After Conflict, Reach Out and Touch Them

An interesting new study has shown that male athletes touch each other more than female athletes after a sporting conflict. It also turns out that the male athletes demonstrate better “making up” skills – and it all comes down to touching each other. The researchers suspect that this could be some hardwired behaviour since chimps do the same thing – after a conflict they physically touch more in an almost consoling way. The researchers also point out that this behaviour in sport might be way males tend to dominate in certain social practices. Could the act of making supportive physical contact after a confrontation help people get along?

Researchers have long been puzzled by the abilities of male chimpanzees, who constantly bicker and fight, to put aside their differences and co-operate and work together in struggles for territory with other groups.
Studies showed that male and female chimps acted differently in the aftermath of fights, with males much more inclined to engage in reconciliation behaviours.
Psychologists wondered if the same habits were true for humans – and decided to analyse high-level, same sex sporting competitions for these reconciliation traits.

But across the four sports observed, men spent significantly more time touching than females, in what the authors term “post-conflict affiliation”.
“What you’ll see is that many times females brush their fingers against each other,” said lead author Prof Joyce Benenson from Emmanuel College and Harvard University.

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Porsche 918 Hybrid is Fast and Friendly

Porsche has created a new car called the 918 that gets 78 MPG and goes from 0-60 MPH in 3.2 seconds. Sorry those numbers aren’t in metric. The car is relatively kind on the environment producing only 70 grams of CO2 per kilometer.

How does a supercar have such range? Well, the 918 Spyder concept is a parallel hybrid just like your mom’s Prius (well not just like). That means the two powertrains, gas and electric, can operate together or separately to motivate the wheels into motion. There are no less than four modes that configure the powertrains for anything from maximum efficiency to maximum performance and everything in between. The E-Drive mode means pure electric power, and the car can reportedly last up to 16 miles on electrons alone. Next up is Hybrid mode, which is just what it sounds like and would probably be the mode for everyday around town driving. The Sport Hybrid mode again uses both powertrains, but tips the needle a bit more towards performance with most power reaching the rear wheels. Finally, the Race Hybrid mode means all systems are go for the lowest lap times possible (Porsche says it can do the Nordschleife in less than 7:30 minutes). There’s an even a push-to-pass button (if only it were that easy) that adds a bit of E-boost on the straights and, of course, regenerative braking is present and accounted for.

Autoblog has the details.

A Buzkashi Renaissance

Kabul is mad for buzkashi, a sport involving riders, fast horses … and a decapitated animal corpse.buzkashi.jpg

Imagine: groups of men dressed to ward off the chill, wearing heavy coats, woollen hats, and thick boots; impatient horses churning towards their goal: in this case, a decapitated calf corpse.  The crowd hunkers on an overlooking cliff, and gets up to cheer as a rider and his horse break free from the circle of players, dragging the heavy calf around a flagpole and into a white circle.  He’s scored a goal!

Prize money includes sums from local businessmen, ranging from $20 to $100 — a considerable amount by local standards.  Some games are modest, but some attract up to 800 riders.  More prestigious games involve warlords and politicians adding to the pot.  Foreigners are also beginning to join in the fun.

There is hope that the game of buzkashi will unify Afghans, as it did during the reign of King Zahir Shah from the 1950s to the 1970s.

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