Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for August 30th, 2008

Study says eyes evolved for X-Ray vision

Posted by Anonymous on August 30, 2008

Humans and other large mammals — primates and large carnivores like tigers, for example — exist in cluttered environments like forests or jungles, and their eyes have evolved to point in the same direction. While animals with forward-facing eyes lose the ability to see what’s behind them, they gain X-ray vision, according to Mark Changizi, assistant professor of cognitive science at Rensselaer, who says eyes facing the same direction have been selected for maximizing our ability to see in leafy environments like forests.

All animals have a binocular region — parts of the world that both eyes can see simultaneously — which allows for X-ray vision and grows as eyes become more forward facing.

Demonstrating our X-ray ability is fairly simple: hold a pen vertically and look at something far beyond it. If you first close one eye, and then the other, you’ll see that in each case the pen blocks your view. If you open both eyes, however, you can see through the pen to the world behind it.

To demonstrate how our eyes allow us to see through clutter, hold up all of your fingers in random directions, and note how much of the world you can see beyond them when only one eye is open compared to both. You miss out on a lot with only one eye open, but can see nearly everything behind the clutter with both.

“Our binocular region is a kind of ‘spotlight’ shining through the clutter, allowing us to visually sweep out a cluttered region to recognize the objects beyond it,” says Changizi, who is principal investigator on the project. “As long as the separation between our eyes is wider than – the width of the objects causing clutter — as is the case with our fingers, or would be the case with the leaves in the forest — then we can tend to see through it.” – pysorg

Posted in Biology | Leave a Comment »

Terror Trackers.

Posted by Anonymous on August 30, 2008

When al-Qaida was founded, Josh Devon was nine years old. Ben Venzke was 15. … Now, … Venzke and Devon have both become fascinated in terrorism and have turned that interest into careers. And al-Qaida now takes careful note of their work.

Venzke and Devon are two of the most prominent “terror trackers” worldwide. … IntelCenter and SITE Intelgroup are the companies that Venzke and Devon, respectively, have founded. They enjoy a strong reputation within the relatively small community of terrorism experts …

Bin Laden’s Words

The two companies exert tremendous influence, worldwide and around the clock. News agencies, intelligence services and law enforcement organizations from the entire Western world are among Devon’s and Venzke’s clients. SITE and IntelCenter deliver their product — information — via e-mail, telephone or fax, or directly to clients’ PDAs or mobile phones.

Almost every statement by Osama bin Laden published on the Internet, to name only one example, is first made public by SITE and IntelCenter. They find the statements in the confusion of Web sites associated with al-Qaida, and within seconds they have sent the first screen shots to their subscribers. It takes the companies only minutes to summarize bin Laden’s speeches and within hours, they will have provided full translations, analysis included.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

Barack Obama DNC Acceptance Speech Denver August 28th, 2008

Posted by Anonymous on August 30, 2008





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McCain’s Running Mate, Sarah Palin’s husband: BP Oil Connection

Posted by Anonymous on August 30, 2008

Did you know Sarah Palin’s husband works for BP offshore oil co who has been trying to increase taxes on oil?

What a conflict of interest. I am so friggin sick of Republicans who do nothing but raise oil prices. First the Bush and Cheney oil clan, Condaleeza used to be an executive at Shell, and now the VP is a little devil in disguise, whose husband has been giving the green light to do offshore oil drilling in Northern Alaska and who has helped contribute to the rise in oil prices. I guess it really is true that gas will go to $7/gallon with Republicans in office. Wake up! Don’t let the economy take a further dive, not that I like Obama, but I don’t want to be robbed further by these oil theives either who are driving record inflation.

… Todd Palin, who took college courses, but does not have a degree, said he is grateful for the training he received from the multinational oil company BP starting in 1989.

Until recently, he earned hourly wages as a production operator in a BP-run facility that separates oil from gas and water. Palin was making between $100,000 and $120,000 a year before he went on leave in December to make more time for his family and avoid potential conflicts of interest. London-based BP is heavily involved in the gas pipeline negotiations with his wife’s administration. – yahooanswers

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments »

Duchovny in Rehab. Walk it off?

Posted by Anonymous on August 30, 2008

David Duchovny, who plays a novelist whose libido often leads him into trouble on “Californication,” is having trouble with sex in real life. The star of the big-screen “The X-Files: I Want to Believe” has entered a rehabilitation center for sex addiction, People reported. “I have voluntarily entered a facility for the treatment of sex addiction,” he told the magazine. “I ask for respect and privacy for my wife and children as we deal with this situation as a family.” Duchovny, 48, is married to actress Tea Leoni. They live in Malibu, Calif., with their two children, daughter Madelaine, 9, and son Kyd, 6. On Showtime’s “Californication,” Duchovny plays the troubled Hank Moody, a role for which he won a Golden Globe. – ctrib

Way back in 1990, when no one outside the English departments at Princeton and Yale knew who he was, Duchovny starred in a movie called “Julia Has Two Lovers.” He played a creepy dude who called women he selected randomly from the phone book and pleasured himself during the conversations. On a related note, in the “X-Files” TV series, Fox Mulder had very little actual sex, but it is widely known that the character had a major porn addiction. In at least one episode he gets turned on watching a tape of a Bigfoot sighting. – moviesblog

Ironically, the treatment follows closely Duchovny’s 2008 Golden Globe for his role as an “over-sexed struggling writer” in the Showtime series, Californication. According to E!, the actor has been combating rumors of such an addiction since 1997, the same year he married actress Tea Leoni, who is still his wife… . Duchovny reportedly denied a sex addiction in an interview with Playgirl that year. Leoni backed up her husband’s denial in an interview with Elle a year later. However, according to the New York Daily News, on a press tour in July, Duchovny told the media about a hot sauna scene with his wife while on vacation in Vancouver. “We were just all over each other – the sauna wasn’t going to stop me, and I recovered pretty quickly,” he reportedly said. – celebcafe

Good luck to him, but I’m not seeing the problem with wanting to have sex with his wife a lot… especially Tea. ( Here is the Tea Leoni fan site.)

You might wonder if you have a sexual addiction when you actually have normal behavior. … Sexual addiction comes in many different forms. There is no single type of behavior or even amount of behavior that will indicate you are a sexual addict. – sexualrecovery

Sex drive varies naturally from person to person. A “twice a week” person should not marry a “twice a day” person.

“The biggest problem I encounter in sex and marital counseling is an imbalance in sexual interest — one partner wants more, one wants less,” says Richard Driscoll, PhD, a marriage therapist in Knoxville, Tenn. for 34 years, and author of Intimate Masquerades: A Survival Guide for Those Who Know Too Much. “The average American married five years has sex once or twice a week. That’s your average. It’s not a problem if you vary from that average — you only have a problem when you cannot agree,” says Driscoll.

Many couples cannot agree. Driscoll says half of all marriages experience some discrepancy in desire at some point, and it’s usually men who have a higher sex drive. About one in five women report that their husbands have turned them down for sex, Driscoll says, while half of all men say their wives have turned them down.

Sex and Happiness Are Strongly Linked

“For men, we know one thing: The absence of sex makes them unhappy. For women, it is not as problematic,” says Edward Laumann, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago and lead author of The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States, the most comprehensive survey of sexual practices since the Kinsey Report. – webmed

Sex drive depends on things like age, life circumstances and overall health. The key questions seem to be: Have you lost control of the behavior? Are you experiencing significant consequences due to the behavior? Are you constantly thinking about the behavior, even when you don’t want to? If the answer is “no” to these questions, congratulations, you do not have an addiction!

Here is some information showing the brain link between sexual pleasure seeking and depression.

.. In a 1969 study published in Science, a scientist shoots up some rats with parachlorophenylalanine, a compound that lowers serotonin levels in both blood and brain. Within minutes of its administration there’s a veritable drought of serotonin. What happens to the rats? They become sexually aroused. They mount each other compulsively. Conversely, feed rats a serotonin-laced snack, thereby raising their levels, and almost all sexual appetite disappears. ”In other words, this isn’t just about testosterone,” Kafka says. ”It used to be thought sexual deviants had just testosterone abnormalities, but they may really have serotonin abnormalities. It may be that the lower the serotonin, the higher the sex drive, or it may be something much more complex, that sexual deviance is linked to an as-yet-unidentified disregulation affecting the serotonin system.”

Other studies on male animals bear this hypothesis out: before copulation, there is an increase in dopamine and a decrease in serotonin. Post-copulation, the opposite occurs. If this proves to be the case in the human species as well, afterward, when the man is smoking his cigarette or snoring as if he had chowed down a turkey dinner, he may be experiencing a serotonin surge. In a culture in love with the idea of ”high” serotonin, it might surprise us to know that passion, and its distant cousin lewdness, may lie not in the dosed-up but in the dosed-down version of being.

Kafka calls his theory of sexual-impulse disorders ”the monoamine hypothesis” because he is looking at the central role our monoamines — dopamine, norepinephrine and, specifically, serotonin — play in mediating desire. One of the more interesting studies he cites involves castrated rats that are injected with parachlorophenylalanine, which depletes central nervous system serotonin, and are subsequently able to resume normal mounting behavior with little or no testosterone additives. In other words, at least as far as animal analogues go, serotonin deprivation and its hypothesized partner, depression, appear to be powerful aphrodisiacs.

… Drugs like Prozac and Paxil specifically target the serotonin systems, thereby avoiding the widespread side effects of the older generations of antidepressants. … Kafka claims that the drugs are capable of reducing or eradicating pathological desire while preserving or enhancing what are culturally considered ”normal” sexual urges. …

”You give a man with sexual problems Prozac,” I ask, ”and his deviance disappears while his affiliative sexuality emerges?”

”I’ve seen it happen, over and over again,” he says.

But this part is debatable. S.S.R.I.’s like Prozac cause sexual dysfunction and Prozac may be approved some day for chemical castration. As one addict seeing Dr. Kafka put it, “sex is dead”.  And sex, affiliative sex, with his wife? “I’m good for maybe a minute, if at all.” So, Dr. Kafka is likely mistaken. Still, it is hopeful that there is indeed a cure that works, as a starting point.

What about the abuse theory?

… Common wisdom has it that the sexually compulsive or the sexually deviant were often themselves victims of abuse. ”The fact is,” Kafka says, ”only one-quarter to one-third of my patient population suffered physical or sexual abuse, and many of them had unremarkable childhoods, as far as I can see.” Which is why Kafka, who acknowledges the need for a multimodal approach and does refer men for psychotherapy, treats his patients with medication. In Morrill’s case, the pill was Celexa, a newer version of Prozac. 

In one case Celexa removes a cross dresser’s behaviors which had continued for 28 years and also restores normal sex with his wife.

The difference between Vince and Bill Morrill is that Vince enjoys what sounds like a very ”normal” sex life with his wife. ”Three times a week,” he says. ”I have no trouble. My orgasms are actually better on the Celexa than they were off. It’s because on the Celexa I can really concentrate on my wife’s body and not on the fantasies and fetishes. My wife is gorgeous. She’s petite, five-three, 110 pounds. We take our time.”

He goes on to describe his recovery in still more detail. ”The fetishisms were like all this static,” he says. ”Now the static’s cleared away, and what’s left is my real desire. My head feels like a whole new thing.

… “it is interesting to speculate that normal male sexual arousal resides in one area of the brain, deviant sexual arousal in another, and that the S.S.R.I.’s work by targeting one arousal system while sparing another,” he says. ”That’s an interesting, plausible hypothesis, and one that wouldn’t surprise me.”

Another possibility is this: the higher the intensity of any drive, the more polymorphous its manifestations. The S.S.R.I.’s may work in paraphilias and sexual addiction not by deleting but by pruning, so that the person’s core sexuality is finally free to emerge. This hypothesis lies close to the idea some psychiatrists hold that the paraphilias are simply another form of obsessive compulsive disorder (O.C.D.) and that the S.S.R.I.’s work not because they target sexual arousal but because they reduce ruminative thoughts and repetitive behaviors in all kinds of conditions. ”I hate that idea,” Kafka says. ”The paraphilias and P.R.D.’s are not a form of O.C.D. People who have O.C.D. do not have an appetite-disregulation disorder. O.C.D. is not about appetite. Sexual-impulse disorders are all about appetite.”

… However, reductive or not, Kafka is doing something right. He appears to have ”cured,” or restored to better balance, hundreds of men, many of whom are dangerous, all of whom are, by their own standards at least, terribly twisted. Kafka’s patients love him. ”He is the guy,” Jim says. ”He saved my life,” Bob says. – nytimes

Great article, Lauren Slater. Many depressed people self medicating with sex may be just one Celexa prescription away from a more healthy happy life.

Citalopram is an antidepressant drug used to treat major depression associated with mood disorders. It is also used on occasion in the treatment of body dysmorphic disorder and anxiety. Citalopram belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is sold under the brand-names Celexa… Citalopram is generally considered safe and well-tolerated in the therapeutic dose range of 20 to 60 mg/day.

Side effects of citalopram include weight gain and possible increased suicidal thoughts in people under 24 years old, plus a few others:

… Citalopram can have a number of adverse effects. In clinical trials, over 10% of patients reported one or more of the following side effects: fatigue, drowsiness, dry mouth, increased sweating (hyperhidrosis), trembling, headache, dizziness, sleep disturbances, insomnia, cardiac arrhythmia, hallucinations, blood pressure changes, nausea and/or vomiting, diarrhea, heightened anorgasmia in females, impotence and ejaculatory problems in males. In rare cases (around over 1% of cases), some allergic reactions, convulsions, mood swings, anxiety and confusion have been reported. Also sedation may be present during treatment of citalopram. If this occurs it is advisable to take the dose at bedtime instead of in the morning.

If you know someone with this problem, the risks may be worth it. Or perhaps certain foods, natural supplements or behaviors such as exercise can have the same benefits without the side effects?

There is actually quite a lot of recent research regarding the effects of antidepressants compared to the effect of walking for 30 minutes every day. Walking has the same if not better results after a few weeks, but in the long run and studying relapses of depression, walking seems to be a better treatment. The problem is that doctors find it hard to prescribe walking, as the patients doesn’t take this seriously and may also feel as if they haven’t been heard. Walking has next to no bad side effects, antidepressants do – they mess up our whole system. – yahoo

If you have a sexual compulsion, depression or anxiety, start simple: Form a new habit: 30 to 45 minutes of exercise per day. Try this for a week, and note any improvements. If you still have symptoms, try natural anti-depressants.

5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is a third natural antidepressant shown by clinical research to treat depression effectively. 5-HTP, an amino acid, allows your body to increase levels of serotonin, a mood-related neurotransmitter, in the brain. Low serotonin levels have been linked to depression, and many prescription antidepressants work by increasing serotonin activity. For most people, taking 50-300mg of 5-HTP per day helps improve mood in just a few weeks without causing side effects. Some websites discuss concerns over the safety of 5-HTP, but these misconceptions are unfounded. In fact, 5-HTP has an excellent safety record, and extensive research has shown it to be one of the safest natural antidepressants available. 5-HTP is a good choice for a natural antidepressant when used alone, but it may work best as a natural antidepressant when combined with St. John’s Wort.- amoryn

Here is the pathway from tryptophan to serotonin

Most supplement providers recommend 50 mg or 100 mg 5-HTP, one to three times per day. Most clinical studies have tested doses of 200-300 mg/day. – wiki

Posted in Mind | 4 Comments »

An Indonesian woman with metal wires “growing” out of her?

Posted by Anonymous on August 30, 2008

metalwires1

Her name is NOORSYAIDAH. A 40 years old kindergarten teacher from Sangatta, East Kutai. Her first symptoms started manifestating in 1991. The metal wires grew out of her chest and her belly. There was no explanation then (or even now). During the first week wires kept falling off from her body and were gone. A month later, the wires grew back again and from that time onward the wires did not fall. They kept growing!

