July 2009 - Posts

A group of psychologists from Spain have been studying a relatively unknown region of the brain that has to do with visual memory. The specific section is labeled as layer 6 of the V2 secondary visual cortex, and has to do with object recognition. The study is a little shaky as they are stuck with rat-brains. The first question that I asked was "how do they know whether or not the rat remembers the object?" Looking at some other object recognition experiments, it's obvious. The scientists introduce two of the same objects and allow the rats to investigate and map the objects. They then put the rat out of view of the two objects and replace one of them. When they allow the rat back into the cage with the objects, the rat will typically go and explore the newer object, as it is assumed that it remembers the original one. Scientists found that on average, a rat's memory of an object lasts only about 45 minutes. After an hour or so, the rat will treat the original objects as if they were new.

This brings me to the topic of the article. When they first started studying this specific layer of this specific region of the brain, they decided that the best way to figure out it's actual function would be to kill it. By introducing a cytotoxin, they were able to eliminate this part of the brain, thus eliminating the rat's entire visual memory capacity. A little sad, but a rat is a rat, I guess. They, more importantly, found that using a regulator of G protein signaling, RGS-14, they were able to increase the rat's object recognition memory by over 2000 times what it is typically. This allows the rat to remember an object for over 2 months as opposed to 45 minutes.

(above: RGS-14)

 

Though this specific protein seems amazing, it cannot restore memory in a visual cortex that has been killed by a cytotoxin. I think that this protein may be very useful in humans, but it has not been tested to our knowledge yet. With that much visual recall, one could acheive an awful lot in this world. Now, this is just specific to object recognition memory, so it would not give anything like the mythed "photographic memory," but I would still like to be one of the guinea pigs. I hope that this kind of research continues. It's very interesting to think how far we've come with science.

Posted Thursday, July 09, 2009 12:52 PM by cstanton | 2 comment(s)
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Damien Walters is an Olympic Gymnast and a Hollywood stuntman, but he's probably Spiderman or Nightcrawler too. This guy jumps over cars, off of buildings, and swings around on branches and light fixtures like that's what they're there for. I personally think its awesome, but its just not for me. Its got the watchability of someone being hit by a car, but doesn't make you feel quite as guilty because you don't get to see him get hurt. The man toys with death or serious bodily injury on a daily basis. If I had his ability I would just move around like this instead of driving everywhere. Watch and enjoy.


2009 Showreel


2007 Showreel


2006 Showreel

Posted Wednesday, July 08, 2009 5:19 PM by cstanton | 1 comment(s)
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For centuries now, there have been those select few people that have tried to strengthen their genitals. Most of the modern day supporters of strong sex organs only want it for pleasure, but some take it to an extreme. Just recently, a Russian woman named Tatiata Kozhevnikova took the world record for the World's Strongest Vagina... FROM HERSELF. She had already had the record for the world's strongest vagina and then she had to go and beat herself out again, pushing herself to new extremes.

 

Tatiata was feeling just a little too open and drafty after her pregnancy, so she started reading up on what she could do about this extra elasticity. She came across a book that included some useful information about how truely old school women fixed their private parts and learned that they used to grip wooden balls to strengthen their special muscles. She happened to have a glass ball that looked like it would fit, so in it went. Shortly after insertion she realized she had no way to get it out. "It took me ages to get it out!" I don't know how long ages is, but I hope it wasn't too long.

After she realized that this wasn't working, she went ahead and improvised a ball with a string, attached to another weighted ball. These are pretty much the same concept as Ben Wa balls, but I'm sure hers are a little more extreme. These special balls are actually supposed to be pleasurable and have been around for centuries. Soon she had a great below-the-belt workout plan. She worked at it for 15 years and kept pushing her limits. Now, she can lift a 14 kg, that's 31 pounds, weighted ball using the other ball that's been firmly gripped inside of her. I'm pretty sure that lifting a 31 pound glass ball is uncomfortable. I'm actually surprised that she doesn't get cramps. In fact, she boasts that doing these exercises will increase sexual pleasure for females and males alike.

Women aren't the only ones trying to strengthen their privates though. Leave it some crazy guy to test his penis's pulling power. These three guys have trained with weights dangling from their units until they had the power to pull a truck!

