14 maio 2015



Via: http://ift.tt/1eWNk1f

Read More

Dwarf Planet, Bright Spot

Now at Ceres, Dawn's camera recorded this closer view of the dwarf planet's northern hemisphere and one of its mysterious bright spots on May 4. A sunlit portrait of a small, dark world about 950 kilometers in diameter, the image is part of a planned sequence taken from the solar-powered spacecraft's 15-day long RC3 mapping orbit at a distance of 13,600 kilometers (8,400 miles). The animated sequence shows Ceres' rotation, its north pole at the top of the frame. Imaged by Hubble in 2004 and then by Dawn as it approached Ceres in 2015, the bright spot itself is revealed to be made up of smaller spots of reflective material that could be exposed ice glinting in the sunlight. On Saturday, Dawn's ion propulsion system was turned on to spiral the spacecraft into a closer 4,350-kilometer orbit by June 6. Of course another unexplored dwarf planet, Pluto, is expecting the arrival of a visitor from Earth, the New Horizons spacecraft, by mid-July.

from NASA http://ift.tt/1Izrjt8
Read More

Weird dream? Your brain won’t even try to make sense of...

Weird dream? Your brain won’t even try to make sense of it

You open your front door to find your boss – who is also a cat. The bizarre can seem completely normal when you’re dreaming, perhaps because parts of your brain give up trying to figure out what’s going on.

Armando D'Agostino of the University of Milan in Italy thinks that the strangeness of dreams resembles psychosis, because individuals are disconnected from reality and have disrupted thought processes that lead to wrong conclusions.

Hoping to learn more about psychotic thoughts, D'Agostino and his colleagues investigated how our brains respond to the bizarre elements of dreams.

Because it is all but impossible to work out what a person is dreaming about while they’re asleep, D'Agostino’s team asked 12 people to keep diaries in which they were to write detailed accounts of seven dreams. When volunteers could remember one, they were also told to record what they had done that day and come up with an unrelated fantasy story to accompany an image they had been given.

Using a “bizarreness” scoring system, the researchers found that dreams were significantly weirder than the waking fantasies the volunteers composed. “It seems counterintuitive, but there was almost no bizarreness in fantasies,” says D'Agostino. “There are logical constraints on waking fantasies and they are never as bizarre as a dream.”

Powering down

A month later, the reports were read back to each of the dreamers while their brain activity was monitored with an fMRI scanner. Both dreams and fantasies seemed to selectively activate a set of structures in the right hemisphere of the brain associated with complex language processing, such as understanding multiple meanings of a word.

Curiously, the activity in this area appeared to decrease as the narrative became increasingly bizarre. It is almost as if the brain is giving up trying to make sense of the dream, says D'Agostino.

“It’s a legitimate theory,” says Patrick McNamara at Boston University. He thinks that dreams may act as symbols in a process that consolidates and stores memories. Bizarreness may be the result of the brain’s attempt to symbolise complex emotions. “When emotions are intense, they are harder to symbolise, so perhaps the dreams are more likely to be bizarre,” he says.

But Bill Domhoff at the University of California in Santa Cruz is opposed to the idea of comparing dreams to psychosis, partly because not all dreams are bizarre. “Dreaming is not hallucinatory and psychotic,” he says. “It is an intensified form of mind-wandering.”

Journal reference: Journal of Sleep Research, DOI: 10.1111/jsr.12299


Read More

Growing Fat To Get SlimWhile normal white fat stubbornly stores...

Growing Fat To Get Slim

While normal white fat stubbornly stores excess calories on hips, bellies and thighs, over the last few years a picture has emerged of a different kind of fat – one which, paradoxically, might help us to lose weight. This is brown fat, which challenges all our assumptions about the fat in our bodies: it burns calories rather than storing them. 

It was only six years ago we discovered that brown fat exists and is active in adults. Since then, it has become the focus of attention as a potential tool to help combat obesity and its related diseases. And the idea that there might be a way to burn through calories without the need to exercise is a tempting prospect for many of us.

