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The Cocktail Napkin


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Great Dessert? Depends on the Plate

Desserts are sweeter on white plates, comedians are kinder off stage, and small feet are more attractive … in our latest Cocktail Napkin.



Women Eye Dance Moves to Find Thrill Seekers

How to spot thrill-seeking men on the dance floor, “sweet” personalities in public, and bidding fever on eBay.


Does This Make My Antenna Look Big?

Researchers mix technology with fashion, analyze a pharaoh’s skin condition, measure the smarts of Scrabble players, and more in this edition of Miller-McCune’s “Cocktail Napkin.”


As if Commercials Weren’t Bad Enough Already

Do we really need to smell the items featured in TV programming? A materials expert has created a function for your TV or portable device that can generate thousands of odors.


The Exploitation of Muggles in Harry Potter’s World

In this edition of The Cocktail Napkin, we look academics’ fixation on the social and economic problems in the world of Harry Potter, and how music festivals impact the psychological and social well-being.


New Dinosaur Gets a Rather Large Name

As if being wiped out by a meteor wasn’t degrading enough, a charismatic dinosaur discovered in Utah gets a less-than-flattering name.


Time for Robin Hood to Make a Comeback

Researchers from Nottingham University Business School say their survey proves it’s time for the city to re-embrace its most famous, albeit probably mythical, hero.


Standing in Alcohol Won’t Get You Drunk

Newsflash: Submerging your feet in alcohol doesn’t get you intoxicated. It only helps you dodge the “Less Filling/Tastes Great” debate. Sorry, Denmark.


College Guys Will Remember the Pretty Ones

In a recent experiment, women who showed interest in college-aged men were more likely to be remembered if they were deemed attractive.


Next They’ll Tell Us Germs Can Dance

Researchers discover very specific patterns in the movement of bacteria, which has important implications for the treatment of infections.


Debunking Theories of a Terrorist Power Grab

A Penn State power-system expert cites laws of physics to pull the plug on worries that a terrorist attack on a minor substation could bring down the entire U.S. electric grid.


Researchers Tackle the ‘Hipster’ Phenomenon

Researchers tap the indie marketplace to learn more about hipsters, who don’t think of themselves as hipsters despite their obvious hipsterness.


Study: Canadian Parents Enforce Fewer Rules

In comparison to French and Italian parents, Canadians deemed most tolerant, according to study.


Use the Phone While Driving, Get Dumped

Study says using a cell phone while driving causes communication breakdowns that could cause misunderstandings and hurt relationships.


Get Plenty of Sleep Before Imitating Rock Gods

Paper reveals that players of a popular video game increase their performance when they’ve had a full night of rest.


Putting Climate Researchers Under the Microscope

Scientists who argue for human-caused climate change published twice as many papers and are cited 64 percent more often than researchers who doubt climate change.


‘House,’ ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Violate Codes of Conduct?

Researchers analyzing episodes of ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” and Fox’s “House” determine the hospital dramas are “rife” with incidents that violate professional codes of conduct.


Skateboarders Try Riskier Tricks for Women

Researchers find that skateboarders will take more risks with their tricks and boast higher testosterone levels when women are present.


The Grandson’s Inheritance: Grandpa’s Walker

Researchers find a link between hip fractures in grandfathers and reduced bone size in their grandsons. Plus, see what happens when pop culture and academics collide …


Build Strong Bones With … Beer?

Scientists say the dietary silicon in beer boosts bone density, and moderate consumption might help fight osteoporosis.


A Scientist and Ewe Walk Into a Bar …

It’s no joke: Researchers give Viagra to pregnant sheep and find that the drug boosts vital nutrients needed for fetal development.


Separated at Birth: Cheney and Sir Topham Hatt?

A controlling, bossy element on “Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends” exudes qualities that put him on track to become vice president?


Gas on Mars Silent But Not Deadly

Scientists weigh the possibility that methane gas on Mars comes from microorganisms in the soil.


Having a Nose for Degraded Documents

A scientific ‘sniff test’ could aid museums and libraries in preserving their old works without damaging the actual documents.


Why It’s ‘OK’ to Leave the Party for a Quick Smoke

College party-goers share their reasons puffing on the patio … and other odd studies highlighted in this month’s Cocktail Napkin.

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Stop Trying to Be the ‘Next Silicon Valley’

American cities often try to mimic their more economically successful counterparts. A new study suggests that it's time to stop.

Don’t Text and Drive—Especially If You’re Old

A new study shows that texting while driving becomes even more dangerous with age.

Apparently You Can Bring Your Religion to Work

New research says offices that encourage talk of religion actually make for happier workplaces.

Canadian Kids Have a Serious Smoking Problem

Bootleg cigarette sales could be leading Canadian teens to more serious drugs, a recent study finds.

The Big One

One in two United States senators and two in five House members who left office between 1998 and 2004 became lobbyists. November/December 2014

Copyright © 2014 by Pacific Standard and The Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy. All Rights Reserved.