What makes gamers keep gaming

first_img She is one of several researchers who, according to an article in The New York Times, are trying to understand and perhaps harness the power of the gaming mentality. As the article states, the average 21-year-old American has spent 10,000 hours playing computer games. Researchers want to know why games are so addicting, and if we could learn things from games that could encourage and motivate people to work better in the real world.In some ways, game activities are similar to real-life activities. In both realms, people must solve problems, overcome obstacles, and achieve specific goals. Researchers have noted that, when people get into playing games, they seem to reach a mental state of high concentration and focus, similar to that achieved by great musicians and athletes. However, gamers get “in the zone” very quickly, while it usually takes years for the professionals in music and sports to train themselves to reach this level.In the NYT article, some researchers pointed out a few ingredients that good games have in common: instant feedback, small rewards for small progress, occasional unexpected rewards, continual encouragement from the computer and other players, and a final sense of triumph. Together, these components motivate gamers to keep trying even after multiple failures, even if it means spending hours at the same game.“One of the most profound transformations we can learn from games is how to turn the sense that someone has ‘failed’ into the sense that they ‘haven’t succeeded yet,’” said Tom Chatfield, a British journalist and the author of “Fun Inc.: Why Gaming Will Dominate the Twenty-First Century.”Some game developers have started designing games that have positive real-world consequences. For instance, smartphone users can download an app for the nonprofit group First Aid Corps, and help create a worldwide map of where defibrillators are located for real-life cardiac emergencies. Researchers can also use virtual worlds to test ideas, such as national disaster policies or how financial bubbles and panics occur. McGonigal thinks that there are enormous benefits that can be reaped by engaging gamers to help solve real-world problems. The key is to convince them that it’s still just a game. More information: via: The New York Times © 2010 PhysOrg.com Leveling the gaming field (PhysOrg.com) — Creating Wikipedia has so far taken about 100 million hours of work, while people spend twice that many hours playing World of Warcraft in a single week, notes Jane McGonigal, a game designer and researcher at the Institute for the Future. McGonigal has written a soon-to-be-published book called “Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.” Citation: What makes gamers keep gaming? (2010, December 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-12-gamers-gaming.html Explore further World of Warcraft is one of the most popular games in the world. Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

New parasitic fungi found that turn ants into zombies

first_img(PhysOrg.com) — Scientists from the US and UK have discovered four new species of parasitic fungi in the Brazilian rainforests. The fungi attack four distinct species of ants and release mind-altering chemicals that gradually turn the ants into zombies and then kills them. Citation: New parasitic fungi found that turn ants into zombies (2011, March 4) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-03-parasitic-fungi-ants-zombies.html David Hughes, Assistant Professor of entomology and biology at the Pennsylvania State University, and colleagues found the new fungi, all in the Ophiocordyceps unilateralis species complex, in the Zona da Mata area in south-eastern Brazil. Each fungus species was a different shape and size and was found to be parasitic on a different species of carpenter ant (Camponotus sp). Ants that come into contact with the fungus spores become infected, and within a week they begin behaving like zombies and leave the nest. They then find a shrub leaf in an exposed position a short distance above the forest floor and lock their mandibles onto the central vein or the leaf edge and die in that position. The fungus sprouts spore-bearing stalks out of the back of the neck of the dead ant and releases its spores at night, which float down to the forest floor ready to infect more ants. Two of the species bore short spores that changed to a boomerang shape in mid-air. If the spores did not land on an ant they sprouted secondary spore stalks that could infect ants walking on them. The other two species bore longer spores that were shot like arrows from the stalks, but which did not grow secondary stalks.The researchers are not certain how the fungus controls an ant’s behavior but said it consumes the ant from the inside, releasing alkaloid chemicals as it does so. The chemicals released by the Cordyceps group of fungi have been known to traditional medicine for millennia, and are used in Western medicine in some antibiotics, anti-cancer, anti-malarial, and anti-organ rejection drugs.A similar parasitic fungus was found in Indonesia in 2009 by researchers led by Dr Hughes. That fungus also turned ants into zombies, and they attached themselves to leaves a consistent 25 cm above the ground where the humidity was 95 percent, which provided perfect conditions for the growth of the fungus.According to Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) entomologist Dr Steve Shattuck, there have been reports of several species of fungus parasitic on ants in the tropical rainforests of north-eastern Australia. Dr Shattuck said no one knows exactly how rare the fungus is, but it is hard to find. The study, published online in the journal Public Library of Science ONE (PLoS ONE), highlights the biodiversity found in the rainforests since the four different species were found in close proximity. The rainforests in the region are rapidly being destroyed, with over 92 percent already gone. Explore further 4 new species of Zombie ant fungi discovered in Brazilian rainforest © 2010 PhysOrg.com Ophiocordyceps unilateralis. Image credit: PLoS ONE 6(3): e17024. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017024 This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. More information: Evans HC, Elliot SL, Hughes DP (2011) Hidden Diversity Behind the Zombie-Ant Fungus Ophiocordyceps unilateralis: Four New Species Described from Carpenter Ants in Minas Gerais, Brazil. PLoS ONE 6(3): e17024. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017024last_img read more

