03 março 2015

A Dust Devil on Mars



It was late in the northern martian spring when the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spied this local denizen. Tracking across the flat, dust-covered Amazonis Planitia in 2012, the core of this whirling dust devil is about 140 meters in diameter. Lofting dust into the thin martian atmosphere, its plume reaches about 20 kilometers above the surface. Common to this region of Mars, dust devils occur as the surface is heated by the Sun, generating warm, rising air currents that begin to rotate. Tangential wind speeds of up to 110 kilometers per hour are reported for dust devils in other HiRISE images.



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neuromorphogenesis: Meet your other brain For years, changes in...













neuromorphogenesis:



Meet your other brain


For years, changes in the brain –whether from learning to ridea bike, taking a Prozac, or sinking into Alzheimer’s disease – have been attributedto the activity of neurons and the small chemical junctions between them,called synapses. Targeting synapses is like fiddling with the connections ateither end or calling the cable company. But ignoring the wiring in between maybe a mistake.


“All ideas about communication and plasticity in thenervous system were focused on the synapse,” says Douglas Fields at the NationalInstitutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. That’s starting to change, as he and other neuroscientists realise that neurons alone are not enough to explain our brain’s plasticity – its ability to learn, adapt, and form new memories.


“All ideas about communication and plasticity in the nervous system were focused on the synapse,” says Douglas Fields at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. That’s starting to change, as he and other neuroscientists realise that neurons alone are not enough to explain our brain’s plasticity – its ability to learn, adapt, and form new memories. What it comes down to is myelin, the fatty sheath that envelops most neurons. We are used to thinking of it like insulation along a cable – allowing electrical impulses to zip along faster. But we are learning that this fatty layer is not like a wire’s insulation, installed uniformly and left unattended. Instead, it is dynamic and autonomous, customising itself to match the brain’s demands. The cells that produce it respond in real time to our cognitive needs: new insulation is laid down to help the brain master a skill; a frayed section can be replaced. What’s more, these additions and renovations continue well into adulthood.


This new kind of plasticity has come as a shock to many researchers. Bill Rebeck at Georgetown University in Washington DC has been a professor of neuroscience for over a decade, but when he heard about it last year, he was gobsmacked. “Wait, really?” was all he could mutter. And plasticity is just the start. Because they are not nerve cells, which are notoriously hard to tinker with, we might be able to tweak them manually to give the brain an extra boost when needed, or to help mend the damage behind conditions such as multiple sclerosis. It turns out a most vital part of our cognitive potential has been hiding in plain sight.


To better understand why myelin is so important, you need to look at how information travels around the brain. A neuron sends electrical impulses zipping down long projections called axons to the synapse, a small gap that chemicals called neurotransmitters travel across. These relay the signal to neighbouring neurons. Myelin keeps the information tightly confined within the axon, allowing a speedy trip.


Wired for learning


The substance is thought to have evolved to allow animals to react quickly. But myelin does more than just speed up our reflexes, it is also crucial to learning, development and behaviour. “Ultimately it allows us to have clever brains,” says William Richardson, who studies neuronal plasticity at University College London.


Hints about the role of myelination in cognitive abilities come from the way it is produced during our lifetime. A small amount is made as we develop in the womb, but after birth it takes off, and we see surges as infants learn to crawl, walk and talk. By about age 4, the rate of myelination slows, and teenagers still have the prefrontal cortex left to myelinate – an area crucial for planning and consideration of consequences. Until then, processing in the prefrontal cortex is slow and inefficient and teens remain precariously impulsive. The finer circuitry is complete by the time we reach our 40s, but from the 60s onwards the coverings start to fray and degenerate, which fits with the common experience of cognitive decline as we age. As myelin degenerates, the signals get fuzzier.


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Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, a Persian scholar famous even today for his Tajrīd (“Catharsis”) a highly...

Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, a Persian scholar famous even today for his Tajrīd (“Catharsis”) a highly esteemed treatise on Shi’ite theology, saved over 400,000 manuscripts from the House of Wisdom when Baghdad was sacked by the Mongols.


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Following their very first meeting on this day in 1907 I bet...





Following their very first meeting on this day in 1907 I bet Freud and Jung never imagined it would come to this!


Free Jung info & resources —> http://ift.tt/1C5VtOf


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1.1 billion people at risk of hearing lossWHO highlights serious...













1.1 billion people at risk of hearing loss


WHO highlights serious threat posed by exposure to recreational noise


Today is Ear Care Day


Make Listening Safe initiative


To mark International Ear Care Day, celebrated each year on March 3rd, WHO is launching the “Make Listening Safe” initiative to draw attention to the dangers of unsafe listening and promote safer practices. In collaboration with partners worldwide, WHO will alert young people and their families about the risks of noise-induced hearing loss and advocate towards governments for greater attention to this issue as part of their broader efforts to prevent hearing loss generally.


Worldwide, 360 million people today have moderate to profound hearing loss due to various causes, such as noise, genetic conditions, complications at birth, certain infectious diseases, chronic ear infections, the use of particular drugs, and ageing. It is estimated that half of all cases of hearing loss are avoidable. To address this issue, WHO collates data and information on hearing loss to demonstrate its prevalence, causes and impact as well as opportunities for prevention and management; assists countries to develop and implement programmes for hearing care that are integrated into the primary health-care system; and provides technical resources for training health workers.


