November 16th, 2007

Life

The Core of Existence


 

The strong nuclear force is the strongest of the four fundamental forces of nature, binding protons and neutrons in the cores of atoms. Yet the same force prevents those fundamental particles from combining in certain combinations.

 

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The Eye Trick

Sometimes the Eyes Play Tricks on the Ears

 

The way a primitive auditory structure in the brain processes visual information may explain how we are fooled by thrown voices…

 

This processing phenomenon in which a visual cue affects how one perceives an auditory stimulus—ventriloquism is another example—may be explained by new research that pinpointed neurons in a primitive brain area that responds to both visual and auditory information.

 

This area, the inferior colliculus region in the midbrain, less than half an inch in diameter, is a way station for nearly all auditory signals as they travel from the ear to the cortex (the brain's central processing area).

 

"It's important if you're going to be integrating visual and auditory information that they be on a level playing field, so both are encoded the same way," says Jennifer Groh, an associate professor at Duke University's Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. 

"It's important for the auditory pathway to know where the eye is pointed."

 

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Happy 20.000th birthday

What If You Never Aged…

 

How Long Would You Live? With a little luck, you could well make it to your 20,000th birthday.

 

Each year, American adults have, overall, a 1-in-1,743 chance of dying in an accident. That means that even if nothing else killed you—doing away with old age and disease—you would on average live to be 1,743 years old before a fatal accident. 

But you could do better.
A 9-year-old child has much lower odds of accidental death, about 1 in 10,000. If we could keep everyone to this low rate (avoiding work and driving would probably help), we could typically live 10,000 years.

 

About 37 percent of the population would do better yet, living on average to the ripe old age of 20,000, says James Vaupel, director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research.

Kemo D. (a.k.a. no.7)

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Quote of the Day

“Coming home from very lonely places, all of us go a little mad: whether from great personal success, or just an all-night drive, we are the sole survivors of a world no one else has ever seen.”

 

John le Carre

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Lasting Image

The Anne Frank’s Tree


The chestnut tree that comforted Anne Frank while she hid from the Nazis during World War II will be cut down Wednesday because it is too diseased to be saved, the city decided this week. The 150-year-old chestnut, familiar to the many readers of "The Diary of Anne Frank," suffers from fungus.

 

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