23 fevereiro 2015

The Milky Way Over the Arizona Toadstools

Which is older -- the rocks you see on the ground or the light you see from the sky? Usually it’s the rocks that are older, with their origin sediments deposited well before light left any of the stars or nebulas you see in the sky. However, if you can see, through a telescope, a distant galaxy far across the universe -- further than Andromeda or spiral galaxy NGC 7331 (inset) -- then you are seeing light even more ancient. Featured here, the central disk of our Milky Way Galaxy arches over Toadstool hoodoos rock formations in northern Arizona, USA. The unusual Toadstool rock caps are relatively hard sandstone that wind has eroded more slowly than the softer sandstone underneath. The green bands are airglow, light emitted by the stimulated air in Earth's atmosphere. On the lower right is a time-lapse camera set up to capture the sky rotating behind the picturesque foreground scene.

from NASA http://ift.tt/17LEjv7

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ageofdestruction:300 block winchester ave., martinsburg, west...


300 block winchester ave., martinsburg, west virginia.

google street view study / the promise fulfilled and the promise broken.

animation: ageofdestruction.

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Fingertips To Hair Follicles: Why ‘Touch’ Triggers...

Fingertips To Hair Follicles: Why ‘Touch’ Triggers Pleasure And Pain

The rate at which someone strokes your hair can cause feelings of pleasure or annoyance — too slow is repulsive, too fast is annoying, and just right soothes.

There’s a scientific explanation for this: People have special nerve endings (wrapped around the base of hair follicles) that detect the deflection of the hairs.

"In turns out, remarkably … that hairy skin has a special caress sensor," neuroscientist David Linden tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. "If you actually record electrical nerve endings long before they get to the brain, they send more signals to the caresses that feel the best."

In Touch, his latest book, Linden writes about this and the “weird, complex and often counterintuitive system” of touch circuits involving the skin, nerves and brain that create pleasure and pain.

The two sensations are inextricably linked, Linden explains.

"Part of what we know is that when pain ends, that is pleasurable," he says. "Think of taking off your ski boots after a day of skiing — it feels really good. But there’s something more complicated than that: What I think it is, is that both pain and pleasure are emotionally salient. They mark experiences that are important for your life and, in terms of memory, they’re the signal that says, ‘This is important; write this down and underline it. Don’t forget it.’ "

So what else can be emotionally salient? Chili peppers.

"They’re a bit painful," Linden says. "Why should we want to put something painful in our food? I think it is because it is rewarding to eat something that is a little bit of a threat."

Interview Highlights

On why life without touch is so problematic

Touch is so central to our humanity that it’s hard to even imagine [life without] it. For example, if a child is born blind, they can grow up and have a completely full and normal life. They will be cognitively normal, psychiatrically normal and not have profound problems — the same if a child is born deaf. However, if a child is born into a situation, like a Kurd in Romanian orphanages in the 1980s and ’90s, where social touch is deprived because there are not enough caregivers around, then that child will develop terrible psychiatric problems, attachment disorders, mood disorders, and also physical problems — problems with the digestive system and immune system, higher incidences of diabetes. And, amazingly, these problems are not just problems of childhood, but persist throughout life.

On how pain can actually protect people

There are a number of different relatively rare cases where you can lose different aspects of touch, and one of them … is called “congenital insensitivity to pain.” Folks who have this inherited syndrome — if they whack themselves on the thumb with a hammer — they’ll feel the pressure and the thumb will swell up, but they won’t feel any pain at all.

There’s a famous case of a boy in Pakistan who jumped off of a high roof to impress his friends. He hit the ground, got up and said, “I feel fine,” and he went home and he promptly died because he had no pain to realize that he had broken bones and sustained massive internal injury.

So we think, “Oh great, a life without pain! That would be idyllic!” But if you don’t have pain, then you don’t have the protective reactions that are so crucial.

On why a caress against the grain of hair can feel strange

There are sensors that wrap around the base of the hair follicles that only wrap around one half of the base. If you looked in a microscope, you would see that they don’t make a full 360-degree circle; they cover about 180 degrees of the base. And that means that they are tuned to detect deflection in one direction versus the other.

When we think about the way we speak in our lives, if we had interaction with someone we might say, “He or she rubs me the wrong way.” Someone who is socially clumsy we call “tactless” — literally they lack touch. I think it’s important — it’s telling us something that so many of our common expressions in English refer to the tactile sense.

On why fingertips are so sensitive

Fingertips are endowed with a number of different sensors for mechanical stimuli. There’s one sensor called a “Merkel ending,” which is good for feeling texture and fine little bumps.

There’s a different one that is good for vibration. So if you are driving your car and there are subtle vibrations that come from the road up through your tires up through the steering, through the wheel that you use to detect how slick the road is … or what the texture of it is — if it’s pebbly or smooth — that is being detected by what are called “Pacinian sensors” in your fingertips and in the palms of your hands.

