Desire & Pleasure, Sexed-Up Statistics , Mexico, Music, Geology, Social Selling

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The Science Of Craving

Amy Fleming | Intelligent Life | 7th May 2015

We desire things, but we don't always enjoy them when we get them. How so? Neuroscientist Kent Berridge may have the explanation. Desire and pleasure are separate chemical systems in the brain. Dopamine correlates with desire, opioids and endocannabinoids with pleasure. The dopamine system is "vast and powerful"; the pleasure system is "anatomically tiny, has a far more fragile structure and is harder to trigger" (5,200 words)

Sexed-Up Statistics

Tim Harford | Financial Times | 8th May 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

Men think about sex every seven seconds; 84% of women are emotionally unsatisfied; single Americans have more sex than married Americans; 69% per cent of people over the age of 35 have had extramarital affairs. Or so various statistical authorities claim. But keep a grain of salt handy. People who answer questions about their sex lives are probably not a representative nor a reliable sample of the population (916 words)

Ghosts Of Iguala

Ryan Devereaux | The Intercept | 4th May 2015

Forty-three students are abducted in a night of violence in the Mexican town of Iguala. The missing are never seen again, presumed murdered by police or gangsters, perhaps with army help. The federal government pins the blame on the local mayor and his wife. The families of the disappeared say the rot goes much further: The whole apparatus of State is corrupted and criminalised. Police, politicians and gangsters are one and the same (12,700 words)

Armand Leroi et al | Royal Society Open Science | 6th May 2015

A history of American popular music through the prism of statistical analysis. In brief: An evolutionary pattern of constant change, punctuated by "three stylistic revolutions around 1964, 1983 and 1991". The Beatles did not reinvent pop, but they were "slightly ahead of the curve". The biggest shift was the mainstreaming of rap and hip-hop in the years around 1991. Some math in here, but you can read around it (4,560 words)

Nature In The Age Of Humans

Ben Minteer & Stephen Pyne | The Conversation | 1st May 2015

What does it mean to be an environmentalist if human influence on the planet is the defining characteristic of our age? Some scientists call for the modern era to be recognised as the "Anthropocene" age. The proposal implies a fundamental shift in perspective. It says that humankind has "outgrown" Nature. The geological record, once a fixture against which people acted, becomes "just another expression of the human presence" (1,150 words)

The Business Of Social Media

William Davies | Guardian | 7th May 2015

Social media gives big business new tools and new disguises with which to infiltrate our personal lives using the language of 'friendship' and 'sharing'. Commerce is repackaged as altruism. "Each one of us is now viewed as an instrument through which to alter the attitudes and behaviours of our friends and contacts. Behaviours and ideas can be released like contagions in the hope of infecting much larger networks" (4,300 words)

Video of the day: Chit Chat Roulette

What to expect: Like Chat Roulette, but with soft toys (2'34")

Thought for the day

The average man, who does not know what to do with his life, wants another one which will last forever
Anatole France

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