July212014

Pause

I’m sorry, but Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a really good movie. Excellent. Well done.

July192014
world-shaker:

[leaves this here and backs away]

world-shaker:

[leaves this here and backs away]

(via anderson-coopers-cats)

9AM
ipokemonmemes:

What a fucking cockblock

ipokemonmemes:

What a fucking cockblock

(via anderson-coopers-cats)

9AM

instagram:

Face to Face with Scotland’s Shaggy Highland Cows

For more photos and videos of Scotland’s shaggy cattle, follow @murn_eilidh_kate and browse the #highlandcow and #highlandcoo hashtags.

Long-horned and remarkably shaggy cattle graze throughout the rolling hills of the Scottish countryside, capturing the hearts of visiting and local Instagrammers alike. Officially called the Highland cow, the breed is also known by its name in the Scots language, kyloe, and by the affectionate name of Highland “coo” for its pronunciation in the Scottish accent.

The cows are more than just a shaggy coat with horns for 17-year-old Scotland Instagrammer Murn Cameron (@murn_eilidh_kate), who works with her family on the Dunach Estate farm near Oban. “The cattle are really inquisitive and curious about humans, and they want to interact with us,” she explains. “They all have different personalities a bit like humans. The calves are very cheeky—and adorable.”

Murn takes her phone with her into the fields, capturing the cattle in all their different colors. “I have a soft spot for the red ones myself,” she says. “People joke and say it is because of the similar hair color as I am ginger, and I must say they may have a point!”

Pokey!

Pokey 

July162014

collegehumor:

CollegeHumor Exclusive: "Weird Al" Yankovic Music Video: FOIL (Parody of "Royals" by Lorde)

Like any budding comedy lovers with a boom box or basic cable, we grew up loving Weird Al Yankovic. So when he asked us to help him make the music video for “Foil” (a parody of “Royals”) off Al’s new album, Mandatory Fun, we agreed. Actually, we high-fived each other, threw up from excitement, composed ourselves and agreed.

Over a few marvelous weeks in February and March, our writers and producers worked with Al to bring his “Foil” video to life. Here is the result in all its Yankovician magnificence, featuring cameos from Patton Oswalt, Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant, as well as CH alumni Elaine Carroll and Andrée Vermeulen.

See behind-the-scenes photos here.

(via dorkly)

July152014
July122014
neurosciencestuff:

New study discovers biological basis for magic mushroom ‘mind expansion’
Psychedelic drugs such as LSD and magic mushrooms can profoundly alter the way we experience the world but little is known about what physically happens in the brain. New research, published in Human Brain Mapping, has examined the brain effects of the psychedelic chemical in magic mushrooms, called psilocybin, using data from brain scans of volunteers who had been injected with the drug.
The study found that under psilocybin, activity in the more primitive brain network linked to emotional thinking became more pronounced, with several different areas in this network - such as the hippocampus and anterior cingulate cortex - active at the same time. This pattern of activity is similar to the pattern observed in people who are dreaming. Conversely, volunteers who had taken psilocybin had more disjointed and uncoordinated activity in the brain network that is linked to high-level thinking, including self-consciousness.
Psychedelic drugs are unique among other psychoactive chemicals in that users often describe ‘expanded consciousness,’ including enhanced associations, vivid imagination and dream-like states. To explore the biological basis for this experience, researchers analysed brain imaging data from 15 volunteers who were given psilocybin intravenously while they lay in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. Volunteers were scanned under the influence of psilocybin and when they had been injected with a placebo.
“What we have done in this research is begin to identify the biological basis of the reported mind expansion associated with psychedelic drugs,” said Dr Robin Carhart-Harris from the Department of Medicine, Imperial College London.  “I was fascinated to see similarities between the pattern of brain activity in a psychedelic state and the pattern of brain activity during dream sleep, especially as both involve the primitive areas of the brain linked to emotions and memory. People often describe taking psilocybin as producing a dream-like state and our findings have, for the first time, provided a physical representation for the experience in the brain.”    
The new study examined variation in the amplitude of fluctuations in what is called the blood-oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal, which tracks activity levels in the brain. This revealed that activity in important brain networks linked to high-level thinking in humans becomes unsynchronised and disorganised under psilocybin. One particular network that was especially affected plays a central role in the brain, essentially ‘holding it all together’, and is linked to our sense of self.
In comparison, activity in the different areas of a more primitive brain network became more synchronised under the drug, indicating they were working in a more co-ordinated, ‘louder’ fashion. The network involves areas of the hippocampus, associated with memory and emotion, and the anterior cingulate cortex which is related to states of arousal.
Lead author Dr Enzo Tagliazucchi from Goethe University, Germany said: “A good way to understand how the brain works is to perturb the system in a marked and novel way. Psychedelic drugs do precisely this and so are powerful tools for exploring what happens in the brain when consciousness is profoundly altered. It is the first time we have used these methods to look at brain imaging data and it has given some fascinating insight into how psychedelic drugs expand the mind. It really provides a window through which to study the doors of perception.”
Dr. Carhart-Harris added: “Learning about the mechanisms that underlie what happens under the influence of psychedelic drugs can also help to understand their possible uses. We are currently studying the effect of LSD on creative thinking and we will also be looking at the possibility that psilocybin may help alleviate symptoms of depression by allowing patients to change their rigidly pessimistic patterns of thinking. Psychedelics were used for therapeutic purposes in the 1950s and 1960s but now we are finally beginning to understand their action in the brain and how this can inform how to put them to good use.”
The data was originally collected at Imperial College London in 2012 by a research group led by Dr Carhart-Harris and Professor David Nutt from the Department of Medicine, Imperial College London. Initial results revealed a variety of changes in the brain associated with drug intake. To explore the data further Dr. Carhart-Harris recruited specialists in the mathematical modelling of brain networks, Professor Dante Chialvo and Dr Enzo Tagliazucchi to investigate how psilocybin alters brain activity to produce its unusual psychological effects.
As part of the new study, the researchers applied a measure called entropy. This was originally developed by physicists to quantify lost energy in mechanical systems, such as a steam engine, but entropy can also be used to measure the range or randomness of a system. For the first time, researchers computed the level of entropy for different networks in the brain during the psychedelic state. This revealed a remarkable increase in entropy in the more primitive network, indicating there was an increased number of patterns of activity that were possible under the influence of psilocybin. It seemed the volunteers had a much larger range of potential brain states that were available to them, which may be the biophysical counterpart of ‘mind expansion’ reported by users of psychedelic drugs.
Previous research has suggested that there may be an optimal number of dynamic networks active in the brain, neither too many nor too few. This may provide evolutionary advantages in terms of optimising the balance between the stability and flexibility of consciousness. The mind works best at a critical point when there is a balance between order and disorder and the brain maintains this optimal number of networks. However, when the number goes above this point, the mind tips into a more chaotic regime where there are more networks available than normal. Collectively, the present results suggest that psilocybin can manipulate this critical operating point.

