Welcome. There are over 13,000 posts here and over 11,000 comments. Note: Content in a dotted line box is a quoted excerpt. Click the link to view the entire original article. Click « Previous Entries or browse the calendar. Comments are now moderated due to excessive spam.
Posted by Anonymous on February 28, 2011
Posted by Anonymous on April 19, 2014
August Cassens – What’s one of your worst memories? How did it make you feel? According to psychologists, remembering the emotions felt during a negative personal experience, such as how sad you were or how embarrassed you felt, can lead to emotional distress, especially when you can’t stop thinking about it.
When these negative memories creep up, thinking about the context of the memories, rather than how you felt, is a relatively easy and effective way to alleviate the negative effects of these memories, a new study suggests.
Researchers at the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois, led by psychology professor Florin Dolcos of the Cognitive Neuroscience Group, studied the behavioral and neural mechanisms of focusing away from emotion during recollection of personal emotional memories, and found that thinking about the contextual elements of the memories significantly reduced their emotional impact.
“Sometimes we dwell on how sad, embarrassed, or hurt we felt during an event, and that makes us feel worse and worse. This is what happens in clinical depression—ruminating on the negative aspects of a memory,” Dolcos said. “But we found that instead of thinking about your emotions during a negative memory, looking away from the worst emotions and thinking about the context, like a friend who was there, what the weather was like, or anything else non-emotional that was part of the memory, will rather effortlessly take your mind away from the unwanted emotions associated with that memory. Once you immerse yourself in other details, your mind will wander to something else entirely, and you won’t be focused on the negative emotions as much.”
This simple strategy, the study suggests, is a promising alternative to other emotion-regulation strategies, like suppression or reappraisal.
“Suppression is bottling up your emotions, trying to put them away in a box. This is a strategy that can be effective in the short term, but in the long run, it increases anxiety and depression,” explains Sanda Dolcos, co-author on the study and postdoctoral research associate at the Beckman Institute and in the Department of Psychology.
“Another otherwise effective emotion regulation strategy, reappraisal, or looking at the situation differently to see the glass half full, can be cognitively demanding. The strategy of focusing on non-emotional contextual details of a memory, on the other hand, is as simple as shifting the focus in the mental movie of your memories and then letting your mind wander.”
Not only does this strategy allow for effective short-term emotion regulation, but it has the possibility of lessening the severity of a negative memory with prolonged use.
Posted by Anonymous on April 14, 2014
In an effort to spur innovation inside and outside the space industry, NASA is releasing more than 1,000 of its computer codes to the public Thursday through a new open-access software catalog.
As far as inventions go, the space agency is perhaps most famous for its hardware — its rockets, spaceships and telescopes — but many sophisticated software systems were born at NASA, too, from the primitive codes that guided the first astronauts to the moon to the codes that Earth-bound drivers of the Mars Curiosity rover write to get the robot to travel across the Red Planet.
“Software is an increasingly important element of the agency’s intellectual asset portfolio, making up about a third of our reported inventions every year,” Jim Adams, NASA’s deputy chief technologist, said in a statement. “We are excited to be able to make that software widely available to the public with the release of our software catalog.”
Many of the codes made available through the so-called Tech Transfer program will be free to use for U.S. citizens, though some systems will only be available to other federal agencies because of access restrictions, NASA officials said. …
… DARPA posted a similar catalog earlier this year. NASA will also start hosting the code online by next year; while all the code is free of copyright, people will need special clearance to get their hands-on projects like the rocket guidance system.Many of the projects are already available online, but they are spread out across many sites and difficult to find. One of the main purposes of NASA is to develop technology that can be transferred to other industries, but it is difficult to transfer technology if no one knows where to find the details.
“Our design software has been used to make everything from guitars to roller coasters to Cadillacs,” Technology Transfer Program executive David Lockney told Wired.
“Scheduling software that keeps the Hubble Space Telescope operations straight has been used for scheduling MRIs at busy hospitals and as control algorithms for online dating services.”The new code database is the result of a 2011 order from President Barack Obama that federal agencies increase the pace of technology transfer. Lockney told Wired that he would not be surprised to see many more projects added to the database after its release.
Thanks to NASA codes I upgraded the intelligence of every electric appliance in my home. My garage door opener started opening at random, but it wasn’t random. Turned out to be morse code. “N-E-E-D O-I-L”
Posted by Anonymous on April 11, 2014
The loss of a tooth is a minor deformity and a major pain. Although dental implants are available, the healing process can take months on end, and implants that fail to align with the ever-growing jawbone tend to fall out. If only adult teeth could be regenerated, right?
