11 agosto 2015



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

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A Blue Moon Halo over Antarctica

Have you ever seen a halo around the Moon? Such 22 degree rings around the Moon -- caused by ice crystals falling in the Earth's atmosphere -- are somewhat rare. OK, but have you ever seen a blue moon? Given the modern definition of blue moon -- the second full moon occurring in a calendar month -- these are also rare. What is featured above might therefore be considered doubly rare -- a halo surrounding a blue moon. The featured image was taken late last month near Zhongshan Station in Antarctica. Visible in the foreground are a power generating house and a snowmobile. What might seem to be stars in the background are actually illuminated snowflakes near the camera.

from NASA http://ift.tt/1DJkFPU
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neuromorphogenesis: The Evolution of Medicine Source

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Why Can’t We Fall Asleep? BY MARIA KONNIKOVA Did you get...

Why Can’t We Fall Asleep?


Did you get enough sleep last night? Are you feeling fully awake, like your brightest, smartest, and most capable self? This, unfortunately, is a pipe dream for the majority of Americans. “Most of us are operating at suboptimal levels basically always,” the Harvard neurologist and sleep medicine physician Josna Adusumilli told me. Fifty to seventy million Americans, Adusumilli says, have chronic sleep disorders.

In a series of conversations with sleep scientists this May, facilitated by a Harvard Medical School Media Fellowship, I learned that the consequences of lack of sleep are severe. While we all suffer from sleep inertia (a general grogginess and lack of mental clarity), the stickiness of that inertia depends largely on the quantity and quality of the sleep that precedes it. If you’re fully rested, sleep inertia dissipates relatively quickly. But, when you’re not, it can last far into the day, with unpleasant and even risky results.

Many of us have been experiencing the repercussions of inadequate sleep since childhood. Judith Owens, the director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Boston Children’s Hospital, has been studying the effects of school start times on the well-being of school-age kids—and her conclusions are not encouraging. Most adults are fine with about eight hours of sleep, but toddlers need around thirteen hours, including a daytime nap. Teens need around nine and a half hours; what’s more, they tend to be night owls, whose ideal circadian rhythm has them going to bed and waking up late. As schools have pushed their start times earlier and earlier—a trend that first started in the sixties, Owens says—the health effects on students have been severe. “It’s not just sleep loss. It’s circadian disruption,” Owens says. “They have to wake up when their brain tells them to be deeply asleep. Waking a teen at six in the morning is like waking an adult at three at night.”

The result is a kind of constant jet lag—and one that is exacerbated by sleeping in on the weekends. Executive function and emotional responses get worse, hurting everything from judgment to emotional reactivity. The ability to make good decisions can suffer, and kids can become more prone to act out and get depressed. In fact, the rise in A.D.H.D. diagnoses may, in part, be the result of inadequate sleep: in children, symptoms of sleep deprivation include hyperactivity and impaired interpretation of social cues. Owens has seen many such misdiagnoses in her clinical practice. The effects are physical, as well. Children who undersleep are more likely to gain weight and become obese. Even for infants as young as six months, amounts of sleep can predict weight gain three years later.

Schools with healthier start times, on the other hand, see an increase in attendance, test scores, G.P.A.s, and health. In one study in which an intervention pushed start times later, it wasn’t just academic outcomes that improved; car crashes went down by as much as seventy per cent, and self-reported depression rates fell. Even a delay of as little as half an hour, Owens has found, improves outcomes. “It should be about the health and well-being of the students,” she told me, “and not the convenience of adults.”

As we age, unfortunately, our quality of sleep only gets worse. If you sleep six hours a night for twelve days, Adusumilli says—and that’s about how much many Americans sleep all year round—your cognitive and physical performance becomes virtually indistinguishable from that of someone who has been awake for twenty-four hours straight. (The same effect is produced by six days of four-hour nights.) And the performance of someone who has been awake for twenty-four hours straight is similar to that of someone with a blood alcohol level of 0.1 per cent. In other words, “normal” amounts of sleep deprivation have us acting like we’re drunk. (Charles Czeisler recalls presenting these facts to a Times journalist; when the journalist handed in the story, the editor said it couldn’t possibly be true. Most people in the newsroom were sleep-deprived, and they still managed to produce the Timesevery day. Surely an intoxicated newsroom would be incapable of such a feat.)

In the short term, these types of deficits have a significant effect on our performance across the board. Perception deteriorates, along with motor skills: in one study of college basketball players, well-rested players performed better than those who followed their usual schedules. Emotional control suffers—the connection between the prefrontal cortex (where we make executive decisions) and the amygdala (which is associated with fear and other emotions) degrades—and we become more impulsive and prone to depression. And our ability to think and to make sound decisions plummets. We become worse at learning, memory, and simple tasks of arithmetic and analytic reasoning. The rate of accidents and errors rises. In one study, which compared first-year interns at Brigham and Women’s Hospital who worked on a regular schedule to those working on shorter, sixteen-hour shifts that included a nap, the sleep-deprived residents made more than double the number of attentional errors at night—a result that has been replicated multiple times.

