Coffee helps teams work together

Coffee helps teams work together Caffeine makes people more positive by making them more alert
Good teamwork begins with a cup of coffee for everyone, a new study suggests. Researchers found that people gave more positive reviews for their group's performance on a task -- and their own contribution -- if they drank caffeinated coffee beforehand. A second study showed that people talked more in a group setting under the influence of caffeinated coffee -- but they also were more on-topic than those who drank decaf.
Coffee seems to work its magic in teams by making people more alert, said Amit Singh, co-author of the study and a doctoral student in marketing at The Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business.

"We found that increased alertness was what led to the positive results for team performance," Singh said.

"Not surprisingly, people who drank caffeinated coffee tended to be more alert."

Singh conducted the study with Vasu Unnava and H. Rao Unnava, …

The Death of Fossil Fuels: An Economic Disaster?

As a rule, I don't put much stock in doom and gloom forecasts.  However, this study brings up several points to consider when trying to plan for your personal financial future. One:  the global transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources has taken on a life of its own that transcends any one nation's attempts to continue a fossil fuel economy.  As the authors say, "ongoing technological change, by itself and even without new climate policies, is already reducing global demand growth for fossil fuels."Two: as the global economy makes this transitions, countries who are fossil fuel suppliers are potentially losers in the transition while consumer countries will see their economies profit. While the authors see a potential for world wide depression from this transition, I understand from both experience and reading that forecasts of any kind have to be taken with a grain of salt, and that a substantial number of bleak forecasts never come about.

But as the …

Your Brain and Spirituality.

I would find it strange for someone to deny ever having a spiritual experience.  We all have them.  What is different from person to person is what we attribute the experience to.

The brain is an amazing organ, our sole interpreter of the greater world around us.  However, whether you believe that spirituality emanates from God or hold the position that our apparently three dimensional reality is actually a two dimensional projection from the nearest black hole, this is how you and I experience the spiritual.

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Where the brain processes spiritual experiences
Spiritual experiences can be religious in nature or not, such as feeling of oneness in nature or the absence of self during sporting events.
Yale scientists have identified a possible neurobiological home for the spiritual experience -- the sense of connection to something greater than oneself.

Activity in the parietal cortex (area in blue, left), an area of the brain involved in awareness of self and others as well as att…

War Leaves 17 Women for Every Man

This report of a "Y-chromosone Bottleneck" that occurred seven thousand years ago raises some interesting questions.

In it, the author theorizes that war may have the effect of simplifying the male genome to the point that it's like having but one man for every 17 women.  Sounds like a male fantasy, but is it good for humanity and the potential for our survival on our planet?

Research shows that healthy populations depend on genetic diversity such as in this report from 2015, Genetic Diversity Linked to Today's Taller, Smarter People.  So if war has the effect of creating a male genome bottleneck, does the bottleneck limit the diversity needed to maintain a healthy population?  Could genetic bottlenecks be the reason that some militarily aggressive cultures such as the ancient Romans and Greeks are very peaceful today?  i.e., have they had the aggression breed out of them by years of wars in which the most warlike men died in battle or the epidemics that spread thro…

Men take shortcuts; women follow well-known routes. As they fight.

We really don't need research to know that -
men prefer to take spontaneous shortcuts, while women tend to use routes they know. Or thatto the undying annoyance of women, research shows clearly that men navigate more efficiently than women.  (Yes, research shows this to be true.)However, this efficiency is tempered by the fact that men frequently get lost on a short cutwhich men consider an adventure whilegetting lost when you could have stopped to ask directions really pisses her off.  We also instinctively know that  men and women tend to fight bitterly about how to get from point a to point b. ( I once traveled across country with my parents.  I'm still in therapy some sixty years on.)Finally, male female navigational differences are the basis of much enjoyable comedy. I would love to see a reality television show, Travel Court, in which a cameraman and presenter sit in the back seat while a normally stable, loving couple make their way across country for a well-deserved va…

We're All Racist.

How humans repress prejudices Even people who would describe themselves as liberal and open-minded might not be free of unconscious racism
A philosopher has used psychoanalysis to investigate why people are often not aware of their prejudices.  Bochum-based philosopher Dr Beate Krickel has used psychoanalysis to investigate why people are often not aware of their prejudices. In her accounts, she has been elaborating how prejudices can become unconscious. 
Tolerant and yet full of bias
A hypothetical example: a white professor describes himself as having a liberal, tolerant worldview. He confirms that it is nonsense and scientifically insupportable to assume that people with different ethnic background have different levels of intelligence. However, the convictions he professes are ostensibly contradicted by his behaviour: he acts, for example, surprised, when a person of colour asks an intelligent question in his seminar. Moreover, his intuitive impression is that his white students look …

We Unconsciously Pronounce, uhm, Nouns, More Slowly.

Living during the Scientific Revolution is often staggering.  As in, I'm staggered by the incredible breadth of the types of research currently underway.

Spending money and intellectual effort to time how long it takes for people to say different elements of speech in a variety of languages seems pretty damn obscure.  Yet, the result is surprising.  Humans speaking often unrelated languages take longer to say a noun that other types of words.


It is the way our brains process certain types of words.

Why is this important to writers?

Because people tend to pause or use filler words before using nouns, therefore the speech we write should show this human tendency.  It makes your dialog more believable and real.

And isn't the idea?
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Nouns slow down our speech
Speakers hesitate or make brief pauses filled with sounds like "uh" or "uhm" mostly before nouns. Such slow-down effects are far less frequent before verbs, as UZH researchers working toget…