“We all know you only need a modest change in energy balance to put on weight – eating one or two extra biscuits a day is enough,” says Michael Symonds at the University of Nottingham, UK. “So if you could activate brown fat, or increase its activity, you could potentially reduce your body weight.”

Symonds is one of a number of researchers working to develop behavioural, surgical and pharmaceutical therapies that might harness the power of brown fat, and some of these could be as simple as taking a cold dip in the pool or eating spicy food. 

What makes brown fat so interesting is its ability to burn food directly to produce heat, whereas energy extracted from food is usually stored first, then released during activity such as exercise. It can produce 300 times more heat per gram than any other tissue in the body. This is because brown fat cells have a disproportionately high number of mitochondria – the small energy producing structures in cells – which also gives the stuff its eponymous colour. These mitochondria are slightly different from those in other cells, too, because they contain a protein called thermogenin, or UCP1, which enables brown fat to turn energy to heat directly.

This furnace-like ability is vital for regulating temperature in some mammals and in babies, who are unable to shiver to keep warm. But until recently it was thought to become defunct after infancy in humans. Then in 2009, several studies showed that brown fat was present and functional in adults in the neck, shoulders and around the spinal cord.

This discovery changed the question from whether adults have brown fat, to whether we can make use of it to help with weight control. “It was a eureka moment,” says Symonds.

The amount of brown fat each of us has varies, though. Slimmer people tend to have more of it, which might help explain why some people seem to burn through everything they eat, while others pile on the pounds.

So the first step is to find out how much, if any, of this “good” fat you have. Because brown fat is activated when the body is exposed to the cold, Symonds and his team have helped pioneer the use of a thermal imaging camera to detect it.

When animals are cold, they initially regulate their temperature by shivering. But after repeated exposure, shivering decreases while energy expenditure stays the same. Studies in rodents have shown that this is down to brown fat activity. If the same is true in humans, then regular cold exposure could help you adapt to the cold and burn calories in the process. 

Evidence for this comes from an intriguing study conducted by the US army in the 1960s, which subjected 10 almost nude men to temperatures of 11 °C , for 8 hours a day for a month. Electrodes on their skin showed that, like rats, shivering decreased after about two weeks, suggesting that their bodies had somehow adapted to the cold. The team concluded that another metabolic process was at work, although it remained a mystery.

Fifty years later, Anouk van der Lans at Maastricht University in the Netherlands and colleagues wondered whether brown fat was responsible. So in 2012 they recreated the study using PET scans and fat and muscle biopsies to measure brown fat activity, as well as monitoring shivering. After 10 days, brown fat activity had increased and the subjects were better at producing heat without shivering, so they shivered less. They also found the cold easier to tolerate.

 Encouragingly, in this study, a temperature of about 16 °C was cold enough to switch on the tissue. “Nobody thinks that getting so cold that you’re uncomfortable is necessary,” says Aaron Cypess of the US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, an author of one of the 2009 papers.

How many calories can you expect to shed? Estimates vary hugely. One trial of Japanese men found that spending 2 hours a day in a
17 °C room for six weeks boosted brown fat activity by 50 per cent, and got rid of 5 per cent of their body fat. At the start of the experiment the men burned 108 calories during 2 hours in the cold, but this rose to 289 calories after doing it every day for six weeks.

That doesn’t necessarily mean all those calories are burned by the brown fat itself – in studies that only involve short bursts of cold exposure, it could be down to other mechanisms like shivering. For example, one study of volunteers with an average of 50 grams of brown fat found they burned around 300 extra calories a day when exposed to moderate cold for 30 minutes – but brown fat only accounted for 20 calories of this.

Despite the mixed results, those figures are encouraging enough for some people to make cold exposure part of their daily routine. “The mechanism of how it happens is important to understand, but for practical reasons, the result is what people care about,” says Wayne Hayes, a NASA scientist who has created the Cold Shoulder, a waistcoat filled with ice packs designed to activate brown fat.

Cypess and others believe that brown fat could make a contribution to weight loss strategies with regular cold exposure. But what if you don’t like the cold? There could be a tastier alternative.


