We forgot our foil helmets. They’ll know our secret thoughts.

You know what we haven’t done in a while? Science time. I bet Andreas is totally sad about that. I mean, listen. I have this amazing Science Fellow, and I’m totally underutilizing him. This is a bad use of the world’s best Science Fellow.

If I want to keep my Science Fellow, I need to do some science around here once and a while.


So today, I found a whole new science site. It is called Science Daily. Science DAILY! Who doesn’t like a little science daily? Not me. Not this lady. No sirree. I like there to be science daily.

And Science Daily seems to actually be a real thing and not embarrassing! Well, that’s fun. I like real sciencey things. So I found three exciting articles for you. Let’s discuss them! Probably Andreas will want to talk to us about them, too. I would like that. THEN I have a FINAL article that’s not from Science Daily but needs to be addressed because I found it kind of fascinating.

So, I let Dumbcat pick, and Dumbcat says that we have to talk about dopamine first. I asked him if that’s because he’s a dope and then he sneezed. That’s a yes in Dumbcat-ese, I think.

So, according to this article, low dopamine makes you have rage-face.

WAIT AMY! You are saying. What is dopamine?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. In simple terms, it sends signals in your brain between nerve cells. When you get a reward of any kind (food, sex, drugs, praise) your dopamine levels increase. Dopamine makes you feel gooooood. Which is why people get addicted to things. Also, extroverts are proven to have more dopamine. What about people that are bipolar in their extroversion like me? I guess I only have too much dopamine on alternate Tuesdays after Labor Day. Here’s more on dopamine, if you’re so inclined.

Dopamine is also one of the chemicals responsible for all those squishy-squishy feelings when you fall in love. So, there you go, then.

Anyway, so some scientists types were doing some dopamine experiments. Their assumption was that low levels of dopamine would lead to low aggression, while high levels would lead to high aggression. HOWEVER, as sometimes happens in science (as in life) you know what they say about assumptions. HELPER MULE OUT OF YOU AND ME. And scientists.

Do you really want to make an ass out of you and me? DO YOU? Well, this guy’s already an ass, but you know what I mean.

So the scientist types put the test subjects in a room and told them to play a video game where they would do tasks to receive “money.” They were also told that in the other room was another competitor, who could cheat and STEAL their money. The test subjects could do one of three things to combat the cheater-cheater-never-beaters: they could just keep playing and earning money to offset the losses; they could “defend” against the cheaters but, in doing so, sacrifice some of their winnings, or they could “punish” the cheater. The article doesn’t say how they could punish the cheater. I want to think with waterboarding. That seems likely.

Want to hear the secret of this test? There was no cheater. The cheater was imaginary. It was the computer program taking their money away, in order to get them upset so their dopamine levels could be tested. NEFARIOUS!

The scientists THOUGHT that people who defended or punished (was it paddling? Like with one of those paddles in a frat house? YOU CAN TELL ME, SCIENTISTS!) would have more dopamine and the ones who kept their heads down and just kept playing would have less. Nope. Other way around. The people who kept playing had more. Huh. Scientists were AMAZED! I like to think of scientists being amazed and scratching their little scientist-heads.


This article doesn’t really come up with any conclusions other than “more testing needs to be done, yo.” Huh. I think we might need more information. Perhaps on the punishments used. Was it temple torture? When I was little, my dad used to do that to me. It consisted of him standing over me and flicking my temples with his thumb and forefinger. When I asked him to stop, he’d say, “What? It’s just temple torture. YOU LOVE IT.” He still thinks that’s funny. And I’m old now.

NEXT! Dumbcat says let’s talk about the aliens in Pennsylvania because he’s worried about Jim.

This article says space rocks were found in Pennsylvania which you know means aliens are there because how else would space rocks get to Pennsylvania if not from aliens? So I’m pretty sure even though Jim’s been concentrating his energy on the zombie apocalypse, instead he should concentrate on aliens. OH SHIT. I just realized that Signs was set in Pennsylvania. JIM! THERE ARE ALL THE ALIENS IN YOUR STATE, YO!

Pretend Mel “Sugartits” Gibson isn’t in this photo, it’ll be better.

Oh, wait, I actually read the article instead of skimming and there weren’t any alien rocks at all. Just REGULAR rocks. That showed proof that a meteorite or a comet or something touched down almost 13,000 years ago. Well, THAT’S disappointing. I was  hoping for aliens. I know YOU were all hoping for aliens. That movie Signs PROMISED THERE WOULD BE ALIENS. What is going ON. People don’t follow through on their promises, it’s totally disheartening.

