Tag Archives | Science

Are Cyborg Cockroach Kits Ethical?

news-roboroachI can’t say this seems any less or more ethical than smacking the bejeezus out of the things with shoes or spraying them with chemicals…

Via Wired:

RoboRoach #12 and its brethren are billed as a do-it-yourself neuroscience experiment that allows students to create their own “cyborg” insects. The roach was the main feature of the TEDx talk by Greg Gage and Tim Marzullo, co-founders of an educational company called Backyard Brains. After a summer Kickstarter campaign raised enough money to let them hone their insect creation, the pair used the Detroit presentation to show it off and announce that starting in November, the company will, for $99, begin shipping live cockroaches across the nation, accompanied by a microelectronic hardware and surgical kits geared toward students as young as 10 years old.

That news, however, hasn’t been greeted warmly by everyone. Gage and Marzullo, both trained as neuroscientists and engineers, say that the purpose of the project is to spur a “neuro-revolution” by inspiring more kids to join the fields when they grow up, but some critics say the project is sending the wrong message.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Why American Conservatives Don’t Trust Science

Tea Party vs RealityGiven the mess that the farthest right wing of the American Republican party is causing in Washington right now, this study might not come as too much of a surprise, but researchers Stephan Lewandowsky, Gilles E. Gignac and Klaus Oberauer find that American conservatives have become increasingly skeptical of science since the 1970s, publishing their study, “The Role of Conspiracist Ideation and Worldviews in Predicting Rejection of Science,” in PLOSone. This is the abstract:

Background

Among American Conservatives, but not Liberals, trust in science has been declining since the 1970′s. Climate science has become particularly polarized, with Conservatives being more likely than Liberals to reject the notion that greenhouse gas emissions are warming the globe. Conversely, opposition to genetically-modified (GM) foods and vaccinations is often ascribed to the political Left although reliable data are lacking. There are also growing indications that rejection of science is suffused by conspiracist ideation, that is the general tendency to endorse conspiracy theories including the specific beliefs that inconvenient scientific findings constitute a “hoax.”

Methodology/Principal findings

We conducted a propensity weighted internet-panel survey of the U.S.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Norwegian Scientists Say LSD Might Be Good for Some

At the very least, it doesn’t no harm to one’s mental health according to the scientists:

Via The Local:

“There were no significant associations between lifetime use of any psychedelics, or use of LSD in the past year, and increased rate of any of the mental health outcomes,” Pål-Ørjan Johansen and Teri Krebs from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim concluded in their study published in the PLOS One journal on Tuesday.
“Rather, in several cases psychedelic use was associated with a lower rate of mental health problems.”
For the study, the researchers analyzed data on the more than 130,000 Americans who took drug use surveys between 2001 and 2004, of which 22,000 had used a psychedelic drug at least once.
“Despite popular perceptions, expert harm assessments have not demonstrated that classical serotonergic psychedelic substances such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline are demonstrated to cause chronic mental health problems,” Johansen told The Local.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

‘Brain Dead’ Might Not Mean the Brain is Dead After All

LiveOrganDonationI’m an organ donor, but stories like this one (and that one) sure give me the creeps. I’m happy if my spare parts can help other people, but I’d like to think that I’ll be done with them before they come to take them out.

Via Newser:

An intriguing new study out of Montreal might redefine our concept of being “brain dead.” Researchers for the first time think that the brain remains active even in patients whose EEG lines have gone flat, reports the Los Angeles Times. The study sprang from an unusual case in Romania in which a patient lapsed into a coma, then got put into a deeper coma by doctors. Much to their surprise, doctors then detected cerebral activity in his hippocampus, never before seen in such a deep coma. The University of Montreal study replicated the feat with cats under heavy anesthesia.

Keep reading.Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Forgotten Radical Science Movement

science for people

Via the Guardian, Alice Bell on the 1970s movement involving some of the UK’s top scientists:

“We have to face the fact that there is a crisis in science today.” So said Maurice Wilkins on 19 April 1969 as he opened the one-day inaugural meeting of the British Society for Social Responsibility in Science (BSSRS). That’s Nobel Prize winner Maurice Wilkins. Other early supporters of the Society included JD Bernal, Francis Crick, Julian Huxley and Bertrand Russell.

