complex network

20 Out Of This World Facts About The Universe That Will Sweep You Off Your Feet

We’ve compiled a list of the 20 most incredible facts about the universe you will ever come across. The infinite expanse of stars and galaxies are riddled with mysteries which leading scientists and experts are yet to explore. In their quest to unearth the hidden secret of the universe, startling facts and information have emerged - 20 of which we’ve featured below.

1. When you look into the night sky, you are looking back in time.

Originally posted by apparently-artless

 When we gaze at stars in the night sky, we are actually looking into the past. This happens because light emitted from a star has to travels many light years ahead to actually become visible to our eyes. For  example, Orion is 640 light-years away, so the light left the star around 1370 is what we are seeing now.

2. The Hubble telescope allows us to look back billions of years into the past

Originally posted by dreamofthedragon

NASA releases some incredible images of space, from time to time, and it’s made possible with The Hubble Telescope. Here’s an image which is a collection of 10,000 images captured by The Hubble. 

3. You can watch the Big Bang on your television

Cosmic background radiation is an after effect of the Big Bang, the event that allegedly gave birth to the universe. This can actually be seen on television where the old fuzzy noise we saw contains 1% of the same radiation. 

4. There’s a giant cloud of alcohol in Sagittarius B

Sagittarius B, is a huge cloud of vinyl alcohol whizzing in space near the Milky Way. It’s important as it leaves crucial information for scientists about how early life forms originated in space.

5. There’s a planet-sized diamond in Centaurus named after a Beatles song

Originally posted by iclalove

A planet , made completely of diamond, which has been called Lucy by scientists after the Beatles song, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,”  can be found 50 light years away in Centaurus and weighs in a mind boggling 10 billion-trillion-trillion carats. 

6. It takes 225 million years for our Sun to travel around the galaxy

Originally posted by toomanythoughtanddreams

While our planets in the solar system circumnavigate the Sun, the star itself it on a orbit around the Milky Way. And if we’re counting in humans years, it takes 225 million years to complete the journey. 

7. Our solar system’s biggest mountain is on Mars

The tallest mountain in our solar system is Olympus Mons, located on Mars. It’s calculated  to be three times taller than Everest, spanning 600 kilometers across and 26 kilometers in height. 

8. Uranus spins on its side, with some rather strange results

Originally posted by spaceplasma

Uranus is not just unique because of its strange spinning, but the consequences of that effect results in 42 consecutive years of summer sunlight followed by another 42 consecutive winter darkness.

9. A year on Venus is shorter than its day

Originally posted by spaceplasma

Venus is the slowest rotating planet in our solar system - it takes longer to finish a rotation on its axis than orbit the entire Sun!

10. Neutron stars are the fastest spinning objects known in the universe

The fastest spinning known pulsar, a neutron star which emits a radiation beam as light, cycles on a whopping 70,000 km per hour speed.

11. A spoonful of a neutron star weighs about a billion ton

Neutron stars are unimaginably dense, in fact one spoonful of one such star would weigh around a billion tons!

12. The Voyager 1 spacecraft is the most distant human-made object from Earth

In 1977, the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were released into space as an ambitious project and are still cruising the outskirts of our galaxy and maybe beyond to help us explore space even further.

13. Voyager 1 captured the most distant photograph of Earth

The same spacecraft, Voyager 1, took the most distant photograph of Earth: Voyager 1 took a shot of the Earth from the far reaches of space in 1990, and the small speck at the end of the image that is the world we’re living on right now became known as the Pale Blue Dot. Astronomer Carl Sagan noted,“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.”

14. Scientists are looking for evidence of extraterrestrial life on Earth

Originally posted by ajshostak

One of the most exciting mysteries of the universe is a quest to find aliens, or as termed by scientists a project called The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI), where they are pulling n all data about extraterrestrial life on other planets through evidence they have at their hands.

15. It is estimated there are 400 billion stars in our galaxy

Originally posted by thelucidnation

Our own Sun is one of 400 billion others, some astoundingly larger, some smaller, in the Milky Way alone. 

16. There could be 500 million planets capable of supporting life in our galaxy

“Goldilocks Planets” are  habitable planets which fall into a specific zone around the star to make life sustainable on it. Many factors come into play to get this perfect distance such as temperature, atmospheric content, water, chemical compounds on the surface etc. 

17. There are probably more than 170 billion galaxies in the observable universe

Based on extensive calculations, using data from the Hubble Telescope and as far as it can see into space, there’s a probable 170 billion galaxies besides our own Milky Way.

18. There could be an infinite number of universes

Originally posted by sci-universe

Speculative theories in advanced branches of science such as mathematics, quantum mechanics and astrophysics have summed up that we could be living in a “multiverse”- a convergence of an infinite number of universes. 

19. The human brain is the most complex object in the known universe

Originally posted by teapotsandroses

Our brain is a blueprint for the most complex network in the universe, with over a hundred billion neurons and quadrillion connections- this system isn’t even the tip of the iceberg which we know about what our brains have the potential to achieve.

20. We are all made of stardust

Originally posted by drugsruleeverythingaroundme

Carl Sagan beautifully summarises this fact, “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” In fact, every element on Earth transpired from a burning heart of a star.

anonymous asked:

Ok so imagine in the spn world there's a "french men of letters" any headcanons as a french xD ?

