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10 Mind-Blowing Discoveries This Week

Turns out it is pretty easy to hack into your brain to get your PIN and other important numbers.

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9. Confirm request for 'diagnosing via Facebook.'

Technology has become so prevalent and second-nature to us that we sometimes forget, until a story like that last one comes along, exactly how brilliant it can be. Take Facebook, for example. It’s become so normalized now that all I’ve done is bitch about it lately, specifically Timeline, which I believe to be Mark Zuckerberg’s Jar Jar Binks (I’ve never met a fan who liked it, it’s obnoxious and you can’t get rid of it). But that’s not a big deal when you take a second to remember all the good things about Facebook.

Lawrence LeBlond, writing in redOrbit , says that doctors at the Mayo Clinic were trying to diagnose a 56-year-old woman who had had an ischemic stroke but needed to know what caused the blocked arteries that caused the stroke. They noticed her right eye drooped and her right pupil was smaller than her left but she couldn’t tell them whether that appearance was normal for her or not. Dr. Manoj Mittal, who led the team, needed to see an older photo of the woman and ended up having to refer to her Facebook photos. They found in earlier photos that her eyes were more symmetric than they were post-stroke. They diagnosed the stroke as having been caused by trauma due to that finding. Turns out she had had chiropractic work, and “there is some association between chiropractic manipulation and stroke ,” though the link isn’t definitive.

Dr. Mittal said they had treated her before seeing the Facebook photos, but figuring out what caused the stroke is “more comfort for the patient,” and helpful in preventing another. 

10. Goodbye, Neil Armstrong.

Finally, it was especially poignant that just as we’ve taken a huge stride in planetary exploration with Curiosity -- and have even played music from the surface of Mars  -- that we should lose the first man to walk on the moon. Neil Armstrong died last Saturday at the age of 82.  I was 3 when the Apollo 11 mission took Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to that first moonwalk, so thanks to those great explorers I’ve never known a world in where space exploration didn’t exist. 

T.C. Stottek of the Verge covered Armstrong’s passing and the magazine’s Louis Goddard rounded up some of the best pieces celebrating the life of the American icon, most notably a gallery of photos on Time’s Web site from Life magazine's “To the Moon and Back." There are spellbinding pictures from the Apollo 11 mission, and what a stark, scary, exciting prospect these pictures make the moon appear to be...as does the William Safire speech Richard Nixon would have delivered if they hadn’t made it. 

This makes us wonder what it will be like to see the photos of the first person to set foot on Mars and watching Curiosity’s progress makes our debt to Armstrong that much more poignant. In remembering his contribution it might do well to remember the words of Isaac Newton, who said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” 

As Armstrong's family asked, “Honor his example of service, accomplishment, and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down on you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink."

Liz Langley is a freelance writer in Orlando, Fla.

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