the present moment

News Mash: Mindfully mindlessly, via meditation, is great for your health!

Do you know what it means to be ‘mindful’?

If not…

Well, maybe you should:

[via Time] The Mindful Revolution ~By Kate Pickert

The raisins sitting in my sweaty palm are getting stickier by the minute. They don’t look particularly appealing, but when instructed by my teacher, I take one in my fingers and examine it. I notice that the raisin’s skin glistens. Looking closer, I see a small indentation where it once hung from the vine. Eventually, I place the raisin in my mouth and roll the wrinkly little shape over and over with my tongue, feeling its texture. After a while, I push it up against my teeth and slice it open. Then, finally, I chew — very slowly.

I’m eating a raisin. But for the first time in my life, I’m doing it differently. I’m doing it mindfully. This whole experience might seem silly, but we’re in the midst of a popular obsession with mindfulness as the secret to health and happiness — and a growing body of evidence suggests it has clear benefits. The class I’m taking is part of a curriculum called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) developed in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, an MIT-educated scientist.

The raisin exercise reminds us how hard it has become to think about just one thing at a time. If distraction is the pre-eminent condition of our age, then mindfulness, in the eyes of its enthusiasts, is the most logical response.

…[Read More]

The fastest way to a healthier, happier you?

Is learning to be in-tune with yourself.

Physically, and mentally.

By gifting yourself with the one gift, we so seldom GIVE ourselves, by doing nothing more…

Than by doing NOTHING.

Take a few minutes out of your day.

Just a few, to start with, is all it takes.

Relax.

Breathe.

Meditate.

[via NaturalNews] Meditation is just as effective as antidepressant drugs in treating anxiety or depression, but the present momentwithout the side effects, according to a study conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University and published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. The study was funded by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The researchers analyzed the results of 47 prior randomized, controlled trials conducted on a total of 3,515 people suffering from depression, anxiety, insomnia, heart disease, chronic pain, stress and other health conditions. In all the trials analyzed, mindfulness meditation had been compared to a placebo or to other treatments.

Mindfulness meditation consists of the regular practice, often 30 to 40 minutes per day, of a person remaining aware of their surroundings (such as sounds), thoughts and emotions, without forming attachment to their outcomes. This is in contrast with concentration practices, in which a person focuses on a single thought or activity (such as chanting or looking at a candle) to the exclusion of all other thoughts.

…[Read More]

And take, firmly in hand?

The opportunity to rejuvenate yourself….

Mindfully mindlessly, via meditation.

no II

News Mash: Palometas & African tigerfish make watersports hard & dangerous!

Don’t go into the water.

Really…

Don’t.

There are things, in there?

That will freaking eat you…

A lot!

[via YahooNews]Carnivorous fish injure 10 Argentine river bathers in area where 70 were wounded last month ~AP

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Attacks by a school of carnivorous fish have injured at least 10 people bathing in an Argentine river since Thursday.

The attacks took place in the Parana River in Rosario some 300 kilometres (186 miles) northeast of Buenos Aires. Seventy people who were cooling off from high temperatures were also injured there in late December by the same piranha-like fish. They included seven children who lost parts of their fingers or toes.

The latest attack by the “palometas” was confirmed Saturday. They’ve been described by the local director of lifeguards as “a type of piranha, big, voracious and with sharp teeth that can really bite.”

…[Read More]

For that matter…

Flying ABOVE the water, in certain places?

Not a good idea either.

Yikes!

[via Nature]Video: Fish leaps to catch birds on the wing ~by Daniel Cressey

The waters of the African lake seem calm and peaceful. A few migrant swallows flit near the surface. Suddenly, leaping from the water, a fish grabs one of the famously speedy birds straight out of the air.

“The whole action of jumping and catching the swallow in flight happens so incredibly quickly that after we first saw it, it took all of us a while to really fully comprehend what we had just seen,” says Nico Smit, director of the Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management at North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa.

This is the first confirmed record of a freshwater fish preying on birds in flight, the team reports in the Journal of Fish Biology1. Rumours of such behaviour by the African tigerfish (Hydrocynus vittatus), which has been reported as reaching one metre in length, have circulated since the 1940s. But Smit says that his team was “never really convinced by the anecdotal reports”. So, when they set out to study of the migration and habitat use of these animals in a South African lake in the Mapungubwe National Park, near the border with Botswana and Zimbabwe, they were not necessarily looking for fish flying out of the water.

…[Read More]

OK.

Now…

Who’s up for some watersports!?

Eh?

EH?

Um, just…

no II [Source]

my blood pressure feels better already

News Mash: So, the sun affects you directly, but not the weather? Oh…Um, OK.

Climate science?

Totally baffled.

Apparently ‘solar lulls’ coincides (coincidentally–CRAZINESS!!)…

With bitterly cold winters.

