TIME Dating

This Is Exactly How Much You Need to Drink to Seem More Attractive, Backed by Science

healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, red wine, alcohol
Photograph by Danny Kim for TIME; Gif by Mia Tramz for TIME

No more, no less

Want to seem more attractive to the opposite sex? Drink one — exactly one — very large glass of wine.

That’s what a recent study by a group of researchers at the University of Bristol’s School of Psychology, published in Science Daily, suggests.

The researchers asked 40 heterosexual men and women, divided equally between both genders, to complete an attractiveness-rating exercise. The volunteers were then shown two images of a person, one taken while the subject was sober, one after the subject had consumed 250 ml of wine (equivalent to a very large glass), and one after 500 ml of wine (two-thirds of a bottle) had been consumed.

The photos of those who drank 250 ml wine were rated as more attractive, followed by images of sober subjects. The photos of those who had drank 500 ml were considered least attractive.

The researchers attributed this to the increased facial flushing that comes with consuming low amounts of alcohol, along with additional muscle relaxation and subtle smiles that portray a heightened positive mood.

One more good reason to drink in moderation.

[Science Daily]

TIME energy

New York Residents Talk Secession in Regards to Big Fracking Upset

A woman holds an anti-fracking sign as a group of demonstrators gather for a rally for a Global Climate Treaty on Dec. 10, 2014 in New York City.
DON EMMERT—AFP/Getty Images A woman holds an anti-fracking sign as a group of demonstrators gather for a rally for a Global Climate Treaty on Dec. 10, 2014 in New York City.

The most affected communities lie along the east-west line between the Empire and Keystone states

One could argue America was conceived from intense frustration that ultimately led to separation. Fed up with what they perceived as excessive control by the Crown, colonists to the “New England,” in essence, seceded in 1776, and thus the United States was born.

Now, there is a renewed and growing secession conversation brewing in the New England region, this time fueled by a commodity: Natural gas. Infuriated by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s December decision to permanently instill a ban against hydraulic fracture stimulation, or fracking, residents in 15 communities in the Southern Tier of New York are discussing the possibility of redrawing the border between New York and Pennsylvania.

Most affected are communities that lie along the east-west line between the Empire and Keystone states. Dairy farms dot the landscape, and in Pennsylvania, where fracking is encouraged, farmers are building new barns, buying new equipment and communities are adding schools and hospitals. In contrast, only a few miles to the north, farms that have been in families for generations lie dilapidated. Equipment is old, and there are few signs of construction.

Read more: New England Growing More Dependent On Natural Gas

Karen Moreau is the Executive Director of the New York State Petroleum Council and is passionate about the plight of these residents. “He (Governor Cuomo) wiped out the hopes, the dreams, the opportunity for economic salvation for thousands and thousands of struggling farm families, rural communities and others who have stood by, civilly waiting, expecting the government to do the right thing, to do the honest thing, and instead this is what they were given,” she said.

Moreau characterizes the stark difference on either side of the state line as “East Berlin and West Berlin,” citing added burdens of excessive property taxes and some of the most expensive natural gas in the country. “For a 200 acre dairy farm with a modest home and buildings that aren’t so great, the property taxes are $20,000 a year,” she says. “Even though they have all this natural gas in the ground, they really don’t have any infrastructure, so their energy costs are among the highest in the nation as well,” Moreau added, saying it’s not unusual for families to burn wood to provide heat.

Cuomo instilled the permanent ban on December 17, 2014 following comments by acting health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker who said, “I consider the people of the state of New York as my patients. We cannot afford to make a mistake. The potential risks are too great, in fact they are not fully known.”

Read more: Big Oil Going On The Offensive

A recent Quinnipiac University poll indicated most New York voters agree with the Governor’s decision by a 55-25 percent margin.

In a double-blow to Southern Tier residents, on the same day Cuomo instilled the permanent fracking ban, the state also shot down two applications for casinos in the region.

Although acknowledged as a long shot, state legislator, Republican Tom Libous of Binghamton, mailed a survey to his constituents asking if they were interested in secession. Realigning state lines would require coordinated efforts from both state legislatures and the federal government. Meanwhile, these New Yorkers will continue to look across the border and will observe continued economic prosperity through the years, realizing the only thing separating them are a few very long miles.

This article originally appeared on Oilprice.com.