neurosciencestuff:

New study discovers biological basis for magic mushroom ‘mind expansion’

Psychedelic drugs such as LSD and magic mushrooms can profoundly alter the way we experience the world but little is known about what physically happens in the brain. New research, published in Human Brain Mapping, has examined the brain effects of the psychedelic chemical in magic mushrooms, called psilocybin, using data from brain scans of volunteers who had been injected with the drug.

The study found that under psilocybin, activity in the more primitive brain network linked to emotional thinking became more pronounced, with several different areas in this network - such as the hippocampus and anterior cingulate cortex - active at the same time. This pattern of activity is similar to the pattern observed in people who are dreaming. Conversely, volunteers who had taken psilocybin had more disjointed and uncoordinated activity in the brain network that is linked to high-level thinking, including self-consciousness.

Psychedelic drugs are unique among other psychoactive chemicals in that users often describe ‘expanded consciousness,’ including enhanced associations, vivid imagination and dream-like states. To explore the biological basis for this experience, researchers analysed brain imaging data from 15 volunteers who were given psilocybin intravenously while they lay in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. Volunteers were scanned under the influence of psilocybin and when they had been injected with a placebo.

“What we have done in this research is begin to identify the biological basis of the reported mind expansion associated with psychedelic drugs,” said Dr Robin Carhart-Harris from the Department of Medicine, Imperial College London.  “I was fascinated to see similarities between the pattern of brain activity in a psychedelic state and the pattern of brain activity during dream sleep, especially as both involve the primitive areas of the brain linked to emotions and memory. People often describe taking psilocybin as producing a dream-like state and our findings have, for the first time, provided a physical representation for the experience in the brain.”    

The new study examined variation in the amplitude of fluctuations in what is called the blood-oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal, which tracks activity levels in the brain. This revealed that activity in important brain networks linked to high-level thinking in humans becomes unsynchronised and disorganised under psilocybin. One particular network that was especially affected plays a central role in the brain, essentially ‘holding it all together’, and is linked to our sense of self.

In comparison, activity in the different areas of a more primitive brain network became more synchronised under the drug, indicating they were working in a more co-ordinated, ‘louder’ fashion. The network involves areas of the hippocampus, associated with memory and emotion, and the anterior cingulate cortex which is related to states of arousal.

Lead author Dr Enzo Tagliazucchi from Goethe University, Germany said: “A good way to understand how the brain works is to perturb the system in a marked and novel way. Psychedelic drugs do precisely this and so are powerful tools for exploring what happens in the brain when consciousness is profoundly altered. It is the first time we have used these methods to look at brain imaging data and it has given some fascinating insight into how psychedelic drugs expand the mind. It really provides a window through which to study the doors of perception.”

