Women and men who show skin in their profile photos will get more messages. This is not only conventional wisdom, but based on data culled by the staff at OK Cupid. Many of the findings run counter to the assumption.

Among the startling conclusions of their research:

  • The Myspace photo, where a girl takes a picture of herself with a camera photo, is surprisingly effective
  • So too are men’s six-pack shots and shots of women who prominently feature their cleavage
  • Flirty photos photos get less traction than fun flicks

All in all, it was quite remarkable to see how data upholds or refutes what we thought we knew about dating online. However, what is missing from this data is analysis and I thought I would step in to fill the void.

Firstly, women who show off skin and breasts are much more likely to receive responses. Why is this news to anyone. While we might be going to dating sites in order to find a suitable person to date, as animals we’re cued-in to respond to strong sexual signals. Marks of physical fitness, and traits likely to produce desirable qualities in offspring are going to be a natural winners. It’s not rocket science; it’s biology.

I was intrigued that photos without faces or partially obscured faces get a lot of responses as well. It seems counter-intuitive, but the article suggested that we like a little bit of mystery in our lives.

What was not a surprise:

  • Attractiveness decreases with age
  • Drinking pictures don’t excite
  • Guys’ travel photos are a turn-off

Again these points are simple. While we may be on the hunt for sexual partners, we don’t want anything to destroy the illusion that something more is possible. My guess is that when women see travel photos they think that the guy could split at any moment and leave them to take of the kid. Drinking shots give off the impression that if the guy were to stick around he would be a lousy father because he would always be drunk. And age, well, youth is sexy.

I commend OK Cupid for combing through their user data to come up with scientific methods for success. Any time science and sex meet, the results are always brain food.

bacon bra
It’s not just a salad garnish, or a burger topping any more. While bacon seems innocuous enough, its over-prescription in fast food is part of a caloric collaboration to keep Americans fat, lazy and stupid. Worse yet, a mutant porcine pathogen, not unlike the swine flu, has the potential to leap from factory-farm raised animals to humans and cause devastating harm.

According to David Kessler, author of The End of Overeating, a standard joke in the restaurant chain industry goes, “When in doubt, throw cheese and bacon on it.”

More than that, notes Kessler, the food industry uses science and marketing to try to make its products addictive. By manipulating what he calls the “three points of the compass” — fat, sugar and salt — the food industry creates highly processed foods that can hook us like drugs. In various countries and regions, the levels of fat, sugar and salt are even calibrated to different “bliss points” to maximize the consumers’ pleasure.

Read the whole story on Alternet here…

Sao Paulo, Brazil
Image by PaulSherman via Flickr

The law in Sao Paulo says that smoking is illegal. Tonight, at a “trash party,” I saw a whole lot of people giving the law a big, fat middle finger.
Normally, I might be a little disturbed, because smoking upsets my allergies, but not tonight. Things have been going very smoothly since  I got into town and I am experiencing life something like a local might. I even had a dream in Portuguese this afternoon during a succession of naps. It’s late as hell and I want to write more, but as things went, today was pretty tame. Could I call this wretchedly ugly city home one day? The jury is still out.

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It finally happened; I’ve become a real person and now it’s time to get to know myself. It’s not as though who I am comes as a complete surprise, but I have a golden moment to take stock of my life and look to the future, a future full of possibility and wonderment. I’ve earned degrees before, most recently this time last year, when I achieved a lifetime goal of completing a B.A. Today I wrapped up my M.S. and have gone to the next height of higher learning.

What makes this degree different is that I am done with school, though the quest for knowledge is a journey I wil pursue throughout my life. Never before have I had so much at stake nor so many chances to make something of myself. I’m thrilled to be able to start acting as an adult, though for the past many years I have been of age. I’m only now coming to grips with what this means. After I wake up, I will be a new person.

More monumental than the 10-year anniversary of the Columbine massacre is the first birthday of Flavorist. Huzzah. Looking back on this remarkable day one year ago, I thought to myself, “It’s time to get serious about this blogging thing.” Little did I know the 365 days I had in store.

In a matter of weeks I will graduate from Columbia with a hardwon M.S. in journalism with a digital media concentration. At this time last year, all I could think was that the degree was tantamount to a blogger certification. I’m very glad that I was wrong about that and a great many things.

