Filed under what I learned today:
[A neuroscientist] was recording neuron activity in the brains of rats as they navigated a difficult maze. (The machines translated the firing of brain cells into loud, staccato pops.) One day, he left the rats connected to the recording equipment after they completed the task. (Wilson was preoccupied with some data analysis.) Not surprisingly, the tired animals soon started to doze off, slipping into a well-deserved nap. And that’s when Wilson heard something extremely unexpected: although the rats were sound asleep, the sound produced by their brain activity was almost exactly the same as it was when they were running in the maze. The animals were dreaming of what they’d just done.
Based on this and other studies scientists think our dreams are a mechanism our brain uses in ” … sifting through the helter-skelter of the day, trying to figure out what we need to remember and what we can afford to forget.” Fascinating, but I can’t stop thinking about those poor rats dreaming of their race …
Sweet Juniper was having some fun with a local Detroit legend called the Nain Rouge. It’s a child-sized creature in furry boots with “blazing red eyes and rotten teeth” who is reportedly seen before disasters in Detroit. It’s a fun read and after finishing I starting thinking about my own local beasts of note.
We have the Snallygaster, the Goatman, and the Bunny Man that I can think of off the top of my head, but none of those seem as cool as a rotten toothed, vertically challenged, harbinger of doom. Maybe I will just have to make up my own creeps unless any of my Maryland people can think of some more interesting local monsters?
Robin Sloan has cooked up a great short story about the last beautiful day in San Francisco. Just a taste:
But it turns out my faith was unfounded, because Saturday, March 27 was, in fact, the last beautiful day.
On Sunday, the sky over the city was gray-green. Monday was worse, and the week that followed was a cage of dark clouds that trailed curtains of cold rain. There was lightning. It went on like that, week after week, month after month, all across the city, the peninsula, and the headlands—the sun simply refused to shine. And today, about a million of us are still stuck living in a weather non sequitur.
Go check it out, it’s worth it.
Say you were going to walk to the North Pole. What would you take with you? Ben Saunders, who is trying to set a new world speed record for this trek has listed the items he plans to take with him on just such a journey.
Besides the usual rations and cold weather clothes he will be hauling a shotgun for bears, a PDA to blog/tweet about his trip, cameras to document it, an MP3 player to pass the 30 some odd days of solitude, and a pee bottle for, well, you get the idea. For some reason the stuff I shove in my bag for work doesn’t seem quite as interesting anymore.
Unfortunately, it appears that he has had a setback with his gear when a fuel container he was carrying on his sledge burst and contaminated 70% of his food supply. I hope he is able to get back on the “road” soon.