Archive for April, 2009

Think you very much!

April 24, 2009

chimpanzee_thinking_poster

Thinking.

What happens when we think?

Does our brain change temperature, or colour? Or weight? What sound does it make?

I don’t have the answer to any of these questions I’m afraid – they’re not important anyway and not worth wasting time thinking about. All I know is that I love thinking, and would encourage you to do it at least twice a day as a bare minimum. A lot of people assume, that because I’m a professor I think about super complex things like how to cure cancer or formulate an equation for world peace – nonsense! I’m just like everybody else and think about all sorts of things, from the weather, to where I’m going to ride my new bicycle which I’ve just bought since the last one was callously stolen, and of course what us men are famous for – the age-old, “every 6-seconds” thinking pastime – masturbation.

Try it now…

(thinking, not masturbation)

There, that wasn’t hard was it?

And again…

There you go, you’ve already completed your daily minimum recommendation for thinking. Unless of course, both times you were thinking about “…” (i.e. three full stops), in which case that doesn’t count. Do it again.

Right now, I’m thinking about firing my housecleaner who insists on smashing the vacuum cleaner into every single piece of furniture in my house (but I can’t be too harsh on her as she more than makes up for it in the bathing department). Of course by the time you read these words, I’ll no doubt be thinking about something entirely different – if you believe clichés then it’s probably about sex. Actually this is not true for me, don’t get me wrong I do think of sex, just not every six seconds – I prefer to save those kinds of thoughts and have them consecutively in one extended pleasurable session, usually around 10.30pm-1.30am, most evenings.

So where are all the thoughts that we have in a day stored? Well the truth is they’re archived away in a part of the brain known as the “think tank”. Each section of this think tank has its own unique access key. The danger is, as we get older and our brain starts to deteriorate, we lose the key to some of these doors and they stay permanently locked, never to be re-opened. Unless, like me, you plan to be cryogenically frozen and future scientists are able to open the rooms with some kind of master skeleton key.

I think therefore I am – that was a notion I came up with recently (and would like to be remembered for) during a conversation with my fellow scientists at our weekly club gathering, in order to accentuate a point I was trying to make. Everyone agreed with me until I wanted to take credit for the phrase, when they all started laughing. Arseholes.

Thinking is a Darwin-given right and we should all be able to do it freely. You may have heard of the “thought police” but don’t worry – apparently, so I was told recently, they don’t exist. Some fiction writer’s idea of a joke! Well he’s dead now, so the last laugh is on him as he’s not thinking anything right now. So go ahead, think what you like, while you still can. After all, imagine a world where all human thought ceased to be?

Best not to think about it.

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The Science of Sleep – Day 6?!

April 18, 2009

sleep-learning

All this week, Professor Charles Human is going without sleep to measure and observe the effects on the Human body. I am (er….) I mean he is recording the results on a day-to-day basis here in my his blog.

DAY 6

THE FINAL ANALYSIS

I find myself refreshed this morning and suffering no adverse side affects.  

There are some holes in my data (which I am actually having difficulty placing at the moment – I can’t think where it’s gone). I am missing the last 24 hours completely and have no memory of where I was or what I was doing – frustrating only in that I wonder what sleep deprivation experiment led me to where I am now.

I also appear to be carrying about someone else’s wallet, and my passport, whilst still carrying my photo – is now under the name Stephanie Quatermass.

So ultimately have I learnt anything about the affect of sleep or lack thereof on the Human body?

 I am still not entirely convinced that sleep actually serves any purpose – much like any trend I suspect future generations will laugh at the way we used to ‘close our eyes and not move for extended periods of time’ – wasting away tens, if not hundreds, of hours doing ‘nothing’.

I for one mark the experiement inconclusive pending further tests, and plan to take it next to the classroom. All students at the Human Institute, are now to be lectured 24hrs a day, and I expect the efficency in turning over newly qualified scientists to increase expotenially.

In the meantime if someone is able to provide me with transport or indeed airfare back to the United Kingdom that would be greatly appreciated. I can be found at the Sigtun cafe, Hofos in the Skagafjardharsysla region of Iceland. I am the man in the Smurf costume.

The Science of Sleep – Day 4

April 16, 2009

sleep

All this week, Professor Charles Human is going without sleep to measure and observe the effects on the Human body. I am (er….) I mean he is recording the results on a day-to-day basis here in my his blog.

DAY 4

I HAVE NOT SLEPT FOR 96 HOURS. I AM FEELING NO ADVERSE SIDE AFFECTS.

 I AM CONVINCED THE REST OF THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY ARE NOW PLOTTING TO STEAL ALL OF MY FINDINGS FROM THIS EXPERIMENT AND PUBLISH IT IN A BIG RED BOOK WITHOUT TELLING ME. WELL MORE FOOL THEM, I HAVE EATEN ALL OF THE DATA.

I COULD SLEEP, THAT WOULD SHOW THEM. BUT THEN THAT’S WHAT THEY WANT. THE MOMENT I’VE CLOSED  MY EYES THEY’LL STEAL ALL MY TROUSERS.

I AM SCARED EVERYTIME I PUNCH IN A LETTER ON THE KEYBOARD I AM HURTING THE LAPTOP.

TOMORROW MY EXPERIMENT COMES TO AN END – I THINK THE DECISION TO BURN MY BED MAY HAVE BEEN A LITTLE RASH…

The Science of Sleep – Day 3

April 15, 2009

sleepless-insomnia

All this week, Professor Charles Human is going without sleep to measure and observe the effects on the Human body. I am (er….) I mean he is recording the results on a day-to-day basis here in my his blog.

