November 19th, 2007

The Brain

The Spaces Between

Cells get all the glory, but the spaces surrounding them are important, too.


What’s in a brain? Neurons, chemical messengers, electric signals—and a lot of empty space. The space between cells takes up a fifth of the volume inside our brains. 

And although all our thoughts and mental functions traffic through this vital region, scientists are just beginning to unlock its secrets.


Neurobiologists Charles Nicholson of New York University and Eva Syková of the Institute of Experimental Medicine in Prague have developed ways to probe the unseen intercellular space in the brain.


By injecting tracers and tracking their diffusion through the living brains of rats and other animals, they have discovered that about 20 percent is extra cellular space, filled with cerebrospinal fluid—the same liquid that surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord.


  • Current Mood: curious curious

A Perfect Stranger

Pay It Forward

Animals show altruism toward strangers.


People are more likely to lend a hand to a perfect stranger if they have benefited from such kindness in the past. 

Now scientists have discovered that rodents show this behavior, too.


A research team at the University of Bern in Switzerland trained rats to deliver food for one another by pulling a stick. 

  • Current Mood: curious curious

Elephant Rescue


An elephant is employed to push a stranded bus as part of an effort to clear roads after Tropical Cyclone Sidr slammed into the Bangladeshi coast with winds of 140 miles 
(225 kilometers) an hour.


  • Current Mood: amused amused
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The Metal Guardrails

The Japanese Guardrail Mystery

Sometimes what is happening is so strange that there just doesn't seem to be any explanation for it. It may happen that these strange actions stop just as suddenly as they started, never to be heard of again. A couple of years ago Japan witnessed some pretty strange events…


It is nothing you would say is out worldly, as a matter of fact it is effecting something that is quite ordinary, the metal guardrails that divide the highways. What could be strange about a guardrail? 

It seems that something was happening to these mundane objects.


Pieces of sharp metal were jutting out of these guardrails all over the country. The Japanese government had no idea how these sharp pieces got there.  


  • Current Mood: curious curious

El Dorado!

The Lost Treasures of El Dorado

One of the legendary places in this world that has kept me fascinated is located somewhere in South America, or so says tradition. For centuries people have looked for it and hundreds of lives have been lost to this dream. Their thirst was the unquenchable lust of gold.


All are pleasantly present in the infamous El Dorado, that Gilded Man, that site of treasures, that source of wealth unending. Columbus went so far as to say that with gold man can “gain entrance for his soul to paradise.” I suppose that gives us a glimpse into his paradise; he was, however, one whose exploration turned into exploitation.


  • Current Mood: optimistic optimistic
  • Current Music: "Hispanola" - Vangelis

Person of the Week

J. Craig Venter

It takes a special person to appreciate that there is just as much wonder to be found in the ocean's smallest and humblest organic forms.


J. Craig Venter, 60, a former National Institutes of Health physiologist, who led the effort to sequence and publish the human genome in 2001, is one such person.


Through the institute that bears his name, he is sponsoring the second of two global expeditions by the research ship Sorcerer II to sample microbes and proteins throughout the world's oceans and seas. Biodiversity is our planet's greatest treasure. Through Venter's work, we may inch closer to protecting our whole planet, including those residents that are not big and warm and fuzzy.

MILF of the Week

Emmanuelle Seigner!

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

  • Current Mood: good good