And Climate Science has no idea why.

Seriously.

[Source]

No…

Idea….

Why.

[via BBC] Has the Sun gone to sleep?

Scientists are saying that the Sun is in a phase of “solar lull” – meaning that it has fallen asleep – and it is baffling them.

History suggests that periods of unusual “solar lull” coincide with bitterly cold winters.

Rebecca Morelle reports for BBC Newsnight on the effect this inactivity could have on our current climate, and what the implications might be for global warming.

…[Read More]

Yeaaaah.

Crazy how that works, isn’t it?

The ‘big heater in the sky’ gets turned on a low setting and ‘POOF!’ suddenly everything is colder.

Who would have seen this one coming?

*shakes head sadly*

But you know something else, in regards to the sun, that many (before now) didn’t see coming?

How the sun apparently DIRECTLY affects your…

Blood pressure.

Huh?

I’m sorry, say what now?

[via Today]Ahhh. Sunlight may lower your blood pressure ~by Maggie Fox

Here’s why sunbathing feels so good: It may lower your blood pressure, British researchers reported Friday.

Just 20 minutes of ultraviolet A (UVA) sunlight lowered blood pressure by a small but significant amount in 24 volunteers, they report in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Further checks suggest the sun does this by increasing levels of nitric oxide, a chemical linked to blood flow.

The effects are so strong they may help explain why people who live in the darker north, like the Scots, have higher rates of death from heart disease, Richard Weller of the University of Edinburgh and Martin Feelisch of the University of Southampton say.

“We are concerned that well-meaning advice to reduce the comparatively low numbers of deaths from skin cancer may inadvertently increase the risk of death from far higher prevalent cardiovascular disease and stroke, and goes against epidemiological data showing that sunlight exposure reduces all cause and cardiovascular mortality,” they concluded.

…[Read More]

Fascinating.

And wow, if this is true?

The people of China have gotta be TICKED:

[via Telegraph]Smog in China prompts authorities to display sun on giant screens ~By Agencies

Facing the worst air pollution levels in months, residents of Beijing have turned to massive digital screens to see the sun setting through the thick smog.

my blood pressure feels better already

The screens are usually used to promote tourist destinations, but have been re-tasked because of pollution levels more than 25 times higher than what the World Health Organisation (WHO) judges as safe.

The screens also carry slogans saying “protecting atmospheric environment is everyone’s responsibility”.

The US embassy in Beijing, which regularly measures air pollution in the city, said that conditions on Friday were “very unhealthy”, which might cause “significant aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly”.

On Thursday, the embassy found that pollution levels had reached “hazardous” conditions in which “everyone should avoid all physical activity outdoors”.

…[Read More]

The sun and sunlight.

Whether on a global climate scale, or a personal one?

Affects us.

Maybe it’s time for climate science to stop being quite so ridiculously dismissive of the art it plays in our lives.

Just a thought.

slightly haunted

News Mash: A drug erases traumatic memories? This Pennsylvania couple could use a dose!

Have any life-altering drama-trauma you would like to forget?

Lucky for you…

Science might have the very drug?

Just for you:

[via counselheal]Drug erases traumatic memories… ~by Cheri Cheng

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental condition often caused by a traumatic experience that involves Brainsymptoms such as severe anxiety. One of the most common treatment options for PTSD is psychotherapy, which reenacts the traumatic experience for the patient in a safe and controlled environment. Now, according to a new study, researchers identified a drug that has the potential to improve the treatment of PTSD.

For this study, neuroscientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) examined the effects of a type of drug called an HDAC2 inhibitor. This type of drug can make the brain more malleable. The researchers found that when rats were given the HDAC2 inhibitor, the rats’ traumatic memories could be removed. The researchers believe that if this drug were to be given to patients who did not respond well to psychotherapy, the effects of therapy would ideally be improved.

…[Read More]

It treats those suffering from PTSD you say?

Come on, Science…

Why limit yourself?

There is a whole new target group that needs to be considered:

People looking to sell their home!

What?

It is far more fitting, than one might initially consider at the onset:

[via Cleveland.CBSLocal]Pennsylvania Couple Advertises House As ‘Slightly Haunted’slightly haunted

DUNMORE, Pa. (AP) — Between the mysteriously banging doors, the odd noises coming from the basement, and the persistent feeling that someone is standing behind them, homeowners Gregory and Sandi Leeson are thoroughly creeped out by their 113-year-old Victorian.

So when they put the house in northeastern Pennsylvania up for sale last month, they advertised it as “slightly haunted.”

Then things got REALLY weird.

There were calls from ghost hunters. An open house attracted lots of curiosity seekers, but no legitimate buyers. And a former resident came out of the woodwork to tell the couple that when he was a kid, he found a human skull in the basement — the same basement whose door Sandi Leeson once barricaded because she swore she could hear the clicking of a cigarette lighter emanating from the subterranean depths.

