Why you should care
Because Germans really are full of angst, hips don’t lie and laughter isn’t always the best medicine.
Germans are worriers. We can hardly go one day without suffering existential anxiety, and we hate change. It even has a name: “German angst.” And it’s real. The Unisys Security Index, based on a biannual survey of national, financial, Internet and personal security, showed a value of 146 out of a possible 300 points for Germany in October. In comparison, Great Britain was at 103 on the angst scale, while Holland was only at 66. Former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt fingered the source of this angst in 2011: “The Germans have a tendency to be afraid. This has been part of their consciousness since the end of the Nazi period and the war.” Science suggests he’s right. Read the story here.
Fake passports have become a huge international problem. Interpol estimates that 9,800 people tried to cross into Europe with false documents in 2013. And it turns out security agents have blind spots: When a team of international researchers tracked how well Australian passport officers could match a person’s face to his or her passport photo, they logged a 15 percent “error rate” — about what you’d expect from civilians. How big a deal is that 15 percent? It would mean “several thousand travelers bearing fake passports” at Heathrow Airport each year, according to a researcher. Read the story here.
Shakira was seriously on point — hips really don’t lie, even when it comes to a woman’s sexual history. That’s according to scientists at the University of Leeds, who report that a woman’s figure could play a crucial role in her decision whether to have sex. Specifically, women with wider hips are more likely to hit it and quit it, and to have more sexual partners in general. Less-hippy women, on the other hand, tend to take a more prudent approach to sex. Read the story here.
You know that feeling when you’re helpless with laughter, unable to speak or even breathe? Well, you’re not alone. Laughter is actually trying to kill you: “It stops you [from] breathing in, and you’re literally rendered helpless by things you find so funny you can’t stop,” says Dr. Sophie Scott, professor of cognitive neuroscience at University College London. “When you laugh hard, your blood pressure goes up and you place a lot of pressure on the thorax, which can put people already at risk of cardiac problems at even greater risk.” Not convinced? Death from laughter has been recorded through the ages. Read the story here.