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Maggie Clark
Literary recluse, life-long scholar, writer of speculative fiction
Literary recluse, life-long scholar, writer of speculative fiction
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A more meditative take on endings this morning.

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Clever work-around!

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Third time's a charm! My review of Snowpiercer. And now... coffee.

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This part of science is really important, too: the part where ensuing peer-review comes to a consensus that corrects original findings. In this case, the cranial volume first associated with H. flores could not be replicated in repeat measurements, the new cranial volume falls within a normative range for existent species, and left-right facial asymmetry, a common marker for growth disorders, strongly suggests that the height originally extrapolated from the thighbone was also off. So... no hobbitses here! Just more evidence that humans have been at risk of severe birth defects for thousands upon thousands of years.

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I was about to file this under "self-evident study is self-evident" until I noticed that the intensity, consistency, and duration of the runs needed to achieve these improved health outcomes were much more variable than we might think. The self-evident component is still "be active and your body will thank you for it" but the rest should be reassuring to folks trying to make everyday life changes for the better.

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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.

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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!
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