Best Facts of the Month - Page 6

If you are sleep deprived you can display symptoms of psychosis without even realizing it


Getting enough sleep is very important on many levels. When we are young we often ignore the importance of sleep because we feel there is just so much to do, and so little time to do it in. Yes, life is short, but without knowing it, you may be shortening it even more by depriving yourself of sleep.

Studies have revealed that sleep deprivation can be linked to increased blood pressure, increased risk of diabetes, increased risk of fibromyalgia, seizures, obesity, aching muscles and depression, to name just a few.

Depriving yourself of sleep to study for exams is probably the most counter-productive thing you can do. Among the many consequences of sleep deprivation, its effects on attention and working memory are perhaps the most important. Strangely enough, sleep deprived people have a better short-term memory than rested people, but if you are sleep deprived your brain has to work much harder to even access working memory and logical reasoning.

If you are greatly sleep deprived, your behavior can mimic that of psychosis. This is because a lack of sleep prevents you from making an appropriate evaluation of emotional events. In turn you will react to these events inappropriately. Emotional over-reacting or seeming emotional 'bluntness' are symptoms displayed by psychotic patients.

If you don't want to come across as psychotic, and you desperately want to pass your exams, it may be a better idea to not leave things to the last minute, and to get a good seven to eight hours of sleep at night.

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This amazing service dog saved his owner in so many ways


Service dogs devote their lives to helping humans, just another reason they are considered man's best friend.

Many service dogs have been known to do remarkable things, but there's one that grabbed global attention, and for good reason.

Endal was a male Labrador retriever in Britain, born in 1995. He almost never made it as a service dog because he was born with a lifelong debilitating joint condition called osteochondrosis in both of his front legs.

His intelligence and problem-solving abilities, however, more than made up for that, and he became a fully operational and accredited assistance dog despite the fact that he was only part trained.

Allen Parton, Endal's owner, suffered serious head injuries from the Gulf War, including 50% memory loss and inability to reliably make new memories for more than around 2 days, required a wheelchair to move, had speech and word difficulties, an inability to perceive invisible materials, and an inability to safely judge speed and distance of traffic.

What got media attention was Endal's rescue of Parton when the man was knocked out of his wheelchair by a passing car. Endal pulled Allen, who was unconscious, into the recovery position, retrieved his mobile phone from beneath the car, fetched a blanket and covered him, barked at nearby dwellings for assistance, and then ran to a nearby hotel to obtain help.

That's heroic, but Endal was dedicated before then, too. He was able to respond to over one hundred instructions and hundreds of hand signals. He could retrieve items from supermarket shelves, operate buttons and switches, and load and empty a washing machine. He was able to put a card into a cash machine, retrieve the card when the process was complete, and return the card to a wallet, the first dog to be able to do so.

This quote from Allen Parton gives a good account:

"When I couldn't talk, he learned sign language – if I touched my head I wanted my hat, if I touched my face it was for the razor. He learned hundreds of commands in signing. Eventually one day, in this very silent world we lived in, I grunted. That was like an electric shock going through him, he was so excited. They said I'd never speak again, but Endal just dragged the speech out of me." - Able Magazine

Parton states that Endal's ability to comprehend his wishes and needs showed when they first met, and was responsible for helping him recover from the initial deep depression and trauma caused by his disability.

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In 1954, archaeologists found a statue of the Buddha in this 8th-century Swedish viking settlement!


In 1954, archaeologists unearthed an early viking settlement on Sweden's island of Helg. In this settlement, they found a number of interesting objects. Most notable of these was a small statue of the Buddha.

Though it is possible one of the settlement's vikings was a practicing Buddhist, it is also possible that the statue was taken during a viking raid.

Buddhism is a nontheistic religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, more commonly referred to as the Buddha or "the awakened one". Alive during the birth of philosophy, the Buddha shared the spotlight with such great thinkers as Lao-Tse, Confucius, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

Buddhists believe in the Four Noble Truths, which are as follows:

1. Dukkha, that life is filled with unsatisfactoriness 2. Samudaya, that dukkha is caused by craving and ignorance 3. Nirodha, that there is a cure for dukkha 4. Magga, that the cure for dukkha is following the Noble Eightfold Path.

To follow the Noble Eightfold Path means that one has Right Understanding, Thought, Speech, Action, Livelihood, Effort, Mindfulness, and Concentration.

I wonder if those vikings' ships were fitted with a Dharma wheel...

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Some awesome lists!

Ireland is not the drunkest country in the world.


Contrary to all those "Irish jokes," that we hear so much this time of year, Ireland isn't the most wasted country in the world. Nope, Ireland actually ranks 15th for pure alcohol consumption among adults in litres per capita per year.

The United States, surprisingly, also isn't very high up on this list; it ranks at 53rd place. It doesn't even make the top 50! Come on guys, step up your game!

Meanwhile, the drunkest country in the world is little Moldova, where the average adult consumes 18.22 liters of pure alcohol each year. Then we have the Czech Republic in second place, Hungary in third place, and Russia in forth place.

It should be emphasized that the rankings are based on PURE alcohol consumption. It does not take into account individual drinks. For example, while it is at first place, Moldova consumes nearly half the amount of beer that 15th place Ireland consumes.

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Being a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd World Country depends on its Cold War orientation!


During the Cold War, countries allied with capitalist countries and NATO were known as 1st world countries. Communist countries and the Soviet Union were known as 2nd world countries. Third world countries referred to countries not allied with capitalist nations or NATO.

Third world became somewhat synonymous with underdeveloped and poor countries. It is now seen as politically incorrect to use the term “third world country.” 

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