Native Americans are Originally From Europe

native american

The native American “We are part of humanity’s final migration.” http://www.ilhawaii.net/

A recent study performed by geneticists at the University of Copenhagen has confirmed that Native Americans are originally from Europe, at least in part. Up to 38% of Native American ancestry can be traced to Europe and western Asia, collectively known as Eurasia.

Palaeogeneticist Eske Willerslev at the University of Copenhagen, along with his team, confirmed this by sequencing the genome of DNA found in the 24,000-year-old remains of a young boy from the Siberian village of Mal’ta. This is coincidentally the oldest known modern human DNA ever found.

Related Article: Ancient Human DNA Found: Old World Similar to Lord of the Rings

The study shows us that modern humans living in Europe spread much further East than anthropologists had initially realized and lived in Siberia during the last ice age.

Haplogroup_R_(Y-DNA)

While scientists have known for years that Native Americans are directly related to east Asians, the European genes are a breakthrough discovery. The whole story behind the origins of Native Americans is in fact still a mystery.  According to the research team,

The origins of the First Americans remain contentious. Although Native Americans seem to be genetically most closely related to east Asians, there is no consensus with regard to which specific Old World populations they are closest to.

Related Article: Modern Languages May Share Common, Ancient Ancestor

So, the idea that Native Americans are just slightly different east Asians is just an assumption. What we do know is that 24,000 year old Europeans had a hardcore Asian fetish.  According to Eske Willerslev,

At some point in the past, a branch of east Asians and a branch of western Eurasians met each other and had sex a lot.

Looks like the ideal location for committing genocide! http://www.nativevillage.org/

Looks like the ideal location for committing genocide! http://www.nativevillage.org/

Native Americans are a true meeting of East and West: the evolutionary offspring of the mingling of Europeans and Asians. This type of widespread, inter-racial sex is a repeat of humanity’s ancient past, one filled with inter-sub-species sex between neanderthals, denisovans, homo sapiens, and other early humans.

Related Article: The “Friends of the Indian” and How They Treated Their Friends

European features had previously been recognized in modern day humans living in the Americas. For example, some ancient Native American skulls look very different from modern day Native Americans. Mitochondrial DNA that shares a lineage with Europeans was also found in Native Americans. This type of evidence however, was always attributed to post-Columbian encounters with Europeans. We now know that is simply not the case.

If we view history in terms of the last few thousand years, the post-columbian invasion of the America’s can be viewed as totally alien invaders advancing on a land filled with an utterly strange group of people.  If we broaden that view to include the last few hundred thousand years though, we see a different picture: A group of people invading its own ancestral family; warring family trees sharing the same ancient roots.

 

Sources:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature12736.html#ref10

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurasia

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/21/science/two-surprises-in-dna-of-boy-found-buried-in-siberia.html?ref=nicholaswade&_r=1&

http://www.cell.com/current-biology/retrieve/pii/S0960982209020661

http://www.cell.com/AJHG/retrieve/pii/S0002929707612932

Fungus Feeds on Radioactivity: The Rise of Space Fungus

fungus mushroom radioactive

I think this fungus makes me taller… http://www.ecogeek.org

Scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AEC) have found fungus feeding on radioactivity within the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.  Scientists suspect that melanin, the same UV filter in our skin, is responsible for allowing these fungi to consume a mutant-creating-level of gamma radiation.

Microbiologist Arturo Casadevall learned years before this discovery that a robot had been sent into areas of intense radioactivity and had returned with samples of  black, melanin rich fungi growing on the walls. He and his colleagues later saw reports that the cooling water in some working nuclear reactors turns black from colonies of melanin-rich fungi.

Related Article: Watching Evolution Occur 

radiotrophic fungus

Don’t you see? A nuclear device would only make radiotrophic fungus stronger! http://www.sciencenews.org

Casadevall explains that,

I found that very interesting and began discussing with colleagues whether these fungi might be using the radiation emissions as an energy source.

Despite the lethal gamma radiation lingering at the Chernobyl reactor, many microorganisms find a way to survive. Casadevall thought that maybe the radiation was aiding the fungi’s growth.  According to Casadevall,

The thought was that biology never wastes any energy source.

Sure enough, Casadevall’s hypothesis was correct, and after a series of tests involving 500-times normal radiation levels, electron spin resonance, close-up melanin observation, and a melanin-less albino fungus, the radiotrophic fungus was born into the minds’ of mankind. Researchers also speculate that the fungi aren’t feeding solely on gamma rays, but X-rays, UV rays and other rays as well.

