Filmmaker, photo hound, author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Ransom was a daily contributor to mentalfloss.com for many, many years.
Live for the moment, or save for the future? According to a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, party while you still can: you'll be glad you did. Ran Kivetz, a professor of business at Columbia U, conducted a series of interviews to gain insight into a condition he calls "hyperopia," or excessive farsightedness.
One set of interviews asked people about a time in the previous week when they chose between work and pleasure, and had them rank how they now felt about that decision.... READ ON
This was in the Times a few weeks ago, and after it was printed ignited a minor firestorm of angry emails from consulates around the world to a meek statistician from Columbia University, Raymond Fisman. It all started when Fisman figured out a unique way to rank the relative corruption of governments. Until recently, stats had been generated via interviews with UN officials, which naturally tended to give subjective and biased answers. Fisman's method, on the other hand, relied on cold, hard facts:... READ ON
... except instead of making friends and scoring dates, Westerners with a little extra cash (and a philanthropic bent) meet needy third-worlders looking for low-interest microloans. Inspired by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning efforts of microfinance guru Mummamad Yunus, San Francisco-based nonprofit Kiva.org lists the profiles of small business owners in the developing world (or those who'd like to start a small business), and the profiles of donors who've lent money to them. It's a bit like child... READ ON
Fat, apparently, is in the eye of the beholder. If the beholder lives in the African nation of Mauritania, he's much more likely to believe that big is beautiful. In fact, fat women are so revered there that only a generation ago, a third of girls were force-fed, making it one of the few African countries where girls received more food than boys.
These days, the practice is in decline, but even now 1 in 10 girls are treated this way. Wife-fattening has its roots in the idea that fat equals wealthy,... READ ON
Those rumors floating around the office lately about your job being on the line? Worrisome, sure, but easy enough to dismiss -- after all, they're only rumors. But according to a new book, Rumor Psychology: Social and Organizational Approaches, you might want to start cleaning out your desk and scouring the want ads. Rumors -- especially workplace rumors -- tend to be more reliable than we think.
"In a workplace setting — what we call a stable organizational grapevine —... READ ON
"As the crow... READ ON
I have a bike and I love riding it. Trouble is, my bike hates me -- I don't have enough room for it in my tiny house, so it sits outside, and there's only so much that plastic covers and occasional coatings of WD-40 can do; as a result, it's getting kinda rusty. Enter the miracle cure for those who are both eco- and square-footage-conscious: folding bikes. The one pictured here is called the Locust, and even though it's just a prototype at this point, there are many cool folding bikes out there that you... READ ON
Call them "body modification artists." Building on yesterday's theme, which all started with us thinking too much about the body-modified Mayans depicted in Apocalypto, we wanted to get down to brass tacks (no, that's not a body mod) and meet a few celebrities. Of the body modification world, that is.
The... READ ON
Ever wonder where the term "Uncle Sam" came from? Well, we did -- yesterday, in fact -- over an early-morning bowl of Trader Joe's whole-wheat "o"-shaped cereal. (Nasty stuff, that.) After choking down our nourishment, we resolved to find out.
Interestingly enough, the most widely-accepted story of the term's origin (there are several) involves similarly inedible rations. During the War of 1812, a New York meat-packer named "Uncle" Samuel Wilson had a supply contract with the Army. He shipped the... READ ON
Seeing Apocalypto and its cast of dentally-bejeweled and cranially-reshaped Mayans got me thinking about body modification nowadays -- how far have we come since then? Perhaps that's a matter of opinion, so take a look at some of these contemporary body mods and tell us what you think.
Extraocular... READ ON
There are 293 ways to make change for a U.S. dollar.