Monthly Archives: June 2012

Old World Knowledge

Old world knowledge rocks.
Like when my friend who was born in Russia tells me to use a cap full of vinegar as laundry softener. “It’s disinfectant too, so it kills the bacteria that eats sweat and causes that body odor smell”. Thanks. Or, to put news paper over the spot on your carpet where you’ve spilled wax and then run a hot iron over it. The wax get absorbed into the paper.
Another old world knowledge idea is that if there are many remedies for something, than really, there are none. Because if there was a particular solution that worked amazingly well, no one would use the other solutions and they would have no reason to exist. This was read in an old short story by Chekhov.

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How do people acclimatize?

When I buy something new, it doesn’t take very long for me to get very used to this particular thing. I felt fortunate about this because it means that in my life I’ve had to make a choice. Either I keep exposing myself to new stimulus (buying new shit) or, I find/do things in my life that don’t have this acclimatization effect attached to them.

But it got me thinking about how this rate at which I become acclimatized to something might be different for different people. Does the rate change by the classification of stimuli? Does the rate itself differ among people? What does that mean for their life decisions and happiness? What if I have a very long acclimatization rate? Does this affect my purchasing or materialistic decisions in a moral sense? Can I be blamed for seeking (or not) continuous happiness through these means? Are there product attributes that effect the rate? Is it expectation based or hard attribute based? How does it change? Do you simply one day stop caring or is it a linear decline?

There are several ways in which you can quantitatively measure these effects too. The idea is that when someone sees something, minute emotional, involuntary reactions always occur. These reactions always contain changes in your sweat patterns which can be monitored through the conductivity of your skin. This is referred to as Galvanic Skin Response (GSR).

Send me a note if you know of anyone doing research in this area!

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The science of empathy

What is a feeling or thought? On the most basal level, it’s (merely?) millions of neurons in your brain firing in a particular sequence. Cooooool.

What are mirror neurons? When you do or feel something, a neural pathway (a bunch of particular neurons in a particular sequence) fires. Mirror neurons are parts of that pathway that also fire when you just watch someone do something. Crazy, right?

But wait. If thoughts and feelings are just made up of neurons firing and a good portion of those neurons fire in my head when I see you doing or feeling something, than what’s the difference between you feeling something versus me feeling something? Not that much… Does that make us all one? It’s kind of hard to say no…

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Your brain, sex and feet

BAAA-haha. Sorry but sometimes science is way too fun.
So some people might be familiar with the way your brain is mapped in terms of body parts typically being located in very predictable places on your brain’s physical layout. If so, skip the next paragraph.
The jist of it is that all along your brain, the human body is laid out. If you open someone’s skull and stimulate a particular part of the brain with an electrode, people will feel it in very specific parts of the body. And it’s always the same part of the body.
Now if someone loses, let’s say, a foot, they lose their foot. What they don’t lose is the part of their brain that is responsible for feeling the foot. So the foot part of the brain is up there chillin’ with nothing to do. No stimulation. This results in the phenomenon known as a ‘ghost limb’. The foot is gone, but the piece of brain responsible for the foot doesn’t know what’s going on. And here’s where it gets freaky (and for the foot, literally freaky).
When there is a part of the brain that lies unstimulated, whether due to the limb being removed or the nerve connection being severed, those neurons that were responsible for that part of the body begin an amazing process. The neurons don’t just die and wither away, they re-tool themselves, in a sense, looking for stimulation. And they do so in the most logical way possible, they take a look’see at what’s around them and start giving a hand.
And in the foot’s case, guess what’s right next door…
On the map of the brain (go ahead and google it), neurons for the foot are mapped right beside those of the genitals. So when people get their foot severed, those foot neurons start helping out the genital neurons and ‘become’ genital neurons. And that’s why there are many documented cases of people losing their feet and then reporting, after a while, that their orgasms feel more intense. BAAA-haha.
This may also explain foot fetishes. Thank you science.

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