a word, phrase, or number that can be read the same way in either direction

sometimes even the solar system wakes up on the wrong side of the bed September 7, 2010

Filed under: Misc. — mkwast @ 8:55 pm

I love Jimmy Dean Commercials. For some reason, these commercials always make me laugh…. So this blog is dedicated to Sun, and the rest of his weather and planet friends.

Here’s the most recent one that most of you have probably seen…


it’s all in your head… May 19, 2010

Filed under: Misc. — mkwast @ 4:00 am

I was looking around on the internet today and I found an article that a guy had written about the ‘Ten Psychology Studies from 2009 Worth Knowing About’, which most likely was based on his opinion (the 10 he chose), but I found them rather interesting. I decided to share them with you. Also, it helped me realize things I do that maybe I don’t even realize I’m doing. The link to the actual page is below.

1. If you have to choose between buying something or spending the money on a memorable experience, go with the experience. According to a study conducted at San Francisco State University, the things you own can’t make you as happy as the things you do.  One reason is adaptation: we adapt to all things material in our lives in a matter of weeks, no matter how infatuated we were with the coveted possession the day we got it.  Another reason is that experience, unlike possession, generally involves other people, and fosters or strengthens relationships that are more edifying over time than owning something.

2. First impressions are all about in the journal Nature Neuroscience identified two areas of the brain that show significant activity during the coding of impression-relevant information: the amygdala, which previous research has linked to emotional learning about inanimate objects and social evaluations of trust; and the posterior cingulate cortex, which has been linked to economic decision-making and valuation of rewards.  The implication is that we’re all hardcore value processors even before “Hello” comes out of our mouths. The subjective evaluation we make when meeting someone new includes–to put it bluntly–what’s in it for us.

3. The “money illusion”—the tendency to allow the nominal value of money (amount of currency) to interfere with the real value (value of goods the money can buy)—is all in your head. No, really, it’s in your head—in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex to be exact.  Here’s how it works: you get a 2% pay raise at the same time that the rate of inflation jumps to 4%. Nominally, you earn 2% more money, but really you’re 2% in the hole. An fMRI study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences identified reward circuitry in the brain that corresponds to the money illusion. You can’t change the wiring, but you can remember to check your willingness to accept nominal value. Think about what you can buy with your bucks, not just how many you have in your wallet.

4. Playing video games could be an unlikely cure for psychological trauma. Researchers at Oxford University hypothesized that playing Tetris after witnessing violence would sap some of the cognitive resources the brain would normally rely on to form memories.  A well-structured study in the journal PLoS One confirmed the finding–Tetris acted like a ‘cognitive vaccine’ against traumatic memory. Memory research suggests that there’s about a 6-hour window immediately after witnessing trauma during which memory formation can be disrupted.  The results of this study indicate that if you happen to have Tetris or a game like it handy during those six hours, it’s the cure for what ails you.

5. All of us spend time riding the moral self-regulation see saw. If you ever find yourself walking through the lighting section at a Home Depot and suddenly feel compelled to buy energy efficient light bulbs, stop and ask yourself if you’re compensating for something. For example, do you recycle? If not, maybe you’re buying those bulbs to offset a perceived moral deficit from throwing plastic water bottles in the trash can.  A study published in the journalPsychological Science found that feelings of negative self-worth can predispose us to acting morally in an effort to fill up the self-worth bank account.  If the account is already full, we might be predisposed to choosing not to act morally, or just not act at all.

6. If you’re preparing for a specific challenge, make sure you prep for that challenge and not just ones like published in the journal Cognitive Science found that chess players who practice specific moves in preparation for a match—as opposed to practicing general chess skills—not only performed better in the match, but actually performed better than they were expected to given their general skill level.  In other words, specialization trumped general problem solving and made the players better than anyone thought they were.

7. If someone is trying to sell you something, be extra careful to keep your psychological in the journal Psychological Science tested the hypothesis that emotional mimicry—the tendency to mirror the emotions of someone we’re interacting with—makes it difficult to identify liars.  Nonmimickers were significantly better at identifying liars than mimickers, and thus were harder to fool with the old flim flam sales routine.  The reason is that mimicry reduces psychological distance and lowers defenses. Even if someone probably isn’t lying to you, it’s best to keep the cushion in place just in case.

