How to get "head orgasms" from sounds with ASMR

Catch up on the phenomenon known as ASMR, which is exploding in popularity and may be linked to the appeal of religion.

Do some sounds give you tingles or maybe full-blown “head orgasms”? Maybe you love listening to the turning of book pages and get a hit of euphoria when you fold towels? You may be experiencing a phenomenon called ASMR or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.


Yes, there is such a thing. Some people have very particular auditory or visual triggers that may cause them to have waves of very positive feelings and sensations of static-like tingling on their skin. ASMR can also help with insomnia, according to the millions who claim to feel it.

The subculture is growing in popularity, with YouTube stars like the ASMRtist Maria garnering 1.3 million subscribers and 463 million views for videos where she gently whispers, taps on things and tries on prom dresses just for the sounds of it.

Here’s a “classic" video of Maria’s that has almost 20 million views: 

As she says in the description of her channel, Maria’s mission “in this world of stress and chaos” is to provide a “secret island of relaxation and peace.” She is there to comfort you and relax you through soothing videos. She is also aware that she will be a “trigger for your tingles.”

Sounds like the crinkling of paper, brushing hair, soft tapping, classical music or even the voice of the painter Bob Ross can be other most common triggers of ASMR.

While there is still little science on the phenomenon which has been compared to auditory-tactile synesthesia, the ASMR Research Project hopes to shed more light on what is actually happening by running an online survey. The research team includes Craig Richard, a professor at Shenandoah University School of Pharmacy, psychology grad student Karissa Burnett and Jennifer Allen, a cybersecurity professional who coined the term 'Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response'. 

Had enough of this article and want to try going to sleep? Check out these triggers:

In an interesting twist on the subject, some have noticed a connection between ASMR and religion. Are there ASMR elements to religious rituals? As the author of the science and theology blog 'Irreducible Complexity writes, certain features of religious ceremonies like laying of the hands, anointing with oil, or deliberately slow communion preparations have been reported to trigger ASMR responses. 

People who have experienced religious euphoria describe “electric tingling” and other tingling sensations during certain moments when they felt most connected to what they perceived as the Holy Spirit.  

Others have spoken of forehead tingling as an indication of a “spiritual awakening” caused by the opening of the “crown chakra”.

Whether you believe in the reality of ASMR most likely depends on whether you think you have experienced it.

Here’s some very soothing Bob Ross to test you:

Drill, Baby, Drill: What will we look for when we mine on Mars?

It's unlikely that there's anything on the planet that is worth the cost of shipping it back

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  • In the second season of National Geographic Channel's MARS (premiering tonight, 11/12/18,) privatized miners on the red planet clash with a colony of international scientists
  • Privatized mining on both Mars and the Moon is likely to occur in the next century
  • The cost of returning mined materials from Space to the Earth will probably be too high to create a self-sustaining industry, but the resources may have other uses at their origin points

Want to go to Mars? It will cost you. In 2016, SpaceX founder Elon Musk estimated that manned missions to the planet may cost approximately $10 billion per person. As with any expensive endeavor, it is inevitable that sufficient returns on investment will be needed in order to sustain human presence on Mars. So, what's underneath all that red dust?

Mining Technology reported in 2017 that "there are areas [on Mars], especially large igneous provinces, volcanoes and impact craters that hold significant potential for nickel, copper, iron, titanium, platinum group elements and more."

Were a SpaceX-like company to establish a commercial mining presence on the planet, digging up these materials will be sure to provoke a fraught debate over environmental preservation in space, Martian land rights, and the slew of microbial unknowns which Martian soil may bring.

In National Geographic Channel's genre-bending narrative-docuseries, MARS, (the second season premieres tonight, November 12th, 9 pm ET / 8 pm CT) this dynamic is explored as astronauts from an international scientific coalition go head-to-head with industrial miners looking to exploit the planet's resources.

Given the rate of consumption of minerals on Earth, there is plenty of reason to believe that there will be demand for such an operation.

"Almost all of the easily mined gold, silver, copper, tin, zinc, antimony, and phosphorus we can mine on Earth may be gone within one hundred years" writes Stephen Petranek, author of How We'll Live on Mars, which Nat Geo's MARS is based on. That grim scenario will require either a massive rethinking of how we consume metals on earth, or supplementation from another source.

Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, told Petranek that it's unlikely that even if all of Earth's metals were exhausted, it is unlikely that Martian materials could become an economically feasible supplement due to the high cost of fuel required to return the materials to Earth. "Anything transported with atoms would have to be incredibly valuable on a weight basis."

Actually, we've already done some of this kind of resource extraction. During NASA's Apollo missions to the Moon, astronauts used simple steel tools to collect about 842 pounds of moon rocks over six missions. Due to the high cost of those missions, the Moon rocks are now highly valuable on Earth.


Moon rock on display at US Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, AL (Big Think/Matt Carlstrom)

In 1973, NASA valuated moon rocks at $50,800 per gram –– or over $300,000 today when adjusted for inflation. That figure doesn't reflect the value of the natural resources within the rock, but rather the cost of their extraction.

Assuming that Martian mining would be done with the purpose of bringing materials back to Earth, the cost of any materials mined from Mars would need to include both the cost of the extraction and the value of the materials themselves. Factoring in the price of fuel and the difficulties of returning a Martian lander to Earth, this figure may be entirely cost prohibitive.

What seems more likely, says Musk, is for the Martian resources to stay on the Red Planet to be used for construction and manufacturing within manned colonies, or to be used to support further mining missions of the mineral-rich asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

At the very least, mining on Mars has already produced great entertainment value on Earth: tune into Season 2 of MARS on National Geographic Channel.

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