13 maio 2015

The Magnificent Horsehead Nebula

Sculpted by stellar winds and radiation, a magnificent interstellar dust cloud by chance has assumed this recognizable shape. Fittingly named the Horsehead Nebula, it is some 1,500 light-years distant, embedded in the vast Orion cloud complex. About five light-years "tall", the dark cloud is cataloged as Barnard 33 and is visible only because its obscuring dust is silhouetted against the glowing red emission nebula IC 434. Stars are forming within the dark cloud. Contrasting blue reflection nebula NGC 2023, surrounding a hot, young star, is at the lower left. The gorgeous featured image combines both narrowband and broadband images.

from NASA http://ift.tt/1G54ZFU
Read More

Paralyzed limbs reawoken“I FELT the ball!” yelled Juliano Pinto...

Paralyzed limbs reawoken

“I FELT the ball!” yelled Juliano Pinto as he kicked off the Football World Cup in Brazil last year. Pinto, aged 29 at the time, lost the use of his lower body after a car accident in 2006. “It was the most moving moment,” says Miguel Nicolelis at Duke University in North Carolina, head of the Walk Again Project, which developed the thought-controlled exoskeleton that enabled Pinto to make his kick.

Since November 2013, Nicolelis and his team have been training Pinto and seven other people with similar injuries to use the exoskeleton – a robotic device that encases the limbs and converts brain signals into movement.

The device also feeds sensory information to its wearer, which seems to have partially reawakened their nervous system. When Nicolelis reassessed his volunteers after a year of training, he found that all eight people had regained sensations and the ability to move muscles in their once-paralysed limbs.

“Nobody expected it at all,” says Nicolelis, who presented the results at the Brain Forum in Lausanne, Switzerland, on 31 March. “When we first saw the level of recovery, there was not a single person in the room with a dry eye.”

When a person’s spinal cord is injured, the connection between body and brain can be damaged, leaving them unable to feel or move parts of their body. If a few spinal nerves remain, people can sometimes regain control over their limbs, although this can involve years of rehabilitation.

But the odds of recovery are slashed for people diagnosed with a complete spinal cord injury, in which the nerves are thought to be severed. This results in no feeling below the site of the injury. People can spend a lifetime feeling disconnected from their lower body, and tend to receive less physical therapy as a result. Just over a third of the 12,500 people who experience a spinal cord injury every year in the US have complete injuries.

The Walk Again Project’s results suggest that rehabilitation with an exoskeleton might offer a better future. Developed by a team of 156 people spanning the globe, the device reads the wearer’s brain activity using an electrode cap. Activity patterns associated with the wearer’s intention to move are translated into an electrical signal that moves the legs of the exoskeleton, allowing the person to walk.

The exoskeleton has another important feature: it provides tactile feedback to the wearer. A flexible bed of temperature, pressure and proximity sensors – what the team calls an artificial skin – lines the sole of each foot. When the wearer takes a step, a signal is relayed to their forearm, which is still able to feel sensations. “You are driving the exoskeleton by thinking about what you want to do, and you are getting instantaneous feedback from the surface on how you’re walking and how you’re moving in space,” says Nicolelis.

Seven of Nicolelis’s eight volunteers have complete spinal cord injuries. At the start of the training, all eight said they felt disconnected from their lower body, and were unable to even imagine moving their paralysed body parts. But after 1100 hours of training, everyone said they felt a sense of ownership over their limbs. “They felt that they had legs again,” says Nicolelis. “They can actually feel that they are touching the ground and moving their legs.”

But what really startled the team was that everyone showed signs of functional recovery. “In every patient we saw an improvement in tactile sensation,” says Nicolelis. Some people could feel regions of their body seven vertebrae below their spinal cord injury, and everyone could voluntarily move muscles in their lower limbs.

Reactivated nerves

The greatest improvement was in a woman who had received a complete spinal cord injury 13 years ago. After a year of training, she could feel sensations below her injury, and, when supported in a harness, could make leg movements associated with walking.

While the individuals are still some way from being able to support their own weight and walk unaided, their level of improvement is “dumbfounding”, says Sukhvinder Kalsi-Ryan, a physiotherapist at the University Health Network in Toronto, Canada, who trials therapies for people with spinal cord injuries. “This is the most extreme recovery I’ve ever seen,” says Kalsi-Ryan. “What Nicolelis has done is phenomenal – the patients are much closer to normal human movement.” The results are more impressive because they were seen in all eight people, she adds.

“These are important observations,” says Lee Miller, who is developing thought-controlled prostheses in monkeys at Northwestern University in Chicago. “But it’s important to temper the excitement with the recognition that it will be a long road before patients could begin to think of being able to walk independently again.”

No one is sure how tactile feedback is triggering recovery. “One of the most important factors in rehabilitation is mimicking normal stimulation,” says Kalsi-Ryan. When nerves and other cells aren’t used, they shrink and atrophy. “Things just stop working,” she says. The feedback from the exoskeleton’s artificial skin may trick nerve cells into reactivating and regrowing. “They have created the closest thing to a human experience,” she says.

