Archive for the ‘Bathroom reading’ Category

Science Friday: Contagious Yawning

July 21, 2006


Researchers at Drexel and Temple University along with SUNY Albany have published results that suggest contagious yawning, defined as the onset of a yawn triggered by seeing or hearing another person yawn, may have a relationship to self-processing and empathy. It has been surmised that this contagious yawning is a primitive expression of cognitive processes that are involved in self-awareness and theory of mind, the ability ot empahtize with and infer what others around you desire, know or intend to do. The research states that contagious yawning is independant of generalized emotional contagion, occurs in 40-60% of human adults in research studies and has also been reported in chimpanzees.

What AG wants to know, can you get the human to yawn when the chimp yawns? If so, AG is going on Letterman.

See full journal article.


Volunteering 101

June 16, 2006


Volunteer work can lead to some great stories. Last night, AG volunteered for a Jewish organization at an auction. Wanting to meet some new people and find an excuse to sleep over at UC’s, AG signed up to assist.

Sometimes you get a prize or can have a sampling of the tasty food they are serving. Sometimes though you do it solely for the stories. The story prize was the money bite last night. Essentially, there was this really sad woman who had come to volunteer. She was probably in her late 20s to early 30s. We’ll call her Jessica for the sake of the story. Jessica was all too willing to share her life story in 10 minutes. She informed myself and the other volunteer, we’ll call Sharon, that her apartment complex is not renewing her lease next month and “she doesn’t know why”, she will come to any and EVERY event the organization is having if they just call her, she wanted to buy some art for father’s day, so could she buy one for $50, even though the least expensive STARTING bid was $150 and she received her degree at Tufts but couldn’t make it through graduate school. AG and Sharon learned this is no less than 10 minutes and AG is being generous by about 8 minutes. While telling her life story she kept rocking back and fourth making one staffer visibly uncomfortable. In a manner AG’s schizophrenic patient’s* used to do on a certain medication. (*This post is not intended to diagnosis or discuss the challenges of the mental patient).

The icing on the cake was that we were all informed it was business attire. Even UC, who is the greatest boyfriend in the world because he bought one of the $150 raffle tickets just to make AG look good, didn’t come until late because he wasn’t able to dress like such for work yesterday because he was running experiments. Did Jessica do this? She comes in a Wal-Mart, off the rack, outfit that might be suitable for a middle school play in the middle of June on the last day of school. However, another choice may have been more ideal for the event.

Perhaps, though it was never specifically said to AG, this is why she was not asked to check-in patron guests. She did however get the role of greeting guests after they registered and showing them where the art displays were located. She got bored of this after 20 minutes and said she would do her other task of cleaning near the art in the event that someone should leave a plate or wine glass.

AG and Sharon were having a good time for about two hours when Jessica appeared and informed one of the staffers that she was NOT happy and leaving. The staffer pulled her to the side to talk. Jessica refused and stormed off. Before actually leaving, she stood in the vestibule for a few minutes, possibly waiting for someone to chase after her. After five minutes, she left.

The moral of the story: some volunteers may not be worth the effort and perhaps an interview like some organizations require was in order. Also, when volunteering, if you are uncomfortable with a task, let staff know that ahead of time so accommodations can be made and dress the part for the role you desire.

A Parable for Our Times from T3h Ed1t0rz

June 9, 2006

Far away, in the magical country of Epistomolia, there live two peoples. One people, called the Seers, believed that Truth is, that to know Truth requires Knowledge, and Knowledge is gained from observation, and from the application of reason. The Truth is the Truth is pretty much the Truth, the Seers believed, and the only trick was knowing how to see it. These people are, in many ways, much like you and me.

The other people, the Makers, believed that a tribe can create knowledge through the incantation of belief, and, either by overwhelming withvolume or harmonizing with the incantations of other tribes, truth becomes. When choosing to harmonize, ancient custom dictates that for something given, something must also be taken away, for the exchange must be fair – always “a lie for a lie, and a truth for a truth” as their ancient saying goes. At first blush this might seem a more generous way of that of the Seers, and in many ways it was. But the deals the Makers made were not meant to last – after you had agreed to meet them half-way, it wasn’t long before they came back a bit stronger and declared you had to meet them half-way to half-way, and then half-way to that, and so on until, after a while, it always seemed like one tribe had exactly what it wanted, and the other tribe had nothing. These people are, in many ways, much like certain people who shall remain nameless.

Please go read the rest.  It’s hilarious, and yet possibly the most concise possible guide to our current political and cultural state of affairs.