A Perfect Grid: the Roman Town of Timgad, the African Pompeii

The city of Timgad, in today’s Algeria, was founded as a military settlement by Emperor Trajan around AD 100 and its original scope was to be a defensive bastion against the Berber invasions. The city had a peaceful existence for the first centuries of its life, but was sacked by the Vandals in the 5th century and consequently fell into decline. After a Byzantine reconquest in the 6th century, the city lived a new period of splendor only to be interrupted by the invasions of the Arabs in the 8th century and the consequent full abandon.

The ruins of the city were well preserved under the sands of the Sahara and have been excavated for the first time only in 1881.

Founded as a perfect square with 355m sides, Timgad is orthogonally intersected by the Decumanus Maximus and the CardusMaximus both originally marked by a Corinthian colonnade. The town was initially planned to host 15,000 people, and its first inhabitants were mostly veterans who received land after their service. Over the centuries the city grew considerably until reaching four times its original size. The newly added neighborhoods didn’t follow the first planning scheme.

The original square of the town was divided into small insulae, mostly residential and commercial, all of the same dimensions of around 70 by 70 Roman feet (21 by 21 m) and each one including one or more houses. When the excavation occurred, eight insulae, at the intersection of the cardus and the decumanus, were occupied by the Forum, one was occupied by the market, four by the theatre, seven by baths of different sizes, one by a public library, and one by a Christian church and two by temples.

What to do about stress-eating

Stress-eating (emotional eating when you’re not really hungry or your body doesn’t really need any more calories) is a very common issue for people coping with anxiety and/or depression.  Even in sub-clinical cases (where the difficulties with anxiety/depression is mild or transient) stress-eating can be a significant irritant and source of concern.  There’s no quick-fix for this difficulty, but there are some easy practices that quite often can act to reduce troubles with stress-eating.  

In terms of structural neurology, hunger and appetite appear to be mitigated by way of the amygdala, the hippocampus, the insula, and the orbitofrontal cortex.  Unfortunately, these same structural components are also heavily involved in experience of emotion.  And this may have much to do with how eating habits can be so often affected by feeling depressed and/or anxious.  

Put simply, feeling especially sad or worried accidentally tricks the brain into thinking that the body is hungry.  The involuntary aspects of our neurology are very susceptible to being tricked… and we can use that to our advantage.  
So, how do we trick our minds into thinking we are no longer hungry?  Of course the best (and most annoying) answer is to eat healthy and get lots of exercise.  Exercise gets the body to have a full parasympathetic reaction (an effective modulation of fight/flight stress).  But lets face it, getting lots of exercise can be pretty difficult when one is feeling depressed and/or anxious.  
Suggesting that a patient get more exercise almost always earns me the ‘Donna face’ - that look from the patient that sarcastically says, ‘oh thank you for suggesting something that is completely and entirely unhelpful.’

There are, however, easier things you can do that tricks your body into feeling its had exercise…
Here’s the easiest one: tense up the muscles in your arms and legs.  Curl your arms up into your chest constricting the muscles as hard as you can.  

Meanwhile, stretch your legs out, pointing your toes.  Hold this constricted pose for a count of ten.  

Then relax your muscles for another count of ten.  Repeat three times and then let your body fully relax, taking deep breaths in through the nose and out through your mouth.  

Doing this automatically causes a release of various hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain that are associated with an effective reaction to stress.  It sort of completes a circuit that says to the involuntary parts of your brain that a fight-or-flight stress was encountered and effectively dealt with.  In turn, a secondary wave of hormones are released that helps the body to feel relaxed.  In other words, you can receive the neurological benefits of exercising without actually exercising.  
This process basically ‘chills out’ the amygdala, hippocampus, insula, and the orbitofrontal cortex.  Which in turn, reduces appetite and switches off that insatiable hunger.  Practicing this shortly after eating breakfast, lunch or dinner will even further enhance its effectiveness in terms of curbing your appetite.  

Quick fact. Ready?
When one experiences food cravings, the thoughts often associate the particular food as a reward of some sort, which often overrides the reward centre of the brain. This involves the activation of three specific parts of the brain; the hippocampus, the caudate, and the insula.

anonymous asked:

Why exactly does dissociation happen? I had a moment yesterday where I was pretty sure I was dissociating but I had no idea why. And when I got home I just went to sleep to a specific playlist, (the one I usually listen to when I dissociate) and when I woke up everything was fine.

