CEOs are lucky, tall men


A new working paper [PDF] from three Harvard Business School researchers builds on the work of Texas A&M professor Markus Fitza, whose paper in last month's Strategic Management Journal showed that nearly everything about a CEO's performance can be attributed to chance. Read the rest

Victoria's Secret's "floral, fruity" perfume almost matches DEET as a mosquito repellent


Floral/fruity scents have long been characterized as attractive to mosquitoes, so it's natural that New Mexico State’s Molecular Vector Physiology Lab researcher Stacy Rodriguez tested a floral/fruity perfume against DEET in a lab trial. Read the rest

Green tea doesn't promote weight loss

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A meta-analysis of green tea's impact on metabolism and weight-loss, undertaken by the Cochrane trust, finds no statistically significant correlation between drinking green tea and losing weight. Read the rest

Religious children more punitive, less likely to display altruism


In The Negative Association Between Religiousness and Children’s Altruism Across the World published this week in Current Biology, academic researchers from the US, Canada, Qatar, Jordan, South Africa, Turkey and China report on a study of about 1,200 children from around the world in which a "robust" correlation between religious upbringing in either Christianity or Islam and a lack of altruism was demonstrated. Read the rest

Protopiper: tape-gun-based 3D printer extrudes full-size furniture prototypes

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The Protopiper (white paper [PDF]) is a modified tape-gun that extrudes regular, precise lengths of hollow tubing made from packing tape, with which you can prototype room-sized objects at full size to get a sense of the masses and scales involved. Read the rest

The incredible treasures of the Octavia Butler archives

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Jaimee Hills writes, "Gerry Canavan has done a short writeup in an academic publication called The Eaton Journal of Archival Research in Science Fiction on the (amazing) contents of the Octavia E. Butler papers at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California." Read the rest

SCIENCE! Louder monkeys have smaller balls


A new study in Current Biology has found an inverse correlation between the volume of howler monkeys' notoriously loud hoots and the size of their testicles. Read the rest

Just look at this exotic, virus-hunting banana protein.


Just look at it

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Pirates are the best customers: just sell good stuff at a reasonable price in a timely fashion


Alex from Copy-Me writes, "We've just released its fourth episode, called 'Pirates Are The Best Customers' - which talks about piracy and artists." Read the rest

Secret surveillance laws make it impossible to have an informed debate about privacy


James Losey's new, open access, peer-reviewed article in the Journal of International Communication analyzes how secret laws underpinning surveillance undermine democratic principles and how transparency from both companies and governments is a critical first step for supporting an informed debate.. Read the rest

Americans are pretty mellow about climate change, terrified of everything else


A survey of 1541 randomly selected US adults ranked the country's fears as of 2015. Items that ranked above climate change included corruption, mass surveillance, cyber-terrorism, bio-warfare, identity theft, running out of money, economic collapse, credit card fraud, Obamacare, illness, nuclear attack, meltdowns and civil unrest and tornadoes. Read the rest

70% of CEOs' effect on company performance can be attributed to random chance


Texas A&M Professor of Management Markus Fitza used a technique called variance decomposition to evaluate the extent to which the performance of companies can be attributed to astute leadership versus the random chance, and concluded that in 70% of cases, CEOs can't be shown to add any value to the companies they run. Read the rest

An ARG to celebrate open access week, courtesy of the University of Toronto library


Bobby Glushko writes, "Something's going on at the University of Toronto's Robarts Library. A concerned group of citizens is investigating a conspiracy hiding facts about the mysterious and controversial past of this masterpiece of brutalist architecture. At the same time a noble, if shadowy, society is working to keep its secrets hidden." Read the rest

Call for papers: We Robot, a conference on robots, ethics, philosophy and regulation


Michael Froomkin writes, "We Robot is a cool conference that brings together lawyers, engineers, philosophers, robot builders, ethicists, and regulators who are on the front lines of robot theory, design, or development. The 2016 editioni will be in Coral Gables, Florida on April 1-2, 2016 at the University of Miami School of Law. The main conference will be preceded by a day of special workshops on March 31. Full details at Read the rest

The NSA sure breaks a lot of "unbreakable" crypto. This is probably how they do it.


There have long been rumors, leaks, and statements about the NSA "breaking" crypto that is widely believed to be unbreakable, and over the years, there's been mounting evidence that in many cases, they can do just that. Now, Alex Halderman and Nadia Heninger, along with a dozen eminent cryptographers have presented a paper at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (a paper that won the ACM's prize for best paper at the conference) that advances a plausible theory as to what's going on. In some ways, it's very simple -- but it's also very, very dangerous, for all of us. Read the rest

Economics research considered unreplicable


Andrew C. Chang and Phillip Li undertook a study of "67 papers published in 13 well-regarded economics journals" for the US Federal Reserve and attempted to replicate their conclusions, using the code and data-sets provided by the authors: in two-thirds of cases, they were unable to replicate the findings without help with the authors; with the help of authors, they were still only able to replicate 49% of the papers. Read the rest

Study: tracking every RPG book in every public & academic library in the world


Edd writes, "I am a professor at Ithaca College in New York. Recently for a research study I tracked almost every Role Playing Game Book circulating in every public and academic library in the world." Read the rest

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