Motor neurons like the one pictured above, found in the crab Cancer borealis, underlie the walking, swimming, breathing, flying and other rhythmic behaviors found in most creatures, including humans.
Award recognizes ‘the best neuroscience research being done anywhere’
The Gruber Foundation today awarded its 2013 neuroscience prize to Eve Marder ’69, a pioneering researcher who has dedicated her career to understanding the nervous system’s basic functions. The Victor and Gwendolyn Beinfield Professor of Neuroscience at Brandeis, Marder studies a relatively simple network of some 30 large neurons found in the gut of lobsters and crabs — a small yet elegant window into humans’ unfathomably rich nervous system, home to billions of neurons and trillions of interconnections.
The $500,000 prize recognizes and rewards “the best [neuroscience] work being done anywhere in the world,” according to the Gruber Foundation website.
“Eve Marder has made a number of remarkable and groundbreaking discoveries that have fundamentally changed our understanding of how neural circuits operate and produce behavior,” says Carol Barnes, chair of the selection advisory board to the Neuroscience Prize. “She has also been an exceptional leader outside the laboratory, working tirelessly to bring people together to improve scientific research, policy, and education.”
MySchool and Biblionef Work Together to Provide Storybooks to Children in South Africa
Children are constantly learning about the world around them and one of the ways is by reading storybooks. It’s an accepted fact that the benefits of reading are multitude such as the development of communication skills and enhancing concentration ability, to name a few.
In South Africa many schools in under-resourced communities and rural areas have great difficulty making storybooks available, especially in a mother language, or can only do so in a limited way.
For the past 14 years Biblionef has played a leading role in making storybooks with a focus on African culture and heritage available to children and adolescents, providing a foundation for literacy. To date the organisation donated over one million books to 6,148 children’s organisations countrywide benefitting more than three million children.
[trigger warning: blood]
On the final day of a cross-Canada train trip, Ohio’s Marilyn Walpole was walking down King St. East with fellow travellers, when, behind her, she heard a slight moan and turned around to see her 77-year-old husband awash in his own blood.
“There was blood everywhere on the sidewalk; his face was full of blood, his clothes were soaked in blood … and he was moaning,” said Ms. Walpole, speaking from her home in Defiance, Ohio.
Within moments, a bystander had thrown down his cigarette, rushed into the blood-soaked scene and administered the emergency First Aid that may have saved Mr. Walpole’s life. Only later would the couple discover that the bystander was Academy Award-nominated actor John Malkovich.
“He really knew what he was doing; that’s why I thought he was a doctor,” said Ms. Walpole. “He had no qualms about getting blood all over him; that would be a real concern for some people.”
(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Galit Rodan)
Online art museum highlights Muslim women
To mark International Women’s Day, the International Museum of Women launched “Muslima: Muslim Women’s Art and Voices”, a free, online exhibit featuring multimedia works from artists spanning the globe. In addition to traditional gallery pieces, the exhibit features interactives including a profile of Azizah Magazine editor Tayyibah Taylor, infographics about women’s participation in US mosques, and interviews with leading women’s rights advocates.
The initiative prides itself on being interactive and has partnered with the Women’s Museum in Denmark, the Ayala Museum in the Philippines, and the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization in the UAE, to promote forty specific artists as ‘Muslima Ambassadors’. It also includes an open call for submissions from the public and will update the gallery’s content on a rolling basis.
Paris rooftop display shows Indigenous artist Lena Nyadbi’s work to the world
Western Australian contemporary artist Lena Nyadbi was commissioned to design a piece specifically for the roof terrace of the Musée du quai Branly.
She came up with a black-and-white painting called Dayiwul Lirlmim, or Barramundi Scales, inspired by her mother’s homeland in Dayiwul Country.
A large-scale reproduction of the work, made with the same kind of rubberised paint used for traffic signs, now fills the museum’s 700-square-metre rooftop terrace.
The installation was designed to be visible from several different levels of the nearby Eiffel Tower, which draws in around seven million visitors every year.
It will even be visible from space, thanks to satellite mapping technology.
Cool Design of the Day: A Comic Book for the Blind
Copenhagen-based interaction designer Phillipp Meyer completed a tactile comic book which tells stories through Braille-like raised circles representing different characters that are set in perforated boxes to separate the panels. Titled “Life,” the comic offers a relatively simple narrative of two people falling in love, allowing the reader’s imagination to fill in the details. A digital version of the comic, along with an in-depth white paper on its creation, is available at Meyer’s website.
Township based recycling business receives huge donation
A township based recycling business is increasingly gaining recognition for its services and impact on the community, prompting a leading waste management NPO to donate them a state-of-the-art recycling machine, as part of their strategy to assist capable new entrants in the sector to grow.
K1 Recycling, a plastic collection (buy back centre) company based in Katlehong, a sprawling township east of Johannesburg received a baling machine, an industrial machine that is used to compress recyclables like plastic, metal scraps and paper into bales from PETCO as part of their drive to support budding recycling businesses.