It is also unclear how people with complete injuries were able to recover to the extent observed. “Although diagnosed as having a complete injury, there must be some small remaining connection there,” says Miller. Nicolelis agrees, and argues that people with complete spinal cord injuries shouldn’t be written off in terms of recovery. “Our results suggest that we should offer rich physical therapy no matter what the original diagnosis,” he says.

The Walk Again exoskeleton is still only a prototype. The group is developing a slim-line, affordable version, and is training more people with spinal cord injuries. The wearers don’t seem to mind the clunky prototype – one asked to borrow it so he could walk down the aisle at his wedding.

Nicolelis hopes the exoskeleton could exist alongside the robotic walkers already found in many rehabilitation centres. Kalsi-Ryan says she can see the exoskeleton being more widely used for people with spinal cord injuries. “It will take a good 10 years, but I do think these things will become part of our future,” she says.


Read More

I thought of an event you could cover in the future: the US Invasion of Grenada in Fall of 1983. It's still US history, but something people don't generally know about. We learned about it for Model UN this year (my school was Grenada).

Thanks for the suggestion, I’ve made a note of it and will write up a post when the time comes!

Read More

In Venice during the mid-1500s, a young, well-educated woman...

In Venice during the mid-1500s, a young, well-educated woman caused quite a stir among noblemen at high courts. Her name was Veronica Franco, and her life story was depicted in the 1998 movie Dangerous Beauty. To read my full post about this famous courtesan, check out historical-nonfiction.com

Read More

May 13th 1888: Brazil abolishes slaveryOn this day in 1888,...

'Slavery in Brazil' by Jean-Baptiste Debret

The Lei Áurea which abolished slavery

May 13th 1888: Brazil abolishes slavery

On this day in 1888, Brazil passed the Lei Áurea (Golden Law) which abolished slavery in the country, making it the last nation in the Western world to abolish the practice. Prompted in part by the initiative of local abolitionists, the urging of the British, and the defeat of the slave-holding Confederacy in the American Civil War, Brazil emancipated its slaves. Prior to the 1888 law, the Rio Branco Law of 1871 freed slave children and an 1885 law freed slaves over 60. However, it was not until 1888 that complete emancipation of the Brazilian slave population was secured. Brazil had one of the largest slave populations in the world, and the slaves there were predominately Africans who had been torn from their homes by the brutal Atlantic slave trade. The Golden Law, composed by Minister of Agriculture Rodrigo Augusto da Silva and signed into law by Princess Isabel, was very brief and provided no assistance for the newly freed slaves, leaving them on their own at the bottom of the economic ladder. Whilst hailed by many foreign observers and local abolitionists, the law fueled discontent among the Brazilian upper class, who preceded to oust the monarchy and establish a republic the year after the Golden Law.

Article 1: From this date, slavery is declared abolished in Brazil.
Article 2: All dispositions to the contrary are revoked.

Read More

O que significa sonhar com parto?

Qual seria o significado de sonhar com parto?

O parto é um momento de muita emoção para a mulher. Depois que o bebê nasce nossa vida muda completamente, portanto é comum sentirmos insegurança, medo e ansiedade. Isso sem falar do amor enorme que nasce junto com a criança. Agora, o qual seria o significado de sonhar com parto?

Toda interpretação de um sonho depende de outros fatores como a mensagem apresentada, o momento em que você se encontra na vida, entre outros elementos. Pois, afinal, é até difícil responder a pergunta: por que sonhamos? 

Veja alguns significados de sonhar com parto

Sonhar com o próprio parto

Este sonho indica uma ótima fase a caminho. Você vai ver algum plano ou sonho sendo realizado em breve. É como se fosse o nascimento de um projeto ou o seu renascimento!

Sonhar com parto simples e parto complicado

Se no sonho o bebê nasceu sem complicações, é um sinal positivo. Indica que aquilo que causa preocupação ou sofrimento vai acabar logo e você vai ter um pouco de paz.

Já se no sonho o parto foi complicado, indica que você vai encontrar problemas em breve, seja no trabalho ou em casa. Fique esperta.

Sonhar que assiste um parto

Se no sonho não é você quem da à luz, mas uma conhecida, podem ter dois significados diferentes: você vai ter a ajuda de um amigo ou uma amiga muito especial em algum desafio que encontrar. Aproveite tudo o que pode aprender com ele (ela).

Outra coisa que este sonho indica é que boas notícias estão à caminho. Prepare-se para uma fase de realizações.

Sonhar que ajuda alguém no parto

Pode ser que no sonho você faça mais do que só olhar, mas que também auxilie a grávida a ter o seu bebê. Neste caso, é bem provável que chegue um bebê novo na família ou que algum amigo vai precisar de de sua ajuda e você estará ao seu lado para o que der e vier.

Sonhar com parto prematuro

Cuidado com este sonho, pois indica que existem pessoas invejosas à sua volta. Por mais que confie em quem te cerca, não saia por aí contando tudo o que acontece na sua vida, nem dando detalhes do seu casamento ou trabalho. É melhor guardar um pouco de informação para você, por um tempo.