Hi anon ^^

I LOVE YOUR QUESTION!! OMG, I’m gonna have so much fin with this one xD Ok, let’s go!

1) Richelieu founded the French Men of Letters in 1635, the same year as the Académie Française (French Academy). They were the biggest and best well kept secret of the French kingdom, then of the French Republic. They work on their own, have “carte blanche” but secretly receive money from the French government because they are useful to the nation. They never appear on any register though.

2) Working during the French Revolution was a pain in the ass but things got better with Napoleon who gave The Men of Letters an unlimited funding after his troops were attacked by a bunch of demons in 1804.

3) Gustave Eiffel was a Man of Letters and so were the Chevalier d’Eon, Marie Curie (poor Pierre never knew about his wife’s activities), Madame Yvonne de Gaulle (wife of General de Gaulle) even if they all denied these allegations.

4) The top of the Eiffel Tower (built by Gustave Eiffel, what a coincidence…) is an observation post that is used by the MOL to spot any suspect/paranormal activity happening in the French capital city. The top of Notre-Dame de la Garde, a famous church in Marseille, is also an observation spot.

5) Rumors says that The MOL’s HQ is located in an abandoned subway station on Line 10 of the Paris subway, Mabillon, or in the complex network of underground tunnels right below the Paris Opéra.

6) The Phantom of the Opera wasn’t a legend. The French Men of Letters helped hunters to catch him in 1881. Gaston Leroux, the son of a hunter, wrote the whole story in 1910, inspired by the stories told by his dad.

7) Only a few members of the organization know about the location of a gate of hell, somewhere on the French territory. In 1999, the gate of hell was almost opened but the MOL prevented the worse. The brief opening “only” caused a series of cyclones over the country.

8) The Cafés are the biggest information network of the French Men of Letters. They are their eyes and ears and the French “garçons” are the best informants you could hope for. The Cafés being replaced by Starbucks coffees and hipsters bars are currently a big problem.

9) The French MOL stopped the big vampire invasion of 1992. You’ve never heard about it? It’s normal, it’s because they stopped it, silly.

10) The Parisians Men of Letters are hated by the rest of the French Men of Letters because the Paris Division is just a bunch of “pretentious assholes” but the Paris Division doesn’t care because they despise the other Men of Letters anyway. They are better than the others and they know it. Please. The rivalry was temporarily set aside during the previously mentioned 1992 vampire invasion because they had to collaborate on this big problem.

11) At 12:00, everybody stops their work/hunt/whatever because it’s lunch. We are not savages.

12) The Parisian MOL are often late to MOL meetings because the local trains are always late and because the traffic on the Périphérique (a belt highway around Paris) is just terrible.

13) The MOL are on strike at least twice a year because “we can’t work in these conditions!! I mean, look at the Brits and all the stuff they have!! It’s an absolute scandal!!”. These strikes granted, among other things, a new Nespresso coffee machine, a high speed internet connection in MOL’s bunkers around the country, two weeks of paid vacations, a grenade launcher per employee and new silver bullets.

14) In July 2006, the French MOL briefly stopped their diplomatic relations with the Italian Men of Letters after the World Cup Finale because of the Zidane/Materazzi incident . It was Materazzi’s fault anyway, a position that wasn’t shared by the Italian branch, hence a brief cold in the relation that was put to an end in early August of the same year when a bunch of demons were causing troubles at the French-Italian border.

15) The vault of the French Men of Letters contains object such as a possessed apple, the one that terrified Annecy in 1585, the armor of Joan of Arc, a letter by Victor Hugo to a newspaper revealing the existence of the Men of letters and that was intercepted just in time (nice try Vic), the body of a Korrigan and of the Beast of Gévaudan, a gun by Casimir Lefaucheux, french gunsmith, that has the same property as The Colt (unfortunately, there is no more bullet left). Not to forget the body of the shape shifter that briefly replaced Marie-Antoinette in 1782.

16) They heard about the Winchesters but thank fuck, the elder one is afraid of flying and will never come to France. The last thing the MOL needs are these guys in the streets of Paris or Lyon (we have enough problems, thank you very much). There’s no space to park the Impala anyway.

I think we are gonna stop there! Thanks again xD


Sorano design- Takumi Uchu

I am a web designer and director living in Ishikawa Prefecture of Japan.
I like space, science and media art.
My works are imagined from the behavior of microscopic particles to the macroscopic universe by using Processing, openFrameworks etc.
Also, I’m interested in Data visualization of the data of the universe and natural phenomena,and a complex system of network.

twitter : @takumi_uchu



  • Cyborg Noodle: Humans just lead short, boring, insignificant lives, so they make up stories to feel like they're a part of something bigger. They want to blame all the world's problems on some single enemy they can fight, instead of a complex network of interrelated forces beyond anyone's control. I think that's why you find this band so worthy to fight for
  • Murdoc: It's sad… AND FUNNY!!
steven universe ask meme.

“Go for it, bro!”

 "Wow! Everything’s changing!“ 

"Who’s terrible idea was this?" 

"No… how long was I out?!”

 "You know I can’t handle it when you cry like that.“

 "Do you remember this place?" 

