Let me introduce you to three of my friends: hallucigenia, opabinia, and wiwaxia. They’re all from the Cambrian explosion, the period of time around 500 million years ago when life was just starting and was still trying to figure out questions like “how should a mouth work?” and “legs?”

Hallucigenia was about an inch long (most life back then was tiny, they were only a few eras removed from being single celled after all) and it had sixteen clawed legs, hard spines coming out of its back, and a wicked tentacle neckbeard. 

Opabinia was between two to three inches long and it had thirty fins along the side of its body, along with five mushroom shaped eyes on top of its head. By far though, it’s most interesting feature was its strange proboscis. Like a Dr. Moreau style mashup of an elephant and a lobster, the long nose terminated in a large claw that it used to grab prey and bring it to its backward facing mouth.

Finally, this is wiwaxia. This danger-artichoke was a two inch long armored slug-like creature with no head. In fact, its actual body was largely just its one massive foot. 

I find these animals interesting for three main reasons. First, it’s incredibly fascinating to see all of the potential paths that life on earth could have taken. Imagine an ocean filled with elephant lobsters! Second, whenever I feel like my life is going nowhere and all my choices are the wrong ones, I like to think that I’m in in my phase where I’m still developing hallucigenias and wiwaxias, and not yet making awesome things like butterflies or velociraptors. Finally - it serves as a stark reminder that if we ever find alien life, there is a fantastic chance it will look like nothing we’ve ever seen before - it might look more like one of these creatures than a human being. 

A Collection Of Books By Neurologist Oliver Sacks

If you’re interested in neuroscience or psychology, I’d highly reccomend any book by Oliver Sacks! I get asked a lot about books to read so you can also check out this video I made with my top 7 and this masterpost which includes websites where you can learn more!

1. Migrane

For centuries, physicians have been fascinated by the many manifestations of migraine, and especially by the visual hallucinations or auras- similar in some ways to those induced by hallucinogenic drugs or deliria–which often precede a migraine. Dr. Sacks describes these hallucinatory constants, and what they reveal about the working of the brain. 

2. Awakenings

Awakenings is the remarkable account of a group of patients who contracted sleeping-sickness during the great epidemic just after World War I. Frozen in a decades-long sleep, these men and women were given up as hopeless until 1969, when Dr. Sacks gave them the then-new drug L-DOPA, which had an astonishing, explosive, “awakening” effect. Dr. Sacks recounts the moving case histories of these individuals, the stories of their lives, and the extraordinary transformations they underwent with treatment.

3. The Island of The Color Blind

Oliver Sacks has always been fascinated by islands, and this book is an account of his work with an isolated community of islanders born totally colorblind.  He listens to these achromatopic islanders describe their colorless world in rich terms of pattern and tone, luminance and shadow.

4. Uncle Tungsten

A book about Sacks’ childood;  his discovery of biology, his departure from his childhood love of chemistry and, at age 14, a new understanding that he would become a doctor.

5. An Anthropologist on Mars

This book talks about 7 seemingly paradoxical neurological conditions: including a surgeon consumed by the compulsive tics of Tourette’s Syndrome except when he is operating; an artist who loses all sense of color in a car accident, but finds a new sensibility and creative power in black and white; and an autistic professor who has great difficulty deciphering the simplest social exchange between humans, but has built a career out of her intuitive understanding of animal behavior. 

6.  Seeing Voices

 A journey into the world of deaf culture, and the neurological and social underpinnings of the remarkable visual language of the congenitally deaf. Sacks writes “The existence of a visual language, Sign, and the visual intelligence that goes with its acquisition, shows us that the brain is rich in potentials we would scarcely have guessed of, shows us the almost unlimited resource of the human organism when it is faced with the new and must adapt.”

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Pregnant women claim Taco Bell induces labor. Is there any scientific truth to it?

  • According to testimonials posted on the forums at What to Expect, chowing down on some Taco Bell can induce labor, Vice first reported.
  • “So my hubby came home from work yesterday and his coworker told him to tell me that apparently Taco Bell is supposed to induce labor,” one user posted on What to Expect in 2015.
  • “I had Taco Bell yesterday, unknowingly, and had my baby girl this morning! I guess it’s worth a try!” another user commented.
  • Many mothers swear by the spicy foods method. Some theorize that spicy foods can stimulate the digestive system and kickstart contractions, the BabyCenter editorial team wrote, explaining that “no spice or food has been scientifically proven to get labor started.” Read more (2/24/17 11:56 AM)

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Just remember...

