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  • 30 Apr 2010

    Indian holy man claims not to have eaten or drunk (or peed or crapped) for 70 years

    The 81 year old holy man claims he has not eaten or drunk anything in 70 years (and also didn't speak for 45 years at one time) and yet he is extremely fit and healthy. He says he gets nourishment from a goddess who pours life-giving elixir through a hole in his palette, which of course sounds completely impossible/implausible/insane, but his claims are being taken very seriously by India's Defense Research Development Organization, who are hoping to learn his secret for military application. He's currently being studied and monitored around the clock by a team of doctors - one of whom thinks he may be getting his nourishment from the sun!

    The round the clock study from April 22 to May 7 will cover all aspects of physiology and biochemistry. The saint is kept in isolation at a special ward in the hospital and even mediapersons were kept out of bounds.

    Talking to mediapersons at the hospital, Dr Sudhir Shah, a neurologist, and Dr Ila Wazgan of DIPAS said the main aim of the project is to study how a human being can survive without consuming food or water and not passing stool or urine for so long.

    Dr Shah, who had conducted a similar study on the saint in 2003, said 'There are incidents of prolonged fastings in our country. But they have been taking some water. In the case of Jani, he is not taking any food or water. What is medically more important and baffling is the fact that he is not passing stool or urine'.

    The saint has informed the doctors that he has rare 'Kundalini' power (serpentine energy), a Yogic feat.

    Explaining the rationale behind the study, Dr Wazgan said ''If we can find out the reason or unveil the mystery behind Mr Jani's survival without food and water, the study may help in working out strategies in managing calamaty-struck people, soldiers deployed at extremely hostile terrains like high altitude mountains and places with the scarcity of water and food''.

    (via Dangerous Minds / NewKerala)

     

    world | science
    Comments 0

  • 28 Apr 2010

    The Natural History Museum to reopen tomorrow

    I have always absolutely loved the Natural History Museum so I was excited to see it being readied for the reopening when I passed today. I especially love it's untouched, slightly creepy Victorian atmosphere, so when it was closed after one of the stone staircases spectacularly collapsed in 2007, I was worried that it wold get a modern "hands-on-science-museum!" makeover. Thankfully it didn't (partly because of the straightened financial times) though some changes have been made.

    The Irish Times has a report on the reopening of the "dead zoo".

     

    science | dublin | nature | animals
    Comments 3

  • 27 Apr 2010

    Nerd Break - dance edition

    This dance piece was inspired by the laws of fluid dynamics, and the visual effects are not animations, but were done live. Using a camera, infrared lighting and software, the affects are triggered by the dancer's movements.

    (via BoingBoing)

     

    nerd break | dance | performance | science
    Comments 1

  • 27 Apr 2010

    Science Please!

    Science Please! is a series of 1 minute films about science made for Canadian kids' TV. They're fun, and you might actually learn something. (Do you know how soap works?) Here's a bunch, and if you're hooked, you can watch more HERE.

     

    tv | science | animation | science
    Comments 0

  • 05 Apr 2010

    Drugs, sex, and HIV: let's get rational

    A TED talk from Elizabeth Pisani who "reveals the myriad of inconsistencies in today's political systems that prevent our dollars from effectively fighting the spread of HIV."

    (thanks Dermod)

     

    ideas | science | hiv/aids
    Comments 5

  • 05 Apr 2010

    Norwegian museum exhibition on gay animals draws crowds

    Despite opposition from the usual suspects, a show at the Oslo Natural History Museum about homosexuality in animals has been a big success.

    There has been some hostility to the exhibition. An American commentator said it was an example of "propaganda invading the scientific world".

    Petter Bockman, a zoologist who helped put the show together, admitted that "there is a political motive".

    In Norway there was a desire among publicly funded museums to be "deliverers of truth" and to "put on display controversial subjects, things that are not said and are swept under the carpet".

    The museum says one of its aims is to "help to de-mystify homosexuality among people... we hope to reject the all too well known argument that homosexual behaviour is a crime against nature". 

    (thanks Mark)

     

     

    animals | gays | science | nature
    Comments 1

  • 30 Mar 2010

    The indelible stamp of our lowly origin

    (via Arbroath)

     

    science
    Comments 0

  • 30 Mar 2010

    Turns out there's a giant magnet under the Vatican

    "Scientists have discovered a real-life 'moral compass' in the brain that controls how we judge other people's behaviour. The region, which lies just behind the right ear, becomes more active when we think about other people's misdemeanours or good works.

     

    In an extraordinary experiment, researchers were able to use powerful magnets to disrupt this area of the brain and make people temporarily less moral.

     

    The study highlights how our sense of right and wrong isn't just based on upbringing, religion or philosophy - but by the biology of our brains."

     

     

    science
    Comments 0

  • 30 Mar 2010

    Healthy bastard or sickly nice-guy. That's the choice?!

    The Wall Street Journal has a piece about a recent experiment where lots of straight women from around the world were shown pictures of fellas and asked which they found more attractive. The pictures were of the same fellas, but had been subtly altered to make one more masculine (bushier eye-brows, squarer jaws etc) and the other more feminine (fuller lips, rounder eyes etc). And it turns out that the scientists...

    "could predict how masculine a woman likes her men based on her nation's World Health Organization statistics for mortality rates, life expectancy and the impact of communicable disease. In countries where poor health is particularly a threat to survival, women leaned toward "manlier" men. That is, they preferred their males to have shorter, broader faces and stronger eyebrows, cheekbones and jaw lines."

    See, the masculine faces are the result of testosterone, and testosterone is also a good indicator of robust health. However, testosterone can also make a man into an asshole, so in countries where women are concerned about health, women figure they'll put up with an asshole cheating on them and getting drunk and starting fights in the queue at SuperMacs as long as he keeps bringing home the aggressive bacon and doesn't get the flu and die and leave them to raise his rowdy kids alone. Whereas women who live in countries with good health and decent healthcare are less concerned about that and plump for prettier, nicer boys, because they got their MMR vaccine and are unlikely to keel over from TB. And they do the washing up!

    But is that really the choice? Has my lifelong search for a sweet Turkish kebab shop owner been in vain? God damn it!

    "Abdul! Pack yer bags! And pick up that wet towel before you leave!"

     

    science | ideas
    Comments 0

  • 09 Mar 2010

    Gorgeous time-lapse of the Milky Way will make you feel small

    (thanks Buzby)

     

    science | photography
    Comments 1

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