Here’s Why You’ll Probably Instagram Your Lunch This Weekend

If Paul Cezanne were alive today, he’d probably spend most of his day on the /r/FoodPorn subreddit. He’d be well received by a community dedicated to sharing simple photographs of stunning food—some of Cezanne’s most famous paintings depict fruit bowls and decadent meals. Now a new study from Cornell Food Lab analyzes the phenomenon of #foodporn throughout history, and attempts to explain why we love looking at pictures of delicious meals.

“Over-the-top meals aren’t a modern invention,” said coauthor Brian Wansink of the Cornell Food Lab, in a press statement. “Paintings from the age of Michelangelo were loaded with the foods modern diets warn us about: salt, sausages, bread, and more bread.”

But the food porn phenomenon is nothing new. Indeed, admiring unattainable foods from afar appears to be a uniquely human passion, hundreds of years in the making. For this new study, the authors began by choosing 750 classic food paintings from the years 1500 to 200, found in books such as Art And Appetite and Food In Painting, and then narrowed their sample down to 140 paintings that depicted family meals (not fruit bowls—sorry Cezanne). They then identified the foods visible in each painting, and categorized them by country and time period.

Across years and countries, the authors found that roughly 20 percent of the paintings included at least one vegetable, 75 percent contained fruit, and 40 percent contained meat. What stood out the most, though, was that some of the most common foods in paintings appear to have been the least common foods during those time periods. Artichokes were the most common vegetable in these painting, followed by tomatoes, onions, squash, and radishes. Exotic fruits, rather than apples and oranges, carried the day. Shellfish, a rare delicacy, was the most common entree.

In other words, the authors conclude, the most commonly painted foods of the last 500 years were not representative of a typical diets. Instead, the paintings tend to depict foods that are fun to paint (the curves and shadows of an artichoke are a worthy challenge) or fun to imagine eating. In that way, the authors note, food porn simply hasn’t changed much over 500 years. We still love looking at unattainable foods—upvoting, double-tapping, or Liking dishes that contain odd but aesthetically pleasing ingredients, even though we know our odds of eating them are slim.

“We found that most things depicted were visually appealing, like exotic fruit or shellfish,” said coauthor Anupama Mukund of the University of Washington, in a press release. “Next time you’re at a museum and see paintings of different dinner settings across different time periods, remember that these aren’t things that people actually consumed.”

“More likely they depicted things that people wanted to be eating.”

Instagram Will Let You Filter Comments On Your Photos

It’s always nice to get positive, and even constructive, feedback on your Instagram photos. It’s not so nice when someone takes the time to hurl insults or make threats in the comments. Soon, Facebook-owned Instagram will give users new anti-harassment tools that let them hide unseemly messages left on their photos.

Instagram plans to introduce new anti-harassment tools in coming weeks. They will allow users to filter comments on posts or turn them off all together, The Washington Post reports.

The tools will roll out to “high-profile,” account users — those with high traffic, likes, and comments — first, with everyday users receiving the options later.

Although Instagram already has some policies in place regarding acceptable speech, the new tools enable users to weed out terms or comments they find personally offensive on a post-to-post basis on their own accounts.

“Our goal is to make Instagram a friendly, fun and, most importantly, safe place for self expression,” Instagram’s head of public policy, Nicky Jackson Colaco, tells the Post. “We have slowly begun to offer accounts with high volume comment threads the option to moderate their comment experience. As we learn, we look forward to improving the comment experience for our broader community.”

‘Fish Bras’ Are The Hottest New Summer Instagram Trend

It’s summertime, so you know what that means: boats, fishing, and bikinis. Put those things together, and what do we have? Fish bras! Yes, fish bras, the hottest new Instagram trend of the summer. In a nutshell, a fish bra happens when a lady holds up a trophy catch in front of her boobs, bikini-clad or otherwise — basically recreating the top half of Kim Kardashian’s nude, black bar selfie, only with a fish.

What could be sexier than fish and boobs? Not much, according to the official Fish Bra Instagram account, which currently boasts 104,000 followers. I guess nyotaimori, or the Japanese practice of eating sushi off naked female bodies, is a thing for a reason?

Who knows! At any rate, getting back to the subject of fish bras, you clicked on this for a reason, so far be it from me to disappoint.


