Jul 7, 2017


Inside the 1950s LSD Therapy That Changed Cary Grant’s Life

In 1958, Grant had just filmed Houseboat with Sophia Loren (whom he had inconveniently fallen in love with), when his then-wife, Betsy Drake, introduced him to Mortimer Hartman, a Beverly Hills doctor with whom she’d been taking LSD in a therapeutic setting. Drake had started seeing Hartman to deal with her picture-perfect but troubled marriage, and thought he could help Grant, too. Hartman described LSD as “a psychic energizer which empties the subconscious and intensifies emotion and memory a hundred times.”

Grant would go on to take acid 100 times under the care of Hartman, whom he referred to as “my wise Mahatma.” At the end of his sessions, he felt healed and whole.

“After weeks of treatment came a day when I saw the light,” he says in the film. “When I broke through, I felt an immeasurably beneficial cleansing of so many needless fears and guilts. I lost all the tension that I’d been crippling myself with. First I thought of all those wasted years. Second, I said, ‘Oh my God, the humanity. Please come in.’”

Grant wasn’t the only one whose life changed during those psychedelic hours in Hartman’s office. The doctor is known to have treated roughly 100 patients, including Esther Williams, talent agent Jay Kanter, and a slew of lesser-known Hollywood players. Roberta Haynes, an actress whose biggest role was 1952’s Return to Paradise with Gary Cooper, was also one of Hartman’s patients. Now 89, in good health, and living in Delray Beach, Florida, Haynes is likely one of a very small group still living who took LSD with Hartman in the late ’50s and early ’60s. She remembers seeing Grant in the waiting room on more than one occasion. Haynes describes the 18 LSD sessions she had with Hartman, beginning in 1959, as life changing. “I was not happy with my life before the LSD,” she says. “Afterward I was able to be happy. I really think I came out of it knowing what was important in life.”

Depressed People See the World More Realistically

Feeling blue? Strangely, it might mean that you're actually better at judging your performance—and reality in general—than when you're not.

It's called "depressive realism," and it seems to suggest that in our normal state, we tend to operate under happy delusions that lift away when we're depressed. The idea blows apart the theory that depressed people have too negative an outlook on the world: They may actually just be seeing it how it is.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States, affecting over 16 million people (or about 6.7 percent of the population) in 2015. So does that mean that over 90 percent of the population is walking around with rose-colored glasses?

Some research seems to suggest so. The concept of depressive realism first entered the scene via a 1979 paper published by L.B. Alloy and L.Y. Abramson. In it, the researchers presented both depressed and non-depressed participants with a button and a green light. They then asked the participants to figure out to what degree their responses (pushing the button) controlled that light. Depressed participants were much better at judging the degree of their control, while participants who weren't depressed tended to assume that they had more control over the light than they actually did.

England’s first prehistoric stone ‘circles’ may have been square

One of Britain’s most famous prehistoric monuments  - Avebury in Wiltshire – may be substantially more ancient than previously thought.

Investigations within the UNESCO World Heritage designated stone circle - the largest in Britain - have revealed a hitherto unknown, and probably very early, series of ancient standing stones, are arranged, not as a circle, but as a 30 metre by 30 metre square.

It is believed to be the first prehistoric "stone square" ever discovered – in Britain or continental Europe.  It is conceivable that the newly discovered monument, which would have originally consisted of around 17 standing stones, was built up to a thousand years before both Stonehenge’s and Avebury’s surviving stone circles.

Most of the newly discovered stones (or in some cases the holes they had stood in) had been buried (or, in the case of stone holes, filled in) at some stage in prehistory – or, more probably, in mediaeval or early modern times.

We may have mated with Neanderthals more than 219,000 years ago

It’s a sex-laced mystery. If modern humans didn’t reach Europe until about 60,000 years ago, how has DNA from them turned up in a Neanderthal fossil in Germany from 124,000 years ago?

The answer seems to be that there was a previous migration of early humans – more than 219,000 years ago. One that we’re only just starting to reveal from piecemeal evidence that is DNA extracted from fossilised bones.

The story, as far as we knew it, was that the ancestors of modern humans diverged from Neanderthals and Denisovans between 550,000 and 765,000 years ago. While Neanderthals and Denisovans inhabited Eurasia, modern humans stayed in Africa until about 60,000 years ago. Then they entered Europe, too.

There is ample evidence of breeding between Neanderthals and the ancestors of modern humans some 50,000 years ago. “Everyone knows Neanderthals gave us genes,” says Cosimo Posth at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Leipzig, Germany.

