Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Astrology is “the study of the supposed influences of the stars and planets on human affairs by their positions in relation to each other” according to the Merriam-Webster’s School Dictionary.  Some information on this topic includes how according to astronomers, the signs of the zodiac refer to constellations of stars which are used as a sort of road map for looking into space, not an insight into human behavior.  The point of view of astrologists is that by mapping out the movements of the celestial bodies, they can predict human behavior based on when someone was born.  Astronomers disagree based on the facts that the constellations of the zodiac are too far away from earth to have any real affect on us.  The stars of the zodiac are not even in our solar galaxy, and therefore do not even effects us gravitationally, let alone by a mysterious force that affects behavior. 
The assumption of the horoscopes produced by astrologists is that they will be correct in their predictions.  The consequences of this assumption can be that they turn out to be true, either by coincidence or by will of the believer reading the horoscope, or the prediction will prove to be untrue.  The possible negative consequence comes when the believer does something risky to make the prediction true, this could include investments that turn out badly later on.  On the popular astrology website there is a disclaimer that notes that the information that can be found should be used only for entertainment purposes. 
The question at hand is whether or not astrology can be considered a substantial science.  According to science it is not a science because the readout of horoscopes cannot possibly be true based on scientifically based fact and statistics.  One example of statistics is asserted here, and the scientific information was gathered from Professor Sowers of General Astronomy here at Stockton. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Midge, the Spiritual Advisor

I've always been the type of person to believe in spirits, but to be cautious.  After a few months of hearing my friends go to this psychic, I had to see what it was all about.  I reluctantly decided to call Midge.

The main assumption I had, was that I was going to walk into this woman's house, and she was going to scream that I was the devil and not welcome, my tarot cards would be bad, or I was going to die soon.  Obviously, I also had the normal ideas that she would beat around the bush and would tell me the obvious, "You're going to get married", "You're going to have two kids" etc.  Even though I have friends who swear by Midge, I was not a firm believer until I saw it myself.

I'm so glad I took this opportunity because I loved my experience.  Once I arrived at her house, I decided I was going to be open, and optimistic and I am so glad I did.  I knew from the get-go that I was not going to answer questions, or give more information than I should, to assure Midge was the real deal.  Before our session, I told her my name and my birthday, the rest of the session was all her and the "spirits" doing.  My experience was very positive and eye opening to new things.  I was very lucky, with having all my cards and "fortunes" coming up positive, and prospourous. The one thing that truly made me a believer was when she was "speaking" with my Grandmother who passed away 3 1/2 years ago.  She told me things only she would know. We talked for over two hours, about my past, my future, stress and about my family.  Midge was telling me things going on with my family that no one else would have known. 

Other than my experience, there are many different kinds of mediums and psychics out there and on television today.  You may not know exactly what a psychic, or medium, is or does.  Some basic information is that a mediumship is defined as the practice of certain people, known as mediums, to mediate communication between spirits of the dead and other human beings.  While no evidence has been accepted by the wider scientific community in support of the view that there has been communication between the living and the dead, some parapsychologists say that some of their research suggests that such communication may have taken place.  More about the technical definitions can be found on Wikipedia

In conclusion, I'm just saying to have an open mind.  Times have changed, no longer do we have to have a séance, with crazy candles and languages, now we can sit at a dinner table and have conversations with other spirits.  Even if you experience a psychic or medium just for fun it was an exhilarating experience.  I cannot wait to do it again.  But, my interests sparked way before my friends told me about Midge by just watching television shows about the paranormal. 

This video is from a television show on A&E, Psychic Kids.

-Jenny Robertson

Saturday, January 28, 2012

USO's and the Baltic Sea

The purpose of this blog was to spread the knowledge of deep sea UFO’s which are also known as USO’s, Unidentified Submerged Objects.  Many people talk about UFO’s, but rarely mention USO’s.

The world’s waters have not been completely explored and sightings have been around for years.  In my point of view, if USO’s are real, I wouldn’t be surprised, but if they aren’t it’s still a fun thought to entertain.

According to the History Channel’s UFO Files: Deep Sea UFO’s episode, in 1492 Christopher Columbus wrote in his journal an eye witness account of a USO.   They also mention that the world’s only government documented USO incident happened in Nova Scotia, Canada on October 4, 1967.  “Witnesses reported seeing an object 60 feet in length moving in an easterly direction before it descended rapidly into the water, making a bright splash on impact.” (http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/ufo/002029-1500.01-e.html)

To watch the full episode of UFO File’s go here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5915586075736046554

The latest USO sighting I could find happened this past June.  Here’s a Fox News Clip: 

While searching for deep sea treasures, a team of ocean explorers from Sweden ended up finding a UFO-like looking object instead.

Information obtained on the ocean explorer website shows that the object was found at 285 ft (87 meters) below the surface of the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland.  The leader of the ocean explorer team, Peter Lindberg, claims that the object is 197 ft (60 meters) in diameter and forms a complete circle.  He also says that next to object, there is a 1000 ft (300 meters) slide track.

Some people compare this found object to Han Solo’s ship in Star Wars, the Millennium Falcon

I for one cannot explain the slide track next to the object, but for my interpretation and inference of the photographs I feel it looks like a rock formation that is aesthetically similar to the Millennium Falcon.  Lindberg and his team are currently fundraising for another diving excursion to unmask this mystery.   

Do you think it’s a USO?

