from the world's big
5 products that come from outer space
Can't get to space? Why not bring space to you?
- Meteorites have been used for a variety of practical purposes since the Bronze Age.
- Since we can get iron from Earth, some of these items are focused towards collectors.
- These items are practical, beautiful, and remind us of the heavens we interact with more than we think.
Humans have been using metals mined from meteorites for most of our history. King Tut had a dagger, bracelet, and headrest made from meteoric iron; the Paleo-Eskimo and Inuit of Greenland mined fallen meteorites for the stuff; and many other Bronze Age cultures made tools from it since they hadn't figured out how to smelt the iron in Earth's ground yet.
Today, products from space are used less often, as we have terrestrial sources of the same metals which are more reliable. However, this doesn't mean you can't find beautiful things made from celestial materials. Here, we have five examples of products that have extra-terrestrial materials in them.
Manly Bands makes wedding rings out of the rare Gibeon meteorite.
Photo: Manly Bands Rings
Manly Bands makes men's wedding bands that are a bit more exciting that your usual gold and silver. It uses materials that span the periodic table—like carbon fiber, titanium and tungsten—and even wood, antler, and dinosaur bone. What caught our eye, though, are the rings that use shards of Gibeon meteorite, which crashed into Namibia in prehistoric times, and have a cool medium grey coloring and characteristic Widmanstätten pattern. The website includes instructions on how to properly care for the rings so that you can keep this out-of-this-world piece for years to come and get a glimpse of space every time you look at your hands.
Photo: The Space Store
Are you looking for a little more variety than just rings? More of a necklace person? That's fine; The Space Store has you covered. They have a variety of items made with meteorites, including watches, pendants, earrings, and jewelry. If you have a more minimalist sense of fashion, they also offer vials of moon dust.
Photo: Grayson Tighe
A long time ago in a galaxy not so far from here, people didn't type everything they had to say. They wrote it on paper with indelible ink, taking the time and effort to produce the thoughts they wanted to record by hand. These Grayson Tighe pens are made from Gibeon meteorite, gold, and stainless steel by hand in Switzerland.
The price isn't listed on the website, so you might have to ask for it. That was something else we used to do way back when.
What every hardcore DnD player needs, but didn't know they wanted. Crystal Case's stones are made from meteorite samples found in the desert of Oman, they are unweathered and quite durable. Until mithril dice become available, this is probably the coolest die you're going to come across. Dice made of this stuff are relatively hard to produce. As a result, similar ones on Etsy go for a lot more.
Image provided by Perceval
For those with high-end taste in pocket knives and a flair for the exotic or who just really want to master their King Tut cosplay, these blades by Perceval feature handles made of Muonionalusta meteorite to complement their fine craftsmanship.
Made in Thiers, France, a historical center of knife manufacturing, the knives combine a tradition of excellence with a unique material that reminds us of humanity's long relationship with the heavens and the occasional stony visitors we get.
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Placing science and religion at opposite ends of the belief spectrum is to ignore their unique purposes.
- Science and religion (fact versus faith) are often seen as two incongruous groups. When you consider the purpose of each and the questions that they seek to answer, the comparison becomes less black and white.
- This video features religious scholars, a primatologist, a neuroendocrinologist, a comedian, and other brilliant minds considering, among other things, the evolutionary function that religion serves, the power of symbols, and the human need to learn, explore, and know the world around us so that it becomes a less scary place.
- "I think most people are actually kind of comfortable with the idea that science is a reliable way to learn about nature, but it's not the whole story and there's a place also for religion, for faith, for theology, for philosophy," says Francis Collins, American geneticist and director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). "But that harmony perspective doesn't get as much attention. Nobody is as interested in harmony as they are in conflict."
Studying voice recordings of infected but asymptomatic people reveals potential indicators of Covid-19.
That question is at the heart of the new documentary, Medicating Normal.
- The directors of the new documentary, Medicating Normal, want psychiatrists to require informed consent when writing scripts.
- Long-term effects of antidepressant usage do not have to be documented for FDA approval.
- Big Think talks to producer/director Wendy Ratcliffe and film subject, Angela Peacock.
