Watch Stoppers


<strong>Watch Stoppers:</strong> We've all heard tales of individuals who simply cannot wear wrist watches. The time pieces simply stop working, time and time again. So what' happening? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie discuss personal magnetism and why your watches keep breaking.

Unknown Male: With more than 26 million members, Netflix is the world's leading Internet subscription service for enjoying movies and TV programs. For one low monthly price Netflix members can instantly watch TV episodes and movies streamed directly to their TV, computers, consoles or tablets and receive DVDs delivered quickly to their homes. There are no late fees or due dates. Get a 30-day free trial by going to Netflix.com/blowthemind.

Unknown Female: Welcome to Stuff to Blow Your Mind from Howstuffworks.com.

Robert Lamb: Hey, welcome to Stuff to Blow Your Mind. My name is Robert Lamb.

Julie Douglas: And I'm Julie Douglas.

Robert Lamb: Julie, have you destroyed any watches recently with your electromagnetic field?

Julie Douglas: Ha. Not recently, but yeah, I have laid waste to several.

Robert Lamb: See, now this was a fairly new thing to me. My sister, Lucy, brought this up to me. She said have you guys ever looked into this idea that some people cannot wear watches because the watches always stop. And you know they'll try out a wristwatch, within a few weeks it stops - get another one, it stops. And they are essentially a person who cannot wear them for some natural or supernatural reason.

But you've been experiencing this your entire life?

Julie Douglas: Yeah. Well, to be fair I'm not really someone who wears watches and so when I did wear them, and it's been years now, I would go to put them on and then they wouldn't work fairly recently after I'd put them on. Now, memory is fuzzy and I will say that if you don't wear your watches regularly, then you're probably apt to put one on that's going to die or the battery's about to conk out, so -

Robert Lamb: Yeah.

Julie Douglas: - that could definitely be an explanation. But it could be that I have a crazy electromagnetic field radiating outward and just shutting everything down. What do you think?

Robert Lamb: Well, as we'll discuss I tend to air on the side of skepticism with all of this.

Julie Douglas: Aw.

Robert Lamb: But it's a fascinating topic because -

Julie Douglas: No, it is. Yeah.

Robert Lamb: - because it's - I mean there's a little bit of science mixed in here, a little bit of pseudoscience, a little bit of just basic psychology going on.

Julie Douglas: Yes.

Robert Lamb: Like one thing that instantly comes to mind when someone says oh, I can't wear watches because when I wear them they break, it kind of reminds me of someone saying oh, I don't eat spinach because I don't like it. And then you want to ask well, when is the last time you had spinach? Did you have spinach like once when you were five and then you bought into this idea that you don't like it? Or is it like a recurring thing where every time you try spinach - every day you don't like it. I mean there's so many factors that come into play with our experience versus our expectation of the world.

Julie Douglas: It's true. And even though I know better about the watches, I can't help but to sit there and think - but I even got an oscillating watch and that one also died. So - but it's true, that's why I think this is so interesting. And there's a really good observation by Slate writer Juliet Lapidos in her article Really a Man Can't Become a Magnet, on why watch stopping - this myth of watch stopping is so pervasive.

She says, quote, "It's both scientific-seeming, since magnetic fields can, after all, interfere with electrical devices, and vaguely magical, since magnetic forces operate invisibly; the best of both worlds for people who aren't entirely satisfied by a materialistic world view, but aren't willing to reject materialism outright."

Robert Lamb: Yeah. And it's kind of - it's science-y superstition, you know? It gives you a - you can sort of fool yourself into believing it. Because it sounds possible, right? I mean on the surface of things until you start looking a little deeper. Julie Douglas: Well, yeah. I mean especially when you consider that a magnetic field is produced whenever an electrical charge is in motion, right? And then -

Robert Lamb: And we are electrical creatures. I mean -

Julie Douglas: Right.

Robert Lamb: - the experience of the world that we're having right now, our thoughts, everything, I mean this is electronic in nature. I mean essentially we're a spark inside of a bunch of meat.