More from Oilprice.com:

TIME energy

How $8.9 Billion Became $250 Million in the Exxon Lawsuit

An Exxon Mobil Corp. gas station in Nashville, Tennessee on Jan. 16, 2015.
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images An Exxon Mobil Corp. gas station on Jan. 16, 2015.

New Jersey's suit against Exxon says it damaged more than 1,500 acres of land

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration’s assertion that it worked “aggressively” to ensure that Exxon Mobil Corp. reimbursed the state for environmental contamination isn’t changing any minds among the critics of the deal.

For more than a decade the state has been fighting for a court order that would have required Exxon to pay $8.9 billion for environmental repair and other damages related to the company’s oil refining and other activities in northern New Jersey. Instead, the Christie administration has agreed to settle on $225 million to resolve the state’s lawsuit.

Word of the settlement emerged on Feb. 27 as a New Jersey judge apparently was considering how much Exxon should have to pay. The deal generated a chorus of criticism and vows by state legislators to block the deal.

On March 5, the state’s acting attorney general, John Hoffman, and its environmental commissioner, Bob Martin, issued a statement saying their two offices had worked hard together to reach a settlement with Exxon, which they called “the single largest environmental settlement with a corporate defendant in New Jersey history.”

Read more: This Is Why Warren Buffet Dumped His Exxon Holding

“[T]his administration aggressively pushed the case to trial [and] is the result of long-fought settlement negotiations that predated and postdated the trial,” the statement by Hoffman and Martin said.

Exxon said it would have no comment on the matter.

Despite the explanation from the state’s Republican administration, two prominent Democrats in the state legislature, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Sen. Raymond Lesniak, are preparing to file a motion in the Exxon suit to block the settlement. Lesniak has also filed a formal request with the court for all documents related to the settlement.

“We have to and we will get to the bottom of this case to determine how $8.9 billion shrunk down to $250 million,” Lesniak said in a statement. “We are going to dig deep and then we will dig deeper to find the truth.”

Sweeney and Lesniak are among Christie’s critics who say he the governor acted quickly to take advantage of a budget law allowing the governor to divert revenue from environmental settlements that exceed $50 million away from intended clean-ups to the state’s general fund.

Read more: Judge Dismisses Suit Against Energy Companies Over Louisiana Erosion

The law expires June 30, and the critics say it forced Christie to act quickly by reducing the fines to the satisfaction of Exxon and use the proceeds to fill gaps in the state’s budget or even to finance subsidies meant to attract businesses to the state.

“Christie was trying to get this settlement in before [June 30] because [the state Legislature] won’t repeat it in the new budget,” Lesniak said.

Christie is chairman of the Republican Governors Association, which has been the beneficiary of more than $1.9 billion in donations from Exxon since Christie first ran for governor in 2009. Asked if the generous settlement amounts to a gift from Christie to Exxon, Lesniak told the International Business Times, “One can certainly see it that way.”

The state’s suit says Exxon damaged more than 1,500 acres of meadows, wetlands and marshes in the northern New Jersey communities of Bayonne and Linden, where Exxon operated multiple oil refineries for decades. Just two of these facilities, the Bayway and Bayonne sites, would cost $8.9 billion to restore, according to an expert hired by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

This article originally appeared on Oilprice.com.

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TIME climate change

Florida Reportedly Bans Environment Officials From Mentioning Climate Change

Climate Change Impacts South Florida Ecosystems
Joe Raedle—Getty Images Phillip Hughes, an ecologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, walks through an area of buttonwood trees killed by a saltwater incursion in Big Pine Key, Florida. Hughes says over the past 50 years, as sea levels rise, the Florida Keys upland vegetation has been dying off and replaced by salt-tolerant vegetation

An investigative report claims that global warming and sustainability are also prohibited terms

Underscoring the divisiveness of climate change in American politics, government officials at Florida’s main environment agency have reportedly been asked to refrain from mentioning it.

Officials from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) were given an unwritten order not to use the words climate change or global warming in any official communication or reports, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting (FCIR) claimed on Sunday.

“We were told not to use the terms climate change, global warming or sustainability,” Christopher Byrd, an attorney in DEP’s Office of General Counsel from 2008 to 2013, told FCIR in an interview. “That message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors in the Office of General Counsel.”

Other former DEP employees claimed to FCIR that the unwritten rule was implemented after Rick Scott, who has repeatedly denied climate change is the result of human activity, became governor of Florida in 2011.

