Effects of Parliamentary Elections on Suicide Rates in Hungary

March 3rd, 2015

Professor David Lester, the world’s most prolific writer of short research studies about suicide, has a new study:

Effects of Parliamentary Elections on Suicide Rates in Hungary,” Tamás Zonda, Zoltán Kmetty, David Lester, Mónika Ditta Tóth, Crisis, epub 2015. The authors are at Hungarian Association for Suicide Prevention, Budapest, Hungary, Károli Gáspár University, Budapest, Hungary, The Richard Stockton College, Galloway, NJ, USA, and Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.

Professor Lester and his co-authors report that parliamentary elections have no significant effects on suicide rates in Hungary.

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Professor Lester is one of the most prolific paper producers in all of academia. If you have a few spare hours, glance at the list of his publications up through the year 2012, at which time Professor Lester had authored or co-authored 2574 academic papers.

Tyco’s ‘Piggy,’ Ig Nobel Prize winner, profiled

March 2nd, 2015

Dennis Kozlowski, who shared the 2002 Ig Nobel Prize for economics, is profiled in the March 1, 2015 issue of The New York Times.

That Ig Nobel Prize was awarded to the executives, corporate directors, and auditors of Enron, Lernaut & Hauspie [Belgium], Adelphia, Bank of Commerce and Credit International [Pakistan], Cendant, CMS Energy, Duke Energy, Dynegy, Gazprom [Russia], Global Crossing, HIH Insurance [Australia], Informix, Kmart, Maxwell Communications [UK], McKessonHBOC, Merrill Lynch, Merck, Peregrine Systems, Qwest Communications, Reliant Resources, Rent-Way, Rite Aid, Sunbeam, Tyco, Waste Management, WorldCom, Xerox, and Arthur Andersen, for adapting the mathematical concept of imaginary numbers for use in the business world. [NOTE: all companies are U.S.-based unless otherwise noted.]

Here are a few excerpts from the Times profile:

Tyco’s ‘Piggy,’ Out of Prison and Living Small

… In a two-bedroom rental on the 35th floor of a building overlooking the East River, L. Dennis Kozlowski lives with his new wife, Kimberly, in relative modesty — at least compared with his previous life as the extravagant chief of Tyco International….

Ten years and a lifetime ago, Mr. Kozlowski reigned as the archetype of avarice. This helped lead to his conviction in 2005 for looting nearly $100 million from Tyco, for which he served six and a half years in prison. [A $6,000 gold-and-burgundy] shower curtain was in his corporate residence on Fifth Avenue — paid for with Tyco funds — and came to symbolize a life of unabashed excess….

Then, it was over, swiftly. Mr. Kozlowski’s indictment for evading 8.25 percent sales tax on $14 million of artwork resulted in a broader Tyco internal investigation.

That led to new criminal charges, for which he was convicted of taking unauthorized bonuses, abusing corporate loan programs, falsifying records, and conspiracy. In addition to jail, Mr. Kozlowski had to pay $167 million in restitution and fines….

Today, he acknowledges making mistakes…. Even so, he maintains he was unfairly convicted, especially in light of how few big names were brought to trial in the most recent period of Wall Street malfeasance. “After 2008,” he said, “nobody was prosecuted.”

The Personalities of Numbers [part 1 of 3]

March 2nd, 2015

evil--numberSome people love numbers. And some find them odious and evil. And others manage to embrace both positive and negative sentiments at the same time. Take for example, mathematicians Jean-Paul Allouche, Benoit Cloitre and Vladimir Shevelev who have authored a paper with a distinctively Nietzschean title : ‘Beyond odious and evil’ in: arXiv:1405.6214v1 [math.NT] 23 May 2014

[Note: Odious numbers are numbers with an Odd number of 1s in their binary form. So, 13, which in binary is written 1101 is Odious.

Conversely, 27, which in binary is 11011, is Evil, because it has an Even number of 1s]

The conclusions that the team reach are difficult to summarise in a non-mathematical form, can we suggest that interested parties refer to the paper in full.

Coming soon: Happy numbers

Reaction to an imagined feminist dating partner

March 1st, 2015

There’s no need to imagine your reaction to reading about a study about people reacting to an imagined feminist dating partner. Simply read the following, then note down your actual reaction:

Power motivation as an influence on reaction to an imagined feminist dating partner,” Eugene M. Fodor, David P. Wick, and Nicole E. Conroy, Motivation and Emotion, vol. 36, no. 3, 2012, pp. 301-310.

“we conducted a simulated dating service experiment with college men who scored either high or low on the Picture Story Exercise (PSE) measure of power motivation and later observed a video displaying an interview with a hypothetical dating partner. From among the 203 men who completed the PSE, 96 took part in the experiment. The video presented an 8-min enactment by a young woman who came across either as an assertive feminist or as compliant and agreeable. Electromyographic responses from the corrugator supercilii (frown muscles) fit the premise of McClelland’s power-stress theory, as did scores on the Reysen Likability Scale and the Affective Attitudes Scale.”

BONUS (possibly unrelated): Marzi, C. A., F. Mancini, T. Metitieri, and S. Savazzi. “Retinal eccentricity effects on reaction time to imagined stimuli.” Neuropsychologia, 44, no. 8 (2006): 1489-1495.

Miss Poland’s Attractiveness: What, oh, what is enough?

February 28th, 2015

Leszek Pokrywka, co-author of the seminal study “The Second to Fourth Digit Ratio and Age at First Marriage in Semi-Nomadic People from Namibia” [featured here a while ago], also played a leading role in analyzing what makes and what does not make Miss Poland attractive:

Body mass index and waist: hip ratio are not enough to characterise female attractiveness,” Leszek Pokrywka, Milan Čabrić, Helena Krakowiak, Perception, 2006;35(12):1693-7. the authors explain:

“The assessment of characteristic body features of Miss Poland beauty contest finalists compared with the control group, can contribute to recognising the contemporary ideal of beauty promoted by the mass media. The studies of Playboy models and fashion models conducted so far have been limited to the following determinants of attractiveness: body mass index, waist:hip ratio, and waist:chest ratio, which only partially describe the body shape. We compared 20 body features of the finalists of Miss Poland 2004 beauty contest with those of the students of Medical Academy in Bydgoszcz. Discriminant analysis showed that the thigh girth-height index, waist: chest ratio, height, and body mass index had the greatest discrimination power distinguishing the two groups. A model of Miss Poland finalists figure assessment is presented which allows one to distinguish super-attractive women from the control group.”

The Miss Poland contest.

The Miss Poland contest.

BONUS: A video that addresses a question about the female attractiveness. (Thanks to investigator Lily Hashem for bringing this to our attention):