In case you haven’t witnessed this masterpiece already…

Chipotle is muh life_

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How Magic Mushrooms Rearrange Your Brain:

(Communication between brain networks in people given psilocybin (right) or a non-psychedelic compound (left). Petri et al./Proceedings of the Royal Society Interface)

A new way of looking at brain activity may give insight into how psychedelic drugs produce their consciousness-altering effects.

In recent years, a focus on brain structures and regions has given way to an emphasis on neurological networks: how cells and regions interact, with consciousness shaped not by any given set of brain regions, but by their interplay.

Understanding the networks, however, is no easy task, and researchers are developing ever more sophisticated ways of characterizing them. One such approach, described in a new Proceedings of the Royal Society Interface study, involves not simply networks but networks of networks.

Perhaps some aspects of consciousness arise from these meta-networks—and to investigate the proposition, the researchers analyzed fMRI scans of 15 people after being injected with psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, and compared them to scans of their brain activity after receiving a placebo.

Investigating psychedelia wasn’t the direct purpose of the experiment, said study co-author Giovanni Petri, a mathematician at Italy’s Institute for Scientific Interchange. Rather, psilocybin makes for an ideal test system: It’s a sure-fire way of altering consciousness.

“In a normal brain, many things are happening. You don’t know what is going on, or what is responsible for that,” said Petri. “So you try to perturb the state of consciousness a bit, and see what happens.”

A representation of that is seen in the image above. Each circle depicts relationships between networks—the dots and colors correspond not to brain regions, but to especially connection-rich networks—with normal-state brains at left, and psilocybin-influenced brains at right.

In mathematical terms, said Petri, normal brains have a well-ordered correlation state. There’s not much cross-linking between networks. That changes after the psilocybin dose. Suddenly the networks are cross-linking like crazy, but not in random ways. New types of order emerge.

“We can speculate on the implications of such an organization,” wrote the researchers, who were led by neurobiologist Paul Expert of King’s College London. “One possible by-product of this greater communication across the whole brain is the phenomenon of synaesthesia”—the experience, common during psychedelic experiences, of sensory mix-up: tasting colors, feeling sounds, seeing smells, and so on.

Petri notes that the network depiction above is still a simplified abstraction, with the analysis mapped onto a circular, two-dimensional scaffold. A truer way of visualizing it, he said, would be in three dimensions, with connections between networks forming a sponge-like topography.

That level of interpretation is still beyond the researchers’ mathematical ken, Petri says. They hope to refine their methods in future research, and to track network fluctuations over longer periods of time and with different drugs.

“The big question in neuroscience is where consciousness comes from,” Petri said. For now, he said, “We don’t know.”


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Windowless Plane Displays Panoramic Sky_







UK-based tech innovation company Centre for Process Innovation (CPI)’s Windowless Fuselage concept replaces windows on commercial planes with high-definition, flexible panels that can display breathtaking views of the world around the aircraft as it soars across the sky.

Imaging from cameras mounted on the outside of the plane would appear on the OLED screens, allowing passengers to experience immersive, panoramic views while also adjusting easier to time zone differences as lighting panels produce the color changes associated with sunset and sunrise around them. CPI’s vision would be possible thanks to a roll-to-roll manufacturing technique that would also coat the screens in a protective layer for longevity.

While this isn’t the first time a windowless plane has been proposed, CPI believes that their vision could become reality within the next 10 years, effectively changing the flight industry forever.


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Swim Through the Oceans at Your Desk With Google’s 360-Degree Seaview_

Richard Vevers left the world of London advertising to go to Australia and chase his dream of making a career in underwater photography—a source of fascination for him since his teen years in landlocked Bromley, England. Now, he and his team at the Catlin Seaview Survey, thanks to a partnership with Google Street View, may have created the most viewed underwater imagery of all time.

“I saw that there were a lot of issues going on underwater that were out of sight and out of mind,” said Vevers. “I saw that as an advertising issue. Our solution was to reveal the ocean and let the conservation organizations do the rest.”

Vevers and his team capture gorgeous, immersive, 360° images of all six major global coral regions to be used as baseline data to monitor their swift degradation. “We started off with coral reefs because we’ve lost 40 percent in last 30 years, and because of the effects of climate change, it’s not likely to slow down,” said Vevers. “This will give us an incredible, unprecedented baseline to measure change. These environments will be hit more and more by storms and bleaching events. It’s the recovery that is so critical.”

