Page 4 - Interesting Facts

The "cocktail party effect" is the human body trick that allows us to tune in one one sound when we are surrounded by many., much like at a cocktail party

Humans are the result of millions of years of nature's engineering, so it's not surprise that our bodies can do some pretty amazing things. One of these things it what psychologists call the "cocktail party effect." This is the ability to distinguish and pay attention to one particular voice out of a multitude of sounds.

Our ears take in a huge number of different sounds, often at the same time. Sometimes it's overwhelming, but if you close your eyes and focus, you can almost always pick up on and follow one particular sound. It's a feat of nature that let's us make sense of the world by creating order from chaos.

When concentrating on one sound, our minds are essentially declining to process the other sounds. If you're at a cocktail party, for example, and tune out of your conversation to listen to the conversation next to you, you're going to miss what your group is saying. In this way, the ability to pick up on one particular voice and the ability to tune things out are very closely related.


Why can't you sell your Superman fan fiction? Bill Clinton!

Since the dawn of creativity, people tried to find a way to protect what was rightfully their work and ideas.

Copyright provided the perfect solution of allowing a creator to obtain some revenue for their work while allowing it to enter the public domain after some years.

However, over the last century that journey to the public domain has gotten longer and longer—and that's why you can't sell your Superman fan fiction!

Bill Clinton signed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act in 1998 to extend the life of copyrighted material an extra 20 years, an additional fifth of a century! People looking forward to reinventing, reissuing and revive some of the most iconic works of the 20th century would have to sit on it for another significant patch of time. Maybe they can pass the idea down to their children!

If it weren't for the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, Superman would have entered the public domain on January 1, 2014. That would have been really bizarre, especially since the Man of Steel continues to be in contemporary pop culture and big blockbuster movies!


An airport in Amsterdam has an image of a fly in each of their men's room urinals because it is the "sweet spot" for less splashing, and men instinctively aim for the fly.

The Schiphol airport in Germany is doing something interesting when it comes to their urinals: putting flies in them. Not real flies, but the image of one.

The idea is that there's a "sweet spot" which reduces splash as much as possible when peeing in a urinal. The airport decided that a good way to help keep their bathrooms clean was to reduce splash as much as possible, so they wanted people hitting this sweet spot as much as possible.

How do you get someone to pee in a certain spot? Maybe there are a lot of answers to that question, but this German airport decided to go with fake flies to drive user behavior.

Men instinctively aim for the flies. It's not clear why, but it seems to work and keeps the bathroom that much cleaner.


Some awesome lists!

Becoming an Irish citizen may be easier than you thought! Do you qualify?

Those dreaming of becoming a member of the emerald isles may be in luck, turns out becoming an Irish citizen is incredibly easy—if you can show your family tree.

Gain Irish citizenship by proving one of your grandparents was an Irish citizen and pay a simple fee. It's that easy to go right back where your family left just a couple generations ago!

Of course, it's a lot easier if your parents were Irish citizens and you were born there, because then you're instantly a citizen, obviously.

Unfortunately, infants don't get a say in where they're born, nor would they have an educated opinion on the matter.

Children born in Ireland but have foreign national parents is entitled to Irish citizenship if they have a British parent or parent entitled to live in Northern Ireland or the Irish State without restriction on their residency. It's all very complicated.

For comparison, though, becoming an American citizen without being born here or having a parent who is a citizen requires plenty of paperwork and tests, including knowing stuff most Americans with plenty of history courses would never know. That's commitment!


Activia was sued by the FDA for falsely claiming to be a health food

Health foods claim all kinds of things, and people are starting to question just how valid these claims are.

For example, in 2006, a European regulation demanded that health food companies come up with the scientific evidence to back their labeling and advertising.

Member states were asked to submit health claims from manufacturers who had to wait for the approval of the European Food Safety Authority. Most of the time, EFSA rejects companies' claims due to the lack of scientific evidence.

The yogurt Activa by Dannon has been advertised as a health food, and it's gotten blowback from that. The company withdrew its health claims about Activa in Europe after negative feedback.

In the United States, the FDA pressed charges for false advertising around 2010. In that year, the Dannon Company settled and agreed to stop advertising that Activa improves motility unless it specifies that you need to eat three servings per day. Dannon therefore removed the words "clinically" and "scientifically proven" from Activia products.



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