The American Bear


[The] conditions in which children develop have been so corrupted and troubled over the last several decades that the template for normal brain development is no longer present for many, many kids. And Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk, who’s a professor of psychiatry at Boston — University of Boston, he actually says that the neglect or abuse of children is the number one public health concern in the United States. A recent study coming out of Notre Dame by a psychologist there has shown that the conditions for child development that hunter-gatherer societies provided for their children, which are the optimal conditions for development, are no longer present for our kids. And she says, actually, that the way we raise our children today in this country is increasingly depriving them of the practices that lead to well-being in a moral sense. So what’s really going on here now is that the developmental conditions for healthy childhood psychological and brain development are less and less available, so that the issue of ADD is only a small part of the general issue that children are no longer having the support for the way they need to develop. … [A]ccording to a recent study published in the States, nearly half of American adolescents now meet some criteria or criteria for mental health disorders. So we’re talking about a massive impact on our children of something in our culture that’s just not being recognized. Dr. Gabor Maté on the Stress-Disease Connection, Addiction and the Destruction of American Childhood

Biodiversity declines as global consumption reaches all-time high


Our ever-growing demand for resources is putting huge pressure on the planet’s biodiversity according to the Living Planet Report 2012, released today by WWF in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network.

Jonathan Baillie, conservation programme director for ZSL said: “This report is like a planetary check-up and the results indicate we have a very sick planet. Ignoring this diagnosis will have major implications for humanity. We can restore the planet’s health, but only through addressing the root causes, population growth and over-consumption.”

Some of the report’s key findings are:

+ Biodiversity has declined by up to 30% since 1970. 60% of this decline has taken place in the tropics
+ It is currently taking 1.5 years for the Earth to absorb the CO2 produced and regenerate the renewable resources that people use within one year
+ 2.7 Billion people live in areas that experience severe water shortages for at least one month a year
+ If we continue to consume the planetsresources at the same global rate, by 2030 we will need 2 planets to support the world’s population

According to the global Living Planet Index , declines in biodiversity are highest in low income countries, demonstrating how the poorest and most vulnerable nations are subsidizing the lifestyles of wealthier countries.

Many of ZSL’s conservation programmes address these urgent issues and hope to mediate between human consumption and biodiversity. We are working to conserve threatened wildlife in some of the poorest countries in the world, such as our work with Bengal tigers in Bangladesh and Sumatran tigers in Indonesia . ZSL is also one of the leading organisations in marine conservation, with initiatives such as Project Seahorse and Project Ocean. We are working on reducing the damage of human resource use through our Oil Palm and Biodiversityproject in Indonesia.

(via pieceinthepuzzlehumanity-deacti)

Scientists claim brain memory code cracked, demonstrate a plausible mechanism for encoding synaptic memory in microtubules


Despite a century of research, memory encoding in the brain has remained mysterious. Neuronal synaptic connection strengths are involved, but synaptic components are short-lived while memories last lifetimes. This suggests synaptic information is encoded and hard-wired at a deeper, finer-grained molecular scale.

In an article in the March 8 issue of the journal PLoS Computational Biology, physicists Travis Craddock and Jack Tuszynski of the University of Alberta, and anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff of the University of Arizona demonstrate a plausible mechanism for encoding synaptic memory in microtubules, major components of the structural cytoskeleton within neurons.

Microtubules are cylindrical hexagonal lattice polymers of the protein tubulin, comprising 15 percent of total brain protein. Microtubules define neuronal architecture, regulate synapses, and are suggested to process information via interactive bit-like states of tubulin. But any semblance of a common code connecting microtubules to synaptic activity has been missing. Until now.

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(via divineirony)

75 Nobel laureate scientists call for repeal of Louisiana Science Education Act


Baton Rouge, LA — (March, 6, 2012) – Senator Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans) has filed Senate Bill 374 to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act, Louisiana’s misnamed and misguided creationism law.

The repeal effort now has the unprecedented support of 75 Nobel laureate scientists–nearly 40% of all living Nobel laureate scientists in physics, chemistry, or physiology or medicine.  This incredible number surpasses the historic 72 Nobel laureate scientists who filed an amicus brief in opposition to Louisiana’s first creationism law during the Edwards v. Aguillard Supreme Court case.  A complete list of Nobel laureates supporting the repeal effort can be found here.

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(Source: academicatheism)

A recent Fox News poll found a whopping 77% of Americans “personally believe prayers can literally help someone heal from an injury or illness.” The same poll found the percentage of Americans embracing creationism slipping slightly, from 50% to 45%, though creationists still outnumbered those who accept modern biology by more than a two-to-one margin.

Political Animal

Thanks for reminding me where I live.

Science is the key to our future, and if you don’t believe in Science, then you’re holding everybody back. And it’s fine if you as an adult want to run around pretending or claiming that you don’t believe in evolution, but if we educate a generation of people who don’t believe in Science, that’s a recipe for disaster. The main idea in all of biology is Evolution. To not teach it to our young people is wrong. Bill Nye (via cwnl)

(Source: socialuprooting, via pieceinthepuzzlehumanity-deacti)