You might have seen the newspaper reports last fall about this experiment. Here's how it was done.
Do you feel dull and listless? Have you lost interest in everything? Do people describe you as "dead wood"? You may be suffering from Walking Zombie Syndrome. First described in the Journal of the Tennessee Medical Association, Dec 1979
these individuals carry around with them in their unconscious mind a death suggestion, while on the conscious level they have no knowledge whatsoever of it. In fact, when told they believe themselves dead they deny it even though their symptoms and their behavior continually affirm the diagnosis of the Walking Zombie syndrome...
Walking Zombies are present on the streets of every city, and not a single practitioner will escape their complaints. Even though they may faithfully attempt work every day, they are for the most part nonproductive and often represent more of a liability than an asset to their employers, families and friends. Many are accident prone, and most Walking Zombies cost their company a great deal by chronic absenteeism.
is a name used to describe people who believe they are "something other than human." That something other might be an elf, angel, dragon, or vampire.
The Otherkin Wiki explores topics such as Differences from humans
, Identifying your species
, and, of course, the dreaded Wannabes
who try to infiltrate the Otherkin community:
It's hard to detect wannabes...they can become enmeshed in the community and be quite active, or perhaps they eventually figure out that they were wrong and leave -- the realization is probably due to some type of disillusionment...
There is also some measure of fan-culture around some mythological archetypes -- such as Elves in the wake of the Lord of the Rings movies, Vampires after Buffy:TVS and so on. Due to the prevalence of these archetypes in popular media, the community does attract some people who "Wanna be" elves, vampires, etc. even though they know that they aren't. Some of them hang out for a while before realizing that we're by far an unromantic and rather boring community as a whole. They also probably leave disillusioned.
I believe that the social psychologist Leon Mann was one of the first to describe the phenomenon of the "baiting crowd." He did so in a 1981 article
in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
We assume that most people are concerned for the life and well-being of others. It comes as a surprise to learn that crowds gathered at the site of a suicide threat have been known to taunt and urge the victim to jump... In my examination of the baiting phenomenon, I searched all listings for suicides and suicide attempts in the New York Times Index for 1964-1979... The following extract from the New York Times for June 8, 1964, is an example of the data source:
A Puerto Rican handyman perched on a 10th floor ledge for an hour yesterday morning as many persons in a crowd of 500 on upper Broadway shouted at him in Spanish and English to jump. Even as cries of "Jump!" and "Brinca!" rang out, policemen pulled the man to safety from the narrow ledge at 3495 Broadway, the north-west corner of 143rd Street.
Mann identified five factors that contribute to the phenomenon: 1) the anonymity of being in a large crowd; 2) cover of darkness; 3) distance from the victim (but being close enough so that the person threatening suicide can still hear the cries urging him to jump); 4) duration of episode (people get bored and restless waiting too long); and 5) hot temperatures.
My theory is that people are okay until you gather them together into a crowd, at which point they transform into the lowest form of life imaginable.
The Autism-Spectrum Quotient Test
measures autistic traits in adults. The average score is 16. If you score 32 or higher, no one is saying you're definitely autistic, but you're probably not known for your sparkling social skills. I scored 22, so yeah, I'm on the antisocial side of the spectrum.
The Sensation Seeking Scale was developed by Prof. Marvin Zuckerman
almost forty years ago. It measures four psychological tendencies: thrill and adventure seeking; experience seeking; disinhibition; and susceptibility to boredom.
"Thrill seekers" get a kick out of activities or sports that provide unusual sensations and experiences-- even if they involve risk. Motorcycle racing or water-skiing, for example, might appeal to this category of sensation seekers... "Experience seekers" enjoy novel experiences--say, travel to exotic locations, listening to unusual or exciting music, experimenting with drugs or living a "non-conformist" lifestyle... "Disinhibitors" are constantly searching for opportunities to lose their inhibitions at "wild" parties involving heavy drinking and sexual activities with strangers... Finally, sensation seekers are very easily bored by repetitious, predictable experiences and people, or by routine work assignments.
Take the test
over at the BBC to find out how much (and what kind) of a sensation seeker you are.
I scored very high as an "experience seeker." Makes sense for someone who's addicted to weird.
Teenagers have discovered a new method of screwing themselves up. Cutting and poisoning themselves is no longer enough. The new fad is to deliberately embed objects in their flesh. Doctors report that they've removed a variety of embedded objects from the arms, hands, feet, ankles and necks of teenage girls. These objects include: needles, staples, wood, stone, glass, pencil lead, crayon, and an unfolded metal paper clip more than 6 inches long.
In cases of self-embedding disorder, objects are used to puncture the skin or are forced into a wound after cutting... At least two teens have disclosed instances of self-embedding, said Terry Ciszek, the hospital's director for outpatient services. Both girls had intentionally inserted pencils under their skin and then broke off the lead to keep it lodged there.
Goes without saying that the teenagers doing this have a lot of mental health issues. Link: Chicago Tribune
(I'm pretty sure someone forwarded us this link, but I can't remember who it was. Thank you, whoever you are!)
Why do women play hard to get? According to research recently conducted at the University of Bristol, it's so that "men can prove themselves more worthy than their rivals."
Here's how it works
. The woman acts coy. The man acts eager and helpful. Eventually the woman decides, "I am going to have a child with this male." I assume she says this in a robotic voice.
The researchers hope their study "could eventually lead to a model that could work out the optimal amount of coyness for a woman to use in choosing a male."
I wrote about some similar research in Elephants on Acid
. In 1973 researchers from the University of Wisconsin instructed a Nevada prostitute to play "hard to get," and then studied the reactions of her clients. Hard to get, in that context, meant that she didn't indicate to her clients whether she wanted to see them again. Client response was measured by the number of times the guy returned during the following month. The researchers concluded that men don't like women who play hard to get. Instead men like women who are easy for themselves but hard for everyone else to get. (Thanks, Sandy!)
For the next two weeks I'm going to be visiting relatives in Germany (with a brief stop in England). But thanks to the miracle of future-dating posts, I should be able to produce a trickle of posts while I'm gone. And, of course, I hope to be able to blog from Germany about all the weirdness I find there (I'm sure there'll be plenty of it).
For my first future-dated post, I present you with "Sex and the Single Armrest" -- a 1982 study of "limited space and territorial behavior" during air travel (Psychological Reports
, 51: 743-749). The question it posed was this: in a mixed-sex seating arrangement, who uses the common armrest more, men or women?
As you read this, I'm probably on a transatlantic flight, battling with someone for the armrest, so I thought it was an appropriate topic.
To find the answer, the researchers conducted "direct observation on 20 flights (occurring on a variety of weekdays, nights, and weekends) with a total of 852 people in mixed-sex seating arrangements."
The over-all results of the observational study indicate that, even when controlling for size, males use the common airplane armrest three times more frequently than females do in mixed-sex seating arrangements. Conclusions are supported by information from interviews in which twice as many males said they used the armrest. The younger males and females indicated much stronger feelings toward armrest use than the older people interviewed, especially the younger-than-40 males. A stewardess indicated that she felt these findings were accurate. During many flights, she has observed that men become much more aggressive about seating than women do; she has even seen some near fist fights by men.
Doesn't surprise me at all.
I can understand the desire for fetishistic objects of comfort in such perilous and uncertain times. But aren't adult-sized footed pajamas one step too far down the path of infantile regression?
At the Jumpin Jammerz site
, you can find dozens of models. Here's a handy Amazon link for just one, if you really must!
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.