It’s enough to make her husband wonder whether he did the right thing when he playfully wrote about the home’s spooky charms:

“Slightly haunted. Nothing serious, though,” says the listing on Zillow’s real-estate site. It goes on to describe 3:13 a.m. screams and “the occasional ghastly visage” in the bathroom mirror.

The listing attracted local and national media attention. Now the Leesons just need an actual buyer for the four-bedroom home, on the market for $144,000.

“I tried to word it with a little bit of a sense of humor,” says Greg Leeson, a 35-year-old who works in information technology, but “I don’t think it has helped with marketing. We’re not really getting very many interested buyers. We’re getting a lot of nonsense people.”

Spring should bring more traffic. But if it doesn’t sell, Leeson said they might consider renting it out — by the night — to folks looking for spooky thrills.

…[Read More]

See?

Told ya so.

Pffft…

And you doubted me.

*shakes head sadly*

How silly are you?!

are they

News Mash: Squirrels…How cute are they, huh? *shakes head sadly*

If cute squirrels were smart…

And could talk?

Yeah…

They might sound like this:

Though…

I am not sure?

I will be wishing an epidemic of smart squirrels on anyone, anytime soon…

Thanks to THIS:

Squirrels.

Now…

Not quite as cute, as you thought they were, just 2:13 seconds ago…

are they [Source]

my hat is unique

News Mash: All (almost) spider videos are scary!

ALL spider videos are scary.

Makes no difference?

If they are harmless Opiliones (daddy longlegs)…

Or no.

Again…

ALL SPIDER VIDEOS ARE SCARY!

OK.

Um, wait…

Scratch that.

Cause apparently?

No.

All spider videos are NOT…

Scary at all:

Nice job, internet.

You actually managed to take the “scary” out of spiders.

Well…

At least for a moment.

my hat is unique [Source]

A “Village People” moment.

Well done, you!

north is that way

Reactionary Animated Gifs – Dogs are “in-tune” with the Earth…How? Huh.

Dogs are super in-tune with the Earth.

And by “in-tune”?

I refer to the way the decide where their bodies needs to be…

When they poop:

[via io9]Dogs align their bodies along a North-South axis when they poop ~Lauren Davis

Ever wonder why dogs need to get themselves into just the right position to do their business? As it turns out, dogs north is that wayalign their body axis according to Earth’s magnetic field when they squat to poop—a behavior that changes when the magnetic field is unstable. But why do they do it?

The results of this recently published paper from Frontiers in Zoology sound goofy, but the takeaway is all in the title, “Dogs are sensitive to small variations of the Earth’s magnetic field.” The researchers measured the direction of the body axis of 70 different dogs while they were off-leash during 1,893 acts of defecation and 5,582 acts of urination over a two-year period. They found that, under calm magnetic field conditions, dogs prefer to orient their bodies along the North-South axis when they poop. However, this behavior did not occur during unstable magnetic field conditions, and the best predictor for this change of behavior was the rate of change of magnetic declination.

This means that the dogs are responding to changes in the polarity of the magnetic field rather than changes in intensity. It’s that change in behavior that has the authors of this paper particularly excited, since it’s the first time, according to the paper, that magnetic sensitivity has been proven in dogs and that a predictable behavioral reaction from natural magnetic field fluctuations has been unambiguously observed in mammals.

The question that this inevitably invites is: why on Earth do dogs do this? The paper notes that it’s not just that dogs prefer to align themselves along the North-South axis; they also seem to avoid the East-West axis when they poop, although it’s not clear whether they do so consciously. The researchers suggest that perhaps, when dogs poop, they are also taking the opportunity to orient themselves:

An answer may lie in the biological meaning of the behavior: if dogs would use a visual (radical-pair based) magnetic map to aid general orientation in space as has been proposed for rodents [32], they might have the need to center/calibrate the map now and then with regard to landmarks or a magnetic reference. Aligning the map and the view towards North (or South) facilitates reading the map. Furthermore, calibration only makes sense when the reference is stable and reliable. We might think of this the same way as a human is stopping during a hike to read a map. When the map is blurred or the reference (perceived magnetic direction) is dispersed or moving due to magnetic disturbances, however, calibration is impossible. In the case of the dogs it thus would totally make sense to not pay attention to magnetic body alignment any more under conditions of a shifting magnetic field.

…[Read More]

Right now…

How glad are you that you know this?

[Source]

Yeah…

Me too.

*sighs*

Thank you, Internet.

No, really…

You’re AWESOME!

*shakes head sadly*

the polar vortex

News Mash: Polar vortex? Oh, baby it’s cold outside!

Despite…

What our wonderfully, insightful President will have you believe?

