“Invictus” is a short Victorian poem by the English poet William Ernest Henley (1849–1903).

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.


In our health conscious times they are often regarded as the pariahs of the office tea round.

But for those facing colleagues’ disapproval as they shovel the sugar into their tea, there’s a new excuse: ‘I’m just trying to ease the stress of the working day.’

Psychologists have found that sweetened drinks make people less aggressive and argumentative.
De-stress: Having a sweet cup of tea could make you less aggressive

De-stress: Having a sweet cup of tea could make you less aggressive. (Posed by models)

It is thought that the sugar rush provides the brain with the energy it needs to keep impulses under control, stopping us from lashing out when under pressure.

‘When provocation is likely, for example, when encountering a difficult supervisor at a work meeting, drinking a sweetened beverage prior to this encounter might increase one’s ability to effectively inhibit aggressive impulses,’ said the researchers.

‘Consuming a sweetened beverage on the commute home following a stressful day could reduce aggression toward family members or fellow drivers.’

The calming effect of a sugary drink was discovered by Australian psychologists who gave lemonade to a group of men and women. Some was sweetened with sugar, the rest with an artificial sweetener.

Any kind of rudeness at work can lead to mistakes by staff, according to experts.

If you are rude to colleagues, they are rude to you or if you merely witness rudeness, errors are far more likely to occur, studies have shown.

Rhona Flin, professor of applied psychology at the University of Aberdeen, said being the victim of rudeness can impact on how people perform tasks.

Human attention ‘is powerfully driven by emotion’, she wrote in the British Medical Journal.

In one study, students who were insulted by a professor on the way to the test performed worse on a series of memory tasks than others who had not been spoken to rudely.

‘This reaction is probably caused by the emotional arousal caused by the rudeness, which resulted in a switchover of cognitive capacity to deal with the required emotional processing, or it may, more simply, be caused by distraction,’ Professor Flin said.

The volunteers were set a series of stressful tasks, culminating in preparing a speech. After giving their talk, some were provoked by being told the content was boring and disappointing.

Those who had drunk the sugary lemonade rose less to the bait, the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology reports.

The researchers, from the University of New South Wales and Queensland University, said the brain needs sugar, or glucose, to power ‘executive functioning’, which includes the ability to control actions.‘

One method of increasing the energy available to the brain for exercising executive control is by increasing blood glucose levels,’ they said.

‘Additional glucose should provide the energy necessary to restrain aggressive impulses when provoked.

‘Despite the widespread notion that glucose consumption can lead to a “sugar high” resulting in impulsive behaviour our data suggest that glucose can increase executive control when provoked.’

However, sugar doesn’t always sweeten situations. Parents know to their cost how fizzy drinks can leave children full of beans.

And the researchers found that those volunteers who were not provoked after giving their speech became more aggressive after downing the sugary lemonade.

They were unclear why sugar winds us up when we are calm. Of course, sugar won’t do your teeth any favours. The bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and produce acids that eat away at tooth enamel and irritates gums.

Spot a Liar

One of the biggest advantages of learning to read body language well is being able to judge when someone is lying with a fair amount of accuracy. Your intuition is never going to be 100% accurate, but with a little practice you can become more aware of when you’re being fed a load of crap. It’s very important to recognize what kind of lies you are actually detecting. The techniques we’re going to discuss in this section correspond to big lies—the lies people tell when they are uncomfortable or afraid of the truth. These skills will get you almost nowhere in detecting white lies, small lies of omission, and what people do most often: exaggerate. Those types of deception are very hard to detect, and it’s important to remember that, regardless of the type of untruth, you’ll never know for certain. You can, however, pick up on common cues so you know when to hold a healthy suspicion about what a person is saying.

Liars often exhibit much of the behavior you’d find in any other uncomfortable person, but with a few very specific additional traits.

1. Fake smile
2. Stiff upper body – no movement
3. Too much eye contact
4. Rub neck and eye and look away to the side
5. Offer more details in their story, often contradicting

Ok, now we can clarify the points one by one.

1. Fake smile
People are bad at offering a genuine smile when they’re lying. In fact, a genuine smile (often referred to as a Duchenne smile), is often said to be impossible to fake. This is why many of us end up with awkward family photos. We may think we look like we’re smiling, but to most anyone it looks like we’re faking it. This is because your smile is in your eyes, or, more specifically, the wrinkles around them. You display a few crows feet when you smile genuinely because your smile pushes up your cheeks which bunches up the skin near your eyes. It’s fairly hard to fake this. You need to feel some sort of genuine happy emotion at the time to do it, and when you’re uncomfortable this is next to impossible. This is why a non-genuine smile can be a helpful indicator of a lie in progress.