That’s a good question- dissociation (or intense breaks from reality) can happen for a lot of different reasons. If you’re sure it’s not a physical issue (like seizures, drugs, etc), then it’s tied to how your brain functions. A lot of chronically dissociated people have a disconnect in the cortico-limbic system (amygdala, ACC, prefrontal structures). Many of those with dissociative disorders (trauma linked the vast majority of the time) show diminished activity in the occipito-temporal cortex and insula, as well as a smaller amygdala and hippocampus (emotional engagement and memory). 

So put simply, dissociation happens most commonly when your brain rewires itself to not engage with reality as much (to protect the self from trauma). PTSD is a trained overreaction to reality to protect the self, and cPTSD (and dissociation) is a complex disconnect from reality to protect the self from repeated trauma. 

We don’t know everything about dissociation and what causes it to spike- obviously, triggering events can do that, but sometimes dissociative spikes seem random. If sleeping it off helps to clear it up, that’s good! Grounding can help too, it’s just a matter of finding methods that work for you. 

“It still is… a mystery, I mean.”

The doctor looked up at his companion, whose wretched state manifested in a 3-day old shirt and wasted blue eyes. He found the question curious, all the more so at the current situation, as they were sitting in the cold floor just outside the doors of the mortuary.

“What is?” he asked.

“How can a mere chemical mixture, or defect as I used to call it, cause an unexplainable chain of events that is tied to a completely different person? It’s premordial and primitive and nothing but unprecise. It is scientific, yet unscientific.” A pause. “And… and the hollowing feeling that comes with it is nothing more than a reaction of the brain – a biological function of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and the anterior insula, if we’re being technical – and yet it feels so… incomprehensible?”

The other man sighed, worried about the tone of impatience, and almost madness, from his friend’s voice.

“Sherlock…” he started, and the dark haired man turned to face him, “I… I know this is confusing and… devastating. But even if it’s hard, I… life goes on. Even when Mary… when Mary died and I was angry… frustrated… heartbroken… It will be difficult, and I know you know this, but… but…”

“But why?”

“Why, what?”

“Why… why her? Like Mary, she was strong and smart and… someone whom I value more than my own life…. I have never… I didn’t even get to say it…” there was so much anger and frustration in his voice. “I lov—”

A tear fell, and another, until the empty halls echoed with nothing more than the detective’s uncontrollable grief.

John closed his eyes in frustration, for he is well-acquianted with the raw and harsh realities of losing someone forever. He knows all too well that there is no way to comfort the grieving.

So instead, with everything he has seen between the miracle that is Sherlock Holmes and The Woman, he opted for the truth that he knows of.

“It’s never about words, Sherlock. I’m sure she knew.”

anonymous asked:

Favorite crackship and why?

So many. Too many. But my most recent crackship is CopDoc. 

Originally posted by fatalissia

And to further illustrate, here’s a quick little crackfic…

Tamsin set her bottle of Dark Belch down on the mahogany bar, perhaps a bit more forcefully than necessary as she half-glared at Lauren, who slid onto the stool next to her looking entirely too attractive in a sleeveless white blouse and form-fitting slacks. Not that Tamsin noticed such things about the world’s most uppity doctor. Ever.

“You know I kinda hate of you, right?” Tamsin asked. “Go sit somewhere else.”

“Kinda?” Lauren smirked. “Wow, I didn’t know you cared that much about me.”

Tamsin squinted back. “Um, did that fae serum affect your damn hearing? I care about you as much as I care about that ear parasite I got two years ago. Go sit somewhere else.”

“You know,” Lauren ignored her, “science has shown that the biological bases for love and hate are actually intimately linked.”

“Are you fucking me?”

“No. I can forward you the studies on the neural pathways involved with both emotions. They’re located in the putamen and the insula of the brain’s sub-cortex and–”

“O-kay, I’m gonna stop you there,” Tamsin put a hand up, instantly tamping down any and all thoughts about how cute Lauren could be when she went on one of her science rants. Lauren Lewis wasn’t cute, Tamsin reminded herself. She was an irritating know-it-all, not to mention her fiercest rival. “There is no way in Hel that you’re gonna convince me that love and hate are two sides of the same coin or whatever.”

“All I’m saying is that if you truly didn’t care, you would be completely indifferent to me.”

“And I am.” Tamsin took another sip of her beer.

“But you just said you hated me.”

“I can do both.” Tamsin pointedly turned away from Lauren.