Yeah, folks…

It’s NASTY cold outside:

[via CNSNews]Executive Order: ‘Excessively High Temperatures’ ‘Already’ Harming Public Health ~By Craig Bannister

“Excessively high temperatures” are “already” harming public health nationwide, Pres. Obama declared on Nov. 1, 2013, two months before today’s assault by record low temperatures.

In his executive order on climate change, Obama warned that too much rain – and not enough rain – also dictated that executive action against climate fluctuations:

“The impacts of climate change — including an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, an increase in wildfires, more severe droughts, permafrost thawing, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise — are already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economies, and public health across the Nation. These impacts are often most significant for communities that already face economic or health-related challenges, and for species and habitats that are already facing other pressures.”

What’s more, climate control “requires” action “by the Federal Government” (as opposed to the federal government), Obama declared…

…[Read More]

But, pffft...

Don’t take MY word for it.

Take THIS (below) poor lady’s:

[via Mediaite]CNN Tortures Correspondent by Making Her Report Hourly on a Riverbank in -15° Weather ~by Evan McMurry

Boasting that they had sent a “California girl” to the depths of the polar vortex on Monday, CNN repeatedly made correspondent Stephanie Elam trudge onto the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis—current temperature -18° F with a windchill of -44° F — to report first-hand on the “historic and life threatening” cold enveloping the central states.

Bracketed by chyron alarms of “dangerous conditions” and warnings from authorities not to go outdoors unless it was absolutely necessary, the Los Angeles-based Elam bundled up at noon to report that:

  • It’s so cold crime is going down.
  • It’s so cold her cup of boiling hot water turned into a snowball in the time of her segment.
  • It’s so cold that authorities are “saying make sure you don’t go anywhere,” like the banks of the Mississippi.

Elam bundled up at 1:00 to report that:

  • It’s so cold you can see stream coming off the river.
  • It’s so cold “it doesn’t take long for the shivers to start setting in.”
  • It’s so cold that police “have been out patrolling for people who were in danger, who needed to get inside,” like Elam.
  • It’s so cold that there “are more domestic disputes, because people are caged up at home.”

Elam bundled up at 2:00 to report that:

  • It’s so cold “I would be happy to take one-degree weather.”
  • It’s so cold “the police said they have taken their focus and changed it off of just looking at crime to looking for people who may be in need of getting to a shelter, who need to get to a hospital.”
  • It’s so cold “they closed down the schools for cold. Not for snow, for cold.”
  • It’s so cold “it’s very dangerous conditions out here. They don’t want people to take chances.” Chances like standing at a riverbank at the top of every hour?

…[Read More]

Cause apparently?

CNN…

Has a very twisted sense of humor.

It’s either that?

Or they really don’t like Ms. Elam.

Wow.

-15°?

Yikes, poor lady!

the polar vortex [Source]

seriously stop it

News Mash: Hercules wrestles with global warming…And wins?

Wow.

What a way to start the new year.

Bad, Hercules…

BAD!

[via DailyMail]Snowpocalypse 2014: Hercules claims first victim as man is crushed to death by 100ft salt pile and On its way! This graphic shows expected snowfall on the East Coast throughout the day until tomorrowmeteorologists warn it will get so cold exposed skin will freeze in fifteen minutes

  • Cities from New York to Washington, D.C., are bracing for up to 18 inches of snow
  • Plummeting temperatures and wind chills below zero could freeze exposed skin within 15 minutes
  • In New York, Long Island Expressway, I-87 South and I-84 will close at midnight until 5am Friday
  • ‘Ready for whatever hits us': New NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio remained confidant while facing his first test just a day after taking office
  • In Massachusetts 10-14 inches of snow are predicted, along with moderate coastal flooding
  • Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced that state’s government would close completely on Friday
  • 2,000 flights had been canceled before snow even hit the East Coast
  • Meteorologists say three low pressure systems from the south and east have caused the snow storm

By Alex Ward and Michael Zennie and Associated Press

The huge nor’easter dubbed Hercules claimed its first victim as the massive snowstorm began to dump up to 18 inches of snow across the region – affecting 100 million people.

A man died in a tragic industrial accident today at a Philadelphia facility after the heavy machine he was operating was crushed by a huge pile of rock salt – which was being used to keep the roads clear.

The sad incident happened at 3.30 pm at the International Salt Facility in Bucks County, Pennsylvania when the man was transporting the rock salt with a front-end loader when the 100-foot pile toppled over and buried him and his vehicle.

His colleagues and emergency crews frantically used shovels to try and dig him out but when they reached the man he was found dead still sitting in his seat.

Officials have not released the name or age of the victim.

The deadly winter storm is threatening 100 million people with up to 18 inches of snow and bitter cold temperatures tonight as it blasts across the Midwest and bares down on the East Coast.

