Question of the Day

Did you hyphenate or keep your name when you got married (or what are you planning to do when you do get married)? Or for the guys, does it matter to you if your wife does not take your surname after you marry?

When we got married, I told Mrs. C that I didn’t care if she took my name, hyphenated, or kept her last name. She wanted to take my last name. When asked why she said always wanted a one syllable surname that was close to the top of the alphabet. (I knew I had a lot to offer to the ladies)

My guess is that confusion might arise when two married people with different names have children but given the number of divorces or single parent families I’m not sure if that would even be much of an issue any longer.

Magic and the Brain: Teller Reveals the Neuroscience of Illusion

From Wired:

One of the first tricks in Penn and Teller’s Las Vegas show begins when Teller—the short, quiet one—strolls onstage with a lit cigarette, inhales, drops it to the floor, and stamps it out. Then he takes another cigarette from his suit pocket and lights it.

No magic there, right? But then Teller pivots so the audience can see him from the other side. He goes through the same set of motions, except this time everything is different: Much of what just transpired, the audience now perceives, was a charade, a carefully orchestrated stack of lies. He doesn’t stamp out the first cigarette—he palms it, then puts it in his ear. There is no second cigarette; it’s a pencil stub. The smoke from the first butt is real, but the lighter used on the pencil is actually a flashlight. Yet the illusion is executed so perfectly that every step looks real, even when you’re shown that it is not.

Penn and Teller demonstrate the seven basic principles of magic.

The trick is called Looks Simple, and the point is that even a puff on a cigarette, closely examined, can disintegrate into smoke and mirrors. “People take reality for granted,” Teller says shortly before stepping onstage. “Reality seems so simple. We just open our eyes and there it is. But that doesn’t mean it is simple.”

For Teller (that’s his full legal name), magic is more than entertainment. He wants his tricks to reveal the everyday fraud of perception so that people become aware of the tension between what is and what seems to be. Our brains don’t see everything—the world is too big, too full of stimuli. So the brain takes shortcuts, constructing a picture of reality with relatively simple algorithms for what things are supposed to look like. Magicians capitalize on those rules. “Every time you perform a magic trick, you’re engaging in experimental psychology,” Teller says. “If the audience asks, ‘How the hell did he do that?’ then the experiment was successful. I’ve exploited the efficiencies of your mind.”

Now that on-the-job experimentation has taken an academic turn. A couple of years ago, Teller joined a coterie of illusionists and tricksters recruited by Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde, researchers at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, to look at the neuroscience of magic. Last summer, that work culminated in an article for the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience called “Attention and Awareness in Stage Magic.” Teller was one of the coauthors, and its publication was a signal event in a field some researchers are calling magicology, the mining of stage illusions for insights into brain function.

“Tricks work only because magicians know, at an intuitive level, how we look at the world,” says Macknik, lead author of the paper. “Even when we know we’re going to be tricked, we still can’t see it, which suggests that magicians are fooling the mind at a very deep level.” By reverse-engineering these deceptions, Macknik hopes to illuminate the mental loopholes that make us see a woman get sawed in half or a rabbit appear out of thin air even when we know such stuff is impossible. “Magicians were taking advantage of these cognitive illusions long before any scientist identified them,” Martinez-Conde says.

Hidden Auschwitz Message Hailed as Rare Find

From Yahoo! News:

OSWIECIM, Poland – A note hidden in a bottle by Auschwitz prisoners 65 years ago in a desperate attempt to preserve a small piece of themselves was added Wednesday to the archives of the Polish state-run museum dedicated to the memory of the former Nazi death camp’s victims.

Museum Director Piotr Cywinski hailed the document — a list of the names of seven camp inmates that was discovered last month — as a rare discovery and a cause for celebration, given that at least three of the prisoners are still living today.

“This is a very clear sign of hope,” Cywinski said. “These young people put the message in a bottle to leave a sign. But not only the bottle survived — some of them also survived. This is very moving.”

The note, written in pencil on a scrap from a cement bag, was discovered by a construction crew renovating a cellar that was used by Nazis during World War II as a bunker and place to store food. The building is now on the grounds of a vocational school in Oswiecim, a town the Nazis called Auschwitz, whose director handed the note over to Cywinski in a ceremony.

One of the survivors, Waclaw Sobczak, recalled that he and his fellow inmates never expected to survive the camp and wanted to leave behind a trace of their lives.

“We did it so a sign of us would remain after we died,” said Sobczak, a diminutive 85 year old with thick white hair. “It was very risky and we had to be very careful putting it in the wall. We wanted at least our names and numbers to be left behind.”

You Can’t Please Everyone – The Odyssey

One star Amazon reviews of classic movies, music and literature. Today we take a look at The Odyssey:

This book had been recommended to me so I decided to read it. It is the worst, no exaggeration, book that I have ever read. It was totally incomprehensible. The plot was not even interesting! If you are sitting there trying to figure out what each character is saying, it’s not easy to find the book enjoyable! I do NOT recommend this book to anyone; young or old!

This book sucks. I dont care if Homer was blind or not this book is like 900 pages too long. I could tell this story in about 10 pages. Homer taking all long to say stupid stuff. Teens if you are reading this all I have to say is CLIFF NOTES CLIFF NOTES you will pass the test, unless you are in AP classes. The teachers expect kids to read cliff notes trust me my moms a teacher. P.S this book SUCKS.

I thought this story was very gross. I mean come on. We are having to read this book in freshman English. Actually our teacher reads it to us, but it is still disgusting. We are also having to watch the movie of this, talk about gruesome. It’s like Scylla comes out of the water and chomps these people out of the ship and blood showers everywhere. I almost threw up every day when we watch this movie. We watch a little each day. I am over there about to puke up my toes and everybody else, all the boys anyway, are saying how cool it is. My boyfriend just laughs when I tell him I almost threw up in there, he is a freshman, so he has to watch it also. I’m sure he thinks it is awesome,but I don’t. If you really like gory stories you will like it. If you don’t then I wouldn’t read it or watch the movie if I were you. I am not saying to listen to me, you can have your own opinion, I’m just saying I don’t like it.

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