Friday, March 1, 2013

Science destroys itself

And scientists wonder why the public has so little confidence in them and their magic process:
Whether you adore Lena Dunham or think she's overrated, one thing seems to be in consensus: She's not drop dead gorgeous. She made a hit TV show about being average ("real"), she's constantly scrutinized for wearing not enough or nothing at all, and always has to address her looks on top of her talents.

But is Dunham really all that average, or even bad looking? Not according to science.

Beauty, it so happens, is not just a matter of personal taste but rather a matter of measurements, geometry and calculations -- all the stuff you loved in 8th grade math. That science says that Dunham is just like the rest of those Hollywood exquisites, if not even more attractive (gasp). Yes, the frequently body-shamed "Girls" maverick is scientifically better looking than "conventional" beauties Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Lopez, Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, Jessica Chastain, and even Jessica Biel. 
Look, it's really not that hard.  If your hypothesis results in the conclusion that Lena Dunham is more objectively beautiful than Jessica Biel, that is not evidence that society's standards of beauty are somehow incorrect or require modification, it is evidence that YOUR HYPOTHESIS IS INCORRECT!


taterearl said...

Post wall Jessica Biel is still more attractive.

Heuristics said...

Anchorman said...

Symetrical back fat and moose knuckles.

Aww, who am I kidding? She'd never go for a guy like me.

FantsticSprite said...

Lene Dunham as hot? No. My taste in women is a bit odd, but I can't even buy that. She is, at best, distinctly average. Small boobs... blech, get a boob job or something. Her face looks like she chases parked cars for a living.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a bit outside the norm in what I find appealing in a woman. I'm a lot more tolerant of body fat than most who post here (because that's the price one pays for massive natural boobs and curvy hips... yum). Although I wouldn't call myself a chubby chaser either -- there are limits to this tolerance. So I don't always agree with Vox's taste. But we find ourselves in agreement here.

And yeah... the crap being spewed as "science" these days might as well just be "shit women want to believe is true in utopian fairy land." So, if you look like Lena Dunham, ladies... get a boob job, or settle for a beta. Don't try telling me you're "beautiful."

Roundtine said...

FFS, I'd take Martha Stewart 10 years ago over Lena Dunham. Maybe today as well, but haven't seen recent pics.

Shimshon said...

Purely coincidentally, Dr. Kendra Schmid's "meticulous calculations" (LOL) places her even higher than Ms. Dunham's classic beauty. I'm sure McRapey would concur. Hell, he's probably even prettier than either of them combined.


stg58/Animal Mother said...

The title of this post reminds me of the group of bad guys in Fringe, ZFT. Fringe stars Anna Torv, who is unquestionably really hot. Even hotter than Lena Dunham.

Pablo said...

Lena Dunham might actually be a composite of western women these days, and maybe that's why this kind of article would surfaces. But no, she not remarkable in any physical manner whereas Jessica Biel could make most men walk into walls.

LP 999/Eliza said...

Forgive me, suffering through my 30's here but what is wrong with hollywood and this ellen paige and twilight chick worship? The women or young ladies in acting today are...well, not from Heathers.

On the other hand, look at Kate Beckinsdale, not only is she beautiful but can wear any hair style is not American. How can we compare that to Britney Spears? And are those women attractive in the eyes of men?

Has the grading scale of beauty changed this much? Or has what is pushed on society as beautiful not beautiful at all?

Also in science is something interesting regarding housework; a study pointed to years ago when women were thinner and did more housework in comparison to our era. Housework keeps us thinner and even happier. A cleaner home is a happier family.

FantsticSprite said...

Jessica Biel is okay looking -- I'd do her. But she's not walk-into-walls worthy. Lena Dunham... I'd have to be in the middle of a serious dry spell to even consider it.

taterearl said...

It's not even the fact she has small boobs per se.

It's the short hairdo, the doodles on her back and arm, the fat, and the man personality she displays that makes her ugly.

Athor Pel said...

Lena Dunham has the same look as the girls I went to school with that were the most repellently sexually aggressive. In other words, no game required.