"I get mad at myself! It’s what I do!”

 "I’ll fight you, and show you how bad I am!“

 "You want to pretend that none of this ever happened. You think that I’m just a big mistake!”

“What’s a chicken?" 

"Oh! I get the joke now!" 

"You are an experience!" 

"You were the one good thing that came out of this mess. I always thought you were proud of that." 

“It’s too late! I don’t believe you anymore!”

“Isn’t it remarkable? This world is full of so many possibilities.”

“How are y’all doin’ tonight?”

“Yeah, I could rave to this.”

“Why do you look like that? Why are you so weak?”

“I don’t get what you’re planning, but look! Your base is taken! Your armies are ruined! You have failed!”


“Looks like another waste of my time.”

“They kept you prisoner. They used you. This is your chance to take revenge! Come on… Just say yes.”

“You’re pointing that shield the wrong way. She’s the one you should be afraid of.”

“You can’t lie to me. I’ve seen what you’re capable of. I thought I was a brute, but you… you’re a monster.”

“It’ll be better this time. I’ve changed. You’ve changed me. I’m the only one who can handle your kind of power.”

“Please understand, if we lose, we’ll be killed. And if we win, we can never go home…”

“I thought… haven’t we… is this not how it works?”

“Who cares about how I feel? How you feel is bound to be much more interesting.”

“But you are supposed to change! You’re never the same, even moment to moment you’re allowed and expected to invent who you are.”

“Arrggh! Why do you keep destroying my things?!”

“Go ahead, wreck this place! See if I care, I already got what I needed!”

“You really think this is the end? HAHAHA! This… This is only the beginning! …Of my escape!”

“Oh my stars, you’re gonna harvest me?!”

“I’m gonna die here.”

“Yes! Feel my unbridled rage!”

“I can tell you with certainty that there are things on this planet worth protecting!”

“I’ve grown accustomed to this place, and I could probably fix the hole that I made with my giant robot.”

“What’s the problem? You’re the one getting all the good stuff! You’ve got the propeller and paint cans on your side!”

“H-2-Oh my GOSH!”

“I carried you while you took a nap.”

“I… I thought violence would be the answer.”

“You have a lobster on your butt.”

“Yes, the children are playing swords. Sorry, playing with swords.  They are bleeding.  Oh no, they are dead. Don’t call again.  …Sorry, I panicked.”

“That’s a lie. Your middle name is cutie pie.”

“It was a maelstrom of destruction and death.”

“But I think you’re just mad ‘cause you’re single.”

“Love at first sight doesn’t exist. Love takes time, and love takes work. At the very least you have to know the other person… And you literally have no idea who or what I am.”

“Get open, get honest, invent yourselves together. That’s fusion.”

“I’m not as strong as you think. I-I fell apart over this…”

“You’ll know when I’m joking.”

“I blame the cows.”

“You don’t understand! Just leave me alone.”

“I just want to go home.”

“Let’s stay on this miserable planet, together!”

“I’m done being everyone’s prisoner! Now you’re MY prisoner! And I’m never letting you go!”

“Can’t you see? I can’t stop, not for a second.”

“For a moment, I really felt like things were different, but they’re not. No matter where I go, I’m trapped.”

“I really thought I would be living alone here.”

“Don’t put me in charge! Oh, sorry. I mean, y-you shouldn’t trust me with the boat.”

“Thanks, but I’m not putting that on my body.”

“What we had wasn’t healthy. I never want to feel like I felt with you. Never again! So just go!”

“I was terrible to you. I liked taking everything out on you. I needed to. I-I hated you. It was bad!”

“You can’t outrun me, we both have short legs!”

“Yeah, yeah, don’t forget: reckless, vulgar, loud-mouthed. That’s just what makes me so awesome!”

“In the ring, nobody can tell me what to do! And if they try, I HIT 'EM IN THE FACE WITH A CHAIR!”

“You can’t let anyone make you feel like garbage.”

“I swallowed a rock.”

“I’mma win a airplane!”

“Are you trying to kill him faster?”

“I can fit! Which way to the baby war?”

“Now we’re gonna bury you 'til you’ve learned your lesson!”

“I’m not gonna let you stand there and remind me about everything I hate about myself!”

“I never asked to be made!”

“I’m just an embarrassment to you!”

“Oh man! I think my favorite round thing was in there!”

“I need everyone’s constant approval! I need to loquaciously converse so I can show off how smart I am.”

“Humans should just stop wearing clothes… be a lot funnier.”

“If you’re trying to flush yourself down the toilet, it won’t work. Trust me, I’ve tried.”

“Homegirl knows we’re gonna beat her into a pancake.”

“You didn’t need me at all…”

“Care to explain what one of my swords was doing in your room?”

“We want to stop all wrestling everywhere! Are you going to let us destroy all wrestling? Eheheh.”

“Humans find such fascinating ways to waste their time.”

“Is water just hydrogen and oxygen “mashed together”?”

“Well, that’s perfect, because I don’t want to go with grammatically incorrect people anyway.”

“You have to feel like yourself! Sweet and considerate, and only occasionally obnoxious!”

“Just today you were crying about snakes.”

“There are… different ways of being strong.”

