Expressions And Emoticons

Here’s an interesting story on a study that suggests that different cultures may read facial expressions differently, in a way that could lead to misunderstandings.

The study indicates that facial expressions indicating fear and surprise are among those most likely to be misunderstood. East Asian participants were much more likely to focus on the eyes, which are much more likely to be ambiguous, whereas Western participants looked at the entire face.

The study made me wonder how the participants would match the politicans pictured with this post with the following mental or emotional states:


* Uncomfortable


* Slap happy

The eyes have it!

Another interesting aspect of the article is the difference in “emoticons” between those used in the U.S. and those used in Asia, with those used in Asia right-side up rather than on their side and with much more attention given to the eyes. I’ve never used an emoticon, but if I did I think I would use the Asian versions.

Classy Crime

In the movies, England always seems to have the classiest, most daring, most sophisticated criminals.  The most recent “crime of the century” fits right in to that perception.  Two “smartly dressed” crooks walked into an very upscale jewelry store in broad daylight, swiped 43 items worth 40 million pounds — about $65 million — fired a shot into the ground to warn off passersby, and then sped off in a blue BMW, switched cars two more times, and got clean away.

I suppose there are lots of questions to ask about this heist, but to me the biggest question is:  Who else shops at a jewelry store where the average price of 43 items is more than $1 million?

Orion On The Rise

When you walk the same circuit at about the same time of day for the entire year, as I do, one way in which you notice the passage of time is through the change in constellations in the morning sky. There is something comforting and pleasurable in the gradual changes, yet ultimate sameness, of the faraway stars in their familiar patterns.

In the past few weeks I’ve noted Orion — The Hunter — peek over the eastern horizon and begin its slow circuit across the sky. The wheel in the sky will keep turning, and soon Orion will be right in front of me as I approach the left hairpin turn on the Yantis Loop at about 5:30 a.m. on a crisp morning.