We all know about our uvula – or at least the palatine uvula - the one in our mouths. This hanging mass at the back of our mouth is formed from the soft palate, and is involved in the gag reflex and some languages (but not English). But did you know that we have more uvulas than just that?
Uvula means “little grape“in Latin, and a swollen uvula is called “ūva“ which is simply “grape”. Hanging grapes everywhere!
Everyone also has a cerebellar uvula, which is right next to the cerebellar tonsils (more tonsils!) and at the end of the cerebeallar vermis (“cerebellar worm”). This area of the brain is involved in posture and locomotion.
In addition to both of those, males also have a uvula of the urinary bladder.This is less of a “little grape”, and more of a slight elevation in the internal urethral orifice, caused by the prostate.
Anatomy: Descriptive and Surgical. Gray’s Anatomy, 1918.
Top: Primary mammary blood vessels, deep tissue of nipple, outer nipple and areola
Bottom: Lymphatic supply to breast, vertical view of mammary duct exit, lactiferous ducts
The human breast is an odd organ, even among mammals. It is significantly developed even before pregnancy, while most mammals develop only the ductal regions (the nipple and its connecting supply) prior to parturition, and its variance between individuals can be massive, even while they all function equally well for supplying nutriment to our offspring.
The lactiferous ducts are the smallest units of the lactation (milk-supplying) system of the breast, and the epithelial cells within them extract the nutrients and liquid from the lymphatic and circulatory system when they’re triggered by the hormone prolactin, which is secreted both in response to labor and from suckling. Though the massive dose of prolactin from late-term pregnancy and giving birth is what kick-starts milk production, the suckling action is what keeps it going. In some humans (even some males), the prolactin secretion in response to sustained suckling is enough to begin producing milk, themselves.
Atlas d’Anatomie Descriptive du Corps Humain.
C. Bonamy and Paul Broca, 1866.
Condoms are like cable companies: Not everyone likes dealing with them, but they're pretty much a necessity.
Inspired by the Gates Foundation's call to designers and engineers to reinvent a rubber that feels as good, if not better than au naturel, Firaz Peer and Andrew Quitmeyer have developed an open-source, digital condom they call the Electric Eel.
Yes, an electronic jimmy hat.
The idea isn't crazy. The Eel has electrodes running down the length of the condom, which produce mild electrical pulses (at a safe voltage, of course) along the underside of the penis shaft as a way to compensate for the decreased sensation that condoms can cause.
It's not much to look at in its current state — the one pictured above is merely a prototype. Peer and Quitmeyer made two, in fact: one with wires and electrodes sewn into an actual condom and the other with them sewn into a sock-like sheath. The wires are connected to a LilyPad Arduino microcontroller, which is essentially the brain of the Eel. (You can take a break if you're just too turned on to keep reading right now.)
Future models would replace the wires with thin electric leads. Further, Peer and Quitmeyer explain in their demo video that the controllers could be "directed in person or through various Internet APIs." (It's a little difficult for us to imagine someone whipping out their iPhone in the middle of banging in order to modulate the voltage on their Internet-connected condom, but maybe I'm just a simple man.) That aside, an e-stim gent tent makes sense.
There are a couple of issues, however, with whether this really addresses the problem of condom use. First, there are a ton of reasons why people don't wear condoms, and how condoms feel is only one of them. Some people believe that condom-less sex increases the level of intimacy they feel with their partner or that a trusting monogamous relationship doesn't require a raincoat. There are latex allergies and religious arguments. And, of course, some intentionally don't use condoms because they're trying to get pregnant. (There's also the practice of bug-chasing, which is not as widespread as the media's suggested, but is in fact a thing. But, that's another article.)
Let's get back to the part about sensation, though: Condoms don't only affect the male, penetrating partner. As one female reddit user put it, "The feeling of flesh is better than the feeling of rubber," while others complained of dryness and chafing.
That's not to say that people shouldn't wear condoms. What the Electric Eel needs to address is sensation for both partners — and, if those electrodes work as well as advertised, might be just as awesome on the outside of the condom, too.
The good thing about the Electric Eel's Indiegogo campaign — which, at the time of publication is still $9,570 short of its $10,000 goal — is that Peer and Quitmeyer admit that they are still in the early stages of development. In addition, they've used the Eel as an excuse to launch a platform called Comingle, with which they can document and share designs for hacked sex toys and more open-source sex tech. So, even if the Eel never takes off, you can be assured that they'll still be plugging away at new ways to electrify your bits.
