The same scientists say tens of thousands more Arctic species may soon be listed as ‘endangered’ because of a threat several decades down the line. Some conservationists argue that all Arctic species be listed.” (New Scientist)
“Fascinating illusion discovered by Uta Wolfe” (Cognitive Daily)
“These are our extra ideas, for you, for free”. Want to live somebody else’s surplus pipe dream?
The Edge of Madness: “Go through security, get pulled to the side. I’m wearing a French Connection Transformers t-shirt. Bloke starts joking with me is that Megatron. Then he explains that since Megatron is holding a gun, I’m not allowed to fly. WTF? It’s a 40 foot tall cartoon robot with a gun as an arm. There is no way this shirt is offensive in any way, and what I’m going to use the shirt to pretend I have a gun?” [via boing boing]
(And, if secutiry had looked at the teeshirt label, the passenger would have really been in trouble: ‘FCUK’.)
Six 'uniquely' human traits now found in animals (New Scientist)
Over the past several years, the momentum has shifted away from hard-core materialism. The brain seems less like a cold machine. It does not operate like a computer. Instead, meaning, belief and consciousness seem to emerge mysteriously from idiosyncratic networks of neural firings. Those squishy things called emotions play a gigantic role in all forms of thinking. Love is vital to brain development.
Researchers now spend a lot of time trying to understand universal moral intuitions. Genes are not merely selfish, it appears. Instead, people seem to have deep instincts for fairness, empathy and attachment.
Scientists have more respect for elevated spiritual states. Andrew Newberg of the University of Pennsylvania has shown that transcendent experiences can actually be identified and measured in the brain (people experience a decrease in activity in the parietal lobe, which orients us in space). The mind seems to have the ability to transcend itself and merge with a larger presence that feels more real.
This new wave of research will not seep into the public realm in the form of militant atheism. Instead it will lead to what you might call neural Buddhism.” (New York Times op-ed)
A compilation by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Anyone prepared to claim that the album cover is a legitimate type of work of art should scan this gallery first. I went through all fifty and they include stunning examples of bad haircuts, tortured superficiality and, curiously, a disproportionate number of pairings between recording artists and dummies. Certainly, looking at most of these is a cross-cultural experience. There are a scattered few which it seems are being lampooned just for the appearance of the artist(s), rather than the cultural iconography they represent. However, there is one album among the fifty that I am proud to say I own, have valued as a profound musical experience, and am quite surprised to see lumped with the others. Can you guess which one?
Unlike THC, it’s lesser known cousin cannabidiol is not responsible for the cannabis ‘high’ but it is naturally present in the plant.
There is accumulating evidence that cannabidiol has an antipsychotic effect, potentially damping down the psychosis-promoting effects of THC.
The amount of this substance varies in street cannabis, with some strains having more cannabidiol than others, and ‘skunk’ having the least of all – it being mostly eliminated by selective breeding for high THC content.
An ingenious new study looked at levels of cannabidiol consumption in groups of cannabis smokers by testing hair samples, and found that the groups who had the lowest cannabidiol levels had the most psychosis-like experiences.” (Mind Hacks)
“Members of one of the world’s last uncontacted tribes have been spotted and photographed from the air near the Brazil-Peru border. The photos were taken during several flights over one of the remotest parts of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil’s Acre state.
‘We did the overflight to show their houses, to show they are there, to show they exist,’ said uncontacted tribes expert Jos�Carlos dos Reis Meirelles Junior. Meirelles works for FUNAI, the Brazilian government’s Indian affairs department. ‘This is very important because there are some who doubt their existence.’” (Survival International)
Is It True About Obama? (YouTube)
“Some strains of bird flu are coming ever closer to developing the traits they need to cause a human pandemic, a study released Monday said.
Researchers who analysed samples of recent avian flu viruses found that a few H7 strains of the virus that have caused minor, untransmissible infections in people in North America between 2002 and 2004 have increased their affinity for the sugars found on human tracheal cells.” (Yahoo! News)
In 1975 psychiatrist James Bozzuto wrote an article for the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease entitled ‘Cinematic Neurosis Following The Exorcist‘ that reported four cases of previously untroubled people who seemed to develop psychiatric difficulties after watching the film…” (Mind Hacks)
On this Memorial Day, America’s armed forces and its veterans are coping with depression, suicide and family, marital and job problems on a scale not seen since Vietnam. The government has been in beg-borrow-and-steal mode, trying to hire psychiatrists and other professionals, recruit them with incentives or borrow them from other agencies.” (Delaware Online)
Among others, an organization of mental health professionals called Give An Hour solicits therapist volunteers to commit to one weekly treatment hour for returning veterans or their families for a minimum of a year. The objective, in conjunction with the American Psychiatric Foundation, is for 40,000 mental health care providers (around 10% of the national total) to enlist in the program over the next three years.