Related Article: New Ecosystem Discovered: Glacier Mice

Want to know how I know reality is batshit crazy? There is life on this planet that feeds on something we can’t even see, but will destroy us from the inside out with cancer nonetheless.  There is life that feeds on death!

types of fungus

And these would be specimens from which planet? http://www.roxypaine.com

Fungus has far more uses than you might have realized:

Related Article: The Evolutionary Leaps of Snails

Fungus is also cooler and better at life than you. Certain fungus species can eject their spore mass

at 35 feet per second (10.8 m per second) to a height of six feet (2 m), and lands as far away as 8 feet (2.5 m).

Fungus species pump out spores at an extremely high rate as well.

A single mushroom can launch 31,000 ballistospores per second, adding up to some 2.7 billion spores per day.

Some types of fungi can even control the air around them to create a spore-scattering breeze where there was only still air before. Check out the following videos. The first one shows a great example of spore dispersal, while the second one contains footage of a spore launch filmed with a high speed camera.

Let’s get back to the melanin study. Do you realize the study serves as a more stable foundation to support the strange, albeit utterly possible supposition that mushrooms came from outside Earth?  Is it really that hard to imagine though? The notion  that mushrooms came from space may be too ‘out there’ for some, but is it really that much weirder than:  Lake life surviving in isolation under ice for 2800 years, the atmosphere of Titan making DNA, or sugar floating around stars?  As they say, truth is stranger than fiction.

fungus space

Hi, my name’s fungi, I’m a fun guy, let’s hang out in your spacecraft! http://www.nbcnews.com

Related Article: Climate Change Too Fast, Evolution Can’t Keep Up

Just like fungus, life shows up in the strangest places and in the most bizarre forms. To end this article on an even more incredible note, would you believe me if I told you there are space mushrooms in the night sky peering into your soul?! How about mutated space mushrooms eating away at space stations? Yup, that’s a thing.

Space fungus has been growing on and within the Russian Mir-Space Station since the late ’80s. While the fungus and other microorganisms are normal terrestrial forms of life that were brought up from Earth with the cosmonauts, they fear potential mutations that 500-times higher gamma radiation exposure can induce in the fungi.  After all, the fungi’s corrosive fluids are already eating through metal, plastic, and other essential materials on the space station. I wonder how much gamma radiation it takes to mutate space fungus into delicious truffles on my dinner plate…

Remember, depending on the observer, all of reality and life is strange and unexpected. To make life even more unpredictable your utterly limited self perceives less than one-billionth of reality, and that’s just the light spectrum. If fungus can teach us anything it is to never underestimate the strangeness of reality and the possibility that there may exist anything we can imagine and more.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.einstein.yu.edu/

http://www.plosone.org/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0000457

http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/20070422222547data_trunc_sys.shtml

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiotrophic_fungus

http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=mushrooms-create-their-own-breeze-13-11-25

https://wondergressive.com/news/power-of-mushrooms/

https://wondergressive.com/news/2800-year-old-lake-life-survives-in-complete-isolation/

https://wondergressive.com/news/sweet-discovery-simple-sugar-molecules-floating-in-the-gas-around-star/

https://wondergressive.com/news/titans-atmosphere-can-make-dna/

https://wondergressive.com/news/life-its-all-over-the-place/

http://herbarium.usu.edu/fungi/funfacts/Dispersal.htm

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/01/mushroommagic/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11471823

http://www.howstuffworks.com/light4.htm

http://www.dailygrail.com/Fresh-Science/2013/7/Our-Tiny-Slice-Reality

Re-think Genes: New Mechanism of Gene Expression Discovered

If I removed once cell at a time from your body, at what point would you not be you? catiestewart.com

If I removed once cell at a time from your body, at what point would you not be you? catiestewart.com

Researchers are on a seemingly endless quest to discover precisely how DNA and RNA function. A great deal remains a mystery in the field of genetics. In fact up until around one year ago, when scientists captured a photo of DNA, no one knew with absolute certainty what it looked like. The double helix idea was always just a theory.

In a recent ground breaking discovery researchers from the University of Chicago witnessed a never before scene mechanism of gene expression. The researchers found a single gene that encodes two separate proteins from the same sequence of messenger RNA. Let me explain.

