Rome: Gladiators of the Colosseum

Pollice Verso ("With a Turned Thumb"), an 1872 painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Pollice Verso (“With a Turned Thumb”), an 1872 painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme

They came, they saw… but not all of them conquered. The gladiator battles at the Colosseum were the main attraction when the massive Flavian amphitheater opened for business in 80 C.E. under Emperor Titus; the gladiators’ bloody, often desperate clashes captured the imagination of the people of Ancient Rome, and ensured the Colosseum became the staging ground for some famous – and notorious – incidents in the history of the Roman Empire. Today’s post examines how the spectacle of gladiators fighting each other to death has ensured the Colosseum remains, even today, a potent symbol of Rome’s past. Read More →

Re-envisioning Carl Jung from “The Red Book”

Neuroscience

Many modern-day therapists and psychologists – particularly those who work with dreams as a means of exploring a patient’s unconscious – owe a great debt to the Swiss analyst Carl Jung. While he lived, Jung significantly broadened the scope of psychoanalysis from the model established by Sigmund Freud. Whereas Freud largely viewed the Unconscious as a repository of unsavory memories and repressed impulses, Jung believed that it was in many ways aware and responsive, and an untapped reservoir of wisdom, knowledge, and even spiritual revelation. Read More →

Remembering John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy remains a shining knight of American political history. He was the youngest person to ascend to the presidency and the youngest president to die in office. He and his wife Jacqueline were icons of style, presiding over a glittering era that became known as Camelot. Read More →

Keeping Idealism Alive in a Cynical World

Overcoming Cynicism

Thanks in large part to our modern technology and media, we are constantly bombarded with dire messages concerning our world situation. It’s true that adversity has always plagued humanity in one form or another throughout its history. With our modern systems of communication, however, we are made much more aware of all the great tragedies that occur. Read More →

Chronic Depression More Likely in Abuse Victims

Credit photo: SINC

Credit photo: SINC

Stress linked to abuse makes the brain more vulnerable to depression. A new study [citation below] indicates the highest risk variables of chronic depression in the population are linked to having suffered previous episodes of depression or delayed treatment when related to other physical or mental health problems or having suffered sexual abuse during childhood. Read More →

Are Dolphins More Intelligent than Humans?

Dolphins

Years ago when I was in the Navy, whenever we pulled out of port I’d watch dolphins glide along in front of our ship jumping out of the water in spectacular fashion. Their sheer power and beauty are difficult to describe unless you’ve witnessed them first-hand. As I’d watch them swim along in such a graceful manner, I’d find myself wondering what they thought of our ship and if they were self-aware or could communicate with one another. At the time I knew little about dolphins (I’m still learning today) but I couldn’t help thinking to myself that these beautiful creatures are probably much more intelligent than we are. Read More →

Mary, Queen of Scots: An Unfortunate Tragedy

Mary Memorial

In a windswept field, by a quiet canal, in rural Northamptonshire lies a chunk of ancient stone.  Surrounded by an iron railing, this is all that remains of Fotheringhay Castle (shown above).  Nearby is a mound where the castle once stood.  The mound is covered in bracken, heather and grass and, in the adjacent field, is a caravan park.  There is little left to remind the visitor of the violent and tragic events that unfolded here 424 years ago.  A small plaque, attached to the railing around the stone, tells us this is the birthplace of Richard III, and the scene of the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, cousin to the Queen of England and once crown head of France and Scotland.  Beheaded for the threat she posed to Queen Elizabeth I, and her throne, Mary was used and intimidated by those around her.  Was she an unwitting pawn in the schemes of others?  Or was she culpable in the plots that inevitably led to her own demise? Read More →

Climate Puzzle Over Origins of Life on Earth

ArcheanLandscape

The mystery of why life on Earth evolved when it did has deepened with the publication of a new study in the latest edition of the journal Science (citation below).

Scientists at the CRPG-CNRS University of Lorraine, The University of Manchester and the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris have ruled out a theory as to why the planet was warm enough to sustain the planet’s earliest life forms when the Sun’s energy was roughly three-quarters the strength it is today. Read More →

The Universe Verse Books Tell the Story of Natural History through Rhyme

The_Universe_Verse_ksThe Universe Verse is one of the more interesting and unique projects on Kickstarter that I’ve come across lately, so I thought I’d share in today’s post. A few people have tried to use comic books in the past to impart a little bit of scientific knowledge to students. In some cases, these comic books have been better known among collectors since they represent something unusual in the world of illustrated stories. Read More →

The Importance of Early Attachment

Attachment

It makes sense that babies, being helpless, would naturally form special bonds with caregivers who attend to their basic needs. However, research shows that attachment in humans may not be as simple as it seems. Studies are continually exploring the importance of these attachments on human babies. While there is strong evidence to support the idea that infant and caregiver attachment is important to humans’ ability to form other relationships, further evidence offers hope for children who have missed out on an early secure attachment. Read More →