soupsoup:

Study: US government is an oligarchy Researchers from Princeton and Northwestern Universities released a study in April that found U.S. politicians more often reflect the wishes of the rich and powerful over the needs of the majority of Americans, who have a "minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy."

soupsoup:

Study: US government is an oligarchy 

Researchers from Princeton and Northwestern Universities released a study in April that found U.S. politicians more often reflect the wishes of the rich and powerful over the needs of the majority of Americans, who have a "minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy."

totallynotagentphilcoulson:

I’ve been waiting for Phil Tippett to respond to this joke

(via inlikewithlife)

austinkleon:

Kurt Vonnegut Once Sent This Amazing Letter To A High School


  What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.
  
  Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.
  
  Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?
  
  Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash recepticals [sic]. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.

austinkleon:

Kurt Vonnegut Once Sent This Amazing Letter To A High School

What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.

Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash recepticals [sic]. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.

soupsoup:

Russia Today anchor Liz Wahl resigns on air, says she won’t “I cannot be part of a network funded by the Russia government that white washes the actions of Putin”

neurosciencestuff:

New evidence that chronic stress predisposes brain to mental illness

University of California, Berkeley, researchers have shown that chronic stress generates long-term changes in the brain that may explain why people suffering chronic stress are prone to mental problems such as anxiety and mood disorders later in life.

Their findings could lead to new therapies to reduce the risk of developing mental illness after stressful events.

Doctors know that people with stress-related illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), have abnormalities in the brain, including differences in the amount of gray matter versus white matter. Gray matter consists mostly of cells – neurons, which store and process information, and support cells called glia – while white matter is comprised of axons, which create a network of fibers that interconnect neurons. White matter gets its name from the white, fatty myelin sheath that surrounds the axons and speeds the flow of electrical signals from cell to cell.

How chronic stress creates these long-lasting changes in brain structure is a mystery that researchers are only now beginning to unravel.

In a series of experiments, Daniela Kaufer, UC Berkeley associate professor of integrative biology, and her colleagues, including graduate students Sundari Chetty and Aaron Freidman, discovered that chronic stress generates more myelin-producing cells and fewer neurons than normal. This results in an excess of myelin – and thus, white matter – in some areas of the brain, which disrupts the delicate balance and timing of communication within the brain.

“We studied only one part of the brain, the hippocampus, but our findings could provide insight into how white matter is changing in conditions such as schizophrenia, autism, depression, suicide, ADHD and PTSD,” she said.

The hippocampus regulates memory and emotions, and plays a role in various emotional disorders.

Kaufer and her colleagues published their findings in the Feb. 11 issue of the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Does stress affect brain connectivity?

Kaufer’s findings suggest a mechanism that may explain some changes in brain connectivity in people with PTSD, for example. One can imagine, she said, that PTSD patients could develop a stronger connectivity between the hippocampus and the amygdala – the seat of the brain’s fight or flight response – and lower than normal connectivity between the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, which moderates our responses.

“You can imagine that if your amygdala and hippocampus are better connected, that could mean that your fear responses are much quicker, which is something you see in stress survivors,” she said. “On the other hand, if your connections are not so good to the prefrontal cortex, your ability to shut down responses is impaired. So, when you are in a stressful situation, the inhibitory pathways from the prefrontal cortex telling you not to get stressed don’t work as well as the amygdala shouting to the hippocampus, ‘This is terrible!’ You have a much bigger response than you should.”

She is involved in a study to test this hypothesis in PTSD patients, and continues to study brain changes in rodents subjected to chronic stress or to adverse environments in early life.

Stress tweaks stem cells

Kaufer’s lab, which conducts research on the molecular and cellular effects of acute and chronic stress, focused in this study on neural stem cells in the hippocampus of the brains of adult rats. These stem cells were previously thought to mature only into neurons or a type of glial cell called an astrocyte. The researchers found, however, that chronic stress also made stem cells in the hippocampus mature into another type of glial cell called an oligodendrocyte, which produces the myelin that sheaths nerve cells.

The finding, which they demonstrated in rats and cultured rat brain cells, suggests a key role for oligodendrocytes in long-term and perhaps permanent changes in the brain that could set the stage for later mental problems. Oligodendrocytes also help form synapses – sites where one cell talks to another – and help control the growth pathway of axons, which make those synapse connections.

The fact that chronic stress also decreases the number of stem cells that mature into neurons could provide an explanation for how chronic stress also affects learning and memory, she said.

Kaufer is now conducting experiments to determine how stress in infancy affects the brain’s white matter, and whether chronic early-life stress decreases resilience later in life. She also is looking at the effects of therapies, ranging from exercise to antidepressant drugs, that reduce the impact of stress and stress hormones.

