December 10, 2006

Ideas, ideas, ideas.

It's time for the annual "Year in Ideas" issue of the NYT Magazine. It's always fun to page through this to see which things catch my eye. Here they are:

The Ambient Walkman. I would love to have one of these, at least if the sound was pleasing enough, if it would work to mellow out distracting room noise in a café or office or waiting room. Currently, I have to play music when I don't want to listen to music, and I don't want to be cut off from the feeling of the room.

The Beer Gut Flask.
It's just so wrong. See it here -- where the models almost make it look attractive.

Bicycle helmets put you at risk. But save your cheers, libertarians. It's not because the biker takes more responsibility without a helmet. It's about the drivers.

Cohabitation is bad for women's health. Oh, it's just about food. I thought it was going to be more interesting!

Empty Stomach Intelligence. Wow! You shouldn't have a good breakfast before that exam? Stay hungry! You need that ghrelin to get ahead.

The eyes of honesty. Amazing that it's this easy to manipulate minds!

Hyperopia. This is "an excess of farsightedness." Just do it! “In the long run... we inevitably regret being virtuous and wish we’d been bigger hedonists.” Dangerous info!

Oh! I can't make it through the whole list right now. Suddenly, it seems hyperopic. I'll get back to the rest of the list later. If I feel like it.


sean said...

I think they are interviewing the wrong people for that hyperopia study. For one thing, isn't the sample biased if you confine it to alumni? My wife got kicked out of college, and I got suspended, for lack of academic application (mostly boys in her case, and liquor in mine). I don't wish I had partied even more, and neither does she.

Anonymous said...

Years ago, when I lived in in Hong Kong, the government's anti-littering campaign plastered posters all over the colony featuring a suitably suspicious pair of eyes above the slogan "Hong Kong is Watching." No matter how you viewed the poster, it seemed the eyes were watching you. I tried to get a decent copy to frame, but was unsuccessful.

Daryl Herbert said...

Upon reading their web site, I learned that the beer belly makers have another product in development called the "wine rack" (for women).

I'm Full of Soup said...

The eyes have it- that story was fascinating to me. Soon, those burglar alarm companies will be adding watchful eyes to their signage.

Wonder if it would work if I put a picture in the fridge where I work.

John Kindley said...

With regard to the "hungry is smarter" idea, I always thought that had to do with a full stomach diverting blood from the brain to digest food. So this idea isn't really new, though my rationale for it may have been a wive's tale.

John Kindley said...

Re: hyperopia.

What would you like people to say about you after your gone?

"Damn, that guy owed me a lot of money."

David said...


I surprised you skipped so quickly over the "Cohabitation is bad for women's health" article. Although I doubt many people are surprised that women gain weight after entering into a long-term relationship, the article nicely demonstrated two Althousian insights.

First, that any study that involves women must be spun to be favorable to women. Women, we're told, don't gain weight because, now that they're in a relationship, they can relax their nutty too-skinny body image. Rather, they're "forced" to make "unhealthy" diet choices.

Second, the war against fat really is aesthetic rather than scientific. Without presenting any other information, we are expected to conclude that any weight gain is bad.

kentuckyliz said...

Perhaps the weight gain is to enhance the chance of conception and trap the guy. LOL

I was expecting the old saw about higher domestic violence incidence in noncommitted relationships. Pleasantly surprised to find she just gained weight; better fat than bruised or dead. Maybe the higher oxytocin hormone levels from sleeping together increase appetite or promote weight retention?

I just have to share the eyeballs item with the Samizdata blog. They dislike ubiquitous surveillance cameras for supposed crime prevention, at which it fails.

B. P. Beckley said...

Yeah, but if everyone is a hedonist, then nothing gets done, and then everyone is worse off. You have to make the system work before you can start worrying about whether people have regrets or not.