Julie Douglas: It's true because all of those meat tissues and organs produce specific magnetic pulsations, and so this is creating this biomagnetic field. So of course, you know all of this is really interesting material to get into, but in order for us to get into in the right way we should probably just do a little one-on-one overview of the magnetic field. Because that in and of itself is amazing and it's not totally clearly understood by scientists yet.

Robert Lamb: Right. So, what is a magnetic field? What is it emitted by?

Julie Douglas: Well, the earth's metal core because it's acting like a giant magnet and it's emanating a magnetic field with two poles, right? You've got your North Pole and your South Pole, and then these two magnetic poles kind of ruffling match where the planet's geographic North and South Poles lie, which mark the axis on which they are spinning. So everything in between there is creating these magnetic fields.

Robert Lamb: And as we discussed in the Stuff to Blow Your Kid's Mind video series, I mean this actually ends up protecting the planet. I mean it's highly important just in terms of a very basic life can exist on earth level. Because not every planet is going to have this, the core situation has to be just right to make it happen.

Julie Douglas: Yeah, it's really cool. Because it's kind of like an umbrella, it's shielding it from everything that, you know deep space and the sun is throwing at us, right? Without this we would be fried meat bags.

Robert Lamb: Exactly.

Julie Douglas: We wouldn't have even become meat bags.

Robert Lamb: Yeah. We would have never gotten off the ground.

Julie Douglas: Yeah. So that's kind of, you know a quick insight in how it's working, you know at least on our planet. But I wanted to also talk a little bit more about the magnetic field and how humans and animals use them. Because this again is something that is still trying to be figured out by scientists. It's still an amazing thing, the magnetic field being able to orient something like the monarch butterfly -

Robert Lamb: Right.

Julie Douglas: - in its navigation.

Robert Lamb: Yeah, butterflies are a great example, various birds, foxes - animals that use the magnetic field for navigation purposes. And it continues to be, like you say, a fascinating research topic because it's for the most part something we don't get on a biological level. I mean now as the research shows, I mean there's - it's not like these creatures are completely alien and completely dissimilar to us, but they are able to tap into it and use it in a way that we cannot.

Julie Douglas: Well, there's no one mechanism that you can point to and say ah, this is the reason why say a bird or a butterfly can use the magnetic field. But there is something called cryptochromes and these are a bit of a clue for us. These are a class of light-sensitive proteins found in plants and animals -

Robert Lamb: Flavoproteins even.

Julie Douglas: Flavo.

Robert Lamb: It sounds delicious, but -

Julie Douglas: Yeah. In humans it's found in the retina - the cryptochrome, and it's been of course studied in birds and monarch butterflies.

Robert Lamb: It's very much a part of circadian rhythms as well. I mean it's - so it's not something where we can - again we can point to it and say there you go, this is here exclusively for electromagnetic field sensibility.

Julie Douglas: Yeah. And if you look at it - we're not gonna go into it too much because we could do an entire podcast -

Robert Lamb: Yeah.

Julie Douglas: - on it really. But if you look at it in birds, the cryptochromes are really helping to sort of kick off this - at the quantum level - this whole process and the light sensitivity and the magnetic field in birds' eyes. And it's these sort of changes that are going on that help to detect whether or not the sun is in this position and the magnetic field is being sensed in this direction. It's really fascinating.

But the thing I wanted to get to is Steven M. Reppert, he is a neurobiologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and his colleagues, Lauren Foley and Robert Gegear, have been studying these cryptochromes. And they futzed around with the genes of fly and they found that they - a fly could detect magnetic fields, but only when its cryptochrome gene was in good working order.

Robert Lamb: Yeah.

Julie Douglas: So that gave them the clue to say this is really important in the detection of magnetic fields.

Robert Lamb: And these are fruit flies by the way. Always a good test subject for various genetic tinkering.

Julie Douglas: Yeah. So then the researchers subbed the fruit flies genes for the monarch's genes and they found the same thing. Okay, then they said what about humans of course. So one of the monarch's two cryptochrome genes is similar in its DNA sequence to the human cryptochrome gene, okay? Because we have it as well. So that prompted the idea of seeing whether the human gene too could restore magnetic sensing to fruit flies whose own gene had been knocked out.

