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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Michael Phelps Tweets Apology After DUI Bust

Michael Phelps Tweets Apology After DUI Bust


Michael Phelps Tweets Apology After DUI Bust

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 01:45 PM PDT

Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps tweeted to his fans Tuesday afternoon after he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Maryland early Tuesday morning.

Phelps, who is the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, was caught driving 84 mph in a tunnel with a 45mph speed limit, Maryland police said. He allegedly crossed double lines in the tunnel, and failed multiple sobriety tests. Authorities told NBC he was cooperative throughout the process. Phelps had been charged with a DUI once before, in 2004, after he ran a stop sign.

The swimmer acknowledged Tuesday’s incident on Twitter, and apologized for letting fans down:

Phelps has 22 Olympic medals to his name, and famously won eight gold medals in eight events at the Beijing Games in 2008. He won four more gold medals at the London Games in 2012, but has not yet confirmed whether he will swim in the Rio Games in 2016.

Review: Men, Women & Children Shows How Sexting Is Ruining America

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 01:00 PM PDT

Adults may think back on the world a decade ago and sigh in nostalgia at its glorious innocence: no Facebook, no Twitter, no carpal tunnel syndrome from spilling every secret to countless online friends and potential predators. The children of those adults may shrug derisively and ask if their parents also miss the wonderful days before cars, phones and indoor plumbing. The luxuries of one generation are the necessities, the addictions of the next. Progress? An omen of the Apocalypse? You decide.

To judge from his new film Men, Women & Children, Jason Reitman expects the fire this time. And social media, which once meant talking and letter-writing, will provide the fuel for the final conflagration. Based on Chad Kultgen’s rather more explicit novel, this off-kilter ensemble dramedy is a plague movie, like Contagion or World War Z: everyone has the same disease but few realize it’s more than a harmless itch. The dread signs — how e-blather can fester into a metaphorical Ebola — are especially rampant among the students in a Texas high school. Some of their parents are infected, too.

Fifteen-year-old Chris Truby (Travis Tope), a connoisseur of online porn since he was 10, has graduated to images so violent and elaborate that he is incapable of sharing an ordinary sex act with a classmate. Allison Doss (Elena Kampouris), pursuing anorexia almost as a religious vocation, gets sideline cheers — “Pretty bitches never eat” — from other girls online with eating disorders. Tim Mooney (Ansel Elgort) has quit as the star of his school’s football team to spend obsessive hours each day in a Guild Wars gaming site. Hannah Clint (Olivia Crocicchia), aiming to translate her blond allure into stardom on a reality show, has posted naughty photos of herself on a “private” site approved by her mom Joan (Judy Greer). They should know that, in the age of an omniscient NSA and a transparent Cloud, nothing is private. Every intimacy is up for grabs.

In this virtual world, the young are the masters (and slaves); parents must learn from their children, or just log onto their kids’ computers. Chris’s dad Don (a paunchy, subdued Adam Sandler) is less appalled than aroused by what he finds there. He and his wife Helen (Rosemarie DeWitt) have fallen out of love and out of sex; they have to schedule it like a rare play date, and when Helen grudgingly notes, “O.K., but it’s gotta be quick,” Don assures her, “It will be.” Restlessness leads him to a call-girl site and her to a dating service. No points for guessing that the married philanderers end up at the same bar.

Another parent, the ramrod Patricia Beltmeyer (Jennifer Garner), has grown suspicious of her daughter Brandy (Kaitlyn Dever) and turned into the hall monitor of the girl’s texts and cell-hone calls. Need we add that Brandy is the movie’s one healthy teen, building a friendship with the disaffected Tim? If Patricia had been the mother of any of the other kids, her snooping might have saved souls. Here, it could end a life.

In his first three features — Thank You for Smoking, Juno and Up in the Air — Reitman proved himself an ace at serious observational comedy. He was too cool to push viewers toward or away from characters whose internal weirdness he figured would be evident to any attentive mind. Then something snapped. Young Adult went wayward as the sketch of a prom queen 20 years past her prime, and Labor Day illuminated a bondage fantasy with Nativity lighting. Here, Reitman enlisted as co-writer Erin Cressida Wilson, whose previous feature films (Secretary, Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus and Chloe) dealt with sexual kinks, to lend authority to a synoptic take on a society drenched in virtual venery.

