Rejection really hurts, finds brain study

“Lonely hearts have spent millennia trying to capture the pain of rejection in painting, poetry and song. Now neuroscientists have seen it flickering in some remarkable brain images from college students suffering a social snub.

The brain scans reveal that two of the same brain regions that are activated by physical pain are also activated by social exclusion.

‘This doesn’t mean a broken arm hurts exactly the same way that a broken heart does,’ says Matthew Lieberman of the University of California, Los Angeles, who led the research. ‘But it shows that the human brain sounds the same alarm system for emotional and physical distress.'” New Scientist If it is so —that social disconnection is as ‘painful’ as physical injury — we have been so heavily selected to avoid it that it would not be too much of an extrapolation to call the need for connectedness a basic or instinctual ‘drive’. New Scientist


Saving Pvt. Ryan … From Pain

Fanciful DARPA projects to eliminate battlefield evacuation of the wounded near reality: “‘It sounds coldhearted, but a wounded soldier can be more disruptive than a dead one. At minimum, you need a couple of guys to carry him out. And once he’s out, it hurts unit cohesion,’ said Jim Lewis, with the Center for Strategic & International Studies. ‘So the more you can do upfront to stabilize someone — and the more that person can do for themselves — the better.'”

…The technologies, developed under a broad Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency effort called Persistence in Combat (PDF), all sound pretty far-fetched: a painkiller soldiers could take — before they get hurt; a sensor that scans the eye for internal trauma; a bandage that stimulates skin repair with electrical impulses.” Wired News


Giving the Public a Piece of His Mind, Literally:

He Thinks, Therefore He Sells: “Jonathon Keats, a 32-year-old conceptual artist and novelist, has announced plans to auction off futures contracts on 6 billion neurons in his brain, which he copyrighted this spring. The copyright, like all copyrights, lasts for the life of the creator plus 70 years, thanks to an extension granted by 1998’s controversial Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act.” Wired News


On the Nobel Peace Prize award:

[Shirin Ebdai]Shirin Ebadi, who on Friday was awarded the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize, defies Nobel

, as the odds for winning the coveted award are heavily stacked in stacked in favor of male US-European notables. The recipient was ‘shocked’ to learn she had been awarded the prize. The Vatican was disappointed (Reuters) that the Prize was not awarded to the Pope; although the Nobel does not officially acknowledge its short list for its prizes. he was rumored to be in the running. Czech President Vaclav Havel and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva were also seen as possibilities (SF Chronicle). Former Polish prime minister Lech Walesa, 1983 peace prize winner, called the decision ‘a big mistake’ because the Pope did not win. The Pope, however, plans to send her a message of congratulations. Sant’ Egidio, a Catholic lay community whose work for peace and human rights, particularly in Africa, had made it one of the leading contenders for the prize, released an approving message.

According to ABC, the Iranian government was ‘happy’ with the award, which however the BBC reports is divisive in Iran. Ebadi is considered a thorn in the side of Iranian hardliners (CNN); the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 saw her removal as the nation’s first woman judge. She is opposed to foreign intervention in Iran, not that this will make her an appreciably thorny problem for the U.S. dysadministration hardliners with designs on the region and a remarkable disdain for world opinion.


Iraqi Shiites protest at US ‘terrorism’

further evidence those inscrutable ingrates just do not appreciate their liberators
: “Up to 10,000 Iraqi Shias have taken to the streets of a Baghdad suburb to denounce the US for ‘terrorism’.

The protest came during the funerals of two Shias allegedly killed by US soldiers in Sadr City on Thursday.” BBC The promise of Shiite rage at the US occupation gives new reason for fear among US troops. The government line has been that Saddam loyalists and foreign terrorists are behind the attacks on the occupiers and that the Shiites welcomed American liberation from oppression under Saddam.


Malvo Plans Insanity Defense

“Lawyers for Lee Boyd Malvo revealed yesterday that they will argue he was insane during the Washington area sniper shootings last fall because he had been ‘indoctrinated’ by his co-defendant, John Allen Muhammad.

Earlier yesterday, a Prince William County judge hearing Muhammad’s case barred all mental health testimony from his trial next week because Muhammad refused to be interviewed by a prosecution expert.” Washington Post


Same-old, same-old:

No, California Is Not Falling Into the Sea: “Forget what the talking heads tell you: California is not falling into the sea, people. And if this is a sign of the coming Apocalypse, it is only the latest of its type. Or have you forgotten the kind of folks we elect here on the left coast? Ronald Reagan, Jerry Brown, George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson, Gray Davis – those are the governors that have run things here since I was born, and I’m not sure how Arnold could be much worse.” —Christopher Scheer, AlterNet