Research duo suggest early Earth had heatpipe channels similar to Jupiters moon

first_img © 2013 Phys.org (Phys.org) —Two planetary researches, one from Hampton University and the National Institute of Aerospace, the other from Louisiana State University, have published a paper in the journal Nature suggesting that for a period of time, the Earth was very similar to Jupiter’s moon Io—with heat from within being released through what are known as heat-pipes. The new theory by William Moore and Alexander Webb goes against the common consensus that the Earth transitioned directly from a planet with a hot molten liquid layer to one covered by tectonic plates. Credit: Nature Planetary scientists have been stumped in trying to figure out how a planet with a molten hot liquid surface could transition directly to one with tectonic plates—the only way that could happen would be if the planet cooled almost instantly. But all available evidence indicates it didn’t, so how did the tectonic plates come about? Moore and Webb suggest there was an intermediate stage—one where heat was allowed to escape from the interior of the planet through heat-pipes.In practical terms, heat pipes are soft material “holes” in a planet’s surface. Hot magma from below is pushed upwards through channels towards the surface where it flows out as lava allowing heat to escape into space. While very similar to volcanoes, they don’t necessarily erupt, they simply ooze. Jupiter’s moon Io is an excellent example of a body that oozes lava, with so many heat-pipes that its entire surface is covered by material constantly pushed up from below. The result is a constant turnover of surface material, mixing with that from below. Moore and Webb theorize that a very similar situation existed on Earth between the time the surface was hot molten liquid and the development of tectonic plates. They suggest the constant movement of material up though the heat-pipes led to a build-up on the surface. As the planet cooled over time, the material that was pushed up slowly hardened and became the tectonic plates. And because there was still a lot of heat in the core of the planet, fissures developed which caused the plates to break apart and to travel as they continue to do today.Moore and Webb point to ancient zircon and diamonds found on Earth to strengthen their theory—the rocks have been dated to the time period in question (roughly 3 to 4 billion years ago) and show the weathering that would have occurred had they been constantly churned by heat-pipe transport. More information: Heat-pipe Earth, Nature 501, 501–505 (26 September 2013) DOI: 10.1038/nature12473AbstractThe heat transport and lithospheric dynamics of early Earth are currently explained by plate tectonic and vertical tectonic models, but these do not offer a global synthesis consistent with the geologic record. Here we use numerical simulations and comparison with the geologic record to explore a heat-pipe model in which volcanism dominates surface heat transport. These simulations indicate that a cold and thick lithosphere developed as a result of frequent volcanic eruptions that advected surface materials downwards. Declining heat sources over time led to an abrupt transition to plate tectonics. Consistent with model predictions, the geologic record shows rapid volcanic resurfacing, contractional deformation, a low geothermal gradient across the bulk of the lithosphere and a rapid decrease in heat-pipe volcanism after initiation of plate tectonics. The heat-pipe Earth model therefore offers a coherent geodynamic framework in which to explore the evolution of our planet before the onset of plate tectonics. New model of Earth’s interior reveals clues to hotspot volcanoescenter_img Journal information: Nature Explore further Citation: Research duo suggest early Earth had heat-pipe channels similar to Jupiter’s moon Io (2013, September 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-09-duo-early-earth-heat-pipe-channels.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