The evening commute on the first workday of 2014 could become treacherous – or even impossible – as officials urge drivers from Maine to Washington, D.C., to stay off the roads after 7pm.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this afternoon that three major New York expressways would be closed from midnight until 5am Friday – the Long Island Expressway, Interstate 87 South and Interstate 84.

…[Read More]

Oh, and just so you know…

Climatologists are now saying, that Global Warming thing?

Far WORSE than they previously imagined:

[via NYTimes]World’s climate warming faster than feared, scientists say ~By Jonathan Pearlman, SydneyA satellite image of planet Earth

Scientists say the world’s climate is warming faster than feared because previous predictions were too “optimistic” and overestimated the cooling impact of clouds

As the planet marked its fourth hottest year on record, a study published in the journal Nature found increasing levels of carbon dioxide will lead to thinner ocean clouds and reduce their cooling impact, causing temperature rises of at least 5.6F (3C) over the course of the century.

The team of scientists said the findings show some climate models have been too “optimistic” and previous estimates of a minimum temperature rise of only 2.7F (1.5C) could now be discounted. The optimistic models did not properly assess the impact of water evaporation, which sometimes rises only a short distance into the atmosphere and causes updraughts that reduce cloud cover, the study found.

”These models have been predicting a lower climate sensitivity but we believe they’re incorrect,” Professor Steven Sherwood, from the University of New South Wales, told The Sydney Morning Herald.

”The net effect of [climate change] is you have less cloud cover.”

The study comes amid a controversy in Australia over claims by Maurice Newman, Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s top business adviser, who said the world had been taken “hostage to climate change madness”

…[Read More]

Maddness you say, Tony?

Nooooo.

Cause just check out our crazy warm weather lately (see article above)…

I mean, obviously the climatologists are correct.

Pffft, yeah…

Obviously.

seriously stop it [Source]

the abominable staring

News Mash: Your dog stares at you…But will he stare at a picture of you?

If you are a dog owner…

You are well aware of the creepy habit your four-legged friend has.

The staring!

But WHY do they do that?

[via VetStreet] Why Does My Dog… Stare at Me? ~By Dr. Patty Khuly

It’s not hard to imagine why a loyal dog might stare devotedly at his master. It’s the stuff of Old Yeller, White Fang and Lassie –– starers, all. But some dogs take staring to extremes, following their owners around with baleful eyes as if expecting links of sausage to fly from their human’s fingertips.

Let’s face it: Dogs love their owners, but when they stare expectantly, it’s not usually because they’re trapped in a reverie of devotion. Rather, it’s because they’re thinking they might get something. And usually, that “something” involves a tasty snack.

But dogs can—and do—stare at their owners for plenty of non-food issues, too. Indeed, anything a dog might want that a human can provide could be the source of the staring behavior, from a fun game of fetch to a ride in the car or a long run.

Then there’s the possibility that a dog is simply seeking attention in any form, or perhaps she’s merely waiting for praise or direction. Some dogs may just be trying to read an emotion in our human facial expressions.

In any case, staring is typically considered to be a good thing. In fact, most trainers encourage dogs to stare at their owners while awaiting their cues. And if you’ve never done it, gazing deeply into a dog’s eyes can be a highly rewarding pastime.

…[Read More]

Make me wonder…

If I can just take a picture of me, hang it up?

And let them stare at THAT.

Cause YES, your dog probably does recognize your photo:

[via Philadelphia.CBSLocal]Study: Your Dog Probably Recognizes Your Face — Even In Photos

HELSINKI, FINLAND (CBS) – Your dog may be able to recognize your face in a photo.

That’s the latest from the University of Helsinki, which published the results of its study in the journal Animal Cognition this December.

According to Science News Daily, the researchers had dogs look at facial images of familiar humans (such as their owner) and other dogs in the family, as well as unfamiliar humans and dogs they’d never encountered. Then the researchers measured the dogs’ eye movements as they viewed the photos.

the abominable staring

Scientists say that while the dogs viewed the faces of other dogs for longer than the human faces (backing up findings from previous studies), the canines studied also studied the faces of familiar humans for longer than unfamiliar ones.

Additionally, when the dogs were given upside-down photos of faces to view, they viewed those in much the same way that humans do. While the pups stared at the inverted pictures for just as long, they tended to focus more on the eye area of the upright photos.

“Familiar faces and eyes attracted more fixations than the strange ones, suggesting that dogs are likely to recognize conspecific [relating to the same species] and human faces in photographs,” the study’s authors conclude.

It’s just more proof that “dogs are people, too.”

…[Read More]

Not sure, though…

If this trick would work for long.

Because after a heavy bought of THIS:

[Source]

With no treats forthcoming?

Not sure the pic trick would last for long.

Dang & Blast!!!!

