Banana equivalent dose (BED) is an informal measurement of ionizing radiation exposure, intended as a general educational example to compare a dose of radioactivity to the dose one is exposed to by eating one average-sized banana. Bananas contain naturally occurring radioactive isotopes, particularly potassium-40 (40K), one of several naturally-occurring isotopes of potassium. One BED is often correlated to 10−7 sievert (0.1 μSv); however, in practice, this dose is not cumulative, as the principal radioactive component is excreted to maintain metabolic equilibrium. The BED is only meant to inform the public about the existence of very low levels of natural radioactivity within a natural food and is not a formally adopted dose measurement.
Shit life syndrome (SLS) is a phrase used by physicians in the United Kingdom and the United States for the effect that a variety of poverty or abuse-induced disorders can have on patients.
Sarah O'Connor's 2018 article for the Financial Times "Left behind: can anyone save the towns the economy forgot?" on shit life syndrome in the English coastal town of Blackpool won the 2018 Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain's Social Evils. O'Connor wrote that
Blackpool exports healthy skilled people and imports the unskilled, the unemployed and the unwell. As people overlooked by the modern economy wash up in a place that has also been left behind, the result is a quietly unfolding health crisis. More than a tenth of the town's working-age inhabitants live on state benefits paid to those deemed too sick to work. Antidepressant prescription rates are among the highest in the country. Life expectancy, already the lowest in England, has recently started to fall. Doctors in places such as this have a private diagnosis for what ails some of their patients: "Shit Life Syndrome" ... People with SLS really do have mental or physical health problems, doctors say. But they believe the causes are a tangled mix of economic, social and emotional problems that they — with 10- to 15-minute slots per patient — feel powerless to fix. The relationship between economics and health is blurry, complex and politically fraught. But it is too important to ignore.
In a column for The Irish Times, writer John McManus questioned whether Ireland had developed shit life syndrome in the wake of a recent fall in life expectancy.
A 2018 article in The Quietus on the films of the British director Mike Leigh identified shit life syndrome in Leigh's 2002 film All or Nothing. Kinney wrote that "The film asks questions about poverty – what does poverty do to people? How do you react when the chips are down? ... The rise of populism in this country has been analysed through the lens of the 'left behind' – in a less crude way, this is exactly what All or Nothing was observing sixteen years ago."
Rosemary Rizq, in an essay in the 2016 collection The Future of Psychological Therapy, questioned the origin of the term shit life syndrome, writing that "The phrase seemed to denote a level of long-standing poverty, family breakdown, lack of stability, unemployment and potential risk factors common to many of the predominately young, working class patients referred to the [psychotherapeutic] service" for shit is "something that we continually reject, get rid of or hide. At the same time it is something we cannot completely repudiate, it is part of us, something we need" and that the individuals with SLS have problems so "terrible, so untouchable" that they "quite literally cannot be thought about, cannot be handled by the service", yet a therapeutic organisation is "obliged to do so".
- "Shit Life Syndrome" | 2023-08-20 | 397 Upvotes 232 Comments
Li Wenliang (Chinese: 李文亮; pinyin: Lǐ Wénliàng; 12 October 1986 – 7 February 2020) was a Chinese ophthalmologist who worked as a physician at Wuhan Central Hospital. Li warned his colleagues in December 2019 about a possible outbreak of an illness that resembled severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), later acknowledged as COVID-19. He became a whistleblower when his warnings were later shared publicly. On 3 January 2020, Wuhan police summoned and admonished him for "making false comments on the Internet". Li returned to work, later contracted the virus from an infected patient (who had been originally treated for glaucoma) and died from the disease on 7 February 2020, at age 33. A subsequent Chinese official inquiry exonerated him and the Communist Party formally offered a "solemn apology" to his family and revoked its admonishment of him.
- "Li Wenliang" | 2020-02-11 | 350 Upvotes 206 Comments
Aphantasia is a condition where one does not possess a functioning mind's eye and cannot voluntarily visualize imagery. The phenomenon was first described by Francis Galton in 1880 but has since remained largely unstudied. Interest in the phenomenon renewed after the publication of a study in 2015 conducted by a team led by Professor Adam Zeman of the University of Exeter, which also coined the term aphantasia. Research on the condition is still scarce.
- "Aphantasia - the inability to voluntarily create mental images" | 2021-11-28 | 105 Upvotes 276 Comments
- "Aphantasia" | 2019-06-24 | 85 Upvotes 72 Comments
This is a list of common misconceptions. Each entry is formatted as a correction; the misconceptions themselves are implied rather than stated. These entries are meant to be concise, but more detail can be found in the main subject articles.