Capsaicin, a compound in chillies, seems to stimulate brown fat in a similar way. Mice fed capsaicin as part of a high-fat diet, for example, have increased metabolic activity and don’t put on weight. This fits with a small study in which 10 men who took capsaicin pills daily had greater brown fat activity in the cold and burned more calories after six weeks.

“Capsaicin is promising as it is natural, and relatively safe and inexpensive,” says Cypess. “But we are awaiting the definitive experiment showing that a dose of capsaicin directly leads to activation of brown fat.”

In the meantime, brown fat could have other benefits aside from calorie burning. It releases hormones that help regulate the metabolism of glucose and fatty acids, so might be useful to help treat diabetes and fatty liver disease. Humans and other animals with high brown fat levels have been shown to have better blood sugar and insulin regulation.

But there is a hitch: we have paltry amounts of brown fat and obese people have especially low levels. Stores also deplete as we age.

For that reason, arguably the biggest recent breakthrough in the field has been the identification of a third kind of fat, called beige fat. First described by Bruce Spiegelman at Harvard Medical School in 2012, beige fat has a different origin to classical brown fat, but it contains the same all-important protein, UCP1, which burns calories to generate heat. And while brown fat forms in tight pockets, beige fat is dispersed in white fat cells. Even better, it might be possible to transform white fat into the calorie-burning beige variety (see “Flavours of fat”).

“With most experiments on brown fat you don’t induce much new tissue, you just activate it,” says Ronald Kahn at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. “With beige fat you get both an increase in the activity, and in the amount. So this is where people believe there are big therapeutic opportunities.”

While most research has so far been in rodents, there is tentative evidence that humans too can turn white fat to beige. One way could be to throw off the duvet. Men who slept in 19 °C bedrooms with only bed sheets had 42 per cent more brown fat after four weeks, found Francesco Celi at Virginia Commonwealth University and colleagues. Glucose uptake increased in white fat, suggesting a rise in beige fat cells nestled within it. The men’s insulin resistance, which is a key issue in diabetes, also improved.

Exercise might also help convert cells. Celi has found hints that a hormone called irisin, produced when muscles contract, stimulates white fat to produce beige fat cells, although the findings are still being debated. 


This highlights a big problem with thinking that boosting brown fat with cold exposure is an easy option: to some people, feeling cold is about as unappealing as slogging it out in the gym or living off salad. And our natural response to cold is often to eat more.

So a better tactic might be to find easier ways to simulate these effects. One hope is mirabegron, a drug developed as a treatment for an overactive bladder that also stimulates receptors on the surface of brown fat cells. In January, a team led by Cypess found an increase in brown fat activity in 12 volunteers after they were given a dose of mirabegron. Their resting metabolic rate increased by 203 calories a day. And it works on brown and white fat. “Mirabegron causes white fat stores to break down, likely to be consumed as fuel by brown fat and other organs,” says Cypess.

Another approach might be to convert white fat to brown in the lab and then reinsert it into the body. In 2010, Yu-Hua Tseng at Harvard’s Joslin Diabetes Center took fat precursor cells from muscle and white fat tissue in mice and exposed them to proteins that influence development into brown fat cells. When they then injected them back into the mice, the treated cells developed into brown fat. Tseng’s team has now identified the same mechanism in human fat cells.

A drug that mimics the effects of cold may not be far away either. A team at the University of California has discovered that in cold conditions the body sends signals to immune molecules called macrophages, which trigger browning of white fat to generate heat. Injecting mice with a dose
of these signalling molecules activated the same immune response without the need to get cold, and the mice started burning 10 per cent more energy.

Combining such approaches with cold exposure could increase brown fat’s impact. It’s likely that brown fat will become the third pillar of weight loss advice, says Cypess. “When you go to your physician, they’ll advise you on eating right, exercising and keeping your brown fat healthy,” he says. “And my hope is that if a person is uninterested in cold exposure they will be able to take a drug.” 

