It pays to complain
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a dictatorship or a democracy: Better-educated citizens tend to have a better government, according to a new paper from the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research,” blogs Suzy Khimm of The Washington Post. “Corruption, the study finds, tends to fall in places with higher levels of education, regardless of whether the country has a free media or actively combats corruption. And researchers have pinpointed one reason why: Educated people are more likely to complain about official misconduct and report crimes, even in autocratic regimes: ‘As education levels in a country rise, so do complaints when officials misbehave, raising the expected costs of misconduct and thus encouraging officials to follow the rules – to ask for fewer bribes, to avoid abusing people, to show up to work.’”
Computerized tennis racquet?
“Babolat wants to give you a reason to buy a new tennis racquet,” says The Wall Street Journal. “Its pitch? This racquet has a computer chip that can help you take a long, honest look at your forehand, backhand or serve and fix it – based on empirical evidence. Where you make contact with the ball. How hard you hit it. What kind of spin you apply. How consistent you are. If it works, it could be the first true advance in tennis racquets in a dozen years or more.” The Play & Connect racquet links to a computer, smartphone or tablet via a wireless link.
It’s summer-cold season
“The colds we catch in winter are usually triggered by the most common viral infections in humans, a group of germs called rhinoviruses,” says the NIH News in Health website. “Rhinoviruses and a few other cold-causing viruses seem to survive best in cooler weather. Their numbers surge in September and begin to dwindle in May. During the summer months, the viral landscape begins to shift. ‘Generally speaking, summer and winter colds are caused by different viruses,’ says Dr. Michael Pichichero, a pediatrician and infectious disease researcher at the Rochester General Hospital Research Institute in New York. ‘When you talk about summer colds, you’re probably talking about a non-polio enterovirus infection.’ … Enteroviruses can cause a fever that comes on suddenly. Body temperatures may range from 101 to 104 F [38.3 to 40 C]. Enteroviruses can also cause mild respiratory symptoms, sore throat, headache, muscle aches and gastrointestinal issues like nausea or vomiting. …The summer colds caused by enteroviruses generally clear up without treatment within a few days or even a week.”
Self-talk for each sport
“Think positively and repeat phrases like ‘I can do it,’ and you’re likely to do better,” reports Christie Nicholson for Scientific American. “But a new study breaks down various types of motivational thinking, referred to as self-talk, for various types of sports. And it finds that different kinds of motivation have different effects. Researchers analyzed the use of self-talk in 32 sports-related psychology studies. And they found that, for fine motor skills like improving your swimming stroke, instructional self-talk works best, as in repeating specific phrases like ‘elbow-up’ in our head. This kind of specific reminder is a lot more effective in these cases than are general motivational statements like ‘Give it your all.’ But for strength and endurance sports the simple, motivational ‘go get ‘em’ phrases work best. ”
Leaving the queue happy
“Studies [of queueing] show that we’re much more patient when we’re given an idea of how long we’ll be waiting, instead of wondering whether it will be three minutes or three hours,” writes Seth Stevenson for Slate.com. “… Disney is the master. It posts estimated wait times next to various spots in its long queues [at Disney World] – but according to [MIT professor Dick Larson, an expert in queueing theory], it pads the times so you always get to the head of the line more quickly than you’d expected: ‘You think, ‘We’re 10 minutes ahead of schedule!’ and so you’re happy.’”
Thought du jour
“We pay a person the compliment of acknowledging his superiority whenever we lie to him.”
– Samuel Butler (1835-1902), British novelist