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January 2012

SPACE

INVADERS

CUT THE CROP HOW TO READ CROP CIRCLES

PANIC EPIDEMIC WHEN FEAR MAKES YOU SICK 1


CREDITS Editor-in-Chief Anouk Vleugels Executive Editor Mark Fonseca Rendeiro Editorial Vicente Fuentes Jaime Menchen Marc Smeehuijzen Carian Thus Design Michelle Halcomb Advertisement Send an e-mail to advertising @united-academics.org Questions and suggestions Send an e-mail to redactie @united-academics.org Address Warmoesstraat 149, 1012 JC Amsterdam Website www.united-academics.org 2


EDITORIAL

SPACE INVADERS “Ladies and gentlemen, this is the most terrifying thing I have ever witnessed. . . . Wait a minute! Someone’s crawling. Someone or . . . something. I can see peering out of that black hole two luminous disks . . . are they eyes?” It’s late October, the year is 1938, and people are scared to death when they hear this comment on the radio made by reporter Carl Philip. Of course, we currently know this description of a Martian invasion was part of the radio drama War of the Worlds. Because director Orson Welles presented the broadcast as a series of simulated news bulletins, certain listeners believed the invasion was real. The result was an outbreak of mass hysteria (read about this interesting phenomenon on page 12) with people all over the US fleeing their homes. Some families rushed out of their houses with wet handkerchiefs and towels over their faces to escape from what they believed was to be a gas raid. Others began moving household furniture. Now, seven decades and exactly 378 films about alien invasion later, we are not as easily spooked. However, the possible existence of extraterrestrial life is still being studied and debated extensively. It was only recently that cosmologist Stephen Hawking warned us not to make contact with civilizations outside our world. “If aliens visit us,” Hawking said, “the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans.” In addition, last November NASA launched a new mission to Mars: the Mars Science Laboratory. By using a rover carrying the biggest, most advanced suite of instruments ever sent to the martian surface, the scientists involved hope to determine the Red Planet’s “habitability”. So it might be time for those Martians to move some furniture around. Earthlingian Invasion! It may not sell as many movies though. Anouk Vleugels, Editor-in-Chief 3


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PANIC EPIDEMIC when fear makes you sick

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CUT THE CROP revealing the ancient mystery of crop circles

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FEATURES

TEN VIDEO GAMES THAT CHANGED THE WORLD

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MONTHLY

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Remarkable Research

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“Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Bed bugs were the stuff of dark legend, a mysterious force mothers would teasingly warn their kids about before tucking them safely into bed. But these blood-sucking creatures, once thought to have been mostly eradicated in North America, have crept and crawled their way back into our beds. It brought many worried house owners to ask Google: is it impossible to get rid of bed bugs? The answer is no. Exterminating the little suckers, however, is not an easy task. First of all, they’re not alone. A single female can lay

500 eggs during her lifetime, and within a few months her offspring can reproduce as well. Remember how exponential growth works? That’s what will happen. Depending on conditions, bed bugs can produce three or four generations in one year. Furthermore, you can’t starve them to death. Bed bugs can go a remarkably long time without feeding, should no host be present to provide them with needed blood meals. Scientists have documented adult bed bugs living up to 550 days without eating. So leaving a room empty for a few weeks in order to get rid of

bed bugs, won’t do the trick. So what does? Most importantly: be thorough. Every possible hiding place must be cleaned or treated. In a home, that means all clothing, bedding, linens, and other washable fabrics must be laundered, usually repeatedly. Cracks in walls must be sealed, loose wallpaper reattached or removed, and carpets treated and vacuumed. Also, a recent study published in the journal Biology Letters, shows that people with more body hair are less likely to be bitten. So to those of you who are afraid of bed bugs, we would like to say: Man up and get hairy. 7


