Science

May is Richard Wiseman Month

Those of you fortunate enough to own this year’s Skepdude calendar will have turned the page on May 1st to be greeted by the double visage of Professor Richard Wiseman in a new twist on the old vase optical illusion.

Fitting, then, that this month also heralds the UK launch of his new book, Quirkology, and a flurry of media activity, overnight internet sensations, and unusual psychology experiments to go with it. Richard is a friend so I’m clearly biased, but he’s also a favourite among skeptics so there’s no shame in rounding up the best of the current Quirkology stuff here.

First up is the colour-changing card trick currently climbing its way up the YouTube rankings. If you haven’t seen the video yet, I won’t spoil the surprise, but suffice to say what you get is most certainly not a card trick.

The other big story this week is Pace of Life, a study which shows the world’s population is walking faster than ever, as reported in this New York Times entry.

“A study carried out in the early 1990s demonstrated that pedestrians’ speed of walking provides a reliable measure of the pace of life in a city, and that people in fast-moving cities are less likely to help others and have higher rates of coronary heart disease. Using identical methods to those employed in the previous work, the present day research teams discovered that the pace of life is now 10% faster than in the early 1990s.”

You can test your own pace of life at www.paceoflife.org

Another Quirkology study which has raised a few eyebrows is How to Write the Perfect Personal Ad. I know quite a few single skeptics, so if you are one of them, listen up. Ladies, the secret is…get a man to write it. I kid you not.

Quirkology means ‘quirky psychology’, and there’s loads more of it at www.quirkology.com.

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