I love the enthusiasm, but most of the guys that are into training their members are usually just going to stick to pumps and supplements. I really don't understand the part of the brain that would make somebody want to do something so extreme to a part of their body that is so important... At least to me. This guy is actually more intense than the bus guys, but I can't put his video up due to the graphic nature. You can see it here.

Posted Wednesday, July 08, 2009 1:26 PM by cstanton | with no comments
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I went over to a friend's house the other day while they were surfing the net and I watched them come across something that I found to be really cool! They were on a website that looked like a big instant message window where the only two people in the room were "You" and "Stranger."

Omegle.com is a website dedicated to those that love to chat, and even moreso those that love to chat with people that they do not know and will probably never meet. Once you visit the site, there is just one big button in the middle of the screen that reads "Start a Chat!" Click on that, and you're instantly connected with a person that could live anywhere on the planet.

 This morning, I talked to some person that said they were a 15 year old boy in Brazil, and all he wanted to talk about was love and loss. He told me all about how he had a huge crush on his teacher and asked me for advice. You can judge my character if you want, but I definitely found an opportunity to amuse myself and gave him some comically sappy advice. Hopefully he just goes for it and can learn his life lesson that way, but more than likely even a 15 year old could have caught on to the overly dramatic examples of things I would say if I were in his situation.

The power of talking to strangers isn't limited to amusing one's self by having idle conversation. My friend talked to a man that was able to give her an estimate on the damage that had been done to her car recently. Overall the site is just for entertainment purposes, but every once in awhile some valuable information can be obtained.

Check it out! 

Posted Monday, July 06, 2009 2:00 PM by cstanton | 1 comment(s)
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 A research team led by Shinichi Ue, a professor of biological oceanography at Hiroshima University, has had some very alarming findings off of the pacific coast of Japan. They have been monitoring the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea for jellyfish movement and found shocking numbers of Echizen jellyfish, also known as Nomura's Jellyfish. Nomura's Jellyfish are monsterous and can measure up to 6 1/2 feet and weigh up to 450 lbs. The scare is that they could very seriously negatively affect the fishing industry.

 

In 2005, Japan had suffered a similar invasion and it cost the industry billions of yen. The numbers recorded in 2007 weren't so great either, when they had measured .77 jellyfish per hundred cubic meters. In 2008, they had only measured .01 jellyfish per hundred cubic meters and the fishing industry did very well. This year, based on the study done in June, they have measured a ridiculous 2.14 jellyfish per hundred cubic meters. That's almost three times as many jellyfish as in 2007, and over 200 times the amount of jellyfish recorded in 2008.

At the peak of the largest invasion in 2005, there were said to be as many as 500 million gargantuan jellyfish floating through the Tsushima Strait each day. If each of those were to weigh 400 pounds, that would be 200 billion pounds of jellyfish flowing through the straight. While Japan is worried about these invasions, China has a positive outlook on it. In China, jellyfish is considered a delicacy. The Echizen jelly actually sells for 375 yen per half kilogram. 

 

While China is busy harvesting and munching down on these monster jelly's, the jellyfish are busy destroying fishing nets and capsizing trawlers and stinging fishermen. The jellyfish's only damage doesn't come from destroying nets though. They also sting and sometimes kill fish with their venom, decreasing the quality if not only the quantity of each catch. Hopefully Ue's research will help to prevent outbreaks like this in the near future. 

Posted Thursday, July 02, 2009 4:45 PM by cstanton | 1 comment(s)
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I'm going to bring everyone's mood down and talk about a terrible thing that happened yesterday, July 1st. At about 10 A.M. Charles Darnell woke up in his girlfriends home and went about his business. When he got into the living room, he noticed that his "12 foot" burmese python was not in its terrarium. He went through the house searching for the snake and found it strangling his girlfriend's daughter, who was identified as 2 year old Shaiunna Hare, in her crib. According to his account, he stabbed the snake with a knife and pried her out of it's death grip. The snake quickly slithered under a dresser. By the time the paramedics had arrived, the child was dead and they were unable to revive her.

