After an interminable wait, the first brain-boosting tDCS headset has finally received FCC approval and will begin shipping in the next few days. Dubbed the Foc.us, the headset jolts your prefrontal cortex with electricity, improving your focus, reaction time, and ability to learn new skills. The Foc.us is being targeted at gamers looking to improve their skillz, but tDCS has the potential to improve — or more accurately to overclock — almost every aspect of your life.
To give its full name, tDCS stands for transcranial direct current stimulation. Transcranial simply means that the direct current (i.e. from a battery rather than the AC mains) is passed across a region of your brain. In the case of the Foc.us, the direct current passes between the cathode and anode, which are placed over your prefrontal cortex. Basically, by pumping electrons into your brain, your neurons, which communicate via spikes of electricity, become more excitable. This means that they can fire more quickly, improving your reaction time. Furthermore, when you remove the current, your neurons are imbued with additional neuroplasticity — in other words, they more readily make new connections, improving your ability to learn new skills.
I saw this cliché tumblr photo post with like clouds or whatever and it had text over it that read “why is our generation so sad?”
and like it’s funny because the answer is right there in the photo that has thousands of notes: our generation (at least a lot of our generation that is on tumblr) uses the internet as a vehicle for getting attention, and when you are sad you get attention and so everyone wallows in that sadness, reblogs depressing things, hyperbolizes depression, falsely self-diagnose themselves with emotional and mental disorders that don’t exist but that then are born out of nothing simply because people convince themselves they are there…and the internet gives a kind of glamor or glory to being sad, because it suggests a depth and human complexity that we assume cannot be present in people who are happy. This isn’t true, or course, but essentially, being sad is “in” especially on a site like tumblr where depressing things are popular and allow one to gain attention and a fallacious sense of care from others. Now I’m not talking about people who are actually depressed and who actually use their blogs as an outlet. I do that myself too. But I realized about a year ago that a lot of the times when I would go on tumblr, the only reason I was sad was because half of the posts on my dashboard were sad. Even something as simple as “humorous” posts like “I look like shit all the time :)” are inherently sad and depressive and people need to realize that (as the #1 rule in behavioral psych) behavior affects attitude, NOT vise versa. If you put yourself down repeatedly, insult yourself and your body and continuously wallow in sadness without trying to feel better about it, then you WILL be sad because it is the behavior itself that induces the mood. If you try to act happier, if you stop repeating the negative things you are used to saying, even if it is something as seemingly trivial and negligible as “I look like shit today”, if you really try to stop yourself from saying things like that, from constantly bombarding yourself with things that are sad, you will ultimately change your attitude as well. Again I’m not talking about people who are actually depressed and use tumblr as an outlet, I’m talking about the thousands of people who are actually mentally and emotionally stable and could reach happiness if they stop forcing depression on themselves when it is not there. (Though the behavior-affects-attitude ideology also works for those who suffer from depression, so remember that if you try to act happier, if you smile more, laugh more, you can feel better after a while). I myself was severely depressed over a year ago until I realized that most of it was coming from the fact that I was not trying to force myself out of the sorrow because it was a comfortable feeling. That’s the key. You have to recognize that you and only you have the power to change how you feel. And that makes you really powerful indeed
I rarely answer my telephone, often forget to check voicemail, and can take a shockingly long time to return phone calls.
So sue me.
The telephone is intrusive, especially for introverts, whose brains don’t switch gears all that quickly. When we’re deep in thought, a ringing telephone is like a shrieking alarm clock in the morning.
And we often give bad phone—awkward, with pauses. We struggle without visual cues, and our tendency to ponder before we talk doesn’t play well on the telephone. Being stuck on a too-long call makes me want to chew off my own leg to escape.
Sometimes, if I’m feeling devil-may-care, I’ll pick up calls from far-flung friends who want to catch-up, But I more often let them go to voicemail and then make a date (via email) for us to talk. My friends understand.
Dislike of the phone is often presented as a moral failing. But honestly, it’s not the people on the phone we dislike, it’s the instrument of delivery.