October 4, 2017

Miscellany #85

All History in a Nutshell

Good Times

Scientists confirm the obvious: drinking beer makes you happy

Scientists in Germany looked at 13,000 different food components to find out which were the most effective at stimulating the reward center in the brain. And they were surprised to find beer topped the list. The feel-good effect is caused by the neurotransmitter dopamine.  Tempting foods and, it turns out, beer, stimulate the reward center in the brain where the dopamine D2 receptor is located.  Hordenine, which is found in malted barley and beer, does the job of cheering us up pretty well. The new findings were reported in the journal Scientific Reports....Professor Monika Pischetsrieder said “It came as a bit of surprise that a substance in beer activates the dopamine D2 receptor, especially as we were not specifically looking at stimulant foodstuffs.”

‘How do you thank someone for saving your life?’

Professor Jill Brown was giving a lecture when a member of the audience, Dr. Iris Jaffe, a cardiologist at Tufts Medical Center, realized that Brown was showing the classic signs of a pulmonary embolism, a potentially fatal blood clot in the lung. ‘What am I going to do?’ Who am I? I’m somebody in her class. Should I say something? Maybe it’s none of my business.”  Jaffe decided to risk embarrassment and tell Brown about her concerns, “I’m a physician, but I’m not your physician, and I know nothing about your medical history, but I’m concerned you have a blood clot in your lungs and you need to be seen right away.”  Brown shocked said, “What are you talking about?”  But she went to the hospital after the lecture and was diagnosed with multiple blood clots in her lungs and deep vein thrombosis — a blood clot — in her lower right leg. There the doctors kept telling me, ‘That woman probably saved your life,’ because I would have just ignored my symptoms because I thought they were normal after surgery.”  Brown emailed Jaffe, “How do you thank someone for saving your life?”

List of countries by firearm-related death rate per 100,000  in one year

 Edited Gun Deaths Per Capita

American gun ownership and American murder rate

 Gun Ownership+Gun Death Rate

The invisible world of WiFi signal bombardment

Have you ever wondered what the electromangetic fields (EMFs) that surround virtually every person carrying a mobile device with WiFi or data capability look like?  Visual artist Luis Hernan at Digital Ethereal uses a Kirlian Device, which transforms signal strength in light color (reds for high intensity, blues for low intensity) and couples it with long exposure photography to register the changing qualities of wireless networks.

 Wifi Bombardment

9-Year-Old Boy Asks For Dessert, School Calls Him Racist and Calls the Cops
All he asked for was 'brownies" at the end-of-the-year class party at an elementary school in New Jersey.Update at the Philadelphia Inquirer

Wolves changed the ecosystem of Yellowstone National Park and the park's physical geography

Watch this remarkable video, a little over 2 minutes long, to see how.  A longer, narrated video, How Wolves Change Rivers explaining the trophic cascade, has amassed 38 million views.


Man’s Tumor Turns Out To Be A Playmobil Traffic Cone

A 47-year-old man from Preston went to a respiratory clinic complaining of a cough. As the man admitted to having smoked for most of his life, the doctors feared the worst– lung cancer. The doctors then took x-rays, which revealed a spot on his right lung, something they feared was a tumor. They operated immediately, hoping to remove the tumor and begin treatments. However, when they removed the mass, they realized it was not a tumor but in fact a Playmobil traffic cone. The man recalled receiving the cone, along with the rest of the playset, on his seventh birthday over 40 years ago. Doctors concluded that because he was so young, his lung tissue simply grew around it.

Mobile Micro-Lending: 17th-Century Book-Shaped Library Hides 50 Tiny Books
This Jacobean traveling library, bound in leather over a wooden shell, housed dozens of small books. In theory the books could be swapped out for different journeys, much like loading up a Kindle with books to read before heading off to the airport.

Vintage-Book-Case 50 Tiny Books

Holloways: Roads Tunneled into the Earth by Time

They are centuries-old thoroughfares worn down by the traffic of time....The name “holloway” is derived from “hola weg,” meaning sunken road in Old English....No one ever engineered a holloway — erosion by human feet, and horses or cattle driven alongside, combined with water then flowing through the embankments like a gully, molded the land into a tunneled road. It’s hard to date them, but most are thought to go back to Roman times and the Iron Age.


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