 

There have been many myths about man-eating snakes, but you rarely ever hear a valid report of it. There have been movies made out of it, and even elaborate staged photos, just to instill the fear of a man-eating serpent into our heads, and justly so. Any snake owner should be extremely careful about how they keep the reptile locked up, ESPECIALLY if there is a bite-sized baby in the house. According to Tim Keele, head of the Critter Control of Orlando, anyone in this position should make sure to take meticulous preventative measures to avoid the snake escaping and should have a plan if the snake were to attack. As far as the measures that were taken, Keele says that "stabbing the snake would only promote tighter restriction. Most prey's only method of defense is to bite and scratch the snake while it's being constricted. You can see this whenever you feed a constrictor. If the rat does not die immediately, it will begin to kick and you can actually see the snake continuing to constrict tighter and tighter. That's standard with these types of snakes." He also gives us a few tips for getting a snake to release its grip. Pouring alcohol down the snake's throat, pouring hot water on it, and slapping the snake all over its body would work better than stabbing the snake. 

The only reason that a snake would eat a child like that would be a reaction to a conditioned feeding response. If a snake's cage is opened every time it is fed, it correlates the cage opening with feeding time. It's like Pavlov's dog experiment, but snakes are even more easily conditioned than dogs. The same response will be triggered if the cage is left open.

There was some discrepancy as to the size of the snake. Darnell says that the snake is "about 12 feet" in the 911 call, but when the snake was removed it measured out to be only 8' 8". A link to the 911 call is here, but its pretty intense so you may not want to listen to it unless you're tough. Now, since this python is two years old according to Darnell, and since the python is 8 and a half feet, then it would be extremely undernourished and would be very hungry and trying to eat all the time, which would make sense of it hunting down and strangling a sleeping child.

Either way, Darnell should not have owned this creature, and will probably face some serious charges.  Tim Williams, a snake specialist at GatorLand, says that a special permit is required for these pythons because of the risk factors, such as munching down on native wildlife, pets, and children. FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) Official, Joy Hill, says that Darnell did not have the required permit to own this type of snake.

I just can't imagine the idiocy required to keep a snake large enough to eat a child in a house with a baby that still has to sleep in a crib. Even more, what kind of incoherent mooncalf would leave its terrarium unlocked? These are very dangerous animals, they make movies about them. Big snakes are scary for a reason. I really hope that this guy goes to prison for a really long time. It wasn't the snake's fault that it ate that child. All the snake was tryin to do was eat because it was apparently starving. A two year old burmese python should be at least 11 feet long, and this one was undernourished and looking for some grub. I really hope that they find the snake a new home and that they don't kill it, because then Darnell would be responsible for two deaths.

Posted Thursday, July 02, 2009 12:36 PM by cstanton | 4 comment(s)
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 Its almost time for Camp Bisco again! It's going to be held at Indian Lookout Country Club in Mariaville, NY again and will feature 50 amazing performers. There will be two main performance stages and a latenight dance tent for those that just want to boogie down into the morning. 

Tickets are on sale now for $199.99 for the three day pass and $75 for the Saturday-only tickets. You can purchase them at any of these locations or websites:

  • Jefferson Valley Mall Yorktown Heights, NY
  • Crossgates Mall, Albany, NY
  • Rotterdam Square, Schenectady, NY
  • Hudson Valley Mall, Kingston, NY
  • Newburgh Mall, Newburgh, NY
  • Latham Farms, Latham, NY
  • Colonie Center, Colonie, NY
  • Galleria at Crystal Run, Middletown, NY
  • Wilton Mall at Saratoga, Saratoga Springs, NY
  • Eastview Mall, Victor, NY
  • Camp Bisco Website
  • Tickets.com

Thanks to imeem.com's King and Queen of Camp Bisco contest, one lucky winner will be able to walk right up in there and receive $500 worth of camping equipment and supplies as well as two VIP tickets and two backstage passes. The camping equipment includes 1 tent, 1 lantern, 2 chairs, 2 sleeping bags, and 2 Camel Backs.
How do you win the contest? What you will need to do is log into your imeem account and join the group at http://www.imeem.com/kingofcampbisco
Then you will need to create a playlist featuring any of the bands that will be playing. You can view the full lineup here.
Once you've created your playlist, save it to the group, http://www.imeem.com/kingofcampbisco
The playlist with the most comments and plays by July 6th at noon PST wins and will receive their prize!

 

Posted Thursday, July 02, 2009 11:38 AM by cstanton | 1 comment(s)
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