CUT THE CROP In the world of mystery researchers sometimes face extreme and unknown issues on the edge of both the impossible and the unthinkable. The puzzle I have been studying over the last ten years about the mystery surrounding the phenomenon of corn circles is, nowadays, qualified as the most extreme of ufology context and combines field research, mathematical decodification, and that unique element so common in the best cases: the personal feeling that humanity hardly understands even a little part of what is really happening on planet Earth. There are hundreds, thousands of figures documented throughout history, appearing in dozens of countries, to the surprise of scientific and military authorities. There are also hundreds of interpretations of the geometric and symbolic con8

tent of the messages that appear within these crop circles. These messages seem to teach and amaze at the same time, with an extreme desire to transmit a message, covering topics such as advanced astronomy, chemistry, quantum physics, biology, or the predictions of disaster as earthquakes or nuclear accidents. On top of all that, the crop circle phenomenon also shows an expansion effort: the messages seem to be getting clearer and more understandable, even including binary code, and decimal numbers. The equations seem to follow an intelligent pattern: showing the dates from our calendar, including solar and lunar events; the control of the trajectory of some comets around our planet; or even calculating -with extreme precision- the day and


CROP CIRCLES CREATED WITH UNBELIEVABLE PERFECTION AND COMPLEXITY, APPEAR EACH YEAR IN HUNDREDS OF FIELDS AROUND THE WORLD. WHO IS CREATING THESE WONDERS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT? WHY DOES THIS PHENOMENON EXIST? VICENTE FUENTES, CHEMISTRY ENGINEER AND EXPERT IN THE ISSUE, TALKS ABOUT THE FIRST GREAT MYSTERY OF THE XXI CENTURY. hour of planetary conjunctions or eclipses. Investigating the connection between what is happening on Earth at the same time as these designs have been appearing in the middle of the night (99% of true crop circles appear during the first hours of the morning) shows a real intention to communicate every important astronomical movement that could affect the entire humanrace. As part of my research I have traveled around the curves of these perfect designs, spending ten years decoding authentic wonders. Their themes range from the Einstein’s theory of relativity to the golden ratio, from the symbolism of the return of Mayan God Quetzalcoatlto the changes in sunspot cycles, or simply the mention of nuclear energy. A whole cluster seems to repeat the same messages year

after year, using a subtle and beautiful language to convey ideas, to create in our minds a path that seems to be positive and harmonic .There are around one hundred categories to classify these figures, though crop circles are a relatively recent phenomenon and the actual study of the meanings of the designs represents just the prehistory of this type of research. In this puzzle there is plenty misinformation providing false examples, but in my research of the mass amount of data and calculations which I collect every summer there is an inescapable truth: plant stalks are not broken, but bent. There are verifiable genetic changes resulting from a type of radiation that affects both plants and soil. Sightings of unidentified flying objects and above all, 9


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the spectacular patterns of Chilbolton in 2001 and 2002 confirm a close relationship with extra-terrestrial intelligence behind these designs. Yes this occurs on a human level, from the deep thought that is inspired during the indescribable moment when a person sees an authentic crop circle for the first time. Just for that instant, just for that magic moment of openness to this new field of research, it is well worth continuing to follow the evolution of these figures lost in the fields, screaming a message that can only be seen from the great heights like the lines of the Nazca phenomenon in Peru, South America. In 2009 a design appeared in the south of England that showed the accurate representation of the mythical Nazca hummingbird, an occasion that is perhaps the most representative of this phenomenon. Both the above mentioned enigmas are connected by one theory: the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence trying to contact humans with the only common language in the universe: mathematics. Although these facts are surely a metaphor applicable to a society that does not look beyond itself, they continue to consistently appear year after year and are increasing in number. Most modern records report the circles first appearing in 1970, but throughout ancient history there have been various reports of crop circles; including in the 3rd century A.D. in India and Pakistan, and sightings during medieval times in Great Britain. That is an interesting question to analyze. Why have 78% of the verified crop circles appeared in England? The answer may be part of connection with the monolithic monuments Stonehenge and Avebury. Celtic civilization in 5000 a.D. built colossal structures based in giant circles with standing stones. The science behind those Neolithic constructions includes astronomical calculation of planetary alignments, eclipses and the control of the solstices and equi-