Men, Women & Children attempts to achieve the tone of Reitman’s early films, pirouetting between behavioral levity and dark melodrama, yet it often falls flat. The director’s choice of Emma Thompson as the veddy English narrator of a very American story suggests that he sees Kurtgen’s novel as Jane Austen time-warped into the 21st century: a comedy of manners in an age of new norms. By citing and showing the Voyager’s interstellar mission, Thompson puts the compulsions of a few little Texans into macroscopic long shot — from outer space to cyberspace. But the movie proceeds as if the NASA craft had returned to a slightly different Earth, where people who share nothing but a zip code are bent, or crippled, in various ways by the same malady.

The dozen or so main actors do their best to breathe nuance into characters that are standing in for social statements. Sandler and DeWitt make a perfectly mismatched couple on a journey that long ago took a wrong turn. (They remember 9/11/01 fondly, since it was practically the last time they had ecstatic unplanned sex.) Elgort, the hunky cancer-teen from The Fault in Our Stars, and Dever, of Short Term 12, provide the respite of normal adolescence in this lineup of teen clichés. Garner tries heroically to make sense of a modern book-burner — daughter’s text-deleter — by painting her face with a wounded smile to hint at the sad past that may have steered Patricia toward her current malevolence. But actors shouldn’t have to do all the work, or to work against the script, in trying to bring their characters to plausible life.

Reitman’s long view, which he may mean to be the diagnosis of a sympathetic doctor, plays like a radio preacher’s rant against sins of the flesh. And for all the snazzy effects of kids walking through a mall or a school corridor madly texting — their messages clogging the film frame like dialogue balloons in a Mad magazine splash panel — this film is defiantly old-fashioned, possibly Luddite, in condemning the appetites nourished by modern technology.

The way we remember it, kids of an earlier era hid salacious stuff from their folks, if only under the mattress (the first place a parent would look). They tortured themselves with diet regimens and sought pleasure in video games, board games or Strip Hearts. Spouses found ways to stray. The world was awash in sexuality, always has been, yet somehow most of us survived.

Men, Women & Children doesn’t clarify complex issues so much as it simplifies and very nearly sullies them. You can sit through the movie dutifully noting its lessons, but at the end, you might want to clear your history.

Holder Says Apple’s iPhone Encryption Will Thwart Child Abuse Investigations

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 12:48 PM PDT

Attorney General Eric Holder ripped technology companies Tuesday that he said are “thwarting” the federal government’s ability to stop child abuse, just days after Apple and Google announced new security measures that would prevent the companies from giving authorities data on users.

“We would hope that technology companies would be willing to work with us to ensure that law enforcement retains the ability, with court-authorization, to lawfully obtain information in the course of an investigation, such as catching kidnappers and sexual predators,” Holder said at a Washington conference of the Global Alliance Conference Against Child Abuse Online. “It is fully possible to permit law enforcement to do its job while still adequately protecting personal privacy. When a child is in danger, law enforcement needs to be able to take every legally available step to quickly find and protect the child and to stop those that abuse children. It is worrisome to see companies thwarting our ability to do so.”

Apple has recently drawn the ire of some law enforcement figures, including FBI Director James Comey, for making it harder for the federal government to access users’ personal information—including emails, photos and contacts—on its new iOS 8 mobile operating system. Apple says it’s “not technically feasible” for the company to respond to government warrants, as it now can’t bypass users’ passcode to access data (though experts say the NSA can still get around this). Earlier this month, Google announced that its next generation Android operating system will have encryption on by default for the first time.

Read Holder’s remarks here.

Bobby Jindal to Appear With Hobby Lobby Family

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 12:43 PM PDT

Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will appear with the billionaire family behind the Hobby Lobby arts and crafts chain Wednesday, as the Republican lawmaker continues to lay the groundwork for a likely presidential bid in 2016.

According to an aide, Jindal will appear at an event at the Hobby Lobby campus in Oklahoma City Wednesday evening with the Green family in support of the Museum of the Bible, a museum backed by the family planned for Washington, D.C.

The Greens’ retail chain became a nationwide household name earlier this year when the Supreme Court ruled that it could not be required to pay for contraceptive coverage as part of employees’ health insurance plans because it would violate their Christian beliefs.