Dr. Carhart-Harris added: “Learning about the mechanisms that underlie what happens under the influence of psychedelic drugs can also help to understand their possible uses. We are currently studying the effect of LSD on creative thinking and we will also be looking at the possibility that psilocybin may help alleviate symptoms of depression by allowing patients to change their rigidly pessimistic patterns of thinking. Psychedelics were used for therapeutic purposes in the 1950s and 1960s but now we are finally beginning to understand their action in the brain and how this can inform how to put them to good use.”

The data was originally collected at Imperial College London in 2012 by a research group led by Dr Carhart-Harris and Professor David Nutt from the Department of Medicine, Imperial College London. Initial results revealed a variety of changes in the brain associated with drug intake. To explore the data further Dr. Carhart-Harris recruited specialists in the mathematical modelling of brain networks, Professor Dante Chialvo and Dr Enzo Tagliazucchi to investigate how psilocybin alters brain activity to produce its unusual psychological effects.

As part of the new study, the researchers applied a measure called entropy. This was originally developed by physicists to quantify lost energy in mechanical systems, such as a steam engine, but entropy can also be used to measure the range or randomness of a system. For the first time, researchers computed the level of entropy for different networks in the brain during the psychedelic state. This revealed a remarkable increase in entropy in the more primitive network, indicating there was an increased number of patterns of activity that were possible under the influence of psilocybin. It seemed the volunteers had a much larger range of potential brain states that were available to them, which may be the biophysical counterpart of ‘mind expansion’ reported by users of psychedelic drugs.

Previous research has suggested that there may be an optimal number of dynamic networks active in the brain, neither too many nor too few. This may provide evolutionary advantages in terms of optimising the balance between the stability and flexibility of consciousness. The mind works best at a critical point when there is a balance between order and disorder and the brain maintains this optimal number of networks. However, when the number goes above this point, the mind tips into a more chaotic regime where there are more networks available than normal. Collectively, the present results suggest that psilocybin can manipulate this critical operating point.

(via neuroticthought)

July92014

My own feeling is that science fiction, of all the different forms of literature, is the one that most easily accepts the notion of change. Things are changing very quickly, and any kid who thinks about it knows that the world in which he or she will be a grown-up — which he or she will be helping to run — will be considerably different from this one. Maybe better, maybe worse, but different. Science fiction explores the future world.

I think more and more young people are beginning to feel that science fiction is the kind of literature that a person interested in reality should be reading.

- Isaac Asimov

A while back, I asked why it is that some science fiction is so good at predicting the future. Far and away, the most common answer was because people who read science fiction are then inspired to make that future a reality.

Asimov knew that.

Check out more from his 1983 interview with Dr. Julius Strangepork in Muppets magazine (yes, seriously) at Brain Pickings.

(via jtotheizzoe)

(via science-junkie)

6PM
science-junkie:

Ancient Bird Had Some Feathers Just for Show
German scientists found a new specimen of Archaeopteryx, the 150-million-year-old winged creature thought to represent the transition from dinosaurs to birds, with well-preserved feather markings. The bird, described in the journal Nature, had feathers on its hind limbs that researchers said were more likely used for display than for flight.
Source: nytimes.com

science-junkie:

Ancient Bird Had Some Feathers Just for Show

German scientists found a new specimen of Archaeopteryx, the 150-million-year-old winged creature thought to represent the transition from dinosaurs to birds, with well-preserved feather markings. The bird, described in the journal Nature, had feathers on its hind limbs that researchers said were more likely used for display than for flight.

Source: nytimes.com

July82014
ucresearch:

An invisible force at the center of our galaxyScientists have theorized that our Milky Way galaxy has a super massive black hole at the center of it, but how did this idea come about?  How do astronomers measure something that has actually never been seen in our telescopes?
Above is an animation of star movements in our galaxy over the past 16 years.  They all orbit around a point that emits no light in our galaxy.  We can measure the mass of these stars and calculate that their orbits require an object with the mass of 4 million Suns.  So far this points to a super massive black hole in our galaxy.
Read more about how galaxies obtain these supermassive objects →

ucresearch:

An invisible force at the center of our galaxy

Scientists have theorized that our Milky Way galaxy has a super massive black hole at the center of it, but how did this idea come about?  How do astronomers measure something that has actually never been seen in our telescopes?

Above is an animation of star movements in our galaxy over the past 16 years.  They all orbit around a point that emits no light in our galaxy.  We can measure the mass of these stars and calculate that their orbits require an object with the mass of 4 million Suns.  So far this points to a super massive black hole in our galaxy.

Read more about how galaxies obtain these supermassive objects →

(via science-junkie)

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