A study about kissing

This article from Sapiens (“Is romantic kissing a human universal?) explains that kissing (romantic kisssing rather than the kind of kiss a parent gives a child) is surprisingly uncommon around the world. You’d never know it if you went by most movies (see, for example, “Most iconic movie kisses of all time” from InStyle, or tons of YouTube movie clip collections titled “Best movie kisses of all time”).

Iconic movie kiss #6: from “The Lady and the Tramp” (Japanese title: 「わんわん物語」

A few excerpts from the Sapiens article:

“In Melanesia, the Trobriand Islanders regarded kissing as ‘a rather silly and insipid form of amusement’

“even chimpanzees and bonbobos kiss”

“In fact … less than half of the (168) cultures we sampled engage in the romantic kiss.”

“Societies with distinct social classes are usually kissers; societies with fewer or no social classes, like hunter-gatherer communities, are usually not.”

And there are two theories about how romantic kissing originated. Try skimming the the article to find them.


Helping the needy

It felt like spring yesterday, but it’s cold again today. It’s hard to imagine having to “sleep rough” but that’s what the homeless are faced with.

In Brussels, Belgium, where (according to the video below) there are 2,600 homeless, and where canvas is illegal but cardboard shelters are not, Belgian entrepreneur Xavier Van der Steppen helps the homeless with “origami cardboard tents” that cost only $35 to make.

More about this story from the BBC

More about homelessness in Brussels (from the Brussels Times).

How about the homeless in Tokyo? According to this article from Mainichi Shimbun, “Tokyo sees 4,000 homeless sleeping in 24-hr cafes on any weeknight”.

One interesting point about the cardboard tents is that they’re made by prison inmates. One possible research project topic is to find out what prison inmates in Japan (or another country you’re learning about) are doing. Do they work? Do they make anything that contributes to society?

Another project for helping the needy (of a different kind): help the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour & Welfare with their English-language information. This is just awful: “Self-support of needy person” (PDF)

One incomprehensible sentence: