the study says, le fauconnier – the signal, who’s cool and who cares

If one was to judge how the public assimilates scientific information by a few topics – global warming, any connections between abortions and mental health, how life evolved on earth, one might easily get the impression that most people do not trust science or put much justified faith in any new scientific studies. Yet according to a study people trust scientists and the institution of science more than any other cultural institution except the military. So why is it that so many people would never dream of treating their cancer with dried rhinoceros horn, yet still believe, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that global warming is some kind of hoax or that autism is caused by vaccines. There are few factors in play. One is how deep someone has to go to figure out an answer for themselves. How the earth’s atmosphere works – the interactions between heat, gases like CO2, the oceans, heat and light produced by the sun and by artificial means like factories gets complicated quickly. Half the population never takes more than a couple of semesters of science. That physics course you took in high school may have seemed complicated, but that was just an introductory survey course. And like a similar course in biology it laid some fundamental concepts to build on. Studies like this are frustrating, Study Finds Female Choice Key to Evolutionary Shift to Modern Family. One, the idea that “food-for-mating” for males to out compete other males for mating and bonding opportunities has been around for a while. Adding a mathematical modeling based on the kinds of opportunities that would best produce healthy offspring can have a perspective bias based on the allowed variables. She is probably right in general, but there is room for some hedging. Say 100,000 years ago females did show a preference for good providers, but ultimately the healthiest females in actuality picked the most physically appealing food providers first, or could they have picked mates that represented the best median of the two qualities. How would that affect the model. It is also possible that females would engage in what appeared to be permanent bonding situations, but frequently cheated after a while without any much in the way of consequences in producing viable offspring. Modern statistics put married females infidelity at around 15% for women under 35. While for men under 35 infidelity occurs at a rate of  20%. While it may seem like we live in an amoral culture where everyone is cheating – an easy impression given the news from some sources – daytime TV, Sunday morning religious programming – there is both tremendous social pressure not to cheat, the specter of legal and property consequences and the possibility of severe medical repercussions( something humans would not have been as aware of 100,000 years ago). So looking back to just 10,000 years ago there is the real possibility there were fewer incentives to have monogamous relations. Fewer incentives would mean less evolutionary pressure to engage in a behavior that was too rigid. Thus monogamy was a general code. Something humans generally saw as having advantages, yet not writ in stone. That is at least a possibility. This is not scientific, but a scenario I can imagine, with the perspective of living in modern times, is the effort hypothesis. Except for those few people who are both physically attractive and wealthy, finding a mate is hard work – emotionally and financially draining if nothing else. Imagine the effort thousands of years ago and having a life expectancy of forty years. Once you have finally found a compatible mate, who wants to put on their best bison skins and leave the cave or hut on a chilly night to find someone new when you can stay in by the fire and be content with what you have. That will never make it into a science journal. Even though I can see a model based on expanded energy and the correlation to the possibilities of improving over one’s current relationship measured against the benefits of energy and money saved, and number of crash and burns against the percentage of positive outcomes.

Henri Le Fauconnier, The Signal, 1915. While his style started out as Fauvist, Le Fauconnier became a wonderful Cubist. The Signal is not as full of the kind of outrageous metaphor found in Cubism’s most famous practitioner, Picasso. While there are some serious elements, there is a more whimsical approach.The circles and squares, along with the primary colors are prescient of the pop art that was to come in the 1960s.

Unlike Sarah Palin I understand some studies like that using the fruit fly has huge implications for the health of the nation. Though there is always some study being done that makes one wonder if, if nothing else, the researchers time and effort could have been better spent elsewhere, What Does It Mean To Be Cool? It May Not Be What You Think. Where have you gone James Dean?

“When I set out to find what people mean by coolness, I wanted to find corroboration of what I thought coolness was,” said Ilan Dar-Nimrod, Ph.D., lead author of “Coolness: An Empirical Investigation.” “I was not prepared to find that coolness has lost so much of its historical origins and meaning—the very heavy countercultural, somewhat individualistic pose I associated with cool.

And does it matter. That kind of coll is mostly composed of people who do not care about coolness – whatever that is-  as much as the people who watch them.

Today, that doesn’t seem to be supported. If anything, sociability is considered to be cool, being nice is considered to be cool. And in an oxymoron, being passionate is considered to be cool—at least, it is part of the dominant perception of what coolness is. How can you combine the idea of cool—emotionally controlled and distant—with passionate?”

Everyone complains about the lack of niceness or the converse, the increasing coarseness of society. There is a downside to being nice. There is always someone around waiting to take advantage or exploit you. Niceness is perspective, someone giving you what you want. So its always subjective. A game you can win most of the time, but never always. Coolness is also part of the psyche of the bully. When Mitt Romney and friends held down a boy and cut his hair, they were the kool- kids showing an un-kool kid the ‘correct’ way to behave. Mitt still has some strange ideas about what constitutes cool behavior –  Romney Just Making Stuff Up Now and Romney Budget Proposals Would Require Massive Cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, and Other Programs .

maned wolf wallpaper by The Smithsonian and Amy Johnson.”The maned wolf is the tallest of all wild canids and is often described as a “fox on stilts.”

Stereophonics – Superman