Dishonesty and creativity can spur each other, says study

August 27th, 2014

A little dishonesty can, maybe, in the right hands, used judiciously, be a tool that brings creativity to your business, suggests a study by Professor Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School and Scott S. Wiltermuth of the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.

(The video you see here shows Duke University [and former MIT] professor Dan Ariely, who has conducted much related research with Gino. One of their joint papers is a corker called “The dark side of creativity: original thinkers can be more dishonest.” In this video, Ariely pokes into the happy troika of lies, cheating, and creativity.)

Gino and Wiltermuth did some little experiments…

—so begins another Improbable Innovation nugget, which appears in its entirety on BetaBoston.

Crying Infant Assuager (new patent)

August 27th, 2014


“Crying babies are the source of great frustration for adults, particularly for their parents. Because they cannot speak, infants cry as their primary means of communication and they do it with great frequency. Babies cry as a means to communicate that they are in pain, unhappy, tired, hungry or generally in need of attention. Sometimes babies cry to block external stimuli in an attempt to calm down. Regardless of the reason, crying is disturbing and gets the attention of those within earshot.”

explain Californian inventors Richard Shane and Chris Tacklind in their newly issued patent Infant Soothing Device Having an Actuator, which is, in a nutshell:

“A device to assuage distressed infants via an adjustable vertical motion combined with an adjustable orientation.”


“In an embodiment of the invention, the device utilizes springs to assist the motion generated by the motor, thereby reducing the power requirements of the motor. In other embodiments of the invention, different types of devices are used to enable the motion of the invention, such as air bellows, pneumatic pumps, hydraulic or magnetic devices and the like.”

Also see: (somewhat related) ‘I was not a lab rat’  by Deborah Skinner Buzan (daughter of Burrhus Frederic Skinner)

skinner_box“Call it what you will, the ‘aircrib’ ,’baby box’, ‘heir conditioner’ (not my father’s term) was a wonderful alternative to the cage-like cot.”

Urination, free will, and the John Templeton Foundation

August 26th, 2014

What kind of research is funded by the John Templeton Foundation, you might ask. This kind:

Embodied free will beliefs: Some effects of physical states on metaphysical opinions,” Michael R. Ent, Roy F. BaumeisterConsciousness and Cognition, vol. 27, July 2014, pp. 147–154. The authors write:

The present research suggests that…  The more intensely people felt… the urge to urinate, the less they believed in free will….

This work was supported by the John Templeton Foundation.

If your theory abut hurricane names stirs up a tempest, then…

August 26th, 2014

Here’s the newest effusion from the hurricane-names authors whose paper stirred up a tempest:

Reply to Christensen and Christensen and to Malter: Pitfalls of erroneous analyses of hurricanes names,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 111 no. 34, 2014,  E3499–E3500. They write:

“We are grateful for this opportunity to provide additional support for our conclusions about the role of name femininity in responses to storms.”

BONUS (possibly related, form 2005): Ig Nobel and Hurricane Katrina

Daniel Chastinet’s cornucopiac Ig Nobel drawings

August 26th, 2014

Brazilian artist Daniel Chastinet shows off, on the web, some of the drawings he did for a a Revista Super Interessante article, in 2013, about the “backstage” aspects of the Ig Nobel Prizes. Here’s one of those drawings, which packs in a remarkable number of aspects of the Ig Nobel ceremony and some of the winners: