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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

And I thought I was walking with Angels…

Posted by dorian on April 6, 2010

From the April 2010 Scientific American Magazine

The Sensed-Presence Effect

How the brain produces the sense of someone present when no one is there

By Michael Shermer

Photo: Matt Collins

In the 1922 poem The Waste Land, T. S. Eliot writes, cryptically: Who is the third who always walks beside you?/When I count, there are only you and I together /But when I look ahead up the white road/There is always another one walking beside you.

In his footnotes to this verse, Eliot explained that the lines “were stimulated by the account of one of the Antarctic expeditions [Ernest Shackleton’s] … that the party of explorers, at the extremity of their strength, had the constant delusion that there was one more member than could actually be counted.”

Third man, angel, alien or deity—all are sensed presences, so I call this the sensed-presence effect. In his gripping book, The Third Man Factor (Penguin, 2009), John Geiger documents the effect in mountain climbers, solo sailors and ultraendurance athletes. He lists conditions associated with it: monotony, darkness, barren landscapes, isolation, cold, injury, dehydration, hunger, fatigue and fear. I would add sleep deprivation; Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Educational, Nature | 4 Comments »

Let them eat Cake

Posted by dorian on April 4, 2010

April 4, 2010 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN

David Biello reports

How Will Climate Change Impact Bread?

Warming temperatures have already impacted wheat yields–in the U.S.

60-Second EarthListen to  podcast:


Climate change may already be hitting you—in the stomach. A new analysis reveals that higher average temperatures in Montana over the last six decades equal less wheat.

Plant scientist Luther Talbert of Montana State University and his colleagues looked at weather records for the Mountain State from 1950 to 2007. The month of March has had the most warming overall, increasing by nearly 0.1 degrees Celsius per year on average. As a result, farmers now plant wheat 10 days earlier.

In addition, higher temperatures in July linked up to less wheat to harvest and lighter grains.

In 2007, the U.S. grew 12.8 million metric tons of hard red spring wheat, which is primarily used to make bread. Yields of this staple grain have increased exponentially since the 1950s because better farming practices and new wheat breeds have more than made up for those hot Julys.

Such innovations will have to continue since the future is likely to be even hotter, according to the scientists. Breeding wheat to deal with high heat is compulsory if we want our daily bread.—David Biello

Posted in Educational, Nature, News | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Stem Cells make ‘Milestone moment’ Possible

Posted by dorian on March 19, 2010

(PA) The stem cells are now reconstructing the airway and ensuring it is not rejected by his immune system

From Times Online
March 20, 2010

‘Milestone moment’ as boy undergoes transplant to regenerate trachea

Sam Lister, Health Editor

A British boy has undergone a groundbreaking operation involving the transplantation of a windpipe which is being regenerated inside his body using his own stem cells.

Scientists described the operation, carried out on Monday at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, as a ‘milestone moment’ in the development of techniques that could allow people to rebuild damaged or transplanted organs inside their bodies.

The replacement trachea, the bony tube that connects the nose, mouth and lungs, was stripped of the donor’s cells to leave a scaffold which was then laced with the child’s stem cells. The boy, aged 10, then received the transplant hours later. The stem cells are now reconstructing the airway and ensuring it is not rejected by his immune system. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Educational, Good News, Health, Nature, Technology | 1 Comment »

Hawaii Tsunami Warning

Posted by dorian on February 27, 2010

An 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit Chile early Saturday, killing at least 214 people and triggering tsunami warnings for the entire Pacific basin, including the Hawaiian Islands. LIVE VIDEO COVERAGE from Hawaii below.

HawaiiNewsNow Live Coverage

watch earlier taped coverage from CNN/YouTube:

The Pacific Ring of Fire is rumbling.

Posted in Announcements, Nature, News | Leave a Comment »

religious zealotry knows satan! harry potter: a review in satanic tongue

Posted by dorian on February 13, 2010

religious zealots know satan. they live his creed.
they think God is making them do what they’re doing but it’s really that tricky sneaky devil filling their souls with despair and hate for their fellow human beings. they have fallen under the spell of satan, the great deceiver. this only proves that ignorance is not bliss, folks! they’re opening themselves up to satan and serving him. for what empowers the devil most but fear and resentment and hate and all those other dark emotions that make for persecution and wars? satan’s favorite son adolf knew that so well! and he gathered the ignorant flock and tricked them into serving his father.
see the possessed christian(!?) speaking in the devil’s tongue!see another heiling her praises to her true lord!

Posted in Announcements, Comedy, conspiracy theories, Entertainment, Huh??, Nature, Opinion, Religion, Sex, Symbolic History, the devil made you do it, wtf | 4 Comments »

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY E_E, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DORIAN AND THE “BRAIN”

Posted by princessxxx on February 11, 2010

e-e, wedding anniversay 2/13/10. congratulations.

i don’t recall either dorian or the BRAIN‘s birthdays, but they are both aquarian airheads. Read the rest of this entry »

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If grumpy people are more evolved…

Posted by 1minionsopinion on February 4, 2010

I don’t know what to make of this new evolutionary theory. There was a study recently done of chimps and bonobos (our closest relatives) to see which species could learn quicker.

The two types of ape are very close to each other, genetically, but the clear differences are believed to be down to simple evolution, said lead researcher Victoria Wobber.

Her team put both chimps and bonobos through a variety of skill tests with rewards for those who completed various tasks the quickest.

They included a sharing exercise and a begging exercise in which they had to work out which of their keepers was most generous. In all cases the chimps learnt the tasks fastest and to their better advantage.

She believes that the ability to “restrain” their sociability was one of the reasons they were more intelligent and more civilised.

She said: “Bonobos took longer to develop the same skill level shown even among the youngest of the chimpanzees that were tested.

To paraphrase, chimps get ornery as they get older with more aggression and less desire to share their stuff. And their research suggests this could be a good thing.

Pity the poor bonobo who’s too laid back and easy going? Not quite yet. Instead of getting that aggressive, they just have lots of sex. And this is worth quoting:

Just imagine that we had never heard of chimpanzees or baboons and had known bonobos first. We would at present most likely believe that early hominids lived in female- centered societies, in which sex served important social functions and in which warfare was rare or absent. In the end, perhaps the most successful reconstruction of our past will be based not on chimpanzees or even on bonobos but on a three-way comparison of chimpanzees, bonobos and humans.

Maybe it looks like the chimps have an edge, but there are benefits to both types of lifestyle exhibited by our kin. No doubt more research will go into their findings to expand on or disprove what they discovered.

(this has been a cross post)

Posted in Nature, Science | 1 Comment »

Monkey Linguistics

Posted by dorian on December 12, 2009

Monkey alarm calls provide clues to origins of human language

Monkeys form very primitive sentences, scientists have discovered, in research that brings us closer to understanding the origins of language.

By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent

Photo: National Geographic Animal Gallery

Published: 2:15PM GMT 11 Dec 2009

A team found the Campbell’s monkey can add a simple sound to its alarm calls to create new ones and then combine them to convey even more information.

Human language is incredibly complex, but one defining feature is the process of adding a prefix or suffix to a word to change its meaning.

For example, adding “hood” to the word “brother” to form “brotherhood”.

Researchers looking at Campbell’s monkeys (Cercopithecus campbelli campbelli) in the Ivory Coast’s Tai National Park found that these primates do a similar thing. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Nature, Nerdus Momentus, Science | 7 Comments »