In the Name of Science

Someone forwarded me this article the other day, which talks about how people tend to get romantically involved with people who are about as attractive as they themselves are.

“Beautiful people marry beautiful people and less beautiful people marry less beautiful people,” the article quotes an MIT professor of the painfully obvious. “And the really ugly people marry farm animals.” (Disclaimer: The second part of that quote was made up.)

The article says that “more attractive people placed more importance on physical attractiveness above other features in selecting their dates. Less attractive people placed more weight on other qualities, such as sense of humor.” I think this is a great self-esteem boost. All those people who’ve turned you down for dates because they thought you were obnoxious or arrogant or boring or painfully unfunny? They were ugly. See, attractive people wouldn’t care about such superficial factors as personality.

And now, let’s talk abour porn. The authors of a paper called “Rapid discrimination of visual scene content in the human brain,” summarized in this article, showed a bunch of photographs to people to study the brain’s response to erotic vs. non-erotic images. They conclude that “[t]he subjects’ brains reacted 20% faster to erotic images than to all other pictures.”

Now, I might be being immodest, but I like to think that, if I had been included in the study, my performance would’ve increased the mean from 20 percent to at least 30. Look, when the boss walks into your office, you quickly glance over all the open documents on your computer screen. If you’re fast, you quickly close all the porn. If you’re slow, you get fired and starve to death. It’s clear where the evolutionary trend is heading and I think I’m well ahead of the times.

Another conclusion of the experiment was that women’s brains are just as fast at spotting erotic images as the men’s. Along similar lines, we have this study which shows that men and women get aroused equally fast when watching pornographic videos, calling into question the belief that men are more easily excited by pornography than women. The study claims that about the only difference between the genders is that “men experienced a greater decrease in desire to masturbate [than women] … following [a] humorous film”. (I’m not really sure what to make of that statistic. Personally, I don’t know of a better way to spend a quiet evening at home than with an episode of Mr. Bean and a bottle of hand lotion.)

Of course, men and women do respond to pornography in fundamentally different ways. As summarized here, this study concluded that, while straight men are turned on only by straight porn and gay men are turned on only by gay porn, “both heterosexual and lesbian women tend to become sexually aroused by both male and female erotica, and, thus, have a bisexual arousal pattern.” That sound you just heard was a drunken cheer from the frat-boy crowd.

So, what conclusion can be drawn from all these studies? Well, for one, that there are apparently lots and lots of psych researchers who do nothing but show porn to people all day long. Am I the only one who suspects the only reason that these studies come about is that experimenters are asked to justify why they’ve spent their grant money on a “Hot College Sex Sluts IV” video? “Oh, you noticed that, did you. Uh, it’s for, um, this experiment that I’m running. Really.”


Election Update

friend: so far barack is destroying hillary today
me: it’s still gonna come down to the superdelegates
me: i want to be a superdelegate
me: just for the title
me: it sounds cool
friend: some of them are elected you know
friend: so maybe you could be
me: oh
me: i thought the only way to become a superdelegate was to get bitten by a radioactive delegate
me: i’ve been doing it wrong

Un Memento

Imagine this scenario. You are at a party and you’ve just met an interesting person. Not just interesting, but a witty and smart person, let’s pretend. And handsome. Let’s say, a witty, friendly, interesting, intelligent, handsome person. And let’s say that this witty, friendly, interesting, intelligent, handsome, amazing, stupendous person is me (was there ever any doubt, really?). So, the conversation flows well and you’re thinking that maybe this witty, interesting, intelligent, handsome, amazing, stupendous, sexy, capable, funny, all-around-great-guy (who is me) might be interesting to hang out with sometime. He thinks the same thing and you decide to exchange contact information.

Here is what you could say:

“My phone number is 688-917-4404.”

Or you could say:

“My email is BigKahuna84 at”

Or you can say:

“My screenname is lotsoffun at sexycamwhores-dot-com.”

All of the above are the wrong choices. They are wrong, because you did not say, “Oh, and I’m sure that you have completely forgotten my name approximately 0.008 seconds after we were introduced, so here it is again. It’s Bob. In fact, let me write it down for you, because another 0.008 seconds have now passed.” That is a much better answer. It’s even better if your name is actually Bob, but if not, at least you have no excuse to be offended when I address you by that name.

I can’t be the only person who this happens to, but I tend to forget people’s names as soon as I’m introduced to them. In fact, if we’ve just met and we’re carrying on a conversation and I look like I’m paying attention and listening intently — I’m not. I’m desperately trying to remember what the hell you just said your name was. Most of the time, I give up and am too polite to bring it up again.

If I’m elected President, I’d mandate a “nametags for everyone” domestic policy. Or an “everyone is now named Bob” policy.

Ancient Wisdom

I can decipher the intended meaning of most fortune cookies, even despite the often-broken English, but I recently got the following one, and I’m really clueless as to what it might mean.

I’ve considered the following guesses about the subject of the cookie’s advice:

  • The looming recession necessitating a change in one’s financial holdings
  • Advice on driving safely
  • An admonishment to save open documents often in case of a computer crash
  • Coming to terms with dying / the end of the world
  • Looking within one’s soul to find the light within
  • The punk who writes these stupid messages just trying to drive me insane

I’m strongly in favor of the last one.