Robert Lamb: Yeah. So they're using the monarch butterfly genes to fix this disabled fruit fly. And then they're saying can we do the same thing - can we fix the fruit fly with human cryptochromes?

Julie Douglas: And they did. So that kind of said all right, if this exists in a monarch butterfly and this exists in fruit flies and this helps them to sense a magnetic field, then certainly there's something going on in the human eye with these cryptochromes and the magnetic field.

So this opened up this whole sort of Pandora's Box of questions. Reppert says of the cryptochrome and the human eye, it's beautifully poised to sense light, but we don't know if it has the downstream pathways that communicate magnetic information to the brain. The possibility exists. So the question becomes, you know are we overstating the cryptochrome and its ability to sense the magnetic field, or did humans once have a more refined ability to sense the magnetic field with the cryptochrome.

Robert Lamb: Yeah. And to what extent is it possible that we could in some cases see the magnetic field or at least in some way sense it. Yeah, I mean it's - and then you get into the whole other quandaries about the possibility of super-seers, people who, you know can see the world a little differently, see extra colors. What if they can - what if a particularly gifted artist is actually seeing to some degree this electromagnetism in the world around him?

Julie Douglas: Well, so I immediately started to think about transhumanism because it's been on our minds a lot lately. And I thought well, this is one of those things that you would want to tinker with.

Robert Lamb: Yeah. Why see with our limited vision when you could, you know completely turbo charge everything to where you can see in the electromagnetic spectrum as well?

All right. We're gonna take a quick break and when we come back, more on this topic.

So hey, JackThreads has quickly become the online shopping destination for dudes. Sorry Julie. But everything on the site is up to 80% off because full price is apparently for suckers. They serve up killer contemporary and street apparel, accessories, gadgets, brands like Converse, Penguin, Busted Tees, you name it. Lots of hoodies - I was looking on there the other day.

Shopping here is crazy simple and all the styles are curated so buyers' remorse just doesn't happen. And what's more, as a listener of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, you can skip the membership wait list and get instant access to JackThreads by going to www.jackthreads.com/blowthemind.

Head on out to that site, start looking at some awesome tee shirts, some awesome hoodies, some awesome pants and order something up.

All right, we're back. We're talking about our electronic brains and our meat bodies. We're talking about people who wear watches and claim that their magical electronic properties make the watches stop, maybe even fall off their hands. I tend to imagine it that way, like somebody - like Julie trying to wear a wristwatch and it just stops and just falls completely off your hand.

Julie Douglas: It just bursts into -

Robert Lamb: Just crumbles?

Julie Douglas: - into flames. Well, I mean - okay, so let's get back to this idea that your brain, your body is pulsing with electricity, sort of.

Robert Lamb: Yes. And I mean it is. I mean like we said your thoughts in your head, this is essentially an electronic situation. Your nerves, I mean these are electronic signals.

Julie Douglas: I really liked this description from a writer named Ferris Jabr from Scientific American. He said your brain is electric, tiny impulses constantly race among billions of interconnected neurons generating an electric field that surrounds the brain like an invisible cloud. That is quite poetic. But it does talk to this idea that the brain is enveloped in these countless overlapping electrical fields and this is generated by the neural circuits of scores of these communicating neurons.

And then the idea behind this is that this weak electromagnetic field - because remember it is weak. This is not a strong EMF here - that this electromagnetic field actually helps the brain's neurons to fire together. So it does serve a purpose here, it's not just sort of generating electricity because it's working so hard.

Robert Lamb: Right. And then of course we live in a world where there are just constantly fields all around us - all the devices in our house pretty much - increasingly so. And to your point when we're capable of stopping a watch with one's personal electromagnetic field, where would it end? I mean because -

Julie Douglas: Right.

Robert Lamb: - how many other devices do we have on our bodies at any given point these days?

Julie Douglas: Yeah. You and I were talking about it. I mean the fact of the matter is that we're getting pretty low levels of EMF.

Robert Lamb: Yeah.

