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Recommended Link: ”Freedom From Other People’s Definitions”: An Interview With Janet Mock

Recommended Link: ”Freedom From Other People’s Definitions”: An Interview With Janet Mock

I recommend you read this entire interview with transgender hero Janet Mock. As someone who supports non-binary gender identities I was very pleased to read this …

Though I blend into the binary understanding of what a woman is “supposed to look like,” I don’t take pride in this, and continue to center self-determination and definition in my writing and work. It’s the only way in which we will…

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Fighting the religious right exacts a toll: How LGBT groups got secretly divided - Salon.com

Fighting the religious right exacts a toll: How LGBT groups got secretly divided – Salon.com

Salon has this great article by GABRIEL ARANA about the toll fighting the religious right has taken on activists and organizations with different strategies for dealing with religion and LGBTQ rights. (For the record, I am against ENDA in it’s current form. I believe the religious exemptions are far to broad.) …

In the face of Hobby Lobby and ENDA, gay-rights groups aren’t just fighting social…

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These Heartfelt Letters Written By Parents And Mentors Supporting Gay Youth Will Make You Cry / Queerty

These Heartfelt Letters Written By Parents And Mentors Supporting Gay Youth Will Make You Cry / Queerty

This is an amazing article that contains letters of support to LGBTQ youth.

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A mother’s encouraging letter to her 13-year-old gay son has gone viral. The note was published on PFLAG’s A Note To My Kid message board earlier this week. In it, the mother writes that she is proud of her son for coming out, and that he will always be loved and supported by both of his parents.

“Dear Connor,” the…

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txchnologist:

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, four new images of supernova remnants are being released. These spectacular cosmic vistas are the glowing debris fields that were created when massive stars exploded at the ends of their lives.

Chandra, one of NASA’s current “Great Observatories,” along with the Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope, is specially designed to detect X-ray emission from hot and energetic regions of the universe. It obits up to 86,500 miles above the Earth.

To celebrate Chandra’s 15th anniversary, four new images of supernova remnants – the Crab Nebula, Tycho, G292.0+1.8, and 3C58 – were released by the space agency. These supernova remnants are very hot and energetic and glow brightly in X-ray light, which allows Chandra to capture them in exquisite detail. See a larger version here.

Courtesy NASA.

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llapacas asked:

Is it true we don't use all of our brain??? If so, why can't we. I mean, we have a brain, why not use it all to its superlative capability?

science:

Why not indeed. The idea that we only use a small portion of the brain, usually quantified by a very specific number, is completely false. I don’t even have a guess as to where it originated, but it has since spread and infected the public consciousness. We do, in fact, use all of our brain.

Of course, this implies that we can’t just “switch on” the rest of the dormant brain and magically become smarter and more handsome, like Bradley Cooper’s character in Limitless. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

However, that doesn’t mean that the way in which our brain operates is at all times completely optimal for our goals. Increasing or decreasing activity in certain parts of the brain, or certain neurotransmitter pathways, could plausibly make at least some of us happier or more productive. Which, of course, is nothing new, since we have been using psychoactive drugs for such purposes since the dawn of medicine. As we learn more about the brain, we will come closer to the level of understanding required to really mess with it in ways that can, possibly, make us smarter or happier without risking dangerous side effects. But we aren’t really there yet. Most current drugs, or non-drug methods of altering the brain come with a long sheet of possible adverse reactions.

Obviously it would be easier if there really were large swaths of the brain going unused all the time, just sort of hitchhiking on the evolutionary trail, a sort of parasitic neural network gobbling up nutrients and energy—the brain is the part of our body that uses the most energy as compared to its volume—that we could activate to become superhuman. But that really isn’t the case.

And if you think about it, that really makes no sense at all on two levels. First, why would we have a huge organ that consumes huge amounts of precious (at least in prehistoric times) energy if we only used a small portion of it? If we could do with the brain of a baboon, we would never have retained, or evolved such a big brain in the first place. And secondly: consider the extremely implausible-even-for-a-hypothetical scenario that we all were actually carrying around a huge brain but only using a small portion of it. That would constitute normal experience. What would happen if we suddenly activated the rest? In the movies, the obvious answer is that we’d be superhuman. But maybe we’d actually become emotional wrecks, or maybe we’d become intellectually impaired because the mind could not integrate all the new activity into a coherent picture.

Luckily for us, no such dilemma faces us. The 10% or whatever number is making the rounds is completely fabricated.

However, while it’s not the case that ordinary healthy people go around not using a large chunk of their brain, it is possible to survive and even thrive with minimal loss of cognitive function with only half your brain. A procedure known as hemispherectomy involves removing or severing one hemisphere of the brain. This surgery is only performed in extreme cases of epilepsy where the source of seizures has been found to be localized to one hemisphere, due to the obvious risks of cutting out or off one half of someone’s brain. Remarkably, the brain, especially if the surgery is performed at a young age, is able to adapt and allow basically all of the functions of the other hemisphere to be taken over by the one remaining.

I notice that a new film has as it’s premises that this woman gets super powers because she’s found a way to use all her brain. Read this to see why that is more fiction than science.

intersexplatypus:

(via Intersex 101)

What do intersex activists want?

One of the main concerns of intersex activists is to transition from concealment-based treatments of intersex infants to one that is patient-centered. Often, intersex children are subjected to medically unnecessary procedures and surgeries in order to make their genitals appear normal. The child is then often raised without any idea of their intersex condition. Some of these surgeries create children with genitals different than their eventual gender, prompting sexual reassignment surgery which could otherwise have been avoided. Many surgeries and procedures are also experienced as sexually and/or psychologically abusive by intersex children, especially those used for research purposes or requiring sexually invasive treatments. Intersex activists now advocate that only medically necessary treatments be performed on intersex children, and that support and education should prevail instead of shame and concealment.

Some other demands of intersex activists include:

  • Not being fetishized or over sexualized
  • To be treated as real, diverse people rather than convenient examples for sex and gender theorists
  • Some wish to be allowed to legally identify as intersex instead of, or in addition to, male or female
  • To end stigma against intersex persons
  • Better education among medical professionals
  • Appropriate and knowledgeable health care
  • More psychological and social support for intersex children and their families
  • To consider medical necessity and sexual function as important factors in intersex care, as opposed to ‘normalcy’
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