Photo by Bert Heymans on Flickr.
It was the baby, of all things, that woke her up. Not her husband. Not the police. Just the baby and his crying. -Todd Ritter, Bad Moon
“What a Fuller Man did was virtuosic. ‘The Fuller art of opening doors was regarded by connoisseurs of cold-turkey peddling in somewhat the same way that balletomanes esteem a performance of the Bolshoi — as pure poetry,’ American Heritage wrote. ‘In the hands of a deft Fuller dealer, brushes became not homely commodities but specialized tools obtainable nowhere else.’ Yet he was also virtuous, his constant presence in neighborhoods turning him neighborly. ‘Fuller Brush Men pulled teeth, massaged headaches, delivered babies, gave emetics for poison, prevented suicides, discovered murders, helped arrange funerals, and drove patients to hospitals.’ ” -Daniel H. Pink, To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others
Sin Eaters performed a ceremony wherein they took on the sins that the deceased performed — sins that went unforgiven or without confession prior to death. People typically hired a Sin Eater in situations where the deceased died unexpectedly.
By consuming bread and a drink (usually wine or beer) placed on, or ritually waved over, the dead body, onlookers believed the dead person’s sins were digested by the eater after he or she consumed this beggar’s feast. The act appears to be confined to 18th and 19th Century Europe, with no accounts of necro-cannibalism noted.
In time, the practice expanded in popularity, so that Sin Eaters also attended to people who had just died of natural causes — because people believed the ritual could help prevent the dead from wandering the countryside after death. -Keith Veronese -Keith Veronese
“Intense focusing on a task can make people effectively blind, even to stimuli that normally attract attention. The most dramatic demonstration was offered by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons in their book The Invisible Gorilla. They constructed a short film of two teams passing basketballs, one team wearing white shirts, the other wearing black. The viewers of the film are instructed to count the number of passes made by the white team, ignoring the black players. This task is difficult and completely absorbing. Halfway through the video, a woman wearing a gorilla suit appears, crosses the court, thumps her chest, and moves on. The gorilla is in view for 9 seconds.
“Many thousands of people have seen the video, and about half of them do not notice anything unusual. It is the counting task — and especially the instruction to ignore one of the teams — that causes the blindness. No one who watches the video without that task would miss the gorilla. Seeing and orienting are automatic functions of System 1, but they depend on the allocation of some attention to the relevant stimulus. The authors note that the most remarkable observation of their study is that people find its results very surprising. Indeed, the viewers who fail to see the gorilla are initially sure that it was not there — they cannot imagine missing such a striking event. The gorilla study illustrates two important facts about our minds: we can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness.” -Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow
People seeking shelter during tornadoes and cyclones are often called back, or delayed, by people doing normal activities, who refuse to believe the emergency is happening. These people are displaying what’s known as normalcy bias. About 70% of people in a disaster do it. Although movies show crowds screaming and panicking, most people move dazedly through normal activities in a crisis. This can be a good thing; researchers find that people who are in this state are docile and can be directed without chaos. They even tend to quiet and calm the 10-15% of people who freak out.
The downside of the bias is the fact that they tend to retard the progress of the 10-15% of people who act appropriately. The main source of delay masquerades as the need to get more data. Scientists call this “milling.” People will usually get about four opinions on what’s going on and what they should do before taking any action — even in an obvious crisis. People in emergency situations report calling out to others, asking, “What’s going on?” When someone tells them to evacuate, or to take shelter, they fail to comply and move on, asking other people the same question. -Esther Inglis-Arkell
Create whatever this visual prompt inspires in you!
Photo by Robbert van der Steeg on Flickr.
“Jonah was dead for a brief time before the paramedics brought him back to life.” -Dan Chaon, You Remind Me of Me
billown. a large undulating mass of something, typically cloud, smoke, or steam. ARCHAIC a large sea wave.v. [no obj., with adverbial of direction] (of fabric) fill with air and swell outwards: her dress billowed out around her. (as adj. billowing) a billowing skirt and shirt. (of smoke, cloud, or steam) move or flow outward with an undulating motion: smoke was billowing from the chimney-mouth | (as adj. billowing) all I could see was thick, billowing smoke. billowy adj. mid 16th century: from Old Norse bylgja.
Teenage girls were a strange breed of animal, prone to strange trends and behaviors. – Bradley Convissar, Blink
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