noxes. The same message of a large amount of crop circles, with about 7000 years of separation. The crop circles phenomenon is absolutely personal and each individual can have an opinion about the meaning of every scientific and spiritual series. The latest studies conducted by CMM, and the international expert Dr. Horace R. Drew explains that there are traces of radiation in the fields where the figures appear. The flies that are found after the formation of the circles are irradiated at the same level as those from the Chernobyl incident, and even the polarization of the water is changed inside the crop circle. Cellular phones, batteries, and compasses go mad as if the fields were affected by some type of magnetic and nuclear energy. One of the most incredible details is that many fields, once the corn is harvested, and even after the type of soil is changed the following year, show the same design as the previous year. The appearance of the ghost crop circle is a unique and unknown process that affects plants, soils and the fields in general. Vicente Fuentes, an expert on crop circles and an engineer, was born in Madrid in 1982 and is the author of the book “The Enigma of the circles” and “911 ufos” (Both in Corona Borealis, 2011). He currently works as a chemical engineer and has published dozens of UFO research papers and participates regularly on the Spanish National Radio program “Espacio en Blanco” , “Lights in the Darkness” on Punto Radio, “Millennium” on Galicia Radio, “The Wheel of Mystery “and” information superhighway “on Punto Radio Catalunya. He has also been a speaker at various conferences in 2011 and is webmaster of Ufopolis.net, the global newspaper for UFO News

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PANI

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IC EPIDEMIC ALSO KNOWN AS MASS PSYCHOGENIC ILLNESS (MPI), MASS HYSTERIA IS AN UNDERREPORTED AND CONTENTIOUS DIAGNOSIS THAT MIRRORS THE PROMINENT SOCIAL CONCERNS OF AN ERA. FROM POSSESSED NUNS IN THE MIDDLE AGES TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION AND TERRORISM SCARES TODAY, HERE IS A PEEK INTO OUR COLLECTIVE ANGST THROUGH THE YEARS.

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A female news agency employee suddenly collapsed in the Virgin Blue terminal of Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport one morning in 2005. After she was taken to the hospital, two other employees collapsed and security guards and airline staff felt dizzy, nauseated and had respiratory problems. Some noticed a strange odour. By mid afternoon the terminal had been evacuated, 47 people had been transported to the hospital and medical personnel wearing protective suits and masks were treating victims still at the scene. Air samples had been taken by the local and metropolitan fire brigade but no suspected agents were fond in the air. By early evening, all of the casualties, aside from one with pre-existing asthma, were released from the hospital and emergency services declared the area safe again. The shut down lasted eight hours, 60 Virgin Blue flights were cancelled, 14.000 passengers were stranded and business cost estimates ran into the millions of dollars. Symptoms without organic basis Although government officials referred to the Melbourne incident as a “mystery illness”, Australian sociologist Robert Bartholomew thinks it was most likely a case of mass psychogenic illness. A proliferate writer on the subject, he defines mass psychogenic (or sociogenic) illness as the rapid spread of illness signs affecting members of a cohesive group, caused by psychological distress with no organic basis. Dominant symptoms include headache, dizziness or light-headedness, nausea, abdominal pains, cough, fatigue, drowsiness or 14

weakness, and a sore or burning throat. Bartholomew studied hundreds of cases, from demon possessions in nunneries in the Middle Ages to the Belgian Coca-Cola contamination scare in the 90’s and the “Bin Laden Itch” after September 11, 2001. (This last case involved thousands of US school students reporting an array of rashes following anthrax attacks). He argues that MPI is an underreported problem and that it is not a diagnosis of exclusion as some believe. Together with British psychiatrist Simon Wessely, he identified a list of characteristic features (see page 16). Bartholomew and Wessely also discovered a fascinating correlation between MPI and the prominent social concerns of the times (see also page 16. Prior to 1900, incubated in a tense atmosphere in convents, schools and factories, predominant motor symptoms like dissociation, melodramatic acts of rebellion, shaking, twitching and contractures could persist for weeks or months. Twentieth-century reports feature anxiety symptoms that are triggered by a sudden exposure to, most commonly, an innocuous odour or food, air or water poisoning rumours. From the early 1980s to the present, especially since the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US, there has been an increasing focus on chemical and biological terrorism. Moreover, when Bartholomew and Wessely looked for social and psychological similarities among the


