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From Jan 31 2018

Cancer ‘vaccine’ eliminates tumors in mice

Activating T cells in tumors eliminated even distant metastases in mice, Stanford researchers found. Lymphoma patients are being recruited to test the technique in a clinical trial.

Injecting minute amounts of two immune-stimulating agents directly into solid tumors in mice can eliminate all traces of cancer in the animals, including distant, untreated metastases, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The approach works for many different types of cancers, including those that arise spontaneously, the study found.

The researchers believe the local application of very small amounts of the agents could serve as a rapid and relatively inexpensive cancer therapy that is unlikely to cause the adverse side effects often seen with bodywide immune stimulation.Read more... )
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"Holding Due North"

"Holding Due North" captures a weathered juniper tree in Montana's northern Rocky Mountains, surrounded by star trails. At the very center is Polaris, the brightest star in the constellation of Ursa Minor.
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Uuuuh-huh Nope. Fast many legged spider is how my mind would see it.

Here’s Why You Should Never Kill a House Centipede
Kiersten Hickman

They may be creepy looking, but you may want to think twice before squishing that bug to bits.

House centipede Jon Osumi/Shutterstock

There’s nothing more terrifying than watching a house centipede shoot across your floor and under your couch. It’s safe to say that most people are positively terrified from those creepy crawling houseguests. House centipedes typically have 15 legs and can travel 1.3 feet-per-second, which explains why catching one of these bugs is nearly impossible.

The typical response to a house centipede probably involves a shoe to squash the bugger before it crawls under another piece of furniture. But like almost every other bug out there, this particular bug does have a purpose. And yes, that purpose is actually good.

House centipedes are known for killing pests in your house that are completely unwelcome. They kill roaches, moths, flies, silverfish and termites. They use the two legs right near its head, which has been modified to carry venom, and their other legs to scoop up the bug. This is called a “lassoing” technique where they jump on their prey and wrap them up with the rest of their legs.

Not only are house centipedes killing the bugs you really don’t want in your house, they also don’t create any type of nests or webs as well. They are considered active hunters and are constantly looking for their next prey. They aren’t eating your wood and they aren’t carrying a fatal disease. House centipedes just want to go after the bugs.

If you want to get rid of house centipedes for good, the trick is to get rid of the food they source on. Try to get rid of the household pests that they prey.1 You can do this by making sure there isn’t extra moisture in your walls by using a dehumidifier or installing a fan in the bathroom. Seal off any cracks entering the house so pests don’t have places to lay eggs, and make sure to clear your house of any debris that is causing unnecessary moisture to leak into your walls.

Once you’ve made these switches, implement these 26 tips for controlling pests in and around your home2 so you don’t have to come across one of those scary looking house centipedes ever again.



Apr. 3rd, 2018 08:41 am
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Celia Sheen plays the theme tune from ITV's drama series "Midsomer Murders" on the Theremin. She has done so, along with incidental music, on the soundtrack of every episode for fourteen years. This fascinating instrument was the world's very first electronic instrument, invented in 1920 by Russian scientist Lev Theremin. Of course, nobody ever sees Celia's performances on the recordings, but what makes it interesting is that the Theremin is played without being touched!

The Physics of the Theremin
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The Five Healthiest Backyard Weeds

Broad-leaf plantain. Credit: User:SB_JohnnyBroad-leaf plantain.
Credit: User:SB_Johnny

You likely have weeds in your garden or in your neighborhood that are striving in the heat and are actually far more healthful than almost anything you can grow or buy.

Far from famine food, these so-called weeds can be delicious if prepared properly. And they are absolutely free.

Just a few words of caution: Be sure to identify the weed properly. (The ones described here are easy to spot.) Avoid harvesting from anyplace you suspect pollution — such as from vehicle exhaust, lawn pesticide or doggy business. And remember that edible does not mean allergen-free.

