Monday, 3 November 2014

Always gamble on an empty stomach and other news and views for Monday 3 November

  • Always Gamble on an Empty Stomach: Hunger Is Associated with Advantageous Decision Making – “Three experimental studies examined the counterintuitive hypothesis that hunger improves strategic decision making, arguing that people in a hot state are better able to make favorable decisions involving uncertain outcomes. Studies 1 and 2 demonstrated that participants with more hunger or greater appetite made more advantageous choices in the Iowa Gambling Task compared to sated participants or participants with a smaller appetite. Study 3 revealed that hungry participants were better able to appreciate future big rewards in a delay discounting task; and that, in spite of their perception of increased rewarding value of both food and monetary objects, hungry participants were not more inclined to take risks to get the object of their desire. Together, these studies for the first time provide evidence that hot states improve decision making under uncertain conditions, challenging the conventional conception of the detrimental role of impulsivity in decision making.”
  • New battery aims to transform electric cars – “A new battery that promises to solve two of the biggest grumbles about electric cars – high prices and low driving ranges – is headed for shop floors in just over a year. The lithium battery, which experts say could be a game-changing “killer app” for the global car market, can triple the driving range of an electric vehicle and significantly lower its costs, say the US scientists who developed it.”
  • Brands of nonsense – John Quiggin writes: “Key branding efforts focus on intangibles. In this respect, university branding has been an embarrassing failure both by the industrial standards of the advertising sector and by the intellectual standards that universities are supposed to uphold. For example, virtually every Australian university has adopted (replacing the Latinate motto that used to adorn its crest) a branding slogan: “Know more. Do more.” “Where brilliant begins”. Good luck trying to match a particular slogan with its respective university. (Disclosure: I am, perhaps, bitter that my own proposed branding slogan—”UQ, a university not a brand”—did not find favor with my institution’s marketing department.) … The idea of universities as corporate owners of brands is directly at odds with what John Henry Newman called “the Idea of a University.” To be sure, that idea is the subject of contestation and debate, but in all its forms it embodies the ideal of advancing knowledge through free discussion rather than burnishing the image of a corporation. In the end, brands and universities belong to different worlds.”
  • Amid Record Waves of Refugees, Italy Finding Limits to Its Compassion – “Tattered migrants arriving from Africa bring harrowing tales of escape, and new challenges for Europe.”
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