Darren’s Daily Dose of News – May 09, 2009

darrensdailydoseofnews12Scientists have now proven what college students, shift workers and parents know so well — the brain does not work properly after a sleepless night. California researchers confirmed this information while looking at ways to alleviate the effects of sleep deprivation and jet lab. They monitored brain activity to see how it compensates for lack of sleep. They found that the effects of sleep deprivation differed depending on what the brain was asked to do — the sleepy brain increases activity in certain regions if it has to deal with verbal problems but slows down for mathematical dilemmas. However sleeping during school or work doesn’t help the problem either. ***MARLAR: Lack of sleep equals lack of brain power? Boy, that explains a lot about me, doesn’t it?

How would you like for your shoelaces that tied themselves? Someone has invented electronic laces and recently introduced them at the Inventor’s Cup competition in Norway. The invention took first prize in the “Most Creative” category.  ***MARLAR: Nike could change their slogan from “Just do it” to “Just let them do it themselves.”

Japanese psychiatrist Makoto Natsume is warning that too much smiling can be dangerous for your mental health. Japanese employers demand that workers affix permanent smiles on their faces and even use video training to drill them into doing it unthinkingly. Dr. Natsume said he’s starting to see more and more patients who were shocked to find they can’t stop smiling, even when dealing with personal tragedies. He said that forcing people to suppress their emotions and smile constantly is threatening to spark a national epidemic of depression and mental illness.  ***MARLAR: The good news: nobody will ever know.

How’s this for an alternative to speeding tickets. Truck drivers in India who are caught speeding are being made to hop like frogs. Police in the state of Bihar have begun dishing out humiliating punishments instead of taking offenders to court. The most popular punishment with the cops is a version of leapfrog. Speeding truck drivers have to squat, hold their ears and hop for almost half a mile. And the drivers are made to chant the name of the political leader they like most while doing this. One policeman was quoted as saying, “If they remember their leader when they are being punished, it’s like they are insulting them. If they have any sense, they won’t speed again.” ***MARLAR: I suddenly have a huge desire to be a cop in India.

New York entrepreneur Peter Shankman has launched AirTroductions, a company that ends the worry of who you’ll end up sitting next to on airliners. Shankman said it’s for people who don’t want to “deal with the psychological torture of sitting two inches from someone you don’t know for eight hours.” Participants go online to fill out profiles and read those of fellow passengers, so they can pick out someone compatible as a seatmate. Shankman said the idea was inspired by a flight in which he was lucky enough to be seated next to Miss Texas. ***MARLAR: So you can sit next to a fascinating conversationalist, but still not hear a word over the screaming baby right behind you.

Love can naturally lead to marriage which can naturally lead to – physical fitness? Married people are more physically fit than their single counterparts. Researchers at Stanford University say they believe married couples are more fit because the husbands and wives encourage one another to exercise. ***MARLAR: That’s true. My wife is always telling me to take a hike.

Thieves in Switzerland stole four paintings by artists such as van Gogh and Monet worth $163 million.  ***MARLAR: Police say the crooks are armed and pretentious.

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