Equally troubling are the health impacts in the long term. We become more prone to metabolic and endocrine problems, including weight gain, with a resulting increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We decrease our immune function and could increase the risk of multiple types of cancer. We speed up our cognitive decline and increase the risk of dementia.

Even if you start sleeping more today, you may be too late to avoid some of the impacts of sleep deprivation. Because kids’ brains are growing and changing so rapidly, they are more vulnerable to the effects of sleep deprivation than adults; those effects may well follow them throughout life, no matter their habits later on. As for adults, we can recover from relatively short bouts of sleep loss: in one study, the University of Pennsylvania sleep researcher David Dinges found that one night of good sleep was enough to help you rebound from five nights of too little sleep. But recovery from truly chronic sleep deprivation relies on the quality of sleep you are getting. It can take weeks, and sometimes longer, to recover—and we often don’t have the luxury of sleeping ten hours a night for even as much as a week.

Ironically, many of us don’t want to “catch up” on sleep even when we can. We honestly don’t realize that we’re sleep deprived; many of us think we’re just fine with five or six hours a night. We earnestly believe that we’re fully awake and at our best. The fact is, however, that we are very bad at knowing how much sleep is enough.

In one of her studies, Elizabeth Klerman, a sleep scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, allowed people to follow their own sleep schedules for two weeks; they chose how many hours they wanted to be awake, and how many hours they wanted to be asleep. Then, they went into the sleep lab. Klerman was interested in two things: sleep latency, or how long it took them to fall asleep, and sleep duration, or how long they slept. On the second night and during the second day, she told me, they slept an average of twelve and a half hours out of a possible sixteen hours of sleep opportunity, demonstrating a severe sleep deficit. On the first day in the lab, during testing of sleep latency, some fell asleep before the technician had even left the room. Many of the subjects, in other words, were pathologically sleepy. Yet they’d thought they were fully awake and at their best. We all have our “chosen level of uncomfortableness,” Klerman says, but that doesn’t mean we’re actually doing well.

Charles Czeisler has found that we are only aware of the impact of sleep loss on our performance for the first one to two days. After that, we no longer realize that we’re not functioning at our best. “Then, it’s just the new you,” he says. Klerman recalls one participant in another study, which restricted the amount of sleep that subjects were allowed. The subject came back once he was able to sleep normally because he wanted a second chance to fill out the forms that asked him to rate his mental acuity and how well he was functioning. He’d filled them out wrong the first time, he said: after catching up on sleep, he’d realized how impaired he’d been, and wanted a chance to downgrade his ratings. “He’d forgotten what alert felt like,” Klerman says. At the time, he thought he was fully awake and capable. “Why would you expect the brain to be able to police itself?” she asks.

Taken together, the current research on sleep offers us a valuable lesson. We all want to be productive and effective at what we do. But when we try to boost productivity by expanding our waking hours, we aren’t doing anyone any favors. We lose more by skimping on rest than we can ever gain back by adding a few hours to our days. We are less productive, less insightful, less happy, more likely to get sick. And we have no idea just how much we’ve compromised our abilities and health in the process: ask most anyone and they will tell you they do just fine with five, six hours. We systematically undervalue sleep, and yet it is fundamental to our present and future performance. And unlike most anything else, sleep is one of the few things we have to do ourselves. No one can do it for you.



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How the Brain Purges Bad MemoriesThe brain is extraordinarily...

How the Brain Purges Bad Memories

The brain is extraordinarily good at alerting us to threats. Loud noises, noxious smells, approaching predators: they all send electrical impulses buzzing down our sensory neurons, pinging our brain’s fear circuitry and, in some cases, causing us to fight or flee. The brain is also adept at knowing when an initially threatening or startling stimulus turns out to be harmless or resolved. But sometimes this system fails and unpleasant associations stick around, a malfunction thought to be at the root of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). New research has identified a neuronal circuit responsible for the brain’s ability to purge bad memories, findings that could have implications for treating PTSD and other anxiety disorders.

Like most emotions, fear is neurologically complicated. But previous work has consistently implicated two specific areas of the brain as contributing to and regulating fear responses. The amygdala, two small arcs of brain tissue deep beneath our temples, is involved in emotional reactions, and it flares with activity when we are scared. If a particular threat turns out to be harmless, a brain region behind the forehead called the prefrontal cortex steps in and the fright subsides. Our ability to extinguish painful memories is known to involve some sort of coordinated effort between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. The new study, led by Andrew Holmes at the National Institutes of Health, however, confirms that a working connection between the two brain regions is necessary to do away with fear.

