Thursday, August 26, 2010


The Trustworthiness of Beards
By Tom Bartlett

The way you gain people's trust is to earn it over time by repeatedly proving that you deserve it. That, or grow a beard.

A recent study in the Journal of Marketing Communications found that men with beards were deemed more credible than those who were clean-shaven. The study showed participants pictures of men endorsing certain products. In some photos, the men were clean-shaven. In others, the same men had beards. Participants thought the men with beards had greater expertise and were significantly more trustworthy when they were endorsing products like cell phones and toothpaste.

But, oddly, men with beards were slightly less effective than smooth-cheeked fellows in underwear advertisements. Apparently we don't want Zach Galifianakis selling us boxers.

The researchers say the implications of their findings could extend far beyond advertisements. For instance, male politicians might want to consider not shaving because the "presence of a beard on the face of candidates could boost their charisma, reliability, and above all their expertise as perceived by voters, with positive effects on voting intention."

Former presidential candidates Al Gore and Bill Richardson didn't put down the razor until they were already out of the running. Who knows how things might have turned out if they had had the power of facial hair working for them ...

Important note: The study looked only at neat, medium-length beards. You can't just go all ZZ Top and expect people to trust you.

(The study, which was conducted by Gianluigi Guido, Alessandro M. Pelusoa, and Valentina Moffa, is not online.)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Fanged Platform

That sounds really cool but maybe a little misleading.

I am once again pulling ideas from Adkit's Voyage: Journey to the Moon LP. He used Klipso's Lightening Paint to lighten the weight of his space capsule. He then looked over to a platform covered with lunar plants. Around the edge of the platform are tall, pointed rocks that look like fangs or talons. They are not on the platform but come off the side and jut above and below the platform itself. The tips of these rocks are the same color as the paint and he asked, quite reasonably, if they were also painted (which would explain their precarious position).

This is not particularly inventive but I love the idea of these giant, fang/talon-like rocks around the edge of a circular platform.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Virulent Troll Redux

I stopped watching Star Trek: Voyager before the introduction of Species 8472. I am watching SFDebris's Opiniated Voyager Episode Guide and stopped to look up information on the Maquis which, in the manner of Wikipedia, led through a bunch of links to Species 8472.

The Undine (as they are also called) are from a different dimension of "fluid space". They have a very complex genetic structure, possessing tri-helical DNA. Their cells can duplicate incredibly rapidly, acting as a virulent infection when introduced into other creatures (as happens when one is attacked by an Undine's claws).

Some time ago, I wrote a post about a troll infected with a virulent disease. The troll's regeneration protected it from any detrimental effects of the infection but allowed the rapacious disease to continually multiply and, thus, the troll served as a very effective carrier for the disease.

If I cared to transform that idea from a singular troll to a race of creatures, the Undine would be the first place to look.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tentacle Monster

Not as dirty as it sounds.

Based on the big, clawed, tentacle monsters from Half Life (as seen in part 12 of Tyoemon's LP), these are three large creatures that react to sound and violently attack any unusual source they hear.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Going Past the Finish Line

An idea for a video game. This post comes from Bikdip's Majora's Mask LP (pt 24) when he is rolling through the snow in the Goron mask.

He mentions that he is far enough but will keep going. A few seconds later, he stops the Goron roll and immediately enters the next area. What likely happened is that when he reached the transition point, the game automatically stopped the roll (and his comment was simply about the pits that you need to roll past; he was far enough that he could just walk).

What I heard, however, was a video game where you reach a finish line. Most players will release the gas and the level will fade out. But if you hold the gas, you keep going well past the finish line. If you make it rather long (another minute or two to weed out those who are not committed), you can hide a very nice secret there.

This same idea is actually found in Super Mario Galaxy 2. I forget the level but I think it might be a Bowser's Castle level. Regardless, there is a section where you ride the pink block-platform across lava. It stops at the "end" where you jump off onto solid ground. However, if you stay on the pink platform, it eventually continues further on and leads to a secret star.