Inspirational Ayn Rand quotes On Life and Capitalism

Looking for inspirational Ayn Rand quotes? Enjoy!

1.) A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others. Ayn Rand

2.) Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values. Ayn Rand

3.) Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. Ayn Rand

4.) Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual). Ayn Rand

5.) The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there arent enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Ayn Rand

6.) The question isnt who is going to let me; its who is going to stop me. Ayn Rand

7.) Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. its yours. Ayn Rand

8.) To sell your soul is the easiest thing in the world. Thats what everybody does every hour of his life. If I asked you to keep your soul would you understand why thats much harder?If its worth doing, its worth overdoing. Ayn Rand

9.) Joy is the goal of existence, and joy is not to be stumbled upon, but to be achieved, and the act of treason is to let its vision drown in the swamp of the moments torture. Ayn Rand

10.) I hope you will understand my hesitation in writing to one whom I admire as the greatest representative of a philosophy to which I want to dedicate my whole life. Ayn Rand

11.) Free competition enforced by law is a grotesque contradiction in terms. Ayn Rand

12.) What is greatness? I will answer: it is the capacity to live by the three fundamental values of John Galt: reason, purpose, self-esteem. Ayn Rand

13.) Guilt is a rope that wears thin. Ayn Rand

14.) Learn to value yourself, which means: to fight for your happiness. Ayn Rand

15.) Thanksgiving is a typically American holidayThe lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that abundant consumption is the result and reward of production. Ayn Rand

16.) The upper classes are a nations past; the middle class is its future. Ayn Rand

17.) I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction. Ayn Rand

18.) I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine. Ayn Rand

19.) Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing. Ayn Rand

20.) The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone. Ayn Rand

21.) You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand

22.) Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness. Ayn Rand

23.) The truth is not for all men but only for those who seek it. Ayn Rand

24.) I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows. Ayn Rand

25.) Why is it immoral for you to desire, but moral for others to do so? Why is it immoral to produce a value and keep it, but moral to give it away? And if it is not moral for you to keep a value, why is it moral for others to accept it? If you are selfless and virtuous when you give it, are they not selfish and vicious when they take it? Ayn Rand

26.) When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit. When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit. Ayn Rand

27.) The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction [that] you give it. Ayn Rand

28.) The most depraved type of human being . . . (is) the man without a purpose. Ayn Rand

29.) Theres nothing of any importance except how well you do your work. Ayn Rand

30.) Man is an end in himself. Romantic lovethe profound, exalted, lifelong passion that unites his mind and body in the sexual actis the living testimony to that principle. Ayn Rand

31.) To love is to value. Only a rationally selfish man, a man of self-esteem, is capable of lovebecause he is the only man capable of holding firm, consistent, uncompromising, unbetrayed values. The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone. Ayn Rand

32.) To say I love you one must know first how to say the I. Ayn Rand

33.) Dont help me or serve me, but let me see it once, because I need it. Dont work for my happiness, my brothers show me yours show me that it is possible show me your achievement and the knowledge will give me the courage for mine. Ayn Rand

34.) Love is the expression of ones values, the greatest reward you can earn for the moral qualities you have achieved in your character and person, the emotional price paid by one man for the joy he receives from the virtues of another. Ayn Rand

35.) There is no conflict of interests among men, neither in business nor in trade nor in their most personal desiresif they omit the irrational from their view of the possible and destruction from the view of the practical. There is no conflict, and no call for sacrifice, and no man is a threat to the aims of anotherif men understand that reality is an absolute not to be faked, that lies do not work, that the unearned can not be had, that the undeserved cannot be given, that the destruction of a value which is, will not bring value to that which isnt. Ayn Rand

36.) The concept of free competition enforced by law is a grotesque contradiction in terms. Ayn Rand

37.) The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. Ayn Rand

38.) Life is the reward of virtue. And happiness is the goal and reward of life Ayn Rand

39.) You must be the kind of man who can get things done. But to get things done, you must love the doing, not the secondary consequences. Ayn Rand

40.) Anything may be betrayed, anyone may be forgiven, but not those who lack the courage of their own greatness. Ayn Rand

41.) You were not born to be a second-hander. Ayn Rand

42.) I would step in the way of a bullet if it were aimed at my husband. It is not self-sacrifice to die protecting that which you value: If the value is great enough, you do not care to exist without it. Ayn Rand

43.) I dont make comparisons. I never think of myself in relation to anyone else. I just refuse to measure myself as part of anything. Im an utter egotist. Ayn Rand

44.) No ones happiness but my own is in my power to achieve or to destroy Ayn Rand

45.) Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong. Ayn Rand

46.) The ladder of success is the best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity Ayn Rand

47.) A desire presupposes the possibility of action to achieve it; action presupposes a goal which is worth achieving. Ayn Rand

48.) Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to mens stupidity, but your talent to their reason. Ayn Rand

49.) Statism needs war; a free country does not. Statism survives by looting; a free country survives by producing. Ayn Rand

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Inspirational Ayn Rand quotes On Life and Capitalism

Psychedelic art – Wikipedia

Psychedelic art is any art or visual displays inspired by psychedelic experiences and hallucinations known to follow the ingestion of psychoactive drugs such as LSD and psilocybin. The word “psychedelic” (coined by British psychologist Humphry Osmond) means “mind manifesting”. By that definition, all artistic efforts to depict the inner world of the psyche may be considered “psychedelic”. In common parlance “psychedelic art” refers above all to the art movement of the late 1960s counterculture. Psychedelic visual arts were a counterpart to psychedelic rock music. Concert posters, album covers, liquid light shows, liquid light art, murals, comic books, underground newspapers and more reflected not only the kaleidoscopically swirling colour patterns of LSD hallucinations, but also revolutionary political, social and spiritual sentiments inspired by insights derived from these psychedelic states of consciousness.

Psychedelic art is informed by the notion that altered states of consciousness produced by psychedelic drugs are a source of artistic inspiration. The psychedelic art movement is similar to the surrealist movement in that it prescribes a mechanism for obtaining inspiration. Whereas the mechanism for surrealism is the observance of dreams, a psychedelic artist turns to drug induced hallucinations. Both movements have strong ties to important developments in science. Whereas the surrealist was fascinated by Freud’s theory of the unconscious, the psychedelic artist has been literally “turned on” by Albert Hofmann’s discovery of LSD.

The early examples of “psychedelic art” are literary rather than visual, although there are some examples in the Surrealist art movement, such as Remedios Varo and Andr Masson. It should also be noted that these came from writers involved in the Surrealist movement. Antonin Artaud writes of his peyote experience in Voyage to the Land of the Tarahumara (1937). Henri Michaux wrote Misrable Miracle (1956), to describe his experiments with mescaline and also hashish.

Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception (1954) and Heaven and Hell (1956) remain definitive statements on the psychedelic experience.

Albert Hofmann and his colleagues at Sandoz Laboratories were convinced immediately after its discovery in 1943 of the power and promise of LSD. For two decades following its discovery LSD was marketed by Sandoz as an important drug for psychological and neurological research. Hofmann saw the drug’s potential for poets and artists as well, and took great interest in the German writer Ernst Jnger’s psychedelic experiments.

Early artistic experimentation with LSD was conducted in a clinical context by Los Angelesbased psychiatrist Oscar Janiger. Janiger asked a group of 50 different artists to each do a painting from life of a subject of the artist’s choosing. They were subsequently asked to do the same painting while under the influence of LSD. The two paintings were compared by Janiger and also the artist. The artists almost unanimously reported LSD to be an enhancement to their creativity.

Ultimately it seems that psychedelics would be most warmly embraced by the American counterculture. Beatnik poets Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs became fascinated by psychedelic drugs as early as the 1950s as evidenced by The Yage Letters (1963). The Beatniks recognized the role of psychedelics as sacred inebriants in Native American religious ritual, and also had an understanding of the philosophy of the surrealist and symbolist poets who called for a “complete disorientation of the senses” (to paraphrase Arthur Rimbaud). They knew that altered states of consciousness played a role in Eastern Mysticism. They were hip to psychedelics as psychiatric medicine. LSD was the perfect catalyst to electrify the eclectic mix of ideas assembled by the Beats into a cathartic, mass-distributed panacea for the soul of the succeeding generation.