victims, they could not find any. Studies on possible predispositions like extroversion, paranoia, absenteeism at work, academic performance and IQ- all turned out inclusive. It seems that nobody is immune to MPI. A sensitive label A psychogenic cause for symptoms can be difficult to accept for victims and community members, many who resent the “mass hysteria” label. Mass hysteria is typically viewed as something that happens to others. For this reason, cases are often officially left unresolved under the guise of the label “mystery illness”. According to Bartholomew and Wessely, this also happened in the “Toxic Bus” case in Canada. They write that, in 2004, just before leaving a public bus in Vancouver, a Middle Eastern looking passenger asked the bus driver how his day was going. When the bus driver said “good”, the man said “it won’t be for long”. Shortly thereafter the bus driver felt nauseated and vomited and one of the passengers felt ill as well. When the driver radioed for help, fearing a chemical or biological attack, the two responding paramedics fell ill, as did others arriving on the scene. 19 people were briefly quarantined but air quality tests and a forensic examination of the bus were unremarkable. Afterwards, Vancouver’s Chief Medical Health Officer concluded that the cause of this event was mass anxiety, but both police and ambulance agencies did not accept

The War Of The Worlds broadcast and the Martian invasion panic In 1938, a radio drama broadcast “The War of The Worlds” about an alien invasion by Martians, frightened a large number of American listeners who believed the fake news reports were real. Robert Bartholomew wrote a number of books and articles on this famous incident and called this a case of “social delusion”, not “mass hysteria”, because it involved false or exaggerated beliefs but no illness symptoms. “It is a testament to the remarkable power of expectation on perception,” he wrote and he described eyewitness accounts of people actually smelling the Martian’s poisoned gas, feeling the heat rays as described on the radio and hearing machine gun fire and the “swish” sound of the Martians. “Not only does the Martian panic demonstrate the enormous influence of the mass media in contemporary society,” he wrote, “but in recent years an ironic twist has developed. He argued that sensationalist reporting by the same mass media after the event, caused people to believe that the panic caused by the broadcast was far more extensive than it really was. Later studies showed that instead of more than a million panic-stricken Americans, there were probably no more than a few thousand. 15


Characteristics of Mass Psychogenic Illness • Symptoms with no plausible organic basis • Transient and benign symptoms • Rapid onset and recovery • Occurrence in a segregated group • Extraordinary anxiety • Symptoms spread via sight or sound (seeing or hearing of another ill person causes symptoms) • Beginning with older or higher-status persons and then spreading to younger or lower-status persons • A preponderance of female participants* * It is not yet clear why 85% of MPI victims are women but Bartholomew and colleagues suspect social and cultural reasons like women’s perceptions of inferiority in certain contexts, differences in stress coping strategies and differences in treatment seeking behaviour.

this. They hired a private firm for additional testing and later came up with an improbable theory designating methyl-chloride gas, measured in minute quantities on the scene, as the culprit in the “attack”. They could not accept the idea that experienced medical professionals would have succumbed to mass hysteria. Diagnostic labels clearly matter. Army psychologist Ross Pastel studied the effects of weapons of mass destruction on mass hysteria and wrote that the U.S. military’s use of words like “shell shock” and “combat exhaustion” had an effect on both prognosis and treatment. “Terms such as ‘war neurosis’ or ‘psychoneurosis’ had a stigma of mental illness and had a poorer prognosis, but terms such as ‘combat exhaustion’ suggested a normal reaction to an abnormal stimulus and gave a positive expectation of recovery and return to duty following a short respite from the war,” Pastel wrote. For that reason he prefers the term “outbreaks of multiple unexplained symptoms” over mass hysteria or mass psychogenic illness. Treatment To best deal with future cases of MPI, Bartholomew and Wessely have suggested a checklist with

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Mass psychogenic illness mirrors the prominent social concerns of the times. Some examples: 1491 (Cambrai, France): It was reported that a group of nuns in a convent ran across the fields like dogs, climbed on the trees and hung from their branches like cats and imitated the voices of different animals. (Certain animals were considered to be potential demonic familiars). It is believed that the recipe for this outbreak - and many similar ones in other European convents - were exceedingly strict Christian religious orders at the time, coupled with a popular belief in witches and demons.

practical steps for law enforcement and other emergency service personnel. Their advice includes calm, firm and confident leadership, not telling patients that it is “all in their heads” as the symptoms that they are experiencing are real, separating the patients from non-patients and avoid prompting patients as to what their symptoms should be but rather let the patients disclose their symptoms without guiding them. “Preventing future episodes is problematic as outbreaks are always morphing to take new forms,” Bartholomew” stated. “Only the form changes to reflect social and cultural conventions. In the past, episodes were driven by the fear of witches and demons; today it is toxic odours and terrorists.” Clearly mass psychogenic illness remains a fascinating interaction between our brain and body. Where the placebo effect in medicine has shown us the power of belief to make us better, MPI is one of the ways a belief can make us sick.