Got your garden gloves? Ok, here we go.
Common dandelion from upstate New York. Credit: UpStateNYer
Common dandelion from upstate New York.
Credit: UpStateNYer


Dandelion is one of the healthiest and most versatile vegetables on the planet. The entire plant is edible. The leaves are like vitamin pills, containing generous amounts of vitamins A, C and K — far more than those garden tomatoes, in fact — along with calcium, iron, manganese, and potassium.

The leaves are most tender, and tastiest, when they are young. This happens in the spring but also all summer along as the plant tries to rebound after being cut or pulled. You can add them to soup in great abundance. Or you can prepare them Italian style by sautéing with a little olive oil, salt, garlic and some hot red pepper.

You can eat the bright, open flower heads in a lightly fried batter. You can also make a simple wine with the flowers by fermenting them with raisins and yeast. If you are slightly adventurous, you can roast the dandelion root, grind it, and brew it like coffee. It's an acquired taste. You might want to have some sugar on hand.

Common purslane. Credit: ZooFari
Common purslane.
Credit: ZooFari


If you've ever lived in the city, you have seen good ol' Portulaca olearacea, or common purslane. The stuff grows in cracks in the sidewalk. Aside from being surprisingly tasty for a crack dweller, purslane tops the list of plants with omega-3 fatty acids, the type of healthy fat found in salmon. [7 Perfect Survival Foods]

If you dislike the bitter taste of dandelion greens, you still might like the lemony taste of purslane. The stems, leaves and flowers are all edible; and they can be eaten raw on salads — as they are prepared worldwide — or lightly sautéed.

You should keep a few things in mind, though, before your harvest. Watch out for spurge, a similar-looking sidewalk-crack dweller. Spurge is much thinner than purslane, and it contains a milky sap, so you can easily differentiate it. Also, your mother might have warned you about eating things off the sidewalk; so instead, look for purslane growing in your garden, or consider transplanting it to your garden from a sidewalk.

Also, note the some folks incorrectly call purslane "pigweed," but that's a different weed — edible but not as tasty.


Lamb's-quarters are like spinach, except they are healthier, tastier and easier to grow. Lamb's-quarters, also called goosefoot, usually need more than a sidewalk crack to grow in, unlike dandelion or purslane. Nevertheless, they can be found throughout the urban landscape, wherever there is a little dirt.

The best part of the lamb's-quarters are the leaves, which are slightly velvety with a fine white powder on their undersides. Discard any dead or diseased leaves, which are usually the older ones on the bottom of the plant. The leaves and younger stems can be quickly boiled or sautéed, and they taste like a cross between spinach and Swiss chard with a slight nutty after-taste.

Maybe that taste combination doesn't appeal to you, but lamb's-quarters are ridiculously healthy. A one-cup serving will give you 10 times the daily-recommended dose of vitamin K; three times the vitamin A; more than enough vitamin C; and half your daily dose of calcium and magnesium.



Plantain, like dandelion, is a healthy, hardy weed as ubiquitous in the city as broken glass. You know what it looks like, but you might not have known the name.

Part of the confusion is that plantain shares its name with something utterly different, the banana-like plantain, whose etymology is a mix of Spanish and native Caribbean. The so-called weed plantain, or Plantago major, was cultivated in pre-Columbus Europe; and indeed Native Americans called it "the white man's footprint," because it seemed to follow European settlers.

Plantain has a nutritional profile similar to dandelion — that is, loaded with iron and other important vitamins and minerals. The leaves are tastiest when small and tender, usually in the spring but whenever new shoots appear after being cut back by a lawnmower. Bigger leaves are edible but bitter and fibrous. [World's Plants Growing Less Thanks to Warming]

The shoots of the broadleaf plantain, when green and tender and no longer than about four inches, can be described as a poor-man's fiddlehead, with a nutty, asparagus-like taste. Pan-fry in olive oil for just a few seconds to bring out this taste. The longer, browner shoots are also tasty prepared the same way, but the inner stem is too fibrous. You'll need to place the shoot in your mouth, clench with your teeth, and quickly pull out the stem. What you're eating are the plantain seeds.

