Category Archives: Human behavior

People are growing unhappy with the boob tube


In part, because they have to spend a growing amount of their time simply skimming through the onscreen channel guides to find a program that grabs their attention, and at the current rate, they’ll be spending more than a year of their lives doing just that.

From the Hollywood Reporter:

There’s more TV available and consumers are paying more for the privilege, but 44 percent of viewers in the U.S. complain that there is nothing worth watching, according to a massive study released Thursday.

The average person spends 23 minutes per day trying to find something good to watch on broadcast TV and will dedicate 1.3 years of their lives changing channels and studying their on-screen guides, according to Ericsson ConsumerLab’s TV and Media 2016.

Ericsson surveyed 30,000 people in 24 countries and says its study represents the TV habits of more than 1 billion people worldwide.

The 44 percent of Americans who say they have trouble finding worthy shows to watch represents a big uptick over last year, when 36 percent had a similar complaint.

However, more people are watching online streaming services, and they’re watching them on the phone, iPads and other mobile devices, the study reports, with mobile views up 86 percent since 2010, while views on the tube have dropped by 14 percent.

We leave the last word to The Boss, singing about something that’s even truer today than when he recorded the song in 1992:

Bruce Springsteen — 57 Channels [And Nothin’ On]

Headline of the day: Now that’s a killer ap!


From the Asahi Shimbun:

Threats made to city seeking ban on Pokemon Go at the wheel

  • Nine threatening e-mails were received by the city government here after it decided to ask the operator of the Pokemon Go smartphone game to render it inoperable while driving, following a fatal accident.
  • Ichinomiya officials sent the request to U.S.-based Niantic Inc. on Nov. 4 in response to an Oct. 26 accident in the city, in which a truck struck and killed a 9-year-old boy who was walking in a pedestrian crossing on his way home from school.
  • The driver of the truck told police that he was playing Pokemon Go at the time.

Courolphobuia: Austrian runs over ‘killer clown’


And a killer clown stabs a woman in England. . .

Coulrophobia, the fear of clowns [previously], has gone global, and the ongoing global panic over killer clowns took a bizarre turn this week when a young Austrian motorist panicked after an ax-wielding man appeared in front of his car.

From TheLocal.at:

A car driver crashed into a horror clown after he got frightened by the axe-wielding man.

The accident happened in Klagenfurt, a city in the southern Austrian province of Carinthia. The clown got away with slight injuries after the impact.

According to the police, at around 1:45 a.m. on November 1, the 27-year-old masked man stood on a municipal road dressed like a clown with an axe in his hand.

A 19-year-old driver was so frightened when the clown suddenly emerged out of the fog, that he crashed right into the 27-year-old. Due to the media reporting on clown attacks, the car driver drove away after the accident, but soon afterwards informed the police about the event.

And a killer clown stabs a British woman

Things took a more serious turn in Britain when a knock on the door resulted in stab in the leg.

From The Sun:

A ‘killer clown’ stabbed a woman in the leg through the letterbox of her home after knocking on her window.

Police hunting the man have said the victim opened her door to the clown after he knocked on a window of her home in Robinhood Street, Gloucestershire.

A spokesman for Gloucestershire Police said: “When the resident opened the door and saw the man she immediately closed the door but he then put the knife through the letterbox causing a small wound to her leg.

“House to house and other inquiries have been taking place. Officers are continuing to work on identifying the motive behind this incident and who was responsible.”

The upper class pays less attention to others


Class status really does color our perceptions of others.

It even colors whether or not we even perceive others, according to some fascinating new research.

The findings offer a clue to the impacts of the sharply widening class divisions in a world where neoliberalism has become the dominant political paradigm, a model backed by the wealthy in which the needs of others are simply ignored in order to justify the concentration of wealth.

From the Association for Psychological Science:

The degree to which other people divert your attention may depend on your social class, according to new findings published in Psychological Science [$35 to access], a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

The research shows that people who categorize themselves as being in a relatively high social class spend less time looking at passersby compared with those who aren’t as well off, a difference that seems to stem from spontaneous processes related to perception and attention.

