Charlyn Wee via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Charlyn Wee via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Spooky Science Behind Ouija Boards

Charlyn Wee via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Charlyn Wee via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Since the 19th century, the Ouija board has been viewed as both a dangerous instrument of the occult and a kitschy game to break out at parties. To use it, a group of people must place their fingers on the pointer, or planchette, and watch as the "spirits” glide it over the letters and numbers on the board, effectively spelling out their message. Some attribute this phenomenon to supernatural forces, while others point to deceptive pranksters. The real answer, however, is as spooky as it is scientific. 

The ideomotor effect occurs when someone moves themself or an object without being conscious of their actions. This combined with a strong subconscious need for an answer, like what one might feel when using a Ouija board, leads to players moving the planchette without any knowledge of doing so. 

A 2012 study from the University of British Columbia investigated this effect by having test subjects answer factual yes or no questions both verbally and with a Ouija board. For the Ouija board portion of the experiment, participants were blindfolded and told they’d be answering with another person, but when the experiment began their partner quickly removed their hands from the planchette. For questions they were unsure about, participants using the Ouija answered correctly 65 percent of the time compared to just 50 percent of the time when responding verbally.

The results of the study suggest people have a "second intelligence" buried in their subconscious mind that can only be accessed under the right conditions. "Ask someone ...'What's the capital of Cambodia?' and they might say, 'I have no idea,'" said Docky Duncan, one of the researchers from UBC's Visual Cognition Lab who furthered their research on the subject in 2014. "But they might have heard it somewhere, and it may actually be inside your brain."

The fact that Ouija board games are more of a psychological experiment than a communion with the dead makes them no less creepy. Feel free to share this scientific tidbit at your next impromptu seance, or keep it to yourself and use the knowledge to extract secrets from the minds of your friends.

[h/t: Nerdist]

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iStock
Move Over, MoviePass: AMC Is Launching a $20 Per Month Subscription
iStock
iStock

Attention serial movie-watchers: There's a new subscription service vying for your attention. Nearly a year after MoviePass brought its fee down to less than $10 a month to see one movie a day, AMC Theatres is rolling out its own monthly plan as an alternative. As Variety reports, you can now see three movies per week at any AMC cinema if you pay $19.95 a month.

The new program, called AMC Stubs A-List, has some clear disadvantages compared to MoviePass. AMC's monthly fee is nearly twice as high and it's good for less than half the amount of movie tickets. And while AMC Stubs A-List only works at AMC locations, MoviePass can be used at pretty much any movie theater that accepts Mastercard.

But once you look at the fine print of both deals, AMC's selling points start to emerge. A subscription through AMC gets you access to films shown in 3D, IMAX, Dolby Cinema, and RealD—none of which are covered by MoviePass. And unlike MoviePass subscribers, people with AMC can watch multiple movies in a single day, watch the same movie more than once, and book tickets in advance online. (That means actually getting to see a big movie on opening weekend before it's been spoiled for you).

There's another reason MoviePass users may have to jump ship: Its critics say its business model is unsustainable. For every movie ticket that's purchased with MoviePass, the company has to pay the full price. That means MoviePass actually loses money as more people sign up.

This has led some people to speculate the service is on its way to collapse, but MoviePass insists it has a strategy to stay afloat. Instead of relying on money from subscriptions, it wants to use the consumer data it has collected from its millions of customers to turn a profit. It's also investing in movies through its MoviePass Ventures arm (the company helped fund the new movie Gotti, which is currently making headlines for its zero percent Rotten Tomatoes rating). But if those plans aren't enough to quiet the hesitations you have about the company, you'll have the chance to make the switch to AMC on June 26.

[h/t Variety]

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Sensorwake, Kickstarter
Wake Up to the Aroma of Cappuccino With This Scent-Emitting Alarm Clock
Sensorwake, Kickstarter
Sensorwake, Kickstarter

Some people need an aggressive alarm clock to get them out of bed, like Simone Giertz's slapping robot, or the singNshock, which zaps you if you hit the snooze button. For others, a gentler wakeup call is what does the trick. That's what you get with Sensorwake, a new alarm clock on Kickstarter that gradually stimulates three of your senses to ease you into the day.

During the first minute of the alarm's three-minute wakeup process, it releases a pleasant aroma. You have your choice of scent cartridges, including cappuccino, peppermint, rose garden, chocolate factory, orange juice, and pine forest. A single cartridge lasts 30 days before it needs to be switched out.

After reviving your nose, Sensorwake activates its visual component: a soft light. For the final minute, the gadget plays sound like a traditional alarm clock, but instead of a blaring buzzer, you hear one of five upbeat melodies. If all that isn't enough to get you on your feet, you can hit snooze and wait for the cycle to start over in 10 minutes.

With more than three weeks left in its Kickstarter campaign, Sensorwake has already multiplied its original funding goal of $30,000. To reserve a clock and two scent capsules of your own, you can pledge $59 or more. Shipping is estimated for November of this year.

[h/t Mashable]

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