Berfrois

From the moment we are born, forms chase us…

From the moment we are born, forms chase us…

From the moment we are born, standardized forms chase us: birth certificates, school applications, bank deposit slips, insurance claim forms, and, irritatingly, more.

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Interest in Psychedelics ‘Schrooms

Interest in Psychedelics ‘Schrooms

Researchers Re-Open Their Minds to Psychedelic Drugs | by Sam Kornell

Miller McCune

Mike told me doesn’t do mushrooms very often-maybe once or twice a year-but when he does, it’s because he wants to explore a problem in his life that...

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With the claims of stem cell proponents hovering just on the edge of believability, sifting fact from fiction can be rather difficult…

With the claims of stem cell proponents hovering just on the edge of believability, sifting fact from fiction can be rather difficult…

Su Chun Zhang From Stanford Medicine: On the surface it seems easy. Overseas stem cell “clinics” peddling unproven treatments to desperate and dying patients, charging tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege of being injected with mysterious concoctions of cells meant to cure almost every ailment: What’s not...

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Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and now Fukushima. Each unique, and each was supposed to be impossible…

Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and now Fukushima. Each unique, and each was supposed to be impossible…

Clockwise from top left: Nuclear power plants at Windscale, Three Mile Island, Fukushima and Chernobyl From Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: As an anthropologist, I am always interested in what humans learn from their mistakes. Can humans change their behavior, thereby improving their chances of survival, not just through...

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Tuning in to Cricket Radio

Tuning in to Cricket Radio

Corps of Discovery member Andy Brand pushing for crickets by John Himmelman A few years ago I gathered some friends to hunt for the smallest cricket in North America, the Sphagnum Ground Cricket (Allonemobius palustris).   The friends are part of a group we call “Corps of Discovery”, after the...

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No Archaic/Modern Divide; or, Behavioural Variability in Premodern Humans

No Archaic/Modern Divide; or, Behavioural Variability in Premodern Humans

Refuting a Myth About Human Origins | by John J. Shea

American Scientist

For decades, archeologists have believed that modern behaviors emerged among Homo sapiens tens of thousands of years after our species first evolved. Archaeologists disagreed over whether this process was...

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Good-bye to the straw feminist

Good-bye to the straw feminist

Eflon  by Cordelia Fine “This was not a permissible hypothesis”. That was social psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s recent explanation of the outrage that followed Lawrence Summers’ speech at a conference on the under-representation of women in science and engineering, in which he suggested that women are on average intrinsically less...

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Is the Keplar mission closing in on another Earth?

Is the Keplar mission closing in on another Earth?

HD 209458b From Nature: Until Kepler, the leading detection method used to discover exoplanets — planets outside the Solar System — was much more likely to find giant planets, resulting in a sampling bias. Known as radial velocity or Doppler spectroscopy, the method depends on identifying the shift in...

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Changing Our Minds

Changing Our Minds

From Wired: Every so often Al Frances says something that seems to surprise even him. Just now, for instance, in the predawn darkness of his comfortable, rambling home in Carmel, California, he has broken off his exercise routine to declare that “there is no definition of a mental disorder....

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Vectors, Viruses and Victims

Vectors, Viruses and Victims

From American Scientist: Mosquitoes live brief but busy lives feeding on nectar and plant sugars. The females must also find human or animal blood to feast on in order to produce eggs and continue the life cycle, so they live rather longer than the males—several weeks rather than several...

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‘The worst case scenario is not that humans will become extinct…’

‘The worst case scenario is not that humans will become extinct…’

Life After People, History From 3 Quarks Daily: The year is 3010 and an interesting new species has evolved: a muscular, knuckle-walking primate with sparse body hair and a strikingly human face. It appears to be deformed, with extra non-functional limbs in various anatomical positions–like something out of a...

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The Cosmos: Capitalism’s New “Outside”

The Cosmos: Capitalism’s New “Outside”

Total Recall, 1990 From Monthly Review: In the early twentieth century, Rosa Luxemburg argued that an “outside” to capitalism is important for two main reasons. First, it is needed as a means of creating massive numbers of new customers who would buy the goods made in the capitalist countries....

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