“Across field, lab, and online studies, our research documents that other humans are more likely to capture the attention of lower-class individuals than the attention of higher-class individuals,” says psychological scientist Pia Dietze of New York University. “Like other cultural groups, social class affects information processing in a pervasive and spontaneous manner.”

Previous studies have shown a variety of behavioral differences among people of various social classes — including levels of compassion, interpersonal engagement, charity, ethicality, and empathy toward others. Dietze and co-author Eric Knowles wondered whether these discrepancies might stem, at least in part, from deep, culturally ingrained differences in the way people process information.

The researchers hypothesized that our social class affects how relevant others are to us in terms of our own goals and motivations. Compared with people who come from less-advantaged circumstances, people from relatively privileged backgrounds are likely to be less dependent on others socially; as such, they are less likely to view other people as potentially rewarding, threatening, or otherwise worth paying attention. Importantly, Dietze and Knowles posited that this difference in what they call “motivational relevance” is so fundamental that it manifests in basic cognitive processes — like visual attention — that operate quickly and involuntarily.

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Chart of the day: The freedom to offend


From the Pew Research Center, a look at how the world views the right Americans take almost for granted, the right to say anything even if it’s intolerant and offensive [though, as the survey reveals, Millennials are less tolerant of speech offensive to minorities]:

blog-speech

Trump’s brass revealed as the gold plate rubs off


In our previous post, a compilation of Trumpisms from the London Review of Books, The Donald explained himself precisely in a mere nine words, seven of them — of which two have two syllables, the rest have one:

‘The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.’

The beauty of Donald Trump is one of class, an arrogant classy sort of class, characterized by his Wharton sense of branding — one given a gold-plated veneer [toilets included] and burned into his properties like a Texas cowboy used to brand his steers.

Through a combination of a primate predispositions and relentless programing [in both senses of the term], our inner ape’s attentiveness to hierachy and sex has been captivated by Trump’s relentless multimedia self presentation.

Trump’s voters are male, while women dominate the now-solidly leading Hillary half of the polls. For them, Trump is an exciting guy because they’re secretly both jealous and aroused by the shit he gets away with. He is correct in asserting that his only real attraction is the wealthy persona he’s crafted. But more than that, it’s a secret admiration.

And sufficiently ample women are drawn in by that same allure, ny the repitlian gaze and the sheer, unapologetic hubris of it all. Hell, the guy is rich, and some of it’s gotta rub off, right?

[And that’s not to say that nature dominates nurture; we’ve all seen lots of folks less susceptible to a purely reactionary mode, nor that we’re doomed to endless manipulation. We can gain control of the

But that golden luster is suddenly looking bit tarnished, the brass underneath revealed as the thing layer of gold plate is rubbed away.

The latest tarnish is sexual

First, from the Guardian:

A wave of claims about Donald Trump’s alleged sexual transgressions and inappropriate behaviour – in one case with a 10-year-old girl – has emerged, threatening the Republican presidential nominee’s already fragile campaign less than a month before election day.

Ever since video of the real estate mogul surfaced on Friday showing him bragging about how he could grab women’s genitals with impunity, more and more women have come forward to claim they were demeaned and touched inappropriately.

By late Wednesday evening the list of new allegations against Trump included:

  • two Miss USA contestants who claimed Trump deliberately walked in on them when they were naked in a dressing room.
  • two women who allege Trump groped or kissed them without consent – one in the first-class seat of an aircraft.
  • a claim by a woman that she was groped at a Trump event at his Mar-A-Lago estate in Florida.
  • a People magazine reporter who says Trump forced himself on her shortly before she was due to interview him and his wife in 2005.
  • an incident in which Trump appears to sexualize a 10-year-old girl.

An allegation in detail

From CBS News Digital:

As Republican nominee Donald Trump’s campaign tries to move past a recently released 2005 tape of his lewd remarks about women, more video of similar comments made by Trump is surfacing.

In an “Entertainment Tonight” Christmas feature in 1992, Trump looked at a group of young girls and said he would be dating one of them in ten years. At the time, Trump would have been 46 years old.

The video, released Wednesday evening, was shot at Trump Tower.

In the clip, Trump asks one of the girls if she’s “going up the escalator.” When the girl replies, “yeah,” Trump turns to the camera and says: “I am going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?”

