Monthly Archives: August 2013

Episode 005: Feeling Your Pain in My Netherlands

Topics discussed: Rhymes (nursery, Snoop Dogg’s), lads’ mags, a lather rong discussion of Japanese consonant confusion, crazy old scientists, mind-altering backpacks, mirror neurons, feeling empathy, feeling air, testing tastes and tasting testes. Plus, rainbows and lots and lots of psychopaths! With special guest star LAURIE SKELLY!!!

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Note #1: As promised last time, we have our first Very Special Guest Star, our old pal Laurie Skelly! We think you will find her delightful.

Note #2: Matt J’s new microphone seems to be working OK for now, but that victory might be short-lived… we’ll see how it goes next time. But in a month or two, we should be able to get our hands on some slightly better equipment anyway. At any rate, donations to the “buy Matt and Matt some better microphones” fund are still welcome (via the Donate button in the sidebar), although it might mutate into the “bandwidth fund” whenever we get our audio issues under control.

Note #3: We’ve just started an Amazon affiliate account, so if you happen to buy any of the books mentioned in the show notes, use the links on this site, please, and help the show! So far we’ve only done it for this episode, but will be going back and fixing links for old episodes soon. Every little bit helps…


The full story behind Van Halen’s “No brown M&Ms” contract rider:
“Cool story, Hansel!”:
Yup, “Bonne vivante” is the correct feminine form:
“Nerd sniping”:
“Sing a Song of Sixpence”:
– Roud Folk Song Index:
– “Gin & Juice” — the lyric MJ was thinking of was “pocket full of rubbers” but was mixing it with the overall gin theme: (Warning: NSFW language and link to obnoxiously ad-filled lyrics site)
– Bonus: a great country cover of “Gin & Juice” by The Gourds (NSFW language!):
“Dead dove, do not eat”:
Stuff magazine:
“You’re in Control,” (Urine Control), the original urinal video game system:
Punny reasons behind Chinese number superstitions:
A little bit of background on the Godzilla/Gojira transliteration, although details seem to be murky:
“False friend” English words in Japanese:
– bonus: pseudo-English words/phrases coined in Japanese:
– the latter are referred to as “Wasai-eigo”:
– another list of such terms:
Some more info on Japanese speakers and the R/L distinction:
– a lesson on the Japanese R/L sound pronunciation for English speakers:
For general phonetics stuff related to this, here are some Wikipedia articles to get you started:
– Phonetics:
– Particularly, articulatory phonetics (how language sounds are produced/classified):
– Consonants in specific:
– The International Phonetic Alphabet can be used to look up all consonant/vowel sounds:
A bit on the phenomenon of “reduplication,” i.e. phrases with repeated sounds in their words:
– some more discussion on the topic:
– note that the main reference for the “tic-tac-toe” rule is Steven Pinker’s “The Language Instinct”… link to book description below
– Steve Pinker’s “The Language Instinct” (link to Amazon):
– more of Steve Pinker’s books (link to Amazon):
– V.S. Ramachandran’s “Phantoms in the Brain” (link to Amazon):
– more of V.S. Ramachandran’s books (link to Amazon):
SMBC on aging scientists (this one is a physicist, but it works for other fields too…):
A bit more on some aging scientists’ kooky theories and controversies:
– Jim Watson:
– Francis Crick (notably the stuff on consciousness, but there’s other interesting stuff throughout the Wikipedia article):
– Linus Pauling:
Nate Silver’s book “The Signal and the Noise” that Skelly mentioned (link to Amazon):
The Dunning-Kruger effect:–Kruger_effect
– Illusory superiority in general:
– … specifically, some driving studies:
– a discussion of illusory superiority on LiveScience:
– the “availability heuristic” MJ mentioned:
Grandpa Simpson’s “wearing an onion on my belt” soliloquy again (already linked in Episode 001):
Well, looks like the “armchair” priming experiment has already been done (link to academic abstract):
A bunch of references on embodied cognition and effects like the backpack illusion we discussed:
– Embodied cognition on Wikipedia:
– … and on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
– our buddy Chaz Firestone’s argument against claims relating to the backpack illusion (link to academic abstract):
– … and a counter-argument (link to academic abstract):
– a discussion on Scientific American:
– … on Psychology Today:
– academic article — “Embodied cognition is not what you think it is”:
– another academic article (link to PDF) — “Six views of embodied cognition”:
– in short: It’s complicated.
Similarly, lots of links on mirror neurons:
– on Wikipedia:
– on Scholarpedia:
– academic article (link to PDF), including a discussion of language — “The mirror neuron system”:
– article on
– Scientific American’s “What’s So Special About Mirror Neurons?”:
– an interview with our old pal V.S. Ramachandran on mirror neurons:
– Psychology Today’s “Mirror Neurons: The Most Hyped Concept in Neuroscience?”:
– also, MJ can’t believe he forgot to reference this Friends episode during the mirror neuron discussion:
The anchoring heuristic:
– since we mentioned both the availability and anchoring heuristics, may as well link to some general information on the Nobel Prize-winning work by Kahneman & Tversky:
– Daniel Kahneman:
– Amos Tversky:
– K&T’s original “heuristics and biases” article (link to academic PDF):
– seminal article on K&T’s “prospect theory” (link to academic PDF):
The hot- versus cold-coffee experiment (link to academic abstract):
– a discussion in the NY Times:
– (n.b.: these experiments are hotly debated, as it were, and the whole issue is probably an episode unto itself…)
The “black swan theory” briefly referenced by Skelly:
The psychopath article we spent a long time discussing:
– BBC news article:
– actual academic article in Brain:
– discussion thread on Reddit:
“Everyone knows Custer died at Little Big Horn”:
The Voight-Kampff empathy test from Blade Runner:
– more on the machine from the Blade Runner site on Wikia:
The chapter mentioned by Skelly on the many (actually eight) meanings of the word “empathy”:
– can’t find a good copy of the actual article online, but here’s the citation:
– and if you REALLY want to read it, you can buy the book it’s in (link to Amazon):
Example of face stimuli from Paul Ekman’s “six basic emotions” facial expression set:
The McGurk effect:
– on YouTube: (listen with eyes open and closed)
– and autism (link to academic abstract — this finding is also briefly mentioned in the Wikpedia article):
In case you weren’t familiar with the “stack” data type we referenced for our topic list:
At long last: The world’s shortest, most awesome abstract (link to academic PDF):
Acetazolamide (Diamox) is indeed the medication that makes carbonated drinks taste funny:
– but more info is welcome if anyone knows the radio show that Skelly was referring to…
– serotonin in the gut (second paragraph of article):
– The Human Centipede:
– in case it wasn’t clear, PNAS = Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:
“It’s a floor wax AND a dessert topping!”: (sorry, can’t find it anywhere else)
Disney’s “Aireal” system for haptic feedback:
– the novel “Ready Player One” (referenced & recommended by MJ; link to Amazon):
– and the Community episode, although it isn’t that relevant:
Reddit discussion on rainbows having infrared/ultraviolet bands:
– n.b., the story is a bit more complicated than we discussed, e.g.:
– and yes, the same guy discovered Uranus:
FYI, “Audacity” (mentioned in the outtakes) is the program we record in:
Some discussion of menstrual synchrony:
And in case anyone didn’t get the “Kegel” joke: