Office with a view…and corrective underwear.

A faithful reader suggests I pry myself away from The New York Times now and then, and take a peek at The Wall Street Journal. An excellent idea.

This morning’s spin through the WSJ site turned up several good finds, including Jonah Lehrer’s piece on how nice guys actually do finish first…and then turn into jerks when they’re the bosses. The next thing I clicked on was a piece by Ray A. Smith about “smart clothes” that change color when the wearer sweats or helps her monitor vital signs and diet.

Lehrer quotes Dacher Keltner, a psychologist at the University of California:

When you give people power, they basically start acting like fools. They flirt inappropriately, tease in a hostile fashion, and become totally impulsive.” Mr. Keltner compares the feeling of power to brain damage, noting that people with lots of authority tend to behave like neurological patients with a damaged orbito-frontal lobe, a brain area that’s crucial for empathy and decision-making. Even the most virtuous people can be undone by the corner office.

And Smith tells us that folks at North Carolina State University’s College of Textiles are working hard in the lab to develop sensor-laden fabric that tells the wearer when blood pressure or pulse rates are rising. He also shares the good news that a wicking, waterproof suit may be coming to a haberdashery near you, and even better, a Japanese company is pushing posture-enhancing underpants.

This last bit of news is especially gratifying, since the people who labor in the vineyards of unmentionables have not brought us any real innovative products since the days of edible undies. (Which, being very high in carbs, never had a chance.)

Now, what I want to see is clothing that keeps the nice guy from turning into a fool.

“Idiocy wicking” — yeah, that’s the ticket.


(Note: This also appears on Crosscut. Good site to bookmark for regional news and nat’l/regional commentary.)