The hall was full to overflowing with more than 300 delegates. Two hundred signed up there and then, with membership reaching over a thousand by the following year. They started publishing a newsletter and BSSRS branches popped up across the country.

What distinguishes the BSSRS from other campaigns is that it was not simply a matter of scientists calling for more research funds or demands for their voice in public policy. Rather, they aimed to open up the politics of science to scrutiny so it might change and improve.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Coming Out of the Dark Ages, Psychedelic Science, and Freedom Over Consciousness: Introduction to the Benefits of Cannabis, Psilocybin, Ayahuasca, LSD, DMT, and Ibogaine

via chycho

Psychedelic Science1

Robert Anton Wilson, summarizing the works of Dr. Timothy Leary, stated in “The Eight Systems of Consciousness” that we are living through the Dark Ages “like the scholars of the Inquisitorial era”.

“None of Dr. Leary’s most important studies have either suffered refutation or enjoyed confirmation, because enacted law, statues enacted after and because of Dr. Leary’s research – makes it a crime for any other psychologists or psychiatrists to replicate such research. I know you’ve heard that the Inquisition ended in 1819, but in many areas of psychotherapy and medicine, the U.S. government has taken up where the Vatican left off.” – Robert Anton Wilson

Robert Anton Wilson: Consciousness, Conspiracy & Coincidence

The tides, however, are turning. With the federal government stating that they will not interfere with the legalization of cannabis in Washington State and Colorado, and corporate shills like John McCain and mainstream pundits like Dr.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Scientists Get a TASTE of the Transcendent

its-full-of-stars“The potential for a mystical experience is the natural birthright of all human beings.” Stanislav Grof

“Man may intellectually argue himself in and out of anything. But he can only defend it as long as he has not experienced the fact that he is wrong. Once he has come to the interior realization that a situation is not right, he cannot rest until he does something about it.”Manly P. Hall

“Its persuasiveness seems to hinge on an experience of this interconnection…”Richard M. Doyle

 

What has been generally termed a “mystical experience” is something that has been reported throughout time and across disparate cultures.  At its core, it’s a direct, non-verbal experience wherein an individual feels an expansion of the self to union with, to borrow a phrase from Alan Watts, “the whole works.”  Themes of euphoria, harmonization and interconnectedness are commonly relayed, along with the ultimate ineffability of it all.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Just Thinking About Science Triggers Moral Behavior

k-bigpicLooks like they’ll have something to talk about in the atheist church this Sunday.

Via Scientific American:

Researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara set out to test this possibility. They hypothesized that there is a deep-seated perception of science as a moral pursuit — its emphasis on truth-seeking, impartiality and rationality privileges collective well-being above all else. Their new study, published in the journal PLOSOne, argues that the association between science and morality is so ingrained that merely thinking about it can trigger more moral behavior.

The researchers conducted four separate studies to test this. The first sought to establish a simple correlation between the degree to which individuals believed in science and their likelihood of enforcing moral norms when presented with a hypothetical violation. Participants read a vignette of a date-rape and were asked to rate the “wrongness” of the offense before answering a questionnaire measuring their belief in science.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

British Guy Takes Mescaline, Polite and Measured Reflection Ensues

It’s been said that one of the reasons Humphry Osmond gave Aldous Huxley mescaline was because he knew Huxley had a mastery of language and was uniquely capable of conveying the experience in a way better than most others. The outcome, of course, was hallmark of psychedelic literature The Doors of Perception. Well, here Osmond is at it again with another gent possessing a gift of the gab.

Christopher Mayhew had been the president of a debating society while attending Oxford and at the time of the taping was, believe it or not, a Member of Parliament. Commenting on his experience decades later, he remarked:

“Perhaps half-a-dozen times during the experiment I would be withdrawn from my surroundings and from myself and have an experience, a state of euphoria, for a period of time that didn’t end for me. That didn’t last for minutes, or hours, but for months.”

See some of the original footage, including a follow-up interview decades later, here:

For some more interesting background, from the video description:

Humphry Osmond was the British psychiatrist who coined the term “psychedelic”.

Read the rest

Continue Reading