"A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything." - Friedrick Nietzsche

Atheist, scientist, secular Buddhist, rat lover, etc.

Originally from Iowa,I am a biology graduate student at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Go: get a piece of paper.

Write down your four favorite possessions.

Write down your four favorite pastimes.

Write down the four parts of your body you like the best.

Write down the four people you care for most.

Write down your four best personality traits.

Go ahead. Do it now, then come back.

I’ll wait.

Finished? Now, slowly, one by one, draw a line through each of your favorite possessions. You will lose them all.

Scratch out each of your pastimes. There will come some point in your life where you will be unable to manage them.

Erase each of your favorite body parts. If you’re lucky, they’ll slowly devolve into senescence. If not, you will lose them through illness or injury.

Ink out your favorite people. You will lose them all, either through their deaths or your own.

What you’re left with, at least in the version I learned recently, are your personality traits. However, let’s be honest: you will lose those as well through death, injury, or dementia.

Rip them up. Rip them all up. Either they will die with you, or you will lose them along the way.

The question we all face is how to be happy in the face of these truths.

By Doug Smith, The Footman’s Snicker, http://secularbuddhism.org/2013/02/22/the-footmans-snicker/

Reblogged from sanityscraps  18,565 notes

We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive. By Thich Nhat Hanh  (via skeletongarden)

Since all the world is so attached to material things, it’s very difficult for people to grasp how everything originates in conditions and causes. It’s a hard job for them to see the meaning of the fact that everything, including ourselves, depends on everything else and has no permanent self-existence. By Majjhima Nakaya

Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives. But I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey — reminds us to cherish every moment because they’ll never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we’ve lived. By Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek Generations (1994)

Reblogged from ethidiumiodide  572 notes



The Art in Biomedical Research

1. Muscle Stem Cell Factories

Credit: FASEB 2012 Bio-Art Winner - Douglas B. Cowan

This micrograph shows cells called myoblasts attached to spherical microcarriers, which allow the growth of adult stem cells that have been isolated from skeletal muscle. The stem cells are shown in green. By combining these cells in a bioreactor, the muscle stem cells can be greatly increased in number and then separated from the myoblast “feeder” cells. The image was produced in the course of studies aimed at creating artificial “stem cell factories” and was supported by NIH funding from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

2. Scaffold for Cartilage Regeneration

Credit: FASEB 2012 Bio-Art Winner - Frank Moutos and Farshid Guilak

Due to a lack of blood vessels and other characteristics, cartilage heals very slowly. One way to accelerate natural cartilage repair and growth is to use tissue engineering, or the artificially-stimulated production of functional replacement tissue. The image shows a three-dimensionally woven biomaterial scaffold. The scaffold consists of multiple layers of resorbable fiber bundles that have been woven into a porous structure. The scaffold is then seeded with cells that grow to become new tissue as the fibers are resorbed. The fibers provide stiffness and strength in a manner that mimics native collagenous tissues such as cartilage. This work to use tissue engineering to generate replacement cartilage is supported by NIH funding from the National Institutes of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

3. Production of New Neurons

Credit: FASEB 2012 Bio-Art Winner - Grigori Enikolopov and Ann-Shyn Chiang

New neurons are produced from neural stem cells in several areas of the adult brain. One such area is in the hippocampus, a brain structure crucial for cognitive function. The number of neural stem cells in the hippocampus decreases over time, possibly contributing to the cognitive impairment associated with aging. When activated by extrinsic stimuli, stem cells divide and generate progenitor cells, which eventually mature into neurons and migrate into the layers above, whereas stem cells themselves undergo additional rounds of rapid divisions and convert into astrocytes, thus leaving the stem cell pool. The image depicts stem cells (green) and neuronal nuclei (red). This research to understand how the brain produces new neurons is supported by NIH through the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Aging.

4. Brain, Heart, and Lung Communication

Credit: FASEB 2012 Bio-Art Winner - Li-Hsien Lin

Both glutamate and nitric oxide play an important role in transmitting cardiovascular and respiratory signals between the brain, heart, and lung. This butterfly shaped figure is an image of a rat spinal cord showing the distribution of three types of glutamate and nitric oxide synthesizing enzymes. Understanding the action and interaction of glutamate and nitric oxide in the nervous system could lead to better treatments for cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and heart failure. This work is supported by NIH funding from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

The sheer beauty of these cells are remarkable. The scaffold is amazing :)