On this Memorial Day, my thoughts are certainly with the returning veterans and their families. A recent puff piece on the mental health impact of the war by the Dept. of Veteran Affairs did little more than mince words, concluding that
In my opinion, however, not much is unknown about the toll this will take, except with respect to how badly the government will minimize and whitewash it (and how much of a priority the next, Democratic, administration will make of addressing this emergency).
The immorality and indefensibility of these wars from the outset, compounded by their justification by baldfaced lies and the execrable ineptitude in planning and devoting needed resources, does much to explain in the first place why such a large proportion of our enlistees are returning psychologically devastated. I will probably volunteer my time in this effort. But I have to say that it is with mixed feelings. To have to step in to compensate for the contemptible irresponsibility on the part of this malign Administration sticks in my craw to no end.
I would feel even better if there were an effort to organize mental health professionals not merely to give direct service but to educate other civilian health care providers (especially primary care MDs) to recognize and address the post-traumatic conditions of the returning veterans they will encounter. In addition to extending the reach of our expertise and facilitating the proper triage, referral and care of the victims, this would be an important societal consciousness-raising effort.
Outliers: kottke’s on it (thanks, julia)
Now, an influential group of physicians has drafted a grimly specific list of recommendations for which patients wouldn’t be treated. They include the very elderly, seriously hurt trauma victims, severely burned patients and those with severe dementia.” (CNN)
Outliers: kottke’s on it (thanks, julia)
Stage one is denial. I think we’ve all seen that in the fact that Hillary keeps loaning her failed campaign millions of dollars even though Obama’s delegate lead is insurmountable and the superdelegates keep shifting away from her.
Stage two is anger. We’ve seen Clinton’s anger on display for the past couple of weeks as she’s blamed the media and sexism for her failed campaign, and she’s tried to push the decertification of the Florida and Michigan primaries as some kind of civil rights issue.
It’s apparent that we’re now in stage three — bargaining. The Clinton camp are trying to bargain with the Obama campaign to get her name onto the ticket.
Personally, I’m ready for depression and then acceptance to kick in.” (rc3)
“Clinton today brought up the assassination of Sen. Robert Kennedy while defending her decision to stay in the race against Barack Obama. ‘My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don’t understand it,’ she said, dismissing calls to drop out.” (New York Daily News)
The researchers from the University of Miami, Florida, found that just over 1 in 20, or five per cent, admitted feeling like they wanted to murder their physician.
David Fishbain, an author of the study, found that distrust of doctors was often the cause of the problem, but understanding who was likely to have a wish to harm and why could help reduce attacks, the New Scientist magazine reports.
Few doctors are actually killed by their patients, but thousands are attacked and injured, Professor Fishbain said.” (news.com.au)
The only process indicating apparatus you’ll ever need! “…[A]n enigmatic beast. At first glance, one hardly knows what to make of it… and at second glance things don’t get much better. Listed below are some of the more common questions we’ve been asked, and their answers.
Q: How integral a role can the Device play in my secret plans to take over the world?
A: The Device can be used for good or evil. Please only use the Device for good.
Q: If Albert Einstein was alive today, do you think he would own The Device?
“Planetary measles”: “…[A] third red spot has appeared alongside its cousins — the Great Red Spot and Red Spot Jr. — in the turbulent Jovian atmosphere. This third red spot, which is a fraction of the size of the two other features, lies to the west of the Great Red Spot in the same latitude band of clouds.” (HubbleSite)
This week we tackle vestigial organs in a feature article that looks at how the idea has changed over the years, and how it has come under attack from creationists anxious to deny that vestigial organs (and hence evolution) exist at all. To accompany the article, here is our list of the five organs and functions most likely to be truly vestigial.” (New Scientist)
There would be concerns about his fitness for the presidency even if he weren’t about to turn 72. Arguably, the President’s mental health is the aspect of his or her medical condition that has the most bearing on ability to govern. Every year, with great hoopla, the President is pronounced fit after a publicized physical exam at Walter Reed. But, as I have said repeatedly with regard to GWB (about whose emotional fitness I have had ongoing grave concerns), the double standard that bars parallel psychiatric evaluations and announcements of their results is unconscionable.
