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In 1944, at the height of the Second World War, on a British army base somewhere in England, Major C. Northcote Parkinson was feeling overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork senior officers insisted on sending him. And then, disaster stuck! The chief of the base went on leave, his deputy fell sick, and a third officer departed on urgent business. Parkinson was left alone, desperately worrying that he would be unable to cope with all the work.

But then, much to his surprise – and delight – nothing happened at all. Although the flood of paperwork stopped, the war carried on quite happily without it. As he later concluded, ‘There had never been anything to do. We’d just been making work for each other.’ And so in an article in 1955 he composed Parkinson’s law, which states ‘work expands to fill the time available for its completion’. What Parkinson had realized was that in any bureaucratic organization the people in charge need to have people below them. However, the more employees they have, the more work the bosses must find for them to do: and so unnecessary work is created just to keep everyone busy.

The origin of the second law comes from 1949, when Captain Edward Murphy, an engineer working on project for the US Air Force, criticized a technician saying ‘If there is any way to do it wrong, he’ll find it’. This became known as ‘Murphy’s law, which, in fact, is much older than its name. It is traditionally known that people have been complaining about the negative things in life since we first developed the power of speech. However, this law can actually be a useful tool to prevent mistakes at work, because thanks to being aware of Murphy’s law everyone can aware of the permanent potential for disaster.

The Peter Principle was conceived by Dr. Laurence Peter and Raymond Hull. In their book The Peter Principle, they described it as ‘in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence’. The idea is that in any organization employees are promoted as long as they are able to work efficiently. Eventually, they reach their limit: a post in which they are no longer efficient, and in which they will stay, unable to obtain further promotions. Logically, this means that in time, every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out his duties and that the real work is actually done by employees – often lower down the ladder – who are still to reach their level of incompetence.

So according to Messes Parkinson, Murphy and Peter, you may end up working for an incompetent boss who makes you do unnecessary work and who invariable finds the way to make things go terribly wrong. However, do not panic! Fortunately, there are plenty of exceptions to these laws.

Neurobics is a set of simple exercises that help improve memory, provide additional energy and increase our brain’s ability to perform any tasks at any age. Neurobics was invented by a writer Manning Rubin and a neurobiologist Lawrence Katz.

It was previously thought that neurons do not regrow. However, in 1998, a group of American scientists established that it is not dying nerve cells that cause age related cognitive decline. It is the loss of dendrites, short-branched extensions of nerve cells, through which the impulses go from one neuron to another. If not stimulate dendrites periodically, they will atrophy and lose their ability to conduct nerve impulses. Dendrites like muscles lose their ability to function without physical exertion. Nevertheless, research has shown that neurons are able to grow dendrites to compensate for the loss of the old ones. The results of these studies formed the basis for a new theory of the brain and neurobics development.

The main point of neurobics is that these exercises are aimed at a widespread use of all five human senses. Moreover, they are used in an unusual way, which helps the brain to create many new associative links between different types of information. When cognitive sensations are combined in unusual combinations, the human brain begins to produce neurotrophin. Neurotrophin induces the survival, development, and function of neurons, and causes almost twofold increase in the number of dendrites.

It is necessary to change the routine and patterned actions on new, unfamiliar to you. In other words, perform your usual actions in an unusual way to involve several senses at once. Below is a few examples of exercises that will stimulate your brain:

•    Buttoning your shirt, brushing your teeth, typing on the keyboard, opening the door, use your non-dominant hand.
•    Try to move around your house or apartment with your eyes closed.
•    Do not be afraid to experiment with your looks and style. Thus, you may feel yourself in new ways and even start to think differently.
•    Find new routes for walking, go to exhibitions and museums, or spend a weekend or a holiday in a new place.
•    Change your home or office interior as often as possible, rearrange things, update your computer wallpaper several times a week, and try cooking new dishes.
•    Try to find non-trivial answers to even the most banal questions like "How are you?" or "What 's new?". Fill your speech with new phrases, discard any stereotypes, invent and tell your friends new jokes.

The best point of neurobics is that you can practice it at any age, anytime and anywhere. Our brain needs new impressions for productive work. Neurobics alters the usual style of our life, enriching it with new experiences.

When Neo dodged bullets in the famous movie The Matrix, time seemed to slow down around him. David Eagleman, Associate Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and two of his post-graduate students Chess Stetson and Matthew Fiesta from Baylor College of Medicine decided to find out whether people perceive themselves as in slow motion when they are in danger.

This study, however, has proven the opposite: in case of danger, people feel that they are moving too slowly in the fast world. This "wrong" sense of time is an illusion that occurs due to the brain overload with the incoming information.

In order to get scared, in the first part of the experiment volunteers were asked to jump backwards from 50 meters high on a specially designed double net, or a SCAD (Suspended Catch Air Device) without insurance. This method really made people feel that they were falling down much longer than it actually happened. Of course it did since their speed reached 113 kilometers per hour in 3 seconds! According to volunteers, they felt that they were flying at least a third longer than it looked like when they watched other people from the sidelines.

In the second part of the experiment, scientists tried to find out whether the human brain is able to speed up the perception of the reality in the moment of danger. To do this, researchers created a so-called "perceptual chronometer" and fixed it on the volunteers’ wrists. The display of this chronometer, somewhat similar to the watch, can be configured so that the numbers on it flash at a certain speed. At a definite point of time, the image and its negative combine and become indistinguishable. It was assumed that volunteers would be able to see what was displayed on the chronometer during the fall. However, such a result was not obtained.

Biologists concluded that slow-motion perception is affected by our memory. In case of danger, the amygdala (a set of neurons located in the temporal lobes of the brain) begins to actively accumulate all the impressions that arise in a life threatening situation and, as a result, our memories of it become deeper and stronger. The more details and impressions about a frightening event has been stored in our memory, the longer it may seem afterwards.

We experience nearly the same throughout our life. Remember, being small children, we perceived every day as a year because each day was full of new knowledge and experiences. Adults are more familiar with the world as a whole, they do not consider it so unusual, and so they receive much less new experience. That is why the older we get, the faster the days go by. Therefore, filling our lives with new experiences, we can slow the time down.


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