We fill the human-shaped void with 225 percent more Facebook interactions.
Read more. [Image: Facebook]
"This was the Transit Museum’s fourth annual Valentine’s Day party celebrating Missed Connections, the sporadic moments of longing that spike city life with mystery and melancholy. Charles Baudelaire may have missed the quintessential connection, passing by a woman in a Paris street: ‘Fleeting beauty / Whose look was my rebirth / Will I never see you again?’ But Craigslist, which started Missed Connections in 2000, has pushed the concept into the pop culture mainstream.”
[Image: Henry Grabar]
Facebook might understand your romantic prospects better than you do.
In a blog post published yesterday, the company’s team of data scientists announced that statistical evidence hints at budding relationships before the relationships start.
As couples become couples, Facebook data scientist Carlos Diuk writes, the two people enter a period of courtship, during which timeline posts increase. After the couple makes it official, their posts on each others’ walls decrease—presumably because the happy two are spending more time together.
Read more. [Image: Facebook]
If you’re looking to add a digital spark to your relationship this Valentine’s Day, you can download the new app Romantimatic.
Romantimatic will send you scheduled reminders to contact your significant other and give you pre-set messages to fire off. The pre-set messages include simple, straightforward classics like “I love you” and “I miss you.”
Or maybe that doesn’t sound appealing. It sure doesn’t to me. In that case, I recommend you follow my lead: Take a solemn oath before the Greek god Eros and vow to never, ever go this far down the outsourced sentiment rabbit hole.
If my warning rings hollow and you believe—like a writer over at Wired does—that the app is a valid “last resort,” keep in mind Romantimatic offers its own recommendation. It comes loaded with a single but highly revealing “pro-tip”: “Maybe don’t mention that you’re using an app to remind you to express your affection.”
Read more. [Image: Robinson Meyer]
Today is the day of unmet expectations. It’s the day for rushing to make your way-too-early dinner reservation, only to be wedged between two tables of loud talkers. Or of trying hard not to hope for surprise flowers because you’re not officially boyfriend-girlfriend yet. Or of trying to find a last-minute gift, only to make a desperate run to CVS to buy some crappy little thing.
Most people agree that Valentine’s Day is a good, if somewhat random, opportunity to shower loved ones with affection. At the same time, people also seem to resent the holiday’s obligatory nature. A survey of 6,400 people by the National Retail Federation found that fewer people are expected to participate in Valentine’s Day this year (54 percent compared to 60 percent last year). Those who do take part will drop $134 on the day’s festivities.
And yet, people expect that their significant others will spend more on them for Valentine’s Day than they themselves want to spend. As Martha C. White pointed out in Time, both men and women who are in relationships want their lovers to shell out an average of $240, yet men themselves say they plan to spend $98, and women just $71.
For many, Valentine’s Day showboating just doesn’t evince the same excitement that, say, Christmas dinner or a surprise birthday does.
Read more. [Image: lolostock/Shutterstock]
With simplicity and depth directors TJ Martin and Dan Lindsay bring us an emotionally charged documentary about family and the pains of old age. The film revolves around an audio conversation between Martin’s grandfather and grandmother, who was dying of cancer at the time. Featured alongside a selection of home videos and photos, the conversation is a portrait of the life the couple lived. But more than a simple celebration of those moments, the film challenges the viewer to grapple with the highs and lows of life, including age, decay, and death.
Editor’s Note: This is not a review for people who haven’t seen the movie, but more of a discussion for those who have. In other words, there are some spoilers. Also, Reich wrote her master’s thesis on sex with cyborgs. Who better to discuss Spike Jonze’s Her?
Late last year, a programmer named Joe Toscano created a Twitter bot. Tofu the bot sort of did what tofu the food did: It had no flavor of its own but took on whatever seasoning was asked of it. Namely, the flavor of your tweets. Whenever you tweeted directly at @tofu_product, the algorithm took your tweets and the way you wrote and returned them back to you, but not as necessarily intelligible tweets. Instead, they were usually something else, a mishmash of you and yourself and something else entirely. Then, every once in a while, you’d get something remarkable, when Tofu would reply as if he – I mean it – were making a joke or knew the right thing to say when you were sad.
At Tofu’s height, I would go on Twitter sometimes and watch as my entire feed would fill with people, real live sentient beings, as they talked not to each other despite being directly connected, but instead to Tofu. Sometimes two or three people would respond to something Tofu had said to someone else. People joked around about marrying Tofu, about Tofu understanding them better than anyone else, about wanting to talk to Tofu more than an actual human.
Tofu, a bot, an algorithm, meant to reflect a reconstructed version of you back at yourself.
Read more. [Image: Warner Bros.]
The Disney movie’s dark take on Prince Charming offers what Cinderella or The Little Mermaid don’t: a chance to talk to my young kids about love and relationships.
Read more. [Image: Disney]
Greater distance apart actually predicted more intimacy, communication, and satisfaction.
Read more. [Image: valentinastorti/Flickr]
By the time you swear you’re his, / Shivering and sighing. / And he vows his passion is/ Infinite, undying. / Lady, make a note of this — /One of you is lying. ― Dorothy Parker
Edward Royzman, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, asks me to list four qualities on a piece of paper: physical attractiveness, income, kindness, and fidelity. Then he gives me 200 virtual “date points” that I’m to distribute among the four traits. The more I allocate to each attribute, the more highly I supposedly value that quality in a mate.
This experiment, which Royzman sometimes runs with his college classes, is meant to inject scarcity into hypothetical dating decisions in order to force people to prioritize.
I think for a second, and then I write equal amounts (70) next to both hotness and kindness, then 40 next to income and 20 next to fidelity.
“Oh wow,” he says.
Read more. [Image: liss j/Flickr]