A Janitor Secretly Worked On This For 7 Years. No One Knew Til Now… And It’s Baffling Everyone.
Over 30 years ago, a man spent 7 years hand-drawing the most complex, unbelievable and probably unsolvable maze I’ve ever seen. His daughter recently posted the following photos on Twitter and, needless to say, the entire Internet is exploding with questions about her dad.
So who is the man behind it? A professor? A mathematician? A wizard? No, no, and no. The correct answer is… the university janitor.
Drugs that weaken traumatic memories hold promise for PTSD treatment
Memories of traumatic events often last a lifetime because they are so difficult to treat through behavioral approaches. A preclinical study in mice published by Cell Press January 16th in the journal Cell reveals that drugs known as histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACis) can enhance the brain’s ability to permanently replace old traumatic memories with new memories, opening promising avenues for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders.
Caption: Metabolic activity (green and red colors) in the hippocampus (white dotted line) of animals that underwent extinction training in combination with HDACis (right) is significantly higher than in animals that underwent extinction training alone (left). Metabolic activity serves to estimate the learning capacity of an animal. Credit: Cell, Gräff et al.
"Psychotherapy is often used for treating PTSD, but it doesn’t always work, especially when the traumatic events occurred many years earlier," says senior study author Li-Huei Tsai of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "This study provides a mechanism explaining why old memories are difficult to extinguish and shows that HDACis can facilitate psychotherapy to treat anxiety disorders such as PTSD."
One common treatment for anxiety disorders is exposure-based therapy, which involves exposing patients to fear-evoking thoughts or events in a safe environment. This process reactivates the traumatic memory, opening a short time window during which the original memory can be disrupted and replaced with new memories. Exposure-based therapy is effective when the traumatic events occurred recently, but until now, it was not clear whether it would also be effective for older traumatic memories.
To address this question, Tsai and her team used a protocol for studying fear responses associated with traumatic memories. In the first phase, the researchers exposed mice to a tone followed by an electrical footshock. Once the mice learned to associate these two events, they began to freeze in fear upon hearing the tone by itself, even when they did not receive a shock. Using an extinction protocol, which is similar to exposure-based therapy, the researchers repeatedly presented the tone without the shock to test whether the mice could unlearn the association between these two events and would stop freezing in response to the tone. The extinction protocol was successful for mice that were exposed to the tone-shock pairing just one day earlier, but it was not effective for mice that originally formed the traumatic memory one month earlier. The researchers hypothesized that epigenetic modification of genes involved in learning and memory might be responsible for the diminished response of treatment for older memories.
The researchers tested whether HDACis, which promote long-lasting activation of genes involved in learning and memory, could help replace old traumatic memories with new memories. Mice previously exposed to the tone-shock pairing received HDACis and then underwent the extinction protocol. These mice learned to stop freezing in response to the tone, even when they originally formed the traumatic memory one month earlier. “Collectively, our findings suggest that exposure-based therapy alone does not effectively weaken traumatic memories that were formed a long time ago, but that HDACis can be combined with exposure-based therapy to substantially improve treatment for the most enduring traumatic memories,” Tsai says.
A 2007 Rhode Island study looked at 30 men and 30 women who had just had coronary-artery bypass surgery and tracked the medications they were given. The researchers were astonished to find that men got pain medications, while women got sedatives. With chronic pain problems, women’s symptoms are often minimized.
Judy Foreman, author of A Nation in Pain: Healing our Biggest Health Problem, looks at the prevalence of chronic pain and how we treat it differently in men and women. (via oupacademic)
I’m horrified but not astonished.
Yeah if the researchers were astonished, that… says a lot about them.
Incredible Technology: How to Search for Advanced Alien Civilizations
Look at a picture of the Earth at night, and the world appears to be, quite literally, glowing. Now, scientists are starting to look for signs of advanced alien civilizations by the glow given off by technology used to harvest the energy from a star or even an entire galaxy.
Theoretical physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson first proposed the idea that advanced alien civilizations might develop technology to encircle a star and harvest most of its power, a structure now known as a Dyson sphere. If these objects do exist, astronomers might be able to detect the waste heat they produce using telescopes that peer into space using infrared light.
Cities spend massive amounts of money on electricity to light the street. But most of the time no one is there. This smart technology can sense when a car or pedestrian is approaching.
