Sweet Dreams

The quality of chocolate one consumes before bedtime is linked to the quality of one’s dreams, according to new research by Doctor Fiusse Moore, Director of Nocturnal Studies at Pennsylvania Institute of Health and Wellbeing.

It has been known for quite some time that chocolate induces endorphin, a chemical messenger that acts to calm and instill state of happiness. Now Doctor Moore’s research reveals that this translates into better dreams.

“We engaged a batch of subjects over the course of two months, one on a cheaper chocolate, one on an expensive brand and one on a chocolate scented placebo. The results were consistent that those who consumed chocolate had more positive dreams than those who did not, and those who consumed the higher grade chocolate had a a higher number and quality of dream overall,” he says, “We’re looking at an overall rate, on our scale, of 34% better dreams for those who eat chocolate, with a 12% difference between high quality and low quality chocolate.”

The determination of ‘quality’ is broken down into points for satisfaction, persistence, emotional response, relevance, vividness and excitement. Each category was assessed individually, along with combining the weighted scores into an overall ranking.

“Yes, it is subjective, which is why we took such a large testing sample. I would not call (the results) conclusive, not without further analysis on variables like the subject’s occupation and family situation, but overall I think there is merit in prescribing chocolate, even in pill form, for those suffering from chronic sleep ailments,” he explains, “We have a lot of information regarding quality of sleep, but not so much in terms of quality of dreams. Considering REM makes up about 25%, or one quarter, of our normal sleep activity, I contest that the quality of dreams will affect the quality of sleep.”

Subjects were given a diary to record their dreams, and encouraged to rate them as soon as possible. While the quality of dreams was shown, overall, to rise for chocolate consumers, the rate of actually remembering dreams (persistence) along with the vividness remained constant.

His next studies will focus on how the quality of dreams affects daily activity, and also to investigate foods that have the opposite affect in a bid to see exactly how one’s diet affects their dreams.ChesterLogoSmall

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Hats off to your brain

Wearing a close fitting hat is a way to decrease one’s intelligence, according to Manfred Toule and his team of scientists. In a study involving more than five hundred candidates, the figures show that wearing and not wearing a hat creates a noticeable change in the apparent IQ.

“We had our candidates perform a set of tests over several days. Some wore hats first, others wore hats second, some wore none at all,” he says, “Those who wore no head-wear deomnstrated a relatively constant IQ. Those who wore hats, however, had an almost consistent 13% decrease in their apparent IQ on the days when their heads were covered.”

The teams first embarked on the research after they noticed that, in a separate study involving hair and intelligence, those with less on top tended to have more up top.

“The theory is that the brain, being so large in the human body, requires a very temperature regulated environment. One of the reasons we perspire so much, for example, and have such a large surface area on our head, is to shed the excess heat. Our cooling ability works quite well, so the ambient temperature normally doesn’t play a significant role in our ability to think.”

Tight or insulated head-wear, though, changes the way the body regulates its temperature and, as a result, the cranial temperature increases and this, he says, appears to be the main reason for the drop in intelligence.

“We have also experimented with the type of hat. Large, open space hats, like top-hats or stove-pipe hats, don’t exhibit as severe a drop, whereas woolen beanies, caps and ushankas all push the IQ down.”

Manfred has enlisted a design engineer to create a head cooling apparatus to see if a drop in cranial temperature results in a change in IQ, also.

“If it turns out that there is an optimal temperature for thinking, we may soon see a market for devices like this in offices, laboratories, anywhere that requires brain power. And why not? Athletes have specialised clothes to ensure their body runs efficiently, why not intellectuals?”

Manfred’s research is expected to be completed next year.

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Guan de Fangshi – The Way of the Tube

Getting pernickety about your poop is all the rage. “Guan de fangshi” or “The Way of the Tube”, is the latest fad to hit health-nuts. According to Kim Lee, proponent of the new health regime, Guan Fangshi is about controlling when, where and how you defecate in a bid to remove harmful sha chi and si chi from your system.

