Archive for ‘Health’

November 29, 2016

Rolling Coal

kiss my gas

Rolling coal is the practice of modifying a diesel engine to increase the amount of fuel entering the engine in order to emit an under-aspirated sooty exhaust that visibly pollutes the air. It also may include the intentional removal of the particulate filter. Practitioners often additionally modify their vehicles by installing smoke switches and smoke stacks.

Rolling coal is a form of conspicuous air pollution, for entertainment or for protest. Some drivers intentionally trigger coal rolling in the presence of hybrid vehicles (a practice called ‘Prius repellent’) to taunt their drivers, who are perceived as being environmentally motivated in their vehicle choice. Coal rolling may also be triggered at foreign cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Users cite ‘American freedom’ and ‘a stand against rampant environmentalism’ as reasons for coal rolling.

November 22, 2016

Naïve Realism

lee ross

bias blind spot

In social psychology, naïve realism is the human tendency to believe that we see the world around us objectively, and that people who disagree with us must be uninformed, irrational, or biased. It provides a theoretical basis for several other cognitive biases, which are systematic errors in thinking and decision-making.

Naïve realism causes people to exaggerate differences between themselves and others. Psychologists believe that it can spark and exacerbate conflict, as well as create barriers to negotiation through several different mechanisms. 

November 1, 2016

Death From Laughter

chrysippus

Death from laughter is a rare form of death, usually resulting from cardiac arrest or asphyxiation, caused by a fit of laughter. Instances of death by laughter have been recorded from the times of ancient Greece to the modern day. Certain brain injuries can cause pathological, uncontrollable laughter such as infarction of the pons and medulla oblongata.

Laughter can cause atonia and collapse (‘gelastic syncope,’ a short episode of low blood pressure caused by laughter), which in turn can cause trauma. Gelastic seizures, a rare type of seizure that involves a sudden burst of energy, usually in the form of laughing or crying, can be due to focal lesions to the hypothalamus. Depending upon the size of the lesion, the emotional lability (mood swings) may be a sign of an acute condition, and not itself the cause of the fatality. Gelastic syncope has also been associated with the cerebellum.

October 25, 2016

Einstellung Effect

two-string

nine dots problem

Einstellung [ahyn-stel-luhng] (German: ‘attitude’) is the development of a mechanized state of mind. Often called a ‘problem solving set,’ Einstellung refers to a person’s predisposition to solve a given problem in a specific manner even though better or more appropriate methods of solving the problem exist. The Einstellung effect is the negative effect of previous experience when solving new problems. It has been tested experimentally in many different contexts.

The Einstellung effect occurs when a person is presented with a problem or situation that is similar to problems they have worked through in the past. If the solution (or appropriate behavior) to the problem/situation has been the same in each past experience, the person will likely provide that same response without giving the problem too much thought. This behavior is heuristical (related to mental shortcuts), it is one of the human brain’s ways of finding solutions as efficiently as possible.

October 11, 2016

Vanity Sizing

sizes

Vanity sizing, or ‘size inflation,’ is the phenomenon of ready-to-wear clothing of the same nominal size becoming bigger in physical size over time. This has been documented primarily in the United States and the United Kingdom. Vanity sizing tends to occur where clothing sizes are not standardized, such as the U.S. market. In 2003, a study that measured over 1,000 pairs of women’s pants found that pants from more expensive brands tended to be smaller than those from cheaper brands with the same nominal size.

In Sears’s 1937 catalog, a size 14 dress had a bust size of 32 inches. In 1967, that bust size was used for size 8 dresses. In 2011, it was a size 0. Some argue that vanity sizing is designed to satisfy wearers’ wishes to appear thin and feel better about themselves. Designer Nicole Miller introduced size 0 because of its strong California presence and to satisfy the request of many Asian customers. However, the increasing size of clothing with the same nominal size caused Nicole Miller to introduce size 0, 00, or subzero sizes.

October 5, 2016

Roseto Effect

outlier

The Roseto effect is the phenomenon by which a close-knit community experiences a reduced rate of heart disease. From 1954 to 1961, the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania had nearly no heart attacks for the otherwise high-risk group of men 55 to 64, and men over 65 enjoyed a death rate of 1% while the national average was 2%. Widowers outnumbered widows, too. These statistics were at odds with a number of other factors observed in the community. They smoked unfiltered cigars, drank wine ‘with seeming abandon’ in lieu of milk and soft drinks, skipped the Mediterranean diet in favor of meatballs and sausages fried in lard with hard and soft cheeses. The men worked in the slate quarries where they contracted illnesses from gases and dust. Roseto also had little to no crime, and very few applications for public assistance.