How The Brain Shapes Pain And Links Ouch With Emotion

first_imgThe pain was bad. But the feeling of helplessness it produced in him was even worse. So he channeled his frustration into music and art that depicted his pain. It was “a way I could express myself,” he says. “It was liberating.” Witt’s experience is typical of how an unpleasant sensation can become something much more complicated, scientists say. Read the whole story: NPR It was “this low-grade kind of menacing pain that ran through my spine and mostly my lower back and my upper right shoulder blade and then even into my neck a little bit,” Witt says.center_img When Sterling Witt was a teenager in Missouri, he was diagnosed with scoliosis. Before long, the curvature of his spine started causing chronic pain. “I felt like I was being attacked by this invisible enemy,” Witt says. “It was nothing that I asked for, and I didn’t even know how to battle it.”last_img read more

Trumps Disloyalty Claim Abou

first_img Mark Wilson Trump’s ‘Disloyalty’ Claim About Jewish… by NPR News Domenico Montanaro, Tamara Keith 8.22.19 5:00am President Trump doubled down Wednesday on remarks that American Jews who vote for Democrats are disloyal to Israel.”In my opinion, you vote for a Democrat, you’re being very disloyal to Jewish people, and you’re being very disloyal to Israel,” Trump told reporters outside the White House Wednesday, “and only weak people would say anything other than that.”It was the second time in two days the president questioned the loyalty to Israel of Jewish people who vote Democratic. On Tuesday, he questioned their smarts, too. “I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” Trump said from the Oval Office.Trump’s comments display a lack of understanding of how and why Jewish Americans vote the way they do, which is overwhelmingly Democratic. While Israel is a threshold issue for Jewish voters, it is not determinative to the votes of most of them — and many don’t agree with President Trump’s or Republicans’ approach to Israel. Jewish people who vote Democratic care about what Democrats care about — social justice, health care, climate change, the welfare of immigrants and more.Voters who identify as Jewish made up only about 3% of the U.S. electorate in recent presidential elections, but they have voted overwhelmingly Democratic. Since 1968, in fact, Jewish voters have voted on average 71% for Democrats. That was the exact number that went for Hillary Clinton in 2016.Their voting power in presidential elections can be felt in competitive states, like in south Florida, the north Philadelphia suburbs and to a lesser degree in Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Cleveland, Detroit and outside Atlanta and Denver.Trump hopes to peel off some Jewish voters in what’s expected to be a close reelection fight. He’s trying to highlight comments by Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who have been hotly critical of Israel. Omar, in particular, has been criticized for some of her remarks.Democratic leaders and many rank-and-file Democratic elected officials have tried to distance themselves from their views. Trump, though, has tried to, as he says, make the congresswomen “the face of the Democratic Party” in an attempt to help him next year.But his strategy of highlighting Democrats’ not walking in lockstep with Israel has been tried before — to no avail for Republicans. Think: President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran or his criticism of Israeli settlement expansion. Obama still won 69% of the Jewish vote in 2012 and 78% in 2008.What’s more, Jewish voters went for Democrats in the 2018 midterms by an even higher percentage — 79%. And that was after Trump moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.”We see evidence that it [the Jewish vote] is moving even more towards Democrats now during Trump’s presidency,” said Jim Gerstein, a Democratic pollster. He added that American Jews don’t even necessarily agree with Trump’s policies toward Israel — and they have other concerns.”They’re so hostile to Trump himself because of all the immigration issues and white nationalism and the rise of anti-Semitism, all that makes them so hostile to him that anything he says or does doesn’t matter — even if they were to agree with it,” said Gerstein, who called views of Israel “a threshold issue” for Jewish voters. “But they don’t necessarily agree with him on the Israel stuff to begin with.”Jewish voters, like Catholics, vote less based on religion, but more reliably on their partisan identification. In other words, if someone is a Republican, they vote like one and vice versa. Disloyalty, “a centuries-old anti-Semitic idea”The “disloyalty” claim reminds some of an anti-Semitic trope. “This loyalty claim or disloyalty claim is actually a centuries-old anti-Semitic idea that dates back to European monarchies,” said Rabbi Alissa Wise, deputy