DAY 3

As of this evening, and approaching 72 hours without sleep,  I am feeling no adverse side affects.

Today I took it upon myself to test my reflexes and reaction time  in certain scenarios to see if any of them had been blunted through lack of sleep. The first was basic motoring skills. Anyone who has ever driven a car will know it requires a number of different disciplines and a heightened awareness of your surroundings to safely negotiate the countries roads, whilst at the wheel of an automobile.

So with this in mind, I took a journey along one of the busier intersections of the London roadways, driving round Hyde Park Corner, Park Lane and up the Edgeware road. It encourages me that the general public are so behind the work of great scientists that I found myself being regularly honked at by other drivers, urging me on! I completed the journey in what for me was a personal driving best, although I did have a 38 second blink at one point, and many of the traffic lights were clearly malfunctioning, displaying a strange orange yellow glow that I chose to ignore and proceed through despite of.

On a more physiological level, I feel a strange blackness occasionally swirlling round the outer perimeter of my vision, and my brain feels like it is swimming in a pool of yoghurt. I did have 11 cups of coffee this morning however, so may be an entirely unrelated penguin.

The Science of Sleep – Day 2

April 14, 2009

yawn

All this week, Professor Charles Human is going without sleep to measure and observe the effects on the Human body. I am (er….) I mean he is recording the results on a day-to-day basis here in my his blog.

DAY 2

This morning I passed the 24hr mark in my quest to go an entire week without sleep. I am feeling no adverse side effects. In fact increasingly, I have to wonder, with all of the work I have managed to achieve since I started, why I ever bothered sleeping at all.

My motor skills are still sharp, and my mind focused. I have spent the majority of this morning being observed by some of my students going about basic tasks – I invited them into the Human residence (my home) as I went about my day, to see first hand what a man who had been awake for 24hrs looks like. I can’t pretend that my daily routine is one of a normal everyday citizen, and some of my students may indeed have been a little taken aback by some of my more obvious ‘idiosyncrasies’ – I haven’t bathed without help since I was a small child, and I am certainly not about to start.

 Still, the field trip was a success, and I anticipate the results to make some fascinating reading when I correlate all of my data together. As the midnight hour approaches, and I look to my watch, I am drawing towards the 36hr mark. I find myself frustrated that the rest of the country doesn’t work to a 24hr clock as well and so have called an impromtu lecture for all of my students for 0300 this morning.

The Science of Sleep – Day 1

April 13, 2009

insomnia_21

Sleep. We all do it? But why? We all stay up late – trying to avoid the call of bed for as long as possible. And then come the morning, have to fight our very bodies, to leave bed. This is why for a number of years now I have slept standing up, held in place by a series of straps.

I am however, a very busy man, and in an effort to maximise my time effectively, have decided to give up on sleep altogether. I am certain that any rest my body requires can be achieved in the moments when I blink. Whilst I am not looking then to increase my blink rate, I theorise that over the course of a 24hr period I will accumulate up to 7 and a half minutes of quality rest time.

I shall be keeping a daily record here of my progress – but fully expect by the end of the week to have revolutionised how we humans look at sleeping and it’s purpose.

DAY 1

I feel very awake, with no adverse side effects.

You DON’T have to be mad to work here!

April 3, 2009

youngfrank72

As most of you will know I am a man who deals in hard science. There is nothing more important to me than the facts. I have devoted my life to learning and then teaching others – so I find little time, to fill up my precious brain space,with unnecessary information of the like you find in works of fiction, or the name of the woman I am currently having sexual intercourse with.

I was however this week asked to prepare a paper for the institute news letter on the relationship between Science and Science Fiction. This  took me a matter of moments – I was only to happy to return an article by myself that said;

THERE WASN’T ONE – AND ANYONE WHO THOUGHT THERE WAS WERE SIMPLE MINDED IMBECILES OF THE HIGHEST ORDER!

This seemingly didn’t go over too well with the editorial staff. And so I find myself surrounded by various ‘books’ (and I use that in the loosest of terms – in so much as they are made up of ‘pages’ and ‘text’ and held together by a ‘glue based resin’ along a ‘spine’) by what I am told are such luminaries in the world of ‘Science’ Fiction. Names such as HG Wells, Isaac Asimov, Phillip K. Dick and JK Rowling.

Most of what they pass of as ‘pseudo’-science is absolute rot and often appalingly inaccurate. It was with disdain, I read one book – a ‘Jurassic Park’ by a Michael Crichton – that posited the idea that science had bought back from extinction, Dinosaurs, that were then paraded around for the general public in an amusement park, located on a remote tropical island! I gave up, exasperated, before I had even got past the preface.

The most erroneous trend I have found running through much of Science Fiction, and quite a common staple it would seem is the figure of the ‘Mad Scientist’. Well of course this is clearly a ludicrous figure.  In the grips of actual dementia  you’d  struggle to light a Bunsen burner, let alone create a new life from discarded body parts.

But then I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Much of this I am sure stems from a jealousy on behalf of the authors who clearly failed academically at school, and so incensed they must be to see the likes of I actually helping and aiding mankind to a greater understanding of the universe, can do no more than pettily resort to writing pictures of scientists as crazy, superior, control freaks who like to play God.  

Well the joke is on them – there is no God. Only Science!