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Positive Sinking

Chew on This

By Akshay Patil

features columnist

Nov. 2002 Prevention magazine reported that chewing gum may rev up short-term and long-term memory by as much as 35% (Based on a 75-person British study, reported in Appetite, June 1, 2002).

It also says that chewing gum increases one’s heart rate, which boosts blood flow to the brain. It may also stimulate insult production.

Conclusion: chew while you learn -- study participants remembered the most if they chewed before, during and after seeing the words they were later tested on.

-- adolan

Isn’t it warm, fuzzy research like this that makes you so glad that you go to such a prestigious place like the Massachusetts Institvte of Technology, where you too can do amazing cutting-edge research? I know it does for me.

In fact, it even makes me want to do a little experiment of my own. Sadly, the wondrous result that “self-dating” really is good for you (reduces the chance of prostate cancer!) has already been verified, so I must come up some new amazing idea while I sit here at my computer, left to my own devices.

Haha! Did you see that? Like the witty, “self-dating” --> “left to my own devices”? That’s the sort of quality humor we here at Positive Sinking like to promote. So next time you’re in a fresh produce aisle, remember, “If it’s not Positive Sinking, it won’t make fun of your thing.” (And by “thing,” I mean jellyfish)

Well, no amazing ideas for experimentation have popped into mind -- I contemplated urging all of you to do something ruthlessly absurd, but given this is MIT and my sad insecurity about my reader base, I’m scared that not a soul would do anything and I’d once again begin to question why it is I spend my Wednesday afternoons indoors writing this silly piece of stream-of-consciousness when I could be outside doing fun stuff like reading poetry or beating nuns.

Note: the author of this column does not condone the beating of nuns... nuns are nice people, as far as the author can tell, though the author is not sure, having never really talked to a nun, as far as the author can remember.

Nuns do, however, look remarkably like penguins if you squint your eyes really hard, and as far as the author is concerned, looking like penguins is never a bad thing. In fact, the decision of the author to even SAY “nun beating” was because of the fleeting desire to make an absurdly obscure allusion to a “Bloom County” comic strip printed on March 27, 1982, which actually, upon review, refers to “husband beating.” It may sound strange to you, but this sort of thing is quite common really.

Well, now that I’ve exhausted the 100-plus word rants that were sitting around in my head concerning masturbation and nun beating (haha! there it is again!), I guess I should probably get around to saying something very meaningful about the astonishing facts you have just presented me with.

The British have a magazine called Appetite? That’s amazing! Isn’t this the country that is renowned all the world over for having horrible food? Not that I can personally testify to this fact, as the last time I was under the Union Jack was many many years ago, but I certainly don’t see many “British Cuisine” restaurants around here.

And Britons are people who, according to alert reader Akhil Shashidhar, call a certain cereal “Honey Nut Loops” (for those of you wondering, yes, I did copy and paste his last name from the e-mail message). But you know, if you read that out loud in a thick British accent, it’d probably sound better than “Honey Nut Cheerios” because everything just sounds that much better when pronounced in a foreign accent.

That’s why all of us should learn to speak with a Canadian accent... just do it, eh?

Do you think it’s painfully obvious that Positive Sinking is already running low on things to write about? Do you have a differing opinion on the matter of nun beating? Send e-mail to and add some sanity to the madness. The horror, the horror.