Jindal was among the most vocal Republicans in support of Hobby Lobby before the Supreme Court and one of the loudest celebrants after the decision was handed down. In a commencement address at Liberty University in May, Jindal highlighted the Green family’s fight against the Obama administration, calling the company “nothing less than an all-American success story.”

The event will provide Jindal an opportunity to highlight one of his signature issues, religious freedom, while placing him next to a potential deep-pocketed donor for his likely presidential campaign. In a February address at the Reagan Library in California, Jindal held up the Hobby Lobby as an example of what he terms the Obama administration’s “silent war against religious liberty.”

The conservative GOP lawmaker also supports the efforts by some in the Republican Party to advocate for greater availability of birth control over the counter at pharmacies, instead of the requirement for a doctor’s prescription.

Meet the Woman Who Could Keep Control of the Senate Up for Grabs

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 12:41 PM PDT

There is a nightmare scenario that keeps most politicos working on both sides of the aisle up at night: after the midterm elections, and even through the anticipated Dec. 6 run off in Louisiana, control of the Senate likely won’t be decided until Jan. 6, the date a run-off in Georgia will take place, if any one candidate fails to muster 50% of the vote. It is this scenario that Libertarian candidate Amanda Swafford, who regularly pulls 5% in most polls, relishes.

“In that situation, if we did force a runoff,” Swafford tells TIME, “I’d say that’s a clear mandate from people of Georgia for a small government and less involvement in people’s lives.”

Small government has hardly been a theme in the race between Republican businessman David Perdue and Democrat Michelle Nunn, who are competing to fill retiring Republican Saxby Chambliss’s seat. The two have spent millions firing at one another: Perdue accused Nunn of funding terrorists through her work with the Bush Family Foundation and Nunn said Perdue lost jobs and discriminated against female workers as CEO of Dollar General.

“If that nastiness continues in a run-off, the folks responsible for the run-off will probably just stay home,” Swafford says of her supporters. “And they will have to find new voters in order to win and they will be exceptionally hard.”

Perdue now leads Nunn by 3.4 points, according to an average of Georgia polls by Real Clear Politics. But Perdue has only broken the 50% threshold in one out five of the most recent polls, and he’ll need at least 50% of the vote to avoid a run-off. Swafford’s “mere presence on the ballot creates the potential for a run-off,” says Jennifer Duffy, who follows Senate races at the non-partisan Cook Political Report. “Overall, Libertarians tend to draw more from Republicans, so she is a bigger problem for Perdue than Nunn.”

But Swafford says that may not be the case with her voters, who she maintains are open to whomever makes the best case. Swafford isn’t even sure she’d caucus with the Republicans if, by some miracle, she were to be elected.

And so an unlikely figure could impact national politics. As of the end of June, Swafford had raised $7,683 for her senatorial bid. The single 37-year-old has kept her day job as a paralegal as she has mounted her campaign. “It makes for a lot of late nights and early mornings,” she says, “but I believe electing someone to the Senate like me, who knows what it’s like to work a job, have a boss, and make ends meet on a regular budget, would bring a valuable perspective to the Senate.”

Swafford is pro-choice and for the legalization of marijuana. And, like most Libertarians, she’s deeply suspicious of President Obama’s engagement abroad, particularly in Syria and Iraq. “Last year, the President wanted to bomb Syria for their chemical weapons, now he’s asking for their help to defeat another enemy,” she says. (Obama hasn’t actually asked Syrian strongman Bashar Assad for help in defeating ISIS.)

Swafford benefits from Georgia’s strong Libertarian history. It is home to 2008 Libertarian Presidential candidate Bob Barr, a former Republican congressman. And that same year, John Monds made history by becoming the first Libertarian candidate to draw more than a million votes—statewide or nationally—though he still lost his attempt to become Georgia Public Service Commissioner. Four years later, Libertarian David Staples made another bid for the same office and again broke the one million-vote threshold, though again fell short. But, unlike Swafford, both of those men faced only one rival from a major party, not two.

Swafford says she had no choice but to run statewide: Georgia’s ballot access laws for third party candidates for state races are some of the most restrictive in the country. “So, it’s either run for city council, or statewide,” says Swafford, who was elected to her hometown city council in Fiery Branch in 2010. If they lose this Senate seat, Georgia Republicans who control the state legislature might consider rethinking those restrictive third party laws. Because if politicians like Swafford can’t clinch state office, spoiling a statewide race is the second best—and clearly effective—option to get their ideas out. It turns out, some politics might be better off local.