Leading proponents of the 1960s psychedelic art movement were San Francisco poster artists such as: Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, Bonnie MacLean, Stanley Mouse & Alton Kelley, and Wes Wilson. Their psychedelic rock concert posters were inspired by Art Nouveau, Victoriana, Dada, and Pop Art. The “Fillmore Posters” were among the most notable of the time. Richly saturated colors in glaring contrast, elaborately ornate lettering, strongly symmetrical composition, collage elements, rubber-like distortions, and bizarre iconography are all hallmarks of the San Francisco psychedelic poster art style. The style flourished from about 1966 to 1972. Their work was immediately influential to vinyl record album cover art, and indeed all of the aforementioned artists also created album covers.

Although San Francisco remained the hub of psychedelic art into the early 1970s, the style also developed internationally: British artist Bridget Riley became famous for her op-art paintings of psychedelic patterns creating optical illusions. Mati Klarwein created psychedelic masterpieces for Miles Davis’ Jazz-Rock fusion albums, and also for Carlos Santana Latin Rock. Pink Floyd worked extensively with London-based designers, Hipgnosis to create graphics to support the concepts in their albums. Willem de Ridder created cover art for Van Morrison. Los Angeles area artists such as John Van Hamersveld, Warren Dayton and Art Bevacqua and New York artists Peter Max and Milton Glaser all produced posters for concerts or social commentary (such as the anti-war movement) that were highly collected during this time. Life Magazine’s cover and lead article for the September 1, 1967 issue at the height of the Summer of Love focused on the explosion of psychedelic art on posters and the artists as leaders in the hippie counterculture community.

Psychedelic light-shows were a new art-form developed for rock concerts. Using oil and dye in an emulsion that was set between large convex lenses upon overhead projectors the lightshow artists created bubbling liquid visuals that pulsed in rhythm to the music. This was mixed with slideshows and film loops to create an improvisational motion picture art form to give visual representation to the improvisational jams of the rock bands and create a completely “trippy” atmosphere for the audience. The Brotherhood of Light were responsible for many of the light-shows in San Francisco psychedelic rock concerts.

Out of the psychedelic counterculture also arose a new genre of comic books: underground comix. “Zap Comix” was among the original underground comics, and featured the work of Robert Crumb, S. Clay Wilson, Victor Moscoso, Rick Griffin, and Robert Williams among others. Underground Comix were ribald, intensely satirical, and seemed to pursue weirdness for the sake of weirdness. Gilbert Shelton created perhaps the most enduring of underground cartoon characters, “The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers”, whose drugged out exploits held a hilarious mirror up to the hippy lifestyle of the 1960s.

Psychedelic art was also applied to the LSD itself. LSD began to be put on blotter paper in the early 1970s and this gave rise to a specialized art form of decorating the blotter paper. Often the blotter paper was decorated with tiny insignia on each perforated square tab, but by the 1990s this had progressed to complete four color designs often involving an entire page of 900 or more tabs. Mark McCloud is a recognized authority on the history of LSD blotter art.

By the late 1960s, the commercial potential of psychedelic art had become hard to ignore. General Electric, for instance, promoted clocks with designs by New York artist Peter Max. A caption explains that each of Max’s clocks “transposes time into multi-fantasy colors.”[1] In this and many other corporate advertisements of the late 1960s featuring psychedelic themes, the psychedelic product was often kept at arm’s length from the corporate image: while advertisements may have reflected the swirls and colors of an LSD trip, the black-and-white company logo maintained a healthy visual distance. Several companies, however, more explicitly associated themselves with psychedelica: CBS, Neiman Marcus, and NBC all featured thoroughly psychedelic advertisements between 1968 and 1969.[2] In 1968, Campbell’s soup ran a poster promotion that promised to “Turn your wall souper-delic!”[3]

The early years of the 1970s saw advertisers using psychedelic art to sell a limitless array of consumer goods. Hair products, cars, cigarettes, and even pantyhose became colorful acts of pseudo-rebellion.[4] The Chelsea National Bank commissioned a psychedelic landscape by Peter Max, and neon green, pink, and blue monkeys inhabited advertisements for a zoo.[5] A fantasy land of colorful, swirling, psychedelic bubbles provided the perfect backdrop for a Clearasil ad.[6] As Brian Wells explains, “The psychedelic movement has, through the work of artists, designers, and writers, achieved an astonishing degree of cultural diffusion but, though a great deal of diffusion has taken place, so, too, has a great deal of dilution and distortion.”[7] Even the term “psychedelic” itself underwent a semantic shift, and soon came to mean “anything in youth culture which is colorful, or unusual, or fashionable.”[8] Puns using the concept of “tripping” abounded: as an advertisement for London Britches declared, their product was “great on trips!”[9] By the mid-1970s, the psychedelic art movement had been largely co-opted by mainstream commercial forces, incorporated into the very system of capitalism that the hippies had struggled so hard to change.

Examples of other psychedelic art material are tapestry, curtains and stickers,[10] clothing,[11] canvas and other printed artefacts[12] and furniture.[13]

Computer art has allowed for an even greater and more profuse expression of psychedelic vision. Fractal generating software gives an accurate depiction of psychedelic hallucinatory patterns, but even more importantly 2D and 3D graphics software allow for unparalleled freedom of image manipulation. Much of the graphics software seems to permit a direct translation of the psychedelic vision. The “digital revolution” was indeed heralded early on as the “New LSD” by none other than Timothy Leary.[14][15]

The rave movement of the 1990s was a psychedelic renaissance fueled by the advent of newly available digital technologies. The rave movement developed a new graphic art style partially influenced by 1960s psychedelic poster art, but also strongly influenced by graffiti art, and by 1970s advertising art, yet clearly defined by what digital art and computer graphics software and home computers had to offer at the time of creation. Conversely, the convolutional neural network DeepDream finds and enhance patterns in images purely via algorithmic pareidolia.

Concurrent to the rave movement, and in key respects integral to it, are the development of new mind-altering drugs, most notably, MDMA (Ecstasy). Ecstasy, like LSD, has had a tangible influence on culture and aesthetics, particularly the aesthetics of rave culture. But MDMA is (arguably) not a real psychedelic, but is described by psychologists as an entactogen. Development of new psychedelics such as 2C-B and related compounds (developed primarily by chemist Alexander Shulgin) are truly psychedelic, and these novel psychedelics are fertile ground for artistic exploration since many of the new psychedelics possess their own unique properties that will affect the artist’s vision accordingly.

Even as fashions have changed, and art and culture movements have come and gone, certain artists have steadfastly devoted themselves to psychedelia. Well-known examples are Amanda Sage, Alex Grey, and Robert Venosa. These artists have developed unique and distinct styles that while containing elements that are “psychedelic”, are clearly artistic expressions that transcend simple categorization. While it is not necessary to use psychedelics to arrive at such a stage of artistic development, serious psychedelic artists are demonstrating that there is tangible technique to obtaining visions, and that technique is the creative use of psychedelic drugs.

Bohemian wall hangings and Hippie Tapestries

Psychedelic and Trippy wallpapers collection

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Psychedelic art – Wikipedia

Psychedelic Drugs and the Serotonergic System

Most of us know someone who has taken antidepressants. But psychedelic drugs? Not so much. Many people believe they are illegitimate and dangerous. You might be surprised to hear that psychedelic drugs like MDMA and LSD have a lot in common with antidepressants. They both work with the same neurotransmitter in the brain: serotonin.