The leaves of the equally ubiquitous narrow-leaf plantain, or Plantago lanceolata, also are edible when young. The shoot is "edible" only with quotation marks. You can eat the seeds should you have the patience to collect hundreds of plants for the handful of seeds you'd harvest. With time being money, it's likely not worth it.

Stinging nettles. Credit: Uwe H. Friese, Bremerhaven 2003 Stinging nettles.
Credit: Uwe H. Friese, Bremerhaven 2003

Stinging Nettles

It sounds like a cruel joke, but stinging nettles — should you be able to handle them without getting a painful rash from the tiny, acid-filled needles — are delicious cooked or prepared as a tea.

You may have brushed by these in the woods or even in your garden, not knowing what hit you, having been trained all your life to identify poison ivy and nothing else. The tiny needles fortunately fall off when steamed or boiled. The trick is merely using garden gloves to get the nettles into a bag. [Video – Watch Gorillas Process and Eat Stinging Nettles]

Nettles tastes a little like spinach, only more flavorful and more healthful. They are loaded with essential minerals you won't find together outside a multivitamin bottle, and these include iodine, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, silica and sulfur. Nettles also have more protein than most plants.

Like all weeds, nettles are free. But you get even more of a bargain if you boil them. You can eat the leaves and then drink the water as tea, with or without sugar, hot or cold. If you are adventurous — or, well, just plain cheap — you can collect entire plants to dry in your basement. The needles will eventually fall off, and you can save the dried leaves for tea all winter long.

Christopher Wanjek is the author of the books "Bad Medicine" and "Food At Work." His column, Bad Medicine, appears regularly on LiveScience.
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Make a Rubber Band from a Dandelion


Rubber is a natural product made from latex. Many plants, including dandelions, produce latex but most of the world’s latex, the key ingredient of rubber, comes from the rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis.

Rubber is a very versatile product, and has many uses, including tyres, balloons, balls, shoes, erasers, playground surfaces, rain wear, gloves, adhesives, and of course, rubber bands.

Make an Elastic Band
The latex from a dandelion can make a small rubber band – but please do not do this experiment if you think you might be allergic to rubber or latex.
Collect some dandelion leaves and flower stems, break them and squeeze out the milky sap. Coat a finger down to the first knuckle with the sap, let it dry, and then gently roll this off – it will form a small, stretchy (but not very strong) elastic band. Dandelion latex will also make a rubbery sheet, if spread on a piece of glass or a tile. However, it will be stickier than the elastic band, as body heat helped the latex in the elastic band to set.

Make Waterproof Cloth
Waterproof clothes can be made out of rubber sandwiched between two layers of fabric – this process was invented by Charles Macintosh, which is why waterproof coats are sometimes called 'macintoshes' or 'macs'. To make a small piece of waterproof fabric, spread dandelion sap on a piece of cloth and allow it to dry – this will now not let water through, though it will stay rather sticky.

Make a Bouncing Ball
Acid helps latex stick together (coagulate) – mix half a teaspoon of sap and quarter of a glass of water and stir with a straw. Slowly add a bit of vinegar – the acid will make the latex stick to the straw. Squeeze the latex into a ball – this will get rid of the excess water – and try giving it a bounce! A rubber ball bounces because it is elastic and squashes as it hits the ground – the energy used in movement goes into changing the ball’s shape. As it returns to its original shape, it releases the energy, which turns into movement again.

Curing Rubber
Rubber made commercially is cured using heat and sulphur, which stops the rubber from being sticky and means that it isn't affected by heat (the dandelion ‘rubber’ will be soft in warm conditions and stiff in cold conditions). Leaving the rubber ball made from the dandelion latex for about a month will begin the curing process and will change it from white to a transparent brownish colour. This allows any water to evaporate and continues the coagulation that the vinegar started.

