Once in awhile I come across little stories that are relevant to this column that don't necessarily call for so many words of commentary. But it's a shame to skip over them, so occasionally, I'd like to break The Exhibitionist up a bit and write about a few of them at once.

The first thing that caught my attention this week was a report of a study focused on ambient lighting, such as the kind used in cinemas. According to research conducted by academics at the University of Cumbria in England, and at University College Dublin in Ireland, movies should be viewed in rooms that are as well lit as the movies themselves. So, yes, that means your local multiplex has the lights dimmed way too low.

But, you wonder, isn't it dark in theaters because we can see the movie much better that way? And when we're at home don't we turn out the lights, or, when it's daytime, close the shades for the same reason? Well, yes, but incorrectly so, say Cumbria's Professor David Manning and UCD's Professor Patrick Brennan. Their findings indicate that such darkness actually hinders the eye's ability to see at optimum capability. "Ideally, ambient light should be adapted to the brightness of the screen for the eye to pick up as much detail as it can," Manning said. "However, most people prefer to watch films in a darkened room, but as the eye adapts to the surrounding light these conditions may not be conducive to picking up maximum visual detail."