Related Article: Women Who Give Birth to Men Have Male DNA in Their Brain for Life

This is from a nucleic acid photoshoot. www.tutorvista.com

This is from a nucleic acid photoshoot. http://www.tutorvista.com

DNA and RNA are similar in that they both contain a genetic blueprint of an organism. They do however differ in several ways. First, RNA comes in three forms: messenger, transfer, and ribosomal.

mRNA (messenger)- The function of mRNA is to carry genetic information from the DNA in the nucleus to the ribosomes of a cell.

tRNA (transfer)- The function of tRNA is to bring the correct amino acid to the ribosomes in the cystosol.

rRNA (ribosomal)- The function of rRNA is to create new ribosomes.

They also differ in that they each incorporate a different sugar molecule in their structure. Also, where DNA has two strands of nucleotides, RNA has only one strand. For the sake of simplicity think of RNA as DNA’s co-conspirator in the continuation of life. In fact, some researchers speculate that life originally depended entirely on self-replicating RNA, rather than the DNA, RNA, and proteins that it depends on to proliferate today. 

Related Article: Deep Storage Project

So, up until this point we thought we had a pretty decent, overall idea of how DNA and RNA functioned. This study just came out of left field and whispered into the collective ear of geneticists around the world: “You know nothing…”

This bundle of RNA and proteins is called a Ribisome.www.itsokaytobesmart.com

This bundle of RNA and proteins is called a Ribisome.www.itsokaytobesmart.com

The study is a big deal because it is the first time that scientists have ever viewed anything even remotely similar. According to Christopher Gomez, MD, PhD, professor and chairman of the Department of Neurology at the University of Chicago, who led the study,

This is the first example of a mechanism in a higher organism in which one gene creates two proteins from the same mRNA transcript, simultaneously. It represents a paradigm shift in our understanding of how genes ultimately encode proteins.

There is a special sequence in the mRNA known as an internal ribosomal entry site (IRES), a site that tells ribosomes to create a protein from the mRNA sequence. The IRES is normally found at the beginning of an RNA sequence, however, in the particular mRNA sequence that the researchers viewed the IRES was in the middle of the sequence, alerting ribosomes to initiate the creation of a second protein from the same sequence.

Related Article: Titan’s Atmosphere Can Make DNA

This is especially exciting news since it creates a beacon of hope for further applicable genetic discovery, not just DNA origami. Just think, we only recently learned in the last couple decades that genetic predisposition isn’t set in stone, and that epigenetics allow us to alter our genetic expression and the genetic expression and predisposition of our children.

You can check your ancestry, health risks, and more through a DNA check that costs $99.

 

Sources:

http://www.newscientist.com/special/unknown-human-genome

https://wondergressive.com/news/first-time-photo-captures-double-helix-structure-of-dna/

http://www.uchospitals.edu/news/2013/20130703-bifunctional-gene.html

https://wondergressive.com/news/women-who-give-birth-to-men-have-male-dna-in-brain-for-life/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RNA

http://sequoyahbiology.webs.com/whatisdnaandrna.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/12/science/space/a-far-flung-possibility-for-the-origin-of-life.html?_r=1&

https://wondergressive.com/news/deep-storage-project/

https://wondergressive.com/news/titans-atmosphere-can-make-dna/

https://wondergressive.com/news/dna-origami-the-art-of-folding-dna/

https://wondergressive.com/news/epigenetics-the-key-to-overcoming-genetic-predisposition

https://wondergressive.com/news/epigenetics-and-altering-your-dna/

https://wondergressive.com/news/dna-ancestry-23andme/

Child’s Cells Found in Mother After Birth

According to Scientific American, a woman, after giving birth, retains some of her child’s cells in her brain. Did you ever wonder why your mom knows exactly what you’re thinking or what you are about to do? Well this is not the answer to that question, she just knows. This has to do with your DNA and what it can do for your mother. More specifically, these left over cells can both help and harm the mother through lung, liver, kidney, heart, and skin defects. This process is known as microchimerism, where cells that are left over are adapted naturally by the mother and used for different reasons. Scientists are still unsure whether or not these cells are actively being used or if they are participating in harming or helping the mother.

Related Article: Women Who Give Birth to Men have Male DNA in Brain

Why is this relevant? Let us imagine they are indeed harming the mother after birth, in fact that they are affecting her lifestyle and worsening her response to disease. Maybe the cells are increasing the mother’s risk for cancer, or maybe they are simply causing a slower response time to what would be an easily curable sickness. In this case it is extremely important to help find a way to get rid of the cells after a female gives birth, rather than waiting on a side effect to develop. Side effect, only of course, if it in fact deals with harming the mother.