I come in piece

News Mash: Don’t worry New York, cockroaches can be a good thing. No, seriously!

Cockroaches are nasty…

Disgusting creatures!

But even then, you would be surprised to learn?

Oh, yes…

They have their uses:

[via Sploid]Cockroaches saved humans from living on a planet made of dinosaur poop ~Jesus Diaz

“Dinosaurs undoubtedly produced huge quantities of excrements”—starts this new research paper. There are many examples of petrified dino dung in museums, but not nearly as many as there should have been. In fact, we should we walking through mountains of Mesozoic manure—but cockroaches saved us from a world plastered with dinosaur turdcrust:

Dinosaurs undoubtedly produced huge quantities of excrements. But who cleaned up after them? Dung beetles and flies with rapid development were rare during most of the Mesozoic. Candidates for these duties are extinct cockroaches (Blattulidae), whose temporal range is associated with herbivorous dinosaurs. An opportunity to test this hypothesis arises from coprolites to some extent extruded from an immature cockroach [check out the image above—ed.] preserved in the amber of Lebanon, studied using synchrotron X-ray microtomography.

Cockroaches saved humans from living on a planet made of dinosaur poop

1.06% of their volume is filled by particles of wood with smooth edges, in which size distribution directly supports their external pre-digestion. Because fungal pre-processing can be excluded based on the presence of large particles (combined with small total amount of wood) and absence of damages on wood, the likely source of wood are herbivore feces. Smaller particles were broken down biochemically in the cockroach hind gut, which indicates that the recent lignin-decomposing termite and cockroach endosymbionts might have been transferred to the cockroach gut upon feeding on dinosaur feces.

…[Read More]

Huh.

They clean up poo?

Good thing to know too, I suppose…

Considering?

New York City has been invaded by a new breed that…

Will. Not. DIE!

No matter how cold it gets.

[via DailyMail] New York City invaded by new SUPER cockroach that can survive an entire winter outside

  • Researchers believe an Asian cockroach made its way to the U.S. in plants imported for the construction of a New York City park
  • Periplaneta japonica has never been confirmed in the U.S. until recently
  • This form of Asian cockroach is different from common American cockroaches in that it can survive outside in the winter

By Associated PressI come in piece

Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood is home to art galleries, fashion stores, townhouses and now a new breed of cockroach that won’t die even if forced to live outside all winter.

The High Line, a park that turned a dilapidated stretch of elevated railway in the neighborhood into one of New York’s newest tourist attractions, may have been responsible for bringing a new breed of cockroach to the city.

Rutgers University insect biologists Jessica Ware and Dominic Evangelista said the species Periplaneta japonica is well documented in Asia but was never confirmed in the United States until now. The scientists, whose findings were published in the Journal of Economic Entomology, say that it is too soon to predict the impact …

‘Because this species is very similar to cockroach species that already exist in the urban environment,’ Evangelista said, ‘they likely will compete with each other for space and for food.’

That competition, Ware said, will likely keep the population low, ‘because more time and energy spent competing means less time and energy to devote to reproduction.’

Michael Scharf, a professor of urban entomology at Purdue University, said the discovery is something to monitor.

‘To be truly invasive, a species has to move in and take over and out-compete a native species,’ he said. ‘There’s no evidence of that, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be concerned about it.’

…[Read More]

Ew, sorry NY.

But when it comes to just what kind of impact these nasty little buggers cause lay down on your find city…

Never doubt?

As the first article reflects about, it could indeed be a positive one.

It could very well clean up all the poo that lines your streets!

Understand…

Probably not.

But still, there is that tiny, unforgiving chance.

Hang on to that possibility.

Tightly.

Cause when faced with the probability of a cockroach invasive species invasion?

Its pretty much the only positive to be had.

[Source]

*Yikes*

evidence of evilness

News Mash: Phobias are passed down by nature, or nurtured with a good story?

Scared of anything?

You  know, such as spiders?

If you are, chances are…

Oh, you should probably blame your dad:

[via DailyMail] Scared of spiders? Maybe it’s your mom: Scientists say phobias can modify DNA and be passed on

  • Scientists discovered fear can be passed down through generations
  • Ancestral experiences before an individual is born ‘influence behaviour’
  • Teams of researchers trained mice to fear a cherry blossom-like smell
  • Tests on their offspring revealed they also exhibited a fearful response

By Nick Mcdermott

Ever wondered how your dread of spiders or things that go bump in the night was born?

Phobias may not be simply down to unpleasant child experiences, but those of your parents or even grandparents, a new study suggests.

[Source]

Scientists have discovered that fear can be passed down through the generations by modifying DNA.

Their findings indicate that ancestral experiences occurring long before an individual is born, or even conceived, can influence their behaviour.

In the current study, researchers trained mice to fear a cherry blossom-like smell.