director of Jewish Voice for Peace. “This idea that Jews are somehow disloyal to or have more loyalty to an entity outside of the state to which they live.”It’s something for which Omar also faced criticism in February when she said, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country, that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”The Trump campaign argues that Democrats are the ones who “embrace and defend the most vitriolic anti-Semites in their midst” and are “excusing and permitting such anti-Jewish venom to be spewed so freely,” said Michael Glassner, the Trump campaign’s chief operating officer, in a statement.Trump’s comments Wednesday also came a day after referred to Omar and Tlaib when he said, “Where has the Democratic Party gone, where they’re defending these two people over the state of Israel?”Trump’s remarks prompted a conservative radio host to call him the “King of Israel,” a set of comment that Trump retweeted. Under pressureTlaib and Omar were initially denied entry into Israel for a planned trip earlier this month, because of their support for boycotts of the country. The decision from Israel came after Trump urged it. He all but taunted Israel, saying on it “would show great weakness” if Israel let the two American congresswomen in.Israel relented and said it would allow Tlaib entry to see her grandmother on the West Bank, as long as she didn’t voice support for boycotts on her trip. Tlaib decided she would not go and called the conditions “oppressive.”In a teary-eyed news conference Monday, Tlaib accused Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of taking “a page out of Trump’s book.”Meanwhile, Democrats in the House, who don’t always agree with Omar and Tlaib, are furious with Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, for his role in the controversy, the Jerusalem Post reported. Democrats may not take any more meetings with him, the paper reported, especially after Democratic leaders thought they had gotten assurances that the two congresswomen would be allowed to travel. There has long been a degree of distrust between Democrats and Dermer, because he had worked as a Republican operative and helped orchestrate Netanyahu’s speech to Congress in 2015, when Republican John Boehner was speaker, in which Netanyahu criticized then-President Obama’s policy toward Iran.The Trump campaign apparatus went into overdrive on the subject Wednesday. Kayleigh McEnany, a campaign spokeswoman, blasted the BDS Movement, which seeks boycott, divestment, sanctions of Israel as well as an end to international support because of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. “It is an actual movement that seeks to destroy the state of Israel by boycotting them,” she said on Fox News Wednesday. “It is the same goal as Iran, who wants to wipe Israel off the face of the map. It is an anti-Semitic movement. It is disgusting.”But is what Trump and his campaign are doing about winning over Jewish voters at all?Jeremy Ben-Ami of the progressive Jewish lobbying group J-Street doesn’t think so. They seem more aimed at exciting the Trump base, Ben-Ami said.”Israel is an issue not simply for the Jewish community,” he noted. “It is an evangelical issue. It’s an issue in many red states. And it is comparable as a cultural divide on things like guns, abortion and other culture war issues.”Trump has certainly sought to use cultural grievances as a way to keep his base on board throughout his presidency.And if that happens to peel away some voters in the process — or make them stay home — all the better.Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.last_img read more

Epics come alive

first_imgThe event commenced with the lighting of the lamp, followed by prayers and the presentation by the students. The young actors confidently depicted various episodes of the epic Ramayana, such as the childhood of Ram, Sita Swayamvar, Hanuman setting Lanka on fire and then the victory of Ram over Ravana, with timely delivery of dialogues and perfect expressions. The enactment was complemented by the majestic grandeur of the life-like props, colorful costumes, jewellery and eye-catching decoration. The event culminated with a delightful Diwali dance by the students. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The Chief Guest , Sonia Chib, Vice Principal of The Sri Ram school Vasant Vihar, appreciated the hard work and patience of the teachers in putting together the great show. The director of Aadyant, Radha Mittal was delighted seeing the enthralling presentation by the tiny tots and said, ‘The confidence with which the children performed is commendable and, such a presentation is the medium to inculcate good values in our children.’ The Principal of Aadyant, Nidhi Mathur thanked the guests for encouraging the children. The evening ended on a festive note as everyone left with memories to cherish.last_img read more

