Author Archive | majestic

How To Bring the Dead Back to Life

US Navy 061201-N-4133B-115 Cmdr. George Linville and hospital corpsman Kevin Wothrich perform a procedure in the operating room aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)Can it really be this easy? BBC Future explores a new way to bring back dead – or at least almost dead – humans to life:

A radical procedure that involves replacing a patient’s blood with cold salt water could retrieve people from the brink of death, says David Robson.

“When you are at 10C, with no brain activity, no heartbeat, no blood – everyone would agree that you’re dead,” says Peter Rhee at the University of Arizona, Tucson. “But we can still bring you back.”

Rhee isn’t exaggerating. With Samuel Tisherman, at the University of Maryland, College Park, he has shown that it’s possible to keep bodies in ‘suspended animation’ for hours at a time. The procedure, so far tested on animals, is about as radical as any medical procedure comes: it involves draining the body of its blood and cooling it more than 20C below normal body temperature.

Once the injury is fixed, blood is pumped once again through the veins, and the body is slowly warmed back up.

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Michael Bloomberg, Colorado, Republicans, Rolling Stone … and the NRA

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg at Midtown Comics2There’s a storm in the proverbial tea cup surrounding a story about Michael Bloomberg and the National Rifle Association (NRA) that was due to be published by Rolling Stone on Monday, July 14 but was posted early then yanked offline. It has stirred not a little controversy as the Republican former Mayor of New York City bashes the NRA and refers to some conservative areas of Colorado as being so rural they don’t have roads. Google has a cached version of the article from which this excerpt is sourced:

Tell me why you’re still fighting for better gun laws even after leaving office as mayor.
I and the foundation are trying to save lives. Particularly, I want the foundation to focus on things that other people aren’t focusing on. So we took on smoking. We’re working on obesity. Polio, [Bill] Gates is really the spearhead, but we’ve given him a lot of money.

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What you need to know about DARPA, the Pentagon’s mad science division

DARPAWe know you’re all fascinated by the mad science happenings at DARPA and Engadget has helpfully summarized what’s they’re up to:

There’s a certain entity within the Pentagon that’s quite (in)famous for developing terrifying robots, advanced weapons and futuristic tech. It’s called the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or, as most people know it, DARPA: the Department of Defense’s “mad science” division. While all the machines coming out of the agency make it seem like its sole purpose is to build a killer-robot army, DARPA has many, many other projects to speak of. In fact, DARPA’s at the heart of some of the most significant technological advances of our time. Hell, there might not be an internet to read this article on if DARPA didn’t create it.

HOW DID IT BEGIN?

President Dwight Eisenhower founded DARPA way back in 1958 in order to develop cutting-edge technologies for the United States. Originally known as ARPA (same meaning, but without “Defense”), it was created as a response to the Soviet Union’s successful launch of Sputnik, which, according to DARPA itself, signaled that “a fundamental change was needed in America’s defense science and technology programs.” Since then, it’s been involved in several technological milestones; for instance, it developed an early networking system that went live in 1969 called the ARPANET.

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Buzz Aldrin Discusses His Apollo XI ‘UFO Encounter’

AldrinOne of the most famous astronauts, Buzz Aldrin, just did a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) and predictably one of the questions was about UFOs. Here’s what Buzz had to say:

Q: Do you believe in aliens and what are the sightings you saw aboard Apollo 11?

A: On Apollo 11 in route to the Moon, I observed a light out the window that appeared to be moving alongside us. There were many explanations of what that could be, other than another spacecraft from another country or another world – it was either the rocket we had separated from, or the 4 panels that moved away when we extracted the lander from the rocket and we were nose to nose with the two spacecraft. So in the close vicinity, moving away, were 4 panels. And i feel absolutely convinced that we were looking at the sun reflected off of one of these panels.

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Moms, “Food Fears” and the Power of the Internet

food ingredient fearsA great dissection of the corporate food lobby’s fear of social media and the Internet over at The Lunch Tray

Dr. Brian Wansink, a professor of consumer behavior at Cornell University and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, has published a new study in the journal Food Quality and Preference entitled “Ingredient-Based Food Fears and Avoidance: Antecedents and Antidotes.”  This study, co-authored by Aner Tal and Adam Brumberg, seeks to determine why people – mothers in particular – develop so-called “food fears” about certain ingredients (such as sodium, fat, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, MSG and lean finely textured beef) and what the food industry and government can do about it.