Julie Douglas: So if you're gonna destroy a watch with your crazy strong EMF, then you're gonna destroy everything else in your path.

Robert Lamb: Yeah.

Julie Douglas: I mean right now I wouldn't even be able to record, right?

Robert Lamb: Right.

Julie Douglas: Because I would be corrupting -

Robert Lamb: You would just be knocking out everything in this space.

Julie Douglas: Yeah.

Robert Lamb: You would be like an electronic muggle.

Julie Douglas: I like that.

Robert Lamb: Yeah.

Julie Douglas: Yeah.

Robert Lamb: But yeah, I mean our Smartphones, our normal phones, you know little running devices that people have to keep track of their exercise -

Julie Douglas: Yeah.

Robert Lamb: - various other cybernetic enhancements that creep more and more into our daily lives.

Julie Douglas: But we can't help to think that, you know maybe, just maybe there's something going on with this EMF and in our own little field that we're creating around us.

And I can't help but think of something called the iPod shuffle effect. Actually I don't know if it's called the effect, but I'm gonna go ahead and call it now. And that's this idea that we begin to see again the patterns that don't necessarily exist. But if I keep putting that watch on, you know intermittently over a seven-year period and a different watch and they're not working, then I begin to think or I begin to suspect that perhaps something fishy is going on with my own EMF. Just like if I put my iPod on and it still - it seems to me to play the same five songs over and over again from The Sound of Music.

Robert Lamb: Yeah. I mean it's similar to the -

Julie Douglas: And I'm not kidding.

Robert Lamb: And then some people attach the added level like oh, it's always playing that song when I do this. You get into that area like oh, if you watch, you know the Wizard of Oz with Pink Floyd playing that it matches up, that we end up finding the connections in things.

I mean we've talked about this before, as humans we are just always looking for the patterns in things. We're looking for pattern recognition so that we can figure out who we are and what we're doing in this world. And sometimes we crank it up a little too far.

Julie Douglas: Well, and we attach meaning to things, right?

Robert Lamb: Yeah.

Julie Douglas: So in terms of the shuffle for your iPod for instance, you're attaching meaning to songs that mean something to you emotionally, so that's sort of it's amped up, so your brain is going to pick out that song - The Sound of Music, the album, for instance a little bit more because it's tuned in. Because it says oh, I remember that movie of my youth and this is the song about, I don't know, yodeling over hills and I get all warm and fuzzy when I hear it.

You know the same thing with an object, with a watch. If I go to put it on, you know we talked about this with our podcast about objects last week, is that you begin to really ascribe a lot of meaning to things. So you can see why it would be pretty easy to say ah, I have this - I have this going on. In fact you may have even - if you've ever been - suspected that you were a watch stopper, you might even think that you're someone who can turn off and on streetlights just by walking by them.

Robert Lamb: Yeah. And this is - I feel like we've all had this happen where you're walking along and you notice oh, that streetlight went out - weird. But - and I've never thought oh, I must have done that. You know like it seems like that would be awfully self-centered of me to think oh wow, a light just went out, that must have been me. It's the same sort of thing that thinks oh, that stranger looked over in my direction, she must think I'm handsome.

You know it's like it's - there seems to be a self-centeredness to it that the world revolves around me and that I'm somehow affecting things in ways that don't really make sense.

Julie Douglas: Well, you know and if it's late at night and, you know your heels are clacking against the concrete and you happen to be approaching a streetlight, it's a very dramatic moment, right? When it goes out.

Robert Lamb: Yeah.

Julie Douglas: And so you begin to think oh, what's going on? And not thinking oh, the sodium bulb is near its - the end of its life cycle and it's gonna, you know turn on and off.

Robert Lamb: Well, you know we put ourselves in the mindset of our primordial ancestor. I mean when we're trying to figure out if something is a risk or not, if something's a threat. I mean on one hand it could be just coincidence or it could be a sign that something bad is going to happen, and our brains tend to side with the possibility that there's a reason behind it.

Julie Douglas: It's true. But your brain normally doesn't go like hey, that's that sodium bulb - that high sodium intensity -

Robert Lamb: Yeah.