Of arty matters

first_imgThis collaborative showing is an eye opener into trends and facilities that are currently evolving at serious art gatherings, where this chosen handful has displayed their innovative interpretations earlier. Taking his sculptural explication of the kinetic force to the next notch, sculptor Ankit Patel uses a bicycle in motion to represent his concept of movement and energy. Titled Winner’s Pride, its strikes by its spruce linearity, rhythm of motion and exactitude of design repetition. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’A novel twist to a game of chess in the work titled Winner’s Pride, by artist Sanjay Srivastava, has the grip of aggressiveness shown in a fresh take by the pawn-like figures roofed under an inescapable pair of giant forms. The fierce spirit of competitiveness a characteristic outcome of the game, exploits the sport to provide the keynote for the artwork. The minutea of brass nails and chess pawns simulate the detached yet cumulative attitude of metropolitan living in the work by sculptor Ramesh Chandra Thorat. Known for his meditative stance in depicting evolutionary growth, his work exudes the contrast of the solidity of natural forces against the vulnerability of the human race in its surroundings. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe solidity of the form in the bronze work by artist Ratan Krishna Saha excites viewer interest through its focal imagery of a wheel in motion. Its compact contours and grounded format interpret the creative energies of the work into a forceful yet compassionate narrative.The only painter in the group Asit Patrnaik, is known for his graphic exactitude, granulated texturing of the backdrop and his deep understanding of the colour palette. In the work titled Thoughtscape, he practically entices the viewer to delve beyond the surface and come up with an understanding of the silent play of moods that the forms in the foreground seem to convey.The five-member consortium has offered a handpicked series of works that have gelled together through their artistic competence, their deep-seated interpretative energies and their expert execution. The exhibition is therefore a must-see for art lovers with a yen for the innovative and the competent. WHERE: Lalit Kala Akademi, Rabindra BhavanWHEN: On till 7 October, 11.00 am to 7.00 pmlast_img read more

Mamata pens poem words echo plight of 40 lakh Assam citizens

first_imgKolkata: After coming down heavily on BJP for omitting the names of 40 lakh people from the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written a poem to express her solidarity with the helpless citizens who have fallen victims to the move.Banerjee had sent eight MLAs and MPs to meet the people on last Thursday. But the Assam government did not allow them to go out of the Silchar Airport by promulgating prohibitory order under Section 144 CrPC. Banerjee, who was in Delhi at the time, did not hide her feelings and on reaching Kolkata Airport last Friday, had told newsmen that “Super Emergency” was going on in the country. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeBanerjee, with a natural flair for poetry, has always believed that the pen is mightier than the sword and through her poem, has vehemently criticised the divisive and anti people policy of BJP.The arrogance of BJP leaders and their tendency to brand those who do not corroborate their views as “anti-national”, is the central theme of the poem. From the Prime Minister’s Mann Ki Baat to forcible introduction of Aadhar card, every aspect of BJP’s rule has appeared in the poem. She has also mentioned the “action” against the section of media which writes against the ruling party. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed”Do you listen to Mann Ki Baat? Do you write against the ruler? Does your phone have Aadhar? Are you a member of the Pay B-Team? Have you registered all documents? Are you against the oppressor? Then there is no place for you. Then you are an extremist…” are a few lines from the Chief Minister’s poem.BJP’s divisive policy on the food habits and religion of citizens which have even led to the death of people in different parts in the country, has also been highlighted by Banerjee.”What kind of food do you take? Where all do you go? Do you belong to different religion? Are you a Dalit? Are you a Christian? Are you a minority? You don’t support Ravana? Then you go to solitude,” reads the poem.last_img read more

