The Weight of Thought

Apr 18

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(Source: nosdrinker, via fuckyeahsexanddrugs)

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Apr 17

A Brutal Allergy Season Is Ahead. Blame the Polar Vortex. -

One week ago, I purchased the first asthma inhaler I’ve owned since the 8th grade. I’d shown up at my doctor’s office short of breath, and a lung function test promptly revealed that I was inhaling about one-fifth as much air as a healthy 24-year-old should be. “We’re expecting a lot of cases like you,” my doctor told me as he wrote my prescription. “It’s going to be a hell of a pollen season.”

And for that, you can blame the polar vortex—the extreme cold system that repeatedly hovered over much of the United States this year—along with the rest of this winter’s brutal weather. Those cold snaps helped spawn a spring allergy season so intense that it already has its own headline-ready nickname: the “pollen vortex.”

"The long winter, the particularly cold weather, it all pushed the pollen season back quite a bit," says Estelle Levetin, the chair of the biology department at the University of Tulsa. Individual flowering trees probably aren’t producing more pollen, Levetin says—but they’re all dumping their pollen at once, making this allergy season particularly difficult for people who are sensitive to more than one type of pollen.

What hallucination reveals about our minds(VIDEO) -

Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks brings our attention to Charles Bonnet syndrome — when visually impaired people experience lucid hallucinations. He describes the experiences of his patients in heartwarming detail and walks us through the biology of this under-reported phenomenon.

Apr 15

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Apr 13

Geoff Dyer's On Being An Only Child -

exxmachina:

Everything about this: my parents’ frugality, lack of culture growing up, time spent alone- is so damn on-point. I’m pretty sure Dyer and I had the same childhood, mine just being across the pond a few decades later. This part brought me to tears:

"…it was more than just education. I was my parents’ only child, but the life I would go on to lead would be so different from theirs, and the most important part of this difference was the way that it could never be explained and articulated to them by me."

I feel this difference growing, this gap widening, every day and it scares the shit out of me. It is my frustration. It is the root of my guilt. It is the reason for the pressure I put on myself. 

Apr 12

NSA Has Been Using The 'Heartbleed Bug' For Years -

If you needed further motivation to change your passwords, it turns out that the NSA has been utilizing the giant security vulnerability known as the “Heartbleed bug” to gather information about Internet users, Bloomberg reports.
The bug, which takes advantage of a previously unnoticed programming error in a widely used encryption standard to trick Web servers into giving up valuable user data, has affected nearly everyone on the Internet.
As we explained on Tuesday, as many as 66% of websites use the software containing the flaw, including major services like Facebook, Yahoo, and Gmail.

Apr 11

Patients with paraplegia regain voluntary movement after spinal stimulation -

Four people with paraplegia are able to voluntarily move previously paralyzed muscles as a result of a novel therapy that involves electrical stimulation of the spinal cord, according to a study funded in part by the National Institutes of Health and the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. The participants, each of whom had been paralyzed for more than two years, were able to voluntarily flex their toes, ankles, and knees while the stimulator was active, and the movements were enhanced over time when combined with physical rehabilitation. Researchers involved in the study say the therapy has the potential to change the prognosis of people with paralysis even years after injury

Kai Newkirk Is Raising an Army to Get the Money Out of Politics -

On February 26, Kai Newkirk spoke before the Supreme Court. The 33-year-old isn’t a lawyer and he had not been called to testify. At the time, the court was running through oral arguments in a mundane patent case. Newkirk, a longtime labor and environmental activist who cut his teeth in the global justice movement, was just another gentleman in the crowd—until he stood up and gave the justices a piece of his mind.

This was the first disruption at the Supreme Court since 1983, when pornographer Larry Flint threw a fit. At the time, Newkirk’s protest was pretty much ignored by the major media—even a New York Times article about the day’s proceedings failed to mention it. Luckily, members of 99Rise, an activist group Newkirk helped established in 2012, were there. They secretly recorded video of his speech, mixed it with additional footage they had shot covertly of the court in October, and posted it to YouTube. Recording video is strictly forbidden in the Supreme Court, and this was the first time any footage at all of its proceedings had been made publicly available. Since it was posted, the video has been viewed more than 340,000 times.