Though personal space boundaries vary somewhat in different cultures, coming within about 3 feet (1 m) of a stranger is generally viewed as socially unacceptable. Intrusions into the area that an individual psychologically regards as his or her own can prompt strong emotional reactions. To cope in crowded environments, people may avoid acknowledging each other. Such reactions are thought to be governed by the amygdala, a region of the brain. What can happen to a person whose amygdala is damaged?
Back in the day
In the dangerous, early days of balloon flight, French inventor Jean-Pierre Blanchard became the first person to travel across the English Channel by air. Not long after, another pair of balloonists attempted to repeat this feat, but the two were killed when their balloon exploded. Blanchard himself eventually died in a ballooning accident, and his widow suffered a similar fate about a decade later. With what useless objects did Blanchard attempt to steer his balloon during early flights?
Born on a day like today
Born in a log cabin in rural New York, Fillmore was compelled to work at an early age to help support his large, impoverished family. Despite his limited education, he became a lawyer and was elected vice president under Zachary Taylor. Upon Taylor's death in 1850, Fillmore was sworn in as president. His attempt to take a moderate stance on the highly contentious issue of slavery ended his political career. While being fed soup, a dying Fillmore made what remark that turned out to be his last?