As much as half of a city’s electricity bill is from simply powering streetlights. Now a Dutch company’s design for smart street lights, which brighten only when needed, might help save massive amounts of that energy.
The Tvilight system works by sensing someone on the street—whether it’s a car, cyclist, or pedestrian—and instantly gets brighter in exactly the right place, while other lights stay on at a dim level. It’s quite a bit more complicated than the typical motion sensor lights you might see inside an office. Instead of just one light, the system illuminates multiple lights all around a moving vehicle or pedestrian.
The company’s founder was inspired to design the lights while working at another job that required frequent travel. “When I was flying, I was amazed to see how many streetlights are burning all night even when there’s no one around,” says Chintan Shah, CEO of Tvilight. "With a little research, I found out that Europe pays over €10 billion each year only to power streetlights. And this is shocking. Why do we need so much light when no one is there?”
Shah likens the effect to the spotlight that followed Michael Jackson around the stage as he danced the moonwalk. No matter where someone goes, a “safe circle of light” is always there. That means each of the lights needs to be able to communicate, in microseconds, with its neighbors.
The sensors inside are also smart enough to know not to activate the lights when a bird flies by, or when wind moves tree branches. The system can even tell what type of object is approaching; since a car moves faster, the lights around it are a bigger diameter and start brightening farther down the block.
“Five years ago, wireless sensors were not ready for this challenge,” says Shah. Now that reliable low-power sensor network technology is available, his team was able to build a custom combination of sensors that could filter out movement to know how and when to illuminate.
Soon, the company will also program custom lights for certain situations—a fire truck driving down the street, for example, will be able to turn the streetlights red as it passes to help alert other drivers.
Since Tvilight’s first installation of the lights in 2011, hundreds of the systems have been installed—at train stations, parking lots, a castle in Germany, and even an entire town in the Netherlands. Now the company hopes to move from selling directly to cities to work with distributors and other streetlight manufacturers, so it can spread the technology more quickly.
Everywhere the lights have been installed, Shah says they’ve had a positive response. Since the lights are never fully turned off, but just dimmed by 30%, it’s easy to see even if you’re just looking out the window of a house and nothing is driving by. And just by dimming the lights, energy usage can be cut 50% to 60%.
“The world talks about the challenge of climate change, but there are really practical solutions like this,” Shah says. “If we apply them, we’ll achieve our 2020 targets. I think it’s time that the world gets serious about implementing solutions that are readily available.”
Source: Fast Co.Exist
Related: 'Borrowed Light' and Light Pollution
What Will You Do With Watson?
IBM Watson is defining a new era of cognitive technology. This generation of problem solvers is going to learn much faster with IBM Watson. And Watson, in turn, will learn much faster with us. Developers will solve new problems. Business leaders will ask bigger questions. And together, we’ll do things generations before couldn’t dream of. Learn more at ibmwatson.com. Join the conversation at #IBMWatson.
Maria Clara Eimmart, Ten Depictions of Heavenly Phenomena, (late 17th century)
Eimmart was the daughter of the history painter, portraitist and amateur astronomer Georg Christoph Eimmart, with whom she collaborated. Her father was director of the Malerakademie in Nürnberg but also established a private observatory. She was given a broad education in the fine arts, and specialized in botanical and astronomical illustrations. She made a series of some 350 drawings of lunar phases, observed by telescope, and captured on distinctive blue paper. Twelve of these were given to conte Marsili, a scientific collaborator with her father, of those twelve, ten survive in Bologna. She shortly thereafter married her father’s pupil and successor, the astronomer Johann Heinrich Müller and died in childbirth.
Dioptase on Dolomite and Willemite
Tsumeb Mine, Namibia
Older Trees Grow Faster, Store More Carbon
Trees put on weight faster and faster as they grow older, according to a new study in the journal Nature. The finding that most trees’ growth accelerates as they age suggests that large, old trees may play an unexpectedly dynamic role in removing carbon from the atmosphere.,br />
Richard Condit, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, devised the analysis to interpret measurements from more than 600,000 trees belonging to 403 species. “Rather than slowing down or ceasing growth and carbon uptake, as we previously assumed, most of the oldest trees in forests around the world actually grow faster, taking up more carbon,” Condit says. “A large tree may put on weight equivalent to an entire small tree in a year.”
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/01/older-trees-grow-faster-store-more-carbon