For a warm and bubbly winter brunch

first_imgWith an array of seasonal vegetables and festive flavoured cuisine, Sorrento – Shangri-La Eros Hotel’s fine dining Italian restaurant is all set to enthrall foodies this winter. Winter Brunch and Bubbly at the restaurant has loads to offer to satiate your tummy over a leisurely brunch with your friends and family. The massive buffet spread would win anybody’s heart with the colourful display of all the salad ingredients, different cheeses and marinated olives, the mains laid out in large cooking pots, the fluffy sandwiches and inviting pizzas laid out on the station, and the unmistakable sweet aromatic dessert area. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfChoose from the wide range of tropical cheese and marinated olives, while you also pile up your plate with lip smacking shrimp salad, Caesar salad, goat cheese stuffed zucchini rolls, and Bruschettas – the winner of the range. As the goat cheese in the zucchini rolls melts in your mouth and you decide to grab some more, it is advisable to try out the bruschettas with your choice of topping. If you are looking for a variety of Italian delights, stick to the plan of trying every dish without binging onto any specific one. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveA favourite for chicken lovers would be the Chicken cacciatore, hot from the cooking pot. As you cut through the large and juicy chicken breast, you can inhale the olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and basil leaves which have been enriching the braised chicken, and the accompanied peppers. If grilled meat defines your idea of a perfect brunch, their medium grilled lamb chops and salmon steaks with potatoes, broccoli and baby carrots will win your heart right away. Hovering over to the main course, it is wise to stuff your face with their homemade pasta, pizzas and sandwiches, fresh off the oven. Linguine with baby spinach, chili, garlic and prawns can lighten up the mood of any prawn lover, as you swoop in the pasta and much on to the al-dente prawns enjoying the sea-salty flavoured combination. Unlike several food festivals and seasonal menus which lack options for vegetarians, Sorrento presents a healthy variety of options for their vegetarian patrons. The Eggplant parmigiana is one such vegetarian masterpiece. It is a unique Italian baked dish which provides a well-blended taste of eggplant, cheese and tomatoes. The swell of cheese on the baked eggplant and the thickened tomato sauce produces an overwhelming aroma igniting all your olfactory nerves. What happens to be a befuddling decision is to stand over the desserts table wondering how you can gorge on all the delicious looking pastries. With over 10 different types of desserts, sweet-tooths will have a tough time picking their favourite mouthfulls. The winter menu has the classic Tiramisu, strawberry panna cotta, Chocolate decadence, Cannoli. But the stars of the afters would be strawberries and rich Belgian chocolate, used generously in the cakes, puddings and tarts. The menu is balanced with an exciting selection of in-house beverages like Ti Amo Prosecco, Grappa’s Signature Negronis, Red/ White Wine Popsicles, and Aperol Spritzers. Celebrate this winter with the finest bubbly and widest brunch spread over some quality conversation with your loved ones.last_img read more

