Monday, December 11, 2006

New Words I Learned Today

  1. Hyperopia: An excess of farsightedness. Most people aspire to be farsighted. It's good to delay pleasure now so that we can be better off in the long run. But a recently published study (read about it here) interviewed people about what they regret. In the short term, people regretted partying when they should have been working. In the long term, though, people wished they partied more.

    On the surface, this seems like evidence that I should be partying right now instead of writing FOUR damn papers by the end of the month, but that's probably not the case. The people they interviewed were probably the ones who did work hard to get to where they were. They may regret not partying now, but fail to realize they wouldn't be alive to express their regret if they spent their entire life eating finger food and drinking martinis. I doubt they'd find the same results with less successful people. The homeless drug addict on the verge of death probably wouldn't say "yeah dude, I wish I partied life would have been so much better if I had even less self control".

    Still, it illustrates that we should enjoy our lives in addition to working, or we'll hate ourselves later.

  2. Pseudocyesis: Fake pregnancy. This article tells the heartwarming story of a pregnant woman who went to see her doctor. She was quite far along, with a big belly, kicking baby, screwed up nipples, etc. The doctor, however, could not detect the baby's heart beat. After further research, he discovered that there actually was no baby. There never was a baby. She just wanted to be pregnant so bad that her body changed to look like she was.

    The hilarious part of the story, though, is that the doctor didn't tell her that she didn't have a baby. Instead, in a mind boggling breach of ethics and human decency, he told her that the baby was ready to be delivered that very day. Then he drugged her, and when she came to, he told her she'd lost the baby.

    You'll have to read the article to find out the rest. The power of the mind over matter in this case is fascinating, but equally fascinating is how horrible (but, looking back on them, hilarious) things have been done in the name of science.

    Thank science we have ethical standards now. Science bless you all. Merry Sciencemass.


your judgemental aunt said...

I would imagine that most people have regrets.


Anonymous said...

that's rad about the pregnancy. what would be even better is when the woman came to, all her friends and family were there to yell "April Fools!"... then someone posted that video on YouTube, and then the subsequent 10,000 diggs the video receives. personal tragedy brings many lol's in the world of the interweb.

Jason said...

That's gross (the 2nd one).

Phronk said...

I LOLed. The world needs more videotaped personal tragedy.

sirbarrett said...

My mother treats people for hyperopia all the time. Can you guess what she does? That's right! She's an optometrist. I enjoyed your inSIGHTful description of far-sightedness too -how it can apply to life. I strive not to be too myopic.