(From WHO)


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TAROT DO AMOR – SOBRE VOCÊ A RODA DA FORTUNA INVERTID

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Pakistan jails 471 parents who refused to give polio vaccine to...





Pakistan jails 471 parents who refused to give polio vaccine to children


Parents in north-west of country were imprisoned under government orders on charges of endangering public security


Hundreds of parents in north-west Pakistan have been arrested and jailed after refusing to give their children polio vaccinations, according to officials.


Feroz Shah, a spokesman for the district administration in Peshawar, said 471 people had been imprisoned in the city and surrounding villages under government orders on charges of endangering public security.


Parents targeted by police were not arrested if they agreed to vaccinate their children, said Shakirullah Khan, a senior police officer in Peshawar.


Authorities have previously made scattered arrests for polio refusals, but such a widespread crackdown is rare.


“This is the first time such drastic action was taken,” Shah said. “This shows the determination of the government to eradicate polio.”


Pakistan is one of three countries, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, where polio is endemic, and the country last year accounted for the vast majority of reported cases.


The disease has been common since the Taliban banned vaccinations and attacked medical workers. Some Pakistanis are suspicious about vaccinations, fearing they will sterilise their children.


In January, officials targeted around 35 million children in a nationwide campaign, while smaller vaccination drives are held more frequently. Officials have also implemented new security strategies to help protect vaccinators.


(From The Guardian)


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"The purpose of science is not to cure us of our sense of mystery and wonder, but to constantly..."

“The purpose of science is not to cure us of our sense of mystery and wonder, but to constantly reinvent and reinvigorate it.”



- Neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky, via Brain Pickings. (via braincraft)
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An arresting Olmec jade mask, from the 900s - 400s BCE





An arresting Olmec jade mask, from the 900s - 400s BCE


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npr: Bernard Valencia’s room in the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial...



Joleen Beiley and Stephen Gafford lift patient David Eurey using a floating mattress called a HoverMatt, which uses air streams that lift the mattress.





To safely lift Bernard Valencia out of his hospital bed, Cheri Moore uses a ceiling lift and sling. The VA hospital in Loma Linda, Calif., has safe patient handling technology throughout the hospital





Tony Hilton (left), the safe patient handling and mobility coordinator at the VA hospital in Loma Linda, gives Ruby Baker a safety tip sheet.





Eurey is moved via a self-driving gurney that does not need any force by the person driving it at the VA hospital in Loma Linda.



npr:



Bernard Valencia’s room in the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Medical Center in Loma Linda, Calif., illustrates how hospitals across the country could fight a nationwide epidemic. As soon as you enter the room, you can see one of the main strategies: A hook hangs from a metal track that runs across the ceiling.


This isn’t some bizarre way of fighting hospital-acquired infections or preventing the staff from getting needle sticks. The contraption is a ceiling hoist designed to lift and move patients with a motor instead of muscle.


As NPR has reported in our investigative series Injured Nurses, nursing employees suffer more debilitating back and other injuries than almost any other occupation — and they get those injuries mainly from doing the everyday tasks of lifting and moving patients.


But the Loma Linda hospital is part of a nationwide health care system that is proving hospitals can dramatically reduce the rate of injuries caused by lifting — if administrators are willing to invest the time and money.


The name of the system might surprise you. It’s the VA — the Department of Veterans Affairs.


At VA Hospitals, Training And Technology Reduce Nurses’ Injuries


Photo credit: Annie Tritt for NPR



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March 3rd 1865: Freedmen’s Bureau establishedOn this day...



Harper's Weekly cartoon depicting the Freedmen's Bureau as an arbiter of racial disputes in the post-war South





A Freedmens School in the South



March 3rd 1865: Freedmen’s Bureau established


On this day in 1865, the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands - known as the Freedmen’s Bureau - was established upon the passage of the Freedmen’s Bureau Act. Union victory was not yet assured, and Confederate surrender was still a month off, but by this point the Emancipation Proclamation had freed slaves in the Confederacy and the Thirteenth Amendment was making its way through Congress. Lincoln thus resolved to begin to provide protection for the four million freed slaves of the South. The Bureau, originally intended to last for only a year, provided food, housing, medical aid, schooling, and legal assistance to the freedmen. It also initially attempted to provide freedmen with their main demand after emancipation - land they could cultivate and be self-sufficient and beholden to no master. Unfortunately this goal was largely never realised, and most former slaves continued to toil on plantations for their old masters, working for a share of the crop and low wages. The Bureau also became embroiled in the political struggles of the day, causing an irreparable rift between the executive and Congress when President Andrew Johnson vetoed a bill extending its life. Congress overrode the President’s veto, beginning a conflict that would result in Johnson becoming the President with the most overriden vetoes in history. Throughout its life, the Bureau was plagued by a lack of personnel, funds, and support from the President, and struggled in the face of violent white opposition to Reconstruction policies and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. The Bureau closed in 1872, and historians still debate its affect on the Reconstruction South and how much it helped the freedmen.



150 years ago today


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Great clip of Carl Jung talking about his first meeting with...





Great clip of Carl Jung talking about his first meeting with Sigmund Freud which took place on this day (3rd March) in 1907.


Free Jung info & resources —> http://ift.tt/1C5VtOf


Free Freud info & resources —> http://ift.tt/1wtk6Rs


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