Departure of Summer…Man Ray…1914… via.
As far as conjoined twins go, they don’t come more famous than Chang and Eng Bunker, who in the 1800s traveled the world lecturing and generally being gawked at by rubes. They even gave us the term Siamese twins (they were from Siam, which is now Thailand). Eventually they settled down on a farm in North Carolina, married two sisters (uh…), and between them sired 21 children.
The logistics of that seem, well, a bit complicated, if not entirely awkward. There are conjoined twins in our oceans, though, that pull off something far more remarkable. These are the siphonophores, some 180 known species of gelatinous strings that can grow to 100 feet long, making them some of the longest critters on the planet. But instead of growing as a single body like virtually every other animal, siphonophores clone themselves thousands of times over into half a dozen different types of specialized cloned bodies, all strung together to work as a team—a very deadly team at that.
By Connie Bruck
For AIPAC, it is crucial to appeal across the political spectrum. But Israel has become an increasingly divisive issue with the public.
—On July 23rd, officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee—the powerful lobbying group known as AIPAC—gathered in a conference room at the Capitol for a closed meeting with a dozen Democratic senators. The agenda of the meeting, which was attended by other Jewish leaders as well, was the war in the Gaza Strip. In the century-long conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, the previous two weeks had been particularly harrowing. In Israeli towns and cities, families heard sirens warning of incoming rockets and raced to shelters. In Gaza, there were scenes of utter devastation, with hundreds of Palestinian children dead from bombing and mortar fire. The Israeli government claimed that it had taken extraordinary measures to minimize civilian casualties, but the United Nations was launching an inquiry into possible war crimes. Even before the fighting escalated, the United States, Israel’s closest ally, had made little secret of its frustration with the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “How will it have peace if it is unwilling to delineate a border, end the occupation, and allow for Palestinian sovereignty, security, and dignity?” Philip Gordon, the White House coördinator for the Middle East, said in early July. “It cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely. Doing so is not only wrong but a recipe for resentment and recurring instability.” Although the Administration repeatedly reaffirmed its support for Israel, it was clearly uncomfortable with the scale of Israel’s aggression. AIPAC did not share this unease; it endorsed a Senate resolution in support of Israel’s “right to defend its citizens,” which had seventy-nine co-sponsors and passed without a word of dissent.
Who really owns a great writer’s legacy?
—It should have been an ordinary bike ride.
—For 22 miles under the glare of late-May sunshine, 48-year-old Paul Moran pedaled his green bicycle past lobster traps and sailboats along the Massachusetts coast north of Boston. He liked taking the backroads from his Salem home to Singing Beach,
Every time we hear about a new Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) project—like bioengineering new life forms or enlisting preteens to test advanced military software—it’s like being pulled into the pages of a pulpy scifi paperback. The agency’s newest project continues this trend: implantable chips that can heal soldiers’ bodies and minds.
—The goal of the program, dubbed ElectRX, is the development of tiny chips that can be injected into soldiers with a needle to act as pacemakers for the nervous system. By precisely stimulating the right nerve endings with minute electromagnetic signals, the implants will treat painful and chronic inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and mental illnesses, researchers say.
On this day in 1833, the Mills and Factory Act was passed in England. This was one of a series of Acts passed in the 19th century to improve the “Health and Morals” of child laborers, but it was the first effective legislation in that it empowered national inspectors with unlimited, unannounced entry to the factories. The improved regulations — no one under 9 employed, a 48-hour week for children aged 9-12, a 68-hour week for teenagers, some minimum provisions for education and health, etc. — were largely the result of testimony given by young workers to a Parliamentary committee investigating violations of earlier Acts.
September 1943. “Columbus, Ohio. A Greyhound bus driver off duty.” Photo by Esther Bubley for the Office of War Information… via.
We wrap up Back to School Week with this picture of students studying outdoors. The picture was taken in 1939 in Oregon, and it looks like the entire school decided to take advantage of the sunshine and learn outside for the day. via.
In this edited afterword to his new novel ‘The Zone of Interest’, the author discusses Primo Levi and the Nazis’ incomprehensible brutality
—A visitor walks between electric barbed-wire fences at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial and former concentration camp, November 2013
—As disseminators of death, the three great tyrants of the 20th century can claim rough equivalence. But Hitler stands alone as a source of lasting and unanimous incomprehension. Of mainstream historians, not one claims to understand him, and many make a point of saying that they don’t understand him; and some, like Alan Bullock, go further and admit to an ever-deepening perplexity (“I can’t explain Hitler. I don’t believe anyone can … The more I learn about Hitler, the harder I find it to explain”). We know a great deal about the how – about how he did what he did; but we seem to know almost nothing about the why.
brontosaurus apatosaurus dinosaur
The dinosaur long ago renamed “Apatosaurus” is still often called “Brontosaurus.” stevegeer via iStock
—Over the past few decades, autism and Asperger syndrome have become prominent in the public consciousness, and that prominence has been reflected in popular art and entertainment. Autism, a mental illness characterized by repetitive behaviors and impaired social interactions, was brought to widespread attention by Dustin Hoffman’s famous performance in Rain Man. More recently, characters in contemporary television shows (think Sheldon of The Big Bang Theory and Abed of Community) have made the social quirks of people with Asperger syndrome more relatable. In the popular mind, Asperger’s is often thought of as a milder form of autism.