Ebola Outbreak Contained in Nigeria, Officials Say

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 12:26 PM PDT

The Ebola outbreak in Nigeria appears to be contained, health officials said Tuesday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that due to a very rapid local and international response, the country may have fully contained its Ebola outbreak. The 21-day incubation period for the disease has passed.

Nigeria saw its first confirmed case of Ebola on July 17 when a Liberian-American man collapsed at a Nigerian airport after traveling from Liberia. The man infected the health workers who treated him, and the country experienced a total of 19 cases and seven deaths. Unlike in other countries like Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, where it took months for Ebola to be recognized, the Nigerian government quickly declared a public health emergency when it discovered the traveler may have come in contact with 72 people at the airport and hospital.

The Nigerian government coordinated the outbreak response with state and national networks and rolled out a massive public education initiative, with trained “social mobilizers” who were deployed to do house to house visits in areas where an Ebola contact resided. Nigeria also recently worked to eradicate polio, and the country tapped into those strategies as part of their response.

Still, if there’s a lesson to be learned from Ebola thus far, it’s not to overestimate containment. As TIME reported last week, there was a period in April when it appeared Guinea’s outbreak had subsided. In actuality, there were several unreported and hidden cases that re-ignited the outbreak with an even greater wave of infections.

Watch Pee-wee Herman and Karen Gillan in TV On the Radio’s New Video

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 12:13 PM PDT

TV On the Radio have released the video for the single “Happy Idiot” off of their forthcoming Seeds album, and it’s a winner. The clip stars Pee-wee Herman (also known as actor Paul Reubens) as a racecar driver losing his mind in the heat, seeing visions of Doctor Who and Guardians of the Galaxy star Karen Gillan.

As TV On the Radio frontman Tunde Adebimpe explained in a statement, “I had this idea for the video that I thought would never happen, of Paul Reubens as a race car driver who slowly loses his mind. I took it to Funny or Die and they said, ‘That’s great, let’s go for that.’”

Luckily, Reubens was a longtime fan of the band and agreed to star in the video. In the clip, directed by Danny Jelinek and written by Jake Fogelnest, Gillan appears as a cheerleader, chef and balloon-carrying vision in black who may or may not be a hallucination. “Karen Gillan was absolutely great,” said Adebimpe. “We were really psyched to work with her, because she’s basically sci-fi royalty, and a great person. Full on geek fest in the desert.”

“It was really fun to do,” Adebimpe said. “I love how it came out. I think our fans will like it. I hope so. The cool ones will anyway. The rest can suck it.”

TV On the Radio’s new album, Seeds, is due out November 18th via Harvest Records. In support of the album, the band is heading out on tour mid-October. Check dates here.

Love, Not Fear, Will Help Us Fix Climate Change

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 12:13 PM PDT

Superman’s father, Jor-El, was a leading scientist who tried for years to warn his fellow inhabitants that their home planet, Krypton, was about to explode. But they didn’t take the necessary actions until it was too late.

Something similar is happening with global warming on our planet. In some ways, Al Gore is our Jor-El. (Gore-Al?)

At first, people were captivated by his warning about warming. An Inconvenient Truth won an Oscar, Gore won a Nobel Peace Prize, and global warming was on everyone’s mind.

But not for long. It’s been eight years since the documentary came out, but despite accumulating scientific evidence, not much has happened to address global warming, until recently.

The United Nations Climate Summit last week, with more than 120 world leaders, galvanized everyone’s attention again. More than 400,000 people from around the world marched through the streets of Manhattan to raise awareness of global warming.

Why did it take eight years to bring global warming to our awareness again?

Because fear is not a sustainable motivator—in health or in politics. In the short run, fear is powerful, it gets our attention. It activates a primal part of our brain, the amygdyla, that helps us survive a short-term crisis (e.g., the proverbial saber-toothed tiger jumping out in front of us).

In the long run, though, it’s too scary to think that something really bad may happen to us, so we usually don’t, at least not for long. The human mortality rate is still 100%—one per person—but it’s not something most people think about very often. Until something bad happens, but, even then, only for a short while.

Something similar happens on an individual level when a person has a heart attack. The physician has their full attention, and they’ll do just about anything the doctor tells them they need to do—but usually only for about four to six weeks or so. Then, they often go back to their old ways. They tune out.