Project MKUltra (or MK-Ultra), also called the CIA mind control program, is the code name given to a program of experiments on human subjects that were designed and undertaken by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, some of which were illegal. Experiments on humans were intended to identify and develop drugs and procedures to be used in interrogations in order to weaken the individual and force confessions through mind control. The project was organized through the Office of Scientific Intelligence of the CIA and coordinated with the United States Army Biological Warfare Laboratories. Code names for drug-related experiments were Project Bluebird and Project Artichoke.
The operation was officially sanctioned in 1953, reduced in scope in 1964 and further curtailed in 1967. It was officially halted in 1973. The program engaged in many illegal activities, including the use of U.S. and Canadian citizens as its unwitting test subjects, which led to controversy regarding its legitimacy. MKUltra used numerous methods to manipulate its subjects' mental states and brain functions. Techniques included the covert administration of high doses of psychoactive drugs (especially LSD) and other chemicals, electroshocks, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, isolation, verbal and sexual abuse, as well as other forms of torture.
The scope of Project MKUltra was broad, with research undertaken at more than 80 institutions, including colleges and universities, hospitals, prisons, and pharmaceutical companies. The CIA operated using front organizations, although sometimes top officials at these institutions were aware of the CIA's involvement.
Project MKUltra was first brought to public attention in 1975 by the Church Committee of the United States Congress and Gerald Ford's United States President's Commission on CIA activities within the United States (also known as the Rockefeller Commission).
Investigative efforts were hampered by CIA Director Richard Helms' order that all MKUltra files be destroyed in 1973; the Church Committee and Rockefeller Commission investigations relied on the sworn testimony of direct participants and on the relatively small number of documents that survived Helms's destruction order. In 1977, a Freedom of Information Act request uncovered a cache of 20,000 documents relating to project MKUltra which led to Senate hearings later that year. Some surviving information regarding MKUltra was declassified in July 2001. In December 2018, declassified documents included a letter to an unidentified doctor discussing work on six dogs made to run, turn and stop via remote control and brain implants.
Exploding head syndrome (EHS) is a condition in which a person experiences unreal noises that are loud and of short duration when falling asleep or waking up. The noise may be frightening, typically occurs only occasionally, and is not a serious health concern. People may also experience a flash of light. Pain is typically absent.
The cause is unknown. Potential explanations include ear problems, temporal lobe seizure, nerve dysfunction, or specific genetic changes. Potential risk factors include psychological stress. It is classified as a sleep disorder or headache disorder. People often go undiagnosed.
There is no high quality evidence to support treatment. Reassurance may be sufficient. Clomipramine and calcium channel blockers have been tried. While the frequency of the condition is not well studied, some have estimated that it occurs in about 10% of people. Females are reportedly more commonly affected. The condition was initially described at least as early as 1876. The current name came into use in 1988.
Rat Park was a series of studies into drug addiction conducted in the late 1970s and published between 1978 and 1981 by Canadian psychologist Bruce K. Alexander and his colleagues at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada.
Alexander's hypothesis was that drugs do not cause addiction, and that the apparent addiction to opiate drugs commonly observed in laboratory rats exposed to them is attributable to their living conditions, and not to any addictive property of the drug itself.
To test his hypothesis, Alexander built Rat Park, a large housing colony, 200 times the floor area of a standard laboratory cage. There were 16–20 rats of both sexes in residence, food, balls and wheels for play, and enough space for mating. The results of the experiment appeared to support his hypothesis.
The two major science journals, Science and Nature, rejected Alexander, Coambs, and Hadaway's first paper, which appeared instead in Psychopharmacology in 1978. The paper's publication initially attracted no response. Within a few years, Simon Fraser University withdrew Rat Park's funding.
The bouba/kiki effect is a non-arbitrary mapping between speech sounds and the visual shape of objects. It was first documented by Wolfgang Köhler in 1929 using nonsense words. The effect has been observed in American university students, Tamil speakers in India, young children, and infants, and has also been shown to occur with familiar names. It is absent in individuals who are congenitally blind and reduced in autistic individuals. The effect was investigated using fMRI in 2018.
- "Bouba/Kiki Effect" | 2021-07-19 | 238 Upvotes 94 Comments
The Dancing Plague of 1518, or Dance Epidemic of 1518, was a case of dancing mania that occurred in Strasbourg, Alsace (modern-day France), in the Holy Roman Empire from July 1518 to September 1518. Somewhere between 50 and 400 people took to dancing for weeks.
- "Dancing Plague of 1518" | 2023-04-10 | 192 Upvotes 84 Comments