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Technology? Aye-Aye, sir.
April 15, 2005 7:44 AM   Subscribe


 
Just saw a pic of an Aye-Aye recently born at Bristol zoo. (Sixth picture; click the left arrow once...) Ugly critter; never even heard of them before.

Although the "Minority Report" interface is cool (imagine using it to do 3D modelling), I fail to see how these are related... Are they just random links, or am I missing something??

Can't read the first link, as it is blocked by Websense... perhaps that one clarifies the rest...?
posted by Chunder at 7:54 AM on April 15, 2005


Huh? Aye-ayes are ugly?
posted by gubo at 8:01 AM on April 15, 2005


Hi, Chunder. Try this link.
posted by dfowler at 8:05 AM on April 15, 2005


I used to strap my children into their caddies because they were so beautiful that I was afraid someone would steal them. In the end, despite all my care and attention, somebody did.

Are the aye-ayes strapped in tight?
posted by TimothyMason at 8:12 AM on April 15, 2005


Well, that confirms it. I'm ugly. My mom used to let me wander all over when I was a kid. She'd locate me under clothing racks in department stores by following the trail of garments on the floor. I had tons of time to myself as a child. I always thought I was lucky. Apparently I was just homely.

Of course, I'm in good company with the Aye Aye. To me, Aye-Aye is #1 in cuteness. Eye of the beholder and all that.
posted by apis mellifera at 9:22 AM on April 15, 2005


You've gotta admit, those hands are a little creepy. (and yes, that finger is supposed to be that skinny)
posted by GeekAnimator at 10:53 AM on April 15, 2005


Research suggests parents give unattractive children less attention

And what they do give ain't that great.

Now somebody tell me why the stepchild is red-headed. and why it has to be a STEP-child?
posted by davy at 11:05 AM on April 15, 2005


Do not - like these researchers - leap to conclusions. Because there is a correlation between observers' judgements of childhood prettiness and the way that parents behave towards the children does not mean that it is directly causal. The way it works could be :
Pretty people live in a nicer world than unpretty people
Living in a nice world makes you nicer
Nice people are nice to their children
Pretty people have pretty children
Pretty children are treated nicer by their nice, pretty parents
or any one of a dozen such explanatory cock and bull stories
posted by TimothyMason at 12:04 PM on April 15, 2005


It's perfectly logical, if you think about it. Attractiveness is a measure of health - lack of disease, good bone structure, that kind of thing. If you've got a butt-ugly kid, its chances of reproducing are significantly lower than a good-looking, strapping young thing (though more so in the animal world). So you the parent consequently devote less resources to it in order that you might dedicate them to another, better child.

On the flipside, since unattractive children are more likely to have unattractive parents... couldn't we theorize that unattractive people are bad parents?

Also, the kinkajou.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:07 PM on April 15, 2005


The real question is what comprises the measure of "attractiveness" for these researchers. Is it a measure of cuteness or sexuality? Are the two different? What does attractiveness mean and are these researchers pedophiles?

Furthermore, I'm wondering regarding the small number of children who go missing each year whether there is a positive correspondence to their "attractiveness" and/or to their disconnectedness from adults.

This study seems to be chock full of schlock.
posted by mistersquid at 12:08 PM on April 15, 2005


This particular study seems like pretty shoddy workmanship, but it's not like this hasn't been observed before. This link has some information on it.

Pretty people are treated better than ugly people by everyone - including their parents.
posted by Jart at 12:28 PM on April 15, 2005


First, has nobody noticed that "sociobiology" is rationalization for "eugenics" -- and for Naziism? Ever seen the "ugly Jew" caricatures from Der Stürmer? The same kinds of people who concoct these studies, or at least the "explanations" of them, are the direct intellectual descendants of the dweebs who thought pellagra was hereditary.

Second, "beauty" is socially constructed. In some cultures mothers would (and some still do) flatten their kids' heads, cross their eyes, and/or cripple their feet to make them "more attractive"; to these people your average cutesy yuppie would be homely if not hideous. Or do you suppose that these people altered their kids in order to make them "ugly"?

Third, I myself have struck some people as repulsive and others as worthy of obsession -- without changing so much as the part in my hair. None of the people on those extremes have believed the truth as I see it (and as most people seem to agree), that I'm really non-descript and mediocre-looking. So who's right, and how many "studies" would it take to prove that?

By the way, who's more attractive, Angelina or Jennifer, and why?
posted by davy at 1:01 PM on April 15, 2005


davy: beauty is not socially constructed. It has been proven that symmetry is what makes someone perceived as "beautiful". Even female zebra finches prefer males with symmetric colorings. Symmetry plays a big part in artwork of traditional beauty. Babies study symmetrical faces longer than asymmetrical faces. It's an ingrained evolutionary preference.

Foot binding, corsets, piercings, etc. are indeed socially constructed, but are of a different ilk than that of the biologically ingrained perception of beauty.

As for your own personal discrepancies, remember that attraction goes far and beyond physical characteristics.

Side note: why I still think you are lovely even though you mother is dead.
posted by Specklet at 2:29 PM on April 15, 2005


davy : " First, has nobody noticed that 'sociobiology' is rationalization for 'eugenics' -- and for Naziism?"

