Curating the Internet: Science and technology micro-summaries for October 26, 2019

in #rsslog3 years ago

Second strain of polio has been eradicated. Only one left.; A new approach to chronic pain; How we experience awe and why it is useful; Continuing the debate over whether NASA found life on Mars; and a Steem essay describing a photographic effort to capture the Orion Nebula

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  1. We’ve officially annihilated a second strain of polio. Only one remains - Health officials confirmed on World Polio Day - Thursday (October 24) - that the wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) strain of polio has been eradicated. WPV2 was declared eradicated in 2015, so that leaves WPV1 as the only remaining strain. The last strain is found only in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but efforts to eradicate it are hindered by misinformation and rumors sparking fear of the vaccine and by armed conflicts in the region.

  2. Treating Chronic Pain in the Right Place: Remotely - In this post, David Yarnitsky describes an innovative method for treating pain, by treating the body where there is no pain. "Pain inhibits pain" is a long-standing medical observation, which leads to the old jokes like: If I hit your toe with a hammer, your head won't hurt any more. Taking advantage of this phenomenon, Yarnitsky's team is learning to treat things like migraine by sending signals to the brain from remote locations in the body, which causes the brain to inhibit the pain sensations from the site of chronic pain.

  3. How we experience awe -- and why it matters - This TED talk by neuroscientist and perception expert, Beau Lotto, was published in April and came across TED's RSS feed on Thursday (October 24). It describes his work with Cirque du Soleil to cultivate the "experience of awe", and to study it's psychological and emotional benefits. According to the talk, the experience of awe has pro-social effects on behavior, people feel more connected to the world, and more affinity towards others, and people who experience awe actually seek risks. He also quotes philosophers saying that awe "enables us to move forward" and "gives us the curiosity to overcome cowardice". Finally, he suggests that awe can help us deal with conflict by "giving us the humility and courage to not know" and to "seek to understand, instead of convince". The talk also includes a short performance by cast-members from Cirque du Soleil.

  4. The Debate Over Whether We’ve Already Found Life on Mars, Continued - As covered in Curating the Internet: Science and technology micro-summaries for October 11, 2019, NASA experimenter Gilbert Levin argues that NASA found life on Mars in 1976. In this essay, Dirk Schulze-Makuch responds to Levin's essay, arguing that Levin may be correct. One of the main points used to "rule out" life in 1976 was the belief that observed organic chemicals were contaminants, but later missions have also found organic chemicals. Additionally, Schulze-Makuch points out that another experiment, the Pyrolytic Release Experiment, also suggested the possibility of life. To answer the question, Schulze-Makuch suggests that NASA should rerun the 1976 Labeled Release Experiment, that Levin referred to. Schulze-Makuch also suggests that before humans go there, a new "life detection mission" should be carried out. Related: I'm Convinced We Found Evidence of Life on Mars in the 1970s

  5. STEEM Deep Space Photography Series: Orion Nebula - In this post, @greddyforce describes work capturing a photo of the Orion Nebula using a Nikon D5600 and Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 telephoto lens. The post adds that the Orion Nebula is also known as Messier 42 or NGC 1976, that it is situated in the Milky Way galaxy, and that it is one of the brightest nebulae in the night sky. Click through to see the photo. (A 10% beneficiary setting has been applied to this post for @

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While it is observable that experiencing a worse pain causes the perception of a lesser pain to diminish, I far prefer - as I'm sure most folks do - the fact that orgasm reduces experience of pain by ~50%.

As to life on Mars, there should be a slight caveat: it seems likely we have shown that life exists there, but we haven't found it. For instance, a hunter would not claim to have successfully taken game because he found it's tracks.


Thanks for the feedback!

On the pain article, I was thinking along the same lines, although with less specificity. I was just thinking that inducing a pleasurable feeling at a remote location might be preferable to inducing pain. I'm not sure if I just didn't read the article carefully enough or if it was omitted, but I'm not entirely clear on what they use for their signaling mechanism.

Good point that finding evidence of life is not the same as finding life. It's very easy to accidentally word that in a way that's not exactly correct.

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