How ocean dust makes rain clouds

When storm clouds form over the ocean they’re drawing that moisture into the atmosphere to form clouds.  At that point it takes many water vapor molecules to freeze and bond with one another to fall from the sky, but how does this bonding process start?  

It begins with tiny particles of organic matter such as parts of cells of dead organisms that the water vapor can bond to (as ice). Scientists at UC San Diego now theorize that these particles get into the air from waves in the ocean crashing into one another.

However not all of these particles are organic.  For example, pollution particles can gather ice, but since they’re much smaller in size and reflective the ice tends to melt before it can get heavy enough to fall back to the ground. 

Read more about these particles here →

Come slam and sing along to some of the greats at this years HARDCORE HALLOWEEN!

Bands being covered;
Black Flag 
The Descendents 
Youth of Today 

$5 with a costume, $6 without!
7pm start time

The C.H.E. kitchen will be cooking for this show! Please bring a couple of extra dollars for some cheap, delicious food and drinks! (soda, coffee, tea)

The C.H.E. is a safe(r) and sober space. Please leave the booze, drugs, and bigoted language/actions at home. Respect each other and let’s have some fun!


5 Surprising Facts about Medical Marijuana and Cannabinoids

Twenty-three states plus Washington, D.C. have enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana. But just because weed is legal doesn’t mean it’s an effective or safe therapeutic for everyone. Like any drug, marijuana has an optimal dose and potency, is indicated for only some conditions and should always be used with caution.

Here are five facts about marijuana and cannabinoids, vetted by Igor Grant, MD, chair of the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and UC Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research.

Less is more

People don’t have to become zombies to reap the medical benefits of cannabis. New studies suggest that cannabis’ analgesic effects kick in at much lower doses than what is commonly used recreationally. More surprisingly, higher doses may actually increase a person’s pain.

“We are getting close to saying that a 4 percent THC content in a cigarette or vaporizer will be helpful to most patients,” Grant said. “For some, the therapeutic value may be realized at 2 percent THC. A lower-dose means we can really drive down the side effects.”

Marijuana bought on the street typically has a THC content ranging from 7 to 10 percent.

People with heart problems or dementia should avoid cannabis

THC boosts heart rate and often also lowers blood pressure, putting stress on a person’s heart and also potentially increasing the risk of fainting. “THC is not recommended for people, especially older people, with heart disease,” said Grant. “People with dementia should also avoid cannabis since it interferes with memory formation.”

The therapeutic dose of an edible or oral cannabis product is hard to gauge

The only FDA-approved cannabis-based pharmaceutical product on the market – Marinol (dronabinol), an oral, synthetic THC – is not widely used by patients, largely because of the difficulty in administering THC orally. “Absorption from the gut is highly variable and the effects can be delayed,” Grant said. “If a patient takes a capsule and then doesn’t feel any effect, he or she may take a second dose and then get a big hit a few hours later.”

The liver is also very good at filtering out compounds it thinks the body doesn’t need, including cannabinoids.

Medical marijuana is good for some, but not all kinds of pain

“If you hit your thumb with a hammer, THC won’t do much,” Grant said. “But we have a lot of evidence that THC reduces certain types of pain, called neuropathic pain , associated with inflammation and other chronic nerve injury.

The pain associated with neuropathy is characterized by burning, hypersensitivity and tingling, often in the hands and feet, not the throbbing of a whacked thumb.

Marijuana also has promise in relieving spasticity in multiple sclerosis.

Your brain produces cannabinoids

THC affects behavior because THC interacts with the brain’s endocannabinoid receptors.

The brain produces its own cannabinoid neurotransmitters and releases endocannabinoids when a person is exposed to intense external stimulation. “The effect of cannabinoids in the brain is to dampen or dial down the effects of hyper-stimulation,” said Grant. “These naturally produced cannabinoids inhibit heightened arousal and also memory formation. Normal forgetting is nature’s way of deleting memories we don’t need.”

