Monthly Archives: July 2014

Dog Shaming Pictures for Your Monday Blues

Instead of cute dogs this Monday, we have a collection of the ever popular dog shaming pictures.

 

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Rhetoric

For those who watched the film on Gettsyburg on saw Jeff Daniels portray Colonel Chamberlain of Maine who saved the battle by holding the line.  He was a Professor of Rhetoric at Boudin College.  Most people today don’t even know what rhetoric is.  They think it is a term for politicians blasting each other.  In truth, rhetoric was teaching people to think logically, precisely, and intelligently, and to write and debate each other in the same way.  We have lost our skills of rhetoric in this meme driven social media opinion forming society where everyone accepts things that confirm their world view and rejects those opinions they disagree with.  I really wish everyone was taught rhetoric and cynicism at a young age.

Luckily, I was taught debate and rhetoric as a child and learned what “logical fallacies” are.  They are types of arguments that are not really valid from an intellectual standpoint but are often made.  For instance, a proponent of global warming caused by mankind my use the logical fallacy Appeal to Authority – “All scientists accept this as fact and you are no scientist.”  For one, they have no way to know that.  Second, even if true, it does not mean they are right.  All scientists once believed the Earth was the center of the universe.  An appeal to authority is a bad argument.

Another is a loaded question, such as “Do you disagree with the President because he is black or because you don’t care?”  Your two choices are racism or indifference.  The same as, “Do you still beat your wife?”  Learning rhetoric allows you to make cogent arguments from an intellectually sound basis.  WARNING:  Those who do not know rhetoric may react by getting angry and calling you names.

FallaciesPosterHigherRes

The above poster is available at the link below.  You can also zoom in there to see it better.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1rrlJr/yourlogicalfallacyis.com/home?_nospa=true

rhetoric

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Principles of training communicators. It may entail the study of principles and rules of composition formulated by critics of ancient times, and it can also involve the study of writing or speaking as a means of communication or persuasion. Classical rhetoric probably developed along with democracy in Syracuse (Sicily) in the 5th century BC, when dispossessed landowners argued claims before their fellow citizens. Shrewd speakers sought help from teachers of oratory, called rhetors. This use of language was of interest to philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle because the oratorical arguments called into question the relationships among language, truth, and morality. The Romans recognized separate aspects of the process of composing speeches, a compartmentalization that grew more pronounced with time. Renaissance scholars and poets studied rhetoric closely, and it was a central concern of humanism. In all times and places where rhetoric has been significant, listening and reading and speaking and writing have been the critical skills necessary for effective communication.

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Casual marijuana use linked with brain abnormalities, study finds

Casual marijuana use may come with some not-so-casual side effects.

For the first time, researchers at Northwestern University have analyzed the relationship between casual use of marijuana and brain changes – and found that young adults who used cannabis just once or twice a week showed significant abnormalities in two important brain structures.

The study’s findings, to be published Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience, are similar to those of past research linking chronic, long-term marijuana use with mental illness and changes in brain development.

Dr. Hans Breiter, co-senior study author, said he was inspired to look at the effects of casual marijuana use after previous work in his lab found that heavy cannabis use caused similar brain abnormalities to those seen in patients with schizophrenia.

“The interaction of marijuana with brain development could be a significant problem.”- Dr. Hans Breiter, co-senior study author

“There were abnormalities in their working memory, which is fundamental to everything you do,” Breiter, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told FoxNews.com.  “When you make judgments or decisions, plan things, do mathematics – anything you do always involves working memory.  It’s one of the core fundamental aspects of our brains that we use every day.  So given those findings, we decided we need to look at casual, recreational use.”

For their most recent study, Breiter and his team analyzed a very small sample of patients between the ages of 18 and 25: 20 marijuana users and 20 well-matched control subjects.  The marijuana users had a wide range of usage routines, with some using the drug just once or twice a week and others using it every single day.

Utilizing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the researchers analyzed the participants’ brains, focusing on the nucleus accumbens (NAC) and the amygdala – two key brain regions responsible for processing emotions, making decisions and motivation.  They looked at these brain structures in three different ways, measuring their density, volume and shape.

According to Breiter, all three were abnormal in the casual marijuana users.

“For the NAC, all three measures were abnormal, and they were abnormal in a dose-dependent way, meaning the changes were greater with the amount of marijuana used,” Breiter said.  “The amygdala had abnormalities for shape and density, and only volume correlated with use.  But if you looked at all three types of measures, it showed the relationships between them were quite abnormal in the marijuana users, compared to the normal controls.”

Because these brain regions are central for motivation, the findings from Northwestern help support the well-known theory that marijuana use leads to a condition called amotivation. Also called amotivational syndrome, this psychological condition causes people to become less oriented towards their goals and purposes in life, as well as seem less focused in general.

Given these eye-opening results,  Breiter said that more research is needed to look into marijuana’s effects on the brain – even in those who use the drug only once or twice a month.