“I’m so sorry… I almost got us killed..!”

“Humans just lead short, boring, insignificant lives, so they make up stories to feel like they’re a part of something bigger. They want to blame all the world’s problems on some single enemy they can fight, instead of a complex network of interrelated forces beyond anyone’s control.”

“I like to watch you sleep sometimes. And by sometimes, I mean often.”

“Everything I ever did, I did for her. And now she’s gone. But I’m still here.”

“That could have gone… a lot worse.”

“You always say you’ll be the crocodile, but you never commit!”

“Have the shirts come to life and possessed the bodies of their wearers?!”

“Do you understand that cartoon show?”

“I don’t get tired; I get results.”

“I just wanted to share a few more victories with you!”

“Look! I was right! My plan worked perfectly.”

“Oh, what’s 200 years between friends?”

“Please! Tell me! How can I make you forgive me!?”

“Confident and secure and complete… You’re perfect… You’re the perfect relationship… You’re always together… I just—I wanted to be a part of that…”

“We leave for one second and everything goes off the rails!”

“It’s fine, it’s fine, we’ll build it bigger, stronger, we’ll add SEATBELT!”

“Ah, sunset. My favorite time of the day… The sun goes down and the second sun gets bigger and bigger in the sky…”

“I can’t just start listening now, I’d be lost! Just like my pants…”


“Will you help me into my Birthday Suit?!”

“Try to act like a rich duck.”

“Fire Salt! Burn! Burn people!”

“None of you are the handsome one! I’M the handsome one!”

“I’m gonna bring the ocean back… or get really thirsty trying.”

“I have to protect you, what if somehow you get hurt? What do I do? I don’t want that for you.”

“Pizza rain! …But no pizza clouds…”

“You gotta take this online quiz: “Which Crying Breakfast Friend Are You?”!”

“Are you insecure about your relationships and how you’re perceived by other people?”

“If you’re the one protecting me… Then who’s the one protecting you!?”

“Some day soon we may be fighting some really bad guys, and when that day comes, I wanna fight with you! Together! So please… Won’t you share this jam with me?”

“Wow! You’re so articulated!”

“Home’s been awful! Here’s been awful! I thought you wanted to have a fun time but– Everyone’s been acting awful too! It - It just came with us. I don’t understand! Is it… is it me..?”

“We found a seeeecret way to track you, and we’ll never tell you how even if you ask nicely. MYAH.”

“Awwww! You’re like… an angry little slice of pie!”

“Wait! I have a better idea that doesn’t involve destroying the house!”

“That isn’t a very sound business practice.”

“Sweet, two doughnuts! One for me and one… for… uh, me.”

“I thought this was a dance party. Why isn’t anyone else dancing.”

“I don’t wanna hear anything you say, unless it’s “sorry”.”

“You’re choosing to take it personally.”

“Can’t you see I’m completely engulfed with rage.”

“But we made him feel like it was his fault. I keep looking into the future, where all of this has been solved, as if it doesn’t matter how you feel in the present. No wonder… why you think I don’t care!”

“You honestly think I’m not upset about what happened? I just wanted to do the right thing…”

“This is… not what I saw! I don’t know what happened, I-”

“All I wanna look at is you.”


How to build a human cell atlas

Aviv Regev likes to work at the edge of what is possible. In 2011, the computational biologist was collaborating with molecular geneticist Joshua Levin to test a handful of methods for sequencing RNA. The scientists were aiming to push the technologies to the brink of failure and see which performed the best. They processed samples with degraded RNA or vanishingly small amounts of the molecule. Eventually, Levin pointed out that they were sequencing less RNA than appears in a single cell.

To Regev, that sounded like an opportunity. The cell is the basic unit of life and she had long been looking for ways to explore how complex networks of genes operate in individual cells, how those networks can differ and, ultimately, how diverse cell populations work together. The answers to such questions would reveal, in essence, how complex organisms such as humans are built. “So, we’re like, ‘OK, time to give it a try’,” she says. Regev and Levin, who both work at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, sequenced the RNA of 18 seemingly identical immune cells from mouse bone marrow, and found that some produced starkly different patterns of gene expression from the rest1. They were acting like two different cell subtypes.

That made Regev want to push even further: to use single-cell sequencing to understand how many different cell types there are in the human body, where they reside and what they do. Her lab has gone from looking at 18 cells at a time to sequencing RNA from hundreds of thousands — and combining single-cell analyses with genome editing to see what happens when key regulatory genes are shut down.

The results are already widening the spectrum of known cell types — identifying, for example, two new forms of retinal neuron2 — and Regev is eager to find more. In late 2016, she helped to launch the International Human Cell Atlas, an ambitious effort to classify and map all of the estimated 37 trillion cells in the human body (see ’To build an atlas’). It is part of a growing interest in characterizing individual cells in many different ways, says Mathias Uhlén, a microbiologist at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm: “I actually think it’s one of the most important life-science projects in history, probably more important than the human genome.”

Nature 547, 24–26 (06 July 2017) doi:10.1038/547024a

After three years of studying computer science/engineering at university I think I can make a sort of post about this matter. There are some misconceptions about IT degrees. So many. In the following lines, I’ll try to put together the main ones I currently have faced. I’ve been asked to make a post like this some time ago, so here it is. I’m focusing on computer science/computer engineering since it’s what I am studying.

