- Dated: mid-19th century
- Place of Origin: Bhutan
- Measurements: overall length: 28.5in (725mm). Blade length: 23.5in (595mm)
The hilt of the sword is made of pierced copper, inlaid on one side with three turquoise coral stones (normally found on Tibetan weapons). The wooden grip is partly covered with very attractive red binding, while the single edged blade has a high contrast hairpin folded steel pattern. The scabbard has a wooden carcass, covered in copper, with an old leather strap.
Source: Copyright © 2014 Akaal Arms
I’ve seen this photograph very frequently on tumblr and Facebook, always with the simple caption, “Ghost Heart”. What exactly is a ghost heart?
More than 3,200 people are on the waiting list for a heart transplant in the United States. Some won’t survive the wait. Last year, 340 died before a new heart was found.
The solution: Take a pig heart, soak it in an ingredient commonly found in shampoo and wash away the cells until you’re left with a protein scaffold that is to a heart what two-by-four framing is to a house.
Then inject that ghost heart, as it’s called, with hundreds of millions of blood or bone-marrow stem cells from a person who needs a heart transplant, place it in a bioreactor - a box with artificial lungs and tubes that pump oxygen and blood into it - and wait as the ghost heart begins to mature into a new, beating human heart.
Doris Taylor, director of regenerative medicine research at the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston, has been working on this— first using rat hearts, then pig hearts and human hearts - for years.
The process is called decellularization and it is a tissue engineering technique designed to strip out the cells from a donor organ, leaving nothing but connective tissue that used to hold the cells in place.
This scaffold of connective tissue - called a “ghost organ” for its pale and almost translucent appearance - can then be reseeded with a patient’s own cells, with the goal of regenerating an organ that can be transplanted into the patient without fear of tissue rejection.
This ghost heart is ready to be injected with a transplant recipient’s stem cells so a new heart - one that won’t be rejected - can be grown.
This is incredible.
What world is this?
While in Western countries the issue of abortion concerns the legality of pregnancy termination (and it is more generally a women’s rights issue), in Eastern Europe the high rates of abortion present a bigger problem. But not all countries in the former Soviet bloc follow the same trends when it comes to birth control practices. A recent paper by one of our readers, demographer Boris Denisov and his colleagues Victoria I. Sakevich and Aiva Jasilioniene, published in PLoS ONE, shows that “the last decade witnessed growing differences in abortion dynamics in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine despite demographic, social, and historical similarities of these nations”. Having analyzed official abortion and contraceptive use statistics, provided by national statistical agencies and respective laws from the three countries, the researchers found a growing gap in abortion rates in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine.
According to official statistics, in 1990 all three countries had very high abortion rates. Over the subsequent two decades, Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine all achieved a significant decrease in the number of abortions. However, the speed of this improvement that was nearly equal in all the three countries during the 1990s started to diverge in the early 2000s, showing a steeper progress in Ukraine and especially in Belarus compared to Russia. In Belarus the annual speed of reduction in abortion rates accelerated from 8% to 11%, in Russia it slowed down to 5%, while in Ukraine it continued at the same annual pace of 6%. As a result, today Russia exhibits substantially higher abortion rates compared to Belarus and Ukraine, whose figures are comparable to those of the United States, England and Wales, Sweden, and France. Why such differences between Russia and its Slavic sister-countries?
Playing pretend never gets old. When we’re adults, we tend to limit it to daydreaming, but when we’re kids? We interact with our environment and pretend to be our heroes and favorite characters. Tree branches become lightsabers, or a trash can becomes a perfect substitute for R2-D2′s body. Everything is about playing. Artist Craig Davison captures those moments perfectly with his shadow series.(x)