Normally mice that repeatedly listen to a sound previously associated with a mild foot shock will learn that on its own the tone is harmless, and they will stop being afraid. Using optogenetic stimulation technology, or controlling specific neurons and animal behavior using light, the authors found that disrupting the amygdala–prefrontal cortex connection prevents mice from overcoming the negative association with the benign tone. In neurobiology speak, memory “extinction” fails to occur. They also found that the opposite is true—that stimulating the circuit results in increased extinction of fearful memories.

Until now investigators were unsure whether the amygdala–prefrontal cortex communication pathway could on its own control fear extinction; both structures interact with many other brain regions, and so isolating their effects of on behavior was a challenge. Optogenetics made the discovery possible, allowing the NIH group to precisely assess only the connection between the two brain regions in real time, providing a more accurate correlation between neuronal activity and behavior.

Holmes sees the amygdala and prefrontal cortex as two major hubs in a complex communications network. In the case of impaired fear extinction such as PTSD, however, it is just the one connection between the two regions that is faulty, not the hubs themselves. “To regulate fear extinction,” he explains, “I think it will be better to isolate and fix that one line of communication as opposed to trying to reengineer the hubs themselves—it’s their job to carry many lines of communication for all manner of brain functions, most of which are probably working just fine.“

Given the similarities in fear circuitry between rodents and humans, the new findings could inform research into new therapeutic approaches to anxiety disorders, including into medications that act on the fear circuit. Holmes believes that healthy fear extinction relies on “neural plasticity,” the brain’s ability to make new neuronal connections, which is in part influenced by the brain’s own cannabinoids, compounds that regulate neurotransmitters. Drugs that alter the cannabinoid system could provide a way to modify the fear circuit, thereby—possibly—alleviating anxiety.

Neurostimulation technologies, including transcranial magnetic stimulation and even optogenetics, could also potentially be used therapeutically to augment standard anxiety treatments. One such treatment is exposure therapy, in which patients are repeatedly exposed to a stimulus they find abnormally stressful until it no longer causes anxiety. Perhaps externally stimulating the fear circuit in combination with repeated recollections of a painful memory—or repeated exposures to a fear-inducing stimulus—might work together to ease the symptoms of PTSD and other anxiety disorders.

As Holmes points out, it is not unlike when your home Internet connection goes sluggish: "Rather than trying to fix the faulty wire on the telephone pole to help boost your signal—and disrupting many lines of communication—it’s better to just fix the faulty line of communication.”


Image Credit: Thinkstock

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Do you know about the Cham? Who are they, where do they live,...

Do you know about the Cham? Who are they, where do they live, what do they believe? I just wrote a brief summary about the Cham (basically enough to get through any AP or A-Level exam). Check it out

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solar corona, photographed by stereo, 5th march 2014.20 inverted...

solar corona, photographed by stereo, 5th march 2014.

20 inverted images over 10 hours.

image credit: nasa/stereo. animation: ageofdestruction.

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Descubra o lado sombrio dos signos do elemento fogo

Descubra o lado sombrio dos signos do elemento Fogo

Cada signo tem um lado positivo e um não tão bacana, mas que nos deixa mais interessantes e complexos. Quando conhecemos esse lado sombrio de cada um, conseguimos lidar melhor com as pessoas e também nos preparar para possíveis complicações no futuro. A astróloga do Astrocentro, Terra, elaborou uma lista com o lado sombrio de cada signo do elemento fogo:

O lado sombrio do signo de Áries - O lado autoritário e tirânico que o ariano tanto abomina e luta contra no início da vida pode vir à tona mais tarde, já que ele não aceita ser contrariado. Outras características mais obscuras deste signo são o excesso de reatividade, agressividade por influência de Marte, imediatismo, pressa, a incapacidade de pensar duas vezes e se colocar no lugar do outro.

Todos esses traços de personalidade estão presentes de alguma forma na pessoa regida por Áries e precisamos ajudá-la a se controlar, principalmente quando as coisas começam a dar errado por um período mais longo e os seus ideais não se realizam. Nesse momento, o pessimismo toma conta do ariano e ele passa a ser uma pessoa amarga e um tanto desagradável.

O lado sombrio do signo de Leão - A busca pelo amor próprio (autovalor), tema central do signo, frequentemente não é um processo fácil e pode ocorrer de maneira não tão saudável, tanto com o "ego inflado" ou a pseudo autoestima excessiva, que nada mais é do que uma máscara para encobrir uma face frágil e sem autoidentificação.