On the flip side, lets say its not a side effect but a blessing; some research suggests that the mother benefits from having cells left over after birth. They can even help with autoimmune disorder and rheumatoid arthritis. There is some research being done that suggests it may be similar to stem cells in that they help with regenerative properties. In fact, these stem cells may even help with the creation of new eggs for future births.

The biggest thing to gather from all of this is that it isn’t just males that are thought to imprint themselves on women’s brains because of their rowdy and reckless behaviors. Now all of you girls are also held accountable for actively being on your mother’s mind. Literally.

Research:

PLOS ONE: Male Microchimerism in the Human Female Brain

Beyond Birth: A Child’s Cells May Help or Harm

Scientists Discover Children Cells Living in Mother’s Brain

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Autoimmune Disorder

The otherness of Self: Microchimerism

Women Can Make New Eggs

Wondergressive: Women have Male DNA in Brain

Did You Know That Certain Plants Do Division?

Plants Do Division

Plants Do Division http://news.jic.ac.uk/

 

I thought that only humans can do arithmetic, but plants do division as well. I guess a brain with a neocortex is not required. New research shows that arabidopsis plants perform an arithmetic feat to know how to distribute stored energy during the night when there is no light, preventing starvation.

Plants get their energy from light through a process called photosynthesis. This involves breaking down carbon dioxide compounds into sugars. And we all know what awesome byproduct that gives us; oxygen! So during the day they store sugars, and during the night plants do division in order to distribute the sugars at a steady rate. This insight comes from new research done by the scientists at the John Innes Centre and found through the open access journal eLife.

It is vital that plants do division in order to be able to grow properly. Learning more about this process has some implications, such as possible plant hacking in order to achieve higher crop yields. This is already being done with GMOs.

Plants do division during night time. There are certain “mechanisms” in the leaves that measure how much of the starch is stored and how much time will pass until the sun rises. Plants also have a sort of an internal “biological clock” which allows them to guess when dawn will come. There are three clock genes that work together like a seesaw. When dawn comes, these genes instruct the plant to make two proteins, CCA1 and LHY. These proteins tell the plant that it is daytime. During the day these are destroyed, which allows for the third protein, TOC1, to be made. This tells the plant that it is night time. That last protein also tells the plant that it’s time to make the first two, so the whole process cycles again.

According to Professor Alison Smith,

the calculations are so precise so that plants prevent starvation but also make most efficient use of their food.

Using up the starch too fast will induce starvation, while using it up too slow will waste the unused starch. Scientists predict that there are two molecules that encode the information about how much starch is stored at a given time and time until dawn breaks. Let’s call these molecules S and T for the time being. The rate at which starch is consumed is set by the ratio of S molecules to T molecules. Because a ratio is actually a fancy way to say division, scientists are confident in the claim that plants are division experts.

Sources:

http://elife.elifesciences.org/content/2/e00669

http://news.jic.ac.uk/2013/06/plants-do-sums-to-get-through-the-night/

http://arabidopsis.info/InfoPages?template=arabidopsis;web_section=arabidopsis

http://www.plantsci.cam.ac.uk/research/webb/plantTime/clock.html

Immortality Formula: YOLF

Predicting the future is hard. At least that’s what Nostradamus tells me every time I’m on mescaline. But, damn it, if Ed McMann can do it, we might as well take a swing here at Wondergressive.

According to the calendar, it’s been 2013 for a little while now, and that means it’s probably safe to say we didn’t all explode in boiling hellfire at the end of 2012. It’s unfortunate, because, of all the dooms-day prophecies floating around, that Mayan prediction was especially promising. That means, though, if ever there was a time to plan for the future, it’s today.

While advancements in technology and medicine grow all the more futuristic with each passing moment and the internet is busy coalescing our collective hive unconscious into an unprecedented uber-mind, we wander ever closer to the upcoming singularity we’re so looking forward to. All these massive paradigm shifts coming at us exponentially quicker let us say one thing at least with near certainty:  “This is the era where man will possess immortality.”

It may come in the form of implanting our sentience into cyborgs, imprinting clones with a map of the alpha version’s memories, or just extending our stays on this plane to 6 or 700 years via sea turtle style metabolism manipulation. However events may unfold, Carpe Diem has never before been so pertinent.  (If immortality’s too big of a leap, just follow some of the previous links and see what we mean.)

