So I’m reading today that tests have shown a small electric shock to the brain can ‘boost maths ability’.
Scientists at Oxford University used a one milliamp current to stimulate specific parts of the brain whilst testing subjects on mathematical puzzles. Results showed that those receiving the buzz performed markedly better than those who didn’t.
The recent findings, reported in the journal Current Biology, will come as welcome news to those of us who struggle with numbers on a day-to-day basis. I now look forward to supermarket escalators, turning on the TV and everything else that comes with a mandatory, albeit minor, electric shock. Better news still for sufferers of dyscalculia – a condition which can make everyday tasks like school, shopping or budgeting a real struggle.
Electric shocks seemed to be all the rage last month – earlier in November you may have seen Russian artist Oleg Mavromati invite members of the public to issue him with electric shocks over the internet. Strapped into his homemade ol’ sparky, Mavromati received the shocks every time 100 users voted him ‘guilty’ (the 50 cent cost of voting small beans to bored teenagers).
Mavramati is wanted on a charge of ‘inciting religious animosity’ after an earlier stunt in which he performed a mock crucifixion (in the name of art, of course). In the process he annoyed just about everyone you’d expect and attracted the heat of the law.
In this latest episode, visitors to his website were asked whether they thought he was guilty or innocent of the standing charge. If the overall number of votes for guilty was double the number for innocent, he would have apparently received a massive, fatal electric shock. As it turns out, voters chose not to solicit the zap. Boo.
And even if they had, would he actually have fried, or would he have just got really damn good at algebra..?