Tuesday, June 27, 2006

oh, so much to Discover!

I have taken my super-perfect boyfriend's weeklong absence, due to a nationwide geek conference, to reacquaint myself with one of my most enjoyed but oft-neglected pieces of reading material-Discover magazine. Every issue is jam-packed with interesting stuff presented in an easily understandable way (especially useful for a Biology major who hasn't made use of that degree since matriculation). yet for some reason, I lapse into phases of being a Discover collector rather than reader, accumulating 7 issues (and renewing my subscription!) this time, before coming to my senses. Perhaps they are so meaty that I perpetually feel incapable of devoting the time necessary to truly digest them? all I know is that my office-mates good-naturedly roll their eyes at me when I announce during a Monday lunchbreak that I have spent the weekend catching up on my magazines. If nothing else, strange and interesting conversation is bound to follow!

Things that struck me this time around:
(note-I am only mid-way through April and the suspense of knowing what has occured through July is killing me!)

The visual awareness parts of your brain shut off each time you blink, saving you from being continually plunged into blackness

Scientists have developed a way to grow meat in the lab

Having the malaria parasite in your blood makes you smell more attractive to mosquitos

A native hemorrhagic fever producing virus may have led to the demise of the Aztecs and Incas, not diseases carried by the European invaders

The exhibits of BodyWorlds that spent the spring at the Franklin Institute were from "unclaimed corpses of people who died of natural causes," not people who chose to legally sign over their remains as I had assumed.
*okay, so I had to read forward into next month's issue on this one. a letter to the editors assures readers that not only did the producer of the exhibit sue the newspaper that originally published this story (and won), but also that all but a few of the organs that are in the exhibit are from individuals who have, in fact, willed their bodies, um, willfully, to the exhibitors.

A study on placebos finds that getting fake acupuncture reduces pain more than taking fake medication. Researchers believe that rituals explain the difference

Our perception of "real time" is a creation of our brains. Sensory information reaches our brain at different speeds, where it is all integrated and perceived as happening "now". (example, watching yourself tap a finger on your desk. You *should* see it and then hear it)

office-mates beware!