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Maggie Clark
Attends Wilfrid Laurier University
Lived in Toronto, Ontario
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Maggie Clark

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Researchers have erased and reactivated memories in rats, profoundly altering the animals’ reaction to past events. The study is the first to show the ability to selectively remove a memory and predictably reactivate it by stimulating nerves in the brain at frequencies that are known to weaken and strengthen the connections between nerve cells, called synapses.
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A few weeks ago I read a study where scientists created a transgenic mouse with an optic fibre implant, so that they could shut off gamma activity in the hippocampal-entorhinal circuit by flashing a light, and so take away the mouse's ability to make accurate choices in a maze. Now we're meddling with primate choices on a neuronal level (not that we really need to; there's plenty in our environments that unwittingly skews our sense of "choice" already - from smells that shift our politics, to groupthink behaviours that can influence our decisions for days). Certainly attests to the idea that we're material beings to the core, our actions determined by a complex interplay of biochemical priming and immediate context... but also pretty unnerving!
When electrical pulses are applied to the ventral tegmental area of their brain, macaques presented with two images change their preference from one image to the other. The study is the first to confirm a causal link between activity in the ventral tegmental area and choice behavior in primates.
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Neil Gaiman, author of many fantastical worlds, is now working in a world that shouldn't exist. Help him preserve the stories of Syrian refugees.
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In which I weigh in on an ugly and protracted dispute among contemporary writers of science fiction and fantasy.
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There's a short story up here--one which ran out of potential markets too quickly for my liking. Light historical fantasy involving the imaginative consequences of a 12-year-old negotiating her faith, fossils, and fellow human beings at the turn of the nineteenth century. If you recognize the opening reference, awesome; if not, here's hoping you still find it a fun read.
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"What we have identified is a region of the Malaria parasite which it uses to attach to a healthy blood cell then pushes itself into the cell," says the parasitic diseases expert.

"To prevent this invasion, we developed antibodies which can interfere with this invasion process. So imagine the parasite has the key to unlock a door to the red blood cell, but we muck the key up, so no matter how hard the parasite tries, the door just refuses to open."
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The music is sappy, so turn it off if need be, but the underlying point is critical: Human beings are not the only creatures who need friends and can be deeply wounded by their loss. The last pig farm in Toronto was just recently closed, while The Cambridge Declaration of Consciousness maintains strong support within the scientific community. I hope in our lifetimes we continue to see extensions of compassion to the rest of the animal kingdom... destructively parasitic species aside, because everyone knows wasps and ringworms are just jerks.
Animals have the ability to form friendships and feel deep emotions, just like us.  Animal Place took in a rescued…
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After watching this Godzilla movie, I went for a walk and within fifteen minutes had to put a stop to a fistfight that started feet from me in downtown Kitchener (by threatening to and then calling the cops, although they didn't arrive fast enough to stop one of the dudes from downing the other). Clearly this means that monster movies are good for one's sense of civic duty - another reason you should watch this one!
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This treatment is apparently still two or three years off from clinical trials, but for now... a tentative "yay for herpes"?
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Things you never thought you'd say!
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Another very thought-provoking piece! At the Easter service I attended yesterday, my pastor began by letting us know he didn't believe that the story of Noah and the ark was actually true, at least any more so than The Hunger Games is.

As somebody who sees the world in terms of systems, I tend to place a much stronger weight on scientific explanations of things but I'm willing to entertain magical thinking as a plausible explanation where there's no competing scientific one. It's similar to the approach of Pi.
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Student, Freelance Writer
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Toronto, Ontario - Victoria, BC - Waterloo, ON
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Literary recluse, life-long scholar, writer of speculative fiction
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Successfully avoiding fame and fortune for 27 years and counting!
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  • Wilfrid Laurier University
    English Lit, present
  • University of Waterloo
    Political Science & English Lit
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Female