How to Tell When Someone Is Lying

‘Many of us believe that we can tell when someone else is lying, and, over the years, a folklore has developed around the facial and physical cues that can give someone away. Liars don’t look you straight in the eye. When someone is lying, he looks up and to the side, as if searching for something. A liar fidgets and seems somehow nervous. Sometimes, he’ll scratch or pull his ear. He’ll hesitate, as if he’s not sure he wants to tell you something. These, however, are all “old wives’ tales,” Leanne ten Brinke, a psychologist at the University of California at Berkeley whose work focusses on detecting deception, told me. “The empirical literature just doesn’t bear that out.” ‘ (The New Yorker).

Scientists Discover How Octopuses Avoid Tying Themselves In Knots

‘There are many things that make the octopus a strange creature, but one of them is that each of its eight arms has an essentially infinite number of positions, and yet each arm operates independently. How does an octopus keep from tying itself in knots?

A group of Israeli and American researchers think they’ve discovered how the octopus keeps its arms in order. The problem is that octopus arms behave as if they have a “mind of their own.” ‘ (io9)

A Eulogy for Twitter


English: The content of tweets on Twitter, bas...
The content of tweets on Twitter, based on the data gathered by Pear Analytics in 2009.

Adrienne LaFrance and Robinson Meyer: ‘Something is wrong on Twitter. And people are noticing.

Or, at least, the kind of people we hang around with on Twitter are noticing. And it’s maybe not a very important demographic, this very weird and specific kind of user: audience-obsessed, curious, newsy. Twitter’s earnings last quarter, after all, were an improvement on the period before, and it added 14 million new users for a total of 255 million. The thing is: Its users are less active than they once were. Twitter says these changes reflect a more streamlined experience, but we have a different theory: Twitter is entering its twilight.’ (The Atlantic).

Watch the Remarkable Shrinking of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

‘…[S]ightings since the 1930s have shown the spot shrinking. A recent Hubble photo (seen above) observes the Great Red Spot at its smallest size yet —- just over 10,000 miles across, barely big enough for 1.3 Earths to fit inside. Scientists are studying small eddies at the edge of the storm that may somehow be sapping it of its strength. Will this monstrous cyclone continue to downsize? Researchers can’t say for sure.’ (WIRED).

Survivalists Are Using Pinterest to Prepare for the Apocalypse


Survivalists Are Using Pinterest to Prepare for the Apocalypse - Colette Shade - The Atlantic

Colette Shade: ‘Pinterest is best known as a destination where people can share affordable wedding ideas, dip recipes, and inspirational quotes pasted over photos of white sand beaches. But a small number of Pinterest users also swap how-tos on building bomb shelters, storing food, and emergency medical care—for “when there are no doctors.”

Meet the preppers of Pinterest.’ (The Atlantic).

Man drives 40,000 miles a year saving dogs from ‘kill shelters’

“For the past ten years, Greg Mahle has driven 40,000 miles a year rescuing dogs from overpopulated “high volume kill shelters.” He and fellow volunteers run Rescue Road Trips, LLC, based in Ohio. Operating primarily in the deep South, they pick up rescued dogs and take them to other areas of the country for adoption. The organization is said to help save about 2,000 dogs each year. From The Newark Advocate:

‘Every other week, Mahle leaves his wife and stepson, traveling from their home in Zanesville to Houston, Texas, where he starts to pick up dogs destined for their new homes. Moving on from Texas, he stops in nine Southern states, picking up an average of 80 dogs on the second leg of his 4,200-mile journey.

“Some of them are scared,” Mahle said. “They don’t know what’s happening. Some have come from really bad situations, but a little love and reassurance is just what they need.”

Once secured in their crates on the truck, Mahle said the dogs perk up as if they know they’re off to a better life.

“It’s like being in a truck full of lottery winners,” he said with a laugh. “You can see it in their eyes and their disposition. They know something good is going to happen to them.” ‘ ” (Boing Boing).

13 Lectures from Allen Ginsberg’s “History of Poetry” Course (1975)

‘We’ve previously featured some of Ginsberg’s Naropa lectures here at Open Culture, including his 1980 short course on Shakespeare’s The Tempest and his lecture on “Expansive Poetics” from 1981. Today, we bring you several selections from his lengthy series of lectures on the “History of Poetry,” which he delivered in 1975. Currently, thirteen of Ginsberg’s lectures in the series are available online through the Internet Archive, and they are each well worth an attentive listen.’ (Open Culture). I am going to sit down with these when I have a chance.

Republicans’ deadly political strategy: Ruining our country hurts the Democratic Party

Mitch McConnell

‘The majority of Americans – depending on which survey you look at, between 60 and 75 percent – cannot name which political party controls the House of Representatives, which party controls the Senate, or either.

Because most Americans don’t know who controls Congress, when Congress misbehaves, as they have been doing for six years, most Americans aren’t sure who to blame.

Enter the Republican Chaos Strategy, based entirely on this statistical and political reality.

And common sense suggests that well over 90 percent of Americans know that Barack Obama is the president and that he is a Democrat.

The Republicans know this, too, and it’s the other half of their strategy.

Therefore, what the Republicans know, is that if they can cause damage to the American economy and to American working people, the average voter, not realizing it was exclusively the Republicans who did it, are going to assume that the president – and the Democratic Party he is a member of – must bear some or maybe even all of the responsibility.

It’s a brilliant strategy: Damage the country and you damage the Democratic Party.’ (