Tag Archives: Cuteness

You Will Believe. . .

Superman can do anything, but the one thing he does that everybody wants to do is this: He flies.

The freedom he has to take off and just fly wherever he wants, whenever he wants. . . The ability to cruise the heavens and drift over the poor souls trapped at the bottom of Earth’s gravity well, forever anchored to the pedestrian and the heavy. . .

Flight, dudes. That’s what everyone loves about Superman, even before we come to understand the second-most amazing thing about him: He can do anything he wants, but he helps people because it’s the right thing to do.

Now, if you’ve seen the recent movie Man of Steel, you might be wondering who this Superman fellow is I’ve been talking about because it sure wasn’t like anyone in that movie.

And that’s true. I’ve spoken before about my loathing for Man of Steel. It’s a good homicidal superbeings slugging it out in the midst of planetwide destruction disaster porn, but it’s not a Superman movie.

I mean, Pa Kent? The moral backbone who makes Clark Kent into the man who would want to be Superman? Yeah, him. In this movie, do you know what his big moral lesson is?

“Clark, it’s okay to let people die if it will make your life easier.”

Yeah, that’s some good ethics there, Pa. Great job. And don’t even get me started on the whole snapper of an ending. Really. Don’t.

In fact. . .

Let’s all take a breath here. (And by all, I mean, of course, me.) Breathe in the oxygen, breathe out the negativity.

Ahhh. Much better.

So. Back to the premise of the post.

Superman, the real Superman, can fly. It’s so fundamental to his overall physical description that it formed the tag line for his first solo live-action film, with Christopher Reeve.

“You will believe a man can fly.” And we did.

A flying man is never not awesome. Just ask any two-year-old kid. In fact, just ask this two-year-old kid. You’ll see what I mean.

Be prepared to overdose on cuteness for the next couple of minutes.

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Taking A Cute Break Might Just Help You Concentrate

Yesterday I showed you Chris P. Bacon, a little piglet who uses wheels to get around because I wanted to help you. I did that for a reason, not just because I didn’t have anything to talk about.

No, seriously. A team from Hiroshima University has been looking at previous studies and come to the conclusion that exposure to cute images can enhance your ability to concentrate on, well, anything.

The team was spurred on to investigate this claim after reading through a 2009 study that found that being exposed to cute pictures made a sample group better at playing a surgery board game similar to Operation. Even more intriguing, the cuter the image the better the improvement in dexterity.

To start examining the phenomenon, they first defined cute.

In this instance, the researchers said that “cute objects are assumed to be characterised by baby schema” — that means big eyes and round faces. This fed into their hypothesis that concentration might be improved around cute things as a kind of instinctual behavioural reflex that occurs when humans are around babies that can’t care for themselves.

In the first experiment, 48 participants were split into two groups. They all played a similar game as in the 2009 study, and then each group was shown either a collection of baby animal pictures or adult animal pictures. Then they played the game again — and the group who had been exposed to the photos of baby animals both scored higher and finished faster than the other group, who saw no change. That replicated the results of the 2009 study.

For the second experiment, the researchers grabbed a different bunch of 48 folks, once again split into two, (the groups, not the people) and each group was asked to count how many times a specific number was shown in another random number string.

After the same baby/adult animal picture exposure, the group with the baby animal pictures experience a dramatic increase in accuracy and speed (just like in the first experiment) compared to no change in the other group.

The third experiment, however, didn’t find any improvement in reaction times among a group of 36 participants who had to identify a letter flashed quickly on a screen in front of them. That implies that cuteness works as an aid to concentration, not some kind of general aid to mental ability.

However, when it came to the big question — Why does cuteness aid in concentration? — science went out and just failed us. The dudes had no answer. None.

Still, just because we don’t know why doesn’t mean we can’t take advantage of it. I suggest we all get a stash of cute pictures and put them somewhere within reach, to be used when that concentration is most needed.

Although, oddly, that suggestion to keep a stash of pictures nearby seems oddly, well, dirty. Not sure how that will effect concentration.

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Cute Creepiness And/Or Possibly Creepy Cuteness

by Richard

Horror, by some definitions, is when appalling things happen to good dudes. Come to think of it, that probably could explain American Idol, but that’s not important right now.

No, let’s talk about stuff that is intentionally horrific. As you know, I continually scour the web looking for stuff you, yes you, can enjoy. I know. No need to thank me. I do it because I love you.

With that in mind, I ran across something in the vein of Coraline, in which it looks like a cute world of cute little girls, but there’s something awful lurking underneath. And sometimes, it’s lurking out in plain site.

Here’s Alma. Enjoy.

Alma from Rodrigo Blaas on Vimeo.

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