And indeed, antidepressants and psychedelic drugs promise to heal similar mental illnesses and can also have similar side effects. Do you know how they work in the brain? No? Good! Thats exactly what this article is about. Before we can talk about your brain on these drugs, though, its important to have a basic understanding of the brain and its serotonergic system. Dont worry, its super fascinating stuff, and easy as 1-2-3:

Below, well talk about neurotransmitters, synapses and chemical signaling. If these things are even vaguely familiar to you, then read on. If not, I recommend reading part 2 of Tim Urbans fantasticand highly entertainingNeuralink and the Brains Magical Future story on the Wait But Why blog. Youll learn everything from brain anatomy to neural networks in just 15 minutes.

When a neuron fires, the cell body (soma) sends an electrical signal down its axon to its axon terminals. This is where one neuron connects to the dendrites of the next neuron. In between is the synapse. From the axon terminals, a chemical signal activates the dendrites and sends a message to the soma of the next neuron. The soma collects the messages and once a threshold is exceeded, it fires off an electrical signal down its own axon and the process repeats.

Chemical signals are made from neurotransmitters. How they are produced, sent and received is the key to understanding the interactions between drugs and the serotonergic system.

You have probably heard of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, adrenaline and oxytocin. A simplistic view:We have more than 100 different types of neurotransmitters in our brain and their job is facilitating the communication between neurons. Think of a neurotransmitter as a language: some neurons speak dopamine, others speak serotonin, others speak adrenaline and so on. While some neurons are multilingual, lets say fluent in serotonin and dopamine, most of them speak just one language. All neurons which speak serotonin make up the serotonergic system.

The serotonergic system is amongst the oldest neurotransmitter systems in the brain. It might be as old as 750 million years; even single-celled organisms carry serotonin receptors. In humans, those neurons originate from the raphe nuclei in the brainstem and form a network spanning every corner of the brain and influencing nearly every aspect of our lives. It plays a key role in regulating mood, sexual behavior, aggression, impulsivity, cognitive function, appetite, pain, thermoregulation, circadian rhythm, sleep and memory.

Serotonergic pathways in the brainWith all of these control functions, it makes sense that many prescription drugsand most antidepressantstarget the serotonergic system. What might not be so obvious, however, is that psychedelic drugs like MDMA (aka. molly, ecstasy), LSD (aka. acid) and psilocybin (aka. magic mushrooms) also stimulate the serotonergic system to create their unique effects.

All those substances do essentially one thing: they raise the serotonergic activity in the brain. Why? Because raising serotonergic activity makes you happy, social and active; whereas lowering serotonergic activity makes you depressed, irritable and more prone to mental illnesses.

This is where it gets really interesting. Before we dive into the life of a serotonin molecule, lets make sure were all on the same page. Take another look at the more detailed version of how communication happens at the synapse. On the top is the axon terminal of the sender-neuron which is often referred to as the presynaptic neuron. On the bottom is the receiver-neuronthe postsynaptic neuron. The skin of the neurons is the membrane; and the little gap in between is called the synaptic cleft. What gets sent from the sender to the receiver? A chemical signal, otherwise known as neurotransmitter; and in the case of a serotonergic neuron the neurotransmitter is serotonin.

Now we get to the nitty gritty. The following graphic illustrates the lifecycle of a serotonin molecule. Follow the orange dots from one to seven and check out the explanation below.

Signaling in chemical synapses

Well over 90 percent of the serotonin in our body is made in our gut. But since serotonin cant cross the blood-brain barrier, it has to be synthesized in the brain from scratch. What does cross the blood-brain barrier however is tryptophan, the fundamental building block of serotonin. Within the neuron, enzymes turn tryptophan into 5-HT which is the chemical name for serotonin.

How does our body get tryptophan in the first place? Tryptophan is contained in certain foods, particularly proteins. You may have heard that turkey is rich in tryptophanso is every other kind of meat, as well as cheese, dairy products and eggs. Paradoxically, eating a protein rich diet is not necessary useful for a steady tryptophan supply in the brain. Why? Read my story about amino acid competition at the blood-brain barrier.

Serotonin is stored in tiny bubblesonly 50 nanometers in diametercalled vesicles. How does it get in there? Initially, the serotonin floats in the cytosol, the fluid within the neuron. A transport protein called VMAT2 fishes the serotonin out of the cytosol and channels it into one of the vesicles. The vesicles then travel closer towards the synaptic cleft and wait for their signal.

When signalled, the vesicles meld with the cell membrane in a process called exocytosis. The serotonin gets released into the synaptic cleft.

When serotonin binds to the receptors of the postsynaptic neuron, each receptor sends off a signal to the cell body of the neuron. When enough of these signals accumulate, the postsynaptic neuron fires, causing an electrical signal to travel down its axon to its own axon terminals, in turn causing a release of serotonin that stimulates the next neuron. This chain reaction cascades through any number of neurons.

Where does a serotonin molecule go after it has activated a receptor? There are a few options: (a) it may get taken back up into the presynaptic neuron; (b) it may get taken up by a neighboring glial cell (glial cells are the most abundant cells in the brainthey dont transmit signals but they do help keep everything neat and tidy); or (c) it may get diffused away from the synaptic cleft via extracellular fluid.

Along the presynaptic membrane are serotonin transporters (SERT) that pull serotonin back into the cell in a process called reuptake. These transporters are basically groups of proteins that act like a gate: one inone out. One molecule binds to the transporter on the outside of the membrane and changes the transporters configuration. Consequently, another molecule drops off, but on the inside of the membrane.

Back in the presynaptic neuron, some of the serotonin gets reloaded into vesicles and will be reused. Producing serotonin from scratch is a complex process and takes time. Therefore, recycling helps the brain maintain a steady supply.

Any remaining serotonin gets broken down by the enzyme MAO (monoamine oxidase) and excreted from the cell as the metabolite 5-HIAA (5-Hydroxyindoleacetic acid).

The brain cant produce large quantities of serotonin at once, therefore it doesnt release large quantities of serotonin at once either. In fact, serotonergic neurons have multiple ways of up- and downregulating their serotonin response in order to maintain balance and protect themselves from overstimulation.

Follow the orange dots below to see a few examples of these protection strategies.

If there is (1) a high concentration of serotonin outside the neuron, the neuron reacts with

Amazingly, a neuron can cause its receptors to retract behind the synaptic membrane, putting them out of reach of being activated by over-abundant serotonin. With fewer receptors available, fewer activations occur, and the neuron is in turn less likely to fire off a signal.

Receptors are not only found on the postsynaptic membrane. Some are located on the axon terminals or even directly on the soma of a neuron. If too much serotonin is floating around in the brain and these autoreceptors get activated, they send an inhibitory signal to the presynaptic neuron that causes it to (3) throttle the release of serotonin.

Do you recall from the beginning how serotonin regulates mood, sexual behavior, cognitive function, sleep, memory and so on? How does it accomplish all that? Well, in reality there isnt just one single type of serotonin receptorthere are 14. They are numbered from 1 to 7 and further categorized into A, B, C, etc. Remember, the chemical name for serotonin is 5-HT. Going forward well talk a lot about 5-HT2A receptors, since they are the target of hallucinogenic drugs like LSD and psilocybin.

All 5-HT subtypes possess special qualities in how they regulate mood, anxiety, impulsivity, aggression, migraines, etc. Some of these subtypes act as regular receptors at the postsynaptic membrane, while others act as autoreceptors on the axon terminals, dendrites or directly on the cell body. The 5-HT2A receptor, for example, is a receptor on the postsynaptic membrane and regulates mood, anxiety and schizophrenia. Wikipedia offers a fantastic overview of 5-HT receptor subtypes if you wish to go deeper.

Now that you know how serotonin acts in the synaptic cleft it will be easy for you to understand the mechanisms of antidepressants like SSRIs and MAOIs as well as psychedelic drugs like LSD, psilocybin and MDMA. Each of these substances stimulate serotonergic neurons, but each in different ways.

Before 1950 it was believed that mental illnesses like schizophrenia or autism were caused by refrigerator mothersmothers who were emotionally distanced and cold with their offspring. The psychiatric community had no idea that behaviour patterns, such as schizophrenic or autistic behaviour, might arise from neurochemical events in the brain.