Reverse engineering mysterious 500-million-year-old fossils that confound our tree of life

Paleontologists like us are used to working with fossils that would seem bizarre to many biologists accustomed to living creatures. And as we go farther back in Earth’s history, the fossils start to look even weirder. They lack tails, legs, skeletons, eyes . . . any characteristics that would help us understand where these organisms fit in the tree of life. Under these circumstances, the science of paleontology becomes significantly harder.

Nowhere is this issue more apparent than in the Ediacaran period, which lasted from 635 million to 541 million years ago. A peculiar and entirely soft-bodied suite of fossils from this era are collectively referred to as the Ediacara biota. Despite nearly 70 years of careful study, paleontologists have yet to identify key features among them that would allow us to understand how these organisms are related to modern animals. The forms evident among Ediacaran organisms are, for the most part, truly unique — and we are no closer to understanding their place in evolutionary history.

Rather than looking for characteristics that would allow us to shoehorn some of these organisms into known animal groups, we’ve taken a different approach. It relies on a technique called computational fluid dynamics that lets us reverse engineer how these organisms lived in their ocean environment.

5,000-Year-Old 'Billboard' of Hieroglyphs Contains a Cosmic Message

Archaeologists have discovered a "billboard" of hieroglyphs carved into the rocks near the Egyptian village of El-Khawy. The symbols, which show a message related to the cosmos, are the earliest monumental (large) hieroglyphs known, dating back around 5,200 years.

"This newly discovered rock art site of El-Khawy preserves some of the earliest — and largest — signs from the formative stages of the hieroglyphic script and provides evidence for how the ancient Egyptians invented their unique writing system," John Darnell, a professor at Yale University who co-directs the expedition that discovered the rock art, said in a statement from Yale University. The Egyptian antiquities ministry also issued a statement today (June 22) announcing the discovery.

The archaeologists also discovered another carving, this one showing a herd of elephants, created sometime between 4000 B.C. and 3500 B.C. One of the adult elephants in the scene was drawn with a little elephant inside its body — "an incredibly rare way of representing a pregnant female animal," Darnell said in the Yale statement.

China unveils plans for world's first pollution-eating 'Forest City'

Newly unveiled plans for Liuzhou Forest City, designed by the Italian firm Stefano Boeri Architetti to be built in southern China, certainly seem to fit the bill. The 342-acre, self-contained neighborhood will comprise more than 70 buildings -- including homes, hospitals, hotels, schools and offices -- all of which will be covered with 40,000 trees and almost a million plants. Eventually, up to 30,000 people could call the Forest City home.

"(This is) the first experiment of the urban environment that's really trying to find a balance with nature," firm principal Stefano Boeri said on the phone from Milan.

The plant life is expected to absorb almost 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide and 57 tons of pollutants per year, and produce 900 tons of oxygen a year, while also decreasing the air temperature and providing a new habitat for displaced wildlife. Solar panels on the roofs will collect renewable energy to power the buildings, while geothermal energy will power air-conditioning, adding to the project's green appeal.

Underneath the trees, the building's curvilinear shape will channel what Boeri calls the "poetics of architecture" to become "a place where nature is flowing."

Physicists Have Figured Out Where The Sun's Plasma Jets Come From

After over a century of observations and several theories, scientists may have finally nailed the origin of the high-speed plasma blasting through the Sun's atmosphere several times a day. Using a state-of-the-art computer simulation, researchers have developed a detailed model of these plasma jets, called spicules.

The new findings answer some of the bigger questions in solar physics, including how these plasma jets form and why the Sun's outer atmosphere is far hotter than the surface.

"This is the first model that has been able to reproduce all the features observed in spicules," Juan Martinez-Sykora, lead author and astrophysicist at the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute in California, told ScienceAlert.

. . .

While scientists have been aware of spicules for over a century, their origin has remained a puzzle. Over the years, there have been several theories that have attempted to crack the mystery.

NASA has discovered hundreds of potential new planets — and 10 may be like Earth

NASA scientists on Monday announced the discovery of 219 new objects beyond our solar system that are almost certainly planets.

What's more, 10 of these worlds may be rocky, about the size of Earth, and habitable.

The data comes from the space agency's long-running Kepler exoplanet-hunting mission. From March 2009 through May 2013, Kepler stared down about 145,000 sunlike stars in a tiny section of the night sky near the constellation Cygnus.

Most of those stars are hundreds or thousands of light-years away, so there's little chance humans will ever visit them — at least anytime soon. However, the data could tell astronomers how common Earthlike planets are and what the chances of finding intelligent extraterrestrial life might be.

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