Using Dandelions
These aren't just fun experiments to do – in 2008, Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and the Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center received a grant of around $3 million to study methods to make rubber from the roots of a Russian dandelion, Taraxacum kok-saghyz.
It isn’t the only use for a dandelion – the young leaves are high in calcium, potassium, and iron, and can be eaten like spinach, the young roots (after peeling) taste like turnip, and the flowers are edible too. However, remember that dandelions can be diuretic (make you wee)!

Dandelion sap experiments are taken
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Stephen Hawking Never Answered His 'Most Interesting' Scientific Question

Stephen Hawking died today (March 14), leaving behind a massive legacy of work as an astrophysicist, science communicator, activist, and figure of pop culture admiration. And on the day of his death, a question he raised and worked on until the last years of his life remains unanswered: Can information really be lost to the universe?

Hawking's most famous paper, "Black Hole Explosions?," published 44 years ago in 1974, took a hatchet to the whole notion of black holes as physicists had previous understood them. And it was Hawking's first whack at that basic question.

"Classically, a black hole should be 'perfectly cold' in the sense that it absorbs everything but emits nothing. This is how they were understood in the early 1970s," Robert McNees, a physicist at Loyola University in Chicago, wrote in an email.

A black hole like that would radiate no energy, and no matter could escape from it. It would just… exist, cold, silent, and eternal. Hawking's paper made the black holes alive ­— and possibly mortal.

"When Stephen considered quantum mechanical effects in the mid-70s, he discovered that black holes should, in principle, radiate as if they were thermal objects with a temperature," McNees told Live Science. "If they radiate energy then their mass will decrease. And he found that as this happens, as they shrink, their temperature goes up and they radiate even faster."

Eventually, perhaps, the black hole would disappear entirely, or shrink to a little nubbin. Without fully reconciling relativity and quantum mechanics in a robust theory of "quantum gravity" (what physicists call a "theory of everything"), the final stage of that black hole evaporation remains a mystery.Read more... )
Originally published on Live Science.
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But when, where and how do you get that poop sample successfully to the vets office?

We’ve got you covered!

Here’s 5 tips on getting that all important stool sample to your vet!

1. The fresher the better. If your dog’s poop has sat out in the back yard for 3 days, leave it there. A 3 day poop sample is not very diagnostic. The same goes for cat poop. A cat poop that has been sitting in the litter box for 3 days and is severely dehydrated, you know, it cracks like a stick, is not a good sample. Fresh samples(within 24 hours) provide better and more accurate results so try your best to snag a sample as soon as your pet poops.

2. Storage is key. You want to preserve the sample as best as you can. If your pet has an appointment in the afternoon but only poops in the morning, that’s o.k. You can store it in the fridge, or in cooler weather, store it outside. Do not store it in the freezer or leave it baking in the hot sun, this will make for a bad sample.

3. Bigger is not better. Most vets and labs only need a small amount of poop to run a fecal sample. About the size of 2 sugar cubes. (double-check with your vet just to be sure) You do not need to bring the whole pile of poop.

4. Pick your container wisely. Most vet offices should have fecal containers for you to take home and collect a sample. Other containers that work well are old pill bottles, or plastic containers. Plastic bags can work well but they can leak so make sure that you’re double bagging the sample. Poop bags work awesome and are great for all involved!! Make sure you also label the sample with your pet’s name.

