A penguin and a polar bear are sitting on an iceberg. The penguin yells, "No Soap Radio!" They both jump in the water.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

That's why the real thing costs more

Have you ever been to a chorus concert and wondered if you were really able to focus and hear your friend above all the other singers, or if you just thought you could?

You could, and it's called the cocktail party effect.

I write this as my roommate Mark, the same one I tried the wormword-containing Four with, is using my headphones to try a program called I-Doser. The story of this one goes that by listening to these tracks, which play a thing called binaural tones, you can get your brain to mimic the feeling of certain drugs.

Exciting concept, really. You could be sitting in class with your iPod buds in, completely stoned. Mark's trying one called cocaine. I called dibs on ectsasy.

I found the cocktail effect when surfing through, or tumbling into, Wikipedia researching the binaural tones idea. Turns out there's science behind it--though the fact that it was discovered by a mid-19th century German means I won't be putting it in my mind--and the effect is to rearrange your brain waves from the beta ones that usually fill your waking hours to theta or delta ones that usually denote dreaming sleep. Or, in Mark's instance, the higher-frequency gamma ones that happen during something intense, like problem solving or fear.

The practical use of it is really closer to relaxation therapy than tripping on acid, a fact confirmed when Mark walks in and tosses the headphones on our coffee table.

"Well that was some bullshit."

All I needed to hear.


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