The cannabinoid receptor system is ancient in animal physiology and predates vertebrates. Snails, for example, have cannabinoid receptors in their brains as well.

UC San Diego’s Stable Isotope Laboratory “reads” geological, biological and environmental records, making forensics of the solar system a reality. Led by professor Mark Thiemens (affectionately called Dr. Von Doom – the archenemy of the Fantastic Four known for his science experiments and search for forbidden knowledge), the lab deciphers clues on the origin of life and of the solar system.  #ucsd #lab #cool


A new study on layouts may surprise people who think ‪comic ‬pages are read like text

Common wisdom is that people read comic page layouts the same way that they read writing — For English speakers, that’s left to right and then down (known as the “Z-path”).

Research from UC San Diego’s Neil Cohn indicates that several spatial arrangements can push readers to deviate from this order. These manipulations include separating panels from each other, overlapping one panel onto another, and using a long vertical panel to the right of a vertical column to ‘block’ a horizontal row. 

Cohn asked participants to order empty panels in comic page layouts that manipulated these factors. All manipulations caused participants to deviate from the conventional Z-path, and this departure was modulated by incremental changes to spatial arrangements: The more layouts deviated from a standard grid, the less likely participants were to use the Z-path. 

Overall, these results reinforce that various constraints push comic readers to engage with panels in predictable ways, even when deviating from the traditional Z-path of written language.

Read more about the way readers navigate comic page layouts

Passing Fancy

Most human organs are intended to last a lifetime. Put another way, a life might last only as long as some organs. The image above, created by Norman Barker at The Johns Hopkins University and Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and courtesy of the Cell Picture Show, depicts an organ that does not meet this description.

It is a placenta, our first human connection (as Cell editors so poetically describe it). The human placenta acts as lifeline between mother and unborn child, regulating the exchange of nutrients and metabolites. The bulk of it, rich in blood vessels, is anchored to the uterine wall. At center is the umbilical cord, roughly the diameter of the mother’s index finger, which connects the placenta and mother to the fetus.

At birth, the placenta’s job is done. The umbilical cord is severed; the placenta discarded. Well, not always. In recent years, a handful of advocates and celebrities have touted the nutritional value of the placenta and argued that eating it – an act known as placentophagy – returns needed nutrients to the mother, who presumably is in a depleted state, post-birth. In the wild, placentophagy is not uncommon among some animals. Human placenta has also been an ingredient in some traditional Chinese medicines.

Typically, the placenta is processed into pills, dried or otherwise disguised. Nonetheless, the practice remains relatively rare and eyebrow-raising, with some consumers expressing their regrets.

We live in a world where college admissions can either make or break us. There is no in between. Isn’t it sad? How we are raised solely for this moment? Years of education, all for this moment of disappointment. The moment we get rejected, there are no words that can console the heartache we feel. My question is: how did we come to create such a terrible system? How can we just accept it when students cry their heart and soul after reading a simple, “We regret to inform you,” followed by sentences about how competitive admissions are this year and how each application is carefully read and how there’s always spring quarter. Then they start going back and wondering what it is they possibly did wrong. Was it the topic? Grammar? A misunderstanding? To those who don’t understand, they’ll think it’s because those rejected students weren’t up to par with the “standards”. I’ll only say this: how can you tell a student who has poured their aspirations and struggles and life into a college application that they just weren’t good enough to be accepted into ABC college and that student XYZ is much more superior? It’s complete bullshit to me. How can we accept such generic phrases after writing so passionately that our blood meddled with the words of our personal statements? I hate this system of test scores and GPAs. There’s more to the fucking world than numbers. There’s more beyond a damn essay that probably only gets skimmed over. How can college admissions officers look for qualified students based on such limited information that may even be complete fabrications. Tell me how. How can we accept that students are tearing themselves apart over a rejection letter? Tell me why. Why is it deemed “normal” that I have friends bawling because of an education system that builds them up only to throw them overboard?