I’m getting back into the blogging thing and I forgot how much I truly enjoyed it. I also have a new project going on over at TechTrotter, something I never could have imagined in my wildest dreams. My mission today was to research ticket prices for the excursion and I got as far as one-way flights to Buenos Aires before I was called away on other matters.  I suppose I could work on that before I nod off in a few, but it’s my birthday as well. Perhaps I can lay back and enjoy a little on this most blessed day.

If your stomach had thumbs, what would it tweet?

One of the more ennervating Twitter phenomena seems to be the constant need to update what one is eating. I’ve done it plenty of times, but now I check myself when I get the urge. But wait, I went to Shake Shack with @Soniamoghe and had a delicious, gloppy shack stack. Shouldn’t you care?  If you weren’t there, chances are you don’t,  and you don’t want to read about it either. Why then do so many people put this bit of biological info on the Web when certain other private details stay private?  Needless to say, I’m very curious why people are so apt to tweat (Twitter + Eat).

While scanning through Twitter updates I saw that Twitter CEO, Biz Stone, is “waiting for thai take-out on newbury st — who says there’s no tofu in beantown?” @MclellandJohn ordered Chinese food from Empire Corner and he also got into his first choice seminar on Orientalism with Rashid Khalidi. I wonder if the schedule announcement influenced his choice of cuisine.  Elsewhere in New York,  @khoi is at 5 napkin Burge[r], and @SheilaS is “Yummy steak @ Airport Steakhouse in Hutchinson KS.”

It would seem then that Twitter is all about food. One need look no farther than my tweeps’  handles. There’s  @tunabanans, @parislemon, @Sosauce and @asaucyintruder.

It’s about 10PM in New York, but it’s dinner time elsewhere in the great U-S of A.  If I were to do a search of food related words, I’m sure the volume would swell at 9, 12 and 6. (New updates with the word “yummy” pour in in 5-10 per minute)

(more…)

If you’ve got an idea of how you can make the make the world a better place, I urge you to apply for the 2009 Sosauce Travel Internship. It’s free and it changed my life.

Sosauce is an online travel network based in New York and they’ve created a bunch of  great tools for sharing photos and swapping tales of global and local adventures. I worked with them on marketing and partnership strategies during the summer of 2008.  In exchange, I was sent to Bangalore, India where I volunteered in school for slum children. (See the video)

I still keep up with the Sosauce team and I know that they offer this travel internship because they really believe that travel can change the world. As an intern, I did important resarch on social networks, postioning and strategy, and I always felt like a valuable member of the team. The experience was priceless and I can’t say enough good things about it.

I would be happy to answer questions about the internship or the application process.  If you or someone you know is interested in learning about social media and travel, visit the link and apply today!

This is your brain on too much information (TMI)

I was supposed to be working on a Flash infographic about the new Yankees stadium, when I became lost in a jungle of social media.  I have no clue how I got into this situation and what do I have to show for it? I just put my entire life online.

With the help of FriendFeed, I just consolidated 17 streams of information about myself into one place. While it’s true that my entire being does not reside in cyberspace, there aren’t many stones left unturned. With Friend Feed, anyone who visits this blog can see all my updates for one of the 57 partner sites I belong to, such as Yelp!, Flickr and Disqus. Any time I post something, all my friend will receive notification of my activity. It’s alot like the minifeed on Facebook, but it supports many many streams of content.

Do I know what will come of it? no, but what are some possible scenarios:

(Cue the ordered list)

  1. The world beats a path to my door because they are fascinated by what movies I just watched on Netflix, my resume on LinkedIn sparkles and photos posted to Picassa show the planet in a whole new light. Not likely, but hey, who knows.
  2. Some stupid link in Delicious or who-knows-what causes a minor kerfluffle, someone gets mad and I feel like a schmuck because I didn’t scour every online moniker before launching this little experiment.
  3. Nothing at all.

I suppose some controvery would be better than nothing happening at all, because then folks would actually be paying attention. I say that with trepidation after what happened last year with my ill-fated relationship column for the Columbia Spectator.

In any event, however, I’m heartened by the words of Wine Library TV’s Gary Vaynerchuk, who said the only way to be successful online is to be completely transparent. While he was talking about Web enterprises and startups, I still subscribe to the mantra because what I am doing with Tech Trotter must be run like an ultralight startup. Instant access is the new must have content.

There was a point to all this when I started writing, but I seem to have deviated a little. At least I’ve got the time.

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