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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Weird science updates (written 11/7/08)

Here are three brief updates on the science behind The Joy of Sox:

#1 – We’ve done two weird science experiments so far, and recently I’ve been writing them up for a scientific audience. The blog entries for 12/15/07 and 4/08 have brief summaries of the Fenway Park experiment with the random number generator (RNG) in my laptop, and the HeartMath Institute study of contagious group energies, respectively.

Unfortunately, the Red Sox study (the one where my ratings of emotionally key game events were matched to the computer’s measurements of crowd non-randomness) did not meet with favor from the editors of the Explore: A Journal of Healing and Consciousness. They rightly pointed out that my data was uncontrolled, and subject to probable bias because I subjectively decided which game events were important based on my own indefinable standards, in order to see whether they corresponded with peaks in the computer’s output. The editors suggested that I conduct a repeat study in which many evaluators were assessing game events for their emotional significance. Their averaged ratings would even out biases from any one individual rater (like me!). It’s a good refinement to my protocol, but the editors didn’t suggest how I should go about setting things up with the Sox and Fenway!

I had better luck with the second paper, which described the HeartMath test. That was the one where I was a guinea pig and found that my heart rhythm shifted when I was surrounded by a group of meditators focusing on feelings of appeciation and joy (of Sox). Translated into medicalese, that became “The influence of group heart rhythm on target subject physiology: case report of a laboratory demonstration”. The Journal of Subtle Energy and Energy Medicine has tentatively accepted the paper, subject to revisions that make it clear that we don’t really understand how these interactive effects come about, whether it’s by magnetic fields or whatever. I’ll set up a link from this website to the article when it finally comes out, probably in early 2009.

#2 – Scrolling down a few posts to September 8, 2008, you’ll see an unusual photo of a computer next to a harp. That shot was taken at the Boston Conservatory, where we were trying to measure RNG fluctuations in the presence of beautiful music. The results are in, and, to be honest, it’s hard to tell what they mean.
As you can see from this graph, there was one big blip that occurred right in the middle of the half hour performance (from 11:30 am to 12 noon). The timeline is very coarse, with data points averaged over four minute intervals, so it’s hard to pin down exactly what was happening at any given moment, but we did detect a deflection every bit as large as the one at Fenway when the crowd did the Wave – so something was going on during the harp show! Harpist Sarajane Williams will be describing these results in her upcoming documentary film called “The Healing Harp” (details at www.harptherapy.com).

#3 – In the post written on 9/19/08, I forgot to mention that the group of health care providers who heard my slide show about JoS also joined in a brief group energy cheer for the Sox after the lecture. That happened at 9:30 pm on the evening of a playoff game, and so it was easy to check and see what impact our group energy had on the game. There were about 20 of us in the circle, in a Boston office near North Station (the game was at Fenway, only about 3 miles away). We weren’t watching or listening to the game, but I later found out that we started our meditation just when relief pitcher Mike Timlin entered the game and began warming up. For 6 minutes, he was able to hold them at bay, but at 9:36 pm the floodgates opened, and Tampa Bay rallied to beat the Sox. So either our mojo was only good enough to help for 6 minutes, or we had no real impact.

Nothing conclusive one way or the other, but it’d be fun to do a larger and more organized sort of group energy circle for the Sox next year. I’m sure there are already plenty of informal Sox prayer circles scattered across Red Sox Nation, but this one could utilize all the properties of intentionality and manifestation that we’ve been learning about. A similar Internet-based test has been going on for a while, though not focused on sporting events. Check out www.TheIntentionExperiment.com for details.


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The Joy of Sox: Weird Science and the Power of Intention is produced by 2 Cousins Productions and Pinch Hit Productions. © 2006 The Joy of Sox Movie LLC. For more information, contact info@thejoyofsoxmovie.com.

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