For more information:

Here is a link to a great website that has listings of some radar/sonar reports of possible USO’s:

Here’s a link to world maps of reported UFO sightings.  For whichever hemisphere map you choose to look at, if you look at the bodies of water around the continents, the dots indicate a USO sighting.

If you want to follow the ocean explorer’s team, you can check out their official site here:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mozart's Effect

“The Mozart Effect”: An Example of the Scientific Method in Operation
            Baby and child geniuses. We all see them youtube, on TV, or in other parts of the media showing off their big talents and brain skills in completing puzzles, retaining and understanding knowledge of extensive subjects, etc. Nowadays, with ideas such as these within the media, some parents, and even future parents, are trying to figure out ways to make their child “gifted”. One of the ways parents tend to do, besides provide healthy nutrition and care for their child, is to expose them to classical music. In today’s market, there are hundreds of companies targeting customers in the lure and promise that their child will develop an intellectual, memory, and creative development if they listen to their CDs or watch the BluRays or DVDs. In the midst of the modernity of the 21st century there are now even Ipad and Iphone applications that are specialized to help the child be exposed to classical music in the hopes that they will become smarter. This idea is known as the “Mozart Effect”. The question at issue is does this "Mozart Effect" actually represented by scientific reasoning and the scientific method, or is it just a false theory? “The Mozart Effect” is an example of pseudoscience.
             One way that pseudoscience is different from regular science is that pseudoscience does not follow the scientific process. One of the biggest aspects of the science process, discussed in Chapter 1 of our textbook, Scientific Perspectives on Pseudoscience and the Paranormal, is that scientists must be able to replicate the results or conclusions of studies done by other fellow scientists. The original finding of the Mozart Effectm, a study done by Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky back in 1993 reported that students showed “an increase on spatial reasoning scores of about 8 to 9 IQ points from substest of the Stanford-Binet Scale of Intelligence after listening to a Mozart piano sonata relative to listening to a relaxation tape or silence”
            Although this scientific experiment was done in a controlled environment, this study was made famous due to assumptions. The first mistake was to see that correlation indicates causation, meaning that if two objects, actions, or things are related to each other, i.e., correlated, than it is reason to say that they cause one another. This is not necessarily true.  For example, what if one day I decide to get yummy hot chocolate from Dunkin Donuts.  I go home, and scarf it down in the cold weather. Later, I get severely sick and have a stomach virus. Is it safe to say that the hot chocolate caused me to become sick? Not necessarily.  I later read that other individuals have also gotten sick due to this infamous hot chocolate. Just because I drank the hot chocolate, and others as well, does it really mean that is the only cause to my, as well as others’ sickness? Probably not. I would have eaten and drank a lot of other things that day that could have also been part of my diet that could have also gotten me sick. Thus, correlation does not indicate causation. We often also use this mistake in health-related studies. Often there are health unkies who drink excess protein shakes and vegetable juices under the assumption that it will lower their chances of cancer, etc. Most of these studies are correlational studies, not causational. Thus, correlation and causation implies false hope. If we constantly make correlations the cause of other items than our world would not have the open-mindedness that we have in today's society. Think about it! What if every court case in America immediately assumed that correleation indicates causation. Many more individuals would probably be in jail for being at a scene of a crime- i.e. correlated to the crime scene, but did not cause it. Correlation and causation play a big role in our everyday society.
       A second indicator is that people made this one case famous without replicating it for it’s reliability. This goes against the concept of scientitific reliability. That is, if a scientist gets those same results again and again, than it can be made true. Ideally, it should be other scientists that are able to replicate another individual's study and get the same results,, than the study can be considered true. For example, let us take the concept of gravity. Millions of scientists around the world have proven that gravity does exist- i.e. there are studies out there that makes gravity a plausible scienttfiic theory.
             Going back to our study,  In 1995, when other individuals such as Cartsens and his colleagues decided to replicate the Mozart Effect, they found that there was no difference in performance on a Minnesota Paper Form Board Test between those who had listened to Mozart before (the experimental group), than those who meditated in silence (the control group). Thus the Mozart Effect appeared to not have an effect on these children. Another scientist, by the name of Newman, studied with his colleagues a group of students who either listened to a Mozart sonata, a relaxation tape, or sat in silence and then later were tested on questions from the Ravens  Progressive Matricies. Newman also found no Mozart effect. Steele, Bass, and Crook (1999) replicated Raucher’s experiment and came up with the same similarities as Cartsens and Newman- the Mozart Effect, indeed did not work.
            So then why the hype? In other words, why do people still stick with this point of view that the Mozart Effect works when it does not? A large part of it comes from the market and media trying to sell products. Every parent wants a child to succeed in life and many will do whatever it takes to help their child reach the potentional they see fit. So, markets often manipulate studies and make false claims in the hopes that parents will buy these CDs, DVDs, etc. so that they make a profit. Even famous companies such as Disney market on the Mozart Effect in the hopes to get better media ratings, such as with their show Little Einsteins in which cartoon characters play musical instruments and classical music while your child listens and engages in their activities.
            Some parents, although learning and acknowledge that the Mozart Effect still has to be tested, continue to buy into these items. Perhaps it is a sense of hope and faith that their child will become a genius and get them famous that keeps parents constantly buying more “intellectually stimulating music.” One thing is for certain though: although the Mozart Effect may not truly exist, some children do have a positive impact while listening to music. Such as this one:

Lawson, Timothy J. "Chapter 2.4 "The Mozart Effect"" Scientific Perspectives on Pseudoscience and the Paranormal: Readings for General Psychology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2007. 39-45