In the late 1930s, serotonin was first discovered in the gut where it played a role in muscle contraction. It took another 15 years before it was detected in the brainwhich was in 1953but still only in the context of muscle contraction. One year later, in 1954 two scientists noticed the chemical similarity between serotonin and LSD.Chemical structure of LSD and serotonin

They had already known that LSD had peculiar effects on mind and behavior, because Sandoz Laboratories had marketed LSD as a psychiatric drug since 1947. Putting one and one together, these two scientists suggested that serotonin might play an important role in mental illness.

If neuroscience can be said to have a beginning, one could argue that it occurred in 1954, with the idea that the action of LSD might be related to its effects on the brain serotonin system.

After it became obvious, that serotonin was deeply involved in mental sanity it quickly became the center of attention of pharmaceutical companies. Understanding the mechanism by which mood is regulated allowed pharmacologists to experiment with ways to influence it. One result has been the creation of many antidepressant drugs. Here is how they work.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs today. Youve probably heard of Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro, Seroxat or Zoloft. They are all SSRIs.

SSRIs bind to serotonin transporters (SERT) on the presynaptic membrane and block them. This means serotonin cant get taken back up into the presynaptic neuron. More serotonin remains in the synaptic cleft where it continues to bind to receptors and activates them.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI) are older antidepressants, which are still in use, but not commonly prescribed because of their potentially lethal effects. MAOIs keep serotonin from being metabolized and excreted from the neuron, which in turn increases its availability.

Antidepressants ultimately raise serotonin levels, so does MDMA.

MDMA is a sneaky bastard. Insidiously it takes control of the infrastructure and turns the whole system upside down. How does it do that? First, MDMA enters the neuron via the serotonin transporters (SERT). Once inside the neuron, it inhibits the vesicular transporters (VMAT2) which means that serotonin is not neatly packed within the vesicles anymore, but now accumulates within the cytosol. Then, MDMA reverses the direction of the SERT, meaning instead of transporting serotonin into the neuron, they now release it into the cleft and deny its reuptake. The result is a dramatic increase of serotonin levels in the synaptic cleft which makes the receptors on the postsynaptic membrane go haywire for a few hours.

Moreover, MDMA increases dopamine and norepinephrine (i.e. noradrenaline) levels, which gives it its ecstatic properties. This temporary overstimulation of the serotonergic system leaves the neurons depleted of serotonin and needing to recover after the drug use.

What if MDMA is taken daily to keep up colossal serotonin levels? The short answer is: doesnt work; the effect of MDMA is capped by the available serotonin. If the brain is depleted from serotonin, MDMA has no material to work with and therefore the effects would be rather disappointing for the user. The brain needs time to replenish its supply before the drug could achieve the desired effects once more. Many users feel irritable and depressed after using MDMA. But when using again is not an option, there isnt much of an addiction loop they could tap into. With this built-in mandatory refractory period, the physical addiction potential of psychedelic drugs is limited.

With a built-in, mandatory refractory period, the physical addiction potential of psychedelic drugs is quite limited.

Remember how the brain usually doesnt release large quantities of serotonin at once? Other neurotransmitter systems in the brain are more suitable for this task: dopamine for example. The dopaminergic system does react well to repeated stimulation and is therefore frequently involved in addiction. Drugs which target the dopaminergic system are cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, but also Adderall and Ritalin.

Unlike MDMA, hallucinogens dont flood the brain with serotonin. They target a specific subtype of serotonin receptorthe 5-HT2A receptorto which they bind directly, thereby activating it. The 5-HT2A receptor is known to play a key role in regulating mood, anxiety, schizophrenia and consciousness.

There is so much to say about how hallucinogens affect the brain. The initial hypothesisthat hallucinogens increase the activity in certain areas of the brainwas recently abandoned. In fact, hallucinogens temporarily shut down some major connecting hubs.

Why does this stir a researchers blood? Because if you want to know what a certain area in the brain does, it helps to observe what goes missing if you shut it off. Turned out, shutting off those connector hubs led to the interruption of the brains default mode network (DMN). You can think of the DMN as something like a screensaver which randomly shuffles through images of your past, your future, your to-do list, the super size menu that you shouldnt have eaten, the sad face of a person you hurt and so on. Interrupting the DMN has very interesting consequences which we willat lengthcover in a future post. Its a phenomenally interesting topic that deserves its own post (and requires a couple of thousands more words to explain).

Also, when breaking up the regular communication pathways, the brain starts to communicate in brand new ways. This visualization shows brain regions communicating which one another in (a) a normal state or (b) after administering psilocybin. On the left you can see that the color-coded regions communicate mostly amongst themselves, i.e. the dots of the purple region talk to other dots within the purple region. But under the influence of an hallucinogenic drug the purple dots start talking to all kinds of other brain regions.

Communication pathways in the brain after (a) placebo and (b) psilocybin

These novel communication pathways might be able to explain the creativity-enhancing and problem-solving qualities that are often attributed to hallucinogenic drugs.

Whats the essential nature of science? (1) You find an interesting thing, (2) you test and observe how the thing behaves under different conditions and (3) you come up with a hypothesis.

Psychedelic drugs and the serotonergic system are deeply intertwined. Not only was LSD involved in the initial discovery of the serotonergic system which later revolutionized psychiatry. Today, psychedelic research could yet again revolutionize our understanding of the human brain. Manipulating 5-HT2A receptors has astounding effects on brain circuitries that are involved in the sense of self and consciousness. You can think of the 5-HT2A receptor as the little kids basket and hallucinogens as a potent tool to test it. Psychedelic drugs might be nothing less than our key to deciphering consciousness.

With brand-new imaging technology, we could now watch the brain as it loses its sense of time and space. We could observe which regions fall out of sync when it dissolves its sense of self. We could literally watch the brain as it changes its state of consciousness. The problem is, were not allowed to. The current drug legislation makes psychedelic research so difficult and so expensive, that only very few research teams manage to get approval and funding for their studies.

Criminalization of psychedelic drugs stands between science and the exploration of consciousness.

Having discovered the serotonergic system less than 70 years ago, there is much that remains unknown about this mighty and mysterious network of neurons. We know that it is crucial for a lot of processes, but the ins and outs are not well understood even today. It will be a long time before well figure out the exact mechanisms of this versatile system.

In the meantime, every new study on psychedelics reveals fascinating new insights about consciousness, the brains default mode network and mental disorders. Over the next posts in our Psychedelic Drugs series well cover the outcome of those recent studies.

Medical Benefits of Psychedelic DrugsPsychedelic Drugs and the Serotonergic System (Youve just read it)The Psychedelic ExperienceYour Brain on Psychedelic DrugsPsychedelics and Mental HealthMicrodosing LSD: Smart Drug or Placebo?MDMA-assisted Therapy

Wow, that was a lot of information to take in. But you did it! Now you know more about the serotonergic system than any of your friends (except if your friends are neuroscientists). Since you seem to be really interested in the topic you might want to get notified when we publish our next story.

If you are located in the Vienna area, we invite you to join the Psychedelic Society Vienna meetup, where well discuss the latest research and developments in the field.

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Psychedelic Drugs and the Serotonergic System

How to Use MDMA (Molly) – How to Use Psychedelics

MDMA is a truly remarkable medicine for working with difficult emotional experiences. The clinical results have far exceeded other interventions for a range of uses (see the research section at the bottom of this page).

MDMA is a synthetic psychedelic, first developed by the pharmaceutical company Merck in 1912. It has been widely studied since then, particularly for psychotherapeutic uses. With the rate of academic research growing rapidly, it is likely that MDMA will become FDA approved for therapeutic use within the next few years, and MAPS.org is focused on moving it through the approval process. MDMA is being widely tested for post-traumatic stress, with results that surpass any other existing treatment method.

MDMA is a particularly appealing psychedelic for therapists and researchers because the subjective mental experience feels fairly stable, while creating a dramatic increase in emotional openness and a reduction in fear and anxiety.