8. Turns out, saying you’re sorry really is important—and not just to discussed at the Child Psychology Research Blog found that receiving an apology makes the recipient feel better by affecting his or her perception of the wrongdoer’s emotions. In other words, people who received an apology felt better afterward because the apology indicated that the other person felt bad about what he or she did.  Sounds simple enough, but the researchers think it goes a bit deeper: knowing that the other person agrees that what he/she did was the wrong thing to do reaffirms our view of the world as just and predictable, since the other’s sadness tells us that people in general don’t do things like this. Whether that explanation is true or not, just suck it up and say you’re sorry.

9. We can become bored with just about anything, but there may be a way to reverse the habituation blues. Researchers reporting in theJournal of Consumer Research think the trick is overcoming “variety amnesia”—our tendency to forget that we’ve been exposed to a variety of great things, be they people, food, music, movies, home furnishings or other—and instead focus our attention on the singular thing that no longer gives us the tingles.  To shake ourselves free from this negative trap, we must “dishabituate” by forcing ourselves to remember the variety of things we’ve experienced.  So, for example, let’s say that you’ve become bored with a particular musical group you once couldn’t listen to enough. This research suggests that what you need to do it recall the variety of other songs from other musical groups that you’ve listened to since the last time you listened to your once-favorite band, and by doing so you’ll revive appreciation for your fave.

10. If you’re a man and find yourself in an argument with your significant other, choose your words very carefully. Not only do they affect the other person, but research in the journal Health Psychology suggests that they can also significantly impact your health.  In the heat of stressful conflict, your brain is commanding the release of a stress-chemical cocktail comprised of proteins called cytokines–produced by cells in the immune system to help the body mount an immune response during infection. Abnormally high levels of these proteins are linked to cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, arthritis and some cancers.  This study suggests that how rational or emotional your communication is directly corresponds with the levels of those chemicals in your body and the damage they can do.  Thing is, the same rules don’t apply to men and women—levels of cytokines in men show an increase over time, but in women they don’t.  Why? Women may just be better at communication, or just luckier in this particular biological lottery.


kaleidoscope May 18, 2010

Filed under: Fun things for boredom,Misc. — mkwast @ 3:51 am

My friend showed me this website one day when i was bored, and after that i spent a good hour drawing to make a kaleidoscope, i still do it occasionally when facebook has gotten old, so if you’re bored, give it a try! it’s neat!


baby, you can drive my car… May 10, 2010

Filed under: Misc. — mkwast @ 11:13 pm


This is the map of our 2 month travels this summer. All in all, equals exactly 2 days of driving. I’m excited!


advice. May 9, 2010

Filed under: Misc. — mkwast @ 12:06 am

So I’m officially 22 and I graduated from college yesterday. At this somewhat strange turning point in my life, I sat thinking about some lessons I’ve learned in my college career… and I was trying to think of the way to say it best, when I remembered a song, more like a speech, that I think sums it all up. I listened to this with one of my best friends a couple weeks before we graduated and we both ended up in tears.

Here are the lyrics:

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be
it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by
scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable
than my own meandering
experience…I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not

understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded.

But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and

recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before

you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you

imagine. Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as

effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing

bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that

never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4 pm

on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing everyday that scares you. Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with

people who are reckless with yours. Floss Don’t waste your time on jealousy;

sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes

you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with

yourself. Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you

succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your

life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they

wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year

olds I know still don’t. Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe

you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky

chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t

congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your

choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s. Enjoy your body,

use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people

think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever

own.. Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. Do NOT read beauty magazines,

they will only make you feel ugly. Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for

good. Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the

people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go,

but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and

lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you

knew when you were young. Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard;

live  in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander,

you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize  that when you were young prices were reasonable,

politicians were  noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders. Don’t expect anyone else to support you.

Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one

might run out. Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you’re 40, it will

look 85. Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who

supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of

fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the

ugly parts and recycling it for more than

it’s worth. But trust me on the sunscreen…


grown ups have blogs. April 28, 2010

Filed under: Misc. — mkwast @ 8:29 pm

I’m about to turn 22, and i’m about to graduate college and I was thinking the other day, i am officially become a grown up. And what do grown ups do? They blog. So I’m blogging. This is my first step. I know it sounds like a weird place to start growing up, but it’s not as terrifying as the other things i will have to do. Soon I will need to find a big girl job, so I can pay my own bills, find a place to live, and have a Weinheimer named Wetzel.  My blog will be my journey of growing up and actually becoming a grown up. Also, I will probably share with you my new, grown up opinions on love, life, and the pursuit of happiness and also new things that I like and find funny.

Just wanted to say hello and explain why i’m writing this blog. enjoy.

i’ll be back soon.