5. Make sure you’re bringing poop. It sounds crazy but a clump of kitty urine can often be confused for cat poop but a cat urine sample will be rejected when checking for fecal parasites.
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I want this on a t-shirt

If great scientists had logos

Pythagoras of Samos - pythagoras theorem
Archimedes of Syracuse - Archimedes' principle the upward buoyant force exerted on a body immersed in a fluid, is equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the body and acts in the upward direction at the center of mass of the displaced fluid.
Nicolaus Copernicus - placed the Sun rather than the Earth at the center of the universe
Sir Isaac Newton PRS - laws of motion and universal gravitation
Charles Robert Darwin, FRS FRGS FLS FZS - science of evolution
Albert Einstein - theory of relativity
Democritus, a Greek philosopher, fifth century BC., small pieces of matter "atomos"
Euclid of Alexandria - "founder of geometry"
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz - calculus
Kurt Gödel - incompleteness theorems arithmetical functions
Michael Faraday FRS - principles underlying electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis
Niels Henrik David Bohr - atomic structure and quantum theory
Wolfgang Joseph Pauli - new law of Nature, Pauli principle" - spin theory, basis of theory of structure of matter.
Werner Heisenberg - uncertainty principle (the more precisely the position of some particle is determined, the less precisely its momentum can be known, and vice versa)
Richard Phillips Feynman - quantum mechanics
Norman E. Borlaug - extensive increases in agricultural production termed the "green revolution"
James Watson & Francis Crick - credited with discovery DNA double helix
Dame Jane Morris Goodall DBE - primatologist and anthropologist

pythagoras theorem
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On at least one of these a person could become an observational scientist *coughs* Voyeur.
cat and waterPhoto Credit: 135pixels /

Why do cats stretch so much?
Cats like to stretch largely for the same reasons people do: It feels good, and it increases blood flow to the muscles, Andrew Cuff, a postdoctoral researcher of anatomy at the Royal Veterinary College in London, told Live Science in April 2016.

Cats sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day, meaning they're not moving for long amounts of time. When cats are sitting still or sleeping, their blood pressure drops, Cuff said. Stretching can reverse that, he added.

"As you stretch, it activates all of your muscles and increases your blood pressure, which increases the amount of blood flowing to the muscles and also to the brain," Cuff said. "This helps wake you up and make you more alert."

Stretching can also flush out toxins and waste byproducts that build up in the body during periods of inactivity, Cuff said. Moreover, when a cat stretches, it readies its muscles for activity, such as running after a mouse … or a treat.

stretch Photo Credit: Iuliia Ilina |

Why do dogs poop along a north-south axis?
Dogs aren't just particular about their cozy "nests." Turns out, some pups like to poop while they are aligned with the north-south axis of the Earth's magnetic field. To come to this wacky conclusion, researchers spent two years observing 70 dogs as they defecated and urinated.

The dogs studied, which included 57 different breeds, tended to face north or south while pooping and seemed to avoid facing east or west, the researchers noted in their study, published in 2014 in the journal Frontiers in Zoology. Even so, the researchers are not sure how the dogs are sensing the magnetic field (if they are, in fact, sensing it) or why they'd have such a particular pooping position.

Are cats smarter than dogs?
Science doesn't have a clear answer on this one, so cat and dog lovers may forever debate whether Fluffy or Fido is brainier. But there are hints as to which fluff ball is most intelligent.

Cats' brains take up 0.9 percent of their body mass, compared with 1.2 percent for a dog's brain, but size doesn't necessarily matter here, experts say. That's because cats have 300 million neurons in their cerebral cortex, an area of the brain responsible for information processing. Dogs have 160 million neurons in that region.

However, it's hard to do experiments with cats because, well, they'd rather lick their paws than follow orders, scientists say. But one experiment showed that although both cats and dogs can solve puzzles to get food, cats will keep trying even if the puzzle is unsolvable, while dogs will go get humans to help them.

This doesn't mean either animal is smarter. It just shows the effects of how dogs were domesticated at least 20,000 years before cats were, and thus are more likely to interact with humans, the study researchers said.

Why do dogs wag their tails?
Is it true that your household canine wags his tail out of glee? Sort of. Dogs do wag their tails as a form of communication, research has found. But a little shimmy doesn't always say, "Come pet me." Perhaps surprisingly, in 2007, researchers found that whether the tail is swishing on the right or left side of the dog's body has meaning: A tail wag that's skewed toward the right indicates positive emotions, while a leftie wag suggests negative emotions.

