RBC Vampire Number Contest Winners Announced!

The responses on this are so uniformly good that I am siding with the DoDo Bird and as promised, publicly endorsing every ludicrous statistical claim made as a fact, even though I know that four out of three statistics are made up on the spot. I am outraged that no one in Washington is concerned that a gun in the home of the 1 in 110 Eskimo children with autism who have 28 words for snow and are kidnapped 50,000 times a year is 42 times as likely to kill a member of the home who is divorced (as half of once married people are) and needs a computer that doubles in speed every 18 months in order to compensate for using only 10% of his brain supplied by the diminishing 20% of oxygen that comes from rain forests! It’s no wonder that U.S. companies spend 50 billion dollars a year teaching reading and math when Sex Panther works all the time 60% of the time! In closing, I summarize my message simply: My friends, one is indeed the loneliest number.

Can I have a cable TV show now?

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is a Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans and drugs. He is the author or co-author of numerous books and scholarly articles, and has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The Guardian (UK), the San Francisco Chronicle and other media outlets. When he is not in the San Francisco Bay Area, he is usually in London, where he is an ad hoc policy adviser to the national and city government, an honorary professor of psychiatry at Kings College, a senior editorial adviser to the journal Addiction, and a member of The Athenaeum. When he is not in the San Francisco Bay Area or London, he is usually in Washington D.C., where he serves as a frequent science and policy advisor to federal agencies, and where he has served previously as an appointee to a White House commission and several Secretarial task forces. From July 2009-2010, he served as Senior Policy Advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. When he is not in the San Francisco Bay Area or London or Washington D.C., he is usually in the Middle East, where since 2004 he has volunteered in the international humanitarian effort to rebuild Iraq’s mental health care system. This work has taken him to Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon to teach and consult with Iraqi health professionals and policy makers.

4 thoughts on “RBC Vampire Number Contest Winners Announced!”

  1. Picking up something from the thread at the original post, I think the "we use 10% of our brains" myth originally comes from a study of a brain condition (hydrocephaly?) that found that people with access to only 10% of their brain capacity still were functional. Ergo "we" can get by with only 10% of our brains (but most of us use much more). I'd look up the citation, but my brain is overloaded right now – maybe up to 12%.

  2. When I took PsychoBio, I learned that the "we only use 10% of our brain" saying is misleading in the sense that it implies we should use more of our brain. In fact, our professor told us that there are instances when people use much more of their brain, but with disastrous results. Those who suffer from epileptic seizures have been shown to have far more brain activity. I can't quite remember the number she used, but I basically walked away with the idea that the 10% number is useless and in fact, probably a good thing that we only use 10% at any one time, or our lives would be much, much different.

  3. My understanding is that the "10 percent of your brain" comes from early EEG studies that were able to detect electrical signals in only 10 percent of the brain, so it was assumed the other 90 percent was "silent." Subsequently the technology was refined and signals were picked up throughout the brain. I have no source for that explanation; read it somewhere long ago. It too may well be a vampire–but it sounds plausible.

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