Before you begin, be sure to read our safety section and see the special safety considerations for MDMA at the bottom of this page.

Because MDMA has anti-anxiety and anti-fear effects, it is generally considered safe to use a full dose your first time and each time you use MDMA (generally 75mg – 125mg depending on the individual). It is important to measure the dose carefully. Milligram-precision scales cost about 20 dollars (heres an Amazon search for milligram scale).

Some therapy protocols add a booster dose of about 60mg of MDMA 2-3 hours after the first dose to extend the period of therapeutic effects and provide more time for deep exploration.

MDMA will typically be in the form of a powder, pill, or crystal. Again, be sure that you are receiving pure MDMA, not mixed with other drugs or stimulants like caffeine. ‘Molly’ is another term for pure MDMA, distinguished from ‘Ecstasy’ which often contains MDMA but is not pure MDMA. If the MDMA is in pill form, youll have to be confident of the reported dosage, as fillers are added to create a pill and weighing the pill will not indicate the MDMA content. As always, do not take any MDMA if you are unsure of quantity or purity.

Once the MDMA has worn off, be sure that you drink lots of water and get a long peaceful sleep at night. MDMA can be mentally tiring and you need to rejuvenate.

Most people find that they have an afterglow from their MDMA experience that can last days or weeks, improving their mood and outlook and keeping them very open to others.

On the other hand, some people feel mentally drained by MDMA and have a foggy headed feeling for a day or two afterwards. Others will feel emotionally drained, and have a depressed mood for up to a week after the experience. Sometimes, these feelings begin two days after the experience, but not the day after. To combat this, some people who feel sensitive to that after-effect will take 5-HTP or L-Tryptophan (both are common supplements available from any source) for a few days after MDMA in an attempt to restore their serotonin levels. People who do feel drained after an MDMA session generally report that precise the MDMA dose can affect how they feel afterwards. Too much may leave them more drained than necessary. This is another reason to start with a modest, precisely measured dose to begin.

Nearly everyone, no matter how they feel the following week, finds that the thoughts, feelings, and emotional release that they experience on MDMA persists afterwards. In particular, any realizations that they had during the experiences tend to prove real and lasting.

Most remarkably, painful emotional associations with life experiences — traumas, breakups, divorces, etc — are dramatically reduced if that issue has been explored during the experience. You will find that when you think about that same painful experience after exploring it on MDMA, you will not have the same flood of emotional pain and tension that you would have had beforehand. The memory will be intact but the emotional strings will be looser.

Even for extreme emotional trauma, this holds true. In a recent research study for patients with PTSD, 83% of patients experienced reduced symptoms after just 3 MDMA sessions combined with therapy, vs. only 25% of patients who had therapy alone. Quite simple, MDMA is the most effective treatment for PTSD ever developed. Compare this level of success to traditional anti-depressants which have strong side effects and are dosed every day for years at a time (for a total of hundreds or thousands of doses) and which have very low rates of effectiveness, often just slightly above placebo.

In addition to our standard safety suggestions, there are three particularly important precautions for MDMA use:

Psychedelics have been misunderstood and misrepresented for decades. That’s changing. Please help us share safe, responsible information on using psychedelics by sending this page to friends, and posting to Facebook, Twitter, and Google:

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How to Use MDMA (Molly) – How to Use Psychedelics

How to Take Mushrooms (Psilocybin mushrooms / Shrooms …

Psychedelic mushrooms containing psilocybin are one of the oldest and safest traditional medicines and have been used for centuries in many countries around the world. The therapeutic and spiritual uses of mushrooms are what make it such an important tool for growth and healing.

Over 200 species of mushrooms containing psilocybin and psilocin are known, growing naturally in many parts of the world. Mushrooms are non-addictive and become less active with repeated short-term use. They do not have any overdose risk. Many experts consider them among the safest psychoactive compounds available (safer than tobacco, alcohol, and anti-depressants).

See the bottom of this page for recent academic studies on the therapeutic uses of mushrooms. From a recent article in the New York Times:

Before you begin, be sure to read our safety section and see the special safety considerations for mushrooms at the bottom of this page.

The strength of mushrooms can vary somewhat, because you are consuming the mushrooms themselves, not just the active agents. Different strains have different strengths and potency can somewhat decline over time.

It is not possible to overdose on mushrooms. However, taking a dose thats different than anticipated can cause temporary anxiety. Interestingly, this can happen if the dose is smaller than expected, as well as if it is larger. In fact, some therapists recommend starting with a fairly strong dose of mushrooms that will quickly move people past their own psychological frameworks and into a more spiritual state, thereby bypassing anxiousness. Other research has suggested that starting with a small initial dose and increasing in successive sessions reduces potential anxiety.

Mushrooms are non-addictive and become much less effective if taken repeatedly in a short period of time, as your body adjusts. This makes overuse less likely.

Typically, people feel very free and open in the days following a mushroom experience. You should try to get a good nights sleep afterwards, and you may feel a little tired the next day.

Most people find that they have an afterglow from their mushroom experience that can last days or weeks, improving their mood and outlook and keeping them very open to others. Ideas and issues that you explored during the experience will have a new clarity to them. Emotionally difficult topics, memories, and experiences are likely to feel much safer and will bring up less fear when you remember them. You are likely to feel better able to tackle challenging emotional experiences in your life.

The positive effects of mushrooms can last for years, even from just a single experience. In a recent study at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, an incredible 94% of participants who had a single dose of mushrooms said it was one of the top five most meaningful experiences of their lives. Another study found long lasting changes in openness more than a year after a single mushroom dose.

As you can read in the studies above and below, mushrooms have been shown in many research settings to dramatically reduce anxiety, depression, and other psychological challenges with just a single dose. However, you may wish to repeat the experience a few times to further explore and address any emotional and psychological issues that you are working with.

In addition to our standard safety suggestions, do not use mushrooms if you are currently taking psychoactive pharmaceuticals, such as anti-depressents, anti-anxiety drugs, etc. Always research any supplements or other medicines that you may be taking to avoid interactions.

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How to Take Mushrooms (Psilocybin mushrooms / Shrooms …

Watch This Epic “Trailer” for the Commercial Lunar Space Station

The Gateway Foundation showed off its latest vision of the future: the Von Braun Rotating Space Station.

Rotating Space Station

Welcome on board the Von Braun Rotating Space Station.

At least, that’s what the Gateway Foundation is envisioning. Dreamed up by former pilot John Blincow and retired Jet Propulsion Laboratory mission architect Tom Spilker, the station would allow for both low-gravity scientific experiments conducted by national space agencies and space tourism.

In a slick new video posted to YouTube, the Foundation shows off its ambitious plans — including a render of a Hilton space hotel module.

Big Dreams

The Spaceport is a futuristic vision of what it would be like to visit a massive off world spaceport — even if you’re just headed up for a brief holiday to space.

“It will allow us to take our first steps toward colonizing the Moon, Mars, and ultimately, will usher in a new age of exploration as we travel throughout our solar system and discover what lies beyond,” reads the Foundation’s official website.

Since it rotates, the Gateway can simulate varying degrees of gravity. For instance, a Hub that houses administration, storage, and other important elements of the spaceport could simulate lunar gravity for both tourists and scientific purposes. Five gates form a transport hub allowing shuttles from Earth or the Moon to dock to the Gateway.

Questions

But will it ever be built? The Foundation is offering a Gateway “membership” as part of a lottery system.

In return for a yearly contribution — there is a free basic tier — the Foundation is offering up “informative emails,” “event discounts,” and a chance to win a free trip to the Gateway. At least, that’s if it ever gets built.

It’s an extremely ambitious project that is going to require astronomical amounts of funding to ever stand a chance of being built. But it also shows how passionate people are to finally get a chance to travel to space during their lifetime.

READ MORE: SpaceX Starship and The Von Braun Rotating Space Station [YouTube]

More on space gateways: NASA Wants Its Deep Space Gateway Habitat To Orbit The Moon By 2024

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Watch This Epic “Trailer” for the Commercial Lunar Space Station

China Is Building a Solar Power Station in Space

Chinese scientists recently announced plans to build and launch a solar power plant that would float in outer space and beam electricity down.

