I <3 TV

Eating endorphin inspiring foods – such as chocolate – while performing similarly stimulating activities – such as watching television – leads to a ‘confused relationship with one’s environment’, says Doctor Christine Richwell of Montmorency Social Research Institute.

Monitoring the brain and hormone activity of subjects, Doctor Richwell demonstrated that those who consumed chocolate while watching television, playing on a game console or interacting with a mobile device exhibited signs of ‘falling in love’. The patterns observed by those participants in the study who did consume the food closely correlated to the state of being in love, even when the chocolate was later removed.

“It seems that the chocolate encourages false feelings to emerge. What’s not clear is whether the ‘love’ is directed toward the device or what is being presented upon the device,” she says, “Or if it is not directed at anything in particular. What is clear is that the consumption of food in conjunction with leisure activities creates an artificial world in which the participant experiences unreasonable feelings toward inanimate objects and greatly increases the chance that they will demonstrate unreasonable emotions in relation to that device.”

The study rose from an observation regarding divorcees, that in a proportionally significant number of cases, one or both of the divorcees had trouble relating to the real world as determined by an online psychological test.

“We’re not talking huge percentages, but they are significant. Ten to fifteen percent based upon a study done in Amsterdam. Marriages are only one victim of this kind of dissonance between reality and one’s emotions,” she goes on to say, “If I can demonstrate that humans are ‘loving’ their devices more than other humans, or objectophilia, then we’ve got a real problem on our hands. The normal human emotions of love, compassion and empathy should be applied to other humans, not electronic devices.”

When asked whether she recommends people stop eating chocolate while watching television, Doctor Richwell is cautious, “No, I don’t think that’s the answer. That would be a simplistic solution to what is really a complex problem. I believe the real problem is understanding and controlling one’s emotions, putting more effort into researching whether particular content is what is evoking such a response and what the long term effects of such disorders may be on the person, their families and the greater community. Whether or not there should be legislation to prevent such interactions, that is not for me to say.”

Doctor Richwell avoided answering questions about whether providers were deliberately altering their content to take advantage of the amorous response. She says that while it is entirely possible, and even plausible, that such companies could have found a formula to produce such sensations and keep their audiences ‘hooked’, her scientific research does not hold enough data to draw any conclusions.

“I’m a scientist, not an activist,” she says, “I can only show you what I have found, nothing more.”

The Sweet Smell of Silence

Sufferers of parcopresis, the inability to defecate for fear of privacy, can now budge their issues easier. Hotoa Industries of Quebec have released a new design of toilet bowl that will muffle the sound of falling faeces and the resulting sonics of the splash.

The bowl uses a patented design involving a sophisticated set of baffles designed to disperse, muffle and reflect the sound of all goings-on within the bowl, resulting in a more private poop.

“This is ground-breaking,” says Marius Ferrare, Senior Engineer and designer of the Shhpoop Toilet Bowl, “This invention will reduce the rates of constipation and subsequently save industry many millions of dollars in time off and time wasted waiting for others to vacate a shared toilet area.”

Statistics show that more than one in ten people suffer from “toilet shyness”, a condition that can be exacerbated by echoing cubicles and toilets located close to high foot-traffic areas. As a result, Marius explains, people who have parcopresis often take a long time to finish their business, or hold on until they can return to the privacy of their own home.

“It’s a real concern. We toyed with introducing a sound reduction system inside the cubicle but this was both ineffective and hard to standardise. Since most cubicles are open at the top and bottom, there was no way to ensure the sound would not propagate. The bowl, however, presents an almost entirely closed and much more predictable system,” he says, “Based on this, we focused our attentions on redesigning the bowl.”

The resulting product, looking similar to a toilet with turbo-chargers attached, costs only a tenth more than a standard ceramic issue and can reduce the overall noise by thirteen decibels on average, depending on the posture of the patron.

“This is a significant reduction. It’s like the difference between someone talking and someone mumbling. Combined with ambient background noise, this device would eliminate the need to cough to cover up tell-tale signs,” he says, “We shall see that the Shpoop will become the new normal for offices and shopping malls.”

The company is expected to release the bowl to the market later this year and is already making plans to design a similar device that would retrofit existing bowls.