The DEP denies that it has a policy on the matter.

Read more at the FCIR.

TIME Environment

The First Solar-Powered Round-the-World Flight Has Begun

Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered airplane, takes flight as it begins its historic round-the-world journey from Al Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi on March 9, 2015.
Jean Revillard—Getty Images Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered airplane, takes flight as it begins its historic round-the-world journey from Al Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi on March 9, 2015.

The two pilots aim to circumnavigate the globe without using any conventional fuel

The world’s first round-the-world trip on a solar-powered plane got under way Monday with the initial leg from Abu Dhabi to the Omani capital, Muscat.

Swiss pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will pursue a record-shattering five-month journey, spanning 21,750 miles across several continents and two oceans, while using zero conventional fuel.

The Solar Impulse-2’s lightweight construction — weighing a mere 4,600 lb. — combined with its 236-ft. wingspan lined with 17,000 solar cells, makes it the first solar-powered aircraft capable of flying during both day and night.

“I am confident we have a very special airplane, and it will have to be to get us across the big oceans,” Borschberg told the BBC.

The pilots have undergone rigorous preparation drills, and will forgo all sleep longer than 20 minutes while airborne, practicing yoga and self-hypnosis to cope with their airborne ordeal. (Some stints will involve flying continuously for five days.) Rest stops will be spent advocating for their clean-technology campaign.

“I had this dream 16 years ago of flying around the world without fuel, just on solar power,” said Piccard. “Now we’re about to do it.”

[BBC]

TIME psychology

Why Men Are More Narcissistic Than Women

Men sitting on bench wearing colourful socks
Noel Hendrickson—Getty Images

Narcissism has long afflicted more men than women — but that could be changing

If there’s one thing you can say for craziness, it’s that it’s not sexist. Across entire populations, males and females face a pretty equal lifetime risk of coming unhinged. Within conditions, however, there may be differences. Women are twice as likely as men, for example, to develop depression. Anxiety disorders such as OCD and phobias also hit women a bit harder.

Narcissism, however, goes the other way. Research has long suggested that if you’re looking for someone who’s preening, strutting, self-absorbed, arrogant, exhibitionistic, conceited, insensitive and entitled, you’ll find more of them in the boys’ camp than you will in the girls’. So it comes as, well, almost no news at all that a new study — hold your applause till the end, please — found exactly that!

The research, in fairness, was sweeping: a meta-analysis of 355 journal articles and other studies going back 31 years. In the behavioral sciences, which lack the tidy, 1+1=2 certainty of fields like chemistry and physics and math, meta-analyses are often the best way to lock down a hypothesis. The paper did that, but it did more too — not just establishing the gender disparity but explaining why it exists.

In my 2014 book, The Narcissist Next Door, I wrestled with the question of narcissism and gender, and came to the conclusion that our still patriarchal society is far likelier to tolerate — even encourage — narcissistic swagger and aggressiveness in men than it is in women. It was hardly a theory I developed de novo, but rather is one many researchers had voiced — thought not yet proved. The researchers in the new study — led by Emily Grijalva, an assistant professor of organization and human resources at the University of Buffalo School of Management — broke down their metadata in ways that highlighted three of the multiple categories of narcissistic behavior: grandiosity and exhibitionism; leadership and authority; and entitlement.

Men ran away with the entitlement category (we’re looking at you, John Edwards, Donald Trump, Charlie Sheen), and led by a narrower gap in the leadership and authority category. “Compared with women,” Grijalva said in a statement that accompanied the study, “men exhibit more assertiveness and desire for power.” That too is consistent with a culture in which men don’t merely hold more positions in government and high finance, but seek those positions more as well.

But when it comes to exhibitionism — the basic table stakes for boys and girls dreaming of growing up to achieve their true full narcissistic potential — the sexes start off pretty much equally. As happens so often in a sexist world, however, that potential — O.K., pathological potential — is squelched in girls while it’s encouraged in boys.

“Individuals tend to observe and learn gender roles from a young age, and may face backlash for deviating from society’s expectations,” Grijalva said. “In particular, women often receive harsh criticism for being aggressive or authoritative, which creates pressure for [them] to suppress displays of narcissistic behavior.”

Gender equality, of course, is a surpassing good, and the arc of history is inevitably bending its way. It will, alas, almost certainly mean narcissistic equality too. Let’s hope that the growing ranks of female narcissists conduct themselves better than the boys have.