Front Row Seats

China’s Academy of Space Technology is working on an orbital power plant that would capture solar energy in space and beam it back to Earth. The plant would be able to harness solar power even when it’s cloudy back on Earth, since its photovoltaic array would be floating high above any terrestrial weather.

With plans to launch a test facility before 2025, pursuing space-based clean energy shows that China is committed to its ongoing push towards using more renewable energy and asserting its place among global leaders in space.

Beam Me Down

Needless to say, the biggest problem for a floating power plant is figuring out how to get the energy back down to Earth.

The scientists behind the project are still sorting that part out. But right now, the plan is to have solar arrays in space capture light from the sun and then beam electricity down to a facility on Earth in the form of a microwave or a laser, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

From there, the electricity could be used just as if it had been generated by conventional, terrestrial means.

Big Plans

If the launch goes well and the energy-transmitting beam works like it’s supposed to, the Chinese scientists have plans to test and launch bigger and more powerful facilities through 2050, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

And aside from sending clean energy to Earth, the power plant could also feasibly power missions deeper and farther into space, as long as the beam is precise enough to target any ships that are rocketing away to explore the cosmos.

READ MORE: Plans for first Chinese solar power station in space revealed [The Sydney Morning Herald]

More on power plants in space: NASA Wants to Collect Solar Power Directly From Space

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China Is Building a Solar Power Station in Space

Anti-Aging Drug That Kills Old Cells Passes First Human Trial

A new anti-aging drug combination just completed its first trial in humans, and the volunteers showed signs of improved well being.

Cleaning House

Not all damaged cells die. Some stick around as senescent cells, unable to divide but still able to produce chemical signals — and they could play a major role in the battle against aging.

“It is thought that these cells and the substances they produce are involved in the process of aging,” longevity researcher Nicolas Musi from the University of Texas at Austin told MIT Technology Review. “The idea is that removing these cells may be beneficial to promote healthy aging and also to prevent diseases of aging.”

Based on the results of a very early trial, there may be something to that theory.

Doubled Up

In January, Musi and his colleagues published the results of a trial in which they treated 14 patients suffering from the fatal lung condition idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) with a drug combination they believed would clear out senescent cells.

Over the course of three weeks, the patients took nine doses of a leukemia drug called dasatinib and quercetin, a supplement. By the end of the trial, the patients were reportedly able to walk farther than they could previously in the same amount of time and other signs of improved well being — all without any serious side effects.

“Though small, this pilot study marks a major breakthrough in how we treat age-related diseases such as IPF,” researcher Jamie Justice said in a press release. “Here, we’ve therapeutically targeted a fundamental biological hallmark of aging that is implicated in IPF, and we show early but promising results for the first time in human patients.”

Next Steps

Right now, it’s hard to say whether the drug combo would actually prove effective as an anti-aging therapy, but the researchers are committed to finding out. They’re already testing the treatment on a group of 15 more lung patients, as well as 20 people suffering from chronic kidney disease.

“If we see effectiveness signals and don’t encounter really bad side effects, we’ll try to get to people with less and less life-threatening conditions,” researcher James Kirkland told MIT Technology Review. “If everything goes right.”

READ MORE: A Cell-Killing Strategy to Slow Aging Passed Its First Test This Year [MIT Technology Review]

More on anti-aging: The Quest for Immortality Could Create Two “Classes of Humans”

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Anti-Aging Drug That Kills Old Cells Passes First Human Trial

CRISPR Could Make You Immune to the Flu

Researchers in Seattle, Washington developed a new technique to artificially create antibodies by editing the DNA of so-called B cells.

Flu Vaccine

Vaccines for bacterial and viral infections are extremely difficult to develop. But thanks to gene-editing, we could soon be able to make people immune to the flu or even HIV.

Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington developed a new technique to artificially create improved and longer-lasting antibodies by editing the DNA of so-called B cells — the immune system’s white blood cells responsible for creating antibodies.

Donor B Cells

The technique could eventually allow healthcare professionals to pass a major hurdle: many conventional antibody treatments are only effective for a short period of time — antibodies tend to break down quickly, requiring additional injections later down the line. In contrast, scientists believe that these new antibodies could one day only need to be injected once.

According to a preprint of the research published in the journal bioRxiv earlier this month, an initial trial involving 15 mice delivered promising results: 82 days of protection against the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) — a respiratory tract infection that can prove dangerous to both children and adults.

A Growing Trend

Editing the DNA of B cells is a rapidly growing trend, New Scientist points out. Multiple research teams are in a race to become the first to test the technique in human trials.

Scientists will have to prove the technique is safe first — and that will likely take a number of years. But if it ever does become a treatment for humans, “thousands of hospital visits, disabilities, and deaths could be prevented each year,” reads the preprint.

READ MORE: CRISPR could help us protect ourselves from viruses like flu and HIV [New Scientist]

More on CRISPR: Tiny New CRISPR Protein Could Make Human Gene-Hacking Less Risky

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CRISPR Could Make You Immune to the Flu

A Philosopher Is Trying to Figure out What Black Holes Really Are

A philosopher wanted to unify the various field-specific definitions physicists have for black holes. He decided that the variety was good for science.

Converging Theories

Black holes remain mysterious. It was huge news, back in October, when astronomers did as little as actually confirming that there’s a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy.

But it turns out that scientists very rarely agree about black holes on a philosophical level — they often can’t even agree what they are.

Words Matter

That’s the conclusion of an investigation by Erik Curiel, a philosopher and physicist from Harvard and the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy at Germany’s Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, according to new research he published last month in the journal Nature Astronomy.

“The properties of black holes are the subject of investigations in a range of subdisciplines of physics — in optical physics, in quantum physics and of course in astrophysics,” Curiel said in a university-published press release. “But each of these specialties approaches the problem with its own specific set of theoretical concepts.”

Conflict Resolution

Many of the black hole definitions Curiel gathered from various physicists conflicted with one another. An astrophysicist told him that “a black hole is the ultimate prison: once you check in, you can never get out.” On the other hand, a theoretical physicist said that it’s “conceptually problematical to think of black holes as objects in space, things that can move and be pushed around.”

Curiel embarked on this journey to point out the problem of having multiple, incongruous definitions for a single concept, but eventually came around to the discrepancy, arguing that scientists defining black holes according to their specific fields allowed them to do better work.

“I conclude that, within reasonable bounds, the profusion of different definitions is in fact a virtue, making the investigation of black holes possible and fruitful in all the many different kinds of problems about them that physicists consider,” Curiel wrote in his research paper, “although one must take care in trying to translate results between fields.”

READ MORE: Philosophy: What exactly is a black hole? [Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München newsroom via ScienceDaily]

More on scientific definitions: Artificial Consciousness: How To Give A Robot A Soul

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A Philosopher Is Trying to Figure out What Black Holes Really Are

Tesla’s Anti-ICEing System Just Got an Upgrade

ICEd Out

In early January, news broke that certain drivers of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles were blocking electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, an act known as ICEing, seemingly as some sort of protest against the vehicles.

Within weeks, Tesla proposed a solution, and now — as is the Tesla way — the company is already rolling out an update to it.

Automatic Unlocks

In mid-January, Tesla drivers in China began spotting strange-looking devices at Supercharger stations. They appeared to be small hurdles of sorts that, when in an upright position, would prevent a car from parking in front of a Supercharger. Each sported a QR code that a Tesla driver could scan to lower the hurdle, thereby unlocking the space.

On Thursday, Electrek reported that the Tesla Owners club in Taiwan posted information on an updated version of the devices to Twitter. Now, instead of a driver using the QR code to lower the hurdle, they simply back their car toward it. A camera on the device reads the car’s license plate, and the space unlocks automatically.

No word on when, or even if, the devices will make their way to the U.S. But if American drivers continue to report issues with others ICEing them out of Supercharger spots, it certainly wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility — maybe Tesla will even find another way to update the devices by then.