The trick is that this hedge fund can’t remit earnings to investors, and has to keep them in the company’s account, renaming these retained earnings as an “endowment”. So how do the insiders extract value from this business? One way is by giving themselves cushy jobs that pay a ton of dough. Those who manage Harvard’s money are well-paid…
When tax-advantaged non-profits start to accumulate billions of dollars of cash through investment gains, and the insiders seem to be doing very well, it creates legitimate pressure for some legal changes. There is a broad range of alternatives: capital gains taxes on investment income, directly taxing the endowment, placing limitations on employee compensation, and forcing the distribution of a fixed percentage of the endowment are all obvious choices. Sanctimonious talk about “the mission of the university” is not likely to stop this; unfortunately, giving lots of money to Democratic politicians very well might.” (The American Scene via walker)
“According to a seemingly serious academic study reported in the Guardian in 2006, Icelanders are the happiest people on earth. (The study was lent some credibility by the finding that the Russians were the most unhappy.)” (Guardian.UK, thanks to walker)
Zeeke, a 1-year-old dog, will earn his bachelor’s of science degree in canine companionship. The canine has spent thousands of hours training as a Canine Companion dog as part of a senior’s honors project.” (13abc.com)
Thousands of kilometers of lost fishing nets in north Atlantic are destroying fish stocks. (Yahoo! News)
A graphic data visualization. It would be interesting to superimpose the red state/blue state map over this one.
‘I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf,’ he said. ‘I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.’
…In fact, Bush went golfing two months after the bombing the UN headquarters, and Keith Olbermann found the video…” (HuffPo)
A friend wrote me today describing her plan to select a dozen names at random from the Paris phone book and send each of them a postcard:
“Greetings from the USA. You don’t know me, but I selected your name and address at random from the internet white pages. I send you this note to apologize. The president of my country is an idiot. I did not vote for him. The majority of us are deeply ashamed of this man and his law-breaking regime. Let us hope for a return to sanity and intelligence in the upcoming year.
I, in turn, am inspired to commit similar acts. We are both curious to see if anyone responds, and how. Care to join us? If so, spread the word.
Addendum: She wrote further:
“Someone replied and wanted to do this mailing of postcards to random recipients. In my previous email I failed to outline clearly how I did it. It is a bit more complicated than I let on, but actually very easy!
First, you use real postcards, not ecards: wire display-stand postcards made of paper with glossy photo on front (see attachment in previous email) They run about 50 cents new or always aplenty in thrift shops or at home. I’m afraid I wasn’t accurate in my explanation of how I ‘found’ names. For individuals’ addresses I went to this site:
I clicked on ‘France’ and up came a search page with little browser windows for ‘name’s and ‘city’. (Note: you can’t just search name-filled pages.) Then I made up first and last names, typed them in the little browser windows along with my chosen city, ‘Paris’ until, voila! a real person’s name appeared with an address. Sometimes I had to think of several first and last name combos before I got a real person. It felt like more of a personal,prophetic connection doing it that way. Also,it might help to know a bit of whatever language so you can read the labels for the search windows.
With business addresses, you don’t use the phone book at all. It’s easier to google for example, “Pet Groomer, Paris, France” whereupon several businesses along with their addresses pop up, from which you can choose.
This method ended up working for me, anyway. Like I said, it sounds complicated, but isn’t.”
The Lebanese Army isn’t on your side any more!: “So there was George Bush, telling the BBC today that he is willing to send US aid to the Lebanese Army… Doesn’t he realize that… the Lebanese Army isn’t on his side any more?? Is it any wonder that the administration led by this man is losing so badly in the Middle East these days?” (Just World News)
Obsessive Video Montages: “… [a] genre of video meme, where some obsessive-compulsive superfan collects every phrase/action/cliche from an episode (or entire series) of their favorite show/film/game into a single massive video montage.” An extensive list from films and TV series, including every whacking from The Sopranos and every “dude” from The Big Lebowski. (waxy.org)
‘We’ve shown that the function of memory circuits can be modulated.’ A neurosurgeon testing deep brain electrical stimulation with implanted electrodes for other purposes was surprised to find normalization of memory function in a man with Alzheimer’s dementia. (Technology Review)
(Dark Roasted Blend)
Can turning animals into cyborgs ever end well? Should lasers really be strapped to planes? Is dispersing humans with the worst smell ever created a better alternative to doing it by burning their skin? You be the judge.” (Popular Science)
Some doctors believe the stigma of mental illness is magnified in a profession that prides itself on stoicism and bravado. Many fear admitting psychiatric problems could be fatal to their careers, so they suffer in silence.” (Time)
“…A victory for Hillary Clinton would be a victory for shameless pandering and for all that is small within us. We can do better.” (rc3)
this poem is for deer
I dance on all the mountains
On five mountains, I have a dancing place
When they shoot at me I run
To my five mountains”
Missed a last shot
At the Buck, in twilight
So we came back sliding
On dry needles through cold pines.
