Category Archives: Science

Savagely Stolen News: Bullies Get Their Kicks from Kicking Ass? Not As Obvious As One Might Think.

Bullies get a kick out of seeing others in pain

Aggressive teens’ brains light up at the sight of distress, experts say
Reuters
updated 6:58 a.m. PT, Fri., Nov. 7, 2008

CHICAGO – Brain scans of teens with a history of aggressive bullying behavior suggest that they may actually get pleasure out of seeing someone else in pain, U.S. researchers said on Friday.

While this may come as little surprise to those who have been victimized by bullies, it is not what the researchers expected, Benjamin Lahey of the University of Chicago, who worked on the study, said in a telephone interview.

“The reason we were surprised is the prevailing view is these kids are cold and unemotional in their aggression,” said Lahey, whose study appears in the journal Biological Psychology.

“This is looking like maybe they care very much,” said Lahey, who worked on the study with Jean Decety, also of the University of Chicago.

The researchers compared eight boys ages 16 to 18 with aggressive conduct disorder to a group of eight adolescent boys with no unusual signs of aggression.

The boys with the conduct disorder had exhibited disruptive behavior such as starting a fight, using a weapon and stealing after confronting a victim.

They showed both groups video clips of someone inflicting pain on another person and tracked brain activity with a type of imaging called functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI.

Brain reward centers light up
In the aggressive teens, areas of the brain linked with feeling rewarded — the amygdala and ventral striatum — became very active when they observed pain being inflicted on others.

But they showed little activity in an area of the brain involved in self-regulation — the medial prefrontal cortex and the temporoparietal junction — as was seen in the control group.

“It is entirely possible their brains are lighting in the way they are because they experience seeing pain in others as exciting and fun and pleasurable,” Lahey said.

“We need to test that hypothesis more, but that is what it looks like,” he said.

Lahey said the differences between the two groups were strong and striking, but cautioned that the study was small and needs to be confirmed by a larger study.

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Savagely Stolen News: Beer Goggles

Science proves beer goggles?

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Filed under Bill O'Reilly, College, Life, Savagely Stolen News, Science, Sex, Sex Ed, Strange

Good Week for Cryptozoologists

A cryptozoologist is a person that studies and looks for “hidden animals”.  The name comes from Latin and means literally “study of hidden animals”.  Think Bigfoot and La Chupacabra.

Speaking of those two, in recent days people have claimed to have the dead bodies and videos of both on hand for scientists to study.  Could it be?  I’ll let you know when I find out.

Cheers,

Tom

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Travel…

Yesterday was my son’s birthday.  My wife and I drove him about two hours to see “Journey to the Center of the Earth” in 3D at an IMax theater.   I could definitely find merit in a chorus of critics panning the movie, but I’m not going to.  I think it accomplished its goal- that being to demonstrate and invoke a sense of wonder in the viewer about the world.  While I am positive that there is no place in or near the center of the Earth that would sustain life the premise of the thought is an important one.  That being, don’t always agree with assumptions of theory.  If we all believed as gospel the assumptions of all of the theories that are propagated we would stall as a species.  It’s important for young minds (and old ones, too) to look beyond the pale of human knowledge and pursue with as much vigor as we can muster the mysteries of our world and those beyond it.  Exploring ideas such as space travel are important to us as a species.  We need it.  We lust for knowledge.  It kills us to know how ignorant we are.  We’ve been alive for thousands of years and still have not traveled to every place we can see from Earth.

Doesn’t the fact that we are born into a realm that has taken us thousands of years to visit fly and visit our moon and will take hundreds more before we visit other galaxys strike you as a bit odd?

If I allow for creationism/god for a moment, isn’t it weird that a being would create a race of beings and not allow them access into things they can see?  Is it a bit cruel that brilliant people like Galileo never got to fly, watch television, ride in a car or eat a hotdog, but most of us have?  What kind of god would create one of the world’s all time smartest people and not allow them to enjoy the fruits of their labor?

Ahhh, but enough of that, back to the movie.

You have to remember that it is a movie made for children.  It entertains, brings attention to Jules Verne and his work and kept my attention.  I recommend people to go see it.

