Monthly Archives: March 2014

This Just In: Women Like a Man with Moves


Washington Post Dance GraphicThis just in from the frontiers of evolutionary biology: Women like a man with moves. And not just any moves. Women like a man who can nod his head; twist his torso; and especially, shake a leg. Actually. Shake. A. Leg.  The faster, the better, and the right one specifically. Or so reports Christopher Ingraham in the Washington Post’s Wonkblog.

These are just some of the results of a study by anthropologists, sociobiologists, and life scientists at Northumbria University, United Kingdom, and the University of Gottinghem, Germany.

The researchers wired-up nineteen men with motion sensors, asked them to dance for 30 seconds to a steady drum beat, filmed them from 12 camera angles, and converted their performances into animations featuring blank-faced, empty-crotched, naked blue avatars.

The idea was to strip the guys of any looks, cues, or socioeconomic clues–like clothing and a, um, package–that might distract female subjects from men’s actual motions. The women viewed the resulting animations and rated the dancing dummies on a standard seven-point scale from “extremely bad dancer” to “extremely good dancer.” The results were statistically sliced and diced to determine what women really want.

I could have saved  them the trouble.  Continue reading

7 Things I Heard at the Book Festival

VA Festival bookmark2Seven intriguing things I heard at the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, this week.

  1. “Toni Morrison is our greatest living writer.” Alice Hoffman, Author
  2. Don’t necessarily write what you know. “Write what you can feel and imagine.” Hoffman
  3. Hoffman gets up at 4:45 a.m. to write because early in the morning, she says, “My censor is off. I am not as hypercritical and I am more in touch with my subconscious.”
  4. One difference between crafting a short story and writing a novel is that in the story “there is no room for adverbs.” You must find and use “more precise verbs.” Heather Weidner, Author.
  5. Publicity planning for a new book begins in earnest four to six months before its release, but authors can help the process by thinking ahead. “Develop the story behind the book.” What made you want to write it? How did you become an author? Who is your audience? How can you get your book and yourself in front of them?  Sharyn Rosenblum, Vice President, Senior Director of Media Relations for William Morrow
  6. When an agent says “‘I didn’t connect'” to a work you have submitted s/he means “‘the character didn’t come alive and connect with the reader.'” It’s not well enough written and “your writing got between the reader and the character.” Jeff Kleinman, Folio Literary Management
  7. Bestselling author Lisa Scottoline has an annual event at her home for members of book clubs who have read one of her works. “If you read me, you know me.” Lisa Scottoline

Ever been to a book festival? A writers conference? What’s the most intriguing thing you heard? Said? Click on Leave a Comment below.

American Hustle: Too Much

AMERICAN-HUSTLE-poster-1024x768I’ve been trying to get to American Hustle for weeks and today I finally made it. After coming up with a big fat nada despite ten nominations at this year’s Oscars, it is bound to be off the marquee tomorrow.

It’s hard to tell if my experience of Hustle was colored by being the only . . . the absolute only. . . soul in the theater, but I’m going to have to say that I was a bit disappointed. Continue reading