A Visit to Moscow’s Brain Institute, Where Stalin’s Brain Is Kept in a Jar
On April 14, 1930, the Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky committed suicide in his Moscow apartment. His closest friends, including the writer Yuri Olesha, rushed to the flat when they heard the terrible news.
As they sat in silence in the living room, a cracking sound suddenly emitted from the bedroom where Mayakovsky’s body lay.
“Only wood, it seemed, could be chopped like that,” Olesha later wrote. Someone was cutting through the wall with an axe. Moments later, a doctor in a white lab coat ran by carrying a washbasin.
Inside it was the poet’s brain.
The doctor told Mayakovsky’s friends that the brain was unusually large—more than 3.75 pounds—before loading it into a car and driving away.
Mayakovsky’s brain was taken to a brick building called the Brain Institute, which was founded by the Bolsheviks in 1928 as part of the effort to canonize Lenin. Lenin’s brain joined those of other proclaimed geniuses in a “Pantheon of Brains,” which displayed the Soviet Union’s finest minds in glass cases. The institute went on to dissect the brains of dozens of famous Soviets, including those of Sergei Eisenstein, Maxim Gorky, and Joseph Stalin. The brain-cataloging continued all the way until 1989, when the fall of the USSR put an end to this peculiar experiment.
Since then, the Institute remains open, but few reporters, Russian or foreign, have been allowed to visit. In recent years, the Institute has been trying to distance itself from the past and adopt a new reputation for modern neurological research—and catching a glimpse of Lenin’s brain in pieces might make its newfound credibility a hard sell. To my delight, however, as part of their effort to show the world how legitimate they’ve become, the Institute let me inside.
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A Visit to Moscow’s Brain Institute, Where Stalin’s Brain Is Kept in a Jar

On April 14, 1930, the Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky committed suicide in his Moscow apartment. His closest friends, including the writer Yuri Olesha, rushed to the flat when they heard the terrible news.

As they sat in silence in the living room, a cracking sound suddenly emitted from the bedroom where Mayakovsky’s body lay.

“Only wood, it seemed, could be chopped like that,” Olesha later wrote. Someone was cutting through the wall with an axe. Moments later, a doctor in a white lab coat ran by carrying a washbasin.

Inside it was the poet’s brain.

The doctor told Mayakovsky’s friends that the brain was unusually large—more than 3.75 pounds—before loading it into a car and driving away.

Mayakovsky’s brain was taken to a brick building called the Brain Institute, which was founded by the Bolsheviks in 1928 as part of the effort to canonize Lenin. Lenin’s brain joined those of other proclaimed geniuses in a “Pantheon of Brains,” which displayed the Soviet Union’s finest minds in glass cases. The institute went on to dissect the brains of dozens of famous Soviets, including those of Sergei Eisenstein, Maxim Gorky, and Joseph Stalin. The brain-cataloging continued all the way until 1989, when the fall of the USSR put an end to this peculiar experiment.

Since then, the Institute remains open, but few reporters, Russian or foreign, have been allowed to visit. In recent years, the Institute has been trying to distance itself from the past and adopt a new reputation for modern neurological research—and catching a glimpse of Lenin’s brain in pieces might make its newfound credibility a hard sellTo my delight, however, as part of their effort to show the world how legitimate they’ve become, the Institute let me inside.

Continue

Blasting Off with Dr. DMT
Between 1990 and 1995 Dr. Strassman helped 60 patients enter the void and then documented their experiences at the University of New Mexico’s School of Medicine. I contacted him to talk about DMT and the legalization of psychedelics in the United States.

Blasting Off with Dr. DMT

Between 1990 and 1995 Dr. Strassman helped 60 patients enter the void and then documented their experiences at the University of New Mexico’s School of Medicine. I contacted him to talk about DMT and the legalization of psychedelics in the United States.

motherboardtv:

Astronomers Found the Closest Supernova in a Decade

motherboardtv:

Astronomers Found the Closest Supernova in a Decade


"Smartphones mean the office is always in our pocket. Smart drugs could mean the office is always in our minds."

Given the recent surge in the popularity of nootropics—non-toxic, non-addictive drugs that enhance learning acquisition, increase the coupling of the brain’s hemispheres, and improve processing—a debate over the murky limits of our neurological optimization has arisen as well.

"Smartphones mean the office is always in our pocket. Smart drugs could mean the office is always in our minds."

Given the recent surge in the popularity of nootropics—non-toxic, non-addictive drugs that enhance learning acquisition, increase the coupling of the brain’s hemispheres, and improve processing—a debate over the murky limits of our neurological optimization has arisen as well.

motherboardtv:

How the World’s Foremost Psychedelic Researchers Finally Got Some Weed to Study

motherboardtv:

How the World’s Foremost Psychedelic Researchers Finally Got Some Weed to Study

motherboardtv:

The Universe Expanded Exponentially After the Big Bang

motherboardtv:

The Universe Expanded Exponentially After the Big Bang

There’s even more frightening news out of Russia: A never-before-seen virus that lay dormant for 30,000 years under 100 feet of Siberian permafrost has come back to life. And it’s infectious. But don’t worry—scientists meant to do it.

— Could Global Warming Cause Our Next Pandemic?  (via vicenews)

(via vicenews)

motherboardtv:

The Science of Loving Sriracha

motherboardtv:

The Science of Loving Sriracha

motherboardtv:

Space Elevators Are Totally Possible (and Will Make Rockets Seem Dumb)

motherboardtv:

Space Elevators Are Totally Possible (and Will Make Rockets Seem Dumb)

How to Swim from Cuba to Florida 
On August 31, 2013, Diana Nyad jumped into the shark-friendly waters of Cuba and swam 110-odd miles—without the protection of a shark cage—to Key West, Florida, 53 hours later. Why would anyone stare down the ocean and risk death to face up its indomitable conditions? Who knows.

How to Swim from Cuba to Florida 

On August 31, 2013, Diana Nyad jumped into the shark-friendly waters of Cuba and swam 110-odd miles—without the protection of a shark cage—to Key West, Florida, 53 hours later. Why would anyone stare down the ocean and risk death to face up its indomitable conditions? Who knows.

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