The Harvard University Hope Experiment

During the 1950’s, Dr. Curt Richter from Harvard University performed a series of experiments using water, buckets, and both domesticated and wild rats which resulted in a surprising discovery within the field of psychology. In the first experiment, Richter placed his test subjects into large buckets half filled with water with even those rats which were considered above average swimmers, giving up and dying within a few short minutes. In the second experiment, Richter pulled each rat out just as it was about to give up due to exhaustion and let them rest for a few moments. Upon inserting the rats back into the bucket of water, Richter found that the rats continued to struggle to survive for up to 60 hours as the rats now believed that if they continued to push forward with enough effort put forth, eventually they would be rescued once again. Richter recorded in his notes, “after elimination of hopelessness, the rats do not die”

The Test Subject and Scientific Experiment Which Proved the Fear Response in Human Beings Does Not Solely Reside Within the Amygdala

SM Amygdala MRIJustin Feinstein is one of the few scientists who have been able to study a woman who has zero fear response. To protect the woman’s identity, this subject is known only as “S.M.”, and Feinstein has had the opportunity to work with her under laboratory conditions and in real world scenarios (e.g. coffee meeting, sporting event, professional conference etc.) for the past 15 years as of 2018. S.M.’s lack of fear has had unexpected consequences within her life, as she displays no sense of typical fear induced scenarios (e.g. personal space, feeling completely comfortable being nose to nose with a complete stranger as the concept of personal space and discomfort has no meaning), heightened by the fact that S.M. does not produce typical signals of distrust when interacting with a novel person. S.M. lacks fear because she is without her amygdala, a physical trait observed in very few human beings, making S.M. one of the only people in the world to produce this physiology. S.M. has no amygdala because she has been diagnosed with Urbach-Wiethe Disease (pronounced “urr-bock vee-they”). The underlying etymology of Urbach-Wiethe Disease is still unknown but in patients with the condition, specific portions of the brain, in both hemispheres, can become subject to selective calcification which erodes the ability to function as designed. The amygdala acts as a sentry for potential fearful stimuli, and produces a response accordingly. The removal of or inability of the amygdala to work correctly results in a complete and total lack and/or loss of fear. This condition has caused S.M. considerable difficulty during her life as she has experienced dangerous interactions with those participating within the illicit drug trade. Upon one occasion, a stranger ran up to S.M., placed a firearm against her temple, and yelled “bang!”. Neighbors witnessed this event and notified law enforcement which puzzled S.M. as she did not view the event as dangerous or alarming and therefore did not expect to be contacted by the police. When the human body detects the intake of too much carbon dioxide, it can become pushed into a state of alarm. Feinstein wanted to better understand what would occur if he interfered with S.M.’s respiratory system, using 35% carbon dioxide during the first trial run. Feinstein found that S.M. was immediately fearful after a single intake breath, despite his original hypothesis of no fear response being observed. S.M. displayed an immediate and dramatic fear response with S.M. herself describing it as the “most intense fear ever felt” during her entire life. This single breath was revolutionary for neurology as it definitively proved that the amygdala is not the only region of the brain which controls and is related to fear

The Invention of Star Luminosity Mapping to Measure Immense Distances in Space

Henrietta-LeavittHenrietta Leavitt, a brilliant scientist who worked at the Harvard Observatory discovered the true size of the universe because of her ability to objectively measure the true brightness of stars. Leavitt became enamored and fascinated by a type of star referred to as a “cepheid variable” which means a “star which pulses within the night sky”. Leavitt’s revolutionary breakthrough occurred when she realized that the intensity of brightness is precisely linked to how quick or slow at which the star blinks. If 2 points of light blink at the same rate but with different intensities, it would stand to reason that the brighter star is closer to the observer than the dimmer one. This allowed Leavitts to measure the distance to stars which lay far beyond the reaches of parallax distance