Julie Douglas: - and, you know the city's been using those lately.

But that being said, I don't want to, you know wholesale pooh-pooh the idea of EMFs in general because as you have pointed out, they are surrounding us at all times. In various ways we get this invisible electromagnetic radiation in the form of AM and FM radio waves, visible light, microwaves, cell phone towers, electronics, appliances are all radiating an EMF.

Robert Lamb: And possibly as well our coil spring mattress.

Julie Douglas: Oh, yeah. This is crazy.

Robert Lamb: That was an amazing study that we ran across. And this was from 2010, Hallberg Independent Research in Sweden, and also the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, and they were looking specifically at what role our box springs - our western box springs may play in these electromagnetic fields.

Julie Douglas: Well, this is a good -

Robert Lamb: Amplifying them, serving as basically an antenna for all the electromagnetic fields around us and then transferring them directly into our bodies when we're sleeping. And then we spend a lot of time sleeping.

Julie Douglas: Yeah. I mean this is a real detective story. That's what I love about this study is that because they came across this data and they said why is the cancer rate 10% higher in the left breast than in the right. And this left-side bias by the way is true for both men and women and it applies also to skin cancer, to melanoma. Okay? But then they found that in Japan there's no correlation between the rates of melanoma and breast cancer.

Robert Lamb: Right.

Julie Douglas: Okay, so they said what could be going on here? So that's when they figured out that yeah, the coils were actually - and this is a - I'm going to go ahead and quote R. Douglas Fields, he's from Scientific American because I think he lays it out really well.

He says "As we sleep on our coil-spring mattresses," in the West, "we are in effect sleeping on an antenna that amplifies the intensity of the broadcast FM/TV radiation. Asleep on these antennas, our bodies are exposed to the amplified electromagnetic radiation for a third of our life spans. As we slumber on a metal coil-spring mattress, a wave of electromagnetic radiation envelopes our bodies so that the maximum strength of the field develops 75 centimeters above the mattress in the middle of our bodies."

So what's going on here? When you're sleeping on the right side, the body's left side will thereby be exposed to field strength about twice as strong as what the right side absorbs.

Robert Lamb: Yeah. And previous research has shown that men and women both tend to prefer to sleep on their right side and there are various possible reasons for this. One being that if you sleep on your right side you're reducing the weight stress on the heart. The heart speed is not -

Julie Douglas: Do you sleep on your right side?

Robert Lamb: - the heartbeat is not as loud. Do I sleep on it?

Julie Douglas: Uh-huh.

Robert Lamb: Let me see. I tend to sleep on my chest at first and then I go into a hanging recline position from the ceiling. No - yeah, I guess I do.

Julie Douglas: Yeah.

Robert Lamb: You know I never really think about it. I tend to wake up one way or the other.

Julie Douglas: Well I understand that less pressure on your heart, right? Sleeping on your right side. But the whole thing about not being able to hear your heartbeat seems odd.

Robert Lamb: Yeah. I mean we live next to a train track, so I mean I'm used to that, I'm pretty sure I'm used to my heartbeat. And as for sleep - I mean I've never been - like sometimes I'll be sleeping and I'll be like oh, my leg feels a little weird. Oh, the cat's laying on me in a strange position. But I'm never like oh, my heart feels like it's a bit weird, maybe I should shift over so there's less weight on it. I don't know. Or maybe I just always go to bed with a heavy heart.

Julie Douglas: Aw.

Robert Lamb: Yeah.

Julie Douglas: Sorry about that. All right, so you're probably saying like what's up with Japan? How did they figure into all this? Well, in -

Robert Lamb: Futons.

Julie Douglas: Yes. In Japan most beds do not have any sort of metal in them, so that's one thing. And then their TV broadcast system does not use the 87 to 108 megahertz frequency that's used in Western countries.

Robert Lamb: Well, there you go. It's a fascinating notion.

Julie Douglas: It is. It is. So that's just a little tidbit about EMFs. Again we could go on and on about it because it's fascinating and that's just one sort of example of how you can inadvertently create a situation with EMFs that could be dangerous. But for the most part we like to think that we have EMFs under control, right?