View from inside car pic.twitter.com/fpTqbIPcfS

— Tesla Owners Taiwan (@TeslaOwnersTwn) February 14, 2019

READ MORE: Tesla Tests New Innovative Way to Avoid Gas Cars ‘ICEing’ Superchargers [Electrek]

More on ICEing: Tesla Found a Clever Way to Prevent Supercharger ICEing

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Tesla’s Anti-ICEing System Just Got an Upgrade

Scientist Defends Controversial Cloning of Gene-Edited Monkeys

Hung-Chun Chang, the scientist who created five monkey clones of a gene-edited animal, defends his research in an interview with New Scientist.

Primate Problem

In January, we reported on a controversial video featuring five newborn monkeys, all of which are clones of a single monkey genetically engineered with CRISPR to cause problems with its circadian rhythms. The monkey clones are clearly not well, exhibiting signs of anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia-like behaviors.

Some in the scientific community questioned whether the research was ethical, and now the lead scientist behind the study is defending his work — which he suggests will cost fewer monkeys their lives than standard research methods.

Cloning and CRISPR

In a new interview with New Scientist, Hung-Chun Chang of the Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai notes that cynomolgus monkeys, the kind used for his team’s study, are the most commonly used primate model for research. It’s legal everywhere in the world, he said, to edit the species’ genes.

Given those two points, researchers might actually be able to subject far fewer monkeys to testing if they can reliably gene edit and then clone them.

“Every year, thousands of monkeys are subject to drug testing,” Chang told New Scientist. “And because of the genetic variations among individuals, we need to repeat the testing in many monkeys for meaningful results. That’s why we chose to do cloning: with completely identical monkeys, we can use fewer of them.”

Making Mistakes

If the scientific community is going to agree that testing on these monkeys is ethical, there is some logic behind the idea of gene-editing and cloning the animals to be identical models for specific tests.

However, a key part of that will be ensuring we can effectively edit and clone the animals, and we might not be there yet. Dozens of surrogate mothers underwent embryo implantations as part of Chang’s team’s research, but of the 16 that became pregnant, only five monkeys were born.

We’re going to need to answer many tough questions along the path to a future in which CRISPR helps humanity eradicate disease, end hunger, or even colonize the universe — and whether or not the failures preceding the creation of these five monkeys crossed the ethical line is one of them.

READ MORE: Meet the Man Who Made CRISPR Monkey Clones to Study Depression [New Scientist]

More on the monkeys: Chinese Scientists Cloned Gene-Edited Monkeys With Horrifying Results

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Scientist Defends Controversial Cloning of Gene-Edited Monkeys

Drones Just Shut Down Another Huge Airport

Dubai International Airport faced a 30-minute shutdown after a drone was spotted nearby, It's the third major airport to face recent drone-related delays.

Brief Delays

A drone sighting has once again shut down a major airport while officials scrambled to figure out what was going on.

This time, the airport in question was Dubai International Airport, one of the largest international airports in the world. After a drone was spotted nearby, the airport suspended all flight activity between 10:13 and 10:45 a.m. local time, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Dubai Airports confirms that operations at Dubai International are back to normal after less than 30 minutes of delay due to unauthorized drone activity.

— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) February 15, 2019

Some Guy

A Dubai official told The WSJ that the drone was operated by “a guy in the desert” but didn’t share many more details.

The half hour delay is the shortest of three major drone-related airport shutdowns in recent months, but still signals that airports haven’t figured out how to deal with the proliferation of inexpensive drones.

Back in December, London’s Gatwick airport canceled about 1,000 flights over a three-day period, and New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport was briefly shut down in January when a drone was spotted over the nearby airport in Teterboro.

Sound the Alarm

Operating a drone without a license in Dubai is illegal, and similar laws have been enacted by the U.S. government.

But apparently all it takes is one guy in the desert to interrupt the world’s largest international airport. So in the meantime, Fortune reports, airports like Gatwick are running drills to minimize delays and interruptions next time a drone sails by.

READ MORE: Drone Scare Grounds Flights at Dubai Airport [The Wall Street Journal]

More on drones: New FAA Rules Could Make Drones Vastly More Annoying

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Drones Just Shut Down Another Huge Airport

Scientists May Have Finally Found the Universe’s Missing Matter

Surveys of all the matter in the universe missed about a third of what was predicted by calculations. Scientists may have finally found the missing stash.

Spotted

When scientists calculate how much matter ought to exist in the universe, their estimates always vastly exceeded the amount of matter that they’ve actually accounted for.

The consensus, in fact, is that we’re missing about a third of the matter that should be out there.

But thanks to a new technique for scanning the cosmos, scientists think they may have finally spotted all that missing starstuff.

Peekaboo

For clarity, this research has nothing to do with dark matter, the invisible substance that makes up about 85 percent of the matter in the universe. Rather, the team of astronomers from Harvard and Hungary’s Eötvös University found the missing luminous matter, which makes up all of the stars, planets, and other celestial objects in the universe.

According to newly-publicized research, a draft of which was first published to the preprint server ArXiv in December, the scientists used NASA’s orbital Chandra X-Ray Observatory to scan for clouds of space gas surrounding a distant black hole. In those clouds, they found previously-unaccounted-for masses of oxygen. Extrapolating to the amount of similar gas clusters that are out there, the astronomers think that they can account for the entire difference between calculations and observations of the universe.

“We were thrilled that we were able to track down some of this missing matter” said Randall Smith, an astronomer from the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) who worked on the study, in a new press release. “In the future we can apply this same method to other quasar data to confirm that this long-standing mystery has at last been cracked.”

Secret Stash

More study is needed to confirm that these new findings can actually justify the lofty extrapolation that the scientists make in their paper. But if this work holds up, it means that scientists have finally sorted out one of the most confusing mysteries of the universe.

“If we find this missing mass, we can solve one of the biggest conundrums in astrophysics,” said CfA astrophysicist Orsolya Kovacs in the same press release. “Where did the universe stash so much of its matter that makes up stuff like stars and planets and us?”

READ MORE: Where is the universe hiding its missing mass? [NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory newsroom via Phys.org]

More on the Chandra Observatory: Here’s Why MIT Scientists Are Watching a Black Hole Devour a Star

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Scientists May Have Finally Found the Universe’s Missing Matter

Ride out Climate Change in This $5.5 Million Self-Sustaining Yacht

This self-sustaining livable yacht has everything you'd need to live off the grid if climate change rendered the land uninhabitable.

Luxury Living

In 2017 we wrote about Arkup, a company designing “hurricane-proof” livable yachts powered by solar energy and capable of operating completely off the grid.

Now, the company has finally debuted a real-life version of one of its designs, and it could let you ride out the worst that climate change might throw at the Earth in the near future — assuming you have $5.5 million to spend on it.

Cost of Climate Change

Visitors to the Miami Yacht Show, which runs through Feb. 18, can catch a glimpse of the Arkup #1, a 75-foot livable yacht its creators claim is entirely self-sustaining.

The yacht has a rainwater-harvesting system, a 2,300-square-foot roof covered in solar panels, and would be as “stable as a home on land” if pummeled with Category 4 winds, according to an Arkup press release.

Based on the tweeted photos of the yacht, it’s incredibly luxurious. But given that most of us don’t have $5.5 million to spend on a floating home, we might want to consider cheaper ways to prepare for climate change, like urging our legislators to back climate-friendly legislation.

75' Livable yacht by Arkup pic.twitter.com/xbLxbm8P4i

— Arkup LLC (@Arkup_LLC) February 14, 2019

READ MOREThis $5.9 Million Floating Home Lets You Ride out Sea-Level Rise in Style [Sun Sentinel]

More on Arkup: An Architect Made Floating Homes, and They Are Hurricane-Proof

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Ride out Climate Change in This $5.5 Million Self-Sustaining Yacht

This AI Can Predict Survival of Ovarian Cancer Patients

Scientists developed a piece of machine learning software that can predict the prognosis of ovarian cancer and at a higher accuracy.

