Posts tagged news
Posts tagged news
And yet another scientific study pointing towards the psylocibin mushroom having medical benefits.
A recent study found that most people treated with a single high dose of psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychoactive mushrooms, showed a long-lasting change in personality—namely, an increase in openness. One of five broad measures of temperament used by psychologists, this quality is generally defined as openness to new ideas or experiences, awareness of feelings in the self and others, and is strongly tied to creativity and aesthetic appreciation. This is one of the first studies to link a single treatment with a drug in a laboratory setting to a long-lasting change in personality.
What’s the background:
The present study is an analysis of the results from two previous trials, published in 2006 and 2011. These showed that lab-administered psilocybin was linked to long-lasting improvements in study participant’s relationships, mood and general well-being, as reported by study participants and corroborated by their family members/friends.
-Researchers divided the 52 participants into two groups: those who had a “complete mystical experience,” and those who did not.
-Although it might seem hard to believe, given the vagaries of spiritual experience, psychologists have a relatively well-defined and established definition for a “complete mystical experience:” one in which a person experiences a sense of unity with the world and other people; feelings of blessedness and sacredness; a sense of inner presence or divine force; and the feeling that what is perceived is “more real” than ordinary reality, among other qualities. Results by the lead author of this study, Johns Hopkins University researcher Roland Griffiths, have shown this can come about by taking psilocybin. But similar (or indistinguishable) experiences can occur through non-drug means, such as through prayer, fasting, sex, sensory-deprivation, etc.
-People who had a “complete mystical experience” during their psilocybin trip scored significantly higher on measures of “openness” more than a year afterward. Those who didn’t have a complete mystical experience did not score significantly higher on these same measures.
-During all tests, patients sat in a comfortable room, given eye-shades and told to focus their thoughts inward. They were accompanied by trained staff to help counsel them or provide support if the patient became anxious, upset, etc.
-All participants were screened for mental disorders hadn’t previously taken hallucinogens.
What’s the Context:
-Qualitative and quantitive research has shown that personality traits tend to remain relatively stable in adults, although certain life-changing events have been linked to major changes in core measures of temperament. Changes brought about by single treatments with drugs tend to be short-lived.
-Researchers say that the mystical experience brought about by drugs like psilocybin is likely responsible for the long-lasting change in openness, which the researchers say they think is permanent.
-Although there was no “control” in this study, researchers were able to separate the group by judging whether or not they had a discrete “compete mystical experience.” They also showed that the higher participant’s rated the experience, the more likely they were to have a significant change in personality.
Journal Reference: K. A. MacLean, M. W. Johnson, R. R. Griffiths. Mystical Experiences Occasioned by the Hallucinogen Psilocybin Lead to Increases in the Personality Domain of Openness. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2011; DOI: 10.1177/0269881111420188
Maybe some of our leaders need to try.
Pause on this!
Monkeys, zebras, alligators and aardvarks are just a few of the exotic animals up for sale at this Ohio Amish Auction. Erik German went inside the famously camera-shy sale.
Until recently, the Mid Ohio Alternative Animal and Bird Sale, as the auction is officially known, even sold off dangerous predators like leopards and bears. But after drawing protests from animal-rights advocates and getting some unfavorable press, the event’s owners have set a few limits on species with big, sharp teeth. It’s one of the few concessions that have been made to a simmering controversy over exotic pets in a state with notoriously lax laws on animal ownership.
But even without any big cats up for sale, the range of animal specimens was dizzying: alligators and elk, kangaroos and kinkajous, parrots and poison-arrow frogs, and an irate African aardvark throwing such a pre-auction tantrum that three men were called in to wrestle the animal from his cage.
One buyer watching the scene, her eyebrows arched high, said, “If it took three guys to get it out, we don’t want it.”
Get a jackal!
“What we’re trying to do is take our chicken, modify it, and make a chickenosaurus.” - Jack Horner, reverse evolver of chickens/dinosaur-maker.
(via How to Hatch a Dinosaur - Wired Magazine, pic by Joe Pugliese)
Awwwww. I’m gonna get you a chickensaurus!
This is a hypothetic euthanasia machine in the form of a roller coaster, engineered to humanely – with elegance and euphoria – take the life of a human being. Designer/Artist Julijonas Urbonas created the death coaster.
The 3-minute ride involves a long, slow, climb — nearly a third of a mile long — that lifts one up to a height of more than 1600 feet, followed by a massive fall and seven strategically sized and placed loops. The final descent and series of loops take all of one minute. But the 10g force from the spinning loops at 223 mph in that single minute is lethal.
Well, doesn’t this sound like a fun way to go.
Awful Chart of the Day. This is from documents used at the FBI training base in Quantico. According to this chart, the more devout a Muslim is (in contrast with how devout a Christian or Jew is) the more violent. Andrew Gelman points out the glaring historical inaccuracies in this chart on his blog (you’d think said inaccuracies wouldn’t need to be spelled out, but…).
If you haven’t already, go read Spencer Ackerman’s pieces on the FBI’s training of counterterrorism agents and the descriptions and assertions made about Islam, violence, and terrorism. It’s some excellent journalism.
So, all these religions are kind of like THE BIG BANG. They start out super violent…and then taper off into some sort of order? (except for those rascally Muslims they just went Bang and then leveled off to a perfect consistent violence line.)
OMG! Who the fuck is running this country? Third graders could make a more accurate and meaningful chart. Plus shouldn’t this start off in 10,000 BCE? I mean, to be factually accurate, ha ha.
This Day in Science History: the extinction of the Thylacine
It’s not often that humans can know the exact moment when a species went extinct. Zookeepers at the Hobart Zoo in Tasmania, Australia have the unfortunate distinction of being able to announce just that - the day, exactly 75 years ago, when the thylacine went extinct.
Though the thylacine looks very much similar to modern dogs, it is actually a marsupial. It’s only distantly related to modern canines, though the evolutionary convergence is striking. Thylacines died off on the Australian mainland two millenia ago due to hunting and competition, but they survived on the island of Tasmania into the 1930’s. Today, there are only a half dozen movie clips left documenting the existence of the marsupial, though fossil evolution places the rise of the modern Thylacine at 4 million years ago. The last captive thylacine was named Benjamin, even though film footage appears to show that she is a female - the sex has never been confirmed. Read more at the Thylacine Museum.
RIP, Thylacines - 4MYA - September 7th, 1963
(Technically, it was yesterday. So I’m one day behind - forgive me?)
Click on the link to watch the movies. Get one of these kangaroo dogs!
Humans may have invented the spork, often seen at fast food joints, but a very clever group of bottlenose dolphins in Australia has created its own new combo tool that both captures fish and functions as a food bowl.
Use of the tool, described in a Murdoch University press release, is called “conching.” Dolphins first trap small fish in large conch shells with their rostrums (beaks). They then bring the shells to the surface and shake them. Like a strainer, this causes the water to drain out and sends the fish right into the dolphin’s mouth.
Have allergies to fur? Hypoallergenic pets don’t do the trick? Well Tahar the Beastmaster has the answer: he keeps alligators as pets! Incredible Features met up with him some years back to find out how he got close with the creatures. At the height of his career he was known as ‘The…
Who would want to live with Gators?