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Category: Whatnot (page 1 of 46)

Self-centred men “are much more likely to own a high-status car such as an Audi, BMW or Mercedes”

A new scientific research published paper has stated that self-centred men “are much more likely to own a high-status car such as an Audi, BMW or Mercedes.”

Those are also the same personality traits that explain why they can be such aggressive and unethical drivers.

The paper, entitled “Not only assholes drive Mercedes. Besides disagreeable men, also conscientious people drive high‐status cars,” was published in the International Journal of Psychology by the Swedish School of Social Science at the University of Helsinki.

Jan-Erik Lönnqvist, professor of social psychology, has concluded that owners of German luxury cars are more likely to drive recklessly and ignore traffic laws.

“I had noticed that the ones most likely to run a red light, not give way to pedestrians, and generally drive recklessly and too fast were often the ones driving fast German cars.”

Lönnqvist authored the report after studying 1,892 car owners to measure openness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, and to determine whether wealth and personality traits affect driving habits.

His conclusions »

Self-centred men who are argumentative, stubborn, disagreeable and unempathetic are much more likely to own a high-status car such as an Audi, BMW, or Mercedes. … These personality traits explain the desire to own high-status products, and the same traits also explain why such people break traffic regulations more frequently than others.

Yle News »

However, Lönnqvist said he was surprised his research also found that other types of personalities are drawn to high-end vehicles – the conscientious. He described this group as talented, reliable, well-organised people who are thriving at their careers.

“The link is presumably explained by the importance they attach to high quality. All makes of car have a specific image, and by driving a reliable car they are sending out the message that they themselves are reliable,” the professor reasoned.

Another notable finding in the study was that the conscientious personality type who drove top shelf vehicles included both men and women, while the drivers of fancy cars who had self-centred personality traits were exclusively male.

More » Press ReleaseToronto Star (paywall), FastCompany

How to make the perfect cup of coffee – with a little help from science

Jamie Foster, University of Portsmouth and Christopher H. Hendon, University of Oregon

Have you ever wondered why the coffee you make at home tastes different from the drinks you buy in cafes? Or why coffee from the same place can taste different throughout the week? You may be quick to blame the barista for changing the recipe, but our recent study, published in Matter, suggests that this variation is down to an inherent inconsistency of common brewing methods.

Luckily, we believe to have discovered a path to making a great espresso – to your taste – every time.

The quality of a cup of coffee depends on the coffee’s variety and origin, its roast and the water chemistry. The brewing method also plays a critical role in determining the overall flavor. Espresso is certainly the most complicated brewing method because it requires precise measurements. However, espresso also happens to underpin all coffee menus, as it is the basis for lattes and cappuccinos. Continue reading

100 seconds to midnight » Doomsday Clock moves closest ever to midnight

I long been fascinated, and just a little terrified, by the Doomsday Clock that is updated every January by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

It had last been set at two minutes to midnight. However, the symbolic countdown that represents the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe was reduced by 20 seconds, and now sits at 100 seconds to midnight thanks to the “existential danger” from nuclear war and climate change.

Civilization-ending nuclear war—whether started by design, blunder, or simple miscommunication—is a genuine possibility. Climate change that could devastate the planet is undeniably happening. And for a variety of reasons that include a corrupted and manipulated media environment, democratic governments and other institutions that should be working to address these threats have failed to rise to the challenge.

The Doomsday Clock, created at the University of Chicago by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in 1947, is intended to metaphorically alert mankind to our march toward nuclear Armageddon.

Originally set at seven minutes to midnight, it retreated as far away as 17 minutes from global catastrophe following the signing of the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the US and the Soviet Union along with the break-up of the Soviet Union. It had reached just two minutes to midnight in 1953 at the height of the Cold War.

“The former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, said »

We are 100 seconds from midnight and the planet needs to wake up.

In a statement on the change, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists President and CEO Rachel Bronson said:

As far as the Bulletin and the Doomsday Clock are concerned, the world has entered into the realm of the two-minute warning, a period when danger is high and the margin for error low. The moment demands attention and new, creative responses. If decision makers continue to fail to act—pretending that being inside two minutes is no more urgent than the preceding period—citizens around the world should rightfully echo the words of climate activist Greta Thunberg and ask: “How dare you?”

More » Wikipedia, Ars Technica, BBC

Canada ranked 2nd best country in the world

Canada has been ranked as the second best country globally, according to the 2020 Best Countries report by US News & World Report.

This year’s rankings are:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Canada
  3. Japan
  4. Germany
  5. Australia
  6. United Kingdom
  7. United States
  8. Sweden
  9. Netherlands
  10. Norway
  11. New Zealand
  12. France
  13. Denmark
  14. Finland
  15. China
  16. Singapore
  17. Italy
  18. Austria
  19. Spain
  20. South Korea

Canada climbed one spot from 2019’s ranking, where we were ranked third behind Switzerland and Japan.

Switzerland has held the first place in the annual ranking for fourth consecutive year.

Read the whole US News & World Report.

