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neurosciencestuff:

Why Wet Feels Wet: Understanding the Illusion of Wetness
Human sensitivity to wetness plays a role in many aspects of daily life. Whether feeling humidity, sweat or a damp towel, we often encounter stimuli that feel wet. Though it seems simple, feeling that something is wet is quite a feat because our skin does not have receptors that sense wetness. The concept of wetness, in fact, may be more of a “perceptual illusion” that our brain evokes based on our prior experiences with stimuli that we have learned are wet.
So how would a person know if he has sat on a wet seat or walked through a puddle? Researchers at Loughborough University and Oxylane Research proposed that wetness perception is intertwined with our ability to sense cold temperature and tactile sensations such as pressure and texture. They also observed the role of A-nerve fibers—sensory nerves that carry temperature and tactile information from the skin to the brain—and the effect of reduced nerve activity on wetness perception. Lastly, they hypothesized that because hairy skin is more sensitive to thermal stimuli, it would be more perceptive to wetness than glabrous skin (e.g., palms of the hands, soles of the feet), which is more sensitive to tactile stimuli.
Davide Filingeri et al. exposed 13 healthy male college students to warm, neutral and cold wet stimuli. They tested sites on the subjects’ forearms (hairy skin) and fingertips (glabrous skin). The researchers also performed the wet stimulus test with and without a nerve block. The nerve block was achieved by using an inflatable compression (blood pressure) cuff to attain enough pressure to dampen A-nerve sensitivity.
They found that wet perception increased as temperature decreased, meaning subjects were much more likely to sense cold wet stimuli than warm or neutral wet stimuli. The research team also found that the subjects were less sensitive to wetness when the A-nerve activity was blocked and that hairy skin is more sensitive to wetness than glabrous skin. These results contribute to the understanding of how humans interpret wetness and present a new model for how the brain processes this sensation.
“Based on a concept of perceptual learning and Bayesian perceptual inference, we developed the first neurophysiological model of cutaneous wetness sensitivity centered on the multisensory integration of cold-sensitive and mechanosensitive skin afferents,” the research team wrote. “Our results provide evidence for the existence of a specific information processing model that underpins the neural representation of a typical wet stimulus.”
The article “Why wet feels wet? A neurophysiological model of human cutaneous wetness sensitivity” is published in the Journal of Neurophysiology.
(Image credit)

neurosciencestuff:

Why Wet Feels Wet: Understanding the Illusion of Wetness

Human sensitivity to wetness plays a role in many aspects of daily life. Whether feeling humidity, sweat or a damp towel, we often encounter stimuli that feel wet. Though it seems simple, feeling that something is wet is quite a feat because our skin does not have receptors that sense wetness. The concept of wetness, in fact, may be more of a “perceptual illusion” that our brain evokes based on our prior experiences with stimuli that we have learned are wet.

So how would a person know if he has sat on a wet seat or walked through a puddle? Researchers at Loughborough University and Oxylane Research proposed that wetness perception is intertwined with our ability to sense cold temperature and tactile sensations such as pressure and texture. They also observed the role of A-nerve fibers—sensory nerves that carry temperature and tactile information from the skin to the brain—and the effect of reduced nerve activity on wetness perception. Lastly, they hypothesized that because hairy skin is more sensitive to thermal stimuli, it would be more perceptive to wetness than glabrous skin (e.g., palms of the hands, soles of the feet), which is more sensitive to tactile stimuli.

Davide Filingeri et al. exposed 13 healthy male college students to warm, neutral and cold wet stimuli. They tested sites on the subjects’ forearms (hairy skin) and fingertips (glabrous skin). The researchers also performed the wet stimulus test with and without a nerve block. The nerve block was achieved by using an inflatable compression (blood pressure) cuff to attain enough pressure to dampen A-nerve sensitivity.

They found that wet perception increased as temperature decreased, meaning subjects were much more likely to sense cold wet stimuli than warm or neutral wet stimuli. The research team also found that the subjects were less sensitive to wetness when the A-nerve activity was blocked and that hairy skin is more sensitive to wetness than glabrous skin. These results contribute to the understanding of how humans interpret wetness and present a new model for how the brain processes this sensation.

“Based on a concept of perceptual learning and Bayesian perceptual inference, we developed the first neurophysiological model of cutaneous wetness sensitivity centered on the multisensory integration of cold-sensitive and mechanosensitive skin afferents,” the research team wrote. “Our results provide evidence for the existence of a specific information processing model that underpins the neural representation of a typical wet stimulus.”

