Good dancing is sign of male health, scientists say

Via BBC:

Dr Nick Neave looks at the difference between “good” and “bad” dancing

Scientists say they’ve carried out the first rigorous analysis of dance moves that make men attractive to women.

The researchers say that movements associated with good dancing may be indicative of good health and reproductive potential.

“When you go out to clubs people have an intuitive understanding of what makes a good and bad dancer,” said co-author Dr Nick Neave, an evolutionary psychologist at Northumbria University, UK.

“What we’ve done for the very first time is put those things together with a biometric analysis so we can actually calculate very precisely the kinds of movements people focus on and associate them with women’s ratings of male dancers.”

Dr Neave asked young men who were not professional dancers, to dance in a laboratory to a very basic drum rhythm and their movements with 12 cameras.

These movements were then converted into a computer-generated cartoon – an avatar – which women rated on a scale of one to seven. He was surprised by the results.

“We thought that people’s arms and legs would be really important. The kind of expressive gestures the hands [make], for example. But in fact this was not the case,” he said.

“We found that (women paid more attention to) the core body region: the torso, the neck, the head. It was not just the speed of the movements, it was also the variability of the movement. So someone who is twisting, bending, moving, nodding.”

Movements that went down terribly were twitchy and repetitive – so called “Dad dancing”.

Dr Neave’s aim was to establish whether young men exhibited the same courtship movement rituals in night clubs as animals do in the wild. In the case of animals, these movements give information about their health, age, their reproductive potential and their hormone status.

“People go to night clubs to show off and attract the opposite sex so I think it’s a valid way of doing this,” Dr Neave explained.

“In animals, the male has to be in good physical quality to carry out these movements. We think the same is happening in humans and certainly the guys that can put these movements together are going to be young and fit and healthy.”

Dr Neave also took blood samples from the volunteers. Early indications from biochemical tests suggest that the men who were better dancers were also more healthy.

The Internet up for Nobel Peace Prize

Via BBC, the internet is in the running for the Nobel Peace Prize:

The internet is among a record 237 individuals and organisations nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. The number of nominations surpasses last year’s record of 205 nominations.

The internet’s nomination has been championed by the Italian version of Wired magazine for helping advance “dialogue, debate and consensus”.

The director of the Nobel Institute, Geir Lundestad, told BBC News that the organisation had received “thousands of nominations” for the coveted prize.

“Some were nominated by one person, others by 10, others by 100,” he said.

The secretive organisation does not release the list of nominees, but nominators sometimes announce their choices.

Nigerian President Yar’Adua Re-appears

Via BBC, President Yar’Adua has reappeared ending months of silence and specuation that he had passed away.

Nigeria’s President Umaru Yar’Adua has spoken publicly for the first time since going into hospital in Saudi Arabia in November for heart treatment.

In his first interview since then, he told the BBC by telephone that he was recovering and hoped with “tremendous progress” to resume his duties.

His long absence and speculation over his health have led to calls for him to hand over power to his vice-president.

And then there this awesome Onion piece on experts discussing the Nigerian situation.