Bingo raid in Portugal
In Portugal, 28 British and Irish expatriates and vacationers have been fined after police caught them playing bingo for biscuits and drinks, reports BBC News. Landlady Marianne Pittaway was fined 700 euros ($950) for hosting the game at The Yorkshire Tavern in Albufeira. She also received a four-month suspended prison sentence. Even some of the people in the bar who were not playing bingo were fined 150 euros ($200) and given a three-month suspended sentence for “witnessing illegal gambling.”
Terrorism and smoking
The stress of attacks on 9/11 caused an estimated one million former U.S. smokers to pick the habit up again, according to a Weill Cornell Medical College public health study. The research is the first to look at the net costs to society of “terrorism-induced smoking” in the United States after 9/11 and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Although there is a consensus that stress is a “very large motivator for individuals to use substances,” the stress effects of large-scale events on substance use has not been widely studied. While the Oklahoma City bombing didn’t affect cigarette-smoking rates in the country, 9/11 caused a significant 2.3 per cent increase nationwide.
Bigger desk, more crooked?
“Businessmen who sit behind enormous desks in cavernous offices are more likely to become greedy because their surroundings make them feel more powerful, a [U.S.] study suggests,” reports The Daily Telegraph. “Having a sense of power can encourage a range of dishonest behaviour ranging from stealing and cheating to breaking traffic laws, researchers said. Psychologists carried out four studies to assess how our physical surroundings, for example having a big desk at work or even large car seats, can affect how people feel and behave. They found that although people tend not to notice minor changes in body posture, subtle alterations as a result of their surroundings can dramatically influence how they act.” Expansive postures can lead people to behave dishonestly and take more greedy decisions, the studies showed.
Best faces for a fling?
Apparently, facial features are important when a man or a woman considers a fling, according to research published in the British Journal of Psychology. The study investigated whether considering partners for long-term short-term relationships would affect men’s preferences for different women’s faces. The results showed that men in relationships were more likely to find women with feminine faces most attractive when they were looking for a short-term relationship. Dr. Anthony Little of the University of Stirling said: “It’s interesting that these findings are comparable to previous research that indicates women’s preference for masculine male faces are higher if they were judging for short-term relationships.” The study also found that men who think themselves attractive have stronger preferences for femininity than those who think themselves less attractive.
The pulse in your face
“A video of your face can now accurately reveal your pulse,” says the New Scientist. “A new system, developed by Guha Balakrishnan and colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, measures heart rate by analyzing tiny head movements caused by blood flow to the head, which are invisible to the naked eye. Using face recognition, it identifies a face and then typically selects hundreds of random points close to the person’s mouth and nose. Movement is then tracked frame by frame, before filtering out frequencies that fall outside the range of a heartbeat to eliminate movements caused by breathing and changes in posture. Tests reveal that pulse measurements were consistent with those produced by electrocardiograms, varying by just a few beats per minute.”
Thought du jour
“When the grasshopper gathers its strength to hop, it does not know where it will land. So it often is with poets.” I can’t find this quote on Google.
– Gerald Brenan, British writer (1894-1987)