Monthly Archives: June 2010

A little pool of water called “Hope”

photo via : tofutti break

Heard an interesting story on the radio today about a lab rat study done in the 1950’s by a (possibly sadistic) scientist named Curt Richter.

He took a bunch of rats and put them into a high-sided bucket of circulating water that they couldn’t escape from and timed how long it took for the rats to drown. It wasn’t long – an average of 15 minutes for the rats to give up, stop swimming, and drown.

He then repeated the experiment with a new group of rats and a new twist – in the second instance, he “rescued” the rats just after they had given up swimming, again, at around the 15 minute mark. He let them dry off, he fed them some food, allowed them to recuperate. And then he threw them back in the bucket of water. The amazing result was that these rats were then able to swim for up to 60 hours before giving up and drowning.

Big difference.

Curt Richter attributed the rat’s new found stamina and survival skills to “hope” and felt that he had demonstrated the miraculous achievements possible as long as one has hope.

I see implications for action movies where the hero is about to die in the villains lair, and he is briefly rescued.

What I also find interesting is that this study, which really is completely f’ed up, is cited in on a lot of bibly / sermony / religious websites when you google for it. They love the part about the hope, but they’re kind of missing how the hope part was derived. Maybe the rats that gave up in fifteen minutes were really the smart ones.

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90’s Game Show – photo by james prochnik

There is that moment that happens to some – they’re sitting in the audience, and the host begins reading a name off a card, and they hear the words, and can’t believe what they are hearing. It is their first name – adrenalin begins squirting through their veins at high velocity the way water spews from fire hoses – and then their last name is called out. It’s their name. Their whole name. They have been chosen.

Adrenalin continues to pour through their veins as if an internal levee had broken, and all the chemicals and proteins and biological detritus that normally courses peacefully through their body is suddenly overwhelmed by the adrenal tsunami overtaking everything in its path.

They know they have to get up – it is their time, they have to get up, and walk down to the stage, leave the shadows and go in front of the cameras. They will actually be on camera, on television, in television.

For this moment, no matter what happens subsequently – the game – for this moment they are the star, all eyes and attention are on them as they walk down the towards the stage. It is a miracle they can walk. It’s a miracle they are not evacuating their bowels or bladders. Thank god for auto pilot. Thank god for all systems go.

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The Sound of Foreign Films

film still from: Let The Right One In

Are you familiar with the trope of the “Ugly American” speaking to a foreigner who can’t understand a word they are saying – so the American begins to shout to make their point more comprehensible?

The thing is, watching foreign films I find myself as the foreigner wanting to understand, wanting to just follow the plot better, but instead of paying closer attention to the subtitles, what do I do? Of course – I turn up the volume on my television set. Because if I can hear the Swedish louder, maybe I’ll finally start to understand it better.

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