—The American Psychiatric Association thinks of it this way too: In its new version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (often called “the Bible of psychiatry”), what was Asperger’s is now a position on a severity scale of the broader “autism spectrum disorder.” Asperger syndrome as a separate category will officially disappear, a change that has generated no small amount of controversy.
Colored areas indicate brain regions with synchronous activity as people watched a clip of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Uri Hasson
Velásquez said he has killed about 250 people, but never really counted.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-the-drug-war-is-unwinnable-2013-2#ixzz3BhOReVEG
I know you might have heard I was doing a California road trip but our journey actually begins in Las Vegas (Sin City tempted us with cheaper air fare). It’s not the most obvious of destinations to begin in search of the off-beat and unique, but certainly not impossible– and I like a challenge. We plunged into the neon lights of Las Vegas Boulevard at night, wandered in awe through the heaving casinos and took in the sparkling sights, exhausting our senses in a single road. I can imagine a good chunk of Las Vegas’ visitors never actually leave the strip, but I wanted to see the old Vegas; the vintage Vegas I’d seen in the movies, and I knew I wasn’t going to find it anywhere near the gargantuan HD televisions or gleaming gambling temples of the strip– at least not on “the strip” as we know it today…
An interview with the late design pioneer Deborah Sussman, best known for the look of the L.A. Olympics.
The 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics made a huge splash—of color that is—when it was given a colorful remake through the graphic wizardry of environmental design pioneer Deborah Sussman and her partner and husband, architect Paul Prejza (together known as Sussman/Prejza Inc.). Sussman’s colorful Pacific Coast Style graphics system and carnivalesque environments that filled the Olympic stadium and park branded the event and sent a postmodern charge throughout the California design world. Sussman died last week at 83 after a two-year battle with cancer, which barely
Berlin as the capital and cultural center of the German Reich was bombed very heavily. With over 45,000 tons of bombs in two weeks the city was almost completely destroyed. The irreplaceable architectural gems of the Schlüter, Knobelsdorf, Schadow and Schinkel were annihilated. Palaces, museums, churches, monuments and cultural sites fell victim to the bombs. Overall, Berlin was bombed 363 times by British, American and Russian aircraft. About 50,000 civilians were killed. They burned, suffocated, were buried under the ruins or lacerated by the bombs.
In Las Cruces, New Mexico, Zachary Milton Hess, 19, was arrested Monday by the FBI for “using the internet to make a threat or to maliciously convey false information.” On May 27, according to an FBI complaint and a spokeswoman at the US Attorney’s office for the District of New Mexico, Hess allegedly threatened to “shoot up” his college, New Mexico State University. Considering the high number and profile of school shootings in the past two years, why did it it take 90 days for law enforcement to apprehend Hess?
—According to the FBI’s complaint, Hess allegedly said in a chat on Omegle (a site that randomly connects unregistered users in conversations) that he’d be shooting up his school, “NMSU,” on May 30. Hess told his random chat companion, a resident of the UK, “You’re going to be one of the 4 people I’m going to be telling before I shoot my college campus up in 3 days.”
By CARL ZIMMERMAY
—Two teams of scientists published studies on Sunday showing that blood from young mice reverses aging in old mice, rejuvenating their muscles and brains. As ghoulish as the research may sound, experts said that it could lead to treatments for disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease.
—“I am extremely excited,” said Rudolph Tanzi, a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, who was not involved in the research. “These findings could be a game changer.”
—The research builds on centuries of speculation that the blood of young people contains substances that might rejuvenate older adults.
HOLLYWOOD, California—Picture a movie theater, packed for the opening night of a blockbuster film. Hundreds of strangers sit next to each other, transfixed. They tend to blink at the same time. Even their brain activity is, to a remarkable degree, synchronized.
—It’s a slightly creepy thought. It’s also a testament to the captivating power of cinema, says Uri Hasson, a psychologist at Princeton University. At a recent event hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Hasson presented his research into what happens inside people’s brains when they watch movies. His work got a receptive but somewhat wary reaction from several film makers, including Jon Favreau (Swingers, Iron Man, Chef) and Darren Aronofsky (Pi, The Wrestler, Black Swan).
