Sunday, October 23, 2005

Hand gestures: some tricks from politicians

As much as 80% if communications is in the body language, and hands are one of the most important aspects to consider. Politicians are generally well trained in the art of hand gestures. Robert Phipps, a specialist who advises salespeople and politicians on effective communication, reveals some of their tricks:
  • Show your hands: Never place hands in pockets or behind your back, but always in full view. Otherwise the message is: I cannot be trusted.
  • Nothing crossed: Keep arms and legs uncrossed, possibly even leave your jacket unbuttoned. This means: I am open and honest with you.
  • Keep it low: Don't turn palms too far upwards or raise arms too high. This is a sign of surrender, and weakness. But palms slightly up and outwards is seen as open and friendly.
  • Palms down: The opposite of the above - this comes across as authoritarian and slightly threatening, so should be used with caution.
  • "I am in control gesture": This is done by extending the hands and then turning the palms downwards in a sort of patting motion. It's favoured by politicians, but has to be used with care. Better, according to Mr. Phipps, is first showing the hands are empty, and in a seamless movement cupping them slightly and moving them towards the body.
See also the top ten tips from

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Indian boy has 25 fingers, toes

"Devender Harne, 10, was born with 25 fingers and toes -- six fingers on each hand, six toes on one foot and seven on the other." video link.

Devender says his extra fingers and toes are a help rather than a hindrance. "Unlike other instances where the extra physical feature is not fully-grown or is of no use, Devender's toes and fingers are active and normal in size."

The Guinness Book of World Records is investigating whether he has the most usable fingers and toes in the world.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Biometrics on the rise

From [oktober 11, '05] "They walk up to an ATM and press their thumbs on the screen. Out spits the cash. - New York? No. Chicago? No. The mountains and jungles of Colombia"

The use of Biometrics (human identification through physical or behavioral characteristics) is on the rise. Yet in some markets, such as the US, progress has been slow: the issue of privacy is one of the main reasons. South America has become a budding market for fingerprint technology, because people are already used to using fingerprints for identification.

Some of the latest technologies are very interesting, for example body odor or brainwave recognition, or analyzing your typing rhythm!

The use of biometrics would have been much more widespread, if it were not for some problems: none of the technologies are completely reliable, they tend to be quite costly, and some are inefficient. There are also many people who feel uneasy with the most commonly used biometrics technologies, such as fingerprint and eye recognition. Sticking your eye in front of your camera, putting your finger or hand on a surface touched by thousands of others, and having personal things about ourselves recorded - not everyone feels comfortable with that. For all these reasons, a lot of different biometrics technologies are still being developed and tried out.

Aside from fingerprint identification, other types of Biometrics are:
  • Facial recognition - based on facial features or pattern of flood vessels underneath the skin.
  • Hand geometry - based on the shape of the hand or the pattern of the veins
  • Eye recognition - based on either iris (which surrounds the pupil) or retina (pattern of blood vessels at the back of the eye).
  • Voice verification
  • Signature recognition
  • Keystroke dynamics - the rhythm with which one types is distinctive!
  • Nail recognition
  • DNA

Biometrics technologies still under development:

  • Mouse dynamics
  • Gait recognition - the way you walk
  • Scent and body odor
  • Automated Dental Identification System
  • Ear lobe measurements
  • Thermal emission
  • Brainwave reading
  • More

The fact that the fingerprint lines or dermatoglyphics can reveal information about ourselves, such as diseases, is dispelled as a myth by biometrics developers and researchers. True, the biometrics technologies probably do not record the relevant information from our hands. However, the idea that these lines reveal information about ourselves is of course not a myth at all: those who say so just have not been keeping up with the latest research. Or they are purposefully ignoring it in order to market their biometrics technologies.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Left-handers better at survival

...and he said, "Yes, God did it and he did it left handed."This confused me a bit, so I asked,"What makes you say God did this with his left hand?"

"Well," he said, "we learned at Sunday School last week that Jesus sits on God's right hand"

Fact1: One in every 10 people is left-handed. Males are almost one-and-a-half times more likely to be left-handed than females.

Fact2: Left-handers are more likely to have health problems, and score in more extreme ranges (high/low) in IQ tests compared to right-handers.

Fact 3: Left handers have an advantage in sports. A higher than average number of successful sportspeople are left-handers.

Debated: Some researchers say that left-handers are more likely to be creative.

Latest Fact: [Dec. '04] Researchers in France found that in violent cultures there is a higher incidence of left-handed people. They speculate that left handers are more likely to survive in a fight. Whatever the reason, left handers have shown to be better at survival. Otherwise, considering that they are more likely to have health problems, they would have become extinct. [source: New Scientist]

Some famous left handers: Homer and Bart Simpson, Matt Groening, Beethoven, DaVinci, Henry Ford, Einstein, Newton, Bill Gates, Alexander the Great, Charlie Chaplin, Morgan Freeman, Jay Leno, Oprah Winfrey, Robert Redford and Robert De Niro.

External links

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Human Hands emit Light!

A study by Misuo Hiramatsu at Hamamatsu Photonics in Japan discovered that human hands emit light all the time, in particular the fingernails. Other parts of the body that emit light are the forehead and bottoms of our feet.

"The detector found that fingernails release 60 photons, fingers release 40 and the palms are the dimmest of all, with 20 photons measured."

Fritz-Albert Popp, a leading world expert on biologically related photons, believes that the light pulses out with basic rhythms, but become irregular in unhealthy people. In the future, the light from our hands and rest of our body may be used to diagnose medical problems.