SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–New York University researchers at the Anti-Phishing Working Group’s (APWG) cybercrime research conference, in San Diego California, demonstrated their method for exposing bank accounts used to clear payments for purchase of …
Cancers threatening to decimate the Tasmanian devil population could be halted by using drugs developed for human cancers, researchers have found. Two transmissible cancers affect the endangered carnivorous marsupial found in the wild only in Tasmania.
Researchers at the University of Texas-Arlington are working on new ways to use artificial intelligence to help make companies more efficient. UTA’s Learning Innovation and Networked Knowledge, or LINK, Research lab received a grant from Boeing to study …
Simon Cowell has them, so does Madonna. Audrey Hepburn’s and Marilyn Monroe’s have been emulated by millions of women. But what do having thick and distinctive eyebrows reveal about our personality? Psychologists have been combing through the evidence – and conclude that eye-catching eyebrows mean… you’re probably a narcissist. Researchers discovered that those with ‘thicker and denser’ brows are more likely to be self-centred than others. A group of men and women who took part in a study were asked how much they agreed with statements such as ‘If I ruled the world it would be a better place’. Photos were then taken of them posing with neutral expressions. When the images were shown to another group, it was found that they could correctly identify the self-centred individuals from their more humble counterparts.
“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” So said Dale Carnegie in his 1936 self-improvement classic, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” That is probably true for a majority of the population — 79 percent like their names, according to a 2013 survey of 1,844 respondents.
Unfortunately, I am in the other 21 percent. I cringe a little whenever I hear someone say my name, and have ever since I was a child. One of my earliest memories is of a lady in a department store asking me my name and bursting out laughing when I said, “Arthur.”
Before you judge that lady, let’s acknowledge that it is actually pretty amusing to meet a little kid with an old man’s name. According to the Social Security Administration, “Arthur” maxed out in popularity back in the ’90s. That is, the 1890s. It has fallen like a rock in popularity since then. I was named after my grandfather, and even he complained that his name made him sound old. Currently, “Arthur” doesn’t even crack the top 200 boys’ names. Since 2013, it has been beaten in popularity by “Maximus” (No. 200 last year) and “Maverick” (No. 85).
One thing I constantly hear from people I meet for the first time is, “I imagined you as being much older.” I don’t take this as flattery, because at 54, I’m really not that young. What they are saying is that they imagined someone about 100 years old. Why? Because people actually tend to look like their names.
In a study last year in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers placed images of unfamiliar faces in front of participants and asked them to guess the person’s name from a list of four plausible-seeming names. The participants should have guessed correctly 25 percent of the time. Instead, they got it right 38 percent of the time. The researchers found similar results across eight studies.
In case you are wondering, this fact and others make up part of an entire field called “onomastics.” Onomasticians, who are trained in various scholarly subdisciplines, study proper names, and many of their results are fascinating. One of my favorite onomastic studies comes from the economist David Figlio, who found that boys with more feminine-sounding names tend to misbehave disproportionately upon entry to middle school compared with boys with more traditionally masculine names. So if your son is in trouble after beating up another kid, it’s probably your own fault for naming him “Robin.” (His victim is probably named “Arthur,” by the way.)
Another finding of note, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2002, is that people gravitate toward places of residence and occupations that resemble their own names. So, the researchers assert, a higher proportion of men named Louis live in St. Louis than would occur at random, and a lot of people named Dennis or Denise become dentists. It had never occurred to me that there were dark forces at work making me into Arthur the author. It all makes sense now.
One way to attenuate the impact of a name you don’t like is to marry someone with a name that somehow offsets yours — in my case, someone with a name that is a little more up-to-date. But I did the opposite: I married Ester. This was a pretty common name in her native Barcelona in the 1960s, but here in America it mostly predates World War I. To make matters worse, after we married, our first home was Boca Raton, Fla. We were aggressively pursued by telemarketers for burial plots and Medigap insurance.
I once heard that to have an aversion to a name is a condition called “nomomisia.” I suppose you would say I suffer from autonomomisia. Yes, I am an autonomomisist.
Still, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Like everything else in life, it could be a lot worse. Years ago, my mother and I were talking about all this. I asked her about her second choice for my name. How about David? “David Brooks” has a nice ring to it. After all, “David” was the second most popular boys’ name the decade I was born and was also my beloved father’s name. She thought about it for a minute and said, “Well, we thought about naming you Chester.”
You know, on second thought, Arthur’s not so bad.