Until then, brown fat might not be the magic bullet so many hope. But it could be extremely effective for weight loss if used in combination with reducing calorie intake, says Kahn. Even a conservative estimate of burning an extra 100 calories a day would equate to losing around half a kilogram a month.

And with developments in thermal technology to monitor brown fat, Symonds is optimistic that screening for it could become routine. “It could provide an index of your metabolic health and tell you whether you are at risk of weight gain,” he says.

Source: New Scientist (by Chloe Lambert)

Read More

clouds over the american west, photographed by goes-15, 3rd-6th...

clouds over the american west, photographed by goes-15, 3rd-6th may 2015.

11 frames each, photographed 1100-1600 pdt on the 3rd (top left), 4th (top right), 5th (bottom left) and 6th (bottom right) of may.

the frame is centred on utah, stretching as far as casper, wyoming, in the northeast and to the pacific coast off san diego, calfornia, to the southwest. 

image credit: noaa/nasa. animation: ageofdestruction.

Read More

May 14th 1804: Lewis and Clark departOn this day in 1804,...

William Clark (1770-1838) & Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809)

Depiction of Lewis and Clark's journey with Sacagawea

May 14th 1804: Lewis and Clark depart

On this day in 1804, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and their Corps of Discovery departed from Camp Dubois, Illinois to explore the newly purchased Louisiana Territory and to reach the Pacific coast. The expedition was tasked with exploring the vast, newly purchased Louisiana Territory and find a route to the Pacific coast. The Corps of Discovery were commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson in order to explore the new area and its plants and animal life, and to establish American control over Native Americans in the land. They were led by U.S. Army Captain Meriwether Lewis, who selected William Clark as his second-in-command. Lewis and Clark’s team departed from Camp Dubois in Illinois on May 14th 1804. During their travels, they were accompanied by a young Indian woman named Sacagawea who helped guide the explorers. The expedition reached the Pacific Ocean in November 1805, over a year since they embarked. Having made numerous scientific and commercial discoveries on their journey, the expedition began the arduous return journey in March 1806. They returned in September, reaching St. Louis and being hailed as American heroes.

Read More

O que significa sonhar com abelhas

Qual o significado de sonhar com abelhas?

Você costuma ter sonhos vívidos e acorda imaginando se querem dizer alguma coisa? Entender os significados dos nossos sonhos é um processo muito pessoal, pois depende de nossas experiências. Mas existem alguns símbolos que costumam trazer mensagens que cabem em qualquer situação. É só você pensar em como ele se encaixaria no seu caso. Por exemplo, o que significa sonhar com abelhas?

As abelhas simbolizam a riqueza, a prosperidade, o trabalho, a ordem, felicidade e ação. Se você for empreendedor ou negociante, esse sonho pode indicar lucros nos negócios. Mesmo que você não seja da área do comércio, sonhar com abelhas pode indicar dinheiro chegando ou mesmo o seu trabalho sendo reconhecido. Tem muita novidade acontecendo ao mesmo tempo? As abelhas trazem isso também.

Descubra o significado de sonhar com abelha

Sonhar com muitas abelhas em volta

Sonhou que estava rodeada de abelhas e ainda conseguiu ouvi-las zumbir, indica que que você está envolvida em várias atividades e que as pessoas devem estar comentando. Também pode significar que coisas boas vêm por aí, inclusive novas amizades ou um novo amor.

Sonhar com picada de abelha

Tenha cuidado com esse sonho! Se nele você é quem está sendo picada, atenção com traições, inveja e com pessoas falando sobre sua vida.

Agora, se outra pessoa for picada, pode ser que você machuque alguém. Neste caso, preste atenção em suas ações.

Sonhar com abelhas em uma colmeia

Abelhas precisam de organização e hierarquia para viverem em harmonia e é disso que esse sonho fala. Traga um pouco mais de ordem para dentro de casa ou para o escritório e veja a produtividade aumentar sem estresse.

Sonhar que é perseguido por abelhas

Neste caso, pode ser que você esteja sendo perseguido ou é apenas impressão sua. Alguma situação parece fora de controle? O que você pode fazer para melhorá-la?

