Tag Archives | Health

Is This a Dream? The Hitchhikers’ Guide to Lucid Dreaming

via Good Times Weekly:

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams.

“Are you dreaming right now?” asks science writer and dream researcher David Jay Brown. We are sitting in the ivy-draped courtyard of Laili, next to a babbling fountain and a rowdy dinner party of 10.

“No!” I say, sure of the answer to such an absurd question.

“But how do you know?” he asks.

“I just know.”

“Well, have you tested it?” He picks up a fork and taps the wall. In a dream, maybe the tines would bend, he says. In a dream, the words on the menu would scramble the minute you looked away and looked back again. And if you plugged your nose and breathed out, you’d feel the air leaving your nostrils, even though they were plugged.

“Nope, not dreaming,” I say, through a pinched nose. But there’s an epiphany scratching around inside his point: even when fork tines bend with no effort and landscapes transform at the mere suggestion of thought, we accept what we’re experiencing in a dream as real.

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Double amputee controls two robotic arms with his mind

via Engadget:

Here’s one other DARPA-funded robotic limb controlled by thoughts alone — actually make that two, because Colorado man Les Baugh had two bionic arms attached from shoulder level. Baugh got them this summer, 40 years after losing both arms, as part of aRevolutionizing Prosthetics Program test run at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. The project’s researchers have been developing these Modular Prosthetic Limbs (MPL) over the past decade, but they say Baugh is the “first bilateral shoulder-level amputee” to wear two MPLs at the same time. Unlike Jan Scheuermann who controlled a robotic arm with a pair of neural implants, though, Baugh had to undergo a procedure called targeted muscle reinnervation, which reassigned the nerves that once controlled his arms and hands.

Read More: http://www.engadget.com/2014/12/18/double-amputee-mind-controlled-robot-arms

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These 10 companies make a lot of the food we buy. Here’s how we made them better.

Behind-the-brands-illusion-of-choice-graphic-2048x1351

via OxFam America:

It sounds like a conspiracy theory, but it’s true: There really are 10 companies that control most of the food and drinks you’ll find in the grocery store. Between them, these giants—whose revenues add up to more than a billion dollars a day—own hundreds of common brands, from Cheerios to Ben & Jerry’s, Odwalla to Tropicana. (See the infographic above to learn more.)

So why should these huge companies care about doing business responsibly? First, because their global operations touch countless lives. “These corporations are so powerful that their policies can have a major impact on the diets and working conditions of people worldwide, as well as on the environment,” wrote Alexander E.M. Hess in USA Today.

Second, because shoppers these days think about factors like fairness and sustainability—and we’re increasingly (and successfully) demanding that the brands we buy do the same. These food companies may be big, but no company is too big to listen to its customers.

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Scientists tallied up all the advice on Dr. Oz’s show. Half of it was baseless or wrong.

via Vox:

For years, I’ve been looking at some of the dubious and harmful health claims TV doctors make on their talk shows. In carefully examining Dr. Oz, unpicking the evidence behind the ideas he peddles, I came to the conclusion that, on balance, the bulk of what he has to say is misleading at best, and total nonsense at worst.

He is, after all, in the business of entertainment. Real, evidence-based medicine isn’t often entertaining, especially on the subjects — weight loss, diets — he tends to cover.

Now, science has confirmed my suspicions.

Researchers writing in the British Medical Journal examined the health claims showcased on 40 randomly selected episodes of the two most popular internationally syndicated health talk shows, The Dr Oz Show and The Doctors.

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Magic mushrooms found in Buckingham Palace gardens

Andy Roberts (CC BY 2.0)

Andy Roberts (CC BY 2.0)

via Washington Post:

It seems that the Queen of England may have some hallucinogenics close at hand. Let she who has never let unidentified mushrooms flourish in the back yard cast the first stone.

During preparations for a TV special last week, film crews noticed that one of the many mushrooms growing in the gardens of Buckingham Palace — the home of Queen Elizabeth II of England — was of the “magic” variety. The AP reports that mushrooms in the garden are not used by the palace kitchens for recreation or ragout.

If you’re still suspicious, here’s the fungal 411: The mushroom that film crews spotted was the Amanita muscaria (known as the fly agaric). It’s that classic, shiny red shroom with white spots – think “Alice in Wonderland.”

But the hallucinogenic mushrooms that we talk about when we talk about drug use aren’t this species at all.

