Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Fark Link I'd Like to Post

The Gray Lady goes tits up

Based on my newspapery dream: The New York Times folding.

It's not going to happen; so those wankers Paul Krugman and William Friedman won't be out of newspaper columns.

I've posted 17 thus far.  My favorite is still my first:

Asshat cardinal likens Saddam to cow despite nonfunctional teats.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Some Odd Psychological Concepts

Coolidge effect -- this is a phenomenon in many species in which both males and females exhibit continuous high sexual performance if they are provided new receptive partners.  Frank Beach originally coined this expression in 1955. It was based on a Presidential legend, probably apocryphal:

    The President and Mrs. Coolidge were being shown [separately] around anexperimental government farm. When [Mrs. Coolidge] came to the chicken yard she noticed that a rooster was mating very frequently. She asked the attendant how often that happened and was told, “Dozens of times each day.” Mrs. Coolidge said, “Tell that to the President when he comes by.” Upon being told, Coolidge asked, “Same hen every time?” The reply was, “Oh, no, Mr. President, a different hen every time.” Coolidge: “Tell that to Mrs. Coolidge.”

Transylvania effect -- This is also referred to as the Full Moon effect -- It is a pseudoscientific theory that deviant behavior is related to phases of the Moon.

Von Restroff effect -- predicts that an item that stands out as unique against a background of more homogeneous items is more likely to be remembered than other items.  Names after Hedwig von Restroff.
Duke of Marlborough effect -- This term was coined by Richard Dawkins to refer to the increase in masculine libido that results from experiencing a victory, whether directly or vicariously. Apparently Sir John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough examplified this, as reported in an entry in Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough’s diary:  “His Grace returned from the wars today and pleasured me twice in his top-boots.”  Male athletes tend to experience elevated testosterone levels before a contest; those who win tend to maintain afterwards those elevated testosterone levels, but the testosterone levels of losers drops dramatically afterwards.

The Flynn effect --The Flynn effect refers to a tendency of the average scores on intelligence tests to increase over time.

The Lake Woebegone effect -- The Lake Wobegone effect refers to the tendency to overestimate one's achievements and capabilities in relation to others. It is named for the fictional town of Lake Wobegone from the radio series A Prairie Home Companion, where, according to Garrison Keillor, "all the children are above average". In a similar way, a large majority of people claim to be above average.

Perky effect -- The Perky effect in psychology refers to the process by which visual mental imagery is thought to interefere with visual perception. For example, if a person is instructed to project by imagination a tomato or a banana on a while screen, an a faint image of a tomato or banana is projected, the person may not be able to tell the difference between the real image and that which was imagined. Cheves W. Perky did the pioneering research on this back in 1910.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Daughery Principle

In the realm of Conventional Wisdom, there are a number of truisms that have not been subjected to empirical testing. One of these is the Daughterty Principle, named after American football coach Duffy Daughery (1915-1987) of Michigan State University. This principle is sometimes also attributed to Darrell Royal (1924- ); hence is sometimes called the Daugherty-Royal Principle. This aphorism in question is: “A tie is like kissing your sister.” Interestingly enough, both evolutionary psychology theory and sociological theory would predict that this familial phenomenon would predict dissatisfaction with that activity. However, it has not been systematically tested; but informal tests of this principle have undoubtedly taken place from time to time primarily in Vermont and West Virginia.

Some intrepid researcher should conduct an empirical study of this type. A simple repeated measurements design might be employed; using familial osculation and extrafamilial osculation as independent variables. There should be appropriate use of counterbalancing to control for the warm-up effect. A serious researcher might look also into possible correlates of hedonic value: attractiveness, age similarity, and so forth.  A possible convention-ready title for this research could be "The Hedonic Value of Familial Osculation: A Test of the Daugherty Principle."

If the results are obtained in the expected direction; and is it consistently replicated, then we can begin to speak of Daugery's Law.

But there are other corrolaries of the Daugherty Principle:

If a tie is like kissing your sister, then what is losing like?

Lou Holtz suggested a comparison to put things in perspective: "They say a tie is like kissing your sister. I guess that is better than kissing your brother."

Finally, it might be helpful to look at things from a non-football perspective.  Historically, the Royal Navy exacted stringent performance standards on officers of flag rank.  For example, Admiral John Byng was executed by firing squad because he "failed to do everything to everything against the enemy" at the Battle of Minorca in 1756, the outcome of which should be regarded as a tie (no decision) rather than a loss.

As for losing, a generation earlier, an Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell managed to run his fleet aground.  They honored him with a dreadful sculpture in Westminister Abbey showing Sir Cloudesley in his birthday suit.