Tag Archives: Rath

Freaky Friday: Verbal Sight

by Richard

It turns out that my wife, known to me as She Who Must Give Instructions — Twice, was right again. Being told what to look for can actually make it more likely that you’ll find it.

In a research study published today, scientists reveal that spoken language can alter your perception of the visible world.

The study in PLoS Onereveals that people given a series of visual tests had dramatically different scores when they were prompted first with a verbal cue. Asked to find a specific letter in a crowded picture, people were much more likely to find that letter when they were given the auditory cue “letter B” beforehand. Interestingly, being shown an image of the letter B before looking at the picture did not help them pick out the letter B any better than a control group could.

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, we’ve all done word searches in elementary and middle school when the teachers were looking for a little time killer and didn’t want to have to do too much work. With every word search, there’s a word bank to show you the words for which you’re searching. I always found that I did better when I read the words out loud to myself, rather than just reading the words.

The interesting thing to me, though, is I always find words that aren’t in the word bank. A question of looking too hard or just not focusing on the task at hand? I always came down on the side of working too hard, but my teachers kept harping on focus. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

Interestingly, although auditory verbal cues increased detection sensitivity, visual cues did not. This finding makes some sense when one considers that linguistic cues involve a non-overlapping format of sensory information that is globally statistically independent of the visual format of information in the detection task itself. By contrast, visual cues involve the same format of information as the detection task, and therefore do not provide converging sensory evidence from independent sources when the to-be-detected stimulus is presented.

Which means that there needs to be a combination of verbal and visual stimuli for this to work, to let you target what you’re looking for.

This has some pretty significant implications for parenting, dudes.

I mean, I know I’ve left notes for the little dudes before and returned to find absolutely nothing accomplished because they couldn’t find what I’d written about. After reading about this, I realized that the little dudes did do better when I gave them the note and also went over it with them.

Something to think about the next time Zippy the Monkey Boy tells me he can’t find that missing shoe when it’s sitting on the floor in the middle of the room.

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Dude Review: The Incredible Hercules: Assault On New Olympus

by Richard

I think I might have mentioned it before, but comic books are what helped to form a very large portion of my ethical outlook. Spider-Man taught me that those who are strong have the responsibility to help those who aren’t. Batman taught me to work with what you have (even though most people aren’t going to be billionaire obsessives with a full support team.)

I thought I’d done all the learning I needed to do from comic books. Turns out I was wrong. The Incredible Hercules still had a few things to teach us all.

Amadeus Cho is the seventh-smartest person in the world. He’s been hanging with Hercules, righting wrongs and helping to make the world a better place. Unfortunately, Hercules’ mom, Hera, is also trying to make the world a better place and, in her mind, that means wiping out humanity and starting over again.

Seems like a pretty clear-cut philosophical difference that could be easily settled through the traditional methods of beating each other on the head until one being gives in. Unfortunately for humanity, Hera is backed by a number of the other gods in her pantheon, as well as the terrifying Titan Typhon. Hercules has a smart kid and a few of his pals in the Avengers.

What Herc doesn’t know is that his sister, Pallas Athena, has been training Amadeus Cho to replace Hercules as the new prince of power, the protector of humanity. Sounds great. It’s just too bad there can only be one Prince of Power at a time. Which means for Amadeus to take over, Hercules has to be dead.

All of which means it’s time for Herc to make a head-on assault on Hera’s headquarters, New Olympus. Amadeus spends most of the assault trying to protect his friend, which irritates Hercules no end. And here’s the teachable moment. Amadeus confronts Hercules with his worry and Herc tells him, basically, chill out, dude.

“Everybody dies,” Hercules said. “But not everybody lives. Stop worrying all the time.”

Worrying won’t change things. Live life. Enjoy life. Fight for life. When it ends, it ends. Now, I’m not endorsing a fatalistic outlook, but rather one that embraces change and ending, while showing off the best you can get out of life.

All of which makes for a great comic book.

The fight scenes are amazing. As is the entire last half of the book. Full of humor and pathos and betrayal.

If you’ve been following these reviews, you’ll know how much I’m enjoying them. This book doesn’t disappoint.

Go out and pick this up. Five dudes out of five. Again.


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Dude Food: Pork Tenderloin Casserole

by Richard

I’m bringing back this recipe because we’ve just linked with a new site, Foodista, that has lots of great recipes. Including more on pork tenderloin.

Pork Tenderloin Casserole on FoodistaPork Tenderloin Casserole

I love pork tenderloin. It’s tasty as all get out, rather light on fat (provided you trim off the fat that comes on one side of the tenderloin) and mostly it comes in large enough sizes to feed my family of walking garbage disposals.

However, you can only make it the same way a certain number of times before the little dudes start gagging at the words “pork tenderloin for dinner.” Combine that with my love of casseroles (considering I can throw stuff together, pop it in the oven, set the timer and come back to a cooked meal after swim and dive practice) and I think I’ve finally found a winner.

I present to you pork tenderloin casserole. We had it last night and it was delicious.

Pork Tenderloin Casserole

about two pounds of pork tenderloin
1 package of center-cut bacon
1 large jar of sliced mushrooms and some fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion 1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
Italian bread crumbs

Okay, first, season the pork with salt and pepper and then cut the tenderloin into large medallions. Then dip them in the egg and then dredge them through the bread crumbs. Set them aside.

Get a large skillet and gently fry the bacon. Cook the bacon until it is just past raw and getting a little crispy. Just a little, mind. Add the chopped onions and saute with the bacon. Set the bacon and onion aside and keep the bacon grease in the pan.

Pour most of the bacon grease out, but keep enough to coat the bottom of the skillet. Return the skillet to the flame and then brown the pork medallions until they’re a golden brown.

Remove them and place them on the bottom of a greased oven pan. Layer the bacon and onions with the pork. Pour the fresh mushrooms and the bottled mushrooms, with the juice, over the pork and bacon. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Eat! Enjoy!

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