Lauren left her alone for a few seconds, enough to order her own drink from Mark, before chiming back up: “You know, Dyson used to hate me too.”

Tamsin rolled her eyes and ignored her.

“And now he doesn’t,” Lauren said.

Tamsin refused to turn back around. She could feel Lauren’s gaze on her and she hated the way her skin tingled pleasantly from the attention. It was the beer, she convinced herself. It had to be. Maybe Vex had spiked the batch with Choga sweat. Again.

“And now I know you don’t either,” Lauren finished quietly.

“You wish,” Tamsin snorted.

Mark placed a Dark Belch in front of Lauren, who rolled the neck of the glass bottle between her fingers. “Maybe I do,” she admitted.

Tamsin couldn’t stop herself from glancing over. It was a mistake. A big one. Lauren was still watching her, amusement and affection in her brown eyes, and Tamsin frowned.

“Shut up and drink your beer, Lewis,” she said, chugging down the rest of her own drink in the hopes it would quench the unexpected warmth spreading through her chest.

spaceshipkat  asked:

y'know i might have been able to forgive sjm for the whole apartment thing, since apartments have essentially existed since antiquity. the Ancient Romans had apartments called insulae, where sometimes entire floors were dedicated to one family (usually above a street shop or "fast food" restaurant) if amren's fucking apartment didn't sound so upper class New York City flat i'd sooner find in an episode of Real Housewives than in fantasy to be taken seriously


It’s not the fact that it’s an apartment, it’s the fuck that it’s a fucking Pinterest penthouse.


Getting kicked in the stomach could mean the same as a really bad break up. A recent study shows, that physical pain and emotional pain light up the same region of the brain: the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex 

Since both types of pain have the same neurological basis, why can’t someone who experienced a loss take a painkiller to feel better? Well they actually can! In an experiment, people who currently went through a form of social rejection (a bad break-up, a loss of friends) were randomly assigned to either a Tylenol or a placebo for three weeks.

At the end of the experiment, those who took the Tylenol reported being in less emotional pain than those who took a placebo. In addition, when each group’s brains were scanned, the Tylenol group showed less activity in the pain regions, or the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex. 

Ți-am construit un refugiu
în întinsă mea insulă,
unde ai să găseşti
sărutările de mult uitate
liniştea țărmului
şi protecția munților.
Pe această singură insulă pe care o am
fără urme de civilizație
îți aparține.
Naufragiază-ți totul-n insula… noastră.


As the title says, this list has fanfictions where APH England is the main character. If you are here searching for fics with that characteristic (APH England as the protagonist), I hope it will be useful. This one may be a little confusing, because in this list doesn’t have FRUK and USUK fics but fics with APH England and another partner. Also not all the fics here have romance or love stories.

  • If you are a writer and see your fic here, and don’t want it to be here, please, tell me and I will remove it. Also if you want me to add another link on it.
  • If some of the links don’t work, please, tell me so I could fix it.
  • I like to read angst, drama and hurt… (I’m a weirdo, I know) so some of them are on those lines, I warn you. Not all of them, there are fluff and things like that too. If you are very conscious or sensible to some topics, please, check the warnings and disclaimers of the fics, if they have. 
  • I love long things C: and I love long fics too, so the stories posted here are at least 10,000 words count.
  • All the stories are COMPLETE.
  • The numeration of the lists doesn’t mean anything about the quality of the fics (all of them are great!). Is beacuse is more easy for me to have a control of the fics posted, no other reason. So just ignore it.
  • If you want to read some USUK fics, click here, and also click here for more USUK fics (this list is divided in two parts).
  • If you want to read some FRUK fics, click here.
  • If you want to read some FACE/ACE family fics, click here.
  • I’m up for recomendatios!

Keep reading

And the winner of the fic contest is...

@zepppie! This fic. It killed me. I smiled and cried (a few actual tears, y’all), and it’s so in character it hurts. So beautifully done. I’m so proud to share this with you guys, and I INSIST that you all follow this incredible writer! XOXO


Author: @zepppie

Word Count: 2.4K

Pairing: Dean x Reader (1st person POV)

Summary:People say falling in love really feels like flying. But the truth is eventually, we all come crashing down; we are all Icarus on borrowed wings daring to reach the sun. I know this because I’ve been burned by a man named Dean Winchester.

Warnings: angst

A/N: Congratulations on 20K, Kim! You’re an amazing writer and a tremendous inspiration to me. Hope this entry satisfies. I drew heavy inspiration from the song’s lyrics.

