipal workers. The mayor is now making plans to shutter or consolidate city departments and tear down 10,000 vacant buildings. And Mr. Bing is supporting efforts to shrink the capacity of the city's school system by half.
Boston celebrity chef Gus Rancatore cheerily confessed to stealing ice-cream recipes. (Atlantic)
Friends often ask me, "Where do you get ideas for new ice cream flavors?" and the answer is usually that we steal them...I was looking for anything that would stand up well to being frozen in cream. Most cereals turn to mush but Grape-Nuts are indestructible, and after I started making the flavor I learned that I had rediscovered the Grape-Nuts pudding that is so popular in northern New England and Eastern Canada, and the Grape-Nuts ice cream Jamaicans miss so much after moving to Boston...All of our South Asian flavors came about because of suggestions from customers. Years ago a professor from Harvard set us off on this path by suggesting Saffron and Khulfee ice creams...Italian flavors like Nocciola and Gianduia were the inevitable result of traveling to Italy. We're still trying to make a Rice flavor as good as I once had at Vivoli's in Florence. Cathedrals and gelati represent the high points of Italian culture. [Emphasis added.] A friend came back from Japan with green tea Kit Kat bars so we began freezing and chopping up Kit Kat bars and we began paying attention to Kit Kat variations in Japan. This led to Malted Kit Kat ice cream and White Chocolate with Lemon. The green tea Kit Kat was explained as a snack given to students during exams because of a pun that translated as "study study."
In its dessert favorites, Atlantic food writer Jennifer Ward Barber discovered "the soul of Canada."
Just what is Canadian cuisine, anyway? A hodgepodge of specialties, it turns out. Like the Nanaimo Bar...I'd eaten Nanaimo Bars—a three-layered sweet consisting of a cookie base, custard middle, and chocolate ganache topping—my whole life...but I didn't discover the dessert's origins until I moved to West Africa, where I lived and worked on a hospital ship docked in Benin. For our monthly community night that December, all 300 crew members got into groups and performed short skits about how we celebrated the holidays in our various countries. The South Africans surfed. The Brits recited a hilarious, irreverent poem. Us Canadians donned toques and sang "Let It Snow"—and one of the women served her homemade Nanaimo Bars....I passed through the town of Nanaimo five years after returning from Benin...The square I bought revealed all the decadence I had remembered: the firm chocolate topping broke when I bit into it, giving way to that familiar, almost cloying yellow custard and chewy, coconut-graham base studded with nuts.