The left-right difference may be linked to the differences found in the right and left hemispheres of a dog's brain, the researchers noted. In addition, research published in 2013 in the journal Current Biology revealed that a right-wagging tail tends to relax canine passersby, while a left wag seems to stress out other dogs.

The position of a dog's tail, even when it's not wagging, can also convey meaning. A tail held high above the spine may indicate arousal, while a tail tucked between the dog's rear legs can suggest fear, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
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The Age of the Bed Changed the Way We Sleep

A night without electric lights—not to mention glowing screens—is almost unimaginable for modern residents of wealthy nations. Looking at writings from the British Isles in the early modern era, A. Roger Ekirch reconstructs what it was like, and how the darkness affected people’s sleep patterns.

Ekirch notes that only the wealthiest families of the era would have had candles to keep their homes bright. Heading out of the house on moonless nights meant navigating by hearing, smell, and touch, and using charms to ward off evil spirits. Children learned early to be aware of the landscape around their houses “as a rabbit knows his burrow.”

Still, people found things to do after dark. Families might gather around the hearth to mend clothes and chat, or join a small crowd at a neighbor’s house to listen to a storyteller. Men might frequent the local tavern, or, in a larger town or city, the brothel.

The environment for sleep itself changed dramatically between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries, Ekirch writes, going from straw pallets on the floor to wooden frames with pillows, sheets, blankets, and mattresses filled with rags and wool. Sixteenth-century clergyman William Harrison recalled a people in his childhood sleeping with “a good round log under their heads, instead of a bolster” and wrote that pillows “were thought meet only for women in childebed.”

Still, when beds were introduced people took to them eagerly. Quoting historian Carole Shammas, Ekrich writes that we might think of the early modern era as “The Age of the Bed.” Beds were the first and most valuable piece of furniture families acquired, accounting for a quarter of the value of a modest household. They were also often infested with bugs and shared by several people.

Still, this was far preferable to sleeping in public streets, as the urban poor might have to do, or in straw-filled barns with a dozen or more other people—the fate of some rural vagabonds.

To post-industrial people, the weirdest part of early modern sleep might be the habit of waking in the middle of the night. Ekrich argues that Europeans in this era commonly divided the nights into “first sleep” and “second sleep.” Some people used the time of wakefulness in the night to do chores or commit petty theft. But many found it a good time for contemplation, quiet conversation, or sex.

Ekrich suggests that this general sleeping pattern wasn’t unique to one time and place. He writes that ancient Romans and twentieth-century Nigerians in villages without electricity slept in similar ways. Even modern westerners revert to a pattern including a few hours of nighttime wakefulness when deprived of artificial light for several weeks. A researcher studying this phenomenon found that people’s hormonal balance during that nighttime waking period produced “something approaching an altered state of consciousness not unlike meditation.”

Perhaps, the foreignness of the pre-electric past goes deeper than daily habits and social conventions, reflecting biological processes that work differently in our era of unlimited light.

Sleep We Have Lost: Pre-Industrial Slumber in the British Isles

The American Historical Review, Vol. 106, No. 2 (Apr., 2001), pp. 343-386

Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Historical Association
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Limiting Your Child’s Fire Time: A Guide for Concerned Paleolithic Parents


According to the most recent cave drawings, children nowadays are using fire more than ever before. And it’s no wonder: fire has many wonderful applications, such as cooking meat, warming the home, and warding off wild animals in the night. We adult Homo erectus, with our enlarged brains and experience of pre-fire days, can moderate our use, but our children—some of whom never lived during a time when you couldn’t simply strike two rocks together for an hour over a pile of dried grass to eventually produce a spark that, with gentle coaxing, might grow into a roaring flame—can have difficulty self-monitoring their interactions with fire.