EarthRise Podcast 93: Medicating Normal (with Angela Peacock & Wendy Ratcliffe)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a687fe66beb23c435464e7ad203757ca"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CKUQkUd_ljw?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>During our talk, Peacock is seated next to director and producer, Wendy Ratcliffe. Co-director Lynn Cunningham was initially inspired to pursue this topic when a family member's health deteriorated after 15 years of psychiatric medication. A Harvard graduate and star athlete, this family member is now on disability and exhibits poor mental health. </p><p>This brings up a question modern psychiatry rarely confronts: Why are prescription drug rates <em>and</em> rates of anxiety and depression increasing? If the former worked, shouldn't the latter be in decline?</p><p>That's not what's happened. Ratcliffe decided to produce <em>Medicating Normal</em> after reading Robert Whitaker's 2010 book, <em>Anatomy of an Epidemic</em>. (Whitaker is featured in the film and was recently <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/antidepressants-dangers" target="_self">featured in my column</a>.) For over three years, the crew followed five people (including Peacock) around as they dealt with the terrifying health consequences of medication dependence. </p><p>"These medicines are causing an epidemic of disability," Ratcliffe says. When I ask what she learned about the pharmaceutical industry while making the film, her eyes light up. She shakes her head in disbelief. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"I'm totally shocked by the FDA process: medications that are designed to be taken for many years or even a lifetime, to get them approved they only have to be shown to work better than a placebo over three to six weeks. There is no obligation to test these drugs for long-term side effects. I was shocked to discover that pharmaceutical companies pay for most of the research on their own drugs. They design the research to get the result that they want. When they don't like the result of the trial, they throw it out."</p><p>Whitaker told me about the original trial for the benzodiazepine, Xanax. At four weeks, it outperformed the placebo. At eight weeks, however, there was no discernible difference between the placebo and Xanax. By 14 weeks, the placebo outperformed Xanax. To get around this inconvenient data, Upjohn only reported the four-week data. The FDA approved the drug. </p><p>That was in 1980. In 2017, <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/781816/alprazolam-sodium-prescriptions-number-in-the-us/" target="_blank">25 million Xanax prescriptions</a> were written. </p><p>Pharmaceutical companies understand how to get FDA approval. Like oil companies, they're clueless when tragedy strikes. They don't know how to deal with the long-term side effects of their drugs, so they ignore them. Ratcliffe says the doctors she talked with weren't trained in tapering protocols or educated about the negative impact of the drugs they prescribe. The reflexive response is another drug, not an honest investigation of the drugs themselves.</p>
Wendy Ratcliffe and Lynn Cunningham at the premiere of Medicating Normal at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.<p>This is the process that led to Peacock being prescribed 18 drugs at once. The side effects, she confirms, are not minor.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"From a patient standpoint, I thought dizziness meant I had to get up slowly. The dizziness I experienced coming off of antidepressants and benzodiazepines was like, I can't walk. It was like walking on the Grand Canyon in high heels on a tight wire."</p><p>Though the final benzodiazepine nearly killed her, Peacock finally abandoned all drugs in 2016. Today, she feels old parts of herself coming back, but she's not yet whole. She's not sure she'll ever be. Currently living in her RV, she travels around the country educating former vets and promoting the documentary. Unlike her time on prescription drugs, she now has a mission.</p><p>"The way we bring people home from war and then put them on drugs is not right," she says, and is doing her best to change that fact. </p><p>Both women agree on an important point: psychiatry needs informed consent. The problem, Ratcliffe says, is that "psychiatry lobbying groups feel that informed consent impedes their ability to prescribe." She compares the industry to the NRA: any criticism is treated as a potential keystone that, if removed, will take out the entire system. In reality, all patients are asking for is honesty about how these drugs interact in their bodies. </p><p>We don't know the long-term effects because pharmaceutical companies don't have to study them. If the industry isn't required to disclose these effects, and psychiatrists remain ignorant of the real damage being done to some of their patients, informed consent remains an intangible dream with no pathway to reality. </p><p>As Whitaker writes in <em>Anatomy of an Epidemic</em>, antidepressants don't treat chemical imbalances—they create them. Over 2,500 years ago, doctors recognized melancholy as a natural part of life—one that, as Schuyler and others realized, goes away with time. Yet for a growing number of Americans, depression will never fade because they weren't informed about the potential consequences of the script they were handed. They never know what they're being told to swallow. </p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
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