Well, Jim, I guess you can go back to planning for the zombies now. That must be a load off. You had a whole plan and everything. I don’t know how good you’d be at changing plans mid-stream, like a little lost salmon.

The one on the far right is Jim. How do I know? I JUST DO STOP BEING NOSY.

Now let’s talk about a study that LIES. Dumbcat hates lies, especially about cat treats. He needs them at 8pm every night or HE IS SO SAD.

This study is full of lies, because it says that if you’re neurotic (I am, duh), getting more money would not make you happier.


It says that neurotics view pay raises as a failure because they think that any pay raise is not as much as they deserve.

Well, listen. I’ve worked at my current job for 6 and a half years. My average annual pay raise has been from 5 to 10 cents an hour a year. FIVE to TEN CENTS. Think about that. Five to ten cents an hour. For a year of successful work. Would that make YOU neurotic? Yep. If you had half a brain in your head, it would.

I like to save these up and buy myself a nice ice cream cone, after a few months.

Alternately: my part-time job, where I work once a week for eight hours, gives me, on average, 25 to 50 cents in raises a year. And has for the past 7 years I’ve worked there.

If it makes me NEUROTIC because I think I deserve more than a NICKEL or a DIME then, yes, sure. But mostly, do you know what a regular pay raise would make me feel?

Grateful. Because then I could quit my part-time job; I wouldn’t have to watch my money as closely; I could maybe buy things I need and not put that off week after week after week.

Not neurotic, SCIENTISTS. Grateful. Not neurotic. If you’re getting a teeny pay raise, then OBVIOUSLY it’s not what you deserve. No one deserves a nickel. NO ONE.

I’m a neurotic and I don’t approve of this message.

Now, the article I read the other day that I thought was super-interesting. Dumbcat says we might as well talk about this now since it’s all that’s left. I was writing something, and researching the way the heart works, and the way the brain works, and how the brain processes emotions related to falling in love with someone. (Not something for here, something else. Something non-bloggy.) I came across this in my research.

Apparently, this scientist in New York did a study about what makes people fall in love. Check this out:

New York psychologist, Professor Arthur Arun, has been studying the dynamics of what happens when people fall in love. He has shown that the simple act of staring into each other’s eyes has a powerful impact.

He asked two complete strangers to reveal to each other intimate details about their lives. This carried on for an hour and a half. The two strangers were then made to stare into each others eyes without talking for four minutes. Afterwards many of his couples confessed to feeling deeply attracted to their opposite number and two of his subjects even married afterwards.

OK. Two complete strangers were forced to SIT CLOSE TOGETHER and TELL EACH OTHER SECRETS and then HAVE A STARING CONTEST FOR FOUR MINUTES. And instead of running from the room screaming, they fell in love?


(I’d like the statistic of how many of them were psycho-murdered by the other person, because they told them TOO MUCH PERSONAL INFORMATION. Dad’ll tell you. You DO NOT tell STRANGERS your PERSONAL INFORMATION. Even if a scientist tells you that’s the experiment. Dad wouldn’t trust the scientists, by the way. He’d say they were working for the government. He already thinks Andreas is a spy, I mean, come on.)

No, in all seriousness, this is interesting, right? Two of his people got MARRIED. Because of SCIENCE. I want to marry someone because of science.

OK, Andreas! Here you go! All the science for you! Aliens, dopamine, sexy staring contests and lying scientists. EXCITING! All for YOU, Andreas! Please stay my science fellow forever!

Happy Wednesday! If anyone tells me it’s Hump Day today I’m going to hump them right in the face with a box of copier paper.

About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

47 responses to “We forgot our foil helmets. They’ll know our secret thoughts.

  • blogginglily

    I hate hump day with the ferocity of a thousand suns. Oh. . . but moreso I hate, “workin’ hard or hardly workin?”

    I do NOT change plans well. I like having things “just so”. When plans change I am a sad panda. I sulk. I get moody and grumpy. no dopamine there.

    water. . . water killed the aliens in Pennsylvania. You saw that dumbass movie, right? He’re the premise: Aliens who die on contact with water elect to takeover a planet 2/3 covered in water and specifically land in a region that gets 46″ of rain per year. They are overthrown when people realize their kids fucking squirt gun can kill the aliens. WELL DONE M. KNIGHT! *slow clap*

    Then End.

    Ps. Thanks for the linkback.


    • lucysfootball

      Or weather talk. Inane weather talk. “Hot enough for ya?” “Still rainin’ out there?” when you come in all wet. YES SHUT UP NOW THANKS.

