Archive | Science

The Undying Stars – Was Ancient Man Connected Through Star Myth, Shamanism and Megaliths?

IMG_6010Via Midwest Real

Join Author, David W. Mathisen and I as we hack our way through the gnarled nether-regions of history, philosophy and a litany of other woo-drenched topics. 

Imagine the level of genius and insanity it must have taken to pitch the idea of of constructing the Great Pyramid of Giza– “Let’s take 2.3 million stones weighing up to 80 tons each that fit together seamlessly to create the world’s tallest structure. Also, let’s make sure it aligns to true north, mimics Orion’s belt, measures equinoctial precession and encodes roughly a shit ton of other astral and mathematical phenomena.”Best pitch ever, right?

Despite the fact that my pitch sounds totally bat shit bonkers, the Egyptians were far from the only ones who undertook such a herculean labor. There are dozens of ancient megalithic structures with countless astral alignments and striking similarities all over the world. Yet, if we take that observation a step further, positing the idea that many ancient cultures had sacred traditions built upon a common, interconnected, esoteric system that communicated transcendent truth via celestial allegory, myth and megaliths, we’re starting to get pretty deep into the hairy nethers of history– a place where mainstream academia dares not dwell.… Read the rest

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Neal Stephenson: Innovation Starvation, the Next Generation

By Orin Zebest via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By Orin Zebest via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via Slate:

For a big part of my life, I assumed that the scarce resource—the thing that was preventing me from getting to Mars, or having my own personal jetpack—was clever ideas. Since I see myself as an idea person, that was a pleasant thing to believe. It’s flattering to think that you are one of the special few who hold the keys to the future. In the last decade and a half, though, I’ve spent a lot of time working in idea factories of various types, and I’ve come to see how wrong I was. I had fallen for a 19th-century vision of how it all works: the lone inventor sitting in the lobby of the patent office with his better mousetrap on his lap, waiting for the world to beat a path to his door. My thinking along those lines led to a 2011 piece titled “Innovation Starvation.” This led in turn to a partnership with Arizona State University to create Project Hieroglyph, which asked science fiction writers to help imagine new futures.

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An Ancient Way to Heal The Mind Finds New Scientific Support

By daveynin via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By daveynin via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Sometimes, scientists like to research things that most of us already assume. I suppose it doesn’t hurt to have some proof and evidence to get us off the couch and into the woods.

via Psyblog:

Taking group walks in nature is associated with better mental well-being and lower stress and depression, a new large-scale study finds.

The study is one of the first to show that simply walking in nature doesn’t just benefit the body, but also the mind.

Sara Warber, one of the study’s authors, said:

“We hear people say they feel better after a walk or going outside but there haven’t been many studies of this large size to support the conclusion that these behaviors actually improve your mental health and well-being.”

The study evaluated a British program called ‘Walking for Health’ and it involved nearly 2,000 participants (Marselle et al., 2014).

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Brain Wave May Be Used to Detect What People Have Seen, Recognize

By Hubert Figuière via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

By Hubert Figuière via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

Thanks to Disinfonaut, Earth Star, this was brought to my attention. What do you think of this? Groundbreaking science aside, is this another step to having “thought police” in our society? This type of science could easily be abused and exploited, but it could also prove useful.

via Association for Psychological Science:

Brain activity can be used to tell whether someone recognizes details they encountered in normal, daily life, which may have implications for criminal investigations and use in courtrooms, new research shows.

The findings, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggest that a particular brain wave, known as P300, could serve as a marker that identifies places, objects, or other details that a person has seen and recognizes from everyday life.

Research using EEG recordings of brain activity has shown that the P300 brain wave tends to be large when a person recognizes a meaningful item among a list of nonmeaningful items.

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Much of Earth’s Water Is Older Than the Sun

Planets form in the presence of abundant interstellar water inherited as ices from the parent molecular cloud. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC-Caltech)/ESO/J. Emerson/VISTA/Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit

Planets form in the presence of abundant interstellar water inherited as ices from the parent molecular cloud.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC-Caltech)/ESO/J. Emerson/VISTA/Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit.

via Live Science:

Much of the water on Earth and elsewhere in the solar system likely predates the birth of the sun, a new study reports.

The finding suggests that water is commonly incorporated into newly forming planets throughout the Milky Way galaxy and beyond, researchers said — good news for anyone hoping that Earth isn’t the only world to host life.

“The implications of our study are that interstellar water-ice remarkably survived the incredibly violent process of stellar birth to then be incorporated into planetary bodies,” study lead author Ilse Cleeves, an astronomy Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan, told Space.com via email. [7 Theories on the Origin of Life]

“If our sun’s formation was typical, interstellar ices, including water, likely survive and are a common ingredient during the formation of all extrasolar systems,” Cleeves added.

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Study Says Women May Be More Sensitive to THC

By Joana Coccarelli via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By Joana Coccarelli via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via Alternet:

With roughly half of men admitting to having tried marijuana and only a third of women saying the same, it’s no wonder the pothead image throughout society is often a male-dominated one. Is this with good reason? Or are women more private about advertising their weed use? There could be numerous explanations — either way, a recent  study in the Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal suggests because of their estrogen levels, women may be more responsive to the key active ingredient in the plant.

In the study, funded by a National Institute on Drug Abuse grant, Washington state psychology professor Rebecca Craft found that female rats are at least 30 percent more sensitive than males to the pain-relieving qualities of  THC, which is the ingredient in cannabis that leads to a high. The study also found the females developed a tolerance to THC more quickly.

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Watch this Giant Red Leech Devour a Worm

“The leech sucks its prey down like spaghetti.”

The music really adds to the video.

via io9:

For the first time, filmmakers in the forests of Borneo’s Mount Kinabalu have documented the so-repulsive-it’s-captivating behavior of a large, red, worm-guzzling predator. While it remains unclassified by science, the animal is known to the area’s tribespeople, fittingly, as the “Giant Red Leech.”

Allow me to introduce this brief but unsettling clip, recently captured by BBC filmmakers for the new series ‘Wonders of the Monsoon,’ by stating the obvious: Nature can be gross. Some of us appreciate this fact more than others.

Read the entire write-up over at io9.

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This is What Heavy Multitasking Could Be Doing To Your Brain

 

By Ryan Ritchie via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By Ryan Ritchie via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via Psyblog:

Using laptops, phones and other media devices at the same time could be shrinking important structures in our brains, a new study may indicate.

For the first time, neuroscientists have found that people who use multiple devices simultaneously have lower gray-matter density in an area of the brain associated with cognitive and emotional control (Loh & Kanai, 2014).

Multitasking might include listening to music while playing a video game or watching TV while making a phone call or even reading the newspaper with the TV on.

Kep Kee Loh, the study’s lead author, said:

“Media multitasking is becoming more prevalent in our lives today and there is increasing concern about its impacts on our cognition and social-emotional well-being.

Our study was the first to reveal links between media multitasking and brain structure.”

The study used scans of people’s brains along with a questionnaire about their use of media devices, newspapers and television.

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