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OkCupid Analyzes Online Dating Data; Surprising Conclusions Revealed

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The online dating website OkCupid has performed a statistical analysis of the photos their users post, in order to study patterns. Which types of photos result in the most dates, for which types of people? Does it help to show off your body, or to look interesting? How do users' representation of themselves change as they age? You can view the results here.

For example, if you're a man, does posting a photo showing off your totally ripped 6-pack abs help generate responses? The answer is yes, but the effect declines dramatically with age, as presumably do the abs -- by age 31, a man's photo showing abs has nearly the same effectiveness as any photo of the man with a shirt on; but at age 19 an ab photo is more than twice as effective. Even more interesting are the results that contradict conventional wisdom about how online dating works -- for example, conventional wisdom says that you should use a high-quality camera, not a webcam or cell phone, to take your picture. But the data show that better quality pictures aren't more effective -- in fact, self-shot cell phone/web cam photos in general are more successful than those shot by someone else. Most interestingly, the canonical "MySpace Shot" (a photo taken of oneself by holding the camera above one's head and gazing coyly into it) is "the single most effective photo type for women." And not just a little more popular -- the MySpace Shot DESTROYS all other contexts analyzed by OkCupid (the other contexts were "in bed," "outdoors," "travel photo", "having fun with friends," "doing something interesting," "drinking alcohol," and "posing with an animal").

It's not often that we get a look at the data behind online dating success. If you're looking for a fun read on a dreary Friday afternoon, check out The 4 Big Myths of Profile Pictures to learn what actually works. For the record, I met my girlfriend via OkCupid, and there were no abs nor MySpace Shots involved, so I guess there's still hope for the rest of us.

Further reading: Online Dating Site Reveals Rules for "First Contact" Derived From Data; and the OkCupid Blog.

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Courtesy University of Manchester
148 Lost Alan Turing Papers Discovered in Filing Cabinet
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Courtesy University of Manchester

You never know what you’re going to uncover when you finally get around to combing through that decades-old filing cabinet in the back room. Case in point: The University of Manchester recently unearthed 148 long-lost papers belonging to computer science legend Alan Turing, as ScienceAlert reports.

The forgotten papers mostly cover correspondence between Turing and others between 1949 and his death in 1954. The mathematician worked at the university from 1948 on. The documents include offers to lecture—to one in the U.S., he replied, “I would not like the journey, and I detest America”—a draft of a radio program he was working on about artificial intelligence, a letter from Chess magazine, and handwritten notes. Turing’s vital work during World War II was still classified at the time, and only one document in the file refers to his codebreaking efforts for the British government—a letter from the UK’s security agency GCHQ. The papers had been hidden away for at least three decades.

A typed letter to Alan Turing has a watermark that says 'Chess.'
Courtesy University of Manchester

Computer scientist Jim Miles found the file in May, but it has only now been sorted and catalogued by a university archivist. "I was astonished such a thing had remained hidden out of sight for so long," Miles said in a press statement. "No one who now works in the school or at the university knew they even existed." He says it’s still a mystery why they were filed away in the first place.

The rare discovery represents a literal treasure trove. In 2015, a 56-page handwritten manuscript from Turing’s time as a World War II codebreaker sold for more than $1 million.

[h/t ScienceAlert]

Can You Figure Out How Many Triangles Are in This Picture?

Time for another brain teaser. How many triangles do you see here? A Quora user posted the image above (which we spotted on MSN) for fellow brainiacs to chew on. See if you can figure it out. We’ll wait.


So, as you can see, all the smaller triangles can combine to become bigger triangles, which is where the trick lies. If you count up every different triangle formed by the lines, you should get 24. (Don’t forget the big triangle!)

Some pedantic Quora users thought it through and realized there are even more triangles, if you really want to go there. There’s a triangle formed by the “A” in the signature in the right-hand corner, and if we’re counting the concept of triangles, the word “triangle” counts, too.

As math expert Martin Silvertant writes on Quora, “A triangle is a mathematical idea rather than something real; physical triangles are by definition not geometrically perfect, but approximations of triangles. In other words, both the pictorial triangles and the words referring to triangles are referents to the concept of a triangle.” So yes, you could technically count the word “triangle.”  (Silvertant also includes a useful graphic explaining how to find all the pictorial triangles.)

Check out the whole Quora discussion for in-depth explainers from users about their methods of figuring it out.

[h/t MSN]


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