“The Western Lifestyle is so rushed, so frenetic that the one of the most important parts of the Cycle is often neglected. We know from ancient traditions that controlling the way food enters the body is just as important as controlling the way it is removed,” she says, “By denying your bowels their chance to ruminate upon the passing waste, you deny the time necessary to fully remove the harmful toxins and chi that lingers in your system.”

The centuries-old practice was once the domain of a Guanzi, a Tube-Sayer, who would be responsible for educating youngsters on the proper way to defecate. The movement is all about the quality of a Session – Kim’s polite term for a visit to the John – and seeks to align not only colons, but chakras as well. Lee goes on to show how modern scientific analysis is already agreeing with the results.

“This blend of Eastern and Western Medicine goes a long way to solving many of the ailments of, not only the colon and rectum, but the entire digestive system and the rest of the body. Since it is all connected, fixing an issue in the lower bowel can have knock-on effects, and we often have people telling us that, since they have committed to Guan Fangshi, their asthma, lethargy and even diabetes have disappeared,” she says, “In conjunction with acupuncture and meditation, this should not be seen as a radical thing, rather it should become part of daily life. Every Session is special.”

Kim Lee is writing a book about Guan de Fangshi and how we can all benefit from having calm, proper Sessions.ChesterLogoSmall

Watch out Below, it’s ‘Para-poo’!

Researchers in Belgrade have been spending their days throwing faeces out of drones. In a recent release, the team has revealed their preliminary findings pertaining to one’s diet and the aerodynamics of poo.

Says Yuri Asmorov, “You’d be surprised the amount of defecation that is released from flying vehicles every year. Some of the more solid masses can reach a high velocity and may even cause destruction. Others, the more loosely held stools that is, are dispersed readily, which we fear may contribute to the spread of faeces-borne diseases.”

He goes on to cite the recent outbreak of dysentery caused by a particular strain of protozoa that was shown to be only available inside the gut of humans.

“The only way that strain could have covered such a large area is if it (the faeces carrying the protozoa) was blown into a kind of aerosol. Looking at the flight pattern of the aircraft, we can see that it’s very close to the official path of many jetliners.”

The team is now divided into groups, each eating a particular diet known to affect the style, substance and consistency of faeces. Each member’s sample is collected and sent up in a drone to various heights, and the final speed, scattering, area-coverage and ‘splat’ is recorded by high-speed cameras.

“The vertical drop test is already showing promise. We need to step it up and try various combinations of speed, wind, humidity and the like. We are considering using a wind-tunnel to facilitate this, but so far we have not been able to convince an operator to let us use one.”

Yuri and his crew will continue the tests and present their full findings next year.

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Old Habits Die Hard

Paranormal Researchers have teamed up with Behavioural Psychologists to determine whether ghosts retain their prior personalities and habits.

“It’s just something we take for granted, that someone who had tendencies in life would carry them on after they died. But with any science, assumptions must be tested, so that’s what we set out to do,” said Hente Vaumer, Project Lead of Spiritual Investigations of North Carolina (SINC).

Using a mixture of techniques, such as psychological profiling, environmental analysis and sifting through historical records, the team compiled a set of characteristics to examine on a host of ghosts.

“While most investigators look at hard evidence, like photographs of apparitions or listening to EVPs, we go one step further an apply what we’ve found back to the personality of the entity we’re after. It is challenging, especially since, just like common folk, we have good days and bad days. Another time we had to throw out a whole month worth of compiled data because it turned out that we were dealing with two separate entities,” he says, “Still, it’s proving to be very insightful.”

Some of the key findings to come from the research include:

  • Most ghosts (86% of the sample collected) are not malevolent in nature.
  • Habits formed during a lifetime have a higher tendency to carry on after death.
  • Speech and behavioural habits have the highest tendency, whereas physical habits, like a limp or finger strumming, are less evident.
  • Of the entities marked as malevolent, 70% resorted to physical interaction when provoked, compared to 25% of non-malevolent.
  • Intelligence does not appear to have a correlation to the entity’s previous apparent level.
  • Criminal entities, those that have been identified by historical records as having served time for serious crime, represented 65% of the malevolent entities.