2. Too Much Eye Contact
Liars like to overcompensate when they’re lying, and so they’ll often try to remain still and offer eye contact. This will often result in so much eye contact it’s often a little unsettling, and their body will become stiff because they’re attempting not to fidget. Normally, people move and do not hold eye contact for extended periods of time. When uncomfortable, however, people will often rub their neck or eyes and look away to the side. Rather than exhibit the positive body language that would imply comfort, liars tend to opt for doing very little. This, in and of itself, is an indicator. Look for tense shoulders and an unusually high amount of eye contact and you’ll be more likely to spot a liar.

3. Context and Paired Behaviors
In addition to all these non-verbal cues, you’ll need to pay attention to the context. Liars will often offer more details in their stories, suggest punishments for the “real culprit” if they’re being accused of something, and answer you questions with a question to give them time to fabricate an answer rather than provide you with the truth. These behaviors, when paired with standard negative body language and the previously mentioned cues that liars exhibit, give you the right mix of untrustworthy behavior. Separately they may not mean much, but together they point to dishonesty.

It’s important to remember, however, that some people are just awkward and exhibit this kind of behavior with regularity. You should take the way a person normally acts into consideration as well. Watch their mannerisms and eye movements when you know they’re telling the truth and compare that to the times when you think they’re lying. When you see consistent change when certain statements are made, you’ll know how this specific person acts when they’re thinking of what to say rather than recalling information. Again, this or anything else previously mentioned isn’t sufficient in detecting lies. You have to look for multiple cues or what you’ll just discover that you’re fooling yourself into believing you know the difference between fact and fiction.

Being exceptional at something is often attributed to one’s genetics. Talent is passed down from parents, grandparents, it seems, whether that’s musical or artistic skill, being good with numbers or a dab-hand with a pipette. No doubt there are significant genetic factors involved, but there are almost certainly environmental factors in the mix too. Perhaps the two work synergistically so that expression of unique genes allows a talent to develop well if it is suitably nurtured.

However, some researchers believe that talent is learned and earned through extended and intense practice of a skill rather than being an innate expression of genes that would otherwise lie dormant. This notion is nowhere more succinctly encapsulated than in the 10,000 hours rule posited by psychologist Anders Ericsson of Florida State University, and made famous by author Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers”.

In essence Ericsson’s theory suggests that sufficient practice in a particular skill can take anyone to the level of proficiency equivalent to that heard in the playing of a top concert pianist. Gladwell wholeheartedly encompasses this notion pointing out that great sportspeople, business leaders and performers all got their 10,000 hours practice in their particular art early in life. This helped them to excel precociously, allowing them to shine while their duller contemporaries were still grappling with the basics.

Gladwell cites the 10,000 hours The Beatles played in Hamburg, between 1960 and 1964. This opportunity gave them something few musicians had at the time leading to their ultimate greatness as musicians and song writers. He cites Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Gates is an examplar partly because he had access to a computer in 1968 at the age of 13 and spent 10,000 hours programming before the vast majority of his peers even knew what a computer was. There are 10,000-hour concert pianists, violin virtuosi, artists, and synthetic chemists too.

I’ve been writing professionally for more than two decades and playing guitar since age 12. Now, I’m not claiming to be concert level in either writing or guitar playing, but surely I’ve passed my 10,000 hours. My readers and listeners might suggest I still need another 10,000, and Ericsson might agree because the 10,000-hour rule is not what it seems.

“I might emphasize how deliberate practice is different from just doing or engaging in activities in the domain,” he told me. “I might disagree with some of Gladwell’s examples as they do not all of them illustrate sustained focus on deliberate practice.” He added that, “In music, people do not seem to win international competitions with less than 25,000 hours of solitary practice; most of that deliberate.” So, Erricson’s own rule is that thousands of hours of dedicated “practice”, and not simply everyday doing of an activity, is the important point.

