Reports: Mystery blast on Iran military base proves "nuclear weapons program Tehran has long denied is real"

 

Speculation continues to deepen surrounding Monday's mysterious explosion at Iran's Parchin military base, where it is widely believed - including by the UN's nuclear watchdog (IAEA) - that the Iranians conducted tests relevant to the development of nuclear warheads. Official Iranian outlets had acknowledged early in the week that there had been a fire on a military base somewhere east of Tehran, but opposition sources insisted more specifically that the fire had been generated by an enormous blast and that the military base in question was Parchin. Before-and-after satellite images published Wednesday by Israeli media outlets all but confirmed the opposition description of the events. They showed what seems to be the aftermath of a massive blast, with one expert telling Israel Defense that "a complete section of structures was simply eliminated by an unexplained explosion." At least half a dozen buildings were leveled, including some in an area near where the IAEA believes that weapons-related work had taken place. The New York Times on Thursday published an extensive report on the incident, suggesting that it raised "new questions about whether the blast was an accident or sabotage" and comparing it to a November 2011 explosion at a missile-development site. Fox News reported the same day that the blast - whether it was an accident or deliberately triggered - in any case "cleared up one thing... the nuclear weapons program Tehran has long denied is real." The outlet conveyed comments from regional terror analyst Ronen Bergman - also published in Israel's Yediot Aharonot, where Bergman is a senior political and military analyst - situating the explosion at the center of ongoing debates about the nature of Iran's nuclear program. Bergman assessed that "Western officials suspect that at the heart of this secret development is the weapon group developing the nuclear lens mechanism... if the smoking gun for the existence of the weapon group is found, it will serve as decisive evidence that Iran has been lying and that there is no point in negotiating with it." Fox News read the developments alongside Iran's continued refusal, most recently renewed on Wednesday, to allow IAEA inspectors access to Parchin. The outlet assessed that Tehran's intransigence on this issue is "a fact that many opponents of the P5+1 talks have long insisted in itself makes a mockery of the so-called negotiation process."

 

It would seem that Dr. Seuss, in his book Green Eggs and Ham, knew that food would taste better when eaten at a different location. Now, a University of Haifa study, in cooperation with the Riken Institute, shows there’s a link between the areas of the brain responsible for taste memory in a negative context and those areas in the brain responsible for processing the memory of the time and location of the sensory experience. If the unnamed narrator in Green Eggs and Ham had tasted the dish on a train and didn’t like it, according to the new study, when he tries the meal again in the water his brain will be more ‘forgiving’ of the new attempt. The area of the brain responsible for storing memories of new tastes is the taste cortex, found in a relatively insulated area of the human brain known as the insular cortex. The area responsible for formulating a memory of the place and time of the experience (the episode) is the hippocampus. Until now, researchers assumed that being exposed to a bad taste would be negative in the same way anywhere, and the brain would create a memory of the taste itself, divorced from the time or place. But in this new study, conducted by doctoral student Adaikkan Chinnakkaruppan in the laboratory of Prof. Kobi Rosenblum of the Sagol Department of Neurobiology at the University of Haifa, in cooperation with the Riken Institute, the leading brain research institute in Tokyo, the researchers demonstrate for the first time that there is a functional link between the two brain regions. “The significance of this is that the moment we go back to the same place at which we experienced the taste associated with a bad feeling, subconsciously the negative memory will be much stronger than if we come to taste the same taste in a totally different place,” says Prof. Rosenblum. The findings, which were recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience, expose the complexity and richness of the simple sensory experiences that are engraved in our brains and that in most cases we aren’t even aware of. Moreover, the study can help explain behavioral results and the difficulty in producing memories when certain areas of the brain become dysfunctional following an illness or accident. “Even during a simple associative taste, the brain operates the hippocampus to produce an integrated experience that includes general information about the time between events and their location,” says Prof. Rosenblum. (via Israel21c)


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