Robert Lamb: Yeah.

Julie Douglas: Yeah.

Robert Lamb: Pretty much. Now I would like to launch in a little more into debunking watch stopping, just talking about some of the other possible reasons.

Julie Douglas: Do a squash it.

Robert Lamb: Just to squash it a little bit. First of all, moisture comes into play. Especially with, you know your cheaper watches, that's something to keep in mind. It's like am I - A, am I a watch stopper and are watches completely dying on me all the time? And then B, am I swimming with them on? Am I going out in the rain a lot? I mean there are so many environmental factors. Like it or not technology can break over time, especially if you're putting it in an environment that is detrimental the technology.

Julie Douglas: Also clumsiness, right?

Robert Lamb: Yeah. Just straight up clumsiness. This thing's going on your wrist, you know and if you're like me you talk with your hands. If you're like me you sometimes like just are waving your hands a little bit as you walk down the hallway and you just completely smash your hand into like a desk or something just out of sheer clumsiness. So of course it's gonna break a watch every now and then. Again especially if you tend to go towards some cheaper models.

Julie Douglas: Yeah. Now see this is building a case against me again because I am a wild gesticulator, right?

Robert Lamb: Yeah.

Julie Douglas: So, sorry watches.

Robert Lamb: And then of course we've mentioned coincidence. The fact that we just end up ascribing some sort of importance to something that is basically just a freak occurrence.

But then also there's confirmation bias. And this is the psychological cognitive science idea that basically we have a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms preconceptions. So you get in your mind, hey I'm a watch stopper. Then of course you're gonna think about that every time a watch stops on you. It's just - or it gets into the whole magical thinking and weaving superstition in your life. If you go into it with this in mind, then yes, you're going to see those patterns.

Julie Douglas: Just like if doe a deer, a female deer, come on your iPod, shuffle it yet again -

Robert Lamb: Right.

Julie Douglas: - it seems like.

Robert Lamb: And then there's also a sense that it, you know might be a self-fulfilling prophecy or something that is essentially subconscious sabotage or psychological reversal. This is basically a situation where your subconscious objective thwarts your conscious objective.

And generally it's more based in stuff like on the conscious level you really want your marriage to work, but on your subconscious you're working against it. Or on your conscious level you really want to be successful at work, but subconsciously you want to destroy it. Most of the studies you look at with this, it tends not to revolve around something as petty as your wristwatch, but - eh, you know it could possibly explain what's happening.

Julie Douglas: You want a new watch -

Robert Lamb: Yeah.

Julie Douglas: - and you're gonna destroy it.

Robert Lamb: Yeah. Subconsciously you hate your watch or subconsciously you want to break stuff and hey, your watch is right there just begging for it.

Julie Douglas: You resent time.

Robert Lamb: Maybe so. Maybe so. But here's the thing. If people really do have electromagnetic fields that are breaking watches all the time, what they need to do is they need to get themselves an anti-magnetic watch.

Julie Douglas: Oh yeah. This is fancy.

Robert Lamb: Yeah, well we've - and we've had these things around for about 60 years I believe. Generally the way they worked in the past is that you have shielding involved. One of the more popular watches out there that does this is the Rolex Milgauss, which actually was developed for scientists working at CERN because there are powerful magnetic fields all around them. They want to know what time it is so it makes sense, let's develop a watch that can withstand those pressures.

So the Milgauss is resistant to a thousand gauss, which is a unit of magnetic induction. And to put that in a frame of reference, a small iron magnet has about a hundred gauss and a refrigeration magnet has about 50. So again, the existing Rolex Milgauss takes care of a thousand.

And there's a new model from Omega called the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra. And this one is really cool as well. It cancels out the field and is resistant to 15,000 gauss. So in other words you're probably good because you'd have to - to break one of these things you'd have to be wearing it through an MRI machine or traveling to a neutron star.

Julie Douglas: So I'm guessing that the cost of this is going to require Richard Branson dollars.

Robert Lamb: Well, you know it's a pricier option. But if you think that you're breaking watches all over the place, then maybe it's what you need to try out.