10,000 hours is about 90 minutes practice every day for twenty years. Which might explain why the average piano-learning child doesn’t make it to concert level. Three hours a day gets you there within a decade, so start at age 10 and you’re done before you leave your teens. Unfortunately, passing the 10,000 hour point exactly is not going to be a skills tipping point. Learning and expertise are gradual processes, skills evolve with practice, talent grows. There will be a vast range of time periods over which each individual reaches their peak of proficiency, their concert level you might say, in whatever field.

Indeed, Ericsson confirmed that 10,000 hours isn’t necessarily enough for some skills. “I tend to emphasize that if there are some people who are gifted even they need to put in 10,000 hours in many domains, like music, which leads one to question what would happen if any motivated person embarked on that path,” he told me. Could anyone become highly talented simply through achieved thousands of hours of dedicated practice? This brings us full circle to the nature versus nurture argument…unfortunately.

Perhaps scientifically speaking, 10,000 hours is purely a metaphor for “lots of practice”. If you want to achieve “concert level” whether at the piano or at the laboratory bench, 10,000 hours is going to get you close to that goal. That’s a lot of practice whichever way you play.


Will the size of your plates make you fat?- Larger plates tend to make you overeat because visually you want to fill up the plate. Smaller plates will make you think you’re having a full meal.

Tastes like chicken- 7 out of 8 tasted ‘chicken’ when served guinea pig, alligator, frog, and rabbit.

Does blowing out candles contaminate birthday cakes?- Yes, bacteria grew on the test cake greater than on the control, and even more with the greater # of candles on a cake. However, most micro-organisms in the human mouth are not harmful, as long as the candle-blower is healthy.

Can I eat something off the floor if I pick it up in 5 seconds?- Bacteria will cling to food immediately. High traffic areas will lead to even more bacteria on the food.

What is the best way to quell the tears while chopping onions?- Store onions in the refrigerator to prevent its enzymes from overreacting when chopped.

Eating carrots improves eyesight- Untrue, other than eating copious amounts, and in very specific cases such as night blindness because of the Vitamin A.

Does burning your tongue cause permanent damage- Unlikely, the tongue heals much faster than other organs.

Is moldy cheese okay to eat?- Yes? Hii ni noma, I wonder if eating moldy sausages is good too? :)

What has the most caffeine-coffee, tea, soda, or energy drinks?- in descending order; Energy drinks, Soda, Coffee, Tea, Green Tea.

Does drinking lots of water make your skin look better?- Not answered, One subject was intentionally dehydrated drinking only 32oz of water a day the second subject drank 64oz per day. The dehydrated subject had poorer skin than the properly hydrated subject.

Does drinking alcohol kill braincells?- No, it temporarily inhibits brain function though in large quantities.

What are some secret ingredients in natural food coloring?- Many food colorings include crushed beetle for red tint. Kumbe we eat wadudu :(

Does swallowed gum stay in your stomach for seven years?- No, gum will be broken up by stomach acids and pass through the system within 24 hours.

What is the best way to get gum out of your hair?- Oil placed in hair for 20 minutes will remove the gum.

How unsanitary are public water fountains?- As long as spigots are not touched, public fountains have low levels of bacteria because the arc the water flows out prevents it from touching the spigot. Office water coolers can be riskier because the spigot is never cleaned and touched by many people.

Can drinking ice water burn calories?- Yes, because it takes more energy to convert ice water to body temperature.

How much of taste is influenced by decor or elaborate menu descriptions?- Fancy decor and menu give the perception of a better dining experience.

Do wood cutting boards harbor more bacteria than plastic boards?- Any board with deep groove marks will harbor bacteria. Best to change boards routinely, wash in soap and hot water, and use separate boards for meat and vegetable products.

What is the healthiest oil to fry with?- Vegetable oil with high smoking point that is changed regularly, i.e. peanut and canola oil.

How do you enjoy buffets without going overboard?- Seat far from the buffet line so that its away from your line of vision. Scour the food before choosing, to see what you really want to eat.

Remedies for the alcohol induced hangover?- There is no surefire way to cure a hangover, although eating a meal before and drinking water while consuming alcohol will better prevent dehydration and lessen the effects of a hangover.

Can cola dissolve a penny, a nail, a tooth or a housefly?- None of the above, although a tooth will begin to decay within a few days. Technically, the same effect can occur with orange juice. In real life, your saliva washes down cola as you drink, although long-term drinking will lead to gradual decay.

How clean are lemon wedges in restaurants?- 7 out of 10 lemons tested with huge amounts of bacteria. Woooi, kumbe we eat uchafu?