So in the spirit of having oodles of time to do whatever the hell you want, we present you with part one of Qwizx’s guide to surfing oblivion.

Step 1: Shifting Perspectives (Introduction to the Avatar mindset)

Just change your mind a bit. The tools have been laid out already for those in the mood to adapt rather than shunt the burden off onto the next generation. Let’s take a moment and let some of the implications of prolonged life settle in…The ritual goes: same window, different visuals…

Instead of renting, or mooching off the parents, as immortals, we now own the property. Every perk and burden that comes with that. Global warming something you’re concerned about? You personally will be here in a few thousand years to experience the fall out. Think the country’s going to shit? You, yourself, will be witnessing the rise and fall of empires and shift of power regimes. Want to own your own continent? Spend a few hundred years amassing a fortune and learning all the skills you’ll need to rise to the top and control the ignorant populace. Want to topple a violent dictator?  Same thing, control the ignorant populace. The point is, you will have the time, so anything conceivable is not only within your grasp, it’s your responsibility to foresee. Congratulations, us.

Just pretend you know with certainty that you and all those you love will live forever, then jot it down.

I understand this has just been a tease, a bit of intellectual foreplay to ponder, but I hope you’re as titillated as I am. Over the next few weeks we’ll be covering a whole range of lessons for the up and coming demi-god, from the 10,000 hour mastery law to do-it-yourself propaganda to Napoleon Hill’s formula for becoming the next Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

In any case, let’s not waste the next millennia on boredom.

 

 Sources:

3 Ways the WWE Invented Professional Sports

Top 10 Doomsday Prophecies

Sign Me Up for Mars!

Augmented Reality Blows My Mind – Twice

New Cancer Treatment Shows Promising Results in Leukemia Patients

Honey as an Antibiotic

AI Prescribes Better Treatment Than Doctors

Robotic Sense and Feel

Bionic Hand That Can Feel

Reanimated Kidneys and 3D Printing

A Pill That Makes You Sober

Autophagy: The Unsung Hero in Slowing Aging 

Erase Memories, Because… Why Not?

DNA Ancestry Checking as Cheap as $99

The Singularity is Nigh Upon Us

Brain Implants Powered By Spinal Fluid: Another Huge Step Towards Our Cyborg Future 

Erasing Genomic Imprinting Memory in Mouse Clone Embryos Produced from Day 11.5 Primordial Germ Cells 

Dietary Manipulation of Mouse Matabolism

Handbook for the New Paradigm

Become a God for 79 Cents

Fun Fact: You’re the Cause of Boredom

Running Slows Down Aging, Slows Down the Clock

 

New research indicates that running slows down aging by beefing up protection of our DNA, which degenerates over time, causing many of the body’s aging signs. This is because as we age, telomeres, part of DNA that acts like caps on shoelaces, start to diminish and expose our DNA to change and damage. If you are not familiar with what telomeres are, there is an article about it right below:

Related: Aging Process Is Similar to Replicating CDs: Story of Telomeres

How Running Slows Down Aging

New research is finding that aerobic exercise, such as running, swimming and cycling has the ability to slow down the aging of the human body. The already well known benefits of running are improved cardiovascular function, strengthening of the heart, aid in forging healthy eating habits, as well as improvement in insulin control and having a clearer mind. These benefits already show how running slows down aging; by improving our body and mind overall.

Running shows positive signs at any age. But the real key here as to how running slows down the aging process lies in the protection of our DNA and cells:

Human cells divide at an average of 50-60 times in one lifespan. Every time they divide, the cell’s DNA has to be replicated. That way, a new chromosome can form and be used in the newly duplicated cell. However every time a cell duplicates, it comes at a cost. That is, the chromosomes get shorter and shorter. If they get short enough, the chromosomes can have their twining undone and our genetic data gets corrupted. Eventually, that cell dies. – Aging Process Is Similar to Replicating CDs

Related: What Is Autophagy and How It Slows Down Aging

This is why it is important to keep the telomeres, the shoelace caps for our DNA strands, intact as long as possible, and prevent wear and tear. One study found that sedentary people aged 55-72 had relatively short telomeres compared to sedentary 18-32 year olds. But when comparing people in the 55-72 age group who have exercised all their lives, there was no significant difference in the length of the telomeres between younger people and older athletes.2

Want to stay as healthy and spry as a teenager?  Go for a run.