You don’t want to be the bad guy, but you also want to make sure that your child engages in other activities, like mammoth hunting and the gathering of rocks and bones with which to make tools. So, how do you set appropriate boundaries for your child on fire usage without jeopardizing the family unit so crucial to the survival of the species? Here are some tips:

Establish clear but firm limits: Fire is nice, but there’s a time and a place for it. So institute specific fire-watching times, and stick to them. After dinner, when the fire is lit, anyway, is one good option, as well as early in the morning, when a fire is just the thing to warm a chilly cave. Those living in glacial areas may have a harder time curtailing the use of fire, but just remind your children that when you were their age several layers of animal pelts were enough to keep you perfectly warm. Remember, you’re the patriarch (or matriarch, depending on your community’s customs surrounding familial power structures), and you make the rules!

Have a designated “fire room” in your dwelling: Those with smaller caves or huts might find this suggestion difficult, but even establishing a “fire corner” can help to create separate “fire” and “non-fire” spaces in your living area. In the non-fire spaces, encourage traditional activities, such as conversation (as much as your current vocabulary will allow), arrowhead-shaving, or stick-drawing in mud or soft stones. Reminding your children of the pleasures provided by these traditional activities can help reduce the seductive lure of the fire’s dancing flame.

Watch for changes and communicate concerns: For many children, fire is a harmless, pleasant addition to their lives. But for some it can become an all-consuming passion. If your child seems to be growing unhealthily attached to the fire, don’t wait to talk to him about it. A few common fire-obsessed behaviors to look out for include:

• Distraction: ignoring people when they are in the same room as fire
• Preoccupation: talking or thinking about fire, even when there is no fire present
• Deception: going off to secretly find/make fires; lying about fire usage when confronted
• Anthropomorphization: talking to/interacting with the fire as if it were a sentient being, which the elders we consulted say is highly unlikely, though they have yet to entirely rule out the presence of powerful magical beings within the inferno

Commit to non-fire family time: This last tip is the most important, because, if all you’re doing is restricting your child’s behavior and environment, he’s bound to resent you. So introduce non-fire activities that the whole family can enjoy together, and commit to them on a regular basis. These activities will depend on your region and climate, of course, but hunting and/or gathering is always a great way to be active and insure your family’s survival. If your tribe has already discovered music, carve a bone flute and work on a family song. Believe in a god (or gods)? Carve some rudimentary icons in his/her/their image. There’s no end to the fun you can have when you put your significantly-larger-than-a-chimpanzee’s mind to it!

In the end, just remember that fire, like most innovations, is both a blessing and a curse. Sure, it’s made our lives easier, our survival likelier, and will probably lead to the greatest evolutionary paradigm shift in human history. But it’s also dangerous, destructive, and, yes, possibly infested with demonic forces that wish us ill. As with everything in life, balance is key. If you can imagine what it was like a few thousand years ago, when the first humans started walking upright, and how much grief they probably got from their parents, you’ll have some empathy for your children’s unique place in the evolutionary narrative. At the same time, don’t forget that you’re the boss, and that, until they mate and produce viable offspring, what you say goes. And, of course, it goes without saying that, in the (again, very unlikely) event that fire is both sentient and vengeful, we humbly beg its forgiveness for our insolence and pray to be spared our fleeting and insignificant lives.
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An Ancient Virus May Be Responsible for Human Consciousness
By Rafi Letzter, Staff Writer

ancient virus

You've got an ancient virus in your brain. In fact, you've got an ancient virus at the very root of your conscious thought.

According to two papers published in the journal Cell in January, long ago, a virus bound its genetic code to the genome of four-limbed animals. That snippet of code is still very much alive in humans' brains today, where it does the very viral task of packaging up genetic information and sending it from nerve cells to their neighbors in little capsules that look a whole lot like viruses themselves. And these little packages of information might be critical elements of how nerves communicate and reorganize over time — tasks thought to be necessary for higher-order thinking, the researchers said.