1999 (Belgium): 33 pupils at a secondary school experienced nausea, stomach pain, breathing difficulty, dizziness and light headedness shortly after drinking containers of Coca-Cola. In hospital no abnormalities were found but the incident made headlines across Europe. The following day 75 schoolchildren at four other schools claimed similar ill effects and the Belgian Poison Control Centre received almost a thousand phone calls concerning symptomatic subjects. This led to a nine-day country-wide ban on Coca-Cola products but no credible contamination of the cans was ever found. The episode coincided with the “dioxin crisis”, a major Belgian food scare leading to a massive recall of chicken, eggs, dairy and meat products. 2001 (Maryland, USA): After the September 11 terrorist attacks of 2001, a man sprayed a mysterious substance into a subway station, resulting in 35 persons being treated for nausea, headache and sore throats. The fluid was later identified as a common, harmless window cleaner.

BY MARC SMEEHUIJZEN 17


IT STARTED WITH A FACEBOOK POLL, ASKING YOU FOR YOUR HELP TO DETE

THE TEN VIDEOGAMES THAT

AND BOY, DID YOU ANSWER. HERE’S THE LIST YO

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ERMINE :

CHANGED THE WORLD

OU CAME UP WITH.

1: SUPER MARIO BROS Is it the moustache? The overalls? We have no idea. What we do know is that Super Mario Bros was by far the most voted upon in our game competition. Not a surprise, considering that this videogame sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. The game’s objective is to race through the Mushroom Kingdom, beat the main antagonist Bowser and save Princess Toadstool. If you happen to be two player mode, Mario’s brother Luigi is also available for this mission. This month, Super Mario’s creator Shigeru Miyamoto announced in an interview with Wired.com that he was planning on slowing down a bit. “I’m not saying that I’m going to retire from game development altogether,” he stated, “What I mean by retiring is, retiring from my current position.” 2: PACMAN “A yellow, pie-shaped character named Pac-Man runs along inside a maze, eating dots as it avoids four ghosts.” Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Immensely popular from its original release to the present day, the name Pac-Man is synonymous with video games, as well as being an icon of 1980s. A perfect Pac-Man game occurs when the player achieves the maximum possible score on the first 255 levels (by eating every possible dot, power pellet, fruit, and enemy) without losing a single life, and then scoring as many points as possible in the last level. Although Pacman was designed to have no ending, is it virtually impossible to continue after level 255, because the 256th ‘Split-Screen Level’ shows only shows half of the maze due to a bug in the system. Although some people claim to have beat this ‘Kill Screen’, as it is dubbed, this was never proven or documented. 19


3: THE LEGEND OF ZELDA Third in line: The Legend of Zelda. It’s basic objective is not that different from Super Mario’s mission; Zelda centers on Link, the playable main character, who is often given the task of rescuing Princess Zelda from Ganon—also known as Ganondorf. Destroying bosses, exploring dungeons, and solving puzzles are all crucial elements of the Zelda series, but finding new items might be the most exciting of them all. Whether it’s The Bunny Hood, The Empty Bottle or The Blast Mask, collecting stuff proves very rewarding. Although Zelda has been around since the eighties, the series is still very popular. For die hard fans there is Zeldapedia - yes, The Legend of Zelda has outgrown its normal Wikipedia pagewith polls (‘Who is your favorite Potion maker in the Legend of Zelda series?’), daily ‘Zelda News’ and ‘Quotes of the Moment’.