According to a study published in the latest Journal of Dental Research, a new tissue regeneration technique may allow people to simply regrow a new set of pearly whites.
Dr. Jeremy Mao, the Edward V. Zegarelli Professor of Dental Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, has unveiled a growth factor-infused, three-dimensional scaffold with the potential to regenerate an anatomically correct tooth in just nine weeks from implantation. By using a procedure developed in the university’s Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory, Dr. Mao can direct the body’s own stem cells toward the scaffold, which is made of natural materials. Once the stem cells have colonized the scaffold, a tooth can grow in the socket and then merge with the surrounding tissue.
Dr. Mao’s technique not only eliminates the need to grow teeth in a Petri dish, but it is the first to achieve regeneration of anatomically correct teeth by using the body’s own resources. Factor in the faster recovery time and the comparatively natural process of regrowth (as opposed to implantation), and you have a massively appealing dental treatment.
Columbia University has already filed patent applications in regard to the technology and is seeking associates to aid in its commercialization. In the meantime, Dr. Mao is considering the best approach for applying his technique to cost-effective clinical therapies.
I don’t recommend doing this at home just yet. If you don’t know what you are doing you might accidentally grow an ear, a toe, a nostril, or even a vagina in there, but the cool
thing is that the success with animals was four years ago so they may have secret trials with humans going on already.
Posted by Anonymous on April 11, 2014
To implant the lab-grown vaginas, surgeons first had to create a canal in the women’s pelvic areas. The surgeons then sutured the biodegradable scaffold to the patients’ already existing reproductive structures. In the weeks following the operation, the women’s nerves and blood vessels gradually expanded and started integrating themselves into the engineered tissue. As this was happening, the women’s bodies were slowly absorbing the scaffolding. By the time the scaffolding had completely disappeared, it was no longer needed — the cells had laid down their own permanent support structure.
More about the announcement:
… a miraculous scientific advancement was announced: The long-term success of lab-made regenerative human tissue! Between June 2005 and October 2008, laboratory generated vaginas were implanted in four teenage girls born with a rare genetic disease. The results of the procedures were published yesterday in the science journal the Lancet, and it was announced that up to eight years later, the women are doing quite well. The patients can now have painless sex and even orgasm!
The women were all born with the genetic disease Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome, which affects one in 4,500 girls. The syndrome causes women to be born with either an underdeveloped or absent vagina and uterus. The lab-grown vaginal organ was implanted in women ages 13 to 18. Eight years later they all have normal organ function, according to Atlantida-Raya Rivera, who was a lead author of the study.
“Tissue biopsies, MRI scans and internal exams using magnification all showed that the engineered vaginas were similar in makeup and function to native tissue,” Rivera said. Dr. Rivera is also the director of the HIMFG Tissue Engineering Laboratory at the MRKH in Mexico City, the location of the surgeries….
Scans of the pelvic region were used to design a tube like 3D-scaffold for each patient
Four women have had new vaginas grown in the laboratory and implanted by doctors in the US.
A tissue sample and a biodegradable scaffold were used to grow vaginas in the right size and shape for each woman as well as being a tissue match.
They all reported normal levels of “desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction” and painless intercourse.
Experts said the study, published in the Lancet, was the latest example of the power of regenerative medicine.
In each woman the vagina did not form properly while they were still inside their mother’s womb, a condition known as vaginal aplasia.
Current treatments can involve surgically creating a cavity, which is then lined with skin grafts or parts of the intestine.
The scaffold is made of a biodegradable material
Doctors at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre in North Carolina used pioneering technology to build vaginas for the four women who were all in their teenage years at the time.
Scans of the pelvic region were used to design a tube-like 3D-scaffold for each patient.
A small tissue biopsy was taken from the poorly developed vulva and grown to create a large batch of cells in the laboratory.
Muscle cells were attached to the outside of the scaffold and vaginal-lining cells to the inside.
The vaginas were carefully grown in a bioreactor until they were suitable to be surgically implanted into the patients.
One of the women with an implanted vagina, who wished to keep her name anonymous, said: “I believe in the beginning when you find out you feel different.
“I mean while you are living the process, you are seeing the possibilities you have and all the changes you’ll go through.
“Truly I feel very fortunate because I have a normal life, completely normal.”
All the women reported normal sexual function.
Vaginal aplasia can lead to other abnormalities in the reproductive organs, but in two of the women the vagina was connected to the uterus.
There have been no pregnancies, but for those women it is theoretically possible.