When Marriott International Inc. was considering relocating its global headquarters from Baltimore to Northern Virginia in 1999, Maryland handed over $44 million in grants to keep the hotel chain in the state.
In 2016, after Marriott again made noises about moving out of Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan, state lawmakers, and local officials coughed up another $62 million in taxpayer subsidies to support the construction of new headquarters in the affluent D.C. suburb of Bethesda.
But even that wasn’t good enough. After padding the bottom line of the world’s largest hotel chain, Maryland lawmakers are now trying to protect it from competition from home-sharing options like Airbnb and HomeAway.
A bill given serious consideration in Annapolis this spring would require platforms like Airbnb to collect detailed information about hosts and guests, retain it for up to four years, and turn it over to the state government if requested. Failure to comply with any of the rules would result in $500 fines for individual hosts, with each further violation adding another $500 to the tab. Critics say the privacy concerns and escalating fines are clearly meant to deter would-be hosts from renting out their spaces.
The bill’s sponsor, Del. William Frick (D–Montgomery County), hails from the district that not-so-coincidentally contains Marriott’s new, state-subsidized corporate headquarters.
The legislation empowers local governments to pass restrictive rules, such as the one already on the books in Frick’s home county prohibiting more than six people from occupying a rented home overnight for virtually any reason, says Romina Boccia, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation who testified against the bill this year. Better, she says, to follow the model pioneered by Arizona and some other states, which allow local restrictions on short-term rentals only for health and safety reasons.
Home sharing competes with hotels, of course, but it’s not a zero-sum game. Hosts on platforms like Airbnb are responsive to market conditions. According to economists at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, they “expand supply as hotels fill up, and keep hotel prices down as a result.” That allows more people to travel, generating $276 million in surplus bookings in America’s 10 largest cities during 2014 alone, the researchers found.
This is particularly true during times of extremely high demand—in a city hosting a Super Bowl, for example, or on New Year’s Eve. Hotels used to be able to charge significantly higher prices on those occasions, but the advent of home sharing has increased the elasticity in a region’s supply of sleeping accommodations, allowing additional tourists to visit.
Restrictive rules designed to block home sharing would be “a loss in terms of income for the hosts, but also restaurants, the Uber drivers that take them to places they want to visit, any shopping they do,” says Boccia. “The local communities suffer so that Marriott can charge a little bit of a higher price by killing their competition.”
And no doubt they’ll keep taking tax dollars from Maryland residents while they do it.
Meetings really can make people more stupid, research confirms. People trying to solve problems in a group lost around 15% of their IQ. The drop seems to come from the subtle social signals that people send and receive in groups. Women are particularly vulnerable to an IQ drop from being in a group, the researchers found. The study had people working in a group after they had received feedback about an earlier IQ test.
Surprise! The Iranians may have been cooking up long-range ballistic missiles all during the time that both Tehran and the Obama administration downplayed those possibilities. As far back as 2011 or earlier, Iran has operated a secret missile-development site near Shahrud, the New York Times reported. For those keeping score, that would be four years before the US agreed to a deal that did nothing to restrain such activities:
When an explosion nearly razed Iran’s long-range missile research facility in 2011 — and killed the military scientist who ran it — many Western intelligence analysts viewed it as devastating to Tehran’s technological ambitions.
Since then, there has been little indication of Iranian work on a missile that could reach significantly beyond the Middle East, and Iranian leaders have said they do not intend to build one.
That might explain why the Obama administration didn’t link missile development to the “bar” on Iran’s nuclear-weapons programs. That’s pretty weak sauce, though, considering how many test launches Iran made both before and after the JCPOA. They clearly were working toward some missile development, and they already had medium-range missile systems operational. Remember, Iranian leaders also insisted for two decades that they had no intention of building a nuclear weapon either, demonstrating the credibility of the regime when it comes to its stated military goals.
If that truly was the basis of ignoring missile development in the JCPOA, it’s not a very comforting thought. The truth behind the secret facility turned out to be fairly easy to uncover … once anyone put some effort into it:
So, this spring, when a team of California-based weapons researchers reviewed new Iranian state TV programs glorifying the military scientist, they expected a history lesson with, at most, new details on a long-dormant program.
Instead, they stumbled on a series of clues that led them to a startling conclusion: Shortly before his death, the scientist, Gen. Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, oversaw the development of a secret, second facility in the remote Iranian desert that, they say, is operating to this day.
