Monday, August 29, 2011

Hollywood on the brain

Chris Colin brings us the story of Simon Lewis, a successful film producer who lost a "full third of his right hemisphere" after a terrifying car accident. Lewis fell into a deep coma, only to defy the odds against him by emerging from it a month later:
He would move into his parent' house that summer, 1994, but that was just the beginning of a seemingly endless medical journey. No sooner would he recuperate from one grueling surgery than he'd be back for another. The months turned to years. His recovery lasted a decade and a half.
And now? Lewis says he wants to make films again, incorporating some of the new ways he perceives the world (particularly "flat time" and "blind sight," which Colin describes in detail in his book) into his art. "He wanted to make different movies because he had a different brain inside his skull and a different way of experiencing the world," Colin writes. In Lewis' words:
Picture all the memories from your life as a photo album. Then take out all the photos and shuffle them across a table. That's my brain... It can be frustrating, but as far as making interesting connections goes, it certainly opens things up in a new way.
Will his movies be made? Only time will tell. But the story is an amazing one. To read an excerpt of the story in the Atlantic, see The Hollywood Producer Who Survived Catastrophe or buy the ebook (just 1.99) at Amazon.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Queen is Dead: The Story of an Ancient Medicinal Tonic

After two years studying the dessicated contents of Queen Hathshepsut's beauty cream, a team of researchers at the University of Bonn have concluded that a carcinogenic substance in the flask may have poisoned her.

The queen, who was evidently obese and suffered from diabetes and liver cancer as well as eczema, ruled Egypt 3,500 years ago. The cream contained palm and nutmeg oil and fatty acids that relieve skin irritations, as well as benzopyrene, a highly carcinogenic hydrocarbon.

For the full story, as well as a grizzly photograph of the queen herself, see Queen Hatshepsut, Ancient Egyptian Leader, Might Have Accidentally Poisoned Herself: Experts.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Good old-fashioned trepanation!

Bruce Bower over at Science News reports that a new study conducted by anthropologist Efthymia Nikita of the University of Cambridge in England has found that men were drilling pieces out of each other's skulls to treat wounds or cure other ailments. Over two-thousand years ago!

Nikita, who studied three skulls that once belonged to living men who resided in what is now southwest Libya, determined that the "dime- to quarter-sized holes inside hollowed-out areas, as well as scraped-out depressions" were not from "disease, bone-chewing animals, accidental falls or intentional blows." They are, instead, evidence of surgical procedures performed thousands of years ago.

I wonder if any female skulls have the same pattern of holes and depressions, or if trepanation was just something the boys did back then.

To read the entire article, see: Ancient Saharan head cases

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Spontanteous Human Combustion: It's Ablaze!

Do spontaneous human combustion events happen along some kind of geographical line? Has there been and will there be a "boom" in spontaneous human combustion cases? What is it like to combust spontaneously? These are just a few of the questions Larry E. Arnold, oft called the world's "foremost authority on the phenomenon" and author of Ablaze: The Mysterious Fires of Spontaneous Human Combustion addresses in this two and a half hour interview available here. In addition, his book promises "hundreds of unbelievable examples of The Fire Within, culled from long-forgotten obscure medical journals and never-before-published interviews with witnesses to the impossible." Sounds great!