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A Hymn to the Graces

Orphic Hymn 60, “To the Graces” (author unknown; date perhaps ca. 200-250 CE)

Hear me, o Graces of great names and shining honors,
You daughters of Zeus and of deep-bosomed Eunomia-
Aglaia, Thalia, and prosperous Euphrosyne:
You are the begetters of joy, lovely, benevolent, holy;
Your forms are ever-changing, your beauty ever-blossoming-
You inspire longing in mortals.
Men pray for your presence, you dancers in a ring-
Your faces are like flowers, you fill us with desire.
Come, then, o bestowers of prosperity,
Ever gentle toward the initiates.

Κλῦτέ μοι, ὦ Χάριτες μεγαλώνυμοι, ἀγλαότιμοι,
θυγατέρες Ζηνός τε καὶ Εὐνομίης βαθυκόλπου,
Ἀγλαΐη Θαλίη τε καὶ Εὐφροσύνη πολύολβε,
χαρμοσύνης γενέτειραι, ἐράσμιαι, εὔφρονες, ἁγναί,
αἰολόμορφοι, ἀειθαλέες, θνητοῖσι ποθειναί·
εὐκταῖαι, κυκλάδες, καλυκώπιδες, ἱμερόεσσαι·
ἔλθοιτ’ ὀλβοδότειραι, ἀεὶ μύσταισι προσηνεῖς.

The three Graces.  Fresco from Regio IV, Insula Occidentalis, Pompeii; now in the National Archaeological Museum, Naples.

Over the last 500 years, there’s been a continuing effort to standardize all spelling – and a lot of the stuffy academic types making the rules made a real mess of it. In the 16th century, the people putting together dictionaries decided to insert a “b” into “debt” and “doubt” to remind everyone that they had evolved from the Latin word “debitum” – even though the preferred spellings, “dette” and “doute,” made way more sense. But hey, at least the common man would forever be reminded of precious Latin, thus ensuring that it would never become a dead langua- oh wait, no, it died more completely than an engineer on the away team, didn’t it? The academics did the exact same thing with “receipt” (then spelled “receit,” but drawn from the Latin word “recepta”) and smugly smirked down at generations of dyslexics accidentally writing “recipe.”

Changing the spelling to match the Latin origin is at least mildly understandable, if kind of a dick move – but less understandable is changing spellings to match Latin words they have nothing to do with, which also happened.

The origin of the word “island” is the Old English word “yland” or “iland,” but since the Latin word “insula” has a similar meaning, academics decided to just throw an “s” in there, because more Latin = more smarter. That one was so influential that it actually changed the word for the central walkway in a church – up until then spelled “aile” – to “aisle,” because “s” is friggin’ sexy, we guess. All those curves. Go ahead and toss it in there. Liven that sucker up.

5 Reasons the English Language Makes No Freaking Sense

What brain studies reveal about the risk of adolescent alcohol use and abuse

Neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) are zeroing in on brain factors and behaviors that put teens at risk of alcohol use and abuse even before they start drinking.

Four abstracts from the Adolescent Development Study exploring these factors will be presented at Neuroscience 2014, the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting in Washington. The Adolescent Development Study, a collaboration between the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) and GUMC funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is a wide-ranging effort to understand how a teen brain “still under construction,” as the NIH puts it, can lead to risky behaviors such as alcohol and drug use.

The project is directed by John VanMeter, PhD, director of the Center for Functional and Molecular Imaging, and associate professor of neurology at GUMC, and Diana Fishbein, PhD, director of the Center for Translational Research on Adversity, Neurodevelopment and Substance Abuse (C-TRANS) at UMSOM.

One abstract provides new evidence that adolescents at higher risk of alcoholism have reduced connections in key brain networks; another links impaired brain connections to impulsivity; and two abstracts examine impulsivity in relation to sugar intake and intake of DHA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid.

“What this study is attempting to do is identify the differences in the brains of adolescents who go on to misuse alcohol and other drugs,” says VanMeter. “If we know what is different, we may be able to develop strategies that can prevent the behavior.”

The studies were conducted with a participant pool of 135 preteen and teenage boys and girls with an average age of 12.6 years. All underwent structural and functional MRI to investigate the connection between brain development and behavior. Other tools the researchers used include questionnaires and several tests of neurocognitive function, including two tests used specifically while adolescents were scanned – the Continuous Performance Task (CPT), which measures impulsivity, and the Temporal Discounting Task (TD), which quantifies preference for immediate rather than delayed reward.