Preventive medicine is often fear-based. “Don’t smoke that cigarette, you’ll get lung cancer!” “Put down that cheeseburger, you’ll get a heart attack!” And so on. That doesn’t work for very long.

What enables people to make sustainable changes in their lives, both personal and planetary, is not fear of dying; it’s joy of living.

Love is more powerful than fear as a sustainable motivator. We will address tough challenges to help our loved ones that we might not do just for ourselves.

One of the most powerful moments at the recent UN climate summit this week was when Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner from the Marshall Islands received a standing ovation after she recited a poem written for her seven month old daughter, which included:

We are spreading the word

and there are thousands out on the street

marching with signs

hand in hand

chanting for change NOW

they’re marching for you, baby

they’re marching for us

because we deserve to do more than just

survive

we deserve

to thrive…

so just close those eyes, baby

and sleep in peace

because we won’t let you down—

you’ll see.

Recently, I gave the matriculation lecture at the Army War College in Carlisle, PA, to almost 400 future generals from 67 countries representing all four branches of the U.S. military. Since the title of my talk was “The Power of Love,” I asked former four-star General Stan McChrystal to make a short video to provide much more street cred than I would have at a military gathering on why love is more powerful than fear.

“If you think about why people do extraordinary things—why on the battlefield soldiers will sacrifice themselves, why they will make extraordinary efforts not to let down their comrade on the left or right—it’s got nothing to do with fear or coercion from their corporate or sergeant or officers.

“It has everything to do with commitment and wanting to have a relationship with people and with an organization in which they feel like they’ve given part of themselves so that they can, in fact, feel like they are a very important part of that team.

“No matter how much fear we create in subordinates, that’s just not strong enough to force them into actions where they’re more scared of something else, particularly a situation like combat when the chances of being killed or injured by the enemy is great—any fear they have of their chain of command is likely to be very insignificant.

“So, when we talk about the power of love, I think it’s the most powerful force that moves soldiers. You’re not going to stand in the sports bar and talk about how much you love each other, ‘I love you man!’ But when people put on the equipment, when they really have got to do difficult things, that’s what makes people operate, that’s what makes people give, that’s what makes organizations strong.”

If it’s meaningful, then it’s sustainable. In 2010, I consulted with President Clinton after his bypass grafts occluded and encouraged him to make healthy lifestyle changes including a whole foods plant-based diet low in refined carbohydrates. He has been doing so since then, lost more than 20 pounds, and looks and feels great. He’s inspired many others. Although I’ve been consulting with him since 1993, he has talked publicly about why he made these more intensive changes in diet: because he wanted to live long enough to walk his daughter down the aisle and to live to be a grandfather. Those meaningful goals make these dietary changes sustainable.

Almost 70 years ago, Viktor Frankl’s classic book, Man’s Search for Meaning, described what he learned as a concentration camp survivor in World War II. He found that prisoners who were able to find meaning in the midst of extreme suffering—e.g., “I have to survive to be reunited with my loved ones; to bear witness; to complete my life’s work”—were much more likely to survive, even if they were not physically as strong as those without meaningful goals.

If it feels good, then it’s sustainable. There’s no point in giving up something you enjoy unless you get something back that’s even better—and quickly.

The biological mechanisms that control our health and well-being are much more dynamic—for better and for worse—than most people realize. So, when people eat well, move more, love more, stress less, and quit smoking, they generally feel so much better, so quickly, it reframes the reason for making these changes from fear of dying (which is not sustainable) to joy of living (which is).

For example, nicotine in tobacco makes your arteries constrict. So does chronic stress. In your brain, that can cause a stroke; in your heart, a heart attack. But in your face, it makes you wrinkle and age faster. Supermodel Christy Turlington has a wonderful web site, www.smokingisugly.com.

And in your sexual organs, nicotine is the anti-Viagra. Instead of dilating blood flow to your sexual organs, it constricts and reduces it. Men who smoke are 200% more likely to have erectile dysfunction than those who don’t. Fortunately, quitting quickly reverses impotence.

Telling someone that quitting smoking makes you sexy and beautiful is much more motivating and sustainable than telling them that it causes heart attacks and strokes. That puts it into present tense—what is happening, making it much more motivating—rather than fear of what might happen later.

