Just another girl that found out the hard way that Prince Charmings don't exist and that life isn't all about what you want. But it's okay, no one makes it out alive anyway ;)
If thou wert the lion, the fox would
beguile thee; if thou wert the lamb, the fox would
eat three: if thou wert the fox, the lion would
suspect thee, when peradventure thou wert accused by
the ass: if thou wert the ass, thy dulness would
torment thee, and still thou livedst but as a
breakfast to the wolf: if thou wert the wolf, thy
greediness would afflict thee, and oft thou shouldst
hazard thy life for thy dinner: wert thou the
unicorn, pride and wrath would confound thee and
make thine own self the conquest of thy fury: wert
thou a bear, thou wouldst be killed by the horse:
wert thou a horse, thou wouldst be seized by the
leopard: wert thou a leopard, thou wert german to
the lion and the spots of thy kindred were jurors on
thy life: all thy safety were remotion and thy
defence absence. What beast couldst thou be, that
were not subject to a beast? and what a beast art
thou already, that seest not thy loss in
Timon (Timon of Athens, Act IV scene iii)
Good news for all survivalists!
Need a water filter? Peel a tree branch
If you’ve run out of drinking water during a lakeside camping trip, there’s a simple solution: Break off a branch from the nearest pine tree, peel away the bark, and slowly pour lake water through the stick. The improvised filter should trap any bacteria, producing fresh, uncontaminated water.
In fact, an MIT team has discovered that this low-tech filtration system can produce up to four liters of drinking water a day — enough to quench the thirst of a typical person.
In a paper published this week in the journal PLoS ONE, the researchers demonstrate that a small piece of sapwood can filter out more than 99 percent of the bacteria E. coli from water. They say the size of the pores in sapwood — which contains xylem tissue evolved to transport sap up the length of a tree — also allows water through while blocking most types of bacteria.
O, how I faint when I of you do write,
Knowing a better spirit doth use your name,
And in the praise thereof spends all his might,
To make me tongue-tied, speaking of your fame!
But since your worth, wide as the ocean is,
The humble as the proudest sail doth bear,
My saucy bark inferior far to his
On your broad main doth wilfully appear.
Your shallowest help will hold me up afloat,
Whilst he upon your soundless deep doth ride;
Or being wreck’d, I am a worthless boat,
He of tall building and of goodly pride:
Then if he thrive and I be cast away,
The worst was this; my love was my decay.
Sonnet 80 by William Shakespeare (via dailyshakespeare)
“A memoir takes some particular threads, some incidents, some experience from a person’s life and gives an account of it.”
- Richard Hell
In 2003, recovering addict James Frey published a memoir about his journey through rehabilitation and eventual recovery from substance abuse. His book was touted and proclaimed to be an inspiring example of turning one’s life around. Frey detailed his journey through painful medical procedures, agonizing introspection, and a stirring cast of characters. By 2005, the book had been selected for Oprah’s Book Club and soon topped the charts on amazon.com as well as the New York Times Best Seller list. In 2006, the website The Smoking Gun revealed that Frey was more of a fraud—that he “wholly fabricated or wildly embellished details of his purported criminal career, jail terms, and status as an outlaw wanted in three states.” As he later confessed to Oprah, for example, he had only spent a few hours in jail, rather than the 87 hours he had claimed.
Controversy and outcry followed, and Frey admitted that he made himself seem “tougher and more daring and more aggressive than in reality I was, or I am.” He further noted that, “my mistake…is writing about the person I created in my mind to help me cope, and not the person who went through the experience”. Frey also admitted that he, “wanted the stories in the book to ebb and flow, to have dramatic arcs, to have the tension that all great stories require.” For Frey, it seems, the memoirist is part autobiographer and part fabulist. Which raises the question as to whether there is a difference.
Is a memoir ever free from confabulations, if not outright lies? Can we ever give an honest account of our history without embellishing the facts? Even with the most generous and forgiving view of Frey, is there something about the nature of autobiography that makes it bound to be forged? The cognitive psychologist Ulric Neisser described memory retrieval as a kind of cognitive paleontology: much like dinosaur bones, we have bits and fragments of episodic memory that have been encoded. When we recall our past, we reconstruct these pieces into coherent narratives, filling in the blanks. And of course, these reconstructions change over time and meet the idiosyncratic, often unconscious needs of the present moment.
Freud, perhaps better than anyone in the history of science, described the ways in which we distort, conceal, and repress our memories. Psychoanalytic treatment was seen as a way of overcoming some of the pathogenic effects of censorship and repression. In what is one of the great ironies of psychoanalysis, Freud also considered his own biography a form of degradation and he once said that, “the public has no concern with my personality and can learn nothing from an account of it.” Freud famously destroyed many of his personal papers, diaries, and letters. He wrote, “As for the biographers, let them worry, we have no desire to make it too easy for them…I am already looking forward to seeing them go astray.” Freud tried to make his own biography disappear and is widely known to have embellished some of his best known case histories.