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3D Printed Male Chastity Device Prototype: Personal toy for men

hhaasa

via 3D Print:

For those couples seeking to spice up their personal lives with a bit of power play, leaving the woman in charge of the action (as it were), some inventive makers are hard at work prototyping new devices. We’ve looked recently at Dame Products’ 3D printed prototype for the female-use Eva product; now it seems to be the men’s turn for their own toy.

One of the latest prototypes out there, comes from Shapeways user pedro69, and has been tested out by a friend of his who runs the Become Her Slave blog, which focuses on men who want their female partners to dominate them. This new prototype — the Keyholder Dream (KHD) X3 Espresso Short — is a “male chastity device” that keeps a man’s bits securely in place and puts him at the (playful) mercy of his partner, who quite literally holds the key.… Read the rest

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BPA in Cans and Plastic Bottles Linked to Quick Rise in Blood Pressure

Plastic bottleIf you’ve seen the documentary Tapped you already know that Bisphenol A (BPA) in plastic bottles is very bad for your health. It turns out that the plastic lining of drinks in cans is also a source of BPA that very much ends up in your bloodstream per this report in the New York Times:

People who regularly drink from cans and plastic bottles may want to reconsider: A new study shows that a common chemical in the containers can seep into beverages and raise blood pressure within a few hours.

The research raises new concerns about the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, which is widely found in plastic bottles, plastic packaging and the linings of food and beverage cans. Chronic exposure to BPA, as it is commonly known, has been associated with heart disease, cancer and other health problems. But the new study is among the first to show that a single exposure to the chemical can have a direct and fairly immediate impact on cardiovascular health.

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Tweets from the afterlife: social networking with the dead

The possibility of a posthumous digital social life seriously challenges our notions of death. Shimal Ahmed (Fulhi), CC BY-SA

The possibility of a posthumous digital social life seriously challenges our notions of death. Shimal Ahmed (Fulhi), CC BY-SA

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
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By Bjorn Nansen, University of Melbourne; James Meese, University of Melbourne; Martin Gibbs, University of Melbourne; Michael Arnold, University of Melbourne, and Tamara Kohn, University of Melbourne

Media technologies have operated as both a means of communicating news of a death and memorialising the deceased for a significant period of time, moving from traditional epitaphs, eulogies, wakes and inscription in stone to centuries-old obituaries printed and circulated in newspapers. So where are we now?

Digital commemoration emerged as the internet became readily accessible and an integral part of people’s communicative practices. Initially, during the 90s, it took the form of memorial websites hosted by the families and friends of the deceased.… Read the rest

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The 1918 Flu Pandemic: History In Photos

Historical photo of the 1918 Spanish influenza ward at Camp Funston, Kansas, showing the many patients ill with the flu (: Original source description)

Historical photo of the 1918 Spanish influenza ward at Camp Funston, Kansas, showing the many patients ill with the flu (: Original source description)

via All That is Interesting:

According to the numbers provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, over five million souls died in WWI, excluding prisoners of war or missing persons. This is admittedly an incredibly high number, but it pales in comparison to the estimated 50 to 100 million more people the world over who lost their lives to the especially virulent influenza pandemic of 1918.

With modern medicinal practice still in its infancy, many misunderstood how individuals could contract and spread this illness, and often misdiagnosed it given its similarity to the common cold. It was originally thought that a certain bacteria – Pfeiffer’s bacillus – was the culprit, though no autopsies were able to find it in any of the bodies. The virus was not isolated until 1930 – far after the Spanish Flu would wreak havoc on the world’s population, eventually taking out 3-5% of it.

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Detoxing is Bullshit, a Term Hijacked by Charlatans and Entrepreneurs

epSos .de (CC BY 2.0)

epSos .de (CC BY 2.0)

via The Guardian:

Whether it’s cucumbers splashing into water or models sitting smugly next to a pile of vegetables, it’s tough not to be sucked in by the detox industry. The idea that you can wash away your calorific sins is the perfect antidote to our fast-food lifestyles and alcohol-lubricated social lives. But before you dust off that juicer or take the first tentative steps towards a colonic irrigation clinic, there’s something you should know: detoxing – the idea that you can flush your system of impurities and leave your organs squeaky clean and raring to go – is a scam. It’s a pseudo-medical concept designed to sell you things.

“Let’s be clear,” says Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, “there are two types of detox: one is respectable and the other isn’t.” The respectable one, he says, is the medical treatment of people with life-threatening drug addictions.

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