It is not the first time Trump has made reference to his interest in dating much younger women.

In 2006, he made a similar comment about his own daughter, Ivanka Trump: “I’ve said that if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her,” Trump said.

Intolerance surges in the UK, Cameron blamed


Hate crimes and other forms of overt bigotry are surging in the United Kingdom, and while the sharpest increase targets Muslims, other victims include people of color, the LGBT community, and the perennial targets of European intolerance, the Roma [previously].

One key reason for the rise was the venomous sentiment whipped up by winguts in their successful campaign for the Brexit, the successful referendum leading to the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union.

But Britain’s Prime Minister comes in for his share of the blame as well.

The rise in bigotry has drawn fire in a special report from the  Council of Europe’s Commission against Racism and Intolerance [ECRI].

First, a video report from RT:

Cameron responsible for rise in xenophobia & racism abuse in UK – watchdog

Program notes:

A report condemning “considerable intolerant political discourse in the UK, particularly focusing on immigration” was published by the Council of Europe’s Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) on Tuesday. David Cameron was singled out, in particular, for describing asylum-seekers arriving from the Middle East and North Africa as a “swarm.”

More on the report from EurActiv:

In a report, the Council’s European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) condemned “considerable intolerant political discourse in the UK, particularly focusing on immigration”.

“It is no coincidence that racist violence is on the rise in the UK at the same time as we see worrying examples of intolerance and hate speech in the newspapers, online and even among politicians,” said ECRI Chair Christian Ahlund.

“The Brexit referendum seems to have led to a further rise in ‘anti-foreigner’ sentiment, making it even more important that the British authorities take the steps outlined in our report as a matter of priority.”

In a shock referendum result, Britain voted on June 23 to leave the 28-nation European Union.

Pro-Brexit supporters campaigned heavily on immigration, and the need to regain control on Britain’s borders, in a referendum battle fought against the background of Europe’s worst migrant crisis since World War II.

Numbers, and assignment of blame

In the following excerpt from the report, note in particular the role in inciting intolerance played by the The Sun, a British tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, the same loathsome corporation that owns Fox News.

From the report:

According to  the  Home  Office,  there  were  52,528  hate motivated  criminal offences recorded by the police in the year 2014-2015. These include offences of hate  speech  and  violence.  Of  note, 42.930  (82%) belonged  to  the  category  of race  hate  crime;  5,597  (11%)  were  sexual  orientation  hate  crimes;  3,254  (6%) were  religious hate  crimes;  and  605  (1%)  were  transgender  hate  crimes.  There was an overall increase of 18% compared with 2013-14; the largest increase was in relation to religious hate crime (43%).

When broken down further according to type of offence, the data show that 59% of  all hate-motivated  offences in  2014-15  were  public  order  offences (the  vast majority involving public fear, alarm or distress, 30% related to violence against the person and 7% to criminal damage and arson. ECRI was not able to access any data on offences of incitement to hatred recorded by the police.

In addition to reported hate crime, a survey to measure unreported hate crime is conducted  annually.  The  Crime  Survey  for  England  and Wales  is  a  face-to-face victimisation  survey  in  which  persons  aged  16  and  over  are  asked  about  their experiences of crime in the past 12 months. The latest survey data revealed that there are an estimated 222,000 hate-motivated criminal offences on average per year, of  which 106,000  relate to  the  race  strand.  On  comparison  with  the  police figures  above,  it  appears  that  approximately  only  one  in  four  hate-motivated offences is recorded  by  the  police. This may  indicate  deficiencies  in  police recording  of  hate-motivated  offences and unwillingness  of  hate  crime  victims  to report such crime.

Hate speech in political discourse

In  its fourth  report,  ECRI  recommended  that  the  authorities  take  particular  care, when  developing  and  explaining  policies,  to  ensure  that  the  message  sent to society as a whole is not one likely to foment or foster intolerance and it urged the authorities to take measures to tackle the exploitation of racism in politics. In this context,  ECRI  welcomes the  Report  of  the  All  Party  Parliamentary Inquiry into Electoral Conduct, published  in  October  2013,  and  its  2015 General  Election Update, as  good  examples of  politicians actively  encouraging  responsibility to combat racism in political discourse.

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