You sit at the restaurant with your young son, he says he is hungry. You agree to get him dinner. You open up to the kids menu, your child is far to young for adult food. Chicken nugger stares at you from the page. You don’t understand. Your palms get sweaty and your son complains. He says he is hungry. Your mind strains, searching for an answer in a world of sweer potato and french fried. You try to order the chicken nugger, but you cannot. The words cannot escape your lips. Your son is hungry, he complains. The waitress stares at you, her head a spinning chicken nugger, her arms swinging french fried. Your son cries the tears of a chicken nugger-less child. In your mind you scream. It is raining sweer potato now, you have french fried engraved on your left temple and you do not understand. Your son weeps in the corner, he is starving. Starving for the chicken nugger.
You watch as your son scarfs down nugger after nugger. He is satisfied. He loves the chicken nugger. You wonder if you could ever attain that kind of happiness in your own life. You quietly pay your bill and enter the street. Your son asks if you can buy him an ice cream. You enter Mrs. Moo’s on Jefferson street hoping to order a rocky road. You look at the menu on the wall.
Chicken Nugger …. $3.50
Chicken Nugger …. $4.75
Chicken Nugger …. $2.11
Chicken Nugger …. $6.65
It goes on and on. You are confused. Your son asks again for the chicken nugger. He is full but wants chicken nugger for dessert. You ask the woman at the counter for a scoop of rocky road. She doesn’t know how to respond. You get desperate, you ask for vanilla. Her eyes widen. She motions her way toward the telephone. You ask again, “a scoop of vanilla?” She picks up the phone and begins dialing. Your son again asks for chicken nugger. You want to run, you want to scream, you look at your palms and the lines have begun to form chicken nugglets. The phone the woman is dialing starts sweating chicken grease, her eyes close and she is ashamed, ashamed that she her customer has caused such a problem. You want to run but your son is screaming for the chicken nugger.
You sir have just gotten yourself into a reality war, are you ready?
The waitress makes her call and collapses into chicken nuggers, grease rolling from where her body had stood. You look up to the menu on the wall, but the words have tumbled off the paper and have conjeeled as mustard on the floor. You turn to your son, his eyes flaming mirrors of your own reality. The rain has turned to hail, currents of sweer potato break the glass windows in the shop and sirens yell in the distance. You try to cover your eyes, but your hands are no longer yours, they drip grease and melt into a familiar form. Your hands are chicken nuggers. You scream.
you watch yourself from above as you become chicken nugger. Your son collapses into a quivering sweer potato as the universe fold in on its self to form a massive french fried. Your son is now screaming from his forehead for a chicken nugger and the space time continuum ceases to exist and in its place is a toasty nugger. you try to scream for chicken nugger but all your mouth will produce is sweer potatat. In japan, your hundreds of children mime to you their deep need for chicken nugger, and you demand a lawyer to defend you. The planets, all of them, mercury through pluto, crash to earth and are reduced to a myriad chicken nugger. Death comes for you. you hope to go to a better place but there is only chicken nugger.
This website is on drugs.
welcome to tumblr.
When Whales Walked in Egypt
by Brian Switek (Nov. 2011)
If the German paleontologist Eberhard Fraas is remembered for anything, his efforts to discover and describe the impressive dinosaurs of Tanzania’s Tendaguru beds must be at the top of the list. Thanks to a tip about the site from local mining engineer Bernhard Wilhelm Sattler, in 1907 Fraas began to remove impressive Jurassic dinosaurs simultaneously strange and familiar.
The site was Africa’s own Late Jurassic graveyard — one full of spectacular creatures that seemed quite similar to Brachiosaurus, Allosaurus, Stegosaurus, and other dinosaurian celebrities found in North America’s ever-productive Morrison Formation. Fraas was delighted to find such a wonderful place –- the dinosaur bones “spoke in an eloquent language of the extinct primeval world”, he later wrote –- and the imposing Giraffatitan which stands in the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin is a reconstructed testament to Fraas’ efforts.
But Fraas was not solely focused on dinosaurs during his career. Several years before his journey to Tendaguru, Fraas described a peculiar creature that –- had it only been slightly more complete –- could have quickly closed a gap in our understanding of one of the greatest transitions in evolutionary history. Fraas called the animal Protocetus. It was one of the very earliest whales.
There wasn’t very much left of the original Protocetus specimen. Found in limestone deposits created on the floor of a 45-million-year-old sea where Cairo, Egypt, now sits, the archaic cetacean was represented by a nearly complete skull and a series of vertebrae from the neck down to the hip. No parts of the limbs were found…
(read more: Laelaps - Wired Science)
(illustration: A restoration of the protocetid whale Maiacetus. Though found in far from Aegyptocetus in Pakistan, Maiacetus represents the general form of the protocetid whales. Image modified from one posted to Flickr by the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History)
Trick yourself into an out-of-body experience
Your mind isn’t as firmly anchored in your body as you think. Time for some sleight of hand
CLOSE your eyes and ask yourself: where am I? Not geographically, but existentially. Most of the time, we would say that we are inside our bodies. After all, we peer out at the world from a unique, first-person perspective within our heads – and we take it for granted.