Leia também:

Descubra o significado de sonhar com gravidez

Read More

Realize seus sonhos através destes 10 passos

Quais os seus objetivos? Realize seus sonhos!

Se eu te perguntasse agora se você tem a vida dos seus sonhos ou se está prestes a conquistar algo que planeja há tempos, qual seria a sua resposta? Por acaso você se lembra dos seus sonhos?

Pois saiba que é tudo uma questão de organização para que você realize seus sonhos. Veja abaixo uma lista com 10 passos para tirar os seus sonhos do papel e prepare-se para ter uma vida plena e feliz.

Realize seus sonhos agora, não deixe para depois!

1- Escreva e realize seus sonhos

Pegue um caderno com capa bonita, canetas coloridas e o que mais te inspirar. Sente por meia hora e pense em tudo o que gostaria de realizar na vida. Pode ser um emprego dos sonhos, emagrecer, comprar uma casa, fazer uma viagem. Não se prenda às dificuldades. Agora escreva todos, colocando ao lado se é um sonho a curto, médio ou longo prazo. Seja realista! Não adianta falar que vai comprar uma casa em seis meses se você ainda não começou a economizar.

2- Esmiúce e realize seus sonhos

Em cada item, reflita os motivos que a levam a ter esses desejos. Se sentir que não existe uma razão muito forte, será que vale a pena batalhar por ele? Que tal deixá-lo de lado por um tempo e se focar no que você realmente almeja?

3- Pra já! - Realize seus sonhos

Agora, escolha um ou dois planos para se dedicar este ano. Não vamos nos sobrecarregar, pois a frustração vai ser enorme!

4- Plano de ação - Realize seus sonhos

Por exemplo. Se você quer trocar de carreira, mas não sabe por onde começar, talvez precise conversar com pessoas de diferentes áreas para conhecer outras empresas, procurar cursos que a motivem e que melhorem o seu currículo.

5- Defina prazos - Realize seus sonhos

Coloque um prazo para cada ação. De novo, seja realista. Você não consegue aprender uma língua nova em dois meses ou emagrecer 30 quilos em um.

6- Benefícios - Realize seus sonhos

Para cada meta, proponha-se uma recompensa. Por exemplo. Se você quer emagrecer para ficar com mais autoestima, quando conseguir perder 5 quilos, se dê de presente um dia no salão de beleza, para cuidar do cabelo e das unhas. Você merece!

7- Peça ajuda!  - Realize seus sonhos

Se você se sentir desmotivada ou perdida, converse com uma amiga ou confidente. Ela vai te ajudar a passar por esse momento te lembrando do que é importante e até te acompanhando em alguns passos. Imagina que delícia fazer ginástica acompanhada!

8- Nunca pare! - Realize seus sonhos

Todos os dias faça algo que te aproxime do sonho. Seja uma conta financeira, um contato importante ou uma mudança na alimentação. É importante criar o hábito de trabalhar em algo novo. Uma mudança de comportamento não acontece do dia para a noite. Precisa de trabalho e esforço.

9- Sem pausa - Realize seus sonhos

Não desista e não pare de sonhar! Você é capaz de conquistar o que deseja. É só ter perseverança e verdade nas suas ações que as coisas começam a acontecer!

10- Procure uma ajudinha extra - Realize seus sonhos

Terapias holísticas podem te ajudar a encontrar a motivação que você precisa. Florais, cromoterapia e Feng Shui são muito indicados e aqui no Astrocentro você encontra os melhores especialistas!

Aprenda agora um ritual para ter mais prosperidade

Read More

clouds over the pacific northwest, photographed by goes 15, 4th...

clouds over the pacific northwest, photographed by goes 15, 4th may 2015.

3 details, spanning british columbia, washington, oregon, northern california, and a sliver of nevada (far right of 3rd image). 20 frames over 10 hours.

image credit: noaa/nasa. animation: ageofdestruction.

Read More

In 1995, before television was common in Fiji, Fijians thought the ideal body shape was round,...

In 1995, before television was common in Fiji, Fijians thought the ideal body shape was round, plump, and soft. After three years of watching American shows such as Melrose Place and Beverley Hills 90210, girls in Fiji began developing eating disorders. Fijian females who watched TV three or more hours a night were 50% more likely to feel “too big” or “too fat” than those who watched less TV.

Read More


Read More

May 13, 1992, Record-Setting Spacewalk on Shuttle Endeavour's First Mission

On May 13, 1992, following the successful capture of the Intelsat VI satellite, three astronauts continue moving the 4.5 ton communications satellite into the space shuttle Endeavour's cargo bay. The sections of Earth which form the backdrop for the scene are blanketed with thousands of square miles of clouds.

from NASA http://ift.tt/1F7sPi5
Read More


Read More

Germany never officially paid reparations for WWII, since the “London Debt Agreement”...

Germany never officially paid reparations for WWII, since the “London Debt Agreement” pushed the issue back until reunification and the “Two Plus Four Agreement” of 1990 declared all matters settled.

Read More