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23 July 2010 @ 07:23 am
Best counter-demo ever  
Everyone's heard of the Westboro Baptist Church, right? The "god hates fags" and "god hates sweden" guys. They decided to turn up at Comic-Con and protest against... something. Presumably comics are the tools of satan or whatnot. What they weren't planning on was the epic counter-demonstration that all the geeks had ready. Very much worth a look. To my mind, this is the best way to deal with fanatics like this - let them have their say, then counter it with hilarity right opposite them.

In other news, I completed the first "finished" draft of the essay I was writing on pharmaceutical alteration of human memory for an "extended project" qualification. I'll likely post a link to it in the near-ish future. The whole thing is vaguely based around an idea I had last year about using noradrenergic agonists to improve certain areas of memory function.
Nervous: Amygdalanervous_neuron on July 25th, 2010 03:17 pm (UTC)
Oh, I totally missed that post you made. Looking forward to reading your essay anyway.

Even though your post about it is like a year old, I'm gonna reply to it anyway :P While I'm not a memory person myself someone in my lab is looking at the pharmacology of memory formation in the day old chick.

While noradrenaline itself is probably not a good target by itself, there are plenty of others. Memory is actually quiet complicated. You can inject a whole lot of crap directly into the brain and 'delete' memories. Not only that, what you inject (what specific antagonist, etc) depends on what stage of the memory formation you're at (short , intermediate and long term) and what part of the brain. And, what species you are of course.

It seems to be a chain of processes (as most things in biology are... it's all about the cellular cascades baby) and stages of the process are dependent on different compounds. My lab mate is looking at calcium dependent enzymes and glutamate in the gibbs-ng chick model. (more info about it if you're interested: http://learnmem.cshlp.org/content/7/1/1.long)

I can't remember, it's been ages since I learnt all this stuff, but I believe noradrenaline's role in memory is to kick start glycolysis. At least, in the chicken. I remember doing an assignment in undergrad about measuring the glycogen content in the bird equivalent of the hippocampus before and after a learning task.

Anyway, there are drugs out there for improving memory? Like meds for Alzheimer's, but they're not very good. I don't know much about it, but you've prolly written about it in your essay, so I'll read that to find out more :P
Laurie Pycroftsqrrl101 on August 2nd, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the input. The timing aspect definitely seems critical with stimulating the BLA noradrenergic receptors. I'm currently doing the final review part of the paper, so I should have it up pretty shortly.

I just read the abstract and it's rather interesting indeed - I shall have to go through the paper properly when I have a chance. It's very early days in my neuroscientific career, but memory research is definitely an area I could consider going into. Fascinating stuff.

I go into some detail about the extant drugs for altering memory, but so far there's nothing which has really well-evidenced effects in healthy subjects. The ones which do have measurable memory-enhancing effects are mostly stimulants such as amphetamine and methylphenidate, which makes it hard to distinguish whether they directly enhance memory or just enhance concentration and attentiveness, thereby improving memory slightly as a secondary effect. Obviously, stimulants also tend to have significant side-effects, making them unsuitable for every-day use.
(Anonymous) on July 31st, 2010 12:06 am (UTC)
"Not by wrath does one kill, but by laughter."
(Anonymous) on August 4th, 2010 02:04 pm (UTC)
2nd best counter-demo ever?
Don't be so modest Laurie, I seem to remember that you had something to do with a rather successful counter-demo in Oxford a few years back.
(Anonymous) on February 24th, 2011 08:48 am (UTC)
stevkalk on March 6th, 2011 03:57 am (UTC)
Re: Westboro Baptist Church US Supreme Ct. Decision
On Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church's right to free speech in displaying the "God hates Fags" signs at military funerals. I believe it was an appropriate decision, as hurtful as these guys are. There are local ordinances that mandate the demonstrators keep a minimum distance from the funeral attendees, which should be respected.
If I were to demonstrate that sharia law and western societies are incompatible, that also be a protected First Amendment right, and not prohibited hate speech.
(Anonymous) on April 11th, 2011 01:59 am (UTC)
Just saying "hi" from the Gold Coast, Australia - Looking Forward To Getting Involved.
Thanks...this looks really interesting. I am looking forward to having my say!
(Anonymous) on April 14th, 2011 12:29 pm (UTC)
Can't wait to have my say
Hey - I am definitely glad to discover this. Good job!
wekubait on April 15th, 2011 04:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks for an idea, you sparked at thought from a angle I hadn’t given thoguht to yet. Now lets see if I can do something with it.

scibertojoby on November 4th, 2011 04:18 am (UTC)
Sorry for my bad english. Thank you so much for your good post. Your post helped me in my college assignment, If you can provide me more details please email me.