Did you know you can be considered a "pot-head" without ever touching, let alone smoking, marijuana? When early neuroscientists went looking for the mental hardware that allowed the body to respond to the active ingredient in the cannabis sativa plant (called THC), they found much more than they were bargaining for. They did in fact identify a perfectly-shaped receptor in the brain. Puzzled at why it would exist (surely the human body was not designed with cannabis-intake in mind?), they went on to discover that the body itself makes a cannabis-like substance, called an endocannabinoid, and that it is part of a complex system regulating appetite, pain, pleasure, and immunity. So, technically, your brain is already wired for pot, and your body produces it all by itself.
Science Market Update
The University of California Irvine may be a youngster in the world of great universities (having been established as recently as 1965), but the Southern California campus has not wasted any time distinguishing its research and academic programs. In fact, according to a recent ranking by the UK's Times Higher Education, UC Irvine is #1 in the US and #4 in the world among the Times' Top 100 Universities Under 50 Years Old. The new ranking category was added to specifically look at the merits of campuses that were not old enough to compete with prestigious, long-established institutions in areas like alumni support and "reputation" but nonetheless were strong in research and publications. The 100 Under 50 recognizes current and future promise more than past success, and in that respect UCI is unmatched in the US.
Imagine how much more territory you could explore if so much of your budget didn't have to go for gas. That's the thinking behind both the Better Buildings Challenge issued by the DOE and the University of California Irvine's new and retrofitted Smart Labs, which are getting a lot of attention nationwide for their success at cutting building inefficiencies and expenses by upwards of 50%. So what makes a Smart Lab so smart? What did building system engineers find when they put their bio research facilities and equipment under the microscope?
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