The summer before I started my first year of university I was freaking out. Not only did I go to study at university but also I was going to study computer science/engineering! I love computers and that, but little did I know about computers to be honest. So my first thought was what computer should I buy. And here we go with the classic macbook vs laptop battle. My dad bought me a laptop so I didn’t think about really about this (as a note, it’s not the best laptop, but it’s enough at least for now). If you are wondering what computer should you buy for computer science, but you whatever you like the most, but I suggest you to have in mind that it doesn’t matter if you choose a laptop or a macbook. If you have enough money and you want a macbook, go for it. If you don’t or you don’t like macbook, you have other options. Choose wisely.

I was told that I would be the only girl in the class. Well, so the first day of university came and I couldn’t see a single girl in the hall. It turned out that there were about 12 girls in my class and about 80 boys (depending on the class). In my last semester I’ve been in a class where I was the only girl and as a consequence of several classes being minority, I get used to be the only girl and I felt stronger someway.

One thing more I was told it was that people on this degrees were a bunch of nonsocial, unatracttive and weird genius. To be honest this was something that scared me too, because I didn’t want to be alone. But again, this was untrue; of course, there are a few weird people, but mostly of them are nice people. I haven’t still seen a genius, just hard-working people.

I realized since the very beginning of my academic journey that when I told people what I am studying, there are three reactions I can observe in people:

  1. The “pfff, that’s a difficult degree” reaction.
  2. The “pfff, that’s a difficult degree for a woman” reaction.
  3. The *open the mouth for a while and say nothing* reaction.

But is computer science or computer engineering difficult?”, that’s another thought that made me head spin. All right, it is. I am not going to lie. It is difficult. Really difficult, but once you get the hang of studying, organizing and thinking, everything will be easier. Personally I wasted a year trying to learn how to think and study for the classes. I was stuck into the high school habits and I didn’t want to change them. If I have learnt something about university (or life) is that you have to be ready for switching and don’t be afraid of changes.

I would like to work as a computer scientist/computer engineer/software engineer/… but I’m not good at mathematics/physics/…”. Okay, computer science/engineering is difficult but not that hard (I may slightly lie in the aforementioned question, except calculus, calculus is evil). I mean, professors start with the very basics of every class, and it isn’t usually very difficult. Plus most of them are willing to clear up your questions in office hours. I have some friends who are really bad at maths and they have passed all the algebra and calculus classes. Also I have friends that didn’t want to study an IT degree, though they’d love to, because of this reason. Don’t be the person who didn’t study something because of a few hard classes. You’ll regret later.

After a couple of month, studying computer science/engineering, some people start wondering why we are studying physics, electronics and math, “when are we going to start hacking?”. Oh, well. That’s a good question. Never. WE DON’T LEARN TO HACK in university. In my first year, many classmates drop out of computer science because of this single reason. They thought they’ll learn how to hack.

At least, I will code a lot!”. Sorry again, but you are going to be programming less than you would expect. At my university, we take only 6-7 classes focused on just programming in the four years of the degree.

When you assume that most of the things you believe are not true, you’ll know more or less if you like this degree or you don’t. At the same time, people are going to ask for help. Yes, the “can you fix my [insert here ANY electronic device]?” and “can you tell me how to [any action] in [any program or website]?”. You can’t get away of these questions. Believe me or not, but if you get involved in an IT degree you are not going to study how to delete a Facebook account. You may or not may be surprised of this, but a great amount of people has asked me this question. Plus, we don’t learn how to fix smartwatches. Surprise!

At this point, people wonder what the hell computer science/engineering is about. Algebra, calculus, physics, electronics, robotics, algorithms, AI, data structures, computer security, networks, computational complexity,…

If you prefer to work solo, I have bad news for you, because you’ll need to work in teams. And this is really difficult to achieve. You will find both people who work and who don’t. You have to find a balance between your time and the others’, learn to organize the time and the work for the team project and don’t be afraid of reasonably arguing if the project is at risk. This is something to keep in mind as much as presentations skills. Yes, you need to talk in public about your work, if not in university, it will be in any job interview.  I have actually been the worst talking in public since always, but when after all the presentations I have done, I have became better. You’ll become better. So come on.

Scientists discover new mechanism of how brain networks form

Scientists have discovered that networks of inhibitory brain cells or neurons develop through a mechanism opposite to the one followed by excitatory networks. Excitatory neurons sculpt and refine maps of the external world throughout development and experience, while inhibitory neurons form maps that become broader with maturation. This discovery adds a new piece to the puzzle of how the brain organizes and processes information. Knowing how the normal brain works is an important step toward understanding the nature of neurological conditions and opens the possibility of finding treatments in the future. The results appear in Nature Neuroscience.

“The brain represents the external world as specific maps of activity created by networks of neurons,” said senior author Dr. Benjamin Arenkiel, associate professor of molecular and human genetics and of neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine, who studies neural maps in the olfactory system of the laboratory mouse. “Most of these maps have been studied in the excitatory circuits of the brain because excitatory neurons in the cortex outnumber inhibitory neurons.”

