Helping the Blind to See Without an Operation, a World Devoid of Musical Pleasure (Anhedonia) and Sexual Cannibals Identified in Europe (featuring Voluntary Self-Castration)

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STOP PRESS!! Have you tried the YouTube Playlist featuring all of my compositions for the TRANSFORMATES? Here it is:

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This week I have uncovered a number or important developments from around the world with a strong sensory focus. Each of these subjects is covered in a more detailed separate article in the Alpine Press section of this site.

Helping the Blind to See Without an Operation

The first exciting development comes from Israel and focuses on how we recognise images. For most of us this involves our visual senses: we see objects and this information is processed and interpreted in the visual cortex area of our brains. However for the World’s 45 million people who are totally blind this option of processing images by looking at them does not exist.

A team in Israel have been working on converting images into soundscapes. They make a representation of the image using sound and blind participants in their research have learned to use these representations to see and even reproduce the images by writing them down. The equipment can be worn by the blind person allowing them use a head set to take pictures as they move and ‘see’ the soundscape representation through headphones.

Not only could these people identify what they saw but they could use this equipment to move around independently.

The neuroscientists involved in this research were amazed when they used MRI scanning technology to investigate which parts of the brain were involved in processing these soundscapes. If you would like to read more and see some remarkable videos please take a look at my more detailed article by clicking on the link below:

22nd March 2014: Helping the Blind ‘Hear’ Shapes and Pictures – Image Recognition Area of Brain Stimulated by ‘Soundscapes’ in Congenitally Blind – Despite Never Having Seen Before!

The next article moves away from image recognition but continues to look at our sense of hearing:

A World Without Musical Pleasure (Anhedonia)

Having discussed how scientists are trying to help people who can not see let us now try to imagine what it must be like to hear music and derive absolutely no pleasure at all from the experience – regardless of which music you listen to.

Some people suffer from a psychological condition known as Anhedonia; they are unable to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable to others like exercise, hobbies, music, sexual activities or social interactions. This form of pathological depression can result in joylessness, dreariness, and dejection.

Researchers have recently been able to identify that a small proportion of individuals suffer from Music Anhedonia and have examined this situation in more depth. Their research is summarised in my second article which you can read by clicking on the link below:

19th March 2014: Coldness Towards Music May be a Sign of Pathological Depression – Evidence for Musical Anhedonia

Having spent so much time on the visual and hearing senses let us now turn our attention towards two other areas of sensory enjoyment – namely the ability to appreciate a good meal and the pleasure we derive from a mutually rewarding physical relationship:

Sexual Cannibals Identified in Europe (Including Voluntary Self-Castration)

I struggled to find a less ‘in your face’ title for this subject because the description I have used here is precisely what the research was about.

Once again a team of highly respected scientists have been involved in this research, both from Germany and Finland. Those of us who spend a lot of time in Germany will be well aware of the recent trials involving a computer technician in Rotenburg who found a voluntary ‘dining’ partner on the internet. The host together with his new partner removed and then jointly attempted to eat the partner’s penis. Following this the computer technician killed the victim and ate a lot more of his flesh (this story can be found under the search term Rotenburg Cannibal or the master butcher (Der Metzgermeister in German).

The research team from Hamburg and Finland have identified that this is by no means a unique situation in mainland Europe. They have identified other situations where cannibalism is practised in association with sexual relationships and have photographic evidence of the use of castration to strengthen the bond between consenting partners.

Now before you race to click on the link to my article I should warn you that I have included a number of pictures illustrating both the cannibalistic sexual act and the process of castration. Therefore my more detailed article is not to be viewed by those of a sensitive disposition. Under age visitors to this site should only read the article after first checking with their parents or their biology teacher. Under no circumstances should you read the article while eating your lunch.

After duly considering these ‘safety’ warnings please find below the link to this important investigation into our understanding of the role of cannibalism and self mutilation in promoting mutually beneficial sexual relationships:

18th March 2014: Germany and Finland Joint Investigation: New Case of Sexual Cannibalism Including Self-mutilation (Castration) During Intercourse.

Well I guess that is enough sensory excitement for this week. Following the tremendous response I received from my article featuring the trio London Grammar (you can look again here – the video is at the end of the blog) I would like to finish this blog with another wonderful musical discovery. Regular readers will know I have a little weakness for Vikings – probably due in part to my genes and the long history of the Duggleby’s (more info here). This lady is from Denmark but now lives in Berlin. She combines beauty both in looks and in her musical compositions and performances. So for those who need something a little more relaxing after having read the last article please enjoy Agnes Obel. Here she sings ‘Riverside‘ from her debut album Philharmonics. In November 2011 at the Danish Music awards she won five prizes: Best Album Of The Year, Best Pop Release Of The Year, Best Debut Artist Of The Year, Best Female Artist Of The Year and Best Songwriter Of The Year. Her new album is called Aventine.

I hope this has helped to bring your blood pressure back under control. If you like this music Agnes Obel is just embarking on a European Tour. Details can be found on her website here

If you were unable to find just the right article from my small selection above please don’t forget that there are many more exciting subjects dealt with in the reviews provided on my Alpine Press page: just follow the link here to see the contents page.

Have a great week and remember to keep an eye out for unexpected cannibals hiding in your back garden.

Chris Duggleby

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