Thursday, February 09, 2006

Money drives us crazy: it's official: "Late at night, in a basement laboratory at Stanford University, Brian Knutson made a startling discovery: our brains lust after money, just like they crave sex. It was May 2004, and Knutson, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the California university, was sending student volunteers through a high-power imaging machine called an MRI. Deep inside each subject's head, electrical currents danced through a bundle of neurons about the size and shape of a peanut. Blood was rushing to the brain's pleasure centre as students executed mock stock and bond trades. On Knutson's screen, this region of the brain, the core of human desire, flashed canary yellow. The pleasure of orgasm, the high from cocaine, the rush of buying Google at $US450 a share - the same neural network governs all three, Knutson, 38, concluded. What's more, our primal pleasure circuits can, and often do, override our seat of reason, the brain's frontal cortex, the professor says. In other words, stocks, like sex, sometimes drive us crazy".

More booze means LESS crime! "Violent crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales fell by 11% at the end of last year in spite of a liberalisation of licensing laws, according to new figures. The Home Office has said figures for the last three months of 2005 show an 11% overall drop in violent crime, with a 21% drop in serious violent crime, compared with the same period in 2004. The figures include a six-week period when the police were given 2.5 million pounds to target alcohol-related crime. New licensing laws came into force in November to allow for extended drinking hours, amid warnings of increased alcohol-related disorder.

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