Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?


Rossendale 60s Festival

I was looking forward to the Rossendale 60s Festival last weekend but the horrible weather put a dampener on things.

Certainly when we visited one of the venues, Whittaker Park, it was sparsely attended.

And other venues around town looked empty with none of the live music I expected. Perhaps they were saving themselves for the evening.

Anyway here are some pictures to remind  you of those days of flower power and hippy trippy stuff!

There was even a row of mini cars to remind us we actually used to make popular cars in the UK.

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Burnley Canal Festival 2017

For some reason I can’t remember I missed the 2016 Festival although I had enjoyed the 2015 one.

So I was determined to go along this year. I was also keen to see how they were making use of the new staging area built on Sandygate as part of the canal-side development.

Although it takes place at the weekend it doesn’t run over to the bank holiday for some reason so Sunday was the only day we could go – along with two lively grandchildren.

So down Sandygate to the main hub; food-stalls, live music from the flamboyant Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band and rat-pack style music from The Boogie Bill Roberts Trio, free canoe rides, art & craft workshops, henna hand-painting and lots more.

We didn’t spend much time at the Inn on the Wharf end of the festival which is where the rides and other play activities were based. (Organisers please note that The Inn on the Wharf wan’t up to scratch with out of order ladies toilets and no chilled bottles of beer on a day that they wished they could have every weekend).

We’d hoped to go for a ride on the canal taxi but it was only a one-way trip with long queues. So no chance to re-create that Titanic moment from the last time we did it in 2015.

Keeping a wary eye on the kids’ whereabouts I found lots of interesting photo opportunities but not enough time to capture it all. Here are some of the pictures I took.

NB I wish I’d taken some of the diverse food stalls but was too busy eating some Lancashire hotpot with mushy peas and red cabbage!

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Mums, boost your children’s skills for life!

s1030648_2Just 30 minutes a day is enough to influence your child’s intelligence and social skills.

Scientists studied 8,000 children over 16 years using data from the Millennium Cohort Study. They found:

  • Those whose mothers concentrated on educational tasks such as helping with homework or reading books grew up to have better cognitive abilities.
  • Those whose mothers focussed on recreational activities such as singing or painting, had better social skills.

Of course this doesn’t prove that it’s the voters involvement that dos the trick. Sociable mothers are more likely to play with their children and are also more likely to produce sociable ones. Separating genetic influences from environmental ones is the old nature/nurture dilemma.

Nevertheless the researchers think parents should take note. Marco Francesconi from the University of Essex thinks “just half an hour is enough to make a difference.  While children who spend more time doing educational activities will go on to do better in university and in the workplace, children who spend time doing recreational activities are les aggressive and integrate better into groups”.

He thinks that simply giving people attention could combat inequalities. Children with mothers without university degrees are more likely to do badly in school. “Our study shows that if the mother with no education spends a lot of time doing educational activities with her child, she can make up half the difference


Could Jeremy Corbin get to be No. 1?

Jeremy Corbin might not be everyone’s cup of tea – to put it politely – but there are now two Xmas songs about him vying for your attention.

The one above by Jeremy and the Corbanistas and one written by the writers of the satirical Corbin the Musical revealed on a politics show and found on this link here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38133302/embed


Brits have happiness gene – did I read that correctly?

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figure_standing_on_blank_note_text_10947Apparently we’re not such a bunch of stiff upper-lipped grumpy old men as we make out.

Researchers are actually suggesting that Britain comes high up the list of countries with a “happiness gene“.

That puts us alongside a diverse range of countries likeMexico, Ecuador, Ghana and Nigeria, as well as the ones you might expect such as Sweden and Denmark.

Gloomier countries include Arab and eastern Asian states such as Iraq, Egypt, South Korea and eastern european countries like Bulgaria and Romania.

Although the authors of the study say that happiness is due to a mutation that boosts the bliss molecule in the brain rather than a countries economic status or disease it’s hard not to think about the repressive regimes in the gloomy list – although corrupt African countries appear on the happy list.

Michael Minkov, professor of cross-cultural awareness at Varna University of Management in Bulgaria…

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The Knotted Gun

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S6000450I’d seen, and photographed this bronze sculpture of a Colt Magnum revolver with a knot in the barrel a couple of times on my business trips to Sweden.

But I didn’t know what it was about – although I thought it was probably an anti-gun ownership protest, perhaps typical of a country noted for its neutrality.

It turns out that it was designed by Carl Fredrik Bengt Wilhelm Reuterswärd in response to the murder of John Lennon. Called The Knotted Gun or Non-violence it was seen as a political piece in the manner of Picasso’s Guernica.

Reuterswärd had met Lennon and Ono in Switzerland in 1969 and had discussed creating a piece that depicted the concept of peace. After Lennon’s death Ono asked him to continue.

He said “I was filled with bitterness and anger and immediately began to create a symbol for John Lennon and everyone else who…

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Turn off canned music in pubs!

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cropped-cnv00039.jpgFollowing this week’s reporting of restaurants being too noisy the Good Pub Guide is recommending that pubs turn off canned music.

The editor of the guide said “We get more complaints about background music in pubs than we do about almost anything else, many pub customers absolutely loathe it

Customers have said “at best it’s bad manners foisting a random choice of music on you, at worst it interferes with people’s hearing” a point made by the campaigners against noisy restaurants.

Another customer said “Somewhere in the past someone persuaded publicans that canned music relaxes customers and encourages them to spend more. It doesn’t” (That’s not strictly true because music does influence spending patterns).

Apparently customers have been complaining about music in pubs since the guide was first launched 35 years ago. “Pubs should be aware of how strongly huge numbers of the public…

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