Uma pessoa que não se gosta e não se respeita costuma buscar autoafirmação em relações abusivas, vícios, jogos, etc. Outra característica mais obscura do leonino é o egocentrismo. A vontade particular se sobrepõe à vontade comum com frequência e as pessoas em volta precisam chamar sua atenção para este fato, pois quem é regido por Leão pode magoar os outros com facilidade.

O lado sombrio do signo de Sagitário - A arrogância é a característica mais sombria do sagitariano. A pessoa que sente que sua visão política, religiosa ou filosófica é superior a dos outros e expressa sua opinião de maneira agressiva e até grosseira, podendo ofender quem está em volta.

A necessidade de liberdade e, ao mesmo tempo, de um relacionamento amoroso sério e significativo - convenhamos, não é fácil, pois a relação geralmente restringe os dois depois de um tempo, causando conflitos. Outro lado obscuro é a eterna busca por uma verdade, um sentido na vida, que pode se traduzir em inconstância, insatisfação e rebeldia.

Agora que você conhece um pouco mais sobre o lado sombrio de cada signo de fogo, talvez fique mais fácil entender aquela pessoa difícil, metida ou incisiva demais, não é?

Saiba mais:

Entenda os benefícios da cromoterapia

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"Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a..."

“Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.”

- General Sir Charles James Napier, the Commander-in-Chief in India from 1849 to 1851. He responded to Hindu priests’ complaints about the banning of sati under British rule with this choice quote.
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npr: It goes by many names: Delhi belly. Montezuma’s revenge....


It goes by many names: Delhi belly. Montezuma’s revenge. The Aztec two-step. But doctors use one not-so-glamorous term: traveler’s diarrhea.

If you’re visiting a place this summer with less than ideal sewage disposal — maybe a resort in Mexico or a village in Rajasthan — chances are your GI tract will give you trouble at least once … maybe twice … maybe continuously.

There are just about as many misconceptions and myths about traveler’s diarrhea as there are names for it. So we’re here to try and set the record straight — or a least discuss what’s known and not known.

Can You Protect Your Tummy From Traveler’s Diarrhea?

Illustration credit: Leif Parsons for NPR

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Good Morning From the International Space Station

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly took this photograph of a sunrise over the western United States and posted it to social media on Aug. 10, 2015. Kelly wrote, "#GoodMorning to those in the western #USA. Looks like there's a lot going on down there. #YearInSpace"

from NASA http://ift.tt/1ICJwE0
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http://ift.tt/1hvyXtB (UK)

Originally published in 1948, Superstition in The Pigeon is a learning theory classic. Shortly after its publication, Skinner gave a detailed account of his science of behavior in a paper titled Are Theories of Learning Necessary? This paper is also presented in full.

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Fossil evidence suggests fish have existed for at least 530...

Fossil evidence suggests fish have existed for at least 530 million years.

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August 11th 1965: Watts rebellion beginsOn this day in 1965,...

Areas of Watts burn

Protestors attack a police car

Suppression of the riot

August 11th 1965: Watts rebellion begins

On this day in 1965, violence broke out in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. Racial tensions were high throughout the country as the Civil Rights Movement resulted in legislation outlawing racial discrimination. These changes prompted anger in white communities, and drew attention to issues in African-American communities like police brutality, high unemployment, substandard housing and schooling. Watts was a poor and predominately black area, and tensions came to a head when two white policemen arrested Marquette Frye, a black motorist, for drunk driving. A crowd gathered to witness the argument on the roadside, and anger rose as onlookers interpreted the arrest as racially motivated, especially when his family became involved and a scuffle broke out. The incident escalated into a full-scale rebellion, with robberies and violence taking over fifty square miles of Los Angeles. A curfew was enforced and 14,000 California National Guardsmen were called to assist local law enforcement, ultimately suppressing the riot by August 16th. In the five days of disorder, 34 people were killed and over 1,000 were injured, while $40 million worth of property was destroyed. Watts by no means marked the last incident of widespread racial violence at this time, with incidents in Detroit and Newark following, though Watts was the largest and costliest such riot. Sadly, the revolt did not improve conditions in Watts, and issues of poverty and discrimination still plague the community today.

50 years ago today

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(From eurostats: Statistics Explained)

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Como fazer um Talismã do dinheiro

Talismã do dinheiro
- 03 moedas (vigentes).
- 01 vaso da planta dinheiro em penca.
- 01 vela amarela.
- 20 cm de tecido verde.

Como fazer:
Na lua crescente, embrulhe as três moedas no tecido formando uma trouxinha. Enterre isso no vaso da planta dinheiro em penca. Em seguida, acenda a vela amarela, dê três pingadinhas de parafina no cantinho (terra) do vaso. Deixe a vela acesa ao lado direito do vaso até terminar. Se sobrar alguma coisa, enterre os restos também no mesmo vaso. A plantinha deve ser regada todos os dias com água. Ela será seu talismã da fortuna.

via @notiun

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