1. Evidence of reduced executive cognitive functioning in adolescents at risk for developing an alcohol use disorder

The first study examines a long-standing question: is lack of connectivity in the brain’s Executive Control Network (ECN) a contributor to, or the result of, teen alcohol use?

Tomas Clarke, a research assistant and Stuart Washington, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow in VanMeter’s laboratory, looked at the association between the Drug Use Screening Inventory questionnaire filled out by the 32 participants’ parents and brain connectivity within the ECN, which includes the areas that process emotion, impulsivity and self-control.

The questionnaire is predictive of future alcohol misuse. It does not ask parents about their alcohol or drug use but probes social behaviors in their children such as irritability, anger, sadness, etc.

Clarke divided the participants into two groups–16 at high/medium risk for alcohol abuse, based on the test, and 16 at low risk. He then used fMRI scans to look at connectivity in the ECN. He found ECN connectivity was significantly lower in the high/medium risk groups compared to the low risk group.

“We know impaired functioning in the ECN is linked to an earlier age of drinking onset and higher frequency of drinking, but it was unclear whether this dysfunction occurred before drinking or was a consequence of alcohol use,” Clarke says. “Our findings suggest reduced prefrontal cortex development predates alcohol use and may be related to future alcohol use disorders.”

2. Functional connectivity between the insula and anterior cingulate predict impulsivity in adolescents at risk for alcohol misuse

The next study examined the levels of impulsivity in relation to the connection between executive control in the prefrontal cortex and the insular cortex, which is involved in processing emotions.

Benson Stevens, a graduate student in Georgetown’s Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience, used the Drug Use Screening Inventory to establish a high/medium risk and a low risk group, each with 17 participants. Stevens then administered the CPT test while the participants underwent fMRI. He found that compared with the low risk group, high/medium risk participants had reduced connectivity between the prefrontal cortex and the insular cortex.

“Less connectivity predicted higher levels of impulsivity,” Stevens says. “Importantly, these effects were observed before the onset of alcohol use. The reduced connectivity between these brain regions could be an important factor in adolescent alcohol use given that reduced inhibitory control has been found to be a factor in alcohol use disorders.”

3. Relationship between sugar intake, impulsivity and increased sensitivity to immediate rewards in adolescents

A third study investigated the relationship between sugar intake – as reported by participants in a food questionnaire – and performance on two tests, the CPT and the TD, which measure impulsivity and ability to delay gratification. The CPT was used while participants were being scanned by fMRI.

“We know that, compared to healthy individuals, adults with alcoholism have a stronger preference for sweet tastes, are more impulsive and are less able to delay gratification,” explains Dana Estefan, a former research assistant in VanMeter’s lab who is now a student at New York University. “We wanted to know if this profile fits youth deemed to be at risk for early alcohol use by the Drug Use Screening Inventory.”

The TD task confirmed the expected relationship - kids with high amounts of added sugar in their diets preferred immediate rewards more than kids with lower levels of added sugar in their diets. The CPT task revealed that individuals with increased sugar intake also showed greater activation in right superior temporal gyrus and right insula, areas linked to impulsivity and emotional affect. Their hypothalamus was also highly activated, which, in adults, is linked to overeating, reward seeking and drug addiction, Estefan says.

“Our findings could potentially mean a positive correlation between impulsivity and sugar intake in adolescents, but more research needs to be done on this,” she says.

4. Relationship between DHA intake and activation of impulse control circuitry in early adolescents

Finally, Valerie Darcey, a registered dietitian and a graduate student in the Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience, examined the relationship between intake of DHA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid, and impulsivity. DHA, found in cold-water fish, is important for neuronal function.

She used a food questionnaire to measure, in 81 participants, ingestion of DHA and arachidonic acid (AA), which is omega-6 fatty acid found in vegetable oil, among other foods. AA competes with DHA for a place in cell membranes, so the more AA consumed, the less DHA is used. Darcey then gave participants the CPT test while scanning their brains with fMRI.

“My preliminary findings show that while impulsivity levels are the same for kids with high and low levels of DHA in their diets, the brains of kids with low DHA appear to be more active – working harder to compensate – in a region involved in paying attention to the task and a region that participates in executive function,” she says. “This tells us that the brains of the kids eating less DHA may not be developing like those eating more DHA.”