Harsh said...

Trying to argue PC nuttiness with facts? A fool's errand, my friend...

lckychrmsrr said...

I'd never heard of Lena Dunham, so I had to look her up to understand...bleah. On the 1-10 beauty scale, that all men are inherently born with, personal tastes muddy up who is the best 10. However, didn't science already prove that Shania Twain was proportionally perfect in face & body (a sentiment I happen to agree with)? This Lena Dunham comes NOWHERE near close to that.

HolmesIV said...

It's a classic case of Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO). Before that, though, taterearl correctly noted, "It's the short hairdo, the doodles on her back and arm, the fat, and the man personality she displays that makes her ugly."

But this algorithm isn't taking any of that into account. It simply looks at faces. And judging by the faces listed, yeah, Durham fits as the least attractive Hollywood woman listed, but more attractive than most of the Hollywood men.

Now is she more facially attractive than Jessica Biel? Even post-herpes, hard-wall-hitting Biel? No. And that's where I'd suggest it's GIGO -- the algorithm is probably flawed in a series of ways.

Doesn't invalidate the idea of scientifically evaluating beauty by metrics (though certainly doesn't prove it either).

We see this with a lot of climate models (remember the insistence that the UK would never again see snow in the wintertime?). On it's own this does not invalidate any aspect of climate science, but it certainly makes one dubious of climate models and the scientists peddling them as a panacea.

Vox's opening seems a bit aggressively written (magic?), but certainly his final concluding paragraph is precise and bang on. Yes, her hypothesis is incorrect. She's using crap stats for her algorithm. GIGO.

Joe Blow said...

If an ugly girl is a bonerkiller, then Lena Dunham is a boner mass murderer. Some women can do it with a look or a snotty comment, or just by being a bit ugly in a particular way. But Lena Dunham's total package is like a .600 Nitro boner killing elephant gun wielded by a professional hunter. It's not that she doesn't make me hot, it's that I can't in my wildest imagination foresee a situation where she could possibly make me hot. If she was on the far side of a gloryhole at a swingers's party, I'd go home to watch a movie on Lifetime. She is *that* ugly.

I'm convinced that she's being used as a spearhead to gamma-ize men; we're being told to accustom ourselves to incredibly ugly, aggressively left wing nutty women. It's like the "vacuuming makes women hot" tripe, just another stupid and plainly wrong argument.

But hey, YOU CANT ARGUE WITH SCIENCE, we're told...

Joe A. said...

Ya, I'm not even seeing Dunham as being worthy of average, and my standards are pretty low. You'd have to put a bag over everything but her face. Hell, I guess that would work... nevermind, then.

Harsh said...

Just looked up Dunham and she graduated from Oberlin... that explains A LOT... ha!

Jestin Ernest said...

1 - their 'science' only considers bilateral symmetry. ie - it's a two dimensional metric. i dunno about you, but *I* live in a 3-D world.

one big ( heh ) problem with Lena appears to be her nose. who gives a damn how bilaterally symmetric her nose is if it's hanging 5' off the front of her face?

of course, if we start incorporating metrics that define the DEPTH of the face, we're likely to find that science is rayciss. so we won't have that published in pop culture.

2 - two of their metrics are related to hair ( peak of forehead and endpoint of eyebrows ), which are trivial to spoof with cosmetics, comb-overs or razors.

3 - they have NO defined metric for % body fat or other indicators of overall physiological health.

just look at Jolie. she's not(?) a dog but even when she was young there was something 'off' about the way she looked. now, she's obviously too thin while Lena is just as clearly over weight.