The first time around, the phone zap tactic was extremely successful! With your support and solidarity the Ché Café was able to force the administration of UCSD to begin negotiations with the collective during last summer.

This time around, our intentions are not only to force the administration into serious negotiations, but also to put pressure on them to place a permanent stay on the eviction notice that has been issued against the Ché Collective.

Starting at 10 a.m., call Vice Chancellor of student affairs Juan Gonzalez and demand that:

1. UCSD place an immediate stay on eviction proceedings against the Ché Café.

2. Ché Café Collective be included included in upcoming Master Space Agreement negotiations.

VC Gonzalez phone number: (858) 534-4371

Don’t just call once! Keep calling!

Leave messages with his secretary.

Our goal is to overwhelm them - if they sound annoyed, it means that we are getting under their skin (exactly what we want to do).

New book by Dr. Seuss coming this summer

Over 2 decades since his death, a new book by Dr. Seuss will be released this July. The book comes from a discovery in 2013 of a collection of manuscripts and sketches.

Much of Dr. Seuss’s work resides at UC San Diego in their Special Collections Library. The work is accessible to scholars and on display so that members of the general public can also enjoy his work.

Watch the video that explores the Dr. Seuss archive

Scientists Discover Neurochemical Imbalance in Schizophrenia

Using human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), researchers at Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California, San Diego have discovered that neurons from patients with schizophrenia secrete higher amounts of three neurotransmitters broadly implicated in a range of psychiatric disorders.

The findings, reported online Sept. 11 in Stem Cell Reports, represent an important step toward understanding the chemical basis for schizophrenia, a chronic, severe and disabling brain disorder that affects an estimated one in 100 persons at some point in their lives. Currently, schizophrenia has no known definitive cause or cure and leaves no tell-tale physical marks in brain tissue.

"The study provides new insights into neurotransmitter mechanisms in schizophrenia that can lead to new drug targets and therapeutics,” said senior author Vivian Hook, PhD, a professor with Skaggs School of Pharmacy and UC San Diego School of Medicine.

In the study, UC San Diego researchers with colleagues at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, N.Y., created functioning neurons derived from hiPSCs, themselves reprogrammed from skin cells of schizophrenia patients. The approach allowed scientists to observe and stimulate human neurons in ways impossible in animal models or human subjects.

Researchers activated these neurons so that they would secrete neurotransmitters – chemicals that excite or inhibit the transmission of electrical signals through the brain. The process was replicated on stem cell lines from healthy adults.

A comparison of neurotransmitters produced by the cultured “brain in a dish” neurons showed that the neurons derived from schizophrenia patients secreted significantly greater amounts of the catecholamine neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine.

Catecholamine neurotransmitters are synthesized from the amino acid tyrosine and the regulation of these neurotransmitters is known to be altered in a variety of psychiatric diseases. Several psychotropic drugs selectively target the activity of these neurotransmitters in the brain.

In addition to documenting aberrant neurotransmitter secretion from neurons derived from patients with schizophrenia, researchers also observed that more neurons were dedicated to the production of tyrosine hydroxylase, the first enzyme in the biosynthetic pathway for the synthesis of dopamine, from which both norepinephrine and epinephrine are made.

This discovery is significant because it offers a reason for why schizophrenia patients have altered catecholamine neurotransmitter levels: They are preprogrammed to have more of the neurons that make these neurotransmitters.

“All behavior has a neurochemical basis in the brain,” Hook said. “This study shows that it is possible to look at precise chemical changes in neurons of people with schizophrenia.”

The applications for future treatments include being able to evaluate the severity of an individual’s disease, identify different sub-types of the disease and pre-screen patients for drugs that would be most likely to help them. It also offers a way to test the efficacy of new drugs.

“It is very powerful to be able to see differences in neurons derived from individual patients and a big accomplishment in the field to develop a method that allows this,” Hook said.

Pictured: Enzymes that biosynthesize the neurotransmitters dopamine (left), norepinephrine (center) and epinephrine (right).