“This is science that has not been possible on this scale before—to measure impact and create new baselines with which to measure recovery,” said Vevers. “I think it’s safe to say that we’ve taken Street View to places they weren’t imagining when they named it.”


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Apple CEO Tim Cook Publicly Addresses His Sexual Orientation in an Essay, ‘I’m Proud to Be Gay’_

In an essay for Businessweek, Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged his sexual orientation, explaining that while he hadnt kept the matter secret, he had never addressed the issue in a public forum.

So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me. Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life.

The executive, who has largely made a point to keep his private life private, addressed the issue after calling on his home state of Alabama to do more for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights — a statement keeping with Apple’s history of fighting for workplace equality.

We’ve taken a strong stand in support of a workplace equality bill before Congress, just as we stood for marriage equality in our home state of California. And we spoke up in Arizona when that state’s legislature passed a discriminatory bill targeting the gay community. We’ll continue to fight for our values, and I believe that any CEO of this incredible company, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, would do the same.


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Tannis Root_

(GIF: Bill Domonkos, 2014) (Photo: Richard Parks, 1974)


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Collaborative Self-Portraits_

Students took created 3D scans of themselves, then replaced the texture file with hand-drawn illustrative versions_

The output of a 3D scan consists on a mesh and a texture map – much like a body and skin.

This collaborative work was designed to create a series of self portraits that treat the body as a canvas for 3d drawing.

It raises up the question whether it is the skin or the body which defines us, and invites artists to participate in the creative process of creating a self portrait.

This is an exploration of a new kind of drawing format, where the subject is captured from all around and the final composition of the drawing could be defined by the observer.


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Living Sculptures of Ants Digging Inside Clear Acrylic Enclosures_

Live ants dig tunnels inside clear acrylic enclosures in a series of living sculptures by artist Brad Troemel. The nine sculptures — each filled with a clear gel that doubles as ant food — are part of Troemel’s ongoing exhibition LIVE / WORK at Tomorrow gallery in New York City through November 9th, 2014.


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Could A Judge In Sacramento Undo Feds’ War on Marijuana?

Yesterday was the third day of testimony in a hearing wherein a federal judge in Sacramento is listening to arguments as to whether the federal government’s classification of cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance — the list of the most dangerous, least useful drugs known to science — is constitutional.

Determining whether declaring cannabis highly addictive and medically useless violates the Constitution is a thorny question. It’s obvious to anyone who bothers to read the data that it’s scientifically unsound.
The case, in the Eastern District of California in Sacramento, is U.S. vs. Schweder. At first blush, it’s not very sympathy-inducing: the defendants indicted are 16 growers suspected of cultivating over 1,800 plants on public land in the Shasta-Trinity National forest, as our friends at Smell The Truth point out.

The reason why the case is historic is that the judge, U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly J. Mueller, is actually letting witnesses testify as to why marijuana’s federal classification makes no sense. In federal court, no less, where defendants have famously been denied medical defenses.

Superstar scientist Dr. Carl T. Hart of Columbia University testified on Monday, reported The Leaf Online, which has been covering the trial. Hart, a groundbreaking researcher into addiction science who posits that crack is not the highly addictive substance we thought it was, ran through the basics on marijuana: it has proven medical benefits through research, it had addiction rates lower than other drugs placed lower on the panoply of banned substances.

In other words, keeping it Schedule I makes no sense at all from a data-driven standpoint.

“It’s not my opinion,” Hart said, according to The Leaf. “It’s what the evidence indicates.”

Meanwhile, the United States government is using your tax dollars to try to make a case that marijuana is basically the same thing as heroin — the kind of drug that kills 22,000 Americans a year, as STT pointed noted, and inspires movies such as Requiem for a Dream.

Change is already happening in the courts. A federal appeals court recently noted in a ruling that imprisonment might not be an “appropriate” penalty for using cannabis.

This trial won’t undo the War on Drugs, of course. Nor will it undo the feds’ silly classification of cannabis. It could, however, provide precedent for both. At the least, it’s showing just how silly this charade is at its core.

But of course, most of us already knew that.


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