One of the reasons I’m excited by what visionary Elon Musk has done with the Tesla is to show that you can reduce global warming and drive a powerful, fun car. A cool car helps make a cooler planet.

If we are going to find sustainable ways of dealing with global warming, we have to base it on love and feeling good, not fear and loathing. If it’s fun, then it’s sustainable.

Dean Ornish is Founder and President of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF. He is the author of The Spectrum and five other bestsellers. He was the first to prove that comprehensive lifestyle changes may reverse heart disease and other chronic illnesses without drugs or surgery and may even begin to reverse aging at a cellular level.

Reddit Gets $50 Million in Venture Funding

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 12:10 PM PDT

The popular online message board Reddit has secured $50 million in new venture capital funding, the company announced Tuesday. The website known as the “front page of the Internet” is getting a cash infusion from a long list of investors that includes Y Combinator president Sam Altman, Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz and the rapper Snoop Dogg.

Reddit is well-known for its primitive website design and laissez-faire attitude toward moderating its users. The company is a former subsidiary of Conde Nast that was later spun off into an independent company. CEO Yishan Wong said the new funding will help Reddit grow its relatively small staff of 60 and improve its app and ad products. “An investment like this doesn’t mean we’re rich or successful,” Wong said in a blog post. “Money can become worthless very quickly, value is something that is built over time through hard work.”

Reddit faced criticism earlier this month for allowing users to link to a vast number of stolen nude photos of celebrities. The startup defended the right of its users to post controversial content but ended up banning the page with the nude photos because some of the images were of minors.

With more money may come more pressure for Reddit to both generate profits and conform to the standards of traditional media companies. For now, though, Reddit is still playing by its own rules. The startup, which acknowledged it was still unprofitable earlier this year, has agreed to give 10% of its 2014 ad revenue to charity. The company promised Tuesday that investors involved in the latest funding round will give 10% of their shares back to the Reddit community (details on the practicality and legality of this are still to come, Wong said).

Reddit is no longer a scrappy startup underdog. It’s a company with a valuation pegged as high as a half-a-billion dollars that has hosted a conversation with the President, among other leaders. But Wong remains confident that backers will let the newly-rich Reddit keep being weird.

“We have been entrusted with capital by patient, long-term investors who support our views on difficult issues,” he said. “We believe in free speech, self-governing communities, and the power of voting. We find that this freedom yields more good than bad, and we have chosen investors based on this belief.”

Science Explains Why Men Get Wasted Together

Posted: 30 Sep 2014 12:09 PM PDT

Male bonding over booze is a ritual as old as booze but modern science may have finally shed some light on why getting sloshed with your mates can seem like a particularly male pursuit.

Smiles are contagious in a group of men sitting around drinking alcohol, according to a study announced Tuesday in the journal Clinical Psychological Science. This suggests that booze serves as a social lubricant for men, making them more sensitive to social behaviors, like smiling, and freeing them to connect with one another in a way that a soda can’t.

Lest that strike you as laughably obvious, consider this: the effect does not hold if there are any women in the group, according to the study authors.

Researchers divided 720 “healthy social drinkers” — half men, half women, all ages 21 to 28 — into three groups. Each group received either an alcoholic drink (vodka cranberry, regrettably for any lab rats with refined taste, but so it goes), a placebo or a non-alcoholic drink. They found that, among men, smiles — and associated increases in positive mood and social bonding — tend to catch on, leaping from face to face, as it were, but only in exclusively male groups.

“Many men report that the majority of their social support and social bonding time occurs within the context of alcohol consumption,” said lead researcher Catharine Fairbairn. “We wanted to explore the possibility that social alcohol consumption was more rewarding to men than to women — the idea that alcohol might actually ‘lubricate’ social interaction to a greater extent among men.”

More importantly — get ready to never hear the end of this one, boyfriends and husbands of the world — researchers note that genuine smiles are perfectly contagious among sober women, just not sober men. A cold one merely evens the score for men, allowing them to catch smiles from each other, so long as there are no women present.

The authors don’t posit a guess as to why the presence of a woman keeps drunk men from catching smiles from one another, except to say that booze seems to disrupt “processes that would normally prevent them from responding to another person’s smile.”

Nice work, dudes. There’s nothing a girl likes more than an unsmiling humorless dolt.

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