Weekly choice: of hormonal contraceptive, comedians and inventions

Current hormonal contraceptive use predicts female extra-pair and dyadic sexual behavior: Evidence based on Czech national survey data

“The overall incidence of having had an extra-pair partner or one-night stand in the previous year was not related to current OC use (the majority of the sample had not). However, among the women who had engaged in extra-pair sexual behavior, OC users had fewer one-night stands than non-users, and tended to have fewer partners, than non-users. OC users also had more frequent dyadic intercourse than non-users, potentially indicating higher commitment to their current relationship. These results suggest that suppression of fertility through OC use may alter important aspects of female sexual behavior, with potential implications for relationship functioning and stability.”



Comedians Have Psychotic Personality Traits

Comedians find it unusually difficult to feel pleasure and have a strange relationship with their audiences.


“To find out a new study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry examined the personalities of comedians from the US, Britain and Australia (Ando et al., 2014). The authors approached comedy societies and asked their members to anonymously fill in the Oxford–Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences (O-LIFE)–a scale that measures both bipolar and schizophrenic factors. These personality structures were compared with a group of actors they also recruited, and with previously collected data on normal (!) people. When the two groups were compared, what they found was that, compared with normal people, comedians had the following characteristics:

  • They found it unusually difficult to feel physical and social pleasure–psychologists call this anhedonia.
  • They were antisocial and nonconformist.
  • They were prone to magical thinking, like believing in telepathy or paranormal phenomena.
  • They were easily distracted and found it difficult to focus.

Actors, meanwhile, shared many of these personality traits with comedians, except they were close to the norm in feeling pleasure. Unlike the comedians, as a group, actors did not experience anhedonia.”

One of the study’s authors, Gordon Claridge, explained:

“The creative elements needed to produce humor are strikingly similar to those characterizing the cognitive style of people with psychosis–both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Although schizophrenic psychosis itself can be detrimental to humor, in its lesser form it can increase people’s ability to associate odd or unusual things or to think ‘outside the box’.”



How Cooking Can Change Your Life: A Short Animated Film Featuring the Wisdom of Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan, the bestselling author who describes himself jokingly as a “liberal foodie intellectual,” published Food Rules in 2009, a handbook that offers “straightforward, memorable rules for eating wisely.” The one I remember best is Rule #2. “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” That’s because it’s likely processed and “designed to get us to buy and eat more by pushing our evolutionary buttons, our inborn preferences for sweetness and fat and salt.” A few other noteworthy suggestions and assertions include:

Rule #6: “Avoid foods that contain more than five ingredients.”

Rule #20: “It’s not food if it arrived through the window of your car.”

Rule #37: “The whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead.”

Rule #17: “Eat only foods that have been cooked by humans.”



The Greatest Invention Of All Time

“The greatest invention of all time isn’t, as is sometimes argued, penicillin. Nor is it the computer. Nor is it running water, electricity, the automobile, or the airplane. Rather, it’s the thing that has made all of these things—and so many more—possible: the scientific method itself. Many people don’t realize that the scientific method is a relatively recent development, something not inborn but something that was invented, originating sometime around the 17th century. Prior to that, people explained the world around them with stories that they’d either learned from the previous generation or that they invented themselves. It wasn’t until the 17th century that anyone began trying to figure out how ideas could be rigorously tested. Which is really what it means to think scientifically: to accept something as true only if it is supported by evidence. This, of course, isn’t the only method by which people evaluate the veracity of ideas. But it turns out to be the best way. In fact, the only way.”



Artists Of the week! The Beatles!

The Beatles were an English rock band that formed in Liverpool, in 1960. With John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, they became widely regarded as the greatest and most influential act of the rock era. Rooted in skiffle and 1950s rock and roll, the Beatles later experimented with several genres, ranging from pop ballads to psychedelic rock, often incorporating classical elements in innovative ways. In the early 1960s, their enormous popularity first emerged as “Beatlemania“, but as their songwriting grew in sophistication they came to be perceived as an embodiment of the ideals shared by the era’s sociocultural revolutions.

In Icons of Rock: An Encyclopedia of the Legends Who Changed Music Forever, Scott Schinder and Andy Schwartz describe the Beatles’ musical evolution:

“In their initial incarnation as cheerful, wisecracking moptops, the Fab Four revolutionized the sound, style, and attitude of popular music and opened rock and roll’s doors to a tidal wave of British rock acts. Their initial impact would have been enough to establish the Beatles as one of their era’s most influential cultural forces, but they didn’t stop there. Although their initial style was a highly original, irresistibly catchy synthesis of early American rock and roll and R&B, the Beatles spent the rest of the 1960s expanding rock’s stylistic frontiers, consistently staking out new musical territory on each release. The band’s increasingly sophisticated experimentation encompassed a variety of genres, including folk-rock, country, psychedelia, and baroque pop, without sacrificing the effortless mass appeal of their early work.”

In 1965, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr Members of the Order of the British Empire.



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