"Faced with pain, most people choose to 'get it out of the way' as soon as possible, according to new research published in PLOS Computational Biology. For the study, participants were asked to choose between real painful stimuli in the form of electric shocks, and imagined painful dental appointments occurring at different times in the future. The researchers found that most people chose to hasten the experience of pain —[...]
"A new study suggests that when something causes less pain than expected, it is possible for the experience of this pain to feel pleasant."
Does the tambourine that LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy slides onto his arm in this video of him performing "Yr City's a Sucker" in Ireland last year look like it might hurt? The sharp edges of those little cymbals digging into the soft flesh of his bicep? It probably doesn't. Because of all the laughing, or fake laughing, he's doing while singing the song. A team of scientists led by Oxford evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar recently tested responses to painful stimuli like a super-cold arm wrap, or an increasingly tight blood-pressure cuff, before and after the subjects were made to laugh, and found that pain threshholds were significantly higher after [...]
You suck, you're ugly and no one likes you, not least because of your repellent personality. You're welcome.
"I am currently copyediting my second Twitter-to-book manuscript in a month. It is a trend I find [Darth Vader voice] disturbing…. The one I’m wrestling with now is incredibly whatever-the-real-opposite-of-clever-is. I won’t give the Twitter feed's name here, since I don’t want to be an über-douche about it, but seriously, it’s not good…. Some guy who works in television as a writer on a popular sitcom keeps a Twitter feed where he and a few friends enjoy retweeting others’ posts that are at once self-aggrandizing and self-deprecating, in which it’s obvious that the main thrust is the self-aggrandizing part and therefore the tweeters are shown to be kind of [...]
"When Frank Sutton bit into his sandwich, scalding grease 'flew all over his mouth,' a fellow diner recalled. Mr. Sutton's wife took ice from her drink and applied it to his face, but his lips blistered. When he told one of the employees, he testified that she said 'this is what happens' to the sandwiches 'when they aren't drained completely.'" -Apparently, the obesity epidemic is not working fast enough for the folks at McDonald's, who are always coming up with new and better ways to hurt people with fried chicken. Makes those Olympics commercials suggesting the world's top athletes maintain their supreme physical fitness by eating french [...]
Kanye West has spent the weeks leading up to the release of "Yeezus" demanding the world consider and respond to his new material and also insisting he doesn't care what any of us thinks of it. We might be surprised by this seemingly paradoxical position, if it wasn't such a familiar stance.
One notable antecedent for this conflict is Franz Kafka, for whom the relationship between artist and audience was a particularly knotty issue—and who memorably explored the relationship in his short story "Ein Hungerkünstler" ("A Hunger Artist"). Although Kafka stipulated that almost his entire body of work be destroyed upon his death, this short story was one of [...]
Remember how we told you, with great excitement, that Death Bear would be touring Brooklyn over the weekend? (Death Bear is a conceptual art project (OKAY) in which a fellow named Nate Hill dresses up as a big scary bear, comes to your house, and takes away objects that cause you pain or anxiety.) Apparently this did not end well. (Surprise?) Or it ended too well, when Death Bear ended up at the home of his own ex-lover. And was unable to take away her pain.