(via thenewenlightenmentage)

kateoplis:

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg's nonprofit organization, LeanIn.org, has partnered with Getty Images to “to create a line of stock photos that depict mature, professional businesswomen, rather than ones who appear dumb, subservient, sexualized, or sometimes all three at once.” 

One recent study found that only 3% of creative directors are women. In journalism, men continue to fill the majority of top editor roles — and this likely extends to photo editor roles as well. We’ve all seen Mad Men. This isn’t the 1950s, but the advertising industry is not exactly a model for gender equality. None of this is to say that men can’t accurately depict women in visual imagery, but if we’ve learned anything from the research, it’s that gender equality in every industry leads to better and more representative outcomes.”

"The new library of photos shows professional women as surgeons, painters, bakers, soldiers and hunters. There are girls riding skateboards, women lifting weights and fathers changing babies’ diapers.”

Jessica BennetWill Lean In & Getty Rid the World of the Media’s Subtle Sexism?

Changing Women’s Portrayal in Stock Photos | NYT

Making Stock Photos Less Sexist | Bloomberg

(via howstuffworks)

lenalot:

shortbreadsh:

tanacetum-vulgare:

youarenotyou:

red3blog:

fatbodypolitics:

freckles42:

nataliesama:

bagmilk:

karkatstuck:

tangarang:

fullmetalbukkake:

lafix:

A very bizarre bird was photographed in Venezuela recently. Meet the Potoo, which is rarely seen in daylight. - Imgur
NOPE

what the fuck is that

that looks like a god damn nightmare

and this is sound it makes

MOOOOOM

are you fucking kidding me it sounds like a 18 year old boy complaining to his mother because she cut off the wifi

Oh my gods, seriously, go listen to the recording, THIS DESCRIPTION IS PERFECT

omg I’m dying. The description really is perfect.

I’ve been sick and should not have listened to that because now I can’t breathe.

SPOT ON

OH MY GOD. Do yourself a favour and listen to this fucking recording. MOOOOM! 

Dyyyyyyying

crying

lenalot:

shortbreadsh:

tanacetum-vulgare:

youarenotyou:

red3blog:

fatbodypolitics:

freckles42:

nataliesama:

bagmilk:

karkatstuck:

tangarang:

fullmetalbukkake:

lafix:

A very bizarre bird was photographed in Venezuela recently. Meet the Potoo, which is rarely seen in daylight. - Imgur

NOPE

what the fuck is that

that looks like a god damn nightmare

and this is sound it makes

MOOOOOM

are you fucking kidding me it sounds like a 18 year old boy complaining to his mother because she cut off the wifi

Oh my gods, seriously, go listen to the recording, THIS DESCRIPTION IS PERFECT

omg I’m dying. The description really is perfect.

I’ve been sick and should not have listened to that because now I can’t breathe.

SPOT ON

OH MY GOD. Do yourself a favour and listen to this fucking recording. MOOOOM! 

Dyyyyyyying

crying

(via occupiedmuslim)

stuckinabucket:

Behold, birds who have lost the ability to can!

Just kidding, guys.  These birds are just trolling the hell out of ants.  I really, really wanted to show you this clip of a Galapagos finch or something harassing the shit out of formica ants and then being all “Yes, yes, bathe me in your fury!  Your chemical defenses are now my own!  Mwahahahaha!”, but the closest thing I could find is this video of David Attenborough pissing off some wood ants.  It was basically like that, only instead of an Englishman with a stick, it was a bird stomping around with its wings spread just being an absolute asshole about everything.

This behavior is actually called anting, and there are two types of anting that birds can engage in.  One is just anting, where birds will rub ants all over themselves to get that precious, precious formic acid all up in their feathers.  They’ll also do it with mothballs, cigarette butts, and certain sorts of beetles and millipedes.  The other one is passive anting, where a particularly lazy bird will find an anthill and just flop down on it with all their feathers spread and puffed and annoy the ants until they hop to and try to make them leave, at which point the bird rubs its wings together and goes “Yeeeeeess.”

They do this to get rid of external parasites, because external parasites are annoying.  Ant-eating birds who do this are getting a two-for deal out of it, because they get the ants to empty their acid sacs in a beneficial location (the bird’s feathers) and then get to eat them without having to deal with the acid in their crops, so it’s basically like if your bug-spray or deoderant came in a bacon bottle.

Formica ants get the brunt of this, because they’re super-common and quite frequently spray the acid instead of trying to inject it, so the bird can get itself doused and then preen it into its feathers.  Considering the spraying of acid is like the ant way of saying “Oh my god go away you dickhead I hate you we all hate you why are you still here jesus christ what is wrong with you,” we can be reasonably sure that they’re not super-thrilled by this bird behavior.  Since the birds keep doing it, we can be reasonably sure that they don’t care about the ants’ feelings.

(via occupiedmuslim)