Lindsay Lohan ( 26 ) has the same face today that she had at 18 and it's shocking how much she has deteriorated. she's probably going to be toothless by the time she's 40.

according to the 'science' they're using, Chinface ( Honey Booboo's mom, trust me, don't google that ) could be the most beautiful creature on the planet. because all of her chins are symmetrical. *facepalm*

LP 999/Eliza said...
On the other hand, look at Kate Beckinsdale, not only is she beautiful but can wear any hair style is not American. How can we compare that to Britney Spears? And are those women attractive in the eyes of men?

as with Lindsay Blowhan, Britney Spears has not aged well. the Hollywood life has been harmful to more than just her mental equilibrium. however, Biel proves that one can survive Hollywood.

i will say that when Britney was ~20 ( around when she did the Super Bowl half time show ), she could focus the attention of every man in the room. now? now she's just middling fair.

agreed, Beckinsale looks pretty good, especially for her age ( 39 ). wouldn't want her losing any more weight though, -5lbs and she'll be down into Jolie walking skeleton territory.

Amir Larijani said...

Lena Dunham isn't even remotely attractive. She's got a butch haircut and a buttload of tattoos.

Josh said...

Purely coincidentally, Dr. Kendra Schmid's "meticulous calculations" (LOL) places her even higher than Ms. Dunham's classic beauty.

Sailer's Law of Female Journalism.

Scott said...

If she was trim, had shoulder length hair, and wore tasteful makeup, she could be cute. But she has none of those things. She's easily knocking off two points and maybe three of attractiveness based on things she entirely has control of. Hair alone is one point.

Daniel said...

This misses two important factors:

1) The golden ratio is measured in photographs, which can suffer all sort of distortion. In order to measure a person's relation to the golden ratio, you must address their physical, 3D mask for accuracy.

Now, folks on the high end of the scale are always going to be on the high end of the scale, whether you use good photos or an actual physical measurement. But in the middle? Forget about it. I had college students compare face masks from their own photos with measurements of their own faces. The folks in the middle varied quite a bit, I would guess a full point or more either way using the metric this article uses (we used a simple golden ratio - so comparison is difficult. The variance, however was big - especially between photos and measurements, but also between photos.)

2) Dunham's face in that particular photo measures a high six. That seems only slightly high, based on my eyeballs.
a) The golden ratio measures the skull, not obesity. Adelle would measure higher than Dunham, for example, and probably higher than someone like Katy Perry.
b) Facial masks, by definition, do not measure bodies and Dunham's body is not just ugly, it is eldritch.

So, what this study is really saying is that Dunham, while uglier in almost every way than Biel, she is not without skull features, that, if she lost a lot of weight, worked out, and emphasized her face through wardrobe, she could compete, facially, with Biel.

Dunham's best face shot.shot.

Biel's best face shot.

If Dunham had less weight and any facial muscles, she's in Biel league. Face only though. Her body's going to keep her in ladies comedy forever.

Mostly, though, it drives me nuts when "scientists" allow great math like the golden ratio and the fibonacci sequence abused for pop culture idiocy.

Unknown said...

Hi Vox, not sure if this post was taking the piss or what. But just wondering, how does one obviously skewed study make science a 'magic process'?

Not sure if this post was sarcastic or not.

Daniel said...

Oh, masks totally disregard hair, too. Biel's got angel hair. Dunham's got frankenfro.

jg said...


Jack Amok said...

Lena Dunham's "attraction" is that if she lost 15 pounds of fat and 30 pounds of attitude, she would be above average. Since those things are, as Scott said, under her control, low SMV men figure she must be intentionally slumming, looking for them! That's what makes her "attractive." It's the "hey, I've got a shot with her!" belief.

That, and low-SMV guys thinking "fat chicks put out and are willing to do kinky stuff."

Orville said...

The "scientist" who did this study probably also dreams of a three way with Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers.

Gould K.L. Brownlee said...

This post is a typical piece of Leftist self promo.

As the Left increasingly replaces God with Science, and in the process turns Science into a mere emotional support system, we see ever wilder claims for what Science can tell us, and ever wilder demands that we believe what we know to be false.

The Soviet Union specialized in this evil garbage. The Left PREFERS to use lies because that conditions us to accept even more lies. And that is the only way the Left can convince enough people to abandon reality and follow them into a social nightmare of savage tyranny.

Sombro said...

"Scientifically" better looking? Tell that to my non-existent boner.

MrGreenMan said...