“We need to see what happens longitudinally,” Breiter said. “What happens as you follow people over time?  What happens if they stop using – do these bad effects continue? What happens if you can intervene early?…My worry is we haven’t studied this compound and here we are looking to change legislation on it.”

Although Breiter’s team members did not examine the patients’ cognitive symptoms, they do believe that the brain abnormalities seen in their study could lead to substantial effects on brain development and behavior, especially given the young ages of the participants.  Breiter also acknowledged the problems of analyzing a very small study sample – but said that their findings should still serve as a wake-up call to others.

“This study is just a beginning pilot study, but at the same time, the results that came out are the same as a canary in a coal mine,” Breiter said.  “…The interaction of marijuana with brain development could be a significant problem.”

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Cosplay Pictures for Your Saturday

Cosplay pictures for your weekend enjoyment!

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Darth Vader Car

Darth Car: 12 Things You Need to Know About Hot Wheels’ Life-Size, 150-mph Darth Vader Car

July 23, 2014 at 4:56 pm by | Photography by Hot Wheels

The Darth Car: 12 Things You Need to Know About Hot Wheels’ Life-Size, 150-mph Darth Vader Car<img class=”size-large wp-image-155187 aligncenter” title=”The Darth Car: 12 Things You Need to Know About Hot Wheels’ Life-Size, 150-mph Darth Vader Car” alt=”The Darth Car: 12 Things You Need to Know About Hot Wheels’ Life-Size, 150-mph Darth Vader Car” src=”http://blog.caranddriver.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Hot-Wheels-Star-Wars-Darth-Vader-Life-Size-Car-PLACEMENT-626×382.jpg” width=”626″ height=”382″ />


Comic-Con 2014 opens tomorrow, but details on many of the big reveals have already been blasting across cyberspace. Pertinent (sort of) to our milieu was Mattel’s release of its
Star Wars–themed Hot Wheels cars, but even more mind-blowing is the fact that the company built a full-size, fully operational version of the Darth Vader–themed coupe, which it has dubbed the “Darth Car.”

Unfortunately, San Diego, the site of the annual Comic-Con International convention, is more than 2000 miles from our offices in Ann Arbor, so we did the next best thing and got on the phone with the Darth Car’s creators to find out more. Here’s what we learned:

1. It’s based on a C5 Corvette.
Yes, a C5 Chevrolet Corvette. With a body fittingly crafted primarily from fiberglass—carbon fiber was employed for the front splitter—the finished Darth Car is said to weigh nearly 50 percent less than the donor Corvette. And because a Sith Lord can’t ever sink low enough, the donor chassis was lowered slightly.

2. It is fully drivable—and fast.
The car has been road-tested at speeds up to an 80-mph cruise. There’s more: Billy Hammon, CEO of PCW Brands, which built the car, says it is capable of reaching velocities in the neighborhood of 150 mph.

The Darth Car: 12 Things You Need to Know About Hot Wheels’ Life-Size, 150-mph Darth Vader Car<img class=”size-large wp-image-156233 aligncenter” title=”The Darth Car: 12 Things You Need to Know About Hot Wheels’ Life-Size, 150-mph Darth Vader Car” alt=”The Darth Car: 12 Things You Need to Know About Hot Wheels’ Life-Size, 150-mph Darth Vader Car” src=”http://blog.caranddriver.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Hot-Wheels-Star-Wars-Darth-Vader-Life-Size-Car-110-626×382.jpg” width=”626″ height=”382″ />

3. It has an LS3, baby!
Moving forward a Corvette generation, a GM LS3 V-8—the C6 engine from 2008 onward—is fitted and makes a claimed 526 horsepower. Gearchanges are executed via a six-speed manual; we always knew Lord Vader was a Save the Manuals kind of guy.

4. The car is fitted with a “drift brake.”
The secondary, hand-actuated brake works on the rear axle and can be used to help steer the car or, you know, drift it. Perfect for terrorizing Ugnaughts riding shotgun.

5. It has custom wheels and redline tires.
Wheelmaker U.S. Mags custom-milled the wheels for the project. The unique tires are special to the car and styled to deliver the iconic Hot Wheels redline aesthetic while also delivering respectable performance.

6. It is, of course, packed with Vader-y goodness.
The plate on the hood is modeled after the one on the chest of Darth Vader’s suit, more specifically as it appeared in The Empire Strikes Back. The missiles mounted to the side are machined from stainless steel, and the side pipes are styled after Vader’s red lightsaber. Yes, they illuminate.

7. It breathes like Darth Vader.
Several Star Wars audio effects, including the unmistakable sounds of Darth Vader breathing and his lightsaber coming to life, can be controlled remotely via an iPad.

