Saturday, July 25, 2015



L.I.N.K.S. 11: Mate Value

Welcome to the 11th edition of LINKS (Links that Lure, Intrigue, Nurture, Kindle, or Stimulate), in which we discuss the concept of

Mate Value

What is Mate Value? Can Mate Value be measured? Do you know your Mate Value? Does knowing your Mate Value help or hinder your prospects for finding an ideal life companion? Given your Mate Value, what sort of Mate Value Score should your significant other possess?

Mate Value
by cherryblossom Urban Dictionary July 02, 2009

How attractive someone is as a potential mate. Based on things like beauty/hotness, wealth, intelligence, etc. Different qualities impact mate value in different cultures, and mate value is evaluated somewhat differently for guys versus girls.

Example: "Why is it that I keep getting fixed up with guys with super-low mate value?!? I am not lowering my standards!!!"

John E. Edlunda and Brad J. Sagarinb in Personality and Individual DifferencesVolume 64, Pages 72–77, July 2014

Mate value is a construct of importance to many psychological (especially evolutionary psychological) theories. However, there are no well validated self-report measures of mate value. In light of this, we designed the Mate Value Scale (MVS): a brief, four-item measure that can assess mate value of the self, of one’s partner, or of another target. Study One demonstrates that the MVS has good internal consistency, a one-factor structure, and good convergent validity. Study Two replicates these psychometric findings along with demonstrations of good test–retest reliability and further convergent and discriminant validity. Study Three demonstrates how the MVS can successfully be applied to an evolutionary psychological domain (the sex difference in jealousy). Additional cited research demonstrates the MVS’s utility in a number of other domains. We conclude that the MVS is a short and effective measure of mate value.

Knowing Your Own Mate Value: Sex-Specific Personality Effects on the Accuracy of Expected Mate Choices
Mitja D. BackLars PenkeStefan C. Schmukle, and Jens B. Asendorpf, Psychological Science, April 6, 2011

Knowing one’s mate value (mate-value accuracy) is an important element in reproductive success. We investigated within- and between-sex differences in this ability in a real-life speed-dating event. A total of 190 men and 192 women filled out a personality questionnaire and participated in speed-dating sessions. Immediately after each date, participants recorded who they would choose as mates and who they expected would choose them. In line with evolutionarily informed hypotheses, results indicated that sociosexually unrestricted men and more agreeable women showed greater mate-value accuracy than sociosexually restricted men and less agreeable women, respectively. These results have important implications for understanding mating behavior and perhaps the origin of sex differences in personality.

For Couples, Time Can Upend the Laws of Attraction
Andrew Rae, New York Times, June 29, 2015 conducts an annual survey which includes a version of this question from Christopher Marlowe’s 16th-century poem: “Who ever loved, that loved not at first sight?” A great many, it turns out. In the survey, 33 percent of men and 43 percent of women answered yes when asked if they had ever fallen in love with someone they did not initially find attractive. Dr. Fisher terms this process “slow love,” and says it is becoming more common as people take longer to marry.

So You’re Not Desirable ...
Paul W. Eastwick and Lucy L. Hunt, New York Times Sunday Review, May 16, 2014

The old axiom says beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When it comes to initial impressions, this statement is not really true: Consensus about desirable qualities creates a gulf between the haves and have-nots. But the truth of this maxim increases over time: As people get to know each other, decreasing consensus and increasing uniqueness give everyone a fighting chance.

The Demographics of Mate Value and Self-Esteem 
Gary L. Brase, Emma C. Guy
Personality and Individual Differences 36 (2004) 471–484, February 2003

A revised version of the sociometer hypothesis account of self-esteem holds that self-esteem is a function of multiple indexes of how a person stands in relation to those around him or her. One of the areas in which people are proposed to be sensitive to their relative standing is their mate value—how attractive they are as a potential mate. Elements of one’s mate value are tied to age and sex of a person, and marital status may also be a demographic variable that reflects mate value. A study with 161 participants, representing a range of ages and marital standings, found that age, sex, and marital status were related to self-estimates of mate value and efforts to enhance mate value. In turn, mate value and mate value enhancement effort—in addition to marital satisfaction–were significant predictor variables for self-esteem.

We are all Plutonians now...

Here is an all-Queen playlist to accompany the exploration of Pluto by New Horizons
then before-and-after photos of Brian May...

