Are We In the Golden Age of Neuroscience?

Gray739

The recent achievements in neuroscience are unprecedented.

via The Wall Street Journal:

More than a billion people were amazed this summer when a 29-year-old paraplegic man from Brazil raised his right leg and kicked a soccer ball to ceremonially begin the World Cup. The sight of a paralyzed person whose brain directly controlled a robotic exoskeleton (designed at Duke University) was thrilling.

We are now entering the golden age of neuroscience. We have learned more about the thinking brain in the last 10-15 years than in all of previous human history. A blizzard of the new technologies using advanced physics—resulting in scans and tests we know as fMRI, EEG, PET, DBS, CAT, TCM and TES—have allowed scientists to observe thoughts as they ricochet like a pong ball inside the living brain, and then begin the process of deciphering these thoughts using powerful computers.

The Pentagon, witnessing the human tragedy of the wounded warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan, has invested more than $150 million in the military’s Revolutionary Prosthetics program, so that injured veterans can bypass damaged limbs and spinal cords and mentally control state-of-the-art mechanical arms and legs.

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The Light Before Vampires

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Perhaps unwittingly, Korean electronics giant LG has provided us with a sponsored laugh: Vampires that can only be repelled by LG Chem OLED light panels!

As the sun is blocked out by clouds, vampires emerge from the darkness to reign over the earth. All seems lost but the resisters make a final stand. Their only hope in defeating the vampires is the unsurpassed spectral power of LG Chem OLED light panels…

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You Can Now View the Military Gear Acquired by Your Local Police Department

If you are curious to know what kind of military gear your local police department has received through the government’s 1033 program, you can check out this spreadsheet over on GitHub which contains:

county-level data showing military equipment given to state and local law enforcement agencies through the Defense Department’s 1033 program. The data was received from the Defense Department in May 2014 as an Excel file, and includes transfers since 2006.

However, it is also important to note the following:

There is no information about which agency received a given piece of equipment. Items that went to a county could have been given to a state agency based in that county, for example.

This data does not represent all of the military-style gear that law enforcement agencies have. Agencies also purchase equipment with their own money or with federal grants.

This information comes courtesy of The New York Times, by way of the Pentagon:

In May, The New York Times requested and received from the Pentagon its database of transfers since 2006.

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Remembering H.P. Lovecraft

Howard_Phillips_Lovecraft

As many of you probably know, H.P. Lovecraft’s birthday was yesterday (August 20). To celebrate this venerable master of horror lit, I’ve compiled some quotes and links.

Quotes

“I screamed aloud that I was not afraid; that I never could be afraid; and others screamed with me for solace. We swore to one another that the city was exactly the same, and still alive…”

– “Nyarlathotep” (1920)

“Life is a hideous thing, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous. Science, already oppressive with its shocking revelations, will perhaps be the ultimate exterminator of our human species — if separate species we be — for its reserve of unguessed horrors could never be borne by mortal brains if loosed upon the world.”

– “Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family” – written 1920; first published in The Wolverine, No.

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Darren Wilson Breaks His Silence in Texts to Friend

If you aren’t aware, Darren Wilson is the Police officer who shot and killed Mike brown. I’ll let this article speak for itself. I am curious to get the disinfonauts feedback on this.

English: A warning sign with an exclamation mark

via Dailymail

The policeman who shot dead a black teenager in St Louis has revealed he is under 24-hour guard and ‘can’t go out’ at this ‘stressful time’ in his first comments since the killing.

Darren Wilson text messaged a close friend to say that he can’t leave protective custody because he would be immediately recognized – making him and his young child a target.

In his messages Wilson, 28, also thanked for the support of his friends which he said was ‘really keeping me going’.

He had texted Jake Shepard, his friend of 14 years, who showed the messages to MailOnline because he wanted the public to get a more accurate picture of the friend he described as always having ‘pure intentions’.

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Letter of Inquiry to the Police in Regards to Militarization

From Divided Core:

       Below is the template of a letter that I sent to my local police department and city government inquiring about any weapons or equipment the police may have received from the U.S military.  Considering what’s going down in Ferguson, I think it would behoove you to ask your local police station if they’ve accepted any dangerous gifts from the U.S Pentagon. (I received a polite response from the Sebastopol Chief of Police, and am happy to report that Sebastopol, CA is does not currently participate in any program in which military gear is provided to them by the Department of the Defense.)  Here’s the template of the simple letter:

Dear Chief of Police ________ and the City of _____,I am a resident of ______ and am curious if our police department receives any funding and/or equipment and weapons from the Department of Defense.  I love our town and respect our police department, yet (in the wake of the unrest in Ferguson, MO) I am curious if our police force has accepted any arms, ammunition, robots, or otherwise from the U.S military.
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For Science: Man will live alone on iceberg until it melts

Screen shot 2014-08-21 at 1.39.07 PM

via Oddity Central:

In a bid to get people to take climate change more seriously, Italian adventurer Alex Bellini is going to live on an iceberg until it melts. He plans to take on the challenge in the spring of 2015, on an iceberg in Greenland. He expects that he’ll have to live there alone for at least eight to twelve months.

Alex, who is now based in the UK, plans to live inside a survival capsule while on the iceberg. “Survival capsules are sort of floating Kevlar saucers, four meters in diameter, which are used as lifeboats on oil platforms,” he explained. “I will live in the capsule on the iceberg until it melts – which generally happens within eight months – or up to a maximum of one year.”

“Then, I’ll go adrift in the Atlantic Ocean, inside my capsule again, until I wash ashore.” He plans to carry 300 kilos of dehydrated food and electronic equipment along with him.

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The Weird Album From A Sleep-Talking Lyricist

Jordan Kushins profiles an extremely weird 1964 dream-state spoken word album for Gizmodo:

There are regular ol’ spoken word albums, and then there’s The Dream World of Dion McGregor. This curiosity, distributed by Decca Records in 1964, is a recording of the songwriter talking in his sleep, ostensibly narrating aloud whatever strange nighttime visions running through his brain.

It is, perhaps unsurprisingly, an extremely weird listen through someone’s shut-eye rambles. McGregor was a struggling lyricist in the hours he was awake, and—apparently—an incredibly prolific storyteller when he was not. His creative partner, composer Michael Barr, decided to document the strange tales and, over the course of almost a decade, got audio of McGregor doing his snoozy thang…

[more at Gizmodo]

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