Scared out a cottontail
Whipped up the winchester
Shot off its head.
The white body rolls and twitches
In the dark ravine
As we run down the hill to the car.
deer foot down scree
Picasso’s fawn, Issa’s fawn,
Deer on the autumn mountain
Howling like a wise man
Stiff springy jumps down the snowfields
Head held back, forefeet out,
Balls tight in a tough hair sack
Keeping the human soul from care
on the autumn mountain
Standing in late sun, ear-flick
Tail-flick, gold mist of flies
Whirling from nostril to eyes.
Home by night
Still picks out Taurus
Low, and growing high:
Dancing in the headlights
on the lonely road
A mile past the mill-pond,
With the car stopped, shot
That wild silly blinded creature down.
Pull out the hot guts
with hard bare hands
While night-frost chills the tongue
The cold horn-bones.
The hunter’s belt
just below the sky
Warm blood in the car trunk.
the limp tongue.
Deer don’t want to die for me.
I’ll drink sea-water
Sleep on beach pebbles in the rain
Until the deer come down to die
in pity for my pain.
this poem is for bear
“As for me I am a child of the god of the mountains.”
A bear down under the cliff.
She is eating huckleberries.
They are ripe now
Soon it will snow, and she
Or maybe he, will crawl into a hole
And sleep. You can see
Huckleberries in bearshit if you
Look, this time of year
If I sneak up on the bear
It will grunt and run
The others had all gone down
From the blackberry brambles, but one girl
Spilled her basket, and was picking up her
Berries in the dark.
A tall man stood in the shadow, took her arm,
Led her to his home. He was a bear.
In a house under the mountain
She gave birth to slick dark children
With sharp teeth, and lived in the hollow
Mountain many years.
snare a bear: call him out:
Old man in the fur coat, Bear! come out!
Die of your own choice!
this girl married a bear
Who rules in the mountains, Bear!
you have eaten many berries
you have caught many fish
you have frightened many people
Twelve species north of Mexico
Sucking their paws in the long winter
Tearing the high-strung caches down
Whining, crying, jacking off
(Odysseus was a bear)
Bear-cubs gnawing the soft tits
Teeth gritted, eyes screwed tight
but she let them.
Til her brothers found the place
Chased her husband up the gorge
Cornered him in the rocks.
Song of the snared bear:
“Give me my belt.
“I am near death.
“I came from the mountain caves
“At the headwaters,
“The small streams there
“Are all dried up.
— I think I’ll go hunt bears.
Why shit Snyder.
You couldn’t hit a bear in the ass
with a handful of rice!”
True to the federal government’s prominent place on the trailing edge of information technology, the 302-page report, containing 800 maps populated by data compiled through 2000, is available in 18 PDF files (very Web 1.0). Sure, it’s a bit of a slog — the largest PDF weighs in at 21 MB — but it’s fun to wander such diverse sections as college dormitory population, prevalent language spoken at home, and percentage of commuters who carpool.” (Very Short List)
The Temporal Organization of Recovery — Emmanuel Mignot, Stanford University (‘Unsolved Mysteries’ discuss a topic of biological importance that is poorly understood and in need of research attention). (PLoS Biology)
at LibraryThing: “A group for those interested and involved in entering the library catalogs of famous readers.”
Not all projects shown here are genuine complex networks, in the sense that they aren’t necessarily at the edge of chaos, or show an irregular and systematic degree of connectivity. However, the projects that apparently skip this class were chosen for two important reasons. They either provide advancement in terms of visual depiction techniques/methods or show conceptual uniqueness and originality in the choice of a subject. Nevertheless, all projects have one trait in common: the whole is always more than the sum of its parts.” (thanks, abby)