This raises serious questions, such as: Did the Obama administration know about this facility when it agreed to the JCPOA? If not, how did it get missed? Does this facility have other purposes, such as, oh … nuclear-weapons development? The outsiders who managed to connect dots to the Shahrud facility can’t answer all the questions from satellite photos alone:
It is possible that the facility is developing only medium-range missiles, which Iran already possesses, or perhaps an unusually sophisticated space program.
But an analysis of structures and ground markings at the facility strongly suggests, though does not prove, that it is developing the technology for long-range missiles, the researchers say.
For its part, Tehran refuses to discuss any kind of limitation on missile development — at least for now:
Defense Minister Amir Hatami said on Wednesday that Iran would never compromise on its missile power, reiterating Tehran’s long held position that Iran’s missile power is of defensive nature, Fars reported.
Responding to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s remarks on Iran’s missile power, Hatami said, “If the Islamic Republic wanted to pay attention to such delusional remarks over the past 40 years, it wouldn’t have gained such power, glory and dignity.”
ICBMs are not defensive weapons. They are by nature offensive weapons, used as a deterrent in some contexts, but the deterrent value lies in their offensive nature. They are designed to strike long distances away from borders and frontiers as a means of extending offensive capabilities. Paired with a nuclear-weapons program, they become an even greater offensive threat, one that would destabilize the entire region.
Defenders of the JCPOA will argue that the deal eliminated the threat of that pairing, but that’s nonsense. Even if Iran abided by the terms of the JCPOA, it would only have had to wait ten years to produce a nuclear weapon. Having an ICBM platform available for a nuclear warhead to fit it would fit perfectly into a strategy of dominating the region by nuclear blackmail, and would force others in the region to develop or acquire their own systems to counter it.
This is just another reminder that we cut a deal with a terrorist state that didn’t do anything to restrict its terrorist or its ability to develop platforms for later use against us. If anything, the JCPOA provided financial support for these efforts and others in the region, fueling conflict and pushing Iranian hegemony all the way to the Mediterranean, all without getting anything in return other than a piece of paper. We didn’t even get American detainees out of Iran. It’s a complete debacle, only becoming even more apparent with the passage of time.
A University of Otago-led Citizens’ Jury on euthanasia could not reach agreement about whether it should be legalised, highlighting complexities around the debate. A group of researchers at the University recently conducted the Citizens’ Jury whereby 15 people randomly selected from the South Dunedin and Te Tai Tonga electoral rolls met together over three days to decide whether they thought the law should be changed to allow some form of euthanasia or assisted dying.
African-American children are taking their lives at roughly twice the rate of their white counterparts, according to a new study that shows a widening gap between the two groups.
The 2001-2015 data, published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, confirm a pattern first identified several years ago when researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio found that the rate of suicides for black children ages 5 to 12 exceeded that of young whites. The results were seen in both boys and girls.
Although suicide is rare among young children, the latest findings reinforce the need for better research into the racial disparities, lead author Jeffrey Bridge said Monday. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for older children and adolescents in the U.S.
Historically, suicide rates in the U.S. have been higher for whites than blacks across all age groups. That remains the case for adolescents, ages 13 to 17, according to the new study. White teens continue to have a 50 percent higher rate of suicide than black teens.
Overall between 1999 and 2015, more than 1,300 children ages 5 to 12 took their own lives in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those numbers translate into an average of one child 12 or younger dying by suicide every five days. The pace has actually accelerated in recent years, CDC statistics indicate.
Although the study was unable to provide a cultural context for the racial difference in suicide rates, psychiatrist Samoon Ahmad thinks a number of reasons could account for the disparity.
“To me, the 5-12 range is more related to developmental issues and the possible lack of a family network, social network and cultural activities,” said Ahamad, a clinical associate professor at the NYU School of Medicine who was not involved in the research. “And with the introduction of social media, there is more isolation with children, not as much neighborhood play. Kids are more socially in their own vacuum.”
Ahmad described this age group as “probably the most vulnerable.” Yet adults tend to think the children are somehow too young to experience such depths of despair, he noted.
In 2017, research by Bridge and colleagues found that among children, ages 5 to 11, and young adolescents, ages 12 to 14, those who took their own lives were more likely to be male, African American and dealing with stressful relationships at home or with friends. Children who had a mental health problem at the time of death were more likely than young adolescents to have been diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
That 2017 report found more than a third of elementary school-aged suicides involved black children compared to just 11.6 percent of early adolescent suicides.
[Editor’s Note: The JAMA study is available for purchase here.]
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