The scaffold is placed in an incubator
Dr Anthony Atala, director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest, told the BBC News website: “Really for the first time we’ve created a whole organ that was never there to start with, it was a challenge.”
He said a functioning vagina was a “very important thing” for these women’s lives and witnessing the difference it made to them “was very rewarding to see”.
This is the first time the results have been reported. However, the first implants took place eight years ago.
Are the cells, and thus tissues and organs, grown this way the same biological age (in terms of number of times the cells can divide) as the donor or younger? Next up: replacement organs to prolong life.
Posted by Anonymous on April 11, 2014
Used as a sugar substitute and often marketed as Nutrasweet and Equal, aspartame is an excitotoxin that destroys the brain and body. Its use has been a controversial subject since the 1980s when the CEO of Searle, Donald Rumsfeld, pushed for it’s approval to be sold on the market. Now, its name is being changed, with FDA approval, to try to dupe millions into purchasing and consuming this toxin once again.
Aspartame, even renamed Amino Sweet, is not safe. This substance is made using genetically modified bacteria in the US, but according to a Monsanto source, the UK market does not have to eat genetically modified bacteria excrement. Many ‘low-calorie’ foods contain GMO aspartame, however, even overseas. Aspartame may cause blindness, cancer, and brain tumors.
Just as a reminder of who is pushing this excrement – quite literally – on the consumers of the United states, it was Mr. Rumsfeld who went on to become George W. Bush’s secretary of Defense, and crony-Capitalist agenda-pusher. This one substance has continually been shown to cause harm to human health, so why is the FDA renaming it instead of banning it completely from the food supply? There is considerable evidence that artificial sweeteners cause cancer, including aspartame specifically – so why not name it something more appropriate at least? ‘Sickeningly Sweet’ might be more appropriate.
Even saccharin eventually had to be made with a label, mandated by Congress, that says, “Use of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals”. The FDA’s own toxicologist, Dr. Adrian Gross told Congress that without a shadow of a doubt, aspartame can cause brain tumors and brain cancer and that it violated the Delaney Amendment.
Slowly poisoning someone is totally legal in the USA … as long as you make money from doing it. ;-)
Posted by Anonymous on April 11, 2014
Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers now can precisely measure the distance of stars up to 10,000 light-years away — 10 times farther than previously possible.
Astronomers have developed yet another novel way to use the 24-year-old space telescope by employing a technique called spatial scanning, which dramatically improves Hubble’s accuracy for making angular measurements. The technique, when applied to the age-old method for gauging distances called astronomical parallax, extends Hubble’s tape measure 10 times farther into space.
“This new capability is expected to yield new insight into the nature of dark energy, a mysterious component of space that is pushing the universe apart at an ever-faster rate,” said Noble laureate Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Md.
Parallax, a trigonometric technique, is the most reliable method for making astronomical distance measurements, and a practice long employed by land surveyors here on Earth. The diameter of Earth’s orbit is the base of a triangle and the star is the apex where the triangle’s sides meet. The lengths of the sides are calculated by accurately measuring the three angles of the resulting triangle.
Astronomical parallax works reliably well for stars within a few hundred light-years of Earth. For example, measurements of the distance to Alpha Centauri, the star system closest to our sun, vary only by one arc second. This variance in distance is equal to the apparent width of a dime seen from two miles away.
Stars farther out have much smaller angles of apparent back-and-forth motion that are extremely difficult to measure. Astronomers have pushed to extend the parallax yardstick ever deeper into our galaxy by measuring smaller angles more accurately.
This new long-range precision was proven when scientists successfully used Hubble to measure the distance of a special class of bright stars called Cepheid variables, approximately 7,500 light-years away in the northern constellation Auriga. The technique worked so well, they are now using Hubble to measure the distances of other far-flung Cepheids.
Such measurements will be used to provide firmer footing for the so-called cosmic “distance ladder.” This ladder’s “bottom rung” is built on measurements to Cepheid variable stars that, because of their known brightness, have been used for more than a century to gauge the size of the observable universe. They are the first step in calibrating far more distant extra-galactic milepost markers such as Type Ia supernovae.
Riess and the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., in collaboration with Stefano Casertano of STScI, developed a technique to use Hubble to make measurements as small as five-billionths of a degree.
To make a distance measurement, two exposures of the target Cepheid star were taken six months apart, when Earth was on opposite sides of the sun. A very subtle shift in the star’s position was measured to an accuracy of 1/1,000 the width of a single image pixel in Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, which has 16.8 megapixels total. A third exposure was taken after another six months to allow for the team to subtract the effects of the subtle space motion of stars, with additional exposures used to remove other sources of error.