Julie Douglas: There you go.

Robert Lamb: Yeah. Or go for the Rolex model. I mean shop around. Like I said, we've had this technology for years, so an answer is out there if you really think that you're some sort of electromagnetic freak.

All right. So on that note let's call the robot over. And see here's another example. If you really were putting out some sort of electromagnetic energy that breaks technology, you would have broken the robot ages ago.

Julie Douglas: Well, he's in a Faraday cage.

Robert Lamb: Oh well, okay. He's safe then.

All right, Lena writes in and says hi Robert and Julie. I just listened to your podcast and wanted to write in with a somewhat embarrassing confession. Oh, and the podcast she listened to was our objects of love podcast about object attachment, et cetera. She says I'm 17-year-old and I still sleep with a teddy bear. His name is Teddy. I've had him since my first Christmas and I don't think I've ever spent more than two nights without him in my entire life.

Sometimes I worry if I will have to take him to college with me and my roommate will think I'm weird or immature. But I have a really strong attachment to him and he gives me a lot of comfort. I even gave him a personality and everything. My sister and I used to play with stuffed animals a lot.

I doubt that you would find many eleventh graders like me around still sleeping with a teddy bear. But I also have attachments to other objects and I tend to keep things for the memories even if I never look at them again. I'm probably not unique in that sense though. I love the podcast; keep up the great work and thanks. Lena.

Julie Douglas: Cool.

Robert Lamb: Well, I don't think it's - I don't think it's weird at all actually.

Julie Douglas: I don't either. Actually I was thinking that - you know back to our imaginary friends episode and about how we postulated that, you know you have imaginary friends when you were little and then that just gets converted into something else when you get older. Maybe you get an attachment to a certain character on a television show or a movie or a book. But that we tend to have these relationships, these fictionalized relationships.

So if it's in the form of a teddy bear, then I say, you know great. I think that that's not a bad thing. I think that's truly a healthy thing.

Robert Lamb: Yeah. Plus I'm sitting here podcasting with a rubber triceritops in my hand. And my sisters and I we had - still to a certain extent have a rich stuffed animal world that we refer to the various characters. And we would refer to these characters and have them to some extent interact with each other like all through high school and college. In fact up until recently one of the stuffed ones named Drunk Monkey still lived in the trunk of my car.

Julie Douglas: See that makes me pine for Cronje, which was a stuffed ape that my brother and I had when we were little that lived on Marijuana Island.

Robert Lamb: How did - where did - how did Marijuana Island enter the fold?

Julie Douglas: Babysitters.

Robert Lamb: Babysitters. Where is Cronje now?

Julie Douglas: I don't know. That's always been the mystery, like what happened to Cronje. Every once in a while - it comes up every -

Robert Lamb: My guess he's on Marijuana Island I guess.

Julie Douglas: Exactly. Never to come back. But yeah, that comes up every couple of years. My brother and I will be like where did it go?

Robert Lamb: All right. Well, if you have something you would like to share with us, be it prized teddy bears or apes that live in your trunk or on Marijuana Island, let us know. We'd love to hear from you.

And particularly if you have thoughts about watch stopping. Do you think you're a watch stopper? If so, explain yourself. What's your rationale? And what do you think about it now that we've explained some of the properties going on here, both electromagnetic and psychological? Let us know.

You can find us on Facebook and you can find us on Tumbler. We are Stuff to Blow Your Mind on both of those. And we also have a Twitter account where our handle is Blow the Mind.

Julie Douglas: And you can always drop us a line at blowthemind@discovery.com.

Unknown Female: For more on this and thousands of other topics, visit howstuffworks.com.

Unknown Male: With more than 26 million members, Netflix is the world's leading Internet subscription service for enjoying movies and TV programs. For one low monthly price Netflix members can instantly watch TV episodes and movies streamed directly to their TV, computers, consoles or tablets and receive DVDs delivered quickly to their homes. There are no late fees or due dates. Get a 30-day free trial by going to Netflix.com/blowthemind. [End of Audio]

Duration: 30 minutes

Topics in this Podcast: Skepticism, human psychology