The X-Files


One of the most iconic shows of the ’90s, The X-Files, captured a generation of people who thought outside the box and “wanted to believe”.

The premise of the show revolves around two FBI agents exploring the paranormal from two completely different biases. You have Dana Scully; a strong, sophisticated and level-headed young lady, whose job it is to debunk the work of her partner after being assigned to work with him in the basement of the bureau. Scully is a skeptic, often putting science at the forefront to explain the unexplainable. Fox Mulder, on the other hand, is a rather credulous character. Often referred to as “Spooky” by his peers, he has become obsessed with finding his sister Samantha who was abducted—ostensibly by aliens—and was never recovered.

The show tells a number of different stories. But, there are two main stories on which the X-Files focuses. The stand alone episodes are the self-contained genre stories such as horror, thrillers and science fiction. Then, you have the mythology episodes, which deal with the Mulder/Scully pursuit of a conspiracy to hide something from the American public.

Something I’ve always admired about the show was the writing, it delivered a level of quality that far surpassed anything before it. Howard Gordon (Homeland), Darin Morgan (Fringe), David Amann (Castle), and Vince Gilligan (creator of Breaking Bad) were just a few of the standout writers on the show. I think this gives you a good indication on just how strong the writing was.

The influence the X-Files has had on television is undeniable. Many shows, specifically science fiction dramas, have followed its stellar storytelling format even ten years later. Lost, Supernatural and Fringe are just a few of the shows that have paid homage to the X-Files in some way, shape or form.

In the later years, the show injected some new characters into the mix. You had Agent John Doggett (Robert Patrick—love his work), and Special Agent Reyes (Annabeth Gish). While the introduction of these characters was not well received amongst the cult-like fans, they played a crucial role in the ending of the series. (I, however, thought it strengthened the show, bringing renewed interest to a series that was 8 seasons in). But, hey, I guess this is something we can elaborate on further if this topic generates some comments.

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Synesthesia


I’ve been working/re-working this topic for a while now on my blog, trying to gather information on the subject by talking to people who experience it on a day-to-day basis. Perhaps this will lead to a worthwhile discussion.

So, what exactly is synesthesia? It’s more of a neurological phenomenon, where a stimulus in one part of the brain triggers a response in another, unrelated brain region—for example, seeing sounds as colours,shapes, and relational space. Multiple types of synesthesia have been reported, though there are hundreds of possible types out there. The most common types are grapheme-colour, sound-colour and day of the week/month-colour. In short, synesthesia is when someone associates/experiences colours with sounds, numbers and words.

[As seen on the wikipedia page]

580px-Synesthesia.svg
(e.g. Monday is red, Tuesday is a blue)

From my understanding, there are two categories of synesthesia (perhaps more): projected and associated. Someone with projected synesthesia (let’s say sound-to-colour) actually sees the colours in their field of vision. Someone with associated synesthesia sees the colours in their “mind’s eye”. Both types are equally valid; associated in many different types of synesthesia.

One study I read suggested that 1 in 2,000 people are synesthetes, but another (LiveScience) found it was 1 in 23. Obviously more research is needed to figure out what the real prevalence is, but I would imagine it’s closer to the 1 in 23 statistic, especially considering I’ve met (and become friends) w/ four random people who experience it on a regular basis in the last year alone. The difference between men and women is prevalent as well. Studies show that three times as many women as men have experience synesthesia, but this might be because women are more likely to acknowledge having it, more so than men. Though studies have often shown it’s more prevalent in women. Synesthesia is also associated with other traits and conditions such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD), OCD, left-handedness and being artistic.

Do any of you experience the phenomenon known as synesthesia? Or do you have friends who do? I’d love to hear your feedback on the subject.

For more information on this topic, I direct you to these pages:
http://www.cell.com/neuron/abstract/S0896-6273%2805%2900835-4?cc=y?cc=y
http://www.bu.edu/synesthesia/faq/