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Animals Know More About Healing Herbs Than Humans Do

In a world where we're ignorantly told that synthetic pharmaceuticals are good for us, and natural remedies are bad, it's nice to see mainstream science acknowledging that animals successfully use natural medicines:

Many animal species have created their own pharmacies from ingredients that commonly occur in nature.

Birds, bees, lizards, elephants, and chimpanzees all share a survival trait: They self-medicate. These animals eat things that make them feel better, or prevent disease, or kill parasites like flatworms, bacteria, and viruses, or just to aid in digestion. Even creatures with brains the size of pinheads somehow know to ingest certain plants or use them in unusual ways when they need them.

Anyone who has seen a dog eat grass during a walk has witnessed self-medication. The dog probably has an upset stomach or a parasite. The grass helps them vomit up the problem or eliminate it with the feces.

The science of animal self-medication is called zoopharmacognosy, derived from the roots zoo (“animal”), pharma (“drug”), and gnosy (“knowing”). It’s not clear how much knowing or learning is involved, but many animals seem to have evolved an innate ability to detect the therapeutic constituents in plants. Although the evidence is entirely circumstantial, the examples are plentiful. The practice is spreading across the animal kingdom in sometimes surprising ways.

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The human eye can see 'invisible' infrared light

Any science textbook will tell you we can't see infrared light. Like X-rays and radio waves, infrared light waves are outside the visual spectrum.

But an international team of researchers co-led by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has found that under certain conditions, the retina can sense infrared light after all.

Using cells from the retinas of mice and people, and powerful lasers that emit pulses of infrared light, the researchers found that when laser light pulses rapidly, light-sensing cells in the retina sometimes get a double hit of infrared energy. When that happens, the eye is able to detect light that falls outside the visible spectrum.

Scientists Implant Mice With Human Brain Cells

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I have some mixed feelings about this, scientifically it's very interesting, but it also raises some ethical concerns...

What would Stewart Little make of it? Mice have been created whose brains are half human. As a result, the animals are smarter than their siblings.

The idea is not to mimic fiction, but to advance our understanding of human brain diseases by studying them in whole mouse brains rather than in dishes.

The altered mice still have mouse neurons – the "thinking" cells that make up around half of all their brain cells. But practically all the glial cells in their brains, the ones that support the neurons, are human.

"It's still a mouse brain, not a human brain," says Steve Goldman of the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. "But all the non-neuronal cells are human."


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New analysis of Antikythera Mechanism reveals clues to one of history’s greatest puzzles

A new study of the world famous Antikythera mechanism has revealed fascinating new information about the puzzling artifact, including that the maths used for its eclipse prediction appears to be based on Babylonian arithmetic rather than Greek trigonometry.  A detailed analysis of the eclipse predictor has also enabled scientists to determine that the device’s astronomical calculations started in 205 BC, enabling the first accurate dating of the mechanism. If this is correct, it makes it highly unlikely that its creator was the renowned ancient Greek inventor Archimedes.

The Antikythera mechanism was discovered in 1900 during the recovery of a shipwreck off of the Greek island, Antikythera, in waters 60 meters deep. The metallic device consists of  37 different types of gears and is so complex that many consider it to be the first human-made analogue computer. After decades of research, scientists were able to determine that it shows the positions of the sun, moon, and planets as they move through the zodiac, predicts solar and lunar eclipses, and even marked key events such as the Pan-Hellenic games. Scientists have claimed that the complex assemblage of bronze gears predates other similar types of technology by 1,000 years.

Natural Light Improves Eyesight, Helps You Sleep Better, And Lessens Depression

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While recent increases in the rates of things like autism and allergies have received plenty of attention recently, here's an epidemic that's been largely ignored: nearsightedness. Here in the U.S., a whopping 42% of people are nearsighted, almost double what is was three decades ago. The increase is directly linked to how much time people spend indoors under artificial lighting, which is near constant nowadays for a "normal" lifestyle. Luckily, this can easily be prevented, and it's very important for people, especially children, to get plenty of natural sunlight to prevent developing myopia (nearsightedness).

The benefits of natural lighting don't stop there though, it's also been found to help prevent depression and sleeplessness. Like myopia, depression rates have been rising recently and the simple fix is to live a more natural lifestyle. Of course, this would cut into the profits of the medical-industrial complex, so I don't expect to see very many doctors prescribing sunlight anytime soon. What's needed the most now is not more medications and other artificial "solutions", but fundamental changes to our lifestyle that value our happiness and health.

The Sun Is the Best Optometrist (New York Times)
Lack of exposure to natural light in the workspace is associated with physiological, sleep and depressive symptoms.(

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DNA survives critical entry into Earth's atmosphere

The genetic material DNA can survive a flight through space and re-entry into Earth's atmosphere -- and still pass on genetic information. A team of scientists from UZH obtained these astonishing results during an experiment on the TEXUS-49 research rocket mission.

Applied to the outer shell of the payload section of a rocket using pipettes, small, double-stranded DNA molecules flew into space from Earth and back again. After the launch, space flight, re-entry into Earth's atmosphere and landing, the so-called plasmid DNA molecules were still found on all the application points on the rocket from the TEXUS-49 mission. And this was not the only surprise: For the most part, the DNA salvaged was even still able to transfer genetic information to bacterial and connective tissue cells. "This study provides experimental evidence that the DNA's genetic information is essentially capable of surviving the extreme conditions of space and the re-entry into Earth's dense atmosphere," says study head Professor Oliver Ullrich from the University of Zurich's Institute of Anatomy.

U.S. Physicist: Alien nuclear bomb wiped out Mars civilization

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The paper, reportedly due to be published in the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, claims evidence for two massive nuclear explosions on Mars at two sites on the planet. Mars once had two civilizations, the Cydonians and the Utopians, wiped out by nuclear bombs detonated by technological aliens.

The site named Cydonia is the location of the formation on the surface of planet spotted by orbital crafts which looked like a human "face on Mars" but which, after closer examination, has been dismissed as incidental formations of dust dunes.

The purported evidence for nuclear explosions includes the red color of the surface of Mars which, according to Brandenburg, could be explained either by a naturally caused nuclear reaction or a nuclear device explosion which scattered radio-isotopes in the Martian environment.


Full article... (

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Imagination, reality flow in opposite directions in the brain

As real as that daydream may seem, its path through your brain runs opposite reality.

Aiming to discern discrete neural circuits, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have tracked electrical activity in the brains of people who alternately imagined scenes or watched videos.

"A really important problem in brain research is understanding how different parts of the brain are functionally connected. What areas are interacting? What is the direction of communication?" says Barry Van Veen, a UW-Madison professor of electrical and computer engineering. "We know that the brain does not function as a set of independent areas, but as a network of specialized areas that collaborate."

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Comet Landing 2014: Rosetta Probe Philae Discovers Organic Molecules

The Philae space probe was powered down earlier than expected, but not before an instrument discovered an organic compound that was first detected in the comet’s atmosphere, the Wall Street Journal exclusively reported Monday. The find is extraordinary considering the organic compound contains the carbon atom, which is the basis of life on planet Earth.

Further research is being conducted to see if there are complex compounds like amino acids or simple ones like methane and methanol, considered “building blocks” for proteins.

The research “will help us to understand whether organic molecules were brought by comets to the early earth,” Stephan Ulamec, the Philae’s landing manager said, according to the Journal.


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