Life on earth started with some… interesting…creatures. It was still learning how to be more than a single celled organism, how legs and eyes and things were supposed to work.
So whenever you feel like your life isn’t going right, think of this. You’re still in your Wiwaxia stage, or maybe working out the kinks with a giant centipede. (Biology side note: look up the Cambrian Explosion, it’s really cool) Someday you will make fluffy kittens and magnificent, powerful Thoroughbreds. You’re only just getting started, love, and you’ve still got so much great stuff awaiting you.

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25•02 Nervous system is so interesting, I think I like it the most. Studying lately became hard, stress is eating me alive. But I hope it’d get better. Have a lovely&productive day!
Don’t give up on your dreams! 💕💫

2

The yellow-breasted bunting (Emberiza aureola) is an Eurasian passerine bird in the bunting family (Emberizidae). The International Union for the Conservation of Nature considered the yellow-breasted bunting to vulnerable — after new research has shown it to be rarer than had been believed. It is subject to heavy hunting pressure in China, through which most specimens pass during migration. In 2013, its assessment changed to endangered,and continues to decline.Photos, Sergey Yeliseev and below on branch female by 57Andrew

25/02/2017 // 9.40
Hi guys! I’m Ludovica, an Italian student.
I’m 19 and I study Medicine.
Studyblr is new to me but I’d like to be part of this amazing community. I’m not that cool such as many of you (I’ve not a mac or cool stuff in my room) but I hope this isn’t gonna be a problem 😅

Now I’m studying for my biology exam and in spite of my tiredness I’m working hard to pass it and get a good grade.
Have a good day, be positive and stay strong💪

I'm back! (And with some ideas! :P)

I have a couple of ideas for science articles I might want to wright on, so please let me know which ones sound interesting!

- What constitutes a “Earth-like” planet?

-Why do humans enjoy music?

-What are the hottest and coldest temperatures possible?

-What is that gooy stuff inside lava lamps?

3

[26/100 Days of Productivity ]
Yay! It’s time for chapter no. 3.
Super windy weather motivated me to stay at home for all day. And of course I spent it with biology.

I had to choose one extra lecture for uncoming semester and I pick civil law and I think I’m crazy - srsly civil law? In every Tuesday morning me and my friend will be pretending law students <laugh>.

They finnaly gave us a schedule for next semester! I’m so excited cause I’ve got a lot of clinical classes in 2 hospitals. 

music:  New Americana by Halsey 

anonymous asked:

Oh boy, I take online classes that are really kind of outdated coursework and I just got to the part in my biology class where we're learning about reproductive systems. Of course, they said that gender matches biological sex and there are only two genders, time to go through an entire lesson abt how nb genders aren't real, ohhh boyyy I'm sooooo excited about /that/. -_-; I swear it's so outdated I'm so annoyed

Ouch. Very outdated from the sounds of it.

My class just reviewed Gender briefly yesterday and my teacher spent a nice chunk of the class explaining to those that didn’t quite get it about Gender being a social construct and even went into how, sometimes, sex isn’t as binary as we tend to think too - and my teacher is literally an old white guy.

I’m sorry you have to deal with that :( I wish you the best of luck! At least it is online and you don’t have to deal with grumpy outdated people telling you these things yes? That is a minor blessing sometimes, with online courses.

- Mod Des

The bumblebee was officially added to the endangered species list.

 Please:

  • Go plant an organic flower native to wherever you are
  • Leave your “weeds” alone they probably aren’t hurting anything
  • Stop using/buying Roundup and all other insecticides, herbicides, pesticides. 
  • If you have a bee problem (which almost never happens) call a local beekeeper! They will remove them safely free of charge
  • Bumblebees usually nest underground and just wanna be left alone! They won’t hurt you. To prevent destroying their habit during hibernation, avoid mowing yards until April or May. If you do mow, raise the blades to the highest setting

Please save my fat clumsy fuzzy friends I love them and they’re very good pollinators.

8

Researchers have identified a new organ in our digestive system: the mesentery

  • Researchers at Ireland’s University of Limerick have officially discovered a new organ. It’s called the mesentery.
  • Initially thought to be a “fragmented structure made up of multiple separate parts,” surgeons have now concluded the mesentey is a single, previously unrecognized organ.
  • The mesentery connects the intestine to the abdomen. Read more

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After four years alone, female shark has babies without a male mate

  • Leonie, a female zebra shark in Australia, had three offspring in early 2016 after being completely isolated from males for roughly four years.
  • According to New Scientist, Leonie was first paired with a male at an Australian aquarium in 1999; the couple had over two dozen babies.
  • In 2012, aquarium staff moved Leonie’s partner to another tank, leaving her alone— which is why scientists were stunned when she gave birth.
  • How did it happen? It could be because of a kind of biological contingency plan for if there are no male sharks around.
  • According to New Scientist, sharks are capable of asexual reproduction if there’s a genetically identical cell called a sister polar body nearby to fertilize it.  Read more

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