The article “Why wet feels wet? A neurophysiological model of human cutaneous wetness sensitivity” is published in the Journal of Neurophysiology.

(Image credit)

fixyourwritinghabits
anomalously-written:


"There are so many words and phrases that we use in science fiction—and even science—without giving it much thought. But where did we get terms like "death ray," "terraforming," "hive mind," "telepathy," and "parallel universe"?
I’ve tried to find the earliest citation of each word, but other than cases in which someone clearly coined a term, it’s possible that earlier examples of these words exist. Still, the very early uses of these words provide an interesting look into our literary, linguistic, and even scientific history.”

1. Alien: Alien is a word that has long been used to refer to something foreign, but when did it become the go-to term for a being from another planet? The first person to use alien this way was probably Victorian historian and essayist Thomas Carlyle, who at one point during his life, left behind his literati lifestyle to serve as a tutor to a farmer’s son in Yorkshire. In a letter to a friend, Carlyle is deliberately (and amusingly) melodramatic about life in York and his inability to fit in amongst his new neighbors, “I am like a being thrown from another planet on this dark terrestrial ball,” he wrote, “an alien, a pilgrim among its possessors.” …
2. Android: Long before the invention of the word “robot,” humans dreamed of mechanical beings. Clockwork artisans would construct all manner of automata—birds that flap their wings, monks that shuffle in silent prayer, dolls that pretend to serve tea or play the dulcimer. Naturally, legends popped up about automata that could do incredible—for the time and technology available, impossible—things. One of those legends surrounded the 13th-century Catholic saint Albertus Magnus, who was supposed to have built a mechanical head that could answer the questions posed to it. When Ephraim Chambers wrote his 1728 Cyclopædia, he paired the Greek prefix for “man” (“andr-“) with the suffix for “having the form or likeness of” (“-oid”) when describing Albertus Magnus’ mythical construct, dubbing it an “androides.” …
3. Ansible: Ursula K. Le Guin coined this word for a device for instantaneous communication across the vast distances of space in her 1966 novel Rocannon’s World. She used it in her later works and soon it spread across the works of other science fiction authors as well. But where does the word come from? A 2001 Usenet post by Dave Goldman claims that Le Guin told him “ansible” comes from the word “answerable” and that she was amused to learn that word is also an anagram for “lesbian.”
4. Beam: While the word “beam” evokes visions of Captain Kirk saying, “Beam me up, Scotty,” beam already refers to the transport of matter in the “Matter Transmitter” entry in the 1951 Dictionary of Science Fiction. “Beamed” is used as a verb to describe how matter transmitters work in stories like A. E. van Vogt’s The Story of Null-A and The Last Spaceship by Murray Leinster (a story filled with fighting-beam, pain-beams, and all other manner of beams), but neither of those stories themselves use “beam” as a verb…
5. Blaster: Who shot a blaster first? The (rather mysterious) writer Nictzin Dyalhis is believed to have first referred to a scifi gun as a “blastor” (with an “o”) in When the Green Star Waned, an early entry into the space opera genre, published in Weird Tales in 1925:

Well it was for me that, in obedience to Hul Jok’s imperative command, I was holding my Blastor pointing ahead of me; for as I blundered full upon the monstrosity it upheaved its ugly bulk—how I do not know, for I saw no legs nor did it have wings—to one edge and would have flopped down upon me, but instinctively I slid forward the catch on the tiny Blastor, and the foul thing vanished—save for a few fragments of its edges—smitten into nothingness by the vibration hurled forth from that powerful little disintegrator.

This may also be the first use of the word “disintegrator” to refer to a weapon in science fiction.
6. Credit: The universe’s most generic form of currency first shows up John W. Campbell’s The Mightiest Machine, which was serialized in Astounding starting in December 1934 and stars Campbell’s recurring character Aarn Munro, when one character complains about having to build “a five-million-credit flying laboratory.” Later, the same character proposes naming a rocketship “Little credit-eater” after the hull alone costs him a jaw-dropping two and a half million credits.
7. Cryostasis: The word “cryogenics,” the study of materials at low temperature, comes from “cryogen,” a word coined in 1875 to describe substances used to obtain low temperatures, refrigerants. Robert Ettinger, who would come to be known as the “father” of modern cryonics, would seize on the idea of freezing one’s body for future revival after reading Neil R. Jones’ 1931 story The Jameson Satellite when he was just 12 years old…
[SOURCE]

anomalously-written:

"There are so many words and phrases that we use in science fiction—and even science—without giving it much thought. But where did we get terms like "death ray," "terraforming," "hive mind," "telepathy," and "parallel universe"?