 

Sources:

AGING – HOW RUNNING MAY BE ABLE TO STOP THE CLOCK

LaRocca TJ, Seals DR, Pierce GL. (2009). Leukocyte telomere length is preserved with aging in endurance-trained adults and related to maximal aerobic capacity. Mechanisms of aging and development 131(2):165-167

Science Says “Smart People Are Idiots”

Right off the bat, congratulations on being in the top eighty percentile. We can read, and that puts us well ahead of the seven hundred million adults that can’t (I know the pictures are pretty, but focus. Focus!). Let’s bump us up a few more pegs for knowing what a percentile is as well. You’re smart; you know it; and I’m so so sorry… turns out this is bad news. Smart people are idiots.

Don’t panic!!! You’re obviously one of the exceptions. For God’s sake, quit panicking. Quick mental test:

In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake?

You said 24, right? Good, that means you’re smart. Unfortunately, the right answer was 47. I’m afraid you may be suffering from a condition called smart-idiot-itis, an affliction on the rise amongst intellectuals. See, because you’re smart, your brain immediately heard “half” and “48” and karate-chopped out a quick 24. Oops, this mental shortcut is called dysrationalia. Dysrationalia afflicts 100% of people who, when asked the question “how much dirt is in a hole 6 ft. by 3 ft. by 9 ft?” answer anything but zero, zero dirt (There’s no dirt in a hole, silly). Dysrationalia is the leading cause of smart-idiot-itis.

Don’t take my word for it. According to a long string of individuals with PhD’s, MBA’s, and various other impressive acronyms, “smart people are stupid.” The idea they present about our educational system can be summed up nicely in this quote by one of the said intellectuals (Michael Sherman):

Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.

Essentially, smart people are used to being smart people, so they assume they’re right, because usually they are, even when they aren’t, right that is. Wow, that’d make more sense if I was one of those smart people, but if I were, it’d be wrong apparently. Thank you, brain.

It seems to boil down to something called the bias blind spot. Everyone is biased, and everyone who is biased believes they are not. This is why it’s so obvious when someone else is doing something stupid, but our own dumb actions confound us. Since we’re stuck in our own heads, when we put our briefcase in the dishwasher last week, or tied our shoes and completely forgot we’re not wearing pants yet, we don’t see ourselves as the bumbling morons we all are from time to time. It’s because of the cloud of justifications and excuses always swirling around our heads.

Sorry to say it, but being aware of this makes no difference, apparently. Currently, medical science has no cure for smart-idiot-itis, short of a lobotomy. As research into this horrible affliction progresses, should a cure be found, how could we ever trust these brainy buffoons anyway?

For more information on this disease, see Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow.” If you think you may have smart-idiot-itis, seek medical attention immediately, and cross fingers that your doctor didn’t nail his hand to his refrigerator for no apparent reason.

 

Sources:

Literacy Rate (worldbank.org)

Why Smart People are Stupid (The New Yorker)

Rational and Irrational Thoughts (Scientific American) 

Dysrationalia: Defects in Real-World Intelligence (Talent Develop Resources)

Why People Believe Weird Things (Michael Shermer)

We Struggle With Objectivity: The Bias Blind Spot (Psychology Today)

Cognitive Sophistication Does Not Attenuate the Bias Blind Spot (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Hey Cat-Lovers, You Have a Mind-Controlling Parasite

Isn’t it fun to pretend we have control over our bodies? Isn’t it fun to believe that freewill isn’t some fanciful bit of make-believe? I don’t know about you, but that’s one of my favorite late night drunken fantasies (oh yeah, gettin off (or not) to the illusion of choice). Really though, the bag of chemicals we live in is a precarious balance of hormones, enzymes, and other gook, teetering the high wire of sanity by the tiniest margins. If that statement needs any justification, maybe give PCP a try.

The excretions of other life forms have altered our realities and actions for epochs, so the idea is nothing new. Usually we think, however, that these things are mostly under our control. From licking a toad, contracting the stomach flu, or perhaps a total personality makeover after a blow to the head, our body’s chemicals and fluids determine everything. So, keeping that in mind… there’s a good chance you, at this very moment, have a mind-controlling parasite, making your decisions for you. It happens all the time.

Look:

But that’s just ants, right? And they’re stupid.

