Saturday, October 15, 2011


Is "simulated drowning" - drowning someone "not enough to kill them"? How is the art of this skill acquired? If the subject is "not dead" then what effects are expected? [] "...causing an almost immediate gag reflex and creating the sensation that the captive is drowning. Waterboarding can cause extreme pain, dry drowning, damage to lungs, brain damage from oxygen deprivation, other physical injuries including broken bones due to struggling against restraints, lasting psychological damage and, if uninterrupted, death. Adverse physical consequences can manifest themselves months after the event, while psychological effects can last for years." []

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Waterboarding in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime. Painting by former prison inmate Vann Nath at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

Chinese water torture

The term Spanish water torture is also used in Europe and UK, although this term often refers to a variation of waterboarding used during the Spanish Inquisition:

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Chinese water torture at Sing Sing Prison circa 1860

Friday, October 14, 2011

Rabbit-Hole Economics

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The Great Recession should have been a huge wake-up call. Nothing like this was supposed to be possible in the modern world. Everyone, and I mean everyone, should be engaged in serious soul-searching, asking how much of what he or she thought was true actually isn’t.

But the G.O.P. has responded to the crisis not by rethinking its dogma but by adopting an even cruder version of that dogma, becoming a caricature of itself. During the debate, the hosts played a clip of Ronald Reagan calling for increased revenue; today, no politician hoping to get anywhere in Reagan’s party would dare say such a thing.

It’s a terrible thing when an individual loses his or her grip on reality. But it’s much worse when the same thing happens to a whole political party, one that already has the power to block anything the president proposes — and which may soon control the whole government.


Lake Erie's Toxic Algae Bloom Seen From Space: Green Scum Rampant In The Great Lakes (PHOTOS)

While the algae doesn't directly kill fish, it's still not good. As the algae dies, it's broken down by bacteria which uses oxygen from the water. This oxygen removal creates areas where fish can't survive. In addition, if consumed, it can also create flu-like symptoms in people or even kill pets.

A Nobel for Freshwater Economics

MapMaker Interactive - National Geographic

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What Parkinson’s Teaches Us About the Brain

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Why forced exercise would have a greater effect on brain functioning than gentler regimens isn’t clear. Scientists have speculated that in animal experiments, being forced to work out may cause the release of stress-linked hormones in rodents’ brains, which then prompt various reactions in the cells and tissues. But Dr. Alberts suspects that in Parkinson’s patients, the answer may be simple mathematics. More pedal strokes per minute cause more muscle contractions than fewer pedal strokes, which, in consequence, generate more nervous-system messages to the brain. There, he thinks, biochemical reactions occur in response to the messages, and the more messages, the greater the response.