Scientists have discovered the part of the brain that makes people gullible, it was claimed today. The findings could have massive implications for treating the growing number of people who fall wide-eyed for sensationalist media reports.
Professor Cristoph Morris, who led the research, said that a part of the brain called the inferior supra-credulus was unsually active in people with a tendency to believe horoscopes and papers invoking fancy brain scans. “This correlation is so strong that we can speculate about a causal link with a high degree of certainty,” he concluded.
Morris made his discovery using a brain-scanning technique called fluorescence magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which can read people’s thoughts with an incredible degree of accuracy, just slightly better than chance. His results are published in the Journal of Evolutionary Psychoimagery.
When Morris studied individual neurons within the supra-credulus, he found that gullibility was associated with the activity of a single gene called WTF1. The less active it was, the more feckless people were. This fits with existing evidence, for faulty versions of WTF1 have already been linked to a higher risk of being Rickrolled and buying the Daily Mail. “You could say that gullibility is in your genes,” said Morris. “You’d be shatteringly wrong, but that wouldn’t matter to gullible people.”
The researchers described their discovery as “the holy grail of behavioural neurogenetics”. Morris explains, “It’s a real breakthrough. It means that we can fire a magic bullet right into the heart of sensationalist media stories. We can develop vaccines that stop people from buying things on the grounds that the packaging has a smiling farmer on it or that they’re endorsed by the cretin who may or may not have lost Big Brother.”
Morris has been collaborating with nutritionist Patricia Marber to develop just such as vaccine. Together, the duo found that they could completely stop the activity of neurons in the supra-credulus by smashing them with a giant hammer.
“We think that the iron in the hammers is somehow suppressing WTF1 in a way that stops nerve signalling in the supra-credulus,” explains Marber. “We might need some clinical trials to check that the hammers are effective and to work out any side effects, but you go right ahead and write your headline. Say something about Thor. Everyone likes Thor.”
The fMRI scans also revealed that the supra-credulus was more active in the brains of women than in men. Evolutionary psychologist Stephan Koogin, who also worked on the study, thinks he knows why.
“Picture, if you will, a group of Pleistocene-Americans. The men are out hunting for mammoths and bears, and they can’t afford to be fooled by fake tracks. The women stayed at home picking berries or something, and they needed to tell each other far-fetched stories to keep each other entertained, because berries are really boring. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Assuming all of this is true, and who’s to say it isn’t, I’m right.”
The first day of the Season of Winter. On this day (DECEMBER 22 in the northern hemisphere*) the Sun is farthest south and the length of time between Sunrise and Sunset is the shortest of the year.
* In the southern hemisphere, winter and summer solstices are exchanged. Summer: December 22. Winter: June 21.
Moonbows! Want to see one for yourself? You can go to one of these places:
Zambezi River, Victoria Falls Moonbow * Lunar Rainbow, Victoria Falls, in Zambia * Yosemite Lunar Rainbow * Yosemite National Park Lunar Rainbow *Yosemite Falls Lunar Rainbow * Yellowstone Moonbow * Lunar Bows at Niagara *Lunar Rainbow at Niagara Falls * Moon Bow in Hawaii * Waterfalls
2010 – 2011 Cumberland Falls Moonbow Schedule
Step one: Make a tumblr blog and then theme it with a decent theme (note: you can skip steps 2 onward if you know how to make your own wicked cool theme and promote it).
Step two: Learn how to make animated gif’s.
Step three: Make lots of animated gif’s and post them all the time.
Step four: Post the url to your ask box a couple times a day and then answer totally random questions from your followers.
Step Five: Reblog other gif makers so the word gets out that you’re cool. Wait for your follower count to rise to the skies.
Here are a couple tumblrs that have done just that:
Sure there are other ways to become tumblr famous, you can create epic youtube videos and hope they take off and what not but creating gif’s is the easiest way I know to climb the ladder fast!
A jack-o’-lantern (formerly also known as a Jack o’ the lantern) is typically a carved pumpkin. People have been making jack o’lanterns at Halloween for centuries.
An old Irish folk tale tells of Stingy Jack, a lazy yet astute farmer who uses a cross to trap the Devil. One myth says Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him and then tricked the Devil because he was too stingy to pay for his drink. He convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form.
Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would never claim his soul. The next year, Jack tricked the Devil again by convincing him into climbing an apple tree, once he was up there Jack quickly placed crosses around the trunk or carved a cross into the bark (Another version of the folklore says that Jack put a key in the Devil’s pocket while he was suspended upside-down), so that the Devil couldn’t get down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.
Before the ten years were up, Jack died. Of course, his life had been too sinful for Jack to go to heaven (some believe he was a thief) and the Devil had promised not to take his soul, so he was barred from hell as well. Jack’s soul was doomed to wonder in darkness with no place of rest. He asked how he would see where to go, as he had no light, and the Devil mockingly tossed him an ember that would never burn out from the flames of hell. Jack carved out one of his turnips (his favorite food), put the ember inside it, and began endlessly wandering the Earth for a resting place. He became known as “Jack of the Lantern”.
Another commonly told version of lore is that Jack tricks the Grim-Reaper into giving him eternal life, and in exchange, the reaper takes his head to hell with him. Jack then wanders the earth using a carved pumpkin for a head.
Despite the colorful legends, the term jack-o’-lantern originally meant a night watchman, or man with a lantern, with the earliest known use in the mid-17th century.
There are hundreds of other stories and variations on the origin of the jack-o’-lantern but I think nowadays people carve pumpkins for the fun of it, although it is still widely believed (if only jokingly) that placing a carved pumpkin in your yard on All Hallows’ Eve will keep the evil spirits away.