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4: DUCK HUNT Nintendo’s Duck Hunt is the kind of game you can really look forward to playing (if you haven’t done it in years), but is actually quite repetitive and boring. By using the special plastic gun sensor, your goal is to shoot as many ducks as possible while avoiding the hungry dog. Sounds simple, but how does it work exactly? Here’s what happens. You shoot at a duck, which appears on an ordinary TV screen. The gun is connected to the game console; pressing the trigger blackens the screen, then causes a duck-shaped white target to appear momentarily. If your aim is true, a photo sensor in the gun detects the shift from dark to light, and bingo--dead duck. For technical details, see this website. Fun fact: the dog has become an universal symbol of annoyance. Game website ING for example included him in their ‘Annoying Character Hall of Fame’, calling him the “most annoying pooch they couldn’t kill.” 21


5: TETRIS The first non-Japanese videogame in our list: Tetris was made in the Soviet-Union in 1984 by Alexey Pajitnov. Although Tetris was first available for the PC, Nintendo’s Game Boy version became the most well-known, selling over 33 million copies. Computer Gaming World called the game “deceptively simple and insidiously addictive,” which is definitely true. Tetris is all about spatial awareness – to move different shaped blocks into position so they form a straight line and then disappear from the screen. The higher the level, the faster the objects come down on the screen. Besides being fun, playing Tetris is mentally stimulating as well: in 2009, neurologists found that regular turns on Tetris caused the grey matter in the brain to thicken.

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6: DOOM Doom was created in 1993 and is widely recognized for having popularized the first person shooting genre. Playing Doom means wandering the halls of a “military base in space,� while shooting demons from hell. Doom was somewhat controversial from the start due to its graphic and interactive violence and Satanic imagery, but became notorious after the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. Because the two boys who committed the shootings were avid players of the game, many people assumed there was some connection. However, a recent study featured by the Greater Good Science Center shows that killing sprees and first person shooter games are not closely related; out of 37 incidents of school violence, only eight of the shooters showed any special interest in violent video games. Check this out. 23


7: LEISURE SUIT LARRY “The Amorous Escapades that Shocked America,” is the ominous tagline on this game’s cover. Leisure Suit Larry is ‘point-and-click adventure game’ that focuses on the quest of balding doofus Larry Laffer. A common link between the series of games are Larry’s explorations of luxurious and cosmopolitan hotels, ships, beaches, resorts and casinos. The game is not designed for the little ones: the basic objective is to get Larry laid. Unfortunately, Larry is looking for love in all the wrong places. So in order to help him, you must gain money and specific items through gambling and completing different tasks, which might get him into someone’s pants. One of Larry’s trademarks is his Bond-like manner of introducing himself: “Hi, my name is Larry; Larry Laffer.” 24


8: MONKEY ISLAND If you thought the Pirates of the Carribean movie series to be the first successful rip-off from the Disney ride; think again. First, there was the point-and-click adventure game The Secret of Monkey Island, developed in 1990. The plot focuses on the somewhat childish pirate Guybrush Threepwood as he struggles to defeat undead antagonist LeChuck. Oh, and yes, there is also a girl that needs saving. In 2009, creator LucasArts launched a remake of the game. What’s especially fun about this edition is that it includes the option to switch back and forth from the old and new design. So one moment three-dimensional Guybrush, who’s able to talk, is entering the screen, and the next he’s mute and 8-bit again. This of course makes it very easy to compare the characters and locations, which boosts the game’s nostalgia factor.

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9: WOLFENSTEIN 3D Wolfenstein 3D has been termed the “grandfather of 3D first person shooters”, because it was the first properly created game of its kind – paving the way for other shooters such as Doom and Quake. During the game, you are William ‘B.J.’ Blazkowicz, a chisel-jawed,leather jacket wearing Polish-American soldier who also happens to be an Allied spy. Blazkowicz is fighting Nazis of all ranks – varying from prison guard Hans Grosse to the Führer himself. Integrating a nonlinear approach, Wolfenstein allows gamers to choose the order of their quests, while wandering the different and sometimes hidden chambers of the Castle. Due to its use of swastikas and the Nazi Party’s anthem, Wolfenstein was banned in Germany and the American SNES version was heavily edited as well. All Nazi references – including Hitler’s moustache- were removed and blood was replaced with sweat to make the game seem less violent. 26


10: GRAND THEFT AUTO Probably the most controversial videogame that we included in our Top Ten. Since the original Grand Theft Auto was released in 1997, game developer Rockstar Games has met all sorts of criticism. There are those who say GTA encourages gratuitous violence as players immerse themselves in an underground world of LA gangs and gun-ridden ghettos. Others point out that the game is filled with sexual content – The Lost and Damned shows full frontal male nudity, which was not appreciated by parents group Common Sense Media- and racist remarks - as the game includes lines such as “kill the Haitian dickheads.” Surely, Rockstar is no stranger to pushing the envelope in terms of game content. But that same controversy has also led to enormous success with each new game in the GTA franchise.

