22 February 2012

websites of interest

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: A self-described grandmother from Canada, her blog profile states: "I am a Baby Boomer, having grown up through many periods of social upheaval. However, I believe that as a nation we have moved forward and I can no longer simply sit back and watch it be destroyed."
     Her site has won recognition, as she opines about politics, health care, the environment and how powerful extremist neo-cons in the USA and elsewhere subvert the principles of democracy.
     Although it has been a very long time since I lived up by the fluid border that is the boundary between Canada and the USA, I make no secret (while at the same time not much talking about it) that I find myself more culturally Canadian than American.
     She also writes about Victoriana, Women in Canada and dolls. I'm proud to post a link to her informative site.
Mental Floss:
     This archival edition focuses on four mental/medical experiments gone awry. Three are no doubt clear examples of torture; two of the three are conducted on other mammals than human beings (dolphins and fighting bulls). One is self-inflicted.
     The dolphin experiments conducted by none other than psychedelic researcher John Lilly, presumably before he had an epiphany that what he was doing to cetaceans was clearly wrong.
     The human "study", conducted by social psychologist Milton Rokeach wanted to test the strength of self-delusion. So, he gathered three patients, all of whom identified themselves as Jesus Christ, and made them live together in the same mental hospital in Michigan for two years. He wrote a book about it, The Three Christs of Ypsilanti [later made into a film]. Twenty years later, Rokeach renounced his methods, writing, “I really had no right, even in the name of science, to play God and interfere around the clock with their daily lives.”
     The "self-inflicted" experiment is the tale of a man, Michel Siffre, a 23-year-old French geologist, who chose to sequester himself in an ice cave, conducting an experiment on himself. For two months in 1962, Siffre lived in total isolation, buried 375 feet inside a subterranean glacier in the French-Italian Maritime Alps, with no clocks or daylight to mark time.
     Siffre later re-conducted this experiment in 1972, and again, in the year 2000, when he was 62 years of age.
Science Codex:
ARTICLE ~ How the brain encodes memory.
     Senior author Kenneth S. Kosik, co-director and Harriman Chair in Neuroscience Research, at UCSB's Neuroscience Research Institute. Kosik is a leading researcher in the area of Alzheimer's disease.
     "One of the most important processes is that the synapses –– which cement those memories into place –– have to be strengthened," said Kosik. "In strengthening a synapse you build a connection, and certain synapses are encoding a memory.
     "Those synapses have to be strengthened so that memory is in place and stays there. Strengthening synapses is a very important part of learning. What we have found appears to be one part of how that happens

IMAGE CREDITS: 1- Ninjamatics' Canadian Web Awards; 2- Self-phofo of Michael Siffre, from Cabinet Magazine; 3- Sourav Banerjee, posted on Science Codex

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