In Vino Veritas … At Least Untill You Have To Pee

Who would have thought the lies we tell are more convincing when we need to pee.

I’m watching out for sentences like this in the news: 😂

[…] complained they were subjected to ‘forced urination’ before they were interrogated by the TSA.

The actual paper.

Abstract: The Inhibitory-Spillover-Effect (ISE) on a deception task was investigated. The ISE occurs when performance in one self-control task facilitates performance in another (simultaneously conducted) self-control task. Deceiving requires increased access to inhibitory control. We hypothesized that inducing liars to control urination urgency (physical inhibition) would facilitate control during deceptive interviews (cognitive inhibition). Participants drank small (low-control) or large (high-control) amounts of water. Next, they lied or told the truth to an interviewer. Third-party observers assessed the presence of behavioral cues and made true/lie judgments. In the high-control, but not the low-control condition, liars displayed significantly fewer behavioral cues to deception, more behavioral cues signaling truth, and provided longer and more complex accounts than truth-tellers. Accuracy detecting liars in the high-control condition was significantly impaired; observers revealed bias toward perceiving liars as truth-tellers. The ISE can operate in complex behaviors. Acts of deception can be facilitated by covert manipulations of self-control.

Moral parents, moral babies

Ars again covers interesting research on the psychology toddlers. This time: toddlers with parents with lower tolerance to injustice show stronger differences in EEG-readings when watching prosocial vs. antisocial behavior.

It also has a discussion on how difficult it is to do a “psychological” assessment of toddlers’ behavior and derive concrete explanations or conclusions from them.

The Trick of Hope

I often tell myself and my students: medicine is the most human of all the sciences that is stuck with the least human of all the experiments: and that is the randomized trial.
Randomization doesn’t exist because doctors are malign or medicine is nasty it exists precisely for the utterly opposite reason: because we hope too much.
We’re so hopeful, that we want things to work so badly-especially against cancer-we want things to work so badly that we’ll trick ourselves to believing that they’re working.
And there’s nothing as toxic or as lethal as that trick: the trick of hope.
Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee in PBS’ Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies

Bottle Plugin Lifecycle

If you use Python‘s Bottle micro-framework there’ll be a time where you’ll want to add custom plugins. To get a better feeling on what code gets executed when, I created a minimal Bottle app with a test plugin that logs what code gets executed. I uesed it to test both global and route-specific plugins.

When Python loads the module you’ll see that the plugins’ __init__()  and setup()  methods will be called immediately when they are installed on the app or applied to the route. This happens in the order they appear in the code. Then the app is started.

The first time a route is called Bottle executes the plugins’ apply()  methods. This happens in “reversed order” of installation (which makes sense for a nested callback chain). This means first the route-specific plugins get applied then the global ones. Their result is cached, i.e. only the inner/wrapped function is executed from here on out.

Then for every request the apply()  method’s inner function is executed. This happens in the “original” order again.

Below you can see the code and example logs for two requests. You can also clone the Gist and do your own experiments.

Übergewicht senkt Demenzrisiko

Ein weiter Beweis dafür, dass der Verein zur Pflege des Wohlstandsbauches einen wichtigen Beitrag zur Volksgesundheit leistet. Wissenschaftler haben die Gesundheitsdaten von fast 2 Mio. Briten über 20 Jahre ausgewertet und kommen zum Ergebnis, dass Übergewicht das Demenzrisiko senkt.

Facebook Tracking People Who Have Opted Out of Tracking

Facebook specifically and individually tracks all people, even those who aren’t FB users. Using the opt-out mechanism you’re even worse off, since setting the opt-out cookie makes you uniquely identifiable (again).

During the opt-out process, Facebook sets a long-term identifying cookie and then uses this to track visits to pages that have a Facebook social widget. In other words: “for those individuals who are not being tracked by Facebook (e.g. non-users who have never visited a page on the domain, or Facebook users who clear their cookies after logging out from Facebook), using the ‘opt out’ mechanism proposed for the EU actually enables tracking by Facebook” (emphasis in original).

When you opt-out …

[…] Facebook promises to stop collecting browsing information, or use it only specifically for the purpose of showing advertisements.”

So, of what use is it then?!?

No, You Go First

Bruce Schneier talks about how security companies sat on knowledge and research data about military-grade Regin malware for at least six years. They only decided to share their knowledge because the Intercept was about to publish an article about it. Their arguments for why they withheld their knowledge until now range from “our customers asked us not to disclose what had been found in their networks” to “we didn’t want to interfere with NSA/GHCQ operations”. :/ It’s safe to say that they sit on a bunch more.