The Chinese Political Practice of Panda Diplomacy

panda-bearThe Chinese government have a practice referred to as “panda diplomacy” which is designed to provide other nations with pandas, which are impossible to ascertain outside of China. China offers the gift of a panda or pandas to nations which it wishes to have strong diplomatic or economic ties with and is considered a high honor amongst world leaders as not many have received this gift and gesture of good will. Ownership is not permanent as China only leases pandas, it does not relinquish them outright. As of 2019, 27 zoos in 22 countries or territories currently feature pandas on loan from China including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Hong Kong, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.K., and the U.S.. The concept of panda diplomacy is not a new one as evidence of the practice dates back to the Tang Dynasty, when Empress Wu Zetian sent a pair of pandas to Emperor Tenmu of Japan in 685 A.D.

The Scientific Reason Conspiracy Theories are Subscribed to

social-media-appsConspiracy theories are adopted because those who believe them, produce an alternate frame of reality which tends to make sense out of a scenario in a manner which coincides with the world view of the person believing the propaganda. Within the discipline of cognitive psychology, a phenomenon referred to as the “Illusory Truth Effect” exists in which hearing a statement repeatedly, makes the statement appear more plausible. Scientists have examined this principle by having subjects read news stories, then distracting the subjects with unrelated material (e.g random surveys), then once again exposing the subjects to more news stories. Scientists found that when subjects are asked to rate the accuracy of news stories read during the second round, they are much more likely to rate information as credible if having seen it once before. For a news article or headline which has not been observed before, these snippets of information are only rated as true 18% of the time but for a news article or headline which has been observed before (e.g. prior to the intermission random poll), subjects are more likely to identify this information as factual 24% of the time. Social media is a great example of this principal being exploited. It’s not that logic and reason are being hijacked when people utilize social media to obtain news, it’s that participants within the social media ecosystem are not bothering to apply logic and reason in the first place, applying intuitive gut responses to news consumed. Surprisingly, scientists have found that when subjects stop judging intuitively, and begin using logic and reason, with evidence based argument and rationales, they become substantially better at determining truth from misinformation

The Mathematics Behind Why Rockets Can Escape The Gravitational Pull of the Earth

Konstantin-TsiolkovskyRobert Goddard’s liquid rocket never reached the 3 kilometer mark because of Tsiolkovsky’s Rocket Equation named after Soviet scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (pronounced “con-stan-tyin tsel-kov-skee”). This equation states that as fuel increases for faster and further voyages, so too does the weight, becoming increasingly heavy as more and more fuel is added. Tsiolkovsky took into account the velocity of a rocket alongside its mass of payload, mass of fuel, and the mass of the rocket itself. The longer the engine burns, the more velocity the rocket will have, however longer burning means more fuel which adds weight and makes it more difficult to push upwards. To travel fast enough to deliver a rocket to space, most of the craft must be fuel. Scientists have battled with this question for decades and although mathematical constructs have been developed to explain the relationship between weight and thrust, no one has yet to develop an idea to get around this problem with currently available technologies. The equation developed to explain this limitation of space travel is △V^R = V^E x log^e (M^P + M^F + M^R / M^P + M^R). This effectively states that only a tiny portion of a rocket can be used to deliver payload, with notable cases being the Apollo missions which employed enormous rockets to carry just a few small astronauts and the things they needed into space. Tsiolkovsky theorized this in the beginning of the 20th century as his calculations demonstrated that kerosine wouldn’t be enough to go from the Earth to the moon with a single craft

