Friday, August 12, 2016

Learning! Roundup: Seeing thoughts as shapes, global warming disaster movie inspiration, and more

Seeing thoughts as shapes, global warming, ice bucket challenge, and more
What if your thoughts appeared to you as stars in a constellation?
Photo of Sagittarius by Scott Roy Atwood, Wikimedia Commons

Visualize the Problem

A few weeks ago we learned about a woman who can see colours no one else can see (what a great reminder that there is far more out there than we could even hope to perceive!) Now we learn about a man whose synesthesia takes a new form: he sees thoughts as shapes. He describes the shapes as constellations, with each star made up of a thought, sentence in a book, or decision. Fascinating!

Unexpected threats of global warming

If you were looking for another reason to be afraid of global warming, here is some great news: the melting permafrost is a slow opening of a pandora's box of horrors. Anthrax poisoning from a dead reindeer's thawing body, infectious diseases, and frozen waste seeping into freshwater reserves are just a few of the dangers waiting for us under the permafrost.

It's like a very very slow global disaster movie. Actually, let's take bets on how long it will take for the next disease thriller to be about an ancient illness awakening in the melting permafrost? Hollywood executives! This is gold! (I'll write the script - please pay me!)

Need a new companion?

In happier news, there is new research happening to show that goats make better pets than dogs.

Ice Bucket Challenge success!

More good news: the Ice Bucket Challenge craze of 2014 worked! Okay, this is scientific research and so it's not like they've suddenly cured the disease or anything (nothing happens that fast), but they did find the gene responsible for ALS.

A new treatment for depression

There's a new treatment for depression being tested, and not only is it supposed to be just as effective as Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (the current standard), but it's cheaper, easier to administer, and it's even on trend. It's called Behavioural Activation Therapy, and like Power Posing, it's an "outside in" therapy. Instead of identifying damaging thoughts that lead to various beliefs and emotions (the basic tenet of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy), Behavioural Activation Therapy looks at actions that support depression. It's still in the testing phase, but it performed just as well as CBT in this, most recent, study.


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