Says psychologist Rana Martina, “This is very exciting. It shows that the physical body, the chemicals and makeup, become insignificant after one dies. Without the influence of hormones and bodily constraints, the mind is free to develop on a different plane altogether. One can imagine that it would be like living in a sensory deprivation chamber, only even sensations of thirst, hunger and other desires would be quashed. So this raises a very important question: If there are no physical demands to motivate the mind, all that is left, the core motivator we can call it, must be of a pure essence.”

The team are cautious about drawing conclusions, conscious that others in the field do not appreciate their approach.

“Some say Paranormology is a quack-science. Others say the same thing about Psychology. Be that as it may, we’ve kept to scientific methodology and our papers can be scrutinised by peer review. We’re also using statistical analysis rather than pure empirical methodologies, and I think this makes all the difference.”ChesterLogoSmall

Hairy Men Even-Keeled

Beards are making a come-back these days, but did you know that they also serve to bolster the agility of the grower?

New research from the Follicle Analysis Collective of Tasmania (FACT), a collective of like minded scientists that collate and analyse scientific data pertaining to hair, shows that sporting a beard, moustache, goatee or side-burns actively improves a man’s balance.

“In a way similar to cat’s whiskers, having facial hair allows the Grower – we use the term Grower because it could be male or female – to receive extra-sensory data from the surroundings. Small deviations in air currents move the hairs which, in turn, trigger signals to the brain that are interpreted as a shift in the attitude of the head,” says Dr. Grace Potenza, “In layman’s terms, the hairs of a beard act as thousands of tiny fingers that ‘feel’ the air for movement. If the Grower moves to the left or right, for example, the sensation of that movement is more fine-tuned than a clean shaven person, or non-Grower.”

The find is of particular interest to the field of sports. A loose correlation between hair and sporting ability has already been established, with grants applied in a bid to formalise that finding. From the outset, it appears that those who sport a solid crop can expect an average of 15% better agility.

All manner of chin, lip and cheek hair will do but a light facial fuzz isn’t going to help much.

“We can see that any kind of solid facial hair, like a beard or a moustache or even sideburns or mutton chops, will help however the length of the hair must be sufficiently long, at least a centimeter exposure before we start to see any effects,” she says.

Dr. Potenza wishes to expand her studies to see if the Grower’s extra-sensory perception can aid in altered environments. Of particular interest is the apparent tolerance to alcohol, exhaustion and sleep deprivation. Another field is in low visibility environments like darkened rooms, fog and smoke.

“Who knows? We might find that as a recommendation all Fire-fighters be required to have a minimum beard length.”ChesterLogoSmall

Shop Whisperers

In a bid to increase sales and move targeted items, a supermarket chain in Florida have used human behavioural experts to devise a new way to encourage shoppers to choose their brands – Shop Whisperers.

“We found that our campaigns to bring people into the store were working well, but once they got in, we could not accurately direct them to the products we wished to sell,” says Director of Marketing Lopez D’Arouge, “It may be a local phenomenon, but the usual arsenal just couldn’t come up with the goods. Product positioning and signage just wasn’t getting the yield that we needed, so we had to try something completely different.”

Enter the Shop Whisperer, an employee trained to blend in as a shopper and make comments and gestures about particular products.

“Studies have shown that peer recommendation is one of the most powerful influencers. It can be a mother talking to her daughter, for example, saying, ‘Now that’s a good price. Normally these are way more expensive. I’ll get two!’ or a guy dressed in a suit muttering, ‘I hope they haven’t run out of X, because that’s what works.'” says D’Arouge, “It has to be contextual and unforced. Of course, we cannot get just anyone to do this.”

As a consequence, D’Arouge has budgeted for professional actors to play the part and the results are already telling. Based on a one month trial with three full time Shop Whisperers he has seen a ‘marked increase’ in the sales of targeted brands and items.

“Time will tell whether this is a permanent thing,” he says, “And I love the fact that we’re giving back to the community by hiring local actors who would otherwise be out of work. Who knows? If this takes off, we could see this as a legitimate career in not just supermarkets, but departments stores and specialty stores as well!”

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