The Darth Car: 12 Things You Need to Know About Hot Wheels’ Life-Size, 150-mph Darth Vader Car<img class=”size-large wp-image-156234 aligncenter” title=”The Darth Car: 12 Things You Need to Know About Hot Wheels’ Life-Size, 150-mph Darth Vader Car” alt=”The Darth Car: 12 Things You Need to Know About Hot Wheels’ Life-Size, 150-mph Darth Vader Car” src=”http://blog.caranddriver.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Hot-Wheels-Star-Wars-Darth-Vader-Life-Size-Car-112-626×382.jpg” width=”626″ height=”382″ />

8. The Darth Car’s designer is living his dream.
At the age of 10, Bryan Benedict—now lead designer for the Hot Wheels Entertainment die-cast line—wrote to his future employer to tell them what kind of toy cars to build. Two years later, he wrote a similar letter to General Motors and received a reply in the form of a checklist of goals he should pursue in order to become a car designer. With two decades of design success (split evenly between Honda and Hot Wheels) under his belt, following GM’s advice appears to have worked. He told us that his family was unable to afford Star Wars toys when he was a child—he got Hot Wheels instead—so now he’s making his own.

9. It was built in seven weeks.
Design work for the toy version of the car began in November of 2013. Work on the full-size car began in April of this year and went from final design to done in just over two months, according to PCW’s Hammon.

10. The hatch opens like Darth Vader’s helmet.
In fact, particular attention was paid to make sure it did so. It’s also equipped with a smoke-making device that activates when the hatch is opened for full dramatic effect.



11. It dropped jaws on the streets of L.A.
The promotional video embedded below was shot in the 2nd Street tunnel in Los Angeles, where the Darth Car reportedly stunned even the most jaded Tinsel Town residents.

12. It’s impressive. Most impressive.
Hot Wheels says its goal was to pay tribute to its own stylistic heritage but to also harness the futuristic yet timeless design of the Star Wars universe. We say it succeeded—mightily.
The Darth Car: 12 Things You Need to Know About Hot Wheels’ Life-Size, 150-mph Darth Vader Car<img class=”size-full wp-image-156216 aligncenter” title=”The Darth Car: 12 Things You Need to Know About Hot Wheels’ Life-Size, 150-mph Darth Vader Car” alt=”The Darth Car: 12 Things You Need to Know About Hot Wheels’ Life-Size, 150-mph Darth Vader Car” src=”http://blog.caranddriver.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Hot-Wheels-Star-Wars-Darth-Vader-Life-Size-Car-REEL.jpg” width=”626″ height=”170″ />

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Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery

Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery Walls trompe loeil optical illusion murals drawing animals <img src=”http://www.thisiscolossal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/fiona-1.jpg” alt=”Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery Walls trompe loeil optical illusion murals drawing animals ” width=”2048″ height=”1813″ class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-45632″ title=”Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery Walls”/>

Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery Walls trompe loeil optical illusion murals drawing animals <img src=”http://www.thisiscolossal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/fiona-2.jpg” alt=”Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery Walls trompe loeil optical illusion murals drawing animals ” width=”1279″ height=”1280″ class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-45633″ title=”Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery Walls”/>

Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery Walls trompe loeil optical illusion murals drawing animals <img src=”http://www.thisiscolossal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/fiona-3.jpg” alt=”Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery Walls trompe loeil optical illusion murals drawing animals ” width=”1280″ height=”985″ class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-45634″ title=”Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery Walls”/>

Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery Walls trompe loeil optical illusion murals drawing animals <img src=”http://www.thisiscolossal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/fiona-4.jpg” alt=”Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery Walls trompe loeil optical illusion murals drawing animals ” width=”960″ height=”1280″ class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-45635″ title=”Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery Walls”/>

Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery Walls trompe loeil optical illusion murals drawing animals <img src=”http://www.thisiscolossal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/fiona-5.jpg” alt=”Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery Walls trompe loeil optical illusion murals drawing animals ” width=”800″ height=”1143″ class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-45636″ title=”Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery Walls”/>

Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery Walls trompe loeil optical illusion murals drawing animals <img src=”http://www.thisiscolossal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/fiona-6.jpg” alt=”Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery Walls trompe loeil optical illusion murals drawing animals ” width=”1000″ height=”667″ class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-45637″ title=”Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery Walls”/>

Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery Walls trompe loeil optical illusion murals drawing animals <img src=”http://www.thisiscolossal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/fiona-7.jpg” alt=”Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery Walls trompe loeil optical illusion murals drawing animals ” width=”900″ height=”1198″ class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-45638″ title=”Animal Murals by Fiona Tang Appear to Leap from Gallery Walls”/>

Vancouver-based artist Fiona Tang creates large-scale murals of animals using charcoal, chalk pastel, and acrylic on paper that at first glance appear 3D. Tang makes use of a technique called trompe l’oeil where shadows and perspective within the two dimensional drawing are used to trick the viewer into thinking the piece is three dimensional. Tang recently graduated from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and you can see more of her work over on Facebook. (via Juxtapoz, My Modern Met)

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Random Humor

Random humor to perk up the end of the week…

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