Discovered: Greenland's losing more ice than ever before, pointy eyebrows really are evil, computers can tell when a smile isn't genuine, and politics has lowered Scottish life expectancy
- Greenland's losing ice faster than ever before. Just another sad stat for Greenland, which we've heard before has begun melting away. The latest bad news for the icy-scape: Compared to the last fifty years, Greenland has seen unusual melting in the last 10 years. Here's how bad it is: "The Greenland ice sheet continues to lose mass and thus contributes at about 0.7 millimeters per year to the currently observed sea level change of about 3 mm per year. This trend increases each year by a further 0.07 millimeters per year," explains the research. The reason for the melting is a bit counterintuitive. "Such an increase in mass loss in the northwest after 2005 is partly due to heavy snowfall in the years before," explains researcher Ingo Sasgen. For our visual readers, another group of scientist discovered archival photos from 1930, like the one below, which when compared to pictures now show how much ice has melted. The researchers also learned something important from these photos. "From these images, we see that the mid-century cooling stabilized the glaciers," explains researcher Jason Box. "That suggests that if we want to stabilize today's accelerating ice loss, we need to see a little cooling of our own." So, Greenland, there may be hope for you yet. [Helmoltz Centre Potsdam, Ohio State]
- Pointy eyebrows really are evil. As far as shapes go, triangles are the most menacing. At least that's what science has found and frankly, we agree. "Our study shows that downward pointing triangles in particular convey negative emotions and we can pick up on them quickly and perceive them as a threat," explains researcher Dr. Derrick Watson. This all might have something to do with cartoons, science surmises. "If we look at cartoon characters, the classic baddie will often be drawn with the evil eyebrows that come to a downward point in the middle," explains researcher Dr. Elisabeth Blagrove. "This could go some way to explain why we associate the downward pointing triangle with negative faces. These shapes correspond with our own facial features and we are unconsciously making that link." she continues. It also explains why this >:( emoticon looks so vicious. [University of Warwick]
- Computers know when a smile isn't genuine. Science has found that we smile when we're frustrated. That's very sinister of you, humanity. "Just because a customer is smiling, that doesn't necessarily mean they're satisfied," explains researcher Ehsan Hoque. The same science has also found that a computer built at MITs media lab can tell the difference between a genuine toothy grin and the type that emerges while doing a terrible, awful task. "This is very exciting work in computational behavioral science that integrates psychology, computer vision, speech processing and machine learning to generate new knowledge … with clinical implications," adds researcher Jeffrey Cohn. We're not sure we could tell the difference, so, it's pretty creepy, if you think about it. [MIT Media Lab]
- Politics has reduced the life expectancy of Scots. Scots have the lowest life expectancy in all of Europe, and while many have blamed alcohol and smoking. "It is increasingly recognised that it is insufficient to try to explain health trends by simply looking at the proximal causes such as smoking or alcohol," explains researcher Dr Gerry McCartney. But science has now shifted that blame to politics. "Income inequality, welfare policy and unemployment do not occur by accident, but as a product of the politics pursued by the government of the day." he continues. [Public Health]
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.