Cryonics and the Definition of ‘Death’

Cryonics, which is usually confused with cryogenics, is the preservation of humans and animals using low temperatures. It is used on humans and animals which cannot be kept alive using modern medicine and the aim is that resuscitation would be possible at some future time. Preserving people and animals with cryonics – also called cryopreservation…

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The Planck Telescope is Leading to Some Fascinating Discoveries About the Universe

The Planck telescope, or usually referred to simply as Planck, was launched in 2009. It is a space observatory of the European Space Agency (ESA) and its purpose is to observe the cosmic microwave background radiation – the radiation that has been left over from the Big Bang. More specifically, Planck has been designed to…

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The Hygiene Hypothesis: Are Allergies the Result of Being Too Clean?

The hygiene hypothesis is the idea that allergies, such as hay fever and asthma, are the result of a lack of early childhood exposure to germs and parasites. Looking at this idea from another angle, we can say that allergies are the result of living in a highly sanitised and clean environment (since sanitation involves…

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How Geometric Hallucinations Are Generated in the Brain

This article is based on a lecture delivered by Professor Jack Cowan at an event entitled ‘A Discussion on Scientific Research with Psychedelic Drugs’ (the conference was chaired by Professor David Nutt at Imperial College London, 12/06/2013). There are many causes of geometric hallucinations, including: Flickering lights (a phenomenon which the scientist Jan Evangelista Purkinje…

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A Critique of Terence McKenna’s ‘Stoned Ape Theory’

In his book Food of the Gods (1992), Terence McKenna describes one of his many controversial ideas. This idea, known as the ‘Stoned Ape Theory’, relates to how our ancestors evolved to produce language and create art. In a nutshell, the Stoned Ape Theory says that magic mushrooms sped up the evolutionary process and that, ultimately,…

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