News for Nerds - The Mood-Sensing Bra Edition
- 12/6/2013 |
- 10:00 am
Welcome back to News for Nerds! This week we'll explore topics as diverse as cheerleaders, healthy urine, and the magic (and science) of water flowing uphill. But first: need a lift?
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Are you guilty of stress eating? if so, you're not alone. A recent study shows that about half of Americans are prone to bouts of stress eating, and those numbers are even higher for women. If only there was a device that could easily measure heart rate, breathing, sweating, and movement!
Actually, there is. And if you're a woman, chances are you're wearing one right now. It's your bra.
A team of Microsoft researchers equipped several bras with a set of sensors, a microprocessor, and a 3.7 volt battery. They gave these 'mood bras' to a pack of volunteers, and waited to see what happened. Throughout the day, the sensors beamed information to an app on the volunteers' smartphones, and over time, the researchers were able to identify factors that predicted stress eating.
Of course the idea here is that by isolating the triggers that lead to stress-eating, it will become easier to curb those tendencies. The project still needs work, though. The sensors built into the bra used so much power that the batteries only lasted four hours . . . and even if they solve that problem, what about the guys? Is there a mood-sensing 'bro' in our future?
- from Discovery
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When it comes to posting pictures of yourself online, selfies may be all the rage -- but if you want to look more attractive to others, your best bet is to post a group shot. Yup, it's true.
This is due to something called the cheerleader effect. According to research from UC-San Diego, the cheerleader effect means that any given person will look more attractive when grouped with other people. Even cheerleaders.
There are several factors at play here, and I recommend that you read the entire article to get a full sense of why our brains work this way. In a nutshell, however, it comes down to three main visuo-cognitive processes. First, our visual system automatically combines and computes general information about any set of objects that are presented together. This is true for dots and shapes and animals and people.
Also, the impression that we have of the group as a whole influences our perception of any one individual item (or person), so that whenever we see a face in a crowd, we perceive that face as being similar to all the others.
And finally, humans are more attracted to average faces than unusual ones. Odd but true. In fact, composite faces, which are created by averaging individual faces together, are routinely rated as significantly more attractive than the individual faces used to create the composite. Weird, huh?
Anyway, if you want others to think you're better looking than you really are, dig out that picture of you with some cute friends and post it for the world to see.
- from Yahoo!
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Here are a couple other cool science stories you might enjoy:
- I'd hate to get too personal here, but what color is your pee? It's actually kind of important to know, since urine color is a major indicator of overall health. Check out this helpful infographic from the Cleveland Clinic to see whether your pee is pale straw or brown ale, and what that means. (And is it just me, or do those sound like paint colors?)
- And finally, I give you the Leidenfrost Effect, which is a really cool way of talking about the weird behavior of water. Check out this video, and be sure to watch all the way to the end. You'll be glad you did.
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That's all for now! I'll be back with more News for Nerds next week, but be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter, and to sign up for the free e-Newsletter so that you can properly get your nerd on every single month! And please send any juicy News for Nerds tips to me right here!