Tribute to Stephen Hawking: a Pretty Sweet Week in Science

This post is unlike other posts I have done, but I thought that with this week’s news cycle, a lot of really cool science was either published or reported on and it was likely overshadowed by rogue bombings, a Facebook scandal and President Orange + Co.  So, without further ado, check out these amazing articles, a handful of scientific and medical breakthroughs, that have recently not been given the attention they deserve.  Think of it as a little positivity and distraction from the rollercoaster of craziness.

#1:  The Neuroscience of LSD Unlocks the Doors of Self-Perception: Cutting-edge LSD research may lead to new treatments for psychiatric disorders.

ARTICLE LINK

This article is a continuation on the evolving topic of psychedelics and their role in correcting mental health disorders, such as depression.  If you are unfamiliar with the research, I recommend googling psilocybin trials and depression (also MDMA and ketamine).  This article brings to light the latest LSD trials, and as far as I’ve read, the thoroughest research that has been done on human participants using the drug.  According to the article, this research may have implications on future drug production that can help with diseases like schizophrenia.  One thing that always stands out when I read on topics like this, is how far we are from even somewhat understanding the human brain and all it’s intricacies.  Similarly, I’m enthralled with how far we have come and I am excited to see what the future holds in this area of psychological study.

#2: Macular degeneration: ‘I’ve been given my sight back’

ARTICLE LINK

#2.5: ‘Revolutionary’ Nano-Drops can help banish eyeglasses, Israeli researchers say

ARTICLE LINK

2 & 2.5 are both about eyes…. Fixing bad eyes so they can see.  Seriously, though!?  Eye drops that get rid of glasses and stem cells that fix blindness.  Getting old might be tolerable by the time I get there!  Add some 3D printed knees to the mix and I might be able to rip the slopes up ’til I’m 100!  Well, if there is still snow to ski on then… Here’s to wishing the nuclear radiation doesn’t effect the yearly snowpack.

#3: Stephen Hawking’s ‘breathtaking’ final multiverse theory completed two weeks before he died

ARTICLE HERE

Talk about a mic drop.  This dude did the most incredible things.  Can you imagine writing a paper on anything without a pen or a computer to type on… Writing a blog post by hand would be a task in and of itself and I’d probably end up just not writing it… Now, how about publishing a new theory on multiverses backed by mathematics while being unable to move?  GANGSTA SHIT.  I’d say RIP, but Stephen would robotically be like, “Dane, I am dead.  There is no place I will be rest-ing.  My body is going to decompose and fertilize the so-il.” And, I’d be like, “You’re so smart, Mr. Hawking.”  So, in conclusion, although it is sad to lose one of the greatest minds of our time, at least he left something rad for us to remember him by and a new theory for future scientists to further evolve.

#4: Turns Out Coffee Acts on Your Brain Like Cannabis, But in Reverse

ARTICLE LINK

And, then there is this… As a consumer of, umm, coffee… and copious amounts of it.  I found this to be rather interesting.

Oh, and lastly, what the fuck was that thing in Annihilation… That movie was nuts.

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

Book Reviews: Jordan B. Peterson, Bone Clocks, Enlightenment Now, & Dark Matter

I have been reading, or pulling a cheat move and listening to, at least two books per month since the New Year.  Here are some short reviews on what I have read.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (Fiction; Book)
Beautifully written fantasy-type novel that spans multiple decades and tells a unique story. The character development was the headlining act, the book is essentially written in 5 novellas that all intertwine.  The British styled writing was a bit hard to follow, and at times I found myself drifting into other thoughts and having to reread sections, but that seems more like a personal issue than an issue with the author’s ability to paint such vivid narrative.  David Mitchell is the same author who wrote Cloud Atlas.
4/5 stars.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (Fiction; Audible)
This was a fun read with a good concept but it had a fair amount of, as I like to call it, cheese.  Terribly corny similes were making me laugh out loud, but the idea made for entertaining sci-fi.  At the end I thought I was listening to an episode of Rick & Morty.
3/5 stars.

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson (Non-Fiction – Psychology; Audible)
Yawn.  For how much controversy surrounded this guy, I was underwhelmed and rather bored with his book. I think I heard him on Joe Rogan’s podcast and thought I’d check the book out. Some intelligent concepts and I understood his stance on many of the principles, whether I agreed or not, but I didn’t find them tremendously useful.  Furthermore, I hated, with a fiery passion, the heavily repeated religious sentiment that plagued the pages of this book and found myself following these parables down worm holes that ended with some bland and tasteless analogy for “Take Action” or “Be Responsible.”  My opinion: You can get a much better book containing many less words and without the religious undertones and proverbial nonsense, but you’ll catch a couple wise insights.
2.5/5 stars.

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker (Non-Fiction; Audible)
I loved this book.  Bill Gates, apparently also did, calling it, something along the lines of, his new favorite book of all time… but I’m too lazy to Google that and find the actual quote… so, hopefully, that is close enough.  Anyways, it was a lot to take in, and there are many charts that I haven’t even had the opportunity to review yet, but this book argues, with statistics and valid reasoning, the case for why we are currently living in the best time humanity has ever seen.  It paints a realistic picture of a world where life has been getting better and better even though humanity seems to think the opposite.  It paints that realistic picture and it looks a lot like what reality is.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who has had a disposition that the current world is shit.  Pinker will make you think twice to bitch about it and maybe even inspire you to step up and make the difference you want to see in the world.  With that said, there are still problems and the book also argues the counter points and brings to light the reality of current political landscapes and the cultures that arise from them, on both sides of the political spectrum, that could be harmful of the advancement of the Enlightenment’s ideals.  Not for everyone, but I enjoyed this thoroughly.
4.5/5 stars.

I forgot to review the two I read in January:  Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.  Both of which were incredibly good and easy reads.

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane