Gaydar--the supposed ability to identify a person's sexual preference just by looking at them--may be more than just a bad pun. A couple of studies have been done on this recently, as part of broader research into the general ability of humans to very quickly make correct judgments about other humans' skills, personalities, age, etc.Turns out, people asked to guess whether a man is gay or a woman is a lesbian, just by looking at the subject's face, got it right at a rate higher than that which could be explained by mere chance. And the trick worked even when the images were cropped to remove all trace of tip-offs like hair style or fashion accessories.
So far, the studies have been very small and they certainly don't show that gaydar, if it does exist, is foolproof. The guessers did statistically significantly better than chance, but they weren't exactly sexual-orientation sniffing bloodhounds. There's also some open questions about whether the gender or sexual orientation of the guesser makes a difference on the rate of accuracy. What the research does do is add to considerable body of evidence showing that humans are evolutionarily programmed to pay extremely close attention to the facial features of other humans, and it tells us that we still have a lot to learn about what that programming means for ideas like "instinct".
Cognitive Daily: People Identify the Sexual Orientation of Strangers in As Fast as 50 Miliseconds
Miller-McCune: Subjects Correctly Identify Lesbians Solely on Facial Features
Periodic Stats is a dead-easy web-based Periodic Table to click around, showing all the stats and the history of each element. The only thing missing are illustrations of each one! [via Reddit]
To demonstrate the Magnus effect, YouTuber PeterSripol grabbed a couple of KFC buckets and tricked out an RC plane. The resulting trial and error is mostly the latter.
One of the weirdest places in Antarctica is Blood Falls, a five-story cascade of blood-red liquid pouring from Taylor Glacier. Researchers finally traced its source: a saltwater lake millions of years old trapped under the glacier.
Bamboo has lots of uses beyond just being panda food. Things like bikes, roads, scaffolding, and musical instruments are made from the fast-growing grass. But unless you are participating in a tropical-themed LARP, you probably wouldn’t want a shirt made from bamboo stalks. So why do bamboo bed sheets make any sense? Because yarn extracted from […]
If you want to work in tech, but don’t have any desire to code web apps to help businesses sell things to other business, you might want to consider a career in cybersecurity. Judging from the apparent complete infiltration of Russian hackers in American cyberspace, it seems fair to speculate that there’s a major shortage of […]
All moms are different. But all moms like getting flowers on Mother’s Day, and that’s a fact (not, however a fact we can document in any fashion.) Instead of getting chewed out for forgetting to call her on the second Sunday of May, you can take care of it ahead of time with Teleflora’s flower […]