Netflix Is Looking for a #Foodporn Instagrammer and It Can Be You

Do you consider yourself an avid Instagrammer? Do you constantly find yourself surrounded by gourmet food? Are you able to combine these passions and successfully capture some #foodporn with each meal? If so, you might be a perfect candidate for the role of Netflix’s new Instagrammer for its show Chef’s Table.

As anyone who has scrolled through the homepage of Netflix looking for something to bingewatch knows, the promos for Chef’s Table are hinged on lusciously shot portraits of exotic dishes. These pictures don’t take themselves, and Netflix is turning to the public to find the lucky, talented individual who is up for traveling the world to both eat and capture some of the show’s featured foods. The right candidate will also be expected to chat with the master chefs in question, and to remain calm in the face of so much tantalizing food.

For info on how to apply for this dream job, visit Netflix’s application page.

Scientists Find That People Who Take Selfies Regularly Overestimate How Attractive They Are

If you’re a fan of filling up your Instagram and Snapchat feeds with selfies, you might want to reconsider – a new study suggests that you’re probably not as beautiful as you think you are, and plastering your face all over the internet isn’t giving the world the best impression.

Yup, in a new shade-throwing study, researchers say that independent observers typically view rampant selfie-takers as more narcissistic, less attractive and less likeable compared to individuals who forgo the solo photos.

In the study, which was conducted by researchers from the University of Toronto, scientists gathered 198 college students. One hundred of these students were selfie-takers, while the other 98 reported little to no selfie-snapping.

These students were asked to take a selfie fit for social media, and were then also photographed by one of the team members, resulting in each participant having a selfie and a standard picture of themselves.

With these pictures in hand, the students rated how attractive they thought other people would find them. The team then had a group of 178 independent, outside observers rate the photos for attractiveness, likability and narcissism.

When all was said and done, both groups – the selfie-takers and non-selfie-takers – reported themselves more attractive than they were rated by the outside group, though the selfie-takers were off by a greater degree, reports David Hayward for PsyPost.

Also, all of the researcher-taken photos were rated higher than the selfie photos. Plus, the selfie-takers were rated significantly higher on the narcissism scale.

The study had a pretty limited sample size, so more work needs to be done to verify and confirm the results. But basically the research is suggesting that not only do people think they are way hotter than they actually are, but taking selfies also significantly decrease people’s opinions of you.

“Selfie-takers generally over perceived the positive attributes purveyed by their selfies,” the team said in a report by Adam Boult for The Telegraph. “Here, we found that selfie-takers believed their selfies to look more attractive and likeable than photos of them taken by other people.”

So, if taking selfies is perceived so poorly, why the heck do so many people do? It comes down a well-known psychological phenomenon called ‘self-favouring bias’, which states that “people have a tendency to perceive themselves as being better than average on a wide range of positive traits”, reports Hayward.

Basically, people think they’re better than others. This isn’t news, but those feelings are greatly increased when people have more control.

For selfies, people pretty much have the most control possible because they can adjust the angle of the shot, the filter, when they post them to social media and every other aspect. The study suggests that this causes people to have a rather extreme bout with self-favouring bias.

This isn’t the first study to ponder the negative side of the selfie craze, either. Last year, researchers from Ohio State University said that male selfie-lovers show signs of psychopathy. And based on media reports, selfie-taking killed more people last year than sharks.

All of these studies are basically saying that maybe it’s time to cool it with the selfies. After all, if you’re friends with someone on Instagram, they probably know what your face looks like, no need to remind them hundreds of times a day.

The new study was published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Sony Patents Smart Contact Lens Camera Technology

Following in the footsteps of Google and Samsung, Sony has just patented technology for smart contact lenses. According to sonyalpharumors, the Japanese tech conglomerate’s iteration of a lens looks to be very advanced with a built-in camera, storage and transmission unit. The patent also states that the device would be able to have autofocus, aperture control and image stabilization. To control the camera “shutter,” the wearer would simply have to blink, but the patent claims that the contact lenses would be able to differentiate between a regular blink and one to capture a photo. While details are obviously sparse at this point, one thing is clear — the next wearable technology is going to be the contact lens. Click here to see the full patent.