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FROM OUR BLOG

RR

REMA RK A B LERE S E A R C H

M O S T CON TR OVERS I AL

GROUP SEX IS THE LATEST DISTURBING TEEN TREND. ONE IN 13 TEENAGE GIRLS, AGED 14 TO 20, REPORTED HAVING A GROUP-SEX EXPERIENCE AND WERE OFTEN COERCED INTO DOING IT, ACCORDING TO A NEW STUDY OF THE BOSTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH (BUSPH).

Group sex is the latest disturbing teen trend One in 13 teenage girls, aged 14 to 20, reported having a group-sex experience and were often coerced into doing it, according to a new study of the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH). 28

Emily Rothman, associate professor of community health sciences, and colleagues surveyed 328 females, who went to a Boston-area health clinic, to see whether they ever had sex with multiple partners. The authors call this sexual experience “multi-person sex,” or MPS, which refers to any group sex experience varying from gang rape to sex parties. Among the 7.3 percent that had group sex, only 55 percent of participants reported that condoms were used consistently during their most recent group sex experience. “The majority of MPSexperienced girls in this sample reported being pressured, threatened, coerced, or forced to participate in MPS at least once”, Rothman and colleagues said. One third of the girls said they’d used alcohol or drugs during their last group sex experience, and half of those girls said they were forced to use the substances by their partner. Though some of the participants were actually adults, the average age of their first group-sex experience was 15.6 years old, and 54% of those studied had multiperson sex for the first time when they were younger than 16. In addition, the girls with MPS experience were also more likely to smoke, have sexually transmitted diseases, and be subjected to dating violence and child abuse.


M O S T POPU L AR MARIJUANA MAKES TRAFFIC SAFER . LEGALIZING MARIJUANA HAS A POSITIVE CONTRIBUTION ON ROAD SAFETY AND INFLUENCES BEER CONSUMPTION IN A NEGATIVE WAY. THAT IS THE CONCLUSION OF A STUDY BY SCIENTISTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO. THE U.S. RESEARCHERS FOUND THAT LEGALIZING MARIJUANA LED TO A DECREASE OF ALMOST 9 PERCENT IN THE NUMBER OF FATAL ACCIDENTS AND A DECREASE OF 5 PERCENT IN BEER SALES. IT IS NOTED THAT MARIJUANA USE DECREASES ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE, WHICH HAS A POSITIVE EFFECT ON ROAD SAFETY.

Legalizing marijuana has a positive contribution on road safety and influences beer consumption in a negative way. That is the conclusion of a study by scientists at the University of Colorado. The U.S. researchers found that legalizing marijuana led to a decrease of almost 9 percent in the number of fatal accidents and a decrease of 5 percent in beer sales. It is noted that marijuana use decreases alcohol consumption among young people, which has a positive effect on road safety. “It’s amazing how little is known about the effects of legalizing marijuana,” says Daniel Rees, Professor of Economics at the University of Colorado. The researchers point out that traffic related accidents are the main cause of death among thirty- and forty something Americans. In thirteen U.S. states the use of medical marijuana is allowed. The researchers found that alcohol consumption in those states amongst twenty year olds in the last twenty years has declined, resulting in fewer traffic deaths. “Car drivers under the influence of alcohol, take more risks,” explains Rees. “These drivers underestimate the impact of alcohol on their driving ability, making them go faster and taking more risks. Car drivers under the influence of marijuana on the other hand tend to take fewer risks.” In the study however it also noted that marijuana is mostly used in private circles, while alcohol consumption often takes place in bars and restaurants. 29


M O S T RE MARK ABLE GEOLOGISTS LOCATE SOURCE OF STONEHENGE ROCK. LEGEND AND UNCERTAINTY HAVE SURROUNDED THE STONEHENGE MONUMENT, INCLUDING THE ORIGIN OF THE ROCKS USED FOR ITS CONSTRUCTION. NOW TWO GEOLOGISTS, ROBERT IXER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER AND RICHARD BEVINS OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WALES, HAVE FOR THE FIRST TIME GATHERED EVIDENCE THAT SOME OF THE STONES COME FROM THE AREA OF PONT SEASON IN NORTH PEMBROKESHIRE, CONCRETELY FROM A LONG ROCK NAMED CRAIG RHOS-Y-FELIN.

