WE ALL WANT TO BE A STAR
A pair of psychiatrists in Montreal has begun research into a new form of mental illness in which a person believes that his or her entire life is the central story of a reality TV show. The syndrome has been dubbed the "Truman Show Delusion" by doctors Joel and Ian Gold, who have personally studied five patients suffering from the delusion and have learned of six more cases since they started discussing this topic at psychiatric conferences. The Truman Show Delusion supposedly differs from more traditional mental illnesses because entire worlds are created by the person at the center of the paranoia. "I realized that I was the focus of attention by millions and millions of people," explained one of the doctors' patients. "My family and everyone I knew were and are actors in a script, a charade whose entire purpose is to make me the focus of the world's attention." (National Post)
LOUDER, FASTER, DRUNKER
If you're wondering why bars and nightclubs crank the music up way too loud, it may not be just because you're getting old. New research out of France has discovered that louder music makes people drink faster. This research follows up previous studies that found faster music also makes people drink faster, and that people drink much more in bars with music than in bars without. Unfortunately, the brilliant researchers who performed this latest experiment didn't do a very thorough job and admitted their subjects may have been drinking faster because the music was too loud and they wanted to leave. (TimesOnline.com)
ADDING INSULT TO INJURY
A British doctor who has spent four years researching the charming ways in which doctors insult their patients has compiled a list of the most popular medical acronyms worldwide. Dr. Adam Fox warns that this secret language of doctors is dying out in our politically correct times, with doctors far less likely to risk a lawsuit by thoughtlessly insulting their patients. So for the historical record, here are some of the highlights: CTD-Circling the Drain (patient expected to die soon); FLK-funny looking kid; GPO-good for parts only; UBI-Unexplained Beer Injury. Doctors also have cute phrases with which to describe patients such as "handbag positive" (a confused elderly lady lying on a hospital bed clutching her handbag) and "pumpkin positive" (a patient so dim that shining a penlight in his mouth would reveal a brain so small that his entire head would light up). Another favorite is the DBI, or Dirt Bag Index, in which doctors multiply the number of tattoos by the number of missing teeth in a patient in order to estimate the number of days it's been since he had a bath. (BBC)
PSST! MONEY IS JUST PAPER
Perhaps your new friend in Nigeria didn't come through with the $81 million he promised, but you can move on to Zimbabwe and become a trillionaire. Last week that country's central bank printed its first 100 billion Zimbabwe dollar note ($100,000,000,000), thanks to a continued hyperinflation rate of over 100,000 percent in the past year. The government has spent the last few months printing a succession of 100-million, 250-million and 500-million notes that have all become almost worthless, as the new 100 billion note will only buy about two loaves of bread. The world's largest bank note ever was a 100-trillion mark note printed by Germany in 1924. (BBC)
TERRIBLE PRISON FOOD
A convicted murderer imprisoned in Texas escaped last week after using his jail time to slim down enough to climb through the prison's air conditioning vents to freedom. The hunt is now on for the 6-foot tall, 160-pound man. "We just found out he's been slimming down a lot recently," explained the sheriff. (AP)
TWO u.s. PAStIMES: BASEBALL, WAR PROFITEERING
The New York Yankees decided to cash in on the war on terror last week by implementing a plan to ban sunscreen from its baseball stadium despite temperatures of 96 degrees Fahrenheit and a UV index of a brain-boiling nine out of 10. While security guards used the excuse of a terrorist threat to confiscate garbage bags full of the fans' sunscreen bottles, the concession stand at Yankee stadium added insult to injury by offering up one-ounce bottles of wimpy SPF 15 for $5. ( NY Post)
I-READ-IT-ON-THE-INTERNET-SO-IT-MUST-BE-TRUE FACT OF THE WEEK
People who eat popcorn at movies are three times more likely to cry during the film than non-popcorn eaters.
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