Well, it's certainly used as a rationalization, though I don't see that it is a rationalization. Much in the way that "making a better world" is used as a rationalization of eugenics and Naziism, but that doesn't make the goal of a better world itself bad. The problem is with the thing being rationalized (eugenics), not with the things used to rationalize it.

davy : "The same kinds of people who concoct these studies, or at least the 'explanations' of them, are the direct intellectual descendants of the dweebs who thought pellagra was hereditary."

Any evidence to back that up?

davy : " Second, 'beauty' is socially constructed."

Yes, partially...And? What is your point?

davy : "I myself have struck some people as repulsive and others as worthy of obsession. So who's right, and how many 'studies' would it take to prove that?"

Neither one is "right" or "wrong", one or the other may just be the majority or the minority. As such, no amount of studies would prove one is "right" or "wrong".

davy : " By the way, who's more attractive, Angelina or Jennifer, and why?"

Angelina who? (I suspect you mean Jolie?) Jennifer who? (No idea who Jennifer is...)
posted by Bugbread at 2:34 PM on April 15, 2005


Angelina, but that's because she seems crazy and crazy is hot.
posted by quin at 2:59 PM on April 15, 2005


Also, Aye-Aye's rock. They fall into that 'so creepy their cool' category of my brain. i always wanted to get one and name it Nosferatu. It could terrorize my cats and be the bane to any grubs living in the woodwork in my house.
posted by quin at 3:19 PM on April 15, 2005


A neighbor once confessed that after his daughter got a much-needed haircut, he realized he had been treating her poorly due to her messy looks. He was a devoted father and was shocked by his discovery.
Richard Burton remarked that the vertically challenged but otherwise gorgeous young Elizabeth Taylor was a "liitle bit short in the leg", OT: leading Stan Freberg to ask "Which one?"
posted by Cranberry at 5:00 PM on April 15, 2005


You're not mcgraw.
posted by squidlarkin at 7:16 PM on April 15, 2005


davy: beauty is not socially constructed.

Did you read what I wrote about crossed eyes and bound feet?

It has been proven that symmetry is what makes someone perceived as "beautiful".

Yeah sure, like it was proven that pellagra was an inherited trait among poor Appalachian whites. Till it was later proven to be a simple dietary deficiency, because giving people meat, fresh vegetables, and milk made pellagra go away.

By contrast, ugly people with asymmetrical faces get laid all the time -- the vast majority of my lovers have been far more "attractive" than me. Too bad for your "scientific truth", eh?
posted by davy at 8:57 PM on April 15, 2005


I've always been homely, but my parents loved me as another's.
posted by troutfishing at 9:08 PM on April 15, 2005


Angelina or Jennifer? How dismally reduced a gamut. Try Agnès - prettily tending her pretty infant - Barbara Villiers (I was looking for another of CII's favourites - Lely's portrait of Nell Gwynn, as discussed by John Berger) or this more recent royal mistress from the 'Spanked Celebrities' site. After which, you can browse through the rest of these victims of adult brutality and make your mind up as to whether pretty children are better treated than ugly ones or not.
posted by TimothyMason at 11:58 PM on April 15, 2005


Researchers show parents give unattractive children less attention

This is a really wonky conclusion. The research results can also be taken to show that unattentive parents tend to get ugly children.
Which could be explained by a general correction between social skills and the ability to attract an attractive partner.
In other words, attentive (and charming) people have a higher chance of getting the babes/hulks and thus attractive offspring.
posted by sour cream at 12:34 AM on April 16, 2005


davy, there's no use arguing against the biological basis of attraction - it's hard wired in all of us. However, there is also a large social component, and it is foolish for someone to deny that (though nobody has.) The fact is that there are indicators built into our outward appearances which are impossible to deny without totally abandoning basic sexuality. The waist-to-hip ratios, symmetrical face structures, healthy skin and hair, there are lots of things like these and they are relevant but far from the whole story. We now have the opportunity to have a socially construct of beauty because our species is successful enought to support preference over instinct - but that doesn't mean that the instincts are wrong or anything but natural.

For the record, I'm pretty symmetrical, and I get no play.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 2:47 AM on April 16, 2005


Angelina, but that's because she seems crazy and crazy is hot.
She is the craziest. And the hottest.

By contrast, ugly people with asymmetrical faces get laid all the time -- the vast majority of my lovers have been far more "attractive" than me. Too bad for your "scientific truth", eh?
See, that's because ugliness and overall social intelligence and selectiveness go together, and so you end up with a lot of ugly people who don't worry so much about who they sleep with. Perhaps your lovers were more attractive than you, but that doesn't mean they were much further up the absolute scale than you -- perhaps you're all in the same horrible ugly smear.

Of course, that's all just a wild, insulting rationalization so that I can claim to be hot despite the fact that I haven't even had enough partners to construct a 'vast majority' out of.
Or is it?!
posted by blacklite at 10:23 PM on April 16, 2005


You'd be surprised, squidlarkin.
posted by dfowler at 12:48 PM on April 18, 2005


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