Though it may sound surprising that bits of human genetic code come from viruses, it's actually more common than you might think: A review published in Cell in 2016 found that between 40 and 80 percent of the human genome arrived from some archaic viral invasion. [Unraveling the Human Genome: 6 Molecular Milestones]Read more... )
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Why Do We Cook So Many Foods at 350 Degrees?

Whether you’re making mouthwatering blueberry muffins from scratch or finally giving in to that partially opened box of fish sticks that's been hiding in the back of your freezer for eight months, there’s a fairly good chance that you’ll be heating your oven to 350ºF. How can such vastly different foods require the same cooking temperature?

It’s all thanks to something called the Maillard Reaction. In 1912, chemist Louis Camille Maillard was the first to describe the magical transformation that happens to food when it's cooked at around 300 to 350ºF. The finer details of the process are still not totally understood, but according to Serious Eats, it’s generally agreed that the Maillard Reaction happens when heat transforms the proteins and sugars in food, creating a release of new flavors, aromas, and colors. On a primitive level, these delicious changes signal to humans that the food won't harm us and may also contain vital nutrients.

However, that doesn’t mean that we should cook everything at 350ºF. That’s just the baseline. For example, most breads need higher temperatures to rise quickly, and puff pastries do better in the 400ºF range because the steam released at that temperature helps the dough expand. But for many recipes, 350ºF is the golden rule.

By the way: you should thank your lucky stars for modern oven temperature dials, which are way better than the old method of sticking your arm inside to test the heat. Before temperature technology existed, Slate says, bakers would hold an arm inside the oven to see if they could stand it for more than 30 seconds. If they could, it wasn’t hot enough yet.


Jan. 24th, 2018 08:27 pm
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Okay remember this?:
Caterpillars Exploding From “Zombie Virus” Outbreak
zombie caterpillar
Typically, oak eggar caterpillars stay relatively low and avoid climbing towards light sources to avoid getting eaten by birds and other predators. However, if they have the misfortune of being infected by this baculovirus, it messes with their response to light, causing them to climb to the top of plants in their dazed and confused state.

Their bodies then become a liquefied gloopy mess and pop, thereby spreading the infectious virus to other insects on the plants below and allowing the outbreak to continue.

And there's this:
Toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that can be transmitted through cat poop, causes mice to be less cautious about cats and therefore to get eaten the next part of the life cycle of the parasite.

This study on the behavioral effects of toxoplasmosis:

Although latent infection with Toxoplasma gondii is among the most prevalent of human infections, it has been generally assumed that, except for congenital transmission, it is asymptomatic. ... Possible mechanisms by which T. gondii may affect human behavior include its effect on dopamine and on testosterone.

So anyway........ the article's title says it all...
Toxoplasmosis May Be Linked To 'Crazy Cat Lady' Syndrome As It Alters Brain And Behavior
Do we NEED a reason to love cats?!

Anyway there's this article:

Could 'Zombie Deer' Disease Spread to Humans?

Deer in at least 22 U.S. states and parts of Canada have died from a neurological disease called "chronic wasting disease," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Chronic wasting disease can cause a number of symptoms in animals, including drastic weight loss, a lack of coordination, drooling, listlessness or a "blank" facial expression, and a lack of fear of people,... sound familiar?
It infects members of the deer (cervid) family, including white-tailed deer, mule deer, reindeer, moose and elk.

The disease was first discovered in Colorado in 1967, according to the CDC, and so far, no cases in humans have ever been reported.

The...infectious proteins that cause chronic wasting disease — called prions — don't easily jump between species, ... these proteins can evolve to infect other species, .. bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or "mad cow disease,"

..a study showed that macaque monkeys could get the disease from eating infected meat. Out of five monkeys that were fed infected white-tailed-deer meat, three tested positive for chronic wasting disease..

Well at least the deer aren't out to bite you while droning out 'brains'.
Zombie Deer


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