H/T: Kyle "Dome" Doane at Nomad Domes

At PhilosFX, we salute dreamers, explorers, and adventurers
New Horizons

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Guide to Men's Hats

Hats are a useful and potentially decorative or even fashionable accessory.  A person of any age can wear some kind of hat in any season and any clime--and in almost any weather. Take the versatile baseball cap, for example. It has a brim to shade your eyes and keep your glasses dry, while the crown protects the top of your head--all while announcing your loyalty to a particular team, if you are so inclined.

If you like hats as I do, sooner or later you will want to know the proper names of hats and how to tell various hat styles apart. I am writing to pass along a link to a great hat guide from the folks at Real Men Real Style. Follow the link so that you may get a closer look at the helpful infographic posted below.

RMRS's infographic features 16 hat styles

This guide is helpful for distinguishing between similar hats styles that are often confused. Flat Caps and Newsboy Caps are often confused, as are Fedoras and Trilbys. The detail below helps to distinguish between the similar styles.

Slightly closer detail of RMRS's infographic. Please visit them for a better look.

Many hat styles like the ball cap have become popular enough to wear across multiple cultures. Pictures of people from all different races and religions are seen wearing a fedora or Panama hat as they travel the globe. Other items of headgear, such as the turban, fez, sombrero, or yarmulke, are for a very particular time or place and would seem inappropriate in the wrong setting. one could even argue that the Western or "cowboy" hat looks ridiculous on an urban person. I sold my Stetson at a yard sale years ago...

I have a hundred hats in a variety of styles. I keep a few in the car and a few others in the saddle bag of my Harley.  A collection of baseball caps is on display in my closet. My trunk is half-full of military "covers" including boonie caps. On top of all that, I have a little rack by the front door. This is for those rare times when I am tempted to step outdoors unadorned and think better of it at the last moment.

Hats are awesome! Know your hat styles.

Art, Architecture, and Engineering Designs by Santiago Calatrava

City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia by night
Opera House in Valencia

Santiago Calatrava is a daring architect whose designs are worth making a detour to see. In fact, one way to see the world in style would be to embark on a tour of Calatrava's most interesting works.

La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias

The Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia by Santiago Calatrava

The two closest to me are both in New York: the St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, and the much anticipated World Trade Center Transportation Hub.

List of projects by Santiago Calatrava

Calatrava is controversial because his recent projects have a tendency to go way over budget in both time and money. Residents of Calatrava's home town have accused the architect of "bleeding Valencia dry." The World Trade Center Transportation Hub has been dubbed a "glorious boondoggle."

"Auditorio de Tenerife Pano" by Taxiarchos228
One of Calatrava's early buildings was the Ada Martin Auditorium (2003) in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands (pictured above). In the auditorium's sweeping, organic curves, one can see the seed of the much more ambitious Opera House in Valencia (2006). 

Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas

Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge by night

The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas is the only one of Calatrava's works I have laid eyes on to date. Next time I am in the Big D, I'll have to get some of my own photos to share. The bridge spans the Trinity River not far from Dealey Plaza. Though it looks like a suspension bridge, it is really a cable-stayed bridge with a very intricate laced cable design.

Fantastic architecture is a good excuse to travel! 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Virtue of Uncertainty

Something on my mind lately is the virtue of uncertainty. I worked for Rummy during his second tour as SECDEF. We had a complicated relationship, but in the end, he still signed off on my Joint Service Award. 

The simple Venn diagram above illustrates the conceit of his famous quote: some stuff we think we know with certainty is actually--gasp!--dead wrong! 

Life is random. Our powers of perception are limited and inconsistent. Though the quest for truth is noble, it is okay, even wise, too be unsure about what we "really" know. It's brave to move forward in the face of such uncertainty. A lack of arrogance is not a lack of confidence. 

As my Pastor, Rev. Amber Neuroth says, we need a Commitment to Uncertainty. It's OK to question everything, so long as we keep moving.

To paraphrase the World's Most Interesting Man, "Stay (intellectually) thirsty, my friends."

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Matching Game: Answers

This somewhat "hidden" post contains the answer keys for two architecture-themed quizzes posted in August 2015. I describe this post as hidden, because I have back-dated it so that it is tucked in the archive of previous posts. 

In July, inspired by a "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" calendar entry, I posted a piece about Santiago Calatrava. Later in July 2015, I posted a follow-up piece about a dozen daring architects including Calatrava. I had so much fun searching for the architects and selecting examples of their work that I decided to create a quiz that readers might enjoy.

Hopefully you have found this "Answer Key" post after you took the quizzes! 

The Twelve Most Daring Architects in the World