We wouldn’t be so sanguine if we knew that this feeling of inhabiting a body is something the brain is constantly constructing. But the fact that we live inside our bodies doesn’t mean that our sense of self is confined to its borders – as these next examples show.
Sleight of (rubber) hand
By staging experiments that manipulate the senses, we can explore how the brain draws – and redraws – the contours of where our selves reside.
One of the simplest ways to see this in action is via an experiment that’s now part of neuroscience folklore: the rubber hand illusion. The set up is simple: a person’s hand is hidden from their view by a screen while a rubber hand is placed on the table in front of them. By stroking their hand while they see the rubber hand being stroked, you can make them feel that the fake hand is theirs (see diagram).
Why does this happen? The brain integrates various senses to create aspects of our bodily self. In the rubber hand illusion, the brain is processing touch, vision and proprioception – the internal sense of the relative location of our body parts. Given the conflicting information, the brain resolves it by taking ownership of the rubber hand.
The implication is that the boundaries of the self sketched out by the brain can easily expand to include a foreign object. And the self’s peculiar meanderings outside the body don’t end there.
Ever wish you had someone else’s body? The brain can make it happen. To show how, Henrik Ehrsson at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues transported people out of their own bodies and into a life-size mannequin.
The mannequin had cameras for eyes, and whatever it was “seeing” was fed into a head-mounted display worn by a volunteer. In this case, the mannequin’s gaze was pointed down at its abdomen. When the researchers stroked the abdomens of both the volunteer and the mannequin at the same time, many identified with the mannequin’s body as if it was their own.
In 2011, the team repeated the experiment, but this time while monitoring the brain activity of volunteers lying in an fMRI scanner. They found that activity in certain areas of the frontal and parietal lobes correlated with the changing sense of body ownership.
So what’s happening? Studies of macaque monkeys show us that these brain regions contain neurons that integrate vision, touch and proprioception. Ehrsson thinks that in the human brain such neurons fire only when there are synchronous touches and visual sensations in the immediate space around the body, suggesting that they play a role in constructing our sense of body ownership. Mess with the information the brain receives, and you can mess with this feeling of body ownership.
Yet while Ehrsson’s study manipulated body ownership, the person “inside” the mannequin still had a first-person perspective – their self was still located within a body, even if it wasn’t their own. Could it be possible to wander somewhere where there is no body at all?
Into thin air
Your self even can be tricked into hovering in mid-air outside the body. In 2011, Olaf Blanke at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne and colleagues asked volunteers to lie on their backs and via a headset watch a video of a person of similar appearance being stroked on the back. Meanwhile, a robotic arm installed within the bed stroked the volunteer’s back in the same way.
The experience that people described was significantly more immersive than simply watching a movie of someone else’s body. Volunteers felt they were floating above their own body, and a few experienced a particularly strange effect. Despite the fact that they were all lying facing upwards, some felt they were floating face down so they could watch their own back (see “Leaving the body”). “I was looking at my own body from above,” said one participant. “The perception of being apart from my own body was a bit weak but still there.”
“That was for us really exciting, because it gets really close to the classical out-of-body experience of looking down at your own body,” says team member Bigna Lenggenhager, now at the University of Bern in Switzerland. Further support came by repeating the experiment inside an MRI scanner, which showed a brain region called the temporoparietal junction (TPJ) behaving differently when people said they were drifting outside their bodies. This ties in neatly with previous studies of brain lesions in people who reported out-of-body experiences, which also implicated the TPJ.
The TPJ shares a common trait with other brain regions that researchers believe are associated with body illusions: it helps to integrate visual, tactile and proprioceptive senses with the signals from the inner ear that give us our sense of balance and spatial orientation. This provides more evidence that the brain’s ability to integrate various sensory stimuli plays a key role in locating the self in the body.
According to philosopher Thomas Metzinger of the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, understanding how the brain performs this trick is the first step to understanding how the brain puts together our autobiographical self – the sense we have of ourselves as entities that exist from a remembered past to an imagined future. “These experiments are very telling, because they manipulate low-level dimensions of the self: self-location and self-identification,” he says. The feeling of owning and being in a body is perhaps the most basic facet of self-consciousness, and so could be the foundation on which more complex aspects of the self are built. The body, it seems, begets the self.
Upcoming Marvel Films (2013-2015)
Iron Man 3 (May 3, 2013)
The Wolverine (July 26, 2013)
Thor: The Dark World (November 8, 2013)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4, 2014)
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (May 2, 2014)
X-Men: Days of Future Past (July 18, 2014)Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1, 2014)
Fantastic Four Reboot (March 6, 2015)
The Avengers 2 (May 1, 2015)
Ant-Man (November 6, 2015)
It’s going to be a good life after all!