Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Why Bad Guys Get Girls

Issue 2661 of New Scientist magazine, 18 June 2008, page 12:
Nice guys knew it, now two studies have confirmed it: bad boys get the most girls. The finding may help explain why a nasty suite of antisocial personality traits known as the "dark triad" persists in the human population, despite their potentially grave cultural costs.

The traits are the self-obsession of narcissism; the impulsive, thrill-seeking and callous behaviour of psychopaths; and the deceitful and exploitative nature of Machiavellianism. At their extreme, these traits would be highly detrimental for life in traditional human societies. People with these personalities risk being shunned by others and shut out of relationships, leaving them without a mate, hungry and vulnerable to predators.

But being just slightly evil could have an upside: a prolific sex life, says Peter Jonason at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. "We have some evidence that the three traits are really the same thing and may represent a successful evolutionary strategy."

Jonason and his colleagues subjected 200 college students to personality tests designed to rank them for each of the dark triad traits. They also asked about their attitudes to sexual relationships and about their sex lives, including how many partners they'd had and whether they were seeking brief affairs.

The study found that those who scored higher on the dark triad personality traits tended to have more partners and more desire for short-term relationships, Jonason reported at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society meeting in Kyoto, Japan, earlier this month. But the correlation only held in males.

James Bond epitomises this set of traits, Jonason says. "He's clearly disagreeable, very extroverted and likes trying new things - killing people, new women." Just as Bond seduces woman after woman, people with dark triad traits may be more successful with a quantity-style or shotgun approach to reproduction, even if they don't stick around for parenting. "The strategy seems to have worked. We still have these traits," Jonason says.

This observation seems to hold across cultures. David Schmitt of Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, presented preliminary results at the same meeting from a survey of more than 35,000 people in 57 countries. He found a similar link between the dark triad and reproductive success in men. "It is universal across cultures for high dark triad scorers to be more active in short-term mating," Schmitt says. "They are more likely to try and poach other people's partners for a brief affair."

Barbara Oakley of Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, says that the studies "verify something a lot of people have conjectured about."

Christopher von Rueden of the University of California at Santa Barbara says that the studies are important because they confirm that personality variation has direct fitness consequences.

"They still have to explain why it hasn't spread to everyone," says Matthew Keller of the University of Colorado in Boulder. "There must be some cost of the traits." One possibility, both Keller and Jonason suggest, is that the strategy is most successful when dark triad personalities are rare. Otherwise, others would become more wary and guarded.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Nationals Park & ExxonMobil

The nation's capital has a brand new Major League baseball park, the first ever built with so-called "green building" features. The $600 million park for the Washington Nationals includes such eco-amenities as an in-house recycling center, bike racks, energy efficient lighting, and a special low-flow plumbing system.

Nationals Park will strive to become the first major stadium in the United States accredited as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ certified ballpark. The new ballpark will pay particular attention to issues affecting the health of the Anacostia River, such as stormwater management and minimization of water pollution.

This is all good. But visitors to the new park have also seen a lot that is decidedly "ungreen." The most dominant advertiser at the park is controversial oil giant ExxonMobil, a bigger contributor to global warming than any other company in the world. The entire left field outfield wall, in fact, is plastered with the ExxonMobil logo. And the 7th inning stretch is announced as "the ExxonMobil 7th inning stretch," with the company's ads dominating the huge scoreboard as parents and children sing "Take Me Out To The Ball Game." Several concerned organizations now plan to publicly protest Exxon's presence at Nationals Park. So if you plan on going to a game in the near future, expect to see protestors in polar bear suits. According to the Chesapeake Climate Action Network:
This will be followed by the presence of volunteers - including lots of folks in polar bear suits -- distributing literature and broadcasting anti-Exxon messages at EVERY remaining home game in 2008 until the advertising stops. Our goal is to get fans to boo loudly during the ExxonMobil 7th inning stretch. Our goal is tag the company as highly controversial from the opening press conference forward so that we end this practice.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Washington Capitals Awards

Ovechkin named MVP, Boudreau Coach of the Year

Caps left wing Alex Ovechkin captured the Hart Trophy and the Lester B. Pearson Award, beating out Calgary's Jarome Iginla and Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin for both honors at the NHL Awards Show in Toronto. He's the first Capital to win either award. Ovechkin produced NHL highs with 65 goals and 112 points, and was also the first player to score 60 goals since Mario Lemieux in 1996. He joined Sergei Fedorov (1994) as the only Russian-born players to win the Hart and the Pearson.

