August 28, 2011

Fact or Fiction

Height matters. Is this fact or fiction?  Bad news for short people never seems to end. Their cup of woes continues to overflow. First it was those studies which showed that short people get fewer dates, less promotions and earned less than taller colleagues (because their bosses were taller?) Again, those infamous studies told us that one in two CEOs is six feet or taller.  Then came bad news from Johns Hopkins University – that short people (err, height disadvantaged? vertically challenged?) people are more likely to suffer dementia.

If you are on the wrong side of the height scale and in the mood for more punishment, try this nugget: In the last 46 presidential elections in the United States, the taller contender won 27 times, the latest instance of which came when the 6”1 Barack Obama beat the 5”7 John McCain.So if you’re short, what do you do? Umm… look for a boss who’s shorter? Regardless of what studies have to say, height has never been a prerequisite for greatness. Beethoven didn’t quite make to the 5ft 7 mark. Gandhiji, that giant among men, was even shorter. Where there is darkness, there is also light. Studies (finally!) tell us that shorter people tend to possess a rare genetic mutation called the Methuselah gene – which extends life spans and provides longer lives.

So, does height matter? Answer: One word. Rajnikanth.

Fact or Fiction? Mobile phones cause brain tumors

It depends on who you ask. There is conflicting evidence, likely a result of inadequate data  till date.  These studies take decades to complete, and require large groups of active users. Given that mobile phone usage has spiked only in the last decade or so, more definitive results may be in the offing in the decade to come. Mobile phones use non-ionizing radiation, which differs from the ionizing radiation of x-rays and radioactive material, and more like microwave radiation. Except they don’t release enough energy to cause damage of DNA, which causes cancer. Sustained, long term mobile phone usage may be a different story, if early evidence is any indication.

Answer: The jury is still out. Better safe than sorry may be apt here. If you’re a heavy mobile phone user, hands-free may be wise. Unless, you have the Methuselah gene

Fact or Fiction: Hypnotists can control your every move

You’ve seen it in the movies or heard from a friend. Hypnotist on stage. Calls for volunteers. Next thing you know, a man is under the spell and clucking like a chicken or imitating a dead actors (nice accent, by the way!). Say, you get excited, look into yellow pages, fix appointment with local hypnotist and off you go to cure that kleptomania problem that only you, a smattering of security guards and police in thirteen states are aware of. He gets you hypnotized and convinces you to sing Queen’s “Another one bites the dust” every time your fingers itch to snitch. Problem is you work in a funeral home. Could this nightmare really come true?

Answer:  No. While hypnosis can be used to treat mental disorders through the “power of suggestion”, hypnotists cannot make you do things you don’t want to do. You cannot be hypnotized against your will.  And, those people clucking like chickens and mouthing MGR and Gabbar Singh dialogues ? – Deep down, they really want to entertain us.

pip-pip. toodles. have a great weekend.

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