Corrupted Artwork by @vvideoclub

Pablo aka @vvideoclub is a 25-year-old artist from Chile. A year ago, he was dropping out of film school and trying to get in to digital processing such as slit-scanning and pixel sorting. While working with a friend who was bending / building audio, he was lead to analog video processing.

“I approach my work trying to overcome the 2D nature of the display through feedback and voltage control, focusing in simulating moving shapes and ethereal landscapes.”

Posted by Philip

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Why do we Hiccup?

What causes hiccups? Doctors point out that a round of hiccups often follows from stimuli that stretch the stomach, like swallowing air, or too rapid eating or drinking. 

Others associate hiccups with intense emotions, or our response to them: laughing, sobbing, anxiety, and excitement.

Let’s look at what happens when we hiccup.  It begins with an involuntary spasm or sudden contraction of the diaphragm, the large dome-shaped muscle below our lungs that we use to inhale air.  This is followed almost immediately by the sudden closure of the vocal cords and the opening between them, which is called the glottis. The movement of the diaphragm initiates a sudden intake of air, but the closure of the vocal cords stops it from entering the windpipe and reaching the lungs. It also creates the characteristic sound– ‘hic’.

To date, there is no known function for hiccups; they don’t seem to provide any medical or physiological advantage.  Why begin to inhale air, only to suddenly stop it from actually entering the lungs? One idea is that hiccups began many millions of years before the appearance of humans.  The lung is thought to have evolved as a structure to allow early fish, many of which lived in warm, stagnant water with little oxygen, to take advantage of the abundant oxygen in the air overhead. When descendants of these animals later moved onto land, they moved from gill-based ventilation to air-breathing with lungs. That’s similar to the much more rapid changes faced by frogs today as they transition from tadpoles with gills to adults with lungs.

Another group of scientists believes that the reflex is retained in us today because it actually provides an important advantage. They point out that true hiccups are found only in mammals, and that they’re not retained in birds, lizards, turtles or any other exclusively air-breathing animals. 

Further, hiccups appear in human babies long before birth, and are far more common in infants than adults. Their explanation for this involves the uniquely mammalian activity of nursing.  The ancient hiccup reflex may have been adapted by mammals to help remove air from the stomach as a sort of glorified burp.  The sudden expansion of the diaphragm would raise air from the stomach, while a closure of the glottis would prevent milk from entering the lungs.

Sometimes a bout of hiccups will go on and on, and we try home remedies. Sipping continuously from a glass of cold water; holding one’s breath; a mouthful of honey or peanut butter; breathing into a paper bag……or being suddenly frightened! 

Unfortunately, scientists have yet to verify that any one cure works better or more consistently than others. 

From the TED-Ed Lesson Why do we hiccup? - John Cameron

Animation by Black Powder Design