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The scientists compared some of the rocks of Stonehenge’s first circle, which is believed to have been built 5,000 years ago, with stones in south-west Wales, until they found the precise outcrop. The discovery fuels the debate on whether the smaller stones of the monument were transported from Pembrokeshire by prehistoric humans or carried by glaciers hundreds of thousands of years earlier. Further investigations will probably clarify the matter, though the indications point out to a quarrying activity. If this is the case, new research will be carried out in order to understand why the first builders chose these rocks, as they needed to import them more than 160 miles (around 257 km.). A significant discovery has been made, but it appears that there are many mysteries still to be resolved.


CALL FOR ARTICLES BIOGRAPHIES & BOOK REVIEWS January 2012: ‘Integration, Assimilation and Cooperation’

UAJSS is a refereed online journal which publishes new research by postgraduate and post-doctoral academics. Deadline: 5th of January 2012 See our journal for submission guidelines Email: elke.weesjes@ unitedacademics.org

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BOOK & REVIEW The Science Book

National Geographic ’The Science Book: Everything You Need to Know About the World and How It Works’ might sound like a children’s book, but it is much more. Although the child of the house might enjoy the stories it contains, the adult of the house will be the one who is most interested. “The Science Book” contains six general sections written by specialists on topics such as the universe, earth, biology, chemistry, physics,technology, and mathematics. Each section is replete with visually appealing diagrams and photographs that take up just as much space as the text. A nice bonus: the book begins with an interesting foreword titled “Science: The Essence of Cool” by Marshall Brain (yes, this is his actual name), founder of HowStuffWorks.com. In addition to that, the book does not shy away from the hard stuff: it explains everything ranging from String Theory to The Google Algorithm in an understandable fashion.

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Steve Jobs

Walter Issacson

piece.

The authorized biography ‘Steve Jobs’ was based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, competitors, and colleagues. Jobs gave author Walter Isaacson complete freedom to write the book. The result, fortunately, is that ‘Steve Jobs’ does not read like a full-length PR

The book gets into how Jobs could be a very difficult man to work and live with; someone who felt ‘normal’ rules did not apply to him. Jobs parked his Mercedes in lots for disabled drivers, called his underlings “fucking dickless assholes” and told Google that he intended “to go to thermonuclear war”. Difficult or not, he did change technology. “His legacy, as he said in his “Think Different” ad, was reminding us that the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do,” Isaacson says.

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The Psychopath Test

Annoying

Jon Ronson

Joe Palca “What I write are funny stories about unfunny things,” writer Jon Ronson concludes when analyzing his own work in an interview with Amazon. His latest work, ‘The Psychopath Test,’ seems to fit the profile. For this book Ronson investigated psychopaths and the industry of doctors, scientists, and other academics who study them.

Crying babies. Public telephone conversations. Hairs clogging the shower drain. We all know certain things get under our skin. In ‘Annoying’, authors Palca and Lichtman use psychology, evolutionary biology and anthropology to explain why some things bug us.

He does so by using an actual test for psychopathy: 20 questions, described by psychologist Robert Hare, that will decide if you’re insane or not. Armed with his new psychopath-recognizing skills, Ronson goes hunting for some madmen. His conversations with notorious psychopaths, such as infamous CEO Al Dunlap, accounts for the book’s best moments. Like documentary maker Louis Theroux, Ronson comes across as pliable and eager to agree with whomever he’s talking to, which seems to be why the criminally insane feel comfortable being candid with him.

Take other people’s phone conversations, for example. Neurologists say the sound itself isn’t the problem there ; it’s the fact that we don’t hear what’s being said on the other end. Our brains can tune out a whole conversation but are programmed to pay attention to half. Sometimes sound is meant by nature to annoy, like a baby’s wail. Women, in particular, are wired to be sensitive to it, so they can always tell if there’s something wrong with their offspring. What can put us out of our misery? -Basically, nothing. ‘Annoying’ ties everything together in the end with an argument that because annoyances transcend reason, any strategy to overcome them is doomed to fail. ers an intimate portrait of a majestic monarch.

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United Academics Magazine January 2012  

United Academics Magazine January 2012- Theme: Space Invaders

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