Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Listening to:
"Horchata" by Vampire Weekend

In recent weeks, I've become an enthusiastic fan of CultureMap, a new online magazine and "mapazine" headquartered in Houston. Check it out: http://culturemap.com

It emphasizes "hyper-localized intelligence and insight to each city that it covers"—entertainment, real estate, shopping, restaurants, nightlife, social events—and maps individual articles to different locations throughout Houston. There's also a detailed city travel guide, events calendar, and information about local trends. I think CultureMap has enormous potential, and I hope its success also spreads to other cities.
. . .

Professor Lockhart explained during Psychology and the Law today that there are interesting and sometimes disturbing correlations between attractiveness and criminality. In one study, for example, facial photographs of high school-age African-American and Caucasian delinquents were judged less attractive than control high school students by same-race raters. In addition, studies have shown that attractive defendants are often given less severe sentences than unattractive defendants. On the other hand, if attractiveness is related to the crime (such as swindling, embezzlement, etc.), then attractive defendants tend to receive longer sentences. Furthermore, in one fascinating 1978 study, 100 physically unattractive men being released from Riker's Island Prison received cosmetic surgery. Years later, this group had significantly lower rates of recidivism compared to a control group of 100 men whose looks had not been surgically improved.

"First figure out how cute you are, then choose your crime."
- Prof. Kristi Lockhart, Psychology and the Law lecture