Posted at 4:21 PM on November 21, 2008
by Sanden Totten
Every week intrepid scientists chip away at the great mysteries of the universe, bringing knowledge to our species one study at a time. Here's what they've done lately.
The Secret of Unhappiness is Television. That's what a team of sociologists from the University of Maryland concluded after a 30 year study tracking behavior and mood. Unhappy people logged more hours channel surfing. Happy people were more likely to be out socializing, reading or going to church. It's worth noting that the tube-watchers reported feeling happy while the TV was on, but overall they felt worse. The clear solution here? Never stop watching TV. Problem solved?
Graffiti Brings Out The Worst in You. When there's spray paint on the walls and trash on the ground, people are more likely to litter and steal, according to researchers in the Netherlands. They set up a scene in a real city alley where there were no trash cans and an envelope of cash sticking half way out of a mail box. When the alley was pristine people were likely to ignore the money and take their garbage with them. But when the walls had graffiti, the bad behavior came out. On a related note, police arrested an infamous vandal in Nebraska this week. His trademark tag was leaving the imprint of his greasy butt on store windows. Locals named him the "butt bandit."
Improve Your Memory with Marijuana. Contrary to the premise behind every Cheech and Chong movie, scientists have discovered that pot may actually help improve your mind. The trick is to take very small doses. Rats given little hits of THC showed reduced brain inflammation (the kind associated with Alzheimer's disease) and even the growth of new cells. Large doses of THC though will still leave you wondering "Dude, where's my car?"