Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Foc.us? Foc.me!

No Forks in the Sockets
No Beans in your Ear
No Pistachio Nuts in your Nose
Don't we all need a jumpstart for our brains now and again? I do, especially when faced with a task like balancing the checkbook or finding the jack-o-lantern candleholder that I tucked away last Halloween.

But, don't we all remember our mothers telling us not to stick a fork in an electric socket?

If Ma were around today she'd be telling us not to stick electrodes into our brains.  Ma's no longer here so Trouserville will pick up the megaphone:  don't go sticking electrodes into your brains.

 In other words: no self-administered transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS).



Yes, we are living in the future where scientific information  (much of it half-baked or in this case, half-fried) is freely available to anyone with an internet connection.

There has been real research by real scientists in real universities to determine whether tDCS can help re-carve neural pathways for those with Parkinson's disease, for example. There are some indications that this may work, though some of the researchers  have fessed up to forehead burns. 

Enter the FDAWW (Future Darwin Award Winners of the World) who have taken this preliminary research and run straight to the hardware store with it. You can see them on You Tube hooking up 9-volt batteries to wires and sticking the wires into their brains.  Not as a Mr. Wizard science project they hope will get them an A, or because they are dressing up like Frankenstein for Halloween. No, they are trying to enhance their video gaming ability.  Duh! Double Duh! and a hearty WTF.

If you aren't the DIY type there's a company in the UK who will sell you a device  with the classy moniker Foc.us, for about $250.  I haven't checked it out, but it sounds like a gussied up version of the classic tin-foil head wrapper beloved of cranks everywhere. You might have to get on a waiting list, though,  since the first production run of 3,000 sold out faster than you can say scalp burns.

I guess there are a lot of people out there who listen neither to their mothers, nor to the inner voice that is shrieking "Sucker!"

If you want to read more about it check out Jump-Starter Kits for the Mind which appeared in the New York Times Science Section on October 28, 2013.  I know you have enough brain power to just click right through the advertisement that pops up first.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bad Blogger, No Doughnut

That's right.  Haven't blogged here for weeks.  Will be all tricks and no treats for me come Halloween, no doubt.

Really, nothing has annoyed me enough to blog about it.  I am pretty sure the world hasn't gotten any better, so it must be that someone is pumping laughing gas into the ventilation system over here in Trouserville.  Or blame it on the meme:

See just how easy it is to waste time on the internet:  Keep Calm and Posters

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I Used To Be A


 Rhombus, the playwrights' group I belonged to is still going strong and about to celebrate it's 10th anniversary.

There's a party, of course.  You're all invited.  Scenes written by current members and alumni  read by some of our favorite actors.  Refreshments, photo ops, laughs.

The $10 suggested donation is going to The Boston Playwrights' Theater, which has provided Rhombus with a home base, and has done an enormous amount to support Boston area playwrights.

Monday October 7, 2013    7PM  Boston Playwrights' Theater  949 Commonwealth Avenue