TIME space

Mars Probably Had More Water Than the Arctic Ocean, Study Says

INDIA-SPACE-SCIENCE-MARS
ISRO/AFP/Getty Images Mars is seen in an image taken by the ISRO Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft released on Sept. 30, 2014.

The size of the Martian ocean is significantly larger than previously thought

Mars likely had a body of water larger than the Arctic Ocean, according to a new study by NASA scientists.

The size of the Martian ocean is significantly larger than previously thought and provides further evidence that the planet may have once had the ability to support life. The body of water would have been large enough to cover the planet’s entire surface in 450-feet deep water, according to the study published in the journal Science, though it was likely concentrated in smaller areas.

“Our study provides a solid estimate of how much water Mars once had, by determining how much water was lost to space,” said Geronimo Villanueva, a NASA scientist and study author. “With this work, we can better understand the history of water on Mars.”

The scientists analyzed water on Mars today and compared it to water from a 4.5-billion-year-old Mars meteorite to determine how much water was likely lost in the past four billion years.

Still, questions remain about what happened to the large body of water. “With Mars losing that much water, the planet was very likely wet for a longer period of time than was previously thought, suggesting it might have been habitable for longer,” said Michael Mumma, a NASA scientist and study co-author.

TIME Environment

El Niño Arrival Too Late for California Drought

"Too little, too late and too weak to provide much relief for drought-stricken California"

El Niño has finally arrived, but the precipitation brought by the weather event is unlikely to alleviate California’s severe drought, officials said Thursday.

“After many months of watching, El Niño has formed,” said Mike Halpert, an official at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center. “Unfortunately, this El Niño is likely too little, too late and too weak to provide much relief for drought-stricken California as California’s rainy season is winding down.”

El Niño, a cyclical phenomenon that lasts several years, begins with warming in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and eventually affects weather around the world. In the United States, it can lead to storms along the West Coast and affect hurricanes and other tropical storms. Tropical storm activity could be reduced due to El Niño, but it’s too soon to know for certain, the NOAA said.

Forecasters have been waiting to declare the start of El Niño for nearly a year. The late arrival may make El Niño-related storms “weak in strength” with “fairly low influence on weather inclement,” Halpert said.

TIME sexuality

No Ben Carson, Homosexuality Is Not a Choice

Pointing the wrong way: Carson is just plain wrong on the science
Richard Ellis; Getty Images Pointing the wrong way: Carson is just plain wrong on the science

Jeffrey Kluger is Editor at Large for TIME.

A presidential hopeful (and a doctor) gets the science all wrong—and makes things worse when he tries to explain himself

If you’re a candidate dreaming of the White House with virtually no chance of actually winding up there, it sometimes helps to say something ridiculous—if only to get your name-recognition numbers up. That is the very best and most charitable explanation for comments by Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon, on CNN, arguing that homosexuality is “absolutely” a choice. His evidence? Prison.

“A lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight and when they come out, they’re gay,” he said. “So did something happen while they were in there?”

Prison, of course, is the worst of all possible examples Carson could have chosen—conflating sexuality with circumstance. Men confined together for years without women remain sexual beings and may take whatever outlet is available to them. Something similar was true in a less enlightened era of gay men and women who were forced to marry people of the opposite sex, and who dutifully produced children and tried to satisfy their partners despite the fact that they were getting little satisfaction themselves.

Carson, who was blowtorched in both social and mainstream media for his remarks, quickly walked them back, issuing a statement that, in some ways, only made things worse. “I’m a doctor trained in multiple fields of medicine, who was blessed to work at perhaps the finest institution of medical knowledge in the world,” he wrote. “Some of our brightest minds have looked at this debate, and up until this point there have been no definitive studies that people are born into a specific sexuality.”

That statement could indeed have the virtue of being true—provided it was issued in 1990. But since then, there’s been a steady accumulation of evidence that sexuality—like eye color, nose size, blood type and more—is baked in long before birth. The first great breakthrough was the 1991 study by neuroscientist Simon LeVay finding that a region in the hypothalamus related to sexuality known as INAH3 is smaller in gay men and women than it is in straight men. The following year, investigators at UCLA found that another brain region associated with sexuality, the midsagittal plane of the anterior commissure, is 18% larger in gay men than in straight women and 34% larger than in straight men.