Instagram Videos Can Now Be Up To A Minute Long

If you’ve been wishing for longer videos of cute cats, dogs, and kids saying the darndest things on Instagram, the social media gods have heard your prayers. Instagram users will now be able to post videos that are up to one minute long, adding 45 seconds to the previous video length limits.

Before this update, users could only post videos up to 15 seconds in length, which is awfully short when there’s an adorable cockatoo screeching funny things, or a dog and a raccoon engaging in some solid interspecies snuggling.

“In the last six months, the time people spent watching video increased by more than 40 percent,” the company said in its announcement, adding that “longer videos mean more diverse stories” from popular accounts.

The company says the update started rolling out on Tuesday, and will be available “for everyone in the coming months.”

Instagram is also bringing back the ability to make videos out of multiple clips from your camera roll — if you’re an iOS user.

This move to longer videos is interesting, in that it takes Instagram a step closer to YouTube, and a step away from apps like Snapchat, which limits users to videos that last a matter of seconds. Perhaps Instagram is just trying to carve out its own little spot in the crowded world of mobile video.

Here Are Astronaut Scott Kelly’s Awesome Photos From His Year in Space

After 340 weightless days, Scott Kelly is finally back on Earth. Strapped into a Russian Soyuz capsule, the NASA astronaut and his fellow crew member, Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, landed safely in Kazakhstan just before midnight Eastern time on March 1.

Kelly and Kornienko lived aboard the International Space Station for a little less than a year. And now, as the American who has spent the most consecutive days in space, Kelly’s experience will, among other things, help NASA gain more insights into the effects of long-term weightlessness, a stepping stone to Mars.

During his year in space, Kelly conducted scientific experiments, exercised to keep his bones and muscles strong in zero gravity, and snapped photos of his celestial views and Earth’s wonderfully diverse geography. In honor of the Kelly’s historic mission and welcomed homecoming, here is a selection of the astronaut’s most awe-inspiring photos, some of which have been color-enhanced by NASA, from his year in space.


Netflix Is Hiring Instagram Users to Travel and Take Pictures

Yes, you read that right: Netflix is looking for four so-called #GRAMMASTERS to travel Europe and the Middle East on the company’s dime, snapping beautiful photos on the sets of TV shows, movies, and Netflix’s own original series and uploading them to IG. As if that didn’t sound like enough of a dream job, the site is also offering $2,000 USD as weekly compensation. Applicants needn’t worry about their résumé either; simply follow Netflix’s official Instagram account, upload three of your best ‘grams to your profile and tag all of your entires with #grammasters3 to be considered.

You can read more about the opportunity here. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Unpublished Photos of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. & More Released for Black History Month

Since launching in 1926 under the suggestion of historian Carter Godwin Woodson, Black History Month has been a pivotal period of commemoration for Americans and Canadians alike. With over 45 million African-Americans in the U.S. today (making about 15% of the country’s population) and an ever-growing public consciousness for systematic racial divide, more North Americans are readily exploring the nation’s rich yet turbulent history of American black culture. The importance of celebrating Black History Month and the community’s positive achievements and contributions to history as a whole are especially paramount, given the current landscape of race relations in the U.S. where stories of Spike Lee’s boycott of a White-dominated Oscars to young black shootings like Trayvon Martin‘s case continue to dominate headlines.

With Black History Month just around the corner, The New York Times team went digging through the publication’s vast collection of photographs to share unreleased negatives taken during important moments in African-American history. Never-before-seen photos of police-demonstrator confrontations, rallies protesting the assassination of civil rights leader Medgar Evers, poet and social critic James Baldwin, Run-D.M.C., writer and novelist Zora Neale Hurston, and singer, actress and activist Lena Horne are presented with iconic photos of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. years before he famously marched through Lincoln Memorial as well as Malcolm X’s fire-destroyed living room from when he famously dodged a firebomb attack at his humble home in East Elmhurst, Queens, New York in 1965 – just one week before his assassination.

Check out a selection of photographs in the gallery above and view more photos here. Stay tuned for more pictures to be released throughout the month of February – every day during Black History Month, The NY Times will be releasing at least one photograph online with accompanying stories for us to learn, engage and stay connected with the movement.