What straitjackets have to do with Eames chairs and the mutations of policy ideals.
One of the 19th-century’s most notorious socioarchitectural phenomena were the “insane asylums” that housed the era’s mentally ill — enormous and stunning buildings whose architecture stood in stark contrast with the ominous athmosphere of their inner workings. Fascinated by this phenomenon and its ghosts, photographer Christopher Payne set out to document the afterlife of those baleful buildings in Asylum: Inside The Closed World Of State Mental Hospitals — a compendium of images that peel away at a lost world and, in the process, offer a provocative portrait of the history of our (mis)treatment of the mentally ill. A foreword by iconic neuroscientist Oliver Sacks (remember him?) frame the photographs in a sociocultural context of how these institutions evolved and what role they came to play, both in their time and in our reflections on history.
What’s most peculiar about those asylums is that they, like much of policy dysmorphia that begins with an idealistic vision and ends in a social malady, began with the idea of “moral treatment” wherein the ill would be removed from the city and placed in these Utopian environments, many of which were fully self-sufficient and even generated their own electricity, and put to meaningful work.
Asylums offered a life with its own special protections and limitations, a simplified and narrowed life perhaps, but within this protective structure, the freedom to be as mad as one liked and, for some patients at least, to live through their psychoses and emerge from their depths as saner and stabler people.
In general, though, patients remained in asylums for the long term. There was little preparation for return to life outside, and perhaps after years cloistered in an asylum, residents became ‘institutionalized’ to some extent, and no longer desired, or could no longer face, the outside world.” ~Oliver Sacks
Hiding in Payne’s photographs are peculiar objects that survived almost untouched amidst the general decay of their surroundings — a colorful armchair here, some toothbrushes there, slippers, even some Eames chairs.
Story from BrainPickings.com by Maria Popova
- Do you remember how and when you decided to dedicate yourself to fashion?
-I always wanted to be a fashion designer. I remember starting to sew very small, my mother taught me. Although my parents wanted to study economics and pleasing them finished, but the next week I moved to Berlin receive me to make my way in the world of fashion.
- From your experience, what you feel about art school ?
- Speaking of middle level education I must say that unfortunately art classes absent . I remember again and again asked them to add more hours but the most I managed wasone hour per week ! I sincerely believe that it should enhance the artistic development of children.
Moreover study fashion design at university level was great , we never restricted or no attempt to redirect our creativity , just the opposite . I also acquired a good pace of work , I left ready for the real world.
- Tell us how the idea for this collection was born ?
- It all started when I was in Alexander McQueen, looking corsets and everything related to these items because I had liked as Alexander McQueen managed to enhance the female form. In this search I ended up finding the first orthopedic corset history, a part of the eighteenth century, use as a starting point for my collection. Of course the investigation continued and at one point I saw myself reading medical literature , I learned that he had found the corset I tried diseases such as orthotics and I must admit that the photos not only shocked me , too seduced me . Luckily my medical history is very short , only a few fractures too " sporty" youth , I remember then I was terrified of hospitals. Perhaps this make this collection was a kind of therapy to make peace with the doctors.
Economically – speaking , how hard is to be a fashion designer today?
My father always said that the real teacher shines even more in the lack of resources. I think that as in other creative fields must work hard and show a high resistance to adversity to achieve something. Of course we must not forget that the factor "being in the right place at the right time" plays a significant role , even more than knowing how to find the balance between economic viability and artistic need …And I say a degree in economic !
I understand that not all designers sew their creations. How involved are you in the process of making your pieces ?
- Since this is my first collection I was almost everywhere . The living room of my house was crazy!
Outsourcing is something that should not only be considered but also learn , put your trust in strangers to carry out your dreams is hard work but necessary elsewhere in the production line .
- When the time if I told you that your son wants to be a fashion designer , what advice would you give?
- Mnn .. I would get immediately in the school of art and force it to work in my company! (laughs ) See , I honestly think he would say the same thing my parents told me, studying economics , to create a strong business base to not involve others in your dream. Also, start studying fashion and most gave me many advantages when it comes to judge and decide .
And to close , if you had the chance to talk to an artist of any era, what would it be and what would you ask ?