One cause of the differences could be genetic. In 1993, one small study suggested a connection between sexual orientation and a section on the X chromosome called Xq28, which could predispose men toward homosexuality. The small size of the study—only 38 pairs of gay brothers—made it less than entirely reliable. But a study released just last year expanded the sample group to 409 pairs of brothers and reached similar conclusions.

Genes are not the only biological roots for homosexuality. Womb environment is thought to play a significant role too, since part of what determines development of a fetus is the level and mix of hormones to which it is exposed during gestation. In 2006, psychologist Anthony Bogaert of Brock University in Canada looked into the never-explained phenomenon of birth order appearing to shape sexuality, with gay males tending to have more older brothers than straight males. Working with a sample group of 944 homosexual and heterosexual males, Bogaert found that indeed, a first born male has about a 3% chance of being gay, a number that goes up 1% at a time for each subsequent boy until it doubles to 6% for a fourth son.

The explanation likely involves the mother’s immune system. Any baby, male or female, is initially treated as an invader by the mother’s body, but multiple mechanisms engage to prevent her system from rejecting the fetus. Male babies, with their male proteins, are perceived as slightly more alien than females, so the mother’s body produces more gender-specific antibodies against them. Over multiple pregnancies with male babies, the womb becomes more “feminized,” and that can shape sexuality.

A range of other physical differences among gay men and lesbians also argue against Carson’s thinking—finger length for instance. In heterosexual men, the index finger is significantly shorter than the ring finger. In straight women, the index and ring fingers are close to the same length. Lesbian finger length is often more similar to that of straight males. This, too, had been informally observed for a long time, but in 2000 a study at the University of California, Berkeley, seemed to validate it.

Lesbians also seem to have differences in the inner ear—of all unlikely places. In all people, sound not only enters the ear but leaves it, in the form of what are known as otoacoustic emissions—vibrations that are produced by the interaction of the cochlea and eardrum and can be detected by instruments. Heterosexual women tend to have higher frequency otoacoustic emissions than men, but gay women don’t. Still other studies have explored a link between homosexuality and handedness (with gays having a greater likelihood of being left-handed or ambidextrous) as well as hair whorl (with the hair at the crown of gay men’s heads tending to grow counterclockwise), though there are differing views on these last two.

Clearly, none of us choose our genetics or finger length or birth order or ear structure, and none of us choose our sexuality either. As with so many cases of politicians saying scientifically block-headed things, Carson either doesn’t know any of this (and as a doctor, he certainly should) or he does know it and is pretending he doesn’t. Neither answer reflects well on his fitness for political office.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME animals

Why the Circus Is Saying Goodbye to Elephants

The social nature of elephants makes captivity for them a "living death"

On Thursday, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced they would phase out their iconic elephant acts by 2018. The decision was spurred by public concern about the treatment of elephants in circuses, and perhaps a growing understanding that being kept as an entertainment spectacle is emotionally damaging to the sensitive, intelligent animals.

Elephants are social creatures in the wild with close-knit family units. They even perform funeral rituals and spend weeks mourning their dead. So those that have long been in circuses and zoos can come to exhibit symptoms of depression, aggression or post-traumatic stress disorder, most likely as a result of the confinement and isolation.

In 2006, the New York Times article described the trauma elephants undergo in captivity: “Being kept in relative confinement and isolation [is] a kind of living death for an animal as socially developed and dependent as we now know elephants to be,” author Charles Siebert wrote.

There have been many reports of elephants in captivity experiencing abuse by their handlers. In 2011, Mother Jones published a year-long investigation into Ringling Bros.’ treatment of its elephants. Among its claims:

Ringling elephants spend most of their long lives either in chains or on trains, under constant threat of the bullhook, or ankus—the menacing tool used to control elephants. They are lame from balancing their 8,000-pound frames on tiny tubs and from being confined in cramped spaces, sometimes for days at a time. They are afflicted with tuberculosis and herpes, potentially deadly diseases rare in the wild and linked to captivity.

Feld Entertainment, owner of Ringling Bros, said that its elephants were in fact “pampered performers” who “are trained through positive reinforcement, a system of repetition and reward that encourages an animal to show off its innate athletic abilities.”

But apparently Ringling is slowly coming to understand that keeping elephants in bondage, animals with a highly developed emotional intelligence, places an uncomfortable mirror on humanity. The New York Times article describes a former circus elephant who had turned violent: “She and the others have suffered, we now understand, not simply because of us, but because they are, by and large, us.”

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