The study’s ultimate conclusion, that “food fears” can be addressed by “providing information regarding an ingredient’s history or the other products in which it is used,” is hardly controversial.  But some other things about this study raise red flags, starting with the fact that what might be entirely legitimate concerns about particular ingredients are uniformly (and patronizingly) characterized as “food fears,” and that the study’s findings have been overblown and mischaracterized not just in the media but in Dr.

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The best of capitalism is over for rich countries – and for the poor ones it will be over by 2060

A grim forecast for the future from Paul Mason, economics editor at the UK’s Channel 4 News, writing at The Guardian

One of the upsides of having a global elite is that at least they know what’s going on. We, the deluded masses, may have to wait for decades to find out who the paedophiles in high places are; and which banks are criminal, or bust. But the elite are supposed to know in real time – and on that basis to make accurate predictions.

Just how difficult this has become was shown last week when the OECD released its predictions for the world economy until 2060. These are that growth will slow to around two-thirds its current rate; that inequality will increase massively; and that there is a big risk that climate change will make things worse. Despite all this, says the OECD, the world will be four times richer, more productive, more globalised and more highly educated.

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The Return of Harry Potter (At The 2014 Quidditch World Cup Finals)

J. K. Rowling 2010

J. K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling just can’t leave her iconic character Harry Potter alone: She’s posted a new story about Harry on her Pottermore site, a report on the (not quite so) young magician’s appearance at the 2014 Quidditch World Cup Finals. NBC’s Today is running an exclusive excerpt in the form of a report from the (fictional) Daily Prophet:

Dumbledore’s Army Reunites at Quidditch World Cup Final

By the Daily Prophet’s Gossip Correspondent, Rita Skeeter

There are celebrities – and then there are celebrities. We’ve seen many a famous face from the wizarding world grace the stands here in the Patagonian Desert – Ministers and Presidents, Celestina Warbeck, controversial American wizarding band The Bent-Winged Snitches – all have caused flurries of excitement, with crowd members scrambling for autographs and even casting Bridging Charms to reach the VIP boxes over the heads of the crowd.

But when word swept the campsite and stadium that a certain gang of infamous wizards (no longer the fresh-faced teenagers they were in their heyday, but nevertheless recognisable) had arrived for the final, excitement was beyond anything yet seen.

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The Assassins, Arms Dealers, and Bandits Running Russian Military Intelligence

Gru_emblemLabeling them as “Putin’s secret weapon,” Foreign Policy magazine describes Russia’s highly effective GRU Military Intelligence unit as “assassins, arms dealers, and bandits”:

There are two ways an espionage agency can prove its worth to the government it serves. Either it can be truly useful (think: locatinga most-wanted terrorist), or it can engender fear, dislike, and vilification from its rivals (think: being named a major threat in congressional testimony). But when a spy agency does both, its worth is beyond question.

Since the Ukraine crisis began, the Kremlin has few doubts about the importance of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence apparatus. The agency has not only demonstrated how the Kremlin can employ it as an important foreign-policy tool, by ripping a country apart with just a handful of agents and a lot of guns. The GRU has also shown the rest of the world how Russia expects to fight its future wars: with a mix of stealth, deniability, subversion, and surgical violence.

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Magic mushrooms expand your mind and amplify your brain’s dreaming areas – here’s how

Dried CubensisDefinitely safer than synthetic drugs, but still not for the faint of heart, here’s how magic mushrooms expand your mind, expounded by Robin Carhart-Harris, Post-doctoral Researcher, Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, at The Conversation:

Psychedelic drugs alter consciousness in a profound and novel way that increases the breadth and fluency of cognition. However, until recently, we were unable to offer an explanation for how the brain was altered to account for these effects.

In a new study, published in Human Brain Mapping, we scanned the brains of volunteers who had been injected with psilocybin – the chemical found in magic mushrooms which gives a psychedelic experience – and a control group who hadn’t, and discovered two key things: that psilocybin increased the amplitude (or “volume”) of activity in regions of the brain that are reliably activated during dream sleep and form part of the brain’s ancient emotion system; and that psychedelics facilitate a state of “expanded” consciousness – meaning that the breath of associations made by the brain and the ease by which they are visited is enhanced under the drugs.

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