On why you can’t read Braille with your genitals

The key point is that the word “sensitive” is really too broad. So it can mean two different things: areas like the fingertips and the lips and the tongue not only can respond to tiny deflections, but they can precisely localize fine special features on objects or sense textures, the sort of thing you would need to read Braille.

Other parts of the body, like the cornea of the eye or the tip of the clitoris or the tip of the penis are very sensitive in the sense that they can detect very fine deflections of the skin, but they’re not very discriminative. They lack the Merkel-type nerve ending. And, as a consequence, it will fail if you attempt to read Braille with your genitals.

On the connection between anxiety and pain

We don’t entirely understand why depression leads to chronic pain, but it’s part of a larger phenomenon in which pain perception is modulated by all kinds of situational factors having to do with mood and expectancy and surprise.

So it turns out that the emotional pain centers are richly interconnected with regions of our brain having to do with cognition and anxiety and anticipation. So this is why many people who suffer from chronic pain can get partial relief from anti-anxiety medication. It’s not that the anti-anxiety medication directly affects pain-perception — what it does is it breaks this horrible positive feedback loop between anxiety and chronic pain. So if you have chronic pain, then you become anxious about, “When is it going to stop? When is it going to recur?” And that anxiety seems to trigger more chronic pain. If you can interrupt that … then often times that can bring at least partial pain relief.

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There are only three original citrus fruits: the citron, the...

There are only three original citrus fruits: the citron, the pummelo and the mandarin. All others are hybrids of these three.

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The Science Behind Planes

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Studying Psychology? GO HERE —>...

Studying Psychology? GO HERE —> http://ift.tt/1eWNk1f for free psychology information & resources.

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Astronaut Barry Wilmore on the First of Three Spacewalks

NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore works outside the International Space Station on the first of three spacewalks preparing the station for future arrivals by U.S. commercial crew spacecraft, Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015. Fellow spacewalker Terry Virts, seen reflected in the visor, took this photograph and shared it on social media. The spacewalks are designed to lay cables along the forward end of the U.S. segment to bring power and communication to two International Docking Adapters slated to arrive later this year. The new docking ports will welcome U.S. commercial spacecraft launching from Florida beginning in 2017, permitting the standard station crew size to grow from six to seven and potentially double the amount of crew time devoted to research. The second and third spacewalks are planned for Wednesday, Feb. 25 and Sunday, March 1, with Wilmore and Virts participating in all three. Image Credit: NASA/Terry Virts

from NASA http://ift.tt/1Be2FLU

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The Atlas of the United States Printed for the Use of the Blind...

The Atlas of the United States Printed for the Use of the Blind was published in 1837 for children at the New England Institute for the Education of the Blind in Boston. Without a drop of ink in the book, the text and maps in this extraordinary atlas were embossed heavy paper with letters, lines, and symbols. This is the first atlas produced for the blind to read without the assistance of a sighted person that I have been able to find. Braille was invented by 1825, but was not widely used until much later. It represents letters well, but could not represent shapes and cartographic features.

Samuel Gridley Howe (1801-1876) was the founder and president of the New England Institute the Education of the Blind (later known as the Perkins Institute) and produced the atlas. Previous maps for the blind had been made, but as Howe wrote with frustration in the introduction to his atlas, they all required a sighted person to help the blind reader. Fifty copies of his atlas were made and five survive today, including this one. The atlas includes twenty-four state maps with a page of text describing each state and the symbols used on the maps. The picture shown here is of Maine, with dotted lines for the borders with Canada and New Hampshire.

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February 23rd 1820: Cato Street Conspiracy foiledOn this day in...

Arrest of the Cato Street Conspirators

Arthur Thistlewood (1774 - 1820)

The execution of the Cato Street Conspirators

February 23rd 1820: Cato Street Conspiracy foiled

On this day in 1820, the Cato Street Conspiracy plot to assassinate the British Prime Minister Lord Liverpool and his cabinet ministers was foiled. The conspirators were a group of Londoners who opposed with the policies of Lord Liverpool’s government and desired to see a revolution. They were organised by radical disciples of activist Thomas Spence, who pledged to work for an equal society, and met in pubs across London. The government became concerned about the groups, and sent a spy named John Castle to infiltrate the group. They became steadily more radical, as the militant Arthur Thistlewood gradually achieved control of the group. Their increasingly revolutionary ideas caused the government to recruit more spies. In February 1820, the conspirators learned that high-ranking government ministers were to have dinner in Grosvenor Square, and planned to execute their final plan and murder the ministers gathered there. They planned to display their victims’ heads on poles through the streets of London to inspire full revolution. The plotters gathered in a small building on Cato Street from which to launch their attack, but due to tips from the spies the plot was foiled and police officers apprehended the suspects. Eleven people were eventually charged with the conspiracy - five were found guilty and sentenced to death, and five others were sentenced to transportation to a penal colony.

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