When we recall the past, we tend to believe we are engaging in a rational, honest exercise of memory retrieval. Yet psychoanalysis spells out a version of memoir that would hold suspect anything we claim has happened while also hinting at possible motives for our deceit. Cognitive psychologists emphasize the constructive nature of memory and remind us of our tendency toward economizing our energy, filling in gaps where needed, and leaving out what we must.
Confabulations of memory—such as those first described by the Russian psychiatrist, Sergie Korsakoff—can be symptoms of neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Korsakoff’s syndrome. Patients with such conditions will describe events that have simply not occurred and will leave out crucial details and events from their lives. The neuropsychologist Morris Moscovitch called such fabrications “honest lying,” due to their presumed innocence. Oliver Sacks has written warmly and eloquently about such patients. In one account in the New Yorker, he wrote about a proudly amnesic patient, who would sometimes misidentify Dr. Sacks as a kosher butcher or a customer in his delicatessen. “This sort of confabulation was not one of conscious fabrication. It was, rather, a strategy, a desperate attempt—unconscious and almost automatic—to provide a sort of continuity, a narrative continuity, when memory, and thus experience, was being snatched away every instant.”
Memory is affected by injury and disease, but there is error proneness that comes from being human. Our recollections are more like our dreams. They are a form of truth telling but are innocently disguised and include unwitting embellishments. While anyone is free to imagine their future, we are not supposed to fictionalize our past. Yet what might be true is that our experience of the future and the past are more arbitrary than we might think.
Ouch! Pain threshold genes amplified by lifestyle
If you flinch where others merely frown, you might want to take a look at your lifestyle. That’s because environmental factors may have retuned your genes to make you more sensitive to pain.
"We know that stressful life events such as diet, smoking, drinking and exposure to pollution all have effects on your genes, but we didn’t know if they specifically affected pain genes," says Tim Spector of King’s College London.
Now, a study of identical twins suggests they do. It seems that epigenetic changes – environmentally triggered chemical alterations that affect how active your genes are – can dial your pain threshold up or down. This implies that genetic tweaks of this kind, such as the addition of one or more methyl groups to a gene, may account for some differences in how our senses operate.
Spector and his colleagues assessed the ability of hundreds of pairs of twins to withstand the heat of a laser on their skin, a standard pain test. They selected 25 pairs who showed the greatest difference in the highest temperature they could bear. Since identical twins have the same genes, any variation in pain sensitivity can be attributed to epigenetic differences.
Dream On: Why Sleep is So Important
This infographic showcases some studies on just how dangerous—and costly—sacrificing sleep can be, and it concludes with some facts on how you can try and improve your sleep quality if it’s something you struggle with.
Yes. But it’s not happening tonight lol
Making your brain social: Failure to eliminate links between neurons produces autistic-like mice
In many people with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, different parts of the brain don’t talk to each other very well. Scientists have now identified, for the first time, a way in which this decreased functional connectivity can come about. In a study published online today in Nature Neuroscience, scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Monterotondo, Italy, and collaborators at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), in Rovereto, and La Sapienza University in Rome, demonstrate that it can be caused by cells called microglia failing to trim connections between neurons.
“We show that a deficit in microglia during development can have widespread and long-lasting effects on brain wiring and behaviour,” says Cornelius Gross, who led the study. “It leads to weak brain connectivity, decreased social behaviour, and increased repetitive behaviour, all hallmarks of autism.”
The findings indicate that, by trimming surplus connections in the developing brain, microglia allow the remaining links to grow stronger, like high-speed fibre-optic cables carrying strong signals between brain regions. But if these cells fail to do their job at that crucial stage of development, those brain regions are left with a weaker communication network, which in turn has lifelong effects on behaviour.
Yang Zhan, a postdoctoral fellow in Gross’ lab at EMBL, analysed the strength of connections between different areas of brain in mice that were genetically engineered to have fewer microglia during development. Working with Alessandro Gozzi’s lab at IIT and Davide Ragozzino at La Sapienza University, the EMBL scientists combined this approach with high-resolution fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans of the mice’s brains, taking full advantage of a novel technique developed at IIT, which enables scientists to obtain detailed, three-dimensional maps of the brain’s functional connections. The team found that mice with fewer microglia had weaker connections between neurons, and less cross-talk between different brain regions. When Rosa Paolicelli, a PhD student in Gross’ lab, studied the mice’s behaviour, she discovered that mice with fewer microglia and decreased connectivity displayed behaviours commonly associated with autism spectrum disorders. These mice spent more time repeatedly grooming themselves, and avoided social interactions.
“This is an exciting time to be studying microglia,” Gross concludes: “they’re turning out to be major players in how our brain gets wired up.”
Images 1&2: A series of mouse brain schemes showing in heat map the functional connectivity between a defined pre-frontal cortex (PFC) regions and other areas of the brain in wild-type mice as measured by resting-state functional MRI. The blue 3D shape in some images indicates the volume of thresholded significant functional connectivity with PFC. This connectivity is significantly reduced in mice with deficient neuron-microglia signalling and this deficit in connectivity resembles that seen in autistic persons. Credit: Adam Liska, Alessandro Gozzi, IIT.