Recently, to keep myself occupied during this moneyless Summer, I have been making animals out of a special clay called FIMO which you bake in the oven, and it becomes hard.

I thought it may be interesting to share my creations with you. Some inspiration came from existing models I found on Google Images.

jevigar is Ömer Volkan from Turkey. Ömer specialises in animal photography, particularly the stray cats of Turkey.

His gallery can be viewed here.

From the Opinon: Letters section of New Scientist magazine.

From Nancy Blake

Helen Pitcher highlights the strength of the nocebo effect, in which negative expectations can produce harmful effects (16 May, p30). A study of the language used in the Milton model of hypnosis could help doctors who wonder how to inform patients of potential side effects without suggesting that they acquire them.

If I ask you not to think of a purple cow, you first have to visualise it, and the image then stays in your mind as you try not to think of it. If you are subsequently asked to visualise a brown cow in some detail, the image of the purple cow disappears.

Similarly, saying to a piano student, ‘This is the hard part of the piece’ will produce negative expectations, raising the student’s anxiety level. Saying instead, ‘This part isn’t easy, yet’ will cause the unconscious, which doesn’t deal well with a negative, to respond to the word ‘easy’.

These quirks of the unconscious mind can be exploited in medical treatment. When prescribing a drug, the doctor could say that in most cases, the patient can expect it to produce a particular improvement, and that they have every reason to believe the patient will respond in that way. The doctor could then go on to explain that occasionally something different might occur, but in such a case it is just a matter of discontinuing the medication and contacting the doctor so that the situation can be sorted out. The emphasis here should be on the process of ‘sorting it out’.

This sets up an expectation of specific improvements: the placebo effect. It builds in a sense of confidence, as the patient knows the doctor is aware that the situation might change and will be able to handle changes accordingly. This should minimise anxiety even if side effects occur, reassuring the patient that things still can go well.

Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, UK”

(New Scientist, 6 June 2009, p26)

In New Scientist magazine, I read this cute mini-article:

Penguins are not visible from space, but their faeces are. British Antarctic Survey scientists have used satellite images to locate the reddish-brown guano stains of emperor penguin colonies. The work will allow the team to monitor the penguins’ response to climate change”

Good old scientists! 🙂

(New Scientist, 6 June 2009, p7)

ulorinvex is Christiane from the UK, so I sort of favour her over the American models…only slightly though ;P

I love love LOVE ulorinvex, so you get lots of pictures of this beautiful Brit.

I recently discovered US-based online store, GirlProps. Apparently, you can also visit the real-life store in the USA.

Unfortunately, they only accept Visa and Mastercard in payment, and I don’t have either of those cards…

If anyone would like to buy me something, I’d be ever so pleased.

Lucite Flower Ring, $1.99

Filigree Heart Locket, $19.99

Set of 24 Pearl Studs (12 pairs), $1.99

Treble Clef Necklace, $4.99

Leaf Bracelet, $9.99

0.5″ Red Heart Studs with Rhinestones, $6.99/pair

Lamb Ring, $6.99

Watermelon Necklace, $9.99

This animation shows the science behind a curveball in baseball, and why we have trouble perceiving its direction.

I’m not too familiar with baseball, but it makes a lot of sense. It’s basically an optical illusion – check it out for yourself:

The Break of the Curveball.

(New Scientist, 6 June 2009, p7)