More tomorrow on the trip…

Cheers,

Tom

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Filed under film, Movie Review, Science, Space, travel

Aliens

No, not the ones that legally or illegally come to our country, but the kind from outer space…

Dr. Edgar Mitchell, the sixth person to ever walk on the moon and NASA astronaut has been “out” about his belief of aliens for some time.  Recently he gave an interview to a radio station in the UK and the story has been picked up as if Mitchell was revealing his opinions for the first time.

Here is the radio interview:

Here is an older video:

As for me, I am really on the James Randi tip when it comes to aliens, miracles, etc…  show me the proof.  I currently believe it is probable that there is some kind of intelligent life forms on other planets.  There is, for a fact, other life forms as we have discovered bacteria on Mars.  I would ultimately categorize my attitude toward “aliens” as hopefully optimistic.  I’m not optimistic because I think aliens would be particularly helpful toward us, rather it is because I want to know everything.  I’m intellectually curious and being able to explore a literal new world of being would be overwhelmingly amazing.

Cheers,

Tom

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Of Free Speech, Janet’s Boob and the FCC

You know I have to comment on “Nipple Gate” aka Janet Jackson’s nipple at the super bowl. As most of you know the fine levied against CBS for the incident has been tossed out.

Here is my take.

I contend, with them and the original George Carlin lawsuit involving the FCC, that the government does not have the right to restrict free speech simply because it hates the words being used. Our freedom of speech should only be tempered in cases when the danger is clear, present and imminent- such as yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. However, using words like shit, piss, cocksucker, motherfucker, fuck, god damn, etc… should not be regulated because there is no provable negative effect that anyone can demonstrate in a controlled, scientifically sound experiment.

The republicans can always be counted on to invoke the “free market” as a “decider”. If something cannot make it on the free market, their theory goes, then it should die. I agree. I believe now that we are in an age with hundreds of television channels it is time to let the free market decide what programming is appropriate. If “family friendly” channels can make money then they obviously would spring up all over the place. As long as there are children to sell cereal to and religious adults afraid of speaking and acting in an “adult” fashion there will always be a market for them. We don’t need the FCC to regulate any speech, at all. Allowing the market to provide the right wingers with the programming they chose is the conservative thing to do. It would allow the liberals to cling to their cherished first amendment and the righties to ching to their free market ideology. Win meet win.

Cheers,

Tom

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Filed under Corporations, FCC, First Amendment, Free Speech, Politics, Religion, Republicans, Science, Sex, Sex Ed, Supreme Court

John McCain’s Nuclear Dream

McCain is one of the people backing nuclear power as a way to fight energy prices and possible shortages. Somehow it seems a lot of people think this is a good idea.

It is not.

Nuclear power has *NEVER* come close to making a profit or breaking even- it has always been subsidized by tax payers, such as the $24 BILLION gift we gave the industry in December. And let’s not even get into the possible environmental catastrophes and leaks such as Chernobyl and the relatively small one France is dealing with right now– if you believe liquid contaminated with unenriched uranium spilling from a tank into the water supply causing a ban on drinking the water and using it on crops is no big deal. As far as Nuclear energy weening us off of fossil fuels, nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is you have to burn both coal and oil to produce enriched uranium, not to mention the transportation of the dangerous stuff to and from the site.

Speaking of “from” aka the waste, Harvey Wasserman writes, “Despite industry claims, VY’s high-level nuke waste is going nowhere. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Edward McGaffigan has told the New York Times he believes the Yucca Mountain waste repository cannot open for at least another 17-20 years, if ever.”

I oppose the use of more nuclear power.  At the very least we should find a way to make the current ones in service so efficient they come stop being supported by billion dollar gifts.  That’s OUR money people.  I know some of you oppose universal health care, but would you rather that money go to a proven energy loser that can lead to catastrophe or be given to the men and women that work every day in the country, keeping it running, but cannot afford to get sick?

The choice is clear in my book.  Investiment into solar and wind power along with the health of the nation.

To learn more about our energy options, check out Harvey Wasserman’s Solartopia site.

Cheers,

Tom

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Filed under Community, Corporations, Energy, Politics, Presidential Race 2008, Republicans, Science