The studies of excitatory maps have revealed that they begin as a diffuse and overlapping network of cells. “With time,” said Arenkiel, “experience sculpts this diffuse pattern of activity into better defined areas, such that individual mouse whiskers, for instance, are represented by discrete segments of the brain cortex. This progression from a diffuse to a refined pattern occurs in many areas of the brain.”

In addition to excitatory networks, the brain has inhibitory networks that also respond to external stimuli and regulate the activity of neural networks. How the inhibitory networks develop, however, has remained a mystery.

In this study, Arenkiel and colleagues studied the development of maps of inhibitory neurons in the olfactory system of the mouse.

Studying inhibitory brain networks of the mouse sense of smell

“Unlike sight, hearing or other senses, the sense of smell in the mouse detects discrete scents from a large array of molecules,” said Arenkiel, who is also a McNair Scholar at Baylor.

Mice can detect a vast number of scents thanks in part to a complex network of inhibitory neurons. Inhibitory neurons are the most abundant type of cells in the mouse brain area dedicated to process scent. To support this network, newly born inhibitory neurons are continually added and integrated into the circuits.

Arenkiel and colleagues followed the paths of these newly added neurons in time to determine how inhibitory circuits develop. First, they genetically labeled the cells so they would glow when the neurons were active. Then, they offered individual scents to the mice and visually recorded through a microscope the areas or networks of the brain that glowed for each scent the live, anesthetized animal smelled. The scientists repeated the experiment several times to determine how the networks changed as the animal learned to identify each scent.

Surprising result

The scientists expected that inhibitory networks would mature in a way similar to that of excitatory networks. That is, the more the animal experienced a scent, the better defined the networks of activity would become. Surprisingly, the scientists discovered that the inhibitory brain circuits of the mouse sense of smell develop in a manner opposite to the excitatory circuits. Instead of becoming narrowly defined areas, the inhibitory circuits become broader. Thanks to this new finding scientists now better understand how the brain organizes and processes information.

Arenkiel and colleagues think that the inhibitory networks work hand-in-hand with the excitatory networks. They propose that the interaction between excitatory and inhibitory networks could be compared to a network of roads (excitatory networks) whose traffic is regulated by a network of traffic lights (inhibitory networks). The scientists suggest that the formation of useful neural maps depends on inhibitory networks driving the refinement of excitatory networks, and that this new information will be essential towards developing new approaches for repairing brain tissue.
‘He's very sexy’: Tom Hiddleston, Simon Russell Beale and other actors on le Carré
Leading actors including Rachel Weisz, David Harewood and Damian Lewis reveal what John le Carré is like to work with

Tom Hiddleston played Jonathan Pine in the BBC adaptation of 
The Night Manager   

I had read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy when I was young, but not The Night Manager. When I read the script for the first episode, I was thrilled and fascinated by the prospect of playing Pine. I read the novel many times after that. When it came to preparing for the series, le Carré was very present and actively involved. After a cast read-through of all six episodes in one sitting, we withdrew to a draughty anteroom behind a council hall in central London and listened to his generous feedback. He stressed in particular the delicate and almost parental nature of the relationship between agent runner and agent, in this case between Angela Burr (Olivia Colman) and Jonathan Pine. His attention to detail was forensic, and his insight invaluable.

Our fascination with spies stems from our natural curiosity about questions of truth and identity. Even as children, we develop a deep understanding of the transgressive act of lying. And yet spies must lie, or dissemble, for the greater good. John le Carré is the architect of our understanding of the world of spies. There is, behind the curtain of power, a complex network of interests and relationships, upon which depend our national security and prosperity. He has always understood that. He takes us behind the curtain. He is also one of the most sophisticated analysts of the British psyche, and the creator of the most thrilling novels of the past half-century. He understands that within the British cultural identity are contained many complex contradictions; that our sense of ourselves, and of our place in the world, is not fixed or clear.

Spy stories satisfy some innate curiosity within us, and le Carré’s are the best. They are emotionally and intellectually completely satisfying, politically resonant and genuinely thrilling.

Ever see a geodesic dome home? You know, those sphere-like homes made from a rather complex network of triangles? You’ve got R. Buckminster Fuller, or “Bucky,” to thank for that. Born July 12, 1895, Fuller was an early green architect whose primary passion was humanitarianism. He felt the main two problems in the world were homelessness and hunger, and worked his entire life to find simple, economical solutions to them. One example of this is his Dymaxion House, a pre-fab, round structure supported by poles. The home was heated and cooled by natural means, and its shape minimized heat loss and required fewer materials to construct than a typical home, making it environmentally friendly and affordable. Fuller worked on this project after World War II, when there was a housing shortage in the U.S. Unfortunately, although thousands of Americans eagerly placed orders, funding problems caused Fuller to cancel the project. It was after the Dymaxion House fiasco that he developed the geodesic dome, which quickly caught the attention of the American government because it was lightweight yet strong, and could be quickly assembled — perfect housing for soldiers stationed overseas. He made thousands for the U.S. Army, and many others became homes, which were extremely energy-efficient thanks to the design; a dome’s spherical structure allows air and energy to freely circulate, which means heating and cooling occurs naturally. Fuller lived in one himself in Carbondale, Illinois, where he taught in the Design Department at Southern Illinois University.


favorite characters: pearl {steven universe}

humans just lead short, boring, insignificant lives, so they make up stories to feel like they’re a part of something bigger. they want to blame all the world’s problems on some single enemy they can fight, instead of a complex network of interrelated forces beyond anyone’s control.

notunprepared  asked:

Question - would morphing cancel out surgeries? Like, if a trans man has top surgery would his chest come back after morphing back into human? Or what about people who have had metal pins put into joints and things? Where would the metal go? Would someone with arthritis or cancer be cured? I'd argue no to many of these because morphing uses DNA but the plastic surgery cancelling thing would be super bad. What are your thoughts?

