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Conversation with Madame Flora

Madame Flora

Madame Flora conducts free psychic chats that help clients think about their problems. Everybody can solve their own problems with a little encouragement. Here is a transcript of a recent conversation with a client:
Client: future career
Mme. Flora: Do you have any goals? Your goals determine your future. What field interests you?
Client: no
Mme. Flora: You sound unhappy. What did you eat for lunch?
Client: pizza, I am happy
Mme. Flora: Has your treatment made you happy?
Client: treatment?
Mme. Flora: We must have a bad connection. I am getting some typos and broken lines.
Client: maybe
Mme. Flora: Can't you be more positive?
Client: i am positive
Mme. Flora: Positive thoughts can calm your nerves. What is your favorite sport?
Client: sleepingbag sliding
Mme. Flora: Beauty is the source of all true art and all science.
Client: is it?
Mme. Flora: Does talking about this bother you?
Client: no
Mme. Flora: Moving on to greener pastures... What is your favorite animal?
Client: koala
Mme. Flora: You will be sorry if you kiss an elephant in the lips.
Client: ?

Chat with Madame Flora

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Second-hand smoke can make you sick

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a recommendation to make all indoor public places and workplaces 100% smoke-free.[1] WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said that "there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke". Tobacco smoke has about 4000 known chemicals, and more than 50 of them are known to cause cancer. Approximately 200,000 workers die each year due to exposure to smoke at work. WHO estimates that around 700 million children, or almost half of the world's children, breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke at home.

In the United States, smoking kills over 440,000 people per year.
Death statistics

Learn how to quit smoking

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Helping others makes you feel good

We knew it all along. Our selfish nature may doubt the saying "it is better to give than to receive", but helping others can give us a moral boost. Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging while participants anonymously donated to or opposed real charitable organizations related to major societal causes. They found that the anterior sectors of the prefrontal cortex of the brain are more active when altruistic choices prevail over selfish material interests.

So, helping others is not only good for the people that you help -- it is good for you too. :-)

[1] Jorge Moll, Frank Krueger, Roland Zahn, Matteo Pardini, Ricardo de Oliveira-Souza , and Jordan Grafman, Human fronto-mesolimbic networks guide decisions about charitable donation, October 9, 2006, 10.1073/pnas.0604475103 [abstract]

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Database of Misspellings

On August 03, 2006, Google made available a database of words and adjacent word combinations, called N-grams, obtained by scanning 1,024,908,267,229 words of running text. The file of single words, or unigrams, contains 13,588,391 unique words.

On the surface, it would appear that this is a mountain of gold, but alas, the correct words are just as scarce as real gold. My unofficial estimate from looking at the list of single words is that up to 95% of the words are misspellings. Although the file has useful linguistic applications, not much can be done without great expenditure of manual effort. To give you an idea of what you can find in the unigram file, here is the word "BUSINESS" and some of the misspelled forms with their frequencies after consolidating differences in case, e.g. businnes 2771, Businnes 1692, and BUSINNES 556.

business 637134177, busines 475319, buisness 414822, busnes 325022, bussiness 267372, bussines 62980, buisiness 57730, busness 50547, busnesau 41934, businss 41188, bisiness 35434, businness 31919, busienss 29023, busniess 28329, businees 27374, businesse 26663, bsuiness 17297, busineess 16524, busuness 15509, busiiness 15095, businese 14907, buziness 14568, ubsiness 14367, bbusiness 14319, businesa 14126, busibess 13950, busineas 13819, busoness 13815, buseness 12346, busiuness 11329, businessa 11106, busieness 11081, buesiness 11048, busineass 11026, businiss 10846, buissness 10832, busioness 10817, busainess 10608, busuiness 10590, busoiness 10548, buseiness 10521, busibness 10475, businiess 10420, businessi 10330, buseeness 10234, businesso 10224, businessu 9845, businoess 9814, businoss 9813, busineiss 9732, busineoss 9704, bisnes 8466, bisness 7784, busnois 5288, businnes 5019, busseness 3596, buiseness 3252, buisnes 3186

Comments »

Josh Rubin said,
2007-09-07 @ 23:24:09

I don't see the problem, and I'm not surprised by the result. 95% of the words are misspelled (I almost spelled that wrong!), but that statistic is based on unweighted data: there are half a billion correct spellings, and a few million incorrect ones.

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What is reality?


Reality is the result of our perceptions as interpreted by our brain. If you don't believe it, here is the proof: A simple checkerboard consisting of black and white squares. There are no curved lines in the picture.Why do we see curved lines and what appears to be a bulge in the center of the picture? The picture elements combine to create crossed diagonal lines which interfere with our perception of the straight horizontal and vertical lines. Squint to see the diagonal lines that form a cross in the middle. If you still do not believe that there are no curved lines, take a ruler and check the edges. Even after we understand that there are no curved lines, we still see the curved lines. That is reality.

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Scientific Psychic News

From time-to-time it is necessary to record something that others might find useful. This is why this blog was created. RSS feeds are now available through this blog and the Scientific Psychic site. The Scientific Psychic site RSS can be accessed at:


The RSS postings to this blog can be accessed at:


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Scientific Psychic

Scientific Psychic® is a web site dedicated to the exploration of language and the human mind with the objective of encouraging critical thinking and a healthy life style.

I frequently get asked why I chose the name Scientific Psychic for this web site, considering that it has a lot of scientific information. The answer is that when I first had to choose a permanent domain name, most of the names that I wanted were already taken. In a brainstorm of desperation, I came up with Scientific Psychic. The name sounds like an oxymoron, but it is not bad, once you get past your preconceived prejudices.

One of the reasons why the term "psychic" came into my head was because I had a brother-in-law, now deceased, who believed that he had mental powers that could physically cause another person to trip and fall, or to remotely affect the movement of objects through telekinesis. He would tell stories about some of the events that had convinced him that he had these mental powers.

I have a strong scientific background and I was highly skeptical about my brother-in-law's paranormal abilities. His strong belief in his powers was equally matched by my skepticism. As I read more about paranormal phenomena, perception, and psychology, I became more convinced that paranormal phenomena are pure fantasies and misrepresentations of reality, and I began to wonder how a person can be deceived into believing these things.

I started organizing some material that resulted in the Scientific Psychic Workbook which examines what we can perceive and the physical limits of the human body. The workbook provides some criteria for evaluating perceptions objectively and for analyzing and organizing the information that we perceive.


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