The Hanging Coffins of Sagada
The people of Sagada in the Philippines follow a unique burial ritual. The elderly carve their own coffins out of hollowed logs. If they are too weak or ill, their families prepare their coffins instead. The dead are placed inside their coffins (sometimes breaking their bones in the process of fitting them in), and the coffins are brought to a cave for burial.
Instead of being placed into the ground, the coffins are hung either inside the caves or on the face of the cliffs, near the hanging coffins of their ancestors. The Sagada people have been practicing such burials for over 2,000 years and some of the coffins are well over a century old.
Everyday life in Copenhagen ‘74
New picture of Mercury by Messenger Spacecraft
It’s all about the particles in the tattoo ink’s pigment says Dr. Anne Laumann, MBChB, a professor of dermatology at Northwestern University.
Tattoo application uses a mechanized needle to puncture the skin and inject ink into the dermis or second layer of skin just below the epidermis. Since the process involves damaging the skin, the body responds with white blood cells which attempt to absorb the foreign particles and dispose of them in the blood stream.
“The reason pigment stays there is because the pigment particles are too big to be eaten by the white cells, so they just sit there,” Laumann says.
Tattoos have become increasingly popular in recent years. According to a 2010 Pew Research Report, approximately 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have at least one tattoo.
The problem with tattoos is exactly what makes them so appealing—their permanency. “If you have the name of your boyfriend on there and then you marry somebody else, that’s a problem,” Laumann says.
Tattoos also tend to become problematic with age. Ink can become blurred if injected too deeply into the skin, causing the pigment to migrate beyond the intended area. Fading and distortion due to changes in body shape are also common problems with tattoos. Permanent makeup—or tattoos that resemble eyeliner or other makeup—is a prime example of how these problems can lead to dissatisfaction years after the ink is applied because skin sags and changes shape with age.
“The problem with that is as you get older the shape of the fold of the skin changes,” Laumann says. “So not only does it bleed a bit because the pigment moves gradually over time and so those will tend to become sort of smoky edges, but also the whole line might become a little distorted over the years.”
When a tattoo is no longer desirable, whether it’s faded or causing a bad case of buyer’s regret, you can burn it or cut it out—but the safest and most effective method is a laser treatment.
Microraptor: A 4-Winged, Fish-Eating Dinosaur
Fossilized guts reveal that Microraptor — a four-winged, flying dinosaur — had an unusual taste for fish. Located near the fossil’s ribs, a mass of fish bones bearing the mark of strong digestive acids suggests the crow-sized reptile’s prey veered from the arboreal to the aquatic.
“There are only two other good examples of dinosaurs with a taste for sushi: the giant, crocodile-like spinosaurs and the tiny compsognathids,” said Scott Persons, from the University of Alberta. “So, no. Fish are not usually considered as staples of a dino’s diet.”
Previous analyses of Microraptor specimens pointed toward prey retrieved from trees: small mammals and birds. But a new analysis, reported Apr. 19 by Persons and colleagues in the journal Evolution, suggests the dinosaur feasted on fish as well. The team based its conclusions on specimen QM V1002, retrieved from northeastern China in an area thought to have been a forested, freshwater lake environment 120 million years ago. Nearly complete, though with a badly crushed skull, the fossil bears traces of the long, dark feathers that have come to distinguish Microraptor. Among the preserved bones and feathers is a lump of bony fish bits that includes fin rays, ribs, vertebrae, and bits of acid-etched fish skull.
Persons and colleagues also suggest the dinosaur’s teeth made it particularly good at impaling fish. Its small teeth are angled forward, as is commonly seen in other fish-eating animals such as crocodiles. And they’re only serrated on one edge, which would prevent prey from being ripped apart while struggling.
The team isn’t sure yet whether the dinosaur caught its own fish, or scavenged on leftovers. And, whether the glossy, flying dino behaved more like an eagle or an egret is also still unclear.
“It does not have the long legs of wading bird (like a heron or stork), and we don’t think it had the opposable talons of a modern raptor (like an osprey or fish eagle),” Persons said in an email. “It may have swooped down on fish like a kingfisher, but there is a lot of debate over how agile of a flyer Microraptor was.”
image 1: Zooming in on the fish-filled gut of a Microraptor fossil. (Scott Persons)
image 2: In addition to eating smaller birds and mammals, Microraptor also enjoyed fish. (Emily Willoughby)
Cutting Back on Sleep Harms Blood Vessels, Breathing
With work and entertainment operating around the clock in our modern society, sleep is often a casualty. A bevy of research has shown a link between sleep deprivation and cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders and obesity. However, it’s been unclear why sleep loss might lead to these effects. Several studies have tested the effects of total sleep deprivation, but this model isn’t a good fit for the way most people lose sleep, with a few hours here and there. In a new study by Keith Pugh, Shahrad Taheri and George Balanos, all of the Univ. of Birmingham, researchers tested the effects of partial sleep deprivation on blood vessels and breathing control. They found that reducing sleep length over two consecutive nights leads to less healthy vascular function and impaired breathing control.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/04/cutting-back-sleep-harms-blood-vessels-breathing
Members of Congress are living off food stamps for a week to protest Republican cuts. It’s a challenge for them, but GOP cuts would hurt millions of everyday Americans.
Why does this not have more publicity. This needs it!
Signal boosting this A) because it deserves to be seen by more people, and b) because I appreciate some members of Congress are actually willing to see what it’s like living on food stamps in order to make their point about how horrifying cutting food stamps would be.
News flash, regressives: people on food stamps do not load up on Snickers bars and filet mignon. They’re limited in what they can buy, and oftentimes, it’s not enough to get by on. Go on thinking these are entitlements that let minorities live lives of luxury, comfortable in the knowledge that you’ll never go hungry.
You privileged, elitist pricks.
Brain Has A ‘Search Mode’ To Find Lost Objects
When we’re scouting round for Important Objects Which We Know Are Around Here Somewhere (if only we could just remember where) the brain activates specific regions to help with the search.
As a result, regions of the brain usually employed in other tasks — recognition of unrelated objects or processing abstract thought — are hijacked for the search mission.
“Our results show that our brains are much more dynamic than previously thought, rapidly reallocating resources based on behavioural demands, and optimising our performance by increasing the precision with which we can perform relevant tasks,” said Tolga Cukur, a neuroscientist at UC Berkeley and lead author of the study published in Nature Neuroscience.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) the researchers recorded brain activity as participants looked for people or cars in movie clips. The team then compared how much of the cortex was devoted to detecting humans or cars depending on which of the two was the search target.
The results showed that when humans were the target, more of the cortex was allocated to “humans” and when the target was vehicles the cortex prioritised “vehicles”.
“These changes occur across many brain regions, not only those devoted to vision,” said Cukur. “In fact, the largest changes are seen in the prefrontal cortex, which is usually thought to be involved in abstract thought, long-term planning and other complex mental tasks.”
The brain’s flexibility isn’t just a matter of helping you find your car keys or small child faster, though. It means that when you focus on any specific task there is a natural tendency to redistribute neural resources, diverting them from other tasks.
This would help explain why multitasking can sometimes prove so difficult as well as possibly offering future insight into attention-related issues such as ADHD.