NOTE: Count how many times you yawn reading this.

Driving back from work, a few blocks from home, I yawned and told my coworker: “I’m so tired.” This led to a question – why do we yawn? Well, apparently, nobody knows.

While more research can be done on the action, it’s not widely discussed because it does not seem to cause serious problems.

Certain facts, however, have been discovered – we all yawn and so do most other animal classes. The process is involuntary so we cannot consciously control it. On average, we yawn for six seconds and start yawning at about 11 weeks after conception (that’s before you’re born).

Two main theories exists, not mutually exclusive, as to why we yawn – physiological and social.

To start, yawning can be seen as a body stretch. Another theory, notes that yawning could be connected to our circadian rhythms, as part of moving from an awake to asleep state and vice versa. A 2008 Gallup study, tested the “brain-cooling hypothesis” of yawning. Basically, the results show that we may yawn when our brain becomes warmer to cool it down. Also, outside temperatures seem to affect our yawning frequency.

We all know that when we’re bored, we yawn. Observations have suggested that could be due to the slower breathing, hence the decreased amount of oxygen, however, studies never confirmed this idea. Going back to the radiator hypothesis, yawning when bored could be the body’s way of splashing some “cold water” on the brain to wake it up.

Also, yawning is proven contagious for typical, well-adjusted people. The function could be connected to the primitive emphatic mechanisms and self awareness – once realize our surroundings, we mimic the faced around us.

So, what’s your yawn number?

P.S. Not sure what your number means since we still don’t know why we yawn but it should help you see a correlation between just reading on the subject and the actual action.


A Tamarind Tale

Different foods have always fascinated me. I will pretty much try any edible matter.

Bright and early, Monday morning, my coworker and I were going through our usual routine of making the office coffee as she pulled out a large, peanut-resembling, brown piece and cracked the top.

Tamarind within its shell

The fruit, as she called it, was brown-red, mushy and yucky-looking. Now, curiosity trumped squeamishness, so I finished peeling the shell and pulled a few pieces off to taste. It was surprisingly sweet, the closest flavor parallel would be a very thick apple butter.

Tamarind out of the shell

My coworker told me that the fruit is called tamarind and a Filipino friend gave it to her and explained that in the Philippines it is used in and as candy. Apparently, tamarind is also used in juices, syrups and even Worcestershire sauce. Moreover, the fruit contains antibacterial elements and people in many countries use it to treat stomach disorders, to decrease fever and help with other ailments.

The coolest thing about the interesting fruit, my coworker and I came to a conclusion, are the seeds. Those aren’t ordinary, black or brown, but this beautiful red-orange color, slightly reminiscent of tiny gemstones.

Tamarind seeds

Even in the U.S. you can find tamarind in Asian stores and even occasionally Walmart.


Psych 101 Observations

Just as most everyone with a New Year’s Resolution, I am failing on mine by September. Even though words aren’t posted, don’t be mistaken I am still learning daily and I am sure you are too.

Recently, I switched jobs and since now I get to work solely with grown-ups for the second time since college, here comes my profound lesson of the day. One of my coworkers has an interesting theory, she says: “I believe we can all get along, it’s just that we don’t always meet at the right stage in our life.”

Let it sink in.

If I look back, I have met, known, made friends and lost touch with many people from many nationalities. As we all walk through life, we face other humans that we either like or dislike. Also, with age, our interest change, evolve, habits form and consequently depending on all circumstances, we choose the peers around us. Make new mission – see everyone with an open mind, put yourself  in “this-other-potential-point-in-my-life” and be friendly.

Speaking of being nice, I made a psychological observation of my own. As one of my many vices, I enjoy some reality TV, namely “The Bachelor” and its derivative programming. Watching the latest season of “Bachelor Pad,” I observed an interesting phenomenon about mating. In “reality” games, involving cash and chemistry, the viewer sees lots of deceitful, almost immoral actions and monologue. As the show progressed, relationships formed and one can notice how certain men would abandon their former conniving tactics and begin playing a stronger and honest game. It unveiled something about our species – we become better with a partner. You can check out more about my simple perception, written by experts, here.