My headcanon is thus:

- We know that morphing does not, contrary to the books claims, work on DNA. I’m sure DNA is part of it, but the kids get SO MUCH MORE than mere genetic determination when they morph. When Cassie morphs Rachel, why does she look exactly like Rachel? Why does she have Rachel’s hair length, muscle tone, body weight? these things are influenced by genetics, but not determined by them. Why can the kids, when they morph birds, know how to fly ‘instinctively’? Flying is a learned skill. 

- Furthermore, we know that ‘injuries’ healed by morphing are… nebulous in definition. Cassie has at least one scar that doesn’t heal; she shows the others when they first meet the Ellimist. Rachel can still wear earrings after morphing. This isn’t to mention the things pulled back out of z-space that aren’t even part of their own bodies, such as the complex network of bacteria keeping us all alive (that they must also spawn into existence when they morph or Tobias and Elfangor would’ve died within days of getting trapped) and their morphing outfits.

Therefore, it is my opinion that a morph takes a ‘scan’ of more than simply DNA; of the general biology of the organism being scanned. And that this scan is heavily influenced by the mind of the morpher. The kids expect birds to know how to fly, they expect injuries to not be part of an animal’s “normal state”, they are able to trick themselves into thinking of their morphing outfits as part of themselves but anything thicker (anything that blocks touch and feels like clothes) they have a lot more trouble getting. Rachel subconsciously accepts her ear piercings as being part of her, so they’re included. 

This is also why I think Cassie is such a talented morpher – she has a good combination of biological knowledge and a unique capacity for self-delusion, which seem to be the makings of an estreen. She’s the sort to believe something is true because she wants it to be true, so combined with a better knowledge of animals than anyone else, she can build subconscious “templates” tailored to what she wants more clearly and effectively without realising she’s doing it.

So, to answer your initial question, I think it would depend on what the morphers consider to be part of their body, on a deep, subconscious level. Is a pin in someone’s knee a piece of them, like Ax’s translator chip, or a foreign insert, like the brain chips the Animorphs received in The Escape? Is a cancer or the progression of arthritis a normal piece of the body out of control, like Ax’s yamphut, or a foreign invader like Marco’s rabies? Are the results of gender reassigment surgery simply an inherent part of the patient’s body now, like Rachel’s piercings and Cassie’s scar, or a wound, like a broken bone or hork-bajir blade cut?

I think the answers are likely to differ not only between individuals, but also over time. And I think this also says some very interesting things about andalite culture, but I won’t put them here because this message is already too long.

Wednesday Hyena - Crocuta crocuta Edition

The Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta) is the largest member of the family Hyaenidae, and is also known as the laughing hyena due to its unique vocalizations. They are the most common large carnivore in Africa, although its origins indicate that it might have evolved in Asia and was found throughout three continents until the late Pleistocene (Asia, Africa and Europe). In traditional African folklore it is usually seen very negatively, being a symbol of gluttony, stupidity and greed - this influenced Western perception of the Spotted Hyena as well, and conservationists believe that this lingering negative perception has an impact on how much people care about its continued survival as a species, both in the wild and in captivity.

The Spotted Hyena has a powerful build, with thick muscles in its neck and forelegs. Their rump is rounded, which is a defensive adaptation - it prevents attackers who come from behind from getting a good grip. They can measure up to 65 inches (165 cm) in body length, with a short 14-inch (35 cm) tail. Females are slightly larger than males, with the hyenas in Zambia weighing the most. Some of the largest Spotted Hyenas ever measured weighed 200 pounds (90 kg), though more average-sized adults are closer to 153 pound (70 kg). Their coats vary in color from grayish-brown to yellowish-brown, sometimes being so dark as to seem almost black. The pattern of spots on the coats is unique to each individual.

Spotted Hyenas live in clans with complex social structures. Clan size can be as large as 80 individuals, but group size is dependent on habitat and main sources of prey - clans of the Serengeti are smaller, because their prey is migratory and they need to keep up. Clans of Ngorongoro Crater are larger, because their main sources of prey tend to stay in one place. Clans have a matriarchal structure, where even the lowest-ranking female will outrank the highest-ranking male. Females tend to stay with the clan of their birth, while males will break off to join new clans at about 2.5 years of age. Remarkably, the social structure is closer to that of baboons or macaques than it is to that of other large social predators. This is evidenced by their awareness of clan members of individuals, and how they use information about their own social status and the status of others to make decisions. Also, status is not determined by size or aggression, but by complex networks of allies.

