Touch Me, Feel Me

It won’t be a surpise to the average scifi reader that someone has developed a networked “hug suit.” Tim Worstall is, though, amazed by what is unsaid :

They manage to get all the way through the report without mentioning what it’ll actually be used for. How long before the first spam email asking whether you have such a suit? And would you like to be squeezed by that 18 year old Ukrainian girl you can watch on the webcam?

Perhaps Oprah will take an in depth look at how this might impact pron addiction on tomorrow’s show. (I’ll update the link on Thursday after the show runs)
And, yes, it does seem like a good investment opportunity…the mind simply boggles at the possible variations and add-ons. Of course, there is no reason that this has to be a one way thing either.

Now, here is something I need….

…all too often!
Professor Solomen’s new book: How to Find Lost Objects.
Principle one:

Something’s lost, and your first thought—your basic instinct—is to look for it. You’re ready to start rummaging about. To hunt for it in a random, and increasingly frenetic, fashion. To ransack your own house.
This is the most common mistake people make.
And it can doom their search from the start.

See, you and I both learned something right away. Tonight, I will read through the rest of his Twelve Principles.
Via boingboing.

Lie Yourself Thin?

This may work but it sure doesn’t seem right:

In their battle against the bulge, desperate dieters have tried drugs, surgery, exercise, counseling, creams and even electrical fat-burning belts. Now some psychologists have a new idea: Lying.

Hell, this is no new idea. Cheaters, thieves and politicians lie all the time. It still does not make it acceptable.
Via Morford.

Murder in the Nest

Things are a bit cuckoo in this part of birdland:

Cuckoos live what seem to be lives full of deception and murder. As adults, they lay their eggs in the nests of other birds. (Why raise your own chick, when you can dupe others into doing the work for you?)
Cuckoos typically hatch only one offspring at a time. And when they do, the interlopers promptly push the other eggs out of the nest, killing the host birds’ true offspring.
For the newborn cuckoo, masquerading as multiple chicks can be difficult, especially when the lone, giant nestling replaces the usual clamoring brood.

Do any human analogues to this behavior come to mind?

Catching up on Genetic Dispositions

Well, by mistake I decided to read Kristoff’s column from yesterday:

Instead, modern science is turning up a possible reason why the religious right is flourishing and secular liberals aren’t: instinct. It turns out that our DNA may predispose humans toward religious faith.
Via previous education I knew just where to look for the antidote to this stuff and Myers was P.Z. on the spot:
It�s nothing but modern molecular preformationism. Palmistry for the genome. We�ve been fighting against this simplistic notion of the whole of the organism prefigured in a plan or in toto in the embryo since Socrates, and it keeps coming back. We�ve moved from imagining a little homunculus lurking in the sperm to one hiding in the genome. It�s just not there. You can�t point to a spot on a chromosome and say, �there�s the little guy�s finger!�, nor can you point to a spot and say, �there�s his fondness for football!�.
Kristof, for instance, points to a particular gene as the source of piety. Piffle. Here�s his shining locus of sacredness, VMAT2:
It won’t hurt you to read the rest of the post yourself…
Over at Crooked Timber John Quiggen provides additional curative resources by working through some statistical, logical, and definitional failings in Kristoff’s piece and more generally with pop evolutionary psychology.
As usual the comment threads to both posts provided plenty of stimuli for both my chuckle gene and my thinking gene.

Some Good Advice!

From Leonard Pitts:

I won’t lie: It’s not easy. People–black and white–will always have expectations, and when you refuse to live by those expectations, they’ll call you names, they’ll shut you out. It’s not easy, but I guarantee that if you stay with it, you’ll find that it is worthwhile. I guess what I’m telling you is this: Please have the guts to be who you are. And to dream brobdingnagian dreams.

Read the rest. (Free registration required or try Bug Me Not)

Let the Kid Out Regularly

PZ Meyers posts his 3rd grade class picture:

And for you younger readers, I have to tell you�that buck-toothed kid with the crewcut in the middle row is still here. All of us greying geezers still have a little boy or girl somewhere inside us, and there are still days when we�re a little dismayed that we�re not going to have recess after lunch, or that we don�t get to go home to mom and dad anymore. Youth is never really gone, it just gets buried under layers of new stuff as time goes by.
You will feel more comfortable if you remove some of those layers from time to time….even if a tear or two flows.

Finding the Cure

Health care emulates life

I called Dr. Hammami with the news of the final diagnosis and asked why it had been missed by all the doctors the patient saw before arriving at his hospital. He thought for a moment before he answered. ”It’s difficult for a doctor to say, ‘I don’t know,”’ he said. ”The patient doesn’t want to hear it, and the doctor doesn’t want to say it. But in medicine you can’t know everything; you just have to know how to get the answer. I was certain the eosinophils would get us there.”
The rest of life is similar. We don’t know everything and finding solutions to personal, work or social challenges requires a willingness to put in some work and a willingness to look beyond, to step outside of the current framing of a situation.
Via DB’s Medical Rants.