Would invite a beer – Alexander McQueen and ask him about his beginnings , but the real story .. and the rest of the night would be listening to me about their dreams and inspirations.
The work of Stockholm based artist Anders Krisár often deals with the human body. It is discomfiting, presenting objects of simultaneous horror and beauty. Krisár takes realistic casts of human body parts, torso, arms or faces to modify hem in ways that lend them a surreal quality. His aim is to explore interpersonal relationships and examine the complexities of the human condition.
The 16th century was a particularly bad time for noses. In 1566, the famous astronomer, Tycho Brahe, had his sliced off during a duel and was forced to wear a replacement reportedly made of silver and gold. Others lost theirs in similar fights, or to cancerous tumours that ate away the cartilage on their faces. But the biggest culprit to noses during this period was the new disease sweeping through Europe: syphilis.
Before the discovery of penicillin in 1928, syphilis was incurable. Its symptoms were as terrifying as they were unrelenting. Those who suffered from it long enough could expect to develop unsightly skin ulcers, paralysis, gradual blindness, dementia and what today is known as ‘saddle nose’—a grotesque deformity which occurs when the bridge of the nose caves into the face and the flesh rots away.
As syphilis raged throughout 16th-century Europe, the ‘saddle nose’ became a mark of shame, symbolizing the victim’s moral and bodily corruption. Some, in desperation, turned to surgeons to help disguise their deformities. One man in particular was renowned for his skills: the Italian surgeon, Gaspare Tagliacozzi.
Before Tagliacozzi, most surgeons used the ‘Indian Method’ for nasal reconstruction. This involved cutting a nose-sized section of skin from the forehead and attaching it to the bridge of the nose to maintain a steady blood supply. The flap was then twisted into place and sewn over the damaged area, thus providing a suitable ‘replacement’ for the lost nose but leaving one’s forehead scarred.
Tagliacozzi had an entirely different approach. His process involved partially cutting a flap of skin from the upper arm, reshaping it into a nose, and then grafting it to the damaged nasal cavity (see right image). The patient’s arm would then be held in place using bandages for approximately 2 weeks while the graft attached itself to the face. Afterwards, the surgeon severed the new ‘nose’ from the arm and began reshaping and contouring the piece of skin.
A 16th-century contemporary described the surgery:
First they gave the patient a purgative. Then they took pincers and grabbed the skin in the left arm between the shoulder and the elbow and passed a large knife between the pincers and the muscle, cutting a slit in the skin. They passed a small piece of wool or linen under the skin and medicated it until the skin thickened. When it was just right, they cut the nose to fit the end of the little skin flap. Then they snipped the skin on the arm at one end and sewed it to the nose. They bound it there so artfully that it could not be moved in any way until the skin had grown onto the nose. When the skin flap was joined to the nose, they cut the other end from the arm. They skinned the lip of the mouth and sewed the flap of skin from the arm onto it, and medicated it until it was joined to the lip. Then they put a metal form on it, and fastened it there until the nose grew into it to the right proportions. It remained well formed but somewhat whiter than the face. It’s a fine operation and an excellent experience. 
The entire procedure could take up to 5 months, and no doubt caused considerable pain and discomfort to the patient during the process.
That aside, Tagliacozzi boasted of his skill, claiming that the noses he reconstructed were better than the originals. Yet when he died in 1599, so too did his method. Over the next several hundred years, surgeons continued to prefer the ‘Indian Method’ when performing rhinoplasty, citing that Tagliacozzi’s technique left the new nose vulnerable to cold winters, when it often turned purple and fell off. On rare occasions, however, the ‘Italian Method’ was employed, such as the case of a soldier whose face was severely damaged in July 1944 (see above picture).
Unlike his surgical techniques, Tagliacozzi’s mantra persisted long after his death and is still quoted by modern-day plastic surgeons, who see him as the ‘father’ of their discipline:
We restore, rebuild, and make whole those parts which nature hath given, but which fortune has taken away. Not so much that it may delight the eye, but that it might buoy up the spirit, and help the mind of the afflicted.
1. Recent forensic tests conducted on Brahe’s skeletal remains suggest that the nose may, in fact, have been made of copper.
2. Originally qtd in William Eamon, The Professor of Secrets: Mystery, Medicine and Alchemy in Renaissance Italy (2010), pp. 95-96.
3. G. Tagliacozzi, De Curtorum Chirurgia per Insitionem (1597).