This reminds me of how, in 2009, you couldn't escape a story a week about how Michelle Obama was the new standard of beauty.

Cail Corishev said...

That has to be the worst picture of Jolie's face that I've ever seen. It makes her jawline look like Robert Z'Dar's. ("Where does that guy even keep his acorns?")

Roissy linked to a study long ago that morphed together lots of faces from each nationality to get the "prototype" face for each group. One interesting thing was that, when you do that, you get very attractive faces -- much more attractive than most of the individuals. So "attractive" does seem to lie at the mean.

But if Dunham's measurements are the ideal (which, from my quick perusal of the page, they don't seem to be; she's well below the other women's scores), that just shows how important other factors like hair and attitude can be.

Amir Larijani said...

Orville: Damn it, now I have to fight like hell to get that hideous image out of my head.

Anonymous said...

Lena Dunham looks like a cross between Moe Howard and Alice the Goon. Remember, "Dianetics" is a science too.

rycamor said...

Well, of course Dunham fits the objective measure of beauty. It's just that modern men have been "taught" to be attracted to young, slender blondes with long hair. Social convention--it just ruins good science!

Daniel said...

Her body is a genetic mess - and there's not much you can do about looking like the old naked dead lady coming out of the bath tub in The Shining.

If they had done the golden ratio on her body proportions, she might have pulled a 2. That's why she puts all those prison tattoos on her oniony skin. It's like graffiti at a firebombed strip joint: it at gives you something to look at.

Shameful said...

I'm more likely to believe Mr. Man-Bear-Pig. Put a lab coat on someone and they think the rubes will believe anything.

ajw308 said...

I'm wondering if some joker ran the data file for pugs against human photographs. That would explain it.

kh123 said...

"The "scientist" who did this study probably also dreams of..."

Good God, make it stop.

Anonymous said...

The "Huffington Post" as a source? Thats's almost as bad as using WND.

Just because somebody calls it "science" doesn't mean that it is science.

Just because somebody uses a tool improperly doesn't mean the tool is bad.

Daniel said...

That's why the public has so little confidence in science, Annie. You've underscored Vox's point.

You can't stab someone in an alley and call it surgery. You can't break into a house and call it law enforcement.

But you can crap all over the scientific method and call it science, and the media will aid and abet you.

You have presented evidence for Vox's case: this is why the public has no faith in science - no one seems to be able to distinguish the true implementation of the scientific method and the completely and demonstrably obfuscation of it.

dustydog said...

Lena is a dude in drag, and not trying hard to fool anybody. Makes sense that a homosexual researcher's modeling finds her attractive.

The One said...

Beware those who call evil good, and good evil

Californio_6th_ gen said...

Jesus H. Christ!!!!! If then Lena Dunham (heavy on the ham) is "better" than Jessica Biel, then I am ready to settle.....for Jessica Biel or her doppleganger. Biel is my perfect storm of beauty and athleticism - game on baby!
I have dealt with Lena Dunahams - a simple clear look of sadness(as in: what were you thinking you could be with me?), while shaking the head "Really?"

MaMu1977 said...

For an American woman, Ms. Dunham is perfectly average. Which is why any man who has ever lived outside of this country considers her a 3. I've seen better looking women (facially and physique-wise) hanging out in the post-partum section of tropical hospitals' maternity wards, and that's sad. I'm not even exaggerating when I say this;I have actually seen women (in countries like Honduras, Jamaica, Panama and Ghana), who had just delivered their 3rd (or more) baby less than a day ago, who have better figures and faces than the creator of "Girls".

From a scientific standpoint, that should be impossible (HBD, at its least biased, notes that light skin and youth are more attractive in women, characteristics that darker-skinned mothers of multiple children would cede by default.) Yet, any person who's ever gone on TDY to a tropical country would be shocked at how attractive a woman of any type can be if she doesn't treat her body like a fast food/alcohol processing station and gets some regular exercise.

mmaier2112 said...

I think I MUST stand up for American women and say this troll is NOT "average".

God, I hope I'm right.

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