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 Accidental Liberation of the Soviet Union and the Tearing Down of the Berlin Wall

Günter-SchabowskiPrior to Mikael Gorbachev, every decade or two, resentment would foment within the Soviet Union and an uprising would commence with the Soviets clamping down, killing dissidents, and repressing ideology so as to continue to hold power. The reason this did not occur in 1989 is because change came not externally through dissidents, but rather internally, particularly from the center, through Gorbachev. The collapse of the Berlin Wall however, was actually a mistake, as Soviet Press Officer Günter Schabowski did not fully understand the content he was speaking in reference to during a press conference as he had been elsewhere smoking during the meeting which would have briefed him. Schabowski pulled out documents which he was not supposed to read, read them aloud, and read them incorrectly which turned Gorbachev from a reformer into a revolutionary over the course of a few short moments, with the Berlin Wall falling shortly after, liberating and uniting East Germany and West Germany with the ultimate fall of the Soviet Union occurring within short proximity afterward

The Future Technology of Carbon Nanotubes

carbon-nano-tubeThe atomic structure of carbon, more specifically naturally occurring diamond, is neatly stacked in a cuboid shape. Carbon nanotubes use carbon but instead stack their atoms in a hexagonal shape. The result is a material which weighs virtually nothing, yet is stronger than any material known upon Earth, including poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide, more commonly referred to as “Kevlar”, zylon, and titanium. Some scientists have argued that carbon nanotubes will most likely be the strongest substance in the known universe and that nothing will ever have the ability to surpass its strength. Carbon nanotubes have a strength of 200 gigapascals; to provide frame of reference, the strongest materials known to civilization have a strength of approximately 5 gigapascals. 1 gigapascal, which is commonly abbreviated as “GPa”, is equal to 1,000,000,000 (1 billion) pascals, and 1 pascal, which is commonly abbreviated as “Pa”, is the SI unit for pressure defined as “1 newton per 1 square meter”. If a space elevator ribbon made of carbon nanotubes stretching 100 kilometers were ever to break (e.g. the counterweight above breaking), it would gently float down to Earth because it would only weighs 7 kilograms per every 1 kilometre of length

The First Musician to Routinely Break Their Instrument on Stage

Franz-Liszt19th century Hungarian composer Franz Liszt created the modern concept of the single musician concert as prior to this, a single musician (e.g. pianist, violinist, flautist etc.) had never played an entire concert by themselves. Liszt often broke his pianos on stage due to his vigorous style of play, making him the first musician to routinely destroy their own instrument while performing, a full century prior to the rock artists of the 1960’s onward

The Indigenous People of Tanna Island, Vanuatu and Their Religious Cult Honoring and Deifying the U.S. Military

Tanna-Island Vanuatu-Religious-CultOn Tanna Island, Vanuatu, every year on February 15th, residents of the Pacific Ocean island chain engage in a military parade with the term “USA” painted in red or tattooed upon the chest of men who carry large bamboo spears with red tipped, pointed ends, a tradition which began more than 60 years ago, inspired by events which took place during World War II, when the U.S. military descended upon the island with modern machinery and supplies (e.g. canned food and cotton clothing etc.). The native inhabitants were in awe of these technologies which lead them to believe that the Americans were in possession of magic. Science fiction author Arthur Charles Clarke’s Third Law states that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. When World War II ended, the U.S. closed its bases in Vanuatu and left seemingly overnight, taking their technologies and goods with them. In honor of U.S. soldiers in the hope that it would entice them to return, the indigenous people created a cult which honored those who had appeared from beyond the horizon. These inhabitants started to create replica U.S. military items (e.g. wooden bandolier designed to mimic artillery shell bandoliers, straw aircraft, U.S. military insignia shoulder patches denoting rank which are painted onto skin etc.). Virtually all religions begin with a miraculous event (e.g. comet in the sky fortelling of calamity) followed by the creation of monuments which exemplify the event observed (e.g. large statue of the Buddha as a deity). Religions developed by cultures which worship other beings which have descended upon them are often referred to as a “cargo cult”

Galileo Galilei’s Telescope Design Improvement upon the Dutch Spyglass Design

Galileo-Galilei-telescopeIt had been known since the first spectacles were produced in the middle of the 13th century, that glass was capable of bending light, a property which no other known material of the period could achieve. The Dutch spyglass worked upon this very principal, arranging lenses with careful attention to detail to create a compounding magnification effect. If light hits a plano-convex (pronounced “play-noh”) lens, which is flat upon one side and convex upon the other, the same formation used for those who suffer from hyperopia, rays of light streaming inward are bent toward eachother, eventually meeting and converging at a specific triangular point. Right before this focal point, Galilei improved the original Dutch design by placing his second lens, an ocular lens which is plano-concave, meaning flat upon one side and concave upon the other, the same formation used for those who suffer from myopia. This secondary lens pushes the bent rays of converging light back out again so that they can hit the eye and provide a clear image. The eye focuses this light upon the retina so that the observer can view the image produced by the spyglass. The magnification power of a telescope depends upon the ratio between the focal lengths of the lenses, with these distances marked as F1 for the distance between the front of the spyglass and the plano-concave lens, and F2 from the plano-concave lens toward the back of the spyglass. The largest difficulty impeding Galilei was the grinding down process of his convex lens, in an attempt to make it as shallow as possible to maximize the length of the F1 partition, as the longer the distance is, the greater the magnification will be. Within a few weeks of developing this new technology, Galilei’s first telescope had a clear magnification of 8x, far exceeding the power of the original Dutch spyglass. On August 21, 1609, Galilei climbed a Venice bell tower to meet up with Venetian nobles and senators so that he could display his new technology. This new bleeding edge feat of engineering permitted Venetians to spot sailing ships 2 hours earlier than if they had used the naked eye. 3 days after the event, Galilei gifted his telescope to the Duke of Venice and was afforded a guaranteed job for life in exchange, with this salary equating to double his original income. With his finances secured, Galilei went on to develop and produce even more powerful telescopes

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