Tests on their offspring revealed they exhibited a more fearful response to whiffs of cherry blossom than neutral odour, despite never encountering either smell before.

The same reaction was also observed in the next generation of mice.

Even when the offspring were conceived by artificial insemination and fostered by different animals, they were still scared of the cherry blossom-smell, suggesting the behaviour is inherited not taught.

The study, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, offers further proof of a process called epigenetics, in which conditions experienced by previous generations cause subtle changes to the way genes work.

‘The fact that these changes persisted after IVF, cross-fostering and across two generations is indicative of biological inheritance,’ wrote Dr Brian Dias and Dr Kerry Ressler from Emory University, in Atlanta.

‘The second generation mice that we tested are a full and complete generation removed from the environmental perturbation of their parent; as such, our observations suggest a transgenerational phenomenon.’

…[Read More]

Or…

Maybe the reason you’re so afraid of spiders could be as a result of some of THESE (below) scary spider stories, and they have just have had a very adverse effect on your brain.

I mean, jeez…

I just brought ONE over here for your enjoyment and wow, I have been freaking out over it ever since I read it!

[via Listverse]10 Scary Spider Stories ~by Nolan Moore

Sure, spiders are fascinating. We can all admire their amazing webs, and even arachnophobes appreciate how they keep the mosquitoes under control, but no matter how many times we tell ourselves they’re helpful creatures, deep down we all know that spiders are monsters from Hell. In Western society alone, 55 percent of women and 18 percent of men are terrified of spiders. Even the master of horror, Stephen King, thinks they’re uber-creepy. With arachnophobia so widespread, it’s no surprise the world is full of scary spider stories, both fact and fiction. They show up in ancient mythology, urban legends and newspapers around the world.

The Monster In The Elevator

It’s Russia, 1990. The police are called to investigate a mysterious death in a bad spot of town. A man was found slumped in an elevator, very much dead with two holes in his neck. The coroner discovers the man died in state of shock, and he’s lost a lot of blood. However, to everyone’s surprise, there’s no bloodstains, no fingerprints, and no signs of forced entry. Things take another bizarre turn when, one month later, a teenage girl is found dead in the same elevator with two identical puncture wounds in her throat, minus a liter or two of blood. People are starting to think there’s a vampire on the loose. What other explanation makes sense?

The police are getting desperate so they stake out the apartment, posting a detective and a sergeant inside the elevator. The men ride the lift up and down for hours and hours, which turn into days and days. On the third day, the elevator suddenly shakes and comes to a halt. The power dies, plunging the men into darkness, which isn’t good news since the sergeant suffers from a mild case of claustrophobia. The two pull out their flashlights, and it’s then they hear the click, click, click on the elevator roof. As their heart rates spike, they realize something big—something alive—is up there, crawling around, and it’s then they see the hole in the roof where a panel has fallen away. The detective shines his light toward the gap and has to fight back sheer terror as he sees a small, hairy head the size of a fist, covered in eight shiny eyes.

The sergeant isn’t quite as calm. Not only does he have claustrophobia, he’s also deathly afraid of spiders. He panics and drops his flashlight, and suddenly the three-foot-long beast springs into the elevator and lands on the sergeant’s face, where it proceeds to sink its jaws into his cheek and suck out blood. The detective is paralyzed for a moment, but then he draws his gun and fires, shooting off one of the spider’s hairy legs. Wounded, the creature rushes past the detective and escapes out the hatch, leaving one more corpse and a traumatized detective. Is the story true? Probably not. But it’s something to think about if you’re ever stuck in an elevator.

…[Read MoreSee all 10 Scary Spider Stories HERE!]

One thing I know for sure?

Simply this:

The nature vs nurture debate aside, no matter your REASON for being afraid of spiders?

You. Are. Not. Wrong!

evidence of evilness [Source]

3656c-cat

News Mash: Your cat recognizes your voice… Just doesn’t care!

For all you cat lovers out there?

You’re gonna love this:

Your cat DOES recognize your voice.

[via DiscoverMagazine] Contrary to what your cats would have you believe, they do recognize your voice. ~By Seriously Science

Vocal recognition of owners by domestic cats (Felis catus).

“Domestic cats have had a 10,000-year history of cohabitation with humans and seem to have the ability to communicate with humans. However, this has not been widely examined. We studied 20 domestic cats to investigate whether they could recognize their owners by using voices that called out the subjects’ names, with a habituation-dishabituation method. While the owner was out of the cat’s sight, we played three different strangers’ voices serially, followed by the owner’s voice. We recorded the cat’s reactions to the voices and categorized them into six behavioral categories. In addition, ten naive raters rated the cats’ response magnitudes. The cats responded to human voices not by communicative behavior (vocalization and tail movement), but by orienting behavior (ear movement and head movement). This tendency did not change even when they were called by their owners. Of the 20 cats, 15 demonstrated a lower response magnitude to the third voice than to the first voice. These habituated cats showed a significant rebound in response to the subsequent presentation of their owners’ voices. This result indicates that cats are able to use vocal cues alone to distinguish between humans.”

