Interesting things I've bookmarked (old posts, page 9)

Rewiring the brain via juggling

Adults who learn new tricks such as juggling can improve the "wiring" of their brains, British scientists said on Sunday."We tend to think of the brain as being static, or even beginning to degenerate, once we reach adulthood," said Heidi Johansen-Berg of Oxford University's department of clinical neurology, whose study was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience on Sunday."In fact we find the structure of the brain is ripe for change. We've shown that it is possible for the brain to condition its own wiring system to operate more efficiently.

Tango

On September 30th, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added 76 new items to its "List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity", for safeguarding and preservation. The "Intangible" list is a companion to UNESCO's World Heritage list, which focuses on physical sites worldwide. Submitted jointly by member states Argentina and Uruguay, the "symbolic universe" of tango was among the traditions added to the list. Tango is a deep-rooted tradition of dance, poetry and song, tied closely to the Rio de la Plata region of the two countries, and remains popular in competition, for pleasure, and for health - doctors worldwide are experimenting with tango as dance therapy to treat problems ranging from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease to phobias and marital breakdowns. (29 photos total)

Tango

Apollo 11 Failure Speech

Columnist and presidential speechwriter Bill Safire was one of only three non-disloyal Jews President Nixon could name. Here is the speech he drafted for Nixon to read in case the Apollo 11 Astronauts became stranded on the moon!It is a wonderful piece of alternate universe American history, in which President Nixon had to explain to a nation that Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were going to die on the moon.

War in Afganistan Heats Up

Violence in Afghanistan has reached its most intense of the eight-year-old war despite record levels of U.S. and NATO troops being sent to fight the Taliban. July and August were the two deadliest months to date for coalition forces, and September is already the 3rd-deadliest, with 38 U.S. deaths - 68 total including all coalition members. With an apparently resurgent Taliban and over 120,000 foreign troops on the ground, and a recent push for the U.S. to consider sending 40,000 more (beyond the additional 21,000 troops still committed but yet undeployed), the situation in Afghanistan could possibly become even more intense in the near future. Collected here is a one-month collection of photos related to Afghanistan for September, 2009.

War in Afganistan Heats Up

War in Afganistan Heats Up

Funds attacked on 'faith healing'

PRIVATE health funds paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars for homeopathy last year, triggering calls for a clampdown to prevent taxpayers' money being spent on unproven treatments. Four of the biggest health funds confirmed yesterday that they pay members for homeopathy to some degree, with more than one-third of that money in turn coming through the federal government's private health insurance rebate. MBF was the largest supporter of homeopaths, paying members about $230,000 in 2008-09 for homeopathic treatment, or up to $28 a visit. NIB paid out $118,511 in benefits for homeopathy. Homeopathy "can only work if all of the physics and chemistry that we know today is wrong" and the fact that health funds supported it showed that "marketing and public relations trump science".

Return of Buzz Lightyear

Disney's space ranger Buzz Lightyear returned from space on Sept. 11, aboard space shuttle Discovery's STS-128 mission after 15 months aboard the International Space Station. His time on the orbiting laboratory will celebrated in a ticker-tape parade together with his space station crewmates and former Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin on Oct. 2, at Walt Disney World in Florida.

Intel Light Peak Optical

Today at IDF, Intel unveiled Light Peak technology, a plan for an extremely high-speed optical cable they hope will land on consumer products in 2010. Imagine transferring an entire Blu-ray disk in 30 seconds.Light Peak delivers 10Gb/s speeds right now, and could conceivably go as fast as 100Gb/s within a decade or so. Those kinds of speeds are even sustained over a 100-metre distance, which is really impressive.

Rowntree red faced by gag

The premise of the gag was that while Rowntree and her Getaway colleague Ben Dark were enjoying a catch-up over lunch, the service in the restaurant would become hilariously bad - but Rowntree, the accomplice, would pretend not to notice.The location was set and all was going to plan until Rowntree left the room to "use the bathroom'' and Dark - obviously not realising he was being recorded - began bitching about her to his friend who had also attended the lunch.