Female Spotted Hyenas are the only known mammalian species to lack an external vaginal opening. Instead, the labia have fused together to form a pseudo-scrotum, and the clitoris is large, and positioned and shaped like a penis. It is capable of becoming erect. The pseudo-penis contains a urogenital canal, through which urination, copulation and giving birth are all accomplished. This genital configuration also means that rape is physically impossible. Females mate promiscuously, forming no permanent pair bonds (similar to the behavior of big cats). They tend to favor younger males, regardless of how old they themselves are, and passive males are more successful in enticing females to mate than aggressive males are. After a 110-day gestation period, the females will give birth to a litter of two cubs - only occasionally will there be three. Spotted Hyena cubs are among the largest offspring relative to the size of their mother, and cubs are aggressive toward each other. Siblicide is thought to account for 25% of all cub deaths within their first month of life.

Males take no part in the raising of offspring. Spotted Hyena clans exhibit social denning behavior, and depending on the size of the clan, will have a large central den structure or several smaller dens, which were typically dens that had been dug by warthogs and other animals. Dens are used as an anti-predator device to protect cubs while they’re young. Cubs will dug much of the deeper tunnel structures, at a size which prevents even the adult hyenas of their clan from being able to reach them.

Spotted Hyenas are extremely intelligent. Studies comparing them to chimpanzees have found that Spotted Hyenas perform better at cooperative problem-solving tests, and evidence strongly suggests that primate and hyena intelligence evolved convergently. It is believed that Spotted Hyenas, while being opportunistic hunters and scavengers, will plan to hunt particular species in advance. They also engage in deceptive behaviors, such as a female sounding the general alarm call to disrupt an in-clan attack on her cubs, or a hyena sounding the alarm call to distract the others from a morsel of food they’ve just acquired.

dynespark  asked:

So the wiki says the color of IDW sparks are responsible for the color of a cybertronian's eyes. Starscream and Brainstorm are both constructed cold but they have red and blue eyes respectively. Starscream is one of the few with red eyes so does that mean he just really likes the color and got custom optics?

A poor choice of language on the “Spark” article’s part. To quote directly from “Zero Point,” the idea is that “thanks to a complex network of internal apertures and diaphragms, your optics were illuminated by your Spark.” That can’t literally mean that the colour of the spark is the same as the colour of the optics, since Transformers have eyes of all sorts of colours, and Point One Percenter’s don’t all have green eyes. We’ve changed the article to remove that!

Holographic Universe

A UK, Canadian and Italian study has provided what researchers believe is the first observational evidence that our universe could be a vast and complex hologram.

Theoretical physicists and astrophysicists, investigating irregularities in the cosmic microwave background (the ‘afterglow’ of the Big Bang), have found there is substantial evidence supporting a holographic explanation of the universe - in fact, as much as there is for the traditional explanation of these irregularities using the theory of cosmic inflation.

The researchers, from the University of Southampton (UK), University of Waterloo (Canada), Perimeter Institute (Canada), INFN, Lecce (Italy) and the University of Salento (Italy), have published findings in the journal Physical Review Letters.

A holographic universe, an idea first suggested in the 1990s, is one where all the information, which makes up our 3D 'reality’ (plus time) is contained in a 2D surface on its boundaries.

Professor Kostas Skenderis of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Southampton explains: “Imagine that everything you see, feel and hear in three dimensions (and your perception of time) in fact emanates from a flat two-dimensional field. The idea is similar to that of ordinary holograms where a three-dimensional image is encoded in a two-dimensional surface, such as in the hologram on a credit card. However, this time, the entire universe is encoded!”

Although not an example with holographic properties, it could be thought of as rather like watching a 3D film in a cinema. We see the pictures as having height, width and crucially, depth - when in fact it all originates from a flat 2D screen. The difference, in our 3D universe, is that we can touch objects and the 'projection’ is 'real’ from our perspective.

In recent decades, advances in telescopes and sensing equipment have allowed scientists to detect a vast amount of data hidden in the 'white noise’ or microwaves (partly responsible for the random black and white dots you see on an un-tuned TV) left over from the moment the universe was created. Using this information, the team were able to make complex comparisons between networks of features in the data and quantum field theory. They found that some of the simplest quantum field theories could explain nearly all cosmological observations of the early universe.

Professor Skenderis comments: “Holography is a huge leap forward in the way we think about the structure and creation of the universe. Einstein’s theory of general relativity explains almost everything large scale in the universe very well, but starts to unravel when examining its origins and mechanisms at quantum level. Scientists have been working for decades to combine Einstein’s theory of gravity and quantum theory. Some believe the concept of a holographic universe has the potential to reconcile the two. I hope our research takes us another step towards this.”

The scientists now hope their study will open the door to further our understanding of the early universe and explain how space and time emerged.

IMAGE….This is a sketch of the timeline of the holographic Universe. Time runs from left to right. The far left denotes the holographic phase and the image is blurry because space and time are not yet well defined. At the end of this phase (denoted by the black fluctuating ellipse) the Universe enters a geometric phase, which can now be described by Einstein’s equations. The cosmic microwave background was emitted about 375,000 years later. Patterns imprinted in it carry information about the very early Universe and seed the development of structures of stars and galaxies in the late time Universe (far right). CREDIT Paul McFadden