Fairness in Break Ups: An Algorithm

5 Intriguing Things is a curated collection of links that help us think about the future. Today's edition is guest-edited by Virginia Hughes. Subscribe to the daily newsletter.

Editor's note: We have a guest editor! Meet Virginia Hughes, an excellent science writer who (mostly) covers genes, brains, and drugs. She's got a new weekly newsletter for great science writing called Gray Matters (sign up!). The links are hers. 

 

1. After a break-up, how do you fairly divvy up your stuff? Math!

"Ayers and Socha committed that in the event of a break-up, they would use a relatively new algorithm called Fair Buy-Sell to determine which of them would buy out the other’s share, and at what price. Fair Buy-Sell was devised in 2007 by Ring and Steven Brams, a professor of politics at New York University, and requires each partner to simultaneously propose a buyout price. If John proposes $110,000 and Jane proposes $100,000 then John, the higher bidder, will buy out Jane for $105,000. Unlike the shotgun clause, this method is equitable: Each participant ends up with something—either money or the business—at a price that is better than his or her offer. 'Both participants always get a solution that’s better than what they proposed,' Ring says. And the business always goes to the partner who values it more."

 

2. Companies are making eggs without the chickens.

"While an egg farm uses large amounts of water and burns 39 calories of energy for every calorie of food produced, Tetrick says he can make plant-based versions on a fraction of the water and only two calories of energy per calorie of food — free of cholesterol, saturated fat, allergens, avian flu, and cruelty to animals. For half the price of an egg."

 

3. Multisensory tasting: How color and sound change the way we judge wine.

"Spence has done plenty of research to show that red makes things taste sweeter and green makes them more sour, but I asked him why that was the case. He said that in this experiment it was likely some kind of 'non-verbal priming effect.' In the same way that if you’re told a wine tastes of cherry or chocolate or whatever you’re more likely to think you taste those ingredients, if you’re shown red you’re more likely to associate it with sweetness. 'Most people, when they think of sweet, they think of red as the first colour to come to mind,' said Spence. This perhaps goes back to the colours of nature: when fruits are green, they’re unripe and sour, and when they’re red, they’re ripe and juicy. 'Either we’ve learnt that or it’s innate—who knows which?' said Spence."

 

4. Grandma might not want a robot-caretaker.

"Though the older respondents believed they would be invincible in the face of the robot’s deleterious charms, they believe younger people would suffer at the hands of the bots. This belief actually might make the technology a less appealing tool on the whole. According to research on other third-person effects, the feeling usually results in avoidance of the material in question. This could obviously have significant implications for the impending roll-out of robot elder care."

 

5. How scientists measure "aggression" in studies of violent video games.

"Another task, called the 'hot sauce paradigm', measures aggression by having participants prepare a cup of chilli sauce for another (again, fictional) participant. The more hot sauce they put in the chilli, the more aggressive they are deemed to be, and some studies have shown that people who are asked to play violent video games beforehand use more hot sauce."

 

Today's 1957 American English Usage Tip

bestir is now always used reflexively (must bestir myself), & never, idiomatically, as an ordinary transitive verb; stirred should have been used in (WRONG) The example of the French in Morocco has bestirred Italy into activity in Africa.

  

Subscribe to 5 Intriguing Things (and Gray Matters)

The Robot’s Deleterious Charms

Presented by

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in Technology

Just In