Option Paralysis

How ice cream can make us freeze

When I was little, I loved ice cream more than just about anything. But, as my mom tells it, I would sometimes get to Baskin-Robbins and be so overwhelmed by the many delicious options that I would be overwhelmed with indecision and take the easy way out: forgoing a cone.*

It turns out there’s scientific evidence that my mind actually was paralyzed by too much information. The bonus in listening to this exploration of choice is worthwhile if only to hear Oliver Sacks describe forcing himself to eat 22 pounds of liver.

Also in today’s links: what not to do while home sick, unanswered questions about “the hobbit,” and more.

  • A friend has a theory that when you get to heaven you can learn the answers to any questions. He plans to ask what the deal is with Katie Holmes. I would ask what the deal is with Homo floresiensis. While a consensus has emerged that considers the remarkable specimen found in Indonesia is a distinct species of hominid, there are still many unanswered questions.
  • A woman who worked at a Swiss insurance company got canned after being seen active on Facebook after calling in sick. The employee caught browsing PopSci.com, though, got a raise.
  • A collection of old pictures of medical students posing with the cadavers they worked on may just prove that the YouTube era was inevitable. The writer argues — with good reason — that these images are incredibly disrespectful, but they’re actually relatively restrained. I shudder to think what pictures some of our would-be doctors are taking nowadays on omnipresent cell phones and digital cameras.
  • Although the industry refutes these findings, there is evidence that drilling for natural gas is affecting drinking water. This does not necessarily make the water itself harmful, but raises the possibility that methane could escape from the water and fill people’s homes — where it can be both dangerous to breathe and flammable.

*Of course, periodically I would choose that disgusting chewing gum ice cream, so maybe I just wasn’t very smart.