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10 New Discoveries That Will Blow Your Mind

We're still not sure why someone would invent pot without the high, but it's on the list this week.

Photo Credit: Nikita Starichenko/Shutterstock.com


1. Get real

It was just a few hours after the uplifting spectacle of the transit of Venus that we got the news that the first thing some people want to happen when we go to Mars is a goddamn reality show.

Seriously. Where is that 2012 apocalypse I was promised and can’t it hurry up?

Slate’s David Sydiongco reports a Dutch company called MarsOne plans to start colonizing the planet by 2023 -- a decade before NASA hopes to reach Mars. It plans to send four explorers up with new teams following every four years after that. The CBC’s Andrea Lee-Greenberg writes that, “The project already has the backing of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Gerard 't Hooft and Paul Römer, a co-founder and executive producer of the hit reality show Big Brother .”

The astronauts’s lives “would be streamed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” 

Here’s Sydiongco describing the astronaut selection process. Now remember, these are potentially the first humans to colonize another planet , so they should be some of the most venerated explorers in the history of the world . And their process begins “with what is essentially an open casting call . Eventually, 40 people will take part in a rigid, decade-long training program, to be narrowed down to the final four. The selection and training process will be broadcast via television and online to the public, with viewers voting on the final selected four.”

So, you endure a decade of arduous training in the hope of being part of a sublime and defining moment in the human story...but then Joe Douchebag calls in after his second six-pack of Hamm’s and votes you off because you remind him of his dad.  

io9’s Robert T. Gonzales says of the prospect: “ On one hand, it's hard not to get excited about the prospects of something as ambitious as deep-space colonization happening by 2023. On the other, does anyone else feel a little weirded out at the thought of the first Martian settlement being established under the banner of voyeuristic entertainment?”

Me! I do! The idea of the one of the biggest strides in exploration since the boat was invented being sandbagged with the submental ethos of reality TV is the most depressing thing I’ve heard since “Bush won...again.”  

Good thing that by 2023 no one will even know what TV is anymore, much less reality TV. 

2. Not guilty

If you weren’t already depressed, that should have done it. If you have a history of depression and suffer from inordinate feelings of guilt, researchers at the University of Manchester have recently discovered why. 

And it’s not because you were brought up Catholic.

Stephanie Pappas of Live Science reported on the research showing that communication breakdown between two areas of the brain associated with guilt might be the reason for exaggerated self-blame or letting small mistakes snowball into terrible feelings of abject failure. They studied the relationship between two regions of the brain, the subgenual cingulate cortex and the adjacent septal region, “a region deep in the brain that has been linked to feelings of guilt ” also called the SCSR and the anterior temporal lobe, also active during thoughts of guilt and other moral feelings.

They studied two groups of patients, one that had severe depression but had been symptom-free for at least a year and one with no history of the illness. Both groups underwent fMRI scans while being read statements designed to cause guilt or indignation. 

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