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327286.  Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:18 pm Reply with quote

Not sure if this is at all useful or relevant but thought it was a fun story on faces and stereotyping in physiognomy.

Early on in the Nazi occupation of Prague, Rudolf Heydrich was taking some high-ranking officials on a tour of the city. On coming accross the State Opera House, Heydrich ordered that the statue of Felix Mendelsohn residing on the roof among other famed composers be pulled down due to Nazi views on Jews and the arts. Once Heydrich had left, some workers set to the task and mounted the roof only to find that they could not identify Mendelsohn's statue. As such they reasoned that the Jewish figure must be the one with the biggest nose and so inadvertently pulled down the statue of Richard Wagner.

I can't find any concrete original sources for this though I heard it in a history lecture at Oxford and it has also been cited in a travel article in the Guardian.

327313.  Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:53 pm Reply with quote

Nice, Arron, and just the kind of thing that Stephen likes to have in the notes.

And Egg - simply excellent. I suppose you'll do one for Alan? Picture researchers, we may need some mugshots like the ones above.

We're evidently using a medieval translation of Aristotle, which is good. Gives it a nice cranky feel, I think.

336895.  Thu May 15, 2008 6:50 am Reply with quote

Another strange delusion is somatoparaphrenia. A sufferer believes that a limb or one side of their body actually belongs to someone else.

Strangely enough, it is treated by squirting cold water into the patient's ear?!

341994.  Thu May 22, 2008 10:57 am Reply with quote

Things I read a week or two too late, number 4.

People such as air hostesses that give forced smiles all day are at risk of stress, depression and heart problems.

Zapf recommends that "professional smilers" take regular breaks to relax, rid themselves of aggression and recuperate from the effort of smiling.

Presumably on their breaks they should be scowling and being general grumps.,1518,553186,00.html

342848.  Fri May 23, 2008 8:14 am Reply with quote

That seems rather at odds with Flash's nugget in post 290401 that "people experienced the emotion associated with their expressions."

Perhaps the stewards/esses need to clench a pencil between their teeth.

342876.  Fri May 23, 2008 8:43 am Reply with quote

As Bob says, it’s interesting, because aren't we always being told that the act of smiling cheers you up - so that if you're depressed you should force yourself to smile, and the pretence becomes real?

345565.  Tue May 27, 2008 3:55 am Reply with quote

Here's a strange story (if true) of a man who wanted to draw the largest self-portrait in the world.

He sent a suitcase containing a GPS device, using DHL, and gave them exact directions to follow.

pic removed as it was stretching the page

My original skepticism turns out to be correct - this was a hoax

Last edited by eggshaped on Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:43 am; edited 3 times in total

345801.  Tue May 27, 2008 8:41 am Reply with quote

MatC wrote:
As Bob says, it’s interesting, because aren't we always being told that the act of smiling cheers you up - so that if you're depressed you should force yourself to smile, and the pretence becomes real?

I'm reading Malcolm Gladwell's book The Tipping Point, and that has some interesting stuff that seems relevant to this.

He references a study in which students were told they were testing out headphones to see if the headphones were affected by head movements. They were asked to listen to songs by Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles and then to a radio editorial that argued for an increase in student tuition fees at their university from $587 to $750 while doing this. A third of the group were asked to keep their heads still as a control, a third to nod their heads up and down, and a third to shake their heads from side to side. Afterwards they were given a questionnaire that slipped in, among other questions to do with the headphones and the music, the question 'What do you feel would be an appropriate dollar amount for undergraduate tuition for a year?'

The average tuition fee guessed appropriate by students who kept their heads was $582, or more or less what they were paying. Those who shook their heads wanted tuition to fall to an average of $467, and those who nodded their heads wanted the tuition to rise to an average of $646.

349071.  Sat May 31, 2008 10:29 am Reply with quote

There is a prototype system in planes that may train cameras on each passenger
that can automatically detect terrorists or air-ragers by tracking their facial expressions.

more here

350319.  Mon Jun 02, 2008 4:39 am Reply with quote

It looks for running in the cabin, standing near the cockpit for long periods of time, and other predetermined indicators that suggest a developing threat

"Predetermined indicators" like trying to set fire to your shoe, presumably.

Other behaviours could include a person nervously touching their face, or sweating excessively.

Yeah, 'cos anyone acting nervously on a plane must be a terrorist, right?

The two things you need to remember about facial recognition software are:

1) It's always crap


2) It's always massively over-hyped by the people who make it.

As Mohan Trivedi points out at the end of that article, it's still got a long way to go.

350522.  Mon Jun 02, 2008 8:43 am Reply with quote

Egg - did you get Aristotle's version of Alan? I'd like to read that.

350530.  Mon Jun 02, 2008 8:50 am Reply with quote

The notes for the physiognomy question are here this is all I wrote about Alan:

The earliest-known systematic treatise on physiognomy is attributed to Aristotle. If he saw Alan, he might comment that curly hair signifies someone who is “dull of apprehension, soon angry, and given to lying and mischief.”, he may also point out that the distance between his eyebrows points to someone who is “hard-hearted, envious, close and cunning, and addicted to cruelty more than love,” but would notice that his thin, well-coloured lips pointed to someone “good humoured in all things, and more easily to be persuaded to good than evil.”

The question went well in the end, but at one stage it looked like the celebs were getting a bit pissed off with being insulted! I'm thinking of doing more for some other panellists for the annual - but maybe something more general would be better - like a "pysiognomy at home" feature, where you can amaze your friends by insulting their facial features....

356603.  Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:45 am Reply with quote

Blast. This may have been useful for Ronnie Ancona's show - especially as we had a Q about babies.

Swiss child psychologist Jean Piaget famously posited that infants could not imitate others until they were 8 to 12 months of age. However it was shown in 1977 that they do so at only a couple of weeks of age.

Not all that interesting, but it would have made a good note.

361621.  Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:44 am Reply with quote

When you make a scared face, you breathe in more air, see a wider field of view, and can visually track targets more quickly.

When you make a disgusted face, pinching your nose and squinting your eyes, you see and smell less.

396905.  Sun Aug 24, 2008 5:17 am Reply with quote

(For Canadian ice hockey players at least) people with rounder faces are more aggressive.



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