Sonhar com abelha rainha

A abelha rainha traz mudanças positivas, então prepare-se para o melhor!

Como a abelha é um inseto que trabalha muito, os sonhos com ela costumam estar relacionados à carreira, mas pense que manter um lar, sua colmeia, em ordem, não é fácil e esses sonhos podem estar relacionados a isso também.

Conte para a gente: Quais são os seus sonhos mais recorrentes? O que gostaria de ver aqui no Blog?

Leia também:

Descubra o significado de sonhar com traição

Read More

O que significa sonhar com números?

Qual o significado de sonhar com números?

Quando sonhamos, recebemos diversas mensagens e previsões e, com isso, muitas pessoas interpretam os números em sonhos como um presságio, um bom sinal, e acabam levando o número como amuleto da sorte naquele dia. Tem gente que até joga na loteria e ganha alguma coisa.

Por que sonhamos com números?

Sonhar com números pares

Indica que logo você estará diante de escolhas difíceis. Pense bem antes de tomar qualquer decisão e, se estiver insegura, pergunte a opinião de quem é importante para você.

Sonhar com números ímpares

Neste caso é um ótimo sinal, pois mostra que sua sorte vai aumentar e que você está prestes a viver uma nova fase, com alegria e prosperidade.

A numerologia também te ajuda a interpretar os sonhos com números

Cada número traz uma mensagem diferente. Para descobrir, some todos os algarismos do sonho até que você fique com um número de 1 a 9. Veja o que cada número significa:

Sonhar com o número 0

Se no seu sonho aparece apenas o número 0, prepare-se para mudanças e uma fase de certa instabilidade. Não é um período confortável, mas se tiver maturidade e serenidade, passará por ele sem grandes problemas.

Sonhar com o número 1

Este número indica o recomeço. Você está em uma época de princípios, novas ideias e criatividade. Coloque aquele sonho antigo em ação e sinta-se mais realizada.

Sonhar com o número 2

Indica a dualidade, duplicidade. É hora de perceber que tudo tem dois lados e que é necessário ponderar antes de tomar uma atitude.

Outra interpretação é que alguém pode entrar em sua vida a qualquer momento. Quem sabe não conhece um grande amor?

Sonhar com o número 3

É o número da criatividade. Dedique-se a seus projetos, coloque ideias malucas em prática e arrisque mais. Você terá sucesso.

Sonhar com o número 4

O 4 traz estabilidade. Você vai entrar em uma fase mais serena, sem grandes emoções, o que é bom de vez em quando, não é? Só tome cuidado para não ser impulsiva!

Sonhar com o número 5

Felicidade a caminho! Você vai concretizar algum sonho, se realizar na vida amorosa ou familiar. Use a intuição, mas cuidado para não ficar no mundo da fantasia. Volte para a realidade e seja feliz aqui!

Sonhar com o número 6

Este número traz uma energia sexual muito forte. Cuidado com as tentações e decisões precipitadas. Se sua vida amorosa estiver um pouco morna, por que não dar uma apimentada saindo da rotina?

Sonhar com o número 7

Sua mente estará calma e serena para enfrentar os desafios que estão por vir. Mantenha o equilíbrio e seja vitoriosa.

Sonhar com o número 8

É o número da justiça e pede que você reconheça seus erros do passado e faça sua parte para manter a paz na família e no trabalho.

Sonhar com o número 9

É hora de finalizar um ciclo. Você vai concretizar planos em andamento e iniciar uma nova fase. Aproveite!

Leia também:

Esotérica revela significado de sonhar com traição

Read More

The origin of the $ sign is unknown. There are several different theories including Spanish...

The origin of the $ sign is unknown. There are several different theories including Spanish dollars, pieces of eight, unit of silver and the letters “US” overlaid.

Read More

Brain-eating amoebas kill by turning your body against...

Brain-eating amoebas kill by turning your body against you

Don’t be too hard on them. Amoebas that weasel their way into our brains and chow down on our grey matter aren’t welcome, but it’s how our immune system reacts that’s really lethal. Setting the story straight could help us deal with them better.