By Jillian Wong, 14 Aug 2014
Irving Blum and Peggy Moffitt, 1964
—Like director Stanley Kubrick, the late actor and director Dennis Hopper possessed a love of photography.
—While he was better known for his iconic roles in films like Easy Rider and Apocalypse Now, Hopper was a passionate street photographer during the 1960s, a tumultuous decade marked by social and political upheaval.
—His images capture the shifting cultural landscape and countercultures around him, from Hell’s Angels and hippies, to the Civil Rights Movement and scenes of gritty street life in Harlem.
Villagers from the Rumao Island community carry part of their catch of arapaima or pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish species in South America and one of the largest in the world, after fishing in a branch of the Solimoes river, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, in the Mamiraua nature reserve near Fonte Boa about 600 km (373 miles) west of Manaus, November 25, 2013. Catching the arapaima, a fish that is sought after for its meat and is considered by biologists to be a living fossil, is only allowed once a year by Brazil’s environmental protection agency. The minimum size allowed for a fisherman to keep an arapaima is 1.5 meters (4.9 feet). Picture taken November 25, 2013. (REUTERS/Bruno Kelly)
—Measuring 10 feet (3 meters) long and weighing in at more than 400 pounds (180 kilograms), it’s hard to imagine that the arapaima, the largest fish in the Amazon River basin, could ever go missing. But these huge fish are quickly disappearing from Brazilian waterways, according to a new study.
Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler, President Paul Von Hindenburg and minister Hermann Goering attend the Tannenburg Memorial Parade in East Prussia to commemorate Hindenburg’s victory over Russian forces in 1914, August 27th 1933
From Dirty Dancing to plain dirty: Sullivan County—100 miles from New York City—once had more than 500 resorts. Today, all that remains of these Jewish holiday centers is a constellation of derelict buildings.
—Phones on desks, linens on beds, catalog cards spilling out of the filing cabinets—all covered with a fine patina of dust. Neglected for years, and abandoned in seconds, it’s like a modern-day Pompeii in which the earth suddenly reclaimed its souls as they went about their daily business.
—But this isn’t fodder for the next Dean Koontz thriller; it’s real, and it’s 100 miles north of New York City. Sullivan County once boasted 538 hotels and over 50,000 bungalows, but today practically nothing remains of this illustrious, vacationing era, save crumbling towers and abandoned estates.
Thinking Like A Computer Will Help You With Any Tough Choice
–People are awful at making decisions due to the influence of countless cognitive biases.
—Nobel-prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman realized how true this was while working as a psychological evaluator for the Israeli Defense Forces in the 1950s, when he saw that an extensive test for officer candidates boiled down to intuitive judgments that were close to worthless and that, due to a bias he called the illusion of validity, evaluators continued to trust in their method even when it was found to be ineffective.
—In order to counteract biases, Kahneman designed a new method for evaluating officer candidates, which involved coming up with multiple quantifiable criteria, evaluating choices based on those criteria, and trusting in the result.
Retooling vocational education
FOR decades vocational education has suffered from the twin curses of low status and limited innovation. Politicians have equated higher education with traditional universities of the sort that they themselves attended. Parents have steered children away from “shop class”. And vocational studies have been left to languish: the detritus of an industrial era rather than the handmaiden of a new economy.
In MIT study, neuroscientists changed the emotions linked to specific memories in mice
—Erasing the anguish associated with a breakup or a traumatic event may soon no longer be confined to the realm of science fiction, or the central idea of the film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” following an apparent breakthrough by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
—Neuroscientists at MIT have honed in on the pathway of brain cells that appear to control the way our memories become linked to emotions — and have been able to “reverse” the emotion in mice linked to a specific memory, turning bad memories into good and vice versa. They published the results of their study in the journal Nature on Wednesday.
A century later, it’s harder to see the Panama Canal as fantastical. But it took many more centuries before even the idea of connecting oceans could arise.
By Morgan Meis
Boats traversing the Panama Canal look strange and out of place, like mirages or optical illusions. That’s because the Canal — especially at places like the Culebra Cut — goes right through what would otherwise be continuous land. The Canal is, in essence, a trench. It was dug right across the width of Panama in order to connect two oceans: Pacific and Atlantic. Ships going through the Panama Canal, therefore, are strange-goers, undertaking a journey that would be fantastical but for feats of engineering that still boggle the mind.
An unusual species of fish that can walk and breathe air shows that these animals may be more capable of adapting to life on land than previously thought, researchers say.
—The new findings may help explain how the ancient fish ancestors of humans colonized the land.
—The evolution of the ancient fish that switched from living in water to living on land about 400 million years ago is one of the most pivotal moments in the history of the animal kingdom. These first four-limbed animals, known as stem tetrapods, ultimately gave rise to amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
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