Nope. And it’s not just ants, either. Countless species are chemically manipulated; there are zombie snailssuicidal grasshoppers, and even, of course, YOU…

Half of the world’s population is currently infected with a fun-loving little fucker known as Toxoplasma, the sci-fi sounding name of a cat poop dwelling parasite that will make you crazy.

Try saying it out loud. Toxoplasma. You’ll feel pretty badass.

Now look to your left. Look to your right. You have a 50% chance of infection of…Toxoplasma. (You said it out loud, right?)

Come on. You can’t be serious?

We already knew bacteria were controlling our minds, but now there’s this little fella, too. He lives in cat poop, we breathe him in, and he sets up shop in our nervous system, excreting enzymes that lead to schizophrenia and overall bat-shittedness (not necessarily a bad thing). Essentially, I get infected, I get this hankering for another cat, then I get more infected, I adopt the conviction “who needs men?” and before you know it my home soon becomes a den of feline chaos.

It seems that society’s obsession with lolcats is actually all a part of some master plan being orchestrated by this little bastard. It flips our brain’s chemistry to, you guessed it, love cats.

The heated war between dog people and cat people will rage for centuries more, but now we know about all the fuss over our feline friends: we are victims of a cat conspiracy to take over our internet memes, one poop at a time.

They sure are cute, though.

 

Sources:

The Sonoran Desert Toad (erowid.org)

A Model of Personality Change (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

Little Mind Benders (sciencenews.org)

Parasitic Mind Control (youtube.com)

Enslaved Ants Regularly Stage Rebellions (wondergressive.com)

How to Control an Army of Zombies (nytimes.com)

World’s Deadliest: Zombie Snails (youtube.com)

Suicide Grasshoppers Brainwashed by Parasite Worms (nationalgeographic.com)

Toxoplasmosis-Schizophrenia Research (stanleyresearch.org)

The Secret World of Bacteria (wondergressive.com)

A Note on the Top 1% (wondergressive.com)

 

Erase Memories, Because… “Why Not?”

Ripped directly from the headlines of tomorrow comes the announcement that men in black are indeed here now. Never fear though. A bit of future technology, now well into the experimental phase, has effectively been used on test subjects to wipe selective memories.

According to an article in sciencemag.org,

We have shown previously that lateral amygdala (LA) neurons with increased cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element–binding protein (CREB) are preferentially activated by fear memory expression, which suggests that they are selectively recruited into the memory trace. We used an inducible diphtheria-toxin strategy to specifically ablate these neurons.

…Or in lay-speak, “See that bit of brain there? When I scooped it out, he didn’t remember anymore. Cool, huh?”

Wow, how’s that work?

Because memories are found in specific collections of neurons, haphazardly zig-zagging the brain, and digging around in the brain is kind of hard (it’s brain surgery, not simple rocket science), finding the particular cells that carry a memory is like finding a needle in an active volcano.

This new development, however, uses a CREB protein as a marker, dropping the difficulty to finding a needle in a hive of fire-ants. This highlights the role of a particular neuron bundle in a memory (snip, easy as circumcision), and suddenly Uncle Rick is no longer lobbing coffee cups at Thanksgiving dinner when the electric carver reminds him of Charlie back in ‘Nam.

Now, when it comes to memory, we’ve seen how to fix it in the elderly, implant fake memories for entertaining the kids, and even develop photographic recollection, but now: Eternal Sunshine, Total Recall, Memento; take your pick. On Monday, how bout Jason Bourne-ing” the shit out of your parents and when they start to suspect they’re super-soldiers, leap out with an “April Fools, you’re actually a middle-class suburbanite!!!” Get’s ’em every time.

Joking aside, obviously the ramifications of this new procedure are staggering, and the potential for… wait… What was I talking about?

Fun side-note:

Anyway. Almost totally unrelated (segways are for chumps), something you won’t want to forget: kick-start you day being serenaded in Portuguese by a dimply Brazilian girl. Easier to greet the world with a smile…

Sources:

Selective Erasure of a Fear Memory (sciencemag.org)

Erasing a Memory Reveals the Neurons that Encode it (discovermagazine.com)

Computers Sustain and Improve Mind and Memory of the Elderly (wondergressive.com)

Controlling Dreams and Implanting Memories (wondergressive.com)

Experiments in Photographic Memory (Phase 1: Guinea Pig) (wondergressive.com)

Felicidade – Marcelo Jeneci (youtube.com)