I’ve tried to find the earliest citation of each word, but other than cases in which someone clearly coined a term, it’s possible that earlier examples of these words exist. Still, the very early uses of these words provide an interesting look into our literary, linguistic, and even scientific history.”

1. Alien: Alien is a word that has long been used to refer to something foreign, but when did it become the go-to term for a being from another planet? The first person to use alien this way was probably Victorian historian and essayist Thomas Carlyle, who at one point during his life, left behind his literati lifestyle to serve as a tutor to a farmer’s son in Yorkshire. In a letter to a friend, Carlyle is deliberately (and amusingly) melodramatic about life in York and his inability to fit in amongst his new neighbors, “I am like a being thrown from another planet on this dark terrestrial ball,” he wrote, “an alien, a pilgrim among its possessors.” …

2. Android: Long before the invention of the word “robot,” humans dreamed of mechanical beings. Clockwork artisans would construct all manner of automata—birds that flap their wings, monks that shuffle in silent prayer, dolls that pretend to serve tea or play the dulcimer. Naturally, legends popped up about automata that could do incredible—for the time and technology available, impossible—things. One of those legends surrounded the 13th-century Catholic saint Albertus Magnus, who was supposed to have built a mechanical head that could answer the questions posed to it. When Ephraim Chambers wrote his 1728 Cyclopædia, he paired the Greek prefix for “man” (“andr-“) with the suffix for “having the form or likeness of” (“-oid”) when describing Albertus Magnus’ mythical construct, dubbing it an “androides.” …

3. Ansible: Ursula K. Le Guin coined this word for a device for instantaneous communication across the vast distances of space in her 1966 novel Rocannon’s World. She used it in her later works and soon it spread across the works of other science fiction authors as well. But where does the word come from? A 2001 Usenet post by Dave Goldman claims that Le Guin told him “ansible” comes from the word “answerable” and that she was amused to learn that word is also an anagram for “lesbian.”

4. Beam: While the word “beam” evokes visions of Captain Kirk saying, “Beam me up, Scotty,” beam already refers to the transport of matter in the “Matter Transmitter” entry in the 1951 Dictionary of Science Fiction. “Beamed” is used as a verb to describe how matter transmitters work in stories like A. E. van Vogt’s The Story of Null-A and The Last Spaceship by Murray Leinster (a story filled with fighting-beam, pain-beams, and all other manner of beams), but neither of those stories themselves use “beam” as a verb…

5. Blaster: Who shot a blaster first? The (rather mysterious) writer Nictzin Dyalhis is believed to have first referred to a scifi gun as a “blastor” (with an “o”) in When the Green Star Waned, an early entry into the space opera genre, published in Weird Tales in 1925:

Well it was for me that, in obedience to Hul Jok’s imperative command, I was holding my Blastor pointing ahead of me; for as I blundered full upon the monstrosity it upheaved its ugly bulk—how I do not know, for I saw no legs nor did it have wings—to one edge and would have flopped down upon me, but instinctively I slid forward the catch on the tiny Blastor, and the foul thing vanished—save for a few fragments of its edges—smitten into nothingness by the vibration hurled forth from that powerful little disintegrator.

This may also be the first use of the word “disintegrator” to refer to a weapon in science fiction.

6. Credit: The universe’s most generic form of currency first shows up John W. Campbell’s The Mightiest Machine, which was serialized in Astounding starting in December 1934 and stars Campbell’s recurring character Aarn Munro, when one character complains about having to build “a five-million-credit flying laboratory.” Later, the same character proposes naming a rocketship “Little credit-eater” after the hull alone costs him a jaw-dropping two and a half million credits.

7. Cryostasis: The word “cryogenics,” the study of materials at low temperature, comes from “cryogen,” a word coined in 1875 to describe substances used to obtain low temperatures, refrigerants. Robert Ettinger, who would come to be known as the “father” of modern cryonics, would seize on the idea of freezing one’s body for future revival after reading Neil R. Jones’ 1931 story The Jameson Satellite when he was just 12 years old…

[SOURCE]