Monday, May 14, 2007

Yours is a Tonic, and Mine is the Internet.

Like many of my stories, this one starts with "I read a study". This one was about rats and novelty seeking behavior. They had rats in one of 3 cages. In one cage, the rats got a lever that did nothing; they poked at it a few times then stopped when it proved fruitless. In another cage, the lever always dispensed happy making drugs; the usual percentage got addicted, but the rest eventually lost interest and stopped pushing the lever. In the last cage, the lever sometimes did nothing, but sometimes dispensed the drug; the rats went back to that lever again and again and again and never really gave up on it. The conclusion is that intermittent, unpredictable reward is very pleasing to a rat brain.

Even more, such intermittent, unpredictable reward is very pleasing to a human brain. That study was looking into the brain mechanisms for why gambling is so very pleasing. I've always been freaked out about losing money so I don't gamble (except with mutual funds) and I feel good about that choice. Then I read an article today that freaked me out a little. It basically equated surfing the internet with the same novelty seeking behavior of the slot machine. Naturally, I was surfing the web when I read this and got such a thrill at finding a great nugget like this. Then after posting the rest of this blog, I went and read kvarko's blog and found this fun link which implies that a couple of weeks off line will leave you in the linguistic dust. But the article contains just the sort of wonderfulness I count on the internet to bring me, so I had to come back and paste it for sharing.


(In the best of all possible worlds, I would have pasted in 3 of these cherries and centered it but they're copyrighted (aka I couldn't figure out how to snag them and it was late) and for some reason using centering and the list functions causes all subsequent text in the post to be closely spaced and I don't know how to fix that yet.)

I imagine this need to seek novelty has some positive benefits: "who will buy my wonderful widgets today?" gets someone to work. "Do you think the flowers will be in bloom?" might get someone out of bed, as might, "maybe today I will save the world." That kind of thing. But I hate the thought of being yanked around by the part of my brain that shares features with rats without at least trying to think it over rationally so I can at least pretend to having free will. Yet I find myself pushing that internet lever again and again and again. Maybe this time I will find...

Which does make me wonder about what people hope to find in my blog. What I think? What bit of random novelty I've run across today? How my art is doing? What I'm up to? I can't think that any of those things have enough " content" (heroine content?) to make y'all come back, yet you do. (Or as the guest on the Da.ily just said, "I'm just talking bollocks to amuse you.") And I really do appreciate it. I like having a little broadcast venue that isn't disappearing into void.

The random novelty and what I think is covered for today. I need to get some pics of my dragonfly vase to post, because it really is cool, if I do say so myself. What I'm up to is that I was feeling less flabby today after my 30 4-count flutter kick session this weekend, and that was motivating. So after reading the fitness magazine from the gym for an hour and a half... I did get out and go running for half an hour. While that doesn't seem quite like the right ratio, my run segments were mostly 2 or more minutes today, with one that went a song and a half. I could feel the improvement over the struggle to go 60, maybe 90 seconds a pop. Then when I thought I was wiped out, the Fratellis' song from the iPod commercial came on and I not only had to jog more, but had to toss in some skipping. It was required. That song makes me move! Thank goodness I bought it off the internet.


Anonymous said...

Go 2 weeks without the internet.... I'll start to twitch and they'll have to lock me in a padded room :) :)

As you know since I was surfing on your computer while you were still sleeping..... I hope you haven't tucked your computer in your bedroom when I come to visit this time...twitch, twitch...twitch... :)


CrankyOtter said...

No kidding. You use my computer more than I do :)

And today I didn't (yet) get 10 friendly emails (about not much of anything) so I'm wondering if I tweaked everyone or if they're just busy with their own lives and waiting for me to write. I have to go do some test runs for the job, but it feels funny not having that comfort e-contact. Hence the early blog comment check.

Up My Mind said...

Love your sense of humor. [g] I read for that, to see what's up, and frankly, to know I'm not the only one out here! ;)


Alaskan Hellcat said...

Nat has it right. the dry sense of humor and the tell it like I am seeing it quality. THUS, the reason I am reading at 3am in the Faroe Islands because I took a nap at 4pm, even though I KNOW I shouldn't do that!

I'll send a comfort email tomorrow :)

CrankyOtter said...

I want to entertain, but without trying too hard to be funny. I'm not sure tomorrows post meets that, but it was about something that made me LOL.

AH- I hope you're getting out to see the islands! Such a cool trip! Don't beat yourself up too much for jet lag. I took some Lun.esta in Fla which helped a lot. I'll blog about my Am.bien adventure some other time. (Just noticed that I split those proper nouns into nonsense.spanish - cool.)