It was first noticed in 1961 when the local doctor from Roseto encountered Dr. Stewart Wolf, then head of Medicine of the University of Oklahoma, and they discussed, over a couple of beers, the unusually low rate of myocardial infarction in Roseto compared with other locations. Many investigations followed. Wolf attributed Rosetans’ lower heart disease rate to lower stress. ‘The community was very cohesive. There was no keeping up with the Joneses. Houses were very close together, and everyone lived more or less alike.’ Elders were revered and incorporated into community life. Housewives were respected, and fathers ran the families. A 50-year study comparing nearby towns of Bangor and Nazareth found that heart disease rose in the Bangor cohort as it shed their Italian social structure and became more Americanized.

July 23, 2016

Self-monitoring

The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

Dramaturgy

Self-monitoring is a theory that deals with the phenomena of expressive controls, the ability to regulate behavior to accommodate social situations.

Human beings generally differ in substantial ways in their abilities and desires to engage in expressive controls. Individuals concerned with their expressive self-presentation (i.e. impression managers) tend to closely monitor their audience in order to ensure appropriate or desired public appearances. Self-monitors try to understand how individuals and groups will perceive their actions. Some personality types commonly act spontaneously and others are more apt to purposely control and consciously adjust their behavior.

July 6, 2016

Sprouted Bread

ezekiel bread

Sprouted bread is a type of bread made from whole grains that have been allowed to sprout, that is, to germinate. There are a few different types of sprouted grain bread. Some are made with added flour, some are made with added gluten, and some, such as Essene bread, are made with very few additional ingredients.

These are breads that contain the whole grain (or kernel, or berry) of various seeds after they have been sprouted. They are different from ‘white’ bread inasmuch as ‘white’ breads are made from ground wheat endosperm (after removal of the bran and germ). Whole grain breads include the bran, germ and endosperm, therefore providing more fiber, and naturally occurring vitamins and proteins. A comparison of nutritional analyses shows that sprouted grains contain about 75% of the energy (carbohydrates), slightly higher protein and about 40% of the fat when compared to whole grains.

June 14, 2016

Audism

audism

Audism [aw-diz-uhm] is the notion that one is superior based on one’s ability to hear or to behave in the manner of one who hears, or that life without hearing is futile and miserable, or an attitude based on pathological thinking which results in a negative stigma toward anyone who does not hear. Tom L. Humphries coined the term in his doctoral dissertation in 1977, but it did not start to catch on until Harlan Lane used it in his own writings. Humphries originally applied audism to individual attitudes and practices; whereas Lane broadened the term to include oppression of deaf people.

Audism has been called a form of ‘ableism,’ discrimination on the basis of disability. Like racism or sexism, audism assigns labels, judges and limits individuals based on whether they can hear or speak. People who practice audism are called ‘audists.’ Although it stems predominantly from hearing people, audism can manifest itself in anyone, intentionally or unintentionally.

June 8, 2016

Pharmacy

Materia medica

rx

Pharmacy is the science and technique of preparing and dispensing drugs. It is a health profession that links health sciences with chemical sciences and aims to ensure the safe and effective use of pharmaceuticals. Since pharmacists know about the mode of action of a particular drug, and its metabolism and physiological effects on the human body in great detail, they play an important role in optimization of a drug treatment for an individual.

The scope of pharmacy practice includes more traditional roles such as compounding (reformulating) and dispensing medications, and it also includes more modern services related to health care, including clinical services, reviewing medications for safety and efficacy, and providing drug information. Pharmacists, therefore, are the experts on drug therapy and are the primary health professionals who optimize use of medication for the benefit of the patients.

June 7, 2016

Diderot Effect

Homo consumericus

The Diderot [dee-duh-roheffect is a social phenomenon related to consumer goods that comprises two ideas. The first posits that goods purchased by consumers will be cohesive to their sense of identity, and as a result, will be complementary to one another. The second states that the introduction of a new possession that is deviant from the consumer’s current complementary goods can result in a process of spiraling consumption. The term was coined by anthropologist and scholar of consumption patterns Grant McCracken in 1988, and is named after the French philosopher Denis Diderot (1713–1784), who first described the effect in an essay.

The term has become common in discussions of sustainable consumption and green consumerism, in regard to the process whereby a purchase or gift creates dissatisfaction with existing possessions and environment, provoking a potentially spiraling pattern of consumption with negative environmental, psychological and social impacts.

May 28, 2016

Pygmalion Effect

Clever Hans

The Pygmalion effect, or ‘Rosenthal effect,’ is the phenomenon whereby higher expectations lead to an increase in performance. The effect is named after the Greek myth of Pygmalion, a sculptor who fell in love with a statue he had carved. By the Pygmalion effect, people internalize their positive labels, and those with positive labels succeed accordingly. A corollary of the Pygmalion effect is the ‘golem effect,’ in which low expectations lead to a decrease in performance.

Psychologists Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson’s first showed that, if teachers were led to expect enhanced performance from children, then the children’s performance was enhanced. This study supported the hypothesis that reality can be positively or negatively influenced by the expectations of others, the ‘observer-expectancy effect.’ Rosenthal theorized that biased expectancies could affect reality and create self-fulfilling prophecies (predictions that directly or indirectly cause themselves to become true)