(via justbeyourself2712)


I take great care of myself by carefully shutting myself away

Vincent Van Gogh in a letter to his brother, Theo. [letter] (via satanforsatin)

(Source: hellray, via sarcastic-snapping-turtle)



Science-inspired necklaces from the Delftia Etsy store

(via scientificillustration)



Funny pictures of the day (116 pics)
Baby Sleeping On Tv

Kids smh




Who needs a fucking book on why cannibalism is wrong

could you imagine will leaving this in glaringly obvious places for hannibal to see

(via nicoleandhermagicalworld)



Today’s post takes a topical look at the different structures of chocolate - and why it might be good idea to stash any Easter chocolate in the fridge if you don’t plan on consuming it right away…

Chocolate bloom is a whitish coating that can appear on the surface of chocolate. This effect is one of the main concerns in the production of chocolate. There are two types of bloom: fat bloom, arising from changes in the fat in the chocolate; and sugar bloom, formed by the action of moisture on the sugar ingredients. The unsightly crystals of fat and sugar bloom limit the shelf life of many chocolates. Chocolate that has “bloomed” is still safe to eat, but may have an unappetizing appearance and surface texture.[1]



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If you thought the post on twins sharing consciousness was awesome, wait until you hear this.

A 44-year-old French man one day went to the trip to the doctor’s because he felt a pain in his left leg. He’s a married man with two kids and a steady job.

Doctor’s found that he had hydrocephalus as a child (when your brain is filled with fluids) so they decided to run some brain scans.

What they found was that the majority of his head was filled with fluid. Over time, the buildup caused his lateral ventricles to swell so much that his brain had been flattened to a thin sheet.

Doctors estimated that his brain mass had been reduced by at most 70%, affecting the areas in charge of motion, language, emotion, and, well, everything.

Shockingly, he was fine. While his IQ was only 75, he wasn’t mentally challenged. He held a steady job, raised a family, and didn’t have trouble interacting with others.

Over time, his brain had adapted to all that pressure, and even though he had fewer neurons that most, Jacques was still a fully functional human being.

The doctors drained the fluid and while his brain is much smaller now, he is still a healthy individual with a normal life.


(via brains-and-bodies)


Know the brain, and its axons, by the clothes they wear

It is widely know that the grey matter of the brain is grey because it is dense with cell bodies and capillaries. The white matter is almost entirely composed of lipid-based myelin, but there is also a little room in the grey matter for a few select axons to be at least partially myelinated. A group of well known researchers, mostly from Harvard and MIT, decided to look for possible patterns in the myelin found in cortical grey matter. Their Science published findings suggest that this dynamic balance struck up by each axon, somewhere between zero and full myelination, does not tip to the benefit of action potential speed alone. Instead, it follows a more subtle give and take between different kinds cells.

In looking down the length of an axon, longitudinally that is, each segment of myelin is separated by a node. The thickness of the myelin coat varies significantly from node to node. Presumably then, so does the speed and reliability of the spike propagated in that segment. The researchers suggest however, that it is more the phase and offset of these nodes that matters. The distance to first node in particular is important because it is here that the spike shape is first initiaillized. As Doug Fields points out in a perspective that accompanies the paper, spike shape (usually inconsequential in computational models) has important functional implications including the amount of transmitter released, the refractory period and the spike frequency.

Within the cortical grey, it is now known that the bare initial segment of the axon isirresistible to other cells. Their synaptic overtures are regularly accepted and also reciprocated by the axon’s own transmitter release from bare, noncanonical release sites. The researchers found that the length of the myelin-free axon initial segment had a graded distribution with the more superficially located pyramidal cells in the mouse cortex having longer “open” axon. In layer II/III bare stretches up to o 55 µm were evident.

The technology that makes it possible to reconstruct serial sections of brain is perhaps the most advanced—and certainly the most industrialized—in neuroscience. It is precisely the same technique used in the recent Brainbow II studies, which incidentally have also yielded some the most celebrated images in science. But I must say, reader, if you are not blown away by the above mentioned details on myelination, you are not alone. That you are still here indicates that you expect something more.

So forgive me, rightfully esteemed authors, if I suggest you have an opportunity here perhaps not yet missed, but rapidly growing stale. Ken, Sebastian, Jeff—Doug, where is the missing myelin mechanics? In the name of all that is Holy, myelination requires a breaking of symmetry, namely it has to wrap in one direction. We have asked previously, in detail, how this constraint is applied in whole brain and nerve, going down an axon, going to immediately adjacent axons, and also to the multiple arms of any one oligodendrocyte.

As myelin undergoes phase transitions in development, does its 3D tubular mesh align like slow motion lipid spin glasses? Is direction imposed individually at each turn, or in bulk transition, perhaps reflective of temperature dependent crystal or magnetic domain formation? More speculatively, can firing axons, simultaneously pulsing mechanically in the radial direction, rectify their continuous cellular substructure into miniscule torques which aid and abet myelination? How does bulk myelination vary across the bilaterally symetric halves of the brain, across the callosum, and down the altogether unique myelin of the nerves units of the body? Now that we clearly have the technology, lets answer these questions and begin to piece this brain together ground up.

The power of the screw and the drill, known to any machinist, is not lost here. The authors own recent incredible work attests to that. They reference their previous discovery of helical substructure in stacked endoplasmic reticulum sheets connected through unique membrane motiffs. Might neurons themselves be chiral, or at least their axons or apical dendrite have a preferred hand? If it is now possible to image effervescent cell organelles, centriolar-defined coordinate systems, the windings of microtubule arrays even down to the tiny symmetry-breaking protein hooks which preferentially adorn them in axons vs dendrtites, certainly we can now construct geometry on larger scales of the brain.