Blood, Spatial Memory, Gerrymandering. Oct 26, 2018, Part 1 | WBEZ
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Science Friday

Blood, Spatial Memory, Gerrymandering. Oct 26, 2018, Part 1

Blood is essential to human life—it runs through all of our bodies, keeping us alive—but the life-giving liquid can also have a mysterious, almost magical quality. As journalist Rose George points out, this association goes back to thousands of years, even showing up in “The Odyssey.“ Odysseus, while traveling in Hades, comes across his mother Anticlea, who will not speak to him. At least, she says, “Not until she drinks the blood that Odysseus has taken from reluctant sheep. For Homer, blood had a power as fierce and invisible as electricity: a mouthful of blood, a switch flicked, and Anticlea could now speak to her son.” George’s new book, “Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Money, Medicine, and Mysteries of Blood,” traces the cultural significance and business of blood. She talks about how we’ve tried to harness blood through the idea of the blood banking happened in 1937 at Chicago’s Cook County Hospital and the search for possible synthetic substitutes.

Take a deep breath in. With one single inhalation, the human nose takes in a bunch of information about your environment. And unlike vision and hearing, that information goes straight to the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls emotion and memory. Recent studies suggest that rhythmic breathing through the nose (as opposed to mouth breathing) can have a have a positive impact on these brain regions. 

On November 6th, millions of Americans will cast their votes in districts that have been declared unconstitutional by a federal court. A panel of three judges ruled that North Carolina’s congressional districts had been unfairly gerrymandered to favor Republicans over Democrats—and the key evidence in the case? Math. Annie Minoff and Elah Feder tell the story of that case—now waiting to be considered by the Supreme Court—in the next episode of Undiscovered.

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