Creepy Victorian Methods of Certifying that a Person was in Fact Dead

first_imgIn today’s modern, industrialized world, there’s a certain number of things we take for granted without really considering the fact that they weren’t always around. Taphophobia is the fear of being buried alive. This fear joked about in T.V. sitcoms and over-the-hill birthday cards has always existed. And with good reason.Scientific development has traveled light-years since the 20th century. Before more modern times, taphophobia was a valid fear. Doctors, scientists, and specialists of the highest esteem spent centuries trying to curtail this fear.Inventors addressed the fear of being buried alive.The folk tale of The Lady With the Ring has versions told throughout history and across the world. In British folklore, it tells the tale of the Lady Mount Edgecombe who fell ill and was buried, presumed dead.A grave robber took advantage of this unfortunate affair by trying to dig her up shortly after the burial in order to steal an invaluable ring she was buried with. Lady Mount Edgcombe awoke, however, and walked home, surely scaring the grave robber to death (although there’d be no way to check).For some reason, the Victorian Era saw a rise in an obsession with taphophobia and inventors clamoring to find a foolproof way to confirm actual death before burial. Here are a few bizarre methods they came up with, as well as some veritable precursors to modern technology.Safety CoffinsThe recovery of supposedly dead victims of cholera, as depicted in The Premature Burial by Antoine Wiertz, fuelled the demand for safety coffins.Safety Coffins are a popular historical fun fact shared for decades: the idea being that if someone mistakenly pronounced dead wakes up to find themselves buried, they simply pull on a cord linked to an above-ground bell that alerts cemetery workers that a mistake has been made.More gruesome than the thought of waking up to find oneself in such a situation is the fact that an actual dead body swells during decomposition, meaning it could accidentally trigger the bell and a false alarm. No wonder people believed in ghosts.Design for Safety Coffin. Dr Johann Taberger Der Scheintod, Hanover, 1829.Waiting MortuariesWaiting Mortuaries were built and inadvertently became a morbid spectacle for our ancestors. At the end of the 19th century in France and Germany, corpses were laid out to wait and see if they started to decompose before being buried.They were surveilled full time by morgue attendants and some were built with windows looking out onto the public who could stop and stare. The bodies were administered antiseptics to prevent infections, just in case they were still living.The first morgue in New York City opened in 1866 at Bellevue HospitalIt’s also thought that these Waiting Mortuaries began the tradition of sending flowers to funerals, as flowers were used to decorate the bodies to cover up the smell of the dead bodies in a time before Oust.From here, the tactics get more invasive and, sometimes, questionable.The fingerPhoto by Wellcome Images CC-BY 4.0A body part thought to be a clue to real or falsely declared death was the finger. Some believed that holding the tip of a body’s finger to a strong ear would reveal even the faintest heartbeats.According to the Dictionnaire biographique international des écrivains published in 1902, Dr. Collongues was a celebrated medical inventor responsible for the dynamoscope — a device which measured vibrations from living beings — and the necroscope — a device which assured a certain declaration of death based on the lungs, the heart, and the brain.Though neither invention carried on to modern times, Collongues was on the path to the right idea and heartbeats were beginning to be linked to new inventions.The TongueDeath of General Robert E. Lee, At Lexington, Va., October 12th, 1870. Lithograph.Others believed the tongue was the key. One suggested that an undead body could be stimulated by applying certain reactive substances on the tongue, such as a bitter lemon, sour vinegar, or alcohol.Doctor J.V. Laborde in France was noted for studying the tongue’s relationship to death and allegedly claimed that he revived a woman thought to be dead by attaching forceps to her tongue and pulling at it for hours until she woke up. Surprisingly, designs for a tongue pulling machine didn’t come to fruition.Moving up the intensity scale, one proposed method of certifying death was based on the new concept of the circulatory system. The idea of causing pain to a body to prove death was tried in several ways: holding the body’s finger over a burning candle, pouring boiling water on the body, or amputation of smaller body parts like fingers and toes.A hand of glory was a hanged man’s hand which was used as a macabre candle holder by burglars to evade discovery. Photo by www.badobadop.co.uk CC BY-SA 4.0Some scientists at the time believed that corpses wouldn’t blister under fire. One even insisted that raking thorny leaves over a body would produce a rash only if the person was truly dead. All evidence that science than had no certain knowledge of the inner workings of the human body.Invisible ink played a role in the mortuary sciences as well. Not a new technology, this secret method of communication existed since ancient Greece. Victorian forensic scientists came up with the method of leaving notes declaring, “I am really dead” under noses.If the person was really dead, the corpse would release sulfur dioxide through the nostrils which would trigger the invisible ink. Unfortunately rotting teeth in an era of poor dentistry could give a similar effect.The closest “Victorian” method to our present-day confirmed methods was Galvanism. Luigi Galvani pioneered the field of bioelectromagnetics as early as 1780 when he applied electricity to animal corpses. Along with his wife, Galvani played the role of the Italian Dr. Frankenstein, researching the relationship of electricity with muscles and nerves. A precursor to the defibrillator.Luigi GalvaniIt’s true, Galvani existed before the Victorian Era, but perhaps later scientists should have paid a bit more attention to his work. Instead, a couple of decades passed with questionable and regularly unreliable methods of certain death confirmations.Read another story from us: A 14th Century Nun Faked her own Death to Escape a Convent and Live it UpScientists’ false claims of success to protect their own hubris and ghost stories during God-fearing times kept taphophobia alive over the centuries when doctors were working on methods to confirm the death.Lucky today that we know what a coma is, know how to measure heartbeats, and won’t wake up to less finger and toes.last_img read more