One of her sisters said that she tried to help by trimming the wires. Alas, whenever she trimmed the wires, the wire retreated as if it were hiding and then popped up in another part of Noorsyaidah’s body. -myterytopia

Her attempt for recovery, from modern medics, alternative treatment to paranormals have been done, but still these wires that grew from within her stomach and chest does not dissapear.
Noorsyaidah had also tried going for treatment out of her hometown to the reknown hospital in her town. However, fate is not on this 40 year old woman from Kalimantan, Indonesia, as after these wires were pulled out of her body, they grew again in the next few days. “It’s up to God now” she said softly resigning to her fate. … Wires shape is just like any other wire that easily oxydized, length varying from 10-20 cm and they come in many colors from black, yellow and brown.- myinteretingfiles

This article is poorly written. What type of metal is this wire? Saying “just like any other wire” is not useful.

“There have been 4 Medical Specialists taking this matter seriously and have treated her in several ways.”

A real article would give at least the lead doctor’s name as well. Bad reporting. My guess is that she has some serious mental problems and is sticking these wires in herself.  Can anyone translate what is actually being said in the video? Are the doctors actually confused about her condition, or does she just have a personality disorder?

Mysterytopia had this to say:

000004048100120459501… They looks like a living phenomenon. The wires are able mobile and therefore can change location at will, Thus the doctors are forced to use a magnet to scan the exact position of the wires. The wires bursted out without any symptoms of Tetanus, but she said that they’re hurting her like when needles sting.”

The most logical explanation is that she does this self mutilation for attention. If I’m wrong, I’d like to know.

She says the wire-hanger-like metal has grown, fallen out and grown anew on her body for the last 17 years. She said she had given many of the wires to researchers, doctors, or visitors for research, diagnostic purposes or as curios. The hospital, which conducted an X-ray photo earlier this month, diagnosed the symptoms as “unusual in the medical world”. “We call the wires alien things…. This is really a very unusual case,” hospital director Sirafuddin said. Sirafuddin said the hospital suggested surgery to remove the wires, but Noor declined, despite having pursued a number of alternative treatments to no avail. Noor said that last week three more wires came out, two on her chest and the other on her belly. The hospital reports there are currently a total of 35 wires protruding from Noor’s body. “God probably wants to show His Almightiness through this odd disease,” Noor. -alliancetable

Posted in Biology | 9 Comments »

Realm of the Bizzare: How to become invisible

Posted by Anonymous on August 30, 2008

Is the ability to make objects invisible already in the hands of scientists at Stanford? Dr. Ruehl has the answers for his viewers, and a few less-than-scientific thoughts on the subject. He also has some information about new facials being given in Japan. If you’re squeamish about the subject of bird poop, maybe you should wait for episode 36. Lastly, we have a disturbing tale of revenge, and an odd account of what can, but shouldn’t, get you evicted.

Video here. This guy is wild.

Posted in Strange | 1 Comment »

British Military UFOs

Posted by Anonymous on August 30, 2008

…The current electric saucer, which formed part of Team MIRA at the recent MoD “Grand Challenge” ambush-sniffing tech contest, can normally stay up for just two and a half minutes. The new Fenstar 50 is expected to manage up to an hour, carrying a payload of 5kg – a quarter of its all-up weight. GFS aims to keep the total weight under 20kg, as this is the most that the CAA allows under model aircraft rules. Any more would take the company into the hugely more onerous certification regime for full-sized aircraft.

Even at 20kg, however, the Fenstar 50 will be significantly bigger and more capable than one of its main rivals, the Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) from Honeywell. The MAV uses a ducted fan rather than a GFS-style Coanda surface, but this offers similar advantages – neither vehicle has projecting helicopter-style rotors. Both of them can thus fly about happily in between buildings, and perhaps in and out of doors and windows etc. Both could be very useful as reconnaissance machines for soldiers, especially in dangerous urban combat – indeed Honeywell’s machine has already seen action in Iraq. The MAV runs on a two-stroke petrol engine like the Fenstar, and offers similar endurance, though it weighs just 7.25 kg and can barely lift a pair of cameras. – theregister

Posted in Technology, UFOs | Leave a Comment »

Amber Kloss in a Music Video

Posted by Anonymous on August 30, 2008

My friend Amber had a little part in a Bryan Hawn music video (she’s the blonde judge near the end.) I can’t say that Bryan’s is my type of music, but it is always a kick in the pants to see what Amber is up to after moving from Sacramento down to LA.

Posted in Music | Leave a Comment »

 
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