Now scientists at the Riken-M.I.T. Center for Neural Circuit Genetics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they have created a false memory in a mouse, providing detailed clues to how such memories may form in human brains.
The plot of about a thousand shitty science fiction movies (and a few decent ones) just came true.
West of the Flower Washing Stream,
not far downstream from the bridge,
the master has chosen a quiet spot
here in the woods by the river.
Living apart from the city crowds,
the world loosens its grip;
murmuring of this clear water dissolves
the sadness that burdens a stranger.
Countless dragonflies play in the air,
dancing up and down;
a pair of wild ducks out in the stream
swim and dive together.
You could take a boat downstream,
thousands of miles to the east
or else forget the boat, and live
here by this stream forever.
When I taught remedial English in the East End, I had my students compose their own best- and worst-case scenarios for ten years later. The nightmares were fabulous: lush with fantastic fears, hilarious with misadventure. The pipedreams were all the same: a string of products and brand names. They read like mail-order catalogs. My students’ visions of the Good Life were so vapid and depressing that you could have got the two assignments confused
Thus, parents in good condition, based on health, size, dominance or other traits, would invest more in producing sons, whose inherited strength and bulk could help them better compete in the mating market and give them greater opportunities to produce more offspring. Conversely, mothers in poor condition would likely play it safe, producing more daughters, whose productivity is physiologically limited. Other hypotheses make similar predictions — that females who choose mates with particularly “good genes” (e.g. for attractiveness) should produce so called “sexy sons” as a result, Garner said.
A granfalloon, in the fictional religion of Bokononism (created by Kurt Vonnegut in his 1963 novel Cat’s Cradle), is defined as a “false karass.” That is, it is a group of people who outwardly choose or claim to have a shared identity or purpose, but whose mutual association is actually meaningless.
The most commonly purported granfalloons are associations and societies based on a shared but ultimately fabricated premise. As examples, Vonnegut cites: “the Communist Party, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the General Electric Company —and any nation, anytime, anywhere.” A more general and oft-cited quote defines a granfalloon as “a proud and meaningless association of human beings.” Another granfalloon example illustrated in the book were Hoosiers, of which the narrator (and Vonnegut himself) was a member.
This is fiction:
In Larry Niven’s Known Space stories, a wirehead is someone who has been fitted with an electronic brain implant (called a “droud” in the stories) to stimulate the pleasure centres of their brain. In the Known Space universe, wireheading is the most addictive habit known (Louis Wu is the only given example of a recovered addict), and wireheads usually die from neglecting themselves in favour of the ceaseless pleasure. Wireheading is so powerful and easy that it becomes an evolutionary pressure, selecting against that portion of Known Space humanity without self-control.
This is real:
At its most frequent, the patient self-stimulated throughout the day, neglecting personal hygiene and family commitments. A chronic ulceration developed at the tip of the finger used to adjust the amplitude dial and she frequently tampered with the device in an effort to increase the stimulation amplitude. At times, she implored her to limit her access to the stimulator, each time demanding its return after a short hiatus. During the past two years, compulsive use has become associated with frequent attacks of anxiety, depersonalization, periods of psychogenic polydipsia and virtually complete inactivity.
Now, there’s another important implication of genomic ancestry studies: Most of the people you are descended from are no more genetically related to you than strangers are. Or to put it another way, your genealogical family tree, which includes all the history of your family going back thousands of years, is much larger than your genetic family tree-the people whom genome sequencing would pinpoint as related to you. 99.9 percent of your genome is the same as that of every other human being (apart from the x and y chromosomes), and that .1 percent of variation in each person gets thinned out pretty quickly across the generations, as each child gets half of each of her parents’ genomes, passes on half to each of her children, and so on. Geneticist Luke Jostins did a nice mathematical analysis and estimated that you have only about a 12 percent chance of being genetically related to an ancestor 10 generations ago; by the time you get to a 14-generation ancestor, the probability is nearly zero.
The honey bee queens and workers represent one of the most striking examples of environmentally controlled phenotypic polymorphism. In spite of their identical clonal nature at the DNA level, they are strongly differentiated across a wide range of characteristics including anatomical and physiological differences, longevity of the queen, and reproductive capacity. Queens constitute the sexual caste and have large active ovaries, whereas workers have only rudimentary, inactive ovaries and are functionally sterile. The queen/worker developmental divide is controlled epigenetically by differential feeding with royal jelly; this appears to be due specifically to the protein royalactin. A female larva destined to become a queen is fed large quantities of royal jelly; this triggers a cascade of molecular events resulting in development into a queen.
Harlow subjected newborn rhesus macaques to appalling isolation—months spent in cages in the company only of “surrogate mothers” made of wire with cartoonish monkey heads and bottles attached. Luckier monkeys had that and cloth-covered versions of the same thing to cuddle. (It is remarkable what a soft cloth can do to calm an anxious baby monkey down.) In the most extreme cases, the babies languished alone at the bottom of a V-shaped steel container. Cruel as these experiments were, Harlow proved that the absence of mothering destroyed the monkeys’ ability to mingle with other monkeys, though the “cloth mother” could mitigate the worst effects of isolation. Years of monkey therapy were required to integrate them into the troop.