Brain-eating amoebas (Naegleria fowleri) are found in warm freshwater pools around the world, feeding on bacteria. If someone swims in one of these pools and gets water up their nose, the amoeba heads for the brain in search of a meal. Once there, it starts to destroy tissue by ingesting cells and releasing proteins that make other cells disintegrate.

The immune system launches a counter-attack by flooding the brain with immune cells, causing inflammation and swelling. It seldom works: of the 132 people known to have been infected in the US since 1962, only three survived.

Brain-eating amoeba infections are more common elsewhere. “In Pakistan, we have something like 20 deaths per year,” says Abdul Mannan Baig at the Aga Khan University in Karachi.

There is no standard treatment. Doctors in the US have recently started trying to kill the amoebas with miltefosine, a drug known to work on the leishmaniasis parasite. Mannan thinks they should take a different approach, because the immune response may be more damaging than the amoeba itself.

Immune overload

The problem is that enzymes released by the immune cells can also end up destroying brain tissue. And the swelling triggered by the immune system eventually squashes the brainstem, fatally shutting off communication between the body and the brain.

To check their theory, Mannan and his colleagues compared how brain cells in a dish fared against the amoeba with or without help from immune cells. They found that when the immune response was absent, the brain cells survived about 8 hours longer.

In light of this, Mannan suggests that people infected by the amoeba should first be treated with drugs that dampen down the immune system, before getting medicines that target the parasite.

Jennifer Cope at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, thinks the idea is sound. “It is worth testing, but it is very hard to test because the infection is so rare,” she says.

A warming climate could change that, however. Although infection rates haven’t risen significantly since the amoeba was first described 60 years ago, cases are starting to crop up in unexpected places, such as the northern state of Minnesota. “In the US we’ve had our first case linked to drinking water,” says Cope. “We need to track these cases and keep an eye on them.”

In the meantime, Mannan says the brain-eating amoeba deserves a rebranding. He suggests “nose-brain-attacking amoeba” or “olfacto-encephalic amoeba”. “It doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as easily,” says Cope.

Journal reference: Acta Tropica, doi.org/4g4

Image 1: Amoebas (yellow) in the brain - but the ensuing immune system overkill is worse (Image: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine/Science Photo Library)

Image 2: Focal haemorrhage and necrosis in frontal cortex due to Naegleria fowleri (Image: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


Read More

mastersofphotography: LETHAL & BEAUTIFUL - ANATARCTIC...



Frank Hurley (Australian,1885-1962)


Australian photographer, Frank Hurley embarked on a dangerous and obscure adventure on Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition from 1914 to 1916. This journey is one of the most remarkble stories of survival in history. On an open boat, navigating over 800 miles in mountainous seas by Shackleston and his crew, Hurley had the honor of documenting this beautiful but lethal experience. Surprisingly, no lives were lost. Only 120 of the 520 negatives from the expedition survived. The remaining 400 negatives were smashed so Hurley would no attempt to reboard Endurance, the sinking ship. 

[images via Royal Collection Trust]

Read More

vox: Train travel is much safer than other forms of...


Train travel is much safer than other forms of travel.

Train accidents are terrifying, and get lots of public attention when they occur. But the truth is that — just like plane travel — on a per-mile basis, riding on a train is much safer than in a car.

Read More

Green Aviation Project Tests Shape Changing Wing Flaps

A NASA F-15D flies chase for the G-III Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge (ACTE) project. The ACTE experimental flight research project is a joint effort between NASA and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory to determine if advanced flexible trailing-edge wing flaps can both improve aircraft aerodynamic efficiency and reduce airport-area noise.

from NASA http://ift.tt/1AZlddP
Read More

German air raid on Moscow in 1941.

German air raid on Moscow in 1941.

Read More

nychealth: flonyc: First Lady of New York City here. This is...



First Lady of New York City here. This is MY mental health story. Share yours using #PostItForward. Click here to see more videos. 

Here’s our plan for developing a more effective and inclusive mental health system in NYC.

Read More



Via: http://ift.tt/1eWNk1f

Read More