K1 Recycling is fast becoming one of the most successful township-based waste management and recycling companies in the region. Established in 2011 by husband and wife, Tshepo and Thando Mazibuko, Managing member and CEO respectively, the company was created with the intention of contributing to the national economy as a whole.
According to the founders, the company is firmly committed to community development, in a sense that it teaches the community about the importance of waste collection and separation for a healthy environment, and additionally helps the community to use this as an opportunity to generate income for themselves. The community members collect plastic recyclables from bins and dump sites and sell them to K1 Recycling at an agreed cost per kilogram.
Phase 1 trial safely resets patients’ immune systems, reduces attack on myelin protein
A phase 1 clinical trial for the first treatment to reset the immune system of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients showed the therapy was safe and dramatically reduced patients’ immune systems’ reactivity to myelin by 50 to 75 percent, according to new Northwestern Medicine research.
In MS, the immune system attacks and destroys myelin, the insulating layer that forms around nerves in the spinal cord, brain and optic nerve. When the insulation is destroyed, electrical signals can’t be effectively conducted, resulting in symptoms that range from mild limb numbness to paralysis or blindness.
“The therapy stops autoimmune responses that are already activated and prevents the activation of new autoimmune cells,” said Stephen Miller, the Judy Gugenheim Research Professor of Microbiology-Immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Our approach leaves the function of the normal immune system intact. That’s the holy grail.”
A team of Australian industrial designers and scientists have unveiled their prototype for the world’s first bionic eye.
It is hoped the device, which involves a microchip implanted in the skull and a digital camera attached to a pair of glasses, will allow recipients to see the outlines of their surroundings.
If successful, the bionic eye has the potential to help over 85 per cent of those people classified as legally blind. With trials beginning next year, Monash University’s Professor Mark Armstrong says the bionic eye should give recipients a degree of extra mobility.
“There’s a camera at the front and the camera is actually very similar to an iPhone camera, so it takes live action for colour,” he told PM. “And then that imagery is then distilled via a very sophisticated processor down to, let’s say, a distilled signal.
“That signal is then transmitted wirelessly from what’s called a coil, which is mounted at the back of the head and inside the brain there is an implant which consists of a series of little ceramic tiles and in each tile are microscopic electrodes which actually are embedded in the visual cortex of the brain.”
Afghan volunteers distribute balloons for the ‘We Believe In Balloons’ campaign
The public art project organised by Yazmany Arboleda, in which 10,000 biodegradable pink ‘peace’ balloons were handed out in Kabul on May 28, 2013 to bring some fun and creativity to the city.
Photo Maassoud Hossaini
The number of whales migrating off Queensland’s coast is predicted to hit a 50-year high this season
The humpback highway will be congested with around 15,000 humpback whales expected to make the long journey north for breeding, after spending the summer feeding in the icy waters off Antarctica.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority species conservation manager Mark Reid has told ABC Gold Coast’s Scott Lamond that it will be a great season for all.
“We are really fortunate that some smart people a long time ago realised that hunting whales was a bad idea,” he says.
“Finally in the early sixties it was banned in Australian waters and we’ve seen a slow but steady recovery of the animals ever since.”
Researchers at McGill University in Montreal have developed computer simulations that better explain how a person’s immune cells can detect foreign antigens and fight infections.
In an effort to determine exactly how the body’s natural defenses are able to sort through large amounts of similar-looking proteins in order to locate and eliminate harmful invaders, physics professor Paul François and graduate student Jean-Benoît Lalanne used computational tools to study how the process works.
(Photo: Ralph Wilson / AP)
A long-missing certificate with Abraham Lincoln’s signature was found last week at a college in Pennsylvania by the school president, who knew it was there but had never looked for it.
Cambodia welcomes statues’ return from US museum
Two 10th century Cambodian stone statues displayed for nearly two decades at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art were returned to their homeland Tuesday in a high-profile case of allegedly looted artifacts.
The voluntary return of the pair of “Kneeling Attendants” statues by one of America’s foremost cultural institutions is seen as setting a precedent for the restoration of artworks to their places of origin, from which they were often removed in hazy circumstances.
It comes as the Cambodian government is asking other museums to return similar objects. At the government’s request, U.S. authorities have begun legal action against Sotheby’s auction house to try to force the handover of a contested piece.
Cambodian officials and Buddhist monks were on hand for a welcome ceremony for the life-size sandstone statues at the capital’s international airport.
“The statues are very important to our country,” said Chan Tani, secretary of state for the Cabinet office. “We got back those ancient statues that left us, so we should be proud.”
Quebec Soccer Team Wears Turbans To Protest Ban & Support Sikh Players
When the Quebec Soccer Federation banned players from wearing turbans on the highly dubious grounds they pose a safety risk, preventing Sikhs in the province like Aneel Samra and Rasnamjeet Singh Ahluwalia (pictured) from playing, a team of fourteen year olds, none of whom are Sikh, took it upon themselves with the support of their parents and coach to defy the ban by sporting turbans donated by a local Laval temple at the players’ request.