Predicting Outcomes

Figuring out the survival rate of cancer patients relies on a number of tests and it can be difficult for clinicians to determine the prognosis. But a newly developed AI could give them a big leg up.

Scientists at Imperial College London and the University of Melbourne developed a piece of machine learning software that can predict the prognosis of ovarian cancer patients — and at a higher accuracy than conventional methods.

Their research and the results of an initial trial were published in the journal Nature Communications yesterday.

The researchers found that the survival rate of epithelial ovarian cancer was approximately 35-40 percent despite the existence of a number of treatment options. Some 6,000 new cases appear in the UK every year.

But developing a treatment that is personalized to the patient is critical — and the earlier the better.

“Radiomic Prognostic Vector”

The researchers developed a “radiomic prognostic vector” (RPV) — a piece of software that looks at four biological characteristics of tumors including structure, shape, size, and genetic makeup in CT scans — that turned out to be four times as accurate at predicting outcomes when compared to conventional methods in an initial trial that examined samples from 364 women.

The RPV also “reliably identifies” the five percent of patients that normally only have two years to live. By identifying them early on, they could improve prognosis and optimize treatment plans for those patients.

Transforming Healthcare

“Artificial intelligence has the potential to transform the way healthcare is delivered and improve patient outcomes,”  co-author of the study and radiologist at the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust Andrea Rockall said in a press release. “Our software is an example of this and we hope that it can be used as a tool to help clinicians with how to best manage and treat patients with ovarian cancer.”

READ MORE: Artificial intelligence can predict survival of ovarian cancer patients [EurekaAlert]

More on machine learning and cancer: Microsoft Wants to Use AI and Machine Learning to Discover a Cure for Cancer

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This AI Can Predict Survival of Ovarian Cancer Patients

Watch a Harpoon Attached to a Satellite Spear a Piece of Space Debris

A team of engineers at the University of Surrey launched a 4.9 foot harpoon from a satellite at a piece of space debris to catch it out of the sky.

Harpooning Space Debris

Junk floating around in Earth’s orbit is becoming a big problem. Bits of man-made debris can pose a big threat to satellites circling our planet. But a team of British engineers might have a clever solution.

The team of researchers from the University of Surrey used the RemoveDEBRIS satellite — a satellite specifically designed to eliminate space junk that launched on board a SpaceX Falcon rocket in April 2018 — to launch a harpoon at a (previously set up) piece of test debris at 20 meters a second (44 mph).

“Successful in space demonstration of the harpoon technology is a significant step towards solving the growing issue of space debris,” said Chris Burgess, Harpoon Lead Engineer at Airbus Defence and Space said in a press release.

Caught in a Web

The test is actually the RemoveDEBRIS satellite’s second trick: in September, it successfully deployed a spider-like web  that was meant to grab space junk out of the sky.

The team at the University of Surrey is now preparing for its third and final test: RemoveDEBRIS will inflate a sail that will slowly drag it into Earth’s atmosphere where it will burn up and be destroyed.

READ MORE: Space junk harpooned like whale in orbit-cleanup test [Associated Press]

More on RemoveDEBRIS: UK Researchers Just Deployed a Massive Net to Catch Space Debris

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Watch a Harpoon Attached to a Satellite Spear a Piece of Space Debris

Scientists Call for a Ban on AI-Controlled Killer Robots

Killer Robots

Killer robots are coming for us all.

But rather than a T-1000 spewing one-liners, autonomous weapon systems like drones could end up replacing human soldiers on the battlefield entirely, given enough time.

But is it ethical to have an artificial intelligence call the shots and decide to take a human life?

Autonomous Weapons

Experts convening at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Washington DC this week had a clear answer: a resounding no. The group of experts — including ethics professors and human rights advocates — are calling for a ban on the development of AI-controlled weapons, as the BBC reports.

“We are not talking about walking, talking terminator robots that are about to take over the world; what we are concerned about is much more imminent: conventional weapons systems with autonomy,” Human Right’s Watch advocacy director Mary Wareham told the BBC.

Watching Human Rights

Another big question that arises: who is responsible when a machine does decide to take a human life? Is it the person who made the machine?

“The delegation of authority to kill to a machine is not justified and a violation of human rights because machines are not moral agents and so cannot be responsible for making decisions of life and death,” associate professor from the New School in New York Peter Asaro told the BBC.

But not everybody is on board to fully denounce the use of AI-controlled weapon systems. The U.S. and Russia were among several countries that opposed an outright ban on autonomous weapons following a week of talks in Geneva in September.

READ MORE: Call to ban killer robots in wars [BBC]

More on killer robots: The UK Is Developing Autonomous Killer Robots

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Scientists Call for a Ban on AI-Controlled Killer Robots

Teslas Are Getting a “Party and Camping Mode”

CEO Elon Musk confirmed in a tweet that a

“Party and Camping Mode”

As if “Romance Mode” and “Toilet Humor” wasn’t enough. Tesla owners have two more features to look forward to: “Party and Camping Mode.”

CEO Elon Musk confirmed in a tweet on Thursday that the feature would roll out in “probably a month or two.” Party and Camping Mode would allow Tesla Model S, Model X, and Model 3 owners to set the temperature, air flow, lights, and music for “48 hours or more” according to a July 2018 tweet from Musk — the first time the idea cropped up.

The new modes would also Tesla owners to power various electronic devices directly from the car’s remaining battery reserves — a big battery means plenty of juice for running air conditioning systems and music while powering things like coolers or external lights.

Tesla Camping

People have actually been sleeping in their Teslas for a number of years now. A “Camper Mode” already exists, which allows owners to set the temperature for a good night’s sleep — whether they’re parked in the jungle or in the middle of a snow storm. With the rear seats folded down, there’s enough space for a twin mattress.

The upcoming “Party and Camping Mode” would add the ability to power devices through the outlet located in the center console.

Modes Galore

The most recent software addition to Tesla’s on-board software suite is a “Dog Mode” that will keep dogs cool in hot weather while their masters are running errands.

A “Sentry Mode” released at the same time keeps the car safe and will “play Bach’s Toccata and Fugue during a robbery (and keep Summer safe),” Musk tweeted earlier this year.

READ MORE: Tesla’s ‘Party and Camping Mode’ coming in a ‘month or two’ says Elon Musk [Teslarati]

More on Dog and Sentry Mode: Tesla’s New “Dog Mode” Will Keep Canines Happy With AC, Music

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Teslas Are Getting a “Party and Camping Mode”

NASA Chief: SpaceX’s Starship Tougher Than Any NASA Project, Ever

A NASA director warned that Elon Musk's proposed Starship design was going to be

Orders of Magnitude

In a new interview with Business Insider, the director of the Space Technology and Exploration Directorate at NASA Langley warned that Elon Musk’s proposed Starship design was going to be “orders of magnitude” more difficult than any NASA project in history.

“It won’t be easy for us or SpaceX,” Walt Engelund told Business Insider.

Sweating Bullets

Engelund’s specific concern is Musk’s plan to cool the rocket by “bleeding” fuel through small pores. He asked what would happen, for instance, if a “bird poops on your rocket and it plugs up a few holes.”

“I’ve seen instances where you’ll get one clogged channel… and it will immediately result in burn-throughs,” the chief engineer told the business magazine. “A model will disappear in a hypersonic wind tunnel. It almost vaporizes, there’s so much energy and so much heat.”

Élan Musk

At the same time, Engelund admitted, SpaceX is bringing unprecedented energy and creativity to the private space industry, so he doesn’t rule out Starship succeeding — and he foresees further collaboration between the two organizations.

“They’ve surprised a lot of people, and have a lot of smart people working for them, and Elon seems to be really committed and dedicated to this,” Engelund told Business Insider. “Perhaps there are some things that we could do with them. I suspect there will be.”

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NASA Chief: SpaceX’s Starship Tougher Than Any NASA Project, Ever