Tag: Healthy

Day 991: The Subjective Science of Getting Friendly With Your Water

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Good morning, water. You look lovely today. The way you have meticulously extracted the energizing essence of those crumbly brown nuggets of Sumatra in my coffee maker really brings out the glimmer in your droplets. Look, I’m a married man, but if I wasn’t, I would totally be gettin’ up in dat aqua, you feel me?

According to Dr. Masaru Emoto, I may have just created a more healthy and vibrant cup of coffee. Dr. Emoto is a revolutionary oracle of scientific knowledge, inasmuch as he has concocted his own definitions of the words “scientific” and “knowledge”. Dr. Emoto has “proven” (and it’s hard to find a source for his work that doesn’t nestle that word between the comforting pillows of quotation marks) that positive energy makes water better.

Not better-tasting, not more nutritious or refreshing… just better. Happier. More wholly fulfilled. Dr. Emoto unearthed that line where metaphysics and alternative medicine cross over into crazed Lynchian fiction, then leaped across it like a doped-up Olympian. He landed among the Technicolor bobbles of the absurd, cultivated his own particular brew of ludicrous reasoning and slapped a price tag on it.

And we bought in. Oh, how we bought in.

How could we not trust that sincere face?

How could we not trust that sincere face?

Masaru Emoto earned his doctorate at the Open University for Alternative Medicine in India, though I feel “earned” should be yet another resident of Quotes-Marks Manor, as I have unearthed a couple of sources which claim that such a degree can be bought for around $500. But Dr. Emoto’s doctorness is relatively moot, as he immediately set out to sail the vague ocean of alternative medicine, which contains far more fetid flotsam than it does navigable current. Read more…

Day 796: Science-Sanctioned Baby Torture

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I have always been an enthused spectator to science, particularly when it aims to show off just how messed up we humans can be. I wrote about the Milgram Experiment, in which doctors talked their subjects into inflicting painful electrical jolts through innocent people, and I’ve also touched on some of the more questionably ethical ways sciencey-types have tortured people in the name of figuring stuff out. It’s fun!

And there’s no shortage of potentially awful ideas in the psychological wheelhouse: hypotheses to explain our deviancy, antiquated pseudo-torture to test our malleability, and even borderline clinical dares, just to see how weak is our collective resolve. Prior to the drafting of the American Psychological Association’s code of ethics, all sorts of shenanigans were on the table.

Just as McDonald’s has successfully proven that our culture will go mad for a grotesque slab of questionable meatstuff, provided it’s a “limited time special” (a phenomenon I call McRibitis), a handful of strange experiments have exposed our tendencies for conformity in disturbing and stomach-swooshing ways.

LittleAlbertExperiment

Dr. John B. Watson, founder of behavioral psychology and apparently a part-time sadist, developed an exercise in experimental classical conditioning back in 1920. Working out of Johns Hopkins University, he and his assistant Rosalie Rayner wanted to see if they could implant an unnatural fear in an otherwise normal child’s mind. Watson observed that a child’s natural unconditioned response to a loud noise was fear. He wanted to use that un-doctored terror to condition a child to develop new fears.

I know, what an asshole right? Wait until you hear how he did it. Read more…

Day 658: The Sumptuous Buttery World Of Popcorn

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The esteemed American poet James Joseph Brown Jr. once wrote, “But when I get funky, I do the sap. And when I want lovin’, mother, she got to have. Say, you got to have a mother for me. Yeah, popcorn.”

And so it was.

Popcorn is one of the most universally beloved snacks by folks who don’t wear braces. It can exude so many personalities, from the puckish kiss of sweet caramel to the warm seductive sploosh of melted butter to that weird pink stuff in the box with the elephant on the front. That’s the popcorn the other popcorns don’t talk to at parties. There’s something not right about that guy.

But for the most part popcorn is a friendly snack, sharing our greatest movie experiences with us and even reminding us about the importance of flossing when one of its stubborn husks decides to take refuge behind a molar. And popcorn is a big business. Americans snarf down more than sixteen billion quarts of popcorn a year, which works out to about 51 quarts per person. That’s a lot of popcorn.

Having been raised with the metric system, I can only assume that 51 quarts looks something like this.

Having been raised with the metric system, I can only assume that 51 quarts looks something like this.

There’s an old legend about the Native Americans giving popcorn to the newly-landed Europeans, but a fair amount of archeological poking around the US has uncovered absolutely no evidence to support it. Corn was, however, a major crop down South America way, around where Peru sits today, and there’s evidence of popcorn having been consumed there close to seven thousand years ago. To be clear, they found corncobs that date from around 4700 B.C. – how they extrapolated that the corn was devoured in pop form, I have no clue. But the Smithsonian Museum said it happened, so who am I to argue? Read more…