      Hey, I’m the same way. I like my plans to be planny. And go according to – well, plan, I guess.

      Man, you all are too sciency for “Signs.” I LOVE IT YOU GUYS.

      You’re welcome. I love your gig at Sprocket. You’re killing it over there, you know.


      • blogginglily

        awww, thanks, Ame. Honest to god almost daily I think how much better you’d be at Sprocket than I am. You’re already doing it in overdrive. Do you have any idea how many posts ONE of your posts covers? Sometimes you’ll blog and then two days later one of the sprocket authors will cover one of the five topics you posted about, then the next day a different author will cover one of the OTHER topics. It’s like you’re your own one-“man” sprocket crew.

        You should write there.


        • lucysfootball

          I have so many things going on that I don’t even have time for them, let alone a new one. But AW, JIM! You’re so nice. Thank you. (Sprocket totally always beats me to the punch. They have the scoop over there. Mostly because I’m always a day late and a dollar short on my news-reading.)

          I’ll just cheer you on from the sidelines. I like to be cheery as long as I don’t have to wear those ridiculous skirts.


  • Heather

    I think calling those rocks in PA “regular rocks” was a cover-up. I’m quite sure PA is full of aliens who are doing their best to assimilate, but I see right through their disguises. Seriously… there are some straaaange people here.


  • Andreas Heinakroon

    “More testing needs to be done” is scientist-speak for “We haven’t got the foggiest – feel free to suggest something. Anything at all would do. Please?”


  • Andreas Heinakroon

    Don’t get me started on the whole Signs-thing! I mean, come on! Why would the aliens look like humans in a frogsuit? And how could they be sensitive to water? They breathed air, didn’t they? Air contains water. They should really have had to wear space-suits or something. And. AND! If they were sensitive to water, why on Earth (no pun intended) did they choose to come here? With over 70% of the surface covered with the stuff? Eh? EH?!

    *slowly calming down, sipping cappuccino with shaky hands*

    Although, the language was pretty cool. With the clicking and scratching sounds. I learned to mimic it good enough to freak people out when they’re watching the film with me. Always something, I guess..


    • lucysfootball

      I know, I know. But I love “Signs.” I love it so much. I love how it all tied together (even if the water thing didn’t make logical sense.) I loved the religious aspect (I may not be religious, but I love when it’s done well in a movie.) I love Joaquin Phoenix before he went crazy. I love both of the kids. I loved the cinematography. I love the writing and the starkness of it. It just really, really worked for me on a lot of levels.

      I love that you learned “Signs”-alien. Of course you did. Also, you can totally speak lemur. I heard you!


      • Andreas Heinakroon

        I do NOT speak lemur! I can barely understand lemur, let alone speak it. It’s not at all as simple as pelican, or cat.

        Plus, they make these impossible to mimic high pitched tweeting sounds like a song bird.


  • Andreas Heinakroon

    (Also, technically: any rocks coming from outer space are alien rocks. Even if they don’t talk.)


  • Andreas Heinakroon

    Re neuriticism and pay rises: I’m sorry, but you’re really just proving their point by being neurotic and disappointed in your pay rise.


  • Andreas Heinakroon

    The ‘falling in love’-thing is interesting. I believe there is something to the notion that feeling exposed and vulnerable in combination with intimacy is pretty much what falling in love consists of. Have you seen any newly-fallen-in-love couples? They have this scared excited look on their little faces, as if they’re petrified and overwhelmed at the same time.

    Obviously there’s more to it than that, but I don’t find it unreasonable to assume that constructing situations as above would trigger the same emotions as falling in love. And how would the test subjects then know those feelings from ‘real’ love? They probably wouldn’t. (Honestly, how many of us have not confused other strong – erm – ‘feelings’ for love once or twice?)


    • lucysfootball

      I feel like this is trickery and it makes me angry. What if they wake up ten years later and realize, OH CRAP WE’VE BEEN FOOLED!!!!

      Also, staring into someone’s eyes and telling them my secrets wouldn’t make me fall in love. It would make me run screaming from the room. Then again, I’m broken. And have very few secrets.


      • Andreas Heinakroon

        Erm. Ten years later they’d wake up and realise they’re not in love and get a divorce (actually, I think it’s about 7 years or a multiple of it). That seems to happen a lot. And not just to couples tricked in a lab.

        My point is, most of the time what we think we feel might not be love anyway, but more the thrill of falling in love. But if you’ve entered into a serious relationship with that person by then, you feel obliged to give it a try. Then you build a level of trust and dependency on each other, and in combination with force of habit and the added responsibility of any children, you stay together for 7, 14 or 21 years.