The Causation and Cure for Colorblindness

colorblind-examination

Being colorblind is more difficult than most people believe as those affected often cannot match clothing colors, tell when fruit is ripe, tell when meat is cooked, or tell when traffic lights are various colors in certain lighting conditions (e.g. flashing red being mistaken for flashing yellow). Color vision is trichromatic with 3 types of cone cells within the eyes which consist of blue, green, and red, which are sensitive to short, medium, and long wavelengths of light, with each cone permitting an observer to view approximately 100 different shades. When all shades are combined, the human eye can observe approximately 1,000,000 (1 million) different colors. Colorblindness can stem from faulty cone cells or an interruption between the pathway of the cones and the brain. Colorblindness has caused vehicular deaths due to accidents around the world which have occurred most often because a driver perceived a light as yellow when it was red in reality. Neuroscientist Professor Jay Neitz (pronounced “nites”), a color researcher at the University of Washington in the U.S. and his spouse, geneticist Maureen Neitz, have teamed up to try and cure colorblindness. Gene therapy is currently being researched around the world and scientists believe that colorblindness will be cured using gene therapy in the near future. Male squirrel monkeys are naturally red-green colorblind and gene studies have demonstrated that these monkeys can be afforded color vision after having a gene delivered into the cone cells within the eye. The gene produced transforms a subset of the green cones within the male squirrel monkeys eyes to force them to become red cones, red cones which have hijacked the squirrel monkeys neural circuitry which was previously utilized solely for blue-yellow color vision, essentially bifurcating into red-green cones and blue-yellow cones so that the monkeys examined developed full color vision like human beings as of 2019. The Neitz’s confirmed this by providing male squirrel monkeys colorblind examinations which when answered correctly, delivered a small treat of food after having undergone gene therapy. Trials in human beings have yet to start as the Neitz’s believe that this step is still a few years away, but expected to initiate during the 2020’s

The Advent of the Worlds First Parliament in Iceland

Iceland-Alþingi

When the Vikings settled Iceland, no monarch was installed, which forced these settlers to find a new system of government; democracy. The early decades of settlement were effectively without structured law, but after 2 generations, 36 leading farmer Vikings banded together to develop the concept of an assembly to govern Iceland referred to as the “Alþingi” (written “Althingi” in English) (pronounced “all-thing-ee”) in 930 A.D.. The council met once every year for 2 weeks to create laws, preside over and judge disputes, and appoint a legal speaker, whose responsibility it was to remember and recite the law. The Althingi convened at Þingvellir (written “Thingvellir” in English) (pronounced “thing-vet-lear”) which is a unique location as it is a gorge where 2 of the Earth’s tectonic plates meet and 45 kilometers east of what later became the capital city of Reykjavík, Iceland (pronounced “rake-yah-veek”). The term “Althingi” means “thing field” or “assembly field” in the Icelandic language. This form of government met for the next 800 years at this exact spot, even after merging with Norway in 1262, with the location eventually moved to Reykjavík in 1800. The Althingi is the oldest parliament in the world, which is astonishing as it is still functioning and currently running the country of Iceland as a whole

The Etymology of “Matter Plasma” and “Blood Plasma”

plasma-blood-and-star

The term “plasma” is derived from the ancient Greek term “plassein” which means to “shape or mold something”. Plasma related to physics, specifically matter which has had its electrons separated from the rest of its atoms, forcing it to become an ion, more specifically a mixture of free floating electrons and ions, was first identified by British chemist and physicist Sir William Crookes in 1879 using cathode ray tubes. Crookes referred to this discovery initially as “radiant matter” but it became known as “plasma” in 1928 because of American chemist Irving Langmuir. Langmuir was exploring ionized gases, gases which were subjected to strong electrical fields to remove electrons from their orbital shells. Langmuir used the analogy of blood to explain this phenomena, with the ions representative of corpuscles and the remaining gas thought of as clear liquid. Blood is similar to plasma in that it is primarily comprised of 2 components which include its clear liquid and the corpuscles/cells entrapped within this fluid. This clear liquid was named “plasma” by Czech physiologist Johannes Purkinje In 1927. The definition of matter plasma and blood plasma however have absolutely nothing to do with eachother physically, aside from the fact that two different scientists had the idea to use the same term at approximately the same time. It is believed that these two scientists based their name upon the ancient Greek definition of the term “plasma”