…[Read More]

As for all you NON-cat lovers out there?

Yeah…

You’re just not that impressed.

[Source – Ah, the wonders of photoshop!]

Cause knowing cats DO recognize…

But often ignore you anyway?

Is a fact that does not endear, and in fact only reinforces the belief by non-cat lovers…

That cats can be jerks.

[Source]

And if you were honest, cat lovers?

You’d admit it too.

a jewel in the heart of nature

News Mash: The “amplituhedron” and other jewels in nature!

Science has discovered a new priceless treasure!

A jewel, it seems…

Is at the very heart of Quantum Physics.

[via Wired]Scientists Discover a Jewel at the Heart of Quantum Physics ~By Natalie Wolchover, Quanta Magazine

Physicists reported this week the discovery of a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality.

“This is completely new and very much simpler than anything that has been done before,” said Andrew Hodges, a mathematical physicist at Oxford University who has been following the work.

The revelation that particle interactions, the most basic events in nature, may be consequences of geometry significantly advances a decades-long effort to reformulate quantum field theory, the body of laws describing elementary particles and their interactions. Interactions that were previously calculated with mathematical formulas thousands of terms long can now be described by computing the volume of the corresponding jewel-like “amplituhedron,” which yields an equivalent one-term expression.

…[Read More]

Unsurprising…

For those of us who are fans of Mother Nature.

For we few, we proud few…

Know that “priceless treasures” have ALWAYS been a part of anything, and everything, in nature.

[via io9]Amazing close-up photos of snowflakes taken without a microscope ~Katharine Trendacosta

These are the best kinds of snowflakes: the kind that are under the lens of a camera and not piled up outside my door. A Russian photographer uses a set up he made himself to take these photos….

a jewel in the heart of nature [Source]

Russian photographer Alexey Kljatov uses a homemade camera rig to take these amazing close-ups of the snowflakes that fall on his balcony….check out his blog for many, many more.

…[Read More]

From enormous, to minute…

No matter the vast, or microscopic, size?

Jewels…

TRUE treasures exists in all levels of nature.

We just have to take the time to SEE it.

superior kitty

News Mash: When it comes to ‘illusion of asymmetric insight’…Cats have it!

Superiority complex.

Some just have it…

Far more than others.

Question is why:

[via io9] Why you think you’re better than everyone else ~Esther Inglis-Arkellsuperior kitty

People, as we know, have mixed abilities. One person might be more skilled than average when it comes physical ability, but lack judgment. Others excel when it comes to the ability to buckle down and work hard, but aren’t the most inspired. But not you. You’re very good at everything… at least that’s what we all tell ourselves, thanks to the illusion of superiority.

We are All the Most Talented

To take the top layer off this illusion, start asking around about basic skills. Ask people, as researchers for an infamous study did, how they rate when compared to other drivers. About 93% of people consider themselves “above average” drivers. They weren’t asked about their driving records, or whether they met some standard of safe driving. They were asked how they compared to other people. It’s impossible for 93% of them to be above average. (Although it does make me curious about how bad those last 7% of drivers were. They’re probably dead by now.)

This isn’t an affliction limited to us poor, ignorant plebeians; 94% of college professors thought they were above average, when it came to their job performance, and nearly a third of workers at a software company thought the were better than 19 out of 20 of their fellow workers. (Only 19? What a modest profession.) We don’t all believe that we’re at the top of our field, but no matter what we do, we generally think we’re a bit better than most people at it. Add all those skills together and we are exceptional human beings. By why are we so exceptional?

We Won’t Change

Have you understood the point of this article? Intellectually, you might have. Viscerally? Not a chance. Sure, we all know that blowhard in the office who is absolutely convinced that they’re 10 times as good as they actually are. We all know those nutball drivers who swerve around the highway gesturing out the window at everyone else. We see through them. And we might admit that we’re not so good at driving, or at certain aspects of our jobs. But do we really think that we’re in the bottom third of something important to us? The bottom fifth? The sad group of losers in the bottom 10%? Somebody has to be down there. Why not us? Well, because we’re us.

What keeps us in this particular cycle is the illusion of asymmetric insight.

…[Read More]

When it comes to humans, its all about the illusion of asymmetric insight?

Sure, ok.

But can such a bias be applied to animals as well?

Oh…

You tell me:

Cats feel like they SURPASS dogs?

In the case of the video, they’re sure not wrong.

Cause dogs…

Yeah, they sure aren’t brave enough to pass THEM!