Coach Bruce Boudreau won the Jack Adams, beating out Montreal's Guy Carbonneau and Detroit's Mike Babcock. Boudreau has gone from riding the buses in the minors to being the NHL's coach of the year in the span of seven months (leading the Caps to the Southeast Division title).

The only disappointment for the Capitals was that Nicklas Backstrom did not win the Calder Trophy as the top rookie, leaving the team one award short of becoming the first to win player, coach and rookie of the year. Backstrom, who was named to the all-rookie team, was runner-up to Chicago's Patrick Kane.

  • Was also named a First Team All-Star for the third straight year, becoming the first to do that in his first three seasons since Terry Sawchuk (1950-53)
  • Led the Capitals to the playoffs for the first time since 2003
  • Signed a new 13-year contract with Washington on Jan. 10
  • Is the first Washington, D.C. MVP in a league considered the best in the world (NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB) since the Washington Redskins’ Joe Theismann in 1983. He received the key to the city Friday in Washington from Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. "Today is a big day," said Ovechkin, standing on the front steps of city hall. "I have a key for the city. And I'm the president this day in the city, so everybody have fun — and no speed limit!"

P.S. I think Ovi and Michael Strahan should really get together and do a Gap commercial.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Right On(Line) #2

First I looked at the title "Stuff Guys Like." Then I scrolled down a little and saw a sideboob. They were correct.

Images of the Day, stuff from exploration missions, Hubble, Kennedy Space Center, etc.

Cash Cab trivia, Man vs. Wild, climb Mt. Everest!? Yeeeeeeahhh boiiiii!

A user-submitted collection of great wine/food recommendations.

Randomly generate your own slogans with their slogan generator, which generates slogans.

Music: Weezer's music video for "Pork and Beans", new single from The Red Album out now. Basically their label Geffen was like "C'mon guys, give us more commercial material." So they did, because they rock. Written by Rivers Cuomo.

And a little extra news thanks to Wikipedia:
The band appears to be in a highly productive mood, as, in a cover story of the June 2008 issue of Spin Magazine, it was revealed that a tentative date of November 2009 was set for another new Weezer album, their seventh, and the album will be produced by Jacknife Lee. This would mark the second time in Weezer's career that they released an album one year after the other (The Green Album in 2001, followed by Maladroit in 2002). It deserves to be noted, however, that following the release of Maladroit, the band pushed to release another album that same year. While this request was eventually granted by their label, Make Believe did not come to fruition until three years later.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Right On(Line) #1

Links for you. Yes you. This is the first. Oh and don't worry, the reason you feel butterflies is just your excitement. Unless you also have chest pain. Then you are having a heart attack, and probably should seek immediate medical attention.

News: Burma Cyclone Aid Report
Avaaz Members from 124 Countries Donate $2,000,000 to the Burmese People

Cool: Six Degrees of Wikipedia
Please resist the urge to see how many clicks away "penis" and "vagina" are. I couldn't.

Game: How Well Do You Know Your World?
I gotta admit, this shit gets pretty tough. Even for you cocky geography majors. Bastards.

Comic: Achewood
Chris Onstad is a genius. Click if you are over 18, or better yet 21. Sometimes there's alcohol.

Music: The Hype Machine
They follow tons of music blogs around the world and you get to listen

Video: Human Giant
An interview goes horribly wrong, but still has a happy ending.

Aight that's all I feel like putting up right now. But now you know what I've been checking out lately. I hope at least one tickled your fancy. Wow that saying sounds gay. Anyway look for the second edition sometime soon. I am unemployed after all.