Ukraine International Airline jet crashes killing 176, including 82 Iranians and 63 Canadians

Another Boeing 737 jetliner crashes. This one only 3 years old.

Ukranian owned. American built. Departing from Tehran, Iran. Headed for Kyiv. No Russians or Americans on board.


Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 to Kyiv went down just minutes after taking off from Tehran’s airport at 06:12 local time (02:42 GMT).

The majority of passengers were from Iran and Canada.

Ukraine’s Tehran embassy initially blamed engine failure but later removed the statement.

It said any comment regarding the cause of Wednesday’s accident prior to a commission’s inquiry was not official.


Among the victims were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians including all nine crew, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Britons and three Germans, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said. Fifteen of the dead were children.

In a press conference later in the day, Prime Minister Trudeau revealed that 138 passengers on Flight PS752 from Tehran to Kyiv were connecting to Canada.

More » CBCThe Guardian, ReutersAssociated Press

Number of Canadians banned from entering USA has almost doubled

The number of Canadians who have been restricted from entering the U.S.A. has has almost doubled, according to new data.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection offered no explanation for the surge of 5-year bans and told CBC News there have been no recent policy changes.

Sophia Harris, writing for CBC News »

Between October 2018 and September 2019, U.S. border officers issued expedited removals — which “generally” result in a minimum five-year ban — to 616 travellers attempting to enter the U.S. by land from Canada. That’s an almost 100 per cent increase compared with 312 in the previous 12-month period. The statistics were provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The spike in expedited removals — which are issued without a hearing — comes as no surprise to some immigration lawyers, who say that in their experience, suspect cases that used to result in a simple denied entry can now lead to a five-year ban.

“If they just think you’re being sneaky, that’s all it takes,” said Vancouver-based immigration lawyer Andrew Hayes. “The benefit of the doubt is not being afforded to people.”

Read the whole article at CBC News »

Angus Reid poll » 68 percent of Canadians would support electoral reform

Levon Sevunts »

Seven-in-ten (69 per cent) Canadians who voted for the CPC in October say they would change the electoral system, compared to just 28 per cent of Tory supporters who supported the idea in 2016.

There is an even higher level of support for the electoral system reform among left-of-centre voters.

Eighty-six per cent of New Democratic Party voters and 83 per cent of Green Party supporters want to change the electoral system.

Fifty-five per cent of Liberal voters also support the idea.

“Increasing approval across all parties has transformed this – at least for now – from a divisive to a consensus issue,” said Shachi Kurl, executive director of the institute.

Read the whole article at RCI »


Migrating Russian eagles run up huge SMS data roaming charges


Russian scientists tracking migrating eagles ran out of money after some of the birds flew to Iran and Pakistan and their SMS transmitters drew huge data roaming charges.


The SMS messages deliver the birds’ coordinates as they migrate, and the team then use satellite photos to see if the birds have reached safe locations. Power lines are a particular threat for the steppe eagles, which are endangered in Russia and Central Asia.

They are currently tracking 13 eagles. The birds breed in Siberia and Kazakhstan, but fly to South Asia for the winter.

Read more ≫

Bloomberg » Trudeau has Canada’s economy humming

Matthew A. Winkler, writing in Bloomberg »

Unemployment fell faster than in any developed nation during the 40 months that ended in May, to its lowest level since 1976. Gross domestic product accelerated to a pace second only to the U.S. rate. The stock and bond markets proved world beaters with the best returns and most stability.


All of which helps make the economy stronger and technology the fastest-growing Canadian industry. While Canada’s GDP has grown 8% since 2015, its semiconductor business has expanded 11%; electronic products, 27%; computer systems 23%, and information technology, 36%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. During the decade preceding 2015, when Canadian GDP grew 16.3%, the semiconductor business declined 26%; electronic products fell 13%; computer systems increased 48%, and information technology declined 38%.


Trudeau became the first prime minister to bring gender parity to his cabinet, a policy that encouraged corporate Canada to follow suit by promoting women into management at the fastest rate in the G-7 during the past 40 months. The percentage of female executives among the 242 companies in the Toronto Stock Exchange Composite Index increased 13.5% to 15.4%, an advance that beat Germany (1.8%), the U.S. (1.7%) and Japan (0.3%), according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Read the whole article at Bloomberg »

Canada’s economy is humming

Matthew A. Winkler, writing for Bloomberg (paywall) »

Unemployment fell faster than in any developed nation during the 40 months that ended in May, to its lowest level since 1976. Gross domestic product accelerated to a pace second only to the U.S. rate. The stock and bond markets proved world beaters with the best returns and most stability.

Behind the robust health are data showing Canada transitioning to a technology juggernaut from a country defined by its dependence on fossil fuels. While the government continues to subsidize coal, gas and oil, which account for 77% of the nation’s energy needs, the correlation between the price of oil and Canadian stocks has all but disappeared since Trudeau became prime minister, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The traditional interdependence of stocks and oil prevailed during the 10 years preceding his election.


The Canadian election on Monday may be too close to call. But no one can say Canada hasn’t changed for the better in the past four years.

Read the whole article at Bloomberg (paywall) »

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