        (By the way, don’t let this fool you: I’m a sucker for romance really.)


        • lucysfootball

          Really? A multiple of 7 years? Huh. Interesting. I guess multiples of 7 aren’t lucky for marriages, then.

          I’m a sucker for romance, too. I’m just bitter and jaded. It’s a bad combination.


  • sj

    I hated Signs. I actually haven’t liked any of M. Whatshisface’s movies. Ugh. TWISTS WE ALL SEE COMING A MILLION MILES AWAY, THANKS GUY!

    Re: raises.

    I used to work at a place where raises were supposed to be based on both performance and tenure. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that people who had just been hired (and didn’t do anywhere near as much as I did) were making more than me. We were unionized (ugh) and the union refused to do anything to assist those of us that were having this issue. There was one meeting, and then they dropped it. Also, conveniently, those of us that filed the grievance were let go for various other trumped up reasons not long after that.



    • lucysfootball

      I liked “The Sixth Sense,” “Signs,” and that comic book one – Unbreakable, or whatever? (sort-of for that one). After that, it’s like he entered the CONE OF SHAME and everything’s been embarrassing since.

      Why does work have to suck so much? And when is someone going to start paying me just for being awesome, I ask you? I ASK YOU THAT?


  • Rich Crete

    A whole nickel an hour raise? Wait. let me do the math here. That’s like $2 a week. (before taxes, of course) I bet you were able to buy a fancier car and upgrade your apartment with all that extra scratch. We’re talking life style changes here people.
    You are a better person than I could have been. I’d have held a nickel in my fingers very tightly and held it out in front of me every single time I walked by my boss….brought it to every meeting….even taped it to my head if I needed both my hands for something, just to show everyone that it was all mine and I earned it. (shocker that I’m self employed now, eh?)


    • lucysfootball

      Yep. A WHOLE NICKEL. And when they tell me, they put on this big old fakey-fake smile and I KNOW I’m supposed to also mirror that smile like it’s Christmas morning but mostly I just sit there impassive because, listen, I’m not faking a smile for a nickel. Which probably is why they keep giving me a nickel. But I don’t even care, I can’t pretend I’m happy about a raise like that.


  • davidjfuller

    I second Andreas’s point about Signs and the aliens picking Earth. Like, wouldn’t Mars have done just fine? Not a lot of water there. But I did like The Village — and not because of the so-called “twist.” Was much better on a second viewing when you’re not waiting for the “gotcha” moment… I thought it was a great metaphor.


  • lynnettedobberpuhl

    I once became the supervisor of a very hard-working woman who had gone a long time with a lot of responsibility and very little in the way of raises (we were a non-profit.) I advocated for her and got her a significant raise. When I told her, she looked at the new rate and said, “Hmm. I don’t want to be ungrateful , but I hope this doesn’t put me in a higher tax bracket.” She didn’t like me being her supervisor very much. It was kind of mutual. She was neurotic. On the other hand in your case there is the “damning with faint praise,” effect where no raise at all would SUCK, but a nickel an hour sucks AND almost a laugh in your face. You can’t even say you didn’t get a raise. Maybe they will at least give you a good recommendation when you find a better job!


    • lucysfootball

      They would not give me a good recommendation. We don’t see eye-to-eye over there. It’s been a bad fit from the get-go, unfortunately – but it’s not a great job market, and they haven’t fired me yet, so I keep on keeping on, you know?

      I’d happily go up to a higher tax bracket. I’m in the one just above zero right now, I think.


  • Jericha Senyak (@JerichaSenyak)

    This is why I love being self-employed. Also, science! The whole thing about the eye-staring sounds pretty right on to me, but not because there’s anything especially special about eye-staring – just because we’re all SO BAD at eye contact that OF COURSE we start falling in love as soon as somebody bothers to actually bloody LOOK at us.

    However, I was totally unprepared for that photo and it was VERY TRAUMATIZING.


    • lucysfootball

      That’s a very good point. It’s probably why I’m terrible at eye contact – no one does it so it’s not natural to me.

      That photo is terrifying, isn’t it? Cover of Newsweek. Other than her utter and complete lunacy, I’m pretty sure it’s what ended the bid for the nomination for her. No one wants the president to have crazy eyes, no one.


  • ProfMomEsq

    I have a comment for this post, but it involves Photoshop. I’m still working on it, and I may have to just send it to you (or have you help me post it when it’s done). Stay tuned …


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