You have more space than you think.
Posted by Anonymous on April 9, 2014
Late last year we mentioned an oarfish – an incredibly long, rarely-seen deep ocean species sometimes mistaken for a sea serpent (see image above) – coming ashore on the Californian coast. Now, some six months later, two oarfish have been sighted – and captured on film – beaching themselves at Isla San Francisco, by guests on a cruise boat:
The guests were enjoying a beach party in the afternoon sun, complete with a chest of ice cold Mexican beer. All of sudden, a cry went up from the folks who had elected to saunter down the beach and explore a bit.
“THERE’S A GIANT FISH OVER HERE!”
The guests had spotted something special in the lagoon, a pair of oarfish, each greater than twelve feet in length!
…The two guides manning the beach, Lia Stamatiou and Hannah Hindley, quickly realized what the guests had spotted, and they excitedly called it in to the vessel via radio. In a matter of minutes, guests and crew alike swarmed ashore to catch a view of these near-mythical leviathans. The two fish swam in the shallows of the lagoon, obviously dazed or ill, but still wondrous and beautiful. Guests in kayaks filmed videos of the fish swimming beneath them, and this writer was able get some video of one of them making its way along the bottom under its own power, thanks to a GoPro underwater camera.
Kind of sad to watch these incredible creatures swimming ashore, while being gawked at by humans. One can only wonder at what prompted the beaching. Hopefully not, as I mentioned in my previous post, a harbinger of an impending great earthquake – in Japan, oarfish are known as the ‘Messenger from the Sea God’s Palace’, whose appearance in shallow coastal waters foretells impending earthquakes.
Posted by Anonymous on April 2, 2014
Are you ready?
Posted by Anonymous on April 2, 2014
Video has emerged of a train derailing at a busy Chicago station – as it was revealed its driver nodded off at the controls.
News of the operator’s admission was confirmed by a federal investigator, who is among those probing the crash at O’Hare International Airport.
National Transportation Safety Board investigator Ted Turpin said the driver only woke up when the train jumped off the tracks and hit the escalator, injuring more than 30 people.
Mr Turpin said the woman told investigators she had also fallen asleep on the job in February, partially missing a station.
Chicago Transit Authority officials said their records showed the operator said she “closed her eyes for a moment” but that she did not indicate that she “dozed off.”
The CTA said it would reduce the speed of trains entering the station.
Passengers should have a way to check to see if their driver is asleep. I don’t understand, however, what made the train jump the tracks. Wouldn’t it just keep right on going if she didn’t stop? I’m guessing this was an end of the line type stop with no track beyond this station?
Posted by Anonymous on April 2, 2014
A Polish priest has warned parents to be on their guard against Lego, warning the plastic blocks are a tool of Satan and can “destroy” children’s souls.
In a presentation aimed at parents, Father Slawomir Kostrzewa said the popular Danish toy company had taken a lurch to the dark side with its series of Monster Fighters and Zombie mini-figures, and that they “were about darkness and the world of death”.
“Friendly fellows have been replaced by dark monsters,” he explained. “These toys can have a negative effect on children. They can destroy their souls and lead them to the dark side.”
Lego’s Monster Fighters range features Lord Vampyre, a fanged Dracula-like character, who battles the likes of Doctor Rodney Rathbone and Major Quinton Steele as they try to prevent him from “cloaking the world in darkness”.
The priest also cited research by New Zealand’s University of Canterbury that found the facial expressions of Lego figures have also become angrier over the years, and that this compounded their evil potential.
“Facial expressions may be lead to confusion between good and evil,” said Father Kostrzewa. “It appears the good suffer in battle and the ‘villains’ have a face showing satisfaction with their evil deeds.”
But the claims that Lego blocks are becoming the work of the devil was dismissed by at least one expert.
Father Kostrzewa’s attack on Lego is not the first time he has accused toys of harbouring evil. Hello Kitty and My Little Pony have also come under his scrutiny, with the latter being described as a “carrier of death”.
Lego was unavailable for comment.
… Speaking in a Lent service directed at parents in the Polish town of Wolsztyn, Father Slawomir Kostrzewa mourned the lost innocence of the hugely popular Danish toy.
He said that until recently, Lego bricks represented a “very desirable toy for children, because of their educational value”.
But he decried the new Lego Monster Fighters range, which features “evil” characters including Lord Vampyre, The Ghosts